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Posted at 6:16 PM ET, 11/30/2007

December Mixtape

By David Malitz

Live music pickings are pretty slim in December as many bands stay off the road and take it easy for the holidays. No big deal. That just makes for a convenient time to feature some worthy local acts. There should be something for everyone in this final 2007 mixtape, with funky sounds from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, twee-pop from the Besties, choice covers by Ted Leo and Rufus Wainwright and some seasonally appropriate tracks from Aimee Mann and Middle Distance Runner. We'll get to all of those and more, after the jump.

"Good Clothes" -- Little Brother (Dec. 1, Black Cat)
This North Carolina hip-hop crew, one of the best around today, clearly has old-school influences but it never sounds stuck in the past.

"No Love Today" -- Chris Smither (Dec. 1, Wolf Trap)
The power of this veteran singer-songwriter's powerful baritone comes across strongly on his live recording.

"Aqualung" -- Jethro Tull (Dec. 3, Strathmore)
Oh, like you're even going to try to front on this epic classic rock radio staple.

"Skinny Love"-- Bon Iver (Dec. 5, Jammin' Java)
The singer-songwriter scores points for his strangely affecting yelp that helps this song rise above the usual dude-with-acoustic-guitar fare.

"I Shall Not Be Moved" -- Dirty Dozen Brass Band (Dec. 6, State Theatre)
These New Orleans legends are some of the most authentic and enjoyable purveyors of the Crescent City's classic sound.

"Limitless" (MySpace stream) -- Dust Galaxy (Dec. 6, Eighteenth Street Lounge)
Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation goes psychedelic on his side project's debut album, but this song is more '60s garage rock rave-up and psych rock freakout.

"Stuttgart, Arkansas" -- Kelly Joe Phelps (Dec. 6, Iota)
The hotshot acoustic blues guitarist has a captivating voice to go along with his masterful axe-handling.

"Beat of My Heart" -- Jaguar Club (Dec. 7, DC9)
This Brooklyn group adds a dash of indie-pop to its post-punk, so its show should fit right in at DC9's Liberation indie dance night.

"That's Entertainment" -- Ted Leo (Dec. 7-8, 9:30 Club)
The indie-rock icon was featured on the March Mixtape, but since he just joined us for a Live Online, he gets an encore. Here he covers his heroes the Jam, but he writes his own lyrics, all about revered free-form radio station WFMU, where this take was recorded.

"Rod-n-Reel" -- The Besties (Dec. 8, Galaxy Hut)
Deliciously twee indie-pop with saccharine female vocals and lyrics about playgrounds and kissing.

"Chess Records" -- Junior League (Dec. 14, Black Cat)
The local group plays breezy, sunny songs rooted in the tradition of bluegrass, folk and country.

"Xmas Song" -- Middle Distance Runner (Dec. 14, Rock and Roll Hotel)
This is another band that has already been featured on a mixtape this year, but it was hard to resist this seasonal song that contains the catchy goodness of the band's other output, plus some mighty fine sounding horns.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- Aimee Mann (Dec. 17-18, Birchmere)
The consistently engaging and rewarding singer-songwriter adds her unique brand of melancholy to this holiday classic.

"No Backbone" -- The Lemonheads (Dec. 19, Black Cat)
After taking a decade off, Evan Dando's ability to write catchy, wistful power-pop numbers like this remain as splendid as his hair.

"Bombs Away" (MySpace stream) -- Velvet (Dec. 21, Black Cat)
These locals have flown under the radar for nearly a decade with a sound that remains indebted to the guitar-heavy crunch of alt-rock's heyday.

"Across the Universe" -- Rufus Wainwright (Dec. 21-22, 9:30 Club)
Here's another cover from someone doing a two-night stand at the 9:30 club. Rufus Wainwright infuses this sometimes overlooked, late Beatles classic with his usual dramatic flourishes, but he refrains from going too over the top.

"Last Supper" -- Rosetta Stoned (Dec. 22, DC9)
The local hip-hop crew drops a track with vocals that sound like an intriguing cross between Digital Underground's Humpty and underground jokester MC Paul Barman.

"Oh Girl" -- Hackensaw Boys (Dec. 22, Black Cat)
The mountain music revivalists know their way around, banjo, fiddle and multi-part harmonies.

"Let's Rock" -- Chrissete Michele (Dec. 29, Constitution Hall)
Here's one artist you'll be hearing plenty from in 2008. Songs like this find Michele hitting that perfect middle ground where neo-soul, R&B and hip-hop meet.

"Miracles" (Full stream song) -- Mambo Sauce (Dec. 31, 9:30 club)
The area's most up-and-coming go-go band incorporates modern R&B influences into its beat-heavy sound.

By David Malitz  | November 30, 2007; 6:16 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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