As summer settles into the city with its lazy dog days and a peaceful hush descends with students on holiday and families on vacation, it’s time for RVA Mag to lend you a helping hand in making the most of this laid-back season. Whether you’re basking in the sun’s freedom on the shores of the James River or seeking some quiet debauchery in the city’s darker corners, our weekly SOUND CHECK will guide you through this diverse soundscape.
This week, we spotlight both local and out-of-town acts that promise to charm our city with their distinct sounds. Friday Cheers concludes its season with bands Holy Roller and Flipturn, making for a musical sendoff on Brown’s Island that’s not to be missed. From Denver, Colorado, Kiltro brings its unique blend of swampy American blues music and heavy Europop dance beats to the Richmond Music Hall.
The local scene buzzes with activity too; catch Landon Elliot, The Great Beforetimes, and Ward Harrison at The Camel for an unforgettable night of indie folk music. And lastly, Richmond artist SMYTH is making waves with the release of his debut album, Paperface, introducing an exciting blend of hip-hop, r&b, and rock and roll.
Whether you’re a band with new music, an upcoming show, or just some suggestions, RVA Mag is here for you. Just reach out to Bones@RVAMag.com with your thoughts.
You know Holy Roller. Even if you somehow have made your way into the Richmond music scene without hearing of the group, you’ve seen the members out and about town. Rebekah Rafferty fronts her own group The Wakes, Brady Heck has a vibrant solo career under his own name, bass player Peter Cason can be found running the door at The Camel most nights, and that’s just the beginning of it as their members can be found doing any number of projects around the city. Holy Roller have found themselves in the fortunate position of opening for Flipturn this time around at the last Friday Cheers of the season, and if their past live show chock full energetic sounds and vibrance are anything to go on, then it will be a memorable night fit for a send off to this season.
Taking on the enormous task of closing the final night of Friday cheers is indie rock band Flipturn. It is hard to find a band these days who so truthfully keep a tradition alive, yet Flipturn brings some honest to god indie rock from their native Florida indicative of driving through Miami into a sunset after a day of ne’er-do-welling. After the release of their debut album Shadowglow in the Summer of 2022 the band has been riding the high, on the road, and building a following. After a week of solid rain here in Richmond, and with the weather promising to be stellar come this Friday, what better way to send off Friday cheers and kick the Summer into high gear than by laying out by the river and listening to some Floridians sing about love and sunshine.
OUT OF TOWN ACTS TO SEE
Friday June 30th @ Richmond Music Hall
Friday Cheers is sure to provide some feel good Summer vibes out in the sunshine, but if that isn’t what’s attractive to you about a Friday night, then by all means head on down to The Camel where Kiltro will be playing alongside local Dhemo. Kiltro is the creation of Chilean-American singer-songwriter Chris Bowers Castillo. Now based out of Denver, Colorado, Kiltro’s second album Underbelly has kickstarted them on a tour that is taking them to all ends of the United States. Combining the sounds of swampy American blues music with the repetitive heavy dance beats of europop, and it doesn’t stop there. Evoking images of its namesake, Underbelly, feels like it crawled out from under a bridge, is full of dark sounds and sultriness, but a surprising amount of heartfelt emotion and melodic hooks. If you’re tired of the sunshine, then creep inside to The Camel for a night of grunginess and seed.
LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE
After Friday Cheers finishes up on Brown’s Island, head on down to The Camel if you haven’t gotten your music fix for a night of Richmond indie folk darlings. A night packed with three more bands promises to be jammed full of highs, lows and everything in between in regard to energy and subject matter. If you aren’t familiar with the three groups playing this evening, allow me to give you the rundown:
Opening the night is Ward Harrison. This Richmond vet has landed a gig playing First Fridays at Get Tight Lounge for the remainder of the year. Harrison’s light and southern influenced folk tunes evoke the kind of Summer night Friday is shaping up to be, beautiful, simple and easy to love. An unobtrusive sound means that just about anyone can get behind these easy listening melodies.
Jammed into the middle of the evening is a triumph of a group, The Great Beforetimes. Last year the group released a brilliant self-titled record full of sardonic folk tunes. What sets The Great Beforetimes apart from other folk groups is their off-color subject matter regarding drugs, eschatological anxiety, and their approach towards these subjects; without a care in the world. The endless catchy licks and clever lyrics will have you glued to the stage waiting to see what comes next with this unique folk sound.
Closing out the night is Landon Elliott. The soulful indie sounds of Elliot are great in their own right, but you’re more than likely going to be hearing that name a whole lot more in the next coming months as he is going to be opening up for The Head And The Heart at two separate locations on their most recent tour. Elliot’s music is full of emotion and passion, yet with a sound that can be easily understood. With this sleeping star waiting for his break, this show at The Camel is sure to be full of energy, love, and a great vibe to wind down you Friday night after sitting around in the hot sun all day long.
LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES
The debut album Paperface by Richmond based artist Smyth Knight, otherwise known as SMYTH, came into the world on Thursday June 22nd and it was a shock to me. The Kidz At Play member has been performing and creating with the group for a few years now, but their first solo work speaks to them as an individual. The raucous blend of styles from hip-hop to r&b, and rock and roll comes rocketing out of the gate with opening “42 Cents” and introduces a flow that rises and falls over the course of 34 minutes. SMYTH both sings and raps, flawlessly transitioning between the two forms, and still manages to hand in a brilliantly modern hip-hop record to an eclectic world itching for innovation in the genre, especially among independent producers.
Top photo provided by @ajpgphoto