Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby These are Serious Sounds

Tonight - Friday, October 30 - Ottley! Beatnik Flies and Puptent

When these folks get together to celebrate Phil's birthday, crazy things happen. These are three of the most amazing bands in DC, so I urge everyone to break the routine, get down to the Velvet Lounge and share the love.

That's all I have to say. Have a listen to the ultimate psychedelia of Ottley!, the pop-not-pop of Puptent and the serious sounds of the Beatnik Flies and see you there.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DC History Rocks

( 7th Street NW circa 1921)

Washington D.C. has seen its share of important events, and a lot of people have come here to make history, but not a single president was born here. Marvin Gaye was born here as was Duke Ellington, but they found their fame in places like Detroit and New York. I think the award for true Washingtonian has to go to Bob Berberich who was not only born in Washington, but the Berberich family has been here longer than anyone I know- including my own clan.
And Mr Berberich has been rocking this area for quite a while- his drumming days include gigs with The Hangmen and Grin. (Check out this link for a great little piece by local film maker Jeff Krulik) But Bob is still a powerful force on the music front and is now in the transfixing trio known as Ottley! with ex-Slickees' master of guitar, Marshall Keith and slayer singer, Martha Hull.

Be part of it. You can watch history in the making THIS FRIDAY night when the "Birthday of the Dead Celebration" takes place at the always intimate Velvet Lounge. The line up includes Ottley! as well as the venerable Beatnik Flies -a band with its own history and staying power around here- four musicians that can still deliver the goods and how. Plus Pup Tent will round out the bill bringing on more psychedelic garage band kind of brain-rock.

(Note to self and readers: Do I ever write about jazz or country or easy to label music?
Answer: No.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wake Up Washington

Photo by John Askew

You missed it. I know you missed it because only a handful of people made it to Iota last night, and that handful got an unforgettable show brought to us by an unbelievably good band.

I saw Susan Cowsill on a rainy evening some eight years ago in New Orleans. I remember it well because I really didn't want to go out that night, but after I saw the band, I didn't want to go home. (And thank you, Kiki for making it happen.) A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then- literally- and Susan and her band survived the Flood, and I don't use that term lightly. What happened to New Orleans and its people is a tragic story still unfolding and still mostly untold, but Susan has written songs that capture both the heavy grief and the absolute joy of that amazing city she calls home.

I didn't write about this show because this is not a DC band, but after last night, I think they qualify for the New Orleans Austin DC triangle I was talking about a couple of weeks ago-especially considering DC's adopted son and guitar ace, Bill Kirchen and long time native, Mark Noone ended up on stage.

My advice: Don't ever miss this band!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Friday's the Day for Mayhem by Lyn2

More on the spoken word now-the dictionary tells me that "mayhem" means "to maim" which makes me think that Friday's multi-band "Night of Mayhem" show at The Red and The Black will do you in. In a good way. It's four fine bands including Yell County, who draw their name from the place of my mom's birth. (I can't write about them without mentioning this.)

The line up is:

Yell County
, previewing their new album!
Kung Fury (ex Vanity Champ, The Disenchanted, Aguchi)
King Giant (ex Blue Balls Deluxe, Jack Potential, The City Bleeds)
The Gerunds (ex Dag Nasty)

The mayhem starts at 9 pm at the Red and the Black at 1212 H Street NE, and DC's best fish sandwich is available for carryout around the corner at Horace & Dickie's.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Almost Homophone

They can sound the same- craven and craving, especially when the "g" is missing, but one is a yellow bellied, timid type dog and one is a canine with deep desires for something- be it a bone or space travel or music. DC's own Cravin' Dogs will be at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church come this Thursday with their one of kind, hard to put your finger on, rock, slightly folk, roots, pop, definitely eclectic sound. Come on out and
Good dog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Speaking of Radio

A few weeks ago we did a post called Feast Your Ears mentioning Cerphe and the old much beloved WHFS. A few people were wondering about the call number being wrongly listed as 102.3 instead of 99.1.
It's the same station-it just moved. Total recall depends on how old you are and how close you lived to Bethesda back then when the signal could get lost driving down to Glen Echo. Also it helps to have old music cases lying around the house.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On 2 Washingtons and A Radio

(photo by birdman9)

Recently I visited Seattle and Olympia in the other Washington so I could get more chummy with this part of the world, since my daughter lives there for school, and it's likely my son will head out there too. It must be the cosmic draw of a place called Washington that has its own Mt. Rainier which is also where we live now. I think few know that both Mt. Rainier and Takoma Park, MD were surveyed by guys from Seattle in the late 19th century, who named them after familiar places back west.

Luckily, when I was there, the region experienced an unprecedented week of sun and warmth so I experienced a particularly glorious visit, and, for a die-hard east coast girl, I liked it a lot. A highlight in Seattle was riding by the office of one of my favorite radio stations - KEXP. While streaming live is great any time, I'm a big fan of DJ Michele Myers who is on air Saturdays from 6-9 p.m. our time.

When I got back home, I found out that our own WRNR can be heard on-line. They play a huge variety of stuff, and now I don't have to wait until I'm driving to Bowie or the beach or the occasional rainy day when the signal carries here to our neighborhood.

Speaking of alternate homes, I'm smitten with WFMU from New York - Jersey City really - where I haven't lived, but keep thinking I might. Thanks to Lisa Shenouda for introducing me to The Best Show on WFMU.

