Results for Washington DC

interviews

The Dismemberment Plan

Like its peers Death Cab for Cutie & The Shins the Washinton D.C. band The Dismemberment Plan was on its way to major success in the early part of the new millenium, and then in 2003, decided to pack it in. Bassist Eric Axelson, guitarist Jason Caddell, drummer Joe Easley and singer Travis Morrison went in different directions (Easly at N.A.S.A.!), but more than a decade later the D-Plan is back with Uncanny Valley. They talked with Greg about their multiple musical influences, including punk rock, hip-hop & D.C.'s Go-Go scene. Lead singer Travis Morrison says that ultimately the band is still figuring it out, much like Ferris Bueller did.

Go to episode 427
genre dissections

Riot Grrrl

Let's get ready to riot! This week, Jim and Greg celebrate the 25th anniversary of the underground feminist punk movement, Riot Grrrl. It all began in the early '90s in Washington, D.C. and the Pacific Northwest when women united in outrage by speaking out on issues like domestic abuse, reproductive rights, sexual harassment and rape. They conveyed their messages through loud, confrontational punk music, a genre that was notoriously male-dominated.

Jim and Greg revisit an interview from 2011 with Sara Marcus, author of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution. Sara shares the history of the movement as well as her quintessential Riot Grrrl recordings:

  • Bikini Kill, The C.D. Version of the First Two Records
  • Bikini Kill, New Radio 7"
  • Bratmobile, Pottymouth
  • Heavens to Betsy, These Monsters Are Real 7"
  • Huggy Bear, Taking the Rough with the Smooch

Though the initial Riot Grrrl movement came and went quickly, it produced a legion of musicians who continue to produce powerful music. To cap off the show, Greg and Jim play songs by two bands rooted in the Riot Grrrl movement. Greg chooses I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Sleater-Kinney. Sleater-Kinney was founded by Corin Tucker, of the Riot Grrrl band Heavens to Betsy and Carrie Brownstein of the queercore band Excuse 17. Jim goes with Hot Topic by Le Tigre, Kathleen Hanna's second band after Bikini Kill.

Go to episode 547
reviews
The Hope Six Demolition ProjectThe Hope Six Demolition Project available on iTunes

PJ Harvey The Hope Six Demolition Project

English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey's newest album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, drops April 15. This is her ninth album, and Jim and Greg have been following her from the beginning. The self-taught musician came into the spotlight in 1991 and debuted her album Dry in 1992 to critical acclaim. On this new album, Harvey pulls inspiration from her travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Washington D.C., where she observed local politics and infused her thoughts on them into her songwriting. Greg notes that her writing style has changed in the past few albums. It was during her eighth album, Let England Shake that she transformed into a storyteller, and that approach comes through on The Hope Six Demolition Project as well. She's an outsider looking in, but her reporting is still personal. Greg appreciates the emotional core of the record as well as the uplifting melodies that color her bleak accounts. The Hope Six Demolition Project is a Buy It for Greg. Jim agrees, taking note that the theatricality of her third album To Bring You My Love returns in this album. Harvey also introduces an anthemic quality— her passion and anger are audible, and Jim loves it, making The Hope Six Demolition Project an enthusiastic double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 541
Nothing Feels NaturalNothing Feels Natural available on iTunes

Priests Nothing Feels Natural

Washington, DC quartet Priests prove that punk is alive and well in the Nation's Capital. The band has been on a healthy clip since 2011 releasing music and touring but Nothing Feels Natural is the band's debut full-length album release. Greg says it is an ambitious“critique of nothing less than America”full of sarcastic views on politics and capitalism. Those heavy ideas are bouyed by a“fantastic rhytm section”that keeps Greg "spinning around an imaginary dance floor". Jim hears a strong post-punk influence hailing to the early 1980s but thinks this is an album that can“only be made by someone of the current generation”tackling technology and feelings of isolation. It is an enthusiastic doube Buy It!

JimGreg
Go to episode 585
news

Music News

Last week Jim and Greg endured what is always a career low-point for them: the multi-hour Grammy broadcast. While they are all in favor of honoring artistic achievement, Jim and Greg explain that the Grammys only presented 9 actual awards last week. For the most part, it's a show of celebrity spectacle, and one that rakes in big ratings. Of the winners, Beyonce took the most awards home. But, she lost Album of the Year to newcomer Taylor Swift. Jim and Greg wouldn't fight for any of the nominees to win, and instead point to the Village Voice Pazz and Jop poll as a better measure of the year's best albums.

Despite winning Album of the Year and having the top-selling album of 2009, Taylor Swift hasn't gotten a lot of Sound Opinions airtime. Jim and Greg give a quick listen to Fearless to see if it's worth the hype. Jim isn‘t sure she’s the most interesting role-model for teenage girls, and doesn‘t think she’d have such acclaim if she wasn‘t quite the looker. But, Greg hears a lot of relatable content on her album. He thinks she could develop into a credible artist, but for now she’s just a tween, not a queen.

Last week Jim and Greg reported on the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. This week they check in with Seth Hurwitz, one of the country's leading independent promoters and owner of the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. Hurwitz testified at the Senate hearings on the merger last year and expressed concern over lack of competition in the industry. Now his concerns are reality. As he explains to Jim and Greg, the agreement's monopoly firewalls provide no consolation. And while Hurwitz feels secure in his business for the time being, he's worried about a time when Live Nation/Ticketmaster scoops up all of the mid-level acts that have so far avoided corporate arenas. He also warns about major ticket price increases.

