Friday, August 28, 8 PM
The Good Life, Big Harp @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets here: https://goodliferva.eventbrite.com/)
Well hey, check it out–The Good Life is back!
Friday, August 28, 8 PM
The Good Life, Big Harp @ Strange Matter – $12 in advance/$14 day of show (order tickets here: https://goodliferva.eventbrite.com/)
Well hey, check it out–The Good Life is back! And as much as I wish I was talking about some mythical state of overall comfort and joy (was anything like that ever here in the first place?), it’s not by any means a bad thing that what I’m actually talking about is the band fronted by Tim Kasher, Omaha-based singer-songwriter extraordinaire. Kasher is probably more famous as the frontman for Cursive, his original band, which exists alongside The Good Life and has a bit more of an angst-ridden emo sound than that of The Good Life’s (still somewhat angst-ridden) power pop.
It’s actually been quite a while since Kasher devoted some time to The Good Life. For a while around a decade ago, he was alternating between albums from each band, but after 2007’s Help Wanted Nights, it was all Cursive all the time for most of the next decade. That is, until Kasher revived his power-pop quartet and put together their brand new fifth album, Everybody’s Coming Down. The Good Life will be showcasing a ton of fine tunes from that new album, as well as the best of their earlier material, when they come to Strange Matter this Friday night, and all the emo kids and the indie hipsters will be there to drink it all in.
Big Harp will be along on this tour, adding a dose of chunky rock n’ roll to the proceedings. This trio also features The Good Life’s Stefanie Drootin on bass, and they’ve got a new album out called Waveless, which is a kickass collection of fuzzy garage-pop jams. Surprisingly enough, it seems that this show is without any local openers, but Big Harp will surely do a great job of getting you warmed up for an awesome set by The Good Life. And since they’ll have some time to stretch out, they’ll definitely be able to play all your favorites! Come out and enjoy it, because who knows when this crew will pass by here again?
Wednesday, August 26, 8 PM
Olivia Neutron-John, Louie Louie @ Black Iris – $5-10 suggested donation
If you’re in the mood for some serious musical experimentation, Black Iris is where you want to be tonight. Olivia Neutron-John will be in the house, bringing you sounds unlike anything you’ve ever heard before, and you won’t want to miss it. This DC-based project is the work of Ann Marie Philipp, aka Anna Nasty, who also plays keyboards in Chain And The Gang. Olivia Neutron-John sees her taking over the frontwoman role and dishing out some intense electronic weirdness, which hops genres and flows through ideas with exhilarating speed. Expect drum machines, saxophones, and unpredictable synth lines, as well as some surprisingly engaging vocal melodies… when ON-J chooses to give them to you.
Louie Louie will accompany Olivia Neutron-John on their visit to RVA. This brand new Philadelphia quartet only has one single to their name thus far, but “Out In The Streets” does a great job of establishing Louie Louie as a vital new presence on the retro-garage/power-pop scene. There are aspects of early 90s Riot Grrrl/Kill Rock Stars bands showing up here, but most of what I’m hearing in their material is a debt to the tough-girls-with-hearts-of-gold aesthetic that made the Shangri-Las so incredibly great. Their name makes clear what era they’re trying to evoke, and evoke it they certainly do. So come rock with Louie Louie at Black Iris tonight, then prepare for some mind-expanding weirdness from Olivia Neutron-John. It’s gonna rule.
Thursday, August 27, 7 PM
Publicist UK, Dalek, Petrichor @ Gallery 5 – $10 in advance/$12 at the door (order tickets HERE)
Sometimes a band springs fully formed onto the scene, and by the time you hear of them, it seems like they’re already huge. Publicist UK (whose members are, as far as I can tell, all actually American) are one such band, but once you check out the lineup, it makes sense–the red carpet really does tend to roll out for any project that involves the almighty Dave Witte. You may know him as the drummer for Municipal Waste, but he’s been in such grind/metal heroes as Human Remains, Burnt By The Sun, Melt Banana, and a whole ton of others. For this latest project, he’s teamed up with members of Revocation, Freshkills, and Distant Correspondent to create a band that’s a lot closer to the postpunk sounds of Joy Division or Love And Rockets than the heavy metal power you might expect from this collection of musicians. Change-ups are always nice, though, and debut album Forgive Yourself (out now on Relapse–see? They’re already huge) shows that this band has what it takes to stand alongside the past giants of their chosen genre.
