Author Archives: Laura Irene

Bill Daly of Crooked
Beat Records: The TVD

Music is a connector for millions of people and a barrier breaker for language. It is a simple sound changed by an interesting beat that welcomes all to get on their feet.  While music is produced in almost every format today, the most desirable is that on vinyl.

A vinyl record is still the only mode of listening that keeps music the center of attention. It’s an investment of time and a dedication to one album promising that we will stick around to turn it over, store it in its proper upright position and cherish it as one of the few treasures we physically own. Vinyl keeps the music and the experience in tandem, starting with the process of shopping for a record.

The record shop is also an investment of time we forget we need, leaving with a stack of records and the excited feeling of wanting to run home and give it a spin. It’s the one experience you can’t rush, you can’t duplicate, and can’t cheat. Bill Daly of Crooked Beat Records in Adams Morgan is a champion for the truth in music and the genuine appreciation of the record.

Crooked Beat started off in Raleigh, North Carolina and recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary, with plans to stay in business for another twenty at least. It’s located under a stairwell welcoming customers with its bright red door, out-of-print posters adorning the walls, and a carefully tended best seller rack that lures in new prospects.

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TVD’s 9:30 Club April Concert Preview

It’s a new month, and that means plenty of new 9:30 Club shows to get excited about. Here’s your April preview and an extra chance to win tickets to the show of your choice from below— don’t forget to answer the challenge at the bottom! Here are five shows to spring you into action.

Galactic, Sun 4/14

New Orleans funk masters Galactic released their last album, titled Carnivale Electricos, on ANTI Records in 2012. This is the first time they’ve made an album dedicated to the spirit of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Carnival is celebrated worldwide, and in South America everyone gets into the spirit by throwing water at anyone and everyone that passes by—sometimes even buckets at a time. Laughter and music fill the streets, uniting people in a celebratory good time. New Orleans lives out this infectious spirit in the USA, and Galactic captures it in a uniquely funky album.

Get to the club for 18 years of experience and love for a city that embodies the true spirit of music. The band states, “GALACTIC is, always was, and always will be a funk band. Whatever genre of music anyone in New Orleans is doing, from Mardi Gras Indians to rock bands to hardcore rappers, it’s all funk at the bottom, because funk is the common musical language, the lingua franca of New Orleans music.” We’ll have your chance this week to win tickets to this funky good time.

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TVD Recommends:
Foul Swoops and Plums at CD Cellar tonight, 4/4

While hardly foul, DC band Foul Swoops do seize audiences with their brand of rock ‘n’ roll.  Raised on the blues, brothers Devin and Sean Connell are devoted to keeping music in their blood.  With the addition of drummer Laurie Spector, the trio are unstoppable.  Foul Swoops are known widely outside of the District, but they continue to favor local shows. However, they are changing that up this month, taking off on a mini-tour.  Catch Foul Swoops at their tour kickoff show with Plums tonight, April 4, at 9pm at CD Cellar in Arlington. The show is free, but donations are appreciated.

Foul Swoops are a no-frills band, formed in 2009 and releasing only one album to date, a self-titled four-song EP via Yeah Gates.  Cornering the market on garage rock in DC, the trio have garnered a positive stream of success, having opened for Dirty Beaches, Frankie Rose, Parquet Courts, Harlem, and Jeff the Brotherhood over the years.

Most recently, the band released “Good Looks” under the radar, presenting a more polished recording than previous songs.  More songs are expected this month; however, no official date has been released.  While the trickling of songs from Foul Swoops has been slow, the most recent “Good Looks” is a good-looking sample of what we might expect from Foul Swoops this year.

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TVD Recommends: Young Rapids at the Dunes, 3/29

Young Rapids have garnered a successful following in their hometown of Washington, DC, packing sold-out shows and exciting crowds to get on their feet. For most of April, Young Rapids will tour the country, bringing their infectious spirit to ears up and down the coast. Before they take off, catch the Young Rapids at The Dunes for their tour kickoff party this Friday, March 29, which is FREE, but donations are appreciated.

Special guests will help kick off Young Rapids tour, starting with an acoustic set by Ryan Hunter Mitchell of Shark Week (8:30pm), Adios Ghost from NYC (9:30pm), and headliners Young Rapids at 10:30pm. In addition to music, there will be late night sets from DJ Joe Korbel and a synth set from Collin Crowe of Buildings.

Young Rapids—Dan Gleason, Joe Bentley, Nick Martin, and Colin Kelly—have come a long way since their debut Day Light Savings album release at the Dunes last year. In that time, they have recorded a Daytrotter session, opened for Beach Fossils to a sold-out crowd, and have moved in together to intently focus on their next moves.

