Author Archives: Amanda Pittman

TVD Live: Trampled
by Turtles at the 9:30 Club, 4/22

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | When the boys from Duluth took the stage, they did so in reverent harmony. Each entered the stage and picked up their instrument without addressing the crowd as Dave Simonett began “Wild Animals.” Everyone settled in and got comfortable, ready for show.

In the last few years as Bluegrass has resurged in popularity, it’s also created a very specific fan-base. You can rest assured that whoever lists Bluegrass among their favorite music won’t be an asshole. Trampled by Turtles, or Trampled, or TbT, whichever you prefer—their fans are no different. That “Minnesota Nice” that we’ve heard about on the East Coast is something their fans seem to have taken to heart.

Despite the subject matter, Bluegrass has an easy way about it, and Trampled reminded us of that. “Valley” is an especially acute reminder throughout the chorus: “There’s peace in the valley/ Just give it some time.” It’s no wonder that as our lives get busier, as we surround ourselves with distractions, as the world often seems to be crumbling—solace can be found in acknowledging this fact through music, which can just as easily dismissed. Something else will happen tomorrow, and we’ll get through that too.

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TVD Live: Young Fathers at the Rock & Roll Hotel, 4/12

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Young Fathers have been called a lot of things, Krautrock, experimental—whatever it is, it’s the best of politically aware spoken word and hip-hop that will make you dance. After winning the Mercury Award for their debut LP Dead, they came back with the controversially titled White Men are Black Men Too.

Sunday night Steve Morrison took the stage like a conductor, mostly unnoticed by the crowd before he stoically struck the drums. Someone let out a shriek and all eyes turned as the rest of the band joined him on stage for the familiar “No Way.” They carried the crowd’s energy into “Queen is Dead” off their “Tape Two” EP.

Live, each young father’s role within the band is clearly defined in a way that’s difficult to infer from a recording. Even in today’s saturated world of electronic music, it’s usually clear that someone is pushing the buttons while someone else is singing, but Young Fathers has three very distinct voices complementing each other. While G adds dimension with his low howls, Kayus brings the energy as he moves about the stage, Alloysious is the steady harmony bringing it together.

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TVD Live Shots: Honeyblood and
2:54 at DC9, 2/28

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | For anyone missing the ’90s, specifically the days of Riot Grrrls owning the stage, Honeyblood is what has been missing from your playlist.

Their particular brand of tart pop vibrates with fuzzy guitars and mellow vocals. This Scottish duo brought their assaulting feminist pop anthems to DC9 this past Saturday.

I was first turned on to them after hearing “Super Rat” and was hooked. Where their contemporaries turn love songs into a melodramatic whine-fests, Honeyblood takes that world and spits in its face. Their nonchalance is beguiling and captivating, they aren’t here for your entertainment, but their music is.

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TVD Live: Hoodie Allen at the New Parish, 5/10

Thursday night I got off the BART and found myself lost. A couple of blocks in the wrong direction and I’d passed the same two boys a couple of times – they were 16 and equally lost. Together we found our way to The New Parish for Hoodie Allen.

When I arrived to the SOLD OUT show, I was surprised to find that it wasn’t oversold. People, while crowding the stage, still had room to move, but specifically dance. There wasn’t anyone too cool in the crowd.

Thursday night’s crowd was full of people under 21, maybe even mostly under 18, but they raged harder than most crowds of drunken twenty-somethings. And unlike the drunken twenty-somethings, they probably have better memories than we do, though I’d be curious to know how many pick up on all of his early pop-culture references from the late nineties and early two-thousands.

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Hoodie Allen:
The TVD Interview

Three years ago while finishing his undergraduate degree at University of Pennsylvania, Steven Markowitz put out his first mix-tape under the pseudonym Hoodie Allen. Since then he’s put out two additional mix-tapes and finally this year’s EP, All American, his first collection of completely original work.

Despite being far from the typical Hip-hop star, his popularity is undeniable and he’s running up the charts. All American hit #1 on iTunes and #10 on Billboard, and he’s selling out shows all across the country, Canada, and the U.K.

Growing up in New York, you must have been exposed to a variety of music. Who are your favorite acts, and how have they influenced your music?

I don’t know how many local influences I have. I grew up loving Outkast and Little Brother. I guess the Beastie Boys were pretty legendary for me. Their use of sampling definitely inspired me. Paul’s Boutique is one of my favorite albums.

Your songs can vary from rap to pop. Do you consider yourself a rapper or a singer/songwriter? What was your experience with music growing up – did you play instruments, sing in choirs, etc?

I’m somewhere in between. Rap is my most used medium but I don’t think I approach music like a rapper would. I did sing in school but I was mostly and always have been focused on writing since a young age.

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TVD Live: Oh Land at
the Black Cat, 12/9

Friday night, the Black Cat’s young, stylish, and SOLD OUT crowd eagerly awaited the appearance of everyone’s (recent) favorite Dane, Oh Land.

She emerged on stage through her signature bunch of white balloons, each balloon reflecting (or digitally projecting) her face as an eerie, but surreal backdrop to her bouncing figure. The intro to “Perfection” played as she scatted briefly before moving into the lyrics. The breezy longing radiated through her voice and brought each of us to attention as she towered above us.

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TVD 24-Hour Ticket Giveaway: They Might Be Giants at the 9:30 Club, 11/26

They Might Be Giants! Yeah!

It’s been two decades since the release of TMBG’s Flood; while not their first, it has proved to be the favorite and perhaps the most resounding of their albums. They made us feel a little bit cooler for being nerds, and we may have attempted to make our class presentations slightly more interesting with the use of their songs—it was unsuccessful, by the way, because no fourteen-year-old cares about the content of the Sun.

