The D.C. music scene has always been a vibrant intermingling of world-class musicians with roots in countless genres. As the world attempts to recover from Covid-19, both new and established acts from the area are barreling back headfirst into the music scene — and they’ve got a lot to share. Read on for our reviews of 10 local artists’ impressive new releases.
Bartees Strange’s debut album, “Live Forever,” was released in October 2020 and reflects the same angst widely felt during the height of Covid-19. Opening track “Jealousy” is one of the most contemplative and subdued tracks on the album, leveling in stark contrast to the gamut of other songs infused with strong arena-rock, punk, and hip-hop influences.
“Boomer,” which has streamed over 1 million times on Spotify, features Bartees at his strongest. The upbeat, rap-infused alternative pop beat refuses to box itself in, with Bartees’ powerful voice relaying a measured angst in the verse, building to a sweeping, woeful chorus almost akin to an explosion: “And right when I get all my hopes up, something explodes lord/I never win.”
The Deluxe Version, which was released this October, features two new tracks: “Weights,” a melancholy punk-rock meditation on lingering feelings after a breakup, and “Flagey God Redux,” a rawer, stripped-down version of the similarly upbeat “Flagey God.” The original track, with a hazier, more layered production, matches the artist’s nebulous emotions: “If I was wrong/Let me be/I feel like a ghost right now,” while “Redux” is a refreshing rejection of this uncertainty with its light, airy riffs, and rhythmic pulses.
The remix of “Flagey God” is also a clever reimagining of a song about déjà vu: “Girl, you asked me if I get the déjà vu/I do with you.” You might get a little déjà vu from “Live Forever” (Deluxe Version), but don’t miss the opportunity to hear these amazing new tracks from this burgeoning star.