grip the greats

Packing up all your belongings and moving to another place makes for a great time to reflect on where you've been and where you're going. When thinking about my favorite music from this past year, I ran into trouble trying to narrow down the myriad choices of fantastic releases from 2014. But during the process of transitioning my record collection from its Ikea Expedit shelving unit into milk crates I came to the conclusion that showcasing the albums I loved so much that I actually forked over cash for them is more in line with the spirit of what music means to me. So without further adieu here's my list, complete with pictures and in no particular order:

My 10 Favorite 2014 Records & Tapes That I Actually Bought

Spray Paint "Clean Blood, Regular Acid" (Monofonus Press)

Alex G "DSU" (Orchid Tapes)

Two Inch Astronaut "Foulbrood" (Exploding In Sound Records)

Angel Olsen "Burn Your Fire For No Witness" (Jagjaguwar)

Blank Realm "Grassed Inn" (Fire Records)

Tonstartssbandht "Overseas" 2xLP (Company Etc)

Mannequin Pussy "Gypsy Pervert" (Tiny Engines)

Ricky Eat Acid "Three Love Songs" (Orchid Tapes)

Thee Oh Sees "Drop" (Castle Face Records)

Big Ups "Eighteen Hours Of Static" (Dead Labour)

Best Witches "Tour Tape" (Self-Released)
Jon McCallum "Surf Nazis Must Die" OST (Strange Disc Records)
Dura "Silver/Lawns" (Wounded Knife Records)
Pinkwash "Your Cure Your Soil" (Sister Polygon Records)
The Beds "Ride Again" (Ranch Records)
The Effects "Blister b/w Old Soul" (Self-Released) 
Parasol "Not There" (Lost Sound Tapes)
Jerry Paper / Andy Boay "Jerry Paper / Andy Boay" Split (Hausu Mountain)
The Rebel "The Shingles Collection" 2xCS (Monofonus Press)
Olive Drab "The Big Sleep" (Bird Tapes)

Before signing off, I'd like to thank the Washington City Paper for their nod to Big Hush, including the Wholes EP on their list of The Best Local Albums of 2014. Lastly, there were a lot of great releases I haven't bought yet and therefore could not include on this list, but one final shout out goes to all the independent artists and labels for making my world a much more enjoyable place. Cheers to another year of great music. ♥ Brett


moving on

2014 is coming to an end, but not without a few more events to close out what's been a momentous year of music in the DC DIY scene. Check out the details below and click the flyers to RSVP.

First up is an In It Together Fest promotional event on Saturday, December 27 at The Pinch, featuring Meridian, Two Inch Astronaut, Polyon, Boardroom Heroes, and Collapser (playing their last show ever, purportedly). Join us for a brief retrospective and a look ahead to the fest's next iteration.

Then on Sunday, December 28, Big Hush will be joining Chain & The Gang and Qualms (first show!) at Comet Ping Pong. Come out to catch the good vibes, and peep this shining review of the Wholes EP by GoldFlakePaint to get you in the groovy mood.

"From full on shoegaze sustain to amplified campfire folk, Big Hush’s repertoire to date maps out a clear path of progression to their newest collection of songs...The four tracks featured on Wholes blend the delicate with the overwhelming. The soft-nurtured vocal expressions combined with guitar tones that can cry, sing and growl all at once make for the most affecting noise-pop you’re likely to hear any time soon." – GoldFlakePaint
And for those of you in Austin, Adam Torres is back home and playing one final show at Studium on Sunday, December 28 with Abram Shook.

Before I sign off, I'd like to say a quick thanks to Ground Floor Go for their shout out and inclusion of The Sweets Greatest Hits album as one of their Top 10 Cassettes of 2014! There's already a few things in the work for next year, so keep your eyes and ears open for more from DZ TAPES in 2015.



I'm happy to report the Two Inch Astronaut 'Foulbrood' release show may have been the best gig I've gotten to put on at the Dougout. From top to bottom all the bands were amazing, and I was lucky enough to get some halfway decent recordings of each set as part of a new project I've been working on to archive DC's DIY live music scene. While most of the recordings won't be made available just yet, I'm thrilled to share one - the first ever Mannequin Pussy acoustic set! Marisa was kind enough to sit down and play three MP tracks and one brand new song from her upcoming solo debut. Special thanks to WMUC for their help in making this happen. Take an advance listen to the set below, check the soundcloud page for the track list, and tune in to WMUC radio Sunday at 6pm ET for this and some great live music from Au RevoirWish List, and Go Cozy on Third Rail.

