Olde Shame - 5 Song Demo, December 2012 (self-released)
Olde Shame could be counted as a supergroup of sorts, if you're heavily involved with RVA's noise/experimental music scene. Featuring Caves Caverns drummer Mike Raftery on vocals, Bermuda Triangles drummer Tony Lynch on guitar, Flesh Control mastermind Leo Heinzel on drums, and bassist Wilbo Glavin, formerly of Human Smoke, they've certainly got all the pieces in place to create a noisy, unhinged, psychedelic improv quartet. Instead, though, the members of Olde Shame have come together to make old school, no-frills hardcore punk, which they do with highly enjoyable results on their brand new five-song demo.
I know, consciously at least, that judging books by their covers is largely frowned upon. But it's hard to avoid, especially when confronted with the staggering number of sources from which we can draw our information and entertainment. Had I not known anything about Super Frisky before hearing their album, I likely never would have given it a chance.
Few, if any, Richmond musicians have a legacy like that of Fun Size frontman James Menefee. As a promising young lad in a budding scene, his early ventures into music found immediate acclaim. Where the 90s-era Richmond music scene was concerned, Fun Size weren’t just any band. For many in the city, Fun Size was one of the greatest things to ever happen to Richmond music. It took the four members to places no one could have even imagined. And just when you thought they were about to venture even further, it was over. Now, more than twelve years later, Fun Size are together once more, and with better heads on their shoulders, they might be able to give it the shot that they earned long ago.
Before there was the Black Bananas, there was Royal Trux, a 90s-era noise-rock act formed when Neil Hagerty, fresh off a half-decade stint playing guitar in Pussy Galore with Jon Spencer (he of the Blues Explosion), met up with Jennifer Herrema, a homeless teenager and aspiring rock singer. Fueled by a constant drug intake, the two created some of the most freaked-out, fucked-up rock n' roll ever to be released by a major label before acrimoniously dissolving their partnership in the wake of 2000's Pound For Pound. Herrema continued on without Hagerty, shortening her band's name to RTX for a while--which upset some people, as Royal Trux had often used this same abbreviation for their name--before finally clarifying the difference between the new band and her previous group by changing the current band's name to Black Bananas.
Kingston, Pennsylvania's Title Fight have steadily been gaining more and more acclaim over the past few years. Their progression from traditional hardcore into a more melodic and emotional sound has captured many new fans, and made them one of the most popular up-and-coming young bands in the hardcore scene. Their new album, Floral Green, is their best work yet, with noticeable improvements in both songwriting and production quality placing it head and shoulders above most of the other records released this year by bands in any genre. Title Fight will be bringing their raging, energetic live show to RVA this Friday, with an early all-ages show at Kingdom.
This has been one of my favorite new songs lately. FIDLAR, a quartet of rowdy LA punks who've been getting people talking over the last year or so with a few EPs worth of rampaging garage punk, have kicked things up to the next level with the first single from their forthcoming self-titled debut LP on Mom And Pop Records, "Cheap Beer."
Taking Baader Brains for some sort of throwback might be easy upon first look, considering their name is a portmanteau of Bad Brains and Red Army Faction leader Andreas Baader (with the removal and study of Baader's brain post-mortem by German authorities providing the additional entendre). But just because their name is derived from the sort of highly visible figures from recent history that have been the bread and butter of academia and documentarians alike doesn't mean that the band itself trades in any sort of retrospection.
Well, in a further confirmation of my pet theory that every band that breaks up eventually gets back together, 90s-era Richmond pop-punk flagbearers Fun Size have returned. With three-fourths of their best-known lineup (only lead guitarist Orice Collins has been replaced by Pedro Aida) back in the fold, they've put together a new album called Since Last We Spoke and have now released that album's first single, "End Of The Road" (available for download from their bandcamp page).
Sundials have always been a personal favorite. Even so, there has been a level of disbelief that this is the same band that pulled together their debut album, Never Settle, last year. While that record was stellar, they seem to have improved every aspect of the band along the way to When I Couldn’t Breathe. Their new record could only exist as a result of significant growth and experience.
Ladies and gentlemen, RVA has been gifted with a rare treat! Satire-punk legends The Dead Milkmen, who you may remember from such all-time classics as "Punk Rock Girl," "Bitchin' Camaro," "Smokin' Banana Peels," and "If You Love Somebody, Set Them On Fire," amongst many others, will be performing live within this very city in less than two weeks!
Richmond's hardcore/punk scene has a proud tradition of producing great bands whose records stay relevant and continue to demand repeat plays over the years, and with This Is Your Life's debut full-length, it is clear that this tradition is still alive. With a sound that combines hardcore velocity, anthemic punk choruses, and the passion that infuses the best of the emocore tradition, This Is Your Life have created an album that harks back to great local bands of past years, including Avail, Strike Anywhere, and Count Me Out.
