The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

‘Punk pixie’ Mundy brings an art-inspired show to the Black Cat

The DMV native is celebrating the release of their new album, ‘Future Nature’

Mundy will perform at the Black Cat. (Ethan Sahlin)
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Like many DMV natives, Mundy grew up going to the Black Cat. They describe one particular show as “life changing”: a concert featuring iconoclastic British punks the Slits and the band’s dynamo lead singer, Ari Up.

“I remember at one point [Ari] was like, ‘All right, now everyone, I want you to make your best bird sounds,” Mundy recalls, adding an emphatic, “Ca-caw!”

Now it’s Mundy’s turn to bring avian acoustics to the Cat, where they’ll celebrate the release of “Future Nature.” True to its title, the album is suspended between two worlds, featuring grounded, natural sounds like birds chirping as well as fuzzy bass and spacey synth notes that evoke sonic worlds to come.

For Mundy — a self-described “punk pixie” who lives in the forest — staying connected to and surrounded by nature is central to not just their artistry but their personal actualization. During the pandemic, Mundy started working on farms and became the manager of a flower farm.

They also learned to use the music software that allowed for the piecemeal recording of “Future Nature.” The album features contributions from across the map, including from Parliament Funkadelic players Benzel Cowan and Traf Lewis and main collaborator Kwesi Lee, who Mundy says is one of the only people who can help translate their synesthesia into songs.

“I’ll bring him a melody and he’ll play a chord with it, and I’ll be like, ‘You know, that needs a little more green and yellow in there,’ so we work well together,” Mundy says.

“Future Nature” showcases Mundy’s melodramatic, jazzy vocals and funk-punk-new-wave-soul sound, bounding from the slow-burning protest anthem “Velvet Revolution” to the bass-powered electro-pop of “My Way” to the synth-soaked, Baltimore club-nodding “Meow Monster.”

The record release show will serve as Mundy’s reemergence in a reawakening music scene, but also a celebration of a wide range of local artists, including a DJ set by Farrah Flosscett, live painting by Lisa Marie Thalhammer and a performance by drag artist Pussy Noir.

“I’m definitely a musician that likes to create art experiences and an environment for people where they feel safe and empowered to be free — to be the loudest versions of themselves,” Mundy explains.

Empowerment is key for Mundy, who is “coming out of the woods” to deliver not just an art-filled dance party but peaceful protest vibes.

“We need more light in these dark times, and I really want to lift people up and get everybody vibrating on a good frequency so we can stay kind,” Mundy says. “We’ve got to look out for each other.”

Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. (doors open) at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $20. Proof of vaccination is required.