Tag: Richmond VA

DJ Williams is a Plainfield, NJ-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, composer. producer, guitarist and bandleader, who grew up in Richmond, VA. Throughout his nearly two decade career, Williams has developed and maintained a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for being a highly sought-after collaborator: the Plainfield-born, Los Angeles-based artist is the founder of the Richmond-based band DJ Williams Projekt; the hip-hop/R&B act The Breaks; the acoustic duo Williams & Jones; and he’s probably best known for playing in the critically acclaimed, San Diego-based funk/jam-band act Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Unsurprisingly, as a result of his various creative projects, Williams has toured around the planet, playing in clubs of all sizes, as well as the international festival circuit, playing some of the largest and most prestigious festivals across the US, Canada and Europe — and he’s shared stages with the likes of John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, John Oates, Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Big Daddy Kane, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Soulive, Levon Helm, Slightly Stoopid, Robert Randolph, Slick Rick and a growing list of others.

As a singer/songwriter, composer and bandleader, Williams’ work is generally centered around compelling melody, an eclectic musical palette and deliberate and careful songwriting, revealing his desire to push new sonic and stylistic boundaries. Williams’ latest project, DJ Williams Shots Fired features members of Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz‘s backing band, Slightly Stooped, Trey Anastasio Band,Lyrics Born, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars and others — including Dan Africano (bass), Kowan Turner (drums), Joe Tatton (electric organ), Scott Flynn (trombone), Nick Gerlach (sax) and André Mali (trumpet) and a rotating cast of collaborators and associates.

DJ Williams’ Shots Fired’s debut single “She’s No Good” quickly earned regular airplay on SiriusXM during the spring of 2018 and as a result, the band was named as a “heat-seeker” and “an artist to watch.” Building upon a growing profile, the act’s forthcoming effort is a concept effort conceived as a four-part soundtrack for an imaginary movie is slated for a Fall 2020 release through Color Red Records. Last month, I wrote about EP single “Iron Fist.” The track, which features elements of psych rock, jam band rock, arena rock and funk depicts a character known as “The Samurai,” represented through Williams’ slashing guitar work. The EP’s second and latest single “Sunset Trails” is a homage to the black and white Westerns a young Williams used to watch with his father. Centered around shimmering guitar lines, four-on-the-floor drumming, soaring organ chords, an enormous and expressive horn line, the end result is a strutting, hip-hop inspired take on Ennio Morricone/Spaghetti Western soundtracks.

 

 

 

DJ Williams is a Plainfield, NJ-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, composer. producer, guitarist and bandleader, who grew up in Richmond, VA. Throughout his nearly two decade career, Williams has developed and maintained a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for being a highly sought-after collaborator: the Plainfield-born, Los Angeles-based artist is the founder of the Richmond-based and DJ Williams Projekt; the hip-hop/R&B act The Breaks; the acoustic duo Williams & Jones; and he’s probably best known for playing in the critically acclaimed, San Diego-based funk/jam-band act Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

Unsurprisingly, as a result of his various creative projects. Williams has toured around the planet, playing in clubs of all sizes, as well as the international festival circuit, playing the largest and most prestigious festivals across the US, Canada and Europe — and he’s shared stages with the likes of John Legend, Dave Matthews Band, John Oates, Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Big Daddy Kane, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Soulive, Levon Helm, Slightly Stoopid, Robert Randolph, Slick Rick and a growing list of others.

As a singer/songwriter, composer and bandleader, Williams’ work  boasts compelling melody, an eclectic musical palette and deliberate and careful songwriting, revealing his desire to push new sonic and stylistic boundaries. His latest project, DJ Williams’ Shots Fired features members of Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz‘s backing band, Slightly Stooped, Trey Anastasio Band, Lyrics Born, Soulive, Greyboy Allstars and others — including the likes of Dan Africano (bass), Kowan Turner (drums), Joe Tatton (electric organ), Scott Flynn (trombone), Nick Gerlach (sax) and André Mali (trumpet) and a rotating cast of collaborators and associates.

DJ Williams’ Shots Fired’s debut single “She’s No Good” quickly earned regular airplay on SiriusXM during the spring of 2018 and as a result, the band was named as a “heat-seeker” and “an artist to watch.” Building upon a growing profile, the act’s newest album, a concept album conceived as the four-part soundtrack for an imaginary movie is slated for an August 2020 release through Color Red Records. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Iron Fist” depicts a character known as “The Samurai,” represented through Williams’ slashing guitar work. Centered around a looping 12 bar blues like structure, the song features a chugging two-step inducing groove, twinkling and arpeggiated organ blasts, shuffling drumming and an enormous horn line, the track is as swaggering and expansive composition that meshes elements of psych rock, jam band rock, arena rock and funk that feels as though it captures the band’s live show and energy with an uncanny and unerring accuracy.

 

 

 

 

I’ve written a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. And as you may recall, the act — Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Nikki (guitar), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar) — formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The Asheville-based act released their full-length debut Dark Synthetics to critical acclaim earlier this year, while further establishing their sound — an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release next year.

