Mainstream dance music has made big money in D.C. since the days of Tracks and the Capital Ballroom. But if you want to hear the weirder stuff—darkwave, six-feet-under-the-ground techno, noise with a smattering of beats—it takes a show booker who doesn’t turn up his nose at slim profit margins. That’s what makes newcomer Select DC
so essential. D.C. residents Jacob Knibb, 24, and Josh Levi, 27, have been booking lesser-known electronic music under the moniker for about a year. They like to bring in the acts that bigger D.C. clubs wouldn’t touch, like technoise artist Unicorn Hard-On or throwback cold-synth producer Martial Canterel. Select DC shares a noisy sensibility with local experimental-music promoter and festival Sonic Circuits, but it’s more inclined toward techno and house derivations—albeit not always the same strains as what you’d find weekends at venues like U Street Music Hall or Flash (though Select DC has booked at Flash before). April 12, Select DC hosts its biggest show yet: the all-day Vanguard Festival at Union Arts on New York Avenue NE. It’ll bring together fringey outsiders, ex-punks-turned-producers, and more traditional DJs, all in a space known for its zero frills and late hours.