Fordian Times

September 4th, 2015 · No Comments · By

Friday August 4th: @Michie Building, Studio 204: James Ford Art Show/ Dance Party  7:00

Saturday August 5th: @Anteroom: Battlemaster / Salvaticus / Miami Nights 9:00 , $8

Saturday August 5th: @Tea Bazaar: Groam & Joan Son of Groam /New Turks / Skullkid  9:00, $7

Sunday August 6th: @Anteroom: Pill / New Boss / International Friendly / Lug Weight 7:00  $6

 

 

ford

If James Ford was still writing Nailgun, as he did for so long, his post for this weekend would be a model of thorough professionalism, honestly felt and thoughtfully considered; enthusiastic, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. But he is not, and I can think of no better way of honoring his legacy than with a slapdash and irresponsible posting, larded with irrelevancies and tinseled with sham, so that we may all be reminded of what we lost when he left us, of that classical Nailgun not yet fallen into lazy, ignorant, and self-indulgent decadence.

<moment of silence>

Nonetheless, not all is lost for Charlottesville, Fordianly-wise. James has come back for a week to take up an art residency, and Friday he will be showing his work and hosting a dance party. You have probably seen his collage-work around town or on this website in the form of of show posters. In the era of Photoshop he works the old-fashioned way, cutting paper with a blade, layering, and photocopying. In taking such pains over ephemera, haphazardly pinned to cork-board and taped to walls, destined for the trash bin, he shows a true artistic spirit, a spirit of respect for the integrity and vitality of the image for it’s own sake, a desire to make every creative act count, to enrich its articulation with all possible precision, density, and imagination. This week he has had the opportunity and burden of free creation, and we will see what he has come up with. Plus some sweet tunes and boogie.

Saturday at the Teahouse looks nice and heavy. I’d be particularly interested in seeing Groam & Joan Son of Groam with their sax, bass, and drums lineup. Unfortunately that show is going against the metal of the Anteroom, including the mighty doom of Miami Nights, which in a bold pincer move attacks the Gates of Heaven with both deep chthonic tunneling and a screaming that comes across the sky. If they seem to be moving slow it is because they are already there.

Following up on the previous post, could it be that the reason Devon Sproule did not play a show at The Garage Wednesday night is that she has been kidnapped by New Boss? Is she the Patty Hearst to their Symbionese Liberation Orchestra? It would be a lie to say so, but can anyone prove that it is not so? Probably, but New Boss is playing Sunday to testify on their own behalf, and past evidence suggests she’ll be the one with the microphone. Plus other bands, including Pill with a sax and a post-punk attitude, and International Friendly who may or may not be playing their last show ever but who did have a nice set recently above the art shop, and Lug Weight whose boasting name will be either vindicated or demolished within seconds of their taking the stage and striking that first chord against mortality.

 

 

 

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The Mensa Select Mastered, Baptized, Born Again

September 3rd, 2015 · No Comments · By

Thursday September 3rd @Champion: The Mensa Select 15 Year Anniversary Listening Party, 7:00

If you are disappointed Devon Sproule is not playing at The Garage tonight, well so am I. We had that show listed on our calendar, I was getting ready to write about it, but it turned out not to be a real thing. I don’t know what happened there. Probably Chinese hackers jealous of the singer-songwriting talent that American communism can produce, deploying their Maoist tactics of misinformation.

But at least this is real, frighteningly real. The Mensa Select was a disaster-rock band that straddled the turn of the century. From Richmond, they also had a foothold here in Charlottesville, straddling as well the great divide between the two proud and mutually hostile Virginia city-states. If you did not know The Mensa Select then, or do not know any of the former members now, then I suppose there is no reason for you to give a damn about this event, though also no reason not to stop by for a beer or several while it is going on.  For those who did/do, here is Nicholas explaining it:

15 years ago, four friends scraped together enough money to record a session at the original Sound of Music. 2″ tape, no automation.

Bryan Hoffa engineered the session and Miguel lent us a snare drum. The last day while mixing I asked Bryan “So when are you going to master it?” “Oh we don’t do mastering here.” “How much would it cost?” “Maybe {more money than we had}.”

So we duped a few 100 CD’s (unmastered) over the years with many handmade sleeves.

Well, it’s done, it’s mastered, come give a listen and have a few liquid breads. CHAMPION is kind enough to host
whomever breezes through.

DJ Phil Free will spin some era-appropriate tunes before and after the defrocking.

And Sean Dart is the MASTERER!!!!

