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Standout Track: “Submarine,” the second track on D.C. metal quartet Maulrat’s debut EP Swamp Angel, is almost like two different songs. It begins quietly, primarily featuring Tyler Fisher’s contemplative bassline and vocalist/guitar player Wanda Perkins’ vocals. The drums and guitar slowly introduce themselves, but “Submarine” doesn’t really follow the tried-and-trite formula of gradually building a quiet track into a loud one: Two minutes in, there’s a marked split. Guitars get fuzzy and drummer Jeff Orrence trades in his restraint for a driving rhythm. “I think [that’s] pretty emblematic of the sounds we tried to lay out for ourselves,” says Fisher. “Heavier, leaning towards metal while still being very melodic.”

Musical Motivation: “Submarine” started as a song that Perkins began writing nearly 10 years ago. “I used to know this guy who built submarines,” she says, “and I thought that was pretty cool, so on the surface it’s about that. But then it evolved to become more of a metaphor for different types of minds and ways of connecting and looking for depth of meaning in relationships.” Fellow guitarist Matt Connolly expands on that metaphor: “It’s about the deep connections that you can form between people and the struggle that that can be sometimes,” he says. “A lot of interpersonal relationships can feel really shallow. There’s a lot beneath the surface that can be really hard to get to.”

Sonic Identities: Swamp Angel is Maulrat’s debut EP, and it showcases a band still working to find its sonic identity—something they’re aware of and embracing. “I think the EP can be a little disparate, because it’s our first time recording together, and I mean that hopefully in a good way,” says Connolly. “I think we just start off with ‘Mosaic’ and ‘Submarine’ as a kind of statement of sound before we twist and turn a little bit.”