For those readers who mainline local music, if you thought last week was tough deciding whose new music you were going out to see, then you are in for a rough time this weekend. On this week’s SOUND CHECK two local bands are once again duking it out for a Richmond date to show off their new music, going up against a New York based pop-star on the rise coming to play The Richmond Music Hall showing off her new album. Luckily, there isn’t much overlap in genre, so this week it seems like it’s about picking which sound works best for you. I know for sure that I will be out at one of these shows this weekend, so I hope to see y’all there. If you have new music, press releases and/or suggestions, reach out to Bones at firstname.lastname@example.org
COMING TO TOWN
If you haven’t heard of this Long Island native, then allow me to introduce you to Caroline Rose. This 33 year old artist has put out four albums in nine years and is about to enter her second decade of releasing music. Her most recent album The Art of Forgetting came out March 24th, and she will be at The Richmond Music Hall this Saturday April 15th premiering her new music for the first time in Richmond.
Caroline Rose started off in 2014 with a an indie-rock sound on her first record I Will Not Be Afraid that featured a certain amount of avant-garde and minimalism. However, she has slowly drifted in a more pop oriented sound to the point that this new album has almost no hold over from her more rock sound. The only carry over seems to be the guitar driven rhythm section. From the dreamy affected vocals to the drum sounds which sound far more electronic than on previous records The Art of Forgetting reads as a full acceptance of the move to laid back pop for this developing artist.
A stand out on this album for me is the opening track “Love / Lover / Friend” which builds from a slow acoustic guitar arpeggio and far away vocal line into a synth pop dream by the end that builds into a crescendo of tortured cries; a perfect demonstration of this young singer’s range and impressive dynamic control. Go and give this record a listen if you haven’t already, and if you like her sound make it down to The Richmond Music Hall to see her play it all live in Richmond for the first time.
LOCAL & REGIONAL
This next band came onto my radar a few months ago when I first started seeing their posters all around town, and I’m not sure how I’ve missed them as they have been on the scene for quite some time. Toward Space is releasing their third album this Saturday April 15th, and will be showing it off at Hardywood. The band has made the interesting choice with this being their third record to self title it, but this isn’t unheard of (see Blood, Sweat, & Tears’ second album).
Toward Space on their first album The Bomb That Fell leaned into a rather old school punk sound that reminds me of Ramones, but with access to a few more guitar pedals. On their second album Gently With a Chainsaw (great title) this sound still holds on songs like “Girls Are Guns (Strung)” and “Noseferattitude,” also holding on to the irreverent nature that helps define punk, but what’s really telling is what they choose as their opening track, the five minute track entitled “Fangs.” This epic song goes through massive tempo and feel changes, with extended guitar solos and cleaner vocals that give off a more heavy alternative vibe almost leaning into some more classic early heavy metal like Deep Purple. Hearing this sound creep in has me excited for this third album, and I can’t wait to check it out this Saturday.
We come back around to a southern sound with some folk rock provided by The Wilsons Springs Hotel. It seems like not that long ago that I first heard about this group and was listening to their first self-titled album, and now, not even a year and a half later, they’re releasing another. The band’s next album Old Thoughts and Memories is coming out April 14th, and they’ll be playing in Roanoke, Virginia that night to celebrate. The next night however, they’ll be back here in Richmond at The Camel.
The Wilson Springs Hotel’s first album came out in 2021 and had a consistent folk-rock sound with the notable addition of a splash of various horns, whether they be lines or solos, that elevated it above your average everyday folk-rock group. That combined with the technical electric guitar playing makes The Wilson Springs Hotel something a little special among this genre, and it seems like they are sticking with the formula with this next record. The band had a single called “Keeps Me Up At Night” from their new upcoming album came out on March 24th, and it has that same sound that I loved about their first record. If you’re in Roanoke April 14th you should absolutely make your way out to see this band premier their new music on it’s release day, but if you’re in Richmond you’re just going to have to wait until that packed Saturday night to check them out at The Camel.
Top Photo Provided By Toward Space