Music Picks: November 2016

Music Picks: Local Edition November 2016

By Michael Coleman and Trent Johnson

Calm The Waters
Calm The Waters, a four-piece alternative rock band from Fairfax, formed in late 2014 and released their first album less than a year later. Since the release, they have been steadily building their fan base and honing their dynamic live performances around DC, Northern Virginia and Richmond. Calm the Waters’ music could be characterized as a blend of alternative rock, pop-punk, and emo sounds, coupled with somber and reflective lyricism. The group’s versatility makes them appealing and accessible to a wide swath of modern rock fans. Show at 8 p.m.  $10 advance, $13 at the door. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. East, Vienna, VA;

Eric Hutchison
Born in Washington DC, Eric Hutchinson grew up in Takoma Park, Maryland. The pop-soul singer now lives in New York City but is among the DMV area’s greatest musical exports of the past decade. Hutchinson’s polished upbeat tunes are relentlessly catchy, and the multi-instrumentalist can sing, play and perform with the best in the business. Over the past years, the 35 year-old musician changed management, stripped down his sound and embraced the mantle of producer, all the while spending months working on his fourth studio album, Easy Street. The accomplished record is a musical snapshot of perseverance and musical maturity brimming with superb melodies and contagious rhythms. His coming home show at the 9:30 Club should be something special. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $25. 9:30 Club: 915 V St. NW, DC;

DJ Lisa Frank
A major skill requirement for being a successful DJ is timing, when you’re going to come in on a certain sound and cut out another. The music has to flow from one track to another without skipping a beat, and there has to be a coherent direction your taking the audience. DC DJ Lisa Frank is adept at timing her ins and outs, as she routinely displays her firm grasp on music. With a focus on techno and house music, the sounds are sonic, and the waves are meant to be ridden by the audiences. Lisa Frank is definitely a DC DJ to watch. Show starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $30. Opening for Boys Noize. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;

Moonshine Society
Though the name illustrates drunkards, the Moonshine Society is far from an unhinged group of alcoholics. The DC based group is an international sensation, bringing high energy tunes from genres including rock, blues and even old school R&B. The group has recorded with notable artists such as George Clinton, RZA and John Mayer. So if you’re looking to start your month off with a dose of lively, local tunes, check out the moonshine society, perhaps after a shot of moonshine. Band plays from 10:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. in The Hamilton Loft Bar. Free to attend. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

Red Sammy and Some Charming Trespassers
Adam Trice, a singer-songwriter from Maryland, performs under the name Red Sammy with a rotating cast of musicians ranging from a rock band to a four-piece string ensemble. Think Tom Waits meets Bob Dylan meets any number of accomplished country blues and folks acts. Red Sammy’s songs – poetic but rough-hewn – blend rock, folk, country and blues. Some Charming Trespassers is Trice’s latest ensemble which includes Sarah Kennedy (violin), John Decker (resonator), Julia Wen (Cello) and Becca Jane Edwards (background vocals). Show at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $8. Velvet Lounge: 915 U St. NW, DC;

We Were Black Clouds
After a year of health issues, lawsuits, a record label collapse, and an addition to the live line-up, We Were Black Clouds (formerly just Black Clouds) is back in action with a comeback show scheduled for November 4 at the Rock & Roll Hotel. The DC-based all-instrumental hard rock band’s dark, brooding and complex sound is as nuanced and textured as it is powerful and energetic. Black Clouds first two albums, Everything Is Not Going To Be OK and Dreamcation drew influences from artists as diverse as Nine Inch Nails and Brian Eno. Band founder Justin Horenstein remains We Were Black Cloud’s driving creative force, and the addition of longtime friend and collaborator John Kneip for the live shows marks the band’s next evolutionary step. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;

Cargo & The Heavy Lifters
With groovy guitar licks and bursting soulful lyrics, Cargo & The Heavy Lifters provide an exemplary look at what American music sounds like. With covers and originals, the group focuses on the old school aspects of blues, rock and even country. The booming voice of Randy McCargo make this group a must see, as his dynamic voice is a rarity in the modern scope of music. From the sound to their attire, this band is wonderfully old school, and as their website exclaims “awesome.” Doors open at 5:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15-$20. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna, VA;

