Friday, February 26, 2010

Sports Talk:

Hey Hoya Fans!

Take pride in the student section at the Phonebooth. Vote today for Georgetown as having the best fans in the Big East (better than Louisville, Cincinnati, and Notre Dame). This is the first of what will hopefully be many rounds of voting, as the Hoyas win the contest! Go to to vote today, and remember you can vote as many times as you want so keep hitting that Georgetown tab!
Also, remember to vote for your favorite Big East coach, John Thompson III, in this year's Big East Coach of the Year Award Poll. The winner will be announced on March 7th, so you still have time to vote for JTIII. You can vote approximately once a day. Go to to vote today! Remember to keep it locked to WGTB Sports for all your Georgetown University Athletics news and broadcasts! GO HOYAS!

Concert Review: Surfer Blood

Who knew there were so many Floridians in DC? The crowd at DC9 Wednesday night seemed to be littered with little conglomerates of Florida folk who came out to see that band that made it out. Florida isn’t quite renowned for the indie-rock it produces (are we counting Dashboard? No. But I want to), and perhaps that made the experience all the more special. The show had an appropriately casual feel to it; without an elevated stage and the performers eye-level with the crowd made the show more like it was at Jeff’s house party than a DC bar.


WGTB's Third Annual iPod Battle
Friday Feb. 26 (tonight!)
9-11 pm
Bulldog Alley

Don't miss our WGTB-hosted Third Annual iPod Battle in Bulldog Alley tonight, totally free, come dance your pants off as DJs compete head to head to bring you slammin' tune after slammin' tune. There are sweet prizes for participants as well as the most intense dancers so come prepared.

Play What? Play This Playlist: Get Away Songs

by Christian Morrissey
Host, "Notes from the Underground," Wednesdays 4-6 pm on WGTB
I have amassed quite a collection of playlists – I prefer to spend my free time creating playlists instead of watching TV, reading, or… well… doing homework. As such, I have amassed quite a collection. In a weekly column, I will share with you all some of my oddest lists.

Get Away Songs: This collection highlights the most ideal songs to blast as you hop into your get-away car after pulling a heist. Yes, it is a soundtrack for bank robberies – more specifically, the immediate moment post-heist. Check out the playlist below, and the full story behind the tracks after the jump!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Review: Citay "Dream Get Together"

Dream Get Together
Grade: A-

San Francisco’s Citay are a classic rock revival group with solid songwriting, Allman Brothers guitars and Steely Dan vocals. Soundscapes are built with guitar solos free from electronic studio effects. Like Dead Oceans label mates Bowerbirds; Citay tends to keep it simple, relatively. Dream Get Together, the group’s third studio album, is hardly raw. The guitars are more Styx than Stones, and keyboards are layered throughout with strings and organs. With nary a song under four minutes, three reaching over seven, Citay’s songs indulge in what has been rock taboo for almost decade, without leaving you bored. They allow themselves be virtuosic without stuffing their crotch. What makes this album enjoyable is the way the songs shuffle without having heavy snares or dance beats, as well as being able to have lengthy tracks without forcing or feigning avant-garde. Citay pulls from their influences very well. They even have a tongue in cheek tribute to CCR with “Fortunate Sun”. This album is worth a listen if you know your classic rock canon. The album lags as every song begins with the “strumma strumma struuum” acoustic guitar, but JET they aren’t, so play on.

-- Nico Dodd
Host, Size 14 (The Big Shoe) Monday 4:00 - 6:00 pm on WGTB

WWYC of the Week

Fine. Have it your way.

Nobody seemed to appreciate the subtlety of the awfulness of last weeks entry. Alright, you uncivilized apes. See if I invite you to my next french-film screening. See if I offer you some Carmenere. For those of you who appreciate subtlety like the bear is christian who sleeps in the woods and ate the Pope, I offer you hitmanbreakeroftheeye.

You thought that this song finally went away. You thought that the next time you pulled up to a blue 2004 Honda Civic with sweet tints and a killer exhaust, you would hear something else coming out of his totally bomb subs. Nope.

For a reason that I will never understand, hitmanbreakeroftheeye decided to not allow us to embed this video. But believe me you, this video is worth every quarter of a millisecond it takes you to hold down the ctrl key and click.

And if you cry. Don't come to me for mercy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Native Noise: Pree

Welcome to Native Noise, a new column here at the WGTB Blog, highlighting some of DC's finest local acts.

  by Fiona Hanly, Host, "Sweet 'N' Flo," Mondays 12-1 on WGTB

Accessibility: 10
Originality: 8
Musical Prowess: 9
Recommended Listening: 9
Crush factor: 9 (partly due to this)
Overall: 9
DC’s resident “more than your average indie-folk band” Pree has garnered a fair share of attention since sparking into existence in late 2008—from the Washingtonian, to NPR’s Second Stage, to Prettiest Young Things’ blog, the band has received various, albeit quiet nods from local reviewers. Pree consists of DC locals May Tabol on guitar and lead vocals, Chris DeWitt on drums and backing vocals, Vanessa Degrassi on, well, everything (see below), Dave Barker on electric guitar, and Jesse Hinson on bass guitar. The band was charming enough to let me experience their pre-show meal backstage, minutes before performing at the Black Cat on Monday.
(more on Pree and a video after the jump!)

