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This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Tatiana Cirisano.

It’s exciting to see that spring is finally here, but we all need a break from snapping Instagrams of cherry blossoms. This week, dodge the hordes of flower-enamored tourists in favor of these venues.

Feast on gourmet grilled cheese and wine at GCDC

Photo from the GCDC Facebook page

Photo from the GCDC Facebook page

Saturday’s National Grilled Cheese Day has come and gone, but with D.C.’s new gourmet grilled cheese joint, every day is a chance for celebration. Since GCDC’s April 11 opening, cheese-lovers have lined up to try unique flavor combinations like the District Cemita, with chorizo, avocado, and a spicy salsa on pain levain. By night, GCDC transforms into a classy wine-and-cheese bar, offering up cocktails, cheese plates, and savory bites.

Grilled Cheese D.C., 1730 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, open 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Browse iconic snapshots at the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘American Cool’

National Portrait Gallery | Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

National Portrait Gallery | Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

With only a few weeks of classes remaining, now is the time to check out “American Cool” (or to return for one last look). The exhibit includes photographs of popular actors, political activists, writers and singers of the past century, each figure carefully chosen using a “historical rubric” of coolness. Photographs of pop culture icons like Jimi Hendrix, Hunter S. Thompson, and Madonna line the walls of the exhibit, arranged in order by generation to show the evolution of “cool” in American culture.

The National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets NW, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Kill Paris & Candyland @ U Street Music Hall

Throw on some neon and pretend you’re at Coachella with back-to-back sets by DJs Kill Paris and Candyland, who will perform Thursday at D.C.’s U Street Music Hall. Candyland’s head-banging drops and heavy bass will combine with Kill Paris’ futuristic, funky beats for a match made in EDM heaven, bringing the best of both artists together for utter musical mayhem. Expect trippy visuals and erratic lightshows.

U Street Music Hall, 1115 U Street NW, Thursday, April 17 at 10 p.m., tickets: $20

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It took about three songs during Ellie Goulding’s sold-out show at Echo Stage on Sunday before the crowd fell into a trance, dazzled by her signature upbeat, electronic dance songs and impressive light effects.

Elli Goulding in concert last night. Erica Christin | Photo Editor

Elli Goulding in concert last night. Erica Christin | Photo Editor

By the time she began her third song, “Goodness Gracious,” the audience was singing along to every word and every arm was bouncing in the air. Goulding conducted her congregation like a hypnotic preacher, and every body roll and punchy drum solo she performed led to crazed roars from Goulding’s evangelists.

“Who here is shy?” Goulding asked the audience. “Tonight, you’re allowed to go crazy,” she instructed, and people obeyed.

Her performance was nothing short of spiritual. She opened with a powerful rendition of her single “Figure 8,” resembling a genie on stage as she bellydanced in billowy pants, a bustier top and a sparkly bindi that brought attention to her long, golden mane.

Halfway through the set, the pace changed from electric to haunting when Goulding traded her band for an acoustic guitar. During a somber rendition of “Guns and Horses,” the fans took over singing the chorus while Goulding accompanied on guitar.

Goulding applauded the D.C. audience for their enthusiasm during the show.

“I’m pretty shy, so when the audience is shy, I’m even more shy,” she said.

The British singer-songwriter made her audience laugh when she announced that her “trousers” were falling apart and she needed to buy more expensive clothes.

The song that was greeted with the most applause was her rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song,” which reached No. 2. in British charts back in 2010 and she also performed at the Buckingham Palace wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Goulding also incorporated a remixed version of MIA’s “Bad Girls” as the background of a thrilling drum solo, which then transitioned to “Salt Skin,” a melody from Goulding’s first album.

The climax of the evening was Goulding’s last five songs. From “Anything Could Happen” to “I Need Your Love” and “Lights,” the energy in the room was at an all-time high and her un-choreographed outbursts of dance reflected the energy of each song.

Fans chanted Ellie’s name for an encore performance that ended with a fiery rendition of “Burn.”

Goulding proved that she is not a singer, but a rock star.

The audience was surprised at the beginning of the evening when a petite, blonde woman got onto the stage, who turned out not to be Goulding. Conway, the unannounced opener, was greeted by maniacal cheering that quickly turning to silence after the crowd realized that this is not who they were at Echostage to see.

Conway looked and sounded like Gwen Stefani, with her platinum blonde hair, toned arms and deep voice. Her songs were full of angst and musical grunts. The audience was relieved when her half-hour set was over.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Margaret Kahn.

