4 concerts to catch in the D.C. area: July 15-21 – The Washington Post

Watchhouse’s self-titled 2021 album is a reintroduction to the folk duo previously known as Mandolin Orange. Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, who are married and based out of Chapel Hill, N.C., chose a new name that better suits what they’re trying to do with their music. It refers to a friend’s cabin on the Chesapeake Bay that Marlin visited as a teenager, he told WBUR radio, where there was no electricity and only the company of others. The duo’s music has always effused a calming aura that now matches the inspiration of their new name. Their latest project features more layered instrumentation than usual, providing a lusher experience for listeners. On “New Star,” a faraway-sounding harmonica helps tell the story of their new baby. “Someday she’ll be older / Our eyes may cry / Look what’s become of me and my former,” Marlin and Frantz sing, as they can’t help but look forward. The nimble and delicate strumming on “Better Way” sounds like stars sparkling, and the couple closes the song by sincerely singing, “Hope you find a better way to be kinder.” Regardless of the name change, Watchhouse is still giving fans the tranquil and endearing Americana that they have come to expect. July 17 at 7 p.m. (doors open) at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 930.com. $35.
Hannah Georgas
Singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas opens her 2020 album “All That Emotion” by calling herself out. “Hide behind all that emotion / See how long you can keep going,” she sings on “That Emotion,” while subdued drums guide her through her coping. Georgas’s fourth album is produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, who also produced Taylor Swift’s “Folklore.” The 38-year-old Canadian singer’s previous works usually found her deep in thought as her sweet vocals articulated a relatable inner monologue. Georgas gives listeners more of that on her latest project while submerging herself more deeply into the nostalgia of it all. On “Same Mistakes,” she wants more for her younger self: A steady bass anchors the song as she sings, “I wish I could go back and tell my younger self / None of this matters though it hurts like hell.” She subtly refers to childhood trauma but never in explicit detail, instead letting listeners drop their own experiences in for hers so there’s a collective healing happening. Georgas beautifully executes self-introspection, letting her music speak her mind. July 19 at 7 p.m. at Songbyrd, 540 Penn St. NE. songbyrddc.com. $20-$22.
The Linda Lindas
The Linda Lindas’ song “Racist, Sexist Boy” was written after the pop-punk band’s 11-year-old drummer Mila de la Garza, who is Chinese, had a boy tell her that his dad said to stay away from Chinese people. In front of stacks of books at a Los Angeles public library, the four members enthusiastically performed the song with heads banging, and the video, rightly, went viral. Frustration is at the center of the song, but the group’s ultimately optimistic perspective shines through, too. “We rebuild what you destroy,” scream-sings Eloise Wong, de la Garza’s now-14-year-old cousin, while on bass. Along with 15-year-old Lucia de la Garza (Mila’s sister) and a friend, 17-year-old Bela Salazar, on guitar, the Linda Lindas released their debut album in April. Appropriately called “Growing Up,” the project is a concise almost 30 minutes of brave confrontations of tween/teen anxieties. On “Fine,” they sing, “You hear the shouting but you say it’s absurd / The things you say are more than just words,” as sharp and quick guitar riffs cut in and out. The Linda Lindas’ ability to get straight to the point with their self-assured lyrics would be impressive even if they weren’t minors. There’s a lot to look forward to if the band continues to use its music to show us what growing up is like. July 20 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open) at Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. theblackcatdc.com. Sold out.
Julien Baker
Julien Baker, born and raised in Memphis, is on her third album, and her commitment to blistering honesty isn’t going anywhere. On her 2021 project “Little Oblivions,” the singer’s truth-telling has more support from a fuller band of live instruments this time. Baker’s struggles with addiction have been a steady theme for her music and are the whole story on the opening song and album standout, “Hardline.” She sings the devastating line, “I’m telling my own fortune / Something I cannot escape,” just as robust drumming breaks through the background before a rousing chorus. When Baker sings, “I don’t need a savior / I need you to take me home” on “Relative Fiction,” it’s hard to believe she’s lived this much by age 26. On “Ringside,” listeners may wish she weren’t so hard on herself. “So you could either watch me drown / Or try to save me while I drag you down,” she sings, contemplating what her self-destruction is doing to those in her life with the help of a slightly chaotic guitar. However, her intense candor with herself is what makes her music resonate. Baker, and her listeners, can’t deny the truth. July 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Wolf Trap, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. wolftrap.org. $32.


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