REASONS TO COME EARLY: Wet

Like an overblown, delicate flower that’s four times the normal size of a regular one, Wet employs an elegant sparseness that strikes hard. Juxtapositions are rampant with Wet. The EP cover displays a black, shapeless, stone statue that, at the same time, has a face and hands that hold more meaning than I can make out. The band’s websitehttp://kanyewet.biz, is appropriately tongue-in-cheek, but don’t misunderstand - this is a serious affair.

“Feel all those feelings but don’t make that call” is the standout line in the opening song, “Dreams,which expresses the conflict of emotions that dominate the bulk of the songwriting on the EP. Not to mention, the stutter beat pairs perfectly with the sentiment. These same ideas are again immediately present on the next song, “You’re the Best,” with the line “All I know is / when you hold me / I still feel lonely / lonely when you hold me.” The lyrics are cold, then a guitar strums some warmth into the song. Bright chords and scattered, trappy elements really do an amazing job at masking the desperation of trying to figure it all out.

The entire endeavor leads up to the unfurling of the bloom that is “No Lie,” the final song of the EP. It’s just that - the most honest, straightforward track, exposing raw emotions after so much unsureness. “Rain keeps falling / you don’t call me / I can’t shake this / I’m so anxious,” is sung in the middle of the song before the beat picks up and  lead singer Kelly Zutrau sings, “I’ve had enough” and decides it’s “time to give it up.” The soul power behind Wet is finally exuded to close out this spectacularly emotion-filled EP.

-Ian Signore

Come early to U Street Music Hall on 11/01 to see Wet open for SOHN.

SHOW REVIEW: Flying Lotus at Lincoln Theatre on 10.13.14
It’s no exaggeration to call Flying Lotus one of the most beloved producers of our time. As soon as doors opened at 6:30, people were streaming to the front of the stage. Opener Thundercat and his phenomenal band set the scene with their particular brand of jazz-soul fusion that had the crowd dancing and gaping in awe in equal measure. By 9 o’clock, the Theatre was packed, and the crowd burst into thunderous applause as soon as the lights dimmed.
 For a record that starts at the moment of death, You’re Dead! is astonishingly vibrant. Ellison’s performance brought the musical odyssey of the record to life through mind-bending 3D visuals. His hallucinatory layering and interweaving of tracks from You’re Dead!, along with cuts from his previous albums, drew the crowd into a web of sound and sight. His set flowed between songs and back again, defying any semblance of a setlist. “Cold Dead” seamlessly gave way to tracks like “The Descent Into Madness,” accompanied by the wildest visualizations I’ve ever seen.
Partway through his set, Ellison emerged from behind the visual screen to rap as Captain Murphy, punctuating “The Killing Joke” with possessed screams as writhing apparitions appeared behind him. The sights and sounds were designed to provoke a visceral, instinctual response. FlyLo didn’t just want people to dance; he wanted them to lose it entirely.

FlyLo isn’t just eulogizing a physical form. You’re Dead! is a testament to the L.A. beat scene in which he grew up, Alice Coltrane, DJ Rashad, Ikey Owens, and the past of jazz and electronica. He’s making something completely different, embracing the spirit of rebirth. With the weight of these worlds on his shoulders, it’s no surprise that his live performance is among the most immersive and powerful out there right now.
-Asher Meerovich
Photo by clarissavillondo.

SHOW REVIEW: Flying Lotus at Lincoln Theatre on 10.13.14

It’s no exaggeration to call Flying Lotus one of the most beloved producers of our time. As soon as doors opened at 6:30, people were streaming to the front of the stage. Opener Thundercat and his phenomenal band set the scene with their particular brand of jazz-soul fusion that had the crowd dancing and gaping in awe in equal measure. By 9 o’clock, the Theatre was packed, and the crowd burst into thunderous applause as soon as the lights dimmed.

 For a record that starts at the moment of death, You’re Dead! is astonishingly vibrant. Ellison’s performance brought the musical odyssey of the record to life through mind-bending 3D visuals. His hallucinatory layering and interweaving of tracks from You’re Dead!, along with cuts from his previous albums, drew the crowd into a web of sound and sight. His set flowed between songs and back again, defying any semblance of a setlist. “Cold Dead” seamlessly gave way to tracks like “The Descent Into Madness,” accompanied by the wildest visualizations I’ve ever seen.

Partway through his set, Ellison emerged from behind the visual screen to rap as Captain Murphy, punctuating “The Killing Joke” with possessed screams as writhing apparitions appeared behind him. The sights and sounds were designed to provoke a visceral, instinctual response. FlyLo didn’t just want people to dance; he wanted them to lose it entirely.

