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Southern Avenue
Bencoolen | @Union Stage | view more info »
Apr
26

Southern Avenue

Bencoolen


Thursday Apr 26|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Southern Avenue

official band site »

Southern Avenue is a Memphis street that runs from the easternmost part of the city limits all the way to Soulsville, the original home of Stax Records. Southern Avenue is also the name of a fiery young Memphis quintet that embodies its home city's soul, blues and gospel traditions, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. "If Memphis music is a genre, this is it!" proclaims American Blues Scene, and Rock 103FM calls Southern Avenue, "The most-talked-about band in Memphis."

Their self-titled debut album is a breath of fresh air with its own unique blend of gospel- tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. And Southern Avenue's upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo's talent and vision.

Southern Avenue features five young but seasoned musicians who came from diverse musical and personal backgrounds to create music that spans their wide-ranging musical interests, while showcasing the powerful chemistry that the group has honed through stage and studio experience.

Southern Avenue encompasses Memphis-born, church-bred sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson, respectively a soulful, charismatic singer and a subtle, powerful drummer; guitarist Ori Naftaly, an Israeli-born blues disciple who first came to America as an acclaimed solo artist; versatile jazz-inspired bassist Daniel McKee; and the band's newest addition, keyboardist Jeremy Powell, an early alumnus of Stax's legendary music academy.

The band members' diverse skills come together organically on Southern Avenue, scheduled for release on February 24, 2017 via Stax Records, a division of Concord Music Group. Produced by Kevin Houston (North Mississippi Allstars, Lucero, Patty Griffin), the 10-song album features guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and trumpeter Marc Franklin of the Bo-Keys. But it's Southern Avenue's own potent musical chemistry that drives such sublimely soulful originals as "Don't Give Up," "What Did I Do," "It's Gonna Be Alright," "Love Me Right" and "Wildflower." The band also pays tribute to its roots with an incandescent reading of Ann Peebles' Memphis soul classic "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love."

The seeds for Southern Avenue's birth were planted when Ori Naftaly, who'd grown up in Israel with a deeply rooted passion for American blues and funk, came to Memphis in 2013 to compete in the prestigious International Blues Challenge. That experience led to Naftaly moving permanently to Memphis and successfully touring the United States with his own band.

Although his talents were embraced by American audiences, Naftaly felt constrained in his own band, feeling the need to include a more expansive, collaborative musical vision. That opportunity arrived when he met Memphis native Tierinii Jackson, who'd gotten her start singing in church, before performing in a series of cover bands and theatrical projects.

According to Ori, "When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, 'This is why I came to America.' I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn't care so much about my solo thing."

"I initially clicked with Ori really well, but it was his project," Tierinii remembers. "Then he came to me and said 'I want this band to be a collaboration, I want this to be our vision and our music.' So we started writing together, and that's when I realized that we were really the same, musically."

"We started over," Naftaly continues. "We threw out most of the songs I'd been playing in my solo band, and Tierinii and I wrote a whole new set, and we became Southern Avenue. The more we played together, the closer we got, and the more we became a family. We started getting a different kind of crowd, and from there things escalated quickly."

"Ori said, 'My band is done, this is y'all's band,'" Tierinii recalls. "We all quit our other gigs and started focusing on this, working and writing and living together in a way that you don't experience when you're playing somebody else's music. Now we're playing songs that we wrote ourselves and we're playing them from our hearts. That is when I realized that we had something special."

Despite not having a record deal, Southern Avenue quickly found success touring in America and Europe. They won additional attention playing some prestigious festivals and competing in the International Blues Challenge, in which they represented Memphis. Less than a year after the band's formation, they were signed to the resurgent Stax label.

"I feel like being on Stax is a responsibility," says Tierinii. "I grew up in Memphis, seeing the name Stax everywhere. It was a constant presence, and now it's up to us to live up to that. I feel like this band can be a platform to do a lot of positive things for the city of Memphis. I want to change the world, but Memphis is home."

Tierinii views Southern Avenue as "a perfect soundtrack to our first year together. We wrote these songs in our first nine months of being a band. We'd all done so many things and come from so many different places, but the music represents all of us.

"It's been a real crash course," she continues. "We haven't been a band for very long, but what we have feels very special, and it's made us a strong unit. I think that we represent something that people need to see right now."

"This band has already made our dreams come true," Ori concludes. "I've waited all my life to be in a band like this, and it's amazing to me that I get to play with these people every night. Our goal is to keep doing this for a long time and leave our mark. We're trying to build a legacy."


Bencoolen

official band site »

Rock. Blues. Funk. Shred. Sax.

Bencoolen is no longer the band you know from their first EPs. The band has grown around a new lineup, toured, and rehearsed more than ever including booking major shows with Marcus King, Big Something, and at Firefly Music Festival. "Spotlight" was the introduction to their new wave. "The Crown" continues it in a recent release. The band is already touring relentlessly to save up toward another single and a full length recording project in the Summer of 2018. Ask anyone who has seen this lineup live. Bencoolen is tighter, raunchier, and more energetic with every passing show and logged 54 shows in 2017 alone.

One No Depression writer described Bencoolen's live act as, “Everything I had hoped for. Their enthusiasm and energy filled the room as the crowd looked on, filling up the venue with a prominent and boisterous vibrancy.”


 
Boy Named Banjo & Ghost Of Paul Revere
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
Apr
26

Boy Named Banjo & Ghost Of Paul Revere



Thursday Apr 26|doors 6:30 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Boy Named Banjo

official band site »

Boy Named Banjo is creating a lot of buzz in the americana and country scenes east of the Mississippi. the nashville natives founded the group in 2011, realeasing their first album The Tanglewood Sessions at the age of 18. the group has since released its sophomore record, Long Story Short (2014), and an EP, lost on main (2015). bnb took the stage at Bonnaro0 in 2015, which led to a nomination for "Best local Band (Nashville)" By The Tennesseean.


Ghost Of Paul Revere

official band site »

"We grew up listening to Radiohead and the Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd," says Griffin Sherry, guitarist/singer in The Ghost Of Paul Revere. "Everyone assumed we were a bluegrass band because we were playing these traditional instruments, but we weren’t writing traditional music. We were just writing songs with the instruments we had."

The result is a sound that the Portland, Maine-based band describes as "holler folk," not because it involves a lot of hollering, per se, but because it invokes the rich communal tradition of field hollers, with their call-and-response melodies, sing-along hooks, and densely layered harmonies. That sense of musical camaraderie is essential to everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, and nowhere is it more evident than their sophomore album, ''Monarch.'

The album builds on the success of the band's 2014 debut full-length, 'Believe,' and their 2015 EP, 'Field Notes Vol. 1,' which was recorded primarily in a single day at Converse's Rubber Tracks studio in Boston. The session was part of a prize package presented by the iconic Newport Folk Festival, which had invited the band to perform at the storied Rhode Island musical gathering earlier that year as part of a lineup featuring everyone from James Taylor and Jason Isbell to The Lone Bellow and Bela Fleck.

"The Monday before Newport we got a message saying to pack our bags and come on down," remembers Sherry. "We hadn't played much outside of Maine or started opening for any big acts yet at that point, and it was a hugely inspiring moment."

Word began to spread about the rowdy pickers from the north. The Boston Globe raved that they "create the type of music for which festivals are made," while No Depression said they "prove that superior roots music can come from anywhere," and Dispatch Magazine wrote that they possess not only "the chops, but the heart to reach their audience and leave an undeniable impression." Hitting listeners straight in the feelings has been the band's M.O. since its inception in 2011, and they've used their powerful stage show to convert the masses at every stop along their long and winding journey, which has included shared stages with artists like The Avett Brothers, The Travelin' McCourys, Brown Bird, The Revivalists, the Infamous Stringdusters, and more. The band sold out Port City Music Hall, Stone Mountain Arts Center, and the Strand Theater multiple times, won Best In Maine at the New England Music Awards, and capped off 2015 with an electrifying headline performance on New Year's Eve at Portland's State Theatre in front of 1,600 enraptured fans.

When it came time to record, 'Monarch,' though, the band knew they wanted to push the sonic envelope beyond the live-in-the-studio setup that had guided their previous efforts.

"Every other record has just been the three of us in a room with microphones until we got a take we liked," explains Sherry. "We approached this one differently. It was the first time we did a lot of arranging and writing in the studio. We decided we'd worry about learning how to present the songs live after we'd recorded everything instead of the other way around."

"It enabled us to get a lot more adventurous with our ideas," adds bassist/singer Sean McCarthy. "We wanted to do something new and explore where we could take the sound while still staying true to who we are."

The album opens with "Little Bird," a playful, infectious foot -stomper that blends blues and soul and roots and perfectly reflects the communal, inviting nature of the band's music.

Banjo player Max Davis takes over the songwriting and lead vocal duties for "Avalanche," an emotional anthem featuring one of the album's most lush arrangements along with driving drums from special guest Tony McNaboe (Ray LaMontagne, Rustic Overtones), while "King's Road" finds the band expanding their sonic palette to include strings and electric guitar, and "Honey Please" channels 60's R&B and Motown through old-school folk instrumentation. At the core of everything The Ghost of Paul Revere does, though, are their powerful, stop-you-dead-in -your-tracks harmonies. On songs like "Wild Child," "Welcome Home," and "Need Somebody," the band conjures up whole worlds of shimmering sonic beauty in the blending of their voices.

