Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: The Sounds
at the 9:30 Club, 4/12

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS Decked out in a black mini-dress, motorcycle jacket, and metallic stilettos, her bleached hair held back in a ponytail, The Sounds lead singer Maja Ivarsson certainly looks like your quintessential rock star. And with a full-volume, energetic show Saturday night at the 9:30 Club, the band proved to an enthusiastic crowd that sixteen years later, they still have it.

Despite playing an early show—The Sounds took the stage at 7:45pm—the Swedish new wave act performed as if were midnight. Formed in 1998, the band’s set included songs from all five of their albums, from their 2002 hit debut, Living in America to their most recent effort Weekend, released in late 2013. Their sound has varied little over the years, sometimes adding more punk elements or more synth or leaning toward dance or pop. This consistency allowed the show to feel complete, despite the time span their songs covered.

Within this deep history, The Sounds are not known for their sophisticated song writing or musical originality—but they are known for catchy rock and dance tracks. Most of their songs work especially well translated live, with their often-simple lyrics easy for eager fans to sing along to every word with Ivarsson.

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TVD Live: Hurray for the Riff Raff at the Sixth & I Synagogue, 4/9

Last Wednesday night, Hurray for the Riff Raff played in front of a packed house at the beautiful Sixth & I historic synagogue in DC. Their performance exhibited their remarkable talents as both stage performers and songwriters.

Touring to promote their new album Small Town Heroes, the Riff Raff’s stop in our fair city made for one lovely night of music at one of DC’s most unique venues. When Alynda Segarra took the stage, she looked up from her fixed guitar stance and said, “Wow, this is a beautiful place” just before she went into her set.

There is a simple yet unstated beauty that lies within folk songs, especially when they are performed in the correct manner. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s performance in DC was one that I will always remember fondly. Segarra’s vocals were as mesmerizing as they were enchanting.

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TVD Recommends: Wolfmother at the Lincoln Theatre, 5/20

Wolfmother are back together, despite not having two of their original band members, and are better than ever. A full year after announcing the breakup of the band, they are on tour and will be making a stop at the Lincoln Theatre in DC on May 20.

Formed in 2000 by lead singer and guitarist Andrew Stockdale, Wolfmother are an Australian rock band that did not receive much recognition until the release of their self-titled debut album, Wolfmother in late 2005.

After Wolfmother, the band rapidly gained success, and Wolfmother blew up all over the US. “Woman,” a single from their debut album, won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2006. Their songs were featured in major movie soundtracks such as The Hangover, Jackass Number Two, and Shrek The Third. They played every big-name music festival, from Lollapalooza to Coachella. These guys were on top of the music world.

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Ten vinyl singles that influenced Davidson Ospina

At first listen, Davidson Opsina’s production work might reveal he studied the sounds that defined underground club music. Ospina grew up in Queens in the 1980s where music was its own ecosystem. Influences such as Latin, breakdance, and hip-hop filled out the hierarchy of sounds in urban NYC. Music was experimental, self-referencing, and lent itself to universal access, more or less.

Ospina was the proverbial kid in a candy store.

He’ll be a special guest deejay at this month’s 1,001 Beats event presented by DC’s transformational art collective, Meso Creso. Because he is such a fan of vinyl and the golden age of house music, I couldn’t let him pass through the District without sharing his favorite singles.

1. “Voodoo Ray” – A Guy Called Gerald | Recorded over 2 days in the late spring/early summer of 1988, “Voodoo Ray” was one of hottest singles of its year.

The squelch-heavy groove was released on 7-inch and 12-inch vinyl formats, on the Rham! label. Conceived at Moonraker Studios in Manchester, Rham! pressed 500 copies of the record that sold out in one day, solidifying Gerald’s reign as important figure in the acid house sub-genre.

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TVD Live: Rocket From The Crypt at the Black Cat, 4/05

Rocket from the Crypt, the legendary rockers from San Diego, California invaded the Black Cat last Saturday night to play to a sold out crowd of their most loyal and intrepid DC fans. The Black Cat’s show has been sold out for months and was the last show on the east coast leg of the band’s reunion tour that started in 2013. The boys from sunny California have a just a few more dates scheduled for their current tour and both performances are set at festivals in Canada early this summer.

When Rocket from the Crypt formed in 1989, the punk inspired indie-rockers quickly developed an almost cult-like following that spread like wildfire from California, quickly moving eastwards. John Reis (AKA Speedo), who is one of my personal favorite guitar players to this day, is at the helm of this band and takes on duties as guitar player and lead vocalist for the band.

Reis has been associated with arguably some of the best and most unique bands to come out of the ’90s and 2000s. He has played with acts such as Pitchfork, Hot Snakes, The Night Marchers, The Sultans, and Drive Like Jehu, which Reis actually formed around the same time as Rocket from the Crypt. Joining Reis in RFTC is drummer Mario Rubalcaba (Hot Snakes, Clickatat Ikatowi), saxophone player Apollo 9, trumpet player JC 2000, guitarist Andy “ND” Stamets (The Sultans), and Petey X on Bass guitar.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: The Sounds at the 9:30 Club, 4/12

A year after the release of their fifth studio album Weekend, the new wave indie Swedish rock band The Sounds is back touring North America. Their dance-punk and ‘80s-rock vibes have been compared to that of Blondie, The Cars, and Berlin.

With songs like “Shake, Shake, Shake,” The Sounds recreate their classic disco-influenced beats, while adding a punky guitar vibe that differs from that of their previous albums.

