DC Favorites Near Northeast Release Second Album
May 8, 2017 @ 12:00am
There’s something exciting about seeing your longtime favorite artist perform. The thrill of scoring tickets, the planning with friends, the big night’s arrival – and then the lights go down, the music starts, and you’re dancing and singing along to your favorite songs. We’ve all been there.
For me, watching a new band develop and grow is equally exciting – the excitement of discovery, of experiencing music you’ve never before heard played in a way that’s completely unique. Near Northeast is one of those bands.
Founded in 2014 and taking their name from the DC neighborhood of their origin, Near Northeast’s music conjures up visions of India, the Balkans and Appalachia. A quartet, Near Northeast far exceeds the sum of its parts: Avy Mallik (guitar, vocals), Kelly Servick (violin, vocals), Austin Blanton (bass, vocals) and Antonio Skaric (drums). While they each bring their own cultural sensibilities to the band, their songwriting chemistry and musicianship push past their individual backgrounds.
I had the pleasure of attending the album release performance for True Mirror, Near Northeast’s second album, at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church on May 5. Speaking with D.C. Music Download, Avy had said, “I think it’ll be an interesting concert because we’ll have performers that don’t normally perform together. We’re going to perform the whole album for the first time.”
For practically the entire show, the band was accompanied by guest musicians, setting the tone for an evening filled with sounds that never easily conformed to one genre, yet always remained accessible. Early on, the band was joined onstage by two horn players (Robin Swearingen on trombone and Allison Rosenberg on trumpet), adding a punch. For the second half of the set, Isabelle Posey contributed the depth and richness of her cello. Finally, helping to close the evening’s performance were Soumya Chakraverty on sarod and Debu Nayak playing tabla. For a local DC band still exploring its musical identity, the first complete live outing of True Mirror was a resounding collaborative success.
Mary Timony, of the band Helium fame, said in the current issue of Fader: “Being a musician is pretty social – to make your art, you have to do it with other people. It’s a community thing and people support each other.”
She goes on to list the nine best bands in DC right now. It’s time to add the tenth: Near Northeast.
Find Near Northeast on Facebook, and stream True Mirror here.