Saturday, August 11, 6 PM
Piss Off 2018, feat. The Donalds, Vulcanite, Love Roses, No/Mas, Organ Trail, Genosha (pictured above), High Priest, Ruin By Design, Peacemaker @ Strange Matter – $7
Richmond’s incredibly eclectic music scene is a joy to experience. Everyone has their own idea of what this town excels at creating; some see it as a doom-thrash mecca, others think of it as a hip hop hotspot, a soul-jazz heaven, or even a screamo paradise. But no matter what impression you have of this city’s music scene, there are always untold new pockets of local music to fall into — and all of them are great. Which brings us to Tired & Pissed Records, a local label that’s been specializing for the past few years in fast, angry, metallic punk from Virginia and beyond.
This Saturday brings a Tired & Pissed showcase to Strange Matter, and offers locals who haven’t gotten on board with this hard-working label’s offerings a chance to catch up with pretty much all of it at once. This show celebrates the release of the label’s third compilation of bands from around the mid-Atlantic area who share their raison d’etre, and an unbelievable nine of those bands will take the Strange Matter stage between 6 PM and midnight on Saturday night.
Label standard-bearers The Donalds and Love Roses will bookend the show, presenting their complementing takes on raging old-school punk featuring varying levels of melody (Love Roses has more, The Donalds has less). These bands will provide a powerful inducement to both show up on time and stick around til the very end of the night. Inbetween, we’ll get sets from a whole bunch of great bands whose sounds run the gamut from gore-soaked death metal (PA’s Organ Trail) to frantic downtuned hardcore (VA’s Genosha), and from grimy, hyperspeed grindcore (DC’s No Mas) to an ambient noise project helmed by former Brutal Truth drummer Rich Hoak (PA’s Peacemaker). That’s not even all that’s on tap for this night, but I’m running out of space, so stop worrying about the details and start planning to show up at Strange Matter this Saturday and catch nine killer bands for only seven measly bucks. It’s a good deal no matter how you slice it.
Wednesday, August 8, 8 PM
Deakin, Highlife, Basmati, Grandma, DJ Elko Tract @ Strange Matter – $10 (order tickets HERE)
This one’s been a long time coming. Oh, you may not think so, since it’s just a local performance by a member of electro-psychedelic indie-pop group Animal Collective, currently touring as a solo act. But Deakin’s been building the hype for his solo material for nearly a decade now, starting with a fully-funded Kickstarter campaign launched back in 2009. That campaign took Deakin to the African country of Mali, to play a music festival in the desert outside Timbuktu and to create an album influenced by the music of that area of West Africa.
It took an interminable seven years to bear fruit, but Deakin finally released his solo album, Sleep Cycle, in 2016, and now he has reached Richmond to give us a live performance of this and other material, which indeed lives up to the promise of West African-infused Animal Collective-ish music that everyone waited so long for. Along on tour to offer his own spin on African pop music is Doug Shaw of New York’s White Magic, leading his side project Highlife and bringing us their American spin on the Ghana-originating sound of the highlife genre. RVA melodic-math weirdos Basmati will offer local support, along with Grandma, the solo project of Haybaby’s Leslie Hong. Plus, you’ll get an opening set from DJ Elko Tract, the alter ego of Blues Control’s Russ Waterhouse. At long last, there’s nothing more to ask for.
Thursday, August 9, 9 PM
Pass Away, Park Sparrows, Living Room, Thomas McDonald @ Bandito’s – Free!
Some pop-punk evokes the coming-of-age feels that assail teenagers as they leave high school and grapple with adulthood, but the kind of pop-punk played by Brooklyn’s Pass Away is of a different sort. Like Jawbreaker and The Replacements before them, Pass Away use their melodic take on fast, chunky punk tunes to lament the struggles that come to grown-ass people who still haven’t achieved all of their dreams. This band plays pop-punk for adults, and their fueled-by-cheap-beer sound, reminiscent of Dillinger Four and Latterman among many others, is the perfect singalong material for adults who have problems they’d like to forget, at least for tonight, by getting lost in tacos, beverages, and great songs.
Pass Away comes to us from members of I Am The Avalanche and Crime In Stereo, and therefore it’s fitting that they play with RVA’s own Park Sparrows this Thursday night at Bandito’s. Bringing together members of Strike Anywhere, Landmines, and Freeman (among many others), this group also makes melodic punk tunes for adults to sing along with and feel a little less alone. It’s OK, we’re all struggling — but Thursday nights with great music and great friends just makes the weekend come a little quicker, right? Pass Away will bring fellow Brooklynites Living Room along with them; this group offers a thicker, post-hardcore take on melodic emotional punk, but it’s sure to still appeal to anyone who knows what it’s like to seek answers to the big questions that remain on a person’s mind long after their 21st birthday. Virginia Beach resident Thomas McDonald, who normally leads The Record Collection, will kick off the night with a solo set. Get a plate of tacos and a pitcher, grab a table, and get stoked for this one.
Friday, August 10, 6 PM
Floral Print, Fat Spirit, Truth Club, Fullscreen @ Hardywood – Free!
