Saturday, March 28, 8 PM
Torche, Wrong, Hivelords, Suppression @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://torchesmatter.eventbrite.com/)
Florida metalheads Torche have been a Richmond favorite for quite a while, and for good reason.
Saturday, March 28, 8 PM
Torche, Wrong, Hivelords, Suppression @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://torchesmatter.eventbrite.com/)
Florida metalheads Torche have been a Richmond favorite for quite a while, and for good reason. Starting as a spinoff of singer/guitarist Steve Brooks’ more straightforwardly stoner metal band, Floor, Torche came into their own on their second album, 2008’s Meanderthal. With that album, they began mixing their sludgy grooves with a surprisingly pop-oriented undercurrent; on songs like “Across The Shields,” or “Hideaway” (from 2010’s Songs For Singles) they birthed a sound that felt like the heaviest version of power-pop that could exist in any possible universe. It was as if Eyehategod had merged with Cheap Trick, or something like that. And it was amazing.
Almost a decade later, Torche has continued their dominance of the sludge-pop-metal hybrid galaxy they created, and are further solidifying their reign this year with the release of Restarter, their fourth full length and first for Relapse Records. Not content to rest on their laurels, Torche appears to have made another left turn and headed back in the direction of slow, pounding metal riffs–though never fear, the power-pop riffs still show up on occasion, and Brooks’ lackadaisical yet melodic singing is still as solid as ever.
Regardless of which way they go on record, Torche has certainly proven their live chops in Richmond on multiple occasions, and there’s no reason to expect anything less than total domination once they take the Strange Matter stage this Saturday. They’ve got some cool bands on tour with them too; I’m sure I join with every Capsule fan in this town in my eager curiosity to hear Wrong, the latest project from Capsule bassist/singer Eric Hernandez. Philly black metallers Hivelords are also along for the ride, and RVA is represented by 20-plus-year grindcore/noise legends Suppression. This is gonna be epic.
Wednesday, March 25, 9 PM
Witch Mountain, Slowing, Beldam @ Strange Matter – $8
If you’re living in Richmond in 2015, doom metal is just a fact of your life. Slow, mournful, bluesy, it saturates the very air we breathe with particles of pure, distilled despair. Or at least, that’s my best explanation for the fact that RVA is the home of some of the best doom metal bands at work in the world today (Cough, Windhand, Druglord, etc), and also seems to host regular live performances from the best doom metal bands from everywhere else. Witch Mountain is a great example; they came through with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind last year, on their last tour with their old singer, and now they’re returning to RVA to showcase her replacement! Kayla Dixon is only 19 years old, but the injection of youthful energy and talent she’ll bring to this band will add an interesting flavor to their ancient, mournful sound, which they showed off to such devastating effect on last year’s Mobile Of Angels. Come get an up-close-and-personal preview of the new Witch Mountain tonight at Strange Matter!
When you do, you’ll get a pretty interesting look at some new sounds coming out of RVA as well. Bringing together members of The Catalyst, Soft Time, Forensics, and Crater, this quartet appears to be mixing mournful singer-songwriter sounds of the Neil Young/Jason Molina school with much heavier atmospheric/psychedelic ideas derived from bands like Neurosis. Or so they tell me on their facebook page–I haven’t actually heard their music yet. Based on that description, let me tall you, I’m very curious. Spooky doom/sludge merchants Beldam will cruise down from Charlottesville to open things up. Get ready for slow-motion headbangs, y’all.
Thursday, March 26, 6:30 PM
Pianos Become The Teeth, Comrades, Everyone Dies In The End, Stay In @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://pbtt.eventbrite.com/)
I have felt a lot of angst about this show, y’all. Because here’s the thing–I’ve always liked Pianos Become The Teeth. Their harsh yet emotional post-hardcore is evocative and brilliant, and in particular, the song from their split with Touche Amore has always meant a ton to me. I was a bit worried when they moved towards a slightly more melodic sound on their 2014 album, Keep You, but then it turned out that Kyle Durfey’s amazing voice just sounds even more incredible when he forgoes the screams and just sings cleanly. If anything, Keep You might be the best shit they’ve done yet. And since, despite their being from Baltimore, only a few hours away, I still haven’t seen them play, I was super stoked to finally catch them the next time they came through town.
