JULY DC LOCAL MUSIC DAY – Wednesday July 11th

 Visit to check out our NEW site and participating businesses

July Featured Artists: Visit their site, download their album!

Bluebrain —
Frau Eva —
Veronneau —
Astra Via —
The Archives —
Vandaveer —
The Dance Party —
Tabi Bonney —


Thursday July 12th from 5:00pm – 8:00pm – Victoria Vox plays Tryst at the Phillips Collection!  Tryst Phillips is located at: 1600 21st Street Northwest  Washington, DC 20009


Saturday July 14th from 3:00pm – 7:00pm – Eat Local First Week Kickoff Party at Acre 121: Beer & BBQ, Admission includes access to live local music, a buffet of local BBQ/sides, and local beer! 21+ only.

Purchase Tickets here –

Artists include:

Frau Eva –
Typefighter – 

Young Rapids –



Thursday July 19th at 6:00pm – Archives at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage!  See Featured July Artist the Archives in full concert at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, admittance is free!


Thursday July 19th from 5:00pm – 8:00pm – Rene Moffatt plays Tryst at the Phillipps Collection!  Tryst Phillips is located at: 1600 21st Street Northwest  Washington, DC 20009

Saturday July 21st from 1:00pm – 7:00pm – Eat Local First Farm to Street Festival.  Enjoy scrumptious dishes made with ingredients from local farms, drink local craft beer and wine, shop local retailers and take craft food classes in the pop-up park, and hear music from Listen Local First Stage!

Tickets are $15 (online or cash/credit at the event) and include two food tickets.

Featured Local Artists includeJustin TrawickFlo Anito  and many more TBA.



August 4th and 5th – Mid City Dog Days of Summer Street Festival! With street musicians, never-ending sidewalk sales, restaurant specials, and events up and down the corridor, the 2012 MidCity Dog Days will be the biggest one yet.  Listen Local First Street Music Showcase: Listen Local First will organize pop up street music performances throughout the MidCity Corridor including the Mobile Music Venue—creating alternate exposure opportunities for talented local musicians.




Crowd Sourced Fundraising – Help Dance for the Dying raise the funds for their next album!  Check out their Indie Go Go page –


Q&A with Eighteenth Street Lounge Radio: The “ESL Sound”

The Eighteenth Street Lounge made a name for itself bringing in and supporting electronic music in the District. In April they released ESL radio, a streaming web radio station aimed at broadening and democratizing the Eighteenth Street Lounge experience.  Listen Local First’s Matthew Nahmias held this Q & A with ESL Radio founder Rob Connelly to learn more about the stream and to see what they have planned for the future. 

Listen Local First: Right now you have six regularly scheduled shows, but ESL radio is available 24/7. What are we listening to when one of those shows isn’t streaming?

ESL Radio: Similar to most commercial radio stations, ESL Radio has a “format.” Ours is made up of the “ESL Sound,” combining electronic, dub, afro, funk, world, reggae, and trip hop sounds into a blend of programming designed to send listeners into a mild state of euphoria. The programming also features the specialty shows that you refer to. These shows are consistent with the programming of ESL Radio in general.

Is the focus more on streaming performances at Eighteenth Street Lounge live, or is it on giving ESL label artists an outlet to share the music they listen to through their own shows?

Both. Live performances of the DJ sets at the Eighteenth Street Lounge make up the bulk of our “Live from the Lounge” schedule. Think of this as a normal rock station that plays a blend of rock music all day, and then takes listeners “live” in venue for Live from the Lounge as a specialty feature. Of course the core of the program is heavily dosed with ESL artists and other similar artists and friends who’ve created in the ESL sound over the years.

Do you have plans to expand the line-up?

Yes, of course! Radio is a moving, changing, and evolving medium, and as opportunities arise we will use them to create new programming and new ways to collect that programming to deliver the freshest, most unique product on the radio or online. ESL Radio is broadcasting the upcoming DJ set from Ravin for example live at Buddha Bar on Thursday May 10. ESL Radio will also broadcast the full day stage at the Electric Forest Festival in late June.

Are you restricting shows to ESL label artists, or are you interested in adding shows by DJs you like that aren’t on the label?

Everyone is included, so long as the music matches the format and the artist has a unique style. Ravin, for example, does his own stuff like the Buddha Bar compilations.

Have you been tracking listeners so far?

