Lightfields - “Junior”

Lightfields' latest single, “Junior,” was just released as a preview title track for the band's upcoming full-length.  Recorded at Snake Oil Studios with Dan-O Deckelman, the tune electrifies the senses.  Taking cues from 90s garage rock like the band Pavement, the band unleashes an unrelenting stream of buzzing guitars and gang vocals.  The melody rings out like a beacon in the night past the fog of instrumentation, and it’s catchy.  Gone is the sax, but the sexiness is still there.  We can’t wait for the rest of the album!

Catch LIghtfields tomorrow (Thursday), 4/10 @ Gallery 5 w/ Houdan the Mystic (Subterranea Collective math rock) and Red States (RVA freak folk/punk/rock). 7:00 pm, $3!  (fyi, Red States is about to hit the road next week and then be back to open for the 4/18 Local H show @ Canal Club!  I loved that song.)

Herbal Essences - No Dancing

Herbal Essences is a duo consisting of Will Bollinger (prolific RVA songwriter who appears to have deleted his bandcamp) on drums and Monika Khot (Charlottesville songstress) on guitar, and they just released a 4-song EP called No Dancing.  It is, after all, difficult to try to dance to math rock, but people still do it. Guilty as Elaine Benes. The instrumental tracks are mostly heavy with a bit of nu-devices thrown in. 

Saw some cool #beardoil by #forestthings and my mom bought me some frankincense and chamomile meditative perfume and Kelly is the coolest! Her shop is awesome #cville

Saw some cool #beardoil by #forestthings and my mom bought me some frankincense and chamomile meditative perfume and Kelly is the coolest! Her shop is awesome #cville

Dead Fame - Vicious Design

Dead Fame have done it again! Today marks the release of Vicious Design on vinyl in your local record store!  Recorded and mixed by Pedro Aida at Detached Sound (because he operates out of a studio converted from a detached garage, neat) and mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering, VD (teehee) brings the 80s back to life and present day.  There is a certain nostalgic magic hidden in each crevice.

EDM fans will salivate at the sound of Dead Fame's new single, “Joan Crawford.”  The track is the first single from the sophomore EP.  Singer Michael Means does his best Robert Smith while synth, drums, and guitars create a disco-friendly wall of new wave blips and passionate lyrics.  “You make me wanna do all those things that could hurt so good…”

Vicious Design not only features 7 tracks, but also 3 tracks are remixes of “My Body, My Fool” from last year by Xiu Xiu, Double Duchess, and DJ Nightstalker.

Check out “Girl Undone” for some sweet polyrhythms and unique percussion ushering in a soft-spoken Means. The beats continue as the instrumentation grows louder and the dance vibes get hotter.  “Do you want me? With a little bit of passion?” and so on conveys the sadomasochistic tendencies hinted and stated.

While the one-sheet compares Dead Fame to Xiu Xiu, I would not necessarily race to throw that out there.  For instance, I think the good people in Dead Fame have a greater respect for their audience members than to blow a whistle really loudly into a microphone on stage.  Anyone else go to that Xiu Xiu show @ The Triple in, like, 2008? You know what I’m talking about. Can I judge a band for one mistake they made live? yes.

Dead Fame have also shot a video for this track, so stay tuned for that.  It should all be released by May 3, the date of the album release party @ Balliceaux

Low Folk - “Up and Away”

Low Folk is an Americana/freak folk fusion originally from Virginia Beach, and the band has released a couple of songs. The four-piece utilizes influences of folk, jazz, Americana, surf, and jam-rock in the two tracks released so far. 

Go HERE to stream “The Air I Breathe,” an organic, roots-centered folk rock tune. Just below you can listen to “The Stories I Tell:”

Sports Bar - I Want to Waste Away With You

This may be a little late, but we didn’t want to rush the listening process…Sports Bar released a new EP called I Want to Waste Away With You, which is on par with their previous hits and wins.  There is a really in-depth write-up by Andrew Necci on RVAMag.com, btw.

Wasting stuff is a recurring theme throughout music, with examples like Foo Fighters’ Everlong or Phish’s “Waste” or DMB’s “Waste” or T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland…I digress. It’s just really sweet that amidst all the cool punk sound, the lyrics discuss monogamy and growing old together.  (Also, you’ll notice that the cover art is some naked grandparent drawings which are, and I kid you not, NSFW.  Even though the bodies are sort of androgynous, I’d still be pretty embarrassed if a coworker or boss saw me looking at this.)

Reminiscent of elements of The Queers and likened to contemporaries, Portland’s Mean Jeans, Sports Bar is thrashing a whole new system of garage, punk, party rock and more.  Really catchy melodies and engaging chord progressions kick this up a notch.  Dig on some “Big Mac Yeah” for the latest slice of anthemic Americana.  You’ll probably notice the allusion to “Dancing With Myself,” which brings a great song full circle. We wanted to dig a little deeper, so we asked drummer Stuart Holt a few questions:

Sounds of RVA: What are some of your influences?

Stuart:  Our influences are all over the place. I know that Kemper [Blair] and I grew up listening to a lot of pop punk and classic pop records mixed with 80’s metal and good ole rock & roll. I also was, and still am, a huge fan of soul, funk, and Motown. Basically we developed our style by being in a ton of bands together in the past and eventually combining our favorite aspects of those past bands into something new. Brent [Delventhol] and Mark [Miller] also both bring a lot to the table as far as our overall style and influence. Each currently play in other groups that are similar to Sports Bar in ways, but different enough to make it interesting. PS. I know that i didn’t mention a single actual influence and I’m sorry. That’s a tough question.

