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’m finishing this article as I sit in the basement of my house listening to the band Wanted Man play an impromptu late night acoustic set of raw blues harmony-juiced rock & roll—thinking about how great it is that I can’t pigeonhole a sound for DC. There used to be a “DC Sound” when creative music in this city was greatly (though far from totally) derived from bands on Dischord Records (quotes around the phrase “DC Sound” betray both my understanding and skepticism of this idea, both in some universal aesthetic for Discord, and the national ignorance of great music like go-go which many bands on Dischord were great supporters of). This particular movement of music’s passion and immediacy kept it a vital form for a very long time.
I grew up in the area and still love Fugazi, Smart Went Crazy, and Nation Of Ulysses, but I’m starting to feel a new kind of excitement for the current music scene. From the slow, beautiful melodies of Cigarette, to the natural flow of Petworth rapper Ras Nebyu, to the (thankfully) non-nostalgic hard blues of the aforementioned Wanted Man, the diversity amongst the number of bands that are slowly becoming more and more aware of each other in the city is the most interesting part of it all. For those always looking to keep the sounds around them from being static and dull, I think DC is a particularly interesting place right now with a lot of musical movement.
Tuesday, April 1
I’m happy to help support anything the Lamont Street Collective does, and a DIT burlesque show is frankly something I haven’t experienced before. Definitely excited.
Wednesday, April 1
The fact that I’m starting this column with two shows unrelated to live music should show that events that are more focused on growing the culture in DC are certainly not limited to music. This is an awesome comedy show with a really original concept.
Thursday, April 3
The guys at Union Arts continue to put on some of the most creatively interesting shows in DC. Brian Chase has had success as a member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and it will certainly be interesting to see him in a more experimental context. Laughing Man and Dave Klinger are definitely two of DC’s best and most creative, this bill is great.
Friday, April 4
Unfortunately, I do not believe this is all ages, however, I wanted to mention this show because I think everyone involved is a big part of making the creative culture in DC better. Host Brandon Wetherbee has been putting together strong variety shows at Wonderland and Looking Glass for years now, and this bill is particularly strong. The comedians are original and hilarious, and Lies About and Ryan McLaughlin (also of DC band Typefighter) are some of my favorites in music in DC. Lies About makes quirky angular power pop that brings to mind aspects of the aforementioned “classic” DC sound without sounding like they are trying to sound like anybody else, and Ryan writes some damn good songs!
The most diverse and creative dance party in town this week, there are multiple DJ’s, 3 bands, spoken word, visual art, live screen printing, and even a live film zine screening. This is all put together from the minds of Philly’s Get Lucid Artist and Activist Collective. DC’s Go Cozy in particular has become a band that has a tremendous amount of potential to reach a lot of people. It’s a sound with a lot of personal character that is instantly appealing. I would expect this one to be a long and fun night.
I already mentioned how highly I think of the music from the band Cigarette in this article. Paper Sun has always been one of the best places to see worthwhile touring bands that are otherwise overlooked in DC, in this case Phoenix’s strange electronic bedroom project, Olivia Neutron-John, and Olympia’s Margy Pepper make dark pop with a debt to Olympia’s Alternative past and present.
Saturday, April 5
“Bills and Brews” is a creative project from a big supporter of local music in DC, Matt Laslo, bringing members of congress into a decidedly non-political situation with a local craft beer from their district. The music bill features literally something for everyone, it’s definitely worth the price of admission to support Matt’s project.
Cavale and Furniteur are two newer DC projects that show a lot of potential. This is both the debut show for Furniteur and the album release show for Cavale, and I highly recommend you give these two a shot. Pleasure Curses brings an organic electronic set that’s really fun, and maybe the most interesting part about the show is the unique opportunity to see Italy’s Joycut live.
Luce Unplugged is a great series for the city, it’s promising to see a local museum more involved and interested in local DC musicians in particular. Dave Klinger shows up on the list again for good reason, he’s one of DC’s most original songwriters.
The Communiverse has been putting on really great house shows for a while now. You all probably already know Marian is one of my favorite songwriters in town, and AG/LG has a sense of humor that is particularly endearing to go along with their two piece power rock. Richmond’s Lobo Marino makes a unique blend of soulful tribal folk, I’m very curious to hear how she pulls it off live.
Another great experimental bill, this show marks the return of The Back Alley Theater. Pet Bottle Ningen is the perfect group if you are looking for an introduction to more avant-garde music, they don’t stick to one form of experimental communication with each other for very long. Weed Tree has been a staple in DC’s experimental scene for years; well deserving of the praise he’s gotten from many of DC’s most passionate music lovers. I’ve seen him do sets on my living room floor that really blew my mind. Archer Spade adds further diversity with a unique sound and strong musicality to a really talented bill.