By Shauna Alexander, Mackenzie Bailey, Morgan Baskin, Neal Becton, Jason Bender, Stephanie Breijo, Kent Browning, Rachel Cumberbatch, Ana Cvetkovic, DDm, Marcus Dowling, Kaylee Dugan, Aaron Estes, Katherine Gaines, Jeb Gavin, Jonny Grave, Melissa Groth, Peter Heyneman, Svetlana Legetic, Gabe Liebowitz, Listen Local First, Joe McAdam, Bryce Rudow, Joey Schaefer, Farrah Skeiky, Jenn Tisdale, Clarissa Villondo, Brandon Weight, Brandon Wetherbee, Ashley Wright, Alan Zilberman
Our big, bad Music Guide is here. From albums to buy, shows to attend, artists to keep on your radar, festivals to avoid because they have payment plans (not making that up), how to dress for the stage, how to treat the sound guy, how to get loud and my personal favorite, a well-thought out and fair defense of The Gathering of the Juggalos, we’ve pretty much got it all covered. Make sure to read our FILM GUIDE and all the other upcoming guides. Music is important but you should do and eat and see and look at other things too. There are documentaries about music that need viewing.
The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams (March 25) – If you’re looking for music to listen to while really sad and/or chugging a million beers, than The Hold Steady is the band for you. They’re known for their absolutely classic American rock n’ roll vibe, which is the best kind of comfort music. If interviews are to be believed, their new album Teeth Dreams is just as loud and rowdy as their previous albums, and that’s exactly what they do best. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to drink a million beers and listen to Stay Positive… again… -Kaylee
Liars Mess (March 25) – Do you like to angry dance? You know, aggressive and kind of stompy dancing? As if you’re simultaneously in the worst and best mood? That’s what I want to do when I listen to Mess, and trust me, it’s a good thing. -Kaylee
Thievery Corporation Saudade (April 1) – The DC-based electronica duo are back with their seventh studio album, and the essence of the sound is all in the title: “saudade” is Portugese for “contented melancholy.” (I guess they’re toning down the whole folk/dupstep/reggae/pop mashup). T.C. has recruited an army of saucy vets for the production, including U.N.K.L.E. and LouLou Ghelichkhani. Basically what this means is that it’s going to be a beautiful and unexpected departure from their sound, and y’all should be PUMPED. -Morgan
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks Enter the Slasher House (April 8) – First, let’s just recognize how great the band name and album title are (although, I’m biased, because I love anything with a horror movie reference). Second, if you want some crazy, trippy, frenetic music, look no further. The first two singles leaked, “Little Fang” and “Strange Colors” already have incredibly creepy music videos (in the best way). I can’t wait to see how weird the rest of the album is going to be. -Kaylee
OFF! Wasted Years (April 8) – OFF!’s last album, self-titled, clocks in at a whopping fifteen minutes and forty-four seconds, but Wasted Years’ arrival promises a vast improvement on the bang you get for your buck– this one’s 23:18! All kidding aside, OFF! is a supergroup without the glitz associated with the word “supergroup.” If you like Black Flag, Red Kross, Burning Brides, Rocket From The Crypt and/or Circle Jerks, this is for you. They kick down the door, get the job done, break some shit and leave in a very efficient manner. That’s what this album is like. If you can’t sort out your aggression towards your ex/boss/family/self/the man/society after twenty-three minutes of OFF! kicking your face in and making you look at yourself in the mirror, you might have problems too big for rock and roll. Dude. -Farrah
The Afghan Whigs Do to the Beast (April 15) – Their recent cover of “See and Don’t See” is proof that ’80s indie/alt-rock is alive and well, and that few can do it better than these guys. Despite the fact that it feels like they’ve broken up and reunited more times than The Eagles, I’m looking forward to seeing what their new album has in store for us after that kickass 2012 reunion. Also, they’re playing both weekends of Coachella this year. -Morgan
Eels The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett (April 22) – If there’s one thing Eels have down pat, it’s making the saddest music there ever was. Go ahead and try to listen to “Mistakes of My Youth,” the first single off their new album, and not feel utterly disappointed. The first time I ever listened to Eels was when my best friend at the time picked up Beautiful Freak from a thrift store, solely because she thought the album cover was cool. We popped the CD in her computer and sat there in a mixture of sadness and utter confusion for about 45 minutes. To this day I’m still a little confused, but it’s the good kind of confused. -Kaylee
The Horrors Luminous (May 6) - From the only preview we’ve heard so far, The Horrors are running further and further away from their grimy jumbled sort-of-post-punk origins and right into the arms of the dreamy, imagery-heavy, introspective music gods. Skying lead us into this new side of the Horrors with long passages that seemed to narrate emotion with incredible clarity and instrumentation, and we can only hope for more of that in Luminous. This album promises to be a ride that involves occasionally posh boys with enviable hair making sophisticated, flourishing sounds and getting better at what they do. We’re all in. -Farrah
tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack (May 6) – Since her last album Merrill Garbus, the powerful force behind tUnE-yArDs, has dealt with a “controversy” started by pop-culture critic Chuck Klosterman, traveled to Haiti to learn more about non-western music traditions, and written an eloquent piece for The Talkhouse about her time there. And if you go off Nikki Nack’s lead single, “Water Fountain,” she’s also become incredibly confident in both her persona and sound, as the passion from w h o k i l l is there, but it’s spiked with adventurous experimentation both lyrically and sonically. -Ana
Chromeo White Women (May 13) – This Canadian electrofunk duo has been making addictive, danceable, synth-heavy tracks since 2004 but haven’t released a studio album since 2010, which is why their fans are understandably excited about White Women. (It’s the name of their new record. Some people are excited about actual white women too, though.) Featuring artists like Toro y Moi, Solange, Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem fame, the album promises all the kitsch and clever innuendo-heavy references for which the pair is known and loved. They’re currently on tour promoting the new album and will play shows in Richmond, VA and New York in May. -Ashley
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Days of Abandon (May 13) - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart is the very epitome of spring time music. They’re a wonderful mixture of upbeat and melancholy indie pop that just screams warmer weather. As soon as it was hot enough outside, I used to hop on my bike and listen to “Young Adult Friction” and “Come Saturday” as if no other music existed. Now I’m much lazier, so I just open my windows, lay in bed, and blast “Belong.” Hopefully their new album will trick me into believing it is technically spring. -Kaylee Dugan
50 Cent Street
King Immortal now Animal Ambition (June 3) – 50 Cent’s sixth studio album has been quite a few years in the making. After pushing the release date back several times, 50’s latest masterpiece is finally ready. Although the rapper doesn’t think Street King Immortal Animal Ambition will do as well as his previous albums, I disagree. The album is rumored to be a star-studded compilation of collaborations with Eminem, Alicia Keys, Adam Levine, Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion?), Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown and more. -Ana
Above & Beyond @ Echostage, March 28 – I just get really choked up and kind of suffocate whenever I think about seeing A&B live because they’re melodic trance at its finest and it’s impossible to have just one favorite track. Alchemy? On A Good Day? Lonely Girl? Sun and Moon? Good GOD the list keeps on going. There’s too much beauty. Buy. Tickets. -Morgan
NAS @ The Kennedy Center, March 28, 29 – Tickets are now going for a cool $400+, so if you already bought them I’m jealous and I hate/resent you. -Morgan Baskin
The Ataris @ The Fillmore, March 28 – I’m not sure what came first when I heard of this reunion, tears or laughter. Maybe tears as a result of laughter? Who knows. The Ataris are/were sincerely a good band, but they’re one that you’ll get a little embarrassed about when you reflect on how obsessed you once were. For this particular tour, the band will be playing So Long, Astoria in its entirety. It’s easily their best effort, and the only one to achieve gold status. You want to go back to 2003? You’ll have to go to Silver Spring. – Farrah Skeiky
Pentatonix @ DAR Constitution Hall, March 29 - I kid you not, Pentatonix’s cover of “Little Drummer Boy” makes me cry thug tears every time. The group quickly ascended up the charts for both original tracks and pleasantly complex arrangements of pop hits after winning the third season of NBC’s popular show The Sing-Off. Also, they are all obnoxiously good looking. Go. -Rachel
Childish Gambino @ Fillmore Silver Spring, April 1 – Tbh, this guy can pretty much do it all. Acting, stand up omedy, rap, hip-hop, and even sampling on EDM tracks for artists like Flux Pavilion–he’s a gem. -Morgan Baskin
Los Lonely Boys @ The Hamilton, April 1 - Los Lonely Boys’ “Heaven” was a staple on B101, the soft rock, SFW radio station I grew up with in Philadelphia. Oh, nostalgia! While nothing can top this mega-hit, expect more “Texican Rock n’ Roll” from this trio of brothers. The night will surely be full of soulful guitar riffs and harmonica solos. – Ana
Real Estate @ 9:30 Club, April 2 – The last time Real Estate graced 9:30, they transformed a hazy summer night into a backyard scene, complete with hanging lightbulbs and white fences. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band capture the maudlin side of summer in such a beautiful manner. Slower tracks reach into the nagging teenage anticipation of days spent alone, and faster tracks effortlessly portray the moments of introspection and glimpses of loneliness felt while surrounded by friends. It seems that winter is sticking around in DC, so if you’re yearning for summer and all the feelings the season evokes, this show is a priority. – Farrah Skeiky
Kraftwerk @ 9:30 Club, April 4 – KRAFTWERKKRAFTWERKKRAFTWERK.
