Indie/Alt Delight with Snail Mail, The Reds, Pinks, & Purples, The Milestones & White Beast: This Week’s Sound Check

by | May 1, 2023 | METAL, PUNK, THRASH & HARDCORE, MUSIC, POP & TOP 40, ROCK & INDIE, VENUE NEWS

Navigating the blurred lines between alternative and indie rock can be a tricky endeavor, and it’s no wonder why; these genres are deeply interconnected. Born in the late 20th century, alternative rock emerged as a catch-all term for the myriad of evolving rock styles with a punk-rock edge that defied classification. Indie, on the other hand, initially served as a synonym for alternative rock, but soon carved out its own identity.

As bands in the indie realm began to find mainstream success, the term morphed into a label for acts that remained independent of major record labels and eschewed commercial aspirations. The DIY ethos eventually crafted a distinct sound, and indie came to represent bands with that alternative spirit but a somewhat softer edge.

It seems like it’s indie/alt week here in Richmond, and in this week’s SOUND CHECK, we’ll be spotlighting a few bands that truly capture the essence of these genres, serving up some seriously impressive indie/alt jams. Oh, and its Friday Cheers kickoff weekend with Snail Mail.

If you have new music, press releases and/or suggestions, reach out to Bones at bones@rvamag.com

COMING TO TOWN THIS WEEK

Friday Cheers 2023

FRIDAY CHEERS KICKS OFF THIS WEEKEND
Snail Mail with Water From Your Eyes and Dazy
6-9pm Friday May 5th, 2023 on Brown’s Island
TICKETS: $10 advance / $15 door
Children 12 & under are FREE
Purchase tickets HERE

This week marks the launch of Richmond’s beloved Friday Cheers, a months-long music extravaganza. The lineup is off to a sensational start with performances by Snail Mail, Water From Your Eyes (WFYE), and local solo artist Dazy.

Fresh off their latest releases, both WFYE and Dazy are bringing the heat. Dazy dropped the album Otherboy just last month, while WFYE recently unveiled their two-track single, “True Life,” featuring the title track on the A side and “Barley” on the B side. “True Life” stays true to WFYE’s avant-garde pop spirit, challenging listeners’ expectations of song structure and sound. Meanwhile, Dazy sticks to his roots, blending indie and pop-punk to scratch that musical itch.

Headlining the event is Snail Mail, who, despite not releasing new music since last year, is currently on an extensive tour spanning from Chicago to Spain. At just 23, the once rock-oriented artist is now leaning into a pop persona, but her future remains wide open. Keep a watchful eye on this young, evolving talent, as her next move could be utterly unpredictable.

Be sure to hit Friday Cheers this week for a taste of indie delight, and rest assured that, rain or shine, a good time awaits.

LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE

The Reds, Pinks and Purples – ‘Life in The Void’ (Official Video)

DESTROYER (SOLO) WITH THE REDS, PINKS, AND PURPLES
7pm Sunday, May 7th at Richmond Music Hall
TICKETS: $25
Purchase tickets HERE

In an accidental discovery of the gentlest sound on our list, I stumbled upon a compelling act while browsing through local shows for the weekend. At first glance, it seemed like a stacked night at Richmond Music Hall, with three different bands supporting Destroyer on a Sunday evening. To my surprise, it was actually a single band—or, more accurately, one individual—operating under the name The Reds, Pinks, & Purples.

This “kitchen pop project” is the brainchild of Glenn Donaldson, a seasoned musician from various bands. His indie project is now breaking into the mainstream, boasting an impressive 70,000 monthly listeners on Spotify after just four years and a whopping seven albums. In Donaldson, I see a distinct pattern: the solo artist who abandons the performance grind, chooses a beloved (often retro) sound, and then burrows into a home studio to churn out tracks with abandon. Richmond-based artist Dazy follows a similar path, releasing four albums in just two years with a pop-punk twist.

The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ latest album, The Town That Cursed Your Name, didn’t blow me away, but it’s clear that Donaldson has found a sound he’s passionate about, producing self-actualized tune after tune. It’s indie rock—soft, mellow, dreamy, and effortlessly enjoyable. If this is your cup of tea, Donaldson has hours of it waiting for you, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Catch him on Sunday, May 7th at Richmond Music Hall alongside Destroyer for an evening filled with fresh tunes and indie vibes.

THE MILESTONES, SHAGWUF, RIKKI RAKKI
Thursday, Mat 4th at The Camel
Door: 7pm
Tickets: $10
Purchase tickets HERE

CJ Metz, founder and operator of Sil and Glade Cabin—a destination music studio in the Shenandoah Valley—has been nurturing his brainchild, The Milestones, for quite some time. After releasing a single in 2019, the band got serious about putting out music last year, dropping two singles in November and December to promote their upcoming debut album, In Ruins. In a surprising move, The Milestones unveiled a completely unrelated EP, UFO, just over a week before their album’s release, potentially signaling a new era of prolific output as they hone their sound and recording process.

Much like their peers, The Milestones have a distinct, well-defined sound that could resonate with a wide audience. Their songs are personal, yet relatable, familiar, but comforting, and as the record unfolds, one can’t help but think that each track has the potential to be a radio hit. Metz’s voice is a standout feature on this powerhouse album, particularly on tracks like “Drugs Ain’t Workin’,” where his soulful energy erupts as he cries out, “they tried to contain me, but they’re only pushing me down!”

With The Milestones, there’s something for everyone. While the album won’t be released until May 5th, you can catch this rising band debuting their album at The Camel on Thursday, May 4th. They’ll be sharing the stage with Shagwuf and recent feature Rikki Rakki for a night of fantastic music—and you can bet I’ll be there.

NEW LOCAL & REGIONAL MUSIC RELEASES THIS WEEK

WHITE BEAST
For those seeking a more intense experience, our next feature might be right up your alley. White Beast is a fascinating enigma; consisting of frontman Jeffrey Rettberg wielding nothing but a bass and a massive pedalboard, and drummer Gram Roberts pounding away on the drums, their sound is both familiar and hard to pin down. Self-described as “noise/alt,” their music is undeniably full of sonic chaos.

White Beast is set to release a new single on May 5th, titled “Branded,” continuing their tradition of unrelenting alternative rock. This will be the second release from their upcoming LP, following last month’s “Fencewalker.” Amid the fuzzed-out bass tone and Rettberg’s shout-sung vocals, a previously concealed melodic quality emerges in their latest offerings. If you’re feeling the urge to headbang and scream with wild abandon this week, don’t miss the anarchic, untamed energy of this dynamic duo. Keep an eye out for their full-length album in the coming weeks—you might hear it before you see it.

Top photos courtesy of Snail Mail

Andrew Bonieskie

Andrew Bonieskie

But you may call me Bones. I'm the Associate Editor of RVA Mag, and a writer and musician living in Richmond, Virginia. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in creative writing I have gone on to score feature and short films, released a book of poetry, an album of original music, and perform lead vocals with the band Pebbles Palace.




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