Kate Nash may be on a mission to outdo James Franco, the unchallenged king of multitasking.

The singer chuckled at the comparison, but can’t deny that she’s been busy. These days, Nash’s agenda includes acting, managing her own record label and overseeing an organization with the aim of empowering young girls, Rock ‘N’ Roll for Girls After School Music Club.

Kate Nash performing in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Kate Nash performing in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“I have a lot of energy,” Nash told The Hatchet. “I thrive off doing a lot of different things.”

Nash is performing a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club Nov. 11 at 7 p.m., and she’ll show shot off a musical repertoire that has evolved from soft, quippy tracks to heavy, punk-inspired singles.

Nash’s debut album, 2007’s “Made of Bricks,” was composed of simple tunes that employed Nash’s lilting voice over piano and an occasional drum machine. “Girl Talk,” released in March, is thrashing and loud, full of clanging drums and guitars.

“What I’ve gone through, some of my difficult stuff [brought me to punk,]” she said. Nash suffered from a nervous breakdown while touring in 2008.

What’s stayed consistent throughout Nash’s musical career is her thick Cockney accent, always laced with swears, whether she’s telling a bad boyfriend to “stop being a dickhead” or telling him he’s “full of shit.”

But when record label executives dropped her from Fiction Records after disappointing sales on her second album, “My Best Friend is You,” Nash dropped the bitterness and plunged into independent artistry, creating her own record label, Have 10p Records, and produced “Girl Talk” herself.

She also produced the first album of American teen indie band SUPERCUTE! this year.

“It was cool to be on the other side of things. It’s a lot more pressure.” she explained. “Working with someone else, I learned a lot. Now, I think about everything in a completely different way. You think about every single sound, every single note.”

In the midst of touring for her latest album, Nash is also celebrating the third film she has acted in, “Powder Room,” which is slated for a Dec. 6 release in the United Kingdom.

Nash is also maintaining work with the Rock ‘N’ Roll for Girls After School Music Club, which she founded in 2010, to help aspiring young musicians in the United Kingdom.

“A lot of my fans are young girls and they open up to me. I take that very seriously. I felt very frustrated [by sexism in the industry], and I was becoming very bitter,” Nash explained. “I decided to stop moaning and started acting. [I wanted] to be there for girls and try to encourage them.”

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Avett Brother's latest album Magpie and the Dandelion. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

Avett Brother’s latest album Magpie and the Dandelion. Photo used under the Creative Commons License.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Carson Rolleri.

The latest album by the musical quartet the Avett Brothers provides plenty of sweet vocals and glowing melodies that have come to define the group. From start to finish, the album is full of “youthful wonder,” as the band describes.

The single, “Another is Waiting,” epitomizes an Avett Brothers’ song: It’s sweet, upbeat, filled with warm strings and a strong vocals, while the lyrics focus on moving past an inherent shallowness in being an entertainer. The playful melodies move into a much deeper meaning found in the band’s most famous songs “I and Love and You” and “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise.”

“Morning Song” takes on a more solemn tone, with vibrant but haunting guitar and piano harmonies complementing the song’s message of loss. “Open Ended Life”, the album opener, works to counterbalance these slower songs with an upbeat, Americana instrumental background that supports the album’s overarching call to live out of one’s comfort zone.

By “Clearness is Gone”, the album achieves a well-balanced dynamic that includes both fun youthful melodies but also touches on issues of everyday intimacy.  As NPR’s Stephen Thompson puts it, the album, “feels like a calmly loving missive from friends who offer wise counsel, but know well enough to interrogate their own motives along the way.”

“Magpie and the Dandelion” provides some of the Avett Brothers’ classic raw roots that were polished in the Grammy-nominated album, “The Carpenter”. But Dandelion is able to keep the same self-explorative messages and honest songwriting woven into each track. Overall, it’s a more than a satisfying follow-up.

This post was updated on Oct. 15, 2013 to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that the Avett Brothers’ last album, “The Carpenter,” won a Grammy. It was just nominated for one.

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Interview conducted by Hatchet reporter Zinhle Essamuah.

Known for his annual mashup of the year’s pop hits, DJ Earworm came to GW to open for this year’s Fall Fest before electronic pop duo TimeFlies.