Concert Review: Retribution Gospel Choir, Rock and Roll Hotel

Show Review: Retribution Gospel Choir
February 4, 2010
Rock and Roll Hotel
Washington, DC

If I could give Retribution Gospel Choir just one piece of advice it would be to keep in mind that just because you wear the same pants as you did in middle school doesn't mean you get to keep the same feelings.
The trio from Duluth, Minnesota played at Rock and Roll Hotel in Northeast on February 4th to an indifferent audience of aging hipsters and myself. Now perhaps “indifferent” is a strong word but I did witness a few audience-members leave after complaining about the band’s volume (“Does it have to be SO LOUD in here?!?”) I can’t imagine the fog machine helped the older crowd’s growing discomfort.
The boys appeared in outfits so well coordinated they would make Beyonce’s mom blush, however, the golden age of Destiny’s Child where these impeccably coordinated outfits would be admired has passed, leaving their maroon and black color scheme more suited to waiters at Marylin Manson’s birthday party. Their sound is reminiscent of Kings of Leon with a cold, and the emotional lyrics could stand some updating. Frontman Alan Sparhawk howled passionately, bemoaning his daddy issues and “the kids we hated and the girls who had it."
Juvenile lyrics aside, Sparhawk is an indisputable showman-- he treated the audience to an inside look at his belligerent struggle against the mic stand (or should we call it daddy?) and an epic guitar solo he played with his teeth. The members of Retribution Gospel Choir certainly have the showmanship of evangelicals, but I’m afraid their music is less than miraculous.
-- Tiare Dunlap
Host, "Girl Please!" Fridays 4-6 pm on WGTB

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Artist of the Week: Chris Riffle

Lately, our Artists of the Week have taken a turn for the acoustic, and this may change soon. But this week's featured artist is the super-strummy, slightly-weepy Chris Riffle, armed with his six-string and a host of rather obvious influences like Elliott Smith and Conor Oberst-- the original teary-eyed indie singer-songwriters. But Riffle is redeemed by his unimposing voice; while a bit emotional, he's never in-your-face or very demanding with his emotional phrasing. His lyrics, on the other hand, are quite sensitive and simple with lines like "It don't matter if I want you back, I always want what's bad for me." He has more in common with Nick Drake's sparse style than Oberst's dense lyric sheets.

Best of all, Riffle's website hosts a lovely, modernized rendition of Donovan Leitch's "Catch the Wind," adding to it some percussive flourishes, enhanced by Riffle's gentle, unimposing voice.

Catch him before he's a big deal-- he's not even on YouTube yet. Seriously.

This Friday: IPOD BATTLE in Bulldog Alley

Hey! Have an ipod (or other mp3 player?) Like music? Like dancing? Come to WGTB's 3rd Annual iPod Battle Dance Party in Bulldog Alley this Friday night. It's free!

iPod Battle: Friday Feb. 26
9-11 p.m.
Bulldog Alley (Leavey Center)

What is an iPod Battle?
8 DJ's go head to head competing, playing whatever they want off of their iPods or other media player, trying to move the crowd. DJs are given 3 minutes per round with the exception of the final round which will be 5 minutes per DJ or DJ team. Winners will be decided at the end of each round by seeing who the crowd shouts loudest for. You can play any music you want, throw it back, play some new mash-up you like, anything you think can win the fickle will of the crowd (and support staff of friends you will undoubtedly bring to ensure your victory).
The winner (or winning team) gets a sweet trophy and free t-shirts for all participants, there's also a prize for the most intense boy and girl dancers.
Anyone can participate!
To sign up (and do so quickly as slots go fast) email WGTB events at

If you have questions, ask Events at that email address, or leave them in the comments... hope to see you all there! Show up ready to dance!

Review: Various Artists, Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010

Various Artists
Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010
Austin, TX: “The Live Music Capital” has an undeniable musical heritage in its very heart. As a Texan, one always hears of the large music scene of Austin, where bands are always trying to get discovered. Matador Record’s Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010 is a cohesive regional music compilation consisting of 19 tracks that will not disappoint anyone interested in the city’s local music scene. If you are not familiar with the Austin music scene, this compilation will not give you much of an insight on the wide variety of styles that exist in one of the countries most diverse music scenes. However, all 19 of the punk-like/garage-like tracks that are included are very enjoyable. From the start, Follow That Bird!’s song “The Ghosts That Wake You” was enough to catch my attention. It is difficult to speak of standout tracks in this compilation, because these are all stand-out tracks of the bands that have been included. One must go through each track to be able to do this compilation any justice. Every song sounds special in its own way. This is one of the most fun and exciting compilations I have ever heard. I have no doubt in my mind that anyone that listens to this album will be interested in looking into these bands and more of their music. This is a highly recommended collection of solid songs by exciting bands that I think everyone should listen to. I am definitely keeping an eye out for any of these bands and wait to see if any of them get big. I see potential in all of them.
--Enrique Lemus
Host, "Moose Tracks," Mondays 8-10 pm on WGTB

Our Top 30 Albums of the Week

Notable adds this week include Midlake, Dinosaur Feathers, Fictionist, Donora, and Surfer Blood... and yet we still can't stop spinning that hopelessly dreamy Beach House. All deception, all deception from you, Victoria Legrand.

