Thursday, May 14, 8 PM
Hop Along, Field Mouse, Go & Tell, Lucy Dacus @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This is exciting as hell. Hop Along are a band that I’ve been listening to constantly for the past two years, even though throughout that time, they only released one song: “Sister Cities.”
Thursday, May 14, 8 PM
Hop Along, Field Mouse, Go & Tell, Lucy Dacus @ The Camel – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This is exciting as hell. Hop Along are a band that I’ve been listening to constantly for the past two years, even though throughout that time, they only released one song: “Sister Cities.” It came out on this insane 78-song Topshelf Records digital sampler from 2013 that was free to download from the label’s bandcamp page (still is, in fact). Earlier Hop Along material had been good, but that song took things to a whole new level, and I became obsessed with it. I spent plenty of days happily playing it over and over for hours, but after a while, I wanted more. I wanted a new album–ASAP! Well, this month, my prayers were finally answered. Painted Shut was released by the legendary midwestern emo label Saddle Creek, and it not only brings a new version of “Sister Cities” but a whole bunch of other songs that easily equal that song’s level of quality. It’s fair to say that I am FUCKIN’ STOKED.
Hop Along hit town about a month and a half ago, opening for The War On Drugs when they played The National at the end of March. Maybe a few of you caught them then, but I didn’t. No hate to the RVA bands and fans who are down with them, but The War On Drugs just ain’t really my jam. Therefore, I’m super-glad I’m getting the chance to see Hop Along play a headlining date at The Camel tomorrow night, and for a much cheaper ticket price than I would have paid to see them at The National. This show will absolutely be worth your time and money; Frances Quinlan’s gorgeous voice is contrasted nicely by her intense delivery, and she’s backed by a band full of dudes who know their way around some catchy indie-rock riffing. The tinges of Lucinda Williams-ish alt-country that show up in Hop Along’s sound from time to time only add depth and richness to their already-excellent sound. Come find out for yourself tomorrow night at The Camel–you’ll thank me later.
Philadelphia’s Field Mouse will be coming to town with Hop Along, and this should be a real treat for all of the RVA fans of dreamy indie pop. This band mixes lush keyboards and smooth, pretty vocalizing with some slightly edgy postpunk rhythms and staccato guitar riffs to create a sound both beautiful and complex, for an intriguing result. Local openers Go & Tell will show off their piano-laced indie rock sounds, as demonstrated on their brand new album, Childish Air, to RVA fans both new and old. Meanwhile, talented young songwriter Lucy Dacus will bring us a solid dose of her catchy tuneage, now backed by a full band. This show will be rad–don’t miss it.
Wednesday, May 13, 8 PM
Chain And The Gang (photo by PJ Sykes), Teargas Rock, Christi @ Black Iris – $10
Are you ready to dance? You better be, because tonight, Chain And The Gang are coming back to RVA, and dancing will be required by law! Just the latest project of the well-known DC punk maniac genius, Ian Svenonius, Chain And The Gang mutates the R&B revivalisms of his previous project, The Make Up, into a sort of crime-obsessed take on the music of leather-clad tough-girl groups like The Shangri-Las. Generally backed by female musicians, Svenonius has worked with members of Priests and Ex Hex, among others, over the life of this project. The most recent release from the gang, Minimum Rock N’ Roll, is full of catchy, bass-driven soul/punk grooves that are sure to have you shaking your hips, so come see the always-energetic Svenonius and his crew bring these tunes to wild, glorious life at Black Iris tonight.
Another special treat you’ll get if you show up is a performance from Teargas Rock. This short-lived post-Young Pioneers/Great Unraveling project were only around long enough to play a show and record an EP back in their original incarnation, but the long-awaited release of that EP galvanized the band into a brief reunion last year. They brought their swinging, politically-informed punk n’ roll tunes to the masses on a brief East Coast tour, but that was supposedly all we were gonna get before they disappeared into the ether once again. And yet, here they are a year later, opening for Chain And The Gang at Black Iris! I don’t know what’s going on or whether it will happen again, so if you missed their brief return last year–or even if you didn’t–you better make it down to the Arts District tonight for this one. Garage-rockers Christi, whom I’m pretty sure constitute Richmond’s ONLY currently active all-female band (ins’t that weird? Let me know if I have this wrong), will open this thing up with some Shangri-La’s-inspired garage punk tunes that make them a perfect fit for this bill.
