The nostalgic 90’s pop rock band from Washington DC, Dear Daria, is all about the fun in life and music. This “choose your own adventure” band with Maryjo Mattea on vocals, keys and guitar, Eamonn Donnelly on bass, Joshua Hunter on guitar, and Scott Manley on drums, was formed back in 2018 after the demise of Maryjo’s last project. In case you were wondering, their band name is inspired by the animated series, Daria.
“We love how cynical, snarky, and smart the character Daria was; her spirit resonates with us,” says Maryjo. “There’s a sincerity, a sweetness, and a silliness in 1980s and 1990s pop culture that we tap into as songwriters,” Eamonn Donnelly details. Josh Hunter adds: “We strive for a balance with being nostalgic, but also saying something genuine with our songs.”
They just released their debut pop rock album, Can I Be Frank? The album has strong 90’s pop rock sounds like Paramore, The Donnas, and No Doubt. Their playfulness is evident as well. “Delaware” was inspired by Wayne’s World and “John Hughes” is an ode to the great director and was inspired by the many movies of John Hughes. They explore their punk-rock and punk-pop side too. “Dopamachine” is their punk-pop song about the dependence we have on technology. It has a Panic! at the Disco meets Weezer vibe to it. The song “Wish Her Luck” is a punk-rock song about overcoming your fears with a Green Day and Counting Crows energy.
“Best Life” and “The Real World” offer the most pop-like and modern pop rock feeling, with “The Real World” showing their range with instrumentation. The acoustic guitar is the lead for this single about change. “Will Not Back” down is an anthem of power-pop genius. Upon listening, you feel the dopamine rushing through your body.
Dear Daria are the perfect purveyors of tuneful heart-on-sleeve alt-rock. With an assured artistic identity, a debut album filled with sharp hooks, and the pandemic lifting, nothing can stop Dear Daria now. “I can’t believe we’ve never played out as Dear Daria. I can’t wait to get out there,” Josh enthuses. “We’ve persevered through so many obstacles and challenges, and we can now breathe a sigh of relief and build some momentum.” Maryjo says.
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