Wednesday, August 26
Free Energy includes a couple of dudes that used to be in indie rock classicists Hockey Night. But you don't care about that, and nor should you. Free Energy is a different beast entirely, and if the band's debut single is any indication, it's going to be a beast well worth riding. (Note to self: No more beast metaphors.) That debut single is called "Free Energy," and when a song is named after the band, you can be pretty sure that it's a mission statement. And "Free Energy" announces itself with serious swagger: Within the first 45 seconds you've got big, bright guitar riffs straight out of the Cheap Trick playbook, doubled-up guitar solos that scream Thin Lizzy, an opening lyric of "We're breaking out this time/Making out with the wind/And I'm so disconnected/I'm never gonna check back in," plus more cowbell to please even the most ironic T-shirt wearer. It's a shameless '70s album rock tribute that sounds fresher than most of today's indie rock. Catch them at the Black Cat.
Like his stylistic forebears Diamond D, Pete Rock and J Dilla, Kev Brown (listen) is one of those artists that keeps you debating with yourself on whether he's a better producer or MC. On the beats, his work is simultaneously minimalist and layered, with staccato drum hits keeping time as fluid basslines weave in and out of the quarter notes. On the raps, Kev's sense of humor sneaks up on you after his no-nonsense tone, timing and clever phrasing hit you first. After his first album, Kev spent the bulk of his career building a discography of features and outside production for artists such as De La Soul, Eric Roberson and Bahamadia, but recently dropped Random Joints, a full length project of beats he's produced. Kev gets it in with his Low Budget crew at Liv to mark the occasion.
Thursday, August 27
The lazy days of summer are coming to an end, and with them go the chance to while away an evening on Donovan House's rooftop deck. From the views of Thomas Circle's green space to the views of people lolling on lounge chairs next to the pool, it's quickly become one of the city's best rooftop lounges, even if getting in can be difficult, thanks to various invite-only events. So here's a chance: Tonight, there's a fundraiser at Donovan House for Menzfit, a non-profit that provides suits, job interview advice and career training to low-income men in Washington and Philadelphia. With a $20 donation to the charity, you're welcome to mingle from 7:30 to 10. (Cocktail attire is requested.) LaVar and Trish Arrington are on the event committee, so you never know who might be there. RSVP to RSVPMenzfit@gmail.com.
Local trio True Womanhood is an increasingly rare commodity in that you never know exactly what to expect from the band when you see them play. Sometimes you'll get some good old-fashioned indie rock guitar noise, sometimes you'll get experimental noodling using instruments that barely qualify as instruments. But since most bands present such a pre-packaged product, TW's expect-the-unexpected routine is refreshing. Deleted Scenes, another fine band of locals, starts the evening at the Black Cat with its smart and slippery songs.
DJ Geometrix (listen/download) is one of those names you see gracing flyers all over town -- Ibiza, Ultrabar, Lotus Lounge, Eyebar, etc. -- because while he spins a party-rocking mix of hip-hop, Top-40 mashups and '80s remixes, he's one of the rare DJs who also has the technical skills to keep blending in new tunes into the mix and making things interesting. He's making an appearance at the all-'90s 95 Live party at Steve's Bar Room this week, and it will be interesting to see what kind of old-school joints Geometrix can surprise the crowd with when they're not asking him to play the latest Hot 99.5 hit. Ladies should plan to arrive early: There's free champagne from 9 to 11.
Friday, August 28
We'd understand where all the jokes about D.C. fashion come from if your only exposure is the Ann Taylor Loft-and-white sneaker combos you see on the Metro in the morning. But if you browse boutiques like Treasury or For the Greater Good, or hit the right concerts and DJ nights, you know that there's something bubbling up here. For instance: Panda Head, an online fashion and culture magazine, is celebrating its first year and fifth "issue" at Comet Ping Pong with a free release party that would be the envy of most nightclubs: the epic Southern boogie of U.S. Royalty (listen), minimal electro-soul from the Laughing Man (listen), hip-shaking indie courtesy of Fffever (listen) and frenetic grooves from New Rock Church of Fire (listen). Throw in a crowd that dresses for the occasion, two-for-$5 Pabst Blue Ribbon and assorted DJs, and you've got the most fashionable party of the weekend.
From recording with KRS-One to touring Brazil, Mello-D and the Rados (listen) have been expanding exposure to D.C. hip-hop for years, but the group continues to bring it back to the small spaces off of U Street. Check them out at Expo tonight and get double the live hip-hop band flavor, as they share the stage with Baltimore's Soul Cannon.
Four years ago, the Capitol Lounge was the site of a devastating fire, which the fire department blamed on a cigarette tossed into a trash can. Smoke and water damaged the interior, and it took almost four months for one half of the building to reopen. In honor of the anniversary, there's a fundraising party for the D.C. Fire Department's Burn Foundation. There's a fire wing eating competition (e-mail email@example.com to sign up) and themed drink specials, including $4 Fire Rock Pale Ale and Capitol Amber drafts and $4 Prairie Fire shots. The party starts at 6 and goes until close.
