Summer Music Guide: Must-See Indie Rock Everything's Copacetic

In the beginning, indie rock was music for malcontents. Discordant guitars, fire-breathing vocals, and palpable disillusionment were all tools of the trade. Perhaps no one said it more succinctly—or hoarsely—than Paul Westerberg back in 1984: “I’m so! I’m so! Unsatisfied!” The winds have changed countless times since, and in one of the genre’s most prominent current modes, political strife, recessionary angst, and personal anxiety are all but absent. Call it copacetic-core—an ethos perhaps best exemplified on Days, the 2011 album by Ridgewood, N.J.’s Real Estate. For several years now, dreamy, reverb-coated guitars, plaintive vocals, and easygoing themes have proliferated throughout the indieverse, and last year the thick, wistful haze of Young People’s Church of Air, the latest from D.C. art-poppers Deleted Scenes, seemed to announce that this gentle breeze has begun to ripple through the District, too. Deleted Scenes sometimes invokes personal strife, but plenty of other local bands are happy to stick with plain ol’ good vibes. Just in time for summer, you’ll have plenty of chances to hear some of this blithe optimism for yourself. District trio Teen Mom has been making waves with it bright, lilting guitar pop, and you can catch them on June 29 (DC9, $8), where they’ll no doubt play their easygoing anthem “Always Happy.” Then there’s Teenage Aviation (Black Cat Backstage, May 19, $10), whose cheerful tunes channel the simpatico energy of late-era Velocity Girl. If you like your indie rock chill but smothered in distortion and accented with the occasional baseball organ (how quintessentially summertime!), your best bet is psych-pop newcomers The Tender Thrill (Comet Ping Pong, June 19, $10).

ALSO SEE

June 7: The Clean

On the heels of New Zealand indie label Flying Nun’s 30th anniversary, legendary kiwi-poppers The Clean make a rare voyage to northern hemisphere to play some of the jangly favorites from their three-decade career. Current Merge labelmates Times New Viking open. Rock & Roll Hotel, $13–$15.

June 14: Marisa Nadler

Boston dream-folkie Marisa Nadler makes songs as delicate and haunting as spiderwebs, and she’ll be playing some of the tracks from her new record, The Sister. DC9, $10.

July 5: The Men

With their brand of gloriously sloppy, Dinosaur, Jr.-invoking caveman rock, New York’s The Men should pummel the Independence Day hangover right out of your skull. DC9, $10.

July 20: The Promise Ring

Nothing feels good like reliving your teen angst. Second-gen emo favorites The Promise Ring are bringing their reunion show to town, and screaming along is greatly encouraged. 9:30 Club, $20.

Aug. 17: Dirty Projectors

One of the most anticipated summer releases is Swing Lo Magellan, the new album from Brooklyn’s prismatic indie-funk outfit Dirty Projectors. Lead by frontman Dave Longstreth’s arty, kaleidoscopic riffage, the band will unveil the new material when it plays with Baltimore-based openers Wye Oak. 9:30 Club, $20.

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