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n photo by Stuart Holma

RVA #26 FALL 2016


R. Anthony Harris + Jeremy Parker FOUNDERS Inkwell PUBLISHER John Reinhold PRESIDENT Doug Nunnally PRINT EDITOR Brad Kutner WEB EDITOR, RVAMAG.COM & GAYRVA.COM Amy David ASSISTANT WEB EDITOR Banana Peelz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Drew Snyder ASST. DESIGNER John Reinhold ADVERTISING WRITERS Shannon Cleary, Doug Nunnally, Bryce Collier Cody Endres and R. Anthony Harris


PHOTOGRAPHY Joey Wharton, Jeremy Ledford, Stuart Holman, Greg Coleman, Nick Davis, INTERNS Megan Corsano, Jordan Michelle Collier, Sasha Jiron Joseph Vandersyde, Tommy D. Tran, Blake H. Rackley, Kendall Bazemore, Taylor Ostendorf


CARYTOWN Plan 9 Records, Agee’s Bicycles, New York Deli, Portrait House, Don’t Look Back, Chop Suey Books, Heroes & Ghosts, Weezie’s Kitchen, Ellwoood Thompsons, Need Supply Co., World of Mirth, Bits N Pixels, Tobacco Club & Gifts, Venue Skateboards

BROAD STREET ARTS DISTRICT Gallery 5, 1708 Gallery, Turnstyle Velocity Comics, Monument, Utmost Round Two, Steady Sounds/Bare Bones Vintage, Lift Coffee, Quirk Hotel, Sabai GENERAL INFORMATION DOWNTOWN & CHURCH HILL EDITORIAL INFORMATION Pasture, Barcode, Tobacco Company Bottom’s DISTRIBUTION Up, Kulture, Alamo BBQ, Legends, Plant Zero Cafe, Cha Cha’s Cantina, Urban Farmhouse,

ADVERTISING Manchester Market, Union Market, Mbargo, p: 276 732 3410 Frame Nation, Capitol Ale House VCU AREA

ALB Tech, Strange Matter, Lamplighter VCU,

SUBMISSION POLICY Kulture, 821 Cafe, Fan Guitar & Ukulele, Ipanema, The Village, Mojo’s, Rumors RVA Magazine welcomes submissions but cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material. MUSEUM DISTRICT Send all submissions to All submissions become property of Inkwell Ventures Inc. The entire content is a copyright of Inkwell Ventures Inc. and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without written authorization of the publisher.

ONLINE Every issue of RVA Magazine can be viewed in its entirety anytime at

VMFA, Bandito’s Burrito Lounge, Black Hand Coffee, The Franklin Inn, Cleveland Market, Patterson Express

THE FAN Bellytimber, Commerical Taphouse, FW Sullivan’s, Lady Nawlins, Foo Dog, Cask Cafe, Harvest Market, Star-lite Lounge, Fan Noodle Bar, Deep Grooves, Capitol Mac, Katra Gala, Sticky Rice, Stikcy ToGo, Joe’s Inn, Strawberry Street Market, Little Mexico, The Camel, Lamplighter, Balliceaux, Helen’s, Metro Grill, Yesterday’s Heroes

SOCIAL instagram/rvamag WEST END NIssan Of Richmond, Su Casa, Mekong, Taboo, The Answer, Guitar Center

SUBSCRIPTION Log onto SCOTT’S ADDITION to have RVA Magazine sent to your home or office. The Broadberry, En Su Boca, Buz & Ned’s DISTRIBUTION Thank you to our distribution partner BioRide / HEADS UP! The advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinion and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. Reproduction in whole or part without prior written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. RVA Magazine is published quarterly. Images are subject to being altered from their original format. All material within this magazine is protected. RVA Magazine is a registered trademark of Inkwell Ventures.

BBQ,, Smoke and Mirrors, Lunch.Supper, Ardent, Salon, Hardywood, The Veil

NORTHSIDE The MIll, Stir Crazy Coffee, Dots Back Inn, Once upon a vine, Carytown Burger Fries (Lakeside), Final Gravity Taproom

RVA Magazine is printed locally by Conquest Graphics cover by ASVP




Jul 23 – Oct 30

A rarely seen view of African American life in 1950, captured by groundbreaking photojournalist Gordon Parks.

VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS 200 N. Boulevard | Richmond | 804.340.1405 | Gordon Parks, Back To Fort Scott is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with the Gordon Parks Foundation. Photo: Untitled, St. Louis, Missouri, 1950, Gordon Parks (American, 1912–2006), gelatin silver print. Courtesy of and copyright the Gordon Parks Foundation





DON’T SLEEP Follow us @RVAmag Top: Ice Giant of GWARBQ by @RVAmag, Dad of the Year by @veleszjt, @ohshitthatsyou by @RVAmag Second Line: Church Hill Skyline by @_russ.c.bates, Richmond Fire by @r_deneff, by @somewhereinrva Third Line: @motioncitysoundtrack by @zirpolorva Dead Prez by @benjah_photography Bottom: by @visualnarrator @brianstutters by @RVAmag #sunflowers OPPOSITE PAGE Top: @happyabandonmusic by @joey_wharton, Whiskey Sunrise by @RVAmag, Soul Release by @benjah_photography Second Line: Happy Holidaze! by @casual_thinker, KISS by @awesomegram, R Kelly-isms by @RVAmag Third Line: Lakeside vacation by @RVAmag Hustle Season Podcast on iTunes @thehustleseason Crayola at Virginia MOCA by @parker_galore Bottom: @michealmillions by @studigs Night Sweats by @RVAmag, Shit The Bed by @zirpolorva 16 DON’T SLEEP -- tag us @RVAmag



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GOOD EATS RVA We like to eat. Follow us @RVAmag OPPOSITE PAGE from left to right, row to row Top: Pho So1, Proper Pie, Alamo BBQ Second Line: Stir Crazy, Hutch Bar & Eatery, Lil Mexico Third Line: Mezeh Grill & Starr Hill Brewery, The Betty on Davis, Postbellum Bottom: Joe’s Inn, K-Town Kitchen & Bar by @casual_thinker, En Su Boca Top: Continental Divide, J Kogi, Sticky Rice Second Line: The Grill, Lunch Supper, Commune (VA Beach) Third Line: Toast, Banditos Bottom: Boka Taco, Savory Grain GOOD EATS RVA -- tag us @RVAmag



CRAFT + DESIGN 52nd Annual

Presented by Altria Group

November 18-20, 2016

Science Museum of Virginia + Weekend Passes

+ Patrons’ Preview Party + Rise + Shine Breakfast + General Admission Buy tickets at or call (804) 353-0094


Image Credit: Ashley Buchanan, Chaos Chain Necklace in Yellow, 2016, Metal.

Kathie and Steve Markel









Now that the heat has (mostly) passed and Cold Harbor Fog Kölsch has disappeared from shelves, the next entry in Legend’s Urban Legend series, Ghost Rider Black Rye IPA, will arrive on shelves around October 3rd. The urban legend behind this beer centers around the seemingly mundane toll plaza on Pocahontas Parkway: The toll plaza was built upon an ancient Native American burial ground, which has apparently been in place since around 3500 B.C. For quite some time now, travelers passing through those toll booths swear to have bore witness to the ghosts of tribespeople, some standing eerily still on the side of the parkway, some on horseback. Sometimes, just the sound of drums and horse hooves are heard by toll booth workers, with nothing in sight that could make those noises. Ghost Rider is dedicated to that legend: Black like the night that the riders emerge out of, and intriguingly complex -- like Richmond folklore -- with sweet, roasted malts melding with spicy rye and herbaceous hops. This black rye IPA gallops across the tongue with a robust flavor that slowly vanishes, leaving behind only a faint bitterness, a mysterious resonance that invites you to take another sip.

With summer over and fall in full swing, Hardywood has begun rolling out the big guns. On October first, the rye whiskey barrel-aged version of their fall staple, the Wallonianstyle Farmhouse Pumpkin Ale, hits shelves. Spices sourced from around Richmond, fresh pumpkins, and a farmhouse yeast strain pair well with the spiciness of rye whiskey barrels for a complex and powerful sipper. Later in October, Hardywood and other Halloweek locations will have Hardywood’s official collaboration with RVA Magazine, The Bride Of Frankenstein, on draft. The beer will only be around from the 21st to the 31st, so get it while you can. Around the same time, the brewery will release their fifth anniversary ale, but the details on that one are still under wraps. Considering the extreme variations in style for each anniversary beer that Hardywood has made, it’s hard to know exactly what will be rolling out on the 22nd. One thing’s for sure: it’ll be unique. My bet is on something barrel-aged. Soon after the anniversary brew release comes the release of the Halloweenthemed Trickery, just two days before All Hallow’s Eve. Perhaps one of the richest beers made by Hardywood currently, Trickery is a 13.5% apple brandy barrel-aged imperial milk stout, full of molasses and dark fruit character. Lastly, on November 5th is the release of the ever-popular, remorselessly decadent Gingerbread Stout. In case your stout fix hasn’t been satisfied by the previous two beers listed, you can look forward to Gingerbread Stout variants coming out through the rest of the year.

About halfway between Richmond City and Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery now sits Kindred Spirit Brewing, who opened their doors during the last weekend of August. After some successful appearances in Richmond restaurants and at events like the National Beer Expo, the brewery finally has a spot to pour their own beers. Although a brewery representative was unable to give exact plans on what they will be releasing October onward, there are several beers that have already been mentioned by Kindred Spirit online. For starters, there’s Headspace, a “rich, juicy” IPA that clocks in a 7.7% ABV. For more hoppy goodness, there’s the Eric B. & Rakim-themed Paid In Full Double IPA, which is brewed with a newer hop variety, Equinox, as well as Columbus and the more traditional Centennial and Simcoe hops, then dry-hopped with Citra and Simcoe hops for extra aroma. For those who prefer the maltier side of beer, there’s Barfly Bitter, an easy-drinking English-style Mild Ale. Also in the roster is West Creek Brown, which is said to boast “a ton of graham cracker and dark chocolate,” while not being too heavy. Something that was showcased at the National Beer Expo was Orange Dream, a cream ale with notes of orange peel and vanilla, which sounds a bit like an orange creamsicle. Here’s to hoping that beer makes an appearance on their draft list soon.



