Best Indie Rock Bands in Washington, D.C.

May 1, 2014 8:00 AM

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Music is the soundtrack to our lives and few genres strike a chord like indie rock. The highs and lows, rises and falls of life are told in the epic stories that take us to the mountaintop and back. Here are five indie rock bands from Washington D.C. that know how to fully envelop the ideology of this journey that is life.

The Dismemberment Plan

This indie rock band was the bees knees during its height before breaking up in 2003. A decade later, to the excitement of its fans, the group reunited. Before its split, The Dismemberment Plan released four critically acclaimed albums including what is widely considered its breakthrough record, “Emergency & I.” Group members Travis Morrison, Eric Axelson and Jason Caddell make up the band’s original cast. Drummer Joe Easley joined the group after original drummer Steve Cummings left the band following the recording of their debut album. The band’s latest release, “Uncanney Valley,” has been called by many the group’s best record to date.

Young Rapids

Formed in 2011, Young Rapids is a four-man band that fused each members’ own musical backgrounds into a unique sound all their own. Guitarist Joe Bentley, keyboardist Dan Gleason, lead guitarist Nick Martin and drummer Colin Kelly each bring their own flair to the band. The band’s 2012 self-recorded debut album, “Day Light Savings,” was funded in part by a fundraiser on Kickstarter and was completed after six months of recording. The popular group is known for its super high-energy live performances, and has been featured at venues all around town including the Black Cat, Rock N’ Roll Hotel, DC9, the Dunes and even The Kennedy Center.

Megaphone Barons

This group’s sound is a self-described mix of “protest and sophistication.” The Megaphone Barons is an unconventional band of four members whose many background influences in music such as folk, classic rock, grunge and 60s oldies have fused to create a sound that fans love. Its members, vocalist and guitarist Christopher Lewis, Tim Preston on the drums, violinist Dan Davydoff and Adam Marlowe on bass, collectively give the group what The Deli Magazine calls a “modern chill-wavey vibe.” The band’s two albums, “Menagerie” and “Here.Us.Now,” have established the group as a major voice in the DC indie rock scene.

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The Very Small

This band may have formed in a typical way—adolescent boys playing music together—but its talents are truly unique. The Very Small is an indie rock band that describes itself as “…90s rock kids who fell in love with harmonies and weirdness.” The group has come a long way since the days of rehearsing in a neighborhood basement. The band’s “weirdness” struck a chord with listeners who embraced the band’s 2008 debut self-titled album “The Very Small.” The group was well on its way—but life always has a way of intervening. Graduate school and the departure of a band member put the group on a semi-hiatus. However, in the fall of 2012, The Very Small began to record a second album. With group vocalist and guitarist Robin Smith, drummer Aaron Mann and newest member bass guitarist Zack Berman, the band is back with its 2014 sophomore release entitled, “Zoomed Way Out.”


Brenda: the snazzy name says it all. This up-and-coming DC indie rock group has put in the time to hone its craft in order to generate a fresh and unique sound that is catching on with music lovers everywhere. In its very early days, the band didn’t mind ruffling the feathers of a few row house neighbors for the sake of perfecting its craft. Today, the group’s four members, Dave Lesser (vocals/guitar), Alex Kozen (vocals/lead guitar), Jonee Whitefoot (vocals/bass) and Leah Gage (vocals/drums), continue to rise in popularity. The band’s debut album “Brenda’s Day Out” released in April 2014.

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Kevin Don Porter is the author of OVER THE EDGE and MISSING—two mysteries available on Visit his website at

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