The Rock-A-Sonics
This band sounds exactly as their title suggests as they bring a fusion of country roots with a sort of 1950s delivery. From their outfits to their instruments, including a standing bass, this group delivers the sort of sound one expects to come from the speakers of an old timey diner, as they wait for their rootbeer float. Though the group defines themselves as rockabilly, the group brings a melody and slower pace to their shows, allowing you to either shimmy side to side, or even do the twist on the dance floor. Start time is at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Opening for Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. IOTA Club & Cafe: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

Shining Blade Theory
Shining Blade Theory describe their music as “hip hop and funk with a dash of oomph.” It’s an apt characterization of this four-piece, DC-based band that puts smooth hip-hop flow and lyrical sensibility front-and-center while adding some impressive organic instrumentation that also veers into rock, jazz and soul. Parabellum, the front-man, is a natural rapper, dropping witty rhymes one minute and philosophical musings the next. Shining Blade Theory’s upbeat, propulsive sound is guaranteed to get you moving. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $10. Songbyrd: 2477 18th St. NW, DC;

Tamika Love Jones
If you’ve ever had the pleasure to hear to Tamika Love Jones, then you know she possesses a soothing voice, capable of making all of the relatable love stories sound beautiful. A DC native, Jones turned to music to escape some harsh realities of her surroundings. According to the Capital Fringe website, her classmates spurred her to pursue musical endeavors at the age of 11. Now she’s released two albums, and has performed at The Kennedy Center, Carter Baron and Constitution Hall, to name a few. With a focus on soul and funk, her music has a certain liveliness attached, providing a fun listen. Part of Fringe Music in the Library, the event is from 4-5 p.m. Free to attend. Southeast Neighborhood Library: 403 7th St. SE, DC;

The Fuss
Founded in 2014, the Fuss is a nine piece part ska, part reggae band that has to crowd a little on the stage. The DC group features a number of unique sounding instruments including a trumpet, a trombone and a saxophone to name a few. The music is mellow and slow, but far from boring as the sounds meld together to form an enjoyable vibe. So if you’re in the mood for a band that is easy to sing along too, come see what the fuss is about. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $12 in advance; $14 at the door. Opening for Bad Cop Bad Cop and The Interrupters. The Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

Hangtown Two
Former Washington Post nightlife writer Eric Brace – the longtime frontman for acclaimed Americana band Last Train Home – left D.C. for Nashville years ago. But the talented singer-songwriter and collaborator Karl Straub, playing songs from their folk opera “Hangtown Dancehall,” along with tunes from their bands Last Train Home and The Graverobbers, make frequent returns to the DMV. Brace is a skilled tunesmith and ingratiating stage presence and he always seems to turn it up a notch for the hometown crowd. Last Train Home’s Christmas specials at IOTA Club & Cafe in Arlington are legendary. Show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. East, Vienna, VA;

Paperhaus – the melodic indie-rock band based in DC’s Petworth neighborhood – has built up a significant regional following since their self-titled debut album, receiving buzz from NPR, USA Today, Washington Post and even Rolling Stone. These days, Paperhaus’ sounds is equally informed by Fela Kuti, the more electronic side of contemporary rock Deerhunter and Radiohead, and the band whose song they take their namesake from, CAN. The group has taken big strides in terms of songwriting, performance and production, but there remains a natural “sweaty basement” tinge that keeps their sound fresh and vital. Show at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;

The Janna Audey Band
Though her vocals are soft and easy to absorb, make no mistake Janna Audey can really sing. Couple her powerful velvety chords with a background piano and well timed strums of an acoustic guitar, this band will definitely mellow you out. The group sounds like something of an opener for Woodstock, emitting a sound that free spirited folks around the world would enjoy to saunter about a festival to. Depending on the song, Janna Audey will either whisper into the microphone with sentimental words about change or even the ever evolving “Human Race.” From 7-9 p.m. Free to attend. FireFlies: 1501 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA;