In case my excitement didn’t indicate that these beautiful human beings are some of the most important figures in the history of electronic music, some words: German industrial electro started it all. Everything. I’m gonna go ahead and estimate that 98% of EDM DJs and producers have been influenced at least a little bit by these guys. So do yourself a favor and see them, because you will learn a LOT. -Morgan
Mano Le Tough @ U St. Music Hall, April 4 - The baddest Irish-slash-German producer you’ll ever see, Mr. Le Tough does industrial, folksy, futuristic deep house remixes like you can’t believe (and his track ‘Primitive People’ can get it any time, anywhere). This guy knows his shit, and if you know yours you’ll go see him at U Hall. The best part? The show is free for those 21+ before 11 pm. -Morgan
Rocket From The Crypt @ Black Cat, April 5 – Let’s talk about good shit, guys. Let’s talk about Rocket From The Crypt. This is one of the most fun shows you will ever attend in your life, and that fun is amplified by the fact that these guys are incredibly silly. They’ve been on Yo Gabba Gabba and their members are in super groups and they have been touring for forever. They know how to do this, and they know how to do it well. No part of this is cheesy or nostalgic unless that’s what you want to make of it. – Farrah Skeiky
Juicy J @ Howard Theatre, April 6 – Juicy J’s appearance on Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” may or may not attract white girls exercising their inner thugs to the Howard Theatre. Whether or not you’re a die hard fan, Juicy J will be a good time. Alas, I’m not making this assertion from personal experience, but the fans in YouTube videos of Juicy J’s live performances seem to be having a really good time. Expect to do a lot of bouncing to the beat and rocking your hand up and down in the air. -Ana
The Love Language @ DC9, April 9 - If you’re looking for some reliable and only slightly melancholy indie pop then here’s the perfect show for you. The Love Language was born out of heartbreak, but their most recent albums have become way less sad and way more professional sounding, so don’t worry about sobbing in front of total strangers. -Kaylee
The Wanted @ Fillmore Silver Spring, April 9 – If you’ve ever been interested in seeing the less popular, slightly older version of One Direction, this may be your last chance because The Wanted is going on hiatus after this tour! It’s now or (possibly) never. The UK has made an art out of forming girl/boy bands (Spice Girls, One Direction), so it’s worth seeing this delegation of the British invasion for yourself. Don’t miss out on this soon-to-be one hit wonder. -Ana
The Hood Internet @ U Street Music Hall, April 10 – This Chicago-based duo is the better version of Girl Talk – they focus on entwining two songs that mesh satisfyingly together instead of dragging the listener through a disorienting bumper car ride of Top 40 tracks. U Street Music Hall is one of three places in the city that could do their bass-heavy tracks justice, so get your ass ready for spring by shaking it vigorously to their awesome mash-ups. -Ashley
Miley Cyrus, Sky Ferreira @ Verizon Center, April 10 – Whether you love or hate her, many people respect Miley Cyrus. The no-fucks-given attitude is attractive, regardless of her boy haircut and small gluteus maximus. Her “we cant stop, we won’t stop” party makes way to the Verizon Center April 10. Even if you don’t love her, you can’t deny her talent on Bangerz tracks “Adore You”, “FU” and “Wrecking Ball.” Don’t miss the traveling twerk show when Miley stops through in DC with buds, Sky Ferreira and Icona Pop. -Joey
Rick Ross @ Echostage, April 11 - Wanna know a secret? I’m a huge fan of Ross’s label Maybach Music Group. Ever since my younger brother (What up, Chris!) introduced me to their Self Made albums, I’ve been playing them nonstop. In fact, one of my goals is to be one of the girls who says “Mayyyybach Muuusic” at the beginning of (almost) every song. Anyway, if Ross’s larger than life sound and over the top lyrics are any indication, than you know anywhere Rick Ross is going to be, there’s going to be one hell of a party. -Kaylee
The Walking Sticks @ Rock and Roll Hotel, April 11 - They’re poised to be the ‘next big thing’ band in DC. It’s why they played our Super Sampler. Openers The Sea Life and Brenda are worth checking out too. -Brandon Wetherbee
Flight Facilities @ 9:30 Club, April 11 - “Crave You” was, after Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers,” the most over-remixed alt-indie electronica track of 2013, but I forgive the DJs who didn’t know any better because it is, admittedly, a very good song. Here’s to hoping Flight Facilities has an equally solid (new) offering at their show. -Morgan
The Sounds @ 9:30 Club, April 12 – You like to dance? You like women singers? You like Blondie or The Cars? Head to the 9:30 Club when The Sounds’ make you dance your face off. I’m pretty excited for supporting act, Ghost Beach’s groovy tunes, too. You will definitely need to have your dance shoes strapped tight for this one. The show’s $20, so skip getting Starbucks 3 days that week and you’ll have enough for a ticket. -Joey
London Grammar @ 9:30 Club, April 14 – London Grammar is one of those groups that audiences across the pond have already smartly latched onto, but we’re still getting to know in the States. Back in October, they were quietly headlining U-Hall, but now they’re primed for a 9:30 Club set that should help elevate their recognition to their proper levels. Lead singer Hannah Reid’s voice is eerily seductive and tracks like “Hey Now,” and “Wasting My Young Years,” are future hit songs just waiting to be discovered. -Ana
Black Lips @ Black Cat, April 15 - After all this weird weather, we need a party to ring in real spring weather, and this is it. Frantic, sometimes spastic energy emitted from some of the coolest guys you’ll ever meet fill rooms like the Black Cat quickly. It could still be winter outside but you’d never be able to tell if you were in any room with these guys. This one is really a no-brainer and if I have to explain it to you, you’re probably not down anyway. -Farrah
Rufus Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche @ Lincoln Theatre, April 16 – This sonofabitch is a master at the piano a seriously gifted singer, and I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the covers that he’s done are better than the original version (see: “Hallelujah”). There will be maj swooning at this shindig. -Morgan Baskin
Bobby Bare Jr @ IOTA, April 17 - The alt-country lifer (it’s more rock and roll but if you like Steve Earle you’ll like this) is about the release his very good new album, Undefeated. Rather than write about the album in the section above, I’m recommending seeing the man live, with his full band. I’m interested to see how standout tracks “North of Alabama By Mornin’” and “Don’t Stand at the Stove” hold up live. Also, those song titles are badass. They sound like their titles. -Brandon Wetherbee
The War On Drugs @ 9:30 Club, April 18 – Their latest album has been on a loop in the BYT office for a while now, and I’m very okay with that. It’s melodic, groovy ambient rock that makes it impossible not to sway rhythmically (and, okay, idiotically), and I have a feeling that the show will feature nothing less. -Morgan
Awesome Con-Cert with Andrew WK @ Black Cat, April 19 – I saw Andrew WK perform with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg and it was about an hour straight of music with no pauses, no motivational speeches, and all the intensity required (and more) to do the Ramones justice. You already know the drill– this time, there will be motivational speeches, and you’ll probably go on stage. There probably won’t be as many (or any) Ramones songs, but there will be songs about partying, puking, partying until you puke, girls, partying, and general feelings. You need to experience this at least ONCE in your life. -Farrah
Local H @ DC9, April 19 - They’re about to cross over. Again. And sideways. Local H gained popularity for some hits in the mid 90s and and then got passed over in the late 90s when their label faded away. Their last few albums haven’t been heard by the ‘right people.’ By ‘right people’ I mean the people that love The Hold Steady and The National and Big Star and The Replacements and Graham Parker. Instead, people that like reminiscing have been listening, which is fine, but come on? The band isn’t their peers. You don’t get to pick your timeline and that’s Local H’s biggest problem. There’s a reason most music critics that have heard the last five albums are at most shows. -Brandon Wetherbee
The Coathangers @ Comet Ping Pong, April 20 – Atlanta’s Coat Hangers know how to have their. Their brand of surf-punk has a decidedly feminist slant, yet their lyrics can be playful and their videos are god damn hilarious. They deserve to play in bigger venues, so it’s a treat to see them in such a small one, and there’s the bonus of pizza. -Alan
Tycho @ 9:30 Club, April 20 – Tycho’s latest album is a GORGEOUS synth-heavy ambient effort that reminds me of endless drives home from the beach during sunset. Very nostalgic, very dreamy, very necessary. -Morgan Baskin