1 BEACH HOUSE Teen Dream
2 FOUR TET There Is Love In You
3 HOT CHIP One Life Stand
6 SPOON Transference
7 XX The Xx
10 MIDLAKE The Courage Of Others
11 DINOSAUR FEATHERS Fantasy Memorial
12 JULIAN CASABLANCAS Phrazes For The Young
14 FICTIONIST Lasting Echo
15 ANIMAL KINGDOM Signs And Wonders
17 ALBUM LEAF A Chorus Of Storytellers
18 FILMS Oh, Scorpio
19 FELILI The Moon
20 XIU XIU Dear God, I Hate Myself
21 TUNE YARDS Bird Brains
22 WATSON TWINS Talking To You, Talking To Me
23 NINI AND BEN The Reasons We Try Self-Released
24 DONORA Donora Rostrum
25 JOEY RYAN AND THE INKS Well, Here We Are Then
27 YEASAYER ODD BLOOD Secretly Canadian
28 CHRIS RIFFLE Introducing... Self-Released
29 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Fall Be Kind [EP] Domino
30 SURFER BLOOD Astro Coast Kanine

Monday, February 22, 2010

Review: Four Tet, There is Love in You

Four Tet
There is Love in You

In an electronic era where Daft Punk’s beats reign, Four Tet’s refined electronica is an innovative breather. Though Kieran Hebden a.k.a. Four Tet named one of the songs on his album “Plastic People” after the London club he DJs at, on There Is Love In You he has developed his sound by basing his work on a folk mentality instead of approaching every song as the next European club hit. This record holds its power in its minimalism, creating ethereal landscapes of sound that are mesmerizing without slipping into mindless repetition. By layering computerized tones and looped voices over drum kit and guitar, Four Tet’s latest has achieved a unique warmth and freshness that captivates upon first listen.
Recommended Tracks: “Love Cry” “Sing”

--Ella Mitchell
Host,"Regional Rotations," Wednesdays 2-4 PM on WGTB

Concert Pick of the Week + In-Studio: Via Audio

Via Audio
w/ Pattern is Movement
Tuesday, Feb 23 @ DC9

Via Audio has been building buzz for a couple years now, and were lucky enough to have Spoon's Jim Eno produce their first album. On the cusp of releasing their follow-up album, Animalore, you can be sure to catch a lot of their new tunes on Tuesday. Danceable but not diluted, (Think XX, less sexy but more fun) you can't really go wrong for eight dollars. Check out some of their songs here.

They are going to drop by our studio before their show at 4pm on Tuesday, so be sure to listen in!

Review: Vampire Weekend, Contra

Vampire Weekend
By Clio Seraphim
Host, "Just You, Just Me," Tuesdays 4-6 pm on WGTB
From its outset, Vampire Weekend’s newest album, “Contra,” is nothing short of exciting. The first song, “Horchata,” which was pre-released before the entire album came out on January 11, firmly sets the listener in the mindset of vacation. Since “winter’s cold is too much to handle,” chants lead singer Ezra Koenig, he recommends an escape to somewhere where you can drink horchata—a traditional Latin American concoction—in December, where “crabs pinch at your sandals” and you can regain “a feeling you thought you’d forgotten.” That feeling, the rest of the songs go on to remind the listener, is one of escape to something grander and full of sheer fun. “Holiday” continues this trend, singing the praises of being able to just get away and enjoy oneself. While certainly not a departure from the style of their first album, “Vampire Weekend,” the impression that one gets from “Contra” is lighter, airier, almost pop-ier. It’s almost like “Vampire Weekend,” with hits like “Campus” that clearly recalled the band’s Columbia University origins, is the fall semester: the fun is still there, but it’s tempered by something more serious, maybe the changing of the weather or the imposing school schedule. And then comes “Contra,” and with it, vacation time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: Lightspeed Champion, Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You

Lightspeed Champion
Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
Lightspeed Champion’s (aka Devonte Hynes') latest album Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You dropped the first of February and is a great follow-up to 2008’s Falling Off the Lavender Bridge. Life is Sweet! definitely has the rise and fall necessary of a good folk album but separates itself in that Hynes’ lyrics and instrumentals are so pop-like and catchy that this is much more enjoyable than your average folk record. Then there’s “Etude Op. 3 ‘Goodnight Michalek’” which is a seemingly random, minute-forty-nine instrumental clearly rooted in the more classical styles of piano teaching. This particular track seems a little out of place, especially before the slightly more upbeat “Middle of the Dark,” but for some reason it works and therefore I don’t complain. Overall, Life Is Sweet! is a pretty solid album that’s perfect for a chill autumn day or when you’re enjoying missed school days because the snowPOCALYPSE hit America.
Recommended Tracks
: “Faculty of Fears”, “Marlene”, and Madame Van Damme”
--Dominique Barron
Host, "Amurikah = Apple Pie & Fried Chicken," Tuesdays, 6-8 pm on WGTB

Celebrity Playlist: GUSA Candidates Matt and Emmanuel

In addition to our Modern Mixtape column, Fridays will alternately feature Celebrity Playlists or a feature called "iProf," where we get to check out what Georgetown University professors, visiting guests, and other major campus presences are listening to. For the inaugural week of this column, we were lucky enough to hear from GUSA candidates (pictured above) Matt Wagner (SFS '11) and Emmanuel Hampton (COL '11). GUSA elections are in full swing, and you can check out their platform at their website.

