Arts Desk

One Track Mind: Brenda, Aminals

BrendaStandout Track: No. 1, "Make a New Friend," a shambolic indie-rock number with a disco-driven beat. On it, singer and guitarist Dave Lesser, a 28-year-old Capitol Hill resident, complains about networking at shows: "Cementing relationships/Oh, what a chore." Drummer and vocalist Leah Gage, who lives in Columbia Heights, says she doesn't relish the formalities involved in penetrating the local scene, either. "Getting that process started is like joining a club," says Gage, 27. "It can be disenchanting."

Musical Motivation: For Lesser, Brenda’s primary songwriter, the band came out of a rescue mission. "My brother had a guitar in his room he was using for BB gun practice, and I was like, 'That’s not cool,'" he says. "So I took it." When he was 21, Lesser turned to books to learn chords, but he says he quickly realized he kind of sucked—and that he "never was gonna be good." Eschewing the classical pieces his brother's nylon-string guitar is often used for, Lesser settled for simpler, punkier numbers. "I never thought I would be in a band and I never thought I would write music," he says.

Friends with Benefits: In the hallway of his office building, Lesser happened to overhear Gage, then a stranger, telling her boss about one of her bands. "I remember I was so jealous of her because I was trying to start a band and I couldn’t find anyone else to be in a band with me and this one other guy," Lesser says. "And here she was [imitating Gage]: 'Oh, whatever, I go up and play, Rock & Roll Hotel, whatever, I don't care.'" Lesser chatted her up, and a friendship was born. That wasn't so hard, was it?

Listen to "Make a New Friend" after the jump.

Brenda plays Aug. 16 at The Dunes.

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