SMARTMOUTH Interview by Cody Endres

Smartmouth is one of many breweries to emerge from the Tidewater area in the last several years, but with distinctive packaging and an impressive variety of well-made beers, they haven’t gotten lost in the shuffle. I recently got in touch with Head Brewer Jimmy Loughran to talk about their unique aesthetic and plans for the future. Smartmouth has always had a sharp aesthetic. How do the designs for your cans come about? The can design came from wanting to have a “cereal box effect.” We wanted people to pick up our beer and find small ideas and doodles about our brewery and the beer while drinking. It seems to be going over well. Smartmouth has an interesting track record as far as canned releases go. How did you end up going with your saison as one of the first? It’s not a wildly popular style for many American breweries. Actually, the saison was a big push from Porter [Hardy], the president and founder. When starting up, he knew we would do three styles to fit the many different types of palates out there. The idea was to create an approachable Belgian style beer that novice craft drinkers and die-hards alike could turn to. We were slightly blown away with the growth of the beer. On a personal note, it changed my mom from a Corona Light drinker to a saison drinker. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t think my job is a phase anymore either. [Laughs] Given the recent release of Sommer Fling, can people expect to start seeing more seasonal releases from you? Yup! We are releasing a new one this fall, Free Thought Pale Ale hopped with Mosaic and Galaxy. I am really excited for it to come out and so are all my coworkers.


Norfolk and the surrounding area has an interesting mix of breweries, with O’Connor, Reaver Beach, and others. Is there much of a community atmosphere amongst breweries out there? If you’ve visited Charlottesville or Richmond breweries, how would you say those beer communities differ from your own? This will always be the most interesting part of my career choice. I have called brewers that I never met before and sometimes only heard of from a friend-of-a-friend, just to ask about an ingredient they used. Without any sort of confusion, they gladly answer my questions and more. I have been on the other side of that as well. Canned beer is experiencing something of a renaissance. How did Smartmouth end up going with cans instead of bottles? Because cans are fucking great. They keep the bad stuff out and keep the good stuff in. [Laughs] Obviously you still have room to grow, so what would you say is your biggest limitation as a brewery right now? The issue with having too many can options is brewery space. It’s so crazy to think that when we started this whole thing, I thought we had tons of space. Then we got more and more tanks to keep up with demand. Until we get more space to store cans, we will be a bit limited as to what we can can. O’Connor has bottled quite a few collaborations. Can beer drinkers ever expect to see Smartmouth can a collaborative brew? We recently did a collaboration with Champion in Charlottesville that they are releasing, and I did a collaboration with Gordon Borsch that they will release. Some of it is our space limitations that prevent us from canning a large variety of beer, but we also take pride in putting out beer that is focused on quality ingredients and consistency more than anything else. 23

FINAL GRAVITY Interview by Cody Endres

Final gravity: a measurement taken at the completion of a beer’s fermentation process, which is used to help guess the alcohol content of the beer; also, the name of a now award-winning brewery tucked away in the Lakeside area of Richmond. Despite working with a brewing system that could fit in some living rooms, Final Gravity scooped up four medals at this year’s Virginia Craft Beer Cup Awards, the most of any brewery that competed. That’s an impressive feat, but definitely not a fluke. Final Gravity is only about a year old, but founder and brewer Tony Ammendolia has been brewing beer since 1993. He honed his brewing skills at home, and opened up Original Gravity in 2011 to spread the good word about that hobby. Final Gravity serves as a continuation of that gospel, exhibiting a vast array of styles at all times, and from what I’ve tried, every one of them is well-represented. To learn a bit more about what it’s like to be the only home brew shop/brewery in the area, and what the future might hold for the brewery, I asked Tony a few questions and he graciously answered them in the middle of an already busy weekend, which saw Final Gravity competing in another craft brewing competition. How did Final Gravity come to fruition? When I opened the home brew shop Original Gravity in 2011, it was the second choice to opening a brewery. I found though that I could open a home brew shop for a much smaller investment than a brewery and I already had a background in retail management as well as a passion for brewing beer and teaching others about brewing beer. The desire to open a brewery didn’t go away though and once Virginia passed SB604 that allowed breweries to operate a tasting room and sell directly to their customers, it became possible to operate a financially sustainable brewery on a much smaller scale. What kind of brewing system are you working with and are you able to brew as much as you’d like with it? We brew beer at Final Gravity exactly like home brewers. Our system is a two barrel (62 gallon) electric system from Blichmann Engineering. If you wanted to buy a system just like ours, we could sell it to you at Original Gravity because it’s all home brewing equipment. We also keg our beer in five gallon soda kegs just like home brewers do. We have been able to keep up with demand so far and we usually have twelve beers on tap at all times, but that may 24

change now that we won four medals at the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. We placed with more beers than any other brewery in the state! It seems like Final Gravity has a fairly diverse draft list at almost all times. What is your focus? We want to offer something for everyone so we try to cover a range of styles. We love the hoppier beers, but we appreciate a lot of different beer styles and want to make sure that if you come in with a group of friends, everyone can find at least one beer they can enjoy. You guys seem to have a lot of fun with adjuncts and infusions. Is there anything that you’re dying to work with, but haven’t been able to get into a Randall yet? The Randall thing just kind of happened. As a beer drinker, I don’t usually go for flavored beers. We infused some beer early on just for fun and found that people just love that stuff. Whatever we run through a Randall always sells quickly and from a producer’s perspective, it is a lot of fun coming up with flavor ideas and pairing them with the right beer. So far there aren’t any ingredients we want to try that we haven’t been able to. Do you think the setup of the shop will encourage more beer drinkers to pursue home brewing? That was our hope when we opened the brewery, but we have found that most people coming in to try our beer don’t have any interest in making their own. The home brew customers do enjoy being able to get a beer while shopping though! Do you think it more beneficial for people to know how you made a certain beer? I’d imagine you sell most if not all of the products used in creating your brews, so some customers could try their skill and see if they could replicate a Final Gravity beer. We’re not giving away all of our recipes, but it is part of our plan to start selling kits for some of our beers. All of our beer is made with the exact same ingredients we sell to our home brew customers. Would you ever want do small runs of bottles or cans in the future? Is that even feasible? We plan on doing some small bottle releases over the next year including bottles of some wine barrel aged wild beers and sours. RVARVA MAGAZINE 24 26 | SPRING MAGAZINE | FALL 2016





An infectious indie pop track from a Liverpool band clearly skilled in the art of sonic sunshine, but also in the use of profound musical juxtaposition. Descending melodies overflowing with reverb create a bouncy air of affirmation, while the remarkably candid lyrics grounds the song with defeated despondency. The contrast is most noticeable following the chorus as the lofty synth notes bounce around a sorrowful voice repeating “no one’s listening to me” to almost deaf ears. Depression has rarely sounded so cheerful, making a song perfect for any setting whether it be a crowded dance party or a solitary night in bed. --Doug Nunnally


Despite being two separate songs on the track listing of upcoming album Rheia, “10:56” and “Second Son Of R.” were premiered together, along with a video for the two songs. The first song doesn’t flow into the second so much as the second un-mercifully collides with the first, reflecting the traumatic lyrics of both songs. Vocalist Caro Tanghe’s delicate, sorrowful singing intertwines with soft swells of electric guitar before a maelstrom of black metal and post-hardcore forces out her high-pitched, raspy scream. Combined, the song and video are an abyssal trip with an aweinducing conclusion. --Cody Endres

THE TALKIES, “GRANER CARDS” DEAD DAD GRADES, BANDCAMP With an urgent melody and unrelenting lyrics, this is an unavoidable rock anthem from an invigorating quartet quickly climbing the ranks in town. The words flow from vocalist Marissa Porcelli with impudent lines that are endlessly quotable. “Spend my weekend writing music in my underwear, while my closest friends attempt to sell me tupperware,” she unloads, defining a generation of restless musicians trying to sort out their generational apathy and malaise. Perhaps most striking is how the garage and shoegaze elements serve as in-song foils with the space and tone creating a sense of optimistic perseverance while the energy and attitude offer a nihilistic surrender, making it a conflicted song perfect for the current social climate. --Doug Nunnally



On No Floor, White Laces further explore the realm of electronic pop music, while also establishing a balanced rapport between their public evolution as a band -- and “Dream Sabbath” might be the best example of how far that evolution has come. The song slowly builds with handclaps, tremolo fueled electronics, and chiming keyboards before Landis Wine’s voice enters into the equation. Fusing his voice with all of these elements as the song confidently sways from moment to moment, there is a balance and a pull that only a band as seasoned as White Laces could pull off. By the finale where three voices come together for a call and response, you begin to revel in the electronic bliss on display. --Shannon Cleary

YOTIPO, “TAIGA” RESIN, BANDCAMP A powerhouse electronic composition steeped in ambient and symphonic elements that shows how greater Richmond’s scene becomes when including musicians that exist only online. Over top a manufactured beat, light string melodies weave in and out of an ever-swelling litany of inorganic sounds and effects as it builds to an emetic moment of clarity. Proudly waving the flag of IDM, Yotipo skips the indulgence and excess that most online electronica artists revel in, and instead concentrates on a regimented progression that expertly reveals the song’s nature and charm. --Doug Nunnally


STUDIO NEWS Be on the lookout for a big announcement from Egghunt Records that will excite hardcore fans of Richmond’s local scene. We can’t tell you much more right now, except that more bands joining their roster is only a small piece of the news and that 2017 is shaping up to be this young label’s biggest year to date. Keep your eyes peeled -- you won’t want to be the last one to find out this news. Self-proclaimed “sci-fi hard rockers” Antiphons just released the release date for their debut record, Groan, due out in January on Citrus City Records. Recorded at the ever-popular Virginia Moonwalker Studios (featured later in this issue), this spacious sound is sure to be a big hit with local fans who will be able to grab it in across all mediums: digital, CD, cassette, and vinyl. Local pop genius Anousheh returned recently with a new single “Bones,” which had a flattering premier over at Paste Magazine, and it’s only the beginning for the next phase of her musical career. The Grammynominated musician has been hard at work all year on her next musical step, the follow-up to 2015’s criminally underrated Make Noise, and it’s bound to be yet another stunning aural entry into her incredible catalogue. Eclectic rockers The Southern Belles are gearing up for their next release, the follow-up to 2015’s Close To Sunrise record, and while this new batch of music could take any direction possible -- and probably will knowing this band -- it’s safe to say it will be a wildly inventive take on southern rock in all its style and charm. Also entering the studio soon is Richmond’s favorite disco punk band, Toxic Moxie. Okay, technically we may only have one disco punk band in town, but we all know who reigns supreme here so just play along. After a string of remarkable EPs (which were compiled together on 2015’s VHS Box Set), the band is eyeing their first proper full length for some time in 2017, though we may hear new music from them before the new year, something that might take the form of a standalone single that should continue their riotous rock sound quite well. Veteran rockers Carbon Leaf ended their 2016 hiatus with the news of their latest PledgeMusic campaign, one that aims to “revisit” their 2009 record Nothing Rhymes With Woman. As with the last two re-releases from the band, this new recording of an old album will finally erase their past association with Vanguard Records that spanned from 2004 to 2010 and give them complete control over their songs and recordings, a great step forward for a band that has fully embraced independent status for their entire career and continues to serve as a local blueprint for sustained musical success.




