Sounds Of RVA Presents: On The Horizon, April 2014

Posted by: Necci – Apr 22, 2014


Politics divide us, but music brings us together. Richmond is rife with controversy right now, like City Council uproars and ballpark stadiums. Music, however, continues strongly, as the city sees the opening of The Broadberry, a medium-sized venue filling the gaps in some of the scene; the emergence of Monument City Coffee, a cafe where vinyl records meet soy lattes; and the possibility of bringing the Foo Fighters to Richmond. This month is ridiculously fertile in new releases, so let's get to it!

The Subterranea Collective is back and better than ever with a brand new site and a celebratory fresh release. Lotus Grid and Tigerlamp (pictured just above), two solo experimental electronic projects on the label, have released one song each on the new series Between the Two. This episode, Vol. 1, fills your room with ambient, colorful sounds. Yes, it sounds colorful, in that psychedelic sort of way. We're not necessarily talking about synethesia, although that would be cool, too.

Partial Tenant is a trio who play new wave, Americana, and pop sounds in a delightful combination. They have just released a 3-song EP called the Easter EP, just in time for the new beginnings of spring. Combining sounds like Lou Reed, Talking Heads, and more, PT is paving the way for an exciting genre if they keep on pushing. Check out "Lizard Man," which may or may not be an homage to Jim Morrison. The ukulele backs the stop-and-go acoustic punk tune in a really dark way before electric guitar and bass join in the refrain. The band says this about the album: "The second collaboration of the weird mixed-style rock trio Partial Tenant, EASTER EP explores sounds and lyrics that deal with death, life and rebirth, as well as the general bizarreness of being alive." I really hope the dog with the devil eyes (photo above) makes an appearance when they play live.

The J.O.B. (The Jim O'Ferrell Band) has released a new killer track called "Loved By You II," mixed at Absolute Future Studios by Chris Ratterree and Jamie Rose. The singer/songwriter goes mysterious with this tune, smoothing the soundscape out with dark synth and sultry guitar (Jason Crawford). The vocal harmonies sound especially creepy, while the rhythm section is spot-on.

You have to wait to check out The J.O.B. live... July 12 @ The Tobacco Company. The band will head to Savannah on 5/11 and Walkersville, MD on 5/31. Their bandcamp also suggests there's a 5/2 date in Amsterdam at the Tolhuistuin Festival--you lucky dogs.

photo by Kevin Wade Inge

You may have caught the next band, Eric Hunter & The Distractions, at this past weekend's Record Store Day event at Plan 9 Records. The five-piece just released an EP, simply called EP 1, recorded at Snake Oil Studios by Dan-O Deckleman. The roots-friendly sound is a natural blend of folk and rock. Utilizing organ and upbeat rhythms and melodies, the songs offer a refreshing Americana sound for those who love a little bit of twang but not overly so. Listen to "Cash for Gold" for a laid-back groove and catchy refrain. If you don't glean some Tom Petty vibes, listen to "Thinking For Myself" and think again.

Catch Eric Hunter & The Distractions this Saturday, 4/26 @ Hardywood w/ The Green Hearts and Matt Conner.

Billy Bacci, a singer/songwriter, has released Majora, a 12-song album honoring the major chords of life. Well, it's either that or the title refers to a part of the female anatomy, OR the mask villain from Legend of Zelda. Either way, this is your new favorite pop album of 2014. Well-constructed songs, articulately planned and recorded, weave their way through the listeners' ears like they were meant to be there. Even the slower, gentler titles ("Rescue Coming" and "Waltz in D") sit with you a while. The instrumentation is a soft companion to heartfelt lyrics and thoughtfully blends acoustic and electric elements. Check out "Heaven is Everywhere" for a rocking number that blends the 90s guitar rock with shoegaze moments reminiscent of Pablo Honey-era Radiohead.

Börd is a new project by Ted Allen, aka Ben Harsel, and it's filled with lots of electronic goodies and psychedelic sounds. The experimental EP rocks some dream pop and grungey hi-fi (which sounds lo-fi) synth. Fall in love with "Dare" and its regimental rhythm and melty guitar.

The Dimmer Twins stopped by Hardywood recently (4/5), and walken16 filmed this great cover of Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box." Kevin Wade Inge's sporadic vocal harmonies and aching pedal steel add a great poignancy to the live song with a tipsy, slightly loud audience. Jon Brown's subtle guitar, professional mic technique, and heartfelt vocals transcend the piece to another world, and the audience grows quiet.

photo by KLHPHOTO: Photography by Kenneth L. Howard

Mighty Joshua (of Antero, Corey Harris) and The Zion #5 have been slaying the stage lately with their raucous reggae tunes. He stopped by The Canal Club recently and his team posted a few videos from the show. If you can ignore the drunk girl yelling every few seconds, the dancehall groove is very tasty and infectious.

Here is "Them A Watching," a slick groove with the perfect vocal harmonies for the vibe. The loud, drunk audience member is back in full effect near the end of this, so be prepared.

photo by Jennifer Butcher Gutierrez

One Truth is a band which debuted on The National stage this past weekend, including members of The Killing Daylights. Led by lead singer JC (and that's not Jesus Christ) Gonzalez, the group has released an emotionally passionate and fairly (nu) metal video called "Inferno." The melodic, theatrical art rock had us on the edge of ours seats. The scene begins with a steampunk pianist in the woods before JC's powerful voice takes over. The man's voice is so good, I would suggest him for a Freddie Mercury tribute band frontman. He was apparently an "Angel" in Rent, and returned to the area to start this progressive rock outfit. I won't ruin the ending of the video for you, but there might be some fire involved. I think Black Girls just made a similar video in which they burned a piano to the ground. What is this reckless disregard for instruments? Oh yeah, it's metal and rock n' roll! It was also "old and unable to be fixed," so it's all good. It's hard not to get swept away in the enormity of it all. Make sure you check out the emcee breakdown by Moses BarryMore.

The band will release its debut LP this fall, being recorded at Full Circle Studios.

St. Kal is a hip hop artist self-proclaimed from the streets (although he hasn't "turned back since") in the game since the age of 16. He's got big dreams and the determination to get there, judging from the dude's flow.

Nicky St. Angelo has recorded a song for each day in April, and he adds them to this playlist. So far, the 21 days of tunes have some twee and pop situations that remind us a little of They Might Be Giants. He calls the album Positively April, and the theme is all uplifting, positive aspects of life.

Comrades have a new album coming out in May called Safekeeper, and Blood & Ink Records has a preview track available called "Calling Down Fire (To Keep Warm)." The post-punk melodies fuse with progressive metal elements for a complex listen. The arpeggios enlisted keep the instrumental track mathy. Look for the rest of the album to drop May 6. It looks like the band is on the west coast right now, but look for them to schedule a hometown show soon.

By Sarah Moore Lindsey (