Metro Weekly

Stars of Spunky Synth-Pop

JD Samson and Men bring a playful and political sound to town

“People think our music is really fun,” says JD Samson of the indie electronic/punk group JD Samson and Men. “But then when you listen to the lyrics,” she adds with a laugh, “they’re really depressing.”

In truth, nothing about the indie electronic/punk group JD Samson and Men is depressing. The Brooklyn-based queer collective, whose other core member is guitarist Michael O’Neill, is just too playful and energetic to provoke a sense of despair. Even those pointed lyrics that some might consider depressing — typically expressing liberal angst about our conservative, capitalistic times — are sung in a giddy style and set to spunky, upbeat music steeped in the happy sounds of ’80s synth-pop.

JD Samson

JD Samson

(Photo by BMF Media)

“I think the new album is more of a personal journey,” Samson says about Labor, the follow-up to 2011’s great politically charged Talk About Body. The set reflects a sweeter Samson, who first came to fame as the lesbian third of the feminist trio Le Tigre. “I wrote my first love song on this record,” she notes, referring to sharp first single “All The Way Thru.” This time around the group also collaborated with outside producers, including electronic act Yusek and Alex Suarez of Cobra Starship.

The collective, including Lorna Dune, will stop at upper Northwest’s Comet Ping Pong in support of the new set Sunday, Dec. 8, for a show featuring opening acts from a couple D.C.-based bands that get the Samson stamp of approval, including power-pop trio Ex Hex and sassy synth-pop group Coup Savage and The Snips.

Samson, who also DJs and promotes alternative dance parties in her hip Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, says she would like to tour with a choir. And that’s only one of the few long-term goals she mentions. “My goal is to just make sure that I continue to be creatively inspired and to keep working towards creative goals. It certainly isn’t a goal that’s about records sold or what kind of label we’re on or what kind of festivals we’re playing.”

JD Samson and Men perform Sunday, Dec. 8, at 9 p.m. at Comet Ping Pong, 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-364-0404 or visit or

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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