Farao: Till It’s All Forgotten

From the opening notes, we are enveloped in sonic folds gauzy and evanescent. Guitars swirl with synths and merge with skittering percussion. Skimming lightly above the surface are the gently sparkling vocals of Kari Jahnsen, aka Farao.

Farao | U Street Music Hall (Washington DC) | Sept. 23, 2015
Farao | U Street Music Hall (Washington DC) | Sept. 23, 2015

From the opening notes, we are enveloped in sonic folds gauzy and evanescent. Guitars swirl with synths and merge with skittering percussion. Skimming lightly above the surface are the gently sparkling vocals of Kari Jahnsen.

This is Farao. What sets these songs apart from the masses adopting the color-by-number electronica-plus-breathy-vocals approach is Jahnsen’s play with structure — her ability to introduce twists and turns that keep things slightly off kilter.

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Sip on Fire: Gin Wigmore at Rock & Roll Hotel

The fans who packed DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel felt like they were in on a secret — one that won’t stay under wraps for long. Gin Wigmore is already well known in her native New Zealand, and she’s ready to take the States by storm with a crackling, powerhouse voice that commands your attention.

Gin1The fans who packed DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel felt like they were in on a secret — one that won’t stay under wraps for long. Gin Wigmore is already well known in her native New Zealand, and she’s ready to take the States by storm with a crackling, powerhouse voice that commands your attention. “I step on you to sip on fire,” Gin intones in her latest single, “New Rush.” Her voice simmers somewhere between a croon and a growl, and you can discern the reference points used by folks when talking about her music — Feist, Amy Winehouse, even Janis Joplin.

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On the Road with Vandaveer

This is my day with Vandaveer, a music-making, life-observing, heartstring-bending group that I’ve followed since my first days in D.C. I join them for a jaunt up to New York City — my old hometown, the city of concrete and steel, where dreams are swallowed whole and dreams are set free, where restlessness is the only constant.

Vndvr BoweryTake notes, take photos, repeat to yourself: assemble, testify, preserve. But it’s not possible to be a detached observer. A single show is not a standalone thing but part of an organic whole. It necessarily embraces you. You feel like you’re moving through someone else’s strange, beautiful, ambiguous dream. The present is the past devouring the future.

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Lines of Flight: The Mynabirds at the 9:30 Club

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Take equal measures of existentialist musings and political smarts and a voice that hums and crackles in alternating currents of vulnerability, whimsy, and ferociousness, and you get The Mynabirds: a mingling of piano, organ, synths, electric guitars, horns, drums — sometimes danceable, other times hymnal amalgams of melody and rhythm, with singer-pianist Laura Burhenn’s distinctive, arresting vocals at the center of it all. The pop shimmer draws you in. The gritty, soulful depths invite you to linger and explore.

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