Author Archives: Jenn Bress

TVD Live: Skinny Puppy, Army of the Universe, Technophobia at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 2/11

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Cloaked in a black, pointy hooded cape and resembling a haunted porcelain-faced clown, Nvek Ogre emerged, huddled under a dirty yellow umbrella. He shielded himself from the audience in dramatic tension as The Fillmore Silver Spring’s long-awaited Skinny Puppy show began. A flood of images projected not only onto the band, but a tiled series of screens behind them. The effect was cinematic and intensely visceral and paired perfectly with the band’s iconic electronic sound.

It’s been eight years since Skinny Puppy have released any music or toured. The current line-up is a far cry from the original line-up, lacking Dwayne Goettel on keys, but at least contains seminal members Nvek Ogre and cEvin Key. Skinny Puppy’s new material is cleaner and not as experimental or heavy as the earlier catalog, but this doesn’t detract from a brutal and theatrical performance from the current line-up. Army of the Universe and DC’s Technophobia joined them for the magical evening.

With a dozen studio albums and two current releases, the Vancouver BC group had a lot of material to choose from to perform. With the release of two current albums, it was anticipated that the set would consist of newer material, and that was the case for the most part. They opened with “Illisit,” off of their recent 2013 release Weapon, and launched into a few songs off The Greater Wrong of the Right. The set included classics such as “Warlock,” which samples Charles Manson mid-song, saying, “Now is the only thing that’s real,” “Spazmolytic” off Too Dark Park, and “Curcible” off The Process.

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Three reasons to attend the Travis Jackson Memorial Fundraiser at the Black Cat on 2/13

By now, you have probably heard about the recent loss of much loved and respected musician and record label owner Travis Jackson. Travis Jackson, founder of Windian Records and ex-drummer in the DC garage band The Points was tragically killed in a collision almost exactly a month ago on Jan 15th. Travis left behind a wife and child, and a memorial fund has been set up to raise money on their behalf.

This Thursday, Thee Lolitas, End Crimes, and DJ’s Mad Squirrel and Baby Alcatraz have organized a benefit show at The Black Cat to help raise money for the Jackson family. It starts at 8 and tickets are $10. DC’s event is part of a series of Windian Records fundraisers scattered across the country, illustrating that Travis’ reach extended not only locally but across the nation as well.


If you have been thinking about attending Thursday’s fundraising event but are possibly on the fence, allow me to present you with three compelling arguments for why you should definitely do so which includes: honoring his memory, supporting friends and family, and hearing some really great music because he would have wanted you to have the best night ever.

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TVD Live: Church of Misery at Ottobar, 11/14

PHOTOS: VALERIE PAULSGROVE | The crew who traveled from DC with me to catch the first of Church of Misery’s US shows on tour were very thankful we did. Luckily, I made it in time to catch Against the Grain and Iron Man, though we unfortunately missed Musket Hawk.

We were never the same again, all blackened and some of us bruised, but each and every one of us were forever deafened and defeated by the most epic of doom metal shows to have graced Ottobar in a long time. (Though you who live in Baltimore are privy to an assortment of accessible metal shows, so if you disagree, I’m curious what might have topped this.)

Church of Misery

Since 1995, Tatsu Mikami and an ever-changing lineup have frequented the US with serial-killer-inspired doom metal. “He pretty much serenaded me the entire show,” my friend Lauren cooed. She was front and center under a sweat-drenched Mikami, whose dramatic hands repeatedly shot to the ceiling in violent emphatics and handed her the mic to sing during a few songs.

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TVD Live: U+N Fest 2
at the Ottobar, 10/19

PHOTOS: MARK ZIMIN | Last weekend was all about U+N Fest 2, an explosive punk/garage music festival dominating three days in Baltimore, MD. In its second year, the festival was created by Unregistered Nurse Booking, aka music promoter Dana Murphy, who has been booking and promoting shows in Maryland for over five years. 

I had so much fun that the show literally shook the teeth out of my skull, and I was only there for Saturday, so imagine the dentures I might be needing if I’d hung out the whole time. U+N Fest attracted some quality DC peeps to Baltimore, and some excellent Baltimore folks to The Ottobar and The Wind Up Space for much-anticipated sets, including headliners Pissed Jeans and The Gories.


