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Old favorites, new hopefuls highlight spring’s indie scene

Electropop group Goldfrapp follows up their last critically acclaimed release, “Seventh Tree,” with



Electropop group Goldfrapp follows up their last critically acclaimed release, “Seventh Tree,” with their fifth studio album, “Head First” on March 23. Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have modified their sound over their career from electronic balladry to electropop dancebeats. This release wouldn’t be out of place in the ’80s with its retro sound and visual images evoking Xanadu-era Olivia Newton John.

Five-piece Norwegian band Serena-Maneesh are back March 23 with a new release, “S-M: Abyss in B Minor.” The band has been compared to My Bloody Valentine with their use of guitar distortion effects that create their noise pop sound.

Glam rock-disco favorites Scissor Sisters return with their first album in four years, “Hurrah! A Year of Ta-Dah.” Singer Jake Shears said in promotional materials that this release will sound more “masculine.” He also said he will be singing with a “deeper” voice as he would not be relying as much on the falsetto heard in previous albums. The album is due out later this month.

Erykah Badu follows up 2008’s “New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)” with “New Amerykah Part Two (Return of the Ankh)” on March 30. Expect Badu to tap into her feelings about romance and relationships. First single and video “Jump In The Air (Stay There)” features Lil’ Wayne.

Last year, gay Sigur Ros frontman Jónsi released with his partner Alex Somers, “Riceboy Sleeps.” On April 6, he will release a solo effort, “Go.” It features acoustic and string arrangements by Nico Muhly who has previously worked with Björk and Anthony and the Johnsons.

For those seeking something with a bit more R&B/soul feel, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings release their fourth studio album, “I Learned the Hard Way,” on April 6. Throughout their previous releases, they have continued their sound fronted by Sharon Jones, who has a vocal range that is reminiscent of early Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin.

MGMT return with their follow up to 2007’s critically acclaimed “Oracular Spectacular” with “Congratulations” on March 16. The new release will be a complete piece rather than containing individual singles as on their first album. First released track “Flash Delerium” has them sounding less poppy than before.

Electronic group Javelin recreate the digital sounds of the ’80s on their new album, “No Mas.” Expect the unexpected as they deliver their new release on April 20.

Gay indie singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright returns on April 20 with his sixth studio album, “All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.” This release is mostly produced by Wainwright himself. Of the 12 songs, three include adaptations of William Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Singer and songwriter Kate Nash debuts her next album “My Best Friend is You,” on April 20. Bernard Butler, ex-guitarist of Suede produced her album. First track and video, “Do Wah Doo,” sees Nash delivering “girl band” pop.

After a four-year hiatus, Sweden’s The Radio Dept. releases their third album, “Clinging to a Scheme,” on April 20. File this one under ethereal dream pop for those lazy Sunday afternoons.

New York-based electronic duo, The Golden Filter, release their debut album Voluspa on April 26. First track, “Hide Me,” sounds like a cross between Goldfrapp and Dot Allison.

The New Pornographers head back into the indie scene with their fifth release, “Together,” on May 4. The album features appearances by Zach Condon of Beirut and Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

Swedish duo Club 8 will release their seventh album, “The People’s Record,” on May 12. First track “Western Hospitality” shows influences from Bow Wow Wow of the ’80s.

On May 18, ex-Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn, comes out with a follow up to 2007’s “Out of the Woods,” which saw her once again drifting into the electro-pop arena. If first single, “Oh, the Divorces!” is an indicator of what’s to come, this could be a less dance-driven affair given its violins and piano accompaniment.

San Francisco band Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti will be releasing their new album, “Before Today” in late spring. They have already released their first single off the album, “Round and Round,” which has them sounding more produced while retaining a unique and eclectic sound.

Local musician Tom Goss recently released an ep called “Politics of Love,” which is available on his web site, The ep explores his emotions about recent events surrounding marriage equality. Goss will be playing songs from the CD at the DC Center on April 1 at 8 p.m.

Submit a tip about the local music scene to [email protected].


Music & Concerts

Musical icons and newer stars to rock D.C. this spring

Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, and more headed our way



Brandi Carlile plays the Anthem this month.

Bands and solo artists of all different genres are visiting D.C. this spring. Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will team up to perform at the Wolf Trap in June, and girl in red will play at the Anthem in April. Some artists and bands aren’t paying a visit until the summer, like Janet Jackson and Usher, but there are still plenty of acts to see as the weather warms up. 


Brandi Carlile plays at the Anthem on March 21; Arlo Parks will perform at 9:30 Club on March 23; Girlschool will take the stage at Blackcat on March 28.


Nicki Minaj stops in D.C. at Capital One Arena as part of her North American tour on April 1; Bad Bunny plays at Capital One Arena on April 9 as part of his Most Wanted tour; girl in red performs at the Anthem on April 20 and 21; Brandy Clark plays at the Birchmere on April 25; Laufey comes to town to play at the Anthem on April 25 and 26. 


Belle and Sebastian play at the Anthem on May 2; Chastity Belt performs at Blackcat on May 4; Madeleine Peyroux stops at the Birchmere on May 5; The Decemberists play at the Anthem on May 10; the rock band Mannequin Pussy performs at the Atlantis on May 17 and 18; Hozier plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 17 as part of the Unreal Unearth tour. 


Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will sing soulful melodies at Wolf Trap on June 8; Joe Jackson performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 10; the Pixies and Modest Mouse are teaming up to play at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 14; Maggie Rogers plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 16 as part of The Don’t Forget Me tour; Brittany Howard headlines the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap on June 22; Sarah McLachlan plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 27; Alanis Morissette performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 29 and 30

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Music & Concerts

Grammys: Queer women and their sisters took down the house

Taylor Swift won Album of the Year



When the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her answer was simple: Nine. She stated: “I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” RBG did not attend the Grammy’s last night, but her spirit sure did. Women, at long last, dominated, ruled and killed the night.

