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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.

Duran Duran Appreciation Day - Keith Valcourt with Duran Duran's John Taylor in 1989.
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Duran Duran Appreciation Day: The Many Lives of the Greatest New Wave Band

August 10 is Duran Duran Appreciation Day, a chance for us to celebrate one of the greatest bands of the 1980’s New Wave era. The cynical may say, “Why does a pop band like Duran Duran deserve an appreciation day?” One word: survival. In a time of one-hit wonders, Duran Duran has managed to endure for more than 45 years, building a catalog of songs of our lives and creating legions of lifelong fans. Join contributing writer Keith Valcourt as he chronicles his journey at Capitol Records alongside Duran Duran from their starts to their upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Kyle Burk, Co-Owner of Capitol Hill Books / D.C.-Based Musician, The Failed Poets, speaks on National Book Lovers Day
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National Book Lovers Day: Celebrating the Intersection of Literature and Music

Music is a dynamic form of storytelling, so the intersection of literature and music should come as no surprise. Some of the biggest artists of our time have penned songs inspired by novels. From David Bowie (George Orwell), to Kate Bush (Emily Brontë), to Common and Jill Scott (Chinua Achebe), to Coldplay (Cormac McCarthy), the interconnectedness is unmistakable. In recognition of Book Lovers Day, celebrated annually on Aug. 9, the Alchemical Records team connected with bibliophiles from the D.C. area and beyond to discuss music inspired by literature and their all-time favorite reads.

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Alternative artist Richie Gomez discusses debut album, The Light We Needed, with Alchemical Records
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Richie Gomez is the Light We Need: Always Learning, Always Ready

“Don’t wait” DMV- based musician Richie Gomez notes toward the end of our interview, “Just get in there and do it.” Apt advice from the Peruvian-born alternative rocker, who sat on a collection of songs for 10 years, waiting for a magic moment of alignment to record his music and share it with the world. “Work through the kinks” he urges, “There’s never a perfect moment. There will be things that you will learn while you are recording, which are just as valuable as the thing you walk into the studio with. Put the songs out and move forward.” Learn more about Richie Gomez’s inspiring story with contributing writer Charlie Maybee.

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Mames Babegenush - Dennis Lehmann
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Mames Babagenush Returns to the U.S. for the First Time since 2019

Jewish music from Denmark? Coming to D.C.? See it to believe it on July 27 at Bossa Bistro & Lounge when Mames Babagenush, returns to the U.S. for the first time since 2019. Denmark has an extremely small Jewish population of under 10,000—in a country just shy of 6 million in total. Thanks to Mames Babagenush, the traditional, uptempo “klezmer” music of Eastern Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews is finding a more worldwide audience—even if all but one of the members of the group are Gentiles. Join contributing writer Eric Althoff, as he discusses the band’s upcoming show, the history of their musical tradition, and more.

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Heather Stebbins performing with cello and synthesizer at Slingshot Festival - Heather Stebbins with a student and synth - Celebrate World Listening Day Celebration
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World Listening Day Celebration with Heather Stebbins

July 18 is World Listening Day, organized by the World Listening Project, in partnership with the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology. In celebration of the complexities of sound, Alchemical Records connected with Heather Stebbins, a DMV-based educator and musician whose work focuses on the properties of sound. Stebbins’ relationship with music began at an early age, where she lived just outside of Baltimore, learning cello, and has since grown exponentially. Join contributing writer Emma Page as she explores Stebbins’ influences; albums, including one that pays homage to her grandparents; and the importance of improv in her work.

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Toronzo Cannon - Photo by Mike White
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Toronzo Cannon Brings His Chicago Blues to the Birchmere

Toronzo Cannon’s song “Insurance” might very well likely drive you to fits of painful laughter. The song, off his 2019 album “The Preacher, the Politician Or the Pimp,” pokes more-than-gentle fun at the need to get coverage lest a health emergency befall you—if you can afford it (ditto for the eventual bill). It’s that unique ability to make blues fans laugh through their tears that has granted Cannon a most unique career in music. Join contributing writer Eric Althoff as he sits down with Toronzo Cannon to discuss Chicago’s sound, playing with a certain guy called Buddy, and Cannon’s upcoming show on July 19 at the Birchmere.

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Alicia Blue Press Photo by Tammie Valer
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New EP Inner Child Work by Alicia Blue Will Leave a Lasting Impression

When Alicia Blue released her debut album, Bravebird in 2020, the then L.A.-based artist was told the record sounded like Nashville. Now that she has relocated to Nashville to work with songwriter and producer Lincoln Parish, formerly of Cage The Elephant, Blue is amused by feedback suggesting that her latest EP, Inner Child Work (Releasing July 15 via Magnetic Moon Records), ‘sounds more like L.A.’

