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Get all the latest music news and reviews in the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Richmond, VA areas.Visit us daily and stay up-to-date on your favorite local and national acts.

GLOSSER standing on a checkered floor looking up at the camera.
DMV

GLOSSER Releases Deluxe Edition of Debut Record, DOWNER

When D.C. venues were ready to reopen after COVID-19, indie pop duo GLOSSER was ready to perform. The two, Riley Fanning and Corbin Sheehan, formed the band pre-COVID out of a shared aesthetic vision and passion for music storytelling.
Their first album *DOWNER* was released in January 2023, however they have decided to release a [__deluxe version__](https://open.spotify.com/album/0KLORhtj3ohV4FtbdjoKu5?si=iNZX9fiZSm2M6V8pRdBkow) exactly one year later containing four new tracks – two remixes, a reimagined song, and a cover – that they are hoping will give it a second life and allow them to continue performing around the area.

The band explains that they have spent many shows opening for touring bands that traveled through D.C. “We made music and then venues started to open again,” Sheehan says. Rather than having the “typical grungy” D.C. band experience, they uniquely went straight to club shows.

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Mystery Friends "Utopia" Album Art
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Mystery Friends Bring Utopia to Atlantis

We’ve been fans of Mystery Friends for a while now. The band released their debut album in 2019 and, like we imagine you are, are bracing ourselves for their followup album, Utopia, releasing January 23. Mystery Friends will be in full celebration mode, performing alongside fellow Washington DC-based rockers Kinda Evil at The Atlantis, DC’s newest and already iconic venue, January 26.

“We’re really proud of this album and we are pulling out all the stops for this show to really make it an event. We’re only the second local band to headline since they opened last year, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The latest hint of things to come on Utopia is served in the form of the aptly named and transcendental, if at times a little trippy, “Fever Dream.”

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Chris O'Leary sings vocals live on stage while holding a harmonica.
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Chris O’Leary Toes ‘The Hard Line’

While coming of age in Upstate New York, Chris O’Leary recalls his childhood home being replete with the sounds of everyone from opera to the Clancy Brothers, the Chieftains and Bruce Springsteen. But it was a disapproving look from his father, beholding some reprobate New Yorkers on the turntable, that effectively altered his son’s musical course.

“I was like 11 or 12, playing guitar and listening to KISS. My dad basically [said], ‘Turn that shit off!’” O’Leary recalls with a laugh. His father replaced the painted-up rockers’ record with Muddy Waters’s “Hard Again,” telling his preteen son to “give it a chance.”

“I heard [harmonica legend] James Cotton and that was it. I was hooked,” O’Leary said. “I got my dad to blame for my career choices.”

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Indie Maryland-based artist Mia Celeste poses in front of microphone smiling slightly.
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Mia Celeste Talks New Album and Why ‘Love Is Universal’

Frederick, Maryland-based artist Mia Celeste has a voice that will stop you in your tracks. Drawing from her Latino roots, classical, and jazz, the 17-year-old pianist, singer-songwriter, and producer creates an enchanting world with her music that rises effortlessly above the surrounding landscape.

Read to learn more about Mia Celeste’s early influences, including the role of her father Jaime Paredes, an established poet, her vision for the future of women in music, and the most important message that she wants audiences to take away from her new EP, The Songs That I Wrote Just For You.

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A Shrewdness of Apes band members posing together along a sidewalk.
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Come Alive with A Shrewdness of Apes

Washington D.C. progressive rock act A Shrewdness of Apes (ASOA) are poised to release their latest offering, Live from Jammin Java on December 28, 2023. Ring in the New Year with the first live EP to be released by ASOA and made available on all major streaming platforms. 
Recorded earlier this year while sharing a lineup with Outerloop and Roscoe Tripp at the iconic VIenna, VA concert venue Jammin Java, the live album was then mixed by Ben Green of Ivakota Studios.

