More Richmond Music Catalog 1980-2021 Part 6

by | Jan 25, 2022 | MUSIC

There’s so much. So much more than even I knew when we started this whole process. I keep sending myself emails in the middle of the night with one or two more bands to add. We’re looking at going at least nine installments for this series at this point. Luckily for you, we’re parceling them out at a rate of about one a week, so that you aren’t completely overwhelmed (and more importantly, neither am I). Indeed, this one right here took over a week to finish. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes. Anyway, here’s our next batch of artists with names between E and J in the alphabet. Enjoy! –Marilyn Drew Necci

Enforced, “Malignance,” Kill Grid
2021 Century Media Records

When a raw, passionate band moves to a bigger label, I always get a bit nervous. So I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit of trepidation as I waited to hear which direction the band would go on their sophomore platter. Would the big label treatment result in a polished sheen, or would the band dare to dial the violence up a few notches?

According to Enforced, that’s not an either/or question, because sophomore album Kill Grid is simultaneously heavier and more polished than its predecessor. While comparisons to Power Trip and High Command are still valid, Enforced occasionally careens their hardcore thrash sound into the more extreme territory of the crossover spectrum, where outfits like Black Breath and Plague Years reside. Heavily influenced by the riffing and chaotic lead styles of Demolition HammerSlayer, and SepulturaEnforced guitarists Will Wagstaff and Zach Monahan spend the vast majority of Kill Grid blowing my fucking mind with their powerful performances. Single “Malignance” demonstrates just about every tactic that the band employs in a four-and-a-half-minute package. The speed, the groove, the squeals, it’s all there, and when coupled with the monstrous hardcore shouts of vocalist Knox Colby, the results are positively lethal. –from Angry Metal Guy

The Ernies, “Here And Now,” Meson Rey
1999 Mojo Records

Mojo Records has a winner with the The Ernies (what a great name for a band!) and their release, “Meson Rey.” This band combines heavy metal, rap and jazz –  with the emphasis on the metal – for a highly unusual sound that is explosive and most infectious. 

It took me a few spins to get into the groove, but now I am really into this band. The music is energetic, loud and full of life. The words are deep and loaded with thoughtful messages throughout. The band is tight and likes to play and it shows in a big way. The saxophones of Hayes Smith give the band a strange, funky sound that is kind of cool. 

I can just bet these dudes put on one bitchin’ live show. Hey, guys, when you’re in L.A. give us a call! –from Rough Edge

Everyone Dies In The End, “Don’t Forget To Breathe,” The Space Between Spaces
2017 Stillwater Recordings

An instrumental quartet with song titles as long and complex as the songs they refer to, Everyone Dies In The End are the sort of band for which the classification “post-rock” was originally coined. Despite their use of the same instrumental configuration with which this band’s members have previously formed hardcore and metal bands, this band forgoes the verses and choruses that have been the essential basis for pop songwriting for half a century now. Instead, they spend extended periods of time constructing atmospheres through ambient effects and repeating rhythms that slowly pick up steam, like boulders rolling downhill. Eventually, of course, those boulders have to crash to earth, and these moments become the loud and powerful crescendos that dot the landscape of All Things Lead To This, the group’s 5-song debut album. –from RVA Magazine, March 14, 2014

The Exploder, “Ceremony For A Fat Lip,” This Sound Starts Right Now
1997 Reptilian Records

Nobody’s written anything worth a damn about this band anywhere on the internet, so here, let me tell you what’s up. The Exploder was what a few West End pop-punk kids — specifically Jesse Lyell and Dan Evans from Pre-Skool and Jedd Wilcox from The Nuns (no, not the famous Cali Nuns, the anonymous early-90s Richmond Nuns) — did once they got a little older and started stretching their creative boundaries a bit. There were a bunch of chaotic hardcore bands in Richmond at the time, playing the sort of music that would be called “screamo” a few years later (Four Hundred Years, Sleepytime Trio, etc), and The Exploder fit right in with that scene. Their live sets were intense freakouts, and they were lucky enough to capture both their energy and their songwriting talent on their lone LP, from which the above track is taken, as well as follow-up EP West End Kids Crusade, before they broke up right around the turn of the millennium. –MDN

