PREVIEW: Hamilton Leithauser @ 9:30 Club 10/18

BY ALAINA TAYLOR // Hamilton Leithauser will return to his hometown of Washington D.C. as part of an extended tour in support of I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. Leithauser wrote the 2016 album with Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend fame.

I Had a Dream That You Were Mine was Leithauser’s third album post-The Walkmen, the indie-rock band with which he spent most of his career. The Walkmen’s sound was vintage-inspired, ranging from jangly to folk, from wild to atmospheric. Leithauser has brought that vintage sound into his solo work, with his first solo album, Black Hours, sounding similar to his work with The Walkmen. His second solo album was created with Paul Maroon, his bandmate from The Walkmen; however, the album was only released on vinyl, and could only be purchased from Leithauser’s Etsy shop.

On I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, Batmanglij and Leithauser create a sound which captures the essence of music from the late 1950’s to the 1960’s, staying vintage, but with a different angle. The album touches on genres from country to doo-wop, to soul and to rock n’ roll, as opposed to the more vintage pop sound of The Walkmen, or Leithauser’s other solo works. Leithauser’s vocals, with his ability to range from a wild howl to a softer croon, are perfectly suited to take on this range of genres, and the atmosphere of each song is fully fleshed out by Batmanglij’s production skills, as well as his lush instrumentals and backing vocals. The two combine their talents to create a unique and rich atmosphere on each and every track.

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PREVIEW: Phoenix @ The Anthem 10/16

BY: STEFANIA TUTRA // The French disco-rock band Phoenix, known for their infectious mainstream indie hits such as “If I Ever Feel Better” and “1901”, is coming back to the District for the first time in years. Next Monday, October 16th, the 4-piece band hits the stage at D.C.’s newest music venue, The Anthem, for the 5th stop of their North American fall tour.

Phoenix are no newcomers to the music scene—they came together in the late 90s, when vocalist Thomas Mars, bassist Deck d’Arcy, and guitarist Chris Mazzalai, started playing as a garage band in the suburbs of Paris. In 1995, Mazzalai’s brother, Laurent Brancowitz, permanently joined the band on guitar, after leaving a short lived band whom he had formed with now-current Daft Punk band members.

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PREVIEW: The Underachievers @ Rock and Roll Hotel 10/13

BY: BRIAN SEUCH // Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the Underachievers is a rap duo with a relentless lyrical flow that you can experience for yourself this Friday at Rock and Roll Hotel. Comprised of AKTheSavior and Issa Gold, the Underachievers are known for their psychedelic rap and are sure to top any beast coast fans playlists along with others like the Flatbush Zombies and Joey Bada$$.

The story of how the Underachievers met is such a cliche that its almost laughable: ten years ago, Issa was brought over to AK’s house where they smoked and talked about psychedelic drugs — a major influence in their sound. While AK had been rapping since a young age under the name the Underachiever, Issa began his rapping career about 4 years after the two met. Before they were even signed to a label, the Underachievers were having their music played on BBC Radio. Shortly after they released their first music video for the track “So Devilish” in 2012, Flying Lotus flew them out for a meeting and subsequently signed the pair to his Brainfeeder record label. Later that year, The Underachievers joined other hip hop acts like Flatbush Zombies and Pro Era to form the rap collective known as Beast Coast.

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REVIEW: Nick Murphy @ 9:30 Club

BY: BRIAN SEUCH // Nick Murphy played the 9:30 club in Washington DC Monday night (9/11) to an enthusiastic crowd who didn’t quite know what they were in for. The openers set the stage for the show with slow music that had the young tattooed audience happily swaying to the rhythm. Openers such as Charlotte Cardin were reminiscent of Chet Fakers earlier atmospheric music which displayed a quiet balance between electronic production and some rock influences. It was a great way to transition into Nick Murphy with the crowds excitement and energy slowly building throughout the sets.

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PREVIEW: Sturgill Simpson 9/15 @ MPP

BY: CLARE SAUSEN // On Friday, September 15 th , Sturgill Simpson will come to the legendary Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD to tour his latest album, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, winner of the Grammy for Best Country Album and nominee for Album of the Year in February, 2017.

A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is the singer-songwriter’s third solo studio album, following 2014’s hit Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and 2013’s High Top Mountain. Simpson was originally a founding member of the bluegrass band Sunday Valley before embarking on a solo career following the band’s ending in 2012.

A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is a slight departure from his country roots, leaning more on his rock elements and even covering Nirvana’s “In Bloom.” Simpson has typically been classified as “alt-country,” incorporating psychedelic, r&b, and soul components to his bluegrass base. The album also features additions from The Dap-Kings, a Brooklyn funk and soul band. He claims that the record is a commemoration of the birth of his second son, and it is critically regarded as Simpson’s best work to date.

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