Jan 10, 2013
FAVORITE VIDEOS of 2012
10. Animal Collective ::: Today's Supernatural
9. St. Vincent + David Byrne ::: Who
8. Jessie Ware ::: Wildest Moments
7. Soil + The Sun ::: Prolegomenon
6. Sigur Ros ::: Valtari
5. SoftSpot ::: The Cleansing Hour
4. M.I.A. ::: Bad Girls
3. Alt-J ::: Something Good
2. Polica ::: Amongster
1. Solange ::: Losing You
FAVORITE SINGLES of 2012
15 Passenger : Emily Wells
14 Hanging On : Ellie Goulding (by Active Child)
13 Swimming Pools (Drank) : Kendrick Lamar
12 Diamonds : Rihanna
11 Can't Hold Us : Macklemore + Ryan Lewis
10 With Just One Glance (And I Say) : Nicolas Jaar + Scout Larue
9 Brains : Lower Dens
8 Alikuti Yoshua : The Very Best
7 Just From Chevron : Dirty Projectors
6 House : Kindness
5 Missing : Maker (Cave Painting Remix)
4 Young Man In America : Anais Mitchell
3 Get Free : Major Lazer + Amber Coffman
2 Baby Boogie : Warren Hixson
1 How Do I Know : Here We Go Magic
13 Efterklang : Piramida
Topographical + ethereal.
12 Max Richter : Vivaldi, The Four Seasons
Unfettered + classic.
11 Fiona Apple : The Idler Wheel . . .
Vulnerable + dark. Tragic + frightening. Honest + vital.
10 : : : TIE : : :
Warren Hixson : Hawaiian Underwear (TAPE-ONLY)
Lo-fi + unforgettable. Prolific.
Here We Go Magic : A Different Ship
9 Roomful of Teeth : Roomful of Teeth
Produced by Merrill Garbus. Unpredictable acapella ingenuity.
8 Dirty Projectors : Swing Low Magellan
Sweet continuation of greatness.
7 Matthew E. White : Big Inner
Soulful + bold. Genius.
6 Zammuto : (Self-Titled)
Outrageously bright + rhythmically brave.
5 SoftSpot : Enso
Cycling into itself like a mobius strip, Enso rises and falls, ever wooing listeners into another dimension only Softspot can create. 'Future Cult Icon' rises to a unique climax, unveiling a taste of punk influence and seamlessly shimmering back into the overall feeling of the album.
4 Alt - J : Awesome Wave
This release came to us from England and easily staked its claim on the top of every chart. While bearing classic baroque pop elements, its quirky accents and mixes set it apart in a class all its own. As one of the most musically complex albums of the year it is simply brilliant and celebrates the bizarre quality of Joe Newman's voice amidst mathematical compositions. It feels orchestral while stitched together with masterful pop movements. Ride it.
3 The Soil + The Sun : What Wonder is this Universe!
With this powerful release, Soil + the Sun manages to deftly continue the rich style of their work. Primal drums, and soulful anthems press us into a surreal spiritual dimension that only they manage to stir up from within.
2 Briana Marela : Speak From Your Heart
This record is as demure as its maker. Layers of dreamy melodies drift among one another like dandelion seeds caught on a spring breeze. Though using loops for much of the album, Marela avoids redundancy by unfolding dynamic rhythms and declarative choirs of violins and voices, developing textures that are both unpredictable, uplifting and romantic.
1 Warren Hixson : Cruel Whims
After 6 years without releasing any new recordings, Brent Delventhal emerged with this genre-bending marvel in Richmond, VA. It's a culmination of those signature qualities he developed on 13 previous projects that is both tight and refined. Unavoidably catchy, well-written and beautifully mixed; this is acid surf, this is cabin fi. It possesses everything we love about classic surf-rock divorced from tired cliches and formulaic tendencies. The tone is bold and compelling, making for the most refreshing discovery of the year. It was released in July by Deep Woods Collective on vinyl in a short run of 300.
Nov 30, 2012
Nov 12, 2012
Nov 7, 2012
Just five days in the afterglow of debuting our piece at InLight, and Kontra has released this documentary short. The film unveils our intent and the energy surrounding the work with concise finesse. It's moving and inspiring to have the continued support of this community and the awesome artists hard at work here.
