As we approach the summer season, Brown’s Island is bustling with an array of exciting concerts lined up for music enthusiasts. With the splendid weather, top-tier musicians set to perform, and the calming river breeze punctuated by the rhythmic soundtrack of nearby trains, this unique venue sets the stage for memorable musical experiences. In this edition of Sound Check RVA Magazine, we delve into the week’s highlights, covering musical happenings along the river, an emerging Richmond artist spreading her wings to Charlottesville, and local bands releasing fresh tracks to usher in the summer.
If you’re an artist who’s got new tunes, press releases, or suggestions, send them our way. Send an email to Bones at email@example.com.
For those of you not aware, the beloved folk group Mandolin Orange has changed their name to Watchhouse. The duo consisting of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz have been making music together for well over a decade and put out six records of experience driven folk tunes before deciding the change the name during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Their newest self-titled album came out in 2021 and continues their tradition of self-actualized folky songs. You know if this kind of music rings your bell, so for a laid back Friday evening down on the river you better make it down to Friday Cheers.
I’m not sure if it would have been possible to find a more perfect opener for Watchhouse than Palmyra. This is no my first time covering them, or even here on Sound Check, but I can’t help but marvel at how well this group is doing right now. The trio from Richmond understand the folk sensibilities that are central to the ethos of Watchhouse, but the young group have a tongue-in-cheek sardonic attitude that appeals to the next generation of folk music enthusiasts. These guys bring an energy to this scene that is duly needed, and with a tight act that only grinding on tour can provide, Palmyra are perfectly poised to open for a national act that could potentially rocket them to a new era in their careers.
OUT OF TOWN ACTS TO SEE
Les Claypool is a strange man. The veteran bass player has been with Primus since its formation in the mid 1980s, and throughout his tenure with them has found time for a number of weird solo and side projects, often one-offs that produce a novelty album before he moves on. In the resurrection of a two-decades old band, Claypool will bring us Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, a heavy jam band used as a vehicle of pure expression. This time around, there will be some structure to the night as his website promises that every performance will “include a full performance of Pink Floyd’s iconic album Animals.” It does not specify if this will be the whole show, so one can only guess what might happen. Backed by an assortment of children of famous rockers (guitarist Sean Lennon, son of John Lennon, and keys player Harry Waters, son of Pink Floyd’s bass player Roger Waters), as well as other veterans such as Paolo Baldi, drummer for Cake, this is sure to be a wild night.
LOCAL & REGIONAL ACTS TO SEE
Ali Thibodeau, AKA Deau Eyes, has been everywhere. Style Weekly recently just named her on their 40 under 40 list, she recently won the Newlin Prize for her release last year of the album Legacies, and she has been performing all over the region in just about any place she can. This weekend she will be playing out in Charlottesville to give the city a taste of her new indie pop sound, backing up fellow Virginia natives Dogwood Tales and Mike Frazier – both of whom have a much more southern country sound than Thibodeau. Deau Eyes’ shows are high energy, light-hearted, and passionate, so, if you’re in Charlottesville, you absolutely need to catch this star on the rise.
LOCAL & REGIONAL RELEASES
A new face to me, Nico Dorosete, AKA Moco Sierra, dropped their album Magenta Sunset in my inbox last week. Lo and behold I was shocked by a stellar piece of R&B combining elements of pop, latin grooves, and a riveting piano intro that absolutely blew me away. Out everywhere June 2nd, a stand out among the tracks is the multifaceted “Goin’ To The Laundromat.” Though instrumental – except for the odd “bum bum” – organ leads and a musical story lend this track a scope that flies above the others. This is a summer album through and through that should absolutely be gracing your playlists with its laid back vibes. An endeavor that reportedly took upwards of four years, who knows when Sierra will drop the next track, but I can tell you that I will be anxiously waiting for that day.
My favorite track from Magenta Sunset
- En La Noche
Dead Billionaires claim that they are here to scratch a primal itch, and I would like to declare mine scratched. Their debut album Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book came out on June 2nd, and it hits all the points it needs to. Reminding me of a Dookie era Green Day, Dead Billionaires new music brings the perfect amount of punk sensibility, catchy hooks, and grim wit to add up to a wonderful pop-punk record that eschews the whininess often associated with the genre, and instead chooses to tackle large social issues. At just seven songs and barely passing the 20 minutes mark, it is a short record, but that just means that the next time they come around they won’t be afraid to go all in on recording.
My favorite track from Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book
- 15 Words
Top photo provided by Watchhouse