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Shannon Cleary (SC) Alex Criqui (AC) Sarah Moore Lindsey (SML) Andrew Necci (AN) Graham Scala (GS)

The Haxan Cloak

Kvelertak

League Of Space Pirates Manipulation

The nine bleak soundscapes that comprise Excavation artfully evoke dread, paranoia, and unease, transforming these otherwise unpleasant sentiments into a compelling and heady amalgam. Minimal, though not maddeningly so, darkly cinematic without reliance on bombast, and subtle without sacrificing menace, Excavation proves itself one of the most fascinating and unsettling electronic releases this year. (GS)

At first I wasn’t sure if I liked this unorthodox Norwegian sextet. Mixing melodic vocals and catchy, upbeat guitar riffs with brutal screaming and blast beats, their music lands somewhere between cock-rock and black metal. Huh? But after a few listens, I couldn’t get their triumphant choruses out of my head. Fuck it, this is rad. (AN)

This deluxe comic book/vinyl record combo pack reminds me of my childhood (“turn the page when you hear the chimes ring like this”), while the spooky new wave songs on the EP remind me of dancing at goth nights in the late 90s. A gorgeous and creative multimedia effort from this local art-punk crew. (AN)

The Moonbees

Occultist

Death Sigils (Primitive Ways)

Demo 2013 (savageattack.bandcamp.com)

Summer EP (snowyowls.bandcamp.com)

The Moonbees are an eclectic rock/ folk four-piece whose vocalist, Clifton McDaniel, has chops like David Bowie or Sgt. Pepper’s-era John Lennon. From hints of Americana (“Mend the Gap”) and countrified Bob Marley covers (“Three Little Birds”) to Southern rock stylings (“Soon We’re Gone”), this psychedelic orchestral rock amazes left and right. (SML)

This dark, raging slab mixes the best elements of hardcore and metal, variously evoking Slayer, Motorhead, Amebix, and Napalm Death. The chugging wall of rhythm guitars, slashing solos, and fierce, snarling vocals all serve to distinguish Occultist from the many run-of-the-mill thrash bands that are eating their dust. (AN)

Richmond’s Savage Attack approach their music with a raw belligerence unmatched by few younger bands. Coupling Exhorderstyle songwriting, hardcore-influenced vocals not far removed from Sheer Terror, and production value that’s remarkably good for a self-recorded release, the band packs more intensity than many attempting this style. (GS)

The new EP from The Snowy Owls is a collision of summer glows and warm fuzz. Deeply inspired by the nineties, these four songs glimmer with tremendous ambition and sonic ambiguity. It’s a bit of a departure for the group, but still reminiscent of what many have grown to love from their last release, Within Yr Reach. (SC)

Excavation (Tri Angle Records)

Money Grows On Trees (themoonbees.bandcamp.com)

Tokimonsta

Meir (Roadrunner)

White Laces

Manipulation Book & Record EP (leagueofspacepirates.storenvy.com) (Sorry State Records)

Savage Attack

Wild Nothing

Manipulation’s first full-length after two killer EP releases witnesses the band honing their frantic, vicious brand of hardcore. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the band isn’t content to mine the safest veins of 80s punk, instead opting for an unhinged ferocity that can’t be learned through imitation. (GS)

The Snowy Owls

Wise Inquisition

Halfshadows (Ultra)

Deep Moves/Ascend EP (self-released)

Empty Estates (Captured Tracks)

Sunday Drive (self-released)

Tokimonsta has evolved from an experimental beat scene pioneer to a producer of increasingly slick and futurist pop music. On Halfshadows she takes this path into overdrives, delivering a record of serene and glitchy tracks that feature an array of guest vocalists and minimalist landscapes of dance driven percussion and synths. (AC)

Following the waves made by last year’s phenomenal LP Moves, White Laces are back with two more offerings. These tracks offer early indications of the direction the group might take on their next proper release. In particular, “Ascend” is a delight, serving as a strong testament to White Laces’ greatness. (SC)

The Blacksburg, VA indie sensations throw off their dream-pop aesthetic for a more colorful and experimental turn on their recent EP. Stand out track “A Dancing Shell” pulsates and bounces with all the peculiarity and idiosyncrasy of the Talking Heads in their early 80s glory. (AC)

Producer/emcee Wise Inquisition drops his fifth mixtape, and these hip hop tracks are fly as fuck. Involving a sample from Kali Uchis, featuring Kiara Ra.ve and Cadillac CAT, and containing beats by BIG CAT, Ydbeatsss, and Wolf Paradise as well as Brother Wise himself, Sunday Drive combines stories and killer loops for a textured album. (SML)

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RVA #14 FALL 2013  

The Richmond Mural Project hit the streets of our fair city and changed the game. Tyler and Jon of The Head & The Heart stopped by to disc...

RVA #14 FALL 2013  

The Richmond Mural Project hit the streets of our fair city and changed the game. Tyler and Jon of The Head & The Heart stopped by to disc...