TECH N9NE @ Howard Theatre, April 23 – I have very fond memories of listening to Tech N9ne’s vulgar ode to sex and rum, “Caribou Lou,” during drunken Halloween parties in high school. That’s all there really is to say. -Morgan Baskin
Nicole Atkins @ Rock and Roll Hotel, April 25 – Of the many many, many many many things that tick me off, the term “singer-songwriter” is among them. I think it’s the hyphen. It assumes a person hearing it should find a singer who also writes their own material to be amazing. While there are singers who don’t write and songwriters who don’t sing, singer-songwriter isn’t exactly in the same league as someone who’s hyphenated job title is, say, alligator wrestler-jurist, but more akin to waiter-actor. So singer-songwriters calling themselves such after 1980 normally chafe me in unpleasant ways. Not so with Nicole Atkins. Perhaps because her warbles are somehow both ageless and cutting edge, she strikes me as more chanteuse than singer-songwriter, and we badly, badly need more chanteuses running around. They can’t all just be on YouTube, covering pop songs, hoping they and the band they formed at Berklee somehow finagle a record deal. Bonus: if you’ve been listening to Beck’s latest and thinking, man, I wish somebody would physically embody scruffy earnestness already so Beck can make another record like Midnight Vultures, you’re gonna love Atkins’ opener Davey Horne. -Jeb
CHVRCHES @ 9:30 Club, April 29, 30 – God bless SYNTH. I hope you got tickets. The Scottish electronic pop trio, CHVRCHES, sold out both nights at the 9:30 Club. The building hype of CHVRCHES has grown from the release of debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe. For people who like Dirty Dancing, Reebok Pumps and Double Dare. -Joey
Wye Oak @ 9:30 Club, May 6 – The über indie-electronica powerhouse duo Andy and Jenn know how to make dark and mysterious noise sound appealing. You probably know them from the track “Civilian” that became 2011′s unofficial angst anthem (I vaguely remember it from season two of The Walking Dead). Look forward to a different sound, though, because their new album Shriek, slated for an as-of-yet undecided date in 2014, does not have “a lick of guitar” on the entire thing. So, you know, expect funky experimentation. -Morgan Baskin
HAIM @ 9:30 Club, May 7, 8 - Girls who can shred = hot. Girls who are signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation = even hotter. The sister trio, often compared to Fleetwood Mac, sold out the 9:30 Club two nights in a row = the hottest. -Joey
Shlohmo @ U Street Music Hall, May 11 - While producer Shlohmo is largely known for his trippy ambient groove sound, the L.A. native easily found his way onto the hip hop scene, collabing with Jeremih in 2012 on hit single “Fuck U All the Time”, in 2013 on a track entitled “Bo Peep (Do U Right)” and again earlier this year with track, “No More”, released February 13, just in time for Valentine’s Day. For $12, get familiar before he blows up. -Rachel
Angel Olsen @ Rock and Roll Hotel, May 15 - FULL DISCLOSURE: I booked Angel Olsen for a show at the Hungry Brain in Chicago in September, 2009. She opened for Daniel Knox. I thought the singer-songwriter female with a guitar would be a good fit for the singer-songwriter male with a piano. I was right. I probably should’ve had Angel headline.
Anyone who has heard hew new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness, will have it on their Best of 2014 album roundup. It belongs. It’s equal parts Liz Phair (if you like Liz Phair) and Leonard Cohen (if you like Leonard Cohen). Just listen to “Unfucktheworld” and “White Fire” and it’s obvious why she’s being compared to incredibly important and influential artists. This album is going to stick around and influence a lot of kids to pick up a guitar and play it alone and play it plugged in. Solo or with a full band, this show is likely to sell-out in advance. -Brandon Wetherbee
Mø @ U Hall, May 20 – When blowing out my birthday candles last year, I asked for more female fronted bands using drum pads and Ableton controllers. I got CHVRCHES. I got turned on to The Walking Sticks. I also got Mø. The Danish singer released two singles before her 2013 breakout hit, “Pilgrim.” FYI, pronounce Mø like pho, or meh as in “Meh, more pseudo-electronic bands?” Her music is anything but “meh.” Expect expertly sampled horns, an evening dance parties, and plenty of torso-length ponytails swinging in the air, mine included. – Brandon Weight
Mobb Deep @ Howard Theatre, May 23 - After squashing a two-year beef, Mobb Deep artists Havoc and Prodigy have reunited. The East Coast hip-hop twosome is best known for its raw delivery in single “Shook Ones Pt. II” and mid-90s albums The Infamous and Hell on Earth, widely considered classics by devout hip-hop listeners. Their 8th studio album entitled The Infamous Mobb Deep is set for release on April 1. -Rachel
Journey @ Jiffy Lube Live, June 1 – Steve Perry is cool. Sorry, mid-80s-hanging-out-on-a-boat-with-long-hair Steve Perry was cool. Steve Perry is no longer in Journey. Stop this cycle. Stop it. -Brandon Wetherbee
Governor’s Ball @ Governor’s Island, June 7-9 – With a lineup that includes pretty much everyone who had a hit in 2003 (Jack White, The Strokes, Interpol, The Kills, Phoenix, Spoon, TV on the Radio…) you can’t get anymore aughts nostalgia on one stage if you tried. Add in some talented newcomers like James Blake, Childish Gambino, Diarrhea Planet, Papa, Grimes and Haerts and it’s clear: Governor’s Ball is most certainly going to be the best festival of the summer. Let’s just hope Blake and fellow roommate Chance The Rapper decide to make my wet dreams come true and perform their remix together… while, you know, I’m sharing cigarettes with Paul Banks side stage. What? A girl can dream. – Shauna
MS MR @ 9:30 Club, June 10 – This New York-based duo knows its way around infectious pop tunes. Their songs are sophisticated without showing off, which demonstrate a good ear for melody and uncommon confidence. Every tune somehow sounds anthemic. I mean, have you heard their cover of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean”? Fuck me, it’s good. -Alan
Sharon Van Etten @ 9:30 Club, June 17 – The music supervisor of The Walking Dead has a good ear for indie rock. Episodes have ended with tunes by Wye Oak and The Mountain Goats, but the most evocative happened in season four, when the show opted for an acoustic version of Sharon Van Etten’s “Serpents.” Her voice is haunting in the best way, and it will surely fill any venue, however large, with her intense vulnerability. -Alan
Pixar in Concert @ Wolf Trap, June 20 – Pixar in Concert seems like a genuinely awesome activity for a summer’s day. Sit on the grass, drink a bottle of wine and enjoy music from Pixar movies performed live by the National Symphony Orchestra, accompanied by clips from the movies. Most importantly, be thankful that this isn’t a sing-along-to-Disney-movies night. -Ana
Katy Perry @ Verizon Center, June 24, 25 - I watched her tour doc on a plane. Her boobs shot out sparks. Then her boobs shot out frosting. Then her boobs rotated candy cane circles. Time is a flat candy cane circle. -Brandon Wetherbee
Crosby, Stills & Nash @ Wolf Trap, July 3 – Even without Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash are worth seeing. Their music reminds me of long nights driving under the stars, bottles of good whisky, bonfires, summer sun, and painting the walls of a new house with my dad. Grab a seat on the lawn at Wolf Trap, crack open your flask, and prepare to remember a time before autotune. -Ashley
Pokey LaFarge @ The Birchmere, July 10 – There are people who will tell you Americana is stale. It’s a bunch of nerds dressing like spiffed up hobos from the 1930s, waxing their mustaches and clinging to mandolins. For the most part, you’d be right. But it’s still good music. Still fun to listen to, fun to watch being played, even if you’re just a raging, cynical asshole such as myself. Your next chance is in July. Pokey LaFarge, this Peewee Herman-lookin’ sunuvagun is going to be at the Birchmere down in Virginia. Get there. Enjoy it. Try not to mock. -Jeb
Bruno Mars @ Jiffy Lube Live, July 11 – I’d go just for the dancing. Reminiscent of a young Jacko, Bruno Mars has the smoothest fucking dance moves. Additionally and conveniently, he can sing too. He didn’t release anything huge and new this past year, but “Just the Way You Are” and “When I Was Your Man” continue to be played in commercials and on the radio, thus making them still relevant and new. -Mackenzie
Bonnaroo @ Manchester, TN, June 12-15 – The night Bonnaroo announced their lineup I was sitting in an Indian restaurant with two co-workers having the totally-not-morbid-at-all conversation about which acts will destroy us when they die. My pick just so happened to be Bonnaroo’s pick for headliner, which is to say (Sir) Elton John is not only my general must-see but also the reason I’ll be trekking back through the mud in 90-something degree Manchester, Tennessee heat carrying 20-something pounds of photo gear.
