We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.

Standout Track: “Silent Speaking,” the debut single from Paperhaus’ new lineup with Rick Irby on guitar, Matt Dowling on bass, and Ian McColm as guest drummer. In contrast to its title, this song makes a lot of noise. Try clapping along and you’ll find yourself off-balance and dizzy as the beat shifts and stretches across phrases as it rarely touches on the downbeats.

Musical Motivation: “To me, becoming a better listener is essential to becoming a better person,” vocalist/guitarist Alex Tebeleff says of the song’s message. “This was me coming from the perspective of a particular relationship where I realized if I’m going to be a better person in this relationship, I need to be a better listener. I realized that applies to all of my life.” Tebeleff opened his ears to new sonic possibilities, listening hard to artists like Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Fela Kuti, and Deerhunter. “I’d gotten into electronic and really working with synthesizers, and that started to shift my focus away from rock music,” he says.

Beats By They: Throughout the song, phrases are punctuated with sharp, aggressive syncopated beats. It sounds like a bunch of random metal smashing together. “That was Ian banging on the top of a pot… and also on a cowbell,” Tebeleff explains. The band then processed it through an Eventide Harmonizer—a classic effects processor popular in the ’80s. “It would’ve sounded cool if it was just the percussion, but I think it sounds incredibly cool because of the processing that gives it sort of an other-worldly sound,” Tebeleff says.