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Four Play Artists That Should Be On Your Radar

May 3, 2013

Fourplay: Artists that should be on your radar, calendar, and Ipod.
By Monica Boland, Mike Coleman and Marcus Dowling

On Tap takes a look at four local and touring bands each month. If you are interested in being featured, please send your contact information, including your website, a list of upcoming shows, and at least two music tracks to



ALBUM: Lovejoy Revival
SHOW: Thursday, May 9 @ Hill CountryTheir name might translate to “The Nothings,” but Ames, Iowa roots-rock band The Nadas definitely deliver something of substance on their latest album, Lovejoy Revival. The Nadas have been making music for more than 20 years and they’ve always eschewed musical flash. They follow that template with success here. “The blind is off, there is no doubt, you’re the one I dream about,” lead singer Mike Butterworth pronounces with a heartfelt croon. “Without you, I’m half of me, without a doubt we’re meant to be.” Just when you think the album’s pace is getting a bit sleepy, The Nadas hit the gas on “Honor,” a driving track that evokes the jangling guitars of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The world could do without another tepid cover of “Beast of Burden,” but unfortunately The Nadas serve one up on Lovejoy Revival. Aside from that misstep, this is a rock-solid, well-produced Americana record that is bound to sound a little bit better with each listen.-MC
Hill Country: 410 Seventh St., NW, DC; 202-556-2050;



ALBUM: The Features
SHOW: Wednesday, May 15 @ Black Cat
With a well-established reputation and two decades into their time as a unit, The Features – a Nashville, TN-based rock quartet – broke with tradition and may have ultimately discovered their most intriguing work-to-date. Hot on the heels of landing yet another big movie placement for one of their songs (“From Now On” for 2011’s Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack), the band did not take their typical break between releases. Instead, their immediate decampment to Vancouver, WA’s Ripcord Studios was a change-of-pace wherein the band recorded their latest self-titled album. Lead single “This Disorder” is a funky thumper drizzled with an appealing touch of melodic synths. However, with an album that kicks off with the heavy, thundering “Rotten” and tours through everything from Bowie-styled soul to new wave glee, the band’s diversity provides a sound that both challenges and entertains.-MD
Black Cat: 1811 14th St., NW, DC; 202-667-4490;



ALBUM: Down This Road
SHOW: Thursday, May 23 @ State Theatre  
Local rocker Scott Kurt will open for Shooter Jennings (outlaw country legend Waylon Jennings’ son) at State Theatre to promote his brand new album, Down This Road. Down This Road has a polished sound throughout, no doubt due to being produced and engineered by Scott Kurt himself. Kurt, who has earned four nominations from the Washington Area Music Association, toes the classic country line with lyrics inspired by country greats – from road trips to hangovers. On his single “I Swore I Wouldn’t,” the Arlington, VA-based vocalist/guitarist sings about the vicious cycle of going out with his buddies, only to wake up with a killer hangover – a timeless subject, though he keeps it current with lines like “Tylenol and Gatorade/Old friends help to ease the pain.” Don’t miss Kurt and Memphis 59ers Nate Taylor (guitar) and Mike Toburen (bass) as they take the stage for an evening of country rock.-MB
State Theatre: 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church, VA; 703-237-0300;



ALBUM: Morning in Glen Burnie
SHOW: Friday, May 31 @ Black Cat
Indie-folk musician Tom McBride’s second solo album, Morning in Glen Burnie, gives a contemporary nod to Americana, blues and soul of years past. The singer-songwriter and guitarist wrote the album with classic folk, pop and country songs from his childhood in mind – everything from Roy Orbison to George Jones. McBride’s new album was also inspired by his years spent in Nashville, where he launched his career more than a decade ago and recently relocated to from the D.C. area. Since its February release, Morning in Glen Burnie has won the gold prize for the Songwriters Association’s Mid-Atlantic Song Contest for the album’s catchy pop song, “But I Don’t Care.” McBride’s songwriting chops truly shine as he effortlessly switches gears between the country twang of folksy ballad “When You’re All Mine” to a retro rhythm and blues sound reminiscent of soul pioneers Ray Charles and Sam Cooke on the smooth-as-honey “Julia.” Catch McBride at the Black Cat for a feel-good show that puts a modern spin on the classics.-MB
Black Cat: 1811 14th St., NW, DC; 202-667-4490;