Saturday, April 19, 9 PM
Hypercolor (photo by Coldon Martin), James Wallace & The Naked Light, The Trillions @ The Camel – Price at door
This show has nothing to do with dayglo t-shirts from the early 90s that caused all of your sweat stains to glow brilliantly. No, this Hypercolor is a local Richmond band whose lush psychedelic sounds are like a warm hug from an old friend.
Saturday, April 19, 9 PM
Hypercolor (photo by Coldon Martin), James Wallace & The Naked Light, The Trillions @ The Camel – Price at door
This show has nothing to do with dayglo t-shirts from the early 90s that caused all of your sweat stains to glow brilliantly. No, this Hypercolor is a local Richmond band whose lush psychedelic sounds are like a warm hug from an old friend. Hypercolor have been bubbling under in the local scene for the past year or so, more talked about than seen, visible more between the shadows of their side projects (Avers, Fear Of Music) than as a distinct whole. But they’re stepping into the spotlight this weekend with the release of their long-awaited new EP, Resonate. The first Hypercolor release to bring founding members Alexandra Spalding and Adrian Olsen together in the studio with the fully evolved quintet that this band has grown into, Resonate is gloriously previewed by the sounds that can be heard on their brand new video for “100 Hands,” a preview track from the EP that was released yesterday. Watch it below:
This may only be a small taste of what we’ll be getting at The Camel on Saturday night, but if you’re like me, this is more than enough to whet your appetite. Between the languid tempos, the multi-layered, ringing guitars, and Spalding’s gorgeously laid-back vocals, what we hear on this track is the result of a formula adding Mazzy Star’s sultry desert psychedelia with Yo La Tengo’s spacefaring guitar explorations and maybe even a bit of that much-beloved-at-the-moment shoegaze sound–though derived more from Slowdive than the ubiquitous touchstone that is My Bloody Valentine. Regardless of how you do the math, though, this is a glorious sound that will be made manifest onstage at The Camel Saturday night, and you need to be there to bear witness.
It’s not like the opening acts will steer you wrong, either. Two of the most consistent names in RVA indie rock will be warming up for Hypercolor this fine eve. James Wallace And The Naked Light will be finishing out a weeklong tour that’s currently in the process of taking them to Brooklyn and back, so by the time they hit the stage on Saturday, you can expect them to be well-practiced and playing at the top of their game. Or, alternately, sleep-deprived and wracked with immune system fatigue–tour sucks like that sometimes. But let’s hope for the best, shall we? Opening this whole thing up will be The Trillions, who’ll be putting their dual-guitar attack to positive use by dishing out some of their best-loved tunes along with, hopefully, some tastes of what they’ve been laying down in the studio lately. Considering it’s the Trillions we’re talking about, you can be sure the end result will have plenty of math involved.
Wednesday, April 16, 10 PM
The Cloth, Failed Mutation, The Cales @ Wonderland – $6
Has anyone else noticed a recent influx of raging noise-rock bands scorching the landscape with wall-to-wall bummer jams? It’s the sort of thing I might normally blame on the 90s being back, but you know, this time I think I’m just gonna blame the recession. Stagnating wages, lack of opportunity, and at least recently, a long winter full of shitty weather seems to create prime breeding ground for bands who just want to lurch along at medium tempos, playing sludgy riffs at mind-shearing volumes and screaming like the ghost of Will Shatter from Flipper is chasing them. The Cloth come to us via Delaware and Pennsylvania, and feature members of Count Von Count and Ape, among many other semi-known bands. Word has it they play loud as fuck, and their plodding, downbeat nihilism can be confirmed by one listen to their Bandcamp. So celebrate the fact that we’ve been plunged yet again into a horrible spell of crap weather by heading out to Wonderland and letting these guys cave your skull in with the power of noise(-rock).
Milwaukee’s Failed Mutation are also along for the ride, and this angry punk band featuring members of Tenement and Holy Shit has a completely different approach from that of The Cloth. Speed is their game, and they’ll be cranking out some quick n’ dirty three-chord stompers from the stage at Wonderland tonight–complete with lots and lots of feedback. Can’t forget that. Starting off the evening will be The Cales, who are one of quite a few guitar-based bands coming out of the art-punk scene around Bad Grrrl Records. Like many of the other bands involved in that crowd, The Cales seem to draw inspiration from both post-VU jangle-pop and early 80s No Wave. And like pretty much every other band active in that scene right now, The Cales are really good. Show up on time, and make sure you don’t get stuck out in the cold when all the good stuff is going down.