Matt's Presidential Picks:
1. "Life Less Ordinary" by Carbon Leaf. Whenever I listen to it, I feel like someone must have written it knowing how I see life. It calms me down every time I hear it, and it makes me miss this place in the mountains in California where I went with my family every single summer of my childhood. I am also a sucker for acoustic music and syncopation just because they sound so chill.
2. "Crazy Ever After" by The Rescues. There's a real story to this song which is something I always love, probably largely because of my background as a musical theater kid. I first heard this song done by an acapella group on Youtube (The SoCal VoCals from USC in Los Angeles) and then I found the original and loved it even more. I will confess I have a habit of singing along particularly loud to this one in my car back in San Diego when nobody else is around.
3. "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" by Death Cab for Cutie. I've seen them in concert three times, but hearing this song always reminds me of the second time, when my best friends and I saw them for free (sort of) in high school. They played a show on the San Diego Bay, and we found this hill that overlooked the concert venue so we could see and hear perfectly the whole time but never officially went to the concert. It was awesome - I'd almost say it was better to be able to look out and see all the boats and the whole bay while hearing this too. It was like a shot from a movie, it was the best.
4. "Who Loves You" by The Four Seasons. I know it's an oldie, but it reminds me of my grandfather and I think about him and take a second to pause in his memory whenever I hear it.
5. "If My Heart Was a House" by Owl City. Say what you will about Owl City selling out (which it seems like it's sadly in the process of doing), but I love this song. It's one of those idealist type situations I think, where you wish the story in it was your own and kind of hope that someday it will be. I also find the sound really relaxing, like you can just sit and listen to it in the dark and feel totally relaxed.

Read about Emmanuel's favorites and listen to the playlist after the jump!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Review: The Go Find, Everybody Knows It's Going To Happen Just Not Tonight

The Go Find
Everybody Knows It's Going To Happen Just Not Tonight

Everybody Knows It’s Going to Happen Just Not Tonight is the third album from The Go Find, commandeered by lead singer and guitarist Dieter Sermeus (also a member of Orange Black). The record is suffused with nostalgia-brimming power-pop melodies and lightly strummed chords that effortlessly meld themselves with light euro-electronica beats (at times akin to the sound of The Postal Service, but only in commendable ways; unlike, shall we say, Owl City).
The Go Find, originally started by Sermeus as a solo side-project, has blossomed into a six-member group that produced a seamless album perfect for a breezy, pleasant summer day spent in a backyard. Everybody Knows It’s Going to Happen Just Not Tonight simply runs the risk of being a little too pleasant at times––the downbeat harmonies and beats of 11 nice tracks that all sound exactly the same (nice) will wash over you today, only for you to forget them, come tomorrow, in the vast swathes of the indie-pop-electronica genre. They’re good, they really are; they’re just not memorable.
Strongest tracks: 1 (Everybody Knows It’s Going To Happen Just Not Tonight), 3 (It’s Automatic): both are showcases of the balance The Go Find has mastered between a groove that has you tap your feet and melodies that have you kick back.
--Fiona Hanly
Host, "Sweet N Flo," Mondays 11-1 pm

Tune in tomorrow for on-air interview with The Verve Pipe

Tune into Georgetown Radio tomorrow at 11:30 AM for an interview with The Verve Pipe on-air, with DJ Britt Shaw. The band is performing at the Jammin' Java on Feb. 21 so be sure to check out the show!

Stay tuned afterwards for an in-studio interview with Nouvelle Vague, hosted by Alexandra Dimodica.

WWYC of the Week

So remember when I said that the criteria for each weeks entry is more or less subjective? This is one of those times that I am invoking that stipulation. The performance here is quite impressive; its almost a perfect replica of Elliott Smith's gorgeously arranged tune.


I can't even explain the feeling that this cover gives me. It depresses me in a way that only people who prefer Friends to Seinfeld can. It raises so many questions: why are you doing this...

Ok, just one question. Why is he doing this? It makes so little sense. I mean, you know what else provides a really accurate representation of the original 'Son of Sam'? The original 'Son of Sam'. Why would I go to plectrum34 for a near perfect copy when I can just listen to the real thing, which by the rules of logic that bind this great nation, is as close to the real thing as anything can get. I am awarding ten points to anyone that can explain to me in the comments why this video hurts my soul as much as it does.

Next up for this guy: new Venetian Blinds.

Review: Mumford & Sons, Sigh No More

Sigh No More
by Scott Lensing
Slowly gaining buzz over the year prior to the release of their first album, Mumford and Sons finally debuted their first full-length LP, Sigh No More, in October of 2009.  The “folk ‘n’roll” band had gained a spot in a forward-looking December 2008 list constructed by BBC entitled “Sound of 2009,” which included fourteen other artists, the likes of Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, and Passion Pit included.  Mumford and Sons’ anthemic style perhaps makes their inclusion in this list less bizarre, but only slightly. The Londoners instead sound a bit like Appalachian transports who have settled in the Amercian Northwest, their music recalling Americana colored with wisps of harmonious chamber pop.

In-Studio interview with Nouvelle Vague Friday

Be sure to tune into WGTB Friday around noon (official time TBA) to hear an in-studio interview with NOUVELLE VAGUE, hosted by DJ Alexandra Dimodica.
The band is playing at the 9:30 Club this Saturday night, Feb. 20-- check them out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Our Top 30 Albums of the Week

Here's what WGTB DJs are spinning this week. Click the links for our album reviews from our Music Board team, and make sure to tune in to WGTB this week to catch some of these great tunes. Lots of these reviews will be posted later this week so keep checking back!