Yes. Statistics are not the best in terms of a really reliable system, but we do get a snapshot and over time that snapshot becomes more of a picture and so on. ESL Radio kicked off April 13-15, and the stats over that weekend showed over 2600 people tuned in in 65 countries. Approximately 2/3 of them were from the DC metro area. For comparison, CNN has 357,000 viewers on a given night. The numbers of listeners and where they are from will become clearer over the coming months.

What is your intended audience?

As with anything, pretty much everyone. Obviously the ESL Brand, style and lifestyle guides our marketing and defines our audience. For the most part, they are upscale, progressive, conscientious stewards of our planet as well as educated consumers of righteous music.

One of your shows, “The Gourmet Lounge,” is billed as a musical cooking show. What was  the inspiration for a radio cooking show, and how do you plan to keep the show engaging without a video element?

ESL Radio extends beyond its music with promotional elements designed to accommodate the lifestyle of its audience. Cooking, food, wine and entertainment is certainly in the wheelhouse. The Gourmet Lounge each week gives a local chef the opportunity to cook, instruct, promote and show the tips and tricks of the pros. A show can actually be more engaging without the video element, as radio has long proven over the years. The mind and imagination of the audience is more powerful, and the relaxed atmosphere of an instructional dinner party on the radio with musical interludes is really quite unique. The show will feature downloadable recipes from the website where listeners can actually create the dishes of their favorite restaurants.

ESL hosts the DC Flag Day concert series and celebrations starting at 8 pm this Thursday, June 14.

CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft MegaFest @DC Jazz Festival

Today begins a ten-day, multi-venue celebration of jazz in Duke Ellington’s hometown. Consisting of over 100 performances, from elegant presentations at the Kennedy Center to outdoor family festivals to late-night club parties, the DC Jazz Festival offers enough choices to make a music lover’s head spin. But there’s one offering that stands apart from the rest: CapitalBop’s Jazz Loft Series, culminating in the Jazz Loft MegaFest. A unique, multimedia experience of the creative community of jazz, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, June 9 from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., also presents an exciting opportunity to listen local.

CapitalBop, founded in 2010 by Giovanni Russonello, aims to unite and highlight the vibrant jazz scene that calls DC its home. “I’ve always been a huge fan of jazz,” says Russonello. “But when I was going out to jazz shows as a kid, what I noticed was, no one was at them! There’d be these amazing shows with just very small audiences… CapitalBop was founded on the premise that the DC jazz scene itself has never lacked for impressive experiences, high-quality art, and exciting personalities. What people don’t understand, especially in this town, is they think it’s this historical art form that loses relevance as time passes. But for all the tropes, it’s not dying, and it never will die. It’s improvisatory, and it changes with the times. Because it’s made in the moment, you experience its creation, and that’s why live jazz shows are so thrilling…I thought of magazines like Time Out New York and the Village Voice, or the City Paper here in Washington. They serve an important purpose just by letting people know what’s going on around here. So I wanted to create something like that: an online home for the DC jazz scene.”

Soon after the CapitalBop site launched in 2010, Russonello’s friend and collaborator Luke Stewart joined him as an editor. Stewart’s band, Laughing Man, rented space at Gold Leaf Studios (a.k.a. Red Door), which became the home for the DC Jazz Loft Series starting that December. Russonello calls the Loft Series “unmediated spaces for unmediated music.”

“DC jazz performers and audiences needed not just an online resource, but to experience different presentations of the scene, get it out of the club circuit and give young people—and everyone else who may not have known about what’s happening here—a chance to participate in the jazz scene.”

The site launched in September 2010. The first project was a calendar of jazz events all over the city, which exists today as a complete, monthly catalog of every single upcoming show in DC. Beyond basic event info, the calendar contains previews, descriptions, and editor recommendations regarding each event, “so that you’ll know what you’re going to get out of every show,” as Russonello said. But there’s more to building a music scene’s online home. “The site itself is built around being most utilitarian to those who don’t know the scene,” said Russonello. As such, it also hosts a guide to DC’s jazz-friendly neighborhoods and the bars and clubs where jazz cats play. Its front page and blog are home to a wealth of articles, videos and photos. Posts may be video previews for shows, profiles of dynamic local artists, or info on the city’s weekend lineup.