Thursday, April 17, 8 PM
Booty Sweat 8, feat. Tittsworth, Des McMahon, Rudeecash, Phil Dice, Hekontrolls, Tre Justice, CJ Milli, DJ Jerm @ RVA Theatre (aka/fka The Hat Factory) – $10 advance/$15 at the door (order tickets HERE)
OK, I admit it, I’m not generally much of a dance music guy. Even when I listen to electronic music, it tends to be the kind of stuff that’s too weird to dance to. BUT! If you name your club night “Booty Sweat,” I will at least pay attention. And if you’re bringing in Tittsworth to headline, I know you’re doing something right. Tittsworth is a producer from the DC/Baltimore area who has had a big name on the scene for a while now, mainly because he’s always in the mix when something exciting and new is happening. From his work producing Baltimore club singles a decade ago to co-founding T&A Records (the label that brought moombahton to the world) and U Street Music Hall (the best venue to hit the DC scene in a loooong time), Tittsworth has proven time and again to have his finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the DMV area. These days he’s living in LA, but that hasn’t stopped him–he just dropped an extremely heavy banger in collaboration with Valentino Khan called “TNT,” which came out on Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records last month. So you can expect this guy to drop an explosive set when he takes the stage tomorrow night (sorry, couldn’t resist).
There’s plenty of other DJ talent on this bill, most notably Philly producer Des McMahon, who made a name for himself in the trance scene before switching things up in recent years and dropping some heavy bass sounds. Expect even the huge Hat Factory (or RVA Theatre? What is this place actually called these days? Does anyone know?) speakers to rattle when McMahon is manning the decks. And before he hits the stage, the crowd will get warmed up with a wide selection of local and regional talent, starting with RudeeCash, the duo combining the talents of local DJs RudeeBeatz and Eli Cash. These guys have crushed it for a while on their own, let’s see what they can do as a team. DJ Phil Dice has been making a name for himself on the local scene for a while, and from what we can tell, it appears CJ Milli has some sort of tumblr-based cult following. All these and more will be rocking the party on Thursday night, so the hell with whatever you have to wake up for on Friday morning! Get an early start on your weekend by (booty) sweating out the week’s troubles on the Hat Factory(RVA Theatre?)’s dance floor.
Friday, April 18, 7:30 PM
Local H, The Vacant Stairs, Red States @ The Canal Club – $12 in advance/$14 at the door
You gotta hand it to Local H–they were a bassless two-piece WAY before it was cool. Back in 1996, when Jack White was still just some guy named John Gillis, Local H scored a huge hit with “Bound For The Floor.” The duo’s been through a couple of drummers since then; currently, founder/frontman Scott Lucas is backed by Ryan Harding, who joined the band in 2013. However, they’ve never stopped cranking out the sort of catchy, powerful rock n’ roll that made them famous in the first place. They recently proved this with a storming cover of Lorde’s “Team,” of all things. I mean, I like that song a lot, but the Local H version should appeal even to those who hate Top 40 pop music. Check it out below:
For a band that only ever had one mainstream hit, Local H have certainly proven to have an enduring cult following, and I know there are at least a few among you who need no convincing to show up at this show. For the rest of you, though, rest assured it will be worth it. Come find out why you have at least one or two friends who fucking love this band. And get there on time to check out local openers The Vacant Stairs and Red States, a couple of equally unpretentious RVA bands who stick to the sidelines a lot of the time but deliver their no-frills rock n’ roll with aplomb.
Friday, April 18, 7 PM
Cadaver Dogs, Don Babylon, North Broad, Imaginary Sons @ Gallery 5 – $7
Here’s a show for all the rock n’ rollers out there who love to get wild! Cadaver Dogs, a bunch of maniacs from Cincinnati who named their band after dogs trained to sniff out dead bodies, have a raunchy style that makes a perfect soundtrack for shaking up full cans of beer and spraying the foam all over everywhere. But don’t do that dumb shit at Gallery 5, this is a proper artistic establishment! Anyway, these guys have that same creepy antisocial vibe that comes through in punk rock sometimes–the best example being psycho legends The Dwarves–that makes you think they’d be pretty terrifying to hang out with in a non-music context. We imagine the parties these guys go to usually end with the cops showing up. But when they’re on a stage, they’re gonna rock your socks, and possibly pants, right off, so that’s certainly worth seeing, right?
