Source: Bandcamp Daily.
On the surface, Washington, DC seems to be a city of transients—waves of people flowing in and out of the area to the various tempos of congressional terms, academic contracts, and non-profit grants. The mechanisms of government and academia that propel this tide, coupled with skyrocketing rents and hyperspeed gentrification, don’t exactly encourage the kind of community building that would typically lead to a thriving music scene. But the city’s homegrown popular music offers a counter-narrative; the rapturous, immutable beat of go-go and the socially conscious punk of Dischord Records offer spaces for both congregation and opposition. There’s also the city’s rich history of jazz, which can be found on DC’s excellent radio station WPFW, which sports the tagline “Your Station for Jazz & Justice.”
Though it’s less acknowledged on a national level, there is also a thriving underground community of musicians exploring adventurous, left-field, and avant-garde forms of electronic music, jazz, rap, and punk that similarly challenge the notion of DC as a city of isolated, ambitious bureaucrats. There is a refreshing lack of barriers between these worlds, and a spirit of collaboration that exists across genres. This sub-underground of like-minded seekers is centered around the community and art space Rhizome in Takoma, at the very most northern edge of the District itself, though there have been past hubs like the roving festival Sonic Circuits and the now-defunct space Union Arts.