"The album follows this arc where it starts very bright-eyed and optimistic and then hits a turning point where it gets really dark," says Sherry, "like a relationship that starts beautifully and then grows sour. As we started to build the record and expand the sound, it had a place sonically and emotionally.”

By the end of the record, the song cycle reveals that traveling through the darkness is in fact a necessary step for positive growth. 'Monarch' closer "Chrysalides" evokes the imagery of metamorphosis, a transformation that represents rebirth and new beginnings.

"It's about what happens in that moment of metamorphosis and change," says Davis. "I was interested in combining different words into a new term that could capture that feeling, so 'Chrysalides' is a play on chrysalis. This was one of the first times that I allowed myself to bite into and really take advantage of that space in the writing."

If there's one takeaway from 'Monarch,' it's that change is inevitable. Lovers, families, friends, instruments, sounds; they all transform with time. The key to thriving and surviving in a challenging world is to embrace those transformations, to accept them not as endings but as fresh starts. What comes next? Only time can tell. One thing's for sure, though: by opening their hearts and souls with such artistic grace and humility, The Ghost of Paul Revere have created a rich, rewarding, passionate community, one that they can count on to join them for every step of the remarkable journey that lies ahead.



 
Cut Chemist
El Dusty | Shortkut | @Union Stage | view more info »
Apr
28

Cut Chemist

El Dusty
Shortkut

Saturday Apr 28|doors 10:30 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Cut Chemist

official band site »

Cut Chemist has been recording and performing for nearly 30 years. He started djing in 1984, at age 11. In '87, 14 year old Cut started recording with his friends including Chali 2na (Jurassic 5). Cut first became known as a founding member of both the rap groups, Jurassic 5 and the Grammy award winning Latin funk outfit, Ozomatli. Keeping his involvement with both groups in tandem with one another, Cut has developed a taste for music and rhythms from around the world while keeping his ethic for the hip hop tradition. His mix-tapes and remixes became critically acclaimed. His ‘Chemist’ moniker was fully realized with his instrumental, Lesson 6: The Lecture. A musical journey that challenged hip hop production with music theory ideals. Cut also found time to collaborate with DJ Shadow on what would be one of the world's most sought after mix cd’s, Brainfreeze, soon to be followed by its sequel, Product Placement.

Eventually Cut left both Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli to pursue a solo career, starting with Warner Bros. where he landed his first solo LP, The Audience’s Listening in July, 2006. The title track was quickly placed for the first Worldwide Apple Nano commercial with Cut performing at all major US and European flagship Apple stores, while the single, “The Garden” became a favorite amongst tastemakers and the single “What’s The Altitude” became one of the most viewed videos on YouTube at the time.

In 2007 Cut Chemist supported Shakira on her “Oral Fixation” tour where he dazzled her audience with his selection of world music and a cut ‘n’ scratch audio visual presentation, something that no one has ever done before or since, garnering Cut Chemist with the reputation of pushing the boundaries of what a ‘DJ’ can do. Upon returning to LA he made a cameo appearance as the chemistry teacher in the academy award winning movie Juno, as well as other Jason Reitmanproductions, Jennifer’s Body and Up in the Air. Meanwhile, Cut also concentrated on making marks in LA of the highest praises by headlining the Hollywood Bowl with DJ Shadow. there they began the year long campaign for the third instalment of their mix cd series this time entitled “The Hard Sell” which toured all around the world to sell out venues and Festivals.

Since then Cut has been back in the lab re-inventing his sound, he had the opportunity to remix of Nat King Cole’s “Day In Day Out,” Quantic and his Combo Barbaro’s “Un Canto mi Tierra,” and more recently Tune Yards' "Gangsta."

Cut ended 2010 with a new concept mix. Originally intended to be a one time performance for Mochilla‘s ‘Timeless’ concert series opening up for Ethiopia’s Mulatu Astatke in '09, Sound of the Police, was different than any conventional DJ mix using two turntables, this offering was created live using only one turntable, a mixer, a loop pedal (for live sampling) and all original vinyl pressings. Cut thought when performing this mix live it would challenge the contemporary DJ as well as himself. The music chosen for this mix goes deeper into the crate than his other contributions. Driven by his passion for Ethiopian, Colombian, Sudanese and Afro-Brazilian sounds respectively, this mix also features a few classic tunes you might recognize. Sound Of The Police proves Cut Chemist is still pushing the envelope when it comes to live DJing and he still gives fans a piece of this challenging performance often at shows. "It’s like walking a sonic tight rope and the audience gets to see me fall if something goes wrong,” Cut says. “The interesting parts are when I mess up and fix it. The audience goes crazy and appreciates what a difficult balancing act this actually is...It’s important to widen peoples musical vocabulary and I feel its my job as a DJ to do so.”

In 2012 Cut Chemist was featured in Rolling Stone when he put out a surprise 12" and/or 7" EP for the rapid paced tune with a tough sound, "Outro (Revisited)" featuring Blackbird, plus Deantoni Parks (Mars Volta) on the drums and Lonnie Marshall on the bass. "I had a strong urge to run so I made a song that made me feel like I was being chased." Later that month he was invited to DJ at the United Nations on Earth Day in support of his contribution on the film One Day on Earth.

As promised Cut returned in 2013 with the first reissue from his own label A Stable Sound titled, FUNK OFF: Vox Populi and Pacific 231, which would become the source to everything that would soon follow. FUNK OFF is a definitive compilation of French minimal synth groups, Vox Populi! and Pacific231. The material on this compilation has been the source for some of Cut’s most notable work like “The Storm" (ft. Edan & Mr. Lif) and was mega-mixed with unreleased material and remix work on the rare 12", FUNK OFF MEGAMIX, a mix of French Synth and Drum Machine based music from cassettes and records remixed into a seamless dance party. In spring of 2017 Funk Off took over Friday Nights with 24-hour lifestreams of Tom Fitzgerald's FUNK OFF MOVIEMIX hosted on Cut Chemist's Facebook Live, he shortly followed up with the internet premier of the predecessor film, Edan's Echo Party also directed by Tom F., for another 24 Facebook live event.

Along the way Cut toured his Tunnel Vision a curated show featuring Edan, Paten Locke, Mr. Lif, Myka 9 and Deantoni Parks. Jurassic 5 worldwide, and with a whole new show with DJ Shadow. On the Renegades of Rhythm tour Cut and Shadow played directly from Afrika Bambaataa's crates considered to be the 'ground-zero of hip hop'.

Often Cut dusts off many mixes and recordings held up in his horse stable turned studio for years and he releases never before heard material including The Audience's Following, the bizarro director's cut album that never was. Lesson 6: The Lecture EP, included a newly remastered version of Cut's mid-ninetys opus, a DIY Instrumental and the 15-minute practice tape that would eventually become the "Lesson 6." In Summer of 2017 Cut invited Beats of All-Nations and a group of up and coming producers to select music from his Colombian record crates and remix them on Going Back to Cali: Cut Chemist's Colombian Crates Remixed.

Since October of 2017 Cut has made himself more available to fans with a bi-weekly radio program A Stable Sound on dublab / 99.1 FM KZUT (LA). For over 20 years, Cut has toured the globe searching for music. Now he wants to share that collection with the public. The show features different segments to tackle different genres such as cassette culture new wave and rap demos, deep funk 45s, world beats and even contemporary artists, celebration shows for the music to the likes of Bob James, Clyde Stubblefield and David Axelrod, live guests have included Egyptian Lover, Arthur Baker, The Beat Junkies, Gaslamp Killer, Edan, Biz Markie and more. “I’ve been missing the ‘party in a box’ feel of mix shows that used to exist 20 and 30 years ago like NYCs Red Alert show or the LA and Bay Area’s Wake Up Show. This is my chance to bring it back and share all the great music and talent I’ve run across over the years.”

Forward to the present, we are on the heels of the long-awaited follow up to Cut Chemist's 2006 debut, The Audience's Listening. “Whatever comes next you can expect the same ethic of artistic integrity” says Cut. “Hip Hop is not a specific type of music, its how its presented. I feel I’ve always proved that and will continue to do so.”


El Dusty

official band site »

Raised and rooted in Corpus Christi, producer, DJ, and nu-cumbia pioneer El Dusty translates the Southern Texas border experience into new barrio anthems where the MPC2000 sampler and chopped clips of Latin music history collide. With his major label debut on Universal dropping soon follow- ing the success of his single “K Le Pasa,” El Dusty’s self-taught approach is as collaborative as it is singular, drawing from a crate-digging and turntablist tradition that links Latin classics with the new genera- tion of bass-heavy soundsystem and hip-hop cultures. Critical acclaim has hailed El Dusty as Rolling Stone’s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard’s New Latin Act to Watch in 2016, and Pandora’s Latin Artists to Watch 2016.

As a producer, El Dusty’s aesthetic is an effortless rendering of his palette for old school sounds thanks to growing up in a home soundtracked by Tejano anthems, Chicano soul music, classic rock, ‘70s Latin soul. These classic sounds are balanced by a solid education in hip-hop, and house music in their earliest stages thanks to his older brother, with this combination of aesthetics and generations laying the groundwork for the massive sample catalog he’s been building non-stop for years.

Shortkut

official band site »

Shortkut is a founding member of 3 of the most iconic and influential DJ crews in history - Invisibl Skratch Piklz, Beat Junkie Sound and Triple Threat DJs. He is a numerous West Coast/USA DMC title holder and is responsible for creating some of the most influential dj routines of all time, literally bringing new techniques to the genre.


