Tag Archives: DC bands

two bars three stars/on deck: thinkSPEAK at rock n roll hotel

2 Aug

I attended a pretty neat new music event a few weeks ago, but sadly it only made it into my Twitter feed and not the blog: the Flashband Summer Showcase at Half Street Fairgrounds on July 14. The concept was simple: a bunch of DC musicians got together, threw their names in a hat, and formed impromptu bands. These “flashbands” had one month to get together, write music, rehearse, and prepare for a showdowncase.

It’s awesome to see how the bands respond to this challenge- you can tell that some threw it together at the last minute, some composed  and perfected multiple original songs, and one band just decided to play five LCD Soundsystem covers. I wasn’t complaining.

But sometimes, these flashbands can become something more. What if, in the course of one month’s preparation, you stumble upon something golden? You wouldn’t want to just throw that progress away, would you?

Such is the case with thinkSPEAK, a DC band that debuted at the Flashband showcase and hasn’t stopped there. After closing their Flashband performance with an indisputable hit single, “Tiller,” the band refined, recorded, and posted the single on their Soundcloud page. Next up? An opening performance at Rock n Roll Hotel tonight.

Cheers to flashbands that aren’t fleeting and good ol’ fashioned toe-tapping singles.

“Tiller,” Think Speak

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two bars three stars: deleted scenes storm SXSW

6 Mar

One of my favorite local music fandom experiences is realizing a band that you’ve admired for awhile is from DC, unbeknownst to you when you first started listening to them. This can happen to me pretty easily with bands I discovered in college, when I didn’t care quite as much if a band had District allegiance or not.

Such is the case with Deleted Scenes. I give complete credit to Pitchfork for helping this band catch my attention, albeit fleetingly, during my third year of college. Pitchfork’s review of their debut album, Birdseed Shirt, mentioned “thoughtful existentialism” and “influenced by the Talking Heads,” which perfectly aligned with the tastes of 19-year old Steph; the album took up residence on my 2009 college radio playlist (alongside Flaming Lips’ Embryonic and whatever Beck was doing at the time, obviously). 

Fast-forward to November 2011. As a semi-recent DC resident, I became more interested in hometown favorites and was excited when I spotted this familiar band name on a local artist playlist. Deleted Scenes was from DC?! Who knew!

Upon reinvestigation, I learned that not only did Deleted Scenes hail from DC, but also that a) they were one of the best known DC bands on the national stage, 2) they had released a more recent album in 2011 that was freaking great, and 3) they released said album on a homegrown label, Sockets Records. I began listening to the second album, Young People’s Church of the Air, and was even more impressed by the depth of their sound and the heaviness of their lyrics (death, drugs, love, we’ve got it all), all woven within a fairly approachable and accessible album.

I had the lucky opportunity to interivew Deleted Scenes’ bassist, Matt Dowling, while composing an article about Sockets Records for the Listen Local First blog. Our conversation left me even more confident that these guys hadn’t gained steam on accident. Deleted Scenes is not a group that simply stumbled onto a marketable sound. Rather, they honed both their individual musical talents and their collective output the old-fashioned way: practice a lot, pour your blood, sweat, and tears into an album, and, if you’ve got the money, time, and grit for it, take your stuff on the road.

After a successful nationwide tour, the guys are spending two weeks in Austin, TX at South by Southwest, where they will rep DC in a big way at several DC artist showcases and other festival events. Then, finally, this workhorse of a band will return to our non-state on April 20 at the ever-hip Comet Ping Pong. And what better way to welcome back some hometown heros than with pizza, beer, ping pong, and Deleted Scenes?

Enjoy a Spotify playlist of both albums here.

From Young People’s Church of the Air, “The Days of Adderall”

 

From Birdseed Shirt, “Fake IDs”