The Phonograph

If anyone’s interested in Girl Talk and/or Tumblr, I invite you to have a look at this article I wrote for The Phonograph. If you’re not already a Phonograph fan, I highly suggest you check it out for some really interesting stories about everything from Silvio Berlusconi’s album of love songs to the EMI merger to Pete Townshend’s John Peel lecture. Enjoy!

Black Girls

Black Girls

Gregg Gillis said it best. Near the end of his set, the most high-profile performer of the night pointed out*, while standing atop his Panasonic Toughbook’s necessarily sturdy table, that he’s been to tons of festivals, but it was special to see so much of Richmond in the inaugural RVA Music Fest. RVA Magazine did a truly great job organizing, as Sunday was an outstanding snapshot of some of Richmond’s best musicians, and I felt really lucky to be there. One of the bands that reinforced that feeling most was Black Girls. I think everyone’s experienced this moment — you’re at a show, and a performance so totally and completely fills the space around you that the room/theater/amphitheater you’re in feels tiny in comparison to the size of the moment you’re in. Black Girls set up shop in exactly that type of moment on Sunday, giving an amazing show that preceded Stage Two’s headlining act, No BS! Brass Band. In a chaotic festival setting, where people had only moments ago been milling around, snagging (delicious) tacos from Nate’s Taco Truck, Black Girls seemed totally in control, belting out danceable, falsetto-fueled rock and soul songs with a captivating swagger that emanated from every corner of the band. Plus, I got my wish and members of No BS! joined them onstage for closing song “Broadway,” a tune that joyously melds the two bands’ upbeat personalities. Check out the studio version of their collaboration below, pick up Black Girls’ self-titled album here, and the vinyl-inclined can grab the two bands’ split 7″ here.

Black Girls — “Broadway

*I’m paraphrasing here. By this point, dancing had supplanted any sort of note taking, mental or otherwise. Though no direct quotes are available, we can safely assume that I yelled “Oh shit!” when “Thriller” kicked in. UPDATE — Who needs a memory when you have YouTube? Here’s the clip.

RVA Music Fest!

The inaugural RVA Music Fest is upon us, and I’m DEFCON 6 excited. Sure, the Girl Talk show will be a fun, sweaty mess, but the majority of my excitement stems from the fact that the festival promises to be a real celebration of the talented musicians that call Richmond home. I have to confess, when I started writing You Hear That in March, I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy learning about Richmond’s home-grown bands. In the months since, my eyes have been opened by some amazing and creative groups, many of which are playing this weekend. Plans for Saturday have not crystallized yet, but here’s my Sunday game plan. Step 1: White Laces (Sunday @ 4:40 pm on Stage One). I loved their self-titled EP, and their new track “Hands In Mexico” totally blows my mind. Fingers crossed that they crank it up to Lynchburg volume. Step 2: Black Girls (Sunday @ 6:50 pm on Stage Two). I jumped on the Black Girls bandwagon when I heard their swinging tune “Broadway,” and fell for them even more when I found the live version of “South Carolina” that they recorded during hurricane Irene. Maybe if I’m good they’ll do a song with… Step 3: No BS! Brass Band (Sunday @ 7:40 pm on Stage Two). Unlike White Laces and Black Girls, I have seen No BS a few times, and each show has left me with a huge smile on my face. They’re a true Richmond treasure, so don’t miss this one (even if it means skipping out on some of Best Coast). Lastly… Step 4: Girl Talk (Sunday @ 8:45 pm on Stage One) — the aforementioned fun, sweaty mess. I can’t wait. Make your own game plan by checking out some sample songs below, getting your tickets here, and following this link for all the info you’ll need to attend. See you there!

Girl Talk

Collaboration Week: Day 5. The Collaborators: Gregg Gillis and Hundreds of Artists. The Album: All Day.

Girl Talk can hardly be called “collaborative,” given that it’s just one guy, Gregg Gillis, working alone, compiling samples from hundreds of songs he’s not licensed to sample. However, I couldn’t resist including him here, because in mashing together artists from all ends of the musical spectrum, Gillis acts as a musical cross pollinator, buzzing from genre to genre, decade to decade, answering questions no one knew to ask, like “What would a Ludacris/Black Sabbath collabo sound like?” The first time I heard Girl Talk, he was combining two songs I did know, Biggie’s “Juicy” and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” but a big part of the enjoyment of his music happens unexpectedly, when you hear a song he sampled and realize, “Hey I’ve heard this before …” It’s a light bulb moment of both discovery and familiarity, because even though you may have never heard the whole song before, you already love a piece of it. His latest effort is called All Day, and you can download it for free here. And check out the video above for a few snippets of his recent show in Richmond at the National.