Matt Johnson, one half of the duo that is Matt & Kim, said that he and Kim Schifino get nervous when they have to perform new songs.

With their new album "Lightning" now out, Matt & Kim have hit the road in support. Johnson said they performed five new songs at a recent gig, and the audience responded enthusiastically even though "Lightning" just dropped Oct. 2.

"We are not good at playing new songs," Johnson said."We always get nervous playing new songs. When I go to a show generally I don't like to hear a band's new songs, but the response was awesome."

Matt & Kim perform two sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club Tuesday and Wednesday.

Onstage
Matt & Kim
Where: 9:30 Club, 915 V St. NW
When: 7 p.m. doors Tuesday and Wednesday
Info: Sold out, but tickets might be available through resellers; with Oberhofer; 930.com

The Brooklyn-based duo hit it big in 2009 with their second album "Grand," which spawned the popular single "Daylight." Matt & Kim are known for epitomizing a do-it-yourself philosophy in creating their danceable pop rock.

For "Lightning," Matt & Kim decided to return to that DIY approach. They recorded their fourth album in their Grant Street apartment -- the last thing they did before moving -- and produced the album themselves.

"In certain ways we're not great team players," Johnson said. "We kind of know exactly what we want and we're so used to doing everything together. We're just so picky. It's frustrating for other people. I think to make ourselves truly happy we end up doing things ourselves."

At just 31 minutes, "Lightning" is full of urgency, highlighted by the album's first single "Let's Go" and the anthemic "Now." Johnson said that though the previous year was a good one full of progression, it was also very stressful, and that stress comes out in the lyrics.

"I think there was a couple of things we learned from our last two albums," Johnson added, specifically mentioning their third effort "Sidewalks." "We felt that there was some personality that album had lost, a certain grittiness or something that we wanted to bring back. Rawness, maybe that's the word. We wanted to get a certain sort of raw energy back. That was something we were thinking about."

Johnson said that Matt & Kim have always enjoyed strong support in D.C., as evidenced by the two shows. He sees the District has a unique beast, large enough to attract all the big names, but not jaded or passive when it comes to enjoying live music.

"It's just an incredible sort of set of concertgoers," Johnson said. "It's like this weird bubble of a world. D.C. always sells out first on our tours. No matter if it's the first show or the last show. I can't figure out why that is or what that is."