Falls Under April, “44491,” Falls Under April
2001 Self-released

Another lesser-known Richmond band who, again, probably would have gotten tagged “screamo” a few years later. This quartet was from Powhatan County back when that was less the outer suburbs and more the straight-up country. My band played with them at a house show a high-schooler booked in their parents’ basement out in Woodlake or somewhere and I was blown away. I figured these random country high school kids had somehow gotten into some pretty heavy bands, but it turned out they’d never heard any of the bands I thought they sounded like. They just managed to make some really sincere, energetic music in isolation that turned out to be some of the best stuff happening in this city in the first few years of the 21st century. Members grew up and went on to bands like Race The Sun, Mouthbreather, and Sea Of Storms, but this track captures them in the first blush of youth. Perfect. –MDN

Fat Spirit (fka Heavy Midgets), “House Of Cats,” Super King
2013 Self-released

it’s a pretty amazing preview of the new Heavy Midgets LP, Super King, which the band just recently recorded and is set to come out… well, sometime soon. We’ll admit the sound isn’t perfect, but for a live recording it does a pretty great job of capturing every instrument working in tandem–and producing what just might be the best Heavy Midgets jam yet. With guitarist Charlanne McCarthy on lead vocals, the song has a pleasing melody that mixes well with guitarist Ian McQuary’s catchy lead lines. John Graham (bass) and Bren Hall (drums) are the motor that drives the song, which is uptempo without being frantic, and seems like it should definitely get kids dancing. –from RVA Magazine, November 6, 2013

Fatty Love, “Double A,” Fatty Love
1994 Tenderizer Records

Short-lived project band featuring John Partin and Chris Wade of Hose.Got.Cable teaming up with Mark Morton and John Campbell of Lamb Of God back when all of them were young Richmond musicians nobody had ever heard of yet. A heavy-rockin’ band that was here and gone so quickly that this EP is all they left behind. Still worth remembering, though –MDN

Field Day, “Barbie With Gun,” Christian Television
2010 Rorschach Records

Field Day’s debut 7″, Christian Television is a three-song spate of lurching but easy-going math rock not far from the likes of Ghosts and Vodka or a less tense June of 44. Though “The Fast” and “And Bi-Curious” (I get it!) are succinct spit-takes of restrained, head-swaying motion, four-minute-plus closer “Barbie with Gun” allows the band’s dynamic rhythms and changes to stretch with more space. The guitars play off each other well in this one, driving into long fits of Built to Spill-esque distortion and off-key pulls towards the bridge and finish. It’s familiar, but done well. –from PunkNews

Fight Cloud, “Pipe Dream,” We’ll Be Alright
2016 Self-released

Fight Cloud and Houdan The Mystic are preparing for a split release that will drop this fall. The new Fight Cloud song we have for you is not actually slated for inclusion on that split. However, the band has posted a demo recording of a song scheduled for the LP they’re planning to release at some point in the future. And my god, it’s so good we just couldn’t resist sharing it with you. The track is called “Pipe Dream,” it has some amazing dual-guitar melodic interplay as well as a talented vocal turn from singer Justin Stuit, and the band apparently recorded the whole thing live, which is amazing in light of how clear-sounding and tightly played it is. Listen to it below, and get ready around the 2:30 mark for the entire thing to lift off into the stratosphere.