The concert series known as the DC Jazz Loft Series, on the other hand, gained prominence at last year’s Jazz Fest. Russonello considers working with an organization as large and respected as the DC Jazz Fest to have been a major taking-off point for CapitalBop, which presented four Loft Series shows for Jazz Fest last year. “For every show, we paired really renowned bands from out of town—last year they were all from New York—with local bands. It both gave the most innovative musicians in the country a home right here in DC, and gave the local bands a lot of really good exposure as the openers for nationally renowned groups.” Among CapitalBop’s local collaborators are two of Listen Local First’s featured artists for the month of June, Donvonte McCoy and Kris Funn, who headlined CapitalBop’s section of Lumen8Anacostia earlier this year. Russonello said that the success of last year’s Loft Series also greatly increased traffic to the CapitalBop site. “It’s interesting, because we started the site as a tool to get people out to the live shows, but it turns out to work the other way around as well.”

This year, CapitalBop is presenting some similar Loft Series shows to last year’s: nationally renowned groups paired with local jazz bands. The Todd Marcus Jazz Orchestra, unique in that it is led by a bass clarinet, headlines with Christie Dashiell Quartet tonight (6/1/12) at The Dunes, and Kris Funn & Corner Store—one of LLF’s June featured artists—open for “absolute star” group Tarbaby on Saturday 6/2 at The Fridge.

But the big event, the Jazz Loft MegaFest, is in a whole other league. From 3 p.m. to 2 a.m., visitors to the three-floor “loft” at 629 New York Avenue will experience music, film, food and fun as only DC could do it. MegaFest will feature:

-Concerts all day, leading up to a two-set headline show by Marc Cary’s Cosmic Indigenous
“Danceable, futurist, roots-exploring but also totally experimental jazz”

-Spotlight of up-and-coming high-school all-stars of the Jazz Academy, under Paul Carr

-Screening of “Icons Among Us: jazz in the present tense,” a film about the living jazz scene

-Panel on the cross-pollination of jazz and hip-hop by Shaolin Jazz

-Pop-up shop of vintage clothes and records, plus “floating art gallery,” by SHAM

-Catering and drinks by Taste of DC‘s network of local chefs

Russonello says that the diverse multimedia format of MegaFest “stresses the idea that jazz is a way of integrating thoughts, feelings, and experience into a real-time form of expression. It’s music that really knows no bounds, because you can create what you want, and create with your heart, and have the musical vocabulary to do that…It’s really about creating a community around an art form, or around the shared experience of art being created in front of you. The most exciting thing is how much of an experience it will be.”

Saturday, June 9 / 3 p.m.-2 a.m. / 629 NY Ave. NW / $10-12 online, $15 at the door. Tickets & Schedule

Arts Advocacy Receives Research Gift

Two major Arts Education studies were released this past week, the FRSS 10-year comparison and the Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth a 12-year longitudinal study.  When these studies are married, their effectiveness as a tool for advocacy becomes undeniably clear.  While the FRSS will get much of the press because Secretary Duncan presented it, the study is of little consequence to the progression of arts education other then outright stating of significant declines in the amount of offerings across the board.  On the other hand, move over Charlie Bucket, the longitudinal study is the golden ticket arts education advocators have been praying for.

The longitudinal study gives the data for students of Low Socioeconomic Status (low SES) with both high and low arts exposure and their counterparts in the High Socioeconomic Status (high SES).  The matrixes measured for each of the four categories include high school graduation rates, civic involvement, recorded GPA, college graduation rates, average test scores, volunteer rates, other extracurricular activities, and labor market outcomes.  The results are startling, not because they affirm what advocates have said for years, but because of the achievement gap between low SES/low arts and low SES/high arts.

Looking at graduation rates alone, low SES/low arts had a dropout rate of 22%, compare that to low SES/high arts with a dropout rate of 4%.  The low SES/high arts students are even below the overall sample average of 7%.  For the mindset of these low SES/high arts students, we need only to look at the percentage of 8th graders planning to earn a bachelor’s degree 74% compared to 43%.  These are motivated students and compared to their low arts counterparts they are 14% more likely to vote in a national election or local election, 21% more like to volunteer, and 29% more likely to read the newspaper.  Looking at grades and curriculum, the high arts students have an average GPA of .39 points above low arts and were 10% more likely to enroll in calculus while in high school.

It should be noted that the high arts students are inherently involved individuals, as they are participants in athletics and service organizations.  However, students who are involved in other activities but are low arts do not have as high of GPA or curriculum gains as high arts students.

This is all fine and dandy, but why am I saying that this is hugely important when combined with the FRSS data?  Because in secondary school music alone there was a drop of 19% of offered programs for students in the low SES, but the high SES saw an increase of 6% between 2000-2010.  In affect, the advantage is going to the advantaged, while the disadvantaged are becoming disenfranchised.  But there’s more: of the high SES, 62% of schools offered 5 or more courses in the music, while low SES only measured 32%.