So while there's no place like home here in DC, there are a lot of cool places to visit and internet radio can link you up wherever you are.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bayoupalooza, Cher

You may have heard of the Southern Crescent and the Bermuda Triangle, but there's also the Washington, DC- Austin- New Orleans Triumvirate to consider. For some reason this button-down town really goes for that Southern funk. And although we sometimes lose musicians to the scene down there, unlike the Bermuda thing, we often do get them back. This weekend you can celebrate that bayou connection at the Fall Dance Festival in Glen Echo Park. Look for lots of great Cajun and Zydeco bands both from here and down South. (Don't worry if you don't know the difference between Cajun and Zydeco; someone there will gladly fill you in, but let's just say the Cajuns know how to slow down once and awhile.)
Dances will be held in the Bumper Car Pavilion and the Spanish Ballroom pretty much all day starting at 11. Bands from our local triumvirate include Little Red and the Renegades at 2 and Natty Beaux starting at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Sunday bands play from 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Learn just what "laissez les bon temps roulez" is all about.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Message From DC's Greenland

Only the cool cats go out on Wednesdays- and THIS WEDNESDAY there is a very cool show at the Black Cat when Greenland (sans Tony who is on tour) will open up for Richard Lloyd.(sans Television) Ten clams.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Letter X Rides Again

The members of XMC were actually once real working motorcycle couriers -but now they havve morphed from their ex jobs and past musical life into a relatively new band.
X Motorcycle Couriers are: Marc Lambiotte (Holy Rollers, Grand Mal) Graham McCulloch (Meatmen) and Alex DeSeabra (Yell County, Hyaa!) They will be doing their thing this Saturday night at Black Cat. Old DC just keeps on rocking.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

If Clapton Can Do It

GHz-my favorite psychedelic power trio has an unplugged gig @ LeeLynn's in Ellicott City this Thursday evening-early- from 6:30-9:30. It's sort of a background dinner music thing so if you live on that side of the world please go and give them your support-and if you must heckle, be like the band- use sign language.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Govinda Gallery- A Cool Place for a Long Time

Chris Murray's Govinda Gallery specializes in the musical side of the art world- often featuring photographers and leaning heavily towards rock and roll. In fact, Govinda- a seemingly modest building on the outside, may be one of the world's largest collector's of art/rock history. Over the years I've saved a bunch of the opening invites like this one of Hendrix featuring the work of Jim Marshall. I stuck it up on my kitchen wall sometime during the spring of 1992:

Now, however, a virtual archive is being created which will definitely helps preserve my wall space:

This fall, Govinda Gallery celebrates its 34th year on 34th Street. For Govinda Gallery, it is certainly a milestone and marks Govinda as the longest established art gallery at the same location in the history of Washington, DC. Govinda has launched over 200 exhibitions at its Georgetown location since the first exhibition in September 1975. My deep thanks to all the artists, collectors, and friends of Govinda. To celebrate this occasion, we are opening The Back Room a new feature on our website documenting highlights of our 34 years. Our first post celebrates the historic visit of Muhammad Ali to Govinda Gallery in 1995. Please visit The Back Room for our regular postings.

And thank you, Chris Murray, for making this place happen for all those years. You can also check out Govinda's facebook page
better still- go see the gallery itself- in real life and real time-right there on the corner of 34th and Prospect
deep in the heart of Georgetown.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Rocking Takoma Park Yesterday

Prabir and the Substitutes- the band that can't hold still. In a good way.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Nuclear free Takoma Park. Tacky Park. Tree city. Whatever you want to call it, it's an eclectic neighborhood full of characters, small shops and now, finally, a fine little bar called The Olive Lounge. Washington has its statues, but Takoma has its rooster. And it's a fun place to hang out -especially the first Sunday of October when the streets close down for a rather remarkable musical event- the Takoma Park Street Fest. Music will be happening all day on three separate stages, and many of DC ROCKS' favorite local bands will be there. It's a free for all in the best sense of the word. Wander around and you're sure to find something you like. (This writer will definitely be getting more exercise than usual trying to catch two or more acts at the same time.) Take a look at the schedule, and you will see what I mean.

Parking can be tight, but the Metro will deliver you just a few blocks away.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Feast Your Ears

I remember "homegrown radio" being broadcast from the Triangle Towers right across the street from the Psyche Delly in what once was a tiny downtown Bethesda. WHFS, 102.3 on your FM dial, was the station you could count on to hear about the music you might never hear about. Often the staff at WHFS were the first to discover bands, both national and local, that hadn't hit the big time...yet. Deejays played what they wanted to play and corralled musicians passing through town for interviews and station IDs. Like Woodstock, people are still talking about that creative station some forty years later-as "modern" radio sinks into a morass of commercialism and homogenization. Knowledgeable deejays have been replaced by professional voices that spit out commercials in between the automated play lists.


Fortunately the counter culture is clawing its way back- not on the airwaves, but in cyberspace. Those of you who are really hip already know about streaming or down loading internet shows on your micro pods. So check this out: Cerphe, one of the original 'HFS frontiersmen and disc jockey extraordinaire has re-emerged with Cerphe's Progressive Show. He says:

"If you liked the original WHFS, I hope you'll dig this. It's rock music that moves outside the lines...everything from the geniuses who gave birth to the rock of the '60s and '70s to the evolving offspring of that music, including great stuff that came out last year or even last week. It's a musical stew shuffling past, present and future...feast your ears!"

Cerphe will have a new show every Friday, but through the miracle of Technology you can listen anytime and you can "see" the albums and songs that are being played so you don't have to run find a pencil and wait until the end of the set when you hear something you really like.
Now that's progress.