Ben Doak

District people underwater

A little bar mitzvah money, some savings, the desire to meet new people and engage in the music community. That’s all it took for seniors Ari Stern, Evan Brody, Mike Mimoun and Sawyer Carter Jacobs to found a burgeoning young record label, Underwater Peoples. For a project that began with the simple goal of creating […]

When images make noise

Behind the metal fence that surrounds a crumbling Bi-Rite Supermarket, the sound of construction work – power drills, sawing, hammering – has been the soundtrack of the Columbia Heights neighborhood for several weeks. Just a few blocks away people filled the streets, shops and cafes, but the area surrounding the old Bi-Rite on 11th and […]

Media saturation in the District

With distractions like personality, appearance and speech style, making objective sense of the 2008 presidential race can be a daunting task. But rather than blame pundits or personal biases, one group is using this problem as a platform to raise vital questions about media and the limitations of its current formatting. Sosolimited is an audiovisual […]

SXSW Band Feature: Bowerbirds

AUSTIN, Texas – Debauchery hung in the Austin air like a clouting miasma, so when we stepped into Central Presbyterian Church for the Bowerbirds performance, we felt an equal hand of guilt and relief. Taking our seat among the pews, we were awed by the church’s beauty: lofted ceilings, luminous stained-glass windows, a towering crucifix. […]

Ben Doak: Texas is where it’s at, baby

AUSTIN, Texas – For music, the four days of South by Southwest offer the breeding ground for the hype machine. Designed as an industry-based event, the festival allows for more than 1,600 bands from across the country, and the world, to gather around a few square blocks where they showcase their work for an audience […]

South by Southwest: Best of the Best

AUSTIN, Texas – Of all the bands we saw at this year’s South by Southwest music festival, the following bands had the biggest impression on us. Sure, there were probably countless other shows that we missed and should have seen, but we’re only two people in the midst of thousands of bands that descended upon […]

SXSW Band Feature: Times New Viking

AUSTIN, Texas – At the Times New Viking showcase at South by Southwest, the floor was shaking. It was literally shaking. And it wasn’t on solid ground, either. The show took place on the over-crowed upper floor of an Austin bar, and I legitimately started worrying about the stability of the beam supports that were […]

The hero worship of Thurston Moore

Sonic Youth fans know that every spin of a SY record is an engagement in hero worship. Their sound and style has virtually revolutionized alternative rock since their inception in 1981. And not only has Sonic Youth inspired countless bands and forays into experimental noise, they are relentlessly cool: chick ripping on bass, an apocalyptic […]

WEB EXTRA: Sebadoh: reuniting too soon

Indie rock isn’t cool. In a community thriving on pretension, sometimes it’s hard to remember this. Tuesday night at the 9:30 Club gave an uncomfortable reminder. Classic indie rock band Sebadoh brought a crowd that served as an unfriendly reminder. In checking out the crowd, the whole show seemed an excuse to gather everyone who […]

WEB EXTRA: Classic (indie) rock: Sebadoh returns to the stage

It’s the classic “High Fidelity” question: “Is it in fact unfair to criticize a formerly great artist for his latter day sins; is it better to burn out or fade away?” With the release of “The Sebadoh” in 1999, Sebadoh felt hated by fans, critics, even their label; lead songwriter Lou Barlow admits, “No one […]