Soul Stew
Formed in 2015, Soul Stew is still relatively new to the DC music scene, but with the ages of members ranging from early 20s to “old enough to know better,” the group pieces together different experiences to form a smorgasbord of great, original soul music. While some local bands have a pension for blending various styles of music together, Soul Stew is happy to let you know that the only ingredient in their tunes is loads of soul. 8:30-11 p.m. Free to attend. Sehkraft Brewing: 925 N. Garfield St. Arlington, VA:

Who says parenthood is all minivans and suburban birthday parties? Certainly not the women of Governess, one of DC’s most potent up-and-coming new rock bands. The punky, surf-pop trio (drummer-vocalist Erin McCarley, guitarist Kim Weeks and Kieca Mahoney on bass) met through their kids, who had become friends at a local preschool. Instead of singing about anarchy and sticking it to the man, the DIY upstarts’ debut album contains tracks titled “Severance,” “Daytime” and “Control Top” – you know, the things that are on many working (or maybe not working) mothers’ minds. The early results are impressive. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12. Bathtub Republic: 251110th St. NE, DC;

Elikeh, founded by Massama Dogo, is one of the most unique groups in the DMV, as the band uses Togolese rhythms as the foundation of their Afro-pop sound. This leads to unusual changes of pace, and enjoyable dance opportunities for patrons. The group still has a very American sound, but the subtle differences help it stand out when compared to other area bands, and Dogo’s style of singing is nearly inimitable. The band also features a number of instruments outside the spectrum of a four piece group, including saxophone, various drums and the organ. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 9 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance, $15 day of the show. Opening for The Hip Abduction. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

Founded in 1972, Mudlark is DC’s resident off and on again band, as the group has continually produced rock and blues music for the past three decades, despite the occasional hiatus. When they are together, the speedy pace is undeniably enjoyable, including bright guitar riffs, and gravelly vocals. So even though they’ve enjoyed a few breaks along the way, Mudlark is still kicking and producing fantastic tunes for the blues fans in the area. 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Free to attend. Two Nineteen Restaurant: 219 King St. Alexandria, VA;

American Television

Hailing from the broad “DC area,” American Television is a classic punk band. Featuring a breakneck pace, heavy base line and speedy melodic lyrics, the band is essentially a representation of their namesake, as they are rapidly moving like an indecisive person flipping through the hundreds of channels. Another aspect of prototypical punk the band is faithful to, is the length of songs. Tracks rarely eclipse the three minute mark, making this show perfect for those with short attention spans seeking to jump around. Doors open at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Opening for The Living Legend. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H Street, NE, DC;

Exit Vehicles
A four piece group hailing from DC, Exit Vehicles delivers their music in a very deliberate manner, almost easing into the songs. These slow build ups establish a certain anticipation for the eventual vocals, and oh does the patience pay off as singer Brian Easley captures attention with a deep indie sound. To go along with the music, the group focuses on topics such as space, technology and the combination of those and the government in NASA. The group doesn’t play often, so try to not miss this opportunity, because they’re exquisitely fascinating. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $10. The Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

The 19th Street Band
When perusing through music shows to possibly catch in the DMV, you’ll notice there are numerous types of genres to choose from, including some with foreign inspirations. The 19th Street Band is an example of a band with influences from across the pond. With rock and roll, plus a fiddle, the group is fun and exuberant. According to the website, the group is always striving to be itself, and the audiences can’t help but enjoy it. Show starts at 9 p.m. Free to attend. Samuel Beckett’s Irish Pub: The Village at Shirlington, 2800 S Randolph St. #110, Arlington, VA;

The Walkaways
Using catchy country hooks, The Walkaways are one of DC’s must see country acts. Although defined as “alt-country” because of the use of pop, blues and rock, the group is still grounded in their country roots and have garnered props from The Washington Post, The Washingtonian and the Washington City Paper. Coming off their recent album Romance and Medicine, according to their website, The Walkaways are excited to be home “at the forefront of their local roots-rock scene.” 9 p.m. – midnight. Free to attend. Sehkraft Brewing: 925 N Garfield St. Arlington, VA;