Why oh why did it have to be the same day as the Swans show? Sure, that show’s been sold out for months, but I got a ticket the day they went on sale, and this Pianos show wasn’t announced until weeks later. I’m heartbroken I can’t go to both, but I canNOT allow myself to miss Swans, so since I can’t be in two places at once, I’m gonna need all of you to help me out by going to see Pianos Become The Teeth at Strange Matter. God damn it if I can’t enjoy it, y’all need to enjoy it for me! You’ll get a pretty great double dosage of mostly-to-entirely instrumental post-hardcore/post-rock sounds from local heroes Comrades and Everyone Dies In The End to warm the night up, and it’ll all kick off with a set from new RVA emo-pop trio Stay In. It should be great, and I can’t believe I won’t be able to be there. (But I am finally seeing Swans, so I’ll console myself with that. Don’t cry for me, RVA.)
Friday, March 27, 7 PM
Roz And The Rice Cakes, Houdan The Mystic, Antiphons @ Gallery 5 – $5
Indie pop fans should definitely be on the alert for this one, as the arrival of Roz And The Rice Cakes in RVA will certainly make for a delightful Friday night at Gallery 5! This Providence trio is fronted by vocalist/keyboardist Roz Raskin, who lays down her gorgeous vocals over some equally gorgeous piano melodies on the band’s latest LP, Need To Feed, released last year by Team Love Records. Backed only by bass and drums, Roz combines with her rhythm section to prove that a guitar is a totally unnecessary instrument when you know what you’re doing, and proceeds to spin some delightfully catchy tunes that will enrapture all listeners. I’m sure the easy comparisons here would be to Matt & Kim or the Dresden Dolls or something, but I’d rather listen to Roz And The Rice Cakes than those bands any day, so don’t let easy reference points deter you from checking out a world-class band that’s sure to get you dancing.
Some equally talented Richmonders will also be on the bill at Gallery 5 this Friday night, representing that whole mathematically-complex indie sound that seems to have coalesced locally around the stage in this very gallery. First off, Houdan the Mystic will be there, weaving a tangled web of technical guitars and subtly catchy melodies rendered in time signatures you’ll need a graphic calculator to track. Meanwhile, Antiphons, who feature members of the Good Day RVA video collective and actually divide their time between Richmond and Portland, Oregon, will lay down some experimental chamber-folk sounds that are not much like anything else you’ll hear out there. End your week in fine fashion with this super-chill show–you won’t regret it.
Saturday, March 28, 5 PM
The Trillions, Sleepwalkers, Mcrvwvs @ Hardywood – Free!
Hardywood’s free Saturday afternoon shows roll on, as they continue to pair introductions and spotlights on particular craft brews with evenings of fine local music presented gratis. This week, the action actually kicks off at 2 PM, when the Hardywood Hoplar IPA gets rolled out to the no-doubt appreciative reception of discriminating local beer fans. As one who never touches the stuff, though, I’m far more interested in what will be happening starting at 5 PM, when a triple bill of local power pop kicks off on the Hardywood stage. The Trillions are in the spotlight for this one, and if you haven’t spent a good deal of time with their brand new album, Superposition, what are you waiting for? After all, you’ve had six weeks since it was released.
Well, it’s never too late, and rest assured, The Trillions will present quite a few of the new tunes from Superposition as part of their live show this Saturday afternoon. We’ll also get to hear from the boys in Sleepwalkers, who’ll be fresh off their spring tour (at least for a week, before they head back on the road again), and should be in fighting form after spending the month taking their music all over the country. Mcrvwvs, the latest project from the crew responsible for Amazing Ghost, will kick things off on this fine afternoon, demonstrating their continued facility with mixing funk, salsa, and indie rock sounds like some kind of Southern Vampire Weekend (which sounds like a vacation the characters from True Blood might take). So come down to Hardywood, grab a burrito from a food truck and a brew from the Hardywood folks, and enjoy yet another edition of the best indie music our city has to offer.
Sunday, March 29, 10 PM
The Mad Doctors, HeadlessMantis, The Loose Cannon @ Bandito’s – Free!
Another place that’s staked out a day of the week and dominated that day with excellent music from both within and outside of Richmond, presented free for your listening pleasure, is Bandito’s. While Hardywood loves to deliver great RVA indie sounds in conjunction with craft beer on Saturday afternoons, Bandito’s gives over its Sunday nights to the presentation of the best in local punk, metal, and rock n’ roll, served in conjunction with their delicious Mexican food of all sorts (though, as I’ve always made a point to remind you all, I only have eyes for their nachos). Touring bands usually don’t make it into town on Sunday night, but this week NYC residents The Mad Doctors are heading back from SXSW in Austin, Texas and all the stars have aligned to bring us a set from these guys as part of Banditos’ regular Sunday night festivities. These guys rock like crazy, making their love for hot rods, B movies, and loud guitars on releases like their 2014 full-length, Snake Oil Superscience. You don’t wanna miss ’em.
