Category Archives: District Spotlight

District Spotlight: Luray

Luray, Luray band, music, dc music, The Wilder, Promise of Lakes,

There is so much to be excited about in the DC music scene these days and I have no doubts in my mind saying that Luray will be at the forefront of the next wave of great DC artists. Anchored by DC-based singer/songwriter Shannon Carey, Luray are poised to take the next big leap with their upcoming debut LP, The Wilder (Aug 27).

Carey has bounced around the US throughout her musical career, adding depth and maturity to her sound with every stop. The end result is a breathtaking, banjo-laden, indie folk/rock that will be melting hearts for years to come. Luray takes their name from the Virginia town of Luray situated within the stunning landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley; an area that I have spent many years and left with countless memories. Carey’s time in Luray had a profound influence on the making of The Wilder.

“Promise of Lakes” has me floored. The rolling mood behind the track has dark beginnings which transform into a triumphant exclamation of hope. Carey’s vocals float like a mist, swirling in and out as the song progresses, eventually becoming the force that drives everything home.

I’m really hoping that “Kalorama” was inspired by the DC neighborhood right up the street from me. Carey’s country influence is heard the strongest on this track and the banjo truly shines within Luray’s brand of experimental indie folk. Luray will be playing an album release show in DC @ Sixth and I on August 24 and will be joined by the stellar DC/MD band kindlewood. You really cannot afford to miss this show. Enjoy!

Luray: Website | facebook | SoundCloud | Twitter | Tour


District Spotlight: GEMS – Sinking Stone

GEMS, GEMS band, Sinking Stone, dc music, new music, music

If you weren’t already sold on GEMS, Sinking Stone should have you more than convinced; this group has arrived, full throttle. The most recent single from this DC duo could very well be the cornerstone of their already impressive lineup. Sinking Stone has incredible, core-rattling depth that is driven ever deeper into the recesses of your soul via Lindsay Pitts’ dark and enchanting vocals. Stunning.

I highly recommend giving a listen to GEMS entire library of songs. In the sphere of the “chamber-pop” movement, I guarantee you will not find a band anywhere near this level. Hell, forget genres, GEMS are poised to be one of the best new bands of 2013. Being from DC, I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot from GEMS in the near future. Catch them on their mini east coast tour this month.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

July 20 – Philadelphia – Johnny Brenda’s *
July 22 – Washington, DC – Black Cat *
July 24 – Allston, MA – Great Scott *
July 25 – New York, NY – Pianos

(* = with Indians)

GEMS: Website | facebook | SoundCloud | Twitter | Tour

District Spotlight: kindlewood

kindlewood, district spotlight, give & take, desiderium, DC,

It only took one verse for me to immediately fall in love with this band. I then proceeded to find new love with each passing song. Kindlewood (little k) trace their roots back to DC/Maryland and are back in the District forging the pathway for their next album.

They have been labeled as dream folk-rock but kindlewood’s isolated acoustics and subtle melodies give their sound a richer texture that resonates with a heavier mood. Kelci Smith’s feather-light vocals are punctuated with impeccable measure and sweetness. Wilderness from their 2011 LP, Desiderium, delivers warmth like a slow burning winter fire, setting the table for the rest of the album.

Give & Take, kindlewood’s 2012 single, shows a maturity that hints the trio is quickly gelling into well-oiled instrument of sound. They will be joining Ugly Purple Sweater (DC) and Kingsley Flood on the Black Cat mainstage Saturday January 12. Get tickets here for a great night in DC music.

District Spotlight: Lucy Dacus

Lucy Dacus, Girls Back Home, Finest Cursive, Richmond Music

Well not quite DC, but Ms. Dacus is a super talented indie folk songstress from my hometown of Richmond, VA.

It, it’s magic. The beauty seems almost effortless. Lucy Dacus is just spinning up her musical career but you’d never get that impression listening to her voice and these mesmerizing songs. The maturity and warmth in her delivery will leave you stunned.

Her debut EP, Girls Back Home, is an intimate experience. Trust me, you’ll be in a place of yearning and reflection once you’re on deep into your fifth or sixth listen. Finest Cursive and the title track immediately showcase the power and uniqueness of Lucy’s voice. Both tacks are chilling and soul etching in their mystique; perfect for a stroll through autumn leaves or a night in by the fire.

It’s fairly plain to see we have a star on our hands. Be sure to follow Lucy Dacus in any form possible so we can be assured more songs and albums just as lovely as the first go ’round.

