Entertainment, Interviews, Music, Night Life, People, The Features, We Love Music

Q&A with Laetitia Sadier

photo courtesy of Laetitia Sadier

French singer Laetitia Sadier has a beautiful, dreamy, captivating voice, and for about two decades was the front-woman of the London-based experimental/psychedelic/pop/lounge ensemble Stereolab. In 2010, after Stereolab went on hiatus, Sadier released her first solo album, The Trip. In July of this year she released her second solo album, Silencio. It is beautiful, introspective, lush, groovy at times, with political themes woven through. You can catch Laetitia Sadier live at DC9 this Tuesday, September 25th! We Love DC’s Alexia Kauffman was thrilled to have a conversation with Laetitia recently, and here’s how it went.

Alexia Kauffman: So what was the experience of making your most recent album, Silencio, like? And was it different from making your first solo album?

Laetitia Sadier: Oh yes, I guess it was kind of the same and it was kind of different from one to the other, but what do you want to know exactly?

Alexia: What went into making the new album, what inspired you on this album? I know you collaborated with some different people- just kind of what the experience was like?

Laetitia: Well, you know I guess the intent was to have a political content, because I find the situation – the political and financial and economical and social situation you know kind of getting worse. I mean especially the state of democracy, you know, is kind of worsening in Europe certainly, and in America, very seriously, and I thought that all should be voiced. So that was a very central concern regarding the album. But I didn’t want it to just be kind of aggressively political, you know, I have other centers of interest. I study Chinese medicine and we look at the human body, the human being in a kind of holistic way, and they are part of the universe, you know, so it is kind of on the other side of what capitalism teaches us to be, which is kind of selfish, self-centered consumer. It looks at people elementally, and I focused somehow on fire, on the fire element. And the fire in people, you know, the passion, the heart, the spirit, which are all kind of fire-related, and how these things are really essential to life, but they are things which can’t be bought. And the idea was to bring back the attention on us human beings as non-exchangeable, non-buyable beings that we are, you know, humans, and that’s a sacred notion around this that can’t be touched by money. So those were my concerns for this album, and, of course, the title “Silencio”, which, I don’t know if you heard the record?

Alexia: Yes.

Laetitia: The last track basically explains the situation as to how this title came about- it wasn’t, you know, “Shut up, everybody! Let’s have some silence around here!”, it was about connecting deeply with oneself because I think that to have a revolution you need to be connected to yourself, to your sense, to your better self, and your sense of it. And then you can derive some ideas to lead some kind of action for change, for progress, for moving forward, not being stuck in the system, which I think disconnects people from their deeper and truer natures, you see?

Alexia: That’s very powerful. I appreciate your album because I can clearly hear the political themes in it, but yet it’s beautiful and makes you want to listen to it, and I don’t know, it’s like the best kind of art where it has a message but it’s transcendent, you know?

Laetitia: Yeah, I mean to me art is about you know putting what’s the most important to you, and I guess transcend to some degree. Of course, transformation, I mean that’s the real alchemy of art. You know, art is alchemical, or it can be, it can transform your life. And I know it sure has mine. If you’re open to it, and of course it should be really kind of essential stuff, the stuff that really matters, and not the mindless stuff.

I mean listen to the radio- it’s just appalling, the quality of the music. I think it’s really about demolishing people, and their truer connection, you know their connection to themselves. It’s just soul-breaking and heart-numbing. It’s numbing, I want to protect myself from it, to not receive it, not feel it, it’s so obnoxious. I don’t know, I find it super-dangerous. So it’s true, I’m kind of reacting against that, in a way, you know, that’s my purpose, it seems.

Alexia: You have a very beautiful and distinct voice. Are there any vocalists or singers that inspired you when you were growing up or even now?

Laetitia: Yes, of course. Carmel– she was an Irish singer in the 80s, she kind of had semi-hits, but she never really took off, you know? But the first album she ever did was a six-track kind of experimental jazz piece, and it was very, very bare, and kind of badly recorded, but really good. I was fascinated, and it’s still one of my favorite records. So she was a real inspiration in terms of “I want to sing”, in terms of “Yes, this is what I want to do.” I guess Morrissey also inspired me to sing. He has an incredible voice, and I love that first album that they did, cause I’m a first album girl. And besides that, um, France Gall also really inspired me. And then there’s of course singers like Dionne Warwick- the perfection, you know? Like wow! I wish I could sing like that! Divas like that. I like distinctive vocals. I like white women that sound like black women- I really like that. And I like an open and sincere voice, you know? We can hear the heart and the personality of the person, rather than a super-trained voice, you know, a super-technically-apt, but kind of affected, rather than natural. So that’s what I am most attracted to.

