Friday, September 18, 7:30 PM
Positive No (Record Release), Rebecca Gates, Nelly Kate @ Gallery 5 – $8
The release of Positive No’s debut album, Glossa, has been years in the making, and I for one am very excited to see it finally happening.
Friday, September 18, 7:30 PM
Positive No (Record Release), Rebecca Gates, Nelly Kate @ Gallery 5 – $8
The release of Positive No’s debut album, Glossa, has been years in the making, and I for one am very excited to see it finally happening. Longtime readers of this column are sure to have heard plenty about just how much I love the music singer Tracy Wilson’s made in the past, and her team-up with guitarist Kenneth Close has also been gold from moment one. This band’s had some struggles over its first few years of existence, from various health problems and unhappy accidents sidelining both Tracy and Kenneth at separate times to the constant struggle to retain a solid rhythm section. Now, with the addition of Sadie Powers (Dead Fame) on bass and James O’Neill (Snowy Owls) on drums, it seems they’ve finally nailed things down, which actually makes this the perfect time for their first album to appear in the world.
Its method of appearance is a pretty interesting thing in its own right. The music world’s been struggling over the past decade or so to come to terms with the move towards intangible digital files that one downloads or even streams from a central online source; the obvious problem being, how do bands make money off their music when there are no longer actual physical products to sell? Vinyl fetishism has been one answer to this conundrum, but Positive No have settled on a more unusual solution–Glossa is being released as a 28 page full color book, roughly the same size as a 7 inch EP and containing words and illustrations corresponding with each of the album’s 12 songs–plus a digital download of the actual music. This show will be your first opportunity to get a copy of the album/book for your very own, and I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t jump at the chance.
Another really cool thing about this show is the fact that Rebecca Gates will also be performing on this bill. Young whippersnappers amongst you might not immediately get why this is cool, but for those who remember the whole post-Nirvana alt-rock era of the 90s, Gates’ tenure as singer and guitarist for the Olympia-based duo the Spinanes, who released three albums on Sub Pop before breaking up in 1999. Gates finds herself in Richmond as part of her current work with UCI Worlds on the Richmond 2015 bike race–she’s apparently working with Sediment Arts, the Cyclofemme initiative, and others on an oral history project related to the bike race. And we’re lucky enough to get a show out of it! I know for a fact that Positive No are all huge fans of Gates’ music, and are delighted to have her on the bill for their record release show; if nothing else, that should be reason enough to get stoked right there. With Nelly Kate also performing this fine evening, you know this is a show you can’t possibly afford to miss. Make sure you’re there.
Wednesday, September 16, 9 PM
Generic @ Balliceaux – $5
Never assume you have the RVA music scene all figured out. Trust me–it’s my job to understand it, and regardless, every time I think I have a grip on things, I get thrown a curveball. Take the existence of Generic, a four-piece improvisational band that takes the form of a rock-based instrumental quartet but plays music somewhere closer to the world of free jazz. Post-rock, metal, and psychedelic tinges creep in at various points as well. Generic features Jonathan Scheer of Toner War and Chris Pittman of Deep Groove Records, plus a couple of other local musicians, trying to find common ground between widespread musical reference points like Miles Davis, Tortoise, and Tangerine Dream. Regardless of how you’d categorize them, the sort of music they make is bound to keep you guessing. They’ll be playing at Balliceaux tonight, with warm-up music provided by local DJs with eclectic record collections, and you can expect things to get pretty far out before the evening is over. This show probably isn’t for everyone, but if you want to hear sounds unlike anything else you’ve encountered at a local venue anytime in the recent past, Balliceaux is the place to be tonight.
Thursday, September 17, 8 PM
Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa, Lobo Marino, HeadlessMantis, Recluse Raccoon, Spooky Cool @ Sound Of Music – $7
I gotta tell ya, I love it when weird bands I remember from decades past show back up in town as if they never went away. Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa is one such project, a group I remember from the days before I got fully immersed in the punk rock scene and was just checking out any weird DIY/outsider musical projects I could locate in the world. KLS has been together and releasing music for over two decades now, and while at one time I might have described them as a “noise” band, these days I feel like that just makes everyone think of stuff like Whitehouse. Kreamy ‘Lectric Santa have more musical connections with straight up weird shit like Captain Beefheart, Caroliner, Sun City Girls, or Truman’s Water. And if any of those references ring a bell for you, this crew, which is led by guitarist Robert Price and violinist Priya Ray, will probably give you a nice evening of truly bizarre and fun music for your enjoyment this Thursday night.