1 BEACH HOUSE Teen Dream
2 FOUR TET There Is Love In You
5 SPOON Transference
6 XX The Xx
7 HOT CHIP One Life Stand
8 KINGS OF CONVENIENCE Declaration Of Dependence
9 WATSON TWINS Talking To You, Talking To Me
10 FILMS Oh, Scorpio
12 SHOUT OUT LOUDS Our Ill Wills
14 MIDLAKE The Courage Of Others
16 ANIMAL KINGDOM Signs And Wonders
18 ALBUM LEAF A Chorus Of Storytellers
19 FELILI The Moon
20 XIU XIU Dear God, I Hate Myself
21 TUNE YARDS Bird Brains
22 LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
25 DEADMAU5 At Play Vol. 2
27 SURFER BLOOD Astro Coast
28 GIRLS Album
29 VIA AUDIO Animalore
30 REAL ESTATE Real Estate

Review: The Watson Twins, Talking To Me, Talking To You

The Watson Twins
Talking to Me, Talking to You

Remember these two? From that collabo. album with Jenny Lewis? They’re still around, but with no lead singer to support they don’t do too much by themselves. I expected to hear an alt-country album, but this sounds as if it were recorded with a jazz band playing indie rock fusion. Lots of wah wah pedal. I would expect more from a group this talented. There is little that makes this record stands out. Sounds like a pair of cabaret singers who never made it. At some points the organ and guitar sound great. The last minute of “Midnight” sounds like a late night classic rock radio jam, but is quickly ruined by the next track, “Savin’ You”. I think it’s because they started singing again. On the whole, the songs are pretty hokey, very pieced together. There are holes in the songs that could have been built up more. There’s a sort of spaciousness that is felt throughout the album, as if it were recorded in a large studio. reeeeverb. There isn’t much to say about it because there isn’t much here. They sing songs they wrote. That’s about all they do on this record. It doesn’t sound as if they were very involved with the instrumentals.
 It never gets too loud, or too interesting. Too bad.
-- Nico Dodd 
Host, "Size 14 (The Big Shoe), Mondays 4-6 pm on WGTB

Review: Porcupine, The Trouble With You

The Trouble With You
Porcupine's debut The Trouble with You doesn't add anything new to the modern rock canon, but the band follows the formula of their predecessors well enough to turn out a number of solidly enjoyable tracks. Choppy guitar hooks and swirling feedback dominate these songs, but propulsive drumming and forceful vocals keep the album from drifting into shoe-gaze territory. Porcupine are at their best when they indulge in their experimental side; Exit 180, with its shifty time signatures, and Dead Mint Club, driven by a rugged swing beat, are immediate highlights, while So Far So Good and Dark Mood play out like by-the-numbers nineties jams. The second half of the album drifts into repetitiveness and predictability, but overall The Trouble With You has enough spark to suggest some promise for the future of the band.

-Mark Joseph Stern

Host, "Don't You Wish We Were NPR," Mondays 8-10 AM on WGTB

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bad Veins at the Rock and Roll Hotel 2/13

If it weren’t for the heavily-accented crowd banter that came from We Were Promised Jetpacks, you would have trouble guessing which act on Saturday actually came from Scotland. Although Bad Veins are from Cincinnati, Benjamin Davis and Sebastien Shultz have that signature Glaswegian drive.

With just two of them on stage, they looked quite appropriate in the already equipment-crowded, basement-show feel of the Rock and Roll Hotel. And as soon as the show started (after a rather lengthy and what seemed to be stressful soundcheck), I found myself asking, “Where is all that sound coming from?” Not to say that lots of sound makes for good music, but the sheer amount of music they were able to generate between just the two of them was impressive. I don't even mean the question rhetorically. There was a lot more going on than the guitar and drums they were playing, and from what I could infer, the sound was coming from this thing .

Between the reel recorder and an old telephone which he rigged in a way that he could sing through the ear piece and become Julian Casablancas, Davis’ shows a propensity for techy quirks. More importantly, though, he shows a desire to find a way to diversify their sound. Bad Veins, particularly when they play a show with sloppy sound checks and in close quarters, run the risk of falling into the infectiously poppy and annoyingly distorted line of bands. Davis has the vocal range and control to fill an arena with sound, but Saturday night it was coming at me from point blank range.

I think that Bad Veins have a more nuanced and interesting sound than maybe the show delivered. Regardless, the delivery was very tight, and you could tell that these guys, even in their relative inexperience, were suited to performing. Free of any pompous, rock star-esque demeanor (unlike some certain other duos from Ohio), Davis let the intuitive pop qualities of his songs carry the show, aided by astonishingly accurate vocals and whatever that reel recorder 4-track thinga-ma-bob was doing.

Igor German
Is this Thing On airs Wed 9-10 pm and Sun 12-1 pm

Review: Wale, Attention Deficit

Attention Deficit
Grade: A
Put a smile on, DC, Wale’s Attention Deficit has landed and will not disappoint. Although Attention Deficit is Wale’s formal debut, he needs no introduction.
It was three years ago that I first saw Wale's name while on a transcontinental flight, skimming through a Rolling Stone hoping to find a distraction from my boredom. Soon after, on the magazine’s recommendation, I downloaded “W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E,” a mixtape masterpiece from his humble beginnings, and it was love at first listen.
With a number of hit singles (“Nike Boots,” “Family Affair”) already under his belt, Wale’s reputation proceeds his album. Nonetheless, Attention Deficit has finally satisfied a hunger only curbed by his mixtapes and singles for his many followers. All 14 tracks (16 with bonus tracks) showcase Wale’s raw talent as a lyricist over some top-notch producing. Always one for wordplay, Attention Deficit requires a trained ear, featuring puns and allusions that take several listens to fully recognize and appreciate. Like all his works, it is serious at times (“Contemplate”), just plain fun at others (“Chillin”), all killer, no filler, and peppered with collaborations. Though I was sad to see Gucci Mane rear his ugly flow, I was thrilled to see Wale paired with the likes of K’naan, Bun B, and fellow DMV rapper J. Cole.
Having caught him at Rock the Bells in Boston, I can tell you firsthand that he delivers on stage like few else are able, and I suggest that you see him in concert.
Otherwise, big ups to the hometown hero, and be sure to check out Attention Deficit.
-- Andrew Rennie
Host, "Bangers and Mash," Sundays 8-10 AM on WGTB

