Before we get into the music, let’s stop to appreciate the awesomely quirky names on tonight’s MoDaddy’s bill: Ugly Purple Sweater, Vincent’s Missing Ear and Grammer School (note the intentionally ironic misspelling). So far so good.
That said, this show is more than a name game. Ugly Purple Sweater might grab one’s attention with its moniker, but the D.C. five piece has the chops to hold that attention. The band tags itself as “apocalyptic folk rock,” but its latest album, Conventions, delves headlong into lush and rhythmic pop that, although explosive, is more uplifting than world-ending. From the sleepy and distorted doo-wop of “Roatan” to the anthemic, Arcade Fire-esque “Stars,” the band swims in the most accessible waters of indie rock.
Ugly Purple Sweater originated as a duo (hence the folk leanings), but expanded its sonic pallet in 2010 after founding members Sam McCormally and Rachel Lord “decided they wanted to make more of a racket,” according to the band’s Facebook. The new lineup hasn’t altogether abandoned the acoustic ballads that once dominated Ugly Purple Sweater’s repertoire; nearly half the songs on Conventions retain a rootsy folk feel. But the band is clearly moving away from twangy banjos and Appalachian harmonies in favor of driving rhythms, electric instruments and dynamic builds.
Tonight, Ugly Purple Sweater shares the MoDaddy’s stage with Vincent’s Missing Ear and Grammer School, two local pop outfits whose penchant for warm keys and bouncy melodies should make for an easily digestible and unusually seamless bill.
10 p.m. $5.
Ugly Purple Sweater – “Ba Ba Ba”
Vincent’s Missing Ear – “Anything But You”
Grammer School – “Small Places”