City Paper is not for tourists
In March, Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmonson recorded what, until an early November set, looked like their last two episodes for Songbyrd Radio. Together, the pair runs Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House, and Songbyrd Radio was a weekly radio show Lapan hosted Sundays at the Line Hotel, just blocks away in Adams Morgan. The last two episodes capture the awful uncertainty of the early spring. But musically, they’re palliative, joyful, and apt for the moment. As lockdown measures return across the world and cases rise locally, they’re worth revisiting. Episode 94 was actually recorded on the eve of lockdown in D.C., March 15, and Lapan takes nearly 20 minutes to talk about the mood in Washington that night before playing any music. His words are off the cuff, but his shaky tone is familiar from conversations with friends and family—you remember how quickly things changed. When the music starts, the mood calms down. The set is a mix of tracks off of The Avalanches’ Since I Left You and then a few of the original samples, from soul to thematic music. By episode 95, Lapan is recording from home, and Edmonson joins him. The set this time is deliberately therapeutic, and they waste no time getting to it, starting off with Bob Marley’s “Positive Vibration” and other classics. The second half of the set moves into hip-hop, featuring A Tribe Called Quest and then a standout track that samples Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.” Lapan closes with the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations.” It’s about what we need right now, and as a sign of the times getting a little better, episode 96 just dropped. The episodes are available at songbyrddc.com/radio. Free.