Music Picks: Winter 2018


Anna Meredith
When someone’s music is described as “uncategorizable” and “genre-defying,” as Anna Meredith’s is on U Street Music Hall’s website, I’m already intrigued. It’s true that Meredith’s music is borderline all over the place as far as what she’s pulling from; at one moment, you’ll have horns and at another, you’ll feel like an alarm clock is going off in your ears. But these sounds intersect with a mission. Meredith’s goal seems to be to create organized chaos, and in an intimate venue like U Street, we’re excited to see how she directs bodies in such an enclosed space. Doors at 7 p.m. $15. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;

Bob Marley’s B-Day Bash Ft. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Formed in 2001 in Rochester, New York, GPGDS first received praise for their live show, which combined world beats and reggae rhythms within jam band aesthetics. In recent years, the band’s studio recordings, which showcase their songwriting and musicianship across all genres of roots music, have further cemented their legend as master innovators and artists. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. $16-$18. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

Lera Lynn
Lera Lynn’s vocals set her apart from other singer-songwriters who also sport the ability to play instruments. Her voice is both sorrowful yet powerful, and its super power is its penchant for touching your soul. On top of that, her folk style seemingly slow burns, building with great anticipation for her next belting chord. The music is dark, the singer is talented and Jammin Java always delivers. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $20. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA;


Girlpool is angry. They’re upset at their plight, and sonically upset about a past romance, but you can’t pick all of this up just from listening to their sound. In a vacuum, Girlpool actually resembles a pleasant musical experience, but if you turn the volume up, and turn the real world down, you’ll get a heavy dose of lyrics that are neatly packaged beneath this folk exterior. Girlpool is much more than a dynamic duo playing acoustic guitars, so check them out at the newly renovated Black Cat. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $18. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

Tiny Moving Parts
Transport yourself to the good ol’ days of Warped Tour with emo revival rockers Tiny Moving Parts, a self-described family band made up of brothers William (drums) and Matthew (bass) Chevalier, and their cousin Dylan Mattheisen (lead vocals, guitar). Catch the band on tour for their latest album Swell, released this January. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;


Joanna Teters
Yet again, Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House is booking a future star: this time, the soulful Joanna Teters. Her sound is incredibly sultry, but it’s new wave R&B as the backdrop is full of synths and bass drops. The music often bounces from slow to fast to slow again, and this only works with her versatility as a singer. What more can we say? She’s a natural in every sense of the word. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $12. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2477 18th St. NW, DC;


WHY? is a California indie rock band with a hip-hop twist. What started as Yoni Wolf’s solo rap project in 1997 would later become a group effort in 2004 when Yoni recruited his older brother Josiah, as well as Doug McDiarmid and Matt Meldon. With whimsical, folksy arrangements layered with Yoni’s spoken-word-like voice, WHY? draw you closer with cheeky lyrics and psychedelic sounds. Doors open at 7 p.m. $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


Nashville rockers COIN are behind the popular indie pop single “Talk Too Much.” On tour for their second album, How Will You Know If You Never Try, these guys have slowly gained a following with their infectious sound. Songs off their new album like “Boyfriend” and “I Don’t Wanna Dance” will (ironically) make you want to dance while mellow songs like “Malibu 1992” will take you to sunny California beaches. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Doors open at 7 p.m. $20. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;

Steve Aoki
The EDM DJ popularly known for smashing cakes into his fans’ faces is on tour for his latest album Kolony, filled with lots of newcomers that made waves in 2017 like Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty. Catch Aoki’s set with rapper Desiigner at Echostage, a venue that’s come to be known for hosting EDM heavy weights. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Echostage: 2135 Queens Chapel Rd. NE, DC;


Indie rockers Viniloversus, formed in Venezuela in 2004, are on tour for their fourth album Days of Exile. Singing in both English and Spanish, the Caracas-based musicians have proved themselves to be rock trailblazers in Latin American, with two albums nominated for Latin Grammys. Catch their grungy act reminiscent of mid 2000s alt-rockers like The Strokes and The White Stripes at Black Cat. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $15. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;


