Hippo Campus’ frontman Jake Luppen takes the stage with fellow band members at 9:30 Club on March 4, 2022. (Photos by Katie Child)
Hippo Campus has always been a band I’ve heard praise for, though I hadn’t looked very far into their sound until I heard of their plans to visit the District for their recent two sold-out shows at the famed 9:30 Club. Upon exploring their discography, to say I was absorbed would be an understatement.
The five-piece band has been together since their middle school days and has been creating music as a group since then. With their first singles having been released in 2015, they’ve only continued to grow into their truest, most authentic sound, which they captured best in their latest studio album, LP3, released this past February.
Tommy Stinson performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on Jan. 5, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
When Tommy Stinson came to town to play some tunes at Pearl Street Warehouse recently, he probably didn’t expect to do so with a ribbing from his former manager, seated squarely in front of him in the audience.
But there he was on stage, playing solo songs and selections from his group Bash & Pop, and there she was at a table, serving him drinks to the stage, shouting requests, and affectionately goading him throughout the show.
Charlie Parr performs at DC9 on Dec. 11, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Redefining a career through a nationwide lockdown and its confusing wake hasn’t necessarily been a breeze for most musicians. But if any had experienced what one particular virtuoso guitarist from Minnesota went through in the years leading up to the pandemic, it would have likely given them strength to persevere the tougher-than-usual environs of 2020 and 2021.
An acclaimed Piedmont blues and folk blues master who grew up in a small city called Austin and never moved out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Charlie Parr took the stage at DC9 recently as a remarkable story of perseverance and unwavering commitment to one’s craft.
Information Society (Photo by Jonathan Shelgosh)
One of electronic music’s most influential bands, Information Society (or INSOC as they are affectionately known) return with ODDfellows (via Hakatak International (digitally on Aug. 6).
The band recently released a single, “Nothing Prevails,” for which they produced a video.
Heart Bones perform at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Katherine Gaines)
Heart Bones might be the least pretentious band in existence. They hop on stage looking like somebody’s embarrassing parents in their matching khaki shorts, and walk away sweating through their own faces on their T-shirts.
On a recent night at the Metro Gallery, Heart Bones danced to their hearts’ content.
Trampled by Turtles performs at Baltimore Soundstage on Feb. 22, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
What separates one band from the next might be the degree to which it challenges itself within the confines of whatever genre it is pigeonholed — and exercising creativity while respecting particular forms and traditions of your craft isn’t always easy.
For going on two decades, Duluth, Minnesota-based Trampled by Turtles has earned a reputation in the studio and on the road for testing the upper limits of bluegrass power and tempo while simultaneously honing the sweetest harmonies to ever come out of the Zenith City.
Nicholas David performs at 9:30 Club on Dec. 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
Nicholas David, a finalist on the third season of NBC’s The Voice, brought some soul to DC when he opened for Samantha Fish at the 9:30 Club recently.
The Cactus Blossoms perform at Pearl Street Warehouse on Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by Nalinee Darmrong)
What’s classic has a vintage, but not everything old is a classic. Lots of music released in the ’50s and ’60s doesn’t rise to the level of classics. But the close harmonies of the Everly Brothers, a clear precedent for The Cactus Blossoms, certainly rise to the status of classics.
Great vocals, great songwriting, great playing are classic, and The Cactus Blossoms demonstrated their classic qualities in a recent show at Pearl Street Warehouse.
Charlie Parr (Photo courtesy the artist)
With a soulful voice and skilled resonator guitar playing, Charlie Parr recently held the crowd at the Black Cat at rapt attention. He briefly tuned his guitar before opening with the Ray Charles classic “C.C. Rider,” remarking, “We had a such a nice time on the way down, I thought this thing would be in better spirits.
The Cactus Blossoms (Photo courtesy High Road Touring)
The Cactus Blossoms, fronted by brother duo Jack Torrey and Page Burkum, performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on Friday, Oct. 18, supporting their acclaimed new album, Easy Way.