 
Haley Jane & The Primates
@The 8x10 | view more info »
May
3

Haley Jane & The Primates



Thursday May 3|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Haley Jane & The Primates

official band site »

Hayley Jane & The Primates combine Americana, soul and rock & roll with rich lyrical imagery that electrifies the heart. At the helm is rising star, Hayley Jane. She leads the band through an infectious live experience filled with powerful vocal range, vibrant dance choreography and dramatic performance that captivates her devoted fanbase.

Hailing from Boston MA, the band was the winner of the 2014 New England Music Awards’ Roots/Americana Act Of The Year and has been performing at premiere venues and festivals across the country. Hayley Jane has also established herself as a strong female presence in the national music scene and was recently featured in the RELIX “Women Who Rock” Issue.

The band’s first full-length album, Gasoline, was engineered by Brian Wallace of Sublime and released in 2014. The album was recorded during a West Coast Tour that kicked off at the iconic Whisky a Go Go and ended with a Monday Night Football performance at Qualcomm Stadium.

Hayley Jane and the Primates are releasing their sophomore album “We’re Here Now” in the Fall of 2017. Produced by Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz, the album carries an energy and poetry that represents the best of American music. The band has played a variety of music festivals including Gathering of The Vibes, Catskill Chill, FloydFest, Strange Creek, Wormtown, Camp Creek, Jerry Jam, Disc Jam, Great North, and many more. The band has shared bills with Dopapod, Perpetual Groove, The Nth Power, Zach Deputy, Pink Talking Fish, Dumpstaphunk and many more.

Hayley Jane and the Primates released their first EP entitled Color Me, in the spring of 2012, which was described as “brilliant, brave, innocent, tangled and cutting edge…genius” -Scarlet’s Picks

“Hayley Jane & The Primates are one of the most exciting and rapidly ascending bands touring the jamband circuit today. The band possesses a natural sense of fearlessness on stage, which is fueled by their unquestionable chemistry, and daring sense to explore musical parts unknown by pushing the envelope in a live setting.” Stu Kelley – Relix Magazine



 
Kitchen Dwellers
@Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
May
4

Kitchen Dwellers



Friday May 4|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Kitchen Dwellers

official band site »

Montana-bred bluegrass outfit Kitchen Dwellers are captivating fans across the country with their high-energy live performances and unique approach to traditional music that fans have dubbed Galaxy Grass. Formed while attending college at Montana State, the group has burst onto the bluegrass scene sharing the stage with acts such as Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters and Twiddle. In recent years the band has begun to tour nationally, hitting notable venues and festivals around the country including The Brooklyn Bowl, The Fox Theatre, Delfest, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Northwest String Summit, and The Frendly Gathering. 2017 has seen the band release their second studio album, "Ghost In The Bottle" while continuing to push the boundaries of their genre.



 
TAUK
Of Tomorrow | Deaf Scene | @9:30 club | view more info »
May
4

TAUK

Of Tomorrow
Deaf Scene

Friday May 4|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


TAUK

official band site »

On their upcoming EP Shapeshifter I: Construct, TAUK tap into their singular chemistry to elevate and expand their all-instrumental blend of funk, hip-hop, progressive rock, and jazz. Revealing both their refined musicality and unbridled creativity, the Oyster Bay, New York-bred rock-fusion four-piece (guitarist Matt Jalbert, bassist Charlie Dolan, keyboardist Alric “A.C.” Carter, and drummer Isaac Teel) push into new sonic terrain and build entire worlds within each richly textured soundscape.

From the complex twisting of “For Laughing Out Loud” and soaring riffs of “Malware” to the urgent rhythms of “Stranger Danger” and sprawling melodies of “Premises,” Shapeshifter I: Construct finds TAUK introducing a rhythmically adventurous element to their craft. And while the compositions are meticulously focused, TAUK also deliver the dynamic tension-and-release jams that have helped earn them a devoted following while drawing critical acclaim (the Washington Post, for one, praised TAUK for “creating a hard-charging, often melodic fusion that—thanks to a penchant for improv—offers limitless possibilities”).

Throughout Shapeshifter I: Construct—the first chapter in a follow-up to their 2016 album Sir Nebula—TAUK employ a guided approach to steer their music into bold new directions. The band has sharpened their songwriting to craft more intricately layered arrangements and powerfully intense grooves. As with their past releases, TAUK created Shapeshifter I in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer/mixer/engineer Robert Carranza (The Mars Volta, Ozomatli, Jack Johnson, Taj Mahal). But in a departure from their previous work, the band made the new EP and upcoming full length album in one concentrated period in one location rather than moving between studios. The group brought their gear into an old house, creating a unique recording situation with a special atmosphere. Holing up in the makeshift studio, often pulling 12-hour workdays, TAUK ultimately found the revamped recording process hugely beneficial. “Everything just happened so naturally this time around,” says Jalbert. “I can’t think of one moment where it felt like anything was forced. We were all just completely focused and in the same mindset, which made this an incredibly fun and smooth experience.”

TAUK’s creative connection traces back to childhood, when longtime friends Dolan, Jalbert, and Carter formed their first band in seventh grade and held practice in their school basement. After playing together in various projects over the years, the trio brought Teel into the fold in 2012, cementing the final lineup. “We gelled pretty quickly as friends and as musicians, and now there’s a connection on stage that’s unspoken,” notes Teel. “You just feel it from the energy within the band and from the response coming from the crowd—all these people in the same exact headspace.”

Since their formation, TAUK have shared stages with an impressive list of bands (including Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, Lettuce, and Robert Randolph) in addition to appearing at festivals like Electric Forest, Bonnaroo, and The Allman Brothers’ Peach Music Festival. That rigorous touring schedule has gone a long way in strengthening their chemistry, according to Carter. “We’re doing over 100 shows a year and we pretty much live with each other, so there’s a healthy respect and trust and love happening there,” he says. “We all have a common goal and an understanding that this is something we’re compelled to do, and that’s definitely brought us close together.” It’s also helped TAUK develop a reputation as a masterful live act: “TAUK is unstoppable,” raved Live for Live Music. “If you haven’t see them, dear God, go.”

Preparing to hit the road again for a spring tour (with upcoming dates including a two-night stint at the Brooklyn Bowl and spots on the Boston Calling Music Festival and Sweetwater 420 Fest and EP Release shows in Ft Collins and Denver on 4/6 and 4/7), TAUK is focused on instilling their live show with the same kinetic energy and boundless passion that powered the making of Shapeshifter I. “Growing up together as musicians and collectively going on this journey—that’s what makes this experience really special,” says Jalbert of TAUK’s continued evolution. “It’s like everything we’ve learned over the years has been funneled into this band, and now it’s taking shape in a really exciting way. We all love what we’re doing, and the band just feels like home.”


Of Tomorrow

official band site »

As history has proven, anything can change in a day. The future happens as you live it. We’re existing in a time when the basics of tomorrow are up in the air; the politics of tomorrow are anything but predictable; the communication of tomorrow is not cut and dry; the music of tomorrow is not stagnant players reciting the same melodies, and therefore the band Of Tomorrow should embrace these unknowns as well. Of Tomorrow is a band growing out of DC who is redefining what it means to make music in this time and bringing audiences to new highs at festivals and venues across the eastern seaboard, including DC’s venerated 9:30 Club. Anchored by three pillars of diverse but precise musicianship, they invite the best virtuosos they know to create a unique experience for the audience every time, tying strong melodies, harmonies, and lyrics together with improvisational antics. No matter who accompanies the band of Tomorrow, and you’re bound to be enthralled.

Led by the power trio of Geoff Browning on guitar, Nick Söderström on bass, and Jon Modell on drums, the band curates a rotating cast of musicians and an ever-evolving encyclopedia of music: funk, rock, reggae, samba, hip-hop, soul - the list goes on. Browning leads on vocals, shying away from no subject and belting a versatile range both from his voice and his axe. He’s an ideal host for guest singers and rappers, passing the proverbial and literal mic across the stage all night. Of Tomorrow’s ever-steady bass player (Söderström) is on a planet all his own, consistent yet versatile, jumping from sitting in the pocket to blazing fast solo runs, driving the tension and release of the groove. His rhythmic other half (Modell) builds a flawless percussive foundation on which any number of players can offer the beat they feel, yet he still shines as the nucleus of this living, breathing musical being. The three core members Of Tomorrow balance and challenge each other through an expressive musical journey that fans share with them as they go. The music may never be exactly the same, but the songs and musicianship are unyielding, noone is ever a stranger, and everyone is part of the experience Of Tomorrow.

Deaf Scene

official band site »

Baltimore's own Deaf Scene is quickly becoming recognized as a standout band on a regional and national level, bringing a powerful blend of Post-Rock, Grunge, Progressive Metal, and Jazz-Fusion to their songs and live shows. This ever-evolving instrumental power-trio has consciously embraced walking a musical road-less-traveled since their inception in 2010. Along the way they have cultivated a dedicated following with their sonically-expansive live performances and their solid studio work. Straddling a gray area between the progressive cacophonies of Tool, ethereal soundscapes of Explosions in the Sky, and the sludgy twinge of Primus, Deaf Scene has forged a sound that is uniquely their own. Dave Fullerton’s effects-laden guitar melodies cascade over thick layers of looped sounds, while Eric Courtney’s intricate bass runs and Brett Schatz’s precise whirlwind of drumming give structure and groove to the chaos. What they're able to accomplish on stage, as a three-piece band with no vocals, often surprises listeners who have never seen Deaf Scene in concert. The band works together beautifully through seamless sets of original songs, intersected by ambient samples and drones, generating “a sound that you would never imagine could come from three dudes” (89.7 WTMD).


