i Doors Wide Open | Sound Gaze

Doors Wide Open

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Photo credit: the wonderful Andrew Cothern.

My head is still spinning this morning from