SXSW Song of the Day: Mega Ran – Splash Woman

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

By no means a new act, Mega Ran is known as a nerdcore rapper and frankly it’s new to me, dammit!

I’m not sure what nerdcore is but this track clearly takes samples from 8 bit video game sounds and that’s caught my ear. Don’t let the nerdy aspirations fool you, this track is no joke. The dude releases a lot of records every year and it definitely skews towards nerdy stuff. Like he has an album called Mat Mania which is about wrestling. Say what you want, but its a departure from most rap tracks, which is refreshing.

Mega Ran plays Karma Lounge on March 17.

Concert Review: The 9 Singer-Songwriter Showcase, February 9, Black Cat

Posted on by Celeste in Everything | 1 Comment


Friday night at Black Cat was a celebration of local artists. The passion project of DC singer-songwriter and neo-folk artist Justin Trawick, The 9 singer-songwriter series brings together nine (which only makes sense) DC artists of different musical styles to delight and dazzle the crowd.

Featuring Nardo Lilly, Elena and Los Fulanos, Josh RD, Rock Creek Kings, Ginny Hill Project, Sol Roots, Sarah Jane Burgess, Andres Gallego, and organizer Justin Trawick, the night was full of spur of the moment collaborations, audience sing-a-longs, and go-proing (by one enthusiastic fan/friend). Every artist started the night with two songs and ended with a final song as an encore. Josh RD rocked it with a punk/folk song about ending a poisonous relationship (which he sang with a huge, infectious smile), Ginny Hill twanged out a lovely country piece about falling in love with a person, which makes you fall in love with a place (so true), and Sarah Jane Burgess won the night with a laugh out loud funny song about a boy breaking her heart when he left his Columbia Heights apartment for a house in Ballston of all places (why????).

If you want to experience local music and you have a taste for diverse styles and community flavor check it out!

SXSW Song of the Day: Silibrina, Ponteado

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

I have always found instrumental music much more cerebral than lyrical pieces. Having something said aloud appears to drain most of the energy, fun, and originality from it. It’s like having David Attenborough detail, in the Queen’s English, how a sensible fellow should emote as penguins take the plunge down a 50 ft cliff amidst titanic waves to begin a week-long journey in order to provide for the next generation. And some of them don’t make it. How is one supposed to scavenge that second-hand emotion and still stand tall as a human being? Has that merry-morning slammed the door on you?

Jolly good. Here’s some up-beat jazz to parley with the newly settled gloom. As usual, my familiarity with jazz in particular is rather limited to superficial bouts. I seem to write of this every time. Yet it has never stopped me from following that boiler-plate with some protracted analysis using said facile expertise.

Silibrina is a septet from Brazil, fronted by Gabriel Nóbrega, who arrange/compose most of the numbers on their new album O Raio. “Ponteado” is one of them. The theme running through the whole set is at once exciting, catchy, and familiar. I find it hard not to quantum-entangle this track with sunny beaches (“entangle with boggy quagmires” would technically be more accurate if you think about it, but those are scientific facts that we don’t have time for). Those of you better educated might immediately recognize it as a part of some standard – but it’s eluding my identification. Regardless, it’s a center point worth revisiting throughout the 5 minutes, though still a bit on the brash side for me. This is less a track for quiet contemplation, more something that I would use at Halcyon to tune out the common masses as they drink their cafe latte, too poor to spare a thought for those penguins. Heartless bastards.

Chicago’s Local Blues Talent: Chris Henderson

Posted on by halley in Everything | 1 Comment


Our Canadian readers may not have much sympathy for me when I say: Chicago is cold. As a newbie to the city, I was told to expect frigid temperature, and I THOUGHT I was prepared (how bad could it be?!) – but lo and behold Mother Nature, as always, awes and inspires with her power. There have been days when (don’t tell anyone) I haven’t even ventured out of my building for fear of freezing over. The winter is real.

The good news is this dark, cold sadness has translated into a newfound music interest that thrives in the Windy City: The Blues. I’ve perused the classics, looked into contemporary artists, and – so so so happily – found a hometown gem I’m so excited to share with you.

Thirty-year old Chicagoan Chris Henderson was born and raised on the city’s west side and first found his voice at the tender age of three. Brought up by his parents and grandparents and surrounded with the influences of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Blue Bland, Aretha Franklin and Al Green, Chris quickly knew the blues were his calling. To help in his musical education, his cousin Minnie Davis, coming from the Blues hotbed of Mississippi, taught him how to sing Gospel whenever the two were united by family functions.

“She always gave me chills… and encouraged me to sing and use my talent. (She and) my mother (were always) my number one fans,” Chris remembers fondly. Chris’ family supported him since day one, making the day of his big break in 2003 at the Wallace Catfish corner on Chicago West Side a day of celebration among his relatives. Since then, Chris has been performing at various local venues. His joy and excitement at using his gift in front of an audience is palpable – the positive energy between him and his listeners is breathtaking in a really unique way that adds to the resonance of his song.

As if that’s not enough to win the most critical music listener’s heart, Chris has no formal training or education, but still writes and arranges all his own songs. After thirteen years of hard work, he recorded a Blues EP filled with blues and soul and “much love all of my experience.” Chris’ goal is not only to do the Blues justice today, but to carry it into the future. “I’ve always wanted to be the face to keep the blues alive (and inspire) a younger generation (to) appreciate their rich history.”

Chris is on the up and up and on the go – the man never stops moving (he’s also a local actor!) so look out for him and give him a listen!

How to close this post? No better way than to quote the great Chris Henderson himself: “Love, peace and the Blues.”