Tonight’s choice is a tough one for mid-week music seekers in D.C. On the one hand, you’ve got Ethiopian sax legend Getatchew Mekuria teaming up with Dutch punk rockers the Ex for a rare treat at the Black Cat. And on the other: Vivian Girls and the Crystal Stilts at DC9. Since we’ve already highlighted the Ex and Mekuria in this week’s City Lights, I won’t overly indulge the details. However, I will take the opportunity for a hat tip to the Ex’s sub-label, Terp records—-home to last year’s collaboration with Mekuria, Moa Anbessa, along with a host of other stunning African and improvisational music. This one definitely gets the default win for the evening.
For lovers of lo-fi garage rock though, tonight’s show at DC9 presents a viable complication. Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls have been a hot commodity in the blog world lately; a quick Google search will reveal countless one-paragraph biographies and glowing reviews for tracks from their 7-inch singles and full-length debut (which will be reissused on CD from In The Red next month). It’s a fun game naming bands that the Girls’ music conjures, citing everything from the Shop Assistants to the Shangri-Las. Probably the best comparison I’ve heard so far though came from a commenter on Gorilla vs. Bear, who likened them to a version of the Ronettes produced by Kevin Shields … seems accurate enough. However you want to frame their music, the Vivian Girls’ reverb-soaked psych pop is quite endearing, and their arduous tour schedule has contributed heavily to the hype.
Joining the Girls on tour are fellow Brooklynites Crystal Stilts, who have enjoyed a fair amount of linkage as well. They were the eMusic Select back in April, and have a new full-length slated for an October release on Silver Spring, MD transplant Slumberland records, which originally housed locals like the Velocity Girls before relocating to the West Coast in the early ’90s. Personally, I’m having trouble justifying the Stilts’ post-punk swirls with the ease of Vivian Girls, but if dreary, Joy Division-style psychedelia wets your whistle, then go for it.
Or if you’ve already had your concert fill from the Virgin Fest monstrosity last weekend, you could just wander over to the awesomeness that is Kostume Karaoke at Solly’s Tavern, which is now bi-monthly! Keep your ticket to see the Hold Steady tomorrow—-tonight is where it’s at.