How do you categorize a band that ranges from blues, jazz, soul, hip-hop, and R&B, and has a rapper, a keyboardist, a trombonist, a trumpeter, a bass guitarist, a drummer, and a lead guitarist?
You invent a new genre.
The 7-piece Chicago band, Kids These Days, got the inspiration for the name of their debut album when they were tired of trying to explain their music genre, so they came up with one of their own: Traphouse Rock.
With so much controlled vocal and instrumental talent, you would think KTD is a group with several years of touring and performing experience. Truth is, the seven musicians have only been doling out their blues, soul, hip-hop swagger, and sultry jazz lines for a relatively short time.
KTD is comprised of recent high school graduates and former Merit School of Music students. The members of the group got together in 2009, rocking out in one of the band member’s basements. Each musician came into the band being able to play 2 to 5 instruments and almost all of the 7 were receiving advanced training at Merit School of Music, focusing on improvisation and jazz.
Aly Spaltro‘s story of stardom is almost as whimsical as her voice.
She began her musical pursuits by playing and practicing in the basement of the video rental store at which she was a clerk in her hometown of Brunswick, Maine. Bart & Greg’s DVD Explosion’s customers probably had no idea that the same clerk that would rent Transformers movies to them would develop into a major musical talent under the name of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.
After working her 3-11 p.m. shift, Spaltro would venture down into the basement of Bart & Greg’s and let her lyrical thoughts pour into her music until morning broke. She taught herself to write music and sing, and her experimental and structureless music is characterized by a range of emotions, from anger and confusion to the simple and sheer bliss of love.
Anxious and hesitant to share her music with others, Spaltro gave herself the name “Lady Lamb the Beekeeper” and would arrange her CDs on the counters of Bart & Greg’s and the record store next door to give out as free samples to customers.
That’s how Lady Lamb the Beekeeper made herself to the top of the music scene in Portland and Brooklyn.
Spaltro is famous among her fans for her live shows. They can be characterized as beautifully chaotic, with melodies that seem to follow an internalized structure only known to Spaltro herself. She sings and plays the guitar, both electric and acoustic, and her lyrics and music offer insight into the world of a young women full of emotion and intense passion for living deeply.
Remix Your Weekend is Vox’s age-old feature on newly released songs and upcoming concerts in the D.C. area. From now on, this feature will be brought to you each week by a different writer from WGTB’s blogThe Rotation.
October means pumpkins, sweaters, and… midterms. Whether you are cramming formulas and theories into your head or cramming beers down your throat to blow off steam, throw on the playlist of the week and life just might be a little more tolerable.
Deadmau5 has a new song about the possibility of being served coffee (something that should excite us all!) and Detroit’s Danny Brown has collaborated with Purity Ring to produce a remix worthy of a study break.
As artists like Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa solidify their specific style to carve out a spot on the top 40 chart, they contribute their own unique qualities to the average pop song we may expect to hear on the radio. With such diversity, performers may fail to discover a niche that allows them to stand out. On his fourth studio album Wild Ones, however, Flo Rida demonstrates the height of his chosen technique—perfecting the average top 40 hit song.
“Good Feeling” and “Wild Ones,” which at this point in their popularity require no mention, epitomize this hip-hop-gone-pop formula. “Whistle,” the newest single from the LP serving as a rather explicit guideline for oral sex, has gathered considerable momentum on the charts, as well. Since Wild Ones barely runs for 30 minutes and contains only 9 songs, 3 singles nearing the top of the charts is an impressive statistic.
Flo Rida’s formula clearly fulfills its purpose. Nearly each track features a guest artist who contributes to the chorus while Flo Rida fills the gaps with rapid-fire rap lyrics, occasionally retreating to an R&B style. “Run,” for instance, has Redfoo delivering LMFAO’s signature quirky beats and lyrics repurposed from “Party Rock Anthem” that function well juxtaposed with Flo Rida’s unrelenting vocals.
Who says D.C. isn’t good for music? Sure, you can’t find a club on every corner, and for the most part you’ll have to venture pretty far outside that damn “bubble” everybody’s always talking about to get there, but the District has plenty of good venues for live music and DJ sets, and here we give you a nice little rundown of where to find it:
U Street Corridor: D.C.’s fabled center for arts and music, this neighborhood, located on and around U Street in the Northwest, is home to some of our city’s best concert halls, dance clubs, and restaurants.
The biggest and most popular of the concert venues is 9:30 Club, which has upcoming shows from the likes of The Hold Steady, Bright Eyes, and Peter Bjorn and John. Bigger names are known to cost a pretty penny and sell out pretty quickly, so it’s best to get tickets early.