“Peter $un is just a vibe. Instead of sugarcoating things, I tell you things as clear as possible. I try to make my music sound good so that you can vibe to it, but tell you something deep at the same time. I want people to be in a mood when they listen to me and enjoy the person I am...”




As we cool down from the hottest summer in RVA history, the city is still heating up with outdoor activities and the sound of new local music, something that will always be exciting regardless of the temperature. That music scene has always been fueled by a blue collar approach alongside a twist of big city optimism, just like Richmond itself, and perhaps no one embodies this better than the confident and industrious local rapper known as Peter $un. From the West End Of Henrico, this twentysomething rapper stands out as one of the brightest stars of the local hip-hop scene. His moving beats and piercing lyrics have helped him establish the Peter $un brand of music, a style that’s deeply resonated with fans across the country. As his internet buzz continues to rise, the exceptional performer has been quick to capitalize on his following with frequent music releases that only further electrifies his fanbase. Now, he’s looking to go one step further with a constantly growing touring schedule that stretches from Virginia Beach to Venice Beach, with plenty of sold-out shows in between. In between stops on his extensive touring schedule, we caught up with Peter $un at a restaurant in Lakeside to gain some insight into his rise, musical philosophy, and personal energy. The curious and perceptive side of this humble rapper quickly came out in our interview, giving us some clarification to his own singular flair, while also informing us that he has only begun to scratch the surface on what Peter $un is... and what he can be.

Making a name for yourself is hard enough in this city it seems. How does it feel to be on the road selling out shows across the U.S.? I had never experienced people singing the songs back to me, you know what I’m saying? There were six or seven people who were in the crowds singing my song. To me. Here, it’s hasn’t happened to me once. It’s crazy motivational because they’re 16-24 years old and they are all mixed in together to come out and have a good time. It’s seems like here sometimes people pay to go to a show just to bob their heads or just come to see one person. But it’s the entertainer’s job to capture the audience. I think that’s what made this tour successful. These people pay their money or their parent’s money to come see me, so the pressure is there for me to kill it. You give everything you release to the public an eccentric name. Where did the focus on giving specific names to your material? I always did that. It just evolved more as I got older and made music. I always did it that way because when I make the music, it’s the mood of that song. One day, I was drinking Modelo and came up with the “Modelo” demo. I get a lot of inspiration from books. I just bought three books today, one about Buddhism. I like the teaching, but I don’t claim one religion. I don’t follow one religion -- I take from different religions and if certain beliefs resonate with me, I’ll apply it to my everyday life. My main goal is to be a revolutionary leader in the next civil war. What’s so intriguing about being a revolutionary leader?

AN INTERVIEW WITH PETER $UN By Bryce Collier Photos by Greg Coleman Where do you reach for inspiration when recording your music? I reach to my four year old son for inspiration. Just past experiences, from my point of view, my friends’ point of view, and my parents’ stories. It’s not important to only tell my story, but others as well. I want to make everyone aware of the struggles of our people. I want to let people know we’re all humans and bring us together, like the hippies did.

You’ve always given off that hippie vibe. What makes you want to represent that and Black I watch endless documentaries on Fidel Castro culture? and Cesar Chavez. They stood for something, cared about and took pride in their culture, and Because there aren’t enough people doing it, they fought for it. I felt like that was admirable and if they are, they’re not representing us right. for anybody that’s willing to die for what they The older generation is sitting up in their fancy believe in. I wake up every day and think about houses, driving their cars, eating their fancy food, music and what music I’m going to get done. and not going through it right now. I’m going through it. I feel like this generation I can speak Aside from starting the revolution, how did you for, because I’m in it. get into making music? Where does the title to your new release, I started writing poetry when I was 8, more like Paradise Is A Day Away, come from? words and ideas constantly. I was more into sports at the time until I got to high school. I It’s applies to normal day living. Right now, would start doing freestyles and people really nothing is guaranteed. The whole basis of the encouraged it. Eventually, I started recording and project is to capture the sound of a person’s full I was able to hear myself and give people my vibe day on Earth. You could wake up in a sour mood and they were catching it. and by the end of the day, it’s a party. I consider it “a day of art.” We created the whole album inWhen you’re in the studio and the engineer puts house between Dj Gringo’s spot and my partner on the beat, how do you know what style you’ll Tae’s. We’ve been recording the album since we approach it with? were making Sunset Castle. It’s like women. You gotta talk to them and treat them a certain way. Some things can’t be rapped. [There] has to be a setting, mood, and time for certain approaches. There are certain vibes you have to capture. Is the frequency of your music releases strategic or is it just something you do?

When people look back ten years from now, how do you want to be viewed? Peter $un is just a vibe. Instead of sugarcoating things, I tell you things as clear as possible. I try to make my music sound good so that you can vibe to it, but tell you something deep at the same time. I want people to be in a mood when they listen to me and enjoy the person I am.

I record a lot, just because I have something to say. If I’m writing, it’s because I have something to say. I like to put out the music the way I do at the time I do, because I feel like people needed it at that moment. I just want to change people’s perspective of listening to music. 10 YEARS OF RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015






VIRGINIA IS FOR MUSIC LOVERS By Doug Nunnally Photos courtesy of Virginia Tourism


“VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS.” This succinct ad rolled out in 1969 and in the almost fifty years since, it has become one of the most iconic marketing campaigns of all time with numerous awards, museum inclusions, and hall of fame inductions. It has given Virginia a concrete identity that will far outlive its inventive creators and has helped spark many aspects of the state economy by concisely advertising what we have in store for potential tourists. This year, Virginia Tourism wants to take that slogan just a bit further, with a focus on a specific lover they believe Virginia is truly for: Music Lovers.

For people who live for concerts and new music, a focus on the music of our state is the definition of a great idea, even though it might be the most daunting thing Virginia Tourism has ever attempted. Think about it. How do you even begin to scratch the surface of Virginia music? Let’s ignore the fact that Virginia is well-known for its diverse styles, from the punk music of Central Virginia to the hip-hop hub that covers the Hampton Roads area to the sweet Americana still coming out of the rural Southwest; how would one team cover the sheer volume of musicians Old Dominion has to offer? On top of that, think about how quickly that number of musicians grows and changes with new artists moving in and new bands RVARVA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 24 26 | SPRING | FALL 2016 2016

forming every day. Seriously, where do you even start with music in Virginia? Well, Virginia Tourism figured it out: You start with one of the biggest musical cheerleaders you’ll ever find, a man by the name of Andrew Cothern. Cothern made his name in town as the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a local blog that tirelessly documented Richmond’s growing scene with equal time dedicated to bands and artists of all shapes and sizes. If there was a show in town, chances are Cothern not only wrote about it, but guilted a few dozen people into going and attended it himself. His work earned the attention of various publications around the country who hailed his blog as a 10 10 YEARS YEARS OF OF RVA RVA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 2005-2015 2005-2015

“must-read” guide for any music fan visiting Richmond, and also made him something of a minor celebrity in town. Beloved and respected for his dedication and candor, it was a sad day in the local scene when Cothern decided to close the blog earlier this year leaving a hole that still hasn’t been filled. But Cothern wasn’t hanging up his music boots at all -- he was only taking his local support to the next level over at Virginia Tourism. “When I first came into Virginia Tourism, I was known as the music guy. Shocker, right?” jokes Cothern, who first joined the company back in 2014. Now holding the title of Communications Manager, he admits his first thoughts upon

joining were how to expand their musical coverage to include all Virginia had to offer, Richmond included. “One of my goals off the bat was to focus on current music more, especially festivals and venues,” he explains. “When you think of music in Virginia, it’s mostly Americana and bluegrass and I covered that a lot at first. When I came on, the biggest push at the time was for the Crooked Road in the Southwest along with the opening of the new country music museum and the Orthophonic Joy project they helped launch. It was great and that sound is still doing well down there, but there’s a lot of other great things happening in Virginia too. I just really wanted to focus on contemporary bands and styles and show that it’s just as notable.” 33

Cothern wouldn’t have to wait long to begin working on this goal. In early 2016, Virginia Tourism created a new campaign focusing on music of all sorts within Virginia and tasked Cothern with overseeing it, alongside Emily Wyman, the Locations Manager for the Virginia Film Office. “We had this big staff meeting at the beginning of the year,” Cothern remembers, “and Chris Canfield [Vice President, Partnership Marketing] gave Emily and I this project to make whatever we could out of it.” Though part of a separate department, Wyman and Cothern were well-acquainted by this point. “Film and tourism are just so intertwined,” he explains. “We’re not just isolated in cubicles and it was well known that me and Emily were the two big

music people there.” Much like Cothern, Wyman had been labelled as the “music person” in the film department when first arriving. “I guess I was the token indie girl,” she laughs. “I mean, I had done college radio before and I love the Harrisonburg music scene probably as much as Andrew loves the Richmond scene. Everyone in charge there really wants people to be able to pursue their passion, so Chris Canfield made the natural call to put us together on this project.”

them showcase just that. “We want to be able to show the diversity of Virginia’s music scene,” she comments. “Covering music more genre by genre is going to be great for this town and the venues are the perfect place for that since a lot of them have so many different acts come through the doors. Go into The Broadberry now and you can see our logo. Bands and fans are going to see that. They’re going to get curious. They’re going to look into it and hopefully spread the word about the music here.”

this past August at Lock’n in Arrington, an event with big name recognition that helped the campaign double-down on music fans. “They were putting things up that told people what they could do in the area before or after the festival,” boasts Cothern. “It was a huge deal. They bring so many people in from out of state so it was great to have them do that and have our presence be known at the festival. Hopefully people came in from New York to see Phish or Ween, and then decided they wanted to see what was going on in Virginia too.”

