RVA Shows You Must See This Week: April 10 – April 16

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Thursday, April 11, 8 PM
Amplify Me, feat. Catie Lausten, Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers, Caroline Strickland, Josephine Painter @ Dive & Sublevel – Free!
This is a delightful thing — the return of Amplify Me, the Baripete-organized local showcase that started out back at the beginning of the year at Ember Music Hall. I hadn’t heard anything about it since the first show in January, but I’m delighted to report that it’s back, now taking place at Dive instead. Dive’s a pretty new spot, and if you haven’t checked out a show there yet, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. After all, not only are four very talented singer-songwriters playing this latest edition of Amplify Me, the show is free! If by Thursday night you’re always desperately waiting for the Friday paycheck to hit so you can have more than three bucks in your account (believe me, I know that hustle), this is the perfect Thursday night show for you.

At the top of the bill is Catie Lausten, a pop-folk-indie wunderkind who made a strong impression with her 2022 six-track EP, Love To Love To Love. She’s been following the trend of releasing stand-alone singles since then, and has now brought us enough new tracks to put together another EP (even if you have to make it yourself as a playlist on your streaming service of choice). The new tunes are carrying forward her facility with sharp, witty lyrics and catchy choruses that’ll stick in your head all day. Depending on the song, things might be more acoustic and folky or have an electrified indie rock vibe, but I think for her performance at Amplify Me she’s bringing a full band, so you can expect things to land on the louder end of the spectrum. Which is always nice.

Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers may be listed after Catie Lausten on the flyer, but this old-time ensemble definitely have just as strong a buzz around town as Lausten does. That’s largely due to the magnetic power of Snider’s vocals, which channel the best aspects of old-school jazz, folk, and country into a sound that exists beyond genre and has the power to connect with anyone who is a fan of any type of music. The acoustic sound of her backing band has retrospective elements but also feels mysteriously ahead of its time. Honestly, in five years I expect this group to be on top of the world, so you should definitely see them now, while catching them on a free showcase in town on a weeknight is still something you can do. Talented New York-based rocker Caroline Strickland, who is playing a few shows around town this week, will also be on the bill, and she’s not one to be missed under any circumstances. Opening things up will be minimalist bedroom-pop star Josephine Painter (not Joseph Painter, as I’ve seen erroneously reported in a few spaces… tighten up, y’all), whose tiny electro ditties will start the evening off on a charming note. Whether Thursday night finds you flat broke or still swimming in dough (aren’t you fancy), this is without a doubt the best way to spend it.

Wednesday, April 10, 7 PM
Glossing, Lockstep, Massie, Day Aches @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
It’s always nice to see Glossing playing a show. This local ensemble brings us a particularly strong take on the heavy-shoegaze sound; while they certainly tread some of the same ground as groups like Nothing or Jesu, they distinguish themselves by virtue of their emphasis on melody, particularly through Case Graham’s vocals. Where a lot of shoegaze singers end up crooning from relatively low in the mix, her voice stands out, and it deserves to — she’s an incredible vocalist who can hit any note you might need her to hit, adding a melodic depth to Glossing’s sound that you just don’t get from most modern shoegaze. For a band that’s still working to establish themselves beyond Richmond’s borders, this group has a truly world-class sound, and more people both within and outside of this city need to be listening to them as obsessively as we do here at The Auricular. This show will be Glossing’s first local show in over six months, so you’ll definitely want to be there. And if you’re not on the Glossing bandwagon yet, you’ll get all the incentive you need from their incredible live performance.

They’re not the only band worth paying attention to on this bill, however — Nashville’s Lockstep will be blowing into town to grace our ears with their own outstanding sounds. These folks also partake in the heavy-shoegaze sound, but are if anything both heavier and more atmospheric than Glossing. Where Glossing charms you with their irresistible melodies, Lockstep indulge in Red House Painters-like melancholy slowcore moods… then just as you’re sinking into their deliciously moody sound, they hit you over the head with pulverizing guitar fuzz. The overall feel is subtly ominous, bringing a creepy gothic mood that will work just as well for fans of Faith-era Cure or Adrian Borland’s work with The Sound. The pairing with Glossing is an exceptional one, bringing together two bands with comparable sounds but decidedly different emphasis points. The result is sure to be a delight. DC band Massie will bring their delightfully poppy alt-rock sound to the proceedings as well, and Virginia’s own Day Aches will start things off with a set of heavy post-hardcore in the Hum vein. This one’s gonna be a blast. Get there.

