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Alternative rock group The Sometimes release new EP, Standoff, and play Jammin' Java, 1/5

If the likes of REM or Counting Crows spent some time in the Appalachians, you'd end up with The Sometimes. This band has a sound built from their Virginian roots, incorporating Americana and bluesy undertones into an alternative framework. Hailing from Fairfax, the quartet put out a new EP, Standoff, that inspires nostalgic introspection and features eloquent repetition. Energetic power chords and moderately raspy vocals produce a standout vibe, so don't miss The Sometimes play Battle of the Bands, 1/5, at Jammin' Java in Vienna. -Jonathan Goodwin

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DC punks Brick Top release debut EP Bored As Hell

If there's a DC band that's found the staples of punk, it's definitely Brick Top. Featuring raspy, yet clear vocals and a messy harmony between guitar and drums, these four guys have nailed a familiar, but distinctive sound that's exciting and is reminiscent of the 90s, recalling greats like Jawbreaker and Bad Religion.They just put out their very first EP and you can find the sweet title track below. There are only six tracks, but they explore a nihilistic sense of being and futile view of modern existence. It may be pop-punk, but that doesn't make it any less dark. -Jonathan Goodwin

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Rural rock group Lord Nelson releases new LP The County

A rootsy quintet belting out their vivacious sounds from Charlottesville, VA, Lord Nelson has the crunch of classic rock with a trombone smoothly spread across their melodies. The band has fantastic stage presence and lead vocalist Kai Crowe-Getty's voice distills the soul of Tom Petty with the charisma of Marcus Mumford. With lyrics heavily influenced by their Appalachian origins and harmonious band chemistry, their shows certainly aren't worth missing. You can catch a peek at their wonderful performing below, tonight, 9pm, at the Silverback Distillery in Afton, VA, or at Dr. Ho's in North Garden, 12/18. -Jonathan Goodwin

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Baltimore alt soul act Soujourne released new LP, These Seeds

Looking for the next big thing in funk? Look no further than Sojourne, a progressive soul four-piece belting out the finest sounds you heard from Baltimore. The lead vocalist, Trina Coleman, has pipes on par with Sara Bareilles and they have a wide spread of jams, from cheery upbeat melodies to slow cocktail lounge serenades. These Seeds is their debut LP and it’s a work of art. Though the band is entering a self-declared hibernation for the winter, you can catch them playing for Artworks on Maryland Public Television, 12/17, at 8:30pm. -Jonathan Goodwin

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JR JR took the 9:30 by storm, 11/6

Bouncing around must be easier since dropping the "Dale Earnhardt" from their name this summer because JR JR's feet barely touched the ground and the audience kept pace. With vocals smooth as silk and matching checked jackets, these boys from Detroit put on a hell of a show. I caught the last few songs of the opener Brothertiger, which perfectly set up JR JR to capture the audience’s attention and never let it go. Playing their latest single, Gone (see below), engagement with the crowd reached a fever pitch as everybody sang along and jumped in time to the beat. Give the video a watch below and keep your eyes peeled for the next set of tour dates! -Jonathan Goodwin

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