RVA Shows You Must See This Week: November 8 – November 14

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Monday, November 13, 7:30 PM
Out Of Your Head Records 5th Anniversary Concert, feat. Scott Clark’s Dawn & Dusk, Adam Hopkins’ Crickets SOUTH, Candra Rini/Hopkins/Clark/McGraw @ Artspace – $20 suggested donation
OK, yes, I talk about Out Of Your Head Records’ ongoing Second Mondays series at Artspace on a regular basis. There are a variety of reasons for that; for one, Monday’s often a tough day on which to find a good show, so they certainly chose wisely where days of the week were concerned. For another, and more importantly, it’s one of the most consistent and rewarding ways to keep up with the more avant-garde end of Richmond’s jazz scene — which may be relatively small compared to the local punk, metal, or hip hop scenes, but is nonetheless a thriving repository of fearless creativity and intriguingly unusual sounds. This time around, though, there’s an even better reason to check out Second Mondays at Artspace: this Monday’s event is a celebration of Out Of Your Head Records’s fifth anniversary.

Yes, it’s true; the experimental jazz label Richmonders Adam Hopkins and Scott Clark, along with New York artist TJ Huff and Baltimore illustrator Nick Prevas, started in the late 2010s has been around for half a decade now, and in light of the many great releases from both local and international artists they’ve brought us over the past five years, their ongoing existence certainly deserves to be celebrated. And what better way to do so than with a series of performances from some of the label’s leading lights? That’s what we’ve got in store for us at this edition of Second Mondays, and we’d all be fools to miss out.

What’s especially cool about this performance is that it coincides with the latest release from Out Of Your Head, an album called OOYH Untamed, which finds vocalist Peni Candra Rini and percussionist Andy McGraw teaming up with Hopkins (on bass) and Clark (on drums) to create some intriguing new sounds. You’ll get a download card for the new album free with the price of admission, so that’s certainly a bonus. In addition to a performance from the quartet responsible for this new album, we’ll also get a performance from Scott Clark’s Dawn & Dusk, the sextet responsible for Clark’s most recent album as bandleader, also called Dawn & Dusk. In addition to Clark and Hopkins (who are playing all three sets this evening), the group includes Laura Ann Singh, JC Kuhl, Bob Miller, and Michael McNeill — all names you should be familiar with if you keep up with Richmond music. Rounding out this bill is Adam Hopkins’ Crickets SOUTH, a new version of the group Hopkins put together in 2018, back when he was still based in Brooklyn, to record an album also entitled Crickets — which just got an expanded reissue on Out Of Your Head Records last month. The new version of the group features Hopkins, Clark, Miller, Kuhl, and a few other guys you just might know from around Richmond’s music scene — namely Reggie Pace, Trey Pollard, and John Lilley. By now, I can’t imagine there’s anything else I need to say. Making it out to this edition of Second Mondays is highly essential. You know it, I know it, we all know it. So let’s make it happen.

Wednesday, November 8, 7 PM
Virginia Man, Lighthearted, Tight Rope @ Richmond Music Hall at Capital Ale House – $12 (order tickets HERE)
The middle of the week is always a great time to appreciate some upbeat indie pop sounds that won’t stress you out or get you too wound up. That’s exactly the sort of thing Athens, GA band Lighthearted will bring to Richmond when they swing through town tonight, and we’re all going to be better off as a result. The project of twin sisters Gracie Huffman and Eliza Lemmon, Lighthearted is on tour right now in support of From Here On Out, their debut full-length. Released this summer, the album finds Lighthearted stretching out and exploring some laid-back, acoustic-driven tunes that are such a beautiful, sunny listen, they just feel like a warm hug. The group’s four-piece touring lineup will flesh these tunes out into full, lovely form and give you an evening full of great sounds you won’t soon forget.

