Posts Tagged ‘Washington DC’

Young Washington, DC trio Knife Wife describe their 2019 debut Family Party as “the regurgitation of the tear inducing boredom and ecstasy that is being 15 years old. The album is a medley of violent indifference, sorrow, general nastiness, bitter joy, and the symbolism of dogs.” It’s also very punk rock, in a DIY sort of way, with a bunch of memorable, minimal, and visceral songs. Family Party came out via Priests’ Sister Polygon label,

Minimalistic music monkeys churning out disconcerting melodies. A gaggle of goofy creatures dancing like heathens to their own yelps for help. The diary of a teenybopper translated and recited by freaks. This and more in the foreboding and mirthful sounds of Knife Wife.


Across its 10 tracks, band members Sami Cola, Nico Castleman, and Ruby Parrish rotate through guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Though their lyrics are hard to swallow, their compositions are solemn, rudimentary chord progressions that pile each instrument on top of the others. The ominous bass and breathy sighs of “Dogs” recall the seductive rock of LA’s Cherry Glazerr. Sometimes the band’s eerie, crawling guitars resemble a lo-fi version of the xx’s haunted minimalism. “Fruity Void” drops the standard rock band arrangement in favour of a surreal synth wormhole. The earliest tracks explore infatuation turned to poisonous obsession: “Cut up photos of you and glue it in my eyelids,” goes the first verse of “Dreamland.” “Silly Pony,” the best-conceived track, pairs a single plucked guitar string against Parrish’s exhausted vocals. “You fucked my dogma,” she sings, the syllables barely escaping her throat. “I’ll collect your used Band-Aids/Until my infatuation fades.” During the chorus, her voice sounds like it’s traveling through a playground talk tube. There’s no affection, just a deranged search for validation.

Family Party released July 12th, 2019

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Ex-Hex, the veteran Washington D.C. power-trio, released the second single from their forthcoming album, and it’s a riffy slice of glorious, focused pop. Ex Hex have released the music video for their new song “Tough Enough,” the opening track from their forthcoming album “It’s Real”, due out March 22nd from Merge Records. The riff-forward DIY sound from the Ex Hex trio in “Tough Enough” finds its match with the video’s fuzzed-out, basement-show setting and apocalyptic conflict. As they riff around its low-scale flash, it’s apparent that the power trio’s ability to utilize the noise around them is the true star of the video. The band explain in a statement that the single is “all about three-dimensional power chords interplaying with whammy dive bombs. It’s a song about turning on your tough switch and forging ahead through whatever storms are happening around you ’cause you have no choice.”

From the album It’s Real, out March 22nd, 2019 on Merge Records.

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Washington DC power rock group Ex Hex came onto the scene in 2014 with their excellent, loud debut Rips. Filled with big, raucous waves of guitar, the album embodied the type of rock ‘n’ roll that genre devotees were hungry for, which made sense; Mary Timony, founder of the influential ‘90s riot grrrl group Helium, helms the group alongside Betsy Wright on guitar and Laura Harris on drums. Their second studio album, It’s Real, which arrives March 22nd via Merge Records, along with the premiere of “Cosmic Cave” a guitar-shimmering single that Timony calls “Old style Ex Hex.” It’s lively garage rock with a bittersweet swirl of a chorus and cavernous-sounding embellishments, best experienced beyond the boundaries of headphones.

Timony and Wright explained that It’s Real found its form through the deliberate collaboration between the pair  their knack for continuous refinement feeding into their tightness in sound, execution, and their will to experiment. Whether it’s recording with ten amps at once or indulging in the weird effects of an old ‘80s headphone amp, Ex Hex are fully devoted to crafting the best sounds for blaring at maximum volume.

From the album It’s Real, out March 22nd, 2019 on Merge Records.


All three members of Flasher, the great young indie rock band, are lifelong habitués of Washington DC and its environs. They know this landscape. They know Rock Creek Park and summer Fort Reno afternoons and those few spots in the infamous 9:30 Club balcony where you can sit down and still kind of see what’s happening onstage. They are current cogs in the DC machine, restaurant workers who haven’t been able to quit their day jobs even after becoming Arctic Monkeys’ labelmates. (All three of them have worked at Comet Ping Pong, the Northwest eatery where some of the most bizarre undercurrents of DC life recently collided in hallucinatory and violent ways.) If they stay in DC, maybe they’ll never quit their day jobs, no matter how successful their band becomes. They seem to know this. And Constant Image, their full-length debut, feels like an ode to the torpor and inertia of present-day young urban service-industry life. It is an album rife with fatalism, with blank-faced acceptance.

