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Making a killer rock record helps when you have friends like Ex Hex’s. Need a star for your music video? How about D.C. punk icon Ian Svenonius? Need someone to record your debut album, Rips, which dropped this week? Call up Mitch Easter, who’s produced for R.E.M., Pavement, and Wilco.

Of course, it’s not hard to recruit top-tier talent when you’ve got this trio’s résumé. Individually, each member of the band has been involved in local music scene for years—touring with punk lifers, tending bar at the Black Cat, and giving guitar lessons to the next generation of D.C. musicians. But their connections reach far beyond the bounds of the District. Step back a few degrees of separation, and you’ll be surprised where Ex Hex’s tentacles lead.