Category Archives: Music

Milk Carton Kids Go 2% in Crowd Size

The Milk Carton Kids started making a splash soon after their 2011 debut, such that the California duo were on big tours, supporting top stars, before playing their own headlining theater gigs and augmenting their sound with a full band. Maybe it was too much too soon, or maybe Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan wanted [...]

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Jason Isbell Saves Nashville

For a place that calls itself Music City, Nashville can be pretty lacking. The town’s central musical gathering place, Broadway is a compendium of increasingly generic day-drinking bars with incongruous names of country stars dead (Johnny Cash, George Jones) and alive (Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, even Kid Rock, god help us), full of bands [...]

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Digging with Shovels and Rope

Like the White Stripes before them, Shovels & Rope bring the two person, man and woman, guitar and drums lineup to life. The exception is that they dwell more in country roots, with Appalachian gospel seeping through their down-home harmonies and lots of wistful tales of traveling on the road. But there’s more: In addition [...]

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Luna Revisits its Penthouse at the 930 Club

On the various Luna tours the band has done since it reunited in 2015 following a 10 year pause, they almost seemed miffed to have to play the old stuff fans wanted. Not that they had much new stuff — just an album of covers and another of instrumentals. But now, embarked on one of [...]

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Reviving ‘Merce Cunningham at 100′

Merce Cunningham’s legacy lingers in contemporary dance,  and avant-garde collaboration. He eliminated storylines in dance pieces, concentrated on movement as pointed as abstract art and vaulted modernist music (particularly that of his partner John Cage) to wide popularity. His 50 year presence in the dance world guaranteed his influence continue long after his death a [...]

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The Long Ryders Back in the Saddle

Before there were labels like alt country or Americana, The Long Ryders were providing the connection between country and rock with a punk punch through their very limited recording years of 1984 to 87. They proved the thread between the pioneering work of the Byrds and Gene Clark (who lent vocals on the first Long [...]

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Billy Bragg Begins a D.C. Residency

“Welcome to the 7:30 Club!” Billy Bragg said, at the outset of his three-night residency at The Birchmere. He was both poking fun of the Alexandria club’s famously early nights, while name checking the D.C. area’s other famous club, the 9:30. It was the first of several residencies he’ll also do in New York and [...]

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The B-52′s Party Out of Bounds

The B-52’s are marking their 40th anniversary the same way they might have celebrated their 20th, their first or a random Tuesday – with a party. True to their skull ’n’ beehive colors that declare “Born to Party” they got a big crowd at D.C.’s Anthem riled up with a freewheeling set of their catchy, [...]

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Remembering Ric Ocasek, 1944-2019

Sad to hear of the death of Ric Ocasek Sunday at 75. The man most widely known for his elegant electronic pop songs with The Cars may have been equally influential in rock for producing a number of important acts, from Suicide and Bad Brains to Jonathan Richman, Weezer and Guided by Voices. I had [...]

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Ken Burns’ Trip Through ‘Country Music’

In an era when history is more often doled out in digestible social media attention spans (“5 Takeaways from Such and Such”; “Top 10 War Losses”), there’s something to be said about meticulous, comprehensive and definitive documentaries. And for thoroughness, there’s nobody like Ken Burns, who spends so many years on a subject, finds so [...]

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