Music 2008: A Note from SocketsCDR’s Sean Peoples
This past year was busy. I can't think of much by way of disappointments, but the following stood out and really made 2008 for me:
- Dmerit is a DJ/production duo who are killing it right now. I just caught a DJ set of theirs and it included a bunch of their own remixes. I expect even more from these guys in 2009.
- All Our Noise blog – Some friends of mine started this blog, which highlights Washington, D.C.'s cultural rebirth. AON Sessions films local artists performing live and provides a good alternative (not to mention local flavor) to YouTube's video distractions.
- Sonic Circuits – Jeff Surak's Sonic Circuits festival is becoming the pride of a small community of folks who celebrate experimental music here in the District. Jeff's tireless efforts over the past several years seems to be paying off and this last year's festival was packed with great performances.
- I started DJing a funk, soul and R&B night we call Fatback with some friends this year. We've changed venues a couple of times, but found a home at Red Lounge on 14th Street NW. The audience is always ready to dance at 10 p.m. and it keeps going until they push us out at 2 a.m.
- Future Times – Andrew Field-Pickering's new boutique 7" label is already one of my favorites. He has great taste and who doesn't love a 7" these days? Compact discs are so 2002.
- The Lighthouse – House shows are always more interesting than club shows. There is possibility in the air. And there is usually a potluck/cheaper beer. The Lighthouse had some amazing shows this past year and I bet they continue providing an alternative venue for bands passing through D.C.
What were your bestselling discs?
The bestselling disc was definitely Little Women's Teeth. Little Women is this great freak-out-jazz quartet from NYC who combine blistering horns, shredding guitars, and pummeling drums. Imagine constant streams of spiraling horns meeting a punk rhythm section. The live show is intense. They share members of ZS and Extra Life, which also claim bestselling status on the label. The albums included Extra Life's "2 Song EP" and the ZS "4 Systems". All three of these bands are from the NYC area and have pushed the limits of experimental music in my mind.
A lot of my favorite local bands are still working on their full albums, but some of the records that really stood out this year included the following:
- Belly by Food For Animals – This is hip-hop from the future that has come to save us all from the present.
- Methods EP by Imperial China – I have waited a long time to hear a record like this. For it to come out of DC makes it worth the wait. It harkens back to some great post-punk sounds of DC past, but it doesn't feel overly nostalgic.
- Ghost Games by Apes – Ghost Games sounds like it came from a swamp. Apes are one of the most consistently awesome live shows in DC right now.
As for music in general, it would be a long list. But here are a few that you might not have heard:
- Los Angeles and the corresponding EP's by Flying Lotus really impressed me. It was a swirling, cosmic down-tempo affair from this kid in California.
- Fallin' Off The Reel, Vol. 2 released by the Truth & Soul label. This is soul music that you've never heard before, but somehow it tastes familiar. Every track is spot on.
- Sand by Philip Jeck – For me, Jeck manipulates sounds in such interesting and engaging ways. Instead of just using laptops, he approaches sound sources with older tools, always producing something beautiful and new.