What’s the first thing you think of when you think about music from Washington D.C.? A few of you will jump to the city’s landmark hardcore and punk scene. But as (REALLY) great as they are, D.C. music didn’t begin, nor will it end, with Ian MacKaye or The Bad Brains. But even if they’re not exactly punk, local D.C. band Paperhaus carries on that DIY spirit.
The band, as many do, got their start in a basement in the ‘burbs. D.C. teenagers Alex Tebeleff and Eduardo Rivera slung guitars and dug on groups like Television and Radiohead and artists like Fela Kuti. They teamed up with drummer Brandon Moses and bassist John Di Lascio to form Paperhaus. The band eventually settled in a row house (dubbed “The Paperhaus“) in the Petworth neighborhood of D.C. where they set up a DIY studio-cum-performance ‘n’ art space where artists could come in, record, and play a few tunes for folks. The band released their debut, self-titled EP in 2011.
Last month, NPR’s Bob Boilen premiered a new Paperhaus tune called “Helicopters” from their upcoming EP Lo Hi Lo (out May 28). There’s a very cool push-and-pull at work on the song. The delicately dancing guitars and hushed vocals contrast nicely with the strong rhythm work and pulsing bass. A buzzy guitar solo adds some extra zip as well. Paperhaus recorded the Lo Hi Lo EP at D.C.’s legendary Inner Ear Studios. The studio opened shop in the late 70s, and it’s hosted the who’s who of D.C. punk and alternative (including the fellas mentioned up top) in the years since. Now you can add Paperhaus to that list.
Paperhaus will be swinging through Austin tonight at Holy Mountain.