If that’s just the demo version, I can’t imagine how good the final studio recording is going to be. –from RVA Magazine, August 14, 2014 [Note: the demo I wrote this about is no longer online, but the final released version above is equally great. –MDN]

F1NG3RS, “Outta There,” Outta There
2021 Self-released

F1NG3RS is a music producer known for his video game music remixes, mashups, pop culture remixes, parodies and video game inspired original music. F1NG3RS combines elements of retro video game textures, synthwave, funk, hip-hop and EDM into a fresh, but nostalgic sound. –From Bandcamp

Fixtures, “The New Swarm,” Rusted Screws & Machinery Of Man
2011 Self-released

The problem with the internet age is that sometimes smaller bands come and go, and later on, people who were involved decide they’re not really fans of what they used to do, and they go back to all the places it was located online and make it disappear. If you’re someone who thought what they were doing back then was awesome, you’re out of luck. Fortunately, I was able to find this three-song EP by Southside metalcore band Fixtures lurking on Soundcloud. Enjoy it now, on the off chance that it too disappears sometime in the near future. –MDN

Flashbulb Memory, “Not Some Phony Symphony,” Split LP with Joshua Fit For Battle
2000 Revolutionary Audio

Although they were a punk band more than anything, Richmond, Virginia’s FLASHBULB MEMORY seamlessly blended emo, rock, screamo and hardcore into a pretty danceable creation that is certainly worth checking out.

On the split 12″ with Joshua Fit For Battle, opener “Not Some Phony Symphony” begins like Wow, Owls!, Stop It!! and brings in a few other sounds that generally remind me of late 90s emo and dancier screamo. –from Open Mind/Saturated Brain

Flechette, “Ovidian Hurts,” Flechette
2011 Sound Era

Sound Era, a new Richmond-based record label owned by members of local scene veterans Mouthbreather, have stepped up to fill this gap, putting out Flechette’s self-titled debut LP as their inaugural release. The 45 RPM 12″ slab of vinyl does count as a full-length release, though just barely–its 7 songs last just 24 minutes, and definitely leave the eager listener wanting more. However, what is here is more than worth the price of admission, with the aggressive post-hardcore stomp of the band’s riffing driven to higher levels of energy by obvious residual influences from the time the members have spent playing fast hardcore. Think Drive Like Jehu at their fastest, Sleepytime Trio at their most aggressive, or Quicksand with the energy of Gorilla Biscuits. There are also experimental touches, made most obvious by the between-song noise interludes contributed by Landis Wine of White Laces and John Hawkins of Roy G Biv. This album would have fit right in with the 90s-era chaotic hardcore scene that produced classic recordings by Unwound, Clikatat Ikatowi, and Swing Kids, but it’s just as welcome here today. In fact, it’s just another of the many examples that we are presented with on a daily basis of just how abundantly awesome the Richmond music scene is, and while it can be hard to keep up with everything going on in this town, this is not an album that you can afford to miss. –from RVA Magazine, June 29, 2011

Flight Club, “No Way (Get Real),” Kinda Funny
2017 Self-released

“True Rock. True with no E, Rock with no C – Tru Rok.” This is the sound of Richmond’s Flight Club.

“Tru rok, if I had to say it was one thing it would be Foo Fighters meets Four Year Strong- ‘Foo Year Strong’,” said guitarist Charlie Mahoney when describing the four-piece band’s music. “Cause it has that aggressive bouncy part of it from four years and where it gets a little bit heavier is the Foo Fighters, who’s just a rock and roll band.”

Although the band commented on how they identify as a “tru rok” band, the overall musical style, from the lyrical content to the guitar riffs that make you want to angry finger point and dance the night away, shows that they are a pop-punk band at heart. The bandmates themselves, however, disagree.

“I think honestly if you listen to the music, right now especially, we probably just get coined pop-punk, but we’re really trying to take that in a different direction,” said Mahoney. “Pop-punk is honestly one of my favorite genres, but even now I’m like, ‘okay, give me something new, we get {it}, you broke up in high school, dude. You’re an adult now, so we’re just trying to add a little bit of maturity to that.” –from RVA Magazine, January 26, 2018

Fly Anakin, “Sean Price,” Sean Price (single)
2021 Self-released

Over the summer, Richmond rapper and Mutant Academy leader Fly Anakin self-released the seven-song Pixote via Bandcamp, along with an announcement that he would no longer be using streaming services to share his music. Now, Fly Anakin has shared a brand-new track, “Sean Price,” which is produced by Evidence and is an ode to the late Brooklyn rapper. It’s also the first track from a new solo project from Fly Anakin that will drop next year.

