Shows To Know: Snakehips & STWO @ U Street Music Hall 10/22

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Purveyors of all things involving awesome electronic music in the District, Closed Sessions is back at it and they’re bringing Snakehips and STWO (along with Royal and Hunt For The Breeze) to U Street Music Hall this Wednesday. Happy hump day!

SNAKEHIPS: For some reason, music made in the UK (and beyond) always slaps, and Snakehips is no exception to this rule. Their particular brand of electronic music is entrenched in soulful vocals, swishy synths, and deep bass. Is slow-house a thing because if so, Snakehips has it down pat. Their music manages to blend elements of house and soul, with a warmth that is not to be lost on the dance floor. Their remixes are amazing. Their original songs are amazing. This is a show you cannot miss.

STWO: Pop over to France, and there you’ll find STWO. Combining elements of trap, chillwave, and a whole lot of bass, this Parisian’s sounds will be right at home at U Hall. His songs are darker and moodier than his co-headliner, and this balance will provide for a great show.

Get there early, and catch DC natives, Royal and Hunt For The Breeze lay down some rad sets. See you there!

- Lotanna Obodozie

VENUE OF THE WEEK: The Howard Theatre

The Howard Theatre

620 T Street NW

202-803-2899

amanda@bucklesweetmedia.com

Courtesy of The Howard Theatre

Image Courtesy of The Howard Theatre

The Howard Theatre is probably one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been to; it’s definitely the cleanest. People could roll around on the floor and stand up cleaner than they were before. I was almost afraid to touch anything, fearful that I would taint such a magnificent building. But even with all of the mind-blowing splendor, The Howard Theatre has an extremely grounded feel that makes you crave for more places like this.

When I first walked up to the venue, I honest-to-god thought I had travelled back in time and was about to step into the 30s. The building itself was built in 1910 and restored only a couple years ago to its full grace and beauty. The lobby and main room both have incredibly high ceilings, making you feel microscopic in the vastness of such a place. The bar is close to the main room doors so when you actually go far enough in, the venue opens up like a clam with tons of room on the floor to go crazy with dancing. The entire building is designed to look like an old-school theater, and boy do they accomplish that.

The Howard Theatre hosts so many various events, including a weekly Sunday brunch that has a great menu of real soul food- it puts Founding Farmers to shame. They aim so far to please their customers that on their website there is a tab specifically for regular people to request an artist to come and play for them at the theatre. And with all shows appropriate for every age, they know how to draw in a crowd. Everything about The Howard Theatre just screams classy. I would definitely recommend checking this venue out because nothing else even compares.

If you’re interested in booking a show, go online at thehowardtheatre.com/contact and send them a message!

Upcoming Shows:

10/20: Gregory Porter. Doors at 6. ($37.50-$70)

10/21: Mali Music – Jordan Bratton. Doors at 6. ($25-$40)

10/22: Cocoa Tea in Concert ft. Etana & Louie Culture. Step by Step Band. Doors at 6. ($25-$60)

10/23: Leisure Cruise. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Doors at 6. ($15 in advance, $17 at door)

10/24: DJ Zu. Keith Sweat. Doors at 6. ($46.50 in advance, $55 at door)

 

- Shannon Turner

THE DC MoVement: DCMD & Raise Your City’s Autumn Spectacular

Autumn Spectacular

A night of great local music, art, and comedy, DC Music Download and Raise Your City present their Autumn Spectacular to raise money for the Guitars Not Guns foundation. Their fall event celebrates and promotes local music- something that D.C. has no shortage of.

 

TYPEFIGHTER

Typefighter is a garage pop band with enough teenage angst to make you want to dance in your underwear. Their punk meets glam rock vibe makes you want to bob your head along to their uptempo emo streams through you.

 

 

THE SEA LIFE

The Sea Life is bubbly dreampop band with an easy flow that makes your body sway. Their cleverly titled track “Prozac & Merlot” was recorded in their living room, proving their true indie status.

