The Personal Is Experimental

D.C.’s first Queering Sound event was back in 2001, but this now-annual staging of experimental audio art has its roots in a 1999 performance titled “Deconstructing the Bea(s)t.” “We were jokingly calling it the ‘anti-Pride,’” says J.S. Adams, a member of local music group BLK w/BEAR and curator for the Queering Sound series. Adams’ group […]

Circle’s Unbroken

Rites of Spring’s self-titled 1985 LP is the best record Dischord ever released. Label co-owner Ian MacKaye’s seminal bands Minor Threat and Fugazi have had the most impact on punk. But Lungfish, above, is the group that built Dischord’s greatest discography, which now has a surprising addition. Formed 25 years ago in Baltimore, Lungfish released […]

Metal Edge

Memorial Day: It’s a time for reflection, a time for barbecues. And in Maryland, it’s also a time to bang your head — severely. Celebrating its 10th year, Baltimore’s Maryland Deathfest (MDF) has established itself as a Memorial Day weekend tradition for metal fans. The four-day-long extreme-metal fest is way more fun than a family […]

Living Single

Jess Matthews sings like a child talking during a time out: Each word is fiercely enunciated, delivered with tense determination and absolute innocence. But Matthews, pictured far left, isn’t 4; she’s a 30-something songwriter who fronts America Hearts, a jangly D.C. indie-pop quartet putting a modern twist on the idea of a “singles club.” Seven-inch-single […]

Silver Spring Soul

The Numero Group’s meticulously curated and expertly packaged Eccentric Soul series showcases independent soul music from the ’60s and ’70s. The label rescues true gems from these micro-scenes, which would otherwise be lost to the heaps of 45s, LPs and master tapes getting dusty in disorganized basements. Previous Numero releases have focused on Chicago and […]

Subatomic Sounds

D.C. resident Richard Chartier, above, uses computers and synths to create ambient art that hums like a chorus of charged particles. Chartier’s latest release, “Built Through,” is a collaboration with Robert Curgenven, and the duo remix and edit each other’s compositions and recordings to create a colossal yet minimalist soundscape. This is headphone music — […]

Meet the Beatles

“The Beatles: The Lost Concert” is a 92-minute documentary about the Fab Four’s first show in America, right here in D.C. But based on the film’s trailer, it’s 60 minutes too long. The 12-song performance lasted just over a half-hour, so the rest of the movie is filled with archival footage and talking heads such […]

The Many Sounds of the City

Singer-songwriter Ted Leo’s 2001 LP “The Tyranny of Distance” is a D.C. classic. Leo, a longtime local scene fixture, recorded it a few years after his previous band, Chisel, broke up, and it marked the start of a post-mod pop sound that would become his trademark. To mark the album’s 10th anniversary, Ted Leo and […]

Soul Music

I’m not religious, but I am devoted to religious music. Bach’s sacred works, Burning Spear’s odes to Jah, the Sufi trances of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” — music inspired by a higher power often translates into sonic blessings. On “Timbuktu Tarab,” Khaira Arby, above, sings praises to Mohammed (on the […]

At the Heart of ‘Dark Matter’

While his peers seem to belch up mixtapes after every meal, GZA prefers a more deliberate approach to songwriting. That’s why he’s formed his next record’s concept and title — “Dark Matter” — before the songs have even been written. It’s not the first time the Wu-Tang Clan alum has started a project this way: […]