Dalek, on the other hand, are already a giant of their own genre. This experimental hip hop group first appeared in the DIY underground in the late 90s, fusing the darkly intelligent sound of Company Flow or Non-Phixion with spooky textures drawn from influences outside the world of hip hop, such as My Bloody Valentine and Einsturzende Neubauten. Over the course of the next 15 years, they released six mind-blowing albums before falling apart in 2010. However, they’ve recently returned to active duty in a slightly altered lineup; MC Dalek is now backed by DJ rEK and Mike Swarmbots on production duties, and their new material is as dense and spooky as ever. They’ll surely present a fascinating live show, and with new RVA dark folk project Petrichor opening things up, this is sure to be a night of widely varied, yet uniformly engaging musical performance.
Friday, August 28, 10 PM
Night Magic, Hessian, Night Bitch @ Wonderland – $5
OK, metalheads, get stoked, because a momentous occasion is in the offing this Friday night at Wonderland. Night Magic will be unleashing their raging old-school doom stylings upon the city, and the pedigree this band brings to the table is surely enough to pique interest and get heads banging all around the city. Former Hour Of 13 mastermind Chad Davis has joined forces with Joe Dillon (Sinister Haze/Balaclava), Mike Davis (Vorator), and Ben Hogg (Birds Of Prey/Beaten Back To Pure) to bring us all a storming collection of brand new tunes. Whether you consider this band a resurrection of Davis’s Hour Of 13 project or a brand new band altogether, you’re going to find what they’re up to of extreme interest if you care about metal at all. So come out and see exactly what they’ve got in store.
While you’re at it, check out a couple of great touring bands coming to us from the Northeast United States. Hessian hail from Portland, Maine, and have a spooky sound that harks back to 70s bands like Coven and Deep Purple, while interjecting a subtle sense of humor that lets you know they’re not taking all this way too seriously (a leading pitfall for too many metal bands). New Haven, CT’s Night Bitch make me think of the early 80s Metal Blade roster not only with their slightly dodgy moniker but also with their classic power metal riffing. This band is gonna thrill anyone who enjoys Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and other amazing bands upon which the foundation for modern metal was constructed. This show is gonna give you a million reasons to headbang, and what could be wrong with that?
Saturday, August 29, 9 PM
Leisure Cruise, Lucy Dacus, Bare Thoughts @ Strange Matter – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets here: https://leisurecruiserva.eventbrite.com/)
This Saturday night is the perfect opportunity to dance away your cares, at least for one night–and Leisure Cruise is the perfect soundtrack. This Brooklyn duo features producer Dave Hodge, formerly of Canadian acts like Bran Van 3000 and Broken Social Scene, teaming up with talented singer-songwriter Leah Siegel. Their debut album came out last year and gave the world a collection of synth-focused tunes designed to be the elevator music for an interstellar voyage to the Lyra constellation (where scientists think there may be some planets capable of supporting life). All these complicated concepts are really no matter, though, because once you hear super-catchy tunes like “Double Digit Love,” you’re just gonna want to move your entire body and stop thinking about all these cerebral concepts related to astronomy and other such Neil deGrasse Tyson-ish subjects.
The local openers for this show are far more interested in guitars than our synth-obsessed headliners, but their music should be equally thrilling and joyous to listen to. If you haven’t caught the buzz around Lucy Dacus over the past few months, I have to wonder where you’ve been hiding–the impending release of her full-length debut has a lot of local music fans on the edge of their seats, and her recent performances backed by a full band have shown that she can not only write great tunes but rock the hell out of them when the time comes. Figure out what you’ve missed, or glory in the sounds you’ve known about all along, when she and her band take the stage Saturday night. And get stoked about Bare Thoughts as well! This alt-rock quartet combines noisy guitars and indelible melodies in a manner reminiscent of the Breeders, or maybe DC indie-poppers Tsunami. Big shoes to fill, but this band has the chops, as they’ve proven on their recently released demo. Come see just how great they can be when they’re ripping it up right in front of your face.
Sunday, August 30, 8 PM
Earth, Holy Sons, Lugweight @ Strange Matter – $13 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets here: https://earthrva.eventbrite.com/)
I’m really excited for this one. I debated with myself about whether to put this show at the top of the column instead of The Good Life show, and I’m still not entirely sure I made the right choice. However, you’re still reading, so I guess it’s not that big a deal. Pay close attention to this next part: Earth is coming to Strange Matter this Sunday. This pioneering drone-metal group, led by guitarist Dylan Carlson, has featured many experimental-music legends within its ranks at one time or another, and is currently a powerful metal trio showing strange hints of folk/country Americana in its sound. Latest album Primitive And Deadly is dark, ominous, and powerful, full of lengthy, repetitive, and hypnotic songs that are nonetheless surprisingly accessible. At times it’s reminiscent of Nick Cave’s work with the Bad Seeds, and at other times it has a sort of later-Neurosis vibe. But ultimately, Dylan Carlson is a true original, and there’s just nothing else around that approaches what Earth is doing these days. This is all the more reason why you absolutely have to make it out to Strange Matter this Sunday night.