Thursday, May 14, 8 PM
Child Bite, Beech Creeps, Mutwawa, Suneater, Among The Rocks And Roots @ Strange Matter – $8 (order tickets here: https://childbite.eventbrite.com/)
Are you in the mood to get weird? If so, Strange Matter has the perfect show for you this Thursday night. Child Bite and Beech Creeps are coming to town and they’re gonna blast us all with some loud, noisy weirdness. It’s gonna rule. Child Bite hail from Detroit and have a strange sound that might remind you of the Butthole Surfers or Negative Approach depending on the moment at which you hear them. There’s clearly a good bit of psychedelia mixed into what these guys are doing, and the same can definitely be said of Brooklyn’s Beech Creeps, who’ve been charming some of my favorite weirdo-noise music bloggers lately with their recent output. These guys are a bit more on the postpunk/noise rock tip than the faster, punkier stuff Child Bite will deliver to you, but the herky-jerky guitar screeching is still in plenty of evidence, and there are dope riffs aplenty buried within. Dig it!
All kinds of different local bands will be filling out the bill on this evening of noisy weirdness, and all of them will bring their own brand of bizarre awesome to the stage. Mutwawa have a bit of Butthole Surfers resemblance as well, but they take it to a completely different place, creating their unique brand of malevolent mutant disco live before your very eyes using keyboards, sequencers, various percussion, and a whole shitload of effects pedals. Suneater are more like a psychedelic jam odyssey, incorporating twisted alt-rock influences and what sure sounds like a fair bit of acid damage to create some sort of Jane’s Addiction-ish hybrid freakout. And Among The Rocks And Roots play out enough–and are awesome enough–that you should certainly be familiar with their rhythmically-driven hypnotic noise jams. Come get overwhelmed by the wall of hallucinogenic noise that these bands will hit you with.
Friday, May 15, 6 PM
Electric Dreams: An Evening With Cosby @ Hardywood – Free!
It’s Friday night, so you know what that means–time to go out and dance! And where better to get swept up into the dancing frenzy than at Hardywood? This place has delicious glasses of liquid courage available on tap for you right there, so that you have no excuse for being a chicken and not getting on the floor (well, unless you’re me and you don’t drink, but I’ve never been afraid to dance sober). Cosby will be your hosts for this evening of 80s-style glitz and glamour, and this brother act is definitely committed to the synth-pop sound brought to us by the decade that also introduced Don Johnson in white suits and pastel shirts to the world.
Their latest EP, Summer Gold, is their best material yet, and with Chip’s guitars, Chris’s keyboards, and the harmonies both brothers create with their vocals sweeping you away into paradise, this evening is guaranteed to be a thrill from beginning to end! The boys will kick things off around 6:30 with a DJ set full of awesome jams the likes of which I used to hear on Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 every Saturday morning (you guys better play “Sunglasses At Night” by Corey Hart!). Then at 7:30, the band will take the stage for a live set full of catchy new tunes like “Heartracer” and “Overboard,” as well as the best tracks from their debut album, 2013’s In Flight. Then there’ll be a little more dancing once the performance is over, just to send you out into the night properly! It’s gonna be a blast, so come party with the Cosby brothers and Hardywood this Friday night!
Saturday, May 16, 9 PM
Druglord, Borracho, Bask, Prayer Group, Book Of Wyrms @ Strange Matter – $7
It’s Saturday night, so you know what that means–time for pure musical torment of the highest order! Druglord will be headlining a late show at Strange Matter this night, so you can expect the witching hour to be occupied by some of the loudest, scariest, sludgiest metal you’ve heard in a long time. This trio of veterans traces their roots back to the 80s hardcore scene, and while they don’t reach the level of velocity that their earliest bands attained, they’ve sure got plenty of power with which to smack you all down! Better yet, they’ll be joined by DC’s lords of drunken violence, Borracho (it literally means “drunk”), who cross that fine line between “sludge” and “doom” to bring us some epic biker metal blues tunes. It’s only what you’d expect from a band that hails from the same town as Pentagram and Scott “Wino” Weinrich himself!
But that’s not all you’ll get if you show up at Strange Matter Saturday night. Asheville’s Bask are coming to town and they’ve got a unique sound that’s sure to hypnotize all present. While you can certainly hear the apocalyptic metal roots of their sound on 2014’s American Hollow, they don’t spend too much of their time unleashing full-on riff power, instead concentrating on foreboding atmospheres and strangely evocative breakdowns that almost make me think of Woven Hand at times. It might not bowl you over the way your two headliners are sure to, but it’ll suck you in nonetheless. RVA metal bands Prayer Group and Book Of Wyrms will open things up with their own brands of desert rock and spook n’ roll. Get into it!
Sunday, May 17, 8 PM
Hide, Nocere, Big No @ Sound Of Music – $6
It’s Sunday night, so you know what that means–that I’m taking a joke too far! OK, seriously folks, who is Hide and why should you be interested? Well, if you’re interested in dark, mysterious electro-pop gothic sounds, that’s reason enough right there! Hide features the vocals of Heather Gabel, who has distinguished herself as a visual artist through her extensive design work with Alkaline Trio. She also has the more awkward distinction of having been married to Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace back when she came out as a trans woman (the two separated last year). Let’s not dwell on that, though, because what Gabel’s doing these days in Hide is well worth your time and attention regardless of who she used to be married to. A collaboration with electronic musician Seth Sher, Hide has released several singles’ worth of dark electro-pop sounds that are hard to pin down, though comparisons to the Sisters Of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees would not be entirely inaccurate (at least I don’t think so). The way their music takes over the atmosphere of the room you’re sitting in while you play it is distinctive and memorable, and should be twice as much so in a live context.
