Sure, D.C. has lots of punk history, but when it comes to more bizarre sounds, it’s hard to compete with Baltimore art-school kids and Brooklyn bohos. Still, the District does have a small, active experimental and avant-garde scene, and it gets its due once a year at the Sonic Circuits festival. Last year, organizers placed Japanese noise champion Merzbow on the same program as local drone monster Blue Sausage Infant, and Austrian noise sculptor Fennesz alongside D.C. new-music duo Janel and Anthony. That’s the trick: Pairing world-class musical eccentrics with the best local talent—and the crazier the better. Sonic Circuits hosts individual shows throughout the year, often at Pyramid Atlantic, which are just as valuable. It’s not like anyone’s bringing homemade instruments to the 9:30 Club.