Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: The Future Laureates

Photo courtesy of The Future Laureates

Imagine for a moment that you’re a class clown…but in a good way. You’re one of the nice guys who has a sense of humor. You also just so happen to play an instrument and sing on the side when you’re not making a wise-crack comment or hanging out with your pals. To me, this is the essence of what makes The Future Laureates work as a cohesive musical unit.

The Future Laureates are a five-piece folk-rock band out of Chicago that boasts the energy of a punk band with melodic hooks poised for pop success. The group started with three-founding members (Danny Surico on guitar/vocals, James Hyde on bass/vocals and Matthew Daigler on ukulele/vocals) and have only grown over time into what we now know as TFL.

This group of jovial rockers are making their second appearance at a D.C. rock club this coming Wednesday at The Velvet Lounge and took some time to chat with We Love DC via e-mail. Here are a few bits from that conversation:

Rachel: The Future Laureates hail from Chicago, the Windy City, what’s it like for you all when you hit the road and leave the comfort of home?  

The Future Laureates: You mean other than the hookers and blow?  Just kidding!  Our trips are usually pretty jovial and relaxed, and while our stays in new towns are shorter than we’d prefer, we are blessed to see and reconnect with friends and family and meet new friends who have been endlessly supportive.  We also have a rule that whoever sits bitch seat gets to choose the music in the TFL mystery van…so far that’s worked out pretty well!
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We Love Music

We Love Music: The Avett Brothers @ DAR Constitution Hall, 2/18/11

Avett Brothers @ DAR
All photos by Erin McCann

I didn’t much like the Avett Brothers when I first heard them. The banjo was too much, the vocal harmonies sometimes too off-key, the melodies sometimes just on the other side of pleasant. That changed a little bit for me one day when “Ballad of Love and Hate” from 2007′s “Emotionalism” came on, where the banjo was replaced by an acoustic guitar, and the melody was a simple tale of woe delivered in a clear, mournful voice by Seth Avett. And finally, when “I and Love and You” came out in 2009, and I first heard the chorus to the title track, I was hooked. I got it. I was a convert. I was in love. Continue reading

The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: A Q&A With Dawes

The “next big thing” is thrown around a lot in music culture. What you hear about less often is the next great thing, the next band that’ll knock your socks off not just because all the cool kids love them but because they are just that good. If there is a musical god out there doling out success to those most deserving, Dawes, a rock and roll quartet from Los Angeles who will be appearing at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday, will be just one such band. Their 2009 debut, “North Hills,” was praised by critics as wide-ranging as Rolling Stone and the Wall Street Journal (!); Daytrotter’s Sean Moeller calls lyricist Taylor Goldsmith “as magnificent of a songwriter as there is currently creating.” Goldsmith has a knack for crafting beautiful lyrics that make order out of the chaos of our lives, and the men sharing the stage with him — his brother, drummer Griffin Goldsmith; Wylie Gelber on bass; and Alex Casnoff on keyboards — excel at setting those lyrics to music. On stage, the result is an improbable blend of melodic folk and high-energy rock and roll.

And they need that energy to get through a tour schedule that seems endless. In the last year and a half, the band has appeared at such festivals as South By Southwest, Newport Folk Festival, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza, and opened for artists including (deep breath here): Josh Ritter, Corey Chisel and the Wandering Sons, Edward Sharpe, Langhorne Slim, She and Him, Jason Boesel, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit. Dawes has hit the road hard in support of “North Hills,” and the legwork has paid off. The tour that brings them back to D.C. for their fourth show in the area in a year is their first as headliners.

As a special thanks to We Love DC readers, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to Wednesday’s show. See the bottom of this post for rules of the giveaway.

I talked with Taylor Goldsmith about the band’s rising star, musical influences and future plans:

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Music, Night Life, The Daily Feed

The Greensides Will Rescue Your Monday (via Shameless Self-Promotion)

The Greensides by Tristan Roy
Photo by the great Tristan Roy

So, I’m one of the new contributors here on the We Love DC team, and there’s an outside chance that I’m stretching my role a little too quickly with this posting attempt. However, thanks to some understanding editors (who are going to be at the gig anyway), I’ve been given a small window for shameless self-promotion for live music this evening up on U. St.

I’m Dave Levy – that’s me on the left there – and the guy on the right is the exceptionally talented Pat Dunne. Together, we make up an acoustic rock duo known as The Greensides. We’re taking over the stage at Solly’s Tavern on U. St tonight to give you hours of what we’d like to think is a unique blend of covers and originals that will be sure to cure whatever Case of the Mondays you may have. With the weather nicer than it’s been since October, there’s no better way to enjoy the tease of spring with some fun, rocking music. The guitars will be out sometime near the end of happy hour (around 8 p.m.), and we’ll be going through with the rock until roughly midnight.

Now, if you don’t mind, I need to figure out a few posts to submit that are a little more widely relevant.

Entertainment, The Features

Jammin’ Java: More Than Meets The Eye

DSC00871

I’ve wanted to check out Jammin’ Java for years and last night, the dream was realized. This particular adventure was prompted by both my lack of anything better to do and the fact that there was a battle of the bands being hosted. So I figured, why not go?

My first thought upon reaching the Jammin’ Java parking lot was, “Really? This is it? But it looks so tiny!” That opinion changed as soon as I set foot inside.

The venue features the standard set of concert hall mood lighting mixed with a fully stocked bar, quick eats galore, and minimal seating. Much to my surprise, the place was a lot bigger than I anticipated. Beyond the bar, there was a moderate-sized standing room that, if packed to capacity, could hold quite a few bodies.

Last night was night two of the Mid-Atlantic Battle of the Bands hosted by Jammin’ Java and sponsored by Sucker Punch Recording Studio, so I got to catch Jammin’ Java at its finest aka hosting a nice assortment of local entertainment. The best part about any venue like Jammin’ Java is that their claim of being “run by musicians and music-lovers for musicians and music-lovers alike” is true.

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