Bryce Rudow is a freelance political/pop-culture journalist and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow. Go to his website and read interesting things: BryceTaylorRudow.com
Here it is. The Sweetlife 2015 line-up…
Not bad, right?
It’s a little thin for a 2-day show, but overall it’s actually pretty solid. I know I personally was expecting a lot worse. In fact, when BYT’s Editor Brandon Wetherbee solicited my thoughts for the annual Sweetlife Speculation post this year, I incorrectly predicted that Sweetgreen was going to continue to veer into the poppy mainstream skid they were headed into with last year’s show. But I’ll admit it, they did a great job course-correcting with this year’s festival.
Yep. The guy who used “Losing My Edge” to write the crotchetiest review of last year’s Sweetlife that you’re ever going to find is left eating his words like a ginger kale salad (though I do swear to you that I called both Charli XCX and Sun Club in my Sweetlife Speculation email to Brandon (I can vouch for this. -ed.)).
And speaking of my personally-beloved Sun Club, I want to thank Sweetlife for taking my advice with some of the mid and smaller acts.
Neither I nor Sweetgreen will say anything on-record about our arrangement (possibly because any claims about it are baseless and unsubstantiated), but considering relatively unknown bands like Misterwives, Wet, GoldLink, The Walking Sticks, and St Paul. and the Broken Bones have all graced this column at some point or another — St. Paul even earning #12 on the Top 14 Albums of 2014 list — and San Fermin helped me propose to my fiancee earlier this year, any regular reader of this column should revel in the fact that we made it so the bottom half of this year’s Sweetlife line-up looks like it got cherry picked from our Tunes You Should Fucking Know list on Spotify.
- Heavy Breathing – “Getting Down”
Not to get too incestuous, but thank you to ‘BYT Writer I’ve Never Actually Met IRL’ Michael Young. Earlier this week, as part of his “Come Early For” column, he posted this song from local act Heavy Breathing.
I have no idea how I haven’t heard of this group before, but I most certainly now plan on spending my Friday night seeing them play a FREE CONCERT at 1358 NE as part of Fringe Fest. And just to sweeten the deal, Kokayi (Ally Schweitzer and I’s pick for Tiny Desk’s recent competition) is headlining too.
Let me repeat that. Two D.C. acts that should both put on a hell of a live show are playing for free at a new venue as part of a cool annual arts festival.
My D.C. flag tattoo is tingling…
- Prhyme – Prhyme
“Marshall said that I’d be a problem, if I get my shit right/That ‘if’ is probably the biggest ‘if’ I ever live by” – Royce da 5’9
The hip-hop duo of Prhyme, who just released their debut collaboration album back in December, is composed of two well-respected but tragically under-appreciated veterans in the hip-hop community, Gang Starr’s DJ Premiere and Slaughterhouse’s Royce da 5’9. In fact, more people probably know Royce via his work with Eminem than any of his solo material.
But this new album just might change all that.
With the technical skill that comes from ~30 years of constantly rapping and the unabashed realness that can only come from being around the industry for decades, Royce’s verses are peppered with some of the most #authentic comments and critiques of the hip-hop and music industry you’re ever going to hear, all over Premier’s signature textured, throwback beats. Sometimes they come across as a cute turn-of-phrase — “Y’all follow artists who target their audience” — but most of the time they’re more cutthroat in their potency — “I missed my uncle’s funeral to go to SXSW/You ain’t gotta appreciate it, but you better respect the fact.”
The rare guest spots are filled by nothing but Blue Chippers too. Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Killer Mike (of Run The Jewels), Common, Jay Electronica, and even Mac Miller all do a wonderful job of catering to the theme of the cohesive songs, and the result is a hip-hop album that feels something like how hip-hop albums used to feel.
- Wolf Alice – “Bros” and “Giant Peach”
The other day, All Things Go contributor/USA Today’s For The Win editor/buddy of mine Nate Scott sent out a mixtape he put together, and he included the Wolf Alice song “Bros” on it with the following description:
I saw Wolf Alice last week at U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C., only knowing the one single of theirs, “Bros.” I walked out more or less in love.
The songs are a little paint-by-numbers when it comes to English influences — they have an XX song, they have a couple Blur songs — but it all works because they’re tight, the lead singer can sing, and their bassist is wonderfully charismatic. He’s rail thin and has a perfect shag haircut, and looks a bit like if the baby in Trainspotting actually survived and grew up. Sorry, spoiler alert. Whatever.
I happened to be there with him (we’re bros…) and I couldn’t have said it any better myself, so let’s just leave it at that (I’ve also written about Wolf Alice before here and here if you really care about my thoughts).
But just look at this bassist…
And while you’re at it, check out their lead singer. As I told Nate, you almost shouldn’t be playing shoegaze with eyes that pretty….
Enjoy “Bros” and the band’s newest single, “Giant Peach.”
- Peter, Bjorn, and John – “Is This It?”
If The Strokes could have had as much fun as Peter, Bjorn, and John do with their music, I think The Strokes’ entire musical career changes for the better.
But maybe that was the whole point of The Strokes?
Either way, it’s glad to know This Isn’t It.
- Walking Sticks – “You Got What You Wanted”
Speaking of the Sweetlife-playing Walking Sticks, check out what they’ve got going on with this new single of theirs!
They may not be the biggest or best band in D.C. (qualifying ‘yet’ placed here), but their exponential improvement with each release is one of the reasons they’re going to steal some hearts (and Thievery Corporation fans) at Sweetlife in May. I’m calling it now.