Four Play: Artists That Should Be On Your Radar

On Tap takes a look at four local and touring bands each month. If you are interested in being featured, please send your CD along with contact information, including your website and a list of upcoming shows, to On Tap Magazine. Attention Four Play: 25 Dove St., Alexandria, VA 22314.

By Marcus Dowling and Jon Kaplan

Morning Light EP

ALBUM: Morning Light EP
Show: Saturday, December 3 at IOTA (CD Release)
Roughhewn outlaw vocals mix with skilled folk musicianship on local rockers the WeatherVanes Morning Light EP. The veteran players in the Alexandria, VA-based quartet celebrate the release of their latest work on Saturday, December 3rd at Arlington’s IOTA Club & Cafe. In five songs, the nearly two-year-old band meets its expectation of celebrating “whiskey, weather and women,” the alternative niche created where folk, blues and rock connect, proving to be creatively bountiful. For example, two-stepping ballad “Black and Blue” features in the pocket drumming, driving rock guitars augmenting plaintive folk melodies and a hook straight out of the Johnny Cash school of iconic angst. Those attending the live performance will be given a free download card for Morning Light, allowing all to enjoy the show and continue to support the band as well. -MD
IOTA: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-522-8340;

Mokey Doris

ALBUM: Mokey Doris
Show: Saturday, December 3 at Jammin’ Java (CD Release)
Intentionally disaffecting and melancholic post-punk highlight the debut album release from DC quartet Mokey Doris. A celebration for the release of their recent 12 song effort occurs on December 3rd at Vienna’s Jammin’ Java. A band dwelling in the realm of legendary acts like Nirvana and Pavement would sound to the uninformed ear like a trite homage. However, given that lead singer Kalem Jones is willing to share in the angst of his time spent in an Inova mental facility, their sonorous rock, dwelling in minor key progressions, is honest, refreshing and worthy of appreciation. “I spent the night in hell after twilight ecstasy” begins the haunting and reflective “So We Stayed Home,” and lead single “Like a Star” ‘s intricate musicianship weaves alongside grunge trending guitars. Mokey Doris’ music is for fans of songs sung with emotional daggers and played with bad intentions, approaching happiness but finding solace in heartache. -MD
Jammin’ Java: 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna, VA; 703-255-1566;

We are the Dreamers

ALBUM: We are the Dreamers
Show: Sunday, December 18 at IOTA (CD Release)
Tiffany Thompson’s impressive new EP, “We Are The Dreamers,” is a call to arms with soaring melodies and instrumentation that has elements of folk, rock, electronica and pop swirling around within. It might remind you of songs you have heard before, but that doesn’t mean it’s an imitation. The fact that it can easily blend in with more well-known national artists like Keane, Ellie Goulding and Laura Veirs just means that Thompson is in good company. “We are the dreamers,” she sings on the title track, “waking and shaking the city that’s been sleeping.” “Home” ponders the possibility of salvation through love, and appears twice on the EP, once in an acoustic version that highlights Thompson’s powerful vocals. “We Are The Dreamers” is fun but intense, catchy and sexy, and maybe just the right soundtrack for a New Year full of resolutions and hope. -JK
IOTA: 2832 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-522-8340;

You & I
Show: Friday, December 16 at Artisphere (CD Release)
The “hardest working musician in DC” is back with another CD, and this one was recorded live at Cue Studios in Falls Church, VA, using the three microphone configuration known as a “Decca Tree,” used by Decca Records in the 1950’s. The producer is Jim Ebert, who has worked with Trawick before, and the tracks here feature a stripped-down lineup with Trawick on acoustic guitar and vocals, Josh Himmelsbach on mandolin, piano and backing vocals, and a guest appearance by DC rapper Flex Mathews. Trawick has labeled his genre “urban folk rock,” and that fits this CD well, with its blending of modern (hip hop) and traditional (live recording, acoustic instruments). Fans of G. Love and Jason Mraz will find lots to like on tracks like “Brick by Brick,” which pops and crackles with Trawick’s funky, percussive guitar and Mathews’ rousing freestyling. -JK
Artisphere: 1101 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-875-1100;

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