Live Review: Eli “Paperboy” Reed @ The Hamilton Live — 5/6/22

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Eli “Paperboy” Reed performs at The Hamilton Live in DC on May 6, 2022. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

If you go back in the history of roots music, you’ll find that genres that are harshly separated today were not so clearly distinct in an earlier time. Up to the ’50s and ’60s, country and folk were closely tied to blues, and the word often appeared in the title of country songs. In the late ’60s and ’70s, there was a distinct overlap between country and the burgeoning genre of soul music, centered on Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Alabama. (For a fascinating, book-length study of this, see Charles Hughes’ excellent Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South.)

Eli “Paperboy” Reed has dedicated his career to vintage soul sounds, but as he showed in his performance at The Hamilton Live recently, he’s a fan of old-school country, too.

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Live Review: Boy Harsher @ Black Cat — 4/10/22

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Boy Harsher perform at Black Cat on April 10, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Boy Harsher have begun to break out of a niche and find a wider audience, and this is quite a good thing, as evidenced by the very crowded room in their recent show at Black Cat.

Early in their set, Boy Harsher, a duo of vocalist Jae Matthews and synthesist Gus Muller, presented “Give Me a Reason,” a song from their most recent project, this year’s soundtrack album to their film, The Runner. Left to its own devices, the song sounded 100 percent as if it could have sprung from the chart lists of eastern Europe in the very early ’80s. Jae intoned huskily over a bounding synthline, each allowing the sound plenty of room to breathe and a lot of space to mesmerize the enthralled gathering.

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Snapshots: Poppy @ The Fillmore Silver Spring — 4/3/22

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Poppy performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on April 3, 2022. (Photo by Katherine Gaines)

Last fall, crossover media star Poppy released Flux, her fourth studio album, via Sumerian Records. She recently embarked on the Flux Tour, which saw her visit The Fillmore Silver Spring. Katherine Gaines was there to document the show.

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Preview: Boy Harsher @ Black Cat, 4/10/22

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Boy Harsher (Photo by Courtney Brooke)

Boy Harsher — the duo of Jae Matthews and producer Augustus Muller — recently released the video for “Autonomy,” a standout track from their new album, The Runner (Original Soundtrack), out now via Nude Club/City Slang. The synthpop duo bring their new tunes to a show at Black Cat on Sunday, April 10.

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Live Review: Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles featuring Eric “Roscoe” Ambel @ Jammin’ Java – 12/1/21

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Sarah Borges performs at Jammin’ Java on Dec. 1, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Sarah and her band, the Broken Singles, rolled into town recently, hitting the Jammin Java stage with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel for another of her typically rockin’ and quip-laden performances. Having seen Sarah previously, I was prepared for a seriously fun rock and roll show. This one, the first in our area since 2020, featured plenty of new additions to the setlist as she road tested a few new songs from her forthcoming release, Together Alone.

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Live Review: The Lemonheads @ Baltimore Soundstage — 11/26/21

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The Lemonheads rocked a packed Baltimore Soundstage on Nov. 26, 2021 (Photo by David LaMason)

“You and I travel to the beat of a different drum,” the opening line of the Michael Nesmith-penned “Different Drum” goes. And so can be said for Evan Dando, the creative force behind The Lemonheads. From the punk leanings of The Lemonheads’ Hate Your Friends to the pop masterpieces on It’s a Shame About Ray and Car Button Cloth, Dando’s musical trajectory has never been beholden to anything other than Dando himself.

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Live Review: Dinosaur Jr. w/ Ryley Walker @ 9:30 Club — 11/16/21

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Dinosaur Jr. (Photo by Cara Totman)

For nearly 40 years, Dinosaur Jr. has established a reputation as one of the best, most innovative alternative rock bands — and one of the loudest. On Tuesday evening, they lived up to that reputation when they appeared at a sold-out 9:30 Club, with Chicago guitarist Ryley Walker opening.

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Live Review: Lori McKenna w/ Mark Erelli @ The Birchmere — 10/7/21

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Lori McKenna (Photo by Becky Fluke)

Lori McKenna is one of country music’s hit making songwriters, with songs covered by artists like Tim McGraw and Little Big Town. But she’s also an accomplished performer and recording artist in her own right, as she demonstrated recently at The Birchmere.

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