They also have a show October 18th at The Lot @ Atlantic Plumbing.

TEEN MOM

Teen Mom is like a toned-down version of Joan Jett. (Can I say this if it’s an all dude band?) They’re fuzz pop meets indie rock with the same deep vocals. They’ve got an edge and a sampling of punk they’ve managed to mix with an soft elegance.

 

 

They have a house show on October 12th as well.

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lowercase letters is an R&B meets soulful indie band with female vocals to die for. Her soothing, sultry voice makes you get lost in the music. Combined with they’re sweet guitar riffs, lowercase letters is an eclectic conglomeration of indie rock and PBR&B.

 

Shows to Know- The Funk Ark and Black Masala @ Black Cat -10/10

On October 10 Black Cat will be hosting the album release of one of D.C.’s most innovative funk groups, The Funk Ark, accompanied by gypsy-brass act Black Masala. The Funk Ark has been a large part of the D.C. funk scene since its inception just a few years ago, and is known for its deep-driving funk and Afro-beat grooves that drip with a vivid sense of rhythm and drive. The seven-piece outfit’s upcoming release, Man is A Monster, is the next addition to an already stellar discography, which started with 2011’s spirited declaration, From The Rooftops. The band is remarkable for their technically stunning interplay that weaves through grooves that are as engaging as they are inventive, and culminate in a funk-rock vibe that hearkens back to the late sixties.

Black Masala is a D.C. outfit that has found success riding off of its own inventiveness. Experimenting with a flirtatious combination of gypsy punkiness and brass, the band can expertly churn an audience of awkward head-bobbers into a livened stew of aspirant dancers. Their big-band sound seems able to adapt to any venue; readily filling out the cavernous space of the 9:30 while simultaneously fitting to match the intimacy of Tropicalia. For them, no groove is off limits.

-Elliot Greiner

VENUE OF THE WEEK: Velvet Lounge

Velvet Lounge

915 U Street NW, DC

202-462-3213

velvetloungedc@gmail.com

Courtesy of Done & Done

Courtesy of Done & Done

As far as first impressions go, Velvet Lounge’s intense grunge smacks you right in the face in a surprisingly good way. With red mood lighting everywhere and all-black furniture, you automatically think about how you should go home, change into your leather jacket and combat boots, and get a new piercing. But once your eyes adjust to the light, Velvet Lounge exudes a much more cozy vibe that by the time you go a second time, you slide into the booths in the back as if you were home.

When you walk into the building, you immediately hit some stairs. But if you’re early enough to have a drink and chill before the bands start playing, you turn right and one of the guys checks your ID before you’re allowed to step into the bar. If you’re underage like me, the best way to go is walk straight past the bar and booths in the back, all the way until you’re outside staring at a bunch of graffiti, lights, plants, and have a good cigarette.

The great thing about the Velvet Lounge is how minimalistic everything is, until you get to the art. Their website only has the bare necessities, all the shows cost $8, and the location itself barely has anything other than a couple stools, booths, and the bar. Velvet Lounge lets the music do all the talking. And when no one’s playing, the graffiti keeps the artistic feel alive. If you’re looking for a great place to rock out to literally anything, this is it.

If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at velvetloungedc@gmail.com. Check the website for a list of info they need.

Upcoming Shows:

10/9: Dedwax, The Great Socio, Spit Dirty. Doors at 7:30. (18+)

10/11: Toxic Moxie, Makoor, Stereosleep. Doors at 9. (21+)

10/12: The Phuss, Never Wrong, Babies with Rabies, The Screws. Doors at 4. (18+)

10/13: Ilima Considine and The Sexbots, Hudson K, Buster Britches, Shocktart Vol. 2. Doors at 7:30. (18+)

10/15: Sir Eu, Dullard, Chomp Chomp. Doors at 7:30. (18+)

