I was chatting with LAVA Present's Bottle Washer in Chief, Josh Coplon -- and he hit upon something I hadn't really thought much about.
"This is the thing Norfolk is missing, that radio friendly music scene." And ya know what? He's right. While it's easy to turn up one's nose at that sort of accessible pop, who amongst us doesn't secretly love a Sarah McLachlan song or two? There can and should be room for smart, hum-alongable three minute & thirty second tunes alongside punkers, EDMheads, and hardcore thrashers, and yet I have a hard time pointing at any around town. Coplon brought up Nate Sacks, and I agree (I have his last EP on deck for a review right now, actually -- spoiler: it's pretty good. But outside of him, who else is there? DJP & Mr. T? They're kind of pop-ish? But who knows when they'll play again with their individual members all off on respective lifequests?
I wonder why we don't have more of this style of music, locally?
. . .
This show's headliner was Bad Bad Hats. It's easy to miss just how damn funny bandleader Kerry Alexander is if you're only hearing the album -- It's a deeply Minnesotan, subversively wicked sense of humor. Wry and razor sharp. Ostensibly named after a children's book character with some seriously bad habits, the group has weathered the loss of a founding member but still comes on strong with an optimistic yet wistful brand of indie pop. I'm reminded strongly of early aughts sensation, Sarah Harmer -- whose star perhaps faded some after 2000's "You Were Here" -- indeed, if you came here a fan of Bad Bad Hats, you should check Harmer out. You'll thank me later.
Party Nails featured the insanely brilliant songwriting chops of reformed folkie turned electro-pop wunderkind, Elana Belle Carroll. Here, the cheerful, bordering on bubbly music showcases razor-edged, insightful lyrics examining her relationship with both those closest to her as well as the surrounding world in general. Think Robyn meets Imogene Heap minus the vocoder, with occasional flashes of Bjork.
Opening up was Warrington, one of RVA's Sawyer Camden's many projects: one of which is Padfoot, which holds a special spot in my heart as one of the best band names ever. This group bursts at the seams with quirky, indie-pop fun. Honestly, you just kind of feel good about yourself after this set -- which is a pretty neat trick given the sadness contained in some of these lyrics upon closer examination. I'm reminded of the great singer/songwriter, Jude -- who enjoyed a brief run of success with Madonna's Maverick Records before fading back into relative obscurity. Think late nineties power-pop emo indie globs of goodness. If you get the chance I highly recommend you see this band live. I assume they're out touring in support of this past Springs record, "born mistake." Hopefully they're on some kind of circuit that will loop back this way and we'll get a headlining show from them.
LAVA Presents delivers the goods as usual -- this was a rare show at Charlie's in collaboration with TBA Productions and Richmond's Trigger System. Next up for LAVA will be Airpark, Babe Club, Court Street Company at Toast on the 17th. Click here for more info.
Bad Bad Hats
Minneapolis. Indie Pop.
Los Angeles. Indie Pop.
Richmond. Indie Rock.