The Hatchet talked to DJ Earworm over the phone on Aug. 30 about his performance at Fall Fest and new music he’s working on. The interview has been edited for length.

HATCHET: Thank you for speaking with me. We are very excited to jam out with you this Saturday. Let’s jump right into it….Recently your music has been rapidly gaining prominence – what do you attribute that to?

DJ EARWORM: It’s a few things. I think, overall, the mashup, the form of the mashup, has more recognition than it used to and I think I made this a style of mashup that wasn’t as common back when it started. And, you know, a lot of early buzz – Facebook and Twitter came along and just kind of blew it up.

HATCHET: What is your personal favorite performance that you delivered this year?

DJ EARWORM: I just played at Soldier Field in Chicago, which is very exciting. Yeah, it was a great concert – a nice show.

HATCHET: Where do you get your musical inspiration from?

DJ EARWORM: Oh, everywhere! I try and listen to every kind of music that comes out so that I kind of know where the pulse is…what people are liking, how things are changing. I listen to tons of different music. I probably don’t listen to enough music on repeat because I just want to…I always wonder what else is there what else is there.

HATCHET: You’ve been compared to Girl Talk before. While Girl Talk’s mashups are a blend of modern and older music you focus almost entirely on modern music…why is this?

DJ EARWORM: A lot of it is the United States of Pop think, which I kind of started and it just took off. So, I kept on doing that and I then got a lot of people asking me to make certain mashups for different reasons and it just sort of took off. I’m definitely not abandoning my old stuff and I do still have mashups that combine old and new, but they’re not nearly as popular. So, what people know me for is United States of Pop even though I’ve got all sorts of stuff. I love current music, I love to keep stuff super fresh.

HATCHET: You said you don’t want to abandon your old stuff, what’s some stuff that you wish would ‘blow up’?

DJ EARWORM: I did some stuff for the Olympics last year that a lot of people were like, ‘what what is that? That’s not what I expected from you!’

HATCHET: Some artists create music for social change, some artists create mashups to get people moving. What’s your goal when creating a piece?

DJ EARWORM: You know, it really varies. Definitely there’s the aspect of social change. At the same time, I don’t mind a song providing escapism as well. Overall, there’s an element of social change just in that I’m using music in this new way that’s sort of challenging the system by appropriating all these elements freely.

HATCHET: Loved your summer mashup! I noticed that Miley Cyrus and Mariah Carey, whose singles (“We Can’t Stop” and “Beautiful,” respectively), have been quite popular this summer were missing from the mix…how do you go about selecting songs?

DJ EARWORM: I considered Miley Cyrus. She was on my short list…It was way to slow and way in the wrong key. Because I was free to use my own judgement as to what songs to include and exclude, I didn’t force songs into a key or tempo. With United States of Pop, it’s like, well, these songs I’ll have to get in there so I’ll have to do some crazy stretching, where if I can choose my songs it can breathe a little bit more because they’re in more of a natural setting. If I had put her in there it would’ve been a great strain. But you will hear her by the end of the year, probably in the United States of Pop! I can’t imagine it won’t make it.

HATCHET: What can we expect of your next mashup?

DJ EARWORM: I’m working on one or two before the end of the year. I’m not sure what….I’m working of United States of Pop already. I should be releasing some stuff before [that].

HATCHET: You wrote a manual about how to create mashups, can we expect any more written pieces from you?

DJ EARWORM: That book was so hard to write. I was at a different point in my life and career when I wrote that and I had the time. It was very big sacrifice which I was able to make at the time. Right now I would have to put too many things aside to make something like that happen. And with sales numbers the way they are I’m not sure I could justify it. People bought the book but it did not make a best seller.

HATCHET: Do you perform on college campuses a lot?

DJ EARWORM: Yeah, I do maybe a bunch of shows every year. Not every weekend but I really enjoy it a lot. I’ve got like four gigs…

HATCHET: What do you expect the GW crowd to be like at Fall Fest this year?

DJ EARWORM: Oh, I heard they’re a lot of fun. *laughs* That’s the rumor. And I expect that there should be a lot of energy there. It should be a big party.

HATCHET: Have you been to GW before? Or D.C. before?

DJ EARWORM: I’ve been to D.C. before but never the University, I’m looking forward to it.

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Lincoln Theatre, located neared 12th and U streets, once drew acts such as Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The owner of the 9:30 Club and the Merriweather Post Pavilion has set its sights on creating a third music hub for the District.