I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who’s been reading this column for a while that I’m not one to fool with alcoholic beverages of any sort. That said, I still get stoked about Hardywood’s “Fresh Can Fridays” events when they bring killer music along with them, and this Friday is one such event. Therefore, despite my total apathy towards brews of any sort, I’m still enthusiastically recommend that you hit Hardywood this Friday night and catch Floral Print. This Atlanta band is a real treat for your ears; their string-bending propensities resemble those of long-gone NC angular-guitar heroes Polvo, but the melody and emotion Floral Print introduces to their music is an entirely new — and a welcome — texture.
2017 LP Mirror Stages is full of complexly structured songs with off-kilter melodies galore, all of which are sure to hook you in and not let you go. It’s no surprise that Citrus City Records, purveyor of top-quality local sounds in a similar vein, is bringing us a performance by this band, and while it may be an obvious choice, it’s a welcome one, especially since it also results in killer local support from indie-grunge rockers Fat Spirit. North Carolina’s Truth Club is also along for the ride, and they add a touch of 90s slacker style, a la Pavement, to the string-bending melodies and guitar crunch the rest of this bill has to offer. Brand new locals Fullscreen kick things off, and while I can’t tell you anything in particular about them, I can tell you that this show is free, which makes it worth your while no matter what you think about beer.
Saturday, August 11, 9 PM
Songs From The Road Band @ The Camel – $10 in advance/$12 day of show (order tickets HERE)
I’ve long maintained that I can find something to enjoy in any genre. However, there are a bunch of genres that have remained in the hypothetical whenever I’ve made such a bold statement, and in there alongside jam-band music is bluegrass, a sound I’ve never particularly minded when I heard it being played at county fairs as a kid, but has never excited me in the least either. However, I may finally have found some modern bluegrass I like; not only did a Trampled By Turtles single completely win me over a couple of weeks ago (that’s another story), I am really digging Songs From The Road Band, a bluegrass ensemble who’ll make the Camel their home for a night this Saturday.
The five members of Songs From The Road Band boast a number of formidable credits between them; members have played in Steep Canyon Rangers, Bill Evans’ Soulgrass project, and Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. They may have a somewhat unwieldy name, but that’s hard to hold against them when you hear excellent tunes like the title track to their 2015 album, Traveling Show, or any of the tunes on their brand-new fourth album, Road To Nowhere. And while these songs sound good in the studio, the real place to hear this five-piece is live — there’s a chemistry and an organic feel in the old-time sound this band creates that just isn’t the same without being in the same room to hear it. Whether you’re a bluegrass diehard or someone like me, with no real experience of enjoying the genre, you’d be well-advised to head to the Camel this Saturday night and give Songs From The Road Band a chance to win you over.
Sunday, August 12, 7 PM
(Sandy) Alex G, Daddy Issues, Lance Bangs @ The Broadberry – $16 in advance/$18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
It’s hard to know how to describe Alex G; perhaps the best way would be to call him unusual. There are moments on his latest album, Rocket, which sound kind of Mac DeMarco-ish. At other times, though, he experiments with vocoder and spacey electronic sounds. Conversely, there are even moments that come across as downright country-ish. All of these tunes share one thing, though — a strong viewpoint, conveyed through lyrics and music in a manner that makes it clear just who Alex G is as a musician… even if his genre affiliation is impossible to pin down.
It’s appropriate for an artist like this to come to RVA in the company of Daddy Issues, the Nashville garage-grunge group on JEFF The Brotherhood’s Infinity Cat Records. Alex G may sound like a lot of things, but he’ll never sound like Daddy Issues, so this show is just that much more eclectic with their snarky take on being a twenty-something woman in the 21st century added to the mix. Plus, their 2017 album, Deep Dream, is a heavy rocker full of extremely memorable melodies. They’ll be joined by Lance Bangs, a trio with a slacker-grunge vibe that somehow lands directly between the other two artists on this bill. If you like guitar-slingers with unique viewpoints and melodies to burn, this is the show for you.
Monday, August 13, 7 PM
Jonah Matranga & Friends, The Pauses, New Lions @ Capital Ale House Music Hall – $12 in advance/$15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There’s nothing as guaranteed to make you feel old as a 20th anniversary tour for an album that came out when you were already out of college and living in the real world. Y’all will find out about this when you hit your 40s, but right now you are best advised to ignore my grousing and make plans to hit Capital Ale House this Monday night and see Jonah Matranga and Friends rock the hell out of Far’s incredible 1998 LP Water And Solutions. Matranga was Far’s frontman back then, and while the band reunited long enough to release a fifth album in 2010, this 20th anniversary tour does not see a return to an old lineup. Instead, Matranga, who mostly tours solo these days, is backed by Florida’s The Pauses in order to return Water And Solutions to its full rock n’ roll glory.
This album may date from the waning days of the post-Nirvana alt-rock craze, but it is by no means insignificant; instead, its thick, heavy, yet incredibly melodic post-hardcore sound seems to bridge the gap between Quicksand’s seminal post-hardcore classic Slip and The Deftones’ dark, moody masterpiece, White Pony. The brand new Pauses album, Unbuilding, shows a post-hardcore band with a strong melodic grasp working at the height of their powers; therefore, it’s easy to understand why Matranga picked them as his backing band for this tour. They’ll deliver an opening set of their own that’s sure to keep you smiling, and New Lions — the group formerly known by the name of their frontman, Clair Morgan — will kick off the show in fine fashion and ensure that you have a great time from start to finish.