While the camping, the dirt, the sleep deprivation and the drive sound like a hellish experience to some, Bonnaroo’s got one of the best lineups each year–this year they’ve got Elton, Jack White, Kanye, Neutral Milk Hotel, Phoenix, Phoenix, The Flaming Lips, Lionel Richie, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds–I mean, you get the idea. Just make sure your road buddies aren’t people you’ll want to drown in a porta potty by the end of that drive. -Stephanie Breijo
Pitchfork Music Festival @ Union Park, July 18-21 – Do you like camping? Do you like natural smells? Do you like drum circles? Do not go to this festival.
Do you like relatively small festival crowds? Do you like city parks easily accessed by public transportation? Do you like whatever the opposite of drum circles are? Consider going to this festival.
Do you wish you saw St. Vincent on her club tour but tickets sold out in minutes? Do you want to see Beck in what seems like his only show in years? Do you want to see bands you’ve only heard about? Go to the Pitchfork Music Festival.
The lineup features veteran acts (Giorgio Moroder, Sun Kil Moon) but doesn’t reek of nostalgia. The ‘newcomers’ (Speedy Ortiz, Perfect Pussy) have already proven themselves on the club circuit. The ticket price is extremely reasonable and makes me surprised that it isn’t sold out. This is a music festival for music lovers that hate bad smells and rural spaces. It’s the best music festival of 2014. No one else will say that because Pitchfork is the first word in its title. And you don’t need to get on a payment plan to afford tickets. Other fests have payment plans. Layaway for a concert. -Brandon Wetherbee
Huey Lewis & The News @ Wolf Trap, July 20 – I’m not sure where my love for Back to the Future ends (it doesn’t, ever) and where my love for Huey Lewis & The News begins but the two are intertwined for very obvious reasons (“I’m afraid you’re just too darn loud”). Several years ago while still living in Los Angeles my mom called to tell me she was attending a Huey Lewis & The News concert back home (here). I asked her if she wouldn’t mind calling me during “The Power of Love,” so I could hear the song on my voicemail. She agreed to do it. When I later listened to the message I was shocked by how clear it sounded. I called her back and asked if she had front row seats. Not only was she in the front row but when Huey (first name basis now) saw my mom holding up her phone he GRABBED IT FROM HER AND SANG THE ENTIRE SONG DIRECTLY INTO IT. Um what? I kept that voicemail for years. This July I hope to keep that tradition alive at Wolf Trap. Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads… -Jenn
Lionel Richie and CeeLo Green @ Wolf Trap, July 21, 22 – It is my sincere hope that both Lionel Richie and CeeLo Green are joined on stage by the bust of Lionel Richie from the Hello video. It has to be somewhere, right? I envision CeeLo playing the part of the blind girl who is hit on by her TEACHER played by Lionel Richie (We’ve all seen the music video, right?). During the course of the song Lionel soulfully sings the following: “Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?” to a blind girl. Hey Lionel, hot tip…a blind person is looking for anything. At all. They would love to see something. Go for the music, stay for Lionel Richie slowly caressing the side of CeeLo Green’s face while he sculpts another large bust of Richie’s head. -Jenn Tisdale
Billy Joel @ Nationals Park, July 26 - I like Billy Joel in theory and on record. His 70s and 80s solo stuff holds up but now he’s all fat and angry and looks like a troll. He keeps trying to kill himself on Long Island. Really. He’s super good at getting drunk and crashing cars. Once again, cool in theory and horrible in reality. Boring and angry. He’s the music world’s Alec Baldwin. -Brandon Wetherbee
Heart @ Wolf Trap, July 29 – If you don’t want to start a Heart cover band you don’t love music. I want to start a Heart cover band. It’ll be called Heart Should Tour With Cheap Trick Every Summer. -Brandon Wetherbee
Lollapalooza @ Grant Park, August 1-3 – Did you like Lollapalooza 2011? Then you’ll also like Lollapalooza 2014. You should know if you like malls by now. -Brandon Wetherbe
Arcade Fire @ Verizon Center, August 17 – One of the greatest tricks the devil ever played is convincing people Arcade Fire is cool. Why is this band cool? Why are people dressing up to go to an arena show? That’s some Smashing Pumpkins shit and The Smashing Pumpkins are not cool. Arcade Fire are more Wilco than Wilco. They have an album about the suburbs and an album about religion and they sound like they were written by religious kids from the suburbs. That is not cool. Not cool. But it’ll sell out and I’ll probably be writing about some band that no one will ever remember at DC9 and neither that band nor I will ever be Arcade Fire rich. And Arcade Fire will be ‘cool’ on the cover of the Rolling Stone. At least Merge is making some money. -Brandon Wetherbee
Dodge Presents: Mötley Crüe – The Final Tour @ Jiffy Lube Live, August 22 – Remember when Tommy Lee and Pamela were in love and he steered that boat with his privates? -Brandon Wetherbee
BYT photo team weight in on the most photogenic shows of the SPRING/SUMMER.
Miley Cyrus and Icona Pop @ Verizon Center, April 10 - Twerking + giant tongue slide? Have camera, will shoot. -Jason
Damaged City Fest @ St. Stephen’s, April 11-13 – This is the second time the massive DIY punk weekend festival curated by Chris Moore and it’s the second time it’s on my birthday. What else could I want for my birthday than to be able to photograph punks, screaming, moshing and crowdsurfing at a sold-out show at a church? -Clarissa
The Sounds @ 9:30 Club, April 12 - One of the most energetic and fun bands I’ve ever shot (and I’ve shot a lot). If that doesn’t convince you, one look at Maja’s thighs of steel should do it. -Katherine Gaines
Black Lips @ Black Cat, April 15 – They’re touring in support of their new southern rock inspired album, Underneath the Rainbow, released in March and co-produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. This show has the potential of being a wild & spirited, sweaty good ol’ time. -Jason
The Jezabels @ Rock & Roll Hotel, April 17 - Little Aussie bands need love too! Then again, these guys have sold out far bigger venues across the ocean on several occasions. See them before everyone else finally finds them on the radar. I had a fantastic interview/conversation with the drummer during Governor’s Ball in 2011, and ever since I’ve been a big fan of their beautiful, powerful and feminine in all the right ways music. -Shauna
When I first interned for BYT, one of my first shows I got to shoot was Kill Lincoln at Rock & Roll Hotel. Now they’re going on a coast-to-coast tour and kicking off their tour at Metro Gallery, one of my favorite Baltimore venues, and Rock & Roll Hotel, the first time I saw the ska band. -Clarissa
Boy George @ 9:30 Club, April 21 - An intensely flamboyant character from the 80s is back with a solo album and is more outspoken than ever. I can’t wait to see what he does. -Katherine Gaines
CHVRCHES @ 9:30 Club, April 29 & 30 – Having shot CHVRCHES at the 2013 Virgin Free Fest during their early afternoon set, I’m pumped to shoot their synthy goodness and amazing light show when they bring it back to the 9:30 Club. -Jason
Future Islands @ 9:30 Club, May 1 – Lead singer, Samuel T. Herring, is an absolute powerhouse both in vocals and in stage presence. Having caught their set at Virgin Free Fest many moons ago, I’m pumped to bop and groove, all the while snapping some great photos in the process. Bonus: Their new album, Singles, came out yesterday! -Shauna
Rob Zombie @ Rams Head Live, May 5 - White Zombie was one of the first bands I ever saw. Many years later he still brings the crazy drama and light show. -Katherine
Sweetlife Festival @ Merriweather Post Pavilion, May 10 – I’m really pumped to able to shoot DC locals Gems at Sweetlife along side Fitz & the Tantrums. I loved the first time I was able to shoot at Merriweather; I can’t wait to be able to shoot again at the outdoor venue. Plus side, I won’t have to travel far after the festival. I can practically walk back to a house to begin editing photos and sleep, instead of the usual questioning of how to figure out how to get back to DC, let alone how to exit Merriweather’s packed parking lot in less than two hours. -Clarissa
The Faint @ 9:30 Club, May 20 - The first show I ever saw on my own was No Doubt with The Faint as openers back in 2001. To say that show was the catalyst for my love of seeing/absorbing/documenting live music is a complete understatement. That set from The Faint is STILL burned into my skull was one of the best I have ever seen. Thankfully the last time they showed up at the 9:30 Club, the nostalgia (the music + their stage prowess) help up in spades. Couple that with the fact that their new record, Doom Abuse, is being released on April 8th (it’s BRILLIANT) and it’ll be my birthday…. all signed point to it being a perfect storm of an evening — weird, wonderful and wild. -Shauna
