The Bewitched Hands On Top Of Our Heads - Hard To Cry EP (Sony)
The five songs on this insanely-named French group's new EP vary significantly in sound and quality. Yet a common thread unites them--airy psychedelic pop that reminds me of the Polyphonic Spree. Their Beatlesque psychedelia is charming enough, but not of sufficient quality to stand out from the pack.
Darren Hanlon - I Will Love You At All (Yep Roc)
English-sounding singer-songwriter stuff with a traditional folk bent. It's certainly not horrible, but the repetitive song structures and well-explored genre territory leaves me cold. Someone playing this style with this much talent is probably performing at an Irish pub near you right now. Go see them instead.
Hey Rosetta - Into Your Lungs (Sonic)
These songs feature the same sort of long buildups to emotional climaxes that Frightened Rabbit have made work so well on their last two albums. Violins and pianos join the mostly acoustic guitars for a folk-influenced sound that does nothing to quiet the storming emotional heart of this music.
Be in the mood for something strange at Strange Matter on July 19th when Diamond Black Hearted Boy takes the stage.
This week the Geeks are joined by their first Special Guest..and she is Sera Tabb. She has joined to Geek out about her documentary Identity Richmond (Tentative Title) as well as to show off her other geek creditials in a variety of other topics..so sit back..listen up..and Enjoy...and remember...GET YOUR GEEK ON!!
Hostage Calm – Hostage Calm (Run For Cover Records)
Hostage Calm’s second full length record is a difficult one to place. I’d be as justified saying this album sounds like a Dag Nasty record as I would saying it sounds like the Beach Boys. The band’s sound is all over the place, yet cohesive. This is one of the most musically ambitious efforts I’ve heard in years, and the result is a very rewarding album for music fans. I’d say it’s an early candidate for album of the year.
Despite a noticeably different approach from their traditional hardcore sound, the band doesn’t abandon its roots entirely with this album. The spirit and energy are certainly there, but it offers up so much more than a standard album in the genre. Bells and acoustic guitars layer over the band’s normal instrumentation to create a Latin infused verse that strip down to a classic sing-along chorus in the song Ballots/Stones. Other songs have beautifully arranged three part vocal harmonies that float over crunching guitars and driving drum beats. Other moments feel like one of the Clash’s later records. It’s simply an impossible record to sum up in easy terms; give it a listen.
The self titled album will be released July 20th on Run For Cover Records on CD and LP.
It seems obvious from the title that the filmmakers behind Predators were, in some way, trying to channel the success of Aliens. The two franchises have always been closely related, and even though that relation culminated in the two abysmal Alien Vs. Predator movies, both series always garnered respect separately. They began in very much the same fashion, with both original films focusing on a lone alien monster hunting a small group of humans. The two series parted in their sequels. Alien was followed by Aliens, and, as the plural form of the title indicates, the humans had hordes of monsters to contend with making for a fresh experience. Predator was followed by Predator 2, which offered very little different from the first. It moved the action from the jungle proper to the concrete jungle of the big city. It sounds more clever than it was. Now, after 20 years, we are finally given the plural Predators. Unfortunately, in trying to capture both the slow tension of the first Predator, as well as the nonstop action of Aliens, the filmmakers fail to achieve either one.
The Gods of the Bobble Heads is a new radio show coming out of Ashland. Its pretty damn funny and RVA is a proud sponsor. We will be posting a new episode every week on RVAMAG.com. Be sure to check it out live every Saturday on WHAN1430AM and download all the past broadcasts at www.bobblegods.com.
In the last ten years Richmond has evolved into a college town. Sure, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)has been here for forty years, and the University of Richmond has been here longer, they were not central to the culture here. VCU is now one of the largest public universities in the state and as a result it has physically grown too, buying up property and steadily expanding both campuses. VCU has become the unifying factor in the social circles of Richmond. It, like all colleges, brings together people from all walks of life and more importantly different areas of Virginia.
Go to a party, ask someone if they’re at VCU and the follow up question is to ask where they’re from. They are most likely from one of three places – Northern Virginia, Virginia Beach or Roanoke. If they have stayed in school you’ll go on to ask them what their major is, and this is when they find a way out of the conversation, or you do. Because you or them are at this party with your three closest friends, and you were maybe introduced by one of those friends, but no one it seems is interested in getting beyond those friends. And those friends, they’re friends that they’ve had since middle school.
After moving here I found it difficult to meet like minded people, which I found particularly strange in a place that claims to be so open-minded. It became apparent that open-minded didn’t mean accepting, it mean agreeing to certain ideologies to which I didn’t fit. What does someone do that’s not just here for the party? Or Art school? Or Vegan? Or Straightedge?
You float between the different scenes always remaining an outsider.
Obliteration – Nekropsalms (Fysisk Format/Forcefield Records)
Once a genre of music has existed long enough to have a comfortable understanding of itself as a system of aesthetic parameters and preconceived notions, its practitioners often begin to cast their creative gaze backwards. The results vary – typically such artists produce banal rehashes of once-fresh ideas, soulless wallowing in retro nostalgia.
Occasionally, however, effective tribute can be paid to a genre’s earliest practitioners without being derivative or compromising their own creative vision.
