When Vinnie Fiorello of Less Than Jake suggested that the Riot Before release an acoustic version of “Fists Buried in Pockets,” band members initially thought to go it alone and knock the disc out in one take. Instead, they brought in some really talented friends to contribute horns, ukulele, organ, and cello, including Bryan Hooten of the No BS! Brass Band and Patrick Ball of Autocue. Ball also engineered and produced the seven tracks on “Fists … Out of Sockets” and the results should be available this month through Fiorello's record label, Paper + Plastick. These songs are merely a fun departure, however, and not a hint of softer things to come for the band.
Richmond has a new post-rock “witch orchestra,” whose members have played in a few bands you might know. Guitarist Keeley Davis of Engine Down and Denali tapped two former bandmates, bassist Jonathan Fuller (Engine Down, Denali) and guitarist Cam Dinunzio (Denali), added drummer Ed Trask (Avail) and vocalist Dave Grant (Action Patrol), then put them together in one practice space as Heks Orkest. They'll make their live debut at the Bike Lot on Sept. 18 and then at Empire Sept. 19.
Another ex-Action Patroler, bassist Tom Baisden, has also been busy with new bands — Mostly Dimes and the Not-Its. In fact, Mostly Dimes just passed through Richmond with Sweatpants, which features the rocking-out of Rah Bras and Sleepytime Trio member Dave NeSmith.
In order to continue collaborating with drummer Miguel Urbiztondo (Maki, Cracker) and guitarist Alan Weatherhead (Maki, Sparklehorse), the leaders of Whisker Music moved their alt-country project from Portland to Chicago to Richmond. The move has proved fruitful, as Whisker Music recently recorded at Sound of Music and will enjoy an EP release party Sept. 22 at the Camel.
With the help of local artists and musicians, Roni rocks on. In 2007, young artist Roni Ecimovic was killed in a car accident and in her memory, the Veronica “Roni” Grace Ecimovic Art Scholarship was established through the New Kent Educational Foundation. The Roni Rocks On Festival for the Arts helps fund the scholarship and will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at Rockahock Ampitheater, just down the road in Lanexa. The festival starts at noon and the evening concert will be headlined by Richmond rock bands Roslyn, the Onset and Culdera.
Recorded back in 2006, Snacktruck's “Spacial Findings 1-7” can finally be heard in its entirety thanks to Rorschach Records. These songs are the first examples of Snacktruck as an instrumental band. The progressive dual-drum attacks were captured by Jason LaFerra (Stop It!, Ultra Dolphins, Brainworms) at the Recorditorium. Current drummer Nate Rappole's solo project Gull also has a new 7-inch record out this month through Molsook Records. “The Thin King” delivers two songs and a space jam, just like you'd see on the sidewalks of Richmond.