Tag: Richmond VA

New Video: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with 90s Grunge Take on Doom Metal

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND, and as you may recall, the band which is currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 — and by the following year, they released a two track, self-recorded CD that quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath. Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, who released their sophomore album Soma to critical praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Infernal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges. Slated for an October 5, 2018 release, the Richmond, VA-based doom metal act’s forthcoming Jack Endino-produced Eternal Return is reportedly an observation and reflection of life’s ups and downs, joys and sorrows and beginnings and ends. Between 2015’s Grief’s Infernal Flower and their forthcoming album, the members of the band welcomed new life, experienced a number of lineup changes and mourned unexpected and tragic death — and as a result, the album’s material and the sequential order of its songs are the direct result of those experiences. Sonically, the album also finds the band growing artistically with the material balancing heavy, psychedelic and meditative, and in a way that have drawn early comparisons to Soundgarden, an act known for stretching genre boundaries.

Eternal Return’s latest single “Grey Gardens” was part of an early batch of album singles that were among the heaviest batches of material they recorded — and while being a thunderous and slow-burning dirge, the single finds the band’s sound and approach subtly moving towards Screaming Life/Fopp and Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden, complete with a lysergic bridge. Directed by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Grey Gardens” features some trippy and murky stock footage that evokes a foreboding sense of dread at its core.

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New Audio: Acclaimed JOVM Mainstay Amber Arcades Releases a Mournful 70s AM Rock Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades. And with the release of her full-length debut, Fading Light, de Graaf quickly received attention for pairing crafted guitar pop with erudite thematic concerns — in particular, time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet leg and her own dreams, which have managed to influence a great deal of her personal and creative life. In fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them.

de Graaf’s critically applauded Cannonball EP, an effort that landed at #1 on this site’s Best of List last year — with the gorgeous “Wouldn’t Even Know,” landing at #4 on the Best Singles list. Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Heavenly Recordings,de Graaf’s forthcoming album European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in Los Angeles with Deerhoof’s Chris Cohen and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard, who oversaw horn and string overdubs from the Spacebomb Records crew. And the album sonically and thematically are reportedly a major step forward for the Dutch- born and-based singer/songwriter and musician — thematically, the album is about the nature of memory and the human tendency to over-romanticize the events of our lives. And while naturally focusing on the passage of time, there’s a disillusionment that’s been concealed just under the romanticized surface. Nothing in this life is what it really seems — and ultimately, everything can be a bit disappointing, alienating and downright strange. As Annelotte de Graaf says of the album, “If it were called ‘American Heartbreak,’ you wouldn’t bat an eye. Somehow calling it ‘European Heartbreak’ feels far less comfortable, almost like a statement in itself. I’m Dutch, hence European. The focus of the record is Europe. As for Heartbreak, for me a heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.”

Sonically speaking, the material, as you’d hear on the album’s first single “Goodnight Europe” managed to be both sophisticated yet anachronistic as it finds her sound nodding at classic, late 60s and early 70s rock — in particular, Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement; but interestingly, the song is both a meditation on the current state of the European Union and of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship, meshing the personal and the political in a way that expresses a concern over what it all means in the first place.

European Heartbreak’s latest single “Alpine Town” is a decidedly 70s AM rock-like song centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling piano, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn and string arrangement and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. The song evokes a deeper  disappointment — that an illusion that the song’s narrator once held as true has now been proven to be false. And as a result, the song is a world weary sigh while being someplace away from home. As de Graaf says of the song “I wrote this song exactly a year ago while on holiday in Guillestre, a small town in the French Alps. I was kind of in a sad place and my boyfriend had dragged me along to get away from all that, but I guess it doesn’t really work like that, ha. It just made me reflect on the sad part of the tourist condition as a metaphor for life, man.”

New Video: The Easy-Going and Soulful 70s AM Rock Sounds of Andy Jenkins

Co-founded by Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter Matthew E. White back in 2012, Spacebomb Records has quickly become a renowned indie folk label that has released a number of critically applauded albums including White’s own Big Inner, Natalie Prass’ self-titled debut, the work of singer/songwriter Bedouine and others.  Their newest artist Andy Jenkins has toiled behind the scenes of the Spacebomb Records universe for some time, and interestingly enough, Jenkins and White can trace their friendship back to several high school bands they both played in. 