 
Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)
35th Anniversary of “Speaking In Tongues” | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
May
5

Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

35th Anniversary of “Speaking In Tongues”


Saturday May 5|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Psycho Killers (Talking Heads Tribute)

official band site »

Psycho Killers are a group of die-hard Talking Heads fans that were Born Under Punches in Baltimore, MD. Once in a Lifetime (not during wartime), they will take you to the river with Nothing But Flowers, and you'll think, This Must Be The Place. They'll set the Houses in Motion (and then burn them down) with a Listening Wind that will make you Crosseyed and Painless.


35th Anniversary of “Speaking In Tongues”


 
The New Mastersounds
Backbeat Underground | @Union Stage | view more info »
May
8

The New Mastersounds

Backbeat Underground


Tuesday May 8|doors 7:30 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


The New Mastersounds

official band site »

In the late 1990’s, guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts was running a club night in Leeds called “The Cooker.” When The Cooker moved into a new venue with a second floor in 1999, there was space and the opportunity to put a live band together to complement the DJ sets. Simon Allen and Eddie had played together in 1997 as The Mastersounds, though with a different bassist and no organ. Through friends and the intimate nature of the Leeds music scene, Pete Shand and Bob Birch were added on bass and Hammond respectively, and The New Mastersounds were born. Though it was raw, and more of a boogaloo sound at first, it was powerful from the start. Their first rehearsal was hot enough for Blow it Hard Records to release on two limited-edition 7” singles in 2000.

Fast-forward 15 years and the recorded catalogue boasts 24 more 7” singles, 9 studio albums, 2 live albums, 1 remix album and 3 compilation albums, released variously in UK, USA and Japan, where they continue to tour extensively. Joe Tatton, another veteran of the Leeds scene, joined back in 2007, replacing Bob Birch on organ and piano.

As a band, and as individuals, they have collaborated or jammed with an impressive array of musicians DJs and producers, including: Lou Donaldson(Blue Note), Corinne Bailey Rae (EMI), Quantic (Tru Thoughts), Carleen Anderson (Young Disciples / Brand New Heavies), Keb Darge & Kenny Dope (Kay Dee Records), John Arnold (Ubiquity), Mr Scruff (Ninja Tune), Snowboy (Ubiquity), Fred Everything (2020vision), Andy Smith(Portishead), James Taylor (JTQ), LSK (Faithless), Lack of Afro (Freestyle), Page McConnell (Phish), Grace Potter, Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones / Lenny Kravitz), Melvin Sparks (Blue Note Records), Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis & Maceo Parker (JB’s), George Porter Junior, Zigaboo Modeliste,Art Neville (The Meters) and Ernest Ranglin.

As an example of the respect this band commands, Peter Wermelinger - DJ, collector, and author of the crate-diggers’ bible The Funky & Groovy Music Lexicon - places the 2001 NMS track ‘Turn This Thing Around’ in his all-time top-ten tunes, along with the likes of Eddie Harris, Funkadelic, and Herbie Hancock. The New Mastersounds are at the very top of an elite selection of acts that bring the true soul out of funk.


Backbeat Underground

official band site »

Born in the depths of subterranean groove gatherings, Backbeat Underground is a Washington, DC based instrumental funk group with soul jazz influences. Bringing their years of collective experience in the DC and NYC music scenes, the band delivers tight, energetic sets steeped in fresh improvisation and head-bopping, booty-shaking pockets. Backbeat Underground was proud to serve as stewards of the funk in DC’s first, second, and third annual Funk Parade, and the band is quickly gaining notoriety for their organic and smoldering blend of soulful funk and jazz.


 
Runaway Gin A Tribute to Phish
@Union Stage | view more info »
May
11

Runaway Gin A Tribute to Phish



Friday May 11|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Runaway Gin A Tribute to Phish

official band site »

With over 185 shows under their belt, Runaway Gin is the World's Most Active Phish Tribute Band. They play every Sunday at the Charleston Pour House and tour often. On July 4th, 2015, after the second show of the Grateful Dead GD50 run, Runaway Gin sold out the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago - a 650 capacity venue - and catapulted themselves onto the national scene.

The members of Runaway Gin are long time Phish fans who have united with the goal of creating musical moments inspired by Phish. The band's song list is constantly growing and their improvisational and communication skills are constantly developing independently and together. Like Phish, Runaway Gin will never play the same show or jam the same way twice making every show a unique experience and every moment pure artistic creation.



 
Trampled By Turtles
Hiss Golden Messenger | @9:30 club | view more info »
sold out
May
12

Trampled By Turtles

Hiss Golden Messenger


Saturday May 12|doors 8:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930
Sold Out


Trampled By Turtles

official band site »

Trampled by Turtles are from Duluth, Minnesota, where frontman Dave Simonett initially formed the group as a side project in 2003. At the time, Simonett had lost most of his music gear, thanks to a group of enterprising car thieves who'd ransacked his vehicle while he played a show with his previous band. Left with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, he began piecing together a new band, this time taking inspiration from bluegrass, folk, and other genres that didn't rely on amplification. Simonett hadn't played any bluegrass music before, and he filled his lineup with other newcomers to the genre, including fiddler Ryan Young (who'd previously played drums in a speed metal act) and bassist Tim Saxhaug. Along with mandolinist Erik Berry and banjo player Dave Carroll, the group began carving out a fast, frenetic sound that owed as much to rock & roll as bluegrass.

Trampled by Turtles released their first record, Songs from a Ghost Town, in 2004. In a genre steeped in tradition, the album stood out for its contemporary sound, essentially bridging the gap between the bandmates' background in rock music and their new acoustic leanings. Blue Sky and the Devil (2005) and Trouble (2007) explored a similar sound, but it wasn't until 2008 and the band's fourth release, Duluth, that Trampled by Turtles received recognition by the bluegrass community. Duluth peaked at number eight on the Billboard bluegrass chart and paved the way for a number of festival appearances. When Palomino arrived in 2010, it was met with an even greater response, debuting at the top of the bluegrass chart and remaining in the Top Ten for more than a year. Two years later, their crossover appeal landed them at number 32 on the Billboard 200 pop charts upon the release of their sixth album, Stars and Satellites. In addition to major bluegrass and folk festivals, they began showing up at Coachella, Bumbershoot, and Lollapalooza. The official concert album, Live at First Avenue, followed in 2013, recorded at Minnesota's most famous venue. A year later, the band returned with the darker-toned Wild Animals, which bettered its studio predecessor on the album charts, reaching number 29. Trampled will release their latest album Life Is Good On The Open Road on May 4th, 2018.


Hiss Golden Messenger

official band site »

I’m from nowhere. That’s the way I feel about it now, right at this moment. Music took me and made me and gave me a purpose and I built my world with it, and now my geography is a musical one, forever. And when I break, when I think about running as far as I can, I remember that there is nothing that does me like music, and I might as well be a poor man in a world of my own devising. Hallelujah anyhow.

Rhythm? I learned it over twenty years in the back of rented vans, in attics and back rooms—hard places to get to, harder places to get out of. And now rhythm is my clock and I live by it. We all do. But it’ll kill you if you’re not careful. It might kill you even if you are. Hallelujah anyhow.

I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.

Whatcha gonna do when the wall comes down??When the wall comes down??What you ought to do is let it lie—let it lie?And in the gathering darkness vow to never go back?It was built by man and you can tear it down?Tear it down, tear it down?Step back, Jack, from the darkness I’ve seen darker things than night. Hallelujah anyhow.

—M.C. Taylor, July 2017


 
Atlas Road Crew
Little Bird | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
May
12

Atlas Road Crew

Little Bird


Saturday May 12|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Atlas Road Crew

official band site »

South Carolina rock 'n' roll shot with southern soul accents. Formed in fall of 2011, Atlas Road Crew is rapidly building one of the most loyal fan bases on the East Coast, packing venues to capacity from South Carolina to New York City, and expanding quickly to major US cities in between.

The overwhelming positive response to the band’s latest recorded effort Halfway to Hopkins,produced by Grammy Award winning producer Rick Beato, has this young band quickly becoming the South East’s “must see” live act of 2017.

Halfway to Hopkins is a sonic blast from start to finish, bringing swampy southern accents to fresh, contemporary tunes while managing to capture the band’s blistering live show prowess on tape. The title refers to a small community outside Columbia where the band lived for several years after graduating from the nearby University of South Carolina. “That house, which was halfway between Columbia and Hopkins on the southeast side of town, was where we really began to come together,” Says drummer Patrick Drohan. “We knew then we wanted to become more than just another bar band.”

Riding the momentum of the record release, Atlas Road Crew’s constant touring led them to a six week European tour in early 2016 followed by an aggressive US club and festival run. Aussie rock ‘n’ roll blog 100 Percent Rock sums it all up nicely in their review, saying in no uncertain terms “This is EXACTLY the sort of music we should be listening to right now: bands taking old favourites and adding new directions, writing great songs, delivering ace performances. This is the good stuff.”