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TVD Recommends: The Pietasters, Caz and The Day Laborers, and The Shifters at the Black Cat, 3/27

Todd Bryan Eckhardt was the bass player and songwriter for the DC-based ska band, The Pietasters. In 2001, Todd died in his sleep of a viral heart infection, but his memory lives on through the band’s music.

Tomorrow night, join The Pietasters, Caz and the Day Laborers, and The Shifters at the Black Cat for a benefit show for the Todd Eckhardt Scholarship Fund for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, presented by DC Brau, Ska Brewing, and Country Malt Group.

The Pietasters have remained a staple in the ska world for over  two decades. One of their most critically acclaimed albums came in the form of a dedication to their fallen mate. In 2002 they released Turbo, an album titled after Todd Eckhardt’s nickname. It has been six years since their last full length release All Day, but the Ska legends have already experienced great successes, having opened for legends Joe Strummer and James Brown—pinnacles for any band.

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Thao Nguyen:
The TVD Interview

Last month, Thao Nguyen’s band Thao and The Get Down Stay Down released their latest album, We The Common, on a new label, Ribbon Music—part of Domino Records. Thao, originally from Falls Church, Virginia, grew up never having lived in DC proper, nor had she included herself in the DC music scene. She was a kid of the suburbs, a part of her “bedroom scene,” teaching herself guitar in her mom’s basement and attending open mics with her friend. After Nguyen graduated from high school, she went off to William and Mary, where her senior year she was signed to Kill Rock Stars, a career started by sending off an email to her idol.

Nguyen’s story is a humble one, raised by her single mother in the suburbs. She was always interested in music, but it was at the age of 12 when she first picked up an instrument and concentrated on this endeavor. “I was working at my mom’s laundromat. I’d make change behind the counter, fold laundry, and play my guitar on the side.”  When Thao was not at home or at her mother’s laundromat, she often loved visiting the CD Cellar in Falls Church, a place where she discovered and bought music.

I had the opportunity to talk to Thao on the phone, in between getting back from Canada and driving to an in-person radio interview.  We talked about Virginia, the beginning of her career as a successful musician, and her album. Thao and The Get Down Stay Down play tonight, March 20, to a sold-out crowd at the Black Cat.

You said you were a kid of suburbs. How did you go from playing music by yourself to knowing that music was the career you wanted for yourself? Did you play with bands growing up?

I wasn’t really part of a real band; there was a sort of folk country trio I was a part of, but that didn’t go anywhere. We had a band for an afternoon trying to cover Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine,” but I couldn’t get past that first riff. I spent a lot of time doing music on my own and going to open mics with my one friend.

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The TVD Interview

Paperhaus, the Washington, DC foursome who reside in the DIY collective space also known as “The Paperhaus,” have released two EPs and have plans to record a full-length album this summer.

Alex Tebeleff, Eduardo Rivera, John Di Lascio, and Brandon Moses will release the second EP, Lo Hi Lo (physical copies only) TONIGHT (3/15) at their EP release show at the Rock and Roll Hotel, presented by DC Music Download for its one-year anniversary. The start of a long two-month tour will be fully funded by their Kickstarter campaign, which has only seven days left and is at 70% of its $10,000 goal.

On a perfect Sunday afternoon in Petworth, we were greeted by a live version of “All Through the Night,” a new song from their upcoming EP. After our private serenade, we nestled comfortably on the sunny back porch and talked about how Paperhaus has become an an integral part of the DC DIY music scene, creating music for the community, their Kickstarter campaign, and their love of vinyl.

Is the Petworth neighborhood accepting of Paperhaus as a space for DIY shows and your music in general?

Brandon: Yeah, we just had a neighbor come over and try to produce an album for us! (laughs) Kids used to come over and play and bang on the drums. Alex, especially, has always reached out to the kids in the neighborhood.

Alex: The neighbors are super supportive. Sometimes when we play, they come by and sit on the grass and listen to the music.

John: We want to have good relations with our neighbors. If we were having fights with the neighbors, it would mess up our chi. If we had to cut everything off at 11, we’d do it, but so far everyone is really great, and the neighbors even come over for our shows. There really isn’t a better place to live in than in Petworth; the people who live here really are a community.

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TVD’s 9:30 Club March Concert Preview

It’s a new month, and that means plenty of new 9:30 Club shows to get excited about. Here’s your March preview and an extra chance to win tickets to the show of your choice from below—don’t forget to answer the challenge at the bottom! Here are four shows spanning the gamut, featuring artists who have played music for decades.