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Kylesa, Pontiak, Caustic Casanova at the Southern

August 31st, 2015 · No Comments · By

Monday August 31st @Southern: Kylesa / Pontiak / Caustic Casanova  9:00, $17

 

Like Parisians and psychoanalysts, Nailgun has, for the most part, taken off the month of August. But attention must be paid to this show, which ends the month with a bang, and should at least get this brief salute. A heavy show, a rockin’ show, but serious and civilized. You might want to let this be the ceremonial weapon that puts wild sunny summer to rest, and begins the season of harvest, with its sweet draughts of pleasure under somber shadows.

 

 

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Avant-Waynesboro: Jason Ajemian’s Folklords

August 12th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

Thursday, August 13th@The Tea Bazaar: Jason Ajemian: Folklords  9:00, $7

At first Jason Ajemian was just another jazz bassist from Waynesboro, a big-talking fancy-plucking long-string dreamer of the sort you find wherever players of unwieldy instruments are allowed to congregate. We payed him no particular mind. This was way back, before people started putting phones in their pockets, preferring to keep them on tables or desks, or mounted on walls like prize trophies. He was just a kid then, we all were, except the old people, who are now dead. He showed up as the younger brother of his older brother, and of no great physical stature, and from Waynesboro, playing an instrument whose most famous practitioner was a cartoon character named Pig-Pen. And yet, even then, there were rumors of his talent.

Eventually he moved out to the big city, turned pro, and started hanging out with musicians who had big names in small circles, but he kept coming back.  He came to play and we went out to listen. And over the years we got to witness the evolution of a musician. Not just a fine instrumentalist, but a composer and a leader and a creative force, always carrying the promise of something new when he appeared, a new group or project or musical enthusiasm. And so we came to look forward to these appearances, as new chapters in a long-running story that we had become invested in.

Music is a temporal art, not just in the way that other arts are not, but also in the way all arts are temporal. They have history, the history of the art, the artist, and the artwork. If you come to see Jason and his bandmates (drums,sax, electric guitar, bit of messing around with electronics) play Thursday night you will have an experience of duration, but that duration will just be a moment within a greater duration. And you will hear that even if you don’t know it. It is the richness of the music. Particularly since it comes out of jazz (better to say out of than in, since exploring new territories is the essence of it), with its endless embroidering of its own time. The music of Folklords includes elements of the compositions of Monk, Mingus, and Sun Ra, created years ago by great men now dead . Layered in with that are the compositions of Ajemian, carefully constructed over some time before performance. Added to that are the improvisations of the group, performed in the moment, of immediate inspiration but coming out of the full length of the life each musician has experienced. Different spans of time bound together into a unity, giving a sense of transcendence, of eternity, that is the gift of art, and maybe music especially.

I have listened to the album Folklords (of course I don’t know close the live set will be to it). You can listen to one track from it on Youtube above. It’s impressive, dense and chewy, out there but grounded, dark but warm. A lot of skittering, but with some heavy bottom to hold it together. A very textural free music, sometimes jazzy, sometimes rocking, sometimes something else. The one thing that challenged my appreciation was the vocals. I am not much of a fan of arty spoken word in music, or sing-speak, and there is a good bit of that. But even if you share my aversion — and I imagine millions do — give this a chance. Sometimes the vocals won me over and even when not they provided an interesting irritation. I am eager to see how this aspect of the music plays out live, with human presence. Maybe much better. Even now, listening to the album a second time as I write, I am liking it more. It is a joy when something makes you like it more, like certain people you never forget, or booze.

Highly recommended to some, who know who they are, but also to others, who only God knows who they are — they must take a leap of faith, and gamble with their evening, and their seven dollars. Will they dare?

 

 

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Under The August Moon, The Borrowed Beams

August 7th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

Friday, August 7th @Crozet Pizza at Buddhist Biker: Borrowed Beams of Light / Ned Oldham (w/ Jordan Perry?)  10:00, $5

Dim as the borrowed beams of moon and stars 
To lonely, weary, wandering travellers
Is reason to the soul; and as on high
Those rolling fires discover but the sky
Not light us here, so reason’s glimmering ray
Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way,
But guide us upward to a better day:
And as those nightly tapers disappear
When day’s bright lord ascends our hemisphere,
So pale grows reason at religion’s sight, 
So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural light.

– John Dryden

This might be the source of Borrowed Beams of Light’s lovely name, though I have always assumed it to be a reference to Lucifer, possibly from a line by Milton too obscure for even Google to find out. There is something infernal about the Beams. Their music may come across as good-natured pop rock, but there is a swig of Coke following. Consider the two videos above. The second one is blatantly Satanic, but I find the first one even more sinister. Those little balls of light are absolutely terrifying. Early on the Beams found inspiration in the Voynich Manuscript, widely suspected of being diabolical in origin and certainly indecent in its indecipherability. Principal Beam Adam Brock was formerly in a band called “Invisible Hand”, which is just econ jargon for deviltry.  I have never tried to listen to their music backwards (is there an app for that?) but I have no doubt that the experience would lead the listener straight into madness, glue-sniffing, and an early grave.

