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ja14_BeachHouse.jpgBeach House. This dream pop duo is Baltimore’s most popular band, big enough to fill the 2,500-seat Modell Center at the Lyric last year. Guitarist Alex Scally and singer/keyboardist Victoria Legrand craft haunting, gorgeous songs ideal for a dark summer night. The next time you’re home alone, pour a glass of red wine and put their latest album, “Bloom,” on the turntable (did we mention vinyl has made a comeback?). Songs to start with: “Myth,” “Zebra,“ “Wild.“

ja14_DanDeacon.jpgDan Deacon. Your kids may have told you about this electronic composer who puts on some of the most wild, energetic, release-your-inner-child concerts around. He’s an incredibly smart, articulate musician who also leads classical ensembles and scored a Frances Ford Coppola film. About 10 years ago, Deacon and several other artists moved to Baltimore from New York and formed the Wham City experimental arts collective. They’re a large part of why Baltimore has one of the country’s best music scenes. Songs to start with: “True Thrush,“ “Crystal Cat,“ “Wham City parts 1&2.“

ja14_RoddyWalston.jpgFuture Islands. If you missed this trio’s late-night TV debut when singer Sam Herring danced his way into David Letterman’s heart, YouTube it immediately. They are one of Baltimore’s hardest-working bands, constantly on the road, and lately, they’ve gone from critical darlings to indie breakouts. Their new album, “Singles,“ has some of their best material yet, with vintage-sounding synthesizers, irresistible grooves and Herring’s soulful singing. Songs to start with: “Seasons (Waiting On You),“ “Before the Bridge,“ “Long Flight.“J. Roddy Walston and the Business. Their hair is almost as big as their music. Almost. These local boys play old-school rock ’n’ roll, their front man, Rod, nailing the piano, screaming like a demon and whipping around his thick mane. Not long after J. Roddy released their scorching album “Essential Tremors“ last year, the rest of the country began to realize what Baltimoreans have known for a while: this band rocks. Songs to start with: “Heavy Bells,“ “Take It As It Comes,“ “Used to Did.“

ja14_WyeOak.jpgWye Oak. If you’re a fan of the TV show “The Walking Dead,“ you’ve already heard Wye Oak—the title track to their breakthrough 2011 album “Civilian“ was used in the trailer for Season 2, and in one of the episodes from that season. They’re also a duo—Andy Stack somehow manages to play the drums and keyboard at once. Jenn Wasner sings and is one of Baltimore’s best guitarists, but after hitting writer’s block, she switched to the bass for their new album, “Shriek.“ Songs to start with: “Glory,” “Before,” “Civilian.”


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