One area the low SES has dominated though is in collaboration and integration.  Music teachers in low SES are 14% more likely to consult with other teaches to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the music curriculum and 17% more likely to utilize an integrated music instructional program with other academic subjects and 18% with other arts subjects.

Like music, visual arts have rather similar data (in secondary schools): a drop in offering for the low SES of 13% and only 22% of the remaining programs offering 5 or more courses.  Compare that to the 95% of high SES schools of which 56% offer 5 or more visual arts classes.  The unexpected number in all this comes from the consulting with other teachers to incorporate units of study from other subject areas into the visual arts curriculum indicator for low SES, which stands a staggering 17% above high SES.

So what’s the conclusion?  The students who benefit most from high exposure to the arts are receiving less of it then they did 10 years prior.  Granted we had the Great Recession and states have to balance their budgets, as a native Californian (and boy, did we get hit hard in 2008) I understand.  That does not mean we are off the hook.  As Secretary Duncan has said time and again, “we’re either going to invest in education or not, it comes down to the values.  Everyone has to step up or we’re going to struggle.” (March 2, 2012)

Stopping the Music Monopoly: Why Independent Musicians and Music Fans Should Take a Stand

Listen Local First supports talented independent musicians in developing their art form, building their brand and cultivating their fanbase.  It is for these very reasons that we believe a merger that threatens the development of new digital distribution services and the ability of consumers to access new music at an affordable price is one that needs to be stopped.

As an artist or a music consumer, YOU can Help Stop the Music Monopoly!

HERE is a link to an Op Ed we published in the Huffington Post titled “Tell the FTC to STOP the Music Monopoly – Support Music Freedom”  We have highlighted some key points from the article below.

Why the Merger is Bad for the Independent Music Community

  • Universal Music Group/ EMI (UMG) will own 40% of the recorded music market.
  • Sony ATV Publishing will become the largest music publisher in the world with rights to up to 750,000 songs including the Beatles catalog.
  • Digital distribution services have to negotiate licenses with the major labels, and competition is essential for these negotiations. A major label that gains control of 40% of sound recordings would have the power to demand significantly more for its catalog and to choose, for its own purposes, the winners and losers in this market.
  • Without a licensing agreement from the now-largest label, a digital music service would lose traffic and advertising and become unsustainable. If these smaller digital services go under and new ones are prevented from entering the market, these artists will lose additional avenues of exposure and essentially forfeit their bargaining power for higher rates. Higher rates for the services mean smaller payments for independent musicians.
  • A mega label with unchallenged market power could withdraw significant portions of its publishing catalog from performance rights organizations.
  • Individually negotiating for publishing rights with labels would be detrimental to webcasters and streaming music sites. With limited or higher-priced access to playlists, web traffic would stagnate, advertising dollars would dry up, and new programming targeted at local markets that feature independent artists would disappear.
  • Due to higher licensing fees from the labels, music services will be forced to offset those costs by raising prices on the consumer end.
  • Finally, higher prices to legitimately access the digital music market will force consumers to find alternate illegitimate music sites that do not compensate artists.  Those artists that will take the hardest hit will be the independent artist.


Howdy DC!


What is Listen Local First and What is DC Local Music Day?


Listen Local First DC (LLF) is a local music initiative devoted to building awareness and creating opportunities for local musicians and venues in order to raise the profile of DC’s local music scene.  LLF was born out of a collaborative effort with Think Local First DC and seeks to partner with local musicians, local arts organizations, local venues and locally owned businesses to create performance opportunities and new avenues for local music exploration. LLF’s mission is not genre specific.  In order to promote the true cultural depth of DC’s music scene LLF would seek to equally represent all local genres, from folk to funk.


DC Local Music Day is a monthly city wide event that will feature a wide range of local musicians through a series of local music days.  DC Local Music Day normally happens either the first or second Wednesday of each month.  The purpose of DC Local Music Day is to promote LLF’s mission through collaborations between local musicians and local businesses.  LLF and the local musicians will support and promote the local businesses while they in turn promote the musicians


For the last three months between 20-30 local businesses across the city partnered with Listen Local First and Think Local First, to promote our awesome and diverse local music community. DC Local Music Day received massive media attention with articles in the Washington City Paper and The Washington Post as well as in many local blogs and media outlets. For more info on our past events and featured artists please visit