Sounds of D.C. vol. II / by Maxwell Young

"We developed a market that wasn't there.  In that, we're all torchbearers." - Sir. E.U

Sounds of D.C. Volume 2 encompasses a larger picture of the music and artists who make Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia a dynamic sonic environment.  Here, we celebrate familiar faces pushing the boundary of the local environment and those who have been fortunate enough to travel with their work and, perhaps, have let it evolve from new world experiences.

A lot has happened in the DMV since the first Sounds of D.C. playlist dropped last June.  The District's newest Starboy, GoldLink was nominated for a Grammy, Nappy Nappa and the Lads appeared on Adult Swim, and more local faces have started to garner mainstream attention with Dreamcast and Tony Kill both receiving features from The Fader.  Let's not forget about April + Vista either, the burgeoning neo soul duo, who after an almost two-year hiatus from releasing new music, have given fans two new tracks, "How To Get By" and "Own2," that have been spun on BBC Radio 1 via Julie Adenuga's weekly Apple Music show as well as receiving a highlight as Ebro Darden's Discovered pick on Beats 1.  This, of course, follows their performances on tour with GoldLink and Masego.

From this attention, 2018 feels more promising--like casual and national listeners alike are beginning to catch wind of the talent in the community.  And while local supporters have followed artists all over the DIY circuit (e.g., Rhizome, Studio Ga Ga, Paperhaus, and Uptown Art House just to name a few) and embraced tracks on free streaming services like SoundCloud, it seems as though more musicians are converting their audience to commoditized listening platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, and even compact discs, which have come back en vogue.  Odd Mojo kicked off the year with a stunning album, Channel Yo Mojo, that crystallized her affinity for nineties era hip hop, the internet drug lord, St. Clair Castro, FootsxColes, and multi-instrumentalist/singer OG Lullabies have all utilized popular streaming services as outlets for their sonics--and rightfully so.  Outside of the $5 to $10 ticket and suggested donation shows, supporters should engage with local music just like they do the Drakes and Rihannas of the industry.  It only sustains the DIY music ecosystem, but it also encourages more output.  With that being said, thank you, artists, for still seeing the value of offering your work for free.  Enjoy Volume 2 above, and if you like the artists you hear, try searching them on your go-to streaming platform.