Album Roundup

Music by Seth Casana
Issue 64 • June 2018

Featured in this roundup:
New Boss • No Breeze
J.Flax & The Heart Attacks • ABC / Have Love Will Travel
Free Union • EP
Travis Whitmore • Perspectives
B80 • Let Your Soul Roam Free

New Boss
No Breeze

June 15, 2018 • Charlottesville

The new release from Charlottesville’s favorite power pop collective New Boss is a sundrenched romp through psychedelic vocals, chorused guitars, and a beat that just won’t quit. With its happy-go-lucky yet artfully-anxious aesthetics, No Breeze should be a hit with fans of The New Pornographers or the more upbeat corpus of Of Montreal. The wall-of-sound production and pronounced vocal affectations bring to mind a hopped-up tribute to Ween’s epic “Transdermal Celebration” stretched out to the length of an EP.

The hardest-driving arrangement on the album, “My Security,” has characteristically evocative lyrics that challenge a straightforward interpretation. “A glimmer in my gaze / a freezing comfort shiver / a barrel couched in wood / bow down pulls at the hammer.” For those seeking deeper meaning, Will Mulaney’s demented music video animation provides. Conjuring twisted images of weaponized media, demon presidents, and the flailing pits of hell, it gives a sinister edge to a song that could otherwise feel almost campy.

New Boss will host an album release show at The Southern in Charlottesville on June 15 with The James Badfellows and LADADA. Available on vinyl from Infinite Repeats and on cassette from Funny / Not Funny Records.

J.Flax & The Heart Attacks
ABC / Have Love Will Travel

Norfolk • May 25, 2018

This one-two sneak attack from J.Flax & The Heart Attacks will keep your blood pumping. From his Jack White-esque vocals to his appropriately intense guitarwork, frontman Jeremy Flax has not lost any of his frenetic energy. The A side track, “ABC,” would not be out of place in the opening credits of an indie spy flick—think a cranked-up James Bond theme filtered through The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” On the flip side, we get a dirty rock version of Richard Berry’s doo-wop classic “Have Love, Will Travel,” though this rendition obviously owes more to The Sonics than the underappreciated composer of “Louie, Louie.”

Free Union
EP

Charlottesville • May 4, 2018

The sultry soul and pop-inspired R&B on Free Union’s debut EP offer a tantalizing taste of the new direction from Charlottesville’s Michael Coleman Band. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Coleman and drummer Rob Dunnenberger, the name change not only references their collaborative songwriting approach, but also a renewed focus on social justice and personal freedom. Coleman’s throaty crooning has a mesmerizing quality reminiscent of Aloe Blacc. While these cats play up the radio-friendly production on tracks like “Survivor” and “Free World,” they also bring it all the way back for slow jams like “All I Ever Wanted.” I mean. In. The. Pocket.

Travis Whitmore
Perspectives

Harrisonburg • June 29, 2018

Travis Whitmore got the whole gang together for his first solo album, Perspectives. Not only has this touring session drummer teamed up with a full roster of jazz and funk heavies, he also enlisted local artists to interpret each of the ten instrumental tracks on the album. The result is a universe of thick grooves, masterful arrangements, and delicious visuals to keep your mind expanding for days. Available for pre-order on CD with 12-page art booklet. Don’t miss the corresponding gallery exhibit, The Perspectives Project, opening June 1 at The Wooden Trout in Harrisonburg, featuring art from the album.

B80
Let Your Soul Roam Free

Waynesboro • May 14, 2018

Brian Boyd, the man behind B80, has been DJing in the EDM scene in Virginia and D.C. for the past 15 years, but only recently began work on his own original compositions. Let Your Soul Roam Free, his latest from the techno label The Seed, puts that depth of experience on full display. Featuring nine tracks of progressive house with remixes and collaborations from Measax, Bill Kraemer, edIT, Mininch, Sinestro, and TZEECH, the collection is refreshingly neo-90s. To hear more B80 podcasts and remixes, follow him at soundcloud.com/bboyd1980.

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