Review: Beach House, Teen Dream

Beach House
Teen Dream

The past few years has seen a bundle of neo-shoegaze bands burst onto the alt rock scene, attempting to blend the sweetness of synth-rock with the tenderness of semi-acoustic, reflective indie… Few groups have been able to strike the balance between sweet and dour as successfully as Beach House has with their third album, ‘Teen Dream’. The towering vocals of Victoria Legrand, at their most expressive in ‘Lover of Mine’ and ‘Silver Soul’, channel a Fleet Foxes-esque monasticism that is splendidly leveled by Alex Scally’s wistful guitar and organ- an interplay on show in opener ‘Zebra’ and the later ‘Walk in The Park’. Adolescent angst is a minefield, and this album could easily have devolved into a confessional record reminiscent of 2009 prodigies, Girls. Yet the triumphant instrumentalism that explodes in clashing cymbals, heavy drums and tropical tambourines in tracks such as ‘10 Mile Stereo’ and ‘Used To Be’, craft an enriching sound that lies somewhere between Peter Bjorn & John and the post-rock outfit Explosions in The Sky. The accompanying DVD with a music video for each of the tracks is a bonus, but the album doesn’t really need it… ‘Teen Dreams’ is one of those rare records that rejects the parameters of indie and documents Beach House's evolution from angsty adolescence to finely balanced maturity.

--Gerard McCarthy
Host, "Artists in Exile," Sundays 2-4 pm on WGTB

Artist of the Week: Mumford & Sons

This week, we can't stop spinning Mumford & Sons Sigh No More. Folksy, robust, and ragged, with lyrics that tug at your heartstrings and demand a second listen, Marcus Mumford and his band are already a huge success across the pond in their native London, and are quickly gaining fans in the States. Infusing history with heart, songs like "White Blank Page" and "Dust Bowl Dance" charm listeners with catchy choruses, swelling harmonies, and redemptive builds. They've just been added to the Bonnaroo lineup for June, which might be enough to tempt us into shelling out the dough for tickets...

Check out the official video and the lovely harmonies of "Little Lion Man," the album's single:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Concert Review (and Interview!): Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm

Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm
9:30 Club, Washington DC
Feb. 8, 2010
by Cole Stangler and Mark Waterman
Hosts, "The Cosmic American Music Radio Hour," Saturdays 2-4 pm on WGTB

At a mostly empty 9:30 Club—in stark contrast to the crowd that saw Galactic later—Cedric Burnside and Lightnin’ Malcolm took the stage for a short set of some hill country blues. Despite the sparse crowd, Burnside and Malcolm, known as the Juke Joint Duo and The Two Man Wrecking Crew, were not short on energy as they pounded out some edgy country blues.

With its’ gritty and unpretentious sound, the duo channels the great hill country and blues tradition of north Mississippi—launching into extensive trances without the smoother and predictable chord changes of standard blues. Although Cedric and Malcolm performed all original songs, their sound is unmistakably derived from hill country legends Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, Cedric’s grandfather.

“Me, when I was six, seven years old…and a bunch of other grandkids…we be out there kickin’ up dust, you know to that music. That was our music. And that’s how me myself—I feel like I am the blues ‘cause I just grew up with the blues and it’s always been in me,” Cedric said.

(Read more and hear the full interview after the jump!)

Review: Miles Kurosky, The Desert of Shallow Effects

Miles Kurosky
The Desert of Shallow Effects

The last seven years have been rough for Miles Kurosky. After his old band Beulah broke up he underwent several shoulder surgeries, lost the ability to use his right arm, and then had a life-threatening kidney troubles. Needless to say, he had a lot of time to think about his life and about music. Beulah always had very honest lyrics, but those in The Desert of Shallow Effects really seem to dig into the personal side of Kurosky. He describes everything from his struggle with God to girl problems to homicidal housewives. Enveloping all these words, though, is music that continues where Beulah left off. Kurosky beautifully layers his songs with horns, accordions, synths, keyboards, oboes, and glockenspiels. “I Can’t Swim” is one of the catchiest songs of this young year. Though at some points his poppy nature gets the best of him and things get a little too major-chordy, the frequent changes in pace and instrumentation help to counteract this.
Songs To Listen To: "An Apple For An Apple" "I Can't Swim"

-- Kevin Lynch
Host, "Don't You Wish We Were NPR," Mondays 8-10 AM on WGTB

Review: The Films, Oh, Scorpio

The Films
Oh, Scorpio
B+ / A -

Oh Scorpio is only the second full-length album released by The Films, but even as a relatively new band they have managed to pull off a polished album with a consistent musical style and some really well written, catchy songs.  The tracks off this album have a 50s American rock style, with several tracks sampling in pep-squad style clapping and sha-na-na –ing.  Their strong point is definitely in well-written lyrics which make up for the less original sound of the album as a whole. I certainly would not call this a sophomore slump album, though I prefer the faster paced, more urban rock & roll sound of their first full album, Don’t Dance Rattlesnake, which sounded more “Arctic Monkeys.”  This album could more accurately be compared to the sounds of French Kicks, Hot Hot Heat, or Butch Walker (the album’s producer). 
Best Tracks: “Completely Replaceable”(1), “Fingernails for Breakfast”(3), “Me + the Thief”(9)

-- Britt Shaw
Host, "Under the Influence," Fridays 10-12 AM on WGTB

Check out The Films as our Artist of the Week and grab an mp3 of their song "Completely Replaceable" here!

