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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.

Black and white photo of Amy sitting at/leaning on her piano
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Beyond the Artist: DMV Jazz Musician Amy K. Bormet

Amy K. Bormet is a D.C.-based pianist, vocalist, composer, activist who organizes the Washington Women in Jazz Festival every March to uplift women and nonbinary artists in the jazz community.
D.C.-based pianist, vocalist, composer, activist, and more, Amy K. Bormet is a staple to our music community, especially the local, but not limited to the national and international jazz realm. As well as putting out fantastic music – both solo and collaborations – Bormet has organized the Washington Women in Jazz Festival every March since 2011. Bormet is also the co-owner of Strange Woman Records, a record label she began in 2019 with her husband, guitarist/sound engineer Dr. Matt Dievendorf that “presents live events and recordings of adventurous improvised music”, featuring many artists from the DMV.

Bormet grew up around music, with a family of singers and a mother who played clarinet.

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Percussionist Advait ‘Avi’ Shah
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The Dentist Who Totally Rocks

Even when fixing teeth, Advait “Avi” Shah can’t stop thinking about music. A dentist by trade, Shah nonetheless enjoys a lively side hustle performing on the tablas and the dhol, traditional Indian instruments that he incorporates into various ensembles that marry Eastern musical motifs with Western modes such as rap and beatboxing. It’s a unique way to bridge his ethnic heritage with the experimental firmament of the American soundscape.

“That’s why I kind of fit in with this whole fusion of Western culture. Every band I played with has that,” Shah said recently from his Maryland home. But, because he’s mostly self-taught, he freely admits that “if I ever had to [play] something traditional, I’d be completely lost.”
On May 13, Shah will leave his drills and scrapers behind to join violinist Nistha Raj and Grammy-nominated progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.

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Author Maura Marcellino working in a greenhouse.
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Earth Month Recap with Maura

Hello Alchemical Records. I hope you all had a lovely Earth Month! Sustainability is a very important topic to me, as it should be for everybody. Since 2019, I have had the pleasure of working professionally combining two of my favorite things, live music and creating a better environment for us and generations to come. I have seen artists use their platform for the greater good, which has given me hope in what can seem like a lost cause sometimes. There are quite a good number of artists that fall in this category, but I wanted to share what I have experienced or seen.
Coldplay:

In 2021, I tweeted that I wanted to work/tour for a sustainability team for Coldplay. Not only is Coldplay a band that I have listened to for as long as I can remember, but they are the band that made me aware of concert sustainability, or lack thereof. One of my best friends, mentors, and former supervisor Lexis Yelis referred me to work the Coldplay show at FedEx Field and it was a dream come true learning experience.

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Clifford - Press Photo - Courtesy of the Artist
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Multilingual Artist Clifford: ‘The World Is a Very Large, Yet Small, Place Filled with People Who Are Just Like You and Me’

Maryland-based genre-bending artist Clifford creates music from a place of freedom. His distinct signature sound prompts audiences to live colorfully by embracing their authentic selves. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with Clifford to discuss his journey. Learn how being a multilingual dual citizen influences his songwriting, the most important lesson he has learned from collaborating with Grammy Award-winning drummer Jerome Brailey, fun stories from his experiences growing up on a farm, and why he believes that “evolving is your duty as an artist.”

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Girls Rock! DC campers performing at the 2016 Summer Camp Showcase at 9:30 Club
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Girls Rock! DC Empowers Our Community with Accessible Music Education for Youth and Adults

Girls Rock! DC is a music and social justice education program in Washington, DC for young people and adults that centers and uplifts marginalized identities in music.

Girls Rock! DC is a music and social justice education program in Washington, DC for young people between the ages of eight and 18 that centers and uplifts marginalized identities in music – women, queer, nonbinary, and transgender musicians, especially those who are people of color. I sat down with Girls Rock! DC’s co-executive director Shady Rose – artist, educator, activist, and DC native – who discussed why the nonprofit’s mission is so imperative, and how the organization commits to putting it in action by providing a safe space for these groups, while spreading awareness of the social imbalances in our music world.

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Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba poses in a car
DMV

Y La Bamba Comes to Songbyrd on May 16

Y La Bamba recently announced the April 28 release of their new album Lucha with the new single, “Dibujos De Mi Alma.” The new album is aptly time for a tour that passes through Washington D.C. with a stop at Songbyrd on May 16. NPR Music said, “[‘Dibujos de Mi Alma’] captures how it feels to yearn for someone while trying to avoid the pitfalls of toxic love.”

Pitchfork acclaimed, “Part wistful indie pop, part psychedelic folk, the lead single from the group’s seventh album, Lucha, makes peace with ambivalence.” Alchemical Records says, “‘Dibujos de Mi Alma’ is Latin psychedelia, juxtaposing sweetly delivered vocals amidst an always engaging ambience and swaying rhythms.”

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Husam - Press Photo - Courtesy of the Artist
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Syrian-American Artist Husam: ‘If I Was Going to Quit, I Should Have Quit a Long Time Ago’

What doesn’t kill you makes you a survivor is the most fitting description of Syrian-American artist Husam’s story. The D.C.-based songwriter and producer first embraced music while in college in order to process his pain, and along the way, he discovered a sense of purpose. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross, as she connects with Husam in recognition of Arab American Heritage Month. Learn what has surprised Husam most about his career, his message to anyone who feels hampered by their trauma, and details on his forthcoming single, which was influenced by the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Syria earlier this year.