In addition to The Broadberry, Virginia Is For Music Lovers has stopped by to support festivals like Harrisonburg’s MACRoCk and Richmond’s Mozart Festival, and even found great success 34

The two went to work on establishing the campaign, one that quickly became a high priority for Virginia Tourism. By March, they had a team of ten under them and a marketing plan in place, one that focused on partnering

with festivals and venues in state in order to offer them the support they need, and give the campaign the awareness it needed in the beginning stages. It seemed concrete enough, though the two admit it was hard to finalize. “Obviously you want to promote all these bands you love,” reasons Wyman, “but you really can’t play favorites with artists. There’s also this very fine line you need to walk because we could quickly become band promoters which would not be beneficial to our goals at all.” But that doesn’t rule out the possibility of working with a Virginia musician in getting the word out. Soon after the campaign planning began, they reached out to Lucy Dacus to become an unofficial ambassador for Virginia Tourism.

reveal that they’re already starting to see a return on the investment Virginia Tourism has made. “Our numbers have definitely increased,” Wyman says. “We have our own research department that deals with the facts and figures, but so far, all of our metrics are performing well and the higher-ups are pleased. Chris Canfield has been a big supporter of ours and has made sure we’ve gotten anything we’ve needed. We’ve only really started too so we still have a lot to accomplish here.” Cothern himself is fully aware of what’s left to accomplish, something that might not be as easily measured as Hoping out-of-town visitors will stick around or attendance or clicks. “Our main goal is to make pay more attention to what’s going on in-state people want to come to Virginia for music,” he isn’t an idealistic daydream though -- the pair states. “Everything else is important too, but it’s RVARVA MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 24 26 | SPRING | FALL 2016

“It just made sense to partner with her,” Cothern explains. “Her momentum was only growing and she ended up going on all of these interviews wearing a Virginia Is For Lovers shirt or drinking out of the coffee mug while talking about how great Richmond’s music scene is. It was a perfect fit even though working with specific artists wasn’t a priority of ours.” Though focusing on artists isn’t the goal for this campaign, it’s definitely not off the table. “For some of the bigger names out of Virginia, we’d love to work with them,” states Wyman. “Unfortunately, there is just a lot of red tape to deal with when talking to bands of a higher status and it’s just not something we have

all there to make that goal an actual reality.” Having a presence at a festival like Lock’n will surely bolster the idea of Virginia as a musical destination, but to really achieve that goal, the campaign will have to change the reputation of Virginia as a state too. “When you mention Virginia, people think of history,” Wyman clarifies. “It’s just the way it is, but we’ll have to change that with this project to be a success because what’s going on now is just as important and interesting.” Wyman is completely right and that historical significance is something the tourism department is well versed in by now. “We focus on it, but we also push how it relates to contemporary things,” Cothern adds. “We would do the same for music. If you’re really 10 YEARS OF RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015

the means for right now, especially for what we outlined in partnering with festivals and venues.” The first attempt at partnering came in early May when Virginia Is For Music Lovers had its launch party at The Broadberry, where a crowd cheered virtually every aspect of the new campaign from the branded trucker hats to the logo painted on a beam right near the entrance to the venue. “Working with The Broadberry was great,” Cothern highlights. “The local partners we’ve made in the state have been incredible and it all started with Lucas [Fritz, Broadberry co-owner] who really bent over backwards for us and helped us get off on the right foot.”

With performances by Richmond bands No BS! and Avers, and Galax country musician Dori Freeman, the launch party allowed Virginia Tourism to give an audience a good sampler of the talent in Virginia, and the diversity it contains. “It was really nice to have No BS! and Avers play, but it was also really important to have Dori Freeman there,” Cothern states. “Virginia is well-known for that style and the region she comes from, but it’s really nice to have a fresh new artist to remind you that it still has this bright future like anything else in town. It was just great to be able to show how hip-hop, rock, and country all had this equal place within our state at the party.” Wyman confirms this focus, adding that these local partnerships help

into punk music, you can check out Wonderland or Strange Matter for some great history. You can go on the Crooked Road to learn about bluegrass and Americana, but also hear what’s happening with Dori Freeman and The Church Sisters. It’s a line we walk where we wanted to focus on contemporary things, while still mentioning the history that Virginia is so known for.”

continues. ”We want to help that along any way we can because it’s going to mean more for the state, for the musicians, for the economy, and for the people. We all know the talent is here. We just need the awareness and recognition. Telling people that Virginia is really for music lovers will go a long way in achieving that and as Richmond’s stature grows, the rest of the state will too.”

Changing the perception of Virginia is not all VIRGINIA.ORG/MUSIC Cothern and Wyman would like to accomplish though. “We want Richmond to become the next Austin,” proclaims Wyman in a statement that shouldn’t surprise any fan of the local scene here. “It’s the next big music city,” Cothern 35



We all know Richmond has a vibrant music scene, one that’s constantly BAD KOREA transforming and getting better every day, but what of the rest of Virginia? It’s This Virginia Beach quartet describes

themselves as being “a punk band that

important to remember that as good as we have it here in town, Old Dominion probably should have existed in 1998,” but still has plenty of fresh and exciting bands worth your attention. Rap, country, with rancorous melodies, peevish lyrics,

and pummeling rhythms, there’s absolutely

punk, metal, experimental; whatever your scene is, you can find dozens of nothing outdated about their sound. Perhaps fascinating artists mere hours from Richmond that are talented, moving, and most notable is the polish the band applies all worthy of the same praise we so gladly bestow on our hometown favorites. Here are ten Virginia artists we think you should all be checking out right now,

to their raw energy, leaving many of their contemporaries in the dust with recordings that shy away from control board wizardry, while still maintaining a live feel to each song.

but trust us when we say there are hundreds more equally worth your time:




Travel down the Crooked Road of Virginia and you’ll find plenty of talented musicians steeped in genuine Americana, but none bring it into this young century as vibrantly as this resourceful Galax singer. While her serenading voice and rich stories are to be commended, it’s her protean ability to float across styles that will catch your ear, as she moves from backdrops of Nashville production to sparse guitar lines, before bottoming out with the simple snap of her fingers in a sound that’s effortlessly enthralling.

A Richmond native now residing in Sterling, Gibson embodies the spirit of Virginia songwriting and on his latest album, 2015’s 1532, he has firmly established himself as one of the state’s best active songwriters. Over top his dexterous fingerpicking, the veteran musician has a moving ability to offer clarity through sorrow as he leads listeners through a filtered view of his own personal distress, allowing them to find their own serenity with moving and gorgeous melodies that become engraved in your soul.

Richmond’s EggHunt Records is full of shining stars, but no artist on the current roster shines brighter than this relentlessly charming Virginia Beach band, armed with a marvelous sound that finds the happy medium between punk and indie pop. Lead vocalist and mandolinist Rashie Rosenfarb’s imposing sonic presence instantly makes this band notable, but it’s their propensity for intelligent songwriting that makes this band spectacular. Unassuming songs overflow with expert tricks and techniques, allowing for dozens of thrilling sonic moments that will have you coming back time and time again.






Eight exceedingly gifted MCs make up this Norfolk collective that has been making waves since 2008 as they’ve racked up numerous hip-hop credentials. Several quality records, collaborations with Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes, and an opening slot for Souls Of Mischief all came quick to this band as rap icons flocked to their chaotic performances with the group’s innumerable personas jumping from bar to bar in a hailstorm of rap fury, something that only gets better with each passing year.

Commanding death metal from a Roanoke quartet making modern aural destruction with a pure old-school template. With terse and effective bursts of musical intensity, the band lives up to its name with epidemic riffs that lay waste as Andrew Brown barks enough order and direction that would make any metal fan turn their ear. Even non-fans should take notice too with a rhythm section remarkable in its regimented fury and a guitar sound exciting and intriguing enough for any axe fan.

A poet since the age of eight, this hip-hop artist from Stuarts Draft clearly knows her way around a rhyme, and by drawing inspiration from icons like Mary J Blige and Lauryn Hill, she knows just how to back it up with precise production and graceful delivery. After years of honing her skill, Lady Taij has emerged as one of Virginia’s best MCs, with a style that effortlessly conforms to any style, and she now eyes the ambitious and admirable task of bridging the LGBQT and hip-hop communities.




If you find yourself revisiting the Creation Records catalogue on a regular basis, or desperately searching for the right amount of reverb and noise, then this Fredericksburg duo is required listening. Anthemic shoegaze that relishes in distorted romanticism, each voluminous song from this group is bound to leave you aurally stunned, both because such a talented band exists so close to home, and because of the sheer weight of these magnificent compositions.

This art-rock trio, known also as The Late Virginia Summers, has become a favorite of Lynchburg’s thriving musical scene thanks to their ambient instrumentals that leave their performances feeling more like flowing art than traditional rock music. The ever-changing textural beauty of the band’s music lends itself to some rewarding and cathartic listening experiences, and while you may not be singing along to the songs, it won’t take long for your mind and spirit to fall in line with the rhythm and energy of each composition.

With his experimental hodgepodge of electronica, trip-hop, and chillwave, Zooanzoo out of Harrisonburg has established himself as one of the state’s most imaginative musicians. Don’t let the genre tags deter you though -this music is as accessible and focused as it is ingenious and cavalier, showcasing a focused vision that allows each song to come into the world fully realized. Neo-traditional rarely sounds this inviting, making the music of Zooanzoo worth any experiment you wish to perform.









In every interview I’ve seen and on your own site, you guys keep your identities a V: We were both working as creatives at an mystery. Why is that? ad agency. We worked on several projects together as part of a larger creative team and V: It’s because of some of the legal gray areas eventually decided to take our work and our surrounding how we were showing our work in the beginning. Over the course of the last ideas in a different direction. ten or so years, sharing artwork publicly has Was it the idea of being able to take your art been embraced by many more people, and to the public more, or just being able to pick even encouraged. I think that as a crime... in quotes... I think that the perception of it has your own clients? softened, so that was initially the reason why S: It’s kind of a combination of both, but we we chose to keep our identities to ourselves. really wanted to be more in charge of what Eventually, we will lift the veil. we do and bring our work to the public. We did a lot of outdoor posting runs. We started I won’t ask you to reveal it all for this printing and got the work out in the street, interview, but is ASVP an acronym for your but it was more about being tired of having own names? to answer to other people, and seeing our work get diluted. We wanted to be more S: In the beginning we had periods between proud of what we do and be more satisfied the letters and yeah, like an acronym that could stand for something, but we never with what we work on. revealed the initial meaning. So the result of V: I don’t know if “proud” is the right word it was people reading into the name [with] because I think a lot of the work we did very funny things, which was a great part was strong, but I have a slightly different about it. It was a guessing game and that was perspective on it. I think that the public actually what we intended in some ways. We aspect of creating things when you work in never really explain ourselves. advertising is something that we liked, that we embraced. The idea that our work was V: It also went along with the anonymity. getting out there on the streets, on bus sides It’s just this element that’s connected to the and billboards and things like that, was I work that we’re doing. It’s an identifier, but think something that we grew to appreciate. in a way that’s not fully explained, which was So, that aspect of the work was learned from in line with the anonymity at the time. the agency experience, for me anyway. Together you guys do amazing screen Was it the messaging that bothered you printing work. What is about print that keeps you coming back to it? eventually? How did you get together to form ASVP?


