Rising: 6 Emerging D.C. Acts To Watch


Last year was one of the most exciting moments for the D.C. music scene. There wasn’t a shortage of rising acts coming from the District, with local stars like rockers Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists, folk artist Stranger in the Alps, electronic solo act Louis Weeks and, of course, Priests making a strong statement in 2014.

While it was a great year, there’s a new group of bands and artists who have the potential to be the next big act from D.C. Get familiar with their names now-you’ll be reading more about these rising stars in the months to come.



DJ AYESCOLD has garnered a steady following in the area over the last few months. She already has several big gigs lined up in February after her successful debut at 9:30 Club, including shows at U Street Music HallRock and Roll Hotel and co-headlining the sold-out Laser Cat dance party with Eric Hilton of Thievery Corporation. If we had to predict who the next big DJ from D.C. would be-the answer would be AYESCOLD.



Out of all the names on this list, Den-Mate has probably released the most music. You might not have heard of her since she hasn’t performed in very many big venues yet, although that will soon change next month when she opens for Young Rapids’ album release show at Rock and Roll Hotel. Den-Mate is the electronic solo project of D.C. resident Julia Hale, who is also the newest addition to Chimes Records’ lineup that includes local music heavyweights like The Sea Life and the aforementioned Young Rapids. Rock and Roll Hotel in March will be Hale’s big show under the Den-Mate moniker.


Gully Waters

R&B trio Gully Waters only has a couple demos on their Bandcamp page, but you can discern from their live performances that there’s a certain charm and aura of confidence to Gully Waters that puts them above most up-and-coming bands in D.C. Propelling you into their soulful utopia is lead singer Yaya Bey, whose powerful voice can tug at the heartstrings of the most guarded listener. The group just finished their first headlining show at Rock and Roll Hotel, but expect to see and hear from them more in 2015.


Makeshift Shelters

At the start of the year we mentioned how Makeshift Shelters might just be the next big band from D.C. The rock quartet is now set to release a debut album on Broken World Media this month, and judging from their spectacular 2014 EP and new song that they just premiered, it could be one of the best releases of the year. The bad news is that when we spoke to them last month, there was a chance that they’d be leaving D.C. soon (the band is splitting time between here and Boston). But in the meantime, let’s just enjoy the fact that Makeshift Shelters is currently here and that we have a great new band that’s repping the area.


Stronger Sex

Stronger Sex is a new project to emerge, although Johnny Fantastic, the mastermind behind it, has been an active force in the area for a while now. The band’s self-titled album further emphasizes the masterful experimental-noise pop offerings Stronger Sex has to offer, and their craftsmanship remains unmatched in the music scene. There’s nothing in D.C. right now that compares close enough to Stronger Sex, and it’ll be interesting to see what this budding project has in store for the year.


Fellow Creatures

After folk rock band Ugly Purple Sweater announced its breakup in 2013, we were anxiously awaiting for the new music project that frontman Sam McCormally mentioned in our interview. Soon enough, in the fall of 2014 Fellow Creatures emerged with their demo “Shuka Shuka” that became an immediate hit for the group. They’ve already performed quite a bit since launching the project late last year, and just headlined the Black Cat last Sunday. Expect to hear the name Fellow Creatures a lot in 2015.