Brothers done good: Bluebrain

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D.C. is known for a lot of things (oval office escapades, bad drivers, lack of any decent Mexican food within a 25 miles radius) but engaging electronic music really isn’t one of them. Regardless, there's a pulsating scene growing in warehouses along swept-under-the-rug New York Avenue, and in small clubs across the city. (Maybe not in Glover Park).

One of the groups most likely to draw outsiders to D.C.’s electronic sound is Bluebrain, an electro-pop outfit made up of brothers Ryan and Hays Holladay (formerly of New York’s The Epochs).

Bluebrain made its first major splash on D.C. with their “Boombox Walk” during the annual tourist clusterfuck otherwise known as The Cherry Blossom Festival. Along with other regional musicians (including Animal Collective’s Geologist), the DJs simply requested that interested parties bring boomboxes to the National Mall, while they supplied a large cache of cassettes made specifically for the event. It was a memorable moment for the D.C. art scene (probably because people realized they didn’t have to continually hop on I95 northbound in order to witness some innovative performance art). The brothers have kept the pace up with flash dance mob occurrences and DJ nights at Arlington’s new (and really only) major art venue Artisphere, alongside producing their first EP, Soft Power.

Although everything Bluebrain is doing for D.C.’s art scene is welcomed with open arms, their fresh take on electro-pop is what really makes me want to give them a hug. After dealing with more than a year of reverbed out, shoegaze-d, synth dripping electronic music, their lushly clear production style on Soft Power makes me want to dance (not just apathetically sway). The release blends pianos, silky strings, and clever vocal harmonies and while it's complicatedly layered, it's the kind of catchy music that effortlessly boosts endorphin levels.

Funky, sexy, power-building beats meet with assertive vocals on “Cult Following” (off of their Soft Power EP):

Blue Brain, “Cult Following”

A well-needed island in a chillwave sea.