Since leaving the corporate world and advertising industry to form their own artistic duo, ASVP has developed a graphic style marrying Eastern and Western iconography with nods to advertising, pop, and comic book culture. Their identity layered behind the acronym that labels their effort, they continue to make impacts in every city they visit with their own unique visual language.

V: We were both pretty much on the same page with the fact that we wanted to make things that had more meaning for us. You know, they say a commercial artist solves other people’s problems and a fine artist solves their own. I think we were looking to spend our time and talent on something that was more meaningful.

V: It lends itself to the nature of the designs that we make. A lot of the work that we do, a lot of the images are really clean and it’s a way for us to reproduce them in a controlled manner. But that’s also very, very fine, and more akin to a painting or a finer work, rather than something that’s produced mechanically or digitally.

So when you first started putting up work How do you pick your subject matter? around town was it done illegally? Or did Based in Brooklyn, the duo recently immersed you have some commissions and some jobs V: It’s tough since it comes from different themselves in the gracious Richmond scene back to back? things. Usually, it’s actually connected to in order to take part in the Richmond Mural the previous [stuff] and some of the initial Project. Their work, located at 2315 West V: No... it was... un-commissioned postings. images were based on us usually riffing off of Main Street, was a strong part of this year’s the body of work that precedes it. showcase, and fans and artists alike have Do any of you come from a graffiti raved about the duo’s unique contribution background? S: Old advertisements. helping to fuel the city’s vibrant energy. Though mysterious and reticent at times, the duo recently sat down with us and discussed their time in Richmond as well as their current and future projects. More importantly, the duo pulled back the curtain on their artistic philosophy and what drives it, offering a unique insight into one of the art scene’s most sensational artistic partnerships. 10 YEARS YOUR IDENTITIES OF RVA ARE MAGAZINE SAFE WITH 2005-2015 ME.

V: I threw up a few tags in high school, but knowing graffiti artists now and understanding the culture, I wouldn’t consider either of us as coming from a graffiti background or being writers.

V:Advertisements, and sort of strong Eastern and Western icons. Like we had some retro People’s Republic of China images from the Eighties that we were mashing up with very American things like Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and cowboys. [We] started a movement for us to then push off from stylistically as well as conceptually. So from there, we pushed into more like kind 41







of cartoony comic book things that were inspired by those initial images and then that pushed us into concepts for shows like for the “Make Your Own Luck” show [October 2015, Brooklyn]. S: Or the [screen printed] tickets which we give away at the “Make Your Own Luck” show. V: Right. The ticket was sort of a cheeky look at why people were all sort of glomming on the whole street art thing and buying art for the wrong reasons, because it was like a raffle. They just wanted the next big winner -- they weren’t really interested in the work for the right reasons. Has it been hard getting noticed in the crowded New York street art scene? I know there’s a lot of artists up there and you guys have definitely made a mark. S: We have been at it for -– what now, seven years? It’s definitely a journey, but early on we got some really good attention. Creating posters by hand and even incorporating hand painted elements so our work set us apart, you know? V: People recognize the craftsmanship that went into a lot of what we were putting out. S: And then we also had that particular image, the Balaclava. I think that was really a break. A turning point for us as well.

What satisfaction do you get from doing usually at younger ages and fantasizing. We murals versus installations or screen did the ladybug, a wishbone, a rabbit’s foot, and they really gravitated towards it. So we printing it in your studio? customized it and kind of tweaked it in a way S: They are definitely different disciplines. that we thought would be cool for the wall It’s a bit different when you paint a twenty and that’s really why we wound up doing that by thirty mural versus screen printing at piece there. twenty by thirty inch image on the table. But ultimately, it’s the same thing. We strive I know you guys are busy. What projects do towards the same goal of creating something you have coming up? that people love and enjoy and receive well. S: We have an upcoming wall commission in V: The only real distinction I would say there the Meatpacking District here in NYC. is that when we’re doing something like a mural, there’s a social component that’s V: It’s a 9’ X 35’ bulkhead wall on top of really nice about it. Like when we were down a building that will be visible from The and the in Richmond, we met so many new people. Standard Hotel, The Highline, We were hanging out and people were Whitney Museum. That project is scheduled assisting us, helping us out, and it becomes to begin in two weeks. a collaboration in a much different way. That, for me anyway -- that’s one of the biggest And we’re working on an 8x12 foot canvas distinctions. The studio’s a little more of a commission for a private collector which capsule. And when you’re working outside, it is a massive piece that we’re really excited opens the whole thing to meeting new people about. We have a couple of other smaller and connecting in new ways with others who canvas commissions that we’re currently doing, as well as several large scale works are interested in the work. at a new hotel that’s currently being built in You weren’t here long, but how did you like New York. And then we’re also engaged in a guitar exhibition. We’re going to be hand Richmond? painting a guitar for an exhibit that’s going V: We had a great experience in Richmond. to be at The Quin Hotel in New York in the We were very pleasantly surprised and we’re fall. And we have a print edition that’s going to release very soon with Poster Child prints. fans for sure.

S: Yeah, all around. Just meeting really great people. It’s just like very nice people all around and that certainly made a great V: To be honest though, we’re kind of on our impact. own path. It’s a very individual kind of journey, and we don’t really gauge what we’re doing V: There was a lot about the city that I took based on trying to get recognized. Of course, away from it. I mean, the people were really we hope that the work is enjoyed by many welcoming. They were warm, they were people and embraced, but it would be a job friendly. The food in Richmond -- you know in itself to try to keep up with getting noticed coming from New York, there’s a lot of good or whatever you want to call it. It’s not a food [there], but I was totally blown away priority for us as much as just continuing to with the food in Richmond, which was great. make good work and put it out there with the The scene down there was definitely cool. hope that it will resonate. Why did you pick the ladybug for the You mentioned a bunch of installations Richmond Mural Project wall? Is there a that you’re doing for companies. Is that story behind that? something that you wanted to do when you V: We actually spoke with Riggs Ward about started or is it happening organically? a few different images and they had been V: It’s happening organically. We’re just approached a couple of other times and I being reached out to more often now. We guess had certain ideas for what they wanted turn down most of the offers, but if we feel on their wall. Maybe not specific, but I think like the engagement is one that’s creative they were presented with a couple of things and it’s an opportunity to kind of be inspired in the past with what they knew they didn’t and get together with good people on want. So we presented a couple of different something, that’s usually what drives us [in] options to them and they had actually noticed the ladybug on our website. [That] accepting it. was part of a series of images we did for a show called “Make Your Own Luck,” which was comprised of a bunch of different objects that were associated with creative thinking

You both have different skill sets. What do each of you bring to the table in this partnership? S: It’s actually really organic. We do have a bit different skills set that’s true, but we both weigh in basically on pretty much anything we do and produce. V: You know what else too -- I mean, I hate getting into like, what does one person do versus what the other person does because it inevitably creates some kind of divide. What I would say is this. We’re both totally involved with the actual creation of each of the pieces of art and we’re both totally involved with the studio practice and how we run it and how we promote it and how we’re scaling it. V: Within certain disciplines, we may lean more heavily one way or another, with one person carrying a little bit more of that weight than the other. This really comes from our experience in advertising. It comes from learning how to collaborate and be comfortable passing things back and forth and sharing things. So, we could sit here and tell you, I do this mostly and he does that mostly, but the truth is that it really is a shared effort. ASVP.NYC @ASVPART



Symphony Pops Popular and surprising musical adventures!

the richmond symphony presents

W I N D B O R N E 'S

MUSIC OF O david bowie saturday, oct. 29 at 8pm - altria theater

Windborne’s Music of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is the most-awarded female act of all time—a true diva with a powerful voice that touched our hearts and souls. Join the Richmond Symphony for an evening of Whitney’s biggest hits, including “How Will I Know?,” “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” and of course, “I Will Always Love You.” Sponsored by:

special concert! saturday, feb. 25 at 8pm - altria theater

Windborne’s Music of David Bowie

Experience the incredible range of David Bowie’s unforgettable body of work with hits including “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Under Pressure,” “Heroes,” “Fame,” “China Girl” and many more! Joining the Symphony on stage will be a full rock band, vocalist Tony Vincent and guest conductor Brent Havens.

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For two decades now, the creative artist known as Marka27 has reminded us to be true to ourselves... no matter what. He has made his career on inventive art across multiple mediums that pulls from different concepts and approaches, creating his own unique brand of interactive and touching art. Marka27, real name Victor Quinonez, was born in Juarez, Mexico and grew up in rough area of East Dallas, where he established himself as a graffiti legend and learned to embrace his heritage and beliefs within his work. Since his beginnings in East Dallas, Marka27’s work has been a reflection of his Mexican-American heritage, the technology of modern life, and the spirituality that swirls around us all, with each coming together for a well-balanced depiction of his own genuine identity, one that has made the person and the artist inseparable. Recently in town for the Richmond Mural Project, we caught up with the famed artisan and learned a bit more about his background, as well as the singular approach he brings to each of his creations.



Fame, if there could be a real school that was like that show because it was a performing and visual arts school. You had dance and theatre, you had visual art, and you had music. I got in because of my drawing abilities and that’s what really got me interested in fine art.

What was it like growing up in East Dallas? This was early ‘80s East Dallas. You can look up the records. Probably one of the worst neighborhoods in Dallas, especially where I was. At that time, there was a lot of gang culture, there was a lot of drugs, and there was a lot of violence. It was kind of crazy growing up in East Dallas.

This presented the possibility that you could do fine art?

