Moon Taxi

Very excited for tonight’s Friday Cheers. A big part of that has to do with getting to see Sleepwalkers do Sleepwalkers things. It’s been too long since I’ve seen them, though I’ve enjoyed following along on social media as they’ve melted faces all over the country with J. Roddy and others. When the Cheers schedule was announced, my eye jumped to this show because I love this venue for them. Their sound is big and can easily fill that beautiful Brown’s Island space. Their writing is versatile, meaning that olds, youngs, moms, non-moms, country mice, city mice, babies and barflies alike can enjoy. It’s a pre-summer highlight waiting to happen.

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Top 10 Albums of 2014

Parks and Rec

Fun fact: When you wait until December 31 to finish your top 10 albums of the year post, your top 10 albums of the year post becomes, by default, your New Year’s Eve post! Before getting to the list, I just want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this blog, whether it’s once a week, once a month, or just this once. It’s such a gift thinking/knowing/believing that there are people out there who share your enthusiasms, and to everyone who left comments, retweeted links, reblogged posts, did guest posts, invited me to do guests posts, or interacted with YHT in any other way, thank you for being such awesome Internet buds.

Now for the 10 albums that meant the most to me in 2014:

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Top 10 RVA Albums of 2014

Bob's Burgers

A few days ago, I saw yet another malcontented article about how 2014 wasn’t a great year for music, and how there were “good” albums but no “great” albums. I can’t remember where I saw it, and I’m not going to bother trying to find a link, because it’s crap. I’ll give you three reasons why:

  • One person’s good is another person’s great.
  • The way an album is perceived can and will change over time, so good now can be great later.
  • This was a great year for Richmond music.

That last one warrants its own list, so here are 10 reasons we should join Tina Belcher in raising a glass and toasting RVA music’s 2014. Consider it an alphabetically ordered top 10 that doubles as a drinking game.

Avers — Empty Light

Avers

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because Avers shows how, in a tightly knit community full of talented people, the lineup possibilities are endless and endlessly rewarding.

Avers — “The Only One” [Spotify/iTunes]

Black Girls — Claire Sinclaire

Claire Sinclaire

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because the snuff rock sound took a giant leap in terms of realization and articulation.

Black Girls — “Buyin’ Time” [Spotify/iTunes]

Butcher Brown — All Purpose Music

Butcher Brown

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because truly groovy music — songs that find a pocket, set up shop and explore all the space it has to offer — can be enjoyed over and over, and in any situation.

Butcher Brown (ft. Nicholas Payton) — “Jellowstone Room” [Spotify/iTunes]

Dead Fame — Vicious Design EP

Dead Fame

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because you don’t have to choose between intensity and danceability.

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

Everyone Dies in the End — All Things Lead to This

Everyone Dies in the End

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because the cycle of creation and destruction is a powerful thing to witness.

Everyone Dies in the End — “We Bears Are A Proud Race” [Spotify/iTunes]

Lightfields — Junior

Lightfields

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because the chorus of “Junior” feels like an invitation — the kind of singalong that makes you feel like a part of something.

Lightfields — “Junior” [Spotify/iTunes]

Sleepwalkers — Greenwood Shade

Sleepwalkers

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because every track being dynamite and not being able to pick a favorite is a wonderful problem to have.

Sleepwalkers — “Breaking My Heart” [Spotify/iTunes]

Sundials — Kick EP

Sundials

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because Sundials’ Kick EP packed a full-length album’s punch into six tightly crafted songs that can be enjoyed over and over without losing an ounce of their emotional impact.

Sundials — “Gained A Grip” [Spotify/iTunes]

Trio of Justice — Pookie’s March

Trio of Justice

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because the roomy, thoughtful mastery of Pookie’s March tells us that Jellowstone’s success will be varied and fun to follow.

Trio of Justice — “Motherland” [Spotify/iTunes]

White Laces — Trance

White Laces

Reason We Should Raise Our Glasses: Because the word is getting out about White Laces, so Richmonders and non-Richmonders alike can cozy up to the many-splendored warmth of TRANCE.

White Laces — “Nothing Clicks” [Soundcloud]

Merry Christmas!

christmas

Look what was waiting under the tree for Baby YHT! Santa must really like vinyl. Solid dude, that Santa.

I hope everyone reading this has been having similarly lucrative holidays. Keep the spirit alive all day with Sleepwalkers’ “Under The Christmas Tree,” which you can hear below and buy over at Bandcamp.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

Sleepwalkers — “Under The Christmas Tree” [Bandcamp]

Sleepwalkers

Sleepwalkers

There are bands you appreciate, and then there are bands you root for. Not because they need the extra backing, but because there’s something that joins your experience with theirs. It could be that their music is so good that you feel passionately that it needs to be heard as widely as possible, and that passion acts like glue — their success is your fulfillment. It could also be the case that you meet the members of a band, and their approach to music aligns with some ideal you hold onto — a picture you’ve painted in your mind after hearing and dissecting an album you love.

All of the above applies to Sleepwalkers, who I had the chance to interview for River City Magazine/West End’s Best in early October. The highlights from that conversation just hit the interweb, and you can read them here (a slightly shorter printed version will hit newsstands any day now). There are two quick things I’d like to add:

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Happy Halloween!

Sleepwalkers

My October had an auspicious start — on Wednesday the 1st, I got to sit down for an interview with Michael York and Alex De Jong of Sleepwalkers, who made what many (including me) consider one of the best albums released in 2014. I’ll have more to share about that conversation soon (the issue of River City Magazine they’re featured in will be out in early November), but there’s one detail I didn’t get to include in the magazine piece — the band’s love for holidays.

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Sleepwalkers

Sleepwalkers

Almost exactly two years ago, when writing about Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, I coined a term (sounds so much better than “made up a word,” doesn’t it?) that I’m still waiting for popular culture to whisk away. It’s confrenzus — the consensus frenzy that results from a book, movie or album that is so clearly worthy of acclaim that everywhere you look, someone is heaping praise on it.

There’s a confrenzus brewing, and it’s about to bubble over at the Broadberry. Tonight is the release show for Greenwood Shade — the new album from Richmond-based band Sleepwalkers — and I can’t resist joining the chorus in saying that tonight’s event (which also features Black Girls and Dead Professional) is well worth your time.

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