A diverse lineup sets U+N Festival apart from other punk/garage showcases, and Saturday’s show is a great example. Unregistered Nurse Booking’s deep understanding of the punk and garage genre was exemplified by the lineup: the classic bluesy garage of The Gories, the primal energy of The Ar-Kaics, and a darker and artier post-punk end of the spectrum with Weekend, Disappears, and Wild Honey. Peach Kelli Pop flipped the spectrum to bubblegum pop punk. Wetbrain and Tweens kept it grungy, and JP5 added that slight tint of of alt-country twang.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: U+N Fest 2 at the Ottobar in Baltimore, 10/18–10/19

For over five years, Unregistered Nurse Booking has booked some of the most enviable punk, garage, rock, and indie shows throughout Baltimore. Not surprisingly named Baltimore’s Best Music Promoter in 2012 by The Baltimore City Paper, they have secured some pretty awesome bands for their second annual music festival, spanning two jam-packed nights on October 18 and 19 at The Ottobar, as well as a day show at the Windup Space on Saturday, October 19.

Sub Pop‘s Pissed Jeans headline Friday night, and The Gories, Detroit garage heavyweights of the ’80s, headline Saturday night. The Gories started touring again in 2009 with The Oblivians and have toured sporadically since. Unfortunately, they are not passing through DC, so if you want to see them, traveling to Baltimore is your best bet.

We’re giving away one pass to a lucky winner, granting them access to Friday’s show at the Ottobar, Saturday’s day show at the Wind Up Space, and Saturday night’s show at the Ottobar.

Slumberland Records‘ indie shoegazers Weekend join the line-up on Saturday, and I am super-excited to see them. The headliners are also supported by many other amazing acts, including Roomrunner, Ex Cult, and more. We’ve got the complete line up, including set times, posted below.

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TVD Live: Ceremony with Ed Schrader’s Music Beat at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 8/12

PHOTOS: KRISTIN HORGEN | While still remaining true to their original hardcore sound during their live shows, Ceremony’s latest album is a major deviation from the “power violence” exemplified in their last two albums. The band started experimenting with a brattier punk sound on Rohnert Park, gaining the attention of Seattle-based record producer and recording artist John Goodmanson. If you learn about one producer this year, it should be about Goodmanson, who has produced records for a diverse cache of indie bands including Weezer, Blood Brothers, Nada Surf, and many albums by Sleater Kinney. Goodmanson also has credibility working with punk bands such as Bikini Kill and Unwound.

“Often I’m more interested in a band’s ambition than their past releases,” says Goodmanson, who has been influencing notable indie bands for over two decades. That is why seeing Ceremony on tour right now is so compelling; their current album explores ’70s post-punk in its heyday, evoking early influencers of the genre such as Wire, and The Fall.

This show was one of a week’s worth of shows celebrating the Seven-Year Anniversary for The Rock and Roll Hotel. (If that doesn’t make you old, the Black Cat’s upcoming 20th might.) Ceremony headlined a brutal lineup that included support from Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Give, and Barge. If you made it out Monday, you got what you came for, a well-paced set of hardcore interspersed with arty post-punk.

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TVD Live: Bleached with Hunters and Priests at DC9, 4/18

I was in New York last weekend staying at my friend’s place and noticed the first record in his record crate was Mika Miko’s We Be Xuxa LP. I gave him and myself an internal high-five because it got me really stoked to see Mika Miko’s Clavin sisters (Jennifer and Jessica) at DC9 in their newest band Bleached the following week.

It was going to be a fun show. Hunters, touring with Bleached, were rumored to be excellent live performers, and Dischord Records‘ Priests are local favorites of mine and should be for anyone who likes strong female-fronted punk bands.

The Clavin sisters took to the stage as an eager crowd filled around them. Supermodel-sexy drummer Jonathan Safley followed, covered in tattoos, and limping with a cane. “We partied really hard in Atlanta, it was his first time drinking,” they joked. “He did a jump kick off our tour van,” Jennifer explained to us. Bleached launched into “Dreaming Without You” to an overly receptive crowd that didn’t calm down for their entire set.