Lighthearted will be joined in their performance at Richmond Music Hall by two bands from here in the Commonwealth. The first of these, Virginia Man, have been doing a lot to put themselves on the map so far this year. The jangly indie-folk trio has released two EPs so far this year — the five-song studio collection These Four Words back in winter, and in late spring, the live-in-studio collection Live At Sugarshack Sessions. The latter is the most clear example of what this band brings to the live environment; specifically, some excellent vocal harmonies accompanying catchy acoustic tunes that avoid sedate soporifics in favor of memorable tunes and choruses that stick in your head for hours. The evening will begin with a performance from Tight Rope, who generated a decent amount of buzz around the indie scene back when they were called Blunt. Since the name change, they’ve released two fascinating indie/postpunk singles, the most recent being the hypnotic “Crazy Eyes.” Show up on time and find out why all the indie kids around town are obsessed with this band.

Thursday, November 9, 9 PM
Canary Diamonds Vinyl Release Party, feat. Johnny Ciggs, Poe Mack, Rah Scrilla, Skweeks, Ndefru, C. Shreve The Professor, Mike L!ve @ Ipanema – $10
If you’re a Richmond resident and you love hip hop, I’m sure I won’t be telling you anything you don’t already know, but every column is someone’s first, so for those who haven’t been keeping up, let’s lay it out right here: anything on Gritty City Records is must-listen for any Richmond hip hop heads. It has been for over a decade now, and shows no signs of falling off. And the first name you need to learn if you’re trying to get familiar with Gritty City is the name Johnny Ciggs. Not only does he run Gritty City, he puts out multiple stellar albums and EPs on the label every single year. He’s been doing so for a long time, and he just gets better at it. That’s why the release party for Ciggs’ latest album, Canary Diamonds, is an essential pick for live musical hotness this week.

Johnny Ciggs is one of a few different rappers who excels at locking in with one particular producer for an entire project; he creates new worlds for each new collaborative project, and this one finds him reunited with Roanoke-based rapper and producer Poe Mack. Ciggs and Mack collaborated back in 2018 for an album called Decadence, and while I have only heard the title track from Canary Diamonds thus far, I can tell you for sure that this one song shows them building and expanding on what they’ve done in previous collaborative works. Ciggs is in braggadocious top form, as Mack creates an entire musical world, giving Ciggs’ hard-hitting rhymes a cinematic feel. It’s sure to hit even harder in the live realm, so you’re highly recommended to be on hand at Ipanema this Thursday night as the two bring their latest project to life for the first time. They’re joined on the bill by a variety of hip hop luminaries from around town, including Gritty City regulars like Rah Scrilla and Skweeks as well as talented Richmond rhyme-spitters like Ndefru and C. Shreve The Professor. You can’t go wrong with this one, so take a trip down the basement steps to Ipanema this Thursday night. You’ll be glad you did.

Friday, November 10, 6 PM
Stick To Your Guns, Comeback Kid, Orthodox, Spirit World @ The Canal Club – $23 in advance, $25 day of show (order tickets HERE)
This is a big moment for hardcore right now; bands like Turnstile, Knocked Loose, and Code Orange are breaking out of the underground and taking the genre to a higher level of recognition. With that being the current situation within hardcore, it’s a good time to think back on the last wave of bands to do that sort of thing. Perfect timing, then, for California’s Stick To Your Guns and Winnipeg’s Comeback Kid to come through town. Both of these bands had big moments in the late 00s, as Stick To Your Guns’ 2008 album, Comes From The Heart, and Comeback Kid’s 2007 album, Broadcasting, both managed to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard charts. Fifteen years after scaling those heights, you might expect these two bands to have settled into a routine of reliving their great days and playing their past hits. However, you’d be wrong, as both continue to push their sound forward and break new ground.

Take Stick To Your Guns, the headliners on this bill. They released their seventh album, Spectre, in 2022, and it finds them in top form, still deftly mixing a heavy, chunky hardcore sound with strong vocals that manage to integrate melody while still sounding tough as hell. The melodic undertones that sneak into the guitar leads also add depth to Stick To Your Guns’ music, and even on album number seven, their sound still holds up well upon repeated listens. The same can be said for Comeback Kid, who also released their seventh album in 2022. It’s called Heavy Steps, and it carries on with the strong sound Comeback Kid has been delivering for two full decades now. It’s both harsher and more melodic than what Stick To Your Guns is doing, and definitely veers a little more toward the punk side of hardcore. Comeback Kid’s sound has evolved over the past 15 or so years, but if you liked them back in the day, you’re sure to enjoy their new material as well. And if you weren’t around for Stick To Your Guns and Comeback Kid’s big moments of chart hype, you’ll still find a lot to love in what they’re doing today. Show up early too, because Nashville metalcore monsters Orthodox and Western-tinged Vegas heavy hardcore boys SpiritWorld are sure to deliver top-notch opening sets as well. This one’s gonna rule.

