CRATE DIGGIN’: Kermit Ruffins

Beyond The Wire, David Simon’s greatest gift to humanity is the post-Katrina set Treme, which used most of its airtime to pay tribute to the Crescent City’s musical history. It’s featured music by all kinds of local artists, from the classic jazz bounce of Alan Toussaint to the impossibly funky hip-hop of Mystikal. But series standout is Kermit Ruffins, who plays himself as a recurring character on the show. He’s a trumpeter, band leader, and all-around badass who’s such a Nawlins purist that in one episode, he didn’t recognize Elvis Costello sitting in the audience.

Real-life Kermit has been on the scene for over 35 years, during which he’s put out stellar releases that feature a surprising amount of original compositions (not a commonality in the jazz world). Ruffins is also 1/3 responsible for the formation of the Rebirth Brass Band back in 1983. Though he split with them in ‘93 to pursue a solo career, they remain one of the most influential New Orleans groups around, and one of the last ties to its second line past, performing classics like “I Feel Like Funkin’ It Up” and “Do Whatcha Wanna.” Kermit’s solo albums (hint: start with Livin’ a Treme Life) are jam-packed with jubilant blues changes, lush ballads, and impeccably-sung jazz standards. But most importantly, they’ve all got that undeniable New Orleans swagger.

-Kelsey Butterworth

NEW TRACKS: Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - “Human Sadness”

"Human Sadness" is dark, abstract, and spans a whopping 11 minutes. While this is still Julian Casablancas, he certainly contrasts his work compared to what he showcases in short and vibrant Strokes songs. The length and content of this song are beautiful, with great sound effects including distorted guitar riffs. I love the distinct turns that this song takes, from muted and lonely to loud and powerful. It is great to hear Casablancas’ voice take on a new project with the Voidz. Luckily, we have only a few more weeks until we are able to hear all of the uniqueness that Tyranny is sure to bring when the album drops on September 23rd.

-Lauren Rosalanko

See Julian Casablancas + The Voidz at 9:30 Club on Friday, October 17!

ALBUM REVIEW: Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams

On his new self-titled album, prolific troubadour Ryan Adams is back in a rock and roll mood. Electric guitar takes a large role on the majority of the tracks, and the arrangements are fairly straightforward. It’s a side of his personality that comes out from time to time, like on 2010’s III/IV or, uh, 2003’s Rock N Roll. The quieter moments are still present in spots, and Adams’ voice retains its distinct anguished quality.

The hum of a Hammond B3 organ signals the beginning of “Gimme Something Good,” accompanied by muted guitar and a steady backbeat. The song moves at a deliberate pace, taking time to reveal new elements. It builds up an air of tension, aided by the bluesy riffing, before breaking open in the chorus.

“Kim” leaps forward about a decade in its influences, with a punchy snare and moody synth out of the ‘80s. Adams is always longing for something and here it’s no different, as he pleads throughout to the title character. The soaring guitar solo several minutes in provides able assistance in this endeavor.

The album settles down a bit with “Am I Safe,” which sees the distortion ditched. Adams wonders about the consequences of leaving a lover he no longer has feelings for, repeatedly asking whether he has anything to fear. The song is a good showcase for his vocals, as he switches from hushed to emotive in quick succession.

“My Wrecking Ball” continues the restrained approach. The song is mainly Adams and his acoustic guitar, with a synth creeping in around the climax. It feels like it would have a good place on an earlier record like 2004’s Love Is Hell.

The intensity level picks back up on the next few tracks, including “Stay With Me” and “Feels Like Fire.” “I Just Might” slowly develops into an anthem, like a Springsteen song in miniature. “Tired of Giving Up” sees Adams developing a newfound resolve, although it is quickly followed by the melancholy “Let Go”.

Adams’ ability to shift between styles, both album-to-album and track-to-track, makes his work that much more compelling. He feels honest and committed, whether the song sounds suited to an arena or coffeehouse.

-Joe Ciccarello

CONTEST: Grouplove and Portugal. The Man Meet & Greet
Bless the gods of the Honda Civic Tour for sending us the most solid of lineups to kick off fall.
The punchy pop power of Grouplove, the art-rock of Portugal. The Man, and the melodic folk collective of Typhoon makes for a healthy serving of all the indie-rock food groups! With a common thread of psychedelia, these three bands are poised to hypnotize and energize this Saturday at Merriweather!
Do we have you sweating this show yet? Let us turn up the heat one more notch by letting you enter to win a pair of tickets AND a meet & greet with Grouplove AND Portugal. The Man! 
THREE WAYS TO ENTER:

Tweet: Post about our show on your feed! Tag #HCTMPP, @MerriweatherPP and make sure to include this link: http://ticketf.ly/1qCf3Ni
Instagram: Post the rad flyer above to your account and tag #HCTMPP and @MerriweatherPP (+ your friends, duh).
Invite: See our FB event? Invite your pals! Send a screenshot to contests@930.com

We’ll have prizes for the most social of sharers and pick our lucky GRAND PRIZE meet & greet winner at 6PM on WEDNESDAY, September 10th.