Jukebox the Ghost with Matt Pond, Sat 3/16

Yep Roc Records artist Jukebox the Ghost is a Philadelphia-born, Brooklyn-based three-piece rock band. Ben Thornewill (vocals, piano), Tommy Siegel (vocals, guitar), and Jesse Kristin (drums) have been around since 2006, releasing their last album, Safe Travels, in 2012. Tommy Siegel has a local connection, a partnership with DC’s Ryan Little, for the record label Bad Friend Records.

“It felt like the music was finally growing with us—Songs that relate to who we are as people right now, not who we were when we were 19 or 20,” Siegel said. “This record is more heartfelt; part of that came from not worrying about exactly what kind of music we were supposed to be making and instead just working on songs that felt genuine and natural at the time.”

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TVD Premiere:
Cigarette, Gush

Gush is the first full length album from Washington, DC band, Cigarette. Richard Howard, Jonathan Howard, Evan Napala, and Drew Hagelin and I took over the back room at CD Cellar in Arlington where we dissected the album, recorded with Hays Holladay of Bluebrain in a make-shift studio behind a Peruvian chicken restaurant in Arlington, VA.

During our conversation, I uncovered the deep love the friends have for each other, an unbroken bond that is rare among a band of six. Their connection is the key to their musical success, exposing their most vulnerable thoughts to each other as the process by which their songs are written. 

Gush will be released on vinyl this spring but you can stream the entire album exclusively on The Vinyl District this week before the official digital release.

Gush is hauntingly deep and honest. How did you go about incorporating your separate personal feelings into one song that shared the entire band’s perspective?

Richard: When we wrote “Waste You,” I heard the guys playing guitars through the floor and the words came to me and so I ran downstairs and just starting singing. That’s how we wrote that song.

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Shark Week:
The TVD Interview

Shark Week started out as a band that just wanted to have a little fun, but during their year-long existence, have achieved the kind of success in their short lifespan that many bands strive for years to achieve. Now with a final line-up, and upcoming SXSW and Sweetlife festivals, things are really taking off for the local band. To help celebrate their success, catch Shark Week tonight, March 8, at the Rock and Roll Hotel for their SXSW send-off party.

We met up with Shark Week’s Ryan Mitchell, Danielle Vu, Dan Newhauser, and Alberto Pacheco at Eastern Confederate, front man Mitchell’s vintage and unique subterranean hair salon in Mount Pleasant, which is guarded by two sweet cats. We had a very entertaining conversation as to how the band has evolved over the past year, their recent trip to Puerto Rico, and of course, vinyl. Today, Shark Week release the video for “Baby Maybe,” shot in Puerto Rico and soon available on their forthcoming 7-inch single.

Shark Week has recorded two songs for a 7-inch vinyl single set to come out in April titled “Santurce,” named after the city in Puerto Rico where it was recorded. Can you talk about that experience and how you ended up in Puerto Rico?

Dan: We met these guys, Fantasmes, a band from Puerto Rico—we randomly got booked with them in Philly and New York and became friends. They asked us to come visit, and we decided to actually take them up on it. They have a studio there, so we decided to record while we were there. It was great. It’s a beautiful place, and we really liked how everything came out.

Alberto: That whole feeling ends up on the record, like a destination thing, at least for us.

Ryan: Yeah, we picked songs that we thought would put us in the right mood while we were down there. It’s a little slower than [the self-titled debut EP]. It’s not that we have progressed as a band—we just are putting out a different set of songs.

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TVD Recommends: Office of Future Plans
at the Black Cat, 3/8
(& Vinyl Giveaway!)

Office of Future Plans was never supposed to be a band, yet destiny planned otherwise.

J. Robbins (guitar/vocals), Darren Zentek (drums), Brooks Harlan (bass/vocals), and Gordon Withers (cello/ guitar) are all well-established, far from the days of buying a van and going on tour for months at a time. Family comes first for these fellas, which makes a perfect fit for the band and Dischord Records, a label that supports their family-oriented lifestyle, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011.

Withers told us, “Office of Future Plans has reached what is success, at least for us. We are excited to still do music we love, but we are also full-time husbands and fathers. We all did long tours when we were younger, but that isn’t something any of us desire anymore. Dischord has been amazing to work with; I couldn’t imagine a better fit for us.”

As the band does not tour much, be sure to check them out this Friday at the Black Cat for their album release party with Kepone and Daria. Other tour dates include March 9 at The Fire in Philadelphia and March 10 at Strange Matter in Richmond.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Gordon Withers,
Dark Side of the Moon on Cello

The cello, a member of the violin family, is the second-largest bowed string instrument in the modern symphony orchestra. DC Cellist, Gordon Withers, takes the traditional orchestra instrument and transforms it into a highly sought after sound for a modern-day rock band. Much like the bowed string instrument, Gordon Withers, has established himself as a desirable addition, anchoring and transforming a band to a higher musical level.