Saturday, November 11, 5:30 PM
Nancy Raygun, Bone Machine, Flight Club, MFV, Mad Abbey, Spacemere, Dropheads @ Black Iris Social Club – $11 in advance, $15 day of show (order tickets HERE)
If the local indie scene feels like throwing a party, Black Iris Social Club is certainly a great place to do it. That’s why you can expect great things from your Saturday night if you head over to Black Iris to enjoy the fifth anniversary party being thrown by local indie ensemble Nancy Raygun. While these folks still haven’t managed to bring out a full-length project in their five years as a band, we can all delight in the fact that this show heralds a new EP from them. Wasted won’t be available for streaming until Friday, so at this point, unless recent Raygun singles “Trap” and “Slow Down” appear on the track listing (your guess is as good as mine on that question), I can’t tell you what it sounds like. I can tell you that the aforementioned recent singles have been charming and memorable, especially the raw jangle of “Slow Down.” If they’ve got four or five songs’ worth of that sound to lay on us, I for one will be delighted to listen to it. Repeatedly. Starting with the live performance of those tunes and other favorites at this very show, of course.

Celebration of Nancy Raygun’s 5th birthday and new EP are far from the only things this show has to offer, though. We’re also lucky enough to get performances by fully half a dozen other local indie bands. Some of these names should be quite familiar to us all at this point; for example, Flight Club have been plying their melodic, emotional rock n’ roll trade on the Richmond scene for quite a few years now. In that time, they’ve established themselves as consistent deliverers of great tunes, so you can expect some serious toe-tapping and head-nodding during their sure-to-be-energetic set. Grunge-punk rockers Bone Machine just brought us their debut album, New And Improved Sleeping Positions, this summer, but if they haven’t already caught your attention, rest assured it is overdue — this band has talent far beyond what you’d expect in light of their relatively recent formation. The rest of the lineup includes funky pop-rockers MFV, who were until recently known as Marshall Family Values; bizarre alt-psych ensemble Mad Abbey, who recently followed up their 2020 LP, Haze Of Your Own, with a killer new single called “Leech”; indie-rockers Spacemere, a mid-00s RVA staple who’ve been back in action for a while now but have yet to grace us with any new recordings (guys?); and funtime rock n’ rollers Dropheads, whose “U & You” Singles EP really brightened up this summer. That was a very info-heavy sentence, but it’s appropriate for this very music-heavy show. Dive into this one. You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday, November 12, 7 PM
Shadow Age, CMB, VV, Stephanie @ Cobra Cabana – $10
Daylight Savings Time ended last week, and as always, it was a shock. Suddenly the sun was down by the time you were headed home for dinner, and it felt like midnight by the time you were even thinking about heading out for a show. People respond to these conditions in different ways. For some, I know it’s time to break out the SAD lamps; for others, like myself, it’s time to start listening to a lot more music that sounds like Shadow Age. This Richmond group has been bringing us foggy, moody, gothic sounds for about a decade now, drenching their chilly guitar arpeggios and soaring vocal melodies in oceans of reverb and synth swells. They’ve recently returned from a relatively low-key period in their career with a new single called “Ours,” and it’s sure to remind fans who picked up their self-titled 2018 LP of exactly what made this band so charming in their melancholy grandeur. Newcomers will surely be pulled in as well, especially those who have an appreciation for the mid-80s work of The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, or The Chameleons.

