WASHINGTON — Need to hear frenzied guitars or syncopated rhythms paired with lush vocals? Look no further than the DMV.
Or, at least explore the latest offerings from musicians with roots in the D.C. area.
This year, the region continues its growing roster of nationally-recognizable artists with Maryland rapper Rico Nasty snagging a major-label deal and Northern Virginia singer Kali Uchis releasing her much-anticipated debut full-length.
Whether it’s searing punk or galactic-cool soul, find your next favorite song right around the Beltway.
OG Lullabies, “CRUESCONTROL” EP
The OG is for zero gravity, which is what this D.C.-based artist’s blend of experimental soul, jazz and classical sounds feels like. But rather than a free-floating loss of control, “CRUESCONTROL” is a guided exploration through an inner universe, where undulating violins, pulsating percussion and OG Lullabies’ spry vocals lead to affirming self-realizations.
In September, the multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer will take her talents to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of Red Bull Music Academy with 60 other musicians chosen from around the world. Academy alumni include L.A. producer TOKiMONSTA, New York rapper Zebra Katz and D.C. (but now Brooklyn-based) rapper Oddisee.
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Rico Nasty, “Nasty”
If 2017 was the Year of Goldlink — his hit single “Crew” went platinum and snagged the rapper a Grammy nom — then 2018 is truly the Year of Rico Nasty. From The Fader to XXL to Pitchfork, music news outlets can’t get enough of the Maryland rapper. And, after five mixtapes and a growing, fervent fan base, she’s inked a deal with Atlantic Records, also home to Missy Elliott and Cardi B.
Her sixth mixtape, “Nasty,” is her first release under the record label and the clearest realization of her punk-trap sounds. Try and warn people ahead of time if you’re listening in public, because you will start moshing.
Spotify or Apple Music. In this photo: Rico Nasty performs onstage at the Atlantic Records “Access Granted” Showcase on June 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Atlantic Records )
Getty Images for Atlantic Record/Craig Barritt
Kali Uchis, “Isolation”
Now based in L.A., the Northern Virginia songstress has finally dropped her debut full-length, following much buzz for her sultry, genre-blending pop soul sounds on 2012’s mixtape “Drunken Babble” and 2015’s EP “Por Vida.”
“Isolation” is a crystallization of Uchis’ vision, where throwback soul moments seem reminiscent of Amy Winehouse, but slinky rhythms, seductive bass and the sprinkling of Spanish within the mostly English-language album clear the way for her own path. Optimal listening situations include an empty diner at 3 a.m. after a night of dancing, or a rooftop with a view of the sinking sun as the sky bursts with pinks, oranges and a shy sliver of baby blue.
Spotify or Apple Music. In this photo: Kali Uchis performs at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Indio, California. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Bacchae, “Bacchae” EP
Following its 2017 release “Down the Drain,” this D.C. punk quartet releases its ferocious self-titled EP, complete with acrobatic guitars, rollicking drums and biting vocals that demand action. Whether it’s to dance or to shake off people’s expectations, get ready for nonstop motion.
(Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)
More to check out:
Mock Identity, “ Paradise”
Honey, “ I’m Your Best Friend Admit It”
Lul Big Brother, “ Him So Cute”
LET, “Trouth” feat. Ciscero
Rezt, “ Murrlin”
Den-Mate,” Sick” (album “Loceke” comes out Sept. 28)