Cher, in song a decade ago, declared that “this is a woman’s world,” but there was little evidence that was true, Grammy, and entertainment awards, speaking. In 2018, the Grammys were heavily criticized for lack of female representation across all categories and organizers’ response was for women to “step up.”

Be careful what you wish for boys.

The biggest star of the 2024 Grammys was the collective power of women. They made history, they claimed legacy and they danced and lip sang to each other’s work. Standing victorious was Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA (the most nominated person of the year), Lainey Wilson, Karol G, boygenius, Kylie Minogue and Victoria Monét. Oh, yes, and powerhouse Taylor Swift, the superstar from whom Fox News cowers in fear, made history to become the first performer of any gender to win four Best Album of the Year trophies.

In the throng of these powerful women stand a number of both LGBTQ advocates and queer identifying artists. Cyrus has identified as pansexual, SZA has said lesbian rumors “ain’t wrong,” Phoebe Bridgers (winner of four trophies during the night, most of any artist) is lesbian, Monét is bi and Eilish likes women but doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, ask any queer person about Swift or Minogue and you are likely to get a love-gush.

Women power was not just owned by the lady award winners. There were the ladies and then there were the Legends. The first Legend to appear was a surprise. Country singer Luke Combs has a cross-generational hit this year with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” When originally released, the song was embraced as a lesbian anthem. When performing “Fast Car,” surprise, there was Chapman herself, singing the duet with Combs. The rendition was stunning, sentimental and historic.

Chapman, like many of the night’s female dignitaries, has not been public with her sexuality. Author Alice Walker has spoken of the two of them being lovers, however.

The legend among legends of the night, however, was the one and only Joni Mitchell. Not gay herself, she embodies the concept of an LGBTQ icon, and was accompanied by the very out Brandi Carlile on stage. On her website, Mitchell’s statement to the LGBTQ community reads, “The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.”

Mitchell performed her longtime classic “Both Sides Now.” The emotion, insight and delivery from the now 80-year old artist, survivor of an aneurism, was nothing short of profound. (To fully appreciate the nuance time can bring, check out the YouTube video of a Swift lookalike Mitchell singing the same song to Mama Cass and Mary Travers in 1969.) In this latest rendition, Mitchell clearly had an impact on Meryl Streep who was sitting in the audience. Talk about the arc of female talent and power.

That arc extended from a today’s lady, Cyrus, to legend Celine Dion as well. Cyrus declared Dion as one of her icons and inspirations early in the evening. Dion appeared, graceful and looking healthy, to present the final, and historic, award of the night at the end of the show.

Legends did not even need to be living to have had an effect on the night. Tributes to Tina Turner and Sinead O’Conner by Oprah, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor and Annie Lennox respectively, proved that not even death could stop these women. As Lennox has musically and famously put it, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Even the content of performances by today’s legends-in-the-making spoke to feminine power. Eilish was honored for, and performed “What Was I Made For?,” a haunting and searching song that speaks to the soul of womanhood and redefinition in today’s fight for gender rights and expression, while Dua Lipa laid down the gauntlet for mind blowing performance with her rendition of “Houdini” at the top of the show, Cyrus asserted the power of her anthem “Flowers” and pretty much stole the show.

Cyrus had not performed the song on television before, and only three times publicly. She declared in her intro that she was thrilled over the business numbers the song garnered, but she refused to let them define her. As she sang the hit, she scolded the audience, “you guys act like you don’t know the words to this song.” Soon the woman power of the room was singing along with her, from Swift to Oprah.

They can buy themselves flowers from now on. They don’t need anyone else. Cyrus made that point with the mic drop to cap all mic drops, “And I just won my first Grammy!” she declared as she danced off stage.

Even the squirmiest moment of the night still did not diminish the light of women power, and in fact, underscored it. During his acceptance of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a bone to pick with the Grammy voters. He called out the irony that his wife Beyoncé had won more Grammys than any other human, but had never won the Best Album of the Year. Yeah, what’s with that?

But then, it brought additional context ultimately to the fact that the winner of the most Grammys individually … is a woman. And to the fact that the winner of the most Best Album of the Year awards … is a woman.

Hopefully this was the night that the Grammys “got it.” Women are the epicenter of The Creative Force.

Will the other entertainment awards get it soon as well? We can hope.

Most importantly, in a political world where women’s healthcare is under siege. Will the American voters get it?

A little known band named Little Mix put it this way in their 2019 song “A Woman’s World.”

“If you can’t see that it’s gotta change
Only want the body but not the brains
If you really think that’s the way it works
You ain’t lived in a woman’s world

Just look at how far that we’ve got
And don’t think that we’ll ever stop…”

From Grammy’s mouth to the world’s ear.

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Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson returning to D.C, Baltimore

‘Together Again Tour’ comes to Capital One Arena, CFG Bank Arena



Janet Jackson is coming back to D.C. this summer.

Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this week an extension of her 2023 “Together Again Tour.” A new leg of the tour will bring Jackson back to the area for two shows, one at D.C.’s Capital One Arena on Friday, July 12 and another at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena on Saturday, July 13.  

Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster. LiveNation announced the 2023 leg of the tour consisted of 36 shows, each of which was sold out. The 2024 leg has 35 stops planned so far; R&B star Nelly will open for Jackson on the new leg. 

Jackson made the tour announcement Tuesday on social media: “Hey u guys! By popular demand, we’re bringing the Together Again Tour back to North America this summer with special guest Nelly! It’ll be so much fun!”

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