Tegan and Sara @ 9:30 Club, May 21, 22 – Twins harmonizing and poking fun at each other in between songs. They’re finally headlining, and bringing along more brilliantly harmonizing ladies: Lucius. -Katherine
Fest Too @ The Lab, June 26-28 – Fest Too isn’t just a DIT festival; there are workshops as well from artists throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia. I’m pumped to shoot all of the art and bands who are supporting the do-it-together scene in Northern Virginia. -Clarissa
Brand New @ Fillmore Silver Spring, July 13 – Brand New is one of those bands who I absolutely love and could listen to their albums on repeat for days. (With the exception of Daisy, I wasn’t a huge fan of Daisy.) Jesse Lacey has a face I could photograph forever or at least for the first three songs, which I pray are from Deja Entendu. -Clarissa
Queen + Adam Lambert @ Merriweather Post Pavilion, July 20 – This is Queen + Adam Lambert’s last North American Show. This is the best Queen lineup since Freddie Mercury. Lambert has such great stage presence which makes this show a must shoot. -Jason
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds @ DAR Constitution Hall, July 23 – I’ve been fortunate enough to cover some of my all time idols (Morrissey, Roger Waters, NIN….) during my tenure at BYT. Adding the jewel that is Nick Cave to my crown would make it extremely likely that I will die a happy woman. Rumor has it “Red Right Hand” tends to be the 3rd song on their setlist… so you know, scratch that — I WILL die a very happy woman. -Shauna
Where we focus on some awesome girl made/fronted music, to balance out the inevitable fanboy-dom that rules the BYT music guide. HEAVY ON THE POP.– Svetlana
MØ - It has been just over a year since our NYC Editor Megan Burns rolled up from a live MØ at Santos Party House and started this interview with her with “WHØA” and finally, the time has come for a full on Spring/Summer domination of your earbuds by this 21-year-old Dane, and we have the recently released full length No Mythologies To Follow to thank for that. Sure, you’ve maybe heard some of these songs before if you’ve been paying attention but put together, bubble gum popping album cover and all, they represent a perfect, brightly colored yet stark soundtrack to your twenties (even if you’re not in your twenties anymore, as the case may be). The lead singly “Don’t Wanna Dance” is a capital H Hit, and Diplo pops up on a tropical island in “XXX”, but pay attention to the slower jams as well, like “Dust is Gone and “Red In The Grey” for some under-the-surface simmering pain. “I would’ve liked this to work / But life had other plans.” We hear you Karen Marie Ørsted, WE HEAR YOU. BONUS: Catch her live @ U Hall on May 20.
Little Daylight - Every Spring and Summer needs a song you can dance to with ALL YOUR HAIR ALL OVER YOUR FACE and this season, Little Daylight’s “Overdose” may be it for me. And they know it, as the video (directed by Special Problems, who previously worked with Lorde and Wolfmother etc) can atest. Still, the beauty of Little Daylight is that as undeniable as the synths and the 80s drum machines are and as shimmery the vocals are, each track they release also managest to feel almost oddly intimate. So, maybe I should paraphrase that first sentence to: Every Spring and Summer needs a song you can dance to with ALL YOUR HAIR ALL OVER YOUR FACE IN YOUR BEDROOM WHILE NO ONE IS WATCHING and this season, Little Daylight’s “Overdose” may be it for me.
Ex Hex – Do you ever wish your entire life was set to a soundtrack of under-three-minutes perfect pop songs? Well, Mary Timony agrees with you. Aided by the superfun drums courtesy of Laura Harris and Betsy Wright’s killer bass, the Helium/Wild Flag hero has put out a perfect power trio 7″. Merge describes them as the music your babysitter listened to, and all I can add is – I wish we all had babysitters cool enough to listen to this. Only caveat: there’s only three songs to play on repeat (for now). BONUS: Read our EX HEX interview here. BONUS TO THE BONUS: Check out their video for “Hot and Cold” here, featuring the once-upon-a-time Sassiest Boy in America: Ian Svenonius. Which, when you think about it is exactly what your super cool babysitter would have flipped out over. Perfect.
Foxes - You can already imagine record label executives salivating at the prospect of Louisa “Foxes” Allen: a gorgeous, 23-year-old, fabulously commercial, awesome hair possessed pop star THAT IS ALSO SOMEHOW CREDIBLE? Yes, please! Where do we sign? This is the kind of music teenage girls love (and she feeds into all of it with songs called “Beauty Queen” which are about how BEAUTY DOESN’T MATTER) and fully grown men are also oddly receptive to (those lips uttering “”Don’t tell me our youth is running out – it’s only just begun!” certainly don’t hurt). The full album will be out in May, just in time for headphones-on-the-beach season. Fine, be our teenage dream this spring/summer.
Just Friends - SURE 1/2 of Just Friends is Nicolaas Jaar (which should be recommendation enough in an of itself, even if he is NOT a girl), but the other half is Sasha Spielberg (who also spends her time in the lovely Wardell) so they totally qualify into this category (shut up). Aside from the fact that I WISH I had a band called Just Friends, the pair obviously has some serious chops, as was witnessed when they teased out their Leonard Cohen cover of “Avalanche” . Now, just in time for Record Store Day they are releasing Don’t Tell Me 10″, a slinky, glistening bit of cuddle worthy dance. WE WANT MORE.
Tove Lo - Tove Lo’s first single “Habits” was like a cooler, funnier (hookier?) version of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and that was a great thing. With “Truth Serum,” (OUT NOW on Neon Gold) the pretty young Swede (and every season needs a new one of those, right?) is set to exorcise all your break-up and make-up demons through the power of pop. We are particularly partial to “Not On Drugs”, which sounds like a cooler, funnier Selena Gomez single (are we noticing a pattern here? I, for one am, and I like it) with a chorus that begs for a sing-a-long “Baby listen please / I’m not on drugs / I’m just in love.” Whatever you say Tove.
Nina Persson – Speaking of Swedes, Cardigans royalty and braless inspiration for the ages Nina Persson is back, brunette and with a new record called Animal Heart, her first official solo effort (we won’t count A Camp as those, right?). It is all slick production values, building choruses and lyrical diversion (which have always been one of her trademarks, when you think about it). And while nothing on it quite reaches the instant classic heights of “Been It” or “My Favorite Game,” it is still a great reunion with an old, pop best friend.
EMA- Seriously, has it been since 2011 that we’ve been waiting for a new record from Erika M. Anderson? TIME DOES FLY. Anyway, the wait is finally over on April 8, when The Future’s Void will be out on Matador/City Slang and, frankly, we’re ready. EMA mentioned as her influences “the heavier side of early K Records” (!), early NIN demos (!!) and Neuromancer (!!!) all of which combined together into a heady, yet hooky contemplation of “our online lives” apparently. The first single Satellites discussed constant surveillance (under both Soviet bloc style cameras AND thumping percussion, presumably) and “So Blonde” with its gif ladden, Venice set video took a stab at the sunnier side of grime Erika is obviously (very) attracted to. In summation: If you’re in the mood for some (extra) moody dancing this spring and summer, look no further.
Bryce is the writer behind our Tunes You Should Fucking Know weekly column.
I don’t want to give away too much of the goods ahead of time, but here are some artists that you are fine not knowing presently, but that you will should have known about some time in the near future:
Mapei – This Swedish mega-babe only has one single out, the built-to-blow-up “Don’t Wait,” and already has people like Chance the Rapper and Giraffage working with her. A video for the song comes out April 1, and from that point on, her star is just going to keep on rising.
Ben Khan – I wrote about this mysterious UKer before back when he had only released “Drive (Part 1)” and “Eden” but in the time since, he’s doubled his output, with the glitchily smooth “Savages” and relatively jovial “Youth.” He just did his first interview — though I don’t think Noisey is happy with what they got out of him — so expect to see and hear more from him soon.