I’m sorry. But, at least you tried! I bet you got an A.

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TVD Live: The Sea and Cake at Black Cat, 11/10

Entering the Black Cat main stage Thursday evening, one was thrown into 1997. The fans were dressed in over-sized sweaters and ill-fitting jeans, most of which they probably bought in 1997. The Sea and Cake were dressed similarly and took the stage quietly.

The cool kids had stayed home, leaving room for everyone else to spread out, ensuring everyone quite enough personal space. This isn’t to say that the club was empty, it wasn’t, there was just an awareness about everyone as not to be too close to anyone else if they could help it. Perhaps it was a respect and regard for fellow concert goers that I’m not used to, but it felt like a room full of wallflowers at the eighth grade formal.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Peter Murphy and
She Wants Revenge
at the 9:30 Club, 11/16

Next Wednesday, goth-rock icon Peter Murphy and She Wants Revenge will be sharing the 9:30 Club stage for a late night of dark rock. And we do mean late, doors open at 10 pm.

Peter Murphy has come a long way since his Bauhaus days, and as much as we may have loved them, we still love the “Godfather of Goth.” This year’ Ninth continues his legacy of darkness. He creates a sound large enough to envelop the listener without becoming lost.

She Wants Revenge released their third album Valleyheart this year. They may not be the godfather, but their sound can be equally as dark as Murphy’s, and may have been shaped by Bauhaus as well.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 14 Comments

The Sea and Cake:
The TVD Interview

The Sea and Cake kicked off the their tour this weekend  for their latest album, The Moonlight Butterfly.

“We just played four shows in South America. I think the upcoming shows will be different,” said Sam Prekop, frontman of one of the longest-lasting and better known indie bands of the nineties. “Over the years we’ve always had periods of hiatus, we always push it to the point where it’s not insane to get back together as a band, we can still do it, there’s not lost connection, we don’t have to reintroduce us to each other. It’s helpful because we’re able to do other projects that contribute to The Sea and Cake.”

“There’s been two or three, about three year breaks. It’s not like we don’t play during those breaks, they’re usually after a record so we end up touring for about a year after we put out a record, but it’s never quite as long as it seems to the public,” he adds.

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TVD Live: Ladytron
at the 9:30 Club, 10/11

Ladytron took the stage Tuesday evening to a packed 9:30 Club, at least for being so early in the week. As I looked around from the balcony it seemed that the audience was made up primarily of men, which I found odd. Most of the people I know that are Ladytron fans are women. Though among the heavily male crowd there was one girl who stood out.

She was six. When asked, she didn’t have a favorite Ladytron song because she liked “all of them.” And when they opened she danced with the enthusiasm that so many of the former-goth kids lacked.

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TVD Live: Jens Lekman at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 10/5

My love for Jens Lekman began years ago when a friend made me a mix CD and included “A Postcard to Nina”—the ever popular, elegant, but more so, eloquent song of a truly troubled love tri-angle.

I will assume that if you are reading this, you know the song, so I will spare you an explanation. But that song, it was the reason I listened to the rest of his catalogue. Each song is written seemingly as spoken word, and some songs do include just that, but also his ability to take the lull of conversation and put it into the beauty of a song. Beyond his lyrics, there is a story that he keeps adequately detailed, though equally vague.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Ladytron at the 9:30 Club, 10/11

In the wake of their recent release Gravity the Seducer, Ladytron will be bringing their tour to the 9:30 Club this Tuesday, October 11th.

The electronic, synth-pop outfit has spent the last decade creating an eerie, haunting soundtrack to our darker thoughts. Sometimes, what one isn’t encouraged to express is often found in their music. From “Seventeen” to the recent “White Elephant,” we relate, but maybe don’t want to. The dark beauty of it all has garnered a cult following.

We have a pair of tickets for one of you, if you can tell us your favorite Ladytron song in the comments.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 11 Comments

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Bryan Ferry at the Strathmore, Monday 10/3 (Sold Out!)

Bryan Ferry will be playing a SOLD OUT show at The Music Center at Strathmore as part of his Olympia tour this upcoming Monday, October 3rd.

We have a pair of tickets to give away for the glam-rock turned adult contemporary star’s show.

Ferry began in the early ’70s with the Roxy Music group as their lead vocalist. In his forty-year career he’s contributed to Art Rock, Pop, Glam Rock, New Wave and currently New Romanticism. After Roxy Music broke up in the early ’80s, Ferry continued as a solo artist, though since their reunion in 2001, he has maintained both acts. He has contributed to almost two dozen albums between his Roxy and solo careers. Among his more popular albums were For Your Pleasure and Boys and Girls.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 7 Comments

TVD Live: Cymbals Eat Guitars with Hooray for Earth and Beige at the Black Cat, 9/24

Cymbals Eat Guitars recently released their sophomore album, Lenses Alien, to critical acclaim. They have seemingly avoided the “sophomore slump” and created an album that has something for everyone. Lenses Alien doesn’t sit still, it is in constant motion, it pushes the listener to constant motion, it’s a jumble of melodies and rhythm that borrows from many genres. Pop? It’s there. Noise rock? It’s there, too. Post-hardcore? Yep. It’s all wrapped up and rolled into a rock record.

The band’s current lineup came about shortly after the release of their first album Why There Are Mountains. It was while playing CMJ in 2009 that they, as they currently are, found their groove. They had only known each other briefly before the festival began, and used the showcases as practice. By the time they opened for the Flaming Lips in London, they had only played about ten shows together.

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