Was gang culture a part of your life personally, or was that something you tried to avoid? Unfortunately, I was caught up in that mess because of family. My brother was in a gang, and at that time I was probably 12 and he was 14. For a good five years, there was a lot of problems with gangs because of my older brother. Is that how you got into graffiti? Was that a part of that? You know it’s funny, I was never really into the gang part of graffiti and my brother did not contribute in any way to me getting into graffiti. By the time I got into graffiti, he had already been in and out of jail so much [that] I was more of the kid that wanted to skate and do the opposite of what my brother was doing. So you know, I hung out with cats that were skating around the neighborhood. You know, poor kids with shitty boards that were handed down to them. It wasn’t until ’93 that I first picked up a spray can and tried to write my name. [Laughs] I was terrible though. I did such a bad job. What was your tag when you first started? The very first thing I wrote was just my initials because I didn’t know you could have a cool name. Yeah, it was real bad. I didn’t know which dimensions on the letters should go or that you could have picked a cool name. I was influenced by seeing Beat Street and then the very first time I saw a book about it was Spraycan Art and Subway Art. And of course there was no internet, so you could find what you could find. We had very little influence back then. After starting in graffiti work, how did you end up doing gallery work and fine art work? Well, because I grew up in East Dallas, the local schools that I had to go to was called Woodrow Wilson and at the time, that school was terrible. Early ‘90s, they had metal detectors and they had to shake down the bushes before and during school because people would hide knives and weapons in the bushes since people couldn’t bring them into the school. That school was so shitty and bad that I auditioned for an art school in downtown Dallas called Booker T. Washington that was the complete opposite. It was kind of like that cheesy show 10 YEARS OF RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015

“..neo-indigenous basically means bringing back something that’s old and making it new. It’s interesting how if you look at some cultures that are thousands of years old, and you see the body jewelry, the painting, the tattoos, or markings, it actually looks very futuristic. We kind of look a little a bit boring compared to these cultures that were thousands of years old...”

Yeah, definitely. We had great teachers that exposed me to Mexican artists that I hadn’t even heard about like [David Alfaro] Siqueiros or [José Clemente] Orozco. We had different people that would come visit the school and some were artists of color. I didn’t even realize [they existed] because when you study art history, most are from the Renaissance and they are European of some kind. So it was good being exposed to other cultural groups, and knowing that you could also be an artist that makes a living. You have a lot of spiritual themes in your work. Where does that come from? Originally, it’s funny because I have a painting I did a long time ago. It sold recently and it was called “Childhood Heroes.” The funny thing -about that painting of the Virgin Mary, Speedy Gonzalez, Mighty Mouse, and at the very bottom, Optimus Prime -- it’s funny cause when you’re a child, you take stories very literally. So my mom would light the Virgin Mary candle while I sleep at night — because my mother is Catholic, my family is Catholic. [They] lit this candle at night and it would protect me while I sleep. Come Saturday morning, I’m watching these cartoons and I am literally thinking that Virgin Mary is protecting Optimus Prime and Mighty Mouse, because that’s what she’s supposed to do! I thought she was a hero like them. Megatron can’t get him because he’s protected. It was kind of silly when you think about it cause you’re so young, you take everything literally. It wasn’t until decades later that I thought about that memory and did a painting about it. So even the spiritual part of it has to do with my childhood, my upbringing, my culture. How have your parents taken to your passion for art, being that much of it is inspired by your childhood? Well, my mother and I are still really close. She’s still in Dallas. My father on the other hand got mixed up with drugs and violence, and ended up going to prison for quite some time and then sent back to Mexico. But my mother for sure. We see each other all the time. She comes up to visit me and my family and yeah, she’s extremely proud -- she had no idea that I could make a living through art. I have a twin brother who is an interior designer and he’s almost exactly the way I am. He pretty much was self-taught and now he’s doing really well with his interior design. 49

Do you ever have any conflict with the corporate projects you do? Do they ask you to tone things down when you do work for them? I don’t think so. Most corporations don’t even look at my work unless they are already into that sort of thing. For the most part, I don’t just focus on that. There is also a kind of indigenous textile “print and pattern” influence to my work and that’s where it’s easy to me collaborate with brands or other companies. There is definitely a less serious side to my work to where I can have more fun with it and be a bit more versatile. It has a lot more to do with print and pattern and textiles and stuff that I am highly influenced by through a lot of cultures that don’t necessarily have a narrative. Your recent work has a focus on neo-indigenous. What does that mean to you? Well, it’s not even that recent. I’ve always been into this neo-indigenous thing and for me, neo-indigenous basically means bringing back something that’s old and making it new. It’s interesting how if you look at some cultures that are thousands of years old, and you see the body jewelry, the painting, the tattoos, or markings, it actually looks very futuristic. We kind of look a little a bit boring compared to these cultures that were thousands of years old. Everything that they did was influenced by nature, or influenced by the solar system or the mountains. So you see the cultures that are in many ways more advanced than we are because they are more connected to the Earth. We are connected to devices. The neo-indigenous part of it is kind of reminding people that even though we are a generation stuck on technology, we still need to stay in touch with humanity and nature. There is definitely a tribal instinct within human beings and the artwork is a reminder of who we truly are. We are humans first and foremost before consumers and before all these things that society labels us to be. A lot of people are searching for that. In the past, you have combined sound with your artwork. What is the “audio canvas” idea? Actually, I have a solo show coming up in Boston and I will definitely have some “audio canvas” pieces in the show. The first one I did had J Dilla on it and it played his beats. That’s the reason I wanted to make it because each piece had a different artist in the beginning, so I did one of J Dilla, one of Nina Simone, one of Mos Def. From that point on, I just stopped doing musicians and started painting other things, but still incorporated audio.



Your most recent piece in Richmond has a central figure in it, but it looks like the audio is visualized in the piece. It feels like you have sound coming off of it in different ways. Yeah, the speakers. She has speakers below her ears and right on her forehead, and the characters have these two big drums that are speakers as well. So that’s a theme that has been going on with your work for a while? Audio has always been a part of the work. Even if it’s not functioning, it’s represented somehow. Getting to the Richmond Mural Project, what was the thinking behind the mural? First of all, the wall was huge so I had to really think, “What are you going to paint on a wall so wide?” It needs to something bold and impactful, so my thinking behind it was to paint something that represents me as an artist, but also some of the things I feel are relevant right now. So painting a large, impactful, beautiful, black female on a wall changes the conversation from people getting shot for no good reason. It added value to ethnicity versus demonizing it. Just remind people that this is a beautiful culture that shouldn’t be eradicated. It should understood and be cherished. Is the title to the piece an acronym for G.O.D.S? Yes, the title is “Givers Of Divine Sound.” Do you feel any pressure from doing murals? The only pressure is when the weather is working against you. There were two storms starting at the Richmond Mural Project and it was constantly over 95 degrees every day. That’s the only pressure I feel. If the weather was perfect, then the work would have been even better. There could have been more that went into it. I feel like every artist did the best that they could considering all the obstacles. But it was definitely worth it. What do you have coming up? Right now, a new body of work for a show in Boston titled “Retro Native” so it’s basically native influences with pop culture undertones. It will be an interesting mix of what I have been doing on the street, but mixing it with my childhood growing up and different thing from Saturday Morning Cartoons and hip hop culture. MARKA27.COM @MARKA_27







LEFT CROSS By Cody Endres Photos by Jeremy Ledford

Since the winter of 2014, Left Cross have not so quietly been making a name for themselves in Richmond’s metal scene, resurrecting the sounds of old-school death metal and putting their own vicious spin on that particular brand of brutality. With their second release, Servants of Death, a four-song tape released earlier this year, this five-piece is already sounding masterful. They wield a sound that manages to be both cavernous and immediate in the same instant, all the while conjuring the physical and psychological terrors of war. Drummer Scott Bartley (also of black metal trio Unsacred) and vocalist Adam Warren recently sat down with us and discussed the overpowering sound of their new release as well as their intense lyrical content. Left Cross is definitely a war-themed band. Is that direction at all inspired by the current geopolitical climate? We do have a bit of a war monger running for president after all. Scott Bartley: Our music and lyrics do not have any reference to the current political climate. While it might be an exciting and intense time to be alive, our songs are much more influenced by earlier wars. We draw inspiration from World War I, World War II, and fantasy. Also, our singer Adam is very into the Warhammer games and takes lyrical inspiration from a lot of their stories. You guys like quoting classic war literature -so far I’ve seen A Farewell To Arms and All Quiet On The Western Front from you all online. Do Hemingway and other writers like him inspire some of the lyrical content? SB: Hemingway has been one of my favorite authors since I was young and while I don’t write much of the lyrics for Left Cross, I try to throw some quotes into our internet presence. I greatly admire the way he focuses on the postwar effects on those who had participated, their thoughts and regrets. Tolkien is also a huge inspiration for our songs for obvious reasons! Adam Warren: Absolutely. Orwell is also a huge inspiration for lyrics. There is no glorification of war in the lyrics, but history has made it a very interesting subject write about. Most of the lyrics are more of a first person narrative. Imposing yourself in that situation.





The band’s sound is a nice mix of classic death metal sounds with a bit of a punk or hardcore element added in. Is that more or less a result of each band member’s combined influences? Do you think more musicians in metal bands should be listening to punk? SB: We are all committed to being a death metal band, but we agreed early on that we did not want to fall prey to writing songs to glorify our own individual skills. Instead, we chose to write songs that are concise without the filler that is rampant within the metal community. I guess that’s the punk influence that I have. I hate writing songs longer than three minutes. What else do you need to say in a song? I think many metal musicians write off punk songs as being “beneath them.” To me, I love the raw aggression contained within. Some of our favorite bands, including Bolt Thrower and Repulsion, draw much influence from punk music. There is much to absorb from any genre. The songs on your new release Servants Of Death are brutal and somewhat simplistic, but manage to still be catchy. How do you manage that mix of elements? SB: We try to catch ourselves from making songs too complex and wandering down paths that don’t need to be pursued. We want our music to be simple and hard-hitting. We’re big classic rock fans as well and a catchy hook is superior to an indulgent solo. AW: Focusing on songwriting. The best songs are often the simplest.



I really like the intro to “Savage Instinct.” Where did that come from? SB: I was inspired by Motörhead’s “Overkill.” I guess you could consider it an homage to Philthy Animal! Servants Of Death sounds great, and a bit different from Infernal Assault. What did you do differently in the studio this time? The reverberated but punchy drum sound stands out as something new. Was it hard to get that sound just right? SB: We recorded in the same studio as before with Bob Quirk at the helm. We fiddled with the snare drum for quite a while and ended up taping a sheet of printer paper with the lyrics to “Call Me Maybe” on the top of the snare head to get that sound. Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound did an incredible job on the mastering for the record as well.

“...we agreed early on that we did not want to fall prey to writing songs to glorify our own individual skills. Instead, we chose to write songs that are concise without the filler that is rampant within the metal community. I guess that’s the punk influence that I have. I hate writing songs longer than three minutes. What else do you need to say in a song? I think many metal musicians write off punk songs as being “beneath them.” To me, I love the raw aggression contained within.”

