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THE HALL MONITORS

Location: Capitol Hill

Sounds Like: the Hives, the Raconteurs, the Black Keys

There's nothing flashy about the Hall Monitors, and that's exactly how they like it. The lo-fi foursome makes the sort of bluesy roadhouse rock that your old man might have washed down with a few boilermakers.

That's not to say their sound is outdated. If anything, their throwback anthems, such as the fuzzed-out stomp of "Girls," are invigorating, particularly in a city that has long appreciated a do-it-yourself aesthetic and a good, sweaty rock show.

"I don't think we're consciously or actively trying to create any sort of counterculture or counter-scene or anything," said bassist Matt Sullivan, 29, citing Link Wray and D.C. punk legends the Slickee Boys among the band's influences. "Most of us have pretty serious day jobs, so when we get together as a band, it's supposed to be fun and not hyperintellectualized." The group (Sullivan, brother Mike on drums and guitarists Sean Crowley and Ginger Richards) caught the ear of Wicked Cool Records, a small New York label that signed the Hall Monitors to a deal the band hopes will result in its first LP later this year.

Meanwhile, the focus is on an upcoming series of shows at Austin's South by Southwest music festival next week.

"It's hard not to get your hopes up when you've been accepted to the festival because it's such a big thing," said Crowley, who handles most of the band's vocals. "But we've got to keep in mind that there's over 1,800 bands playing this year, so we're going down there just trying to make the most of it."

Next Gig: April 15 at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490.

More Info: http://www.hallmonitors.net

IMPERIAL CHINA

Location: Mount Pleasant, Northwest Washington


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