Need a ride to and from Merriweather? Take the Rock & Bus!

CONTEST: Grouplove and Portugal. The Man Meet & Greet

Bless the gods of the Honda Civic Tour for sending us the most solid of lineups to kick off fall.

The punchy pop power of Grouplove, the art-rock of Portugal. The Man, and the melodic folk collective of Typhoon makes for a healthy serving of all the indie-rock food groups! With a common thread of psychedelia, these three bands are poised to hypnotize and energize this Saturday at Merriweather!

Do we have you sweating this show yet? Let us turn up the heat one more notch by letting you enter to win a pair of tickets AND a meet & greet with Grouplove AND Portugal. The Man! 

THREE WAYS TO ENTER:

Tweet: Post about our show on your feed! Tag #HCTMPP, @MerriweatherPP and make sure to include this link: http://ticketf.ly/1qCf3Ni

Instagram: Post the rad flyer above to your account and tag #HCTMPP and @MerriweatherPP (+ your friends, duh).

Invite: See our FB event? Invite your pals! Send a screenshot to contests@930.com

We’ll have prizes for the most social of sharers and pick our lucky GRAND PRIZE meet & greet winner at 6PM on WEDNESDAY, September 10th.

Need a ride to and from Merriweather? Take the Rock & Bus!

AS HEARD ON TV: Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” on The West Wing

In order to become a proper D.C. college student, as well as a politically aware human being in general, I made it my mission this summer to watch The West Wing for the first time. After getting through all seven seasons in a mere few months, this show is now one of my all-time favorites. The dialogue is witty, the politics are relevant, and the character relationships are easy to obsess over. Unlike many political dramas in recent years (cough, Scandal), The West Wing wasn’t all about sex and impossibility. It took years for many of the “meant to be” couples to get together. Rather, The West Wing was a substantive effort to focus on the complexities of government, supplemented by some of the funniest one-liners on television.

Given that The West Wing was more concerned with content than glitz, music was not a large part of the series. This is excluding, of course, the wonderfully dramatic theme song that never got tiresome to listen to. However, there were a few moments when music was employed to heighten the emotions of a scene. One of these instances was when Mark Harmon had a guest-starring role as a secret service agent and subsequently got killed in an armed store robbery. It was super sad, especially for C.J. Cregg (aka Queen Allison Janney). The appropriate counterpart to any morose TV moment is always Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah.” Everyone turns to this song for good reason: it makes you feel all the things that one could feel, regardless of what is happening in the episode. The haunting vocals of Jeff Buckley pierce even the sternest of hearts and, thus, the track works equally well for death and celebration…usually death, though.

-Emily Hirsch

We’re conducting a Twitter Q&A with Parachute on Wednesday at 1pm! Have any burning questions for the band? Submit them on Twitter using the hashtag #Parachute930!

We’re conducting a Twitter Q&A with Parachute on Wednesday at 1pm! Have any burning questions for the band? Submit them on Twitter using the hashtag #Parachute930!

<5K: Volume 8

FAQ: Hey Asher, how do I go about getting into Japanese hardcore?
Asher:An excellent question, friend. Melt-Banana and blue friend are where you should start. Especially Melt-Banana. Their work is crucial, not just in Japan, but in the context of hardcore around the world. After you’ve gotten your feet wet, stick your head in the microwave for 7 or 8 minutes, and stir vigorously. Go for a walk. Listen to Vivaldi as you walk. Look at the sidewalk and the cracks in it, and let your eyes sort of cross, and you’ll hear the pleasant arpeggios of the string section slowly but surely morph into Japanese hardcore. Then you can stop walking, take out your headphones, and look up into the sun, able to stare back now, without blinking. “This is it,” you tell the sun. “I’ve arrived.”

Have a question? Email me! (Info below.)

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?

