One Vs. Manymakes T-shirts. The self-described creative agency throws parties on the first Thursday of every month at Aslylum. And more than a few times a year, it releases samplers of music mostly featuring D.C. artists. The music is free. The shirts are not.*
Regardless of your shopping habits, there’s no reason not grab the company’s latest compilation. Keyed to the company’s “D.C. Hands” shirts, it features some songs you’ve heard, and a few you probably haven’t, from local names like Deleted Scenes, Autorock, Outputmessage, Matthew Hemerlein, Educated Consumers, and others. My favorite? The Five One‘s breezy, atmospheric riff on Wale‘s—-or Backyard Band‘s, or the Moments and the Whatnots‘—-“Pretty Girls.”
“We actually started as a music production group for a bunch of local artists,” Alex Welsh, One Vs. Many’s founder, told me over the phone today. “For whatever reason we got into screen-printing. For 2010, I really wanted to get back to our music roots.”
As for the theme, he said, “I kind of like that gesture. I think it gives a sense of community.”
He said he hopes that releasing free compilations will build One Vs. Many’s brand, help the company sell T-shirts, and shine some light on District musicians. “I feel like we’re also kind of gravitating toward becoming a label,” Welsh said. “The way that this will make money is T-shirt sales. But I just don’t know if I have any intention of selling music, unless I make it a label.”
Perhaps you’re OK with dropping $27 on a shirt featuring a pair of hands spelling out “D.C.” I am not, but then again, right now I’m wearing a “Wanted: Kinky Friedman for Guv” T-shirt that my mom bought in Texas several years ago. And the shirt I’m wearing over that has an illustration of a Wiffle Ball on it.