Another huge shout out to Big Ups, Washer, and Jail Solidarity, plus a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Sam, Andy and Matt on the album release! We were also blessed to have Mike from Red Table Press design and screenprint a limited run of this awesome glow-in-the-dark gig poster below.

Two Inch Astronaut (courtesy of Nicole)

Mannequin Pussy (courtesy of Alex)

Big Ups (courtesy of Alex)

Washer (courtesy of Alex)

Jail Solidarity (courtesy of Alex)

On a more somber note, it’s with a heavy heart I announce that starting in 2015, I will no longer be living at The Dougout. Nearly three years have passed since the mates and I moved in and began hosting DIY shows, and now the time has come for me to make my next move. This place has been so much more than a home to me and I’ll cherish the memories made in this house for the rest of my days.

It was here that I first planted my roots as a resident of the District, forged immeasurable bonds with two awesome amigos, made countless new friends (and reunited with ones from days long ago), showcased an unbelievable number of immensely talented musicians, hosted my first DZ TAPES cassette release show, helped plan and put on the first ever In It Together Fest, cared for four different beautiful animals (and accidentally killed even more innocent plants), and learned more about myself than I’d ever thought I would.

While I will be making my departure at the end of this month, the spirit of The Dougout will live on through Geoff, Marshall and … You, perhaps (or someone you know)?

Let this post serve as a call to anyone who’s ever dreamed of living in a DIY punk house in Washington, DC. The rent is cheap, there’s space aplenty, and many more awesome shows to be put on. If you or anyone you know might be interested in taking my spot, please check out this Craigslist posting to get the conversation started. The new housemate should be ready to move in on January 1.

As for me, this is certainly not the end of my time booking shows in DC, so be on the lookout for more live events in the near future.



Since the release of their debut full-length Bad Brother last year, Two Inch Astronaut have been melting the minds of DIY show-goers here in DC and along the East Coast, but nowhere more-so than at the Dougout. Their new album Foulbrood, out now on Exploding In Sound Records, showcases just how much the band's sound is expanding to become exceedingly more complex while retaining its accessibility, like a rubix cube with shades of post-punk, post-hardcore, and everything in between.

It's been a pleasure to watch the band grow over time, so I'm proud to announce DZ TAPES will be hosting the official album release show, featuring support from some top-notch East Coast talent. Check out the rest of the bands below and click the flyer to RSVP for the show on December 7.
※ BIG UPS (NY) fearsome tough love punctual post-punk
※ ※ MANNEQUIN PUSSY (PHL) razor sharp shitpunk like bats trapped in a tent
※ ※ ※ WASHER (NY) stripped-down punk with melodic distortion
※ ※ ※ ※ JAIL SOLIDARITY (DC) fuck the man post-hardcore noise rock sludge

In other news, the Big Hush cassette release show almost went off without a hitch until the apex of Chris Forsyth's finale, in which a crucial surge protector was knocked loose from its outlet causing the entire build up to come crashing down in a deafening silence.

Notwithstanding this minor calamity, the show was a great success thanks to great music from the aforementioned lovelies as well as the Anthony Pirog Trio and Golden Triangle. Just before the show, Brightest Young Things had some great things to say about Big Hush in an interview piece conducted with co-singer/songwriter Owen Wuerker.
"Big Hush shucks the limitations of the shoegaze sound, pushing vocal melodies and lyricism to the forefront and using their noisy instrumental texture as support rather than the center of the song. The result is a huge step forward for the band; their loudest tendencies now affect the emotive character of the compositions, and showcase their deft songwriting."
You can read the full interview here.

Hazey Jane also received some love recently from Unrecorded, calling DZ13 "a great collection of off-kilter beats composed of odd samples, drum machines, and guitar."

