Tim Bracken, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - For Washingtonians who didn't leave town for Thanksgiving, live music could be the perfect way to make the most of the long holiday weekend.
Nicolay has been part of the pop group Virginia Coalition, and has released two solo albums under the name, My New Mixtape.
Separately, Mancini and Nicolay produce tuneful pop, but together the duo manages to meld their songwriting and performing skills into something truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Astra Via's debut album, "Folie à Deux," kicks off with the Strokes-esqe "Fame," but then shifts gears for an acoustic pop shuffle, "Be Where You Are."
Mancini's vocals are confident, precise and wrought with emotion. Her sense for melody should make any songwriter jealous.
Nicolay's standout moments on the album include the beautiful acoustic ballad, "I Don't Mind" and the 60's-inspired, harmony-laden "Dreamland."
The album closes with a cover of the Beatles song, "I'm So Tired," seemingly indicating where most of the band's influence comes from.
The 7-track album makes a worthy addition to any pop fan's collection. The band is allowing anyone to download the album "free or name your price" at Bandcamp.com.
Listen to Astra Via's "Folie à Deux"
Watch Astra Via's video for "Fame"
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)