FlyLo isn’t just eulogizing a physical form. You’re Dead! is a testament to the L.A. beat scene in which he grew up, Alice Coltrane, DJ Rashad, Ikey Owens, and the past of jazz and electronica. He’s making something completely different, embracing the spirit of rebirth. With the weight of these worlds on his shoulders, it’s no surprise that his live performance is among the most immersive and powerful out there right now.

-Asher Meerovich

Photo by clarissavillondo.

HOW DID I MISS THIS: Snarky Puppy

About two weeks ago, I went to see a band called Snarky Puppy, and it was probably one the best decisions I made all month.  I’d heard a lot of great things about this band, but what people told me didn’t do the band justice. Snarky Puppy takes you on a journey of experimental jazz and funk that allows you to see/hear how talented each member of the band truly is, and makes your jaw drop in awe. One of my favorite parts of the night was when guitarist Mark Lettieri went off on a 5-minute guitar solo that was absolutely breathtaking.  

The band is held down by bassist, composer, and producer Michael League, who is originally from Silver Spring, Maryland. One of the really cool things about Snarky Puppy is the band features over 40 musicians, who are referred to as “The Fam.” The Band has also worked with artists such as Erykah Badu, Justin Timberlake, Snoop Dogg, Roy Hargrove, and many others. 

-Zac Simons

AS HEARD ON TV: "Container" by Fiona Apple on The Affair

The Affair premiered on Showtime this past Sunday, and I’m prepared to add it to my exhaustive list of dramas to meticulously follow. The concept of a show about forbidden love is not that intriguing, but the fact that the story of the affair is told separately by the man and the woman is what makes it more progressive. Rarely do we get a rounded account of these all-too-common TV and real life moments. The pilot episode is up for free on YouTube for your viewing pleasure or distaste.  

Similar to the way that Regina Spektor was a wise choice for the Orange is the New Black's title music, fellow quirky songstress Fiona Apple works well for The Affair. She wrote a new original song, “Container,” to serve as the title music, which includes a myriad of ocean imagery with intermittent scenes of intimacy, of course. The verse that Apple continues to repeat is, “I have only one thing to do / to be the wave that I am and then / sink back into the ocean.” The song seems to highlight the perpetual fluctuation of feeling involved in an extramarital relationship while being appropriately both catchy and haunting.

-Emily Hirsch

<5K: Volume 12

THE OLD STORY OF THE NAMESAKE//JUST WHAT’S GOING ON HERE There’s an xkcd comic that exposes the secret coalition to make certain YouTube videos go viral: they have to get exactly “300+” likes from the committee, and are then certified to spread like the plague onto innocent newsfeeds worldwide. In that vein, I present you with <5K: exposition on bands that have less than 5,000 likes online. Perhaps one of them will be the next to pass that mysterious threshold into the world of fame and fortune… after all, once you get 5,000 likes, you sell out every show and your records go gold. That’s how it works, right?

Waitress (122 likes) are a punk band from Athens, GA who come with the intent of shredding your ears. Rather than take the aggressively fast, chaotic route, their debut EP is equal parts slamming hooks and slow-burning tension, bubbling until it spills over with mounting guitar riffs and increasingly urgent shouts. For a first attempt, it’s remarkably powerful in its pacing, especially in darker moments like the adrenaline kick of “Two Story Lava Lamp.”

  • Listen to Peaked In High School here.
  • For Fans Of: Beach Slang, Two Inch Astronaut

Lisa Drank (227 likes) are some of the truest punks to come out of the DC area since Chain and the Gang. Their demo “Instagram My Corpse” was recorded by Maryland musical chameleon Sam Ray (aka Ricky Eat Acid), and it’s as short as it is gut-punching. The guitars are loud, the screams are louder, and their trademark East coast eff-this mentality make Lisa Drank some vicious rock you can riot to.

  • Listen to Lisa Drank here.
  • FFO: Chain and the Gang, Teen Suicide

I was skeptical when I first read that Spirits and the Melchizedek Children (2,084 likes) like to call themselves “the Southern Sigur Ros,” but investigation proved the comparison well-founded. They do hit all the extremes of post-rock agony/ecstasy, complete with vivid falsetto. It’s 15% more accessible than most post-rock, though, half-grounded by a silver lining of folk-rock and lyrics that make at least some sense.