And last but certainly not least, folk freaks in Chicago should be on the look out for Adam Torres, who makes his Windy City debut on December 13 to accompany a preview screening of A Good Person, presented by the Logan Square International Film Series. Click here to RSVP and get more information about the movie.


big heart

There's been a large outpouring of coverage for Big Hush's Wholes EP and with the cassette release show coming up, I wanted to share some of the lovely responses the release has gotten so far!
"The sound is one that functions not unlike the band’s name would leave you believe. It’s a sound that barrels through a wooly cavern with robust, toothy guitars, hypnotically layered vocals, and glassy, portentous drums...contemplative, staring at the ceiling above your bed sort of music... Every track of the EP feels like it’s peeling away at the initial sound the band serves up – becoming more vulnerable with every song, yet extremely bold at every turn. At end, you are simply left to press play again." – Decoder Magazine
"instantly captivating, wrapping you up like a blanket with fuzzy, shoegazey sonics that gently allow interesting, sweet harmonies to appear, cloud-like...the instrumental melodies resonate directly, creating a balanced sound with a ton of energy bouncing behind the softer feeling, distorted atmospherics...the performances and harmonies are tight, but the record feels energetic, loose, and free. Throughout, Wholes simply feels great to listen to." – DCist
"sunny tunes with remarkable tact and unarguable hooks, turning the blacktop into a bonafide dance party. Smiles on smiles, Big Hush played one of the most memorable sets I’ve seen this year...their execution is invigorating and artful" – Frontier Psychiatrist
(Big Hush courtesy of Lang Kanai)
"a collection of fantastic, slow burning tracks... patiently written and fuzzed out in the best way possible." – Heart And Soul
"wonderfully melodic vocal hooks that stay in your mind long after listening." – 9:30 Club <5k
"Its title track is its most articulate, even while its vocals sound like sighs. As Ludwig’s feathery voice hangs in the air, Wuerker and guitarist Sean Borja go back and forth on guitars in a call-and-response. The bass, played by Chris Taylor, sounds like it’s leading us down a rabbit hole." – WAMU Bandwidth
"a pensive yet compelling release that highlights Big Hush’s range and breadth as composers and songwriters...elegant, smoothed-out, sentimental and sinuous shoegaze...a brilliant blend of droopy, dreamy and fuzzy guitars sweetly bathed by Genevieve Ludwig’s softly-sung folk-pop vocals. Big Hush is a band that needs to be heard" – DC Music Download [1] [2]

Special thanks goes out to all these publications, Hometown Sounds for inclusion in their podcast, and additional coverage from Circuit Sweet, The Jangle Box, and Don't Need No Melody.

Don't forget, you can download the EP for free and get your copy of the cassette at the merch store. Hope to see all my favorite DC people at the release show this Saturday to pick up a tape and catch Chris Forsyth!



Out today, "WHOLES" by BIG HUSH is limited to 100 hand-numbered cassettes, professionally dubbed on chrome tape and encased in solid black shells. You can download/stream the EP for free below and get a free button when you pick up a copy of the cassette from the merch store.

Thanks to DCist for the premiere and if you're in the district be sure to catch what's sure to be a stellar release show later this month featuring Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band, Anthony Pirog Trio, and Golden Triangle, presented by Frontier Psychiatrist. Click the flyer below for more details:



 h a p p y   h a l l o w e e n 

Quick update with two upcoming shows for DZ fans in DC are coming up at the Dougout in early November. Click the flyers below for more details.

Our special Election Day show features out-of-town punks Annabel and Kitten Forever alongside local thrashers Atlas At Last and The Obsessives.

Then on Sunday November 9, Kal Marks playing gritty blues-tinged rock touring from Boston with Exploding In Sound labelmates Lady Bones supported by local post-punk folk project Mattress Financial and queer punks Flamers.



Production on DZ14 has begun to wrap up, and a cassette release show in DC is in the works. Stay thirsty with this Big Hush video for one of their classic tracks "Where I End":

Meanwhile, Pool Holograph have been staying busy in Chicago, keeping warm with fiery science experiments, like this new track "Crazy Lane". I was lucky enough to catch the premiere in person and think you all should take a listen:

Folks in Atlanta should make sure to check out Easily Suede and Narrator play in the Social Synth public art installation built into a dumpster:

It Is Rain In My Face. plays live at the Palisades in Brooklyn on Monday, October 27:

In Austin, Adam Torres has a string of shows coming up in late October and early November:

Belgian blog Cutting Edge had some nice things to say in Dutch about Hazey Jane:
"Bij het horen van het krakerige (en naar het einde toe licht vervormde) 'Being in mint condition' en het treffend getitelde 'Outside it's good' waanden wij ons immers meteen in een zonovergoten parkje op een zorgeloze zomerdag: héérlijk gevoel."
Which loosely translates to:
"Upon hearing the crackling (and towards the end slightly distorted) 'Being in mint condition' and the aptly titled "Outside it's good" we thought we were, after all, once in a sunlit park on a carefree summer day: wonderful feeling."
And finally, some photos from the last show at the Dougout, featuring Romantic States, HalfsourThee Lolitas, and Foul Swoops, all courtesy of Ron Akins:

