Early Friday evening, Mrs. YHT and I met up with Bandmate 4eva Doug, his wife and guest poster Gormie outside the Squirrely Gates of The Diamond and headed inside to watch the Richmond Flying Squirrels do battle with the Altoona Curve.
For three of us, it was our first game of the year. But for Doug and his wife, who recently moved back to Richmond after a few years away, this was their first time seeing the Squirrels (and their spectacular marketing team) in action. I was practically giddy. OK, whatever, I was giddy. I get a huge kick out of showing newcomers the clever branding, squirrel puns and general silliness. Some of that has to do with being fond of bad jokes, some with the fact that my day job is in marketing, but mostly it’s because I derive a sense of pride from what baseball in Richmond has become. I like being able to say to people, essentially, “Look at what we have here! Isn’t this great?!?” It’s a flattering (I think) reflection of what our city looks like at its most creative and enthused, and I can’t help feeling lucky and proud.
I feel the exact same way about No BS! Brass Band.
As a nonrecovering merch addict, I feel that it’s my responsibility to let you know when there’s an item that’s particularly deserving of your attention/consideration/money. Now is one of those times.
There is a t-shirt you need to buy. Like, immediately. It’s pictured above (on the left), it was
made printed for Richmond-based rock band The Trillions by Triple Stamp Press, and it features lyrics from the chorus of the band’s song “What When Where.” [Update: The shirt was created and designed by Austin Auandee.]
I’ve written about this song before, and my affinity for the quoted lyrics – ”Do what you can, when you can, where you are” — is such that learning this shirt existed made me feel a little like my mind had been read, or like someone had asked me what the perfect Trillions shirt would be and then got Will Smith to zap me with the Men in Black amnesia wand thing that the Internet tells me is called a “neuralyzer.” But that’s not why you should buy the shirt. You should buy it because it will make the lives of the people around you better.
(This is the third [and probably final] post-Record Store Day open letter. To read the first, An Open Letter To The People Who Lined Up Outside BK Music On Record Store Day, click here. To read the second, An Open Letter To The Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr Album That Made Me Bleed On Record Store Day, click here.)
An Open Letter To People Who Don’t Buy Records Regarding The Hoax Hunters/Snowy Owls Split 7-Inch That Was Released On Record Store Day
There’s something I want you to see. I want you to hear it too, but I want you to see it first.
Before we get to that, some quick background information… Record Store Day is an annual event that’s been held on the third Saturday of each April since 2008. Artists help independently owned music stores buoy bottom lines by releasing hundreds of limited-edition titles on vinyl all at once, generating anticipation, long lines and a subsequent buying frenzy that’s as beneficial for these locally owned businesses as it is retrospectively embarrassing for the (usually) mild-mannered folk who get swept up in the excitement and push and shove their way through crowds to grab at treasured items before they sell out. Think of it like a big game of musical chairs for record collectors, one that gives a shot of vitality to an industry that’s still in the process of reinventing itself after being hit hard by the advent of .mp3s, file sharing and iTunes.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Well damn. I like supporting local businesses and all, but I listen to all my music on my iPhone, and I’m pretty sure iPhones don’t play records.” If you said that, you’d be both correct and completely justified. Between iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, you can enjoy a lifetime’s worth of amazing music without ever leaving the warm glow of your favorite Apple device. Listening has never been more convenient, and I count that as a net win for society. But if you’ve completely given up on physical media, you’re missing out. Big time. And I’m not just talking about the free donuts Jay at Deep Groove hands out to the people waiting in line on Record Store Day.
I want to show you exactly what I mean, so I cleared off my coffee table, disassembled the split 7-inch that was released on RSD by Hoax Hunters and The Snowy Owls, and took pictures of each of its components. I want you to see the kind of stuff you’re missing out on by living your musical life solely in the digital realm…
Filed under #features, #rva
About a month ago, when 2013 was a near-blank slate with nothing but a week’s worth of scribbling on it, I posted a song by Richmond-based musician Stephen Frost. It was called “Age Of Gold,” and its release was accompanied by a YouTube video in which Frost pulled back the curtain to reveal how and why the song was created. Being the backstory junkie that I am, I was more than a little intrigued by this formula. Hearing a bright and engaging song and immediately looking under the hood to find out what makes it work so well? That’s about as good as it gets, and it’s precisely the recipe for Frost’s nascent “Paris Métro” project, which recently saw its second installment — the considerably darker “Wimyn Redux” — hit the Internet. I was so excited that I asked Frost if he would answer a few questions via email about the new song, his approach to writing and recording, and his plans for the Paris Métro project going forward.
Positive feedback comes in many forms. A thumbs-up. A compliment. A vote of confidence. If you’re a dolphin performing tricks at SeaWorld, it comes in the form of a tasty, frozen fish. Yum!
But in certain situations, the best feedback of all is total silence. The Low Branches’ January 19 album release show at Gallery 5 is a wonderful example.
When it snows here in Richmond, even just an inch or two, things tend to shut down. Stores close early. Employers send workers home. Schools cancel classes before a single snowflake’s hit the ground. It can be a little ridiculous.
But there’s one intrepid organization that doesn’t scare so easily. A quintet that stares down Old Man Winter with ice in its collective veins. I’m talking about post-punk/New Wave-influenced indie rockers Dead Fame, who were kind — and brave — enough to stay late after practice two Thursdays ago, while a particularly wet, slushy snow was falling outside, and chat about their evolving stage setup, pre-Dead Fame musical experiences, favorite albums from 2012, and more.
Despite the inclement weather, this turned out to be the perfect time to catch up with the band. They’re performing at The Renaissance this Friday, February 1, for WRIR’s Party For the Rest of Us 8, and they’ve just released “My Body, My Fool,” which is the first in their new “Mask Singles” series. We kicked off the conversation by talking about the round of Pedro Aida-helmed recordings that gave birth to The Mask Singles.
Near the end of August of last year, I had the opportunity to interview Christina Gleixner about the home recording project she’d undergone to help pay for the next Low Branches studio release. At the time, not many details on the album were available, other than the fact that they’d done some production work with John Morand at Sound of Music, some themselves, and that the final product was to be titled One Hundred Years Old (or 100 Years Old, as I styled it at the time).
Exactly four months after that interview was published, the album’s title track hit the interweb via Richmond Playlist, and I haven’t been able to get over how much I love it… in large part because I can’t seem to get it out of my head.
Moments, by definition, are fleeting. Like snowflakes in the palm of your hand, or unhealthy breakfast food brought into work on Friday morning.
But moments never really disappear… not when you have documentation. Not when you sit down and write a song about what you’re feeling right then and there. ”Age of Gold” is just such a document, both in terms of what it says and how it came into being.
More than a year and a half ago, I dove headfirst into the White Laces universe by snagging their eponymous EP at Deep Groove Records, and I’ve been exploring the vast, dream-like spaces they create ever since. I wrote then that hearing them for the first time was like “like stepping on a live power line,” and the resulting delirium has yet to wear off, especially because the months since have seen them release new songs, new vinyl, new videos, and a fantastic debut full-length in MOVES. The rich sonic landscape they’ve carved out expanded even further last week, when Stereogum premiered the video for MOVES track “Heavy Nights” — a clip which offers a dark and winding take on the Wonderland trope that will irreversibly alter the degree of comfort you feel when looking at tea and fruit-topped cookies. To celebrate this new addition to the White Laces universe, I caught up with frontman Landis Wine via email about the video’s genesis and the band’s plans for the near future.