Alex Scally (left) and Victoria Legrand of Beach House.
The last thing we need is another stupid web series coming to town and ignoring some of the country’s best bands.
’90s and early ’00s
Back in the day, D.C. did have a better, more cohesive music scene than Baltimore. The D.C. scene centered on Dischord Records (founded by Ian MacKaye of Fugazi), which only had one Baltimore band: Lungfish (fronted by Daniel Higgs). There were great Baltimore bands, most notably R&B group Dru Hill, which gave the world Sisqo, who gave the world “Thong Song.” Liquor Bike (whose front man, David Koslowski, is now playing as Small Apartments) and Seade were both signed to Grass/BMG and Candy Machine was on Skene/Elektra. The Oranges Band, who signed to Lookout Records, was another standout. This time period also saw the rise of Baltimore Club music, which was created in the ’80s and blossomed soon after. Scottie B., Shawn Caeser and Rod Lee were among the stars, and Bmore Club is still going strong today.
This is where everything heats up. Dan Deacon, who moved to Baltimore from New York in 2004 with the folks who would become the experimental arts collective Wham City, begins to get some national attention for his off-the-chain live shows. In 2004, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally team up to become the dream pop duo Beach House, releasing a critically acclaimed self-titled album in 2006. That same year, Wham City organizes Whartscape, an alternative to Artscape, featuring live music and performance art. Many of these concerts are held in underground performance spaces, from the CopyCat Building in Station North to Floristree to G-Spot.
Around this time, you begin to get the sense that anything is possible — anything is worth trying. And with the right amount of enthusiasm, it just might work. The weirder the idea, the better. A video of a guy making, eating and vomiting a Toothbeef sandwich? A theatrical reinterpretation of “Jurassic Park? “Stab My Face?” Why not?
While the most publicized at the time, Wham City is not the only group on the Baltimore music scene. Far from it. Lake Trout, who had ruled the city’s jam scene, pass the torch to the Bridge, who have a great run of shows at The 8×10. And the Beechfields record label provides a home for songwriters including Mike Nestor and Austin Stahl.