But hey, even if you have no idea what I’m talking about, the musically adventurous among you still have plenty of reason to come down, what with all the great local bands who’ll be joining KLS for this performance, breaking in the new location for Sound Of Music studios (that’s right, it’s in a new spot–click through to that link above for details). From the noisy swamp blues-rock of HeadlessMantis to the hypnotic Eastern drones of Lobo Marino, and from the bizarre pop stylings of Recluse Raccoon to the complex, baroque indie sounds of Spooky Cool, this evening’s gonna take you all over the musical map. If you want the same old sounds you’ve heard a million times before, by all means stay at home listening to the radio, but if you like your music unpredictable, challenging, and fun, you’re best off coming to this show. It certainly won’t consist of anything you can find anywhere else.
Friday, September 18, 5:30 PM
Lady God, Wet Nurse, The Awesome Few, Christi @ Hardywood – Free!
Now that the recording industry has spoken, and new release day has been officially moved from Tuesday to Friday, I suppose I should not be surprised to see so many bands holding record release shows this Friday night. Regardless, it is a bit overwhelming to contemplate, and even more so to imagine navigating around town trying to catch all of them. And yet, if you’re feeling up to the challenge, I can’t help but recommend that before you head over to Gallery 5 for Positive No’s big record release show, you stop by Hardywood around 5:30 or so and catch the celebration for the second 7 inch EP to be released by fellow RVA band Lady God. This psychedelic pop trio has previously given us a two-song slab of vinyl known as The Pebbles, and now they bring us Lady God #2, featuring a great hazy midtempo jam on the A-side known as “More Bang For Your Buck.” If I said “and that’s exactly what you’ll get if you buy this EP at the show on Friday night!”, would that be too predictable? (I’m getting uncomfortably meta, aren’t I?)
Lady God are bringing along some like-minded bands to join with them in celebrating this release, and in particular you should definitely pay attention to Orlando’s Wet Nurse, a talented garage-pop crew with a brand new LP, So It Goes, hitting the streets only a week after this show. Will they hit you with a sneak peek of this album’s fun, frenetic tuneage? Oh, I’d say it’s highly likely. Will you enjoy it? That depends–do you like stuff that rules? If so, no worries, you’re golden. Wet Nurse and Lady God will be joined by RVA tunesmiths The Awesome Few, who’ve got a loud, rocking sound combining cerebral lead guitar fireworks with straightforward, catchy tunes. And of course the ultimate buzzworthy RVA garage-pop girl group, Christi, will kick things off with a sugar n’ switchblades tandem impossible to resist. This is gonna be a blast, y’all. (And if you’re really feeling like a champ, maybe after you catch this and the Gallery 5 show, you can still run across town to Strange Matter and see Windhand’s set celebrating the release of their new LP before you finally go home and collapse exhausted into bed. I for one would be impressed.)
Saturday, September 19, 9 PM
WRIR Gets LOUD!, feat. Asylum, Book Of Wyrms, Burn/Ward, Cut The Architect’s Hand, Venomspitter @ Strange Matter – $5
WRIR is making me really happy with this one. They decided to put together a benefit show for the station featuring an all-local lineup of metal, hardcore, and punk bands–and whoever picked out the lineup for this show did an amazing job, because I am super-excited about every band on this bill. I have no idea what the order for the sets will be–every listing for the lineup I’ve seen has just gone in alphabetical order–but with a group of heavy hitters like this, I really can’t bring myself to care. The best strategy would be to show up when doors open and don’t leave until every single band has finished their set. You’re going to want to see every minute of this show.
What’s on tap for you this fine evening? I’m glad you asked! First off, we’ve got Asylum, a metallic punk band whose sonic attack draws equally from Motorhead and Discharge, bringing together an excellent crossover/D-beat hybrid sound with raging female vocals overtop. Book Of Wyrms are coming from the other end of the spectrum with some creepy, psychedelic doom metal, also featuring female vocals of a much more melodic persuasion. Burn/Ward is some straight-up power violence, hitting you with a wall of blast beats, chugging riffs, and vocal roars to blow you clear back to the bar. Cut The Architect’s Hand are a metallic hardcore trio with a midtempo approach designed to cause pain of the most glorious sort. Finally, Venomspitter mingle elements of angry hardcore, furious black metal, and frantic power-violence for a speedy, venomous (no pun intended) sound that is gonna rip your head off. Basically, all of these bands rule. And they’re all from right here in town. Come get familiar with them all and give your money to WRIR while you’re at it. Everybody wins.
Sunday, September 20, 7:30 PM
Purity Ring, Hana @ The National – $22 in advance/$25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
All those who pay attention to the state of the art in intelligent, complicated electronic pop are saving up their duckets and making sure they’ve got Sunday night free. At least, if they’re smart, they are–because Purity Ring are coming to town that night. This Canadian duo made a big impression with debut album Shrines back in 2012, and have followed it up this year in fine fashion with sophomore LP Another Eternity. The melodies have come to the forefront on the group’s latest material, and those who appreciate CHVRCHES are sure to dig new singles like “Push Pull” when they show up in the set list Sunday night.