  • Listen to So Happy, It’s Sad here.
  • FFO: Sigur Ros (actually), Explosions In The Sky

The members of Told Slant (2,592 likes) are part of The Epoch, a New York pseudo-collective of bands making weirdo pop that isn’t DIY – it’s “DIT,” Do It Together. They’re all in each other’s bands – Frankie Cosmos, Porches., Told Slant, Eskimeaux, and the list goes on. The common denominator between them is their penchant for gorgeous songwriting and the emotional staying power of their records. Told Slant’s 2012 debut, Still Water, is a half-hour spent in a dark confessional booth, eyes closed, narrated by the most personal and piercing lyrics you might hear all year.

  • Listen to Still Water here.
  • FFO: Attic Abasement, Elvis Depressedly, Porches.

-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at hire-me-rolling-stone.tumblr.com.

*Submissions* If you’re in a band, your friend is in a band, or you just know a band with less than 5,000 likes that deserves to be heard, send a link to asher.meerovich@gmail.com. If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K No inquiries about Tomato Dodgers, please.

CRATE DIGGIN’: The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

I could write a blog post about how each one of The Cure’s albums is perfect and amazing in its own way, but I will spare you 13 different posts and instead focus on my absolute favorite, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. As a self-proclaimed New Wave addict, The Cure has always been one the best bands of all time in my opinion, and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me represents some of the group’s best work.

The record also represented The Cure’s jump into the mainstream, reaching number 35 on the US Billboard 200 and number 6 on the UK Album Chart. The three singles off the record, “Just Like Heaven,” “Why Can’t I Be You?,” and “Hot Hot Hot!!!" all charted in the US and showed The Cure’s incredible range. "Just Like Heaven" is perfect, new wave pop that just lifts your spirit (well, it lifts mine) and makes you wanna dance (or is that just me?).

"Why Can’t I Be You?" shows off Robert Smith’s incredible vocal talents as well as his undeniable swagger. The trumpets in the background provide a surprising element to the instrumentals, and the lyrics are ridiculously catchy. Lastly, we come to "Hot Hot Hot!!!," which is funky, catchy, and leans more towards the rock genre than many of the band’s other releases. Porl Thompson’s lead guitar is sharp and the trumpet solo near the end just gives the song incredible punch.

Other favorites on the album are “How Beautiful You Are” and “The Perfect Girl.” So, whether you’ve only heard “Friday I’m in Love” or you are just as in love with The Cure as I am, give Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me a spin and get ready to discover some musical gold.

-Janice Freeman

WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: Dolcezza
Anytime we have a hankering for something sweet, we visit our partner Dolcezza. The purveyors of artisanal gelato sure know how to satisfy our sweet tooth! 
Dolcezza churns out over 300 handmade, locally-sourced types of gelato a year. Lemon ricotta cardamom, peppermint stracciatella, and sweet corn/black raspberry jam are just a sample of the mouthwatering flavors currently being served at Dolcezza&#8217;s five shops and brand new factory.
The gelato masters also double as prime baristas. If you&#8217;d like a pick-me-up with your cuppa gelatto, be sure to grab a cuppa Dolcezza&#8217;s specially-brewed Stumptown Coffee.
Our awesome partner&#8217;s making things even sweeter by giving away a pair of tickets to Julian Casablancas + The Voidz at 9:30 Club on Friday, October 17! For your chance to win &#8216;em, stay tuned this coming week to Dolcezza&#8217;s social media feeds and website. 

WE LOVE OUR PARTNERS: Dolcezza

Anytime we have a hankering for something sweet, we visit our partner Dolcezza. The purveyors of artisanal gelato sure know how to satisfy our sweet tooth! 

Dolcezza churns out over 300 handmade, locally-sourced types of gelato a year. Lemon ricotta cardamom, peppermint stracciatella, and sweet corn/black raspberry jam are just a sample of the mouthwatering flavors currently being served at Dolcezza’s five shops and brand new factory.

The gelato masters also double as prime baristas. If you’d like a pick-me-up with your cuppa gelatto, be sure to grab a cuppa Dolcezza’s specially-brewed Stumptown Coffee.

Our awesome partner’s making things even sweeter by giving away a pair of tickets to Julian Casablancas + The Voidz at 9:30 Club on Friday, October 17! For your chance to win ‘em, stay tuned this coming week to Dolcezza’s social media feeds and website

NOSTALGIA MY MUSE: Widowspeak - Widowspeak 

Imagine you’re in a swampy grassland surrounded by the branches of oak trees hanging around your body. There’s a mist resting above the ground as the sun attempts to peek through the light gray clouds. Imagine you’re in an empty field as the sun is setting, where the grass is perfectly green and the hills roll on for miles without any buildings or telephone poles. You’re completely isolated and completely alone; it isn’t until the breeze lightly brushes your arm that you realize this. Now imagine you’re in Brooklyn, sitting on the roof of your apartment building with two of your friends, watching and waiting for the sun to hide behind the nearby buildings and force you to fall victim to the nighttime. While these images contrast each other greatly, these are just a few (of the many) that Widowspeak inflicts on their listeners.

