Middle Distance Runner

You know a band is both indie and shoegazy when its name is in the middle of a song by indie shoegaze giants Belle and Sebastian. Now that may just be a coincidence ("Loneliness of a Middle Distance Runner" was composed a full ten years after this Washington, D.C.-based quintet got started), but it doesn't hurt when it comes to attracting new fans. The fact is, Middle Distance Runner has a sound that's hip, hard-edged, and sure to gain them acclaim as more folks around the country learn who they really are. Write-ups in Spin and The Washington Post have somewhat helped their efforts to become indie music's next big thing, but bands like this have to win over fans one show at a time, and that's what they intend to do. While their style has changed a bit since they first started out as a Led Zeppelin cover band, their original compositions are full of well-crafted lyrics played in that soft prog rock fashion that makes listeners feel invincible. In a sense, they're a cross between the Thrills and the Strokes (even pre-OK Computer Radiohead, as well), and if you like any one of those bands, you'll love what you hear when MDR comes to town.

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Jonathan Cunningham