Thursday, April 11, 7 PM
Heavy Is The Head, Edict, Wisdom & War, Bend The Knee @ Cobra Cabana – $14 in advance, $16 day of show (order tickets HERE)
Thursday night at Cobra Cabana, there will be no shoegaze — just pure heaviness. Richmond metallic hardcore quintet Heavy Is the Head, who recently endured tragedy when guitarist Nick Rockefeller passed away, have pledged to soldier on in Nick’s memory, and will do so at this show with the same sort of brutal heavyosity that they have been bringing to this city for a few years now. This show will pair them with Edict, a band from Rhode Island that’s led by vocalist Joe Krewko, formerly of Bury Your Dead, As The Sun Sets, and a variety of other projects. While some of his past bands have been relatively chaotic affairs, Edict is focused on pure heaviness, making them a great pairing with Heavy Is the Head. Their most recent EP, In Defense Of Labor, is full of politically informed lyrics and powerful mosh breakdowns. In the live environment, we can certainly expect these tunes to generate plenty of dramatic movement. In other words, get ready to mosh.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Massachusetts ragers Wisdom & War are also on the bill, and while they’ve got plenty of heavy metallic hardcore power to offer as well, they mix in a harsher, more chaotic energy on recent single “Rat In A Vice.” The band’s previous release, the 2023 Superior Design LP, integrated an almost industrial aesthetic that definitely reminded me of earlier Harms Way material, so if you appreciate that band (and a lot of people do, myself definitely among them), you’ll surely dig what Wisdom & War have to offer. And of course, the evening will start with a set from Bend The Knee, the other locally-based group on the bill, who impressed a lot of people with last year’s Eyes Behind The Algorithm LP. No slouches in the heavy, metallic hardcore department themselves, these guys also bring in a bit of a darker, crustier feel reminiscent of Fight Amp or His Hero Is Gone, while also expertly weaving in the occasional melodic interlude. They’ll certainly be a great way to start this evening of mosh brutality. Show up prepared to partake.

Friday, April 12, 9 PM
Tim Kinsella & Jenny Pulse, Hotspit, Gardener, Ethanol @ The Camel – $15 (order tickets HERE)
If you know the name Tim Kinsella, it’s probably due to his three-decade career as the leader for a variety of quirky math-rock ensembles, some of which have important roles in the early days of emo. This includes Cap’n Jazz, Owls, Joan Of Arc, Make Believe, and others. As for Jenny Pulse, she began releasing her electronic pop music under the name Spa Moans, before switching to her own name for 2018’s Marmalade. Kinsella and Pulse, who are romantic as well as musical partners, began making music together in 2022 with their debut album, Gimme Altamont. At the time, Kinsella, who’d always been a rocker, was getting intrigued by the idea of electronic production, even as Pulse, an electronic music producer, was developing an interest in rock musicianship. Their collaboration, which has stretched across two albums now (the most recent is 2023’s Giddy Skelter), grew out of this simultaneous interest, as each attempts to find the most fruitful places where their differing musical histories can combine.

If you’re a fan of Tim Kinsella’s music, chances are you know by now that he’s got no problem taking abrupt left turns and bringing you something completely unlike what you expected before. That being said, his ongoing collaboration with Pulse has not been entirely out of left field; the electronic elements at work in their music are at times similar to the more electronic moments across Joan Of Arc’s discography. Where Joan Of Arc was a fundamentally experimental project, though, Kinsella & Pulse come together to make music that is catchy, danceable, and has a strong grounding in pop. For a guy who has been in music for 30 years, this is surprisingly unexplored ground, especially since Kinsella rarely sings, leaving most of the vocals to be handled by Pulse’s more pop-oriented vocal tones. You have to respect a guy who could easily just do Cap’n Jazz and Joan Of Arc reunion tours every couple years for the rest of his life, but instead chooses to go in completely new directions and make music unlike anything we’ve heard from him before. And rest assured, if you enjoy and respect Tim Kinsella’s career up to this point, you’ll surely appreciate the work he’s doing now with Jenny Pulse — even if it is a bit different. Luckily, you’ll also get excellent opening sets from local slowcore heroes Hotspit, veteran electronic musician Gardener, and Richmond newcomer Ethanol to get things started on a great note. Don’t miss this one.