The Brooklyn trio signed with Captured Tracks in 2010 just before the release of their self-titled debut, and right around the time I was discovering the weight of the world. Many may disregard Widowspeak, claiming they’re another typical dream-pop/shoegaze/twee/however you categorize this genre band, along the lines of Veronica Falls, Seapony, Blouse, Beach House, Tamaryn, etc. That being said, there are many elements that set them apart from any other group within the same vein.

Each of the ten songs that make up their self-titled album are undeniably alluring. The opener “Puritan” kicks of with a lazy guitar riff, quickly layered with Molly Hamilton’s incomparable, atmospheric vocals. While the overall feeling of this track is relatively optimistic, it doesn’t take long for Widowspeak to counter it with “Harsh Realms.” Opening with deep and brooding guitar lines, “Harsh Realms” is one of the singles from the album and is easily one of the best of the album. As Molly repeatedly sings “I always think about you” with twangy guitars playing sporadically in the background, it is nearly impossible not to feel something that will powerfully affect your mind.

“In The Pines” and “Gun Shy” reveal how effortlessly the band can form intricate and melodic guitar lines, impacted by drearily dark undertones; this is what gives them their spark. Widowspeak holds a very similar quality to Real Estate. While a lot of their songwriting is a bit simplistic, it is the timing of the delivery and their ability to sense how vocals and guitars should fit together in order to be harmonious that makes them so far above average, it’s almost hard to explain.

Widowspeak’s debut will make you feel whatever you allow it to let you feel, and it does this with ease. 

-Katie Cheyne

SHOW PREVIEW: I.M.P. presents Little Dragon at Echostage
It is not an easy feat to remain relevant in an ever-changing music industry for almost 10 years, but somehow, Swedish electronic band Little Dragon has managed to do just that. Formed in 1996, the group has released four insanely successful albums that mix all the best elements of the electronic and rock genres. Originally formed in 1996 while the band members were still in high school, Little Dragon released its first EP in 2006 to critical acclaim.
Each of Little Dragon&#8217;s releases has received very positive reception and was complemented by extensive touring. In 2011, Little Dragon also supported Gorillaz on its immensely successful Escape to Plastic Beach Tour. The band&#8217;s headlining performances feature incredible light design, hypnotizing digital displays, and of course lead singer&#8217;s Yukimi Nagato&#8217;s bewitching vocals.

Little Dragon&#8217;s sound is distinctively electronic, but with splashes of pop and rock carefully threaded throughout. Personal favorites include the extremely danceable &#8220;Pretty Girls" and the raucous "Klapp Klapp,&#8221; both from the band&#8217;s latest release Nabuma Rubberband. The band&#8217;s synergy, something that only comes from years together, shines through on each track and the group&#8217;s distinctive sound is evident in each song. So, don&#8217;t miss Little Dragon&#8217;s unique brand of electronic music this Wednesday at Echostage!
-Janice Freeman

SHOW PREVIEW: I.M.P. presents Little Dragon at Echostage

It is not an easy feat to remain relevant in an ever-changing music industry for almost 10 years, but somehow, Swedish electronic band Little Dragon has managed to do just that. Formed in 1996, the group has released four insanely successful albums that mix all the best elements of the electronic and rock genres. Originally formed in 1996 while the band members were still in high school, Little Dragon released its first EP in 2006 to critical acclaim.

Each of Little Dragon’s releases has received very positive reception and was complemented by extensive touring. In 2011, Little Dragon also supported Gorillaz on its immensely successful Escape to Plastic Beach Tour. The band’s headlining performances feature incredible light design, hypnotizing digital displays, and of course lead singer’s Yukimi Nagato’s bewitching vocals.

Little Dragon’s sound is distinctively electronic, but with splashes of pop and rock carefully threaded throughout. Personal favorites include the extremely danceable “Pretty Girls" and the raucous "Klapp Klapp,” both from the band’s latest release Nabuma Rubberband. The band’s synergy, something that only comes from years together, shines through on each track and the group’s distinctive sound is evident in each song. So, don’t miss Little Dragon’s unique brand of electronic music this Wednesday at Echostage!

-Janice Freeman