“Sean Price inspired me to stand on what I believe in and say whatever I feel no matter what type of beat it is,” Fly Anakin said of Price, who passed away in 2015, and who was part of groups including Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik. “His influence put me in the driver’s seat, I grew wings and shit.” –from Stereogum

From Earth To Ashes, “Ache To Believe,” Dark City
2000 Self-released

The generation of hardcore kids who’d grown up in Richmond during the fertile time of the late 90s came of age around the turn of the millennium, which led to a whole bunch of post-hardcore bands coming out in those first few post-Y2K bands, from Richmond people who’d previously been playing music of the much more straight-up variety. From Earth To Ashes saw several veterans of Richmond’s late-90s hardcore scene, alumni of bands like Indypendant and Broken Chains Of Segregation, recruit Dan Evans of The Exploder to add a more melodic vocal touch to their still chugging but more complex tunes. They only released one EP before breaking up, and since my copy — which dates from very early in the CD-R era — has been unplayable for a solid decade, I’m very thankful that Richmond label Ovolr Records reissued this material last year, and we can all hear this stuff once again. –MDN

From Fragile Seeds, “Comfort,” Myth And Ceremony
2015 Self-released

This performance, filmed by Steven and Lily Photography on what appears to be a back porch somewhere in RVA, features From Fragile Seeds’ current four-piece lineup. However, drummer Chris Gregory doubles as a third guitarist–which is fitting, in light of the fact that Myth And Ceremony was recorded during a transitional period in which the band had only three members. Gregory, an accomplished guitarist in his own right, doubled on drums and guitar for the album, and it’s pretty amazing to watch him play his guitar both in conventional fashion and as a percussion instrument during this video.

Myth And Ceremony will be released in CD and digital formats on Tuesday, April 14. Singer/guitarist Andrew Inge, who also produced and engineered the album, described the seven songs on this full-length as “a bit more focused in style” than the band’s previous album. “[On] the last album, we seemed to have trouble deciding what we wanted to be,” he explained. “We’ve gone more in the “post-rock” direction, I guess you could say. I just think it’s a more grown-up and refined version of our old music.” Gregory agreed, saying, “It’s a little less aggressive overall, so therefore, a little more laid-back. At the same time it has a relatively uptempo feel, in a way, so it’s not extremely melancholy or anything.” –from RVA Magazine, March 31, 2015

.gif From God, “Possible Futures In The Minds Of Children,” Approximation of a Human
2019 Prosthetic Records

I’ve been seeing .gif From God play since their earliest basement blasts of metal noise hysteria and while they’ve been amazing from the jump, they only seem to get better as time goes on. Last year’s split EP with Vein saw them taking things to a higher level with longer, more complex songs, but they retained their edge. They’ve continued to incorporate the best elements of metalcore, screamo, spastic grind a la the Locust, and outright horrible noise into a potpourri of entertaining, energetic sounds that are always delivered with maximum hyperactive intensity. –from RVA Magazine, January 17, 2018

Government Warning, “Arrested,” Arrested EP
2007 Grave Mistake Records

Government Warning has always been a “grower” of a band for me. After my first spin of the No Moderation LP I wasn’t that impressed. It took a few months for me to really get into it, same with their first seven inch. With Arrested, there was no growing period necessary. It hooked me faster than Theo Fleury in a pharmacy.

The fact that the title track of the 7″ wasn’t written by Rikk Agnew is astonishing. How did four guys from Richmond manage to capture the exact essence of early `80s Orange County? This song has everything: the “OC” drum beat, the perfectly placed guitar solo, desperate lyrics, a great sing-along chorus, basically the total package. This shit would have fit in perfectly on any Adolescents, D.I., or early TSOL record. Part of me is really hoping they follow this direction more in the future. It is really that great of a song. Crazy Uncle Rikk would be damn proud.

