I’m back in Corolla, NC this week, and while I’d planned to post normally, some spectacularly spotty Internet
is making me want to tear my hair out has complicated things slightly. I’ll be back with some fun stuff next week. In the meantime, I hope y’all have wonderful and safe holiday weekends.
Petey Pablo — “Raise Up” (Iron Lyon 8 bar edit) [Soundcloud]
I bought every single one of the records pictured above from Goodwill. All at once. For just $34.
The last week saw some especially noteworthy moments in RVA music writing, so I wanted to pause to celebrate them and provide some links.
On Monday, Andrew of RVA Playlist shared some exciting news — his blog, which provides a wonderfully supportive and comprehensive overview of Richmond’s music scene, had been included in a New York Magazine Travel feature about spending a weekend in Richmond. Given all that Andrew does for RVA musicians and music fans, it’s rewarding to see his signal boosted in this way, and the thought of curious New Yorkers poking around RVA Playlist and learning about the amazing bands that call Richmond home makes me very happy. Click here to see for yourself.
On Wednesday, Paste posted a new installment in their “50 States Project,” and I was excited when I saw who they enlisted as tour guide to Virginia’s musical offerings: Reggie Pace — the trombone-slaying, Bon Iver-collaborating, No BS! Brass Band-co-founding multi-instrumentalist who has become one of Richmond’s leading cultural ambassadors. (Don’t believe me? Check out No BS!’s Tiny Desk Concert, or the making-of video for The Blind Boys of Alabama’s new album, or this video of Pace performing with Bon Iver on Saturday Night Live, or this picture of Pace with Stephen Colbert.) He’s clearly a busy dude, and it’s great seeing someone whose exposure has skyrocketed taking the time to shine a light on the acts who are making waves at home. Click here to have a look.
On Friday, One Way Richmond posted a heartfelt appraisal of the state of Richmond music festivals that was penned by WRIR and Commonwealth of Notions Presents organizer Shannon Cleary. Part diagnosis and part call to action, Cleary’s piece digs deep to discover how our city can do a better job of making festivals year-over-year success stories. His words on this subject carry a weight that few in the city could summon, and I for one plan to run with the torch he’s lit by making the most of Fall Line Fest, which takes place on September 6 and 7 and boasts an impressive, stylistically diverse lineup. Click here to read Cleary’s piece and click here to buy Fall Line Fest tickets (I just did).
Thank you, Snowy Owls. I needed this.
Have you ever noticed how summer is filled with false endings? It keeps trying to end before it’s supposed to. Stereogum declared a “song of the summer” just 11 days after the season started. 11 days. What the hell? Can’t we get a little actual summertime to test drive a few? God forbid we agree on an anthem retrospectively. You blink your eyes and peaches are disappearing, Sam Adams Octoberfest is popping up at Kroger and — worst of all — department stores start running back-to-school sale commercials. Those hapless meter maids of advertising. Nothing pissed me off more when I was a kid. They’d always show up when you were trying to wring the last drops of freedom out of summer break, folding a bitter future in with the sweet, fleeting present. Assholes.
In between, annual traditions come and go, making room for the special emptiness that moves in when there are too many days left to start counting down until next time. That feeling washed over me this past Saturday when Mrs. YHT and I started our traffic-doomed drive back from beach week. Those seven days offer a crucial counterbalance to all sorts of weightiness that builds up during the course of the other 358, and leaving the Outer Banks always feels like I’m starting over from scratch, no matter how many long, sunny days are left before fall starts killing all the bugs, green and daylight.
And don’t get me started on turning 30 in less than two weeks.
So. With all that going on, you can imagine my excitement when I came back from vacation to find that The Snowy Owls were about to release something called the Summer EP, which featured songs called “Feels Like Summer,” “What Summer Is For,” “All Summer Long” and “Next Summer.” Now that is what I’m talking about!
OK, so I didn’t finish reading The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton until Mrs. YHT and I had gotten back from vacation. But I’m counting it as my final sick vacation read.
It was Tuesday. Hopes of a partly sunny afternoon broke down when a grey, cloudy blanket settled in over Corolla, NC. With the beach looking less than tempting and my head cold doing a fantastic job of ruining my favorite week of the year, I joined Mrs. YHT and her parents on a walk to a nearby cluster of stores. The sky opened up about an hour later, and we hurried into an Island Bookstore, hoping that a little literary browsing would chase the rain away. It didn’t. That was the bad news. The good news was that a book was waiting there, destined to be found and bought by a sick, cranky vacationer who’d been caught in the rain. And really, could This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music have found a better home?
So I’m sick. On vacation. This is, as they say, a first world problem, so instead of whining about it, I’d like to tell you about how I’ve been spending my time (leaving out the tissue-box-monopolizing, ibuprofen- and pseudoephedrine-swilling parts, of course): I’ve been reading books! That’s right — the plural form of “book”! An ocean of quiet, peaceful reading time is a pretty fantastic substitute for being well enough to enjoy the actual ocean, and I’ve been taking full advantage.
First up was I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined), by a favorite writer of mine, Chuck Klosterman.
My family’s annual beach week starts tomorrow, and my sister’s husband emailed the video above to us soon-to-be attendees to illustrate his pre-OBX mindset, saying “This pretty much sums up how excited I am for beach week.”
Right there with ya, Brian.
I’m not sure what’ll happen YHT-wise next week. Maybe I won’t post. Maybe I’ll post twice a day. Haven’t decided. What I do know is that I’m ’bout to drive to North Carolina, drink a bunch of Yuenglings, put on Aretha Franklin’s “Chain Of Fools” and find a raccoon to dance with.
Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend.
Aretha Franklin — “Chain Of Fools” [Spotify/iTunes]