Go to episode 219

Music News

In true punk fashion DC concert promoter Seth Hurwitz is rising up against the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. Hurwitz and his company It's My Party filed an 11-count lawsuit seeking to block the merger and charged that Live Nation has been acting like a monopoly. Or in layman's terms–they're bullies. In an attempt to improve their current PR status, Live Nation has created“No Service Wednesdays.”On those days consumers can purchase tickets without the service fees. It's only one day a week, but it's a start.

A recent examination of ticket sales from Bruce Springsteen's Meadowlands concerts showed that The Boss held back 2200 tickets from being sold. 90% of the best seats were reserved for friends and family of the band, venue employees, record-label executives and their guests. Jim and Greg point out that this is not news and does not make Springsteen complicit with scalping. But, he's helping those scalpers to mark up prices by making the tickets themselves so rare.

Vinyl sales continue to soar. There was a 50% increase this year, and SoundScan predicts sales will hit almost 3 million this year. That's just a blip compared to the 120 million CDs that will be sold, but any good news is welcome for the music industry.

Go to episode 186

Music News

Greg recently returned from the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington D.C. Two of the central themes of the summit were how people will get more access to the internet and how artists will get paid. Senator Al Franken and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski both spoke about these issues and passionately expressed support for net neutrality. But Franken and Genachowski also stressed that any internet activity that violates artist copyright could not be tolerated. Because it's difficult to tell if p2p activity is legal or illegal, the question remains: how do you reconcile these two ideals?

Call her vain, but Carly Simon needs a little more tender, loving care. She is suing Starbucks, saying that the coffee company's now-defunct music label, Hear Music, didn't adequately promote her 2008 album This Kind of Love. Jim and Greg see this is as the final piece in the Hear Music tale. At first it was seen as a great, alternative way for musicians like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell to market their music, and a way for the coffee company to morph into a tastemaking brand. Now, only a couple of years later, everyone agrees Starbucks should stick to lattes.

Go to episode 203

Music News

At the top of the show Greg tells Jim about his visit to the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit that ran earlier this week in Washington D.C. The first bit of news concerns copyright legislation, or rather a lack thereof. U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte and Maria Pallante, the federal register of copyrights, basically said they were relying on the private sector to combat file-sharing. Technology is just too far ahead of the laws for them to change quickly.

In other FMC news, the band Cheap Trick flew to Washington to lobby Congress for stricter regulations of temporary stages. They experienced one of many stage collapses this summer, which resulted in injuries, and in some cases, deaths. And the band hopes that stages are held to as high a standard of safety as carnival rides or elevators.

Go to episode 306

Music News

In the news this week is President Obama's appointment of Victoria Espinel as the new Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, or as she'll likely be known, IP Czar. Jim and Greg talk to Michael Bracy, the Policy Director at the Future of Music Coalition, about this appointment. Bracy gets the sense that Espinel stands pretty safely down the middle of copyright issues and believes the Obama administration is more concerned with access to internet and competition. He explains that until a legitimate digital media marketplace fully evolves, it remains to be seen how copyright laws should be changed and approached differently in the courts. Bracy and the folks at the FMC will be continuing discussions on this topic and more at their annual summit this weekend in Washington D.C.

One of the biggest music releases this year is actually not an album, but a video game. The Beatles: Rock Band was released to much hype and acclaim last month. Since the release of Guitar Hero in 2005, and then Rock Band in 2007, $3 billion worth of these games have been sold. It's a successful new revenue stream for an industry in dire need of a boost. Jim and Greg have been critical of games like this before on Sound Opinions. They wonder where the music fits in and suggest that perhaps music fans would be better off playing actual music. But there's a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that games like Rock Band encourage kids to learn music. Jim and Greg discuss these pros and cons with Greg LoPiccolo, one of the brains behind Guitar Hero and Rock Band. As the Vice President of Product Development at Harmonix, LoPiccolo was involved with bringing The Beatles on board.

Go to episode 201

Music News

You can hear Katy Perry "Roar" from the mountaintop on her latest release Prism. Unfortunately, it's the world's shortest mountain. She shot to #1 on Billboard's album chart last week, but it was the worst-selling week since 1991. Perry sold 286,000 copies of her 4th album. Compare that with albums in '91 like Use Your Illusion (685,000) and Ropin' the Wind (400,000). But, on the bright side, Perry's album did earn another distinction: Biohazard. Deluxe versions of Prism came with seed paper that the singer is encouraging fans to plant and“spread the light.”But, Australian officials see it as a“bio-security concern.” That's even worse than a Trash It rating.

"Future Shock," Curtis Mayfield sings. Well, that's what some insiders say the music industry's in for if it doesn't start planning. Greg just returned from the Future of Music Summit in Washington D.C., and there heard from Tom Silverman, the founder of the New Music Seminar, who said that the digital download era is coming to an end. Rather than continue to fight piracy, the music industry needs to focus on the next stage of revenues. Another big change on the horizon? The current copyright law, last revised in 1976, is long overdue for a makeover.

Go to episode 415