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John McCutcheon - Press Photo - Eric Petersen
DMV

John McCutcheon Returns to the Barns at Wolf Trap Again: Though Touring Behind His 43rd Album, the Prolific Songwriter Has More Tunes in the Works

Singer-songwriter John McCutcheon returns to the Barns at the Wolf Trap on April 20. “I have played at the Barns more than any other venue in the world,” said McCutcheon. “The first time I played there was 1981, which I believe was when they just opened up.” And excluding the pandemic, he has played the venue annually. Fans can expect tracks from McCutcheon’s latest album, “Leap!”, his 43rd record—equating to about one per year – as well as long-time favorites. Learn more with contributing writer Eric Althoff.

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Annie Kuchenmeister of Loki's Folly onstage at a First Avenue show, playing guitar and screaming lyrics with Nissa on the drums by her side
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Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month with Sibling Punk Band Loki’s Folly’s Annie Kuchenmeister, Talking Debut Album ‘Sisu’

Loki’s Folly is an indie-punk trio that deserves to be on your radar. Based in Minneapolis, this band is quite unique because it is made up of a family of rocking young musicians ready for their voices to be heard. Read to learn more about the band’s impressive debut album Sisu and how it came to be, and to uplift Annie during this Autism Appreciation Month. – Annie Kuchenmeister (22, guitar/vocals), her sister Nissa (17, drums), and their brother Oskar (12, bass). Learn more with contributing writer Emma Page.

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Carolyn Wonderland - Press Photo - Marilyn Stringer
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Her Body of Work Is a Wonderland: Carolyn Wonderland Will Bring her Texas Blues to Rams Head On Stage

When asked by her friend and collaborator Cindy Cashdollar who would top her dream list of producers for her first album on Alligator Records, only one name came to Carolyn Wonderland’s mind: Dave Alvin. “She called him up, and he said sure,” Wonderland said in a recent interview about such fortunate happenstance. “He would refer to himself as the ‘mad rearranger.’” That album, “Tempting Fate,” is the 11th record of Wonderland’s career. Her songwriting weaves the sounds of blues, gospel, and even some country into its sonic landscape. Learn more with contributing writer Eric Althoff.

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Hematite - Press Photo - Courtesy of the Artist
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Gothic Western Rock Duo Hematite: ‘Life Is Constant Movement, You Just Have to Decide What Direction to Go’

On March 31, gothic Western rock duo Hematite released their debut EP. The one-of-a-kind collection takes listeners across the frontier on a wild journey of discovery and redemption, ultimately arriving at the realization that the past, present, and future are interconnected and evolving. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with two of the rock scene’s greatest gems, Davey Muise and Andrew Gaultier, to discuss the vision behind their new direction, the most important takeaway they want listeners to gain from their EP, and what survival and rebirth look like during challenging seasons.

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Eli Walfz - Eli Waltz profile, looking into distance leaning against wall
DMV

DMV Folk Singer/Songwriter Eli Waltz is Always ‘Burning Moonlight’

Eli Waltz is an Americana folk singer, songwriter, and bandleader. After living and performing in Beijing for a while, he now lives and is based in Washington, D.C. His group performs regularly in the DMV, with upcoming tours across the country. Waltz’s folk fingerpicking style, combined with his strong songwriting and dynamic vocals make for an enlightening listening experience, as well as his signature harmonica solos. Waltz also runs, hosts, and performs at several musical series in D.C. which feature local songwriters, usually in the folk, blues, and country genres. Learn more about Eli Waltz’s journey with contributing writer Emma Page.

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Laura Luv 1
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‘Motivate and Inspire’: Laura Luv Celebrates Women’s History Month with Alchemical Records

March is Women’s History Month, and this comes with a reflection and appreciation of women contributing to the music industry. From producers to writers, women have been the arbiters of some of the most influential pieces of art. D.C.-based Colombian singer, songwriter, and first-time Wammie nominee Laura Luv talks to contributing writer Margaret Adams about her background, as well as how her Colombian heritage and women have inspired her music, especially through her newest self-titled EP, Laura Luv, and why the presence of women and female representation is important in the music industry.

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Marilyn Hucek - Profile Crop
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Marilyn Hucek: ‘I Think the Biggest Superpower You Have Is to Be Yourself Wholeheartedly’

D.C.-based pop artist and fashion influencer Marilyn Hucek is the epitome of style, effortless chic, and impressive talent. The American-Chilean rising star continues to amass a loyal following, with more than 1 million Spotify streams to her credit. Hucek’s anthems move individuals to never settle for less than what they deserve. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with Marilyn Hucek in recognition of Women’s History Month. Learn why Hucek is “not afraid to fail,” how her multicultural background influences her art, her favorite clothing item in her collection, and her advice for emerging artists.

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Tommy Castro & The Painkillers - Kathleen Harrison
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Crusin’ for Some Bluesin’: California’s Tommy Castro Set to Return to Annapolis—and the High Seas—with You!

Tommy Castro believes that what is considered “blues” music has shifted over the decades. Thus, what you might hear played on B.B. King’s Bluesville on SiriusXM falls under a rather broad catchall of various influences. Tommy Castro & the Painkillers will bring their swinging’ West Coast sound to the Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis April 2. It’ll be a rocking and rolling return for the ensemble that is not to be missed. Learn more with contributing writer Eric Althoff, including details on a special offer available to fans who purchase a ticket to the show.

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