HeadlessMantis is another can’t-miss proposition. This weirdo-garage duo recently transformed themselves into a trio by adding a member who dishes out a layer of bizarre noise and samples overtop the band’s simple-but-deadly swamp-blues garage-boogie riffs. Horns honking, jackhammers pounding, and underneath it all, a couple of crazy young dudes wildin’ out like first-LP Black Keys only EVEN MORE stoned–that’s my idea of fun. Come check it out. And check out openers The Loose Cannon while you’re at it; originally a duo, this band has expanded to a quartet. But rather than adding any bizarre new layers of sound, they’re just rocking harder with a thicker, stronger sound. Get into it.
Monday, March 30, 9 PM
Narcoleptics, Animal Planet, The Mad Existence @ Strange Matter – $7
Noise Punk Monday, once a regular feature of one of my favorite blogs, Terminal Escape, has been resurrected for this Monday night show at Strange Matter. You better be ready for some total fucking chaos when Brooklyn boys the Narcoleptics pull into RVA. They take guitar distortion so far past any sane limits that the result sometimes sounds like vaguely chord-shaped static, and the singer’s effect-drenched vocals hardly help to make sense of the proceedings. Underneath it all, the drummer’s pounding fast as fuck, and the result sounds something like a Discharge record being played at 78 RPM over a shortwave radio connection. Imagine if the numbers station on Lost had sounded like that! Anyway, this show is going to be a total mess, but it’s going to be a super-fun mess, so get done up in your spiky leather punk best and come ready for a total noise assault.
Some local punk rage will also be available for your perusal at this show, and while the RVA bands don’t seem to have quite the same goal of sonic obliteration as Narcoleptics do, both Animal Planet and Mad Existence are quite capable of producing some raw, thrilling hardcore noise. Animal Planet have been laying low for a while, and at one point it seemed like we wouldn’t hear any more from them. But lo and behold, they’re back, with a new bass player and presumably some new tunes as well as the ones you’ve been moshing alone in your room to for the past couple of years. Meanwhile, The Mad Existence are a brand new band who nonetheless manage to be the most polished thing on this bill. They’ve got whammy-bar divebombs and Government Warning-style riffs to get the pit moving, so get ready to mosh it up! Don’t polish up your Docs for this show, though–they’re just gonna get scuffed up anyway.
Tuesday, March 31, 10 PM
Buck Biloxi & The Fucks, Heavy Lids, The Ar-Kaics @ En Su Boca – $5
Is ineptitude a virtue? I’ve never forgotten about that one Lester Bangs essay where he rants about the genius of the Troggs (the “Wild Thing” guys) and equates their brilliance with their very inability to play their instruments. I bought two Troggs albums based on what Lester said in that essay, and I’ve never regretted doing so for a second (even when “Love Is All Around” comes on). So when I tell you that Buck Biloxi & The Fucks are so amazingly inept they make The Troggs sound like musical geniuses, I hope you understand I’m saying this as a compliment. This band of rock n’ roll reprobates sounds like they learned to play their instruments last week, and yet somehow manages to crank out some amazingly fun rock n’ roll tuneage for alla that. Some of their records sound like they were recorded with two tin cans and a string, but I’m sure they’ll have at least a little bit of clarity at En Su Boca next Tuesday–even if they still haven’t figured out how to end a song. And good lord is it ever gonna rock.
New Orleans rockers Heavy Lids will also be along for the ride on this Tuesday night, and their sound offers a bit more instrumental facility–even if they do still turn that ability towards cranking out three-chord rock n’ roll, complete with buzzing, humming organ. If ineptitude is a virtue, you might think that knowing your way around your axe is a strike against you, but nothing could be further from the truth. As long as you stick with three chords and a shitload of distortion, you’ll be all right, and Heavy Lids certainly do that. The Ar-Kaics, a Richmond band whose garage-rock chops are not the least bit in doubt, will provide local representation on this bill. Meanwhile, En Su Boca will treat you to the priceless opportunity to show up early to a rock n’ roll show and gorge yourself on tacos in preparation. If you don’t take advantage of that opportunity, you are blowing it.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]