Arts Desk

Arts Roundup: Contra Fan Death, D.C. Music Is Doing Just Fine Edition

Good morning! If you've been following Fan Death's haterade, or noticed a pair of articles in the AV Club D.C. by former members of Q and Not U that criticized D.C.'s indie-rock scene (1, 2), then Washington Post music critic David Malitz's post on the GOG Blog, "In defense of the D.C. rock scene," is a must-read. He cites this past weekend's shows at the DIY space the Cherch as evidence that the scene is doing just fine:

The Cherch isn't a nightclub; it's a house. One of the criticisms extended was that there aren't enough shows at alternative spaces. This weekend alone that living room on New Jersey Avenue hosted eight bands. (Friday's show, an experimental showcase featuring former Lungfish guitarist had competition in the form of another house show at Mt. Pleasant's Crab's Claw.) Saturday's gathering featured three locals bands, none of whom sound alike. I take this as a good thing. A decade or two ago, there was a definite, identifiable D.C. sound: bands such as Fugazi, Jawbox, Dismemberment Plan and Black Eyes all created jagged songs with halting rhythms and emotional heft. Should the fact that the current crop of bands draws from wider influences be seen as negative?

He describes performances by the evening's local bands, singling out a bar-raising set by the proggy, polymathic Hume, during which "members of at least half a dozen bands stood slack-jawed":

And that's exactly the way a scene gets better. Not by people simply instructing bands on how to do things better or giving an interview saying what's wrong. Things get better when the people involved cram into some dude's living room and watch a band light it up.

The whole thing is worth your time. (Update | 10:13 a.m.: Sockets Records' Sean Peoples also has some thoughts. He's pumped!)

Related: Brightest Young Things invites Fan Death Records to its boat party, then posts the exchange, then reviews a Fan Death release. Fan Death's response to the invite:

no we are never going to any of your parties. Name dropping hawkwind isn’t going to help either. One of your dorky ass writers has a copy of the new Puerto Rico Flowers EP we put out. Review it, feature it or whatever it is you guys do.

In other news:

- The Corcoran's director of finance, David Dorsey, was found dead yesterday, naked on the balcony of his Adams Morgan home. CP Managing Editor Andrew Beaujon—citing some of the museum's other recent, and possibly iffy, activities—is getting a bit of an Agatha Cristie vibe from the whole thing.

The Cherch isn't a nightclub; it's a house. One of the criticisms extended was that there aren't enough shows at alternative spaces. This weekend alone that living room on New Jersey Avenue hosted eight bands. (Friday's show, an experimental showcase featuring former Lungfish guitarist had competition in the form of another house show at Mt. Pleasant's Crab's Claw.) Saturday's gathering featured three locals bands, none of whom sound alike. I take this as a good thing. A decade or two ago, there was a definite, identifiable D.C. sound: bands such as Fugazi, Jawbox, Dismemberment Plan and Black Eyes all created jagged songs with halting rhythms and emotional heft. Should the fact that the current crop of bands draws from wider influences be seen as negative?

- DCist has an excellent interview with local multi-instrumentalist and singer Matthew Hemerlein, whose Family Hemerlein show featuring "clean music and dirty comedy" takes places tonight at the Arts Club of Washington. I like this exchange:

What do you like listening to?

I’m not that into music right now. I only listen to what I have to. I tolerate music at best.

Pop music or all music?

I mean, I love music. I love it so much, but I don’t listen to as much as I used to.

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  • http://www.colonelkspeaks.blogspot.com Colonel K

    1. Why is everyone so surprised by the Fan Death interview? Sean and Chris are very opinionated guys. While I don't agree with all of their criticisms, or their decision to name some names (but not others) I acknowledge their right to voice their opinion. This is part of the game.

    2. The show at the Cherch was fantastic. And Hume really are an incredibly tight and together band.

    3. Re: BYT and FanDeath. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer hehehehe

  • http://www.squidoo.com/public-death-records Public Death Records

    I am a frequent reader of your blog and just wanted to inform you that I really love your articles.

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