Bottles/Cans are performing at the Black Cat Tuesday night. We caught up with them between their stops in Minneapolis and New York to talk about making music here in Washington – even when it means falling through a stage.
A live recording of Bottles/Cans’ song “Everybody Knows,” is introduced by letting the crowd know that “This one is pretty rowdy.” Rowdy is a good general introduction to Bottles/Cans music – swaggering, southern influenced, and steeped in a bit of jazz and blues (and maybe a bit of PBR as well).
The three band members, Kevin Eskowitz, Zach Pentel, and Brendan Polmer, met while attending George Washington University. (Pentel graduated in the same class as I, back in 2007; Polmer and Eskowitz are 2008 grads.) None of them had lived in the city prior to college.
“We all come from music towns – Minneapolis, Houston, and New Orleans – all of which are safe havens for musicians to an extreme that DC could never compete with, because musicians are everywhere in those cities. DC isn’t like that,” Polmer shared.
“We just embrace the fact that we’re playing to an entirely different kind of audience in an entirely different kind of city where the concept of a ‘music scene’ manifests itself in a small, musically incestuous group of artists. It makes the community that much tighter.”
Like that other popular band to come out of GWU recently, Jukebox the Ghost, Bottles/Cans has played their share of shows on our dear campus. One performance at the basement Mitchell Hall Theatre started off bad, when the PA blew out on the first note of their first song. When singer Pentel sat down, his chair fell through the rickety stage. Nonetheless, they kept the show going for those assembled.
“We finished playing a show with no microphones and the amps turned way down so that they could ‘hear me sing’,” Eskowitz recalls. “Brutal shit.”
Pentel, Polmer, and Eskowitz each contributed a few tracks for this edition of our mixtape. You can have a listen at welovedc.muxtape.com
1. Elbow, “The Bones of You”
2. The Velvet Underground, “Venus in Furs”
3. My Morning Jacket, “Evil Urges”
4. Bottles/Cans, “Tabitha Calhoun”
5. Bob Dylan, “Isis”
6. Spoon, “Eddie’s Ragga”
7. George Jones, “White Lightning”
8. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, “Got a Thing on My Mind”
9. The Bad Plus, “Big Eater”
10. Beck, “Walls”
11. The Whigs, “Right Hand on My Heart”
Want to create a District Mixtape for us? Let us know! Email brittany [at] welovedc.com.