Lead keyboard and guitarist Jesper Anderberg explained Weekend as “a groove based on five members who have been playing music together for a long time. We weren’t looking to overthink the song writing, and especially wanted to make it sound like we just hit the switch on the amps and just started playing the songs.” Front woman Maja Ivarsson has said that the band’s newest album is meant to “capture what [they] do best—which is putting on a great live show.”

On April 12, you will have the opportunity to see their great live show at the 9:30 Club, with electronic duos Blondfire and Ghost Beach as support, and we have a pair of tickets to give away to help make that happen.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Galantis at the 9:30 Club, 4/24

You’ve probably heard by now that noted musicians Christian Karlsson of Miike Snow and lyrical pop genius Linus Elkow from Style of Eye have joined forces to create one hell of a self-titled debut EP, Galantis, which was released earlier this week.

Karlsson has written and produced for Madonna, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears, including Spears’ ubiquitous hit “Toxic,” and Elkow wrote and produced Icona Pop’s chart-topper “I Love It.” But for themselves, the pair have moved away from such pop sensibilities. Only after listening to their debut EP will you realize the eccentric and groovy tunes that deliver a truly unique ’90s-meets-euro-house feel.

This powerhouse duo will have their debut at Coachella, and then their nationwide tour kicks off right here in Washington, DC, at the 9:30 Club on April 24. The show will include “production surprises,” as they believe that a DJ set would not do the EP justice. We have a pair of tickets to give away so that you and a friend can experience it all in person.

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TVD Recommends:
We Fought the Big One 10-Year Anniversary Party at Marx Cafe, 4/4

Well sure, DJ nights are all the rage these days, but not so much in 2004 when our friends Rick Taylor and Brandon Grover set about with their Post Punk/Peel Party, WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE at DC’s Marx Cafe. Their monthly shindig celebrates its 10th Anniversary TONIGHT and we thought of all the records played over the years, getting the lads to narrow down 10 favorites by way of an introduction for the uninitiated would be in order—and they set to it with aplomb:

“This is our attempt at trying to whittle down the 10 tracks that have most defined WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE over the last 10 years. And actually, no hair pulling, food throwing, or fist-fighting over these. WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE comrade Brandon Grover and I were in complete agreement on these 10 songs.”

WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE: 10 Years in 10 Songs
The Lines – “Nerve Pylon” (1980) | Quite possibly the most transcendent slice of DIY pop magic to have cast a spell on both Brandon and myself, capped by an extraordinary vocal performance from singer/ guitarist/ sound guru Rico Conning.

The Lines were from North London, but had absolutely zero showbiz instincts or commercial aspirations to speak of. And that may have been their undoing—that, and the fact they tended to write the kind of nuanced material that could only be fully appreciated after repeated listens. If you like this, I recommend investigating their back catalog, which was lovingly reissued via Acute Records a few years ago. Thank you Dan Selzer!

48 Chairs – “Snap It Around” (1979) | Ringing chord changes, a whiplash drum machine, sexy female vocals, darting synthesizers, and even a whiff of jazzy guitar—what’s not to love? This catchy and stylish single has been a long-time stable of WE FOUGHT THE BIG ONE through the years. 48 Chairs was the brainchild of U.K. multi-instrumentalist John Scott, who was John Cooper Clarke’s guitar player (back when famed Joy Division producer Martin Hannett was in the band).

Scott was a very active guy in his post-punk heydey, having a hand in a multitude of releases, including most of the Absurd Records singles. Martin Hannett fans take note—there is a cautionary message on the back of the single that promises this is “not a Martin Zero production.”

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TVD Live: Grouplove with MS MR at the 9:30 Club, 3/31


Selling out a three-night stint at DC’s 9:30 Club is no easy task, but the LA-based indie band Grouplove came and conquered box office sales with no problems at all. In fact, judging by the audience’s excitement level, the lady and gentlemen in the band could quite possibly go a few more nights here in our lovely city.

This hard-working and constantly touring band brought their high-energy performance, soaring vocals, and searing dance skills to a gracious yet enthusiastic audience at DC’s premier venue for a block of performances on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights.


Grouplove members include Hannah Hooper, Christian Zucconi, Sean Gadd, Andrew Wessen, and Ryan Rabin. Rabin, who is the band’s drummer, also served as producer on 2011′s release Never Trust a Happy Song. For a band that formed not that long ago in 2009, Grouplove has earned some major career milestones. The band has already seen major success with their most well-known single “Tongue Tied” going all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2012. That same year, they earned platinum status for album sales exceeding one million.

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TVD Live: …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead with La Femme and Midnight Masses at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 3/27

Rock & Roll Hotel was completely packed for last Thursday’s …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead show. 

They played a nearly two-hour set, including Source Tags & Codes in its entirety. Along with the rest of the crowd, the band dripped sweat as they crowd surfed and joined the pit for brief moments. Towards the end of their set, they allowed for the crowd to join them on stage.

Earlier, wearing masks, Midnight Masses got on stage to start off the night and performed straight through a slew of songs, not stopping for twenty-five minutes. I could barely tell when one song started and when another ended and wonder if the brevity in pauses was due to their starting 10 minutes later than scheduled.

After that, French punk band La Femme were shockingly able to start almost on time due to Midnight Masses’s short set. By the end of La Femme’s set, the crowd was shouting for an encore—one more song, two more songs, even three more songs. One person from the crowd screamed, “I want to have a thousand of your babies! You guys are awesome!”

Overall, it was one of the best punk shows I’ve seen all year.

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