As the sun-soaked days unfurl and music festivals grip our collective consciousness, we can’t help but cast an introspective glance at the plethora of exceptional talent teeming right in our own backyard, within the vibrant locale of Richmond. This city, a pulsating melting pot of practically every musical genre conceivable, serves up a weekly smorgasbord of fresh tracks that span the gnarliest of heavy metal, introspective indie folk vocalizing their trials and tribulations, to a dynamic spectrum of rappers flaunting their flair across virtually every sonic platform in existence.
On the agenda for this week’s “Sound Check”, we’re spotlighting a diverse array of musicians, ranging from up-and-coming trailblazers to audacious experimental endeavors spearheaded by some of the region’s unsung maestros – all proudly hailing from Richmond, Charlottesville, and Virginia Beach.
Whether you’re an artist, an audiophile, or simply a music enthusiast with freshly minted tracks or insightful recommendations, we’re all ears. Shoot an email over to Bones@RVAMag.com.
LOCAL & REGIONAL MUSIC VIDEOS
KENDALL STREET COMPANY & HOURGLASS SESSIONS
Virginia-based band Kendall Street Company have done it again. The band known for their wild concerts, extensive jam-band style compositions and a complete disregard for genre conventions have teamed up with the guys at Hourglass Sessions to create a truly unique video. The live performance of their song “Eyes Of the World” utilizes the local Lewis Ginter Botanical gardens to create an Alice-In-Wonderland-esque atmosphere with psychedelic light shows and visual effects set against a large greenhouse filled with enormous foliage. This is all ahead of their anticipated album Separation95 which seeks to further the roll of constant successes the band have been pumping out as their popularity only increases by the day.
Hourglass Sessions, for those unaware, is a Richmond based startup focused on promoting local and regional acts through their distinctive one shot live music videos. We’ve talked about them before here at the magazine, but it’s been a while so if you haven’t seen their work by all means check them out. They will soon be unveiling their 50th Hourglass Session featuring a live performance of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody by some of Richmond’s best known musicians.
This rapper stood as a prominent figure in the Virginia Beach scene for over a decade. Known for their energetic persona, it seemed like Tyler Donavan was never going to stop. That is, until 2018, when Donavan needed emergency spinal surgery that left him permanent nerve damage and bipedal paralysis. Despite the overwhelming odds, and with extreme perseverance of will, Donovan made a miraculous recovery that saw him walking again, and even able to perform at this year’s Something In The Water festival. Donavan’s latest release, a video for his track entitled “CRESCENDO,” chronicles his perilous journey from surgery to recovery. This stands as only a taste of what is to come for Donavan though as he has plans to release a full LP called GASPING4AIR later this year. After that, who knows what’s next for Donavan, but if this artist has shown anything, it is an indelible triumph of will.
LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES
A while back we covered here on Sound Check a single by White Beast in anticipation of their upcoming album. Well the day has finally arrived as White Beast will be releasing their debut record Suffering Time on July 14th and celebrating it at Bandito’s Burrito Lounge. Written majorly during the tumultuous Summer of 2020 right after guitarist and singer Jeffrey Rettberg had separated from his ex-wife and was sleeping on a series of couches between Richmond and Baltimore. Rettberg spent his days living out of a suitcase containing, as Rettberg describes it, “a full face respirator, an american flag bandana, a bottle of antidepressants, some marijuana, a collapsible baton and a knife as well my tiny practice amp and a select few essential effects pedals,” with the contents later serving as inspiration for the album art. Known for their heavy and raucous sound, White Beast have a series of singles and EPs on streaming platforms if you can’t wait for more tunes, but once this weekend rolls around listeners will be treated with a full LPs worth of noise rock.
If you know how to pronounce it please let me know. Kaelan Brown has all but disappeared in the pursuit of his graduate degree, and since the artist stepped down as the bass player in Drook, and stopped releasing music as a solo artist, I began to wonder if Brown would ever release music again. Then low and behold, out of nowhere, I opened Instagram the other day to Brown announcing he had dropped some tunes under the name DUPI2’FO. What I was presented with is an EP called KNOW of laid back mumble tunes that are the perfect addition to your Summer playlist if that’s your vibe. What Brown calls, “late night, first take, mumbling experiments,” the tracks have an off the cuff feeling to them, which is perhaps the intention as Brown appears to be trying his hand at producing and mixing as well. Although not groundbreaking, it is an interesting step for the artist who I have known purely for his energetic stage persona.
Top photo courtesy of Kendall Street Company.