By Alex Tebeleff
Hey everyone, my name is Alex and this column is called DC DIT. I find the DIT mantra of Do It Together exemplifies more of what I hope my participation in the DC music scene will contribute as opposed to Do it Yourself. My goal is to connect people with creative ideas and interests and help grow a scene that features a remarkable amount of intelligent and talented musicians.
I once had a friend give me some advice after a show. He is a musician I have deep respect for, and he came out to see my band Paperhaus. I was elated when he told me how much he loved the music. Then he said to me, “just make sure you don’t break up.” Best advice I’ve ever received as a musician in a band.
This advice was front and center in my mind when I heard that Young Rapids is breaking up last week. I wasn’t surprised to hear the strong response to the news when they announced their show at Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday would be their last show. They have easily been one of the best bands to emerge in DC over the past few years, with a very original, energetic, and emotional brand of Psychedelic Rock. Though you can easily hear traces of their influences, it always seemed like they came out naturally, that the music they made theirs. The best part about them was how tasteful every musician was; it always seemed like all the members were only playing exactly what the song needed. No ego in sight.
Bands break up all the time, sometimes for the best. The creative chemistry goes, the members just don’t get along anymore, people move, get married, get jobs that take up too much time to really be focused on continuing to grow a creative project. Being in a band is an unusually challenging dynamic; all those (usually strong) personalities can be difficult to manage. But it’s always a shame when a band as good as Young Rapids is decide to call it quits, especially when it feels so premature in their development. It takes time to grow creatively, and certainly time to make people aware of your music, if that’s the path you choose to go with your creative production. I definitely had high hopes that this would be a band that would continue their creative progress, and even be a band that would help DC music reach people on larger scale outside of the city. Hopefully the members continue to seriously pursue music, maybe even together again at some point.
In the end though, it’s just one band. There are countless other bands who were born over the past year that make me just as excited about their creativity as Young Rapids does. The idea that a band is something that should last forever is just not healthy for the vast majority of those who choose to pursue music. People change, and that alters the band dynamic. Every now and then, you find people who just have an inexplicable musical chemistry, and the people are mature enough to really communicate well outside of the musical context to keep the musical relationship going. But for most of us, breaking up, or at least band member changes, is a natural course that will come sooner or later. Stick with what you love and what feels right. Don’t hold on to something that just isn’t there anymore, what you find next will feel more fulfilling as long you keep your eyes open.
Marisa Anderson, Marian McLaughlin, and Alex Tebeleff @ Bathtub Republic
Anyone who was at last week’s concert (and impromptu late weeknight dance party) at Bathtub Republic knows why I’m excited to play this show, it has a vibe and energy that is making it one of the most fun places to see a show in DC. Much credit to house hosts Andrew Grossman and Leah Gage for fostering it! I’m particularly excited to be opening for one of my favorite songwriters, Marian McLaughlin, and Avant-Folk master Marisa Anderson. Fans of John Fahey, rejoice. Marisa is as close to a second coming as you are going to get; she’s a truly brilliant guitarist.
Deep Space Presents HelenaGoldb, Cavale, Nuss, jtuck, and Hiro Kone at Union Arts
A mostly electronic show presented by Deep Space Arts at Union Arts with a little noise thrown in for good measure.
Huntronix, The Sea Life, Lisa Drank, and Bells and Hunters @ Ft. Loko
Ft. Loko is a newer house venue that you are going to be hearing a lot about in the coming months. They are very generously taking on a lot of Tenley Empire’s shows after Casa Fiesta got shut down, and seem very open to hosting a wide variety of styles. Brooklyn’s Huntronix is a band I’m very excited to see finally come down and play a show in the district. They play a very groovy form of Krautrock influenced Rock. I haven’t been able to get The Sea Life out of my head since I last saw them over at The Dunes, so I’m particularly excited to see them again as well. Those songs are so damn catchy.
Father Murphy, Cain/ Scheible Duo, and Dave Klinger @ The Beehive
Good to see The Beehive doing more shows as well! Italy’s Father Murphy is a very talented musician. He makes dark psychedelic alternative with more than a hint of influence from Industrial music. I was able to see Cain/ Scheible Duo put on a fantastic improvised set over at The Communiverse last week and was very impressed, highly recommend checking them out as well. And of course, Dave Klinger. Man it’s great to see him playing out more again! I’ll say it again: the guy is a really original songwriter.
Open Studios @ 52 O Street
There isn’t a better annual event to showcase DC’s fantastic visual arts community. Please go to this, you won’t regret it.
Young Rapids, Big Hush, The Sea Life, and The Effects @
Though this is unfortunately your last chance to see Young Rapids, it’s also your first chance to see The Effects, a DC supergroup featuring Devin Ocampo from Medications, Matt Dowling from Deleted Scenes, and David Rich from Buildings. Big Hush and The Sea Life are also two of my favorites in town. I have to say, this bill is probably my favorite in town this week.
Protect-U, Peaking Lights Sound System, and Maxmillion Dunbar @ Comet Ping Pong
Protect-U have been leaders in DC’s creative electronic community for years as musicians, and as the guys behind the great electronic label, Future Times. This show marks the release of their latest full length album. The bill also features a DJ set from LA based electronic duo Peaking Lights, and an opening performance from fellow Future Times artist Maxmillion Dunbar, who makes a very original and natural sounding variant of House.
Puff Pieces and Black Planet @ The Rocketship
This bill is a perfect fit for one of DC’s longest running house venues. Cincinnati’s Black Planet make awesome fuzzed out punk rock. DC art punk trio Puff Pieces is one of DC’s best bands to emerge over the past year, with a freshly released 7” inch on Lovitt Records that is definitely worth your time.
Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Ttotals, and Dangerosa at Tropicalia.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Nashville Psych band Ttotals a few times now, and they get better every time I see them. I highly recommend checking out their energetic show. This show also features DC Post-Rock group Dangerosa, and the very interesting Lorelle Meets The Obsolete from Mexico. You can hear remnants of Krautrock, Shoegaze, and even DC punk bands like Medications in this very eclectic Psychedelic band from Guadalajara.