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Inside Track

Welcome to the Richmond music scene. What do you need to know?


Positivity and social change through music is the mantra of futuristic hip-pop trio Spaceboxx. Together, Richmond natives Melanie “Lani” Vazquez, Lavell “Charged-Up” Williams and Treyvon “TraKnerD” Woolridge represent a powerful, almost supernatural, musical force. Williams, who by 5 was performing with MC Lyte, has used his talents to inspire change before. As a member of local group Divine Sunz, he helped coordinate an annual crime prevention event for children. The new Spaceboxx single, “Spaceboxx Stereo,” is available through iTunes and Amazon.

When your band members come from the Ululating Mummies as well as the Orthotonics and the Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, you can expect lots of genre blending and loads of humor. As comfortable performing on the street as in a theater, Happy Lucky Combo delivers with its first EP, “Carnival of Sound,” which stirs klezmer, zydeco, tango and blues into a unique musical soup. Meanwhile, Richmond Indigenous Gourd Orchestra, which plays instruments hand-carved from locally grown gourds, will perform its self-described “paleolithic lounge music” at Dogwood Dell's Festival of the Arts on July 13.

If the earth-shattering sounds of Cough don't make you plug your ears in horror, then you'll be pleased to hear the band has signed to seminal metal label Relapse Records. The band's finishing up a new full-length with producer Sanford Parker, whose work includes albums by Pelican and Minsk. “Ritual Abuse” should be out by fall, just in time for the cold-weather blues. As Cough puts it, “Hopefully you all feel as miserable listening to it as we did creating it.”

After farming together for a year in South America, Jameson Price and Laney Sullivan have returned to Richmond with a new musical project. Lobo Marino, which translates to seal or sea calf in Spanish, incorporates influences from Latin American culture to create bright indie-folk songs. Price, formerly of noise-rock act Our Stable Violent Star, handles guitar, vocals and various noises, while Sullivan, from old-time trio Arise Sweet Donkey, harmonizes and plays accordion and piano. For the first album, Price asked his former bandmates to help fill out Lobo Marino's sound, including Nathaniel Roseberry, now with Street Pizza, on trombone, trumpet, mandolin, banjo and drums, and David Donaldson on drums. “Keep Your Head Up,” recorded with Lance Koehler at Minumum Wage, is out now.

Personal and professional differences ruin many bands, but sometimes taking time off can reignite the collective fire. After taking a year and a half hiatus, hard-rock group Bullistic has reassembled with founding members Ed Savoy on guitar, Nelson Braswell on guitar and vocals, drummer Wyatt Slack and new bassist Ant Holt. In celebration of the band's 10-year anniversary, Bullistic hits the road performing the best songs off its four studio albums, including a hometown show July 9 at the Canal Club. Plans also include a greatest-hits CD, a career retrospective DVD and a brand-new record, so keep your fingers crossed.

True, Hot Lava's last show was a few weeks ago, but it's not leaving you hanging. Before drummer Jared Sosa departs, he's recording the band's new, and likely last, full-length for an early 2011 release. We'll have more information as it becomes available, but according to lead singer and guitarist Allison Apperson: “It sounds different! That's all I got.”

Inside Track is compiled by Mike Rutz of “Activate!” on 97.3-FM WRIR.


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