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The Open Bar Guest DJ Series: Leni Zumas

In Leni Zumas’s debut novel, The Listeners, Quinn, an ex-singer in a defunct punk band, navigates a city that looks a lot like Zumas’s hometown of Washington D.C. It seemed appropriate, then, to have Ms. Zumas put together a playlist from her teenage years in our nation’s hardcore–and, you know, political–capital. She was kind enough to oblige us.


Here are a few favorite songs from my hometown’s punk/hardcore/emo heyday. Some of these bands had already broken up by the time I started going to shows in high school, so I knew them just from mix tapes and lore; but some I got to see live, and they left electric prints on my brain. When I was writing The Listeners, I kept remembering these shows of teendom and that feeling—which seems so painfully innocent now—of falling headfirst in love. With music.

You’re My Miss Washington D.C.

Listen Here.

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