Nov 5, 2012
This past Friday, Dave Watkins + I had the opportunity to debut the product of our recent collaboration at InLight, 1708 Gallery's 5th annual public light-based exhibition. We had been dreaming on this piece since July and never foresaw how well-received it could be until the night of the show. Interstitial Transduction was an audience-driven instrument that appeared like a tree with 8 leaves. When a leaf was tapped, a sound and correlating animation would occur. The sounds and animations were euhponic and complimentary and filled the alleyway of the Visual Art Studio with light and music. Dave also had background source video footage that was emulated via a microphone-led video mix that changed according to the sounds projected in the space. There was a whole lot of color, movement, and excitement going on all night, we had an unforgettable time. To add to the thrill of watching hundreds of people interact with our creation, we were awarded the People's Choice Award. This was by far, the most rewarding and joyful artistic experience I have ever had the privilege of instigating.
Above photograph of Matthew Caldwell from 1708 Gallery.
Below photograph by Kontra RVA.
This is an unsettling of dreams deferred. In this collaboration we aim ::: To pause the ragged paradigms. To shorten the distance between action and effect. To create something euphonic and dynamic together in a crowd-affected piece--of sound and video, light and performance--pulsing within the heart of the city. To draw this community inward, where one touch will change everything. To shorten the distance between ourselves, unfolding something common and inspired. To share, coexist, project, create, and progress.
Oct 28, 2012
A Dream Deferred
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
[Photograph taken in Travnik, Bosnia-Herzegovina, May 2008]
Oct 17, 2012
Cliff Baldwin : Aquebogue, NY
Christie Blizard : Lubbock, TX
Elaine Buckholtz : Jamaica Plain, MA
Johanna Evans-Colley : Brooklyn,NY
Tannaz Farsi : Eugene, OR
Rebecca Ferrell : Richmond, VA
Charlie Glenn : Richmond, VA
Norberto Gomez : Richmond VA
Nathan Gorgen : Columbus, OH
Lisa Hein and Robert Seng : Brooklyn, NY
Nicole Herbert : Harrisburg, PA
Devon Johnson : Centreville, VA
Nelly Kate and Dave Watkins : Richmond, VA
Brian McLean : Smyrna, GA
Rebecca Najdowski : Berkeley, CA
Vesna Pavlovic : Nashville, TN
Jason Peters : Brooklyn, NY
Kate Louise Peterson : New York, NY
Phillip Stearns : Brooklyn, NY
Sasha Waters Freyer : Iowa City, IA
Jacqueline Weaver and Timothy McMurray : Troy, NY
Oct 12, 2012
CHERYL HELLER, 'Where Design is Going and How To Be There', HOW : Nov 2012
Oct 10, 2012
This month, Need Supply Co. debuts its first issue of Human Being, a new publication meant to tangibly illuminate their culture. I am honored to have an essay included in this copy and it was awesome to work with Will Godwin + Cameron Charles Lewis on an early-morning shoot to go along with the piece. Those dark secrets of a solo touring musician are tucked between beautiful photographs of Nicaragua, urban gardens, stories of new endeavors in private restauranteurs, legendary modern designers . . . go pick one up for yourself at the store before they're all gone.
Photograph from Need Supply Co. blog.
Oct 3, 2012
Photo by Rachel Maves
Oct 1, 2012
Flyer by Brent Delventhal
It was a privilege to be interviewed for a piece by Harry Kollatz Jr. in last month's edition of Richmond Magazine entitled, 'Under 30 and on Their Way.' The article featured myself alongside 4 other young artists in RVA AND that beautifully-crafted photograph by Will Godwin (from Need Supply Co.) appeared as the entire page 78! It's off the shelves now but can be found online right HERE.
Sep 12, 2012
Photograph by Shelby Turner.
Sep 11, 2012
Aug 22, 2012
Aug 20, 2012
...from under this rock.
This past week, Style Weekly published a long and definitive article about Matthew E. White, a musician who's hardly new to our scene. He's been living here, helping found an incredible collective (called Patchwork), starting a record label (called Spacebomb), collaborating with Hometapes (!), and making music with amazing artists non-stop...[insert 'living the dream' here]
And also moved. And also thrilled. And also proud.
Aug 19, 2012
He stumbles from his bed, and makes his way into the day over cereal and black coffee. Grumbling small talk and switching on headlamps, an elevator lowers them down into the heart of the sleeping earth.