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A headshot of Aria Velz, wearing a blue button down.
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Lesbians, Theatre, and TikTok with Aria Velz

Aria Velz is a director, TikToker, and Lesbian Media Enthusiast based in the D.C. area. On November 2nd, she sat down with me to talk about it all, from her latest production at Olney Theatre Center to the things that lead to her little corner on TikTok.

On October 29th, Olney Theatre Center wrapped its run of Prince Gomolvilas’ ‘The Brothers Paranormal.’ The disconcerting, borderline terrifying production was co-directed by Olney’s Senior Associate Artistic Director, Hallie Gordon, and Velz herself. The show was one of the spookiest times I have had in a theatre in quite some time. It was evident that the show was a well researched labor of love.

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Pennsylvania queer duo Witch Weather pose for a promo photo outside on the street.
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Witch Weather: ‘People Are Missing Close Connection’

Queer duo Witch Weather discuss new album and the influence of the DMV on their sound.

Philadelphia-based queer punks Witch Weather have a message for anyone who feels hopeless and worthless: you are not alone. With an irresistible sound that draws from 80’s goth and lo-fi grunge, the indie duo wears their heart on their sleeve, giving voice to complex emotions that many would opt to suppress in the recesses of their minds.

Join Alchemical Records as they connect with Witch Weather to discuss the band’s new self-titled album, their search for a sense of belonging as members of the queer community, the important element that keeps the duo’s creative bond strong, and the influence of the DMV on their sound.

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Velu O looks up to the sky in a pink shirt with sunglasses against a clear blue background.
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Velu O — Career, Motherhood, New Podcast Empowering Latinas

Colombian American artist Velu O manages an ever-growing list of roles within the DMV, including vocalist for WAMMIE award-winning band DeSanguashington; vocalist for all-women cumbia collective, La Marvela; booking agent for SOROCHE; host of podcast Latinas Be Like Us, and Board member of Dia De Los Muertos Benefit Fest.

Read to learn about Velu O’s latest projects that involve launching a solo artist career and founding Latinas Be Like Us, a podcast created to “empower everyday Latina superheroes,” as well as the reason she believes that motherhood may have ushered in her best season yet.

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A studio computer displays the Trilogy Sound Studio Logo.
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Trilogy Sound Studio is Passionate about Music Education

“Trilogy Sound Studio is a minority and veteran-owned, woman-led music studio based in Burke, Virginia” that was founded in 2021.”
I spoke with CEO Sarah Benrazek about the studio’s mission and overall work, as they are quite prominent within the DMV community – the studio is the 3x Winner of Washington City Paper’s “Best Recording Studio” Award in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Trilogy’s “vision is to build a platform for music independence for artists, creators, and music students.” Its “mission is to empower artists through music education and technology in our full-service recording and music production facility. The studio’s values are: “Creativity, Personal Ownership, Mindfulness, Innovation, Eclectic Collaboration,” and “Inclusivity.”

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Still from “Shapeshifter Energy Sessions"
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Celebrating NHHM with “Tropical Rockstar” Xinola

Dominican-Colombian singer-songwriter, art director, and audiovisual producer Xinola “is an experience ‘ni de aqui ni de alla (not from here, not from there)’.”
The musician is described as “authentic Caribbean fruit” with “Latin flavor and American flow. A jazz singer whose language is Spanglish inspired by the strength of all women and the eternal sound of migration.”

I had the pleasure of chatting with her about what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, and why celebrating it is so important. I also asked about her amazing music, such as “Shapeshifter” and its accompanying video that gives off a signature island summer vibe. You can feel her bright energy through the screen that perfectly goes along with her beautiful voice, (Spanglish) lyrics, and melodies. Her style is extremely unique, and she is a total (tropical) rockstar that is sure to go far.

“Everything started freestyling bachata and folklore in a Santo Domingo colmado,” says her website.

