A password will be e-mailed to you.

Bryce Rudow is an associate editor for The Daily Banter and he likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @brycetrudow/please follow him @brycetrudow


Oh, Sweetlife 2014 reviews

Want to know a great way to get tons of people to hate you? Belittle an experience they value and tell them that what they love is superficial, vacuous crap.

Want to know a great way to get tons of people to love you? Belittle an experience that they hated while assuring them both that they did it better back in their day and that what they love has meaning and purpose.

And while in this case those two groups mostly split into “those under 25” and “those over 25” camps, respectively, it’s still been a pretty crazy 48 hours.

Honestly, I have never had a piece with more polarized reactions.

I’ve had some people I haven’t talked to in years crawl out of the woodwork to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Some like totally real professional writers I really respect reached out to me — I believe the term “unflinchingly honest” was thrown around but whatever who’s counting.

But my God the comment section…

Because I learned my lesson a long time ago about reading the comment section on any site/you all are monsters, I haven’t seen all of what’s there, but I have gotten texts and tweets and emails from friends all day saying it’s brutal and citing some of their favorites:

Gawd you are old as hell. Wanting shows booked at Sixth and I?!! Where the old hoagies yell at you if you stand up and dance in the aisles of the pew! That place is tyrannical.

ummmm did u even go? u don’t even begin to talk about foster the people who were clearly the stars. maybe u are just jealous u are not young and hot (judging by ur photo)

and my personal favorite:

This writer needs to get laid.

I’ve already told Mollie about the last suggestion, and I hate to point out that Lavanya Ramanathan of the Washington Post was basically just as critical of the festival, but there’s something to be said about a festival that divides people into such adamantly opinionated camps.

This can’t be the future of DC’s festival scene, can it?

Ugh, anyway, follow the Tunes You Should Fucking Know in 2014 playlist on Spotify; I’m losing more of the under-25 demo everyday.

And if you would like to discuss further why we as a city deserve something better than what Sweetlife offered, email me or tweet me and my not young, not hot Twitter photo.


  • Spirit Animal – BST FRNDS

But as I mentioned, there were some great moments at Sweetlife 2014, and Spirit Animal’s criminally early set was one of them.

I feel like an idiot for not thinking about this before, but as entertaining and beloved as they are by their current fanbase, there was always this massive, untapped potential audience that Sweetlife helped connect the band with. To plagiarize myself,

“The hands-down biggest winners of 2014 ripped through a set that was very similar to the one they did when they played a small Black Cat backstage show back in February; it boiled down their older catalogue to just hits and very much highlights their new promising material like ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘BST FRNDS.’

But the biggest new development for the band? Teenage girls.

Spirit Animal has been a hard-working, hard-touring band for a while now, but until Saturday, there’s not a lot of places young, horny teenage girls might have crossed paths with Steve Cooper and his exquisite frontman skills (not to mention the biceps and perfectly coiffed hair…).

With every hip gyration, a The CW-esque shriek would emerge from the crowd, louder each time as the #SteveCooperIsAHottie bandwagon gained new members. As Steve, bassist Paul Michel, and I were catching up after their set, we were interrupted at least four times by groups of girls eager to take their picture with their ‘new favorite band.’

Fortunately though, in between scantily clad nubiles, we actually did get to catch up and it was pretty cool to hear a very self-aware band talk about the mindset they have going into this next batch of new material.

“Above all else, we’re an earnest band,” Paul tells me.

And while that word gets thrown around a lot, it really fits when looking at four guys who have found a way to create unabashedly entertaining rock and roll but who also are true hustlers behind the scene. “If you grind enough, you do it for the grind,” they relate to me, and coming from two guys who seemed more than content to talk shop with a B-level writer behind a trailer backstage because it was the only place we could hear each other, it feels really genuine.

“We do what big bands do, we just do it by ourselves. We have no choice but to,” Steve asserts, with Paul chirping in to admit, “Yeah, we wear a lot of hats…”

But on that sunny early Saturday afternoon, as we were surrounded by all the worst parts of the music industry, it was something Paul mentioned to me in passing that stuck with me the rest of the day:

“Authenticity isn’t a choice.”

I wrote it in my recap: “I said this band was going to be something big one day; I’ve never been wrong.”


  • Elder Island – “What It’s Worth” 

I miss Misun, and I had the sad realization the other day that once bands go to LA, they don’t ever come back to the infertile musical grounds of DC. But Elder Island, a trio out of Bristol, has been a great bit of female-fronted soul-inspired pop methadone for me this past week.

Lead singer Katy Sargent has that same tinge in her voice, but where Misun’s music has begun to depend more and more on the production styles of one Nacey, Elder Island describes themselves as a “Bristol based triad pigeoned in d.i.y. / r&b / pop / electronic / dance music.”

Unfortunately, “What It’s Worth” is the only song off their debut self-titled EP (which is out June 30) that’s been released so far, so we’re stuck having to take their word for it on that one and just appreciating their small sample size. I guess that is to be expected when they just played their first gig on March 11th though.

Other than that, there’s not much information out on Elder Island yet, but this band has potential for days and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on them.


  • SZA –  Z

A solid backup quarterback can have a long life in the NFL because there’s always a need for a guy who can manage the game and, if you put the right pieces around him, might actually steal a few wins.

SZA is the “indie female (pb)r&b pop” singer equivalent of that.

Having just released Z, her third EP, last month, there’s a pretty noticeable trend in her songs (some of which are fantastic)…

She’s rarely the best part.

She controls the tempo, she hits her notes, she does what needs to be done, but she’s not the reason people are in the seats.

A majority of her best songs on Z (“Childs Play,” “Babylon,” and “Warm Winds”) all feature guest artists, and album opener “Ur” which she takes on by herself and which is perfectly adequate and possibly even good, is about as simple as a song as you’re going to get; it’s a three-step drop slant route. The real star is the spacious, hypnotic production.

Even Schoolboy Q doesn’t ask her to do much more than whisper a hazy chorus that is essentially the phrase “I know” repeated a lot in the song “His & Her Fiend” off his expectations-surpassing Oxymoron. 

But is it really an insult to say that an artist should be the first person you call when you need someone to fill a hole in your roster song?

She is obviously talented enough to put together an album that while not earth-shaking is great for a particular “coffee shop soundtrack” kind of vibe, she knows and works with the right kind of people (which is just as important and talent), and people like me might think that she is somehow involved with the Wu-Tang Clan at first.

These are the kind of people that stick around for a while.


  • Eminem – “Headlights” featuring Nate Ruess (of fun. but more importantly of The Format)

I know we usually do Aural Pleasure With Friends right about now


But somedays you have the continuum transfunctioner — whose mystery is only exceeded by its power — and somedays Eminem releases a music video for a dishearteningly mediocre song forgiving his mom and uses the guy from fun. for the chorus.

Eminem may be past his prime, but for anyone that at one time or another knew every word to “Kill You,” this is big news.

For a great recap of Marshall and Debbie Mathers’ troubles over the years, Amos Barshad at Grantland did a great job summarizing their twisted saga, but to close out the column, let’s remember an important lesson that while we may not see eye to eye on everything, we can still hug it out once every 15 years.

Or we can scoff that Marshall is losing his edge. Either or.