Furlough foxtrot, shutdown shimmy


Day three of the government shutdown. Downtown is a bit of a ghost town. On the bright side, restaurants are offering shutdown specials. My favorite variation: half-priced drinks for fed employees, members of Congress pay double.

Yesterday, the 9:30 Club, my favorite live music venue in Washington DC, offered a two-for-one special on tickets. That got me thinking about making a playlist for these troubled times.

I’ve been toying for a while with the idea of chronicling my time in D.C. through concerts I attend and, more generally, music that captures joyful moments and propels me through tough times. Since I’m mostly “nonessential,” this seemed like a good opportunity to start this project. Plus, some of my favorite bands have recently released or will soon release new albums: MGMT, The Head and the Heart, and the Wood Brothers, to name a few.

I was trying for some alliteration in labeling this my “shutdown shimmy” playlist. My coworker made the brilliant suggestion of a new dance, the furlough foxtrot. I’ll have to see which name sticks, but either way, Cold War Kids makes the list.

The sardonic quality of “Hang Me Up to Dry” seems fitting for this absurd political standoff. The pulsing guitar and dissonant piano chords form a eerie backdrop to the song, which opens: “Careless in our summer clothes, splashing around in the muck and the mire.” Nathan Willett is presumably singing about an awful ex, but the imagery also captures the current state of Congressional mud-slinging and finger-pointing.

This isn’t a new song, but it’s a sturdy indie rock piece that draws on a straightforward metaphor: “You’ve wrung me out too, too, too many times.” Hey, Capitol Hill — you listening? Don’t hang us out to dry.

Cold War Kids will be playing at the 9:30 Club on October 24th and 25th.