Coming from a scene that also includes such talented music makers as Grimes, Blood Diamonds, and Default Genders, Purity Ring’s gorgeous tunes sure to bring smiles to the faces of everyone who appreciate the confluence of indie pop tunes and electronic dance beats. Plus, Purity Ring have shown themselves to be well versed in the worlds of hip hop, having collaborated on multiple tracks with talented Detroit rapper Danny Brown. With talented LA electro-pop singer Hana along for the ride, this show will feature an evening of excellent sounds and engaging performances from multiple artists at the forefront of advances in the electronic genre. Can’t go wrong with that!
Monday, September 21, 5 PM
Quintron’s Weather Warlock, Flanagan/Stevens/Tomillon Trio, Neurology @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets here: https://qww.eventbrite.com/)
Y’all are aware of Quintron, right? This mysterious musical genius and inventor is probably best known for his work as part of the Quintron & Miss Pussycat project, in which he collaborates with his wife, Panacea Pussycat, on electronic disco-punk weirdo sounds that are always a ton of fun. Quintron will make his return to Strange Matter this coming Monday, but he’s not accompanied by Miss Pussycat this time. Instead, he’s coming to town as part of a project known as Quintron’s Weather Warlock, in which some sort of analog synthesizer Quintron invented will be controlled by the weather and create heavy drones that the rest of the band will play along with. This group only plays at sunrise or sunset, which is why this is an early show.
What’s even more interesting than the effects weather conditions and the sun’s position in the sky will have on this band and, presumably, their sound is the fact that the touring group–featuring not only Quintron but also Eyehategod’s Aaron Hill–will be expanded to a much larger lineup with the addition of several local musicians that will participate in the set. Members of Suppression, Caves Caverns, Lost Tribe and more will be on hand to generate loud drones and get crazy as the sun goes down. Who knows what all this will sound like, but serious psychedelia seems likely to be on the menu. Opening sets from the Flanagan/Stevens/Tomillon Trio, a noise project featuring members of Nervous Ticks, Mutwawa, and Fake Object; and Neurology, a new local experimental/avant-garde project sure to creep you out, will kick off this evening of serious experimentation. Get ready to get weird.
Tuesday, September 22, 9 PM
Venomspitter, Kyoty, Swan Of Tuonela, From Fragile Seeds @ Strange Matter – $7
OK yes, I’m sending you to another Venomspitter show within a few days of the one I sent you to on Saturday. That might seem like a bit too much raging metallic hardcore for less than a week’s time, but I have a good reason to do this, so hear me out! You see, I personally am very curious about this show, as it will bring together three different Richmond bands, all of whom seem to me to have a similar sort of appeal, and all of which are kind of getting slept on by the RVA masses.
But honestly, before I even get into that, I want to tell you about the out of town band who are also appearing on this bill. New Hampshire’s Kyoty are very much worth your time in their own right. This powerful instrumental trio has a sound reminiscent of Pelican’s foreboding gloom and the dark, metallic melodies of Isis, as well as calling to mind Mogwai’s heaviest moments at various points across their excellent new one-sided LP, Geomancy I, which was released less than a month ago. The fancy vinyl pressing features an etched B-side as well as three excellent instrumental tunes weighing down the A-side with their spooky heaviness. And as if that wasn’t enough to whet your appetite, even in streaming internet mp3 form this band sounds like they’ll be louder than god in a live environment. You don’t want to miss this (but please, don’t forget your earplugs).
Now, what was I saying before about the local bands on this bill? Well, while I don’t really see this happening, it certainly seems to me like the kids who appreciate any one of these bands should be getting into all three. After all, From Fragile Seeds’ engaging melodic post-hardcore sound definitely has some resonances with Swan Of Tuonela’s multi-layered screamo vibe. And Venomspitter’s furious metallic hardcore sound shares some commonalities with the loudest moments both of these other two bands are capable of. There’s common ground here, is what I’m saying. There’s potential for networking and scene-building. And as someone who loves all three of these bands and is sick of seeing them relegated to basements and living rooms on the outskirts of town, I’m gonna go ahead and demand that all of you come see exactly what these bands are about. It’s a great chance to get familiar with a bunch of bands you’re sleeping on in the space of one night. And these three bands are really just the tip of an iceberg representing every great RVA band that gets passed over. OK, so I’ve got a bit of an axe to grind here. Whatever–humor me. Go to this show. I assure you, you won’t regret it.
Should I be posting about your show? Make sure I know it’s happening–email me: [email protected]