Tuesday, August 14, 7 PM
Echo Courts, The Wimps, Righter @ Gallery 5 – $5 in advance/$7 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Psych-heads, take note: North Carolina’s Echo Courts return to RVA this coming Tuesday to entrance us all once again. Having slimmed down to a quartet between their 2016 debut and their brand new follow-up, Room With A View, Echo Courts show themselves none the worse for wear by producing a tightly-focused set of melodic tunes that retain a subtler sense of the more overt psychedelia of their earlier work, while also expanding in numerous directions, from a country tinge to an occasional modern math-guitar vibe.
Echo Courts are sure to give everyone in attendance something to rock about when they hit the Gallery 5 stage Tuesday, and the local support they’ll receive from RVA rock n’ rollers The Wimps will be eminently appropriate accompaniment. While The Wimps are absent the psychedelic vibe that pervades Echo Courts’ music, they mine the early days of rock n’ roll for killer hooks with aplomb, showing off their versatile talent on 2017’s excellent full-length, Reel Whirl. Warming up the crowd for this duo of excellent groups will be Righter, a new full-band project from local singer-songwriter Hannah Goad, which takes the atmospheric folk sounds of her solo work in a fuller, more realized direction. Show up on time, catch this group before everyone’s talking about them.
Bonus Hampton Roads Picks:
Friday, August 10, 7 PM
Thunder Dreamer, Wild Pink, LA Dies, Ruth Good @ Charlie’s American Cafe – $7 in advance/$10 at the door (order tickets HERE)
A sound like the one Indiana’s Thunder Dreamer brings to Norfolk this weekend is always welcome, if you ask me. Their melodic bass tone, arpeggiated guitar leads, and catchy choruses stand just slightly on the “indie” side of the divide between indie-rock and emo, but no matter which side claims your allegiance, you’re sure to enjoy the killer tunes from 2017’s 6131 Records release, Capture, as well as any newer sounds this group has in store for us. Thunder Dreamer may at times remind you of the Beach Boys-filtered-through-Neil Young vibes of early My Morning Jacket, they share even more in common with the pastoral sounds of emo bands who hailed from their native midwest in earlier eras, from Cursive to American Football.
Thunder Dreamer aren’t the only reason to head out this Friday night, though; New York’s Wild Pink has quite a bit to offer on their own behalf, even if the twangy touches that show through on latest LP Yolk In The Fur are a surprising thing to hear from a band from the Northeast. Whenever a band evokes Son Volt and The Jayhawks in such a talented fashion, though, it’s always enjoyable, especially when such evocations sit side-by-side with moody new wave vibes reminiscent of early works by U2 and Simple Minds. Lynchburg’s LA Dies (I see what you did there, folks) are also on the bill, bringing a touch of postpunk to the evening, and RVA’s Ruth Good open up the evening with some of that classic Citrus City jangle. Sweet.
Sunday, August 12, 5 PM
Beggars Row, Heavens Die, (Sp)lit, Suffer Through, 3weekoldroses, Consumed With Hatred, Deep Rest @ 37th And Zen – $5
It’s only my second week covering the Hampton Roads area music scene and already I am noticing that things down there are downright brutal. Beggars Row, the Virginia Beach band at the top of this bill, have a downright thuggish sound that feels to me like it could have come out of the northeast in the early 90s and no one would have blinked. The riffs are heavy and chunky, the vocals are harsh and deep, and the breakdowns are custom-designed to get the pit moving — which is exactly what Beggars Row are hoping to see happening at 37th and Zen this weekend, since they’re shooting a video at this show. Limber up those calf muscles before the set, y’all; you don’t want to pull a tendon moshing.
Beggars Row are joined on this bill by a whole bunch of other bands, most prominently Winchester’s Heavens Die. This band has more of a metallic edge to their brutal low-end pound; they’ve definitely got a few early 90s death metal records in their collections. Lancaster, PA group (Sp)lit, who might be the first group to grab my attention through their creative use of typography, are on tour with Heavens Die, and are bringing a faster, chunkier brand of heavy hardcore to Norfolk with this set. Integrity fans should pay special attention to these guys. Maryland’s Suffer Through keep it heavy as well, while Philly band 3weekoldroses have some strong youth crew instincts mixed with a Judge-like tendency toward maximum toughness. The bill is rounded out by two Maryland bands: Consumed With Hatred, who impress me by mixing their heavy-as-fuck metallic hardcore with an overt, in-your-face political message; and Deep Rest, who bring the maximum chug. Lift weights and work out in preparation for this show — it’s just that heavy.
Email me if you’ve got any tips for me about upcoming shows (that take place after the week this column covers–this week’s column has obviously already been written): [email protected] [and yeah, in case you’re wondering, more awesomeness from my cracked and bleeding fingertips is available at GayRVA — come say hey.]
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