S Carey – Sean Carey will probably always be known by most of the music-listening world as the drummer and backup vocalist in Bon Iver; it’s what happens when you win a Grammy while simultaneously being one of the most adored groups out there. But outside of that life, he put together a consistently enjoyable album called All We Grow in 2010 and followed that up with a more focused 4-song album in 2012. Now, he’s about to release Range of Light on April 1 which, if single “Crown The Pines” is any indication, should be a solid methadone for those going through Bon Iver withdrawal.
Twin Shadow – Who would have guessed that after two very respectable albums, it was a song written for the soundtrack of a video game, “Old Love/New Love,” would catapult Twin Shadow into another echelon of fame. But that song is fucking amazing, and if George Lewis Jr. is able to catch than kind of lightning in a bottle twice, then the sky is the limit for him.
And then there’s the inevitable Chance the Rapper/James Blake — who are quite possibly the coolest roommates of all time– collaboration album that will bring music into a new Golden Age and our society into a neo-Renaissance.
Welcome back to your Charm City guide for the Spring. Yes, Spring is a magical time when the city truly comes alive, and that piss smell reaches your room when it’s really humid. But it’s not all bad smells and crabs, there are plenty of reasons to make the trip up north in the upcoming months.
Eyehategod, High on Fire, C.O.C., Magrudergrind, Strong Intention, Ilsa @ Ottobar, April 27 – The legendary sludge band makes their anticipated return with a completely stacked lineup. Although this tour is occurring following the death of their original drummer, Joey LaCaze, an appearance by Eyehategod is worth any metal fan’s, or a general interested party’s, time and money. DC’s own Magrudergrind is also playing their first Baltimore show in over two years, if my recollection is correct. The Ottobar is housing quite an affair with this show, and it is one that should not be passed over by anyone.
The Men, Nude Beach, Plurals, the Convocation, Deletions @ Ottobar, May 3 – The Men make frequent stops in Charm City, and who can blame them? The town loves them, their shows are well attended, and they have a special feeling that one can detect is not present in every city. With the release of their new full length, “Tomorrow’s Hits,” the Brooklyn based band is back once again, but this time with some friends. Nude Beach, also New York based, is a garagy punk rock band who immediately bring to mind bands such as Reigning Sound. Their throwback sound is not quite a retrospective as it is a re imagination. These two headliners together, as well as the rest of this stacked lineup, make this show a cannot miss.
Maryland Film Festival, May 7-11 – The annual return of the Maryland Film Festival, while not technically a show, is the perfect opportunity for a DC resident to see all the best features that Baltimore City has to offer. The art and, most importantly, the food are a showcase of the creativity and vibrancy present in the city. Unfortunately, for the first time in fifteen years, the festival will not be held in the history Charles Theatre, instead taking place at MICA, the University of Baltimore, the Windup Space, and the Walters Art Museum. As much as I like tradition, the positives of the move to these different venues will only help the 95 traveler experience more of the city. I cannot give this event any high recommendation.
Praise Reach Deep Record Release Show @ Artspace, May 23 – Hardcore shows aren’t exactly at a premium any longer in Baltimore. With expanding city options and a growing art community, hardcore has been left a little to the wayside. Although there aren’t as many shows or as many attendees, there still are a number of entertaining hardcore shows happening. Praise’s record release show at the Charm City Artspace is a hardcore show that can entertain the new and jaded alike. With their new album brimming with passion, as well as personal demons, Praise’s live performance is both musically acute and raw. Coupled with a diverse lineup which features Title Fight and Mindset, this show will fulfill many palates and keep everyone’s attention span in check.
Wildhoney Seventeen Forever Record Release Show @ Crown, May 31 – When I say “Dream Pop,” what are the first words to come in your head? Are they negative? That’s OK; however, listen to Wildhoney, and your opinion will certainly change. With their upcoming release on Photobooth Records, Wildhoney amalgamates all the best qualities of the genre, as well as the influence of many other forms of pop music. Wildhoney’s live show is certainly loud, but far from a cacophony that lesser bands of the genre produce. If they have slipped through your proverbial cracks, then attending their record release show at the Crown is nothing short of paramount.
Peter Heyneman is going to be a Basketball Dad on 4/20. So we asked him about kids music. Kids need music, right?
Shonen Knife is coming up with a new album this spring and I am coming out with a hot new release of my own: a child, which my wife is carrying in her body. Shonen Knife is probably something I should start to like because it’s sort of innocent “catchy” kids music I guess. But I haven’t ever enjoyed them too much and their new album will not change my mind about that because while I find Shonen Knife generally cute and passable for a mix-tape sort of thing, my baby will hate them.
Because most stuff that you think is appropriate for kids is actually not. Not because it has swears or something, it’s because most pop music is bad. On a fundamental sonic level. It’s boring, poorly composed and full of stupid clanging and banging, and babies will not be shy giving you shit for bumping garbage around the nursery (or in my case, the closet-like 2nd bedroom in Queens). The only correct judge of whether music is good or not is playing it for a baby; therefore in my vast experience of having 4 nieces and nephews here is the music I will be jamming this spring for my newborn.
Mozart – Babies enjoy it because Mozart is obviously the world’s best music, hands down. Some symphonies are a little scary, but I’ll stick to concertos, harpsichord sonatas and divertimenti. Also Mozart was a great role model– he lived in fear of his father his entire life and treated him like a god.
The Carter Family – Babies enjoy rounds and shape singing. Fact. Plus it will hype her up for when I teach her to wrassle racoons.
Lo-Fang – Everyone likes Lo-Fang.
Lady Gaga - Get it? Just kidding, babies hate all dance music except for LMFAO. Hey remember LMFAO? Babies do. Pop em in one of those baby bouncer type thangs (which my 2 bedroom doesn’t have room for anyway) they get krunk as a what. Also anything by FSOL or Himuro Yoshiteru. Basically either IDM or Dumb DM. Nothing in between.
The Stooges - Given that my child will be born with the departed spirit of Scott Asheton swimming around inside of her soul, this is a no-brainer. Just S/T though, Fun House is too jazzy and Raw Power is mixed-up like goofballs. Strictly for tummy time.
Actual Kid’s Music (If I must)
Ledbelly Sings Songs for Children – In the mid-1940s one of the greatest blues singers of all time recorded a bunch of children’s songs.
Lord Invader West Indian Folk Songs for Children – In 1961 one of the greatest calypso singers of all time recorded a bunch of children’s songs.
Lullabies – When my sister had a baby I made her a MP3 mix of a bunch of quiet folk music with Simon Joyner and such, which resulted in mad screaming. Quiet folk music reminds babies of nature vistas which are not peaceful at all–nature is where the snakes is. The only song that the kid would pass out to was Gardens and Villa Orange Blossom. My theory is that chill out electro makes them feel safe because the inside of a human body is like a big machine, blood bloops and stomach crackles. So I plan on smooth-stepping the child to sleep every night to Cloud Boat and, like,this FKA x Inc. collabo.
Other – I could go on. I will go on. I have to think about this stuff. By the time the nugget is old enough to be faced with the Wiggles she should be so inculcated by genius she will break out into hives, poor thing. Or maybe not. Maybe she’ll like the Wiggles. Shit maybe the Wiggles are genius. Babies know best, and I could be wrong. I am prepared, at least, to be wrong.
Angel Haze – So, yeah…Haze’s debut album Dirty Gold was embroiled in shenanigans surrounding its hastened and early December 30 release by Island Records. Usually, doing such things would cause an artist to be placed into mainstream rap purgatory, making placement on lists like these appear to be less-than-necessary. However, it’s a new age, and the brash Haze is a far better fit for DIY-derived fame, anyway. Artists with the bravery to flip Macklemore’s “Same Love” to discuss sexual orientation as a bi-sexual emcee, hard enough as a bar-for-bar dope lyricist to make one of trap-as-EDM’s most powerful statements of true freedom and individuality on Indigenous/Native production trio A Tribe Called Red’s “A Tribe Called Red,” and skilled enough to dare to cover Lauryn Hill’s “That Thing” are stars that defy convention and deserve praise beyond convention.
TOKiMONSTA – Though you’re likely unaware, Korean-American DJ/producer TOKiMONSTA is probably EDM’s next great female star-in-the-making. If you’re new-to-EDM and needing someone to get behind, there are few better choices than Jennifer Lee. Given that trap is running everything, there’s a not-so-turnt up quality to TOKiMONSTA’s 2013-released artist album Half Shadows that is introspective, yet ear-worming. “Soul to Seoul” is the latest single and – in a year where the two artists are (unrelated, yet still intriguingly) on a summer tour together – has the heart of a Rihanna ballad with the teeth of an Eminem rap ballad. Between being booked by Lee Anderson (the same person that has handled Skrillex’s rise), and connected to both Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder Records crew as well as influential LA collective/party the Low End Theory, the time to get on the bandwagon is right now.