-Shannon Turner

Chromeo @ 9:30 Club, 9/29

Image Courtesy of Chromeo

Image Courtesy of Chromeo

 

It was a Monday night at the 9:30 club in DC on September 29th, but the venue was bouncing nonetheless. Chromeo, the electro-funk duo hailing from Montreal, was rolling in their usual funky style with lead vocalist and guitarist Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) sporting a bright red leather jacket, and talk-box wielding synth man P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) in all black, his iconic beard done up for the event in a neat braid. The duo filled the club with their iconic sound, renowned for its similarity to 80’s synth-pop — but with a bumping 21st century bass and energetic light show making for a night of dancing. The high energy but low key group made interaction with the crowd a priority, leading claps and call and response moments in their more famous songs. At one point Dave 1 requested that “more girls need to be on guys’ shoulders!,” prompting a several duos throughout the hall to comply. The group thrives not on what one might consider exceedingly complex melodies or serious musicianship, but rather on a lively, dance-oriented, retro beat that can give energy to even the quietest crowd. The key word that night was fun, and fun is what was delivered by the groovy duo.

The group recently released their newest album, White Women (an homage to Helmut Newton, as it turns out), with the single “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” topping it off. The duo has now released 4 albums in 10 years since their conception as a band in 2002. Dave 1 even mentioned that the first time they played in DC had been 10 years ago, which made us feel old as hell. Since when is Chromeo a decade-old group? Nonetheless the group’s staying power is a force to be reckoned with. Their worldwide club hit “Needy Girl” from the 2004 debut album, She’s In Control, has survived as a crowd favorite for the past ten years, so when the 10-year-old hit found its way back into the 9:30 club as the closing song of the set we danced our pants off.

ODESZA: In Return to U Street

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Photo Credit: Author

U Street Music Hall is by far my favorite venue in DC; It’s large enough to attract known artists as well as those on the rise. The hall is perfect for dancing to the electronic stylings of ODESZA, an electronic duo from Seattle comprised of Harrison Mills (aka CatacombKid) and Clayton Knight (aka BeachesBeaches), who combine to make easy going, whimsical chillwave.

Odesza Bronson Selling

Photo Credit: Bronson Selling

ODESZA was so exciting to watch. Mills and Knight play with their backs towards each other while keeping completely in synch. They bobbed to the music, dancing along with the crowd- I don’t remember a moment when I wasn’t dancing. The show was upbeat and dreamlike, and the music made bodies move through a euphoric state. They played tracks off both Summer’s Gone (2012) and In Return (2014). Their set also included their popular remixes of Zhu’s “Faded” and Pretty Lights’ “Lost And Found”. Their newest album, In Return, shows just how mature Mills and Knight have grown since their debut. Their new music cannot be described as anything but bedroom beats. “It’s Only”, which features the sensual vocals of Zyra, leaves goosebumps as its bells ripple through your body. The tonality and delicate structure of their songs is warm and enchanting. Their music is very melodic and tranquil sounding almost futuristic.

 

As they stood in front of vibrant graphics ranging from cool blues and purples to tender reds and oranges, the crowd swayed, letting the music overwhelm their senses. And that’s why U Street is such an underrated venue. That show filled a room (twice in one night, might I add) with people who had the sole intention of going and dancing for the hour and a half set.

 

In a time when EDM focused on bass heavy tracks, ODESZA’s organic, mystifying sound was a breath of fresh air.

 

By the way, their website offers a free download of “Summer’s Gone”.

-Jordan Farley

BANKS: The Goddess Herself at 9:30 Club

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Photo Credit: Author

“I believe every woman is a goddess.”

This is why I love Banks.