Little Bird

official band site »

American Spirits (2013) and GROOVE (2015) debuted Little Bird to FM radio waves and would lead to pocketed audiences and a modest following throughout the Mid-Atlantic. The band would be named 1770 Records "Band of the Year" in 2016 after playing and headling various festivals such as Bay Funk, Pink Moon, Silopanna, Doah, EastPortaRockin' along with sharing the stage with the likes of G. Love & Special Sauce, Fortunate Youth, Long Miles, Zach Deputy, Boy Named Banjo, Jimmies Chicken Shack, Pressing Strings, Mo Lowda & the Humble and many more.

After various member exchanges, the Surf Rock/Jazz/Americana group began relentlessly touring throughout the East Coast early 2017. Originally from Annapolis, MD, the band is based out of Charleston, SC, including members James Rubush (Guitar), Ben Mossman (Bass), Oleg Terentiev (Drums), Noah Jones (Piano), Shelby McDaniel (Vocals), and Jay Hurtt (Guitar/Vocals).

In October 2017 the band along with Engineer/Producers Shane Woods, and Jeff Lucci (Mo Lowda & the Humble) recorded at Headroom Studios (Philadelphia, PA). The self-titled Little Bird EP will be released April 2018.


 
Trampled By Turtles
Hiss Golden Messenger | @9:30 club | view more info »
May
13

Trampled By Turtles

Hiss Golden Messenger


Sunday May 13|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Trampled By Turtles

official band site »

Trampled by Turtles are from Duluth, Minnesota, where frontman Dave Simonett initially formed the group as a side project in 2003. At the time, Simonett had lost most of his music gear, thanks to a group of enterprising car thieves who'd ransacked his vehicle while he played a show with his previous band. Left with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, he began piecing together a new band, this time taking inspiration from bluegrass, folk, and other genres that didn't rely on amplification. Simonett hadn't played any bluegrass music before, and he filled his lineup with other newcomers to the genre, including fiddler Ryan Young (who'd previously played drums in a speed metal act) and bassist Tim Saxhaug. Along with mandolinist Erik Berry and banjo player Dave Carroll, the group began carving out a fast, frenetic sound that owed as much to rock & roll as bluegrass.

Trampled by Turtles released their first record, Songs from a Ghost Town, in 2004. In a genre steeped in tradition, the album stood out for its contemporary sound, essentially bridging the gap between the bandmates' background in rock music and their new acoustic leanings. Blue Sky and the Devil (2005) and Trouble (2007) explored a similar sound, but it wasn't until 2008 and the band's fourth release, Duluth, that Trampled by Turtles received recognition by the bluegrass community. Duluth peaked at number eight on the Billboard bluegrass chart and paved the way for a number of festival appearances. When Palomino arrived in 2010, it was met with an even greater response, debuting at the top of the bluegrass chart and remaining in the Top Ten for more than a year. Two years later, their crossover appeal landed them at number 32 on the Billboard 200 pop charts upon the release of their sixth album, Stars and Satellites. In addition to major bluegrass and folk festivals, they began showing up at Coachella, Bumbershoot, and Lollapalooza. The official concert album, Live at First Avenue, followed in 2013, recorded at Minnesota's most famous venue. A year later, the band returned with the darker-toned Wild Animals, which bettered its studio predecessor on the album charts, reaching number 29. Trampled will release their latest album Life Is Good On The Open Road on May 4th, 2018.


Hiss Golden Messenger

official band site »

I’m from nowhere. That’s the way I feel about it now, right at this moment. Music took me and made me and gave me a purpose and I built my world with it, and now my geography is a musical one, forever. And when I break, when I think about running as far as I can, I remember that there is nothing that does me like music, and I might as well be a poor man in a world of my own devising. Hallelujah anyhow.

Rhythm? I learned it over twenty years in the back of rented vans, in attics and back rooms—hard places to get to, harder places to get out of. And now rhythm is my clock and I live by it. We all do. But it’ll kill you if you’re not careful. It might kill you even if you are. Hallelujah anyhow.

I see the dark clouds. I was designed to see them. They’re the same clouds of fear and destruction that have darkened the world since Revelations, just different actors. But this music is for hope. That’s the only thing I want to say about it. Love is the only way out. I’ve never been afraid of the darkness; it’s just a different kind of light. And if some days that belief comes harder than others, hallelujah anyhow.

Whatcha gonna do when the wall comes down??When the wall comes down??What you ought to do is let it lie—let it lie?And in the gathering darkness vow to never go back?It was built by man and you can tear it down?Tear it down, tear it down?Step back, Jack, from the darkness I’ve seen darker things than night. Hallelujah anyhow.

—M.C. Taylor, July 2017


 
Morgan Heritage
Jemere Morgan | @Gypsy Sally's | view more info »
May
20

Morgan Heritage

Jemere Morgan


Sunday May 20|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Gypsy Sally's|get directions »
3401 K St NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 333-7700


Morgan Heritage

official band site »

In the wake of their historical GRAMMY win for Best Reggae Album as the Producer and Artist for “Strictly Roots”,which was released under their own independent label CTBC Music Group, the Iconic GRAMMY Award-Winning cultured driven band has managed yet again to deliver another classic album. They achieved this by staying true to their formula of authentic Reggae with an effusively eclectic mix. In their latest quest to keep Reggae music relevant in a continuously evolving world of music, Morgan Heritage presents “Avrakedabra”.

Their Rolling Stones-reminiscent endurance, longevity and outstanding showmanship, makes the siblings a force to be reckoned with. Not only in Reggae but also in music as a whole. Morgan Heritage’s name is duly cemented in history, as critics, fans and music lovers anxiously awaited their new album. The untraditional creation of this album with recording sessions taking place across 3 different continents highlights the groups effort of taking Reggae music to the 4 corners of the Earth.

As you listen to “Avrakedabra”, surprise appearances are as captivating as the title. From the opening record “Want Some More” featuring Mr. Talkbox, the famed computerized voice featured on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic, the album makes a statement. A Royal appearance by Multi GRAMMY Award-Winning Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley is a brilliant alliance of two great musical legacies on “One Family”.That was followed by the awakening of the spirit of the late great lead singer Bunny Ruggs of legendary Third World on the “Tribute To Ruggs”. On stage DreZion performs as a keyboardist with the group but on “Reggae Night” he not only co-Produced a fun loving song, he also lays down a great verse like a young veteran DJ from Jamaica. On “Ready For Love” what seemed like an unpredictable pairing of Billboard chart topping duo R. City and the Reggae super group, blossomed into a beautiful love song. The last appearance on the album brings together Kabaka Pyramid and Dre Island who have respectfully made their claim as 2 of Reggae’s future leaders on the futuristic sounding anthem “We Are”.

“The title was inspired by our love of history. Being that we are students of history, we discovered this word and it's various pronunciations throughout the history of time. We chose it as the title of the album because we like it and we feel it represents the new Era that our career is about to enter. The meaning we will leave to the audience to choose, since we've discovered so many over the dispensation of time”, explained Morgan Heritage about the album title “Avrakedabra”.

With their Reggae DNA from Jamaican origins, the Brooklyn born group of Massachusetts’s upbringing unearthed a way to infuse the sounds of Pop, Rock, Country, R&B and Hip-Hop music into their brand of Reggae that they call “Rockaz”. “Avrakedabra” is Produced by GRAMMY Award-Winning Morgan Heritage and Multi GRAMMY/EMMY Award-Winning producer Shannon Sanders, the album is permeated with notable creations from a host of multi-award winning producers and musicians such as Michael Lorello, Supa Dups, Phillip “Winta” James, Jason "J-Vibe” Farmer, Seani B & Don Chandler, Lamar “Riff Raff” Brown, Bost & Bim, Mike Austin and Michael Polk. To add to the stellar 15 track album arrangements, instruments occupy their own space provided by distinguished musicians Ethan Long - Guitarist from Kings of Leon, GRAMMY winning Guitarist Mitchum “Khan” Chin, Danny “Bassie” Dennis - Original bass player from the legendary Fire House Band and Award winning drummer Gil Sharone.

Sultry vocal fluctuations, smooth riffs, upbeat percussion, unique guitar style paired with rhythmic chants and thoughtful lyrics deliver an album that will not only make you dance and feel good, but still remains fresh to the ears.

Morgan Heritage kicks off the “Avrakedabra World Tour” in support of the new album and are veterans of live touring. Their relentless work ethic on the road is in line with fellow road warriors from the scene including 311, Rebelution, Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, Iration, and J Boog, which continues to gain them diehard fans on the festival circuit (Summer Jam Festival, Van’s Warped Tour, Boomtown Fair, Sierra Nevada Music Festival, Pinkpop Festival, Austin City Limits, Roskilde Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Parkpop Festival, Riot Fest, Rock Werchter, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Reggae In The Park, Gröna Lund, Reggae SumFest, Paléo Festival, Reggae On The Rocks, Rototom Sunsplash, Reggae In The Desert, Solidays Music Festival) and with live music aficionados too.


Jemere Morgan

official band site »

Charming, Soulful, and Full of Life – Jemere Morgan had the best of both worlds growing up between Brooklyn, New York and Jamaica. Gaining his dynamic style and rooted personality, Jemere took to rap music until one day, his Dad was shocked when he heard him singing. Before you know it, Jemere moved to Atlanta to start a singing career and initiate building Dada Son Entertainment. This next phase of Jemere’s life was the beginning of defining a dream of following in his family’s footsteps as the new outstanding reggae phenom.