To many ears, death metal as a genre has had little forward momentum creatively since its inception in the mid-80s. The vocals still growl, the tempos still blast, and the imagery is still mired in Z-grade slasher films, but the style has become more and more inclined towards a slick professionalism, with recordings often glossed over with such strong studio treatment that the much of the energy and aggression which served as stylistic cornerstones have been rendered toothless and mechanical. It wasn’t always this way – early death metal bands like Nihilist, Repulsion, and early Darkthrone tempered the increasing bombast of 1980s heavy metal with a punkish rawness and an almost total disregard for the whims of the mainstream.
The VMFA is opening Chuck Close: People Who Matter to Me, a collection of two dozen works by Chuck Close spanning thirty-five years of the artists career from 1974 to present. The show opens July 10th and run through Oct. 17th in the 20th century galleries of the museum.
Local collectors Sydney and Frances Lewis enjoyed a warm friendship with the artist and the works shown are from the permanent collections of both the VMFA and the Lewis estate. This exhibition presents a broad overview of Close’s work. It will feature a spectrum of the media in which Close has worked, and will include portraits of many of his most important subjects with a special focus on composer Philip Glass, for whom the Lewises served as patrons.
HIS LIFE AND WORK
Chuck Close's father died when he was ten years old. Most of his early works are very large portraits based on photographs (Photorealism or Hyperrealism technique) of family and friends, often other artists. In 1962, he received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle. He then attended graduate school at Yale University, where he received his MFA in 1964. After Yale, he lived in Europe for a while on a Fulbright grant. When he returned to the US, he worked as an art teacher at the University of Massachusetts.
Close had been known for his skillful brushwork as a graduate student at Yale University. As he explained in a 2009 interview with the Akron Ohio Plain Dealer, he made a choice in 1967 to make art hard for himself and force a personal artistic breakthrough by abandoning the paintbrush. "I threw away my tools", Close said. "I chose to do things I had no facility with. The choice not to do something is in a funny way more positive than the choice to do something. If you impose a limit to not do something you've done before, it will push you to where you've never gone before."
Close's first one-man show was in 1970. His work was first exhibited at the New York Museum of Modern Art in early 1973. In 1979 his work was included in the Whitney Biennial. "One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super-realism or hyper-realism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs. The everyday nature of the subject matter of the paintings likewise worked to secure the painting as a realist object."
One photo of Philip Glass was included in his black and white series in 1969, redone with water colors in 1977, again redone with stamp pad and fingerprints in 1978, and also done as gray handmade paper in 1982.
Although his later paintings differ in method from his earlier canvases, the preliminary process remains the same. To create his grid work copies of photos, Close puts a grid on the photo and on the canvas and copies cell by cell. Typically, each square within the grid is filled with roughly executed regions of color (usually consisting of painted rings on a contrasting background) which give the cell a perceived 'average' hue which makes sense from a distance. His first tools for this included an airbrush, rags, razor blade, and an eraser mounted on a power drill. His first picture with this method was Big Self Portrait, a black and white enlargement of his face to a 107.5 in by 83.5 in (2.73 m by 2.12 m) canvas, made in over four months in 1968, and acquired by the Walker Art Center in 1969. He made seven more black and white portraits during this period. He has been quoted as saying that he used such diluted paint in the airbrush that all eight of the paintings were made with a single tube of mars black acrylic.
Later work has branched into non-rectangular grids, topographic map style regions of similar colors, CMYK color grid work, and using larger grids to make the cell by cell nature of his work obvious even in small reproductions. The Big Self Portrait is so finely done that even a full page reproduction in an art book is still indistinguishable from a regular photograph. via wikipedia
Local documentarian Donna Schatz has a selection of her photography work exhibiting at 9WG studio. With a sense of empathy, she captures a wide range of people in their everyday struggles.
9WG Studios – 9 West Grace Street
Hip production studio, 9WG, presents exciting new visual art exhibitions each month for First Fridays and their show for July is no different. The intriguing work of Donna Schatz will compel you to get a block off Broad tonight to see her amazing body of documentary photography. Schatz has worked for many years in film and video as a TV camerawoman and independent producer, shooting in Oregon, Florida, North Carolina, New York, the Middle East and Hungary.
Not to be boxed in by one interest, her film 99 Geiger Road explores the Jewish bungalow communities outside of New York City.
99 Geiger Road
For a good part of the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of Jewish New Yorkers escaped the heat and mugginess of the city for the country - the Catskill Mountains. Most stayed in bungalow colonies - small clusters of simple cottages - which dotted the mountains less than a hundred miles north of New York City. Also known as the Borscht Belt, this was a vibrant world of ethnic culture and a starting point for many famous entertainers who performed in its hotels and bungalow colonies.
Today, the region is almost a ghost town. With the advent of air conditioning, the suburbs and cheaper airfares, bungalow colonies died out.
Yet, a handful still remain. One group, not often associated with levity, is enjoying life to the hilt in its Catskill summer home. However, the idyll might soon be ending. After 25 years, the Holocaust survivors of the Four Seasons Lodge are about to sell their bungalow colony. It would be the end of a tight-knit community, family to each other, bound together by staggering losses. 99 GEIGER ROAD is an intimate look at a dwindling but feisty community and at a New York and Jewish cultural icon of the 20th century - the bungalow colonies of the Borscht Belt.