Just above the surface, the morning is sighing itself awake as he begins this solitary quest. Fifty five degrees. Cotton, flannel, denim, wool, leather. Wood and steel. Trinitrotoluene and nitroglycerine. Clicking-clacking-blasting-lifting-coughing-dripping-pounding-hacking-drilling further toward the darkness.
The entire world is taking nutritional supplements, drinking fluoridated water, laptopping current affairs, jogging on treadmills, warring over petroleum, and proposing to the love of its life--as he is chipping away at the fundamental stuff of progress.
Aug 13, 2012
Dive into this long-awaited release; it's easily one of the best new things you'll put on your turntable all year. With the analog nuance that characterizes Hixson's work, there's a rich compliment between the surf-rock tones he drives on guitars and vocals, the occasional Casio rhythms, and his signature whirring tape echoes. You never have to get me started on Hixson's writing either because I sink into it like a hot spring in autumn. These were pressed by Deep Woods Collective in a run of 200, they come with a hand-stitched songbook, and 50 of them are released with white covers. See to it that this finds its way into your collection soon, as a classic outro to a summer well-lived.
Aug 11, 2012
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
Jul 28, 2012
Jul 19, 2012
After three playful photo shoots with my ever-inspiring friend, Will Godwin, this interview has been posted to the Need Supply blog. He shot all of the photographs with an old 35mm Canon AE-1. I was so grateful to have the opportunity to share my thoughts and ambitions with Miles Quillen, on this publication that I follow on the regular.
[Click on the screenshot below for the full article.]
Also, footage from Meet the Maker series I performed at this spring : : :
Film by Jonathan Hökklo.
Photographs by Will Godwin.
Jul 13, 2012
In your favorite haunts--paint peeling from walls, mullions rusting and growing brittle in concrete frames, graffiti histories layering the narrative, and obsolete tools of industry cluttering the scene--are the things you tuck away for the sake of nostalgia. Your imagination delicately cultivates an amalgam of these things deep within your desires. Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, people are harnessing and realizing a refined manifestation of these qualities. With elements both familiar and reinvigorated, it is approachable and transcendent at once.
You'll know when you arrive and it just might change your life.
BoomBap is a DIY warehouse space in Portland, OR that functions as a community hub for learning, performing, exhibiting, and creating. Its rhythm falls in time with the subcultural heartbeat pulsing beneath its glossy American counterpart; there's hope for us all. A menagerie of electronics evidence the work of fastidious and patient artists. Circuit-bent toys and keyboards display behind glass showcases. A bowl of piezo mics made from bottle caps and zip-ties sits upon the counter top. There's a small gallery tucked into the back of the main space where there's an exhibit of local work. Photocopied fliers announce upcoming 'Drink N Draw' figure-drawing sessions. Murals of wild animals and imaginary scapes tickle its walls. Obscure films cycle through projections behind performing artists. And as you might imagine the people who occupy the space are equally magical.
I had the pleasure of sharing a bill with two of the founders of the space, Derek and Kristen Larson. They call themselves William Ingrid and their stupendous combination of electronic beats and tones harkens at the work of The Blow or Mirah, if they were to fill their work out with more layers and a touch of math. Not to mention, Kristen's soulful stylings could easily rival those of Adele any day.
This unforgettable show happened on my birthday. All of the right Portland people were there to witness what might be my last performance of this sort for a long while. The headlining band, Oscilero was a jet-set threesome comprised of Jason Breeden and Sara Johanne (of Zouaves and Susurrus Station) and an electronic percussionist. They gave me three completely awesome gifts: a heartfelt rendition of Nelly Furtado's 'Say It Right,' an invitation to improvise alongside them for a later song, and old payphone the percussionist, Paul, had converted into a microphone.
Jul 9, 2012
Jun 1, 2012
These zines were made on a shoestring budget, serving as a condensed press kit, a poster (where information can be filled in by the venue), and a they have a download code for a three song demo from ISH ISH. [Printed on 11 x 17, two per page, final size 17 x 5.5]
May 30, 2012
Video by Kontra RVA.
There are some experiences that transcend your context. Time stands still, as the space within your self begins expanding beyond the cage of your ribs, and it feels as if you are immersed into a transformation of every preconception you formerly maintained. Sure, that sounds a bit hyperbolic but on Monday, May 28, 2012, an experience of this sort took place in a house on the south side of the James. First we shared a potluck meal in the back yard of the Bainbridge Collective, and then, began the sounds and projections of Michele Seippel.
