LAVA Presents continued it's established routine of providing excellent, genre-curated evenings of local and regional music last Thursday to the delight of all who attended.
At first blush, Crumb imparts to my ears a vaguely Zappa-esque vibe -- but then I realize that what I'm mistaking for the weirdness of Frank is actually an infusion of Jazz influence wrapped around a core of Psychedelic Rock. The group is based out of Brooklyn, but formed between college friends who found themselves at Tuft University in Boston. I find that their music takes a bit of time to grow accustomed to -- much of that lies in the surprising twists of a unique rhythm that rarely takes you in an expected direction. But after a third and fourth listen, I've been won over by bandleader Lila Ramani's charm as a songwriter and vocalist. The group has Richmond ties through the loosely organized cassette tape label, Citrus City Records.
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You're Jovian continues to hold a spot in my heart as one of my top five favorite local bands. A sound that I initially deemed somewhere between 'Seventeen Seconds' and 'Wish' filtered through the eyes of J. Mascis, recent outings and the last record heads into Posies territory, much to my delight. The band showed some line-up changes this time around, with drummer Kenny Bunting adapting to bassist Ian Chinworth filling Ana Velez's spot while she recovers from a recent injury. I'm not sure how long the current membership has been in place, but it can't have been for long. I was impressed at how well the band's singular sound has been retained. This is a group with a wide roster of past members that occasionaly rotate in, it's a testament to Malvas' skill as a bandleader that the sound stays consistent. That said, I hope Ana makes a full recovery, her absence was noted and she was missed, however fine the new bass player is.
The group has been soldiering on in support of last year's 'They Were Selected and Divided' -- released through Funny / Not Funny Records. It's an album that I don't know that I feel got enough attention for how well crafted it is, but time marches on and I hear rumblings that a new record is in the works. Malvas' self branded genre of "Mumblecore" bequeaths a bit of a slacker vibe on his efforts, but the truth is he's one of the hardest working musicians in town, hugely supportive of other bands -- oftentimes operating as an under-the-radar promoter for some finely put together shows. This is an artist who is deserving of massive success, and I hope this year brings good things his way.
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I don't know much about Lance Bangs. Obstensibly referencing the renown music video director, they're out of RVA and also associated with Citrus City. Their music is quirky and irreverent, with a Punk attitude wrapped around an Alt Rocker vibe. Through the grapevine, I hear that they've been steadily growing as a band through some serious effort -- I look forward to checking out more from them the next time they roll in through town.
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I missed Abby Huston's set -- I was out at the NRHA's public comment hearing to speak on the proposed St Paul's corridor redevelopment, but from what I've listened to on bandcamp and the general reaction of people I know who've seen her live, the music is something special. I'm told that she's a recent transplant from Richmond to NYC, and that she drove down for this show and then turned right around and headed back to the Big Apple to make her next work shift. Hats off to her for that level of dedication! Special thanks to Joe Justice for donating an image of her set. Check his work out at Justice Images.
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All in all, LAVA Present's Josh Coplon's events continue to be one of the things that makes Norfolk's music scene something special, and I for one can't wait for his next show!
Photo courtesy of Joe Justice