Saturday, November 5, 9 PM
Dollhouse (Photo by Jane Pain), Twompsax (Photo by Rob Coons), Invertebrates, Le Morte, Toxitolerant @ Fallout – $10 (order tickets HERE)
I was out with my wife at Target the other night. We’ve been shy about going back into the world post-pandemic, so it was our first time running around mainstream retail America in a while. At one point, she looked over at me and said, “The world is so much more queer than it was a few years ago.” If you’re straight or cis, you might not notice it, but us queers have certainly realized how much more prevalent we all are in the world than we used to be. If the current political environment in the US, UK, and elsewhere is any indication, the right-wingers have noticed too. I hate all the repressive laws that are being proposed and passed all over the place, including here in Virginia, but I also can’t help but notice that we’re still out here, still being ourselves and angrily demanding our space, our lives, and our freedom.
Take, for example, the two headlining bands on this Saturday night punk show at Fallout. First, there’s Twompsax, a band from Oakland led by pro skateboarder Cher Strauberry. Cher is trans, and often begins Twompsax shows with a statement about how “the songs you’re about to hear are meant to inspire transgender people of all ages to fight back against all systems of oppressions who wish us dead.” On record, Twompsax have a lo-fi approach to their punk rock, bashing out their three-chord riffs and bouncy songs with a certain irreverent insolence that comes off as childlike and bratty, in the most adorable way. Meanwhile, videos make clear that Twompsax has a more energetic delivery and a sharper, harder-hitting edge to their speedy punk rock in the live setting. If anything, seeing them reminds me of the time I saw GLOSS live, which was fucking incredible. Expect similarly incredible things from Twompsax at Fallout this Saturday night.
And then there’s Dollhouse, who hail from New York City and have the kind of scrappy hardcore-punk roar that has been pushed to the margins as NYC’s been gentrified beyond belief in recent years. A bit of a lo-fi/noise-punk supergroup, the band features guitarist Hank Wood (yup, the guy from Hank Wood and the Hammerheads), bassist Margaret Chardiet (most famous as the experimental noise artist Pharmakon — a personal fave), drummer Tye Miller (LOTION, Mommy, a whole bunch of other bands), and a singer who was until recently known as Mike Caiazzo but, as of recent Instagram posts, appears to be going by Michelle and using she/her pronouns. I for one am glad to add another rager to the ranks of angry punk rock transfemmes out here freaking out the squares with our antisocial noise. That’s certainly what Dollhouse are all about, and you’ll get a strong dose of that exact antisocial noise when they play Fallout this Saturday night — queer, angry, and punk as fuck. In this ridiculous late-capitalist hellscape that America has become, I can’t think of anything better.
Wednesday, November 2, 7 PM
Deliriant Nerve, Killing Pace, Richmond Vampire @ Bandito’s – Free!
Let’s stick with the theme of harsh, antisocial rage for this mid-week throwdown at Bandito’s, featuring Washington DC’s own Deliriant Nerve at the top of the bill. This ferocious grindcore trio, in which all three band members sing (um, for certain loosely defined values of the term “sing,” that is), takes an absolutely nonstop approach to speed, heaviness, and low-end growling devastation on their recent EP, Uncontrollable Ascension, released a few months ago on vinyl by legendary grind label To Live A Lie — so you know these guys are for real. Hell, even if you don’t, all it will take is a trip down to this free gig tonight at Bandito’s to find out in full, glorious detail.
What’s more, you’ll get to check out a couple of local rippers as well. Killing Pace released an EP of their own earlier this year, and while it hews a little more closely to the ‘core side of the grindcore equation than does the more metallic Deliriant Nerve, it’s got the exact sort of scathing, hyperspeed rage that any grind fan is going to go crazy for. That said, these guys definitely know their way around breakdowns, and will definitely get the crowd moshing hard inbetween high-speed headbang sessions. You won’t want to miss a minute of it — and considering how short and fast their songs are, you’ll have to keep your head on a swivel to make sure you don’t. Best to just show up early and start your night with a set from Richmond Vampire, the most straightforward hardcore band on this bill, who nonetheless have plenty of speed and ripping riffs to lay down for all comers. Combined with the other bands on this bill, they cover the full spectrum of grinding hardcore punk rage, and the whole thing is gonna be glorious. Make sure you’re there for it.
Thursday, November 3, 7:30 PM
Mamalarky, Shormey, Catie Lausten @ Get Tight Lounge – $13 (order tickets HERE)
Things will get catchier and more upbeat at Get Tight Lounge on Thursday night, as Los Angeles quartet Mamalarky roll into town, touring on the strength of their excellent new LP, Pocket Fantasy. This is Mamalarky’s pandemic record, having been recorded during the latter parts of 2020 in a house in Atlanta, the hometown of the band’s bassist. Like all of us during the toughest months of the COVID quarantine, the only way they could really get out and have some fun was to go outside, run around in nature. That fact is made abundantly clear just from a single listen to Pocket Fantasy, which is seemingly infused with the feel of a tree-lined meadow in which a picturesque creek is chuckling by.