The Academic
Craig Fitzgerald, brothers Matt and Stephen Murtagh, and Dean Gavin are up-and-coming Irish indie rockers The Academic. On tour for their debut album Tales from the Backseat, The Academic will rope you in with catchy hooks and amped up guitars and drums. Witty lyrics on songs like “Bear Claws” and “Fake ID” will have you singing along all night long. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

Carla Bruni
Not only is she a model and married to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni is also an Italian-French singer-songwriter. Currently on tour for her fifth album French Touch, Bruni sings coffeehouse-esque songs in French and English with beautiful, delicate vocals backed by piano and violins or acoustic guitar. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $59.50. The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave. Alexandria, VA;


Joe Satriani
If you’re in the market for life-altering, guitar-centric performances, you can’t do much better than Joe Satriani. I had a friend in college who loved the guy – raved about him even – but for the longest time, I didn’t understand the appeal of listening to music centrally focused on the guitar, until he played me his idol. Ever since, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for this genre of music, and it never ceases to amaze me how creative people can be with the stringed instrument. A lot of the modern experimentations are influenced by Satriani, so we suggest you peep one of the best in the world. Doors at 7:30 p.m. $75. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC;

Sleigh Bells
It’s been 10 years since noise-pop band Sleigh Bells came onto the music scene and made a name for themselves with the catchy song “Rill Rill.” A decade later, and the band just released their fifth album Kid Kruschev, a mini-album that still has their classic, dissonant noise spread across the tracks, but also sees the band experimenting with new sounds. Doors open at 7 p.m. $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


Stooges Brass Band
The Stooges Brass Band has gained notoriety across the U.S. and the world as a full-blown musical party, whether leading a second-line parade or performing their spirited stage show. The band is undeniably one of the hardest working bands out of New Orleans, and their dedication to their craft has made an impact. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m. $15. Write-up provided by venue. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;


The Prince and MJ Experience
With both of these artists passing in the past decade, the two pop icons will largely be tied together because both made the majority of their music within the same time period. While Jackson offered album after album full of chart topping hits, Prince battled back with more nuanced lyrics aimed almost exclusively at a more mature audience. Both had strengths the other may have lacked, and both approached music in a different manner. There will not be a day where people don’t have some form of a “Prince vs. MJ” debate, but today is not that day, because they both left behind splendid music to be revered – and danced to. Doors at 11 p.m. $15. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2477 18th St. NW, DC;

Looking for new music that’s a little more classic rock ‘n’ roll? Check out Starcrawlers, a new L.A. rock band that channels the days of Alice Cooper and Joan Jett in both fashion and sound. Lead singer Arrow de Wilde manages to make singing about “ants in my pants” sound cool. Angst and stick-it-to-the-man vibes galore abound on their recently released, self-titled album. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

Will McCarry, Lonnie Southall, Jackson Wright and Mike Pingley are DC’s own Wylder. An indie band that combines anthem-style rock with the feet-stomping charm of a classic folk band, Wylder makes infectious music that will make you wish you were driving with the windows down in spring. With plenty of fiddle spread throughout their songs, they’ll remind of you of The Strumbellas or The Lumineers, but moments of solitary electric guitar remind you Wylder is still plenty rock. Check out their newest single “The Lake.” Doors open at 7 p.m. $15. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


Cher is back at the MGM this winter, extending her residency into a part two. If you missed the icon’s last stop in Maryland, this is probably as good a chance as you’ll get to see her live in concert. With countless hits on her resume, it’s no wonder she’s experienced this seemingly endless lifespan into the music zeitgeist, and we likely still haven’t begun to approach the end of her talents. All six shows at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $120. MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, MD;


All four members of L.A. indie-folk band MAGIC GIANT have a long list of instruments they can play, and they put that talent to use in their music. Upbeat indie-pop songs are laced with trumpets, banjos and harmonicas for a unique twist. But just because violins and banjos are played doesn’t mean they are solely a folk-rock band; there is still plenty of synthesizer to remind you that MAGIC GIANT is all about a big pop song. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $20-$54. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;