Lincoln Theatre at 1215 U St. NW, will begin booking acts this fall with the help of I.M.P. Productions, according to the Washington Post.

The company’s chairman Seth Hurwitz said that the venue would accommodate seated shows and comedy acts that had previously been booked at the 9:30 Club. He got the green light for the project from the city last week.

Hurwitz called the indoor spot, which has previously hosted big-names such as Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, an ideal venue for pop, folk and indie-rock shows.

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This post was written by Hatchet reporter Andrew Avrick.

Arcade Fire The Suburbs, part of the Hatchet’s Finals Playlist. Photo courtesy of Arcade Fire.

With final exams underway, study rituals need to be thought-out and perfected.

Especially important are those essential few albums or playlists to keep you from passing out on top of your freshly opened textbooks. As with any good playlist, it should flow between tempos and tones as seamlessly as possible. But the ideal finals playlist should serve a dual purpose: prevent distraction while providing smooth pleasure for the ears.

The Hatchet’s finals playlist was compiled with this philosophy in mind, featuring a selection that will keep your ears occupied for your next study session.  It includes a restrained electronic cover of Arcade Fire’s “Suburbs,” a bit of James Blake’s downtempo soul, and Washed Out’s chillwave classic, “Feel It All Around.”  You will find SBTRKT’s post-dub beats between the lo-fi blues of Willis Earl Beal between and a relaxed Discover-era Daft Punk cut.  These are all great tracks, regardless of whether or not you’re currently buried in books.

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Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 5:06 p.m.

What We’re Listening To

Hatchet reporter Dan Stelly shares his latest musical obsessions.

Miracle Mile
Cold War Kids
★★★★✩

After a two year hiatus, California rock band Cold War Kids recently released “Miracle Mile”  in anticipation of their next album. While we’ll have to wait until April for the whole album release, I’ve been enjoying this return to the band’s soulful roots. Starting with a catchy piano riff, the song maintains a simple but vibrantly energetic feel with straightforward percussion. Frontman Nathan Willet’s soaring vocals soon enter, lifting the song’s emotions even higher. At its core, it’s a song about putting past mistakes behind and looking for new inspiration, poignant for the band’s musical return. With the energy building, Willet wails, “come up for air” repeatedly, a desperate plea for a return to the surface and perhaps a return to the band’s old style. “Miracle Mile,” with its tight guitar work and infectious groove, is an example of the Cold War Kids at their finest, and I’m expecting great things come April.

When I Dream
Ra Ra Riot
★★★✩✩

Much like Cold War Kids, Ra Ra Riot is back in a big way. The indie rockers just released “Beta Love,” an album that shifts the group’s style from baroque pop to synthpop while maintaining the band’s orchestral feel. “When I Dream” is one of the best examples of this mixture, a blend of synthesizer and strings with Wes Miles’ floating vocals on top. The song begins with a soft electric piano as Miles laments, “Wanna be there, could have been more, try to erase pieces own I’m hoping for.” It’s a sorrowful song, but the interchanging riffs of synthesizer and violin create a beautiful sound as the harmony grows. The band hasn’t abandoned its baroque roots in adding these electronic effects, thankfully. Although the song lacks the energetic drum fills of old, it still conveys Ra Ra Riot’s new style in a smooth, melancholy way.

The Jody Grind
Horace Silver
★★★★★

When it comes to hard bop jazz of the 1950s and ’60s, no artist is more noted than pianist Horace Silver. His 1966 recording of “The Jody Grind” exemplifies the genre, which combines rhythm and blues with gospel and soul for a groove unlike any other. Silver opens the song with a piano introduction of the 12 bar blues, and Woody Shaw on trumpet and Tyrone Washington on tenor sax enter with the melody, a riff-based pattern that doesn’t step on Silver’s toes. Washington then takes the first solo, combining staccato notes with smooth licks for a one-of-a-kind sound. It’s a tough act to follow, but Silver’s ensuing solo is a masterpiece. He builds the excitement by switching from simple phrases and repetition to beautiful flourishes, and when the horns come in to riff behind him, the song hits its peak. This is hard bop, and this is quintessential Silver.

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Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 5:01 p.m.

What We’re Listening To

Justin Timberlake. Photo courtesy of Caroline Bonarde Ucci under the Creative Commons License.

Hatchet reporter Priyanka Pardasani shares her latest musical obsessions.

