There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
These days, 7-inch singles are mostly reserved for indie-rock outfits on small budgets, and those may not necessarily be “singles bands”—groups that can produce three-minute, stand-alone grabbers. Certainly that was the case with Rain Like the Sound of Trains, which played what was advertised as its final show in December, shortly after the release of its debut album. Rain Like the Sound of Trains includes four songs that were previously released on singles, and they sound more compelling here than they did there. This sloganeering D.C. quartet depended on Dug E. Bird’s bass as much as on its anti-imperialist, pro-spotted-owl lyrics, and so is more effective when it’s allowed a full album to generate a groove. Rain’s principal agenda is an assault on accepted history, which the band notes “is written by the conqueror.” (That’s hardly a new idea, but has yet to become typical rock-music fare.) Specifically dismissing Custer, Columbus, and Woodrow Wilson, not to mention MTV, the band wonders “what my mind could have been/If I wasn’t taught American.” The quartet’s estimable thump is all-American, though, albeit more Afro- than Euro-; The disc even includes a hidden track that’s a dubby near-instrumental, and it’s just as eloquent in its way as such broadsides as “Bad Man’s Grave,” “Pave America,” and “Cooking With Anger.” The album’s on Rebel Music/Dischord; the latter’s address is 3819 Beecher St. NW, Washington, DC 20007.