Snarky Puppy
The people in the office claim that I’m not a dog person, so I think it’s only fitting that I choose the venerable Snarky Puppy as a show people in DC should see. No, there are no sassy dogs onstage for the show, but you will have moody tunes, as trumpets and electric guitars interact and form music that always sounds drastically different from the preceding song. The band’s goal is always to go into the studio, a practice or even a show and come out with something they haven’t done before then. Basically, you’re going to get something new, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up for actually snarky animals on the Fillmore Stage; it’s probably against building code. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $33. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;

Two Feet
Two Feet is New York-based solo artist Bill Dess. Originally a producer making music for other artists, Two Feet’s career was born from a drunken night where he made his song “Go F–k Yourself” public on SoundCloud. The next day, the song had blown up on the Internet. Fast forward to a little over a year later, and Two Feet has released his second EP Momentum and single “I Feel Like I’m Drowning,” both characterized by mellow beats with a punch of guitar backing Two Feet’s bluesy, attitude-laced sound. Doors open at 7 p.m. $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;


Phoebe Bridgers
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers has quickly made a name for herself with her unique voice and unforgettable lyrics. Bridgers’ sweet voice is backed by beautiful strings and vulnerable lyrics in music that I can only describe as the kind of songs you have a good cry to. Catch Bridgers on tour for her first album release with Stranger in the Alps. Doors open at 7 p.m. $15. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;


Martin Sexton
When I learned that Martin Sexton is self-taught in the art of guitar, it was kind of an incredible realization. I’m sure his technicalities are up to snuff, but you can tell he operates on a freedom those classically trained guitarists might not enjoy because it’s all sound-driven. The music is unique, has a fun pace and is generally easy to listen to, whether you’re stuck in a rut or just want to dance in your kitchen while trying to make tilapia taste good (it’s basically impossible). In this case, you’ll be listening to his tunes at the legendary Wolf Trap. Doors at 8 p.m. $42-$47. The Barns at Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA;

The Oh Hellos
As a person from Texas, The Oh Hellos sound very modern-Texas. It’s fun to think of the state nestled above Mexico and below Oklahoma, among others, as a place where Cowboys roam on horseback, but the state really is a part of the modern world. There are hints of that old West influence in barbecue and art, but I promise you don’t need a saddle to get around. The Oh Hellos are much like this, offering up music that straddles the line of old-school country and pop music you find on the radio. There’s violins and Southern twang, but there’s also a tempo that feels very 21st-century. Doors at 9 p.m. $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;


It seems like just yesterday people were putting up YouTube videos of their cats being, well, cats in perfect synchronization to the song “Sail.” Seven years later and alt-rock band Awolnation has just released a third album, Here Come the Runts. With plenty of electropop sounds on the album, lead singer Aaron Bruno says he wanted to make a more pop-leaning album and was influenced by the coastal mountains near his home studio. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $34. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;

Method Man and Redman
One of hip-hop’s most dynamic duos is set to perform at the Howard Theatre, which always seems to pay homage to the nostalgic days of the genre. Method Man and Redman are giants in the industry; the former has one of hip-hop’s most distinguishable voices and the latter is known as one of its very best lyricists. Though these two have largely stayed quiet – at least in producing new tracks – their past discography could ignite a fiercely fun evening you won’t want to miss. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $49.50-$69.50. The Howard Theatre: 620 T St. NW, DC;


John Nolan
Height is the latest album release from John Nolan, a solo project from Taking Back Sunday’s co-lead vocalist. Less angsty than Taking Back Sunday, Nolan, who also was a founding member of Straylight Run, still brings moodiness and rock to his solo project. Catch him on his birthday tour, which kicks off the day before his birthday and which will feel like one big b-day celebration – balloons and streamers included. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. $15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;


Jenny and the Mexicats
Whether it’s shifting from English to Spanish mid-song or switching from jazz to slow acoustic, Jenny and the Mexicats are variety incarnate. England’s Jenny Ball grew up playing trumpet in jazz and classical settings, but eventually yearned for adventure; from there, she moved to Spain and helped found this band with international flavor. There isn’t a sound the group can’t recreate with force – and grace – so we’re not sure what to expect other than tremendous fun. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. $10-$12. DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;