Suit and Tie
Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z
★★★✰✰

As someone whose password for the last 12 years has been some variation of the word “N’sync,” it’s easy to admit how excited I was for Justin Timberlake’s new single. But I’m currently in the process of crying him a river because I can’t help hide my disappointment.  For someone who can dance, act and sing, “Suit and Tie” doesn’t do a worthy job of showcasing Mr. JT’s outstanding talents. This song marks a change in the singer’s style, as he transitions toward a more sophisticated, retro sound. If listeners should take away anything after hearing this track, it’s keeping in mind how truly gifted a producer Timbaland is at crafting beats. Although this song is in no way a bad one, I expected more from Timberlake’s debut, and am still nonetheless excited to hear the rest of his album. “The 20/20 Experience” is scheduled to release later this year.

I Come Apart
A$AP Rocky ft. Florence Welch
★★★✰✰

The debut studio album by rapper and fashion enthusiast A$AP Rocky was released earlier this month, and ‘I Come Apart’ is unequivocally one of the album’s stand-out tracks. Not only does the track capture the rapper’s more vulnerable side, but it also features the incredibly talented Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine fame. This song is packed with some catchy lines and some sweet flows, but without question, Welch’s vocals dominate the track. Some would argue that this isn’t the first time that someone featured on one of A$AP’s songs steals the show, as Lana Del Rey was praised for her performance on her collaboration with the rapper in “Ridin.” All in all, keeping in mind the quality of rap music released today, this Harlem native should be given credit for putting out a memorable freshman album.

It All Began with a Burst
Kishi Bashi
★★★★★

This song leaves me absolutely speechless in the best way possible. Kishi Bashi is a founding member of the band Jupiter One, and is a true modern virtuoso, with skills as a violinist, beat-boxer and songwriter. This song incorporates splashes of synthesized sounds, flashes of electronic shades and rhythmic claps. On an uplifting track sure to maximize your spirits, Kishi Bashi sprinkles in his violin chops to add a touch of musicality rarely found in popular music. The nuanced violin makes the track even more well-rounded in its use of acoustic and electronic sounds. A must listen.

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Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012 11:39 a.m.

What We’re Listening To

 

Rihanna, whose latest album, “Unapologetic,” was released this November. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons License.

Hatchet reporter Priyanka Pardasani shares her latest musical obsessions.

Loveeeee Song
Rihanna feat. Future

Barbadian babe Rihanna released her seventh studio album, “Unapologetic” on Nov. 19 – and this has to be one of my favorite tracks on the album.  Rihanna is known for her blunt and headstrong personality, carrying an invincible air. But the singer reveals more of her mortal side through this song. Many celebrities, Rihanna included, are often considered to be larger than life, but the singer displays that she’s human and that she just needs “love and affection” like everyone else. Her sultry voice hits the track after Future’s catchy and autotune hook starts the song. Both singers do an incredible job of expressing a caertain pain in their voices that make this ballad even more genuine and stirring.

New Day
Alicia Keys

Amidst a generation consumed by electronic music and synthesized sounds, we are blessed with the presence of Alicia Keys.  From her debut album, “The Diary of Alicia Keys” – arguably one of the best female R&B albums since “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” – to her latest released album “Girl on Fire,” Ms. Keys never fails to mesmerize.  Her timeless voice is crystallized on the track “New Day,” where she confidently sings about a new day and about the beauty of life. Her voice is so powerful on this track that it even rises above the slamming drum line in the background. The singer talks about boldly pursuing dreams and overcoming fears, a personable theme that gives listeners an idea of where Alicia Keys is right now, besides being on top of the charts.

Lessons in Love
Kaskade feat. Neon Trees (Fareoh Remix)

Usually, I’m not a huge fan of remixes on my favorite songs. But up-and-coming DJ Fareoh, who toured with Kaskade earlier this year, is impressive. Kaskade’s album “Fire & Ice,” which dropped late this year, was among my most frequently played albums freshman year.  Although I feel as though I should be morally opposed to modifying my favorite songs, it is hard to ignore the incredible job that Fareoh has done on this track. “Lessons in Love” is one of the most lyrically rich songs on “Fire & Ice,” but Fareoh’s remix doesn’t dilute the quality of the songwriting at all.  Instead, he makes the song more danceable and enhances it melodically while providing a killer rhythm.  It is a must-download, and if you enjoy Fareoh’s performance on this song, check out his remix of “Buy My Love” by Wynter Gordon.

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