“Go,” the album’s buzzing headrush of an opening track, is all about snorting coke with coworkers after getting done with a long shift — or, at least, that’s what I hear in it. (Flasher’s lyrics are oblique enough that they could imply a lot of different things.) Other moments on the album are full of dazed, intense little epigraphs: “Laughter in this century is a misery afterglow,” “It’s not like I had a reason for leaving you / Thinking I could fix it if it wasn’t for Adderall,” “History, how’d you get so mean? / Who’d you beat?” These aren’t fleshed-out philosophies; they’re the bemused musings of people who have been forced, through economic circumstances, to spend their days working as friendliness machines, who have to work to hang onto their humanity whenever they’re not working to live. Seen from a certain perspective, Constant Image works as a symphony of numbness.

But when you actually listen to the thing, it bursts with life, with purpose. Singer and guitarist Taylor Mulitz used to play bass for Priests, but he’s not Flasher’s frontman. Instead, the band has no leader, and Mulitz and Daniel Saperstein divide up lead-vocal parts like they were splitting tips at the end of the night. Voices overlap, or weave throughout each other. Hooks burst in from every angle. Constant Image is a short album, but its melodies and ideas never stop flying. The songs don’t belong to any clear genre; they’re punk and post-punk and new wave and shoegaze and classic rock all at once. When you’re listening, it’s hard to think about genre dividing lines or societal collapse. Instead, those euphoric synth-smears and sun-dappled guitar lines fill up your entire consciousness and sweep you away.

Not that long ago, Flasher were a punk band — or, at least, a band that came from a cultural context that had something to do with punk. Institutions like Comet Ping Pong, and like the venues that the band came up playing, are the product of a city where people spent years fighting for inclusive all-ages spaces and unbound-by-scene free expression. And yet the band’s (excellent) 2016 debut EP was a raw, nervy post-punk record, a record with traceable antecedents. For Constant Image, though, they’ve pushed themselves away from the sounds that might’ve come naturally. Instead, they decamped for Brooklyn and went to work with producer Nicolas Vernhes, someone who’s put in work with bands like Animal Collective and the War On Drugs. And they’ve come away with all these beautiful sounds, these layered guitar-twinkles and synth-whirrs and bass throbs, their voices piling all over each other in some kind of communal ecstasy.

The songs on Constant Image are just great songs. They’re songs that would get heavy airplay on alt-rock radio in a better world, a world where alt-rock radio still exists in any appreciable way. It’s an album about hopelessness that, in its craft and its spirit, still radiates hope and joy and possibility. It’s one of those albums that feels like it alters my entire brain chemistry every time the next chorus hits, and that’s Constant Image.

I love how this DC band blend Hometown influences like Unrest and Holland with Three O’clock style paisley underground into a brilliant record that goes against the current grain. If this came out 25 years ago it would have been on Teenbeat fer sure!

Constant Image is out 8th June on Domino Recordings

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Gems covered John Lennon’s album Imagine in its entirety.  The full album is available to order now from Turntable Kitchen. It is only available on vinyl but the vinyl comes with a digital download

When we envisioned our SOUNDS DELICIOUS series we had high hopes. We wanted to hear our favorite bands lovingly reinterpreting art that meant something to them. We wanted music that would be fun, inventive, and exciting. We wanted covers that respect the album format as an art form instead of just focusing on a few hit singles. Yet, while we had high expectations, we couldn’t imagine just how great the results would be.

We never imagined Yumi Zouma’s dreamy reinterpretation of Oasis. We never imagined Jonthan Rado of Foxygen’s loose and free-wheeling take on Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run. And yet, time and time again, each and every one of the artists we’ve worked with have completely blown us out of the water with their contributions.

For our latest release in the series, GEMS keep the streak alive in a big way as the duo treat us to their track-by-track reinvention of John Lennon’s solo masterwork Imagine. From an epic, rumbling makeover of the bigger-than-life title track to their evocative and shimmering interpretation of album closer “Oh Yoko!” – they approach each track with reverence and respect even as they nail their flag to the mast.


Here is what Lindsay from GEMS had to say about their version of the album:

“’All I want is the truth! Just give me some truth!’”

I listened to John Lennon’s album Imagine all the way through for the first time last year and that line just hit something deep within me. The inescapable sadness of life.The despair of feeling totally alone and calling out into the void, just searching for some kind of solid ground to stand on. It feels like the whole world is calling out right now from this place of hurt, calling out for truth. But we’re so divided and continue putting up false walls between us.


I feel honored that we had the chance to record our own interpretations of these courageous, albeit conflicted songs. In some ways Lennon’s vision seems impossibly naive today. But don’t we need something to strive for? We need connection, we need communication, forgiveness and healing. I know I need the type of enchanted dream where we try to lift up humanity together. Even if it’s just in our own small, personal way.

I’m restless. I’m yearning for something real. I have to believe that we can still use our short time here on earth to put some kind of goodness into the world. And maybe while we’re at it, we can share the same dream.”

We’re also excited to announce that we’re teaming up with Seattle-based illustrator Teresa Grasseschi for the next several releases in the series! That’s her work that we’re featuring on the album art for this release.

