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Wednesdays With Andrew: Dirty Little Whirlwind

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It’s a mid-week miracle guys! Today’s Wednesdays With Andrew playlist falls on the same day as an exciting event honoring the history of DC punk rock. The DC Punk Archive, which is run through DC’s public libraries, is hosting a rooftop show at Woodridge Library. Event details can be found here (thanks for the heads up, Nina!), and so hopefully I get to see some of your broody neo-anarchist faces tonight.

Alright, on to this week’s sonic treats; we have a wide array of great tunes from awesome bands like Toy Dolls, TV on the Radio, Bigwig, Gorilla Biscuits, Marginal Man and more.

Annnnd here’s the link to the web player for all you webheads,

Let’s kick off the week with some macabre dance moves, brought to us by the fine folks in The Murder City Devils. Continuing Seattle’s fine tradition of pumping out raw, gut-wrenching rock n roll, the Devils combine elements of horror punk and buzzard garage rock to create haunting and lasting tunes. Dancin’ Shoes was off their 2nd studio album, Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts, which was released in 1998 through Seattle’s infamous Sub Pop label. This  record marked a doubling-down of electric organ being a staple of the band’s sound, and led to the addition of full-time keyboard player Leslie Hardy. I guess I shoulda picked a song with organs..

Although their name sounds like an Eminem tribute rapper, Eight Dayz was actually a short-lived musical project led by German skateboarder Claus Grabke. He recorded several tracks, including What’s So Strange About Me, as part of a promotional video for Santa Cruz skateboards. Jangly and moody, What’s So Strange… is reminiscent of some of the post-punk bands popular during the 80s. Eight Dayz’ other works reflect a wide host of musical influences, including some funky metal more in line with bands like Fishbone or Mind Funk.

Iguana fart:

Start Today is a harmonica-blaring song from long-standing NYC hardcore staple Gorilla Biscuits. Vocalist Civ Civarelli and guitarist Walter Schreifels met while still in high school, and started writing songs together after seeing a bunch of influential hardcore bands at the bang-up CBGB club. This track was off their 1989 album, Start Today, which is arguably their most successful release to date. 30 years later, and these guys are still kickin’ and playing shows.

Up next we are playing a couple tracks, older and newer, from those New Jersey hit-makers Bigwig. While Drunken Knight harkens back to a simpler time of skate punk centered around speedy power chords and whiney vocals, their newer material (like Reclamation) showcases more their technical prowess, incorporating thrashy guitars and more complex songwriting. Both incredible songs, though I will say my favorite Bigwig albums will always be their first two. Our good friend over at Midwestern Housewives had the distinct pleasure of catching these fools at the Asbury Park installment of the disreputable Punk Rock Bowling fest, alongside other heavy hitters like The Specials, NOFX Dillinger Four, and Buzzcocks. Mike – pics or it didn’t happen..

Dirtywhirl is a hurricane-force pop ballad from Brooklyn indie band TV on the Radio. Off their 2006 sophomore studio album, Return to Cookie Mountain, the track conjures up TV on the Radio’s far-reaching styles; the grittiness of 80s DIY hardcore bands like Bad Brains, the ethereal ambiance of bands like Pixies, modern indie rock like Modest Mouse, all being tempered by the soul and rhythms that are reminiscent of power pop acts like Prince or Earth, Wind and Fire. All put together, this makes for some good listenin’.

This week’s taste of DC comes in the form of Pandora’s Box, a blazing fast track from 80s scenesters Marginal Man. Although they officially disbanded in 1988, these marginalized motherfuckers do play reunion shows at a clip of about once every 5 or 6 years…since their last show was at Black Cat in 2011, the math points to a very strong likelihood we get another reunion soon?!  Fun DC insider fact – guitarist Kenny Inouye is the son of the late and great former Senator and Medal of Honor recipient, and political powerhouse, the honorable Daniel Inouye.

Well, all mediocre things must come to an end. Let’s close out with this annoyingly fun track from snotty and overly English Oi! band Toy Dolls. Birthed in the late 70s in a scene full of angst and political unrest, Toy Dolls favored using punk rock as a backdrop for cartoonish, light-hearted (and I’d argue borderline-nihilistic) lyrical content, as seen in songs with names like Yul Brynner was a Skinhead and James Bond Lives Down our Street. Dig That Groove Baby was the title track for their debut album, which was hastily recorded during three days in 1983.

Alright kiddos, that’s a wrap for this week. Hopefully some of you local yokels are able to check out this really cool initiative by DC Public Libraries tonight. Let’s make DC Punk again! Catch ya all next week.

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