Alexia: Are there any artists right now or albums or songs that really catch you currently?

Laetitia: I’m a big fan of the French band called Holden. They really, really touch me- their music really touches me. And they’re about to release a new record, and I saw them live recently, and they really really blew me away- so much grace and beauty. They played some new songs, and I’m like “Oh my God! They’re doing it again!” I played the record by Connan Mockasin, which is really interesting and fun to listen to.  Continue reading

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: A Q&A with Filligar

Photo Courtesy of Filligar

The industry landscape for independent musicians in America has been in a continual state of evolution ever since the internet went and changed the game. Still, though, it come down to the fact that hard work, perseverance, raw talent, and being at the right place at the right time seem to be working out for those who hold out long enough. Filligar is an example of that.

Full disclosure: I first heard Filligar back in Chicago when I was a freshman in high school. I was 14-years-old and performing in my first “Battle of the Bands.” They were playing too. It was the day that George Harrison passed away. The date was: November 29, 2001. As it turned out, three out of the four members of Filligar just so happened to be in my high school class (Pictured Above: Casey Gibson – keyboard, Pete Mathias – drums, Teddy Mathias – bass), while lead singer and guitarist Johnny Mathias was a couple years behind us.

Back then, they went by the moniker Flipside, sported shorter haircuts, and played a very different style of rock than they do now. But that’s the beauty of age — as you grow, you learn, and Filligar’s made it a point to utilize their personal growth as the means to create one of the most engaging live rock shows in the country.

Hailed as “one of the best young bands in America,” this quintet’s been given an opportunity that they and any other independent musician can appreciate — they’re opening up for Counting Crows on the first leg of their Outlaw Roadshow this Summer. But before they leave on tour with Counting Crows, they’re playing a live show at DC9 Saturday May 26.

Filligar took a few minutes to exchange thoughts with We Love DC via e-mail. Here’s what they had to say.

Rachel: Filligar’s been a band for over a decade. How would you describe your evolution from the time you first sat down to jam and now that you’ve been touring for a few years with several albums under your belts?

Filligar: Well, the first time we sat down to jam we played a song that wasn’t our own: Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. We butchered it, and ever since we’ve been playing original music. As times go on, our music has changed just as we’ve changed. Touring the country and experiencing America the beautiful has definitely impacted that sound. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: R. Ring @ DC9, 5/15/2012

R. Ring, photo by Jason Coile

We Love DC guest writer Jonathan Druy attended the R. Ring show at DC9 Tuesday night. Read his thoughts on it below! 

Tuesday night started with a fairly sparse DC9 room, but the evening opened with a sharp acoustic/punk set by Marc Ganancias, and then a soulfully beautiful set by Mean Season, who know how to intertwine chick vocals and guitar into a lean indie-rock gift. When Kelley Deal’s new project R.Ring took the stage, the room began to swell with fans of the Breeders guitarist, who got to see a warm set, highlighted by Deal’s sweet vocals and Mike Montgomery’s amplified acoustic interactions, as well as some really funny between-song convos.

 Kelley Deal uses that voice, imprinted on those of us who came of age when the Breeders reigned the alternawaves, as one of the band’s electric instruments, cranking up the reverb, or singing through an effects pedal. It provides a nice touch, so songs like “Fall Out and Fire” and “Hundred Dollar Heat”, which Deal sings from the floor, draw in the audience, resulting in an echo-embellished electric/acoustic lullaby. Deal accompanied Montgomery on guitar for a few numbers, and the electrics came out for their closer, a cover of Shellac’s “Ghost”, on which Montgomery also shared vocals.

 The DC9 crowd grew over the course of the set, so by the end there was no shortage of fans chatting with Deal after the show. Here’s hoping the rest of her tour generates as much goodwill as Tuesday night.

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, We Love Music

Q&A with Kelley Deal

photo courtesy of the artist

We Love DC guest writer Jonathan Druy had the chance to interview Kelley Deal. Read his account of it all here!