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TVD Recommends:
Stop Worrying & Love the Bomb, Birthday Suits, The NVs at The Pinch tonight, 4/11

Alright, bozos. If you haven’t fit The Pinch into your rotation of places to see really good shows free, don’t get all pissed when I call you out for being lazy. It’s never too late to play catch up, though, and tomorrow I’ve got a few reasons for you to come out:

One: Sal Go. Two: City Slang Booking stamp of approval. Three: Duh, it’s FREE! (But really, it’s the music that motivates you, right?) You’ll see Stop Worrying & Love the BombBirthday Suits, and The NVs free.

Let me break it down for you.

We love Sal Go, so naturally we’re on board with her band. We also love ladies that kick ass and takes names, and Sal’s a busy lady with many projects. She’s involved in multiple bands, designs show posters, and has even written for TVD in the past. We wonder if there is anything she can’t do.

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TVD Live: The Feelies at the 9:30 Club, 3/27

It’s good to have The Feelies back, touring somewhat regularly for the past couple of years. I’m happy to ride the wave of momentum they have built recently, playing shows rumored to include multiple sets and epic encores. Wednesday’s 9:30 Club performance was no exception. Feelies fans were rewarded with excellent beer and music in exchange for making their way over the mid-week hump to catch the show.

Once dubbed “The Best Underground Band in NY” by the Village Voice, The Feelies have had multiple self-imposed setbacks that might have contributed to them flying a bit under the musical radar. As The Feelies gained momentum in the early ’80s with their brilliant and unconventional release Crazy Rhythms, followed by the The Good Earth, touring frustrations arose and the band disappeared for five years. They released a couple more albums, dealt with a shitty manager, shared a cross-country tour with Lou Reed, and then founding member Bill Million lost interest in music, and the band split up… for 17 years.

Thankfully, Dogfish Head Brewery have good taste and curated an event with great beer and even better music. I’m sure snagging The Feelies for an event is no easy feat. I’ll say this: it was weird to see a beer logo projected onto the wall while a still relatively underground indie band played, which just drove home the whole college rock thing often associated with the band.

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TVD Recommends:
The Feelies at the 9:30 Club, 3/27

After a 19-year break, post-punk essential band The Feelies are still churning out great music with their fifth studio album, Here Before. They’ll be at the 9:30 Club this Wednesday, March 27, presented by Dogfish Head Brewery.

People generally shit on New Jersey, but if anything good ever emerged from the Garden state, it’s The Feelies (and The Shirelles, and The Vivian Girls, and…I digress). Often lumped in with post-punk or (my favorite) the “college rock” genre, Feelies’ songs are known for layered jangly guitars and the fast pace of their Crazy Rhythms (the title of their best-known and first album, and the title track below, for those that don’t get my reference).

After a brief self-imposed exhile in the ’80s, The Feelies recorded The Good Earth with the help of Peter Buck of REM. This is how I think they have ended up with the horrible “college rock” classification that I associate with shit like Blues Traveler, and, well, REM (whose early stuff is not shit, though).

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TVD Live: Beach Fossils with Young Rapids and Go Cozy at DC9, 3/1

Few things keep me smiling for days like a good live show, other than getting laid or making some shit I’m really proud of.

One of the joys of my post-conference four-day weekend was experiencing Captured Tracks‘ dream/punk lovelies Beach Fossils play a show so raucous I am still scraping blood off of my knees. ” This is definitely the most fun crowd we’ve played for so far,” said singer Dustin Payseur to a crowd of bright, young shining faces. DC’s Young Rapids and Go Cozy primed the sold-out crowd at DC9 last Friday with glimmering indie, setting the tone for a very memorable evening.

So, I’ve been to my share of punk rock shows, and I’m always one of the few girls jumping around in the pit ready to get sweaty. I’ve writhed around with dudes three times bigger than me, gotten stomped, moshed, and fallen on, but there is always someone ready to help me out; it’s just show etiquette  This Beach Fossils show was a bunch of pointy teen elbows flying from all directions. With the start of the opening song, the self-titled first track off Clash the Trueth, Payseur dissapeared into the audience. “I can tell you guys are going to be fun,” he exclaimed, and pandemonium ensued.