No Control is the exact opposite of most Black Cat DJ nights, which is why we like it. Instead of some electro remix or vintage ? and the Mysterians track, DJs Steve EP and Denman play the Bad Brains, Minor Threat or the Misfits -- loud, snotty, aggressive punk and hardcore salted with a touch of thrash. For their one-year anniversary party, Matt Moffatt of Smash, the shop that's been a breeding ground for young punks over the decades, will also be spinning a few records. Dress to pogo: black T-shirts required, Doc Martens optional. The free, all-ages party runs from 10 to 2.
If you went to high school in the '90s, as your Nightlife Agenda authors did, then this is your week. Hot on the heels of DJ Geometrix's 95 Live appearance is the return of No Scrubs, where DJs Brian Billion and Will Eastman unapologetically haul out every song that you love and are sometimes too embarrassed to remember: Nirvana, Boyz II Men, R. Kelly, Wreckx-N-Effcts, Haddaway's "What Is Love?" Crowds at the Black Cat ate up the party, even though a good number of them were too young to remember from the first time around. (Sorry kids, but the giant Xs are a dead giveaway.) We have to say we're surprised that the party is moving from the Cat to the cavernous 9:30 club stage tonight. Will the party have the same vibe? Let's hope so.
Saturday, August 29
There are only two more weeks of the Brightest Young Things Summer Camp pool parties, and this one's pretty nuts: Up-and-coming D.C. hip-hop artist Tabi Bonney (listen) is performing live on the poolside deck, and the DJ lineup -- Tittsworth, Matt Nordstrom and Stereofaith -- is worthy of headlining the 9:30 club. It's going to be the best electro/house/indie mix you'll hear anywhere this weekend. (Call it a hunch.) Admission is $10. BYO towel or pay $3. All drinks are $5 or less.
Looking for great dance music in a lower-than-low-key environment? Meet Push, the last-Saturday-of-the-month party at Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club. DJs Juan (of the longtime fixtures East Coast Boogiemen), Joe L. and Dimitri Max spin house, disco, breaks, rare grooves and other gems. The bar's out-of-the-way location means that the crowd is a mix of regulars and folks who care about the music, and isn't that really what you want? The no-cover party gets underway at 10 p.m.
Someone should remind Jesse Elliott that it's 2009 and not 1966. Actually, scratch that. Let the frontman of local rockers These United States keep up his prolific recording pace of yesteryear. Saturday's show at the Black Cat marks the release of "Everything Touches Everything," the third full-length offering in 18 months from TUS. Elliott's albums always sound a bit different -- the new one features relatively glossy, hook-filled rockers, following previous explorations of jangly alt-country and electronic-tinged indie-pop -- but a distinctly romantic vision of America remains the defining characteristic of the band's sound. TUS's live shows regularly take on a hootenanny feel, and that should especially be the case at tonight's celebration.
Sunday, August 30
A lot of times we'll get a press release from a band and when describing the sound of said band the phrase "impossible to categorize" will be used. This is accurate approximately 0.2% of the time. Richmond's ILAD may not fall into that 0.2%, but they come a whole lot closer than most, and they at least had the decent taste not to claim they were beyond categorization. But the quartet whips up a variety of sounds that always leave you off balance, whether it's chilly chamber-pop, jazzy electro or even a jumpy hoe down or two. Catch the band at Galaxy Hut tonight.
Monday, August 31
In the twelve years since Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek dropped their first single as Reflection Eternal, the duo forged respectable solo careers -- Kweli rising from the underground to be a widely recognized microphonist and Hi-Tek manning the boards for Dr. Dre and G-Unit, among others. They're finally coming back together for a second album (watch), which is a relief to the fans who still make 2000's "Train of Thought" a favorite despite the duo's memorable solo output. Joining Kweli and Ti-Tek for their reunion at 9:30 Club are Detroit hip-hop standard bearers Slum Village, improvisational rap phenom Supernatural, DJ Pete Rock and lyrical supergroup Slaughterhouse.
There's another winner tonight at Galaxy Hut, with local power pop favorites Title Tracks making the trek to Virginia. With just a dozen or so performances under its collective belt, the band has turned into a tight live unit, but that shouldn't come as a surprise considering three band members formerly played in Georgie James. Original guitarist Meredith Munoz moved out of town, but new guitarist Nick Anderson has entered the fold and there's been no signs of a slowdown. Frontman John Davis hosts the excellent 1-2-3-4 More More More show on WOXY.com, and if you've heard his selections there, you'll have a good idea of what to expect from his band. Sure, as a DJ he dips into some noisier stuff, but the real highlights are the long-forgotten power pop gems he digs up. Davis is too modest to play his own songs on his show, but be assured, his best tunes would fit right in.
-- Fritz, Rhome and David
| August 25, 2009; 6:48 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs, Music
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