Breeders guitarist Kelley Deal is touring with her beautiful new acoustic project R.Ring, and they’re stopping by DC9 on Tuesday night, in what may prove to be a truly talent-rich night of acoustic-based indie-folk-rock-thingies, with Mike Ganancias and Mean Season. A new release from Misra Records is on its way.

From Dayton, Ohio, R.Ring is Deal and Mike Montgomery of the band Ampline, performing acoustic, spare, melodic explorations led by Deal’s unique and sometimes distorted vocals, her voice familiar to those who remember the once-ubiquitous Breeders. If you were sentient 20 years ago, you probably owned “Last Splash”, with it’s beautiful singles “Cannonball” and “Divine Hammer”, and its surfy instrumentals, and the sweet chick-rock vocals led by twin sister and Pixie Kim, and harmonized sweetly by Kelley. You probably also loved the “Cannonball” video on early-90s MTV, an unimaginable pre-WWW/Youtube/Smartphone era when the cable network stumbled into post-Cobain indie-land, and played these things called music videos, because it was the only place you could see them, kiddies.

The lead-up to our interview lead me to revisit “Last Splash” and “Pod” and “Safari EP”, and well-up all nostalgic-like with my memories of seeing the Breeders ’92 show at the old 9:30 Club, which almost made me forget that Deal has had plenty to do since then; first with Kelley Deal 6000, then with the reformed and rejuvenated Breeders, first in ’02 then in ’08. And while I did just see a friend of mine sing “Cannonball” at karaoke, fear not, middle-aged geezers, the Breeders haven’t gone away, but the other day Kelley talked to me about her new project and about being among the current crop of veterans that are still doing it and doing it well.

She also got curious about the Ethiopian food I told her about on 9th St. You haven’t lived until you’ve explained Injera to a Breeder…

Jonathan Druy: Are there any memories or feelings about DC you have from past tours?

Kelley Deal: I do remember our ’92 show at the old 9:30 club – DC at the time was considered really hip and really happening, and I just remember being a rube from Dayton, and I didn’t know about any of this stuff and I remember thinking “wow, this is really cool!”. Continue reading

Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Young Prisms, Boy Friend, & Ceremony @ DC9 – 3/4/12

Photo courtesy of Ethan.K
Young Prisms
courtesy of Ethan.K

I have a friend who swears a 90s revival is around the corner. It’s going to be big and it’s going to make industrial music popular again.

But while my friend wasn’t looking, the 90s revival already has come, but not in the form he envisioned. In the past several years, there have been an explosion of dreampop and shoegaze bands leaping out of their dens and onto our stages, putting any so-called 90s revival much more in the debt of bands that followed My Bloody Valentine than those that followed Nine Inch Nails.
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Entertainment, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Girl In A Coma @ DC9, 11/9/2011

photos by Aminta S. Nieves-Candamo

San Antonio rock trio Girl In A Coma played a power-charged set to a crowded DC9 Wednesday night. They are currently in the middle of their US tour in support of their latest album Exits & All The Rest, released November 1st on Blackheart Records. They were joined by punky openers Brothers of Brazil and The Coathangers. Continue reading

Entertainment, Music, Night Life, The Features, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Girl In A Coma @ DC9

photo courtesy of Girl In A Coma

Get your mid-week dose of rock tonight with Girl In A Coma at DC9. This female trio of hotties from San Antonio, TX play dramatic, punk/rockabilly-tinged rock & roll. Vocalist Nina Diaz has a strong, captivating voice that has been compared to country icon Patsy Cline. The band formed when drummer Phanie Diaz and bassist Jenn Alva bonded in Junior High art class over a mutual love of The Smiths and Nirvana. In 2006, after seeing them perform at New York’s Knitting Factory Joan Jett signed the band to her label, Blackheart Records. The band’s name is a nod to The Smiths’ song “Girlfriend In A Coma,” and they even lived out their teen dream and toured opening for Morrissey in 2007. Girl In A Coma are currently on tour in support of their fourth album, Exits & All the Rest, released on November 1st on Blackheart Records. Check out their video for “Clumsy Sky” here.

Girl In A Coma
The Coathangers
Brothers of Brazil

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Jeremy Messersmith @ DC9, 6/19/11

courtesy of J. Messesmith.

It is unusual for me to go to a show of a band I’ve never heard before and be swept off my feet. That happened Sunday night when Jeremy Messersmith and his band played DC9.

