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D.C.’s October ’71, led by multi-instrumentalist Rob Stokes (best known as rapper Sir E.U’s drummer), are back with a new album, Episode V, which, like 2019’s Episode IV, is billed as “a mob tale of a house band, steeped in sin, dipped in infidelity, an MLB championship, a rogue agent, political corruption, and mortal consequences.” On Episode V, Stokes is working with Sir E.U, two guitarists, a bassist, and a keyboardist to make artsy cuts that incorporate psychedelia, prog rock, math rock, pop, jazz, and hip-hop. Stokes, who grew up south of Pittsburgh, came to D.C. for college in 2011 and started the band in 2013. He says that, lyrically, the new album continues the last episode’s story, and that it again takes place during the 1971 World Series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles. The tale is arcane and mysterious. There are references in the song “Glass” to escaped bank robbery fugitives, while in “Contact,” a voice says “I never want to see you again.” The production by Stokes, Sir E.U, and longtime Sir E.U collaborator Tony Kill emphasizes the trippy nature of the project via their use of echo, sped-up sounds, and spoken word bits. “some love, not withstanding” starts off tunefully before sprawling into 11 minutes of jazz-rock. “Liberty Tubes Suite (V),” which features Tony Kill, is even more out there with its five-plus minutes of jazzy noise exploration. “Belmont Street” is a highlight with a melodic, psychedelic rock feel evocative of Deerhunter. The group is also releasing a video of their hip-hop-tinged psych-pop “October ’71” theme song from Episode IV that shows Stokes and Sir E.U bounding past the then-futuristic ‘70s architecture of HUD’s Robert Weaver building, plus the U.S. Capitol and other D.C. locations, as the group sings and raps about fleeing in a getaway car. The album is available on Bandcamp. $10. —Steve Kiviat
DJ Kool’s GoGoRadio Live sets
Back in the day, when go-go was still D.C.’s new sound, a skinny young guy with a curly top fade used to follow legendary club DJ Arthur “Maniac” McCloud, a fixture at The Room downtown. By studying McCloud, young DJ Kool learned how to work the crowd on the dance floors. “Maniac McCloud was to me like what Michael Jordan was to Kobe Bryant,” says DJ Kool. Since then, Southeast’s own DJ Kool has changed his hairstyle; he now wears his signature locs. And when he started recording his own original music, Kool displayed a mastery of turntable skills as well as a gift for reinventing old-school go-go and hip-hop party chants, making them all his own. Both 1994’s “20 Minute Workout” and 1996’s “Let Me Clear My Throat” were hits, and he has toured all over the world. In recent years, he has often performed with Rare Essence at their more high-profile shows; he also regularly toured with rapper Rob Base as part of the “I Love the ’90s” brand. Like everyone else who can, Kool is staying home during this pandemic, but he’s still spinning records. This weekend, GoGoRadio Live debuts two weekly throwback nights with DJ Kool, going all the way back to two now-shuttered clubs in Prince George’s County: His Sunday night sets from the old Triples nightclub start at 8 p.m. And on Monday nights at 8 p.m., he’ll be revisiting his sets from The Classics, where he once shook things up: “Classics used to get a bougie crowd,” says DJ Kool. “The music wasn’t too rowdy until I got there. I brought the hood to The Classics.” The sets are available at GoGoRadio Live and its Facebook on Sundays at 8 p.m. and Mondays at 8 p.m. Free. —Alona Wartofsky