Category Archives: Music

Two Nights, 50 Songs: Magnetic Fields

The Magnetic Fields has been known to write a whole lot of songs about one subject, the prime example being the epic “69 Love Songs” that came on three discs and a boxed set in 1999. The 2004 album “I” had songs all starting with the letter i. Now, bandleader and writer Stephin Merritt accepted [...]

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Remembering Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

Other than Elvis, the number of rock ’n’ roll pioneers that have been still among us all these years is pretty impressive, with Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino still drawing breath. That ended Saturday for the man to whom rock ’n’ roll is closest linked when Chuck Berry,  died at 90. The [...]

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Dan Baird, Eric Ambel at Hill Country

It wasn’t just the overhyped blizzard that bedeviled gigs along the Eastern Seaboard last week. There were also more mundane barriers, like the missing drain plug in the oil tank of Eric Ambel’s Suburban  that drained it just before he was to drive from New York for a gig at D.C.’s Hill Country BBQ Thursday. [...]

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John Doe Stands Alone at Jammin Java

It’s a long road from the throbbing epicenter of Los Angeles punk origins to an acoustic Tuesday night gig at a suburban Northern Virginia strip mall. But John Doe has made that road work for him, turning his fame in the occasionally revived X to a solid solo career of dusty, windswept Americana. Those songs [...]

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Review: Lee Fields & the Expressions

Round about showtime Saturday night, as the backing band the Expressions were churning out the cool and lightly funky sounds of the past, the way serious students from Greenpoint, Brooklyn could do, in their matching paisley tux jackets, out came the front man in his sparkly blue tux jacket. Lee Fields was taking that long [...]

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How Trent Reznor Met Ken Burns

It seemed an odd contrast: The sexagenarian Beatle bob of Ken Burns vs. the darker, calculated spikes of the rock star. But where the documentarian is pegged with using (or overusing) old timey fiddle music on his epics like “The Civil War” or “National Parks,” Trent Reznor is slashing and burning in Nine Inch Nails. [...]

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Mos Def: Yasiin Bey’s Final Performance

It’s been a tough year for Yasiin Bey, the rapper formerly known as Mos Def, who now wants to be known as a former rapper. He was arrested in South Africa last January for trying to leave the country with a “world passport.” He had been living in Cape Town since 2013 and had been [...]

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The Old 97′s Ring in Another New Year

In the 2014 song “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive,” The Old 97s note “most of our shows were a triumph of rock, although some nights I might have been checkin’ the clock.” Checking the clock is what playing New Year’s Eve gigs are all about. And though Texas band’s return to the tony Hamilton Club [...]

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Review: Hayes Carll, Allison Moorer

Hayes Carll was stomping his way into country music success when he decided to dial it back for his most recent album, return to a quieter solo acoustic approach, and emulate once more the wry, road-weary wistfulness of a John Prine or a Townes Van Zandt. In his headlining show at the Birchmere Music Hall [...]

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Smokey Robinson Wins the Gershwin Prize

Dylan confirmed this week he won’t be going to Sweden next month to pick up his Nobel Prize Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American songbook.” But you better believe Smokey Robinson, whom Dylan once listed as a favorite poet (though the quote “America’s greatest living poet” appears to have been [...]

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