From the first song, “Novocain,” off of his first album Alcatraz Kid, it was clear there was something special happening. This song, like much of his music, has a dichotomy of upbeat music paired with melancholic lyrics or morose subject matter. Listening to “Novocain” makes you want to bop your head and maybe even dance, while Messersmith sings of his heartbreak “There ain’t enough Novocain to numb my broken heart.” I love that.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Weekend Edition

courtesy of Iceage.

There are more live music options than you can count on two hands happening around town and beyond this weekend. To help you cut the chaff, we’ve cooked up some concert recommendations that can’t miss. Read on about four upcoming shows that have the We Love DC stamp of approval!

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

Hot Ticket: Weekend Edition

photo by Guy Aroch.

The city is chock full of great live music options this weekend but there a few performances that we wanted to make sure show up on your radar. Rather than deluge you with Hot Ticket columns through-out the day, we decided we would round-up these concert recommendations for you here. Consider this your one-stop shop for weekend concert recommendations. (PS- Let us know if you like this idea in the comments section, if you dig it maybe we can turn this one-off feature into something a little more regular.)

For all your weekend concert needs…
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News, Night Life, The Daily Feed

ABRA: DC9 may reopen December 15th

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘::FiZ::’

According to TBD’s Sommer Mathis, who attended today’s ABRA hearing, DC9 has been given permission by ABRA to reopen on December 15th if they so choose.  The Board had some conditions set out under previous meetings that were met: they had to revamp the video security system, and under no circumstances could they employ at any of the restaurants/bars in the same group, the five individuals initially charged with the death of Ali Ahmed Mohammad until after the January 19th status hearing.

I’m not sure why that last condition was necessary, but given the choice between abandoning his staff and keeping his various licenses in order, there’s little choice that Joe Englert has at this point.  By the status hearing on the 19th, the DC Medical Examiner should have an autopsy report, hence the rescheduled date.

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Agnostic Front @ DC9 10/14/10

all photos by author.

Last Thursday night at DC9, hours before tragedy occurred outside of the club, New York Hardcore legends Agnostic Front performed that sub-genre’s definitive document, their debut album “Victim In Pain”, in full. The show was part of a tour celebrating the album’s 25th anniversary re-issue and by default NYHC’s unique stamp on American Hardcore punk music.

It is an unfortunate coincidence that the tragic event which occurred on 9th street on Thursday night happened after this fantastic concert. There have always been a lot of misconceptions and assumptions about the Hardcore punk scene and I am concerned that the violence on 9th will somehow be connected to this concert.* I can attest that the concert and the crowd attending it were focused on unity and the celebration of Agnostic Front’s music; there was much more singing arm-in-arm camaraderie than fists flying. It was in fact a riotous celebration of how much the Hardcore scene has evolved; far from its brutal roots in the 1980’s to become one of the most positive, all-inclusive, underground music scenes around.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Delphic @ Liberation Dance Party @ DC9 10/8/10

all photos by author.

Last Friday night DC was treated to a very special, one-off, U.S. headlining gig by the new stars of the British dance music scene, Delphic. This singular opportunity to catch one of the UK’s hottest bands was hosted at the unlikely venue of DC9 thanks to the savvy programming of Liberation Dance Party. Those in the know about these kinds of things were totally freaking out at this random chance to see Delphic perform in one of DC’s most intimate spaces. At home and in the rest of Europe, Delphic have already risen to festival main-stage status; but for the Eyjafjallajokull Icelandic volcano preventing them from making their Coachella Music Festival U.S. debut last Spring, they probably would be well on their way to playing large venues stateside as well. Their mind-blowing performance at DC9 on Friday proved that they are more than ready too.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Serena-Maneesh & Woven Hand @ DC9 10/7/10

All photos by author.

Last Thursday night, my prayers were answered when DC9 was visited for the second time in 2010 by Norway’s best entry in the shoegaze genre, Serena-Maneesh. For my money, S-M are hands-down the best band of the nu-gaze movement (shoegaze revival); yet they retain a relative unknown status here in DC. Their set on Thursday night was full of sonic beauty and brutal guitar noise, making the perfect case for why I hold them in such high regard amongst their peers.

Along for the ride was the “opening” act Woven Hand, who are quickly establishing themselves as legendary performers; particularly after a successful stint opening for Tool on the west coast. Woven Hand drew a larger crowd than our Norwegian visitors on Thursday night. I am not entirely surprised by that, but I am a little disappointed that so few people stuck around to sample S-M’s incredible live show.

