Where words fail, music speaks. This old adage rings true for many singers and musical artists. If you’re looking for music that speaks volumes, check out this list of the best up-and-coming bands in the D.C. area and discover some new musical talent.
This singer, songwriter and pianist dynamo has hits featured on both pop and urban radio charts and has performed with major international artists, including French chart-topping rapper Soprano and Will.i.am. An international artist, Zahra Universe has toured and performed throughout the world, including Africa, Asia and Europe, and has made appearances in the media worldwide, including BBC and Univision. Her upbeat hit, “Sela Sela (Dance Together)” was selected as the official song for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
The War and Treaty
An acoustic Americana duo, The War and Treaty features a husband-and-wife duo that provides a snapshot of the life of a soldier. Their latest album, “The War and Treaty: Live at Blue House Studios,” takes listeners through a soulful yet folksy journey of a soldier returning home and the trials and triumphs shared with family. Tanya Blount is most known for her appearance in “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” for her performance with Lauryn Hill while Michael Trotter, a wounded war veteran, is a previous winner of the Baumholder Germany Military Idol.
Punk music and emo fans will absolutely love the latest album, “A Place of Our Own,” from Have Mercy, a four-member, independent rock band from Baltimore. A more refined and muscular version of their well-received debut album, their latest album features gritty vocals, shimmering instrumentals and haunting lyrics. Have Mercy made their debut in 2013 with “The Earth Pushed Back,” a highly acclaimed album that had MTV, among other punk rock aficionados, buzzing all over it.
For music that transports you to the beautiful country of Brazil, check out the DC-based duo Thievery Corporation. Eric Hilton and Rob Garza met in 1995 at the 18th Street Lounge, a popular destination for musicians. From there, they combined their talents to create two underground hit vinyl singles. Building a reputation as ambassadors for the trip-hop music genre, Thievery Corporation decided to use their next recording to reflect their shared passion—bossa nova music. Their latest album, “Saudade,” features orchestral strings, analog organ beats and bolero rhythms.
Bond and Bentley
With a sound that features a “kickin’ a** East Coast blues” a la the Black Crows and Sublime of the mid-1990s, Bond and Bentley is another DC band you have to check out. The popular group has performed more than 175 shows each year throughout the country and have performed with well-known national acts including Citizen Cope, Cake and Jimmies Chicken Shack. Their latest album, “Hold Steady,” features a blend of blues, soul and funk music that takes listeners through a journey of self-observance and personal reverence. Fans will love the soulful ballads, heady rock and roll beats and funky ska grooves.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.