Romantic States


Thee Lolitas

Foul Swoops



The next DZ release is in production, and it's one I'm really excited to have worked on - it feels great to finally collaborate with a local artist that I've enjoyed seeing for quite some time. Big Hush play patient shoegaze folk sentiments, with crystalline vocal harmonies piercing through three layers of fuzzy sepia-toned guitar. Hazy rock melodies washed in sunburnt distortion flow through all four tracks, blanketing your ears in an enigmatic overdrive like a warm breeze enveloping your outstretched hand while cruising windows-down on an open road in the mid-afternoon. Dreamy and seductive, this release will have you feeling somewhere between a comatose kitten and a hypnotized house plant.

You can stream the title track from the Wholes EP below, and a run of 100 pro-dubbed cassettes are due for release on November 4.

Those of you in the DC area looking to catch a live glimpse of the band can see them this Friday, September 26 at the Communiverse with label friends Wildhoney and Two Inch Astronaut. A few other DZ jaunts are also lined up for the near future: In Chicago, where I'll be for the next week, Pool Holograph will be playing at Phyllis' Musical Inn on September 27 (Cassette Store Day!) and again at Township on September 29. Back in the district I'll be hosting DC maniacal funkwits Foul Swoops and high-speed chasers Thee Lolitas, Baltimore power couple Romantic States, and Boston pickle punks Halfsour on October 5 at the Dougout. Click the flyers below for more details about each show, and keep your eyes peeled for more from DZ14 in the near future.



From where you are things may seem quiet here at DZ, but the post-In It Together Fest hiatus is over and there are quite a few fun things in the works. Another batch of releases has been confirmed with the hopes of getting most of them out before the end of the year, but there will be more on that in the near future. The Sister Polygon Jamboree has come and gone, Fields Festival flew by in the blink of an eye, and now the next live event on the docket that's sure to be a sweat-soaked good time is coming up September 4 at The Dougout. Boston rockers Krill will be joined by Baltimore's Et Al. in addition to local favorites The Effects and Two Inch Astronaut. Click the flyer below for more details:

DZ alum have been hard at work lately creating a wide variety of new sounds for your listening pleasure. Find a comfy groove in your seat and take a look + listen at some of the cool things that've been coming out recently:

"Old Ways" single by Pool Holograph

"Bread & Silver Water" EP by It Is Rain In My Face.

"Forest Moon" EP by Seabright

Wondering Sound interviews Adam Torres on music sharing and the drudgery of self-promotion in independent music.

"The Wrong Way" music video by Terror Bird


evil kenevil

The first ever In It Together Fest is in the rearview mirror, and I want to give a special thank you for all the love and support we received from everyone who came out, performed, volunteered, hosted and generally made the weekend one to remember - we couldn't have done it without you! There was some great documentation taken at most of the events, so here are some of the primo photos for your enjoyment plus a very special video featuring one very brave conceptual food artist from the Ryan Troy Ford Memorial Performance Arts Collective jumping over a 50 gallon bathtub of delicious homemade ramen noodles on a dirtbike at a skate park under a bridge (yes, you read that right).

The Effects (courtesy of Brazier)

Loud Boyz (courtesy of Andrade)

Loud Boyz (courtesy of Brazier)

 Pile (courtesy of Schelldorf)

Vundabar (courtesy of Andrade)

ACME (courtesy of Brazier)

Baby Bry Bry (courtesy of Andrade)

Jail Solidarity (courtesy of Brazier)

Jebiotto (courtesy of Bezruchko)

The Public (courtesy of Andrade)

State Lines (courtesy of Brazier)

Meridian (courtesy of Brazier)

BRNDA (courtesy of Andrade)

Mannequin Pussy (courtesy of Sharon)

Hold Tight! (courtesy of Brazier)

Pree (courtesy of Brazier)

Teen Mom (courtesy of Stephanie)

What Moon Things (courtesy of Andrade)

Ramen Jump (courtesy of Evan)

Ramen Jump (courtesy of Sharon)

Ramen Jump (courtesy of Denise)