Aida Victoria, Shana Falana, Sarah White Tonight At Tea

September 26th, 2015 · No Comments · By

SATURDAY SEPT. 26: @Tea Bazaar:   Aida VictoriaShana FalanaSarah White  9:00, $8

A very strong line-up tonight at the Teahouse. Sarah White you know, or are in need of knowing: one of Charlottesville’s premier singer-songwriters. Shana Falana is both a person and her band, which shoe-gazes, dream-pops, and reverbs itself to sweet sky-streaked pop perfection. We might be catching Aida Victoria at the beginning of a great career, and never have the chance to see her in such an intimate, tea-soaked space again. That’s what a lot of people are expecting, anyway. Her music’s got a swampy bluesy southern thing going on within a clean-lined modish indie package, an effective bullet for all kinds of campaigns and instigations. She can probably aim a whole lot of feeling at a very precise target. Come see her now, at the Twisted Branch, before your stuck having to see her at The Southern, The Jefferson, or on the television.




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Listening To Thursday

September 24th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

Thursday September 24th:

@Tea Bazaar: Jacob Wick/Blood Moon/Peter Bussigel & Travis Thatcher/Golden Glasses 9:00, $7

@The Southern: Post Sixty Five/Devon Sproule and Friends 8:30, $10

@The Garage: Luray  8:00, $donation

Sadly, I am too pressed for time to give this night of music its due, and will have to block quote, not even taking the time to come up with a good Althusser joke or a discussion of the sounds of the space of the teahouse. Devon didn’t have a write-up at the Southern site, but it does appear that this time we are not lying when we say she will be playing. It’s a good night of music, I hope you make it out.


Jacob Wick

The rain in its avoided effects is a solo trumpet performance and listening exercise loosely based on a late essay by French philosopher Louis Althusser. In the essay, Althusser writes of subjects, objects, and events – you, that tree, a strike – passing through time as rain passes through the sky: forever in parallel, only meeting by a chance wind. In the performance, I will sit with the audience, in a circle, square, or other closed shape. We will listen to the space around us and place the sounds of the space along a horizontal plane, privileging none of them, allowing those that intersect to intersect, those that do not intersect to pass forever in parallel. The trumpet performance will become one of those sounds.

This night will be part of a midwest and eastern tour celebrating the release of the rain in its avoided effects (relay new composers 007) on Relay Records.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon is an improvised music ensemble consisting of Matthew Burtner on soprano saxophone, Rachel Devorah Trapp on French Horn, Ryan Maguire on pedal steel guitar, and Kevin Davis on cello. 

As colleagues in the UVa music department, the group formed in 2014 due a shared interest in the possibilities of free improvisation. The project has since come to serve as a forum for research into the possibilities for real-time composition and experimentation with the outer limits of instrumental technique. 

Due to the unusual instrumentation and their varied backgrounds as performers and composers, the group is able to draw on a number of diverse stylistic and instrumental traditions, allowing for the spontaneous creation of a kaleidoscopic array of musical textures during performance.

Peter Bussigel and Travis Thatcher
Description: Peter and Travis will create an
electro-acoustic-magnetic-ambient-meditative-noisy-sound collage.

Golden Glasses – The bestestestestest drummer in town yo.


Born from the mind of songwriter and frontman Hicham Benhallam, the Charlottesville-based band Post Sixty Five has been described as both moody and romantic, feverishly tugging at the heartstrings of its listeners with fragile guitar lines driven by a thunderous rhythm section. Formed in October of 2013, Post Sixty Five brings Benhallam’s devastating images to life with dizzy, delicate melodies and disarmingly earnest performances that weigh heavy on the heart.

Their debut EP, “I Think We’ll Be Okay,” explores spectrums of longing and desire in the style of indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie and The National. Recorded and produced by Blue Sprocket Sound owner Chris Jackson, “I Think We’ll Be Okay” wrestles with the troublesome, childlike sadness that threatens to tear us down as we grow up.