SOR: Who composes your songs?

Stuart: Generally Kemper and I write all the songs, but in most cases we don’t write together. Usually one of us will write something that is loosely structured, maybe a few chords and some basic lyrics or a lead riff and a vocal melody, and then we’ll try it out at practice. If we all like the basic idea of the song then each person usually contributes, which will hopefully result in something that resembles a cohesive track. That being said, there are songs that we’ve recorded, like “Movie Screams”, where Kemper basically had the entire song written before he even played it for us. The final recording of that song was almost identical to the first time I ever heard it. On the new EP Kemper wrote “I Want To Waste Away With You” almost entirely by himself. I wrote the music for both “Daniel Song” and “Big Mac Yeah” and then we all collaboratively came up with the structure and lyrics. lastly, Kemper wrote “No Insight” with the exception of the lead guitar riff, which Brent and I wrote together.

SOR: Is “Daniel Song” about a real friend of yours?

Stuart: “Daniel Song” is about our good friend Dan Owen. Usually I’d feel bad dropping his full name, but, like a couple of assholes, we actually put it in the song. I wrote the first verse and the chorus of that song like two years ago as a joke, but we never finished because it’s dumb. Then Dan himself started asking us about it recently. He’d always be like, “When you guys going to finish that song about being a man?” So that inspired us to make it about him and we finished it in one practice. The cool thing about that song is that the four of us all stood around at the practice space and came up with the lyrics together. That almost never happens.

SOR: Where did you record the EP?

Stuart: We recorded the EP at our practice space at the Bike Lot over in Manchester. We did drums, bass, and rhythm guitar live then went back and punched all of the leads and vocals. We actually ended up recording over ten tracks, but when we listened back to them we realized that they worked better in small groups plus we were going to need a lot more time to finish some of the other ones. So, we decided to release the four that were ready and that made sense together as an EP. In the mean time we are currently working on finishing up the rest for another release later this summer.

SOR: Are Kemper’s vocals doubled in some of these songs?

Stuart: We double Kemper’s vocals on a lot of tracks because that’s ultimately how we will end up performing them live. When we play shows Brent, Mark, and I back Kemper on almost every line with a few exceptions. That being said, I sing backups on the EP for Daniel Song and Big Mac Yeah and Brent sings backups as well as a few sweet harmonies on Waste Away With You and No Insight, so it’s not all Kemper doubling himself. I don’t fully understand what we’re doing when we record. I usually have an idea going into it, but it almost always changes. We are all self taught when it comes to recording, so the best way to describe Sports Bar in the ‘studio’ is as one big experiment. If we’re able to capture the same intensity as when we play the songs live then everybody’s happy and we call it a day. We’re not out seeking perfection. Just the essence. I think people are capable of filling in the gaps.

Catch Sports Bar on 4/16 @ Strange Matter with White Fang (Portland garage freaks on Burger Records), Denney & The Jets (Nashville garage blues, also on Burger Records), and Dwight Howard Johnson (Charlottesville garage pop). 10:00 pm, 18+, $8.

photos by Samuel Dixon Photography

Captives - An Ocean Between Voids

Stoner noise trio Captives has released a new album, An Ocean Between Voids, and it’s a doozy.  The album was recorded by RVA familiar Lance Koehler at Minimum Wage Recording.

Slow-building doom and gritty, grungy instrumentation kill it from the beginning track, “In the Frame,” a 6+ minute stunner. It’s heavy and relentless in its hardcore rage.  To be honest, this is exactly what I needed to crush out to in order to feel sane at my desk job. Vocalist (and guitarist) Sean Geerdes somehow makes his screams approachable and engulfing. The final (and title) track starts off as subtle feedback and continues into computer-blurred strains of buzzing guitars.  The low-end (Brian Conlin) approaches Windhand-texture levels and the drums (Andy Bunch) vie for the spotlight. 

Catch Captives (see what I did there?) on 4/23 @ Strange Matter with Enabler (Milwaukee metalcore), Burn/Ward (RVA powerviolence, members of Hellbear, Dumb Waiter, Unsacred) and Soft Time (RVA ex-Catalyst, Polar Bear Club). 10 pm, $7.

Obligatory #cherrytree post

Obligatory #cherrytree post

Iron Reagan - Spoiled Identity EP

Iron Reagan is already back with a new EP, although it is a total of maybe 3-4 minutes. If you’ve got a commercial break that you just don’t know what to do with, mute that sucker and turn on these tunes. Just as you get into a groove, it stops. Little tease. 

Catch Iron Reagan (pictured below) tomorrow (Wednesday) 4/2 @ Strange Matter with Occultist (RVA tour buddies), Humungus (RVA Forcefield metal, frontman of Volture) and Asylum (RVA hardcore). 10 pm, $7.

Also catch them at MaCRocK this weekend.

photo by Jonna Ambur

Gina Sobel - “Thursday Can Be Lonely” feat. Brett Jones

Charlottesville’s multi-instrumentalist Gina Sobel will stop by Live at Ipanema this Sunday, 4/6, 10 pm, FREE. Get more info at the FB event invite