The first remix of the series, found XOR turning the guitar-led “Calm” into an icy and industrial synth banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, stuttering beats while retaining the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, and Lena’s powerhouse vocals. The second and latest remix finds the Richmond, VA-based producer and engineer Ricky Olson, who writes, records and performs as Skinquarter turning the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter” into a icy synth-driven club banger that’s one part early Depeche Mode and one part moody house music.

 

 

Currently comprised of founding member Trevere Thomas (guitar, vocals) along with Douglas Andrae (drums) and Alex Ricart (bass), the Richmond, VA-based noise rock/math rock/metal act Hex Machine can trace their origins to its formation by Thomas, Municipal Waste‘s and Human Remains‘ Dave Witte (drums) back in 2004. Over the course of two EPs and two full-length albums — 2009’s Omen Mas and 2012’s critically applauded Fixator, the Richmond-based act firmly cemented a sound that drew from from The Jesus Lizard, Melvins and the Dischord Records catalog, but with their own unique take; in fact, Fixator found the band flirting with anthemic choruses, metallic drumming and a wider ranger of guitar sounds, which in some way would foreshadow what was to come for the band. And as a result of a growing profile, the members of Hex Machine toured with the likes of Clutch and Melt-Banana.

After a series of lineup changes and the release of their sophomore album, Thomas and Andrae joined Today Is The Day as the band’s rhythm section, playing behind Steve Austin for hundreds of shows across the world. Interestingly, Hex Machine’s forthcoming album Cave Painting, which is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Travere’s own label Minimum Underdrive, is the Richmond-based trio’s first album in seven years.  Reportedly inspired by Thomas and Andrae’s time in Tday Is The Day, Cave Painting‘s material finds the band pairing their sludgy and lurching rhythms with elements of 80s New Wave — in particular XTC, The Police, Killing Joke and The Psychedelic Furs; in fact, Hex Machine covers one of my favorite Psychedelic Furs songs on the album, “President Gas.

Cave Painting‘s latest single is the bruising “Scimitar Blues.” Centered around layers of sludgy power chords, red-hot flashes of hi-hat and thunderous drumming and growled vocals, the song sounds as though it were inspired by Sisters of Mercy and Chain of Flowers — but with oddly shifting time signatures and moods, which give the song a menacing and downright evil vibe.

Hex Machine will be on tour throughout July. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
July 17 – Richmond, VA @ Wonderland w/ The Wayward
July 18 – Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s w/ The Wayward
July 19 – Athens GA @ Caledonia Lounge w/ The Wayward
July 20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Bakery w/ The Wayward
July 22 – St Louis, MO @ FOAM w/ The Wayward
July 24 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers w/ The Wayward, Microwaves
July 25 – Cambridge, MA @ Hong Kong w/ The Wayward
July 27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Mothership w/ The Wayward, Stinking Lizaveta

 

 

 

Lyric Video: Minor Poet’s Breezy “Tropic of Cancer”

Andrew Carter is a Richmond, VA-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has spent the past few years writing and recording music by himself in various bedrooms and basements with his solo recording project Minor Poet. His full-length debut, 2017’s And How combined Carter’s love of carefully crafted pop with a loose, fun, off-the-cuff production that eventually received press from American Songwriter, Magnet, The Wild Honey Pie, Impose and others, while helping Carter develop a small but devoted fanbase. Naturally, this has allowed Minor Poet to grow from a labor of love into a nationally touring band.

Carter’s sophomore Minor Poet album The Good News is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, and the album, which was recorded over the course of four days at Montrose Recording, reportedly finds Carter expanding the boundaries of the project’s sound over the course of six songs. While previous Minor Poet releases featured Carter playing all the instruments and handling production duties, the material on The Good News was written with the understanding that the Richmond, VA-born and -based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist had to reach outside himself to do justice to the songs. “I couldn’t capture the sounds I heard in my head,” Carter explains. “I wanted something that was vast and expansive but that at the same time could hit you immediately in the gut.”

Paying homage to the classic “wall of sound: techniques made famous by Brian Wilson and Phil Spector, Carter and co-producer, Adrian Olsen overdubbed layer after layer of Carter playing an array of guitars, pianos, organs, synths, and percussion, as well as Carter singing harmonies. The members of the touring band were brought in to perform the core rhythm section parts with handpicked local musicians stopping by to add crucial flourishes to the material. Interestingly, at the center of the album’s material is Carter’s vocals, singing lyrics that mix allusions to religion, mythology, art and philosophy, as each song’s narrator questions himself, his place in the world around him, what he owes to his relationships, and in turn, what he needs to ask others to stay healthy.

“Tropic of Cancer,” The Good News‘ infectious latest single is centered by layers of shimmering and tropicalia-inspired arpeggiated synth lines, shuffling guitar lines, a soaring hook and a lysergic-tinged guitar solo. And while the deliberate crafted track bears a subtle resemblance to Elvis Costello‘s early work, the song manages to be deceptively breezy as the song’s narrator describes a constant and repetitive struggle with depression, delivered with an unvarnished emotional honesty and a tongue-in-cheek awareness.