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Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: Film School @ DC9 9/28/10

all photos by author.

I had been experiencing a pretty intense week of live music and was feeling a tad spent by the time Film School’s show on Tuesday night appeared on my calendar. It was my undying love of shoegazer music in general and my appreciation for Film School’s latest album “Fission” that kept me going just long enough to crawl into DC9 for the show rather than collapse in an exhausted heap on my doorstep. Film School delivered a delightfully laid back set of dreamy music that provided the perfect sonic pillow for me to rest my tired ears on.

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The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: Film School @ DC9 9/28/10

San Francisco dream-pop/nu-gazers Film School have entered new territory on their latest album, “Fission”; switching gears from the dark and gloomy approach that has served them well for for almost a decade, on their latest they are looking on the bright side of life by offering up cheery gaze-pop tunes that almost border on being danceable. It is a shift that has injected new life into a band that had been settled into a routine. Not that their past tunes are anything to sneeze at; Film School’s trademark guitar swirls, heartbeat bass, and killer male/female vocals are still some of the best in the biz. It is just nice to see that they have more tricks up there sleeve in terms of tone.

Film School will be bringing their brighter, happier selves to DC9 on Tuesday night for what I am sure will be a shoegazer highlight of 2010. Just because a band changes direction a bit, doesn’t mean that they’ve abandoned the things that made us love them. So I am expecting a well-balanced show of new tunes and Film School classics. As I type this I am listening to their albums “Hideout” and “Fission” on random and the two compliment each other in excellent and unexpected ways. Their bass playing strikes me even stronger when listening to songs from these albums back to back. Come out tomorrow night to hear how they compare for yourself.

PS – Opening band The Depreciation Guild are on the rise and this is a great chance to catch them before they hit it big.

Film School
w/ The Depreciation Guild
@ DC9
18+ / $10/adv $12/day of

Entertainment, Music, Night Life, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Golden Filter @ DC9 6/19/10

Photo courtesy of
‘The Golden Filter’
courtesy of ‘yousayyeah’

On Friday night, DC9 mainstay, Liberation Dance Party brought in New York’s The Golden Filter for a special appearance to amp up the already crazy dance party LDP hosts week after week. Unsurprisingly, the result was an even crazier dance party. The Golden Filter delivered a killer set of sexy electro-pop to a packed house eager to dance, dance, dance! And dance they did, taking to the riser boxes, standing on the booths, shaking and grinding while the band delivered on the promise of their amazing debut album, Voluspa, with a live performance that was a delight to watch through the filter of moving bodies.

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The Daily Feed

Hot Ticket: The Golden Filter @ DC9 6/18/10

The Golden Filter @ DC9 6/18/10

DC this one is something to get excited about. The enigmatic duo that is The Golden Filter make their return to DC this Friday at DC9 in conjunction with Liberation Dance Party.

The Golden Filter create female vocal-fronted, dance music in the vein of Goldfrapp and La Roux. Right from the start though they separate themselves from their esteemed peers with the mystery that has surrounded their operation and their ethereal, atmospheric approach the genre. While The Golden Filter will certainly get the bodies moving on Friday, it is equally exciting to finally see what kind of dreamy atmosphere they will create performing tracks from their much-anticipated and spectacular full-length album “Voluspa“. I highly encourage everyone to check out their songs on their Myspace Music page to hear what I’m talking about.

I can not wait to see and hear this exotic, majestic dance music being recreated on stage. The Golden Filter are going to set it off on Friday night for what I am sure will be one of the best Liberation Dance Parties of the year!

The Golden Filter @ Liberation Dance Party
@ DC9
open bar 9pm-10:30pm (rail cocktails only)
All ages after 10:30pm

Entertainment, Music, We Love Music

We Love Music: This Will Destroy You @ DC9 6/10/10

This Will Destroy You
courtesy of Girlie Action.

The Texan, post-rock quartet This Will Destroy You played DC9 last Thursday. As I type this review several days later, I am still reeling from their titanic performance. I am tempted to free-style gush about it here, but instead I will break the evening down into pieces to help my brain sort out the chaos that is left in the wake of their visit to the nation’s Capital. In other words, rather than shout “Godzilla!” and start jabbering in incomprehensible language as I try to describe This Will Destroy You laying waste to everything in their path; I will try to provide you with a semi-coherent write-up of Thursday night’s show.

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