This week catch Brazil's newest musical star at Bohemian Caverns, get schooled on the riot grrrl scene, see one of Baltimore's most unique bands (which is saying something) and hear some local hip-hop producers share some of their unreleased beats.
Thursday, Nov. 4
Luísa Maita is one of the leading young voices of Brazil, and she's doing it by adding modern touches to her country's traditional sounds. Bossa nova serves as a strong foundation on her debut album, "Lero-Lero," but she also incorporates hints of dance hall, electronica and gentle acoustic guitar of samba. Her sultry voice ties everything together and has helped garner her worldwide acclaim. Her first U.S. tour brings her to Bohemian Caverns for two shows on Thursday night; here's your chance to see a rising star in a very intimate setting.
The duo Floetry's appeal is all about the chemistry between Natalie Stewart's half-rapped, half-spoken counterpoint to Marsha Ambrosius's acrobatic singing. The two made an impact on stage, garnered Grammy nominations and scored hits "Say Yes" and "Supastar," but it's been three years since the two artists parted ways. Marsha the "Songstress" is gearing up for a solo full-length release -- she's popped up on a lot of guest appearances -- but if you haven't been keeping up with the "Floacist," she'll be at Layla Lounge for a meet-and-greet and album-listening event.
Baltimore-via-North Carolina group Future Islands stands out in the indie landscape for a few reasons. The band plays synth-driven songs -- as do many -- but instead of gazing inward, the songs are expansive, at times massive. When the band opened for Dan Deacon last year, the crescendos easily filled the 9:30 Club, so it should be a big sound for the Black Cat's backstage. Singer Samuel Herring's voice is an odd but intriguing thing. Sometimes it's a raspy growl, like Tom Waits. More often it's dramatic, very enunciated and formal, like a narrator. Put that over surging rhythms, and you have one of the most unique bands on the indie circuit.
Friday, Nov. 5
It's hard to imagine a musical movement today being as strictly underground while making as much of an impact as Riot Grrrl did in the '90s. From Bikini Kill's self-released "Revolution Girl Style Now!" cassette to the breakthrough success of Sleater-Kinney, the movement helped bring gender equality to the male-dominated punk rock scene. Sara Marcus's new book, "Girls to the Front," chronicles the vibrant period, and she'll talk about it with D.C.'s own punk archivist, Mark Andersen. There will also be performances by bands such as Trophy Wife and the Gift that carry on the genre's legacy, and it's all free at St. Stephen's Church.
Does Clinic gain points for being so consistent over the course of its decade-plus career or lose points for basically doing the same thing over and over? We'll go with the former, especially because the band's live shows are so outstanding. They still wear those O.R. scrubs and play songs that fall into one of a few categories: surging, organ-fueled drone rock; speedy, short-burst punk rock or moody, melodica-driven, spaghetti-western fare. Openers Fresh and Onlys is a standout in the current garage-throwback pack; new album "Play It Strange" is its best collection yet of '60s psych-pop. See both bands at the Rock & Roll Hotel.
Sunday, Nov. 7
Has the MP3 killed the album? Has the MP3 killed the album cover? These are questions that can be debated, and the answers may not be cut and dried. It's hard to deny that there is something special about an album cover designed for a 12-inch record - vintage portraits, smoky black and white shots that have become iconic over the years. More than 80 album covers, curated by Neal Becton of Som Records, will be on display Sunday, ranging from the rare to the classic. Becton, along with DJ Cerebral and DJ 2-Tone Jones, will also provide tunes on the turntables at Lounge of III.
For every rap fan who picks apart their favorite emcee's rhymes, there's another who imagines what it would be like to explore the musical stashes of the best producers in the game. One can only guess how many monster beats have yet to be unleashed by teams of track bangers every time Busta Rhymes, Kanye or Jay-Z drops another hit. Get a glimpse inside the hip-hop producer's creative process at the Beatdown showcase where DJ Spinna, Bink!, Kev Brown and 88 Keys rock unreleased beats through a thunderous sound system. Between the four of them, they've got credits on songs by De La Soul, Rick Ross, Kid Cudi and Eminem as well as the big three named above. Sm City and Ra the MC will represent for the D.C. home team with full band performances at U Street Music Hall.
Monday, Nov. 8
It's never good when people talk at concerts, but the shows this Monday and Tuesday at the 9:30 Club demand absolute silence. It's nearly impossible to find a group that has more unadorned elegance than Mountain Man. Save for some very quiet, gently plucked acoustic guitar, the only elements on the band's songs are the nectar-sweet voices of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath. Almost jarring in their simplicity, the songs are refreshing and entrancing. Headliner Jonsi, best known for his work with glacial dream-pop band Sigur Ros, performs solo, putting the focus on his alluring falsetto. The vibrant mini-symphonies on new album "Go" are just as lush as when he's with the full band. There will usually be enough musical commotion that chatters will be drowned out, but you don't want to be that person shouting and drawing glares when the racket suddenly goes silent and you're talking over Jonsi's hushed voice.
--Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| November 2, 2010; 5:38 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs, Events, Music
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