Arts Roundup: New Year’s Resolutions for Scenesters Edition
Hello! Underwhelmed by D.C. music of late? So is the A.V. Club D.C.'s Matthew Borlik, who has penned some New Year's resolutions for the District's music scene. The former Washington City Paper staffer and Q & Not U member writes:
From the early ’90s through the early ’00s, the nation knew a D.C. band when it heard one. Discordant guitars, half-sung/half-shouted vocals, and sociopolitical lyrics were the unmistakable hallmarks of the District’s independent rock scene—and few, if any, other cities did it as well. Since then, however, the local scene has suffered an identity crisis of sorts, during which it has noticeably fallen off the nation’s radar. That’s not to say that D.C. bands’ recent forays into genres such as folk, country, and indie pop haven’t produced respectable results—it’s just that most of those results haven’t garnered a whole lot of attention outside of the city. The days of Fugazi playing in front of thousands of people at the Washington Monument and Dischord Records churning out a handful of angular-guitar-driven albums every year are distant memories at this point—but that doesn’t necessarily mean the D.C. scene can’t rediscover, or re-invent, its musical identity.
He's got a point (even though not everyone thinks D.C. bands should emulate Fugazi). And yes, local acts should tour as much as they can and not move to New York, as Borlik suggests. My sense is this: Clearly, regional scenes become much more exportable when they have a cohesive aesthetic—which is fine, as long as it emerges naturally. Is there a D.C. sound these days? Probably not. But there's enough exciting music coming out of the city—in the first two months of 2010, even—that I can't share Borlik's concern. Bands should sound like themselves, and nothing else.
- More resolutions! D.C. DJ Tittsworth lost 100 pounds in four years, and his "Titts Tips for losing weight (sans marion barry)" are worth perusing. On the skinny jean as motivation:
if you go down a size or two, buy tighter fitting jeans. not saying you gotta go super skinny and ankle sweat, but at least get that waist tighter and tighter. it's positive reinforcement to buy smaller and also helps with slipping the pounds back on if you feel uncomfortable the days after pigging out.
A Jan. 3 Outlook review of Marc Spitz's book "Bowie: A Biography" incorrectly grouped the 1980s British alternative rock band the Smiths with Depeche Mode and Moby, describing them as synth and electro-pop acts. The Smiths were a guitar-based band.
- Rumors! Director Sam Mendes ("American Beauty," "Away We Go") might direct the next James Bond film, Variety reports. In it, one imagines, the superspy portrayed by Daniel Craig would stumble through the antiseptic mundanity of suburbia in a martini haze, unfulfilled by his neighbors' materialism and haunted by the ghost of Paul Newman. Working title: License for Pills.
Image courtesy of Fugazi's MySpace page.