Swings (254 likes) are cool. Swings used to be called Anchor 3. They play music that I have trouble defining, though they call it dirty jazz. It’s got the atmospherics of post-rock with the emotional abandonment of punk. Their live show is entrancing, full of darkness and understated power. There’s a lot of space in it. Think about pushing around big empty boxes back and forth across a room. All three of them are insightful musicians with something interesting to say. Go see Swings live. They play around DC.
  • Listen to Swings (formerly Anchor 3) here.
  • Recommended tracks: “Ragdoll,” “Hunter”
Nicki C and the Rattlesnake Bites (856 likes) are doing it. They play a driving combination of blue-eyed soul and snarling alt-rock. Bassist and frontman Nick Collins brings an accessible, instantly-likeable voice to the band, and the melodic, assertive lead of guitarist Josh Stansfield evokes an Allman Brothers sound that has been weathered by the wind of modern alternative. Their full-length Much Obliged is just as strong lyrically as it is musically, exploring personal perspectives and humanity, while keeping things lively and balanced with a lighthearted sense of humor. It’s refreshing to hear, and it’ll make you sit up, stand up, and get down.
  • Recommended tracks: “Believe,” “A Good Heart”
The Duskwhales (1,015 likes) are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in a long time. The Virginia trio crafts gorgeous, impeccable indie pop with a constantly fascinating twist. It’s music you can’t cut off halfway through a song; the melodies are so sweet, the rhythm section is so tight and bombastic that you’ll be sucked into the next track, and the next, faster than you can realize. It’s that good. It swings like jazz, changes colors at the speed of Aim and Ignite-era Fun., and turns tight corners with grace. It’s nuanced and dynamic in a professional way. The lyricism is pointed and witty, like the music, especially on the head-turning genre blenders of tracks like “Poor Eliza.” It’s really good. Have I mentioned that?
  • Recommended tracks: All of them. Seriously.
Long gone are the days that a band could sit back and play well; to earn listeners and fans these days, it seems they have to explode like fireworks in front of the faces of their audience, daring them to look away. If a band’s success can be measured in their ability to accomplish this, then The Dirty Nil (4,653 likes) may be the best thing to come out of Canadian music in recent history. Quoth their bio: “The Dirty Nil play rock and roll - cause they couldn’t do a damn thing else if they tried.” It’s noisy and hard, desperate to break through everyone’s shell of indifference. Songs like the bodyslamming “Fuckin’ Up Young” are their strongest swings against the ice; listen and let yourself get cracked. They’ve earned it.
  • Recommended tracks: “Fuckin’ Up Young,” “Cinnamon”

-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at http://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.

MUSIC MONDAY: Emily’s Picks

This week’s Music Monday is an opportunity for me to be narcissistic and also include Taylor Swift in a playlist for the first time ever. Yeah, you guessed it - I’m turning 22 tomorrow. I plan to play these songs to get psyched during my birthday week. However, given most of you don’t know me, you can use them to pump you up for whatever thrilling events you have going on, which I’m sure there are lots. 

Track List:

1. “Came Out of a Lady” - Rubblebucket

2. “Ten-Twenty-Ten” - Generationals

3. “Happy With Me” - HOLYCHILD

4. “You’ve Got the Love” - Florence + The Machine

5. “Always Alright” - Alabama Shakes

6. “This Head I Hold” - Electric Guest

7. “Free” - Graffiti6

8. “Work it Out” - Jurassic 5

9. “Never Forget You” - Noisettes

10. “22” - Taylor Swift

-Emily Hirsch

SHOW PREVIEW: American Authors
2014 has been quite a year for American Authors. The band&#8217;s single &#8220;Best Day of My Life&#8221; was featured in multiple TV ads and reached the #11 spot on the US charts, and the four-piece performed the track at the Kids Choice Awards. Not too shabby, right? American Authors&#8217; debut album, Oh, What A Life, also came out this year and charted in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The album is uplifting, catchy, and seamlessly blends genres like pop, rock, and folk. Unafraid to experiment, American Authors brings in unexpected instruments like the banjo and mandolin and features them prominently on multiple tracks. The album is a perfect mix of catchy, upbeat tracks like &#8220;Hit It&#8221; and moving ballads such as &#8220;Home.&#8221; The band&#8217;s energy comes through on every track and their passion for their music shines on each song. So, make sure to catch American Authors this November and don&#8217;t forget to bring your dancing shoes.
-Janice Freeman
Honda Civic Tour presents American Authors with The Mowgli&#8217;s and Oh Honey at 9:30 Club on Monday, November 10.

SHOW PREVIEW: American Authors

2014 has been quite a year for American Authors. The band’s single “Best Day of My Life” was featured in multiple TV ads and reached the #11 spot on the US charts, and the four-piece performed the track at the Kids Choice Awards. Not too shabby, right? American Authors’ debut album, Oh, What A Life, also came out this year and charted in the US, UK, Germany, Canada, and Australia. The album is uplifting, catchy, and seamlessly blends genres like pop, rock, and folk. Unafraid to experiment, American Authors brings in unexpected instruments like the banjo and mandolin and features them prominently on multiple tracks. The album is a perfect mix of catchy, upbeat tracks like “Hit It” and moving ballads such as “Home.” The band’s energy comes through on every track and their passion for their music shines on each song. So, make sure to catch American Authors this November and don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.

-Janice Freeman

Honda Civic Tour presents American Authors with The Mowgli’s and Oh Honey at 9:30 Club on Monday, November 10.