How did you end up working with Anthems Of The Undesirable? SB: Ryan has been a very old friend of mine since my first band, Unsacred, began. He has always supported what we have done. When the idea was being bounced around about us doing a new EP, he was more than willing to put it out. His label is full of very talented bands and he works hard to keep his distro so well curated. What’s next for Left Cross? Can we expect to see a full-length from you all anytime soon? SB: We are releasing a 7” through Vinyl Conflict/ Anthems in September and hope to be touring a small amount through the winter and into spring time. We are currently writing for a full length. 10 YEARS OF RVA MAGAZINE 2005-2015





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There’s a note and a pattern to how music starts from one’s imagination and comes to fruition. A set of demos could be released into the universe with a particular ease that people couldn’t begin to imagine at the turn of the twenty-first century. With that in mind, it brings new questions to mind. How do we want the world to hear our band? What does it mean to be a band in 2016? What is the most logical way of answering these questions? For several musicians in Richmond, they have come close to an answer by venturing out to the Mechanicsville recording studio, The Virginia Moonwalker.

VIRGINIA MOONWALKER By Shannon Cleary Photos by Joey Wharton

Tarrant’s debut full-length, Lazarus, would be the first release to be recorded in the tiny house known as Virginia Moonwalker. Similar to their experiences working on Charlestown, Lacy worked with what he knew best: his reel to reel recording device. Given the environment, Lacy is quick to note certain methods that might surprise people with a background in more traditional recording spaces. “I threw a bunch of people off when I would grab what we had to record with and decided we were going to make it work,” he proudly proclaims. “Several folks standing around a single microphone to get certain vocal takes or using specific approaches to get instrument sounds. They made records with less.”

Russell Lacy has long considered Richmond home. That’s why, upon his return from Boston after studying at Berklee School of Music, he felt prepared to get to work as he rediscovered his sonic thirst before the unexpected would happen in 2011. “I get back from school and I am starting to work on music around town,” Lacy reminisces. “Playing open mics, starting bands, and then the car accident happened. I was supposed to play The Listening Room around that time and it completely set everything back. It gave me some perspective to really move towards trying to create my In what would strangely grow to become a theme for the Moonwalker, a party at own things.” the studio was planned to commemorate A musician of close to twenty years around the release of Lazarus. Along with a live town, Lacy thinks that may have been the performance from the band, Lacy wanted to point when he thought of creating the Virginia use it as an opportunity to properly showcase Moonwalker, a studio in Mechanicsville the new space, so he rented out buses to attached to a farm Lacy grew up on. As bring people from Richmond all the way to he prepared to break the lease on his Fan Mechanicsville on a cold November night apartment off Lombardy, he reached out to his in 2013. “I remember hand delivering every family for a favor. “I wanted to see if I could invitation for that party,” Lacy recalls. “Jackass take over that piece of property,” Lacy notes. Flats played on the bus ride there and the bus “When I got out there, all I had was a tiny might have been half full. The one thing that Tascam recorder and a bed, and I was fine with I had on my side was having been a part of a that. I remember spending time out there as a fraternity at James Madison University, I knew kid and feeling inspired. I was curious if some how to throw a huge party with little money at my disposal.” The release party left many of that magic still remained.” excited to see what The Moonwalker could From his time spent at Berklee, he formed become. many connections, one of which would be singer-songwriter Jordan Tarrant. “When we After recording Tarrant, Lacy was quick to met in Boston, we clicked immediately and start booking as much time as possible and realized we had a similar sense of humor,” he help create the idea of what the Moonwalker recalls. Tarrant and Lacy had collaborated over could become. “There were times where I 2012 on Lacy’s solo record Charlestown and the would be booking time with bands and we bond grew due to the unpredictability of that were complete strangers,” Lacy explains. “We experience. “We set up to record my record in would connect through a mutual acquaintance. this industrial district with limited means to By the time we would finish recording their record with,” he recounts. “I remember it was songs, the unfamiliarity would vanish and in this warehouse and next door, they were what you would hear would make it sound like shooting adult films. We’d be working until the we were friends all along. That might be one of break of dawn when the crew for that would the more important things that can come out arrive and we’d have to work around them. But of recording bands.” He is quick to mention we still got the record done in a weekend with a The Milkstains as a great example of this little bit of extra post-production stuff thrown when they came out to record their EP Gored, in there. That experience helped Jordan and I Kicked, Beaten. “I didn’t know any of those decide that when it came time, we’d work on dudes and when they came out to record,” he says. “I think there were still things they were his record together.” continuing to figure out about themselves as a band. When it got time to recording, things 60 60

started gelling differently and it resulted in them making a record that we were all really proud of.” The Milkstains have since continued to reach out to Lacy about future recordings. During the sessions with The Milkstains, Lacy would become better acquainted with several engineers around town, one of which included Bryan Walthall who bestowed a bit of wisdom on Lacy. “Bryan came by the Moonwalker during the Milkstains sessions and was quick to point out how some of the wiring was wonky,” Lacy laughs. “It is moments of honesty like that and hearing criticism on the technical side of recording that has helped me figure out how there’s a correct way to do things in a studio, and there’s the potential for a risk you can take to create a really unique sound.” Soon after The Milkstains sessions, Lacy would take on one of his largest undertakings by recording the debut full-length from Mikrowaves. “I knew we only had eight tracks to work with and there were going to be a lot of things we needed to capture with limited options for recording to tape,” he says. After the sessions, Lacy realized the ebb and flow of how his recording process was and how it hearkened back to the advice received from other engineers around town. “When I was starting out, I definitely was working on a limited base of knowledge as to what I was doing,” Lacy adds. “Sometimes, that worked out in my favor. It was me doing it my way, even if it was considered the wrong way. I just needed to be aware of the technically proper way to set something up. I don’t know if the Mikrowaves record would have happened the way it hadn’t if I hadn’t broken a few ‘rules’ along the way.” Since the recording of that project, he would later be asked to join the band and continue on as an engineer for future recordings of theirs. As the studio began to pick up a bit of momentum, Lacy would stumble upon a release that he considers to be one of the best engineered at the studio. This would be the debut full length by Pete Curry entitled Advice On Love, an eight-song LP that would give the singer-songwriter an opportunity to flesh out his compositions and challenge himself by playing every instrument on the record. It was an experience that left Lacy feeling little to no doubt that what they had created would be something that could potentially put Moonwalker on the map. “Pete is the real RVA MAGAZINE 24 26 | SPRING FALL 20162016







deal,” Lacy proclaims. “You can sense that pretty quickly and I was able to get that from spending time with him recording his first record. He played pretty much everything on there and we were able to just roll through songs at a startlingly fast pace. I just enjoyed that a lot of the stuff he worked with was pretty bare bones and there were no qualms about having to work within those parameters with the Moonwalker.” As the premiere release from Crystal Pistol Records, Advice On Love received praise from local and regional music blogs. The lo-fi nature of the recording is one of the things that is quickly mentioned as a strength of the release and a true identifier with what is slowly becoming the Moonwalker sound.

“...all I had was a tiny Tascam recorder and a bed, and I was fine with that. I remember spending time out there as a kid and feeling inspired. I was curious if some of that magic still remained.”

And in the same vein Curry felt inspired and discovered a sound worth capturing for Advice On Love, the group Lady God would have a similar experience over at Moonwalker, a studio they trace their origin to. Lacy introduced the band’s songwriters, Skye Handler and Chrissie Lozano, to each other and through sessions at Moonwalker, the two would meet and discover their own connective tissue that would come to define Lady God. “I brought Skye down to the Moonwalker and insisted that Chrissie meet him,” Lacy says. “The sessions might have gone beyond The Moonwalker, but the studio is where Lady God began and that always rung true to me. The power that getting away from the regular world could have on aspiring artists.” Since the initial recordings, the band has released two seven-inches, the first of which would include tracks engineered at Moonwalker and be the first release of music from theirs to be pressed to vinyl. If 2015 was a year to cement Moonwalker’s reputation, 2016 was the year for bands to truly discover themselves in the space and cement their own reputation. Debut records from newer bands Camp Howard and The Wimps were engineered at Moonwalker and much like other artists, the two bands really seemed to discover their own sound in the space. “The Wimps had planned to come out to the Moonwalker to record a few songs and just fell in love with the studio,” Lacy states. “We had a few days to track a few songs and we ended up walking away with an entire record. They just loved the vibe and how isolated they were from recording at home or close to too many distractions.” Camp Howard was a similar situation, and the first time Lacy felt his engineering talents had begun to grow. “I could sense [Camp Howard] was something I wanted to work on as soon as I heard about it,” he remembers. “We started tracking it and I was just impressed with how good the material was. Also, I remember finishing the tracking and sending it off to Bryan and having him compliment how much of a step up it was for the Moonwalker. That meant a lot to have 64


“...Like thinking of a song as a house. You don’t have doors in a house that don’t go anywhere. That’s a fun house and I don’t want to do that. Every part of a song builds a house and it should be serving a purpose.”

one of your peers notice the improvements you’re striving for.” As he quickly started ramping up the booking of the space, there were things that Lacy would continue to learn along the way. “It took me a really long time to get comfortable with referring to myself as an engineer or even refer to the Moonwalker as a studio,” he notes. “I felt like I was more of a guy who just wanted to record bands and would figure things out along the way. I know there are a ton of places anyone can record in this town and I knew that there might be a point where I might be considered competition.” Despite the number of places to record in town, Lacy has seemingly avoided that competitive streak by initiating an open door policy. With peers like Walthall, James Seretis, Tim Falen, and Joe Lunsford dropping in at the Moonwalker, the opportunity to utilize the studio to its fullest potential is available to all. Lunsford in particular would end up becoming a great inspiration for Lacy. “Joe has not only provided a great amount of gear to really make things sound better than ever, he’s just a wealth of knowledge with how to make bands sound awesome with vintage gear,” Lacy gushes. “His studio in Roanoke, Mystic Fortress, works against a lot of norms brought on by the digital age and it’s with that in mind that I try to strive to provide that for a lot of the bands I work with.” At the end of the day, Lacy can’t help but approach recording the way that he envisions songwriting. “When I’m working with bands, I try to think along with them about what directions their songs are going,” he reasons. “If someone comes in with a part that might not be fully formed, I might be quick to point that out and see how we can fix that. That level of honesty might frustrate most people, but it doesn’t really fix things. It’s like thinking of a song as a house. You don’t have doors in a house that don’t go anywhere. That’s a fun house and I don’t want to do that. Every part of a song builds a house and it should be serving a purpose. If I can help facilitate that with a bit of input, I’m more than happy to think along those lines.” In the span of a few years, the Virginia Moonwalker has already left an impression on the Richmond music scene. With bands discovering their identities, finding inspiration, and crafting a sound, Lacy can sit back and hopefully watch with keen eyes as The Moonwalker continues to leave Richmond artists with a home away from home, and a place to add to Richmond music’s rich legacy.