There was a period for awhile where I was burnt out on hardcore and almost gave up on it completely. Government Warning is one of the main reasons why I’m back in with more of a vengeance than ever before. Pick this record up now. –from PunkNews

Graven Image, “Wrong Way To Utopia,” Kicked Out Of The Scene
1984 Eskimo Records

Hardcore punk in the ’80’s was quite the thing to behold. Violent, dangerous, reckless and amazing all at the same time; this was the music of a generation’s revolt against the status quo. It spread virus-like all over the country and Virginia was no exception, spawning their own small scene of dedicated fans and bands willing to build on hardcore’s reputation. Graven Image, led by the charismatic Dwayne Curd was no exception. Touring and recording at a furious pace, the band made themselves one of the highlights of the Virginia hardcore scene. The band didn’t last very long but their reputation has lasted throughout the years by those who were there and who remembered. –from Perfect Sound Forever

Haircut, “Boys Club,” Shutting Down
2017 Feel It Records

Five tracks of furious hardcore punk on the debut EP from Richmond’s HAIRCUT. Originally formed in nearby Charlottesville, VA (and opening countless shows at the legendary Magnolia House), Haircut released a strong demo at the end of 2016 before landing just down I-64 in Richmond. The speed and precision displayed across “Shutting Down” is rarely captured so well on a band’s first record, but the execution on these five tracks (all of which burn through in 60-90 seconds) is hard to match. Just as essential to this release are Juliana’s tireless, outspoken lyrics (both in English + Spanish) and vocal delivery which echoes from a very candid perspective often missing in contemporary punk and hardcore. A standout EP devoid of any gimmickry or trend-worship. Simply pure, classic hardcore punk. –from Grave Mistake

Heartracer, “Darling,” Darling (single)
2020 Self-released

The band’s name, Heartracer, is for Chris’ lifelong condition, Tachycardia, which causes the heart to speed up and slow down at random. Just like his condition, ‘Darling’, as with their other songs, does a fair approximation, with the high emotional starts and crashing comedowns of steering through love. Low key electronica is quickly supplanted by jagged bass.  The perfect illustration of the fragility, yet hopefulness of many relationships, Chris’ vocals are nonetheless anything but shy, while he delivers his lyrics, often of a highly personal nature.

In the music video for ‘Darling’, we see the band in a space that is dimly lit only by magenta and blue bulbs. There appears to be neither walls nor ceiling, and the band, in blazers and sunglasses, are as lost in the track as the listeners, the clip. and the sound of the song itself, harking back to an earlier time, when the focus was on the band and the music, more than the video. –from Essentially Pop

Hewolf, “Iron Survivor Theme,” Iron Survivor 2 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
2020 Self-released

“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot!” Get ready to rumble, and get ready to listen to Hewolf’s latest album, Iron Survivor 2: The Motion Picture Soundtrack. This movie-less soundtrack needs no visuals to take you on an adventure through the wild world of underground, high-stakes Rock-Paper-Scissors Competitions. Through the eyes of lonely child Danny Laredo, we get to learn about love, lust, and what it really takes to win it all.

Iron Survivor 2 came out on October 30th, and has generated a buzz among Hewolf fans. The album features six tracks that walk listeners through the most poignant moments of the movie (which again, to be clear, doesn’t actually exist). Listen as Danny gains the confidence to compete, take on his most vicious opponents, and then vanquish them all. 

Though the plot puts young Danny in perilous and serious positions, the guys in Hewolf don’t let that get in their heads when writing out his story. Their comedic take on “cock-rock” and the theatrics of metal bring light to the soundtrack, and help entrench us in the fast paced world that Danny strives every day to bury his stake in.

“We’re serious about our instruments, but everything that follows after that is sarcasm,” said Throckmorton. “The three of us are dads so we’re responsible, we’re punctual, we make sure that we get the job done, but we’re also total goofballs.” –from RVA Magazine, January 12, 2021

Hoax Hunters, “Teenage Message,” Dormant
2018 Cherub Records

The lyrical topics on Dormant range from surrealist painting to connecting with people over art objects, and draws a line between his activism and art.

The band expertly mimics the sound of 80s and 90s noise rock and punk, sharing sonic similarities with indie bands like Sebadoh and Royal Trux, or more current bands like Estrogen Highs. The band uses lo-fi recording techniques to give the guitars a chainsaw-esque buzz that also brings the sound in line with early punk and hardcore acts. “Teenage Message”, the first song on the EP, features Ottawa, Ontario-based singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist Catriona Sturton on harmonica. Sturton was formerly a member of Canadian power pop band Plumtree.

As DIY punk and indie subcultures sink further into media’s long tail, the tendency to create in a bubble has become commonplace; Hoax Hunter’s willingness to engage with political and cultural topics in a meaningful way while still retaining some artistic merit is atypical of Richmond’s DIY subcultures, and sets them apart from much of the local enclave. –from RVA Magazine, July 12, 2018

Hold Tight!, “Our Pets’ Heads Are Falling Off,” Can’t Take This Away
2010 Animal Style Records

Hold Tight! have helped lead a resurgence in Richmond’s basement pop-punk scene. They blend pop-hardcore influences like Kid Dynamite and Lifetime with an almost adolescent “let’s have fun and make as many friends as possible because that’s what this is all about” view of music, informed by a deep commitment to the stylings of bands like Blink-182 and Green Day. Fast, loud, and fun, this band is one of Richmond’s best. –from RVA Magazine, September 20, 2011

Hose.Got.Cable, “Chevy Chase Motherfucker,” Antidisestablishmentarianismesque
1994 Tenderizer Records

Sometimes lumped in as a proto-mathcore band, Hose.Got.Cable were responsible for bringing new types of rhythms into punk. On their retrospective disc, Discography 1992-1995, the group collects their first 7”, their Doubt 7”, their LP, and some tracks from compilations. Throughout the disc is a blatant disregard for standard song structure, which surely is as refreshing now as it was in the mid-`90s. Sometimes the band ends a song at a seemingly early juncture, leaving your ears about three seconds past the track change. And sometimes one wonders, why didn’t the band end a particular song 40 seconds or so earlier. But, this isn’t a bad thing. To the contrary, these strange configurations allow contemplations such as “why did they do that here” or “I think this song could have had three times as many sections!” These puzzles, which were definitely created from deft skill and a highly attuned ear, afford the discography multiple listens with each spin adding new questions.

Sure, these guys could make one heck of a racket. When they smash it up, boy, do they smash up! But then again, so can a thousands other bands. Where Hose.Got.Cable truly excels is their ability to back off at just the right time, and sometimes seemingly just the wrong time, and let smoother and gentler sounds take over. But these smooth passages are even more dangerous than their nasty ones, because it’s unclear just when they will strike back with a pummeling onslaught of highly technical, but sloppy, thrashing guitar and screaming. –from PunkNews

The Hot Seats, “Peaches,” Feel
2012 Self-released

Hot on the heels of their live album recorded at a coffee shop in Ashland Virginia last year here’s a new studio album from The Hot Seats. They unveiled several of the songs and tunes on the album when they played here in May and anyone who knows the band will know what to expect here. That’s not to say that they are repeating themselves or going through the motions. Rather it’s another opportunity to marvel at their musical dexterity and to revel in their essential mixture of reverence and goofiness. Driving string driven workouts such as No Plans and Here To Get My Baby Out of Jail swing like hell and allow for plenty of inspired fiddle, banjo and guitar licks while the instrumental interludes (Rattletrap, Mineola Rag, Beasties In The Sugar, Hell and Scissors) almost inspire one to start a barn dance in front of the old desk. While the sheer vim and vigour of this whirlwind of plucking and picking makes The Hot Seats a must see live attraction their more restrained jug band side excels on the recorded medium. The rather risqué Peaches (unofficially accorded the title of the top song of the Shetland Folk Festival they recently played) allows Josh Bearman to fully wallow in the potential lasciviousness of this entendre laden ditty while the band slink along with a devilish mischievousness. –from Blabber n’ Smoke