 
Rising Appalachia
@9:30 club | view more info »
May
25

Rising Appalachia



Friday May 25|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
9:30 club|get directions »
815 V Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 265-0930


Rising Appalachia

official band site »

Rising Appalachia brings to the stage a collection of sounds, stories, and songs steeped in tradition and a devotion to world culture. Intertwining a deep reverence for folk music and a passion for justice, they have made it their life’s work to sing songs that speak to something ancient yet surging with relevance. Whether playing at Red Rocks or in rail cars, at Italian street fairs or to Bulgarian herbalists, this fiercely independent band has blazed a unique and colorful path across the globe. 11 years into their movement, Rising Appalachia believes that the roots of all these old songs are vital to our ever evolving soundscape.

Led by the collective voice of sisters Leah and Chloe, and joined by their beloved band – percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown – Rising Appalachia is a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off. Listen for a tapestry of song, clawhammer banjo tunes, fiddle, double bass, acoustic guitar, djembe, barra, bodhran, spoken word, and a wealth of musical layering that will leave you called to action and lulled into rhythmic dance simultaneously. It is both genre bending and familiar at the same time. Proudly born and raised in the concrete jungle of Atlanta, Georgia, sharpening their instincts in the mountains of Appalachia, and fine tuning their soul on the streets of New Orleans they have crafted a 6-album career from the dusts of their passion.

In 2015 Rising Appalachia founded the Slow Music Movement, to help maintain an independent musical spirit in the face of such a fast-paced world. They are creatively committed to keeping their work accessible at the local street level as well as expanding to larger audiences abroad, and have continued to maintain autonomy by self- managing, recording, producing and creating, and directing their work.

They are greatly honored to do the work that they do.

“Music is the tool with which we wield political prowess. Melody for the Roots of each of us…spreading song and sound around the globe. Music has become our script for vision- not just for aural pleasure, not just for hobby, but now as a means to connect and create in ways that we aren’t taught by mainstream culture. We are building community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with wide arms to gather this great family. It has taken on its own personality, carrying us all along the journey. Heres to poetic observations, social change, lyrical messages, political focus, symphonic coercing, ferocious bantering, bicycles and train tracks, primal will, fresh air, harmony, flow, and beautiful noise. ”- Leah Song.

” Rising Appalachia is the aural divinity of two sisters seeped in the deep south flair of harmony, resistance, and poetry” – NPR

“Green Album of the Year” – the Huffington Post

“Rising Appalachia seeks to showcase the beauty of the simple, the subtle, and the sometimes unseen with its soulful folk music” – anonymous



 
Pimps Of Joytime
@The 8x10 | view more info »
May
31

Pimps Of Joytime



Thursday May 31|doors 7:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Pimps Of Joytime

official band site »

Pimps of Joytime puts the needle in the groove with its fresh collection of 10 funk anthems ready to put a smile on faces across the globe. An intersection of Brooklyn’s indie music scene, New Orleans funk and San Francisco soul, the Pimps’ new studio release Third Wall Chronicles (Sugar Road Records: March 24, 2017) unites us around a common bond of Peace, Love and Music. The apex of positivity and a solace from the daily grind shines bright as the Pimps of Joytime throw the dance party of the year on Third Wall Chronicles and everyone is invited!

Brian Jay, Pimps of Joytime band leader, is no stranger to working with A-List talent in the studio as he’s produced albums for a “who’s who” of New Orleans heavyweights, including such stars as Cyril Neville (The Neville Brothers), James Andrews, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (The World’s Most Recorded Drummer), and Corey Henry (Galactic). He’s shared the stage with Art Neville, George Porter and Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters), Eddie Bo, and he’s currently working on an album with GRAMMY Award-nominated blues artist Cedric Burnside (grandson of legendary blues musician R.L. Burnside). Brian Jay co-produces Third Wall Chronicles with Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. Co-writers on the album also include Anthony Cole (JJ Grey & Mofro), Nappy G (Turntables on the Hudson), DJ Black Pearl, and Chancey Yearwood.

Third Wall Chronicles is the Pimps Of Joytime’s fourth full-length studio album and features standout performances by fellow Pimps band members Mayteana Morales (vocals/percussion), Kimberly Dawson (vocals), David Bailis (bass/sampler) and John Staten (drums). Pimps of Joytime will headline venerable West Coast venues in February and March 2017 before heading to the East Coast for their national album release event at The Bowery Ballroom on March 25, 2017.



 
Too Many Zooz
Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers | @Union Stage | view more info »
Jun
7

Too Many Zooz

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers


Thursday Jun 7|doors 7:00 pm|all ages
Union Stage|get directions »
740 Water Street SW
Washington DC|p: (877) 987-6487


Too Many Zooz

official band site »

At the 2016 CMA Awards one sound burst from the stage like a thunderquake. As Beyoncé performed "Daddy Lessons" accompanied by Dixie Chicks and Too Many Zooz -- the New York City trio which originally recorded the song on the star's Lemonadealbum -- TMZ brought the sound of the street to Beyoncé's glittering musical declaration. Glued to their smart phones, tablets, and TVs, America beheld Too Many Zooz' innovative polyglot style.

Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks sashayed the song's verses in a rollicking country vibe, but as the performance neared midpoint, a tall, burly baritone saxophonist with a luminous white pompadour took the stage like a bar-walking gladiator. TMZ's Leo P danced, shimmied, and shaked, matching Beyoncé move for move, while blowing growling saxophone notes that infused urban funk to "Daddy Lessons"' two-beat country jig. TMZ trumpeter Matt Doe and drummer King of Sludge performed on the stage's backline as a blaring brass line raised "Daddy Lessons"' intensity, followed by Beyoncé and Dixie Chicks slamming song's political theme home.

Too Many Zooz's saxophonist Pellegrino, trumpeter Matt Doe, and drummer King of Sludge held Nashville's Bridgestone Arena stage for mere minutes, but the same talent that moved Beyoncé to have the group record both "Daddy Lessons" and "Formation" on Lemonade has seen TMZ sell thousands of CDs and downloads, and inspired viral videos.

Too Many Zooz's manic music, dubbed "BrassHouse" by drummer King of Sludge, is an irresistible rocket that combines styles more diverse and far-flung than any international space station. As heard on the group's EPs -- F NOTE, Fanimals, Brasshouse Volume 1: Survival of the Flyest, The Internet, and the LP, Subway Gawdz -- Too Many Zooz creates a visceral smack-to-the-senses. TMZ's BrassHouse summons EDM, house, techno, and glitch, paired to the indigenous punch of Cuban, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Brazilian Carnival rhythms. TMZ's music is further heightened by the dancing and saxophone soloing prowess of Pellegrino, virtually a bionic Pepper Adams. Like Nortec Collective mashed with Daft Punk by way of a mad sonic scientist, Too Many Zooz has conquered New York City -- your headset's resistance is futile.

"We pride ourselves that nearly every person of every color, creed and background and upbringing can find something in our music to relate to," Matt Doe says. "Someone from Cuba can say 'I hear Cuban music in the cowbells.' Someone into death metal will enjoy it next to a grandmother who hears it as old swing music. Others hear Klezmer. Whatever people want to hear in our music they can seemingly find it."

Many New Yorkers discovered Too Many Zooz at the Union Square subway station, where the trio began busking in 2014. After one of TMZ's videos went viral on Reddit, creating almost a million fans, sales of the band's digital downloads and CD sales skyrocketed.

If TMZ's music wasn't already electrifying, Leo Pellegrino's dance moves, which spin like a Zoot-suit wearing swinger, add visual thrills to the band's musical mastery. A classically trained musician, Pellegrino began dancing as both expression and rebellion. What Beyoncé loved is now available to all.

"Horn players, especially baritone saxophone players, look so lame on stage!" Pellegrino notes. "I just watched an NBA half-time show and this band's horn players were killing my eyes. I wondered 'why does the horn have to be such a lame instrument visually?' I began dancing in the subway and people loved it. I realized that I had been brainwashed, all my teachers telling me not to move. I'd been told that was improper technique, but that became my key to success."

Too Many Zooz's songs are marvels of simplicity born of musical complexity. Pellegrino, Doe, and King of Sludge condense multiple -- what might be considered clashing styles -- into a riveting jackhammer brew. King of Sludge's staccato eighth-note rhythms performed on a unique bass drum/cowbell/jamblock/cymbal setup forms the music's gritty rhythmic bed. Matt Doe's trumpet provides melody and harmony, while Leo Pelligrino's saxophone follows rhythm directions and solo revelry.

"I don't like using standardized terms when describing our music," Matt explains. "We're all doing things that are out of the ordinary. I provide the synth sound you would hear in a dance track. Leo plays saxophone but he's also providing the bass sound you would hear in electronic music. When Leo solos, it's like a breakdown when the bass is the featured element of the band. I don't solo per se, but I am playing nearly the entire show. It doesn't make sense for me to play more!"

TMZ's seeds were formed when Indiana native King of Sludge, and Boston-born Pellegrino played in subway busking band, Drumadics. Fellow Manhattan School of Music classmate and Pittsburgh native Doe played in various ensembles with Pellegrino, the threesome eventually busking together by chance -- their chemistry sparking an instant bond.

"From the start, we were all bouncing off each other, listening to each other and not thinking too much," Doe says.

TMZ have collaborated with Galatic, Kreayshawn, Jerry "Wonda" Duplessis, and, of course, Beyoncé.

"Knowing that Beyoncé enjoys our music on her own time?" ponders King of Sludge. "That's a great thing."

What's next for TMZ? The trio's upcoming EP will feature a rawer sound, the group returning to their original roots, and most likely, their original 14th Street subway station.