Tonight is a particularly good time to see the Beams as it is Ray’s Farewell Show. Drummer Ray Szwabowski will be playing for the last time with the band, as he is apparently due to spontaneously combust at the end of the set.

Ned Oldham, by contrast, would appear to be a completely wholesome Americanist, but he too has some devil skills in him, Daniel Webster be damned, and can be counted on for a good show. On his website it says he will be playing with Jordan Perry (of New Boss), though I am not seeing that elsewhere (i.e. Facebook). The Crozet Pizza site makes no mention of Oldham or Perry and instead insists that the Smiling Islanders will be playing. Whose hand do you see in this confusion?

Thoroughly recommended in any case.

In conclusion, here is album by the great African master Francis Bebey, apropos of nothing but the sweetness of the jams, and that  I owe my knowledge of Bebey to Jordan Brunk, of Borrowed Beams and CP&BBB.

 

 

 

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A Left & Right / Electronic Magnolia / Roller Derby / Shagwüf Weekend

July 30th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

Friday the 31st:
@Tea Bazaar: Left & Right / Neat / Wish List  9:00, $7
@Magnolia: Willelm BlagbyrnError Macro / Texas Pete / The Voice of Saturn / Two Ton Trapezoid  9:00, $donation

Saturday the 1st:
@Main Street Arena: Charlottesville Derby Dames vs. Ithaca League of Women Rollers 4:00, $12 advance/$15 at the door
@Crozet Pizza at Buddhist Biker: MC and the Exfriends / Shagwüf  10:00, no cover

THIS POST IS A STUB, A WORK IN PROGRESS, A FALLOW FIELD AWAITING THE PLANTING SEASON, THE FARMER’S HOE & SEED, THE GENTLE RAINS FROM HEAVEN, THE JOYOUS EARTHBREAKING AND REACHING FOR THE SKIES, THE GRACIOUS FLOWERING INTO MATURITY, THE FRUITING THEREOF AND GENTLE ROT AND DROOP, THE EQUALLY GRACIOUS LEAVETAKING, THE OPEN CASKET OF A LIFE WELL LIVED, WELL WORTH LIVING. THIS POST IS ALL POSSIBILITY NOW, LIKE THE EVENTS IT LOVINGLY RECOMMENDS TO YOU. THIS POST IS NOT YET WRITTEN, MAY NEVER YET BE WRITTEN, MAY WITHER ON THE VINE, UNPLUCKED, SUSTAINING NOTHING, LIKE DUST IN THE WIND OR A BLISTER IN THE SUN ON THE ROAD TO HELL IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, DESTROYER OF WORLDS.

Resuming… If you are reading this you probably know Left & Right, formerly of Charlottesville, a favorite of former Nailgunner and Tea Bazaar impresaria Amanda. Though if you have  not seen them since their days here, let me tell you, they have only gotten stronger over time. Tight, energetic 90′s-style indie rock, sure to give a satisfying buzz of collective effervescence. If you like them you should also enjoy Wish List, who play in a similar vein. The video below shows a highlight from the last time I saw them, when they suddenly busted out with Pentagram’s classic “Forever My Queen”. Don’t be mislead though, this is not a metal band. Neat should fit in with the other two, while leaning in a more pop-punk direction.

For Magnolia’s Space in Space show I will copy from the Facebook page:

Willelm Blagbyrn – Fredricksburg Modular Synth 

Error Macro – Drumming that’s out of this world along to your favourite ever game soundtracks

Texas Pete – The future sounds of the south

The Voice Of Saturn – Charlottesville Modular Synth mainstay

Two Ton Trapezoid – Space Jazz gods

Magnolia is always a wild card, one usually worth playing. You will probably find something there to make your night memorable.

Fate has always intervened to keep me from seeing roller derby, but it seems like an obviously Good Thing. Plus, the Derby Dames secretly run this town and you want to stay on their good side.

The MC in MC & The Exfriends is Matt Curreri; of his his exfriends I can tell you nothing, they might be totally different from the Exfriends of the seven-year-old video below (note: I have since learned, through investigative cook-out attendance, that Jesse Fiske, a reputable Belmont musician and surprise groom, is one of the Exfriends). I think we have already established the excellence and pure necessity of Shagwüf. Don’t miss them. Let Sally Rose’s bass carry you off into the far groovier life you are afraid to think you deserve.