Concert Pick of the Week: Mission of Burma

Mission of Burma
w/ Office of Future Plans
The Black Cat (Washington, DC)
Saturday, Feb. 20

Mission of Burma established themselves in the Boston post-punk scene in the 80's and have continued to attract listeners with their rousing brand of smart, dark and aggressive punk sound. On the heels of their last album release in October 2009, The Sound The Speed The Light, the band stops in DC to deliver what is sure to be a loud and exciting show. Recommended if you like Fugazi, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Charlotte Gainsbourg, IRM

Charlotte Gainsbourg

I can’t say I was expecting too much from Charlotte Gainsbourg, the daughter of possibly the most famous pop singers of the last century, Serge Gainsbourg; if we can take anything from the collected works of second generation musicians it’s that shared DNA does not guarantee shared talent. Fortunately, IRM was pleasantly surprising, there are some definite high points, (tracks 1, 2, 11, and 12) but I can’t help but assume that producer Beck had a lot to do with that given that they sound pretty similar to his most recent releases. Overall, Gainsbourg’s third album leaves something to be desired. Her distinctively smoky voice makes even the most underwhelming class at least interesting. However, sometimes her near whispering voice seems to get overwhelmed by her instrumental backing and certain songs tend to really be dragging. At best the album is a winning compromise between the strange and spooky with some light-hearted pop influences while other songs are sleepy and underwhelming.
Best Tracks: IRM (# 2) Master’s Hand (#1) Dandelion (#11) Voyage (#12)

-- Tiare Dunlap
Host, "Girl, Please!" Fridays 4-6 pm on WGTB

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our Top 30 Albums of the Week

Here are the records we've been digging this week. Click the links for reviews!

1 FOUR TET There Is Love In You
2 BEACH HOUSE Teen Dream
4 SPOON Transference
5 XX The Xx
6 HOT CHIP One Life Stand
8 KINGS OF CONVENIENCE Declaration Of Dependence
9 WATSON TWINS Talking To You, Talking To Me
10 FILMS Oh, Scorpio
11 JULIAN CASABLANCAS Phrazes For The Young
13 MIDLAKE The Courage Of Others
14 ANIMAL KINGDOM Signs And Wonders
15 TOM WAITS Glitter And Doom Live
17 ALBUM LEAF A Chorus Of Storytellers
18 LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You
19 RETRIBUTION GOSPEL CHOIR Retribution Gospel Choir
21 EELS End Times
22 TUNE YARDS Bird Brains
24 GIRLS Album
25 YEASAYER ODD BLOOD Secretly Canadian
26 DEADMAU5 At Play Vol. 2 Play
27 MASSIVE ATTACK Heligoland Virgin
28 SURFER BLOOD Astro Coast Kanine
29 VIA AUDIO Animalore Undertow
30 REAL ESTATE Real Estate Woodsist

Review: Retribution Gospel Choir, 2

Retribution Gospel Choir

Retribution Gospel Choir really likes crescendos. In virtually every track off their sophomore album 2, they start off composed and constrained before exploding into a loud, experimental, guitar-driven climax around halfway through. The band executes this tactic both successfully and cleverly, as it boosts songs that are otherwise lackluster, repetitive, and lyrically uninteresting into powerful and anthemic pieces of (loud) rock. Unfortunately, when used on eight of the album’s ten tracks (the other two being under-a-minute instrumental interludes), the crescendo loses some of its intended potency. After you get through the eight minutes of “Guitar Riff”, the album’s ninth track and supposed pinnacle, you’re ready for something that remains static just to break the monotony.
-- Leigh Finnegan
Host, "Facts and Tracks," Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and Fridays at 2 p.m. on WGTB

Friday, February 12, 2010

Modern Mixtape: Valentine's Day Edition

Ah, love. Like Lester Bangs tells the young William Miller in Almost Famous, most of the great art in the world is about it-- about "conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love." And what better time to appreciate all of the myriad songs that have been written for love than on the very holiday that was made for it? This Valentine's Day, enjoy this mixtape of VDay songs, carefully constructed to suit your mood whatever the case may be. From the irresistably catchy (The Rascals, The Outfield) to the cheesy (Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart"), from the sweet and upbeat (Jackson Browne, the Temptations) to sentimental, beautiful tear-jerkers (Ryan Adams, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan)-- there's something here for everyone. If all else fails, just turn up that classic Marvin Gaye track and all will be well.
Let's Get It On.