Nocere is the perfect RVA band to share a bill with Hide, as this trio pulls from many of the same influences. Instruments are handled by guitarist Aaron Tyree and keyboardist Davey Bales, who you will recognize from their similar collaboration in The Shadow Age, as well as their separate work in Lost Tribe and In Circles. This group features Emily Symington out front on vocals, and her more delicate, melodic voice adds a completely different texture to the finished product than we’ve gotten from Tyree and Bales’ work in the past. Ethereal yet foreboding, the finished product has 4AD circa 1984 written all over it, and anyone who digs where Hide is coming from is gonna love this up-and-coming local act as well. Big No rounds out the bill, with a set of sun-damaged psychedelia that brings to mind Mazzy Star or Spacemen 3. I know Nocere will have the fog machine out for this one–they should really just keep it running full blast all night.
Monday, May 18, 6 PM
Beach Fossils, Sleepwalkers, Clair Morgan @ Strange Matter – $12 (order tickets here: https://beachfossilsrva.eventbrite.com/)
Oh hey, it’s Beach Fossils–remember these guys? They were part of that whole post-chillwave moment a few years ago when everyone got hyped on dudes-with-guitars bands again and we all learned the glories of Real Estate, Wild Nothing, and Wavves, among others. Beach Fossils signed to Captured Tracks and won a lot of people over with the catchy lo-fi indie jams on their self-titled debut. Since then they’ve made a bunch of EPs and another album, 2013’s Clash The Truth, and maybe the prevailing winds of indie fashion have blown away from them a little bit. But y’all, I don’t really care about keeping up with the trendies, and I gotta tell ya, my Beach Fossils records still sound pretty tight when I put ’em on. It’s been two years since their second album came out, and word has it these dudes are progressing steadily on a third one, so chances are their set at Strange Matter next Monday will incorporate both older tunes you know and love and the first glimpse you’ll get of where they’re going next. One thing’s for sure–the melodies will still be ragged but right, and you can expect their whole set to be a great deal of fun. Oh whoops, that was two things.
Two other things you’ll get from this show are sets from great local indie rock outfits Sleepwalkers and Clair Morgan. Mr. Morgan is a singer-songwriter with a second album in the works and a whole big band backing him up; his debut was much more minimal in instrumentation than the record he/they are making now will be, but it sure was a catchy and fun listen regardless. Live, he and his band will make sure you have plenty of fun and many opportunities to dance and sway to the music. Meanwhile, Sleepwalkers impressed everyone with last year’s Greenwood Shade debut album, fulfilling the promise of some members’ earlier work in Duchess Of York and displaying their facility with pop music of all types. These guys have kept busy since dropping that album, and we get the idea that another record from them is also awaiting us all in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, see what they have in store for you when you head down to Strange Matter right after work on Monday night to party with them, Clair Morgan, and Beach Fossils.
Tuesday, May 19, 11 PM
The Record Collection, Rebuilder, Plain Scrap @ En Su Boca – Donations requested
Always fun to see a show at a taco place. En Su Boca’s starting this one late as hell, probably so they can close up the kitchen before the rock sounds get rolling, but I will always advise showing up early and picking up some carne asada tacos while you’ve got the opportunity. Anyway, it’s a power-pop evening for the little triangular taco hut on the Boulevard this Tuesday night, with a headlining appearance from The Record Collection–an excellently named band no matter how you slice it. Beginning as a solo project of Norfolk singer-songwriter Thomas McDonald, The Record Collection have since expanded into a quintet, the better to deliver their catchy, rockin’ sounds to the masses. These dudes have three guitars at their disposal, and they use them to crank up the gain and give their catchy tunes some real backbone. If you dig The Gaslight Anthem, Cheap Trick, or Thin Lizzy, chances are you’re gonna be thrilled when these dudes start playing.
Boston’s Rebuilder are also along for the ride on this one, and they’ll be speeding up the tempo a bit, lacing their power-pop with some melodic punk styles that will bring smiles to the faces of all the former skateboarders who used to blast Lagwagon and Down By Law tapes while they carved up empty pools. Rebuilder are kinda 90s-throwback, yes, but in a good way (I’d be showing my age by admitting that I always think 90s throwbacks are good, right? Oh well). Local support comes from Plain Scrap, a brand new band with some killer punk n’ roll tunes for your enjoyment. Catchy guitar music is always fun, and tacos always rule, so En Su Boca should be your primary destination next Tuesday night. Don’t mess this one up.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]