By Alex Tebeleff
I heard a ridiculous amount about DC’s Two Inch Astronaut before I finally got to see them last year at a music festival at The Far Out House in Silver Spring, the practice space and sometimes house venue run by the guys in Young Rapids (They also have a pretty sick garden up there!). Needless to say, I was impressed, and I’d venture to say they are one of the most creative and interesting heavy rock bands in the city right now regardless of genre. They are also on my favorite rock label on the east coast right now, Massachusetts based Exploding In Sound, so you could say I have a particular soft spot for the band.
Things have come full circle, and The Far Out House is hosting their last house show this Friday, with Two Inch Astronaut as the local headliner among some really great touring bands. I spoke with Two Incher Sam Rosenberg about their music, their label, and the DC music scene.
How did Two Inch Astronaut start?
Two Inch started as an acoustic/cello based side project. We went through so many lineup changes and musical directions that it didn’t really make sense to keep the name, but we did it anyway. It seems like every project I involve myself in eventually becomes a rock band, so I’ve stopped trying to fight it for now.
What would you say are the biggest musical influences on the band?
Most of the stuff I find rubbing off on us nowadays is the music our friends make. We’re pretty close with most of the bands on Exploding In Sound, and it’s a big motivator to see all the awesome stuff they make, as well as lots of local bands in the Baltimore/DC area. You know, like Hive Bent.
We’re inspired by different EIS/local bands in different ways, not all necessarily musically. For example, seeing Hive Bent or Kal Marks always makes me want to really go for it live and make it a real cathartic experience, even though we don’t really sound like those bands. Seeing Krill always makes me want to push the boundaries of being a three piece and take myself less seriously, seeing Pile always makes me want to be be in Pile, etc, etc.
What’s it been like working with Explosions in Sound?
It’s an honor to be working with those guys. They may not be the most moneyed or powerful label, but they have a moral compass and an enthusiasm that people really respond to. It’s also nice because it’s super informal, and “business” is often conducted during what would otherwise be a normal get together with friends. I’m real optimistic about the future of that label.
Tell us a little about the show you guys are playing on the Friday the 15th besides it being the final show at The Far Out House in Silver Spring.
This is a really special show for a couple of reasons. First of all, we’re really stoked about the amazing touring bands coming from as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada, who were generous enough to agree to grace our diminutive suburb with their rock. It’s also our last show (at least for a while) with our original bassist Daniel Pouridas, who got his friend Hideyuki Katsumata to make an incredible poster for the show.
Where do you see the recent rapid growth of the DIY music scene in DC and the music scene in general in DC going?
Hopefully steadily in that direction! DC obviously has an incredibly rich history in music, but I don’t think I’d be offending anybody in saying that it maybe hasn’t been the hottest spot for smaller bands in recent years. It may just be that I thought that because we hadn’t really been able to infiltrate the DC scene. There’s always been cool shit going on here, it seems like there’s been kind of an imperceptible change over the last few months. We’ve started to notice a serious uptick in volume of shows in the area, house venues, as well as enthusiasm about the scene. There’s a feeling of shared excitement, everyone seems really supportive of what everyone else is doing. We’re really glad to see that changing with things like In It Together Fest and the influx of house venues and awesome bands here.
Check back next week for special guest DC DIT columnist Nick DePrey from Homestage.
Isn’t it interesting how many psychedelic influenced bands have started coming out of DC? Opening for Akron Family’s Dana Buoy is DC’s Sun Cycle. They emerged out of the GWU music scene, had a bunch of support from the local college radio station there, WRGW, and have blossomed into one of my favorite young bands in the city. If you are a fan of Pink Floyd circa Meddle, go see Sun Cycle!
Oberlin, Ohio has been a creative center for young people through the college and otherwise for a while, especially when it comes to music. Indira Valey and Maladama both call Oberlin their home. They do a lot in their own city to promote creative thinking and activities, and their own music shows a great ability to connect with people. Baltimore’s Jenny Moon Tucker opens the evening.
Twins Jazz has been my favorite place to see great jazz in the city for years, and this trio of William Hooker, Anthony Pirog, and Luke Stewart is absurdly talented. Definitely worth your time!
DC garage rockers Calavera Skull and DC garage poppers Music Bones open for local blues influenced host show hosters Ezra Mae & The Gypsy Moon.
There’s a really vibrant improv comedy scene growing here in DC, this event would be a great one to start with!
Orlando post-punk band Henrietta headlines a night of mostly post-punk influenced bands at The Lab in Alexandria.
As mentioned in the interview above, one last blow-out to celebrate the end of The Far Out House. Besides Two Inch Astronaut, Toronto’s Greys are one of the best live bands from their respective city, and they betray more than a small amount of influence from the DC musician their song “Guy Picciotto” is named after. Ontario indie punk band The Dirty Nil and Tallahasee post-punk influenced indie band Buffalo Buffalo are also worth checking out on the bill.
For you youngins, this show is 18+ if you get a ticket in advance. DC’s Outputmessage does electronic music in live performance in a really dynamic and engaging way. I wish more people followed their lead in the genre!
Indie, punk, and post-hardcore at BDU House, one of the newer house venues to emerge this year in the wider area.
DC’s Black Clouds plays a form of post rock that displays an unusually impressive blend of very heavy groove and psychedelic space. Make sure to check them out opening this show for RNRH’s 8th Bday along with experimental punk band United Nations and Gainesville screamocore band Frame Works.
Live R&B doesn’t get better these days than what DC’s ACME brings with it’s full band line-up. ACME is just about as fun as a live band gets in DC.
A DC reggae night at 9:30 club; highly recommend getting there early for Haile Supreme!
A fantastic bill at Comet put together by DC label Sister Polygon. It’s a bit of a slow week for shows in DC, but it would be hard to be this one any week in DC. I’ll keep it simple and just say go; every band on this bill is fantastic live.
A very creative experiemental bill with The Lost Civilizations music project sharing a set with poetry project Duo Exchange, as well as solo musician Utenzil, opening up for songwriter Katherine Key.
An extremely eclectic experimental electronic music bill from Select DC. If you were curious about this rapidly growing local scene around Select DC, this bill would be a perfect first introduction.
DC ska kings Kill Lincoln headline a bill of, well, ska bands, at Black Cat.
DCDIT is happy to present a bill featuring two of our absolute favorite bands in DC, plus one of my favorite bands from the Midwest, Minneapolis’ Hollow Boys. I was surprised and totally blown way by their set when they were a last minute addition to a show at the Paperhaus a couple years back. They represent a very happy musical middle between Go Cozy’s feel good chime rock and Br’er heavy emotional assault with their shoegazy pop.
A killer bill of hardcore and noise that’s perfect for the basement at DC’s best punk space, The Rocketship.