Friday News and Notes

Commonwealth of Notions

Very special edition of Friday News and Notes: It’s time for Commonwealth of Notions Presents! WRIR and venerated DJ/writer/bassist/Off Your Radar contributor Shannon Cleary are teaming up for a sixth iteration of the always-entertaining and brilliantly booked local music showcase/station fundraiser. 13 bands. Two nights. Two venues. Tonight at Gallery5, tomorrow at Strange Matter. It’s the perfect way to simultaneously support and explore Richmond’s music scene.

In that same spirit, here’s an almost-exhaustive bulleted Bandcamp sampler of what’s about to go down:

Friday @ Gallery5 (suggested donation $5)

Saturday @ Strange Matter (suggested donation $7)

Apologies to K.A. PEDERS, who has music on MySpace but my laptop won’t play it for some reason, and I’m not sure I could embed it regardless. All the more reason to head to Strange Matter on Saturday night!

Click here for more info on both nights.

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The Big Payback

The Big Payback

Have to break vacation silence because I’m too excited about this River City Magazine article to stay quiet: I had the chance to chat at length with Kelli Strawbridge, who fronts Richmond’s beloved James Brown tribute band, The Big Payback. He’s an incredibly inspiring person to talk music with. His interests are both broad (his other projects include KINGS, Mikrowaves, and Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns) and deep, given his clear passion for the pivotal soul that Brown made in his heyday. I learned a ton from speaking with him, and I was also lucky enough to chat with Bob Miller, who joins Strawbridge in both Payback and Mekong Xpress. I decided to write this article because the talent you’ll find in Richmond’s tribute bands is so much more illustrious and interconnected (Miller also plays in Fear of Music, which honors Talking Heads) than some may realize, and Strawbridge and Miller are excellent examples. Many thanks to both for all the help with the article.

Two upcoming shows I want to make sure to plug:

Click here to read the Payback article over at Richmond Navigator’s site.

James Brown — “Payback” [Spotify/iTunes]

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brb

Beach Week

Gonna go see if these nerds are still hanging out. See y’all in a week.

Maxwell — “Lake By The Ocean” [Spotify/iTunes]

 

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Friday News and Notes

Butcher Brown

  • CD Monday update: Didn’t end up listening to Blauklang much this week. Lots of singing on the way to daycare. Toddler YHT damn near did a recital yesterday. The setlist: “Old McDonald” -> “ABCs” -> “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” -> “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” -> “I’m Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee.” It was [insert fire emoji here].
  • Speaking of fire emojis, congrats to Butcher Brown on the new EP. Love the title — Virginia Noir — and I love how tight they sound. What a machine they are. Fierce and smooth at the same time, somehow.
  • New Hiss Golden Messenger, y’all. 10/7. So damn excited.
  • Also excited for this new Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) solo album. “In The Dark” has that same breezy, jazzy feel his older solo stuff has. Can’t wait to hear more.
  • I already posted to Instagram about it, but cheers to Steve Gunn and Steady Sounds for the in-store on Tuesday. What a treat that was. Eyes on the Lines is my first experience with his music, and I’m not sure I would have jumped in with both feet if it weren’t for Tuesday’s performance. Just voice and two guitars, but man, was it good. Both instruments totally under control, ebbing and flowing, effects on, effects off, singing, no singing… the whole thing was like a comfortable, confident conversation.
  • Are y’all as bananas for this new Avalanches record as I am? It feels like I’ll be getting to know it — the samples, verses, and interludes — for some time, like a book I know I want to reread while I’m reading it for the first time. So much going on, and so much fun to listen to.
  • No show recommendations this week — heading out of town again next week. But keep an eye out for next week’s recommendations

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The Most Americans

The Most Americans

There are two belated and related birthdays I’m excited to acknowledge jointly:

  • America! Your birthday was last week and I didn’t even say anything! I did get to see some fireworks in Hilton Head — someone was firing loud-ass mortars on the beach right in front of the house we were staying in, yet Toddler YHT somehow slept through the whole thing. Not sure if I should be proud of her sleeping skills or worried about underdeveloped startle reflexes. A little bit of both?
  • Kevin Walsh! A happy belated birthday to the multi-talented drummer of The Most Americans, the Boston-based band you might have seen me praise in the past. They’ve just released a new album with a fantastic title: International Conflict for Beginners. That title and the group’s name may seem tongue-in-cheek, but the lyrics demonstrate genuine concern and care for the way we interact with the media, politics, entertainment, and ourselves. The past couple of weeks have shown that Americans are in desperate need of self-reflection, and that questioning spirit can be found all over ICFB, as can rhythmic fireworks and gravity-defying harmonies and melodies courtesy of Mr. Walsh himself.

Happy birthdays, Kevin and America. Love you both.

The Most Americans — “1,000,000 Views” [Bandcamp]

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Record Store Report: Hilton Head

Treasure Guide

OK, so I’m definitely playing fast and loose with the Record Store Report concept, but whatever. I spent a short week in a place without a single record store and managed to bring home seven albums, thanks largely to Mrs. YHT’s Aunt Barbara and the Treasure Guide™ she so kindly dogeared for me.

Johnny Smith — In a Mellow Mood

Johnny Smith

I started at an unfamiliar location of a familiar haunt: Goodwill. Was rewarded with two old-school, 10-inch jazz albums, and the first is a serious keeper. Smith’s playing is blissfully smooth in spots and blistering in others, always crisp and meticulous. What a talent.

Johnny Smith — “Stranger In Paradise” [Discogs]

Jimmy Dorsey — Latin American Favorites

Jimmy Dorsey

My other Goodwill acquisition, though I’m not sold on keeping this one. The singing is a little on the corny side. Apparently “Brazil” is in the Grammy Hall of Fame, so there’s that.

Jimmy Dorsey — “Brazil” [Discogs]


After striking out at a couple of other stores, I hit up the Litter Box, which had a double-sided, three-tiered bookshelf full of records. $.50. This was fun. After some tough cuts, I ended up with:

Jorge Ben — Tropical

Jorge Ben

Speaking of Brazil — at some point I got the impression that there’s a bubble around the value of Brazilian music on vinyl. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but the median Discogs price for this was enough for me to overlook a fairly ominous scratch to see if this would play all the way through. Not only does it play beautifully, it’s way too groovy to cash in on. It’s wonderfully diverse in terms of style, with a ton of soul mixed in. Mrs. YHT and I listened while cooking dinner last night and it got her seal of approval, then it got Sleepwalker Michael Yorke’s on Instagram. Just excellent all around.

Jorge Ben — “Georgia” [Discogs]

Various — The Black Swing Tradition

The Black Swing Tradition

A two-disc compilation of 78 releases from black artists during the swing era. I’m not familiar with any of these folks (though I did spend some time on Hot Lips Page’s Wikipedia page while at the Litter Box) so there’s lots to learn here.

Hot Lips Page — “Pagin’ Mr. Page” [Discogs]

John Fahey — A New Possibility

John Fahey

Already have this, but I couldn’t leave one of the greatest Christmas albums of all time just sitting there in South Carolina. It’s so hot there. Do you like Christmas music? Have a record player but don’t have a copy of this? Let me know.

John Fahey — “Auld Lang Syne” [Discogs]

Max Greger — Greger in the Night

Max Greger

Last stop was the Bargain Box, which had a rack of albums just inside the front door on the right. Also $.50. I watched a couple old Bond movies while in Jersey the previous weekend (Dr. No and Goldfinger), and this album could have soundtracked all the worst and jauntiest parts of both. But just look at the girl in the red hat. So badass. Like Blue Steel™ before there was a Blue Steel™. How could I say no to Blue Steel™? AND THAT HAT?!?

Max Greger — “We Can Work It Out” (Beatles cover) [Discogs]

The Young Tuxedo Brass Band ‎– Jazz Begins: Sounds Of New Orleans Streets: Funeral And Parade Music

NOLA Funeral

Two recent trends — a increasing interest in gospel and a greater appreciation for New Orleans after visiting at the end of last year — converge here. Was so thrilled to find this. Makes me think of the Garden District cemetery we toured while we were there. And by “toured” I mean “awkwardly walked a few steps behind a tour group.” Call it a second line.

I listened to this first when we got back to Richmond. It seemed like a fitting spin given the disparaging news I’d been following last week. So many guns. So much wrong. I desperately wish I could write some impactful, incisive sentence that would make make a dent in the issue and change a large number of hearts about the careless, destructive nature of the NRA or the necessity for a more modern interpretation of the Second Amendment. I truly believe that sentence exists, but I don’t know what it is. Something about our shared sense of responsibility or about guns being the clear independent variable in so many horrific situations.

It reminds me of what it’s like to move from your mid-twenties to your thirties. All the bad habits you have — eating fast food, drinking too much or too often, sleeping too little — start catching up with you, and you suddenly realize things like “Wow, every time I eat at McDonald’s, I feel like shit. Maybe I shouldn’t eat there.” or “Every time I get drunk, I get in a fight with my girlfriend. Maybe my drinking is the issue, not her.”

It genuinely feels to me like our country needs to grow up. The only question is how much damage will be done before we commit to doing so. In meantime, we’re going to need a hell of a lot of the light-in-the-face-of-darkness hope exemplified below.

The Young Tuxedo Brass Band — “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” [Discogs]

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CD Monday

Vince Mendoza

I drove up to New Jersey with my mom weekend before last. Shortly after we hit the road, she gave me a few albums she’d been saving for me. Vince Mendoza’s Blauklang was the first we put in. Really interesting. Blurs the line between jazz and classical, starting with a dynamite version of Miles Davis’ “All Blues.” (Listen for the tone of the guitar — it sounds just like John Scofield, but it’s not. So crazy.)

Vince Mendoza — “All Blues” (Miles Davis cover) [Spotify/iTunes]

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