When combined with the band’s facility for catchy indie hooks, which shows through in a big way on toe-tapping tunes like lead single “Mythical Bonds,” the atmosphere makes Mamalarky’s latest record highly memorable, even in an underground music world that’s still trying to make up for all the time we lost during that 18 months where no one could play shows. Now that we can hit up shows, we’ve got to be careful to make the most of our rockin’ evenings, and Mamalarky’s guaranteed to do just that when they take the stage at Get Tight Lounge on Thursday. And if you need any further inducement to hit this one up, indie dance-pop party-starter Shormey and talented up-and-coming local pop balladeer Catie Lausten are both going to be opening this one up. That should be all the inducement you need — as if Mamalarky didn’t already provide more than enough (and we all know they did).
Friday, November 4, 7:30 PM
Angel Bat Dawid, JJJJJerome Ellis @ VCU Institute Of Contemporary Art – Free! (RSVP HERE)
VCU’s Institute For Contemporary Art always provides unique and challenging musical experiences when they bring performers to their stage, and this event is no exception. Angel Bat Dawid is a many-faceted artist with many skills in the musical and philosophical realms. A vocalist, composer, clarinetist, pianist, DJ, producer, and educator, Dawid brings an Afrofuturist perspective to her uncategorizable music, which has at times been described as free jazz, but is certainly a whole lot more than that. For her 2019 debut, The Oracle, Dawid recorded in various locations, capturing every sound on the album with a multi-track recording app on her cell phone. She followed that up with a live album recorded in collaboration with Tha Brothahood, which got a Best New Music nod from Pitchfork when it was released in 2020.
Now Dawid is coming to VCU’s ICA in the company of Virginia-based musician, poet, and composer JJJJJerome Ellis, in order to present us all with an evening of “music, poetry, and mysticism,” at least according to the advance promotional materials. Knowing what I know about Angel Bat Dawid, though, I can tell you that there’s only one way to really figure out what she’s got in store for us, and that is to show up at the ICA this Friday night. While it’s recommended that you RSVP to the Eventbrite page linked above, admission is free, so you don’t have to stress if your paycheck turns out to be a bit light. The performance will be followed up by a conversation with the director of the VPM + ICA Community Media Center, Chioke I’Anson. That should certainly help shed some light on what we’ll all see beforehand. But the really important part is to be there and to see it. Make sure you are. Make sure you do. You won’t soon forget it.
Saturday, November 5, 8 PM
Heartracer, SaU, DJ Billy Crystal Fingers @ Get Tight Lounge – $12 (order tickets HERE)
OK, I told you about the queer punk show happening at Fallout on this night. But maybe that’s not what you’re looking for from your Saturday. Maybe what you want is a throwback to some thrilling days of yesteryear, when new wave pop ruled the airwaves and 80s movies dominated the cinemas… because, you know, it WAS the 80s. Heartracer relates to those desires, and they’re here to remind us all that, as long as talented songwriters still walk the earth, classic new wave pop can still be made anew. Led by the songwriting duo Chris and Chip Cosby (who, yes, are brothers), Heartracer’s the culmination of over four decades in the music business between the two of them, and shows off the plentiful songwriting chops these two have crafted over the last 20-plus years. They’re always releasing new pop gems, sometimes to way too little attention, and currently they have a single out called “Txt Me Back,” which is apparently our first preview of their forthcoming second LP, The Feel. I for one can’t wait… which is why I’m stoked to get a preview of what the Cosby brothers have in store for us at this Heartracer show at Get Tight Lounge.
But wait, there’s more! Indeed, this show offers a full set of retro awesomeness by including SaU on the bill. This mostly-forgotten Richmond band was a formidable draw in this city 25 years ago, dishing out their signature brand of goofy yet powerful post-hardcore/post-funk hybrid rockers and thrilling rapturous audiences with their sound. In the years since, bassist extraordinaire Jonathan Sullivan has gone on to a variety of musical heights, from Jack’s Mannequin to Kid Is Qual and beyond. But you never forget your roots, so it’s exciting to see him once again reforming the band that he originally made waves around the Richmond music scene with, and returning to classic late 90s material like the legendary Rock N’ Roll Paradise CD. If you missed out on SaU the first time, you definitely don’t want to lose the opportunity to find out what was so great about them back then. Hit up Get Tight Lounge this Saturday night to learn more… son. Ole!