Gordon’s successful solo career has opened many new doors for the cello, including being the cellist and guitarist for Dischord Records‘ Office of Future Plans.  Other notable collaborations include cello/ arrangement for We All Inherit The Moon, cello for WoodworkingsBELLS≥, The Pauses, Peter Maybarduk, Rotary Club NYC, and others.

Gordon has been playing cello for over 25 years, starting as a child in the fourth grade and playing in rock bands growing up.  A role model for the younger generation, Gordon makes the cello cool, proving that the cello isn’t just for recitals and concert halls anymore. “It only keeps getting better as you continue to learn. In the beginning it’s really about learning the vocabulary. Once you learn the vocabulary, it gets more fun because you can play more and better music. I still find myself learning new things even 25 years later.”

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Weekend Shots!

It has been two weeks too long, let us reunite with a band that is all the rage, old souls, and a super group for your last weekend in February.

Friday, 2/22: Parquet Courts with Roomrunner and Foul Swoops at Black Cat

Texans now living in Brooklyn, Parquet Courts, have been making music since 2010, however you’d think they just arrived on the music scene with the rapid coverage the band has received over the past months. Andrew Savage (lead vocals, guitar), Austin Brown (guitar), Sean Yeaton (bass), and Max Savage (drums) released their debut album, American Specialties, on a limited cassette release, but now have moved toward releasing their latest album, Light Up Gold, originally released last August via Dull Tools, re-released by What’s Your Rupture? this year, leaving behind the lone cassette tape.

Parquet Courts were originally set to play a house show in DC last month, but with their quick rise, cancelled and are now playing Black Cat’s Mainstage. However don’t let their fast rise to indie fame fool you, these twenty-something men wear their heart on their sleeve. “Emotional honesty isn’t encouraged in our generation; cynicism is encouraged. It’s not in vogue really to wear your emotions on your sleeve, mostly because people take that to be too nostalgic or romantic– but I don’t.”

Get to the Cat and check out what all the buzz is about, this time the bees are right and get there early for Foul Swoops- a headliner in their own right.

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TVD Recommends: The Caribbean, Talk It, and The Plums at Comet Ping Pong, Friday 2/15


Sasha Lord presides over Connecticut Avenue, NW these days, transforming the popular pizza joint, Comet Ping Pong, into a prized music venue at night. Ping-pong tables disappear and the music gear takes over for an intimate venue setting.

The talent that has come through Comet under Lord’s rule has been impressive, not only booking out-of-state bands before they are widely known, Lord also generously gives the stage to only the best of DC’s local bands and such will be the case Friday night.  Sasha Lord Presents, The Caribbean, Talk It and The Plums—lay claim to your own piece of Caribbean treasure, while enjoying Plums ripe for consumption and Talk It in between your ears at Comet Ping Pong Friday night.

The Caribbean, Michael Kentoff, Matthew Byars, and Dave Jones, formed in 2000, releasing their third full length album in 2011, Discontinued Perfume, to much critical acclaim, yet still remain, I think, a greatly overlooked band.

In a world of sensory overload, it’s nice to find a band who present themselves in a lovely, unassuming manner. Signed to the well-respected Hometapes label, “making official the little things in life that define us,” it is no wonder the two aligned. Hometapes states: “Quite possibly the best demo we will ever receive came in the mail from our nation’s capital, thanks to The Caribbean.”

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TVD Recommends: Cigarette with Hand Grenade Job at Above the Bike Shop, 2/14

As humans we hope to experience a kind of love that reaches deep down, bringing out the buried secrets we hold dear to a safe level before we let them free. Once free, we are then released from our individual cells and connected with that which we call love.

Once our deepest thoughts are turned loose, we become closer to being truly free. Free to turn a sad memory into a lovely line let loose and turned to hope. This kind of love doesn’t lend itself to speak an easily recognizable language, yet you understand every word. This love is rare and yet exists in the vocabulary of Cigarette. Fitting, they will offer their love potion on Valentine’s Day, and you should be there, as it is rude to turn your back on love.

Cigarette is a six-piece band from Virginia made up of Jonathan and Richard Howard, Evan Napala, Johnny Ward, Benjamin Brown, and John Andrew Hagelin. Their full length album, Gush, is set to release this March, however their live show has already established Cigarette as something that is good for you.

Sean Peoples told us previously, “There are some bands that work really hard, or have something really special, like Cigarette for example. If you enjoy slow brooding pop music, but pop pitched down by 50%, it’s beautiful. It’s chambery, subtle, with a lot of different instrumentation. It’s one of the more special musical experiences you can have in this city.”

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