On any given night of the week in the DMV, there are myriad options for live music, which is why we’ve started a segment called DC Live to call out our favorites. First up on the docket is a Boston-based indie band known as Air Traffic Controller, who are playing at Jammin’ Java TONIGHT in Vienna.
The story behind ATC is an interesting one — singer-songwriter Dave Munro had served in the US Navy as a real-life air traffic controller, sending out 4-track demos during his deployment. After his enlistment was up, Munro arrived back home in Boston to discover he had inadvertently established a fanbase, which prompted the career switch under the same name. He first met singer Casey Sullivan, and then the duo quickly grew into a quintet with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Steve Scott, Richie Munro on drums, and violinist Jeremy Van Cleave. Their following hit single “You Know Me” is off their 2012 sophomore LP Nordo, which soared to the number one spot on the Hype Machine at the time and sealed their status as all-American indie darlings.
Another upcoming show we’re excited about is the influential Canadian experimental rock band Holy Fuck, who are hitting the road in support of their first album in six years — Congrats. They’re known for having a particularly electrifying live show with lots of improv and electronic ingenuity, so make sure to check them out at DC9 this coming week on July 21. Watch the video for new track “Tom Tom” below.
And finally, the NYC-based indie band Future Generations are playing Tropicalia August 5 with support from local DC bands Wylder and Clones of Clones. The foursome first came together in the dorms of Fordham University, who bonded over their nerd-like zeal and shared appreciation of all forms of pop music. Now the quartet is gearing up to release their self-titled debut album via Frenchkiss Records July 29. Stream the infectious album single “Stars” and be sure to come out to the show if you’re in the area.
For those unfamiliar, Communion is a label founded by artists — Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons fame, Kevin Jones from Bear’s Den, and producer Ian Grimble. One of the unique platforms they offer for new artists is called Communion Residency, in which they host a monthly, multi-genre showcase of local, national and international emerging talent. This September they’re expanding to 11 US markets, including a stop at DC’s Jammin Java. The lineup for the September 11 show includes Conrad Sewell, Freedom Fry and Clara-Nova. To encourage everyone in the area (or one of the other host cities) to support this innovative medium for music discovery, we’ve provided a mini-preview of what these respective artists have to offer below.
Conrad Sewell is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter and new talent who hails from Australia. Fans of music producer Kygo will recognize him as the voice of his single “Firestone,” co-written by Sewell. Check it out below.
Another talent currently making a name for themselves is French/American duo Freedom Fry, who were ranked in the “100 Emerging Artists from SXSW” list on Spotify and had a #1 single on The Hype Machine this past year. For a sample of their sound, stream “Break Into a Musical” below. According to bandmates Bruce and Marie, the track is about “someone looking back on a failed relationship and remembering how they used to sing silly songs together, and now that memory is fading out. It’s actually a sad song with a happy sounding chorus.” Nonetheless, most of their songs are fairly upbeat so don’t be too disheartened.
Last but not least, the artist we’re probably most excited about sharing from the lineup is CLARA-NOVA. The name and concept for LA songstress Sydney Wayser sprung from her subconscious, in the form of a dream. Clara-Nova is essentially a distillation of all the qualities Wayser wished to possess: “She’s the newer version of myself. She’s a hybrid between Athena, Joan of Arc and Aphrodite. She’s a power woman, but still really feminine.”
Wayser’s debut single, “An Island” is a sprightly treasure of a tune with a backing track that keeps you guessing. She also has an EP in the works which was produced in part by Shawn Everett (known for his work with Alabama Shakes, Weezer and Julian Casablancas). Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of sources such as deep sea dance parties, ancient Egyptian ritual and Martian folklore, the new EP is sure to be one to watch out for. Better yet, go see her perform the tracks live before her stardom usurps her stage persona.