Saturday, April 13, 7 PM
Winter Wolf, The Get Off, Hard Facts, Fit Check, Green Tips @ Cobra Cabana – $10
Here’s the second collaboration in three days from Rival Booking and Cobra Cabana, who previously brought you the Heavy Is the Head/Edict show discussed above. Now they’re bringing New Yorkers Winter Wolf to town, and it’s gonna be every bit as awesome. That being said, you can expect a significantly different feel from this show than you’ll get from the Heavy Is the Head/Edict throwdown. For starters, Winter Wolf, who share members with MAAFA (who recently played BTCHFEST), has a decidedly more punk take on things. Their 2022 EP, Unwell, is fast and harsh, but skips heavy breakdowns in favor of catchy, fist-pumping punk anthems that sometimes integrate downright soulful touches. The lyrics are boldly political as well, calling out all that right-wing cop-fetishizing “thin blue line” bullshit with a chorus that goes, “Fuck your blue lights! Fuck your blue lights!” It all adds up to the sort of rousing, wide-awake punk rock awesomeness that makes the whole genre so great.

The four local bands playing this show will pair quite well with Winter Wolf too. The Get Off are at the top of that list, and their killer 2023 EP, Destruction Aesthetic, shows that they have a strong facility for catchy political punk anthems as well. Instead of Winter Wolf’s soul touches, The Get Off integrate occasional hardcore-style chugga guitars, but on the whole their catchy tunes are most likely to appeal to fans of legendary 90s punks Naked Aggression. As for Richmonders Hard Facts, they haven’t released much of anything yet, but word is that they’ve got stuff coming, which is certainly good news. Based on what I’ve heard so far, this band should appeal both to those who love old school Boston hardcore a la SS Decontrol or Negative FX, and to fans of heavy stomping early 80s punk a la GBH. Hardcore newcomers Fit Check have only been playing shows for about six months, and I haven’t seen them yet, but the buzz is very high, so chances are good that this band will rule. Local old-school punks Green Tips will start things off with some mohawk anthems par excellence. Wear your steeltoes for this one, y’all.

Sunday, April 14, 5:30 PM
Jesus Piece, Sanguisugabogg, Gag, PeelingFlesh, Enforced, Blazing Tomb @ The Canal Club – $20 in advance, $24 day of show (order tickets HERE)
There’s a certain type of very heavy hardcore band who, at a certain point in their journey, start picking up fans in the metal world just as quickly as they make fans in the hardcore world. It’s such an old tradition that the hybrid genre tag “crossover,” which was coined to refer to bands like DRI and Corrosion Of Conformity who made this jump in the mid-80s, is itself four decades old. Calling Jesus Piece “crossover” at this late date doesn’t make much sense, though; if anything, people hearing that term applied to them would expect them to sound more like Municipal Waste. Instead, they’re following in the footsteps of more modern bands who’ve made the, um, crossover from hardcore to metal: think Knocked Loose and Incendiary, maybe even Vein.fm at their more straightforward hardcore moments. Their second album, 2023’s …So Unknown, finds Jesus Piece engaging in extremely heavy riffs and metallic breakdowns, but always with an unmistakable hardcore energy behind it all. When they take the stage Sunday night, you can expect to see death metal kids headbanging alongside of hardcore kids doing classic mosh moves.

You can expect the same sort of thing from Jesus Piece tour partners Sanguisugabogg too, in fact, but from the other direction. Having gotten their start in the underground death metal scene, Sanguisugabogg’s heavy riffage and brutal breakdowns have recently led to them picking up just as many fans in the hardcore world as in the metal world, regardless of their guttural growling vocals and rumbling double-bass blastbeat drumming. If anything, despite their wildly divergent backgrounds, these two bands probably have largely the same audience in 2024. And if you like heavy music at all, that audience probably includes you. In fact, if it doesn’t, it definitely should, because both of these bands are at the forefront of their respective genres — or maybe it’d be more true to say that they’re at the forefront of the space between them. Either way, heavy mosh and metallic riffage will dominate at the Canal Club this Sunday night. The openers will also provide quite a bit of variety as well, though always on the heavier end of the spectrum. For starters, there’s chaotic Portland HC punk crew Gag, who are generating a huge amount of buzz with their blown-out noise anthems. Then there’s PeelingFlesh, who bring a unique hip hop-inflected flavor to the sludgy, low-end-obsessed death metal subgenre known as slam. Richmonders Enforced will bring a set of harsh, crossover (in the late 80s sense) metallic hardcore to the proceedings, while fellow local shredders Blazing Tomb will get things started with a grinding set that lands somewhere between late-80s Florida death metal and early 90s metallic mosh. Prepare yourself for an overwhelming onslaught of metallic hardcore, hardcore-infused metal, and every flavor inbetween.

