With a musical past like Richmond's, there are plenty of reasons to relive it. Following in the footsteps of last year's Inquisition, Action Patrol and (brief) Sleepytime Trio reunions, three more bands have decided that playing music together is fun again:
Dear New Kids on the Block, you no longer have the most significant band reunion of 2008. Hold on to your skinny-legged jeans, kids, because Richmond's beloved indie-rock outfit Denali is back. Well, almost. Guitarist Cam DiNunzio tells Style Weekly that the band plans to play The National July 5 with its original lineup intact. DiNunzio says, "It all came together pretty easily actually: In January of this year, we all found ourselves back in Richmond after a few years of what one might call 'life errands' in other cities and other bands. I had always thought of the band pretty fondly, and when Keeley mentioned that everyone else was into it, I couldn't imagine not giving it another shot. It feels even more exciting this time around." DiNunzio is rejoined by Maura Davis, her brother Keeley and Jonathan Fuller.
After a three-year hiatus, drummer Russ Jones and guitarist Rob Huddleston of the Foundation Band and bassist Donovan Greer have reformed Ann Beretta. The band will play punk-rock anthems from all of its records at the Canal Club show April 26.
A little less than 10 years after their last show at Twisters, pop-punks Funsize will be back onstage May 30 at Alley Katz. Joining them will be Us and Chuck, featuring members of Knucklehed, who will play all Knucklehed songs. The bros in Funsize sum it up nicely: "We may actually feel the '90s creeping into Alley Katz, and our shirts may actually grow into XLs before our eyes!"
Channeling the streamlined fusion of Tom Petty and the Rolling Stones, the second release from Horsehead, "Welcome to Horsehead," is filled with timeless hooks and harmonies. Although many of the songs have a deep undercurrent of melancholy, the album is unified by the cohesive element of hope.
After a six-year run, experimental rockers A New Dawn Fades are splitting up. They'll play their last shows at Plan 9 and Toad's Place April 26. The Toad's Place lineup will also include indie-shoegaze sextet Cinemasophia, which is laying down tracks for its third record in Brooklyn, and Coald Toast, a new experimental trio consisting of members from Foxes Through Fences.
With indie-rock songs showcasing Hammond organ, piano, calliope and even accordion, it's no surprise One Friend's latest record is very different from the first. "This Dignity" was recorded by Allen Bergendahl (A Roman Holiday, The Orioles, Anousheh Khalili) at Viking Recording and will be available at the end of April.
Obviously you'll need more than earplugs for Neckbrace, a new black-metal band made up of members from Battlemaster, La Mere Vipere and the Misled. The group's already recorded a few tracks of their audio onslaught, which will work to help chiropractors in need. Catch it before Battlemaster heads out on summer tour through the Midwest and East Coast.
Mensrea also has an early summer tour in the works to support its second full-length "Media Coil Interrupt." Produced by guitarist Cory Smoot (GWAR, Municipal Waste) at Karma Studios, this new record combines their love of all things heavy and fast. Not every track will break your face, however, as there is one acoustic number showcasing the ghostly voice of Cradle of Filth's Sarah Jezebel Deva. The CD release show is April 24 at the Canal Club.
Richmond roots-rockers Palominos beat out 600 other bands for the opportunity to play the Langerado Music Festival in south Florida. Despite less than perfect weather, the band reports that it was an incredible experience to play on the same stage as R.E.M., the Beastie Boys and 311. You can check out some festival snapshots at www.palominosmusic.com. Their CDs "Rev. 1" and "Live at the Outer Banks" are both available on iTunes.
Ed Savoy (Bullistic) has formed a side project that may be considered a bit of a metal super-group. Gear Head is Ed on guitar, Bubba Farmer from Katana Mantra on drums, Dave Fugman from Immortal Avenger on bass and Erik Baumann formally of Fallen Under on vocals. The band is writing its debut album and performing shows throughout the region.
Richmond rockers the Sort formed early in 2006, starting as an intimate exchange of musical ideas between guitarist Clark Fraley and vocalist Lauralam Thomas, both formerly of lovable Atari-rock band Rockbot. It didn't take long to recruit bassist Jon Bone (Lazycain), drummer Briant Murphy (Sau, The Tori) and second guitarist Steve Burner (Rockbot). Their potential has been fully realized on the debut full-length "Resentment, Despair, and Other Amusements," recorded and produced mostly by themselves. -- Compiled by Mike Rutz of "Activate" on 97.3, Jay Smack of "Studio B" on 102.1 and Hilary Langford