Posts Tagged ‘DC’

On his astonishing debut album “Live Forever”, Bartees Strange shapeshifts across songs with grace and charm, winning over even the most jaded listeners. In the album’s first section alone, the Washington, DC-based musician gallops through gut-wrenching indie rock on “Mustang,” floats airy rap over post-punk on “Boomer,” and waxes R&B dreams-turned-poetics on “Kelly Rowland” — the juxtaposition of which turns Live Forever into a revitalizing expanse. In many ways, it’s the sound of Bartees Strange building the world he’s always wanted without realizing it was even possible to do so, or that so many listeners want to join him there.

If the only thing you knew about Bartees Strange was that his debut EP, “Say Goodbye to Pretty Boy”, was comprised entirely of The National covers, you would probably draw some conclusions about what Strange’s music sounds like—and, given the specificity of The National’s niche, understandably so. “Come to a place where everything’s everything,” Bartees Strange sings on “Jealousy,” an apt description of a debut album that grabs from emo breakdowns, hip-hop cadences, indie-rock riffs, glitchy production and gentle minimalism. Though many of the songs are about feeling hemmed in, Live Forever is purposefully expansive, grounded in a singular vision. “These songs make sense because I’m Black and because my voice ties these songs together,” he told NPR Music. It takes conviction to gesture, as the title does, toward immortality, especially in a music industry that has never adequately valued Black musicians, that insists on categorization (“Genres keep us in our boxes,” he bemoans on “Mossblerd”), that says putting all your chips on your art is too big a risk. Luckily for us, Bartees Strange has it. 

But your assumptions would almost certainly be wrong. Sure, Strange can summon the same pulse of The National’s most kinetic anthems (see “Mustang,” which in a different era might have been a breakout hit). But his debut album, Live Forever, bristles at the idea of slavish adherence to a formula, even one as sturdy as The National’s. The D.C.-based songwriter has a broad swath of influences; Live Forever slinks through countless genres, blending energetic hip-hop, dynamic indie rock, amorphous jazz, and sinuous R&B with the confidence of an expert in each.

It’s unusual to see so many familiar elements joined in such a singular way. While Live Forever has the ambition of a newcomer, highlights like “Boomer” and the gleaming menace of “Flagey God” are the work of someone who knows exactly what he is doing.


Bartees Strange is a producer and songwriter in Washington, D.C. His mother is an opera singer. His dad served in the military for decades. He travelled widely for his parents jobs — born in Ipswich, England 1989, his family did stints in Germany, Greenland, and a number of states across America before he hit his 12th birthday when they settled down in Mustang, Oklahoma

Bartees Strange – Live Forever Out Now

There’s a lot of pedigree behind the band Gauche — its members are also in Downtown Boys and Priests — so maybe it’s not too surprising that their debut album, A People’s History Of Gauche, absolutely goes off, but so it does. They’re a young band that has a sense of legacy, willing to engage with punk music on a continuum, and each song feels like a treatise on what it means to be screaming and singing about the same injustices for decades while the status quo remains the same.

Washington, DC’s Gauche release A People’s History of Gauche, a collective catharsis of anger, frustration, and trauma through creativity. Gauche find their agency and joy through creating and performing music together in 36 minutes of groove-filled power punk. When asked about the genesis of the title of their Merge Records debut, Recorded with Austin Brown (Parquet Courts) and Robert Szmurlo in Brooklyn, NY, and with Jonah Takagi (Ex Hex) in DC, A People’s History of Gauche marks the first time the band worked with people outside of their ranks, resulting in a fuller sound that boasts more intricate instrumentation. From the very first line of album opener Flash – Gauche are here to compel us to dance while singing along about society’s universal struggles.

Gauche, Washington D.C.’s frantic, elastic, bombastic, ecstatic, anti-capitalist, anti-racist feminist jam band.

“A People’s History of Gauche,” out now on Merge Records. released July 12th 2019

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We visited the KEXP studios for the second time last July and this time we gotta meet Cheryl Waters!!! The video is now live, check it out!

check out their studio work, which is more polished! If you like more straightforward/hardcore punk, maybe try their earlier EPs. If you like moody, gloomy, and aggressive post-punk, try their debut album (which I love). Their latest record heads in a more new-wavey direction and contains the four songs in this performance. They’re very charismatic and energetic live,

Priests performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded July 3rd, 2019.

Band Members
Daniele, Katie & GL

Songs: I’m Clean 68 Screen Control Freak Jesus’ Son

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Flasher are a trio who play an amalgamation of joyful, frenetic pop, punk, post-punk and shoegaze. The band released their debut album, Constant Image, this year via Domino Records, and it landed among our list of the best albums of the year. What sets them apart from many of their peers is their knack for writing such immediate pop melodies and their slick production value, which maintains their chugging rock energy and allows their impressively consistent tracklist to shine. Each member contributes vocals—guitarist Taylor Mulitz (formerly of Priests) is playful and self-assured, bassist Danny Saperstein’s vocals are snotty and eccentric and drummer Emma Baker lends gorgeous vocal harmonies

Flasher – “Skim Milk” from ‘Constant Image’, out now on Domino Record Co.

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Flasher  were one of our Best New Bands Of 2016 It’s took a long while but they are finally getting ready to release their debut album after amassing an EP and a 7″ vinyl to their name already. That debut will be out later this year via Domino Records. But to hold us over until then — and to promote their SXSW dates and an upcoming tour, where they’ll support the Breeders and Ought this DC trio are releasing a new song, “Skim Milk,” alongside a video.

The video finds them performing in a gorgeous-looking theater that looks like it could double as a church. The track is urgent and propulsive, with all three members — guitarist Taylor Mulitz, bassist Daniel Saperstein, and drummer Emma Baker — trading off vocals in increasingly frenzied fashion. It’s a towering pummel of riffs and hooks, with all of them locking into a groove and repeating the song’s central mantra — “No future, no fate” — interspersed with secondary phrases, building a wall of harmonies. It’s a wonder to hear just how tightly-knotted and in-sync they are, and the video helps hammer home that feeling of interconnectedness.

Here’s what the band had to say about the release:

The themes in “Skim Milk” and its video might be described as being haunted by your own desire for belonging. We’re not bemoaning “no future, no fate”, we’re advocating for it. From getting a mortgage, to going to college, to crafting public policy, folks are always telling you to think of your future, to make choices in the name of some future. But most folks don’t have the privilege to live outside the present. This kind of future tense, aspirational bullshit means being held hostage by a future that’s already abandoned you. We’d rather escape to something new and unknown than hold out for a good life that hates us and expects us to make lemonade out of miserableness. Instead of holding out and hanging on, we’re here to tell you (and ourselves) – “go.”

Flasher – “Skim Milk” out now on Domino Recording Co.