As for smaller concerts, Black Cat is another favorite among Georgetown students, with smaller shows and more manageable ticket prices. Black Cat is also known for its themed dance parties, which it throws virtually every night there isn’t a musician headlining.
If DJ’s and dance parties are more your thing, look no further than the still relatively new U Street Music Hall. The foremost of D.C.’s DJ-centric dance party venues, this club is dark, underground, and all about music and dancing. For the most part, shows are 21+ at the door and 18+ if you order tickets online.
Think about the number of female drummers you know. Can you count it on one hand? Kiran Gandhi (COL ’11), senior, manager of local record label Rhythm & Culture, and drumming extraordinaire, thinks that’s a problem, and tonight she’s doing something about it.
“I think it is so important to give female drummers a place to shine and be recognized for how unique their craft is, and [for] the type of vibe they bring to something that for so long has been so traditionally masculine,” Gandhi wrote in an email.
So tonight, from 6 to 9 p.m., Gandhi is hosting Rad Ladies that Drum, the first all-female drumming showcase that D.C. has ever housed. The event is being held at The Fridge DC, which defines itself on its website as an “art gallery, performance space, music venue, and classroom.” All of the night’s proceeds are going to Tom Tom Magazine, a publication entirely devoted to female percussionists.
I was quickly corrected when I referred to A Million Shetland Ponies, in which Georgetown freshman David Benedetto (SFS ’13) is a musician, as a one man band.
“So, there are two members of A Million Shetland Ponies. It’s me and my best friend, Maxwell Q. Maxwell,” Benedetto explained. “The band’s been together for three years now, and Maxwell actually writes the music. Although I’ve tried my hand at that.”
It’s a little confusing, because Maxwell is a life-sized doll that dances with Benedetto’s help.
“Actually, I’d like to point out that he’s a person.”
Again, my bad. This Georgetown musical duo is little-known around Georgetown’s campus (“We have almost 90 fans on Facebook!” Benedetto said sarcastically), but it is very talented. Armed with about 17 songs in their repertoire that they’ll play in public, A Million Shetland Ponies has run the gamut of on-campus open mic nights. They took second in the D.C. Funniest College Comic competition, and in January, they came away from America’s Next Great Star, a traveling talented show which made a stop in Gaston, with $500.
Most recently, the group has put out a quirky, cute music video of the song they played at Next Great Star, called “The Argyle in My Socks.” Filmed on one of the upper levels of Healy Hall, the lovesong-video, above, features Benedetto dancing with and serenading Maxwell, (sometimes from inside a recycling bin), who’s dressed as “a lustful woman.”
Last week, the Voice‘s Tim Shine profiled Chris Tiongson (COL ’89), an alum and pediatrician from Fargo who records delightful songs celebrating Georgetown basketball players and great moments in Georgetown basketball.
How’d he get his start?
“It started, I think, Roy [Hibbert’s] freshman year,” Tiongson told Shine. “There was a Starbucks commercial … the guy’s name was Roy, and they started chanting his name: Roy, Roy, Roy. I think it was at one of the McDonough home games the students started chanting this, doing the ‘Roy’ chant to ‘Eye of the Tiger.’ Then somebody on HoyaTalk said, ‘Well wouldn’t it be funny [if someone] did a song to that.’ So then I did.”
“That would be ‘Heart of a Hoya,’” Shine writes, “a simple acoustic guitar effort that began what is now a 26-song catalog.”
Tiongson posts his songs on HoyaTalk under the username nodak89. Shine’s whole article is a terrific read, but for our listening pleasure, he has picked out his top five favorite songs:
The Georgetown Programming Board—the same people who brought you T-Pain—sent an e-mail to the student body last night asking for Georgetown’s input on the Spring Kickoff Concert.
While the Voice doesn’t necessarily agree that an April 10 concert can “kickoff” the Spring, we’re intrigued by some of the options they’re offering. Vox has been trying unsuccessfully to contact members of GPB for a few weeks now, so it’s unclear if GPB concert planners have looked into the feasibility of booking any of these acts. Regardless, if you’re looking for someone to guide your musical sensibilities—or argue with in the comments section—the Voice‘s veteran music critic Dan Cook has ranked musical acts in the order he would like see GPB try to bring them to Georgetown:
1) Flaming Lips
Let’s make a short list of elements that the Flaming Lips usually incorporate into their live shows these days:
1. An enormous digital screen that projects a hypnotic vagina at the onset of the show
2. Wayne Coyne’s inflatable, crowd-surf-ready hamster ball
3. Confetti cannons
4. Colorful, beach-ball-esque orbs
6. “The world’s biggest mirrored ball”
8. Oh, and music
Just take a look at the clip above, and I’ll spare you the details about their critically-acclaimed discography and a groundbreaking career that spans nearly three decades.