This week in Richmond is going to be an absolute whiplash of lush musical genres. Throughout the week the venues big and small will be filled with raucous music of all kinds from all corners of the world that stand posed to either trip you out or trip you in the mosh pit. A new R&B cd is making the rounds in town and there’s only one place you can get it. Then, down at Friday Cheers this weekend, slap on your cowboy boats and jeans shorts because the country sounds of Nashville are coming to meet the southern influence music hanging around the edges of Richmond for an event that seems only two degrees removed an honest to go Hoedown. On this week’s SOUND CHECK, I’ll walk you through the weekday bands you should check, and give you the lowdown on what’s happening Brown’s Island.
If you’re a band who has new music to get out, a show you feel the world should see, or just some suggestions, reach out to Bones@RVAMag.com with your thoughts.
Friday Cheers has certainly been leaning into Richmond southern influences this year, and from out of the crucible of Richmond bands they have selected Kind Hearted Strangers. In their sixth year of making music, the Richmond group are hot off their sophomore album Now.Here (2023) and are growing as songwriters with every release. Their lyrical content remains very similar, yet they grow more elegant in their phrases. Beyond that their music has grown to feature a wider sonic range than previous records as they often ditched the jangling acoustic guitars for heavy bass licks and psychedelic vibrations lurking beneath the surface of songs like “I Like to Do That.” The scope and scale of the tracks can be called nothing less than expansive. A group who knows what they do, and do it well, Kind Hearted Strangers will only gain traction as they keep going.
In a continuation of the tradition of the evening, Friday Cheers has brought to the stage The Vegabonds. This Nashville based group has been pumping out rock tunes for over a decade, consistently sticking to their well developed sound which adds an alternative edge to their otherwise southern influenced rock & roll. A true embodiment of Nashville, every song is reminiscent of an early evening beer by the side of the local swimming hole. If you find the plethora of Lynyrd Skynyrd copycats to be not to your liking, but crave new tracks to blast out your car window while driving through any of Virginia’s hundreds of scenic highways, then The Vegabonds have your fix.
OUT OF TOWN ACTS TO SEE
Wednesday, June 21st @ The National
On occasion, or perhaps for some, quite often, one can be overcome with an urge to indulge in dissonance and chaos. If you have ever found yourself on this end of your instincts, then perhaps you should check out IDLES. The Bristol based band has been around since 2009 and turned in four albums in that time along with a seemingly endless run of singles. Sounding like a more mellow and reflective Rage Against The Machine, IDLES satisfies the monstrous and brutal feelings without action on them or promotion of. Instead of screaming, “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me!” IDLES instead lean into more artistic non sequiturs that promote a feeling of disarray and unsteadiness that reflects a world that grows increasingly unstable. Not bad for a Tuesday night.
LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE
Tuesday, June 20th @ Richmond Music Hall
I’ve been hearing a lot about Marshall Family Values as of late, and beyond that have run into the members around the scene quite a bit in the last few months. I had somehow missed their self-titled album (2022) from last June, but as it has just turned one year old I felt that it was time. I was met with an old school progressive rock record unlike anything I have experienced in a very long time. An ebb and flow from long form rhapsodies to short experimental transition pieces, changing time signatures and a fresh mix of styles often left out of the prog rock sound like soul and r&b make this record a real treat. If you like music that takes its time and rewards your patience, then by all means give this record a listen, and check them out at the Richmond Music Hall tomorrow night.
My favorite tracks from Marshall Family Values
- “Mutiny In Me”
LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES
One June 16th R&B queen Ms. Jaylin Brown held a released party for her new record Audible Love: Live at the Tin Pan in the West End. This is the first full length album for the multifaceted artist, but if you’re looking for it online though, you won’t be able to find it, as she has opted to release it solely on CD. Taken from her performance on Shockoe Session Live last year Brown has evolved as a person and an artist, and it shows in the music. With a full band behind her Brown is able to explore sonic possibilities unavailable to her before, but she still keeps to the sparse texture and mellow guitars tones that we know her for. Go to her website to purchase this wonderful record, or better yet just make your way out to one of her shows and support this local artist who simply can not be stopped.