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TVD Recommends: Beach Fossils at DC9, 3/1

The first time I saw Beach Fossils, they played a barely attended show at The Velvet Lounge, on tour right before their self-titled LP was released. I remember vividly walking right up to Dustin Payseur and telling him how fantastic I thought they were, and he charmingly thanked me and told me they would be back soon touring to promo the full-length LP.

It’s been a few years since then, and now Beach Fossils headline a sold-out DC9 this Friday, touring in support of Clash The Truth, the band’s second full-length LP released on Captured Tracks.

Originally a solo performer, Payseur has cycled through many musicians to eventually form Beach Fossils. While Cole Smith of DIIV got away, an energetic stage presence still persists, and Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils have amassed a large following. Clash the Truth, produced by The Men’s Ben Greenberg, strides past “bedroom project” towards something this is more punk in its roots.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: The DC Funk-Punk Throwback Jam at the 9:30 Club, 2/24

In celebration of the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s opening of the exhibit Pump Me Up, The D.C. Subculture of the 1980s, the ultimate DC hardcore and Go-Go blow out will happen at the 9:30 Club on this Sunday, February 24.

The DC Funk-Punk Throwback Jam will feature pioneering go-go acts such as Trouble Funk, Junkyard and DJ Kool, along with the pivotal DC hardcore bands Worlds Collide, Black Market Baby, Youth Brigade, and more. The entire event is hosted by none other than Henry Rollins, who is also DJing the Corcoran gallery opening.

The Corcoran’s Pump Me Up “traces the history of graffiti in Washington while emphasizing its inextricable ties to the burgeoning forms of local music.” The 9:30 Club will showcase some of the top-billing bands that appeared on go-go posters that lined the city in the 1980s. The exhibition includes sections on the work of “COOL ‘DISCO’ DAN, the DC punk, hardcore, and Go-Go scenes, concert posters…and other visual culture.”

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TVD Live: Toro Y Moi and Wild Belle at the 9:30 Club, 2/10

While Sundays are for snuggling with a date hungover in front of the TV watching an Archer marathon, anyone who made it to the sold-out Toro Y Moi show at the 9:30 Club were in for a dance party, whether they liked it or not.

Joined by Dog Bite and Wild Belle, the club slowly filled with the audience for Toro Y Moi, but those who missed opening band Wild Belle should be punching themselves right now.

As Toro Y Moi took the stage, it looked like a Blinds2Go ad. Four white panels framed the stage as the crowd filled up extremely tight, uncomfortably so. It’s exciting to see so many people pumped for a show. A diverse crowd of jocks, hipsters, and the 24-35, the crowd was a suitable demographic for Myspace advertisements.

Honestly, as I looked around, I did not see as many neon clad youngsters as I expected. Well, lo and behold, those Blinds2Go were a trippy neon background that framed and highlighted the silhouette of each band member. Not the most riveting performers live, this helped add some visual pop to their performance. But this all didn’t matter because what was coming out of those gigantic speakers was pure bliss.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Toro Y Moi, Anything
in Return

So, I’m totally gonna be that girl awkwardly dancing at the Toro Y Moi show, kinda like Chazwick Bundick does in his “Say That” video. I mean, I already awkward dance on my bike when I’m riding along listening to Anything in Return. I’m kinda surprised I haven’t flipped backwards because I bounce kinda hard to every single song. 

Better known as Toro Y Moi, Chazwick Bundick has been making music since he graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2009. A close friend with Washed Out’s Ernest Greene, he has helped shape the chillwave movement, along with other bands such as Small Black and Memory Tapes. These bands share a love of the ’80s, with heavy synths that inspire me to make a lot of trippy cat art on Instagram.

Toro Y Moi has released three studio albums and is touring to promote the latest, Anything in Returnvia Carpark Records, released earlier this month. If you haven’t heard it yet, it’s really amazing. You’re going to dance your way to high heaven if you are lucky enough to win the LP that we’re giving away right here.

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