GEMS’ version of Imagine is only available by subscribing to SOUNDS DELICIOUS. In addition to a deluxe edition for our Kickstarter supporters, it’s available on amber colored vinyl for recurring subscribers and gift orders of 6-months or more (while supplies last) and on black vinyl for all other orders. As always, each copies comes packaged with a digital download of the album. Only 1000 copies were pressed in total! These are expected to begin shipping next week!

Band Members
Lindsay Pitts, Clifford John Usher

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priests nothing feels natural

Nothing Feels Natural, the first studio album from Washington D.C.-based post punk group Priests, is loaded with anger and anxiety, It’s a roaring album that spans the genre from the experimental to the classic. “Appropriate,” the opening track, combines harsh punk minimalism—distant-sounding brush strokes from drummer Daniele Daniele and robust vocals and lyrics from singer Katie Alice Greer. This song is one of the most interesting on the album, combining the structure of punk with experimental jazz-skronk sax, Mixing the parts of both genres works surprisingly well for Priests.

“JJ” is a quintessential punk track about a relationship got wrong, with Greer ultimately realizing that writing songs for this person (“The most interesting thing about you/Was that you smoked Parliaments, the babiest cigarettes”), or anyone, is pointless. That pointlessness remains constant throughout the record. Existential dread and anxiety abound on “No Big Bang”, perhaps a reflection of Greer’s struggles with writing and the creative process. A steady guitar riff accompanies an increasingly frantic Greer, firing off thoughts seemingly at random. If “No Big Bang” is the lyrical apex of Nothing Feels Natural’s anxiety, then the short, explosive “Puff” is its musical equivalent—angular guitars played by G.L. Jaguar, dissonant bass lines played by Taylor Mulitz, and thrashing drums release tension that’s been building since the first track.

Themes of distance and consumption run through Nothing Feels Natural (“Nicki,” “Leila 20”). Though the lyrics are ambiguous in meaning, listeners get the sense that members of Priests are critical of late capitalism, America’s neoliberal policies, and the perverted sense of patriotism that runs through the country, and anger with a system that keeps people in narrow boxes (“Pink White House”).

“Suck” is a fun funk-inspired dance reminiscent of early Blondie, but doesn’t match the overall mood of the record, leading it to sound out of place. Nonetheless, Nothing Feels Natural is a great debut from an exciting band; arguably among the best debuts of the year

Nothing Feels Natural (2017, Sister Polygon Records)

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Sleater Kinney  became one of the best and most important bands of the era by growing up and growing out of the scene that spawned them.

Initially inspired by the riot-grrrl movement of the early ’90s, the all-female Olympia, Washington.-based trio quickly found its own voice within that often-stagnate scene,

By the time of their third album, Dig Me Out, in 1997, Sleater-Kinney had nailed down everything that made them so vital over the next decade: Corin Tucker’s wailing howl, her stabbing musical interplay with co-singer and guitarist Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss’ positively rhythmic drumming.

Their punk-influenced social and political beliefs were in place early, but as they matured as artists, they evolved to include sharp commentary on their feminism, the music around them and their crumbling relationships. They went deeper and with more honest intensity than most of their peers. And they weren’t afraid to musically grow up, either. They became more melodic over time, without ever sacrificing the indie-rock foundations that helped shape them.

Plus, the way they went out, and came back, went against the way these things were usually done. Their great 2005 album, The Woods, was designed to be a farewell, but a decade later they returned with an even better comeback record, No Cities to Love.


Washington D.C.-based indie pop singer-songwriter Young Summer aka Bobbie Allen — first hit the hype machine back in 2013, with evocative synth pop gems from her debut album “Siren” . Returning this year, the musician has not-so-quietly built on the buzz, with a marked sonic evolution, and intricately woven cuts like “Alright”” Fallout” and the track “Paused Parade”a collaboration with Matt Hales.

She has now released a new track and quite a pop stunner “Echo,” the latest tune off her just-announced new EP You Would Have Loved It Here, due out October 28th,


brett sounds

Though they hail from Washington d.c., dreamy pop quartet Brett would sound right at home anywhere on the country’s opposite coast.  the band’s latest single, “Claire Drained,” is a sun-bleached, mid-tempo collision of analog and digital spheres bound together by a resolute lead vocal that periodically clouds the song’s forecast.  its near-universal themes of self-perceived shortcomings and inconsequential over-exertions are laced through a passionate, aural love letter to claire herself, an intimate confessional that’s ultimately refracted through a lens of prevailing optimism. “claire drained” is culled from Brett’s forthcoming album Modeout march 18th via Cascine Records.


Dead Meadow are about to play the Cosmosis Festival in Manchester  this weekend , Dead Meadow is an American stoner rock band that formed in Washington, D.C. in 1998. Currently comprising vocalist and guitarist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille and drummer Mark Laughlin, the band has released five studio albums, one live album, a Peel Session and a “double live” concert film.