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Shannon Cleary (SC), Cody Endres (CE) & Doug Nunnally (DN)



(EGGHUNT RECORDS) Avers may utilize multiple songwriters and relish in the “strength in numbers” description, but the real strength of their sophomore release is the musical unity they seem to share across this record. Minds, bodies, and souls all coalesce into a stirring sonic force that has built a truly flawless collection of amenable, gratifying, and imaginative rock songs, something impressive regardless of how many people claim songwriting duties. (DN)

Twelve top-notch instrumentals that would be a dream come true for any hip-hop producer. Soul, jazz, and funk meet on each track as the band fully commits to exploring and expanding the core of each composition, rather than utilizing flashy musicality. It’s that restraint that makes songs like “Last Call” and “Flat” stick around in your head and allow the four musicians to dominate your thoughts as much as an impactful singer. (DN)

While taking a minimalist approach, Dazaeses is anything but that. With lush glitchy atmospheres, Welcome Back haunts listeners with three songs that feel like anti-lullabies. Each song could be a perfect soundtrack for a night spent staring out of a car window at a city skyline while contemplating the beauty and ugliness of the world that surrounds us. Each moment serves a purpose and Welcome Back is a perfect testament to that. (SC)






2013’s Sky Burial took the metal underground by storm with its combination of black metal, sludge, and classic progressive rock, and now, with their first release since 2014’s one song epic The Cavern, Inter Arma further refine that which many thought already perfect. Perhaps more dissonant and experimental than those previous albums, Paradise Gallows astounds and humbles. (CE)



Heartfelt hip-hop music that’s just perfect for the summer and warm fall. This “audio diary” mixtape serves as a complimentary follow-up to the breakout release Sunset Castle, offering more of the sincere MC’s unique creations while highlighting a more carefree approach to the lyrics and production. Even at its rawest musical moments like on “Who Is Love?,” there is an easy-going spirit here that just can’t be eluded. (DN)





The new EP from the former Colin Thibodeauxx sees the band continuing to explore humor and spontaneity in music, while also unwittingly becoming a firm musical outfit. There is a noticeable jump in the song quality from past releases, with focused structures and wellcrafted melodies that show the band’s true potential. Their unique sonic charm is still at the front of every song and it’s clear this is a band everyone should keep tabs on moving forward. (DN)



Everything Is Wrong packs a heavy punch for clocking in at barely twenty minutes, chock full of punk anthems that are sure to leave fans craving more Smoke Break tunes. “Triple A” and and “Freaked Out (Love Song)” are highlights for quickly pointing out their confessional attributes about memories at basement shows and unrequited love, but “Healthy Scratch” might be the one to lock in for introducing yourself to one of the best bands floating around the local music scene. (SC)







This brief release isn’t much in run time, but goes a long way in showcasing the skill and appeal of this young MC. Anakin’s fluid lyricism packs a punch in each song, giving you more to digest in a sixty-second refrain than most rappers could do with triple the time. With help from heavyweight producers DJ Harrison and Ohbliv, this slight offering is a perfect sampler of Anakin’s style that will leave new fans craving more. (DN)



Richmond’s melodic heroes return on this pay-what-you-want release with five tracks that proudly moves the band’s conglomerate rock sound forward. Pop singalongs join elastic garage riffs in a union that feels exigent, uncontrolled, and liberating as vocalist Coldon Martin expertly matches each sonic backdrop with thrilling strains. Compact, affecting, and accomplished, this is a release that proudly shows what the Richmond scene has to offer. (DN)

(LOTUSGRID.BANDCAMP.COM) Despite, or perhaps because of extremely rare live appearances, Lotus Grid continues to intrigue. The hazy ambiance that Joshua Franklin has been honing for five years now is in fine form here, combined with retro-futurist synth jams like “The Slow Ascension to New Manhattan.” Fans of Boards of Canada and Brian Eno are in for a treat. (CE)




(THETALKIESRVA.BANDCAMP.COM) Pulsating punk rock energy in alt-rock format with clear shoegaze and twee influences, this four song release is a great musical statement for The Talkies as they begin to forge their name throughout town. With plenty of musical space, there is plenty for the band to showcase here, such as the snark trade-off between guitar and vocals and their saccharine musical fills arriving right on time in each song. One listen to this EP is all you’ll need to become this quartet’s latest fan. (DN)


There is a beautiful delight that emerges after every listen of Zona. Young Scum have crafted a five-song gem of an EP that spins uncontrollably in glory a pop dream we never knew we so desperately desired. “Out of State” and ‘If You Say That” are quick favorites, but every song deserves a listen and a placement on a mixtape for your new favorite person. (SC)






Eschewing a breakthrough sound for a new direction is hardly something new for musicians, but for an artist to do it and still maintain her quality, respect, and following? Inconceivable. Here, Olsen departs from her previous lo-fi folk sound for a more polished and melodic vision that still maintains the introspective and remorseful aspects of her songwriting. The result is an album almost implausibly great, yet completely endearing. (DN)

The recent revivals of the last five years have proven that you can move music forward while looking to the past, but none do it in such a declarative and triumphant way as The Avalanches do on their return album. Here, they fill modern creations with nostalgia and familiarity helping to lay common ground for anyone to become lost in their exuberant world of clever combinations and irresistible grooves that is one of modern music’s most celebrated works. (DN)

Natasha Khan unveils her latest concept album with expert ability, taking careful time to highlight the trauma, grief, and even hope that can arise from a situation like this. What’s truly astounding here is Khan’s refusal to compromise her vision with pseudo-pop hits or conventional progressions. Instead, she strives to find harmony in dissonance and innovation in custom, while putting forth music that is as captivating as it is invigorating. (DN)

Remember when you were a Blink-182 fan? You probably shouldn’t listen to California if you want to retain that level of fandom. It’s great that Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba is in the band now, but that doesn’t really fix the larger problems at hand. Unfortunately, the record feels like they extracted the things that made the band fun and just threw in tired ideas. Nostalgia wanes as this record spins. (SC)











The beloved R&B star continues to grow the genre while simultaneously blurring it with psychedelic, rock, and even glitch. The sonic focus and musical clarity here is a stunning improvement over his earlier works, with the use of countless production tricks and methods creating a vibrant world of characters, melodrama, and reward. By the end of the hourlong record, one thing is for sure: This was surely worth the wait. (DN)

Hit Reset is required listening for just about any music fan. The Julie Ruin have conceived a record that plays with musical tropes in electronica (“Hello Trust No One”) and confessional piano ballads (“Calverton”) while never letting up on Riot Grrrl attitudes found on “Be Nice” and the title track. Everything about this record is relentlessly great and of course, it’s always exciting to hear Kathleen Hanna behind a microphone again. (SC)

An unexpected late-career triumphant that might go down as the greatest achievement of Nick Cave’s storied career. Listening to the painful and elegiac songs is not an easy undertaking, but once you’ve begun, it’s hard to shift your attention elsewhere. You’ll find yourself right at the emotional bottom with Cave exploring his own personal desolation, where anguish and agony somehow produce something beautiful and unforgettable. (DN)




Mike Kinsella is a musician of all trades. On the newest effort from Owen, he trades his former penchants of frantic fingerpicking and musings about subsequent depression that comes from feelings of exclusion for songs that feel filled to the brim with warmth and lush sonic tapestries. The King Of Whys is great for the sheer execution and dynamics that Kinsella has at play and how he has coalesced every facet of his musical lineage into yet another phenomenal release. (SC)

For a decade now, Russian Circles has been one of the most consistently enjoyable acts playing instrumental metal. This release contains more of the sprawling post-rock and crushing black metal-influenced post-metal that this trio is known for, supported as always by the phenomenal drumming of Dave Turncrantz. When “Vorel” comes on, crank the volume. Trust me. (CE)





Existing between the commercial appeal of Oxymoron and the artistic statement of Habits & Contradictions, Schoolboy Q’s latest record is a re-affirmation in his status as one of hip-hop’s finest. Lyrics are packed with sincere emotion and sensational inflections, while the production deftly finds a happy ground between infectious and introspective, showing that Schoolboy Q can balance accessibility and advancement better than most in history. (DN)




Catching Thee Oh Sees live over the past several years often meant that one could witness two drummers on stage at once. With this new album, the band has finally brought that element to a studio recording. The songs here are trademark Oh Sees fuzzed-out garage-gonepsych rock, providing that little extra sunshine that these times desperately need. (CE)



This debut record is a striking collection of the singles that brought this English musician to international recognition, with her polished electronica production and frank songwriting at the forefront of every song. The only downfall is that it offers few surprises and serves as a summation of the last few years rather than the next step, but this doesn’t come close to diminishing the light that radiates from this music. (DN)


Richmond has never been a more exciting place to live in than it is today. I know because I’ve lived here all of my life and know it like the back of my hand and love it with all of my heart. There’s so much potential in our city, but it’s not because of our current city government - it’s because of you. You’ve already started to pitch in to help make Richmond better in your own way, and with the right leadership and direction there’s no telling how far we can go. This election will determine which path our city will take. That’s why our campaign is not about me - it’s about we. We love Richmond, but we know it can be much better. We know the top-down approach to running this city doesn’t work any more. And we’re ready to change.

in the boat yet. There are many challenges in Richmond that have existed for decades – such as underperforming schools, high levels of poverty, irresponsible economic development projects, and a local government without accountability. There’s also the need for better public safety and city services. We’re ready to improve our schools. We’re ready to listen and act on neighbors’ voices about how to improve our city. We’re ready to collaborate and forge a path for our future together. I have dedicated my life to making Richmond better. I’ve been an outsider, seeing what’s wrong in this city and telling others about it for years on my RiverCityRapids blog. Later, I’ve had the opportunity to learn how city government really operates administratively within Richmond’s planning department and legislatively on City Council. That knowledge will be needed to help Richmond rise above where we are today and bring everyone with us. Richmond can meet its potential if it has an independent leader with the outsider spirit and insider knowledge.

When I co-founded the RVA Street Art Festival with my friend Ed Trask, I went to him with an idea that turned out just to be a seed. Working with other artists, gallery owners, and non-profits, it grew into a much better project than we originally imagined. By acknowledging I was not the smartest I am that leader because I listen to everyor most creative person in the room, that one, can work with anyone, but am beholden to no one. seed has borne great fruit for Richmond because we did it together. That’s how our city We know we can make Richmond better needs to operate. if we do it together. This is our chance to A rising tide lifts all boats, but we need to make a real difference. And if you elect me remember that not everyone in Richmond is mayor, we will make that happen - for all of us.

sincerely, Jon Baliles 78

FYI -- RVA MAGAZINE has endorsed Jon Baliles for Mayor of Richmond.






RVA #26 FALL 2016