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Hardcore band Detachment poses for a seated promo photo.
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Hardcore Quintet Detachment Release Visceral Debut Album

Long Island hardcore quintet Detachment discuss their debut album, what it takes to make it as an independent artist, and memories of the D.C. area.
On Oct. 13, Long Island hardcore band Detachment released their debut album, Lack. The 10-track project, which features standout singles “Slug” and “BackBreaker,” delivers an immediate adrenaline rush from the very first blistering note to the last, creating a piercing lens under which to examine issues ranging from mental health to the search for meaning.

Join Alchemical Records as they connect with Detachment to discuss how Lack differs from the band’s previous work, the most important message behind the project, strategies the band uses to make their shows an experience that feels “worth it” for fans, and Detachment’s most memorable moments the D.C. area (one of which involves a guy falling off of a speaker at a festival).

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The North Country band sits together outside in front of a red photo backdrop. A wooden table in front of the band displays yellow and white flowers.
DMV

Traveling with The North Country

Give a listen to the new single “The Invisible Hand” from D.C.’s own North Country, and see what comes to mind.  Its influences are many, including—to my ears—1980s New Wave and Radiohead.  But Andrew Grossman, the band’s frontman, would rather its DNA be apparent to the ear of the listener rather than strictly defined by its songwriter. 

“It’s funny the stuff that people said they hear in that song,” Grossman said.  “And it’s all been stuff that I’ve listened to and liked, but maybe wasn’t explicitly thinking about when I was writing it and when we were recording the whole thing.   

“It wasn’t deliberate, but I’m sure it filtered down and came out somehow.”

Indeed, The North Country is making a name for itself in the capital area with its experimental soundscape. The group, which will be playing DC9 on Oct. 26, entails Grossman and five other musicians. Grossman met drummer Kirk Kubicek when they both studied at the University of Maryland’s arts scholar program. Many of the rest of the group met at our city’s dearly departed Bathtub Republic—where Grossman also lived for a time.

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Headshot of Jhosua Rodriguez in front of his studio computer.
DMV

A Talk with Mixit Studios’s Ever-Innovative Jhosua Rodriguez

Jhosua Rodriguez has seldom had a moment in his life not surrounded by music. He grew up in Cali, Colombia, a city brimming with constant dancing and musical influences from all over the globe. His upbringing was instrumental to what would become his life’s work. “I started writing songs at the age of ten,” he said, “and I’ve been just in love with music. It’s been my essence, ever since I found out that I had some sort of talent for it.”

Though he is now primarily a producer, Rodriguez’s beginnings were rooted in singing and songwriting. Rodriguez’s knack for music was spurred further by winning a local award for “the best rock singer” in Cali. This title brought him some regional fame when he was only a teenager, inspiring him to constantly tour with his band for three years. As he progressed as a musician, he took up more interest in the behind-the-scenes of his songs.

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Blues artist Coco Montoya poses with guitar in front of graffiti wall.
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L.A. Bluesman Coco Montoya Returns to D.C. for Double-Header

Career bluesman Coco Montoya discusses his upcoming D.C. area shows and how he carved out his own unique sound after taking advice from Albert King and B.B. King to heart.  
For a career bluesman like Coco Montoya, having the great Albert Collins as a mentor set the then-young man on a lifelong path to follow in the spirit of his late musical counselor.

“I was pretty green when I went on the road in 1972. He was like a father figure,” Montoya said of learning under Collins’s able wing. “It reached beyond the music. He was constantly looking out for me.”

Though Collins died in 1993, Montoya continues to keep his mentor’s music alive and well in his own output, including on the new album “Writing on the Wall,” which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues chart. Touring behind the album, Montoya and his ensemble have two stops in the capital region this week, Oct. 10 at the Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis and then AMP by Strathmore in North Bethesda Oct. 13. 

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aSanTIS posing for the camera with headphones on (for accessibility)
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aSanTIS: ‘You Are a Part of the Highest Form of Creation’

Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.

This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”

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