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We’re opening for Tristen next month at DC9!

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<5K: Volume 8

FAQ: Hey Asher, how do I go about getting into Japanese hardcore?
Asher:An excellent question, friend. Melt-Banana and blue friend are where you should start. Especially Melt-Banana. Their work is crucial, not just in Japan, but in the context of hardcore around the world. After you’ve gotten your feet wet, stick your head in the microwave for 7 or 8 minutes, and stir vigorously. Go for a walk. Listen to Vivaldi as you walk. Look at the sidewalk and the cracks in it, and let your eyes sort of cross, and you’ll hear the pleasant arpeggios of the string section slowly but surely morph into Japanese hardcore. Then you can stop walking, take out your headphones, and look up into the sun, able to stare back now, without blinking. “This is it,” you tell the sun. “I’ve arrived.”

Have a question? Email me! (Info below.)

THE OLD STORY OF THE NAMESAKE//JUST WHAT’S GOING ON HERE There’s an xkcd comic that exposes the secret coalition to make certain YouTube videos go viral: they have to get exactly “300+” likes from the committee, and are then certified to spread like the plague onto innocent newsfeeds worldwide. In that vein, I present you with <5K: exposition on bands that have less than 5,000 likes online. Perhaps one of them will be the next to pass that mysterious threshold into the world of fame and fortune… after all, once you get 5,000 likes, you sell out every show and your records go gold. That’s how it works, right?

Swings (254 likes) are cool. Swings used to be called Anchor 3. They play music that I have trouble defining, though they call it dirty jazz. It’s got the atmospherics of post-rock with the emotional abandonment of punk. Their live show is entrancing, full of darkness and understated power. There’s a lot of space in it. Think about pushing around big empty boxes back and forth across a room. All three of them are insightful musicians with something interesting to say. Go see Swings live. They play around DC.
  • Listen to Swings (formerly Anchor 3) here.
  • Recommended tracks: “Ragdoll,” “Hunter”
Nicki C and the Rattlesnake Bites (856 likes) are doing it. They play a driving combination of blue-eyed soul and snarling alt-rock. Bassist and frontman Nick Collins brings an accessible, instantly-likeable voice to the band, and the melodic, assertive lead of guitarist Josh Stansfield evokes an Allman Brothers sound that has been weathered by the wind of modern alternative. Their full-length Much Obliged is just as strong lyrically as it is musically, exploring personal perspectives and humanity, while keeping things lively and balanced with a lighthearted sense of humor. It’s refreshing to hear, and it’ll make you sit up, stand up, and get down.
  • Recommended tracks: “Believe,” “A Good Heart”
The Duskwhales (1,015 likes) are one of the best new bands I’ve heard in a long time. The Virginia trio crafts gorgeous, impeccable indie pop with a constantly fascinating twist. It’s music you can’t cut off halfway through a song; the melodies are so sweet, the rhythm section is so tight and bombastic that you’ll be sucked into the next track, and the next, faster than you can realize. It’s that good. It swings like jazz, changes colors at the speed of Aim and Ignite-era Fun., and turns tight corners with grace. It’s nuanced and dynamic in a professional way. The lyricism is pointed and witty, like the music, especially on the head-turning genre blenders of tracks like “Poor Eliza.” It’s really good. Have I mentioned that?
  • Recommended tracks: All of them. Seriously.
Long gone are the days that a band could sit back and play well; to earn listeners and fans these days, it seems they have to explode like fireworks in front of the faces of their audience, daring them to look away. If a band’s success can be measured in their ability to accomplish this, then The Dirty Nil (4,653 likes) may be the best thing to come out of Canadian music in recent history. Quoth their bio: “The Dirty Nil play rock and roll - cause they couldn’t do a damn thing else if they tried.” It’s noisy and hard, desperate to break through everyone’s shell of indifference. Songs like the bodyslamming “Fuckin’ Up Young” are their strongest swings against the ice; listen and let yourself get cracked. They’ve earned it.
  • Recommended tracks: “Fuckin’ Up Young,” “Cinnamon”

-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at

*Submissions* If you’re in a band, your friend is in a band, or you just know a band with less than 5,000 likes that deserves to be heard, send a link to If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K No inquiries about Tomato Dodgers, please.

Posted 3 weeks ago



Described as “Indie Pop Gypsy Rock,” THE DUSKWHALESof Northern Virginia have been on a roll…

Posted 3 weeks ago