The Snowy Owls

Within Yr Reach

So I’ve been excited to hear the new Snowy Owls tunes. How excited, you ask? So excited that, a few months ago, I compiled some of the Twitter-based progress reporting the group posted as they were preparing for the recording process. More details have emerged since, and I’m happy to say that the suspense bubble is set to burst tomorrow, when The Snowy Owls release the Within Yr Reach EP — a beautiful, 8-song, impressionistic portrait that showcases the band’s knack for pairing memorable, guitar-driven melodies with hazy arrangements that set a distinctive and mesmerizing mood. I had the chance to catch up with Owls frontman Matt Klimas via email this weekend, and he answered a few questions about the EP, his favorite pedals, Swedish pop music and more.

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New Music Advent Calendar

I know it’s the beginning of June, but this past weekend got me thinking about Advent calendars. I’m convinced they’re magic. How else can you explain a poor, helpless piece of chocolate, with only the tensile strength of a perforated paper door to defend it, surviving the terrifying clutches of a sugar-crazed child’s hands for 25 whole days? You might as well be playing Jenga with Milk Bones on your dog’s nose.

So why was I thinking about Advent calendars? Is it because I’m one of those people who celebrate half Christmas? No siree Bob; my perception of time is way too poor to figure out when that even is. Is it because I’m turning into that creepy kid from Bad Santa? No, but let’s be honest — I’d grow that blonde ‘fro in a heartbeat if I could. The real reason is that three of the Richmond-based bands that I follow on Twitter, White LacesThe Snowy Owls and Hoax Hunters, are in the process of recording new music, and they’ve been tweeting from their respective studios about the proceedings.

These bite-sized missives have ranged from progress reporting to tantalizingly cryptic musing to revelatory pictures, and I can’t tell you how much I love this stuff. Even though they lack the chocolaty treats of a real-life Advent calendar (which is probably for the best, given that I somehow manged to eat both Popeye’s and Burger King for lunch this past Sunday), these brief hints have ratcheted up my excitement one notch at a time, and I can’t wait for the running-downstairs-on-Christmas-morning feeling I’ll get when the fruits of the labor they describe become available. In order to spread this excitement, I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of the tweets I’ve seen recently. Call it a New Music Advent Calendar. The best part? You get all 25 at once! Let’s get started …

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The Diamond Center


Isn’t the success that’s couched in abject failure the sweetest? Allow me to provide an illustration.

A week ago, I headed to Strange Matter for the sold out Real Estate show. Moments after I walked in the door, I caught a glimpse of a magic marker-scrawled schedule that was sitting on the desk of the ticket-taking station. The whole shindig was exactly 1 hour behind the advertised start. The Diamond Center at 9. Twerps at 10. Real Estate at 11. Normally, I don’t put too much stock in concerts starting on time, but I had to be up at an ungodly hour Friday morning and was beset by an uncharacteristic and unwelcome wave of prudence. Gross. But the Diamond Center put on such a fantastic display in the first opening slot that I completely forgot about my accursed curfew for a while, and I left Strange Matter with the unmistakable feeling that I’d gotten my money’s worth — and then some — even though I didn’t experience a single note of the headlining set.

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Hoax Hunters

Yesterday, I wrote about a few of the many reasons to see live music. There’s one example I left out because I had today’s post in mind, and in the age of the interweb, it’s an extremely rare one: music that’s exclusively available in live form. In late May, Hoax Hunters performed their first set as a band under the name the Blood Vowels. I couldn’t make this inaugural show, but this past Friday (YES, the same night as the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings show — Mrs. You Hear That?!? is a trouper!), which was just a few days after the name change was made Twitter-official but before any of their music had made its way online, the Richmond-based band performed their second show at Strange Matter. It was such a gift to walk into the venue completely free of preconceptions, filled with the excitement of knowing I was about to hear music that, at the time, wasn’t within Google’s beneficently creepy purview. Hoax Hunters rewarded me with six explosive and exhilarating rock songs that resonated right away, leaving an uncommonly gripping first impression. Three of the tunes from Friday’s show have been posted on the band’s ReverbNation page, including my favorite of the night, “Mantooth.” The track highlights how well-crafted their songs are, mixing power and subtlety in a way that shows real care and creativity. Check it out here, and be sure to check the band out at their next show, on August 4 at Sprout with White Laces, Fossil Eyes and Grandfather.