Of Good Nature, Wheeland Brothers, Honest Debts, and Drook: This Week’s RVAMag Sound Check

by | Apr 22, 2023 | EDM, RAVE & EXPERIMENTAL, MUSIC, R&B, SOUL & GOSPEL, REGGAE & JAM

As the weather begins to warm up, a lot of people choose to slow dead outside and enjoy the Spring sunshine. With Summer and festival season just around the corner, it’s time to start finding some bands that embody that vibe of sitting on a beach and drinking your favorite chilled beverage in the hot sunshine. Now although easy listeners are abound, it doesn’t mean that the public forgets about the cellar dwellers that continue to crank out their grungy music despite the longer days and beautiful weather, for they are hard at work to. On this week’s SOUND CHECK we take a look at some Californians who want to spread their good vibes far and wide, a veteran Richmond group finally releasing an album, and the crazy kids down the block who play with midi keyboards in their basement. As always, if you have new music, press releases and/or suggestions, reach out to Bones at bones@rvamag.com

COMING TO TOWN

OF GOOD NATURE & WHEELAND BROTHERS

I know that I’m looking for Summer vibes to help kick me into the laid back mood I’m going for this season, and if you’re craving it too then I would head on down to the Tin Pan on Thursday April 27th to hear the easy going sounds of Of Good Nature and Wheeland Brothers.

Of Good Nature put out an EP called “Input” back in November of last year, and despite its Autumn release date, it has some major Summer vibes, and they are bringing them to Richmond. Pulling from a whole slough of genres, “Input” draws most heavily from soul and reggae lending a laid back air despite the horn driven sound. Never overwhelming and always easy to listen to, this is a great recording to add to your Summer playlist if you’re still building, or just an excursion into something new if you’re looking for some new sounds. 

Wheeland Brothers are two brothers (surprise) from Southern Claifornia, and have been releasing music for over a decade now. If you haven’t heard of them recently, it’s probably because they haven’t put out an album since 2016, though I suppose that shouldn’t be a shock from two self-described, “surfers who grew up where the concrete meets the sand.” However, they are back with a new record “Pacific Vibrations”, and If you want an idea of what Wheeland Brothers are all about, then look no further than the first three tracks. These opening songs are all quite different, and allow a perfect glimpse into what this record has to offer. Starting with “Song To The Sun” the brothers offer up a light and bumping radio pop number, the sarcastically titled “Board Meeting” transitions into a reggae dance groove, and “Watching Waves” has that all fall away into a picked acoustic ballad about sitting on a beach, watching waves, and living life in the moment. 

I know both of these groups will be in my Summer rotation, so I encourage you to seek out some good vibes, and bring them down to the Tin Pan on Thursday to show these Californians that we can relax just as hard as they can.

Wheeland Brothers – Watching Waves (Official Music Video)

LOCAL & REGIONAL

HONEST DEBTS

Honest Debts have been ping-ponging around the local scene for about 5 years now, where they’ve been slowly churning out some singles and even an EP back in 2018. Now they’re going all in and releasing their debut album Can’t Be Sure this Friday April 28th at The Camel. If you haven’t listened to the music of Honest Debts yet, then it shouldn’t be that hard. Their brand of soul infused rock and roll with a touch of southern American spirit is the definition of easy-listening; unobtrusive, digestible, and catchy. While the formula may be familiar, Honest Debts so far have shown that they know how to perfect a tried and true method, so this Friday will show if they can stick the landing.

The two singles that they have released to promote the album, “Not So Sure” on March 31st and “White Blooms” on April 14th, continue their traditional sound. Both of these tracks cover themes of self-actualization and belonging, whether it be in relationships or life. White not leaning on the theme of relationships for the majority of the track, at a climactic moment near the end of “Not So Sure” the singer screams “there’s something about me that’s missing, and I think it might be you!” “White Blooms” does not shy away from the romantic atmosphere with the whole song being sung to a lover utilizing a lot of well timed Spring imagery relevant to its March 31st release date.

DROOK

Shining stars of the underground scene, Drook are on the rise. For a masterclass in how a band naturally evolves, I implore to listen to the full catalog of this group that is quickly becoming a Richmond staple. Their first EP “TRL 2004” was released in the fall of 2020, and skirts the line between indie pop, and indie rock. A guitar driven, spacey, irreverent sound surrounds the whole piece, but they constantly oscillate back and forth between a harder driving force and an airiness that supplies this recording with an interesting dichotomy. Their next EP “Life In Estates” was released almost exactly two years later, and goes full on dream pop. The spaciness that was prevalent in their first recording is dialed up to 11 and they begin incorporating canned percussion sounds and other distinctly pop elements into their music.

That brings us to their newest release: “Mr. Fisher’s Dirty Club Mix.” Coming just six months on the heels of “Life In Estates,” this new recording is a shocking left hook from this enigmatic and evolving group. What wouldn’t sound out of place at a rave, “Mr. Fisher’s Dirty Club Mix” is a dizzying electro pop explosion, with emphasis on the electronic aspect of that designation. A flurry of percussive noises and synthy instruments overwhelm the listener with a torrent of sounds that construct themselves into a wall of electronic glory. While the voice of their lead singer is almost completely sidelined, it is still there, just heavily affected, adding a touch of humanity to an otherwise otherworldly experience. 

If you happen to find yourself in Blacksburg tonight, Drook will be playing a party at WUVT-FM, and you should absolutely check out this new music by a truly strange band that seems determined to keep their listeners on their toes.

Top photo by Joey Wharton

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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