Exciting things afoot at EggHunt Records…
Earlier this month, the Richmond label announced that it signed Grace Vonderkuhn — an exciting and explosive garage/psych artist who hails from Delaware. Full details on her upcoming album have yet to be announced, but I wanted to go ahead and start spreading the word for two reasons:
- Her 2015 self-titled EP is well worth a listen. While her intense guitar work is a big part of why I’m looking forward to the release of her upcoming album, I’ve latched onto a more low-key tune from the EP called “God Bless Your Soul,” which is embedded below.
- She’s playing at Strange Matter tomorrow! More info here. I’d imagine folks in attendance will have their souls blessed with a healthy helping of her new material, and three other bands — The Smirks, Black Naked Wings, and Don Babylon — round out the bill. Should be a hoot.
Grace Vonderkuhn — “God Bless Your Soul” [Bandcamp]
Getting to interview a musician who made one of your favorite albums of the year is quite an honor, but getting to interview a musician whose music changed your life for the better? That’s something else entirely. Something rare and special.
Hearing “You Are Not Your Mind,” from Eric Slick’s 2017 Palisades album, was a truly revelatory experience. I ended up writing about it back in April:
I often fall into the trap of assuming there’s a way to think my way out of every situation. I also tend to prioritize my inner experience when I’m feeling less than good about what’s going on on the outside, whether that’s the clothes I’m wearing or my inability to force myself to exhibit extroversion when it counts. And while the mind can certainly act as a refuge, I love the idea that there’s some other self that’s even more basic — something that’s not so readily accessible or easily tinkered with.
With that in mind (no pun intended), it was such a gift to be able to speak with Slick over the phone and learn more about how that song was written, how he balances the brightness of his personality with the heft of this songs’ themes, and how he came to be part of this beautiful Richmond music community. The interview just went up on Richmond Navigator’s site — click here to check it out. (Print copies of River City Magazine should be on newsstands any day now.)
I want to thank Eric very sincerely for doing the interview, and I want to encourage you good people to take a listen to “You Are Not Your Mind” below. Maybe you’ll end up with a revelatory experience of your own.
Eric Slick — “You Are Not Your Mind” [Spotify/Bandcamp]
The new issue of RVA Magazine (#28, to be exact) is out now, and in addition to a truly a gorgeous pink cover, it sports an article I wrote about Dazeases, one of the most exciting new artists to emerge from Richmond’s music scene in recent memory. Working on this was a genuinely inspiring experience. Dazeases has a true artist’s creative drive, and her compass is guided by a powerful sense of self-determination, whether you’re looking at her inventive approach to songcraft or her singular performance style. (Case in point: Her performance this Friday will include two venues and a 5-minute guided walk in between. How cool is that?)
I owe Dazeases my thanks, both for the inspiration she radiates and for all her help with the article, and I hope you’ll take the time to get to know her a little better by picking up a copy of the magazine or by reading online here.
Dazeases — “Laurel” [Spotify/YouTube]
Every once in a while, I look around and say to myself “Damn, EggHunt Records has a lot of awesome stuff going on…” Now is an excellent example, and I think it’s time for another installment of the feature I’m unofficially naming “Damn, EggHunt Records has a lot of awesome stuff going on…”
Here’s a link to the first EggHunt catch-up post if you’re curious, and here’s an all new one, featuring three exciting projects:
It really sunk in while I was listening to “Flee” for the first time that Landis Wine’s voice is Richmond to me, in the same way that the Boulevard is, or the river, or Bev’s. And it’s comforting knowing that if I ever moved away, I could still put on a White Laces album and feel the sense of place that I feel now. I’m excited to see him start a new chapter with Tori Hovater as Opin, and “Flee” leaves a great first impression. I’m especially fond of the build that ushers in the last minute of the song. Really neat.
Opin — “Flee” [Soundcloud]
Speaking of distinctive Richmond voices, Dazeases’ has to be the most exciting new voice coming out of this city’s music scene. I’ve been digging into her catalog on Bandcamp, and I can’t recommend doing so highly enough. Her approach to production, vocals, performance… everything is entirely her own, and “Plum” promises continued inventiveness and gravity on her upcoming album, Local Slut, which will be released via EggHunt’s snazzy Hatched subscription series.