Jenkins’ full-length debut Sweet Bunch is slated for a June 15, 2018 release through Spacebomb, and the album’s latest single, album title track “Sweet Bunch,” which features labelmate Matthew E. White is a down-home folksy take on indie rock centered on twangy and bluesy power chords, a propulsive backbeat, a sinuous bass line that brings Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Allman Brothers and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere-era Neil Young to mind; but beneath the easy-going, bunch of guys jamming, drinking and maybe smoking a little weed in a room vibe, there’s a thoughtful and deliberate attention to craft that gives the song its soulfulness and purpose. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays WINDHAND Return with a Lysergic and Epic Doom-Laden Dirge

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so of its almost eight-year history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND. Currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Northern Virginia-based metal act formed back in 2009 and with the 2010 release of a self-recorded two track CD, the band quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath.  Building upon a growing profile, their 2012 self-titled debut became an underground hit and sold out multiple vinyl pressings within a few months.

2013 saw WINDHAND sign to Relapse Records, before collaborating with Richmond, VA-based band Cough on a split single “Reflection of the Negative,” which was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and others. WINDHAND promptly followed that up with the release of their critically applauded sophomore effort Soma, an effort that received praise from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a breakthrough year, the members of the Richmond, VA-based doom metal band had spent the bulk of 2013 and 2014 touring North America, the European Union, and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as the festival circuit, wth appearances at Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest. They closed out a breakthrough and breakneck period with a critically praised split album,in which they collaborated with Swedish doom metal act Salem’s Pot.

2015’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Internal Flower featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” which unsurprisingly managed to further cement their reputation for crafting sludgy, murky, punishing and downtempo dirges.  At the end of last year, the members of the band announced that they would be releasing a split album with fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, which Relapse Records will release on Friday, and as you may recall, the album’s first single “Old Evil” was a mosh pit worthy sound that featured some impressive psych rock meets metal god guitar work and an anthemic hook that belies the lurking evil within the song. The split album’s latest single “Three Sisters” is an epic, slow-burning and lysergic dirge with a scorching and smoking guitar line, explosive burst of organ and wobbling bass over which Cottrell’s vocals ethereally float over, like a feverish dream-like portent.

Rayvon Owen is a Richmond, VA-born, Los Angeles, CA-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of his musical career to when he was a child; in fact, at a very young age, Owen sang in church choirs, toured with gospel musicians and performed in local musicals. Influenced byLionel Richie, (who has become Owen’s mentor) John Legend, Katy Perry, and Stevie Wonder, Owen has developed a reputation for being a introspective songwriter with an expressive and easy-going soulful vocal style. After studying at Belmont University. the Richmond, VA-born singer/songwriter spent time in Nashville, TN, where he spent his time writing and and performing with local musicians at a number of local events and showcase before relocating to Southern California, where he eventually wrote and recorded his debut EP  Cycles which featured his standout hit “Sweatshirt.”

However, Owen found national attention when he appeared on American Idols 14th season in which he was a “Twitter Save” champion and Top 4 finalist. And although, it’s been a while since I’ve personally written about him, his single “Can’t Fight It,” which was released on Valentine’s Day, featured visuals in which the singer/songwriter publicly came out as gay. As Owen say in press notes, “I was working on “Can’t Fight It”, and one of my close friends passed away. He was struggling with who he was and what he wanted to do, and never really accepted himself. And I really was thinking like- what legacy will I leave- is it going to be my authentic self?”

Interestingly, “Gold,” Owen’s latest single continues in a similar vein, as it’s a shimmering and anthemic club banger with a swooning and anthemic hook that captures the giddy sensation of finally finding the love you’ve been seeking for so long while simultaneously being a contented, celebratory “hell yes! this right here!”  As Owen told Billboard, “I wrote the song with my buddy Nate Merchant, who I worked with on “Can’t Fight It.” That day, we were feeling good. There was a good energy in the room. Whenever I write, it’s a stamp in time that captures the emotion of what I’m feeling that day. We were talking about coming out to L.A. and being out in the industry and how stressful that can be. He was kind of diggin’ someone, I had just started dating my boyfriend and exploring being a gay man — I’ve never felt that emotion before, being with someone like that. I’m getting chills right now just thinking about it. It’s been a long time coming for me to feel that. I know there’s so many other people who don’t get to feel that, but I’m hoping that they do when they come to terms with who they are.