Review: The Album Leaf, A Chorus of Storytellers

The Album Leaf
A Chorus of Storytellers

I have always been an avid fan of Jimmy LaValle’s work with The Album Leaf. A Chorus of Storytellers is his most recent effort, and I would say that The Album Leaf has done it again. Their dreamy/futuristic sound is relaxing and mellow while keeping it interesting. You can relax without getting bored. Both their instrumental tracks and the ones with vocal performances are incredible. “We Are”, “There Is A Wind”, “Summer Fog”, “Blank Pages”, “Until The Last” and “Within Dreams” are standout tracks. This album has no “Always For You” or “Wherever I’ll Go” from their album Into The Blue Again, but nonetheless The Album Leaf’s new effort has the same dreamy effect on the listener as his previous efforts. It is an exciting but relaxing album that I am highly recommending to anyone looking for anything in this genre. The Album Leaf is yet to underperform. This is another album that meets my high expectations for them.
-- Enrique Lemus
Host, "Moose Tracks," Mondays 10-12 pm on WGTB

Review: Have Gun, Will Travel Postcards from the Friendly City

Have Gun, Will Travel
Postcards From The Friendly City

Postcards From The Friendly City contains a glimmer of bluesy folk charm, but this sliver of hope for a return to the folk music roots is all too quickly swallowed up by a an all too familiar 90’s style of songwriting leaving most of the tracks on this album sounding decidedly generic and unremarkable. The tracks “Wolf In Shepherd’s Clothes” and “Land of the Living” offer some hope, however, that this group has some talent and perhaps the potential to say something new on another album. At the end of the day Postcards From The Friendly City is probably not worth the cost of the album, but is worth at least one listen and makes Have Gun, Will Travel a group worth looking out for in future.
-- Jonas Briedis
Host, "Good Music," Midnight-2am Tuesday morning on WGTB

WWYC of the Week

So, I'm confused. Dylan here says that this was requested. This implies that somebody wanted to hear that. That implies that someone gets some sort of joy out of those noises. That implies that some things which should be, aren't. And, if those things are which ought not to be, such as this said thing, then I am not the man I thought I was, and this is not the world I imagined it to be. I would say I grieve for Metro Station, or whoever wrote the song...but to be fair this isn't that much of a deviation from the original. So, I guess in that sense its an OK cover.

I don't know if I am more offended by his singing or by what seems to be his impersonation of a person with a mental disability. In any case, I salute you, Dylan Bral, for this week's most unbearable Youtube cover. Feel free to check out all of his covers...I have.

My request? Stop hurting the world.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Fucked Up, Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009

Fucked Up
Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009

Fucked up’s Couple Tracks: Singles 2002-2009 is a solid compilation of singles that can serve as the perfect description of a band’s growth. As an album, it doesn’t really flow, due to its nature as a compilation. However, any fan of this sort of aggressive and raw music must listen to this compilation. There are no dull moments in this collection. “Anorak City”, “Toronto FC” and “Black Hats” are standout tracks primarily due to the raw and aggressive sound in Pink Eyes’ vocals. If you are a fan of anything fast and loud, it is a collection of singles worth having. They maintain what has made Fucked Up as appealing as they are for the hipster crowds. Growling vocals, fast distorted guitars, but somehow maintain a poppy edge to their songs, where you can find some melodic catchy hooks while staying true to a more “hardcore” sound while avoiding the repetitive drumming patterns in typical punk bands. They have kept the energy, but avoided the potential boringness that can come along with this music. A must have for people anyone interested in the genre or looking into it. One of the most exciting right now.
 -- Enrique Lemus
Host, "Moose Tracks," Mondays 10-12 PM on WGTB

Review: Spoon, Transference

            Spoon is a band that has always stuck pretty close to its roots. Although their sound had evolved from the garage-rock tones of A Series of Sneaks, by 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, everyone knew what a “Spoon” record would sound like. To some degree, Transference doesn’t interfere or change many of our expectations of what this band does. Their characteristic alt-rock sound that has been present for years is still here, in the form of tracks like “Got Nuffin” and “Written in Reverse.” What Transference is significant for is the change in approach to production that must have occurred. It seems that they chose to pursue “addition by subtraction.” Transference’s sound is minimal. The record testifies to the importance of silence, when making music. The most memorable tracks, like “Mystery Zone,” “Out Go the Lights,” and “Is Love Forever” are those that seem to split up the band’s sound. No vocals, guitar parts, or drum lines seem to exist to fill a void. This results in a very purposeful, deliberate sound, where nothing unnecessary is crammed into the ears of the listener. On Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s “Don’t You Evah,” Britt Daniel says: “record that, Jim,” in the midst of studio banter. Transference leaves out such noisiness, choosing instead to revel in silence.
Key Tracks: Written in Reverse, Out Go the Lights, Mystery Zone, Got Nuffin’
-- Josh Smith
Host, "Artists in Exile," Sundays 2-4 PM on WGTB

Review: The Magnetic Fields, Realism

 The Magnetic Fields
From the early influence of my parents’ record collection, featuring 60s folk-rock acts like Peter, Paul and Mary, Simon & Garfunkel and Dylan, to my later discovery of British folk revivalists and numerous modern folk artists, folk music has always been a musical staple of mine. Judging by The Magnetic Fields’ most recent album, Realism, it is a musical staple of frontman Stephin Merritt as well. Following the Jesus and Mary Chain-inspired Distortion, Realism trades feedback and fuzz boxes for more traditional folk orchestration, making use of instruments as varied as mandolins, dulcimers, banjos, accordions, sitars, flugelhorns and tubas. Musically, the album is full of retro charm and a survey of folk music across styles and eras, but in typical Merritt style, Realism is a concept album of sorts, thematically exploring—or perhaps skewering—the conventional view of folk’s lyrical sincerity.