“Banjo-toting District songstress Shannon Carey might have named her band, Luray, after the tiny Shenandoah Valley town, but she reaches beyond the simplistic nature of old-time mountain songs, mixing them with undertones of indie rock experimentation. On Luray’s debut album, “The Wilder,” the standouts are Carey’s radiant voice, which fluctuates between soothing and soaring, and her melodic banjo strumming. Beneath the surface, though, keyboard layers, subtle electric riffs and well-placed echoes set the mood.” – Washington Post

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September 16th, 2015 · Comments Off · By

All right folks so I’m back from a self imposed relaxation exile to continue being the most illiterate Nailgun writer there ever was as well as bring you as always a good old round up of what you should do with your night of nights in this beautiful pre fall utopia we call mid September

Over at the IX Art Park at Henley’s Auction House is the real amazing Kevin Greenspon from Los Angels who does a real tight noisy drone ambient type of thing. Caught him in Richmond years ago and he killed it with some real spaced out jams that made me feel quite sleepy as well as just totally fulfilled. Also opening this show is the locally legendary and always amazing Grand Banks who sets every time are always quite different but usually just like Kevin Greenspon are quite noisy & droned out & are usually quite inthralling and even a little mind blowing. Definitely make sure to get their early to catch these guys play cause they don’t do play as many shows as they used to and you’d be a fool to miss them (for real). Anyway this bad boy starts at 9PM and will be 5 dollars.

Now happening over at The Southern we have The Good Old War coming through town bringing that indie folk WRNR type sound that seems to be blowing up The Southern these days. Should be a good enough show if you want to chill with your fellow Charlottesvillian and keep on living in some sort of new-age folk based Virginia tradition. Also opening for this is Pete Hill who from quick youtube glancing seems to be doing a solid 60s throw back pop solo endeavor which is almost always a solid affair. Doors for this show are at 6PM and the show is 15 dollars.

Also the quite impressive Strugill Simpson is playing The Jefferson tonight but that show is SOLD OUT. So yeah maybe you might get lucky and can scalp a ticket if you don’t have one but more than likely you aint going to this one.

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Nakatani Part IV: The Gonging

September 12th, 2015 · 1 Comment · By


@The Garage: Andrew Aylward  / Ned Oldham 8:00, $donation

@The Haven: Nakatani Gong Orchestra 8:00, $12

It’s a damn shame that Andrew Aylward and Ned Oldham have to go against the gongs. On another night their show would be the clear choice for the music-goer. And it remains so for anyone who wants to hear songs sung and guitars strummed in the way that made this country great, before it was brought low by a conspiracy of harpists and bucket-drummers. A concert of droning bowed gongs is not for everyone, and if you are one of those it is not for then you should consider heading over to The Garage to greet the September night with Aylward and Oldham.

But there is no question that the Nakatani Gong Orchestra is the Event of the evening. Tatsuya Nakatani is a brilliant percussionist who has come through town several times, blowing the minds of all who hear. He is an adventurous experimentalist who always stays grounded, attentive and true to the pure beauty in sound of resonant objects. Nakatani will be performing a solo set before the main event, which should itself justify your attendance. Then he will bring out a crew of local volunteers, mostly first-time gongists, who workshopped with him earlier in the day, to conduct them as they bow an array of gongs. This use of local neophyte performers is a defining aspect of the Gong Orchestra, and based on my experience with similar projects it should help give the event a special feel, creating a communal sense among the audience members as well as the participants, blurring the distinction between the two groups. The overwhelming otherworldly space-filling time-expanding sounds of the gongs will also help. It is quite possible that your soul will be stirred, and then poured onto the floor, in a puddle, to mingle with the souls of others, in a way that will later become embarrassing to talk about. Or you might become bored. But it will certainly be an experience like few others.

In accordance with the hazily perceived, if not actual, wishes of Mr. Nakatani, we would like to expressly note that this event is not The Gong Show, a gong bath, or for spiritual ceremonial purposes. It has no association with Chuck Barris, Sony Pictures Television, or the National Broadcasting Corporation, and any spiritual effects of this musical concert are the sole responsibility of the attendee and his or her affiliates, be they angelic, demonic, totemic, or familiar. Consult your physician before attending this concert while under the influence powerful psychedelic medications or while pregnant with a human child. Seek prompt medical attention if you experience heart palpitations, dry-mouth, or symptoms of bliss that persist for a period of more than four hours. Gongs are not toys.

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Fordian Times

September 4th, 2015 · Comments Off · 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




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 · Comments Off · 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 · Comments Off · 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


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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