So that fueled us, and I just wanted to say, “Hey, you got me feeling good as gold.” What better feeling do you have? Falling in love is such a beautiful thing. I love singing about love in general — the good and the bad — I write sad songs too, which will be on the future project too. You’ll kind of see the whole gamut. But in that moment, we were feeling good and thankful.”

Live Footage: Spooky Cool Performs Genre Defying Single “Black Wine” on Good Day RVA

Although the Richmond, VA-based quintet Spooky Cool, comprised of founding members Zac Hryciak (guitar, vocals), Lee Spratley (drums) and Sean Williams (bass) along with Paula Lavalle (vocals) and Zavi Harman (lead guitar) officially formed in 2015, the […]

New Video: WINDHAND Releases Ominous Visuals for Doom-Laden New Track “Old Evil”

Currently comprised of Dorthia Cottrell (vocals), Garrett Morris (guitar), Parker Chandler (bass) and Ryan Wolfe (drums), the Richmond, Virginia-based doom metal band WINDHAND was founded back in 2009, and with their 2010 practice space, two track CD, the band quickly garnered comparisons to Electric Wizard, The Devil’s Blood and Black Sabbath.  2012 saw the release of the doom metal band’s self-titled debut, which became an underground hit and sold out of multiple vinyl pressings within a few months. 

By the following year, the Virginia-based doom metal band signed to Relapse Records and after a busy touring schedule, they collaborated with fellow Richmond-based band Cough on a split single “Reflection of the Negative,” which was released to critical praise from the likes of Pitchfork and others. Building upon the growing buzz around them, the members of WINDHAND released their sophomore effort Soma to critical applause and attention from Stereogum, Spin, LA Weekly, Revolver, Invisible Oranges, MetalSucks, Metal Injection, Rolling Stone and NPR — with Pitchfork naming the album as one of the third best metal releases of the year. Adding to a growing profile, the band also spent the course of 2013 and 2014 touring throughout North America, Europe and Australia with Sleep, High on Fire, Dead Meadow and Kvelertak, as well as playing a number of major festivals including Roadburn, SXSW, Scion Rock Fest, Day of the Shred and Maryland Deathfest, before ending that period with a split album with Swedish doom metal act Salem’s Pot, an effort praised by Noisey. 

2015 saw the release of the band’s Jack Endino-produced, third full-length album, Grief’s Internal Flower and unsurprisingly, the album, which featured album singles Crypt Key.” and “Two Urns” further cemented the Richmond, VA-based  reputation for crafting punishing, sludgy, and murky dirges with enormous power chords. 

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve personally written about WINDHAND but interestingly enough, they’ll be releasing a split album with fellow Virginians Satan’s Satyrs, which Relapse Records will release in February 2018, and the split album’s first single is the blistering, forceful and mosh pith worthy “Old Evil” which prominently features thundering drumming, some impressive, psych rock meets metal god-guitar work and soaring, anthemic hooks that belie the lurking evil within the song. 

Edited by by Jordan Vance, the recently released video for “Old Evil” features footage of the band shot as though it were filmed don film negatives, superimposed over equally ominous footage of nuns by Stonehenge, mountains that seem to undulate before the viewers eye, collapsing icecaps and the like. 

New Video: An Intimate Portrait of Life on the Road with The Head and the Heart in New Visuals for “City of Angels”

Currently comprised of founding member Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Matt Geravis, Charity Rose Thielen (violin, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (keys) and Tyler Williams (drums), the Seattle, WA-based indie folk/indie rock act The Head and the Heart can trace their origins to a series of open mic nights at Conor Byrne Pub back in 2009. At the time Russell, who had relocated from Richmond, VA and the band’s other founding member Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), who had relocated from Southern California were relatively recent transplants. Russell and Johnson met Hensley, who also was a relatively recent transplant, who had relocated the previous year to pursue film score writing. Thielen, was the next member to join, and she had recently returned from a year abroad studying in Paris. Williams had been a member of Richmond, VA-based band Prabir and The Substitutes, but after Russell sent him a demo of “Down In The Valley,” Williams quickly relocated to Seattle to join the new band. The last member of the original line, Zasche was a bartender at the Conor Byrne and was member of Seattle-based bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway. Interestingly enough, as Johnson explained the band’s name came from an relatable situation in which “Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s crazy.” 