Bobby Thompson and Revelator Hill
When looking for a local guitarists with the chops to play riff after riff, without the fallback of lyrics, you can’t do much better than Bobby Thompson. The DC local flows from bridge to chorus with ease, rapidly moving his fingers upon a six string. However, he also has a soulful voice, and his subtlety, almost talking style compliments the melodic beauty of the guitar, which is what sets him apart from a number of other soul bands in the area. Plus, he loves the area, often touring around Virginia, and even recorded a live album at the IOTA Club in 2015. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $12. IOTA Club & Cafe: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

Warm Sun
With psychedelic guitar riffs and thoughtful lyrics, Warm Sun is a band that will brighten your day with mellow rock tunes. The four piece group hails from DC, and sounds like a vintage group from the 70s, with a modern twist. The band also uses pop and indie sensibilities, as their music contains catchy hooks and simple rhythmic cadences. Warm Sun can give it to you slow, or they can give it you fast, and continually offer up excellent songs that can be enjoyed anywhere by anyone. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $12. Opening for The Life and Times. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

DJ Mathias
A DC DJ, Mathias has established his mixes with an eclectic use of genres ranging from rap to UK garage. If you can’t pull away from the job in time to grab a plane or bus home for Thanksgiving, perhaps a dance party will help, as Mathias is set to light the 9:30 Club ablaze, figuratively of course, at the club’s Twerksgiving via pulsating music meant to get everyone in the joint moving in advance of stuffing their gullets with turkey, cranberry sauce and other delicious treats. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $12. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;

John Kadlecik and the DC Cats
In the pantheon on jam band musicians, John Kadlecik’s resume is impeccable. A co-founder of the critically-acclaimed Dark Star Orchestra, renowned for their note-for-note covers of Grateful Dead sets, Kadlecik has jammed with a who’s who of the genre – Mike Gordon, Sam Bush, John Popper, Bill Kreutzmann, and the living godfather of jam, the Dead’s own Bob Weir. Kadlecik’s shows are freewheeling, sonically complex affairs. The multi-instrumentalist was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa but has long called the nation’s capital home. Show at 8. Tickets cost $30. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

Rare Essence
Rare Essence – the city’s most enduring Go-Go band – is the sound of native Washington, DC. Going on four decades now, Rare Essence has built a devoted fan base that spans multiple generations. The funky, furiously rhythmic outfit remains the city’s most popular and enduring Go-Go band. Formed by four students at a Southeast Washington Catholic school during the mid-70s, the band stayed on track and out of trouble thanks to several no-nonsense moms. The band also happened to be mentored by the late Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown. Based on a recent appearance at DC’s Funk Parade, Rare Essence hasn’t lost a step. Doors at 6 p.m.  Tickets cost $20. Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club: 7719 Wisconsin Ave. Bethesda, MD;

Hailing from Vienna, RDGLDGRN (pronounced Red Gold Green) is a poster boy band for the indiegogo genre. With rap, pop and gogo influences, the band’s music is upbeat and positive, and features a little bit for everybody. After gaining acclaim for their debut single “I Love Lamp” in 2011, the group released their self titled, sort of, LP, Red Gold Green, which subsequently features fellow Virginia native Dave Grohl on the drums for most of the tracks. Since, they’ve released a EP in 2015 and a single, “Karnival” this year. With all these smaller projects steadily adding up, it seems like RDGLDRGN has big plans for the future, and is worth seeing before loading up on Turkey the following day. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;

Rachel Anne Morgan
Claiming Baltimore and DC, Rachel Anne Morgan has become a fixture in the DMV music scene through various ventures spanning from several rock bands and solo performances. The singer/songwriter also dabbles in acting and dancing, so there’s essentially no art-stone unturned by the talented local. Her music is aided by her versatility, as she often shifts between genres in order to put on a fully fledged show. While her song writing focus is primarily on the Baltimore based group Hop’t, that won’t stop Morgan from putting on yet another worthwhile show in DC. From 10:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m. In The Hamilton Loft Bar. Free to attend. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

With a clear European flair, Scythian brings “immigrant rock” with tremendous energy. Even though the loud noises bring you in, the deft storytelling will keep your feet planted in front of the stage, only moving to dance. They even have a tremendous amount of cache in the industry, picking up praise from Ed Helms’ The Bluegrass Situation and Nashville Music City. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20-$25. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;