Music Video: Drop Electric – Empire Trashed

Drop Electric will haunt you. Their sprawling, grandiose soundscape digs deep into your inner mechanics. Chills reverberate through my body as their cinematic post rock tosses me straight onto the set of some indie-grunge Sundance short. Empire Trashed hits all ranges of emotions – serving up pain strained by frustrations for the main course; finishing with an inexplicable sensation elation and relief. I’m not one to suggest that Drop Electric will play with your emotions, but you won’t be upset with the end result regardless. This stunning video is produced by DC/NYC studio Dedalus Moving Pictures.

Drop Electric, a DC based band, just released four new tracks as a “sampler platter“. These four tracks show maturity and an added dimension coming off their 2010 hit debut Finding Color in the Ashes.

From all the reviews I’ve read, these guys are not one to miss live. Luckily, the District has two great chances to witness their face melting post rock. Drop Electric will headline the Capitol Groove Fest on July 28. In addition, they headline the STPP Fest Benefit @ Black Cat August 3, which also features RIF approved Conveyor.

Check out the Sampler Platter ATJ…

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Concert Review: Reptar @ Gibson Guitar Showroom

Reptar, Washington DC, All Things Go, New Noise 2, Gibson Guitar Showroom

Photo courtesy All Things Go; Laura Lopez

Hands down, one of the coolest things I have ever done. The good people at All Things Go certainly know how to throw a party. ATG’s New Noise series at the Gibson Guitar Showroom is a show that every audiofile should experience. There were three great bands that brought down the roof for New Noise 002, but I am going to focus solely on Reptar‘s performance. But trust me, Casual Curious and Fort Lean were excellent and made the night all the more special.

So, I mentioned the venue being awesome. DC’s Gibson Guitar Showroom supplied an intimate experience the likes I have never been apart of in my concert going days. There is no “stage” so the hyped, sold out crowd was able to basically stand in with the bands as their sound poured over the audience. I was lucky enough to sidle up to the front of the crowd for a good majority of the show. The only down side was when one of the 6’6″ behemoths at the show happened to wonder in front of me, essentially giving me a great view of flannel. Oh, I am also forgetting the open bar stocked with Flying Dog and liquor (later cases on cases of Bud Light). Those that were smart enough to get there early were more than tuned up for Reptar’s brain melting set.

Every time I begin to talk about what I experienced during Reptar’s performance, the words seem to get stuck somewhere near my heart. It was mind-blowing, earth rattling, sex inducing, raw power. People were losing their shit. I mean everyone expected something amazing, but what this DC crowd got was something different. In a moment of mid-show reflection, the thought crossed my mind; “Oh, so this is what it’s like to be in a cult”. And I was ok with it.

I honestly have little to no recollection of the setlist, sorry. What I do know is that a new religious movement signed its charter immediately after Stuck In My Id was through. This song might already be my anthem for 2012, but the live performance takes it to new heights. The entire crowd moved and sang as one while Graham Ulicny belted the lyrics into oblivion. Reptar’s electronic synths and bouncy rhythmic instrumentation are made for live performances. Blastoff and Rainbounce once again got the crowd moving. Every note and key is delivered with an intensified passion all capped by Ulicny’s fierce sound. That behemoth I mentioned earlier, yea he nearly took down the entire stage and crowd in the tornado created by Reptar.

What an incredible night. Not to mention, I went to the All Things Go after party and had an epic battle game of landmines with band members and show goers. I’m pretty sure I asked the Reptar guys if their name had anything to do with Rugrats, but I was too bombed to remember their response. That’s for sucking at spinning a quarter. I love music.

District Spotlight: Lightfoot

Lightfoot, Scarlet Sails, Black Cat, Album Release

People! It’s high time Rarity In Form dipped into the local DC music scene. The District is rapidly heating up with tons of great venues between Arlington and DC for local talent to grow a fan base. For this first installment, we look to a charming group with DC and Richmond roots. Lightfoot is fronted by Jessica Louise Dye, who has a pretty crazy back story leading up to her involvement in Lightfoot. Some of the highlights include a time with the Air Force, lost love, and a brief stint living out of her car.

Lucky for everyone, Dye found inspiration in music along the way and her incredible talent is spearheading the charge for Lightfoot. Dye uses the adversity she has faced in life to deliver heartbreaking and heartwarming ballads featuring her stupid-good vocal range and heavy-pop guitar. Lightfoot’s sound comes together in a folksy, sometimes airy dream that is ever cozy yet will definitely make you do some soul searching.

Lightfoot will be hosting an album release show for their new EP Scarlet Sails at Black Cat this Friday, January 27! What an awesome venue to experience this dynamic group first hand. They will even be running some promotions for the show so be sure to book your ticket ASAP and pick up their brand new EP.

Read on for Lightfoot’s new music video for 1963 (my personal favorite). Which features iconic local sights from my hometown of Richmond. Thanks for making me miss home, especially Belle Isle.

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