New RVA album releases you need to hear

2014 is halfway over and local bands have released some stellar albums. Here’s a sample of some of the great music that has come out this year.

Avers — Empty Light

What do you get when you grab a bunch of members from different popular local bands and throw them together? You get Richmond’s amazing new supergroup Avers. The band, which features members of The Head and the Heart, Hypercolor, Mason Brothers, Farm Vegas, and the Trillions has been making psychedelic noise for a few months now. The group’s debut album Empty Light has thrown them into the national spotlight.

Dead Fame — Vicious Design

Richmond’s new-wave post-punk group Dead Fame released a phenomenal sophomore album earlier this year. It continues the dark, ambient trend that they’re known for, but they definitely take it into a new direction. My favorite track is “Joan Crawford,” which presents vintage Hollywood glamour and “Mommie Dearest” madness over synthesizers and electronic arrangements.

Heavy Midgets — Super King

Heavy Midgets’ latest full-length album, Super King, was inspired by the Asian buffet that used to be on Broad Street. It’s still there, but it’s called something else now. The plates still say Super King, though. Anyway, the power rock band knocked it out of the park with this release. According to the band, it has recurring themes of power, manipulation, and American consumerism, and the sound is kind of a like a loud sonic buffet featuring all of the band’s different influences.

Lightfields — Junior

Lightfields has been delighting Richmond music lovers for the past four years, but with a lack of recorded material and changes to the lineup, we haven’t heard too much from the band. But Junior, the group’s debut full-length record, is well worth the wait. According to the band, the track “ushers in a new, melodically-led direction for the band, drawing influences from band-favorites Dinosaur Jr, Superchunk, and Guided by Voices.” Play this one loud, folks.

Noah-O — Monument Avenue

Richmond-based MC Noah-O delivers a dark, gritty account of his upbringing in Richmond with Monument Avenue, which is full of anger, heartbreak, and inspiration that pulls you back into the underground of the River City. It’s as much a Richmond album as it is a Noah-O album. Numerous friends and fellow hip hop performers, including Taylor Whitelow, Nickelus F, and Radio B, all show up on the album.

Against Grace — Please Don’t Go

After spending years changing and defining their sound, pop-punkers-turned-synth-rockers Against Grace release their new EP Please Don’t Go. By the way, the title single was heavily featured in a Trojan condom commercial and on The Ellen Show. They called themselves the “love child of Neon Trees and Two Door Cinema Club” which you can hear on this release.

Vexine — Live from Nashville

If you haven’t heard blues rockers Vexine, please stop reading right now and listen to their newest album Live from Nashville. I’ll wait….. Back? Good. Now you understand why Live from Nashville is a solid collection of high energy rock songs. It captures a Vexine show in its rawest form and delivers it to the listener with a bow on top. Lead singer Sarah Gleason does her best to seduce listeners while the other members of the band hold nothing back in terms of energy.

Long Arms — Constant Comment

After years of waiting, fans of alt-country rock group Long Arms finally got a new album to listen to. Constant Comment, the follow-up to 2010′s Long Arms to Hold You, is nothing less than amazing. Put on your dancing shoes for this one.

Black Girls — Claire Sinclaire

Richmond’s wildly explosive Black Girls (who are neither black nor girls, DISCUSS!) have worked hard over the last year to put together its new full-length album, Claire Sinclaire, and the result is just as energetic and creative as any live show. Black Girls’ latest effort shows how much they’ve grown as musicians while putting Richmond music on the map.

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Albums to look forward to later this year

We still have another six months to go in 2014, and Richmond bands still have plenty to offer before it’s through. The Trillions will (hopefully) release their much-anticipated follow-up to their amazing debut Tritones. Anousheh reached her Kickstarter goal last month and will be working on her new release. Both White Laces and Hoax Hunters have new albums on the way, Trance and Comfort & Safety, respectively. And rumor has it that The Snowy Owls will have something new out soon.

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Andrew Cothern

Andrew Cothern is the founder and editor of RVA Playlist, a music site that showcases events, concerts, album, show reviews, and opinion pieces that focus on the vibrant local music scene in Richmond.

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