Houdan The Mystic, “Chasing The Strobe,” Archer’s Jamboree
2012 Self-released

Swirling eerie sevenths open, taking you somewhere into a vortex… deeper… deeper… then, BAM! You are smacked in the face with a spastic explosion of strings and beats, which quickly shapes itself into a thoughtful head-bobbin’ jam. This is the opening track of Houdan The Mystic’s first release, Archer’s Jamboree. The Richmond band, which contains two of the members of Night Idea, has been making waves around town since their formation. Their tasteful and extremely tight blend of experimental-technical-melodic rock, heartfelt lyrics, and large beards puts them into a category they can truly call their own.

It’s always great to hear music that both sounds like nothing ever created before, and avoids being bad. I like bands that accomplish this feat even more if they hail from my hometown. Archer’s Jamboree, which was recorded and mastered by friends for under $50, lands on the sonic spectrum somewhere between American Football and Tera Melos. Being a three piece, Houdan The Mystic relies heavily on the melodic bass and intricate guitar and drum work to fill out the sound.

The album manages to pull off a fun and oftentimes humorous vibe, while remaining equally mature and sincere. Tracks like “Chasing The Strobe” start with complicated, proggy jams, but smoothly work their way into catchy as hell loops, which can get stuck in your head for damn weeks–trust me. –from RVA Magazine, April 3, 2012

Illa Styles, “Long As The Villian Wins,” A Quarter Til A Mil
2019 Self-released

With a gritty sound and life instruction manual-style lyrics, A Quarter Til A Mil finds Illa Styles rapping over high-energy jazz and carefully-crafted production from Michael Millions, with skits and features as versatile and well-made as the album itself.

Styles isn’t new to the game. Much like a carpenter goes to trade school to learn their craft, he graduated from the school of hard knocks in order to create this new record. It’s a refreshing guide to navigating street life while maintaining personal growth, and even when it comes to the dirty details, Styles doesn’t shy away. If anything, it is through his transparency that he finds his power.

“I am not glorifying this,” Styles said. “I am just documenting things that went down during the course of my time here.” —from RVA Magazine, December 9, 2019

Immortal Avenger, “Sound The Alarm,” Sound The Alarm
2006 Self-released

Old School Metal from Richmond, Virginia’s very own Immortal Avenger! This 5-song EP is the bands` much anticipated follow up to “Valor and Justice”, and while that was a fine effort, “Sound The Alarm” is leagues above it in every respect! On this one, the band manages to retain the classic Metal sound that has always been their stock-in-trade; think early Lizzy Borden, Mercyful Fate, Maiden. In fact, this EP even has echos of “Wheels Of Steel”-era Saxon, particularly the vocals of Johnny Throckmorton. It all kicks off with the rousing title track, and a finer opening salvo could not have been chosen! [haven`t yet had the pleasure of seeing the lads live, but I hope they start off their shows with this song; if not, they SHOULD!]

