Big name acts make their way through the District, and even AU’s campus, on a regular basis. But the D.C. music scene isn’t limited to Jason Mraz stopping by DAR Constitution Hall. D.C. offers up its fair share of impressive native musical acts. Below, you’ll find just a few of the great artists the city has to offer.
As soon as "Dizzy," the opening track on The Sketches’ debut album, begins to play, comparisons to the Beatles are undeniable. "Secret Alphabets," released in 2007, reveals a band comfortable with their roots, showcasing tight, three-part harmonies and straightforward rock beats. Charlie Bernardo, lead singer and primary songwriter on the album, embraces his Freddie Mercury-esque voice to explore octaves some female vocalists can’t even reach. The quartet fills out their melodic, mainstream sound with Bernardo’s brother Manny on piano and guitar, Greg Watkins on electric and double bass and Dave Magazine on drums.
Upcoming dates: Rock and Roll Hotel, Aug. 28, with Carolina Liar.
Friday Night Boys
Andrew Goldstein, the original Friday Night Boy, began the band as a solo project he maintained while floating around as guitarist for other local bands. Their pop/dance sound has begun garnering industry attention - the band was recently featured on TRL as a band to keep on the radar. Goldstein combines techno loops, his breathy voice and arpeggiated guitar riffs to ensnare any listener on the prowl for something upbeat. They are currently showcasing their carefree sound up and down the East Coast with All Time Low and Hit the Lights.
Upcoming dates: Sterling Community Center in Sterling, Va., Aug. 23; Recher Theater in Towson, Md., Aug. 24.
Thrushes, listing Phil Spector as one of their main influences, aim to recreate his infamous wall of sound with their dreamy sonic landscapes on their debut record, "Sun Come Undone." This Baltimore-based trio’s other influences include Belle and Sebastian and the Chiffons, which contributes to their experimental, retro sound. Lead singer Anna Connor draws a diverse, fluctuating picture where poetic lyrics appear along the way. Effect-heavy guitars played by Casey Harvey provide a shoe-gazing canvas which bassist Rachel Tracy paints on to provide a guide for the journey.
Upcoming dates: Hampden Fest in Baltimore, Sat., Sept. 13; The Ottobar in Baltimore, Oct. 2.
Junior League Band
If music led by a sleepy, soft voice and filled out with upbeat drums, fiddles and banjos intrigues your ear, then investigate the Junior League Band. Lissy Rosemont’s family actively participated in the folk scene, so she is no newcomer to Americana music. On "Oh, Dear," their 2007 LP release, Rosemont swings in and out of blues bass lines and country fiddle riffs to create a gentle, easy sound that is both engaging and enjoyable.
Upcoming dates: Black Cat, Oct. 4; IOTA, in Arlington, Va., Oct. 31.
Lloyd Dobler Effect
It’s surprising a band that has played together for over six years just released their self-titled, studio debut this past July. But the Lloyd Dobler Effect, an energetic and forceful band, doesn’t rest on their laurels as they construct melodic rock that never leaves the pocket. They swing from introspective, synthesizer-led jams to wailing guitar solos that keep the beat rolling. With lead vocalist Phil Kominski at the helm, the Lloyd Dobler Effect has cultivated a diverse audience with their tight performances and candor with fans.
Upcoming dates: Nottingham’s Labor Day Bash in Columbia, Md., Sun., Aug. 31; The Greene Turtle in Frederick, Md., Sept. 13; Baltimore Music Conference, Sept. 18.