Don Babylon are an equally noteworthy up-and-coming local band, though they don’t seem quite as out of control as Cadaver Dogs. This band of young men have only played a half-dozen or so shows, but they’ve drawn quite the following already, most likely due to their Strokes-plus-garage rock n’ roll stylings, but maybe also having something to do with their dashing good looks (last time I saw them, the front row was entirely made up of starry-eyed young women). If nothing else, they’re worth seeing to catch rhythm guitarist Ryan Hatcher’s uniquely upside-down playing style. I can’t explain, you have to see it to understand it. This bill will be rounded out by snotty Philadelphia punkers North Broad and RVA rockers Imaginary Sons. This is a show full of music to pound beers to (or so it would seem from secondhand observation…), and it’s on a Friday night, so it’s highly appropriate. Get loaded and rock out!
Sunday, April 20, 9 PM
Cut The Architect’s Hand, Seraph, Venomspitter @ Bandito’s – Free!
The secret word for today is: brutality! Don’t worry about screaming a lot when you hear it, though, because the vocalists for these bands will be doing the screaming for you. Cut The Architect’s Hand and Seraph both released brand new albums lately, and they’re both top-notch examples of their respective genres. Cut The Architect’s Hand would probably be considered metalcore in 2001, but these days, they probably need tighter jeans and swoopier haircuts to really qualify. That’s OK, though, because without any image to maintain, they’re able to focus on heavy midtempo riffing, which they have in excess. Get ready for major headbangs when these guys hit the stage.
Seraph are operating in a different genre, but bringing equal levels of headbanging heaviness. These guys are doing the deathcore thing with enough talent and songwriting quality that the fact they aren’t much bigger than they are is a mystery to me. Seraph don’t rely overmuch on super-slow breakdowns or ridiculously deep vocal styles; instead, they write dynamic songs full of powerful riffs and energetic tempo changes. And OK, yeah, some pretty heavy breakdowns too, but used judiciously enough to be powerful rather than predictable. Finally, Venomspitter is opening up with their first live set ever. You should care, though, because these hardcore veterans have been making great music around town for years as part of several other bands. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with now that they’ve joined forces, but whatever it is, we can be sure it’ll be good.
Monday, April 21, 9 PM
Jung Funk @ The Camel – Free!
RVA’s thriving jam-band scene is pretty well stocked with side projects in which members of other local bands get together on their nights off and just, you know, JAM, man. Jung Funk are one of those projects, featuring members of Silo Effect, The Southern Belles, People’s Blues Of Richmond, and Think, coming together to rock out. While it’s tough to elaborate on what these guys actually do, considering their relatively scarce web presence, one thing we can guarantee is that they’ll be keeping the Monday night crowd at The Camel smiling and dancing. So hey, why not come be a part of it? Relax, hang out, enjoy some good tunes, and have a pleasant evening in the company of some friendly people. It probably beats whatever else you were planning to do with your Monday night.
Tuesday, April 22, 9 PM
The Coathangers, The Audacity, The Nervous Ticks, The Ar-Kaics @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://coathangin.eventbrite.com/)
Oh yes, it’s true–The Coathangers are coming back! This all-female punk band from Atlanta just released their fourth album, Suck My Shirt, on Suicide Squeeze Records, and they’ll be delivering a nice helping of new songs (and probably some old ones too) to the adoring Richmond faithful next Tuesday. This is dance party music for real rock n’ rollers, and while there’s been no lack of that sort of thing this week, picking The Coathangers as your band to miss for the week would be a huge mistake. Don’t do it, dude! Especially since Cali’s The Audacity are also gonna be on the bill. These dudes have a tape out on Burger Records, after all, which is a clear-cut symbol of quality, and sure enough their catchy surf-punk tunes will be stuck in your head all night. So get excited for this one.
Opening up the show will be two excellent purveyors of local garage-punk tunes, The Nervous Ticks and The Ar-Kaics. By the way, you know a show is gonna be full of serious rock n’ roll when every band on the bill has a name that starts with “the” and ends with a plural noun. Shouts out to Strange Matter booker Mark Osborne–whose birthday is being celebrated at this show as well! The man brings amazing music to this city day in and day out all year, so go wish him a happy birthday. It’s the least you can do! And then stick around for a full evening of amazing punk/garage/rock n’ roll sounds. You won’t regret it.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]