 

 

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That Sweet Teahouse Guitar, & Garage Jazz

July 30th, 2015 · 1 Comment · By

Thursday, Aug. 30

@Tea Bazaar: Chuck Johnson / Rachel Devorah Trapp / Alpha Decay  9:00, $8

@The Garage: Mike Claudill Quartet  8:00, $donation

Here is the word on tonight’s show:

CHUCK JOHNSON: Chuck Johnson is a composer and musician residing in Oakland, CA. He approaches his work with an ear towards the faults and instabilities that reveal latent beauty, and with a focus on American Primitive guitar, experimental electronics, and “folk minimalist” composition.

RACHEL DEVORAH TRAPP: composer / sound artist / improvising hornist

ALPHA DECAY: Lil huffy (Emigdio) get’s droney and noisy with a dash of incense 

To learn more about Chuck Johnson (locally sourced) you can got over here. This kind of topnotch solo acoustic guitar music is a Tea Bazaar specialty; if you haven’t checked it out before you ought to, and tonight offers a good opportunity. Let your mind fall into that string space.

Late Addition: Jazz at The Garage also sounds pretty good.

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Matthew E White / Sleepwalkers

July 29th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

Tonight over at The Southern, Richmond VA’s Matthew E. White will finally be coming to the ville to bring us his amazing mellow yet heavy packed singer songwriter jams. His most recent album Fresh Blood is one of the my favorite albums of the year so far and it continues on the same trajectory of the beautiful material of 2012s Big Inner but with a little bit of a more striped back just more focused energy. Caught him back at the Hopscotch Festival in 2012 with I believe a 30 person band and it was just an absolutely incredible performance with lots of rich sounds and worlds being created in a fashion very similar to that of an early Randy Newman but with a solid modern twist. So yeah I really couldn’t be more excited to see him play tonight so sup cville be at this one tonight.

Opening for the show is another Richmond act aka Sleepwalkers who mix 70s rock smoothness with indie rock beats to a decently satisfying pop tunes. Might just be worth showing up on time for it.

Doors: 7PM
Show: 9PM
$$12$$

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Weird Mob, Kyle, Sowashes Thigh High Tie Dye

July 25th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

SATURDAY, JULY 25TH @T-Bazaar: Weird Mob/The Kyle Sowashes/Thigh High Tie Dye  9:00  $7

Weird Mob once again will be casting their sinister spell of upbeat grooves at the Teahouse tonight, charming their audience, expanding their cult, poppy as they want to be, blithely unconcerned with all law and order beyond the harmonic code and the safety manuals of electronic gizmos, toasters, and amps. Approach with care, caution, and curious goodwill; enjoy, but do not let them kill you for blood magic. They are accompanied by two bands of indie disposition, one from Columbus and one from Nashville, though the Columbus band, The Kyle Sowashes, have a song — you can find it at the link above — called “Richmond, VA” that makes you wonder if they have some VA roots somewhere among them, or just visited Richmond once and found it inspiring, as so many have. Thigh High Tie Dye makes music to make people happy; if your interest lies more along the lines of tie dyeing thigh highs then you should consult the video below.

Elsewhere in town, the Hackensaw Boys will be wreaking their terrible revenge.

 

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Killer Ghost, Nerve City, Winstons Rock the Tea

July 24th, 2015 · 1 Comment · By

FRIDAY THE 24TH @TEA BAZAAR: Killer Ghost / Nerve City / Winstons  9:00, $7

I had forgotten this was going on and was looking forward a quiet night of contemplative time-killing, but once again a good-looking Teahouse show is here to ruin the dream of hermitancy and, through the sheer power of ROCK, drag even the most lethargic spirit out into the downtown whirl. Tonight’s show has a 60′s flavor, each of the bands in its own way drawing on the broken dreams of that decade. Seattle’s Killer Ghost is a garage psych band, with the organ and the reverb and the attitude. Nerve City is the project of Jason Boyer, who spent a time here in Charlottesville, working at Acme Tattoo. The Velvets and the Stones are the bands that come up in considerations of Nerve City. It’s driving through the night music that focuses the wrung-out passions into a dark tuneful straight-line force. Winstons is a garagey soul-rock duo, sometimes slow and sometimes fast but always dramatic, drums and guitar and aching vocals. They all sound good to me, see if they sound good to you.

So it’s one more Tea Bazaar show that you should not miss. Shake off your sleepiness or bowling plans or drinking-in-the-woods plans, your late dinner engagement or need to watch a movie by Pixar or Truffaut, and make your way to the ROCK.

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