There is a simplicity and ease about her lyrics. Banks has the sexiness and suaveness to grab your attention with only the vibrato in her vocals. She sings every word with conviction and a depth that can only come from the truth behind those words. Her songs have a warmth and grace that balances the dark and twisted Fiona Apple-esque quality in tracks like “This Is What It Feels Like” and “Waiting Game”. But songs like “Stick” also include the same PBR&B vibes as artists like The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. Her tracks were produced by popular electronic meets alternative r&b artists Sohn, Shlohmo, Lil Silva, and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Banks’ music is quiet and soft while being incredibly powerful. In her ballad “You Know Where I’m Coming From”, she shows anger and passion in all the right places. Her songs center around relationships, most of which she’s firmly telling off the guy who damaged her heart.Take “Goddess” for example. That song is hard hitting and dominating as it accentuates feminism . And yet, it still has this sexy, steamy sensuality about it. Which is another reason why I love her. Banks emulates the kind of woman most wish to be; she’s strong, edgy, and independent, while still being passionate, delicate and romantic.

Dressed in a black blazer and velvet skirt, Banks emanates class and sophistication. She radiates beauty while simultaneously emitting a curious eeriness. I think most are initially shocked by how natural her voice is, despite its breathy, husky qualities. Her voice is sultry and haunting but turns intense as the low synth keys hit. She eventually stripped the blazer revealing her lingerie-like lace bustier. She’d glide across the stage with elegance and swagger, losing herself in the music. The crowd swayed along, listening intensively to the her seductive words. Banks sounds like pure ecstasy.

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Photo Credit: Author

Banks’ Setlist

Alibi
This Is What It Feels Like
Brain
Goddess
Fuck Em Only We Know
Na Na (Trey Songz Cover)
Change
And I Drove You Crazy
Drowning
Waiting Game
Beggin For Thread

Encore:
Stick

-Jordan Farley

Soundtrack Review: Fifa 15

Photo Courtesy: fifa247.net

Photo Courtesy: fifa247.net

Where can you find music from Vampire Weekend, The 1975, CHVRCHES, Grouplove, Foals, The Naked and Famous and Bloc Party together on one disc? On a playlist that I burned for long car rides? Yes. But, that’s not the only place. These bands were all also featured on the soundtrack of one of the most popular video games today, Fifa. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Year of the Caprese – Cherub

Courtesy of Cherub Image Courtesy of Cherub

If you can imagine what the hybrid of 80’s pop and the setlist from your favorite urban dance club would sound like, you can imagine how Cherub’s latest release, Year of the Caprese, sounds. The duo, comprised of Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber, aimed to give fans what they perceive as the best of both musical worlds. However, being an enthusiast of either of the two aforementioned genres may provide a better context for appreciating Year of the Caprese.

What’s immediately impressive about this album is that each song seems to have been carefully ordered to maximize the listening pleasure of anyone who plays this album start to finish interrupted. The balance between the two slightly opposing genres can sometimes seem tacky and sharp, but when the balance is right, there is no denying the eargasm that ensues. The transition from Simple, the opening track, into Disco Sh*t is typical of how a seasoned DJ may rally a tiring audience. The song then unexpectedly launches into a tune that probably just missed the cut from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The consistent synthesizer beat carries throughout the entirety of the album with little variations in tempo, which does start to feel dull.

Year of the Caprese is unique in how it blends- or rather fails to blend- the melodic components of two different genres; though one area where the album is fairly consistent is in the content of its lyrics. On almost all of the tracks, the lyrics read like a textbook on how to abuse various substances. If this isn’t the case, the lyrics can also be too NSFW for your parents, who may be initially drawn in by the 80’s disco vibe given off by these same songs. One example of this is on the track “Strip to This,” where the chorus is comprised of “Watch my money go up & down, pick it up/ Is this LOVE? Or I am drunk?/ It’s the only night I’m in town, then I’m gone/ This is lust, I wanna f-.” Does this kind of songwriting abandon some of Cherub’s fans? Or does it just allow a specific subset of ravers who subsquently enjoy disco music to be completely fulfilled? Regardless of the answer, Cherub is breaking new ground in whatever scene they consider themselves a part of, which is setting the bar high for what they decide to release next.

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