Of the six shows I plan to attend this week, all but one will be new to me. This phenomenon is not entirely uncommon, as I am willing to see a new band on little more than a whim and a general understanding of what genre I will hear that evening. Dead Milkmen, however, released their first album in 1985 and The Scud Mountain Boys followed suit ten years later. Slow Club makes what I think is their first trip to D.C. from England and Aeroplane descends from Belgium, but neither are newcomers per se. And while Doomtree, led most notably by P.O.S., are not entirely strangers to these parts, hip-hop collectives have a tendency to be slightly elusive -- or at least that's the excuse I'll make for myself.
Monday, February 13 - Doomtree: Rock and Roll Hotel
There may be close to an infinite number of area venues that are better suited for live hip-hop than the Rock and Roll Hotel. It's not exactly a well-kept secret, so we might as well make the best of it. It shouldn't be all that difficult, however. Doomtree may very well shift poor acoustics to the best formulation of claustrophobic energy.
Tuesday, February 14 - Slow Club: DC9
If the idea of seeing a boy-girl duo playing heartfelt and anxious love songs on Valentine's Day is your idea of a personal hell, this show is not for you. Luckily for me, it sounds just about wonderful. There's nothing hokey about the way the words of Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor interact. It's never perfect, but there's plenty of hope in the lyrics to keep it happy (enough.) Make it in time for Air Waves' opening set for an extended romantic evening.
Thursday, February 16 - Zola Jesus: U Street Music Hall
Every time I've seen Zola Jesus, Nika Roza Danilova has nearly knocked me off my feet with each verse of each song. Donilova is so in touch with the darkest parts of herself that the sounds she emits are bombastically beautiful. Zola Jesus should benefit from a return to a smaller venue (their last show was upstairs at the Black Cat.) On Thursday, no one should be able to escape a spellbinding moment or two.
Saturday, February 18 - The Dead Milkmen: U Street Music Hall
Similarly to so many who earned "legendary" status on college radio in the '80s, The Dead Milkmen are more likely to receive cult worship than mainstream accolades. There are likely only two types of reactions when hearing these off-kilter pranksters were coming to D.C.: incredible excitement or complete indifference. I just so happen to belong to the former.
Aeroplane: U Street Music Hall
There will be disco inspired and seemingly tropical dance music at this late show at the U Street Music Hall. Aeroplane takes a skewed approach to effervescence as compared to so many others making more vapid electronic music . There will be more than enough to keep the crowd moving late on a Saturday night.
Sunday, February 19 - Scud Mountain Boys: Black Cat
Scud Mountain Boys never received the notoriety and fanfare with which some of their alt-country contemporaries were celebrated. They rose to relative prominence slightly after the first wave of that sound, but they brought more to the table, owing more to the '60s and '70s than than what else was happening in the early 90s. Joe Pernice found just a bit more attention with the Pernice Brothers, but I've always preferred the Scud Mountain Boys.
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