GEMS Credit: Darrow Montgomery

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In D.C. music, synthesizers loom large, but few speak of a local synth “scene”—probably because there are too many variations within it. There’s the house and techno crowd, which rarely rubs elbows with the kids playing electro-pop. Then there are the city’s many synth-kissed post-punk bands, which tend to cluster around other rock acts. But the District definitely has a broader synth scene, and this year it swelled in the chest with new and exciting releases from pop acts like GEMS, Ploy, and Pleasure Curses. None is likely to become household names in town, but let them further decorate the coat of arms stitched by D.C.’s two best-known homegrown musical genres, go-go and hardcore.