There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Julianna Barwick’s songs often consist of wordless vocals looped back on themselves, distorted with reverb, or simply repeated until they sound something like instruments. Vocal experimentation is nothing new, of course, but her work bears an intriguing backstory. Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Barwick spent her childhood singing in a church choir—and whenever she had spare time, experimented with reverb while singing to herself in a tree trunk. Her latest album, Nepenthe, takes the artistic argument of her 2011 breakout album The Magic Place to its logical extreme: The songs are a little less blissfully beautiful and more chillingly ethereal, especially on the single, “One Half.” Nepenthe is the perfect music for harsh, dead winter, and the sublime, haunting images that tend to accompany it. The association is more than incidental: In 2012, Barwick traveled to Iceland to create the visuals that accompany her album, including a five-minute teaser video, and last fall she toured with Icelandic group Sigur Rós. Look no further for your winter soundtrack. Julianna Barwick performs with Vasillus at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $12–$15. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org.