Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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TVD Live: The Smokey Robinson Gershwin Prize Tribute Concert at DAR Constitution Hall, 11/16

Bob Dylan confirmed this week he won’t be going to Sweden next month to pick up his Nobel Prize Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American songbook.” But you better believe Smokey Robinson, whom Dylan once listed as a favorite poet (though the quote “America’s greatest living poet” appears to have been fabricated) did show up for his 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Two days of events this week culminated Wednesday night in a tribute concert at the DAR Constitution Hall being taped for a Black History Month PBS concert special to air next year.

For most of the 100 minutes, Robinson could sit in what looked like a throne on the side of the stage, beneath a golden replication of the Gershwin Prize medal, which has been previously given to Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach, and Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, and Willie Nelson (and, notably, not Dylan). It wasn’t quite Kennedy Center Awards-level artists who came on stage to honor him by singing his songs. In fact, several warranted a shrug.

And by the time Robinson took the stage at the event hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, he smoothly sang just one of his songs, “Being with You,” infused with a Spanish verse, along with one Gershwin classic, “Our Love is Here to Stay,” before bringing out the night’s cast for a sing-along to “My Girl,” which he had written for the Temptations. It wasn’t the first time Motown artists have flirted with the Great American Songbook. Label founder Berry Gordy has often tried to bring a sophistication to his roster of stars by having them sing at supper clubs or, in the case of Marvin Gaye, record an album of standards.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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TVD Live: Elvis Costello & the Imposters at the Warner Theater, 11/3

When Elvis Costello has ventured out without an album to support, the super-prolific songwriter has left his setlist’s fate to his always-entertaining Spinning Songbook wheel of songs. Currently, he’s taken the wheel himself, by featuring one fabled album from his career and building a show around that in a tour titled “Imperial Bedroom and Other Chambers.”

While he manages to cover the bulk of notable work, which his record company labeled “Masterpiece” upon release (to his embarrassment), Costello varied from other recent full-album recitals from Brian Wilson to Bruce Springsteen, by dropping a couple of its 15 tracks and spreading them around a very generous set that offset the contemplative Bedroom songs with early career blasts and crowd favorites.

Most all of it stayed well into the past. Aside from a trio of fascinating songs from an as yet unproduced new musical based on Budd Shulberg’s A Face in the Crowd, his newest recorded offering was one from his decade-old collaboration album with Allen Toussaint. Nostalgia might have been a little on the mind of the performer, as he bounded on stage in red hat to match his red Gibson guitar, fronting a lean trio that featured two of his longtime Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas as well as two backup singers.

“It’s been 38 years since we last played the Warner,” he said early in the set, referencing a set so significant, it was released on CD three decades later. “Back then we’d play 25 minutes of music that on a good night we’d get down to 15.” He made up with it Thursday with a near-Springsteen sized set of three straight hours and 34 songs all-told, from the rarity that opened it, “The Town Where Time Stood Still,” to the anthem that closed it, “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” — his one cover song of the night that he had also long since made his own.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

Read More »

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

Read More »

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | Leave a comment

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

Read More »

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | Leave a comment

Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

Read More »

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TVD Live Shots: Bad Religion and Against Me! at the Fillmore, 10/4

Last Thursday night The Fillmore Silver Spring played host to the DMV stop of “The Vox Populi 2016 Tour.” From the Latin “Voice of the People,” the tour features one of punk rock’s most iconic names, Bad Religion. In tow, one of the genre’s most critically acclaimed acts in recent years, Against Me!.

LA based Bad Religion have been touring and pounding out quintessential material since their inception in 1980, and Thursday frontman Greg Graffin, bassist Jay Bentley, guitarist Mike Dimkich, drummer Jamie Miller, and DC’s own Brian Baker on guitar treated the District’s audience’s to their unique and distinctive brand of punk.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing Bad Religion play live, their super charged guitar chords speeding just above the tight and steady bass and drum section, while Baker’s harmonizing guitar work seems to command the direction and flow of the music as a whole. Graffin’s lyrics, though melodic and poetic, have always been the driving force addressing serious social, theological, and political issues.

The band’s last official release, 2013’s True North was their sixteenth studio album and they have been steadily touring through Europe and the US. The current “Vox Populi” tour kicked off after this year’s stop at Riot Fest and will run through November 3rd, reaching most major US markets.

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TVD Live: Luna at the Birchmere, 9/29

“We miss you!” somebody yelled before Luna even started its show Thursday at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. “We were just here,” replied the unsentimental bandleader Dean Wareham.

He meant that they played DC at the 9:30 Club last summer, a booking so unexpected that many of their fans might have missed it altogether. After all, the band that thrived on the college underground in the ’90s departed with some fanfare in 2005 with a Bowery Ballroom gig that concluded Wareham’s revealing memoir, Black Postcards in 2008, and was filmed for posterity in a documentary that year which was, after all, titled Tell Me Do You Miss Me.

Despite touring and recording as Dean & Britta, the duo he continued after Luna with his wife and band bassist Britta Phillips, suddenly Luna itself returned last year after a decade’s absence with a tour in Spain and a few US dates. Without playing anything new, the future of the band is unknown, but they happened to be doing a few East Coast shows before playing Europe for a week. A few dates are scheduled for San Francisco in January, but that seems to be about it.

“We haven’t played since July,” Wareham, 53, said at one point. And maybe they don’t have to. But they certainly sounded good in their 15-song set that was heavy on a couple of albums that are more than 20 years old by now, Bewitched and Penthouse.

The music holds up very well with the laconic vocals from Wareham, in his glasses and mess of hair looking like a frenzied associate philosophy professor. He often stands as he delivers his oddly poetic and often amusing lyrics before delving into intricate guitar interplay with Sean Eden, a highlight of the band, as the rhythm section remains solid with Phillips inventive and melodic on the bass and Lee Wall drumming strongly and contentedly in the back, his frequent smile indicating that he among the band at least is happy to be back playing these songs.

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