Monday, April 15, 7 PM
Christopher Paul Stelling, Justin Golden @ The Camel – $15 in advance, $18 day of show (order tickets HERE)
You can’t just listen to loud, angry music all the time. I know there’s people who would disagree with me on this, but I think if anything those are the people who’d benefit most from some quiet sounds every now and then. Christopher Paul Stelling can certainly appreciate the value of a loud moment, and he’s got a few of them in his catalog, but most of the time, this Asheville-based fingerpicking acoustic guitarist keeps things quiet, which leaves plenty of room for the heart and emotion at the core of his music to seep in. While his 2021 album, Forgiving It All, found Stelling working only with his voice and acoustic guitar, his latest release, Forgotten But Not Gone & Few And Far Between, finds him heading up a small band, at least on some tunes. Really, it’s tough to say what the entire album will consist of — he’s been releasing this double LP one side at a time, and at this point only half of it is available for streaming. However, the ten or so songs you can hear now make clear that Stelling’s at the top of his game on this new release.

He’s sure to be at the top of his game at The Camel next Monday too. After all, Stelling’s the sort of musician who spends most of his time on the road, playing shows with artists like Mavis Staples and Ben Harper. His headlining dates might be in smaller rooms, but that just gives all of us a chance to make a more intimate connection with his moving, heartfelt songs. Stelling will be joined by Justin Golden on this performance, and if you’re one of the many Richmonders who has been keeping up with Golden’s career over the past few years, you should find these two excellent singer-songwriters to be a perfect pairing. Amidst a week of overwhelming heaviness, this show will give you a chance to relax for a night and let the music wash over you. Take this opportunity — you won’t regret it.

Tuesday, April 16, 7 PM
Lamp Of Murmuur, Ebony Pendant, One Of Nine @ The Camel – $17 (order tickets HERE)
While the politics of the genre hasn’t always been on point (that’s the understatement of the year), there’s something about certain kinds of black metal that I think is actually punk as fuck. I’m specifically referring to the way that quite a few black metal bands are obsessed with raw, blown-out production that emphasizes noise and overdriven distortion over anything clean or clearly intelligible. Lamp Of Murmuur, a mysterious Los Angeles-based collective led by a figure known only as M, got their start at the rawest end of the black metal spectrum, and spent years releasing lo-fi demos with titles like Melancholy Howls In Ceremonial Penitence and The Burning Spears of Crimson Agony before finally bringing us a proper full-length last year. While Saturnian Bloodstorm is slightly cleaner in sound than the many fuzz blasts that preceded it, it still finds M and company missing no opportunity to overwhelm listeners with seven-minute double-time black metal epics, full of buzzing guitars, indistinct vocal roars, and blasting snare drum apocalypse.

If you ask me, this is the kind of sound that black metal brings to us when it is at its best. The rawer, the better. What’s more, this is the kind of black metal that comes across best in the live environment, dispensing with all of the synthesizer embroidery and fog-machine theatrics in favor of bashing you in the head with throat-ripping agony of the best possible kind. I fully expect the live incarnation of Lamp Of Murmuur to do exactly this, probably with most of the lights off, possibly while wearing masks. Regardless of the nuances, you’re sure to get hit with some serious black metal rage. And it will without a doubt be fucking awesome. Seattle’s Ebony Pendant will be on hand as well, bringing an even more bare-bones take on classic black metal of the Morbid Tales-era Celtic Frost/Under The Sign Of The Black Mark-era Bathory variety to the darkened stage of The Camel. There’s some Darkthrone in there as well, for sure. A third US black metal band, One Of Nine, will kick off this rager with a slightly less lo-fi but no less ripping take on classic black metal; I’d say these guys land closest to the sound of In The Nightside Eclipse-era Emperor, and if you know me you know that is a ringing endorsement on my part. Put on your corpse paint for this one, folks.

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): rvamustseeshows@gmail.com

Please consider supporting my Patreon, where I’m documenting my progress on two different novels and (sometimes) writing about music of all types. patreon.com/marilyndrewnecci

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Brian Caperton - Sunk