2NE1 (pronounced twenty-one) – When 2NE1 (comprised of members CL, Minzy, Bom and Dara) only has American credits that include working with names like Snoop Dogg, will i. am and Skrillex (the group’s rapper CL joined fellow YG Entertainment signee and burgeoning rap star G-Dragon – who himself is in larger collective BIGBANG – on Skrillex’s “Dirty VIbe” from his new album Recess), Korean pop (K-pop) has only been embraced by the LA-based 1%-ers of American pop music and is still a movement on the rise. However, tides switch faster than ever before in the music industry at-present, and four global pop stars in pretty much every other country in the world who have charisma and talent that vaults language barriers (though they can speak English, too) would appear to be a great choice for next-level disruptors of America’s arguably woeful pop music industry. Just released new album Crush may not yield a full American tour, but it’s R & B sensibility that owes more to 702, Blaque and an era where American pop was very lucrative certainly make them worthy of an early listen and support.
Polina - Get familiar with Russian-born, LA-based singer/songwriter Polina Goudieva. If a dance fanatic, you’ve probably already become acquainted with her work on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. However, if you like pop music of the “this song is played at the gym, in my car, in the grocery store, at the club, during spin class, on all of my Pandora stations and then, being performed at literally every award show and in every commercial” variety, know that she’s the voice on Eminem’s single “Legacy,” which will likely be the “song of the spring/summer/year.” If you loved “Stan” (featuring Dido) and “Love The Way You Lie” (featuring Rihanna) then this is the song for you. Not breaking from established form, Eminem contemplates greatness in perpetuity as the Russian vocalist breathes ethereal life into this massive rap ballad.
Hierarchy – A brand new art gallery and event venue in Adams Morgan that will be featuring monthly artist exhibitions and weekly cultural lineups. It is the latest project by No Kings Collective (Submerge festival) in conjunction with the Popal Family (Napoleon Bistro, Cafe Bonaparte, Malmaison)
The Republic – New music venue and restaurant with a late-night menu in Takoma Park by Jeff Black and Danny Wells. Catherine Rytkonen of the 9:30 Club has been hired to manage booking shows which will consist mainly of open mic nights, blues bands, improv jam sessions and concerts, many of which will be free.
Funk Parade – One-of-a-kind day fair, parade and music festival for the U Street neighborhood happening Saturday, May 3, 2014, the 211th anniversary of the city’s incorporation.
The planned event has three parts: a street fair by day, the mighty Funk Parade in the afternoon, and a music festival in the evening. The street fair will take place in various locations along U Street from noon-5pm, filling the neighborhood with music, performance art, vendors, food, workshops, and spontaneous acts of soul. The Funk Parade – the main event – will take place from 5pm-7pm on V St and consist of musicians, bikers, mobile art installations, and members of the community all proceeding together down the street. Finally, the music festival will take place from 7pm – 10pm and will feature local funk bands performing at our partnering venues along U Street.
This event will transform DC’s vision of a street festival with businesses music art and dance coming together on one day to celebrate all things amazing about this city.
Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival – The 5th Annual Kingman Island Bluegrass Festival will draw thousands of Bluegrass fans to Kingman and Heritage Islands Park Saturday, April 26th from 1pm-8pm, in celebration of Bluegrass in the Nation’s Capital, the Anacostia River, and Kingman and Heritage Islands.
The festival will feature DC’s best food trucks, beers from Sierra Nevada, kayaks, climbing wall, and outdoor classes from REI, bike giveaways and bike demos from BicycleSPACE, activities and performances for the kids from Boogie Babes, fun snacks and games from Whole Foods Market, and amazing bluegrass music including feature act The Hackensaw Boys.
Over two dozen local bluegrass, folk and americana artists will be performing on 4 different stages throught out the amazing Kingman Island for DC’s biggest local music festival.
Cool Music Things
Flashband Project – Founded in 2012, Flashband project focuses on bringing DC area musicians together to meet, learn from one another’s skills, and build community around music. They have three main categories of events to ensure musicians connect: playing together, networking, and learning best practices for setting yourself up in the music industry. It’s all about inspiring local musicians to work together and make more music.
Basically take a bunch of artists give them a genre or a task, break them up into different groups have them practice with their new bands and have a party!
Homestage – Local project aimed at turning DC houses into non-traditional music, art, and cultural spaces. The District’s house-show scene has been growing rapidly over the last couple of years and Homestage is working to make sure resources are available to keep this unique type of cultural consumption thriving. If you have not been to a Homestage DC show you are missing out the music is amazing and you get to hang out in other peoples living rooms and drink beer for free.
MUSX - Download it now. It is like Instagram for sharing pictures except it is for sharing music and playlists with your friends. These guys are starting to make a name for themselves and they are from DC. Download the App and explore what they have going on.
While we vinyl fans are pale bunch of homebodies, nothing conjures us away from the humble glow of the turntable and the swing of a well balanced tone arm like the siren call of Spring and Summer and getting out among nature. OK, that’s largely drinking outdoors on patios—but regardless, here are 5 things where you’ll find some like minds:
- The U Street Funk Parade! If there’s a better reason for day drinking and dancing, it hasn’t crossed our ears. And rumor has it that ye olde Vinyl District has a vinyl event in the works at its epicenter!
- Neil Finn at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday, April 16! Sure, much ink and pixels have been wasted on bores like Malkmus, Mangum, and Morrissey who have and will labor at the Lincoln, but Neil Finn is the realsongwritingdeal.Pair him with Midlake (acoustic) and there’s your live event for Spring.
- The DC Record Fair! Wait—what? It’s back? Right—6/1! Artisphere. (Shh. We haven’t told anybody yet.)
- KISS and Def Leppard at Jiffy Lube Live, July 25! Yup, we allow ourselves one guilty concert-going, tail-gating, beer-guzzling pleasure each summer and this double bill of Metal Lite has our cup foaming over.
- Record Store Day! The Hallmark Holiday of record buying returns for its 7th year, and y’know what—stay home! Play your own records and then hit up your local mom and pops for the rest of the year. With regularity! Trust us, it’s what REALLY matters.
Joe McAdam is a Funny Human. He also has gone to The Gathering multiple times as a correspondent on The Late Live Show. So we asked him the question not nearly enough music festival fans ask: Should I go to The Gathering?
Hey music snobs, you ever get into that conversation with someone you’ve just met; things are going great and you two are hitting it off nicely, then they drop a bomb on you and blurt out something like, “My favorite song of all time is ‘Hotel California’” or something equally dad-ish?
Well, this is that, but in the form of a thing you read, and we hadn’t previously been hitting it off. Nonetheless, The Insane Clown Posse’s Gathering of the Juggalos is the finest music festival in these United States. I’ve been to a fair share of the “better” festivals but have never had more fun than at the cripplingly uncool Gathering. Music festival complaints are always the same. Let’s run down a few:
I have to choose between my two favorite bands!
First of all, when you go to Gathering of the Juggalos, you never have to worry about your favorite bands’ conflicting schedules. There will be no music you want to see there. Now lets take a break for a second, this is not going to be some irony filled slam-fest of the Gathering and it’s supporters. This is an earnest and measured assessment of the festival. You will not like the bands at Gathering. You just won’t, no one does. That’s why they’re there. No one but Juggalos listens to Twiztid, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, or any of the other clown gimmick bands you’ll see. They may have some rappers on the bill that peaked in popularity around the turn of the millennium that you think you want to see, but don’t worry, they won’t show up. Gathering is easily the most cancelled on fest out there. This leaves you tons of time to hang out and drink and have sex.
Corporate Sponsors are ruining The Nissan Versa Fest!
Corporate sponsors wouldn’t touch this thing with a pole of extraordinary length. That’s what we want, right? True rock n roll. Not to be marketed to. Keep your Doritos off my body and all that. For this reason alone, Gathering is the truest rock n roll fest out there. It’s a genuinely off the grid show full of real scary people that keep alive the spirit of “threatening the normies” that you’ve been asking for. You will see heavy drug use, fist fights and blowjobs in the woods. If Gathering did have a sponsor, it would be meth.
A water is $5!
If the Juggalos are anything, it’s generous. Part of being the music world’s outcasts means you need to learn how to survive. Strength in numbers in the Juggalo game and “FAM-UH-LEE” is their chant. I rolled into Gathering with almost nothing, and left at about a 9 on the 1-Shane McGowan drunkenness scale. You’ll be taken care of. People are selling stuff for cheap out of their coolers, most are willing to trade, and some people just want to share. Granted, some people will want to cut your head off and do “Diarrhea on the Beach” shooters out of it (That’s diarrhea and tequila, a thing I made up, but if it exists anywhere, it’s there). Find the right people, avoid the ones that are carrying weapons.