Dazeases — “Plum” [Spotify/Soundcloud]
I’m not the best with time signatures. Does “You Became The Light” shift from 6/4 in the verse to waltz time in the chorus? Or is it 12/8? Are those relatively arbitrary designations? I don’t know enough to answer any of those questions. I’m just going to say that whatever Eric Slick (drummer for Dr. Dog) is doing here, I really like it. A verse that keeps you on your toes and a chorus that soothes for a few short moments before hurling you back into the madness… sign me up.
Eric Slick — “You Became The Light” [Spotify/iTunes]
Foregoing news and notes because this isn’t just any Friday — today is the day Bandcamp is donating their cut of all sales to the ACLU, which strikes me as a completely kickass move.
My plan is to snag Landlady’s newest album, The World Is a Loud Place. I had a chance to see and hear a few of these new tunes when the band came to Hardywood in August — “Driving In California” for sure, and I think “Nina” and “Electric Abdomen” made appearances as well. It’s a fantastic album, every bit as imaginative, tightly executed, and soul replenishing as Upright Behavior. In fact, Landlady has become one of the bands –maybe you have a similar list — whose shows are more like exercises in spiritual fulfillment than just a pairing of people playing music and people watching those people play music. They’ll be at The Camel on March 6, and I highly recommend grabbing a ticket. If you’re like me, you could use some spiritual fulfillment right now.
In fact, I was having one of those days just yesterday. I bet you know the kind. Checking Twitter every few minutes and bracing yourself for the awful shit it would reveal. Feeling sad/angry/confused about how so much could be allowed to go so wrong so quickly. I’ve had days that weren’t one of those days since January 20, but they’re the exception. Sad/angry/confused has become my new normal, even though I’m committed to the fight to keep intolerance from becoming America’s new normal.
You know who else is? The good people at the ACLU, and seeing that Bandcamp was doing what they’re doing today snapped me out of yesterday’s daze. I couldn’t wait to write this post and chip in.
Here are a few of the RVA bands and labels who are going a step further and pledging their own share of song/album sales to the ACLU:
And then there’s Lightfields, who have been donating their Bandcamp sales to Planned Parenthood for some time now. Richmond is full of amazing people. If you’re a band or label in town and I left you off the list above, please let me know so I can include you, because you’re awesome.
Happy Friday, y’all. Consider this today’s act of resistance. We’re just getting warmed up.
Landlady — “Nina” [Bandcamp]
I was very sad to see the news yesterday that White Laces are breaking up. I’ve said this a few times before, but they’re the band that made me want to turn this blog’s attention to the trove of musical talent that Richmond has to offer. That was back in 2011, not long after I started You Hear That, and I can honestly say that decision — and by extension, the group’s self-titled EP — changed my life. The way I plan my days, the relationships I have with other Richmond writers and musicians… I’m not sure what all that would be like had I not picked up their EP at Deep Groove that day.
I’ve written about White Laces and number of times — most recently in praise of their No Floor album — and I thought I’d post a few links as tribute to all the enjoyment and meaning the group’s music has brought me. Think of it as a chronological oral history told by this one fan.
May, 2011: My first post about the band, when I picked the EP at Deep Groove.
September, 2011: About being late to RVA Music Fest but still getting to see them play “Sick Of Summer”
January, 2012: About getting the White Laces/Arches split 7-inch in the mail
August, 2012: My review of Moves
November, 2012: An interview I did with Landis in the wake of the release of their “Heavy Nights” video
October, 2014: My post celebrating the release of Trance
October, 2016: My review of No Floor
I’ll close with a quick copy and paste from the post I wrote when Trance came out, because it feels just as fitting now:
This is an excellent opportunity to pause and look at how justified and good our pride in our city really is. That groundswell doesn’t depend on the success of any one artist or band, and it won’t be made or broken by how many copies of Trance are sold, but when music with such vision and craftsmanship becomes available to the world at large, we can all walk a little taller and listen a little more loudly, whether that’s to White Laces or another band that’s part of the bright and exciting spectrum that comprises the Richmond music community.
Happy Halloweekend, y’all! Pictured above is Toddler YHT is dressed as your classic tiger-panda-fairy hybrid. Can’t wait for trick or treating. Until then…
I’m off to have a semi-serious conversation with Mrs.YHT about whether we should do the Jimmy Kimmel thing where you pretend you ate all your kid’s candy and videotape the reaction. I’m not that mean… am I?
How rare is it that you get to say that every release a band has put out has been your favorite of theirs to date? I can say that about White Laces. It’s as much a winning streak as it is evidence of the band’s searching nature. They’ve changed a bit with each release, and with No Floor, I think they’ve found something really remarkable.
There’s more synth/programming than ever on this album, and heading in that direction has opened up a powerful pairing — the precision of synthetic elements and the fluidity of Landis Wine’s voice, which is one of the most distinctive in town. The effect is almost visual; when I close my eyes and listen to the choruses of “Cheese” or “Mall Madness,” I see sharp edges layered with colorful, rolling hills. I see contrast. Not dissonance, necessarily, just contrast.
Tori Hovater’s vocals work similarly — they’re such a complement to Wine’s — and I’m wild about the minor turn the grinding synth sound takes during the chorus of “Youth Vote.” It came as a surprise the first time I heard it, but the contrast it builds with the major sound of the verse makes it a surprise that rewards over and over.
On the meaningful and memorable “Dots,” Wine sings “I used to think about time as a living thing.” It seems to me that, by drawing inspiration from the 1980’s, White Laces has found a really exciting way forward — one that has them sounding as lively as ever.
White Laces — “Cheese” [Spotify/iTunes]
That’s a heart-shaped leaf I found on the sidewalk, because I love all you weirdos. And these are Friday News and Notes!
- Congrats to Adam Henceroth — Mr. EggHunt Records himself — on this great Style Weekly profile. EggHunt is on one hell of a winning streak, and the albums they’re putting out are serious points of pride for this city. Adam is also just a very friendly person, so it’s nice seeing him get this kind of recognition. Applause emojis all around.
- Anyone else think this fairly snazzy new Britney Spears song would sound right at home on The 20/20 Experience? Is that you I hear, Timbaland? And can someone tell me why I have to look up the spelling of Britney Spears’ first name every time I type it?
- Really wish I would have found out about this Durand Jones & The Indications album before it’s resell price got up to $75…
- Y’all see that they just pressed John Prine’s In Spite Of Ourselves to vinyl for the first time? Feel very fortunate to have snagged a copy at BK. It’s a fantastic album of duets, and the title song might be my favorite song of his.
- I’m enjoying the hell out of next week’s Off Your Radar album, Dear Bo Jackson by The Weeks. Not sure what I’m going to say about it, but it’s definitely getting filed under “How on Earth did I miss this?” Southern rocky, soulful, horns, pedal steel — like shooting fish in my musical preferences barrel.
- Just bought a bunch of concert tickets I’d been meaning to get. Car Seat Headrest and Mountain Goats are coming to the National on consecutive Mondays — that’s going to be a fun week. And Drive-By Truckers just went on sale today, and I grabbed a couple for the Friday show. That Thursday show is pretty tempting as well, though. Hm.
- Did y’all know that video killed the radio star?
Hope a great weekend awaits each and every one of you, and that random heart-shaped things pop out at you wherever you look.
EggHunt, man. They could easily be sitting back and basking in the brilliance of their recent successes, but it’s full steam ahead with another preorder-worthy release, Omega/Whatever. Out July 29. Love the cover art.
I got to see Avers last Thursday night at the Broadberry as part of a three-band celebration of Virginia Tourism’s new “Virginia is for Music Lovers” campaign (which you should definitely check out — Andrew Cothern is doing really inspiring things in his new role there). No BS! Brass Band was first, Galax-based singer-songwriter Dori Freeman followed (you can read more about her set over at Doug Nunnally’s blog), and Avers closed the show.
I’ve gotten to see Avers a number of times, and have favorite tracks from both their Empty Light LP and their Wasted Tracks EP, but a song I wasn’t familiar with grabbed my attention. “These are the days when everything hurts” it said. “I feel ya,” my internal monologue responded. Turns out it’s one of the tracks on Omega/Whatever, “Everything Hz,” and Consequence of Sound just wrote it up. Very cool.
Avers is packed with capable songwriters, and I’m not sure who penned this one, but the title reminds me of the way The Trillions (another Charlie Glenn outfit) name songs — references to technology, with lyrics that often convey an uneasy feeling about internet culture and digital-age relationships. According to EggHunt’s site, Omega/Whatever traffics in similar concerns: “It’s an album about balance, too, centered around the struggles of living in the modern world.”
Sounds like this is going to hit extremely close to home. Balance is something I’ve been struggling with lately, and I’m really looking forward to hearing what Avers have to say on the subject. “Everything Hz” is certainly a strong, relatable start.
Avers — “Everything Hz” [Soundcloud]