Earth are joined by some powerful and imposing openers who, while not approaching the same level of seminal greatness the headliners are able to attain, nonetheless will be impressive to all comers. Holy Sons is a solo project built around the talents of Emil Amos, who plays drums in projects that are impressive and important in their own right, such as OM and Grails. The latest Holy Sons album, Fall Of Man, shows an intriguing new side to Amos, who composes meditative, prog-informed tunes full of multilayered instrumental sound beds and his quietly strong voice. This band will fit right in alongside the modern version of Earth, from musical genre to the mood that’s conjured up. RVA-by-way-of-Brooklyn noise experimentalist Lugweight kicks off this amazing musical exhibition. Get ready–I know I am.
Monday, August 31, 8 PM
Sound Genesius, Ohbliv, Tennison (Tennishu X DJ Harrison) @ The Camel – $5
Here’s a night of hip hop production at its deepest and most fully immersive. Sound Genesius is a local producer who likes to stay out of the limelight but can’t seem to stop churning out extraordinary beats at a furious clip. Knowing this, it’s no surprise to learn that he’s formed a relationship with Jellowstone Records; not only did he appear on that label’s inaugural release, the Booster Pack compilation, he also released a collaboration with Jellowstone’s DJ Harrison last year, entitled Goldrush. Since DJ Harrison, in his role as one half of Tennison, will also be in the house on this night, it’d be no surprise to see him joining Sound Genesius onstage for some real-time collabs, but regardless of how these artists display their work, it’s sure to be memorable.
Ohbliv is another producer who’ll be on hand, and as much as he seems like an obvious role model for the younger generation of producers on the come-up around RVA these days, he’s clearly still an active creator at the top of his game. He’s constantly presenting new projects on his overstuffed Bandcamp page, and his Mind Garden cassette was released last year by the same label that released Sound Genesius X DJ Harrison’s Goldrush. So Ohbliv is keeping busy, and it’ll be a treat to explore the latest goings-on in his mind during his set on Monday. Finally, Tennison brings together Tennishu, the rapping alter-ego of No BS! Brass’s Marcus Tenney, and the always-prolific DJ Harrison. This hip hop duo’s only released one song thus far, but they’ll surely have quite a few more for you to hear live, so come see what these talented men have going on, because you know it’s gonna be amazing.
Tuesday, September 1, 9 PM
Ttotals, Lady God, White Kyle, Manzara, Revolt Of The Apes @ Strange Matter – $7
The first name in RVA psych is not even a band name or a solo performer’s name; it’s that of Revolt Of The Apes, the stylized, mystical but always informative blog and social media presence who keeps everyone thinking in the cosmic realms with double-layered comic book panels, debatably-sourced quotes from philosophers, and a whole lot more. His presence on this show lets us all know that this will be an evening of top-quality psych that none of us should miss. And let’s be real; if you’ve been paying attention to this scene at all, you already knew that to be true where Nashville duo Ttotals is concerned. They encourage you to open your third eye on the aptly-titled 2014 album Let Everything Come Through, and the sonic environment created throughout helps facilitate exactly that–a surprising fact for a band with only two members.
Lady God goes a slightly different direction with their 60s-retro rock n’ roll, forgoing the lysergic excursions in favor of a stronger pop sensibility and some excellent male-female dual-vocal harmonies. With a second EP coming next month, this relatively new RVA band only further cements their commanding presence on the local scene. Meanwhile, White Kyle is another touring band, featuring some more low-key solo work from one of the members of Holy Wave. This one comes to us from Austin Texas, home of the Austin Pysch Fest and surely a great place to brew up some amazing new tunes. Manzara kicks off the live-band portion of the show, while DJ Revolt Of The Apes himself will keep the great music spinning before and in-between sets all night. Whether you use or forgo the chemical enhancements, you better be ready to get out of your head for this one, because with this lineup in town, it’ll happen even if you’re stone cold sober.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected] (not my name anymore, still my email address… life is weird, y’all).