Since their formation the band has released three full-length albums — 2010’s self-titled and initially self-released debut (which later caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-issued it), 2013’s Let’s Be Still and 2016’s major label debut, Signs of Light with each record seeing greater attention and the band building a growing profile; they’ve opened for Vampire Weekend, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie and Tom Petty and Heartbreakers among a lengthening list of acclaimed acts. Along with that, the band has seen quite a bit of critical and commercial success — their self-tiled debut reached #110 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks with  Let’s Be Still landed at #10 on the Billboard 200 and each album has been well received to boot. 

2017 may be arguably be one of the bigger years in the band’s history as they’ve played the historic Newport Folk Festival and Coachella, and are in the middle of an extensive tour that includes stops at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, Lollapalooza and a bunch of other stops. (Check out the tour dates below.)  In the meantime, the band’s latest single “City of Angels” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for a sound that  simultaneously nods at 70s era Fleetwood Mac, 60s psych folk and pop, arena rock and contemporary indie rock, but with a swooning earnestness; after all, their latest single like all of the preceding singles is written from a sincere place; in this case, a bittersweet longing for a home you’ve left some time ago — but underneath there’s a growing sense that you may never be able to come home again. 

The recently released video was directed by Claire Marie Vogel, and its an charming and  intimate, fly-on-the-wall like portrait of the band that captures them in a variety of moments both big and small. As the director says in press notes, “When The Head And The Heart asked me to join them on the road to make a video for ‘City of Angels,’ there were many moments, big and small, that made it a trip of a lifetime. Record store shopping in a thunderstorm, backstage birthday parties, a summer ski lift through Catskills mountains, all night bonfires on a California beach, surprise songs in a Charlottesville bar, mini golf beside a river. It was a thrill to be a welcomed fly on the wall and treated as one of the gang. I knew ending the trip at the Monterey Pop Festival would be special, but when we found ourselves in a charmingly odd practice room – the band rehearsing with Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and Lou Adler, a founder of the festival throwing his two cents in on their arrangement — it felt utterly surreal.”

New Audio: The Rosebuds and Gayngs Frontman Howard Ivans Returns with a Sultry and Soulful New Single from Long-Awaited Solo Debut

Perhaps best known for being the frontman of The Rosebuds and Gayngs, Howard Ivans stepped away from his primary gigs to write and record the “Red Face Boy”/”Pillows” 7 inch through Richmond, VA-based indie label Spacebomb Records  — and if you were familiar with his work with his primary projects, Ivans’ solo work has a bold and decided change in sonic direction with his solo sound leaning heavily towards a sultry blue eyed soul reminiscent of The Righteous Brothers, Michael McDonald/Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers and Hall and Oates while nodding at 70s AM pop; in fact, Ivans once recorded a song-by-song remake of Sade’s Love Deluxe.

Now, four years have passed since I’ve last written about Ivans and if there’s one thing that’s true in the blogosphere age, it’s this — four years is an eternity. But interestingly enough Ivans long-awaited Trey Pollard and Cameron Ralston co-produced solo debut Beautiful Tired Bodies is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Spacebomb Records, and as Ivans explains in press notes, while he could have recorded the album’s material at any point over the past four years, he felt very strongly that it just wouldn’t be the same without the Spacebomb Records house band, so he waited until everyone was available at the same time.

Beautiful Tired Bodies’ latest single “Come On” will further cement both Ivans and Spacebomb Records’ growing reputation for deliberately crafted, sultry pop that simultaneously nods at 70s AM pop and Quiet Storm soul and much like the sources that inspired it, at the heart of “Come On” is the vulnerable, aching, sensual need of a broken man, desperately seeking the electric touch of a lover — right now without delay. But along with that, the song’s narrator is making a plea to open himself up more, to be more vulnerable in the face of love. Such sentiment is rare; but it’s rare because it comes from a truly adult perspective.