My favorite festival doesn’t have carnival rides!
This summer, pass on the too cool for school safe choices, and get your hands dirty. Granted, Gathering is not for the faint of heart. If you’re not comfortable seeing a shirtless 400lb man in face paint soccer peeing out of his “good” gym shorts, maybe watching a supermodel play a ukulele is more your speed. But if you need an escape from the stiff vibes and harshed mellows of the modern American music festival, go to the Gathering.
Aaron Estes is a talented musician in the band Black Hills and also works sound at The Black Cat. He recently had to figure out how to mic a pizza box. So he seemed like the perfect person to ask about the sound guy.
- This is pretty easy. Just show up on time for soundcheck, start and finish your set at the contracted times, and load off the stage immediately after playing. Almost everyone fucks this up.
- Sound guys are the worst. They love to rant; they hate your band; and they’re probably high.
- If your sound person has a pony tail and a multitool, you know he/she is legit.
- I love Peter Gabriel.
- Everyone working at the venue is hoping for a fun night and a successful show. Working together, we can build a golden bridge of dreams to the future.
Jonny Grave is a hard working musician at night, an instrument repairman by day and an occasional finder of hidden things for BYT. He also played 182 shows in 2013 so we figured it made sense to ask him for some tips for gigging.
Dress The Part
How does Anderson Cooper always look like he knows what he’s talking about? It’s the suit. How does Ruth Bader Ginsburg look like she’s made a decision with authority and clarity? It’s the judge’s robes. How do Joe Perry, Robert Plant, Grace Potter, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Bonnie Raitt all look like they own the stage? They dress the part. It works in every profession, including music. Don’t roll onto the stage in what you wore to bed the night before. Grunge is dead, and it died for a reason.
Go See Shows
I rarely get a free weekend. When I do, I make it a point to go see a show or three. Whether you go to see a friend’s band play, or you go to watch an act you’ve never seen before, it gives you a chance to get out of your own head, and maybe hatch some new ideas.
I like going to watch Janel and Anthony for this reason. They give an idea of how far an envelope can be pushed. Then they take the envelope, and fold it into a crane, origami-style. I try to learn what I can (read: shamelessly steal tricks from Anthony), and then bring it to my next show. He hasn’t let on yet. Please don’t tell him.
If You’re Going To Eat At The Gig, Eat Something Decent
Yes, it’s hard to say “no” to a burger the size of your face. Yes, you had a two-hour load-in, and an hour-long soundcheck. Yes, you have to wait another two hours before you go on stage, and all you want is something immense and delicious. All of this is true.
However, you’ll find that there are few occasions when a massive meal will solve your problems. I tend to go for the appetizers, and get something before the set, and something after the set. You might enjoy the burger while it lasts, but you’re going to hate getting off stage hungry.
Take Care Of Your Gear
If you take care of the instrument’s upkeep, the instrument will continue to take care of you. If you forget about the routine maintenance instruments need, you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt. About a year ago, I saw Shark Week’s Ryan Mitchell ruin what would have been a perfectly fantastic guitar solo at the Warner Theater, and all because he had malfunctioning guitar hardware.
This is coming from a gigging musician who works three days a week at a guitar repair shop. Please believe me when I tell you that the caked-up finger cheese on your fretboard is not improving your tone. And, yes, your strings need to be changed.
Get Some Sleep
Ah, sleep; the most important food group that my fellow musicians seem to overlook. I’m guilty of this one as well—during my busy weeks, I’ll average something around six hours a night, if I’m lucky. I used to be a lot worse though. I gave myself an ulcer once, right before I was scheduled to play ten dates in London. I was working 30 hours a week at the shop, playing thirteen shows in fourteen days, and getting four hours of sleep a night. The simple fact is that we’re human beings. We need to sleep. If there’s no sleep, the deprivation will take a toll on the art, and probably your body.
DDm was the highlight of the Super Sampler. It didn’t hurt that he wore a fur coat and a crown.
- Wear layers. If you’re performing a lengthy set with a limited staging budget, this small gesture will help make the audiences eyes dance. Also you could dress for multiple song moods.
- Back to black. Black always makes people of size look smaller. It’s also the oldest (and cheapest) trick in the book to convey uniformity if you are in a band or group. I mean really, who doesn’t own a black shirt and pants?!
- Bubble butt. Be sure to do a full dress rehearsal if you are performing in new garments. You may have lost or gained some weight in between tours. You want your music to make headlines not your wardrobe malfunction.
- Pretty hurts. Dress for the cameras. A major recording artist always has a finished appearance. Even more eccentric artists like Gaga or Trinidad James have a method to their madness. Organized chaos and just plain ole messy are two different things.
- Don’t be afraid to be the star you want to be NOW! Sure, being humble and paying your dues is necessary, but nobody said you can’t look fabulous while doing it. Throw on that fur if you want, put on that sequin dress, be whoever you want to be when you hit the stage.
Lou Christie “Trapeze”
Lou Christie was Frankie Valli’s less successful rival in the world of piercing falsetto croon music (you’ll recognize the song “Lightnin’ Strikes” at least). Right away, this cut from 1966 challenges you to dance – it’s pre-disco, it’s pre-ELO, with some of the most fantastically dissonant girl group harmonies you’ll ever hear. With all of the ’60s worship going on in indie rock right now, this would be an impressive card to pull, if any singer can pull off Lou Christie’s vocal timbres of weird creepy uncle transforming into terrifying high-pitched kidnapper.
Prefab Sprout “When Love Breaks Down”
Ever since Bill Murray did karaoke to Roxy Music’s “More Than This” in Lost in Translation, the influence of mid-’80s/early-’90 smooth adult pop has been sneaking its way back into contemporary music. In my opinion, Prefab Sprout’s 1985 classic Steve McQueen is one of the crowning achievements of the genre, and this anthem is dying to be chillwaved.
Fleetwood Mac “Storms”
With bands like Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes giving the public a new found boner for a solid 4 part vocal harmony, the time is ripe for a cover of the most underrated Fleetwood Mac song of all time.
Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes”
My kingdom for a dreamy, reverbed out version of one of the greatest #1′s from the 80s. ATTN: Beach House, Mazzy Star, et. all. My
Nelly Furtado “Maneater into Hall & Oates “Maneater”
No explanation necessary. First band to successfully pull this off live must be immediately inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even if it’s Coldplay.
The Loud Boyz was the standout band at our Super Sampler Showcase at the Howard Theatre and we want to be like them. So we asked them how to get loud.
- Summer Internships on the Hill
- Warby Parker Glasses
- Local 16 Rooftop (ESSENTIAL)
- Weekend CROSSFIT in front of the Monuments
- Sunday Brunch at Town Hall
We asked one of our favorite record store owners what albums we need this summer. He knows. It’s his job.
The Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere (April 1)
Damon Albarn Everyday Robots (April 28)
The Hold Steady Teeth Dreams (March 25)
Oneohtrix Point Never Commisions I EP (April 19)
We asked our Style Licks writers who looks good while playing tunes.
My picks for the five most stylish artists in music right now. Leave your additions in the comments!
1. St. Vincent
St. Vincent has always looked like a painting. She almost always looks perfectly put-together, with her enviable brown ringlets and doe-eyed stare. With the release of her latest album, she ditched her brown ringlets for bleached out, lilac-hued and electric. he clothes she’s been wearing on tour, in video, on The Colbert Report, are all pieces of art. She still looks like a painting, but she’s shifted even further into surrealism and it’s fantastic. Also, the self-titled album she just released has not one bad track on it.
Solange is a style powerhouse. She has mastered the art of the outfit, combining amazing prints and colors without ever being obnoxious. Girl can rock a pantsuit, and her flare for vintage, laid back style makes her look like she’s wearing the music she makes.
60s psychedelic is back and better than ever with these guys. I caught their first stateside show at DC9 a few months back and was mesmerized. Yes, by the music (specifically the aptly-titled song “Mesmerise,” with an S cuz they’re English), but also by James Bagshaw’s 3-quarter length red sequin crewneck t-shirt and matching eye shadow. Furry lapels, leather jackets and skinny jeans never looked so good.
4. Public Service Broadcasting
There is still something to be said for bow ties, mismatched patterns, and hipster glasses. And that something is: they look damn good. #Sorrynotsorry
5. Au Revoir Simone
I want to be the fourth member of this band, or, at the very least, be their best friend so I can raid their closets. These girls make anything look cool. Retro, mod, bohemian, turtlenecks; the versatility is astonishing.