[MP3] The North Country: “The Cross We Bear”

Sometimes it’s hard to know where you want to be. Or who you are. Are you content or are you looking for something more? Can you ever really be content? When do we get to that moment in life where we confidently say “I am fulfilled. This is me.”?  I don’t know the […]

GEMS: “Medusa”

Oh yeah. I am feeling GOOD about this song. “Medusa” is the title track off GEMS’ forthcoming EP and it is instantly mesmerizing. The juxtaposition of the strong-bodied female alto with the deep male bass is near perfect, and even more so when the falsetto harmony rings out.

(In other news, there was […]

Rest easy, Josh Burdette

Known by Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club show-goers far and wide, Josh Burdette, beloved manager and crew chief, has passed away.

A fixture at the 9:30 since 1997, if you didn’t KNOW him know him you knew of him: his pierced face, quiet strength and wall-like stature keeping things flowing and orderly inside and outside of the V St. […]


Considering my affinity for Sean Carey (S. Carey, of Bon Iver fame), I’m disappointed I hadn’t come across his sister, Shannon Carey, aka DC’s Luray, sooner. Sean Carey produced Luray’s new album, The Wilder, out August 27, and you can hear his nuanced touch in the three preview songs below. Not to take anything […]


Mellen is Mary Ellen Funke (perhaps an all grown up Maeby?!) out of DC. She just released her debut EP, Last The Year, for free on Bandcamp. It sticks with this week’s downtempo, let-it-all-unwind theme. We need some of these weeks when life picks up and we try to steady our feet.


Fire and the Wheel

I carefully stuck to the pattern, piece by meticulous piece, and this was my life. I built it up until it no longer had legs to stand on. The pattern became random; I couldn’t keep track. And I was finally happy. This is my life.

Fire and the Wheel – “Wheelbarrow de la […]

Hanging out with Pearl and the Beard

Gracing the cover of Pearl and the Beard’s excellent second album, Killing The Darlings, is a sweater made for three people. While this seems like merely a cute, simple way of pointing out that the band has three members, it is actually a completely definitive representation of the trio. Pearl And The Beard is truly a three-headed monster, with no lead singer and no head songwriter, but instead three unique personalities and people who started as strangers, then collaborated to make incredible music, and to become, as singer and drummer Jocelyn Mackenzie put it, “family.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pearl and the Beard on Friday, just before their incredible show at the Rock and Roll Hotel in D.C. Due to the band’s charming personalities, it felt less like an interview and more like hanging out with friends. Jocelyn, Emily Hope Price, and Jeremy Styles were all gracious, kind, and willing to talk about anything. In our conversation, we discussed the band’s origin story, their songwriting process, and their reflections on the level of success they’ve achieved.

Pearl and the Beard – “Sweetness” [MP3]

Coming Together

Jocelyn met Jeremy at an open mic night in NYC. ” I heard people playing songs,” she said, “and I thought to myself ‘oh no, it’s open mic night, this is gonna be terrible, get me out of here!’ But then I heard Jeremy playing and he was fantastic.” The two talked and traded numbers, and soon started playing and singing together. At another open mic night they heard Emily sing and play the cello, and were “blown away.” Says Jeremy, “I literally said to Jocelyn, ‘I have to steal her.’”

“Stealing her” was a great decision, too – the ferocious sound of Emily’s cello has proven to be one of Pearl and the Beard’s defining elements.

Continue reading Hanging out with Pearl and the Beard


I don’t know where Kindlewood came from (I mean, physically, they come from the DC area, I’m just surprised I’d never heard them!), but a friendly contact passed them along and I’m impressed. Their debut EP, I Don’t Believe in Ghosts, was released in November 2010, and they’re currently finishing up their first full-length, […]

MNDR @ 9:30 Club

MNDR at 9:30 Club

Ever since I read about – and got hooked on – electropop-IDM sensation MNDR (Amanda Warner) on Sheena Beaston’s blog,  it seemed that well-earned hype has grown exponentially. MNDR is everywhere: magazines, radio, blogs, Facebook advertisements, Mark Ronson’s infectious “Bang Bang Bang,” and now on tour with Chromeo. Maybe it was all the hype or maybe it was my love for everything she’s written with behind the scenes bandmate Peter Wade, but I had high expectations for MNDR’s sold out 9:30 Club debut on Saturday night.

Perhaps the expectations were unreasonable. Mic malfunctions and a lukewarm crowd reaction put a damper on what I anticipated would be my favorite live performance of 2011. It was still an impressive one-woman seven-song set, but MNDR’s finest D.C. performance is still to come. Tokyo’s The Suzan got just as many, if not more, bodies moving to open the night and received a warm reception from the earlybirds. But by the time Warner took the stage in front of her mesmerizing black-and-white light projections of moving rectangles, the 1,500 person capacity venue had filled with Chromeo fans who seemed less than enthused. A few belligerent drunks up front spoiled the set for many by nearly starting a few fights and cussing out MNDR, who in reply asked, “Why are you so sad?” The microphone cut out frequently in the second half of the brief set. Very few were dancing; I felt like an awkward teenager at a school dance. By the time the crowd showed signs of life and clapped along to new single “Cut Me Out,” (mp3 available for free download through Green Label Sound) the set was almost over.

Despite having the odds against her, mega-bespectacled MNDR showed flashes of her brilliance. The quirky and fashionable Warner commanded the audience’s attention and rarely took a break from dancing and smiling to her synths, though she sat to perform the slow tempo hit from 2010’s E.P.E. “I Go Away.” The bouncy and pulsating Patty Hearst tribute song “Send My Greetings” was a highlight and a glimpse into Warner’s bright future, and closer “Sparrow” was as vibrant and beautifully shrieky as ever. “Jump In” and “Fade to Black” didn’t quite capture the magic of the studio versions for me (Damn you, high expectations!), but “Cut Me Out” translated well as a dance-inducing juggernaut. Early tracks (her spelling bee theme songs) “Caligula” and “C.L.U.B.” were sorely missed, and I had hoped to hear either “Diamonds” or “Casual Attraction.”

Regardless, MNDR’s set left me wanting more. Whether it’s a smaller venue, a longer set, or a less lame crowd, MNDR’s next D.C. performance will be the mindblowing dancefest I’m expecting.

[Photo courtesy of Francis Chung, DCist.]

[Abby’s Road] Promise me you’ll never forget me…

… because if I thought you would I’d never leave. -A.A. Milne

Over the last year I’ve been lucky to have found an outlet for my ramblings. Being able to harness my twisted, musical stream-of-consciousness thoughts into a cohesive, short-ish blurb in the blogosphere is wonderful and meditative, despite how many […]