This past Friday, Sundials celebrated the release of their Asian Man Records debut, When I Couldn’t Breathe, at Strange Matter. The original lineup included Pedals On Our Pedal Ships, who had to unfortunately drop off at the last minute. This didn’t keep the show from achieving greatness, and showcasing a nice pocket of the punk scene in the city.
Henry Rollins has been a true rock n' roll renaissance man for over three decades now. Making his name starting in 1981 with a five-year stint singing for hardcore pioneers Black Flag, he went on to lead legendary alternative rockers Rollins Band for over two decades. By the late 80s, he was expanding his creative efforts into many other areas--writing, acting, and most importantly, spoken word.
Since 2004, Worn In Red has consistently churned out material that recalls both the moody post-hardcore of Hoover or Four Hundred Years and the triumphant rock-based approach of Hot Water Music or Planes Mistaken For Stars. Through years of steady touring, the band has refined their approach, evolving more and more with each successive release. Banshees, their second full-length, was just released on No Idea Records in time for a three-week tour. I managed to get in a few questions with drummer Brad Perry and bassist/vocalist Matt Neagle.
It might be easy to make certain assumptions about School Jerks' first full-length based on the presentation. The band's name itself--Circle Jerks-ian but not quite--is a familiar element rebranded with the bitter memories of the stifling educational system often left imprinted on the psyches of many a young punk rocker. The art has a pretty strong Raymond Pettibon vibe to it, albeit with a handful of smaller images rather than the stronger, more singular iconography for which he was better known. But to assume this is just another repackaged throwback doesn't do the album justice.
Richmond’s punk and metal scene is without a doubt the strongest music scene in the city. Everyone knows it; in fact, almost every article in this magazine about a band that isn’t punk or metal mentions it. But it can be just as difficult for a band that is playing loud, heavy music to get out from under the shadow of more famous Richmond punk/metal bands as it is for hip hop or indie rock groups to do so. The Catalyst are living proof; they’ve been around nearly as long as Municipal Waste, have toured Europe twice and the United States at least half a dozen times, and are hailed like conquering heroes in random farflung locales (Delaware, Tuscany, etc). And yet at home, they sometimes seem like Richmond’s best-kept secret. However, with the release this month of their outstanding third LP, Voyager, it seems as if this is about to change.
The Catalyst formed in late 2002, in circumstances that were about as far from ideal as possible. Guitarist and longtime Richmond resident Eric Smith, stranded in the bourgeois wasteland of Fairfax County by an abortive attempt at college and a run-in with the law, caught up with drummer and former roommate Kevin Broderick at a time when both needed a place to crash. Kevin’s friend Nate Prusinski, who happened to be a bass player, had some space in the living room of his one-bedroom apartment, so Eric and Kevin moved in, and the three of them formed a band. Undaunted by legal prohibitions against leaving the state, The Catalyst immediately began booking cross-country tours, and released their debut EP, A Hospital Visit, on McCarthyism Records in 2004. Years of cramming up to six people into their tiny apartment just to be able to afford the outrageous rent took a toll, and by the time summer 2005 rolled around and the trio was free of legal obligations, the members of The Catalyst were more than ready to decamp for the greener pastures of RVA.
I'm kind of amazed at this particular turn of events. After all, I literally heard an Ataris song on 102.1 The X last night! And yet it's true--The Ataris are coming to Richmond next week, and instead of playing some huge arena, they'll be taking the stage at intimate local venue The Camel.
Gentlemen's Brawl is the second album from Florida band Broadway, and their first in three years--apparently due to issues with production, the album was delayed by over a year and a half. The extended break certainly gave them long enough to change their sound quite a bit, and at first listen, it seems that they have done so. However, there's a significant sonic unity between their two albums; what really divides them is the fact that Broadway have changed just enough to move from one genre to another.
I suppose it's possible that a few of our readers have not yet heard that garage rock wunderkind Ty Segall (who we told you all about back in issue #5) is performing this Saturday at Strange Matter along with psych-punk legends Thee Oh Sees. But both for those who have heard and those who are just learning about it now, it's undoubtedly a bittersweet topic, as the show has been sold out for weeks, and its facebook event page has been deluged with offers to exchange outrageous amounts of money in return for tickets.
I shouldn't even have to say anything. You already know you want to go to this show, which is taking place on Monday, January 21 at the Patriot Center in Fairfax--so feel free to skip the rest of my babbling and scroll down to the giveaway. But for those of you who've been backpacking on the Appalachian Trail for the past year or whatever, here's what's up: