Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Holiday Music Guide

The holidays are a great time of year … unless you’re looking for live music. Let’s be honest, this time of year carolers and choirs are usually the best you can do on the concert scene with most bands worth watching spending their holidays at home. 839presspas.jpg

Since our readers deserve more (naughty or nice, we’re giving you the benefit of the doubt), this season we picked through the holiday slate to find a few presents among the lumps of coal. If you’d like to hear some non-traditional holiday tunes to get in the Christmas spirit, you could do much worse than checking out the Ten out of Tenn Christmas tour at IOTA Club and Cafe, Saturday, Dec. 12. The tour, and compilation album released in November, features 10 acts out of Nashville – hence the name – performing a mix of original and classic Christmas tunes.

The lineup includes a slew of up-and-coming indie artists: Erin McCarley, Matthew Perryman Jones, Butterfly Boucher, Griffin House, Tyler James, KS Rhoads, Trent Dabbs, Katie Herzig, Andy Davis and Jeremy Lister. Their close relationships – most of the artists are friends – allows for some interesting interplay during the course of the set. Tickets are $15. If you’re in the mood for more of a blue(grass) Christmas, swing by The State Theatre that same night. They won’t be playing holiday music – as far as we know – but you will hear some talented tune playin’ courtesy of The Infamous Stringdusters.

The ‘Dusters snagged three International Bluegrass Music Association awards for their 2007 debut, Fork in the Road, and now the sextet has put out their self-titled sophomore release. $12 gets you into this one. Friday, Dec. 6 sees a star shoot into Jammin’ Java – proving again that owners Jonathan, Daniel and Luke Brindley are in fact three wise men. Singer-songwriter, and “One Tree Hill” guest star, Tyler Hilton takes the stage to share the sounds that have earned him comparisons to Elton John and the impressive, the talented, if somewhat less prolific, Howie Day. Tickets are selling for $15. No Second Troy has always ranked among our favorite local bands, and they take their turn at IOTA on Dec. 5 ($10). The D.C. band impressed us with the record-contract-ready chops with single “The Gardens After Lockout” and now the boys are back with new tune “Masquerade,” available on iTunes.

Stocking stuffer anyone? Oh, and since nothing speaks to the holidays like a live show in which simulated bodily fluids are sprayed on the audience, GWAR is coming to 9:30 Club. And here you thought your family made the holidays interesting. Leave it to these hard rocking “aliens” to give you your money’s worth. That is, if you think getting sprayed with fake urine is getting a good return on your dollar.