Some of this ‘confusion’ is certainly the result of the removal of physical restrictions from collaborating and producing music, as ever-expanding opportunities for remote collaborations reveal…

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Joe Downer - Eric Brown Photography
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Joe Downer: From Metal to Americana

Award-winning Americana artist and songwriter Joe Downer was born in the United Kingdom, but calls the DMV home. He moved to the States when he was young and settled in the DMV area, where he’s lived ever since. At 15, he got his first guitar and has not looked back since. Downer loves the area, and attributes a big piece of how his sound and self has developed to the DMV area and community, which he describes as “vibrant and supportive.” Learn more about Joe Downer’s inspiring story with contributing writer Jaci Jedrych, including his journey from rock and heavy metal to indie folk, how music helped him overcome dark seasons in his life, and why he believes music is the great healer.

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LG (Team Genuis) - Photo by Anna Azarov
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Getting into the Fast-Paced Workflow of LG (Team Genius)

There are many musicians in the world who take an enormous of time to write and develop music between big releases. Meanwhile, there are other artists like LG (Team Genius) who have constant flow that seems never-ending. The insatiable drive of the Black, queer, Philadelphia-based rapper is undeniable, and she has worked hard to channel that flow into a seamless string of singles, EPs, and albums over the last several years, never failing to put her best foot forward. In recognition of Pride Month and Black Music Month, learn more about LG’s exciting journey with contributing writer Charlie Maybee.

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Wild Story - Katie Hargrove and Viv Parker
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Finding Pride in a Sea of Negativity: Katie Hargrove of Indie Duo Wild Story

Los Angeles-based indie pop duo Wild Story, formed by best friends Viv Parker and Katie Hargrove during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consistently delivers hard-hitting music that finds itself in the hands of those who need to hear the band’s uplifting messages most – this can mean those who feel isolated due to negative perceptions of their sexuality. In recognition of Pride Month, read more to learn about how Wild Story’s Katie Hargrove navigates her authentic queer perspective and implements this passion for human connection into her music storytelling with Alchemical Records’ contributing writer Emma Page.

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Shemekia Copeland performs in Los Angeles on March 18, 2022 - Photo by Victoria Smith
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The Queen of the Blues Is Back on the Road, and Heading to D.C. – Shemekia Copeland Headlines Columbia Blues Festival

Shemekia Copeland took a necessary break to give birth to and begin raising her son. However, she had no way of knowing the furlough would be exacerbated by the pandemic. Copeland is now ready to be back in front of audiences, including at the Columbia Pike Blues Festival in West Arlington on June 18. In honor of Black Music Month, join contributing writer Eric Althoff as he sits down with Copeland to discuss the show, preview her upcoming album, and delve into topics of motherhood, America’s violence problem, and more.

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Joseph Michael Jones
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Joseph Michael Jones: ‘Just Because Someone Isn’t Seeing You As Something Doesn’t Mean You’re Not That’

Multifaceted creative and DMV native Joseph Michael Jones is one of a kind. Blending the roles of visual artist, author, playwright, actor, musician, and industry professional, he demonstrates the freedom that comes from creating a life on your own terms. Learn more about Joseph Michael Jones’ journey with contributing writer Cynthia Gross, including his favorite DC9 Nightclub memory, how he navigates his identity as a queer Black man, and the most important lesson he has learned during his growth process.

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Morgxn peforms "Wonder"
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All the Colors of the Human Voice: This D.C. Conductor Rounded Up a Stellar Cast for PBS Pride Month Special

The programmers and artists involved in PBS special, “True Colors: LGBTQ+ Our Stories, Our Songs,” had a novel idea: Music could be the ultimate leveler. In celebration of Pride Month, join contributing writer Eric Althoff as he goes behind the scenes to explore the songs and stories of “True Colors” with members of the star-studded cast, including Founder and Artistic Director of the American Pops Orchestra, Luke Frazier; Grammy Award winner and Broadway veteran André De Shields; and Black trans operatic vocalist Breanna Sinclairé.

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$avannah Hannah - Crop 3
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Rising Bronx-Based Rapper $avannah Hannah: ‘I Have No Urge to Be Anything Other than Myself’

A proud product of “the hood,” Bronx-based artist $avannah Hannah is one of the hottest rising talents in the area rap scene, captivating the attention of a growing list of industry heavyweights, including Cardi B and Nicki Minaj. Learn more about $avannah Hannah’s exciting journey with contributing writer Cynthia Gross, including the heartbreaking circumstances that led to her starts as a full-time musician; the most important thing she learned as a featured artist on Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow; and her special message in honor of LGBTQ Pride Month.

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Caitlin Min Fa
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Caitlin Min Fa: ‘It’s Important to Drive the Awareness that All Walks of People Can Succeed in This Music Industry’

Pop singer-songwriter Caitlin Min Fa has led a life constantly influenced by music. From a young age, the native of Melbourne, Australia, had a dream to not only be heard, but to ensure that the music she wrote could be shared around the world, and that’s exactly what she’s living out. In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Min Fa spoke with contributing writer Eric Althoff about her inspirations, how she comes up with her unique music, and what we can expect of her with the world once again opening up.

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