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Posted at 6:01 PM ET, 05/26/2009

Nightlife Agenda

By David Malitz

Brooklyn trio Au Revoir Simone plays electro-pop that never gets too perky. (Sarah Wilmer)

It's not officially summer, but Brightest Young Things are getting a head start on the season with the start of its weekly pool party at Capitol Skyline Hotel. Artomatic kicks off, with plenty of music to go with the visual stuff, especially on opening night. R&B rock star Martin Luther comes to the Warehouse and Loft and Monday offers a great chance to catch some local bands.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Monday

Thursday, May 28
It's been a while since we've heard from R&B rock star Martin Luther (listen), but you may have seen him. He had a major part in "Across the Universe," where he portrayed a Jimi Hendrix-type character. It was a fitting role for him, as he certainly has the guitar wiz thing down. (Perhaps you've seen him do his thing with the Roots before.) He's still working on the follow-up to 2004's almost-breakout album, "Rebel Soul Music," so expect to hear lots of new songs tonight at the Warehouse and Loft. The old stuff was a canny mix of gospel-inflected vocals, sultry grooves and some guitar heroics. If it's more of the same, this will be a good one.

The concert calendar at Sixth and I Synagogue has been pretty bare over the past couple months, but tonight's is a little more venue-appropriate, and it should still have some widespread appeal. Bestselling author Jonathan Safran Foer, he of "Everything Is Illuminated" fame and jealousy-inducing, cool-sounding name, will stop by to talk about Shavuout. Don't worry, most Jews don't even know what that is. In addition to Foer there will be music from Girls in Trouble (listen), who play sprightly indie pop songs about Biblical things. There will also be yoga, film screenings and cooking demos. It's all free if you RSVP by the end of Wednesday.

Some folks are immediately going to hate on Elevator Fight (listen) because the lead singer Zoe Kravitz is the progeny of a celebrity pairing (Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet). Others will be blindly excited about the band for the same reason. The point that both groups are missing is that the Elevator Fight is a solid collection of musicians playing youthful gen-Y slightly garagey rock that's good for bouncing around to. Elevator fight makes its debut at Liv tonight.

Friday, May 29
Loda at Silver Spring's Gallery has emerged as one of the area's consistent go-to options for electronic music: the Friday night party has brought big names such as Carl Craig and Kevin Saunderson. Martyn (listen) might not be in that same stratosphere, his brand of drum 'n' bass has quickly made him a name to know on the circuit. D 'n b is a traditionally sinister-sounding genre, the type of music to listen to in almost complete darkness. But Martyn lets some light into his tunes, and that makes for a successful and fresh take on the music.

Artomatic is more than just a clearinghouse for every local artist who wants his or her stuff seen -- it's also a place where bands can get out there and be heard. The 10th anniversary event kicks off tonight, and there will be plenty of aural stimulation to go along with the visual. Music is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and go past midnight on multiple stages featuring multiple genres. You can see the full lineup, but some highlights should include: Petworth (listen), a local trio with a bit of a grungy sound (that's a good thing); 302 Acid (listen), a long-running audio-visual-live-electro project; and the accordion-fueled cabaret stylings of Milkmachine.

Saturday, May 30
So the Brightest Young Things crew was probably thinking, "Man, we just don't sponsor enough events in this city, we better get on top of that!" And thus, BYT Summer Camp was born. Every Saturday this summer, the local everywhere-always bloggers will be hosting a pool party that stretches from noon to 11 p.m. They seem to be taking the Summer Camp name seriously -- there will be arts and crafts, games, music and more. Just hope there's no instructional swim. Man, I hated instructional swim. I forged many a sick note to get out of that. Anyway, for this first installment of the series at Capitol Skyline Hotel, Nightlife Agenda faves Beautiful Swimmers (listen) will be on hand to spin some poolside disco delights. If you feel like dancing, just be careful. It can get slippery.

Au Revoir Simone (listen) plays synth-pop, but it sure isn't bubbly and bouncy. The trio's third -- and best -- album, "Still Night, Still Light," stays in a constant state of mopiness. But sadness suits these three ladies well. The cooing harmonies and subtle shifts are more interesting than just another keyboard-driven rave-up; they show growth in songwriting chops. Sad songs might not be the best soundtrack for a Saturday night out on the town, but there are plenty of other opportunities to get happy. Jeffrey Lewis (listen) and the Antlers (listen) open at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

(The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope (listen) may not be a local band anymore, but we still get to see them fairly regularly, which is good. You can never go wrong with a dose of heavy, head-spinning psych rock from this quartet. This weekend's visit to the band's old hometown will be different than most. No Black Cat or Velvet Lounge -- shocking! Instead, the band will cram itself into Crooked Beat Records for a free show before heading to Marvin to helm the DJ controls for the night.

Monday, June 1
Go see some local music tonight. Here are your choices: 1) Carol Bui (listen) will be doing her slashing guitar rock over at Galaxy Hut. It used to be that her name would appear in local listings all the time -- not so much anymore. So take advantage of this opportunity, especially since it's at the best bar in the world. 2) One band that does play out a whole lot is Screen Vinyl Image (listen). It's always a sonic thrill when the trio does its goth-shoegaze-noise thing. Catch their show opening for Norway's I Was A King (listen) at the Black Cat. Or, 3) you can head to Iota for the monthly Federal Reserve showcase. Who knows exactly who will show up? Whoever it is, you can be pretty sure you'll get your $5 worth with some alternately rollicking and relaxing folk tunes.

-- David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By David Malitz  | May 26, 2009; 6:01 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Music  
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