Sunday, November 6, 7 PM
Chloe Moriondo, Dreamer Isioma @ The Broadberry – $21 in advance, $26 day of show (order tickets HERE)
If you’re aware of Chloe Moriondo, it’s just as likely to be because of her YouTube channel, where she’s got 3 million followers, as from her music. She’s been growing her audience through the vlog world for the past eight years, and she just turned 20 last month, so she got started young. She graduated from making solo acoustic bedroom tunes to actual recording contracts about five years ago, and this year saw the release of her third album, Suckerpunch. The amount of time that Moriondo’s been developing her sound is obvious from the very first listen, mixing of-the-moment sounds like the hyperpop of 100 gecs and the emotional dance-pop of Olivia Rodrigo with moments reminiscent of everything from Tegan And Sara to Lady Gaga to Carly Rae Jepsen. That’s not to mention the crushing moments of total soul-baring honesty, as on the song “DIet Heartbreak,” when she manages to simultaneously channel Soccer Mommy at her most melancholy and My Chemical Romance’s most overwrought ballads.
For a person still not quite old enough to drink legally, Moriondo is clearly extremely well-versed in the history of pop music over the course of her lifetime — and she uses that extensive knowledge to create relatable pop music that’s sure to connect with legions of her fellow Zoomers. Regardless of your age, though, there’s a lot to love here. And let’s just drop the fake adult bullshit and admit that you’re never too old for a good lovelorn ballad to provoke catharsis — especially if it has a line in it like “hope you choke on your berry mojito.” Life’s hard in the 2k22 — we all need music like this. Even those of us who were five years out of college by the time Chloe Moriondo was born. The club’s gonna be dark. None of the Zoomers will recognize you anyway. Just go. Thank me later.
Monday, November 7, 7 PM
Oceanator, Queen Of Jeans @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $15 (order tickets HERE)
Here’s a pretty amazing show on a Monday night — one I nearly missed because half of Broadberry Entertainment Group’s promo for it lists the date as the 17th, not the 7th. This is the correct date, I promise — I even checked the artist’s tour schedule. So definitely show up for Oceanator this Monday night, not next Thursday; it’d be a real bummer to miss out on this one. Especially since I feel like a lot of people are still catching up to what Oceanator’s got going on. This project, led by singer-guitarist Elise Okusami, snuck up on me with their second album, Nothing’s Ever Fine, which came out earlier this year and blew me away with its strong indie-rock sound. Co-produced by talented songwriter Bartees Strange, the album manages to excite all my 90’s-loving energy while remaining far more original than just another three-chord post-grunge emulator.
So yeah, this one’s gonna be a lot of fun on a Monday night, especially if you’re looking for a jolt of guitar-driven energy to break you out of the Monday doldrums and get your body bouncing and your feet moving again. The appearance of Philadelphia band Queen of Jeans on the bill is a huge bonus as well; this indie-rock trio has been building a buzz for a few years now. Their latest EP, Hiding In Place, may not have come out til this summer, but is obviously a quarantine record, written as it was at a point when Queen Of Jeans leaders and romantic partners Miri Devora and Mattie Glass had each had their lives disrupted in different ways by the arrival of COVID-19. While Mattie worked 12-hour shifts at her grocery store job, Miri sat at home by herself, having been laid off, and wrote this record. The forlorn feeling of life spinning out of control shines through the entire EP, and is a perfect vibe to evoke in this still-out-of-control era. Plus, the songs are all very, very catchy. And that certainly never hurts.
Tuesday, November 8, 7 PM
Only Sibling, Stud Count, Day Aches @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
Gotta tell ya, folks, I’m a sucker for a good shoegaze band. Give me quiet moments of restrained guitar strumming, with borderline-whisper crooning over the top, leading into some heavy distortion on the chorus, which somehow still remains melodic even as the volume escalates through the roof… yeah, I’ll take all of that you’ve got. New York band Only Sibling are certainly somewhere on that spectrum, but they tend to avoid the very top of the volume scale in favor for increased hooks and more powerful vocal melodies, which is certainly nothing to complain about. On last year’s Get Well Soon, they straddle the line between the melodic bounce of early Radiohead and the epic crunch of the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums, landing somewhere in the vicinity of the best work by bands like Hum and Sunny Day Real Estate. You better believe I’m stoked about that.
This New York band will brighten up our Tuesday night at The Camel, in the company of two other out-of-town rock ensembles. First on the list is Philadelphia band Stud Count, who skip the shoegaze melody in favor of faster, punkier songs driven by programmed beats at high enough tempos to end all the songs within two minutes or so. It isn’t quite punk rock, but it’s certainly not shoegaze either. If you always wished Letters To Cleo had been a little heavier, though, Stud Count is probably gonna put a big smile on your face. As for Washington DC’s Day Aches, their sound is somewhere inbetween, mixing early 90s grunge-era melodies with crunchier guitars and driving tempos that end up evoking modern bands like Soul Blind and Drug Church at the same time that they bring up mental images of Screaming Trees or Stone Temple Pilots circa Purple. On the whole, this show seems like it’ll be a rockin’ good time. And don’t we all need more Tuesday nights like that?
Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows (that take place after the week this column covers -– this week’s column has obviously already been written): email@example.com