Her work is emerging into an abstracted combination of soundscapes and visuals that are alluring and mesmerizing. She stills the audience with imagery that is physiological and familiar while interweaving samples of voice messages, perhaps from her mother, that draw us into her world even futher. It is calculated and intentional, and it captivates you on a subfrequent wave somewhere deep within your chest. Michele Seippel is precocious, ambitious and stunning.
Next, Briana Marela took the floor and expanded the electricity in the air. Her ambient and melodic sounds are easy on the ears like listening through a seashell to transport your mind to the ocean. She welcomed us into her world, not too distant from where we had been with Michele. There we walked through the fields of wildflowers, a feeling of impending adventure in every step. Briana's work is expansive and compelling, melding strokes of both analog and digital tones to beautiful effect. I was ultimately thrilled and inspired to see two ladies a few years younger than myself continuing the electronic experiments, and building such an inviting environment for their listeners.
There is a mezzanine of experience that can be created at a show. It is something cultivated between the audience and the artists and I think it is ultimately my goal to nurture its presence at any given performance. But it is very challenging to bring about, it requires some combination of the following:
-A carefully-curated collection of artists and their order.
-Respect between the artists sharing the bill.
-An intuition for the unspoken needs of the audience (by the artists).
-A repoire that is carefully unfolded by everyone throughout the course of the event.
Everything about this show culminated into one of these 'magical' experiences. Some of the improvisational turns I was able to take were simply a product of how this mezzanine had opened up, where all of us--on the hardwood floors, couches, along the walls, and under the tables--were dwelling together in this breathless, timeless moment that was uniquely OURS.
May 29, 2012
Harding Street Assembly Lab released their 21st compilation on vinyl and I made song #2, which was such a privilege. Sharing grooves with artists like Matt Northrup, White Laces, and Snowy Owls is nothing but sweet. The records were pressed in 6 unique batches and I got my copies just before my show at the 13ainbridge Collective.
Artwork by Matt Klimas
May 28, 2012
by Kontra RVA
May 1, 2012
In their latest video release, SoftSpot has raised the stakes and carved out their distinct territory within the scene. Their intentional aesthetic both visually and musically has never been a mystery but this film stands to define and advance their voice even further. Directed by Ryan Dickie, who also directed "Half a House" (2010), the video not only showcases the austere and spiritual qualities of SoftSpot's work but also the wildly imaginative style of Dickie's cinematography. Also featured are the beautiful costumes and masks, hand made by Savannah Wyatt. The caliber of this proves the mettle of this band and their contemporaries to be true and extraordinary. It whispers the hints of their upcoming release, expected to debut later this year, and undeniably forecasts their bright futures ahead.
Apr 30, 2012
Later in May, we are going to see the release of two incredible bands who have been creating remarkable sounds for years. These bands bring a fresh touch to the scene that has been missing; buried among copious amounts of reverbed-out guitars and vocals. No one's trying to pull the wool over our eyes here; one friend put it best when he said, 'They don't make 'em like this anymore.' The Pharmacy and Warren Hixson are going to pull you back down to your roots and you're going to like it.
The Pharmacy, "In Your Room" : This band has put in some serious mileage together and songs like this evidence their tight dynamic; with masterful flurries of piano and incisive moments of harmony, I dare you to count how many movements they pull off in the span of the 4 minutes...
Warren Hixson is one of Richmond's best kept secrets. This track "Paint the Sink," has his signature surfy tones and a turn of minimalism that guarantees that you'll be tempted to hum its tune while you're waiting in the elevator. While Hixson has previously released several records on a Gainesville-born label, Arkain Records, he'll be releasing "Cruel Whims" on a start up label here in Virginia called Vanish. He's only getting started with this; already, Hixson has several additional records written and recorded, and so we can expect much more out of him in the coming seasons.
Mar 25, 2012
It couldn't be sweeter. After their Transcendental Truth Tour to SXSW and back, The Diamond Center returned home to an open-armed audience at Steady Sounds. They came bearing the much-anticipated gift of their latest 7" release on Funny / Not Funny Records. The new EP was pressed in a limited edition of 300 copies and bears the two singles, "California," and "Bells." These songs tear their live performances wide open; bearing the mark of their sound, they conjure a new level of tension and unveil the essence of Diamond Center magic. You want it all to wash over your mind like a crisp summer wave. Don't hold back, go get yourself a copy [ :)/:( ] and let it thrill and refresh you before it's too late.