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The 2014 Music Issue

An aural history of River City. Plus, our annual free album: Sounds of Richmond, Vol. 7.

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They say that history is written by the winners. And those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. What I haven't heard them say yet is: Alternative histories sometimes have the best stories.

That was the theory, anyway, behind this year's music issue. It's been awhile since we explored some context about the history of Richmond's lovable little music scene that keeps right on doing its thing, no matter who becomes the next Austin, or Portland. So we hit up a cross-section of musicians, artists, promoters and fans who have seen the decades play out. We asked them to recount their vivid memories and for a sense of what the scene was like.

What emerged was an alternative, scattered and abridged oral history, inspired partly by Style Weekly contributor Dale Brumfield's book, "Richmond Independent Media: a History of the Underground Zine Scene," recently nominated for a Library of Virginia Literary award, and the "Please Kill Me" oral history of punk.

Yes we know there is a lot missing here, but this is meant as a conversation starter, and we hope you will add your own memories in the comments section. And sure, there's plenty of wonderful new music happening around us, but this isn't that issue. You can, however, check out our Sounds of Richmond sampler online for free downloads from some of our incredibly diverse current artists — it's at

And remember, if you or your band isn't mentioned in the following pages, rest assured that your contributions were "judged completely unimportant and often laughable," according to music writer and calendar editor Chris Bopst. That's a joke. Sorry. — Brent Baldwin


The Music

Free Download: The Sounds of Richmond, Vol. 7

Sound Approach
In its 20th year, Sound of Music recording studio is rolling with the changes. Plus, hear their top recordings from years past.

Sound of Music's Top 23 Recordings

Pick a Decade

The 1960s


Richmond's Top Five Pre-1960 Musical Moments

The 1970s


Titfield Follies
One of VCU's all-time weirdest bands gets the reissue treatment.

The 1980s


The Cult of Pen
Richmond's most influential guitarist, Pen Rollings, is back making music.

Purple Reign
The night Prince came to the legendary party club, Ivory's.

The 1990s


The Gold Standard
Remembering High on the Hog, 1977-2006.

The 2000s


Studio Ghosts
Richmond indie musicians discover new ways to make money with music.

The 2010s


The new Lamb of God documentary covers the drama of the Randy Blythe manslaughter trial.

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