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Posted at 5:31 PM ET, 04/30/2007

May Mixtape

By David Malitz

The May Mixtape may be the most obscure edition yet in our continuing series. But hey, that's cool, a better chance to discover some new favorites. I generally try to avoid sold-out shows in these columns, so that's why you won't find me linking to, say, the awesome video for LCD Soundsystem's "North American Scum." Hey, wait a second! Also, I try to link to as many downloadable MP3s as possible, and the bigger bands sometimes don't like to give anything away. So forget them. As always, feel free to add shows you think I missed in the comments and if you have any suggestions for future installments, send an e-mail to david dot malitz at washingtonpost dot com.

"Rent a Wreck" -- Suburban Kids With Biblical Names (The Red & the Black, May 2)
An ode to the rental car agency of choice for touring bands looking to keep costs down, this slice of bouncy twee pop from Sweden should appeal to fans of early Magnetic Fields.

"Freedom" -- The Toasters (Rock and Roll Hotel, May 3)
The ska stalwarts are celebrating their 25th anniversary and catchy, organ- and horn-fueled songs like this one show why they've lasted so long.

"The Pocket" (YouTube video) -- Tabi Bonney (DC9, May 3)
Another one of the city's up-and-coming hip-hop stars, Bonney lets us in on a little Langdon Park slang on this track built around a simple orchestral string sample and turntable scratching.

Entire Nov. 22, 2005 Millennium Stage performance -- Konono No. 1 (Black Cat, May 4)
Why settle for just one song when you can watch the Congolese group's entire set from 2005? It's a unique blend of electrified thumb piano, pounding percussion and drill-sergeant whistles; just hope the Black Cat's air conditioning is in working order, unlike the band's show at the club last summer.

"Either Way" -- Appomattox (Warehouse Next Door, May 5)
The Boston indie rockers do their hometown proud on this skittery, energetic track that recalls Mission of Burma and the Pixies.

"Since K Got Over Me" (stream) -- The Clientele (Black Cat, May 8)
The British trio has always played some of the most soothing, reverb-heavy indie pop around, but the added kick to this track from 2005's "Strange Geometry," combined with the musical alllusion to "And Then He Kissed Me" makes it arguably the band's most memorable moment.

"Less Yes's, More No's" -- Busdriver (Rock and Roll Hotel, May 8)
The iconoclastic L.A. underground rapper namechecks Noam Chomsky in this catchy-but-claustrophobic track from his recent "RoadKillOvercoat" album. Let's see Fitty pull that one off.

"Burning Saddles" -- Ponytail (DC9, May 9)
Sixty-four seconds of screechy, shouty, guitar-shredding, spazz-punk greatness from Baltimore. Thank you, Charm City.

"The Crystal Cat" -- Dan Deacon (Rock and Roll Hotel, May 10)
And thank you again, Baltimore, for this spastic one-man band. More keyboard and vocal effects than you can shake a stick at on this addictive electro-indie ditty. Get in on it, indeed.

"Bizarre Histrionics" -- Lejeune (Iota, May 12)
This local group counts Roxy Music as a major influence, so it's no surprise to hear prominent keyboards and dramatic vocals on this track from the group's new album, "For Club and Country."

"Dear Henry" (stream) -- Garland of Hours (Black Cat, May 15)
Yes, Amy Domingues has played cello for pretty much every good band to come out of D.C. in the past decade, but as she proves on this spooky, original murder ballad, she's a fine songwriter in her own right.

"Komad" -- Alex Delivery (Rock and Roll Hotel, May 16)
Over the course of 10 minutes, these Brooklyn rockers manage to find some choice, heavy grooves and make plenty of noise.

"Will You Return?" -- The Avett Brothers (Birchmere, May 18)
The young North Carolina trio infuses its folk and bluegrass sound with a rock and roll sensibility for a result that transcends genre boundaries.

"Hott Beat Down" -- Hott Beat (Galaxy Hut, May 19)
D.C.'s finest electro-krunk performance art duo shows what it's all about on this theme song of sorts.

"Ah Mary" -- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (State Theatre, May 19)
She's been called the next Janis Joplin. While that may be a bit of a reach, there's no doubt that the young vocalist is bound for big things; listen as she belts out bluesy rock anthems like this one from her forthcoming album.

"Sun Lips" -- Black Moth Super Rainbow (DC9, May 19)
It takes guts to start a song with such a shameless rip-off of "Strawberry Fields Forever," but it takes skill to pull off a sound that is woozy, backwoods, psychedelic electro-folk.

"Your Name Here" (MySpace stream) -- Let's French (Black Cat, May 19)
The local quartet shows a knack for infectious, to-the-point rock on this two-and-a-half minute tune that features big guitars, whirring keys and some crucial backing vocals.

"Heretics" -- Andrew Bird (9:30 club, May 20)
Over the past few years the Chicago-based singer/songwriter has established himself as a master of the smart, understated pop song, and this track from his latest album, "Armchair Apocrypha," is a fine example.

"Diamond Ring" (stream)-- Joseph Arthur (9:30 club, May 21)
Arthur shows off his bluesy, boozy side on this song that cuts the difference between T. Rex and the Rolling Stones.

"Gutterfly" -- Lifesavas (Black Cat, May 26)
How many rap groups can claim to have contributed to an Elliott Smith tribute compilation? This Portland, Ore., crew can, but it shines on its own material like this extremely funky title track from its new album.

By David Malitz  | April 30, 2007; 5:31 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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I'm glad to see the Avett Brothers get a mention here! They're at the Birchmere this month and I'm waiting for the day when they make it into the city limits.

Posted by: Doug | May 1, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I think !!! (Chk Chk Chk) deserves a mention here. I just saw them and they are a whole lot of freaky fun that will make you have to dance. I don't mind spreading the word now that I have my tickets. They are at the 9:30 Club on Monday, May 14. They are a great consolation prize for folks who got shut out of LCD.

Posted by: Coachellin | May 4, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Do shows from the Ramshead in Annapolis ever get mentioned? even if they don't Todd Snider is doing the Birchmere as well as Ramshead this month. A performer not to be missed.

Posted by: Johny | May 5, 2007 7:42 AM | Report abuse

My brother gave me Grace Potter's first album last year -- amazing. Forget the over-used Janis Joplin thing. Just come out to hear a really gutsy singer sing some great, gritty blues-rock.

Posted by: Bruce | May 8, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Props for featuring Lejeune, they've managed to synthesize everything that's non-cheesy about 80s music and make it their own... way worth a listen!

Posted by: Piglet | May 9, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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