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SATURDAY & SUNDAY
Moribund music movements don’t ever disappear; they fade into the electronic underground of Web rings and chat rooms. Synthpop fans, for instance, meet on the Internet to trade MP3s of obscure Erasure B-sides, give mascara tips, and hotly debate the lyrics of Depeche Mode (“Are people really people?”). But they aren’t just talking about the classics; there is an entire generation of new bands trying to recapture the sounds of the synthetic 80s. The sound of most of these neo-synthpop groups falls somewhere between the linear dance songs of the Pet Shop Boys and the industrial pop sounds of early Wax Trax! releases, which means they pump out sugarcoated electronics with dark lyrics about the state of the universe or—same difference—some lost girlfriend. Synthpop is the perfect genre to survive on the Internet: There’s not much separating gearhead keyboardists from Web designers. The tech-savvy bands that will perform during the two-day D.C. Summer Synthpop Festival all have their own Web sites, which are the best places for those outside of the synthpop network to find out about (and hear) such obscure seven-album veterans as the Echoing Green and Cosmicity. Those two bands, plus Iris (pictured) and B! Machine, play on Saturday, while Neuroactive, Neuropa, Faith Assembly, and Count to Infinity hit the stage Sunday. And the people behind Lexicon, Wheaton’s own flag-waving New Wave fanzine, will give away copies of their latest issue and compilation CD to the first 250 folks through the door at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 27, and Sunday, May 28, at the Black Cat, 1831 14th St. NW. $25. (202) 667-7960. (Christopher Porter)