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The 2012 Music Issue

Retro beats, bands on the rise, free music and the Virginia sounds of our first Shadrock Music Festival.

  • Eliza Childress

Forget real-time music sharing and online cloud computing. I know a guy who still listens to music on eight-track tape.

The dude's got one of those '70s portable eight-track players — it looks like it came straight out of a blaxploitation film — and has built up quite a collection of those dated plastic cartridges: Bowie, the Cars, Isley Brothers, Led Zep, P-Funk. Enjoying music this way may limit his tastes severely — they stopped manufacturing eight-track tapes in 1988 — but that's how he likes it.

It just goes to show you: The music industry may try to discontinue a format, and technology may allow us to listen with greater ease, but that doesn't mean music lovers are going to go along willingly. To some, how they listen is as important as what they listen to.

Today, while we contemplate the new sound capabilities and pitfalls that accompany the modern distribution of music — the apps, the streams, the be-your-own-DJ downloads — it's important to remember that it's still your music, whatever the format may be. The 11th annual Music Issue explores many of the ways we enjoy our favorite sounds — on old-school vinyl, online with Spotify or SoundCloud, live on stage at an outdoor festival or curled up with an iPod, a Walkman, perhaps even a Vibe Body Sound unit.

And we have just the soundtrack to accompany these explorations: Style Weekly's "Sounds of Richmond, Vol. 5." Embedded and available for download below, this collection showcases 22 stellar tracks from some of the Richmond area's finest music-makers, from country to hip-hop, rock to jazz, loud to quiet, professionally produced to homegrown.

Because how we listen to music will always be in flux, but the art of listening will never go out of style. - Don Harrison

The Sounds of Richmond Vol. 5

Inside the Richmond Music Scene

The Sounds of Richmond Vol. 5 Track List
A look behind the scenes of the music in our 2012 RVA compilation

It's All You
From cloud computing to skin vibrations, the new ways we enjoy our music.

Resonant Man
Pitchfork's Mark Richardson charts the changes in our ears.

Big Is Beautiful
The RVA Big Band at Balliceaux is free in more ways than one.

Famous Almost
On the trail with Road Kill Roy.

Kepone Still Sick
Reunited Richmond cult rockers earn new audience respect.

Don't Cuff Their Stuff
Kid Is Qual adds two basses and a talk box to achieve a danceable sound.

Self-Regulating Melody
Charlottesville's Invisible Hand keeps you humming along.

Nothing Is Off-Limits
Photosynthesizers kick off Shadrock with a muscular pulse.

Cosmic Clusters
Artist Eliza Childress picks up good vibrations.

Spin Dizzy
Getting into the Grooves on Record Store Day.

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