Shadow Age are joined on this bill at the darkly tinted Cobra Cabana patio by CMB, which stands for Cosmic Microwave Background. This synth-driven experimental electro-pop group is led by Casey Desmond, who you may remember from a season of The Voice about 12 years ago. Personally, I don’t pay any attention to those kinds of shows, and only learned she was ever on one from her Wikipedia page. I’m far more interested in the sound of “Techno Love,” the latest CMB single, which has “stomping around in polished black Docs on the dance floor at Fallout” written all over it. The goth kids who are already stoked for Shadow Age are going to get a completely different but just as enjoyable flavor of the goth vibes they love from CMB’s set. On the other end of the spectrum is the No Wave-damaged synth-punk of VV, which has been delighting Richmonders for most of the past decade. Their new seven-song tour tape is VV’s first release in three years, and shows that they’ve lost none of their slashing art-punk rage. Gotta love it. The evening will kick off with a set from lo-fi electro-synth-horror project Stephanie, which is sure to set a perfect mood for a 7 PM start time that’ll feel a lot closer to the witching hour than it should.

Monday, November 13, 8 PM
Hard Copy, Black Button, Hearts In Exile @ Bandito’s – $7
Y’all, I’m not even gonna try to hide how excited I am for this one. Hard Copy’s arrival on the scene has been a delight to me. This group features several talented Richmond musicians I hadn’t heard from in a few years, all of whom were reaching that age where I started worrying they’d gotten an office job and disappeared into suburbia, never to be heard from again. My fears were groundless, thankfully, and this quartet finds folks from Gunboat, New Turks, and Fat Spirit all back in the saddle and cranking out the sort of quirky, erudite postpunk I’ve known they were capable of. Great to see you guys back!

It’s also great to hear the brand new debut release from Hard Copy, an LP entitled 12 Shots Of Nature, for which this show acts as a release party. I’ll stand by my earlier description of the album as quirky, erudite postpunk, but honestly, it deserves a great deal more ink spilled on it than just that. Hard Copy’s tendency to indulge in tension-building repetition is reminiscent of The Fall at their early-80s peak, while their penchant for odd sounds and even outright noise at times reminds me of first-LP Pere Ubu. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Devo as an influence, but don’t worry, this isn’t all keyboard bloops — this band definitely spends most of their time rocking hard. On this bill, Hard Copy are joined by Black Button, another Richmond postpunk band who released a killer debut LP earlier this year, that one entitled Rejoice. Black Button are harsher and more frantic than Hard Copy, but there’s a very similar mindset driving them, and anyone who can appreciate one of these bands is sure to enjoy the other. Newcomers Hearts In Exile, the latest project from Graham Brouder (who previously led the Harrisonburg-based Flyying Colors), have a droning, hypnotic sound that betrays clear influence from groups like Brian Jonestown Massacre and White Fence. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, November 14, 7 PM
Dry Talker, Trash Sun, Full Seahorse, Rubber Dagger @ Bandito’s – $10
Spending the first two nights of your week at Bandito’s, seeing killer bands and eating heaping plates of nachos, is always a solid move, but it’s even more so this week than usual, as the work week not only kicks off with the aforementioned Hard Copy album release show, but continues with this performance from buzzworthy local indie rockers Dry Talker. Thus far, this quartet has only released one two-song single, but even two songs can be enough sometimes to know that a band has a lot to offer, and “Keep Off The Grass” b/w “Bus Song” does a lot to capture the attention of discerning music fans. It features the sort of bouncy nervous energy that fuels all the best postpunk — a genre that seems to be experiencing a bit of a renaissance around Richmond lately. When the new groups working in that style come out with two songs as strong as the first two from Dry Talker, though, you can totally understand why a sound would start to pick up momentum in the local scene. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of what this band has going on?

New England band Trash Sun certainly wants to be part of it. They’re coming through town on tour, and will team up with Dry Talker to ensure that your (taco) Tuesday night at Bandito’s is as awesome as possible. These folks are just about to release a new project entitled Purgatory Road, and it’ll be out by the time you’re seeing them on Tuesday. Right now, though, I’ve only heard the first single, “As Long As It Stays Red.” As previews go, it’s a delightful one, giving us a breath of fresh air via its droning yet melodic take on the point where catchy indie tunes meet psychedelic alternative vibes. Over the course of a full set, this one should be a delight. A very new local band called Full Seahorse, who seem to do some rather epic post-rock jamming based on brief snatches I’ve seen in lo-fi videos posted to social media, are also playing this one. It’ll all get started with a set from Rubber Dagger, who show off some jangly garage-rock tuneage on their 2022 debut EP, Corner Store. This’ll be a fun night.

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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