The whole EP displays all of Immortal Avenger`s best qualities; killer riffs, melodic solos, clever time changes, tighter-than-a-ducks-ass rhythms and hummable choruses. Nope, it definitely does NOT get any better than this. –from West Side Dave

Jack Rose, “Cathedral Et Chartres,” Kensington Blues
2005 VHF Records

Kensington Blues is derivative and at the same time nearly brilliant. The styles Rose employs are diverse: twelve-string virtuoso shows, a slide guitar that alludes as much to the sitar as to the blues, solid traditional Takoma ragtime and folk. Out from latter comes a Fahey cover, “Sunflower River Blues”, which (not surprisingly) works as the soil from which the rest of the record grows. The original was predicated on Fahey’s impeccable timing; Rose’s take amplifies the feeling and melody, and then runs with it. Hence the stunning “Kensington Blues”, a song full of clarity and syncopation, elegant and well composed. Two others, “Rappahanock River Rag” and “Flirtin’ with the Undertaker”, are less weighty, more jaunty deliveries of Rose’s signature modern ragtime.

But Rose is more than a traditionalist, and the other tracks on Kensington Blues veer sharply into newer territory. “Cathedral et Chartres” uses twelve strings to abstract the melodic clarity so abundant elsewhere on the record, speeding it up and then sending it into a droning, buzzing finale. This idea is fully worked out in his closer, “Calais to Dover”, in which Rose transfigures the raga into a kind of Dream Music, deep listening project, vibrating his way past individual notes and sequences and arriving at something more akin to pure tone and texture. The minimalist affinity is no coincidence: Rose’s folk is not the least bit free, even as he explores freak sonic terrain, and control is his technique, no matter how many notes he stacks. —from Pitchfork

Jazz Poets Society, “Aboriginals,” Poets Lounge The Show
1998 5th Child Records

A phenomenal blend of jazz, spoken word, and hip-hop, Jazz Poets Society dazzled and titillated minds in a short time. Unfortunately the group is so underground that either you’ve heard of them or you never will. Personally, it was a good few years before I was able to finally safeguard a copy of their Poets Lounge; a CD so good and rare that you wish you could take over a radio station and play it for all to hear. Or, maybe invest one’s own funds to get it widely distributed and promoted like it should have been originally. Alas, those without it will be left to the same 5 songs on the radio and the most sincere sympathy of audibly weary everywhere. –from Amazon

Jeremy D. Simmons, “This Time,” Pie In The Sky
2015 Low Blow

Jeremy D. Simmons is one of the strongest musicians in town. On his debut solo album, he evokes a sonic piecemeal of sorts and the results are stellar. Pie In The Sky is the result of years crafting a musical identity beyond reimagining of influence. Simmons stands out as a unique voice in a city with a wealth of them. –from RVA Magazine, December 1, 2015

Jettison Charlie, “Hitchhiking To Budapest,” Hitchhiking To Budapest
1994 Turn Of the Century Records

Richmond’s Jettison Charlie comes up with some infectious bass grooves and serious slammin’ riffs on their latest release. The music stomps, makes me want to rev up a 78 Ford and tear up and down Franklin County runnin’ shine. However, Bob Massey’s voice sounds at times like he’s gargling with kerosene. Chris Adler lays down some really impressive thump on songs “Rusty Nails,” and the title track. Hitchhiking to Budapest has the power to make it all the way to Everest (or at least from Powhatan to 2nd & Grace). —from Throttle

Joe Threat, “Attic Addict,” Sinister Circus
2013 Self-released

I’ve heard about Threat for quite some time in RVA and have kept up with him and his website and see the random posts about hip hop and crazy stories he has for people, but this album really defined him in a way that I wasn’t expecting from him. The production is crazy, and Threat lyrically brings his A-game. As you press play, he starts the mixtape on a very somber note with tracks like “Conflict Within,” where he talks about the conflict he feels dealing with trying to be accepted. My face twisted as the drum pattern of “Drop The Beat” played through my headset. The 808s thumped on this hype party track, which is produced by Photosynthesizers’ own Dr. Data. Throughout the mixtape, you hear production from Fan Ran and many other local producers, which in my eyes made this a classic, and could possibly catapult Threat’s buzz in RVA. —from RVA Magazine, August 9, 2013


That’s it for this installment of the Richmond Music Catalog. Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 if you haven’t already. We’ll be back next week with Part 7. Stay tuned.

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.




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