"When we began, it was just trumpet, saxophone and drums," Leo says. "Our first EP was pretty straight up, then we added production and guests and vocalists on SubwayGawdz. This next EP is back to our roots."

Does TMZ recommend the subway path to stardom?

"The subway, then videos and Beyoncé helped propel our popularity," Matt says. "The subway is a great promotional vehicle. There's nowhere else that you can reach such a wide demographic. If you want to get out and be seen and up your numbers, go to the subway. That's always part of our business plan."


Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

official band site »

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers will make a sprightly young groove doctor out of anyone. With spectacular energy pulsating from every member of the band, the Rainbow Seekers could illuminate the very chambers of Heaven. Lead singer Joe Hertler splashes through lyrical puddles of golden rain, leaving his audience wearing flowery crowns and bubbling smiles. A ride on the Rainbow will take you across the mountains of Motown, through the fjords of folk, over the archipelagos of Americana, and—at last—into a funky firth, where only the fiercest of friendships can be found.

The Rainbow Seekers began their quest beneath the fingertips of songwriter Joe Hertler. Bassist and producer Kevin Pritchard, recently thawed from an extremely rare prehistoric groove glacier, discovered the forlorn Hertler in a twinkling, mysteriously fortuitous place called The Quilted Attic. Alongside legendary glacier-hunter Rick Hale—who would later spend decades forging a drum set from pure, white-hot, ancient stardust to mark the occasion—Pritchard changed the world: He wrangled Hertler into musical collaboration. And the lonely little songsmith, it turned out, was not quite as alone as he seemed: With him came the irresistibly sexy blues guitar prodigy who is now known to the world as Ryan Hoger.

The core of the Rainbow was thereby established, and it didn’t take long for the Rainbow Seekers to continue their expansion. Multi-instrumentalist and notable auxiliary percussion maestro Micah Bracken journeyed from the bowels of Atlantis when he heard tell of the Rainbow, and the earth trembled as saxophonist and all-around bad ass Aaron Stinson descended from Olympus on a golden rainbow of his own. Then came Stinson's little-known winged companion from the Far East, the debonair violist Joshua Barber Holcomb—When he saw the pure, unadulterated joy the Rainbow Seekers sprinkled on every crowd they happened upon, he had no choice but to join them on their quest.

As you'll know if you've seen the band, seeking the proverbial Rainbow is all about the live performance. "The live show is the purpose of the band. This is why we make music. Playing music is a symbiotic process, and without a crowd it is just a bunch of guys jamming," says Hertler. "We believe that performance is not a High Art operation, and that you should do anything you can to ensure that the crowd is having a good time. From piñatas to confetti, to fog, to flowers, to drum solos, to strobe lights, to Thor, to sword battles—literally anything goes."

If you're still reading this, at least one thing is true: The Rainbow Seekers have been waiting for you. If you'll only let them, they will shake the dust from your wildest expectations. They will roar into your life with rapturous frequencies, exuberant tone, and a joyfulness of purpose that has truly become a rare sight on stage. Join them in their celebration, and they will take you on a never-ending journey to a place you'll never be able to describe in words.


 
Marco Benevento
@The 8x10 | view more info »
Jun
14

Marco Benevento



Thursday Jun 14|doors 8:00 pm|18+
The 8x10|get directions »
10 E. Cross St.
Baltimore, MD|p: (410) 625-2000


Marco Benevento

official band site »

For more than a decade pianist Marco Benevento has been amassing an extensive body of work. His studio albums and live performances set forth a vision that connects the dots in the vast space between LCD Soundsystem and Leon Russell, pulsating with dance rock energy, but with smart, earthy songwriting to match. It has led to numerous high profile appearances, rang-ing from Carnegie Hall to Pickathon, Mountain Jam to Treefort Festival, while headlining shows coast to coast.

Marco Benevento’s latest studio LP, The Story of Fred Short, and its companion live re-lease, The Woodstock Sessions, is some of his finest and most adventurous work to date—a maes-tro making "bold indie rock" says Brooklyn Vegan, while the LA Times raves, “Benevento con-tinues to straighten his twisted sound into the guise of an indie-rock singer-songwriter, harness-ing his inventive sonic palette into rewardingly bite-size pop songs that touch on disco and soul." Honing his psych rock and late night dance party sensibilities, the recordings find the pia-nist citing everything from Harry Nilsson, Manu Chau and Gorillaz as inspiration.

As anybody who's seen Marco Benevento perform can attest, with eyes closed, smile wide across his face and fingers free-flowing across the keys, he's a satellite to the muse. With a devout and growing fan-base, Benevento is an artist whose story is only beginning to unfold.



 
Nicki Bluhm
@The Hamilton | view more info »
Jul
20

Nicki Bluhm



Friday Jul 20|doors 6:30 pm|18+
The Hamilton|get directions »
600 14th Street NW
Washington DC|p: (202) 787-1000


Nicki Bluhm

official band site »

After nearly a decade spent with the Gramblers, and recent high-profile collaborations (Phil Lesh, Infamous StringDusters, Ryan Adams), and a split from her husband and musical mentor, vocalist and songwriter Nicki Bluhm is stepping out on her own with her new album, TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL. The songs were written over a two-year period in Bluhm’s life and chronicle her fundamental life changes, which found the West Coast native living in Nashville, TN. “These songs are the conversations I never got to have, the words I never had the chance to say, and the catharsis I wouldn’t have survived without,” she says. Recorded in Memphis, TN at legendary Sam Phillips Recording, Bluhm brought in producer Matt Ross-Spang (Margo Price, Jason Isbell), for these live band, analog sessions. The studio band includes Will Sexton (guitar), Ross-Spang (guitars), Ken Coomer (drums and percussion), Al Gamble (Hammond B3), Rick Steff (piano), Dave Smith (bass), with Sam Shoup (string arrangements) and various special guests. TO RISE YOU GOTTA FALL tells the story of a woman searching for light among darkness and reveals her emergence as a powerful songwriter and vocalist of great depth and immediacy.



 
The Dirty Grass Players
Two Ton Twig | @Pearl Street Warehouse | view more info »
Jul
27

The Dirty Grass Players

Two Ton Twig


Friday Jul 27|doors 7:00 pm|21+
Pearl Street Warehouse|get directions »
33 Pearl Street
Washington DC|p: (202) 380-9620


The Dirty Grass Players

official band site »

The Dirty Grass Players are an up and coming band with their own spin on bluegrass. They use traditional style vocal harmonies and mix it with a jammy improvisational feel to keep listeners on their toes. They have been playing regionally in Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Coming from areas all around Baltimore, each player brings a different set of influence to the table. Alex Berman: banjo/vocals, Ben Kolakowski: guitar/vocals, Alex Tocco: fiddle/vocals, Ryan Rogers: mandolin, Colin Rappa: bass fiddle

Ben, Ryan and Colin and their friend Steve Gallagher had started playing bluegrass together in early 2015. By summer Steve was planning on moving to Nashville and Ben had met Tocco and Berman at Dear Jerry (tribute to Jerry Garcia) and invited them to jam. Once they joined the band, they really began to shape the sound. You can hear influences of traditional bluegrass like Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Del McCoury band, as well as some heavier newgrass like Tony Rice, Infamous String Dusters, and Travelin McCourys. We also have some music that includes jazz style improvisation as well as some group improvisation similar to the Grateful Dead or Railroad Earth.

As they start to play more, their versatility shows in their original compositions and by playing tributes ranging from Old and in the Way to Iron Maiden to James Brown.


Two Ton Twig

official band site »

Founded in 2013 by two roommates in their Alexandria, VA basement, Two Ton Twig has evolved from its punk roots to incorporate traditional influences from Appalachia, Red Dirt, Eastern European folk, Bluegrass, and other forms of American Roots music to create their own unique sound. Two Ton Twig is Brandon Boling (banjo, vocals), Donnie Riggs (guitar, dobro, vocals), Alexandra Touzinsky (fiddle, keys, vocals), and Ryan Thomas (bass, mandolin, vocals).


 
Pink Talking Fish
@The Soundry | view more info »
Aug
11

Pink Talking Fish



Saturday Aug 11|doors 10:00 pm|21+
The Soundry|get directions »
10221 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD


Pink Talking Fish

official band site »

Pink Talking Fish is a Hybrid Tribute Fusion Act that takes the music from three of the world's most beloved bands and creates a special treat for fans of the music.

Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish are all more than just bands... they are Phenomenons. Their creations have artistically inspired people and their mind-blowing live performances have brought people together to form a special sense of community around the love for their favorite band.

Although the music from each act is different, Pink Talking Fish has discovered that fusing the material together creates an amazing story. The epic emotion of Pink Floyd.... The funky, danceable layerings of The Talking Heads.... The multitude of styles, unique compositional structures and pure fun of Phish.... to merge these three into one gives music lovers a special experience.

Pink Talking Fish features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums and Dave Brunyak on guitar. This is a band created by musicians who love the music of these acts. It's purpose is to heighten people's passion for this music by creating something fresh and exciting for fans.

Discovering connections is part of the fun: Pink Floyd's "On The Run" seamlessly fitting in the middle of the composition of Phish's "You Enjoy Myself". Perfectly placing Phish's "Sand" into the groove of The Talking Head's "Slippery People". Segued collections from all three acts such as Run Like Hell > Making Flippy Floppy > Piper > Run Like Hell or Mike's Song > Have A Cigar > Once In A Lifetime > Weekapaug Groove. These ideas are the spirit behind Pink Talking Fish.

The story is ever evolving. The experience is always exciting. Come join Pink Talking Fish for the ultimate fusion tribute and celebrate the love of this music in unique fashion.



 
Pink Talking Fish
@The Soundry | view more info »
Aug
12

Pink Talking Fish



Sunday Aug 12|doors 10:00 pm|21+
The Soundry|get directions »
10221 Wincopin Circle
Columbia, MD


Pink Talking Fish

official band site »

Pink Talking Fish is a Hybrid Tribute Fusion Act that takes the music from three of the world's most beloved bands and creates a special treat for fans of the music.

Pink Floyd, The Talking Heads and Phish are all more than just bands... they are Phenomenons. Their creations have artistically inspired people and their mind-blowing live performances have brought people together to form a special sense of community around the love for their favorite band.

Although the music from each act is different, Pink Talking Fish has discovered that fusing the material together creates an amazing story. The epic emotion of Pink Floyd.... The funky, danceable layerings of The Talking Heads.... The multitude of styles, unique compositional structures and pure fun of Phish.... to merge these three into one gives music lovers a special experience.

Pink Talking Fish features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums and Dave Brunyak on guitar. This is a band created by musicians who love the music of these acts. It's purpose is to heighten people's passion for this music by creating something fresh and exciting for fans.

Discovering connections is part of the fun: Pink Floyd's "On The Run" seamlessly fitting in the middle of the composition of Phish's "You Enjoy Myself". Perfectly placing Phish's "Sand" into the groove of The Talking Head's "Slippery People". Segued collections from all three acts such as Run Like Hell > Making Flippy Floppy > Piper > Run Like Hell or Mike's Song > Have A Cigar > Once In A Lifetime > Weekapaug Groove. These ideas are the spirit behind Pink Talking Fish.

The story is ever evolving. The experience is always exciting. Come join Pink Talking Fish for the ultimate fusion tribute and celebrate the love of this music in unique fashion.



 
Lake Street Dive
@The Anthem | view more info »
Nov
9

Lake Street Dive



Friday Nov 9|doors 6:30 pm|all ages
The Anthem|get directions »
901 WHARF ST SW, WASHINGTON, DC 20024|p: (202) 265-0930


Lake Street Dive

official band site »

The title of Lake Street Dive’s Free Yourself Up is both an exhortation to listeners and a statement of purpose for the band. The songs have an infectious swagger, even when dealing with awkward breakups or the unsettled state of our world. Free Yourself Up is Lake Street Dive’s most confident album yet, seriously soulful and exuberantly rocking. And, in many ways, it is Lake Street Dive’s most intimate and collaborative, with the band itself taking over the production reins and working as a tightly knit unit to craft these ten songs. In addition, the quartet drafted touring keyboardist Akie Bermiss to join them in the studio, literally freeing the band up to explore a wider range of instrumental textures, construct more full-bodied arrangements, and build stacks of lively background harmonies.

On Free Yourself Up, the sound is influenced by late sixties-early seventies R&B, AM pop, and FM rock while the lyrics are informed more by contemporary events. The album opens with “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts,” which envisions a lover acting as a “human shield” against the anxiety of our Twitter-ravaged age. It’s funny, sweet, a little angry, and definitely right up-to-the-minute in its sentiment. Singer Rachael Price says, “I thought about that song as the thesis of this record. It’s a disco-dance fun song but it’s also a person talking about needing comfort from another person, and it has a reference to the political climate.”

The lyrics to the guitar-driven “Shame, Shame, Shame,” which feels like undiscovered, transistor-radio-ready AM gold, bravely speak to an unnamed person: “No I’m not getting caught in your little spider web/Won’t let an angry dog get me down/Don’t you think it’s time we put this dog out of his misery?/Change is coming, oh yeah…” Bassist Bridget Kearney explains, “This album is based in the realities in our time, which have inevitably become part of everyone’s daily life. It’s something you think about and obsess over—and write songs about. Free Yourself Up is about empowering yourself, emboldening yourself, no matter what’s going wrong.”

Adds drummer Mike Calabrese, “This time around, we were changing so many things anyway, we felt freer to go deep into various subjects, to explore a multitude of emotions to a background of music that is a different direction in and of itself. It’s a juxtaposition of new subject matter and new musical developments. We’re not just this happy go lucky band anymore.”

The band clearly enjoyed itself in the studio as the rhythmically propulsive “Dude” indicates. As the singer complains about a lover who is always out with the guys, a steady beat builds to a big, defiant chorus and then the song veers to the left, culminating in a kind of psychedelic duel between trumpet and guitar, its conclusion marked by echoes of the band’s laughter. The percolating “Red Light Kisses” is highlighted by call-and-response vocals between Price and her band mates (doing their best falsettos) and a classic percussion-and-handclaps breakdown towards the end. “Musta Been Something” is a more stripped-down slow-dance ballad, a showcase for Price’s voice and Mike “McDuck” Olson’s guitar.

“I Can Change” is an even more pensive ballad. “We were watching the news in the summer of 2017 and seeing people trapped in these cycles of hate that humanity can’t seem to find its way out of,” Kearney explains. “And it’s easy enough to look at that from the outside and criticize, but the really hard part is striving to understand your own weaknesses and biases and prejudices and learning to do better. ‘I Can Change’ is us summoning the courage to do that.”

Lake Street Dive was for many years a self-reliant unit. After forming in 2004, while all the members were studying at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, they assiduously built a following through a series of independent album releases, countless club tours, and a few lucky breaks. In 2013, producer T Bone Burnett invited them to join a star-studded lineup at a New York City concert where they practically stole the show—and wound up with a deal from Nonesuch Records. The band’s label debut, Side Pony, was greeted with raves. Rolling Stone called it “irresistible” and the Boston Globe said, “Side Pony is a confident, expertly played statement from a band that’s been honing its approach for more than a decade, and it clearly shows that Lake Street Dive is ready to make itself known to whatever audiences have yet to succumb to its many charms.”

Lake Street Dive spent eighteen months on the road in support of Side Pony. Despite the hectic pace, the band mates started brainstorming about their next album whenever they found a spare moment. As guitarist McDuck recalls, “We remembered how things worked before we added the crew and the bus and the manager. All of that support is great, but it left us with less time to sit around and listen to music together. So when we had a day off, we made a point to sit on the tour bus and play records for each other, the way we used to when we’d drive ourselves in a van.”

Free Yourself Up is the sound of a democratic party, organized by a band that has bolstered its deep well of talent with a healthy supply of mutual trust. Though the individual band members had traditionally written separately and then delivered meticulously rendered demos to the group, the process began to change while recording Side Pony. This time Lake Street Dive took that idea further, helping each other out on nascent songs and ultimately deciding to produce the album itself, with the ample help of engineer Dan Knobler, a former Brooklynite now based in Nashville.

That wasn’t the original plan. As the Lake Street Dive team was deliberating about which producers to reach out to, they decided to book a demo session on their own at Knobler’s tiny Goosehead Palace studio, a modest but very welcoming garage space. Recounts Price, “We go in the studio every two years for a concentrated period of time and then we go on the road and perfect what we do. But we don’t have that same practice in the studio. So we said to ourselves, ‘Let’s practice what recording feels like.’ We found out that a) we could have so much fun and b) we work very quickly in a specific way and we collaborated perfectly together.” She continues, “I think we were quite scared that without having that fifth neutral voice we would endlessly be in the decision-making process—because we are so democratic. Our fears were assuaged after that session, though.”

They sent the results to Brooklyn-based mixer Joe Visciano and, says Kearney, “he was able to do incredible things, making the record really pop and sound like it was recorded in a multi-million-dollar studio. That seemed like the perfect solution, to do it in a place that was really comfortable.” So they returned to Knobler in Nashville to complete the album, forgoing previous notions about moving to a different studio for the next step.

Kearney continues, “The process felt really natural. We had a good amount of tunes to work with, some of which we had played live, some we’d never played at all, and we kept writing during the recording process. We found tools that were fun and worked well in the studio. For instance, a friend had left a Korg synthesizer in my apartment; we tried it on one song and loved it, so we put it on a couple of other tracks,” she says. “And Akie was a huge part of the sound of the record as well; the way he plays and chooses to voice things elevates the song.”

“There was a fearlessness to the process, an open-mindedness. Collaborating allowed us to feel freer; we were sharing the songwriting burden. Some of these songs almost died in our voice memo apps but were revived—or Frankenstein-ed—in the process of collaborating,” adds Calabrese. “Dan Knobler became more than just an engineer; he was an arbiter. He was very important to the sound of the record and to certain artistic choices that helped to polish things to perfection.”

Kearney summarizes the experience of the band’s collaborative, flexible approach to making Free Yourself Up, explaining the origins of lead album track “Good Kisser”: “I had thought of the chorus or at least the opening, it was a lyrical idea I had plus a little tiny bit of a melody. Then we were on stage in North Carolina playing this cool funky groove we had started using on ‘How It Feels To Be Alone’ and I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s the perfect thing for this song idea I have. It really needs to find a home.’ I got off stage, went to the dressing room, and wrote almost the whole song—in the moment, inspired by the strength of the band that I experienced on stage that night.”

Bringing the process full circle, Price adds, “When we heard Joe’s first mix of that song, I stood up and said, ‘I can’t believe we made this in a garage!’”

—Michael Hill