Gold and Stone
Roanoke • June 2, 2015
Eternal Summers have continued mining pop influences without losing any of their edge. This dynamic is most evident during the bridge of “Together or Alone,” the first single from Gold and Stone. The bass steadily thrums, the drums are like clockwork, and the guitar jangles just the right amount of angst for Nicole Yun’s vocals to transition between regret and anger. I hear equal parts The Cranberries of twenty years ago and Bikini Kill punk with Yun shouting:
On with it all / On with the gain / Of losing ourselves / Still playing the game
Drummer Daniel Cundiff takes a turn at vocals on “Ebb Tide,” and it’s a pleasant surprise for fans of Blur and Ariel Pink. “Play Dead” will wake you up, kicking things off with a relentless beat and riffs that refuse to let up. My favorite track on the back five is “Stars You Named” because it gave me chills, the kind usually reserved for Mazzy Star coming on the jukebox in a lonely bar.
The Crooked Road Ramblers
It Ain’t City Music
Galax • May 20, 2015
If you couldn’t tell from the band name or the album title, this one ain’t for city folk. Acoustic guitars, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and upright bass blend beautifully for over twenty tracks. Kilby Spencer’s fiery fiddle drives most of the album, but several songs features vocals which are as catchy as any bluegrass standard. With titles like “God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign” and “Hell Broke Loose in Georgia,” it’s an excellent companion album for anyone who owns the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
Richmond • May 5, 2015
Recorded thirteen years ago but released for the first time now, The Carrot is a fun time capsule by The Rabbit. Melissa Moore’s vocals drive an album full of warbly keys and crunchy 90s guitar played by her husband, Matt Linkous, and his late brother, Mark, of Sparklehorse fame. “The Carrot” title track reminds me of PJ Harvey’s “Down By The Water” until the guitar and keys come crashing through like a herd of elephants. The rest of the album wears grungy flannel well, except for “Babies” which swings the pendulum downbeat in favor of Portishead.
Son of the Right Hand
Charlottesville • May 1, 2015
“Ariel View” starts Weight off right with slight vocalizations indebted to Sigur Rós over electronic post rock reminiscent of early offerings by The Album Leaf. “1st, 1st, 3rd” is hypnotic in its repetition and glacial in its changes until it eventually wanders into a symphonic forest. “Geocentric” slips along meditatively until the guitar solo breaks out of its cage. “Pathfinder” lures you into a church pew with the organ effect, corrupts you with mechanical drums and delayed loops, then redeems you in the presence of a choir of digital angels.
Harrisonburg • May 17, 2015
Valkyrie does the “proto-metal” thing right, absconding all the best parts of heavy metal and dragging them back in time to rock’n’roll days of yore. Shadows will impress both fans of Thin Lizzy harmonies and the howls of Danzig. “Mountain Stomp” launches into an energetic beat that culminates in a monster riff, while “Golden Age” takes it’s sweet time like Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” The gargantuan guitar work on “Temple” almost feels like showing off, but the old gods of Skynyrd and Zeppelin smile on the last three tracks as these epic shredders claim their spot in Valhalla.