CD Monday

RVA Playlist

A very special CD Monday today, y’all. The RVA Playlist 5th Anniversary party is this Thursday at the Broadberry, and I’m very sad to be missing it due to out-of-town-ness. But Andrew was kind enough to give me an advance copy of this incredible compilation he’s assembled in partnership with Triple Stamp Press. It’s a thoughtful and immaculately assembled representation of the music community RVA Playlist has done so much to support. From the track list to the materials used, it really is stunning.

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Grandma Sparrow

RVA Playlist

Two Fridays ago, I wrote a quick blurb about how excited I was to be seeing Grandma Sparrow in action later that evening. It was even more colorful and wacky than I could have imagined, and it helped to answer some — thankfully not all — of the questions I had after listening to the song cycle a few times through. Why “thankfully not all”? Click here to check out the guest post I wrote for RVA Playlist, which touches on the value of wonderment and how healthy it is to practice holding two contradictory ideas in your head at once.

Grandma Sparrow — “This Is My Wheelhouse” [Spotify/iTunes]

The Trillions

Trillions 1

I bought a fancy new camera not too long ago, and I’ve started, with no small amount of timidity, to take photos at the shows I’ve been going to. I haven’t managed to wean myself off the camera’s automatic settings (I was signed up to take a photography class but got sick when the date rolled around), nor have I gotten over the weirdness of moving through the crowd and putting myself directly in front of a performer, but I’m enjoying the learning process and I thought I’d share a few shots I took of the Trillions at last night’s RVA Playlist birthday party at the Camel. Hope you dig ’em.

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Happy Birthday, RVA Playlist!

RVA Playlist

Some things are hard to measure. Like peanut butter. Have you ever tried to measure out a half cup of peanut butter? It sticks to the spoon on the way in, it sticks to your finger when you try to level the top to see if you’ve got the right amount, it sticks to your measuring cup, and just for fun, it sticks to your finger again when you try to get it out. Sure you can heat your measuring cup with warm water before getting started, but c’mon. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Just as hard to measure — for slightly different reasons, I suppose — is the effect that Andrew Cothern has had on Richmond’s music scene.

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RVA Playlist

RVA Playlist Dead Fame

A guest post I penned about Dead Fame’s new Vicious Design EP just went up over at RVA Playlist. I hope y’all will take a few minutes and check it out. RVA Playlist does so much for Richmond’s music scene, and it’s an honor to have my words featured on Andrew’s site (especially when those words are about a band that’s as exciting as Dead Fame).

Click here to take a look.

Dead Fame — “Joan Crawford” [Spotify/iTunes]

Fall Line Fest

Fall Line Fest

It’s all happening.

The music portion of Richmond’s brand spankin’ new Fall Line Fest kicks off later this evening, and with dozens of acts spread across two nights and four venues, fun times are sure to be had and new favorite bands are waiting to be discovered.

Coming up with a plan of attack for events like this is always an adventure within itself, and a few intrepid Richmond bloggers have posted handy previews that can help you navigate the weekend’s events:

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About last week…

The last week saw some especially noteworthy moments in RVA music writing, so I wanted to pause to celebrate them and provide some links.

New York Magazine

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.

One Way Richmond

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).

WRIR and Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3

Commonwealth of Notions

On July 14 of last year, when I was speeding down Monument Avenue on the way to Gallery 5, the air in my Honda Fit was thick with suspense. I was eager to see The Snowy Owls, a band I’d been listening to but hadn’t seen live, and I was just as eager to get my first taste of “WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents.” Last year was the second for the Shannon Cleary-curated WRIR fundraiser, and it proved to be a dynamite day and night of music, with 10 local bands, multiple stages and perfectly staggered set times. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the Richmond music scene better at last year’s event, and it’s become clear that this year’s is going to be even more rewarding.

If Volume 2’s format provided a steady stream of sets, this year’s is more like an angry river that’s going to crest on four consecutive nights at four different venues around Richmond. And while we know the where and when for WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume 3 — things kick off on Thursday, July 18 at Strange Matter, followed by Balliceaux on July 19, Gallery 5 on July 20 and Bandito’s on July 21 — the who has been kept secret until the last few days, whereupon RVA Playlist, Sounds of RVA and One Way Richmond began revealing the bands who have signed up to participate.

Today, I’m honored to announce three more puzzle pieces — Wolf//Goat, Way, Shape, or Form, and Heavy Midgets. The dates and venues are listed below, along with some sample tunes to get the anticipation flowing.

July 18 at Strange Matter

In Watermelon Sugar

Wolf//Goat — “Lobocabra” [Bandcamp]

July 20 at Gallery 5
Way, Shape, or Form

Way Shape or Form

Way, Shape, or Form — “Tenants” [Bandcamp]

July 21 at Bandito’s
Heavy Midgets

Heavy Midgets

Heavy Midgets — “Golden Cow” [Bandcamp]

Keep an eye out for more announcements, including information about a very special mystery artist who will be returning to Richmond to perform at Balliceaux on Friday, July 19.

Hope to see you there in July!

Happy Birthday, RVA Playlist!

RVA Playlist

Between the high of No BS! Brass Band’s record release show on Friday and the low of the Toots & The Maytals incident on Saturday, I spent a fair amount of time this week talking about the Richmond music community. I still consider myself somewhat new to that community, and I definitely don’t make it out to as many shows as I’d like, but the musicians who call Richmond home have come to mean a great deal to me, as have the bloggers who work hard to shine a light on the city’s amazing pool of musical talent. This coming Wednesday, May 29, at The Camel, we’ll have an opportunity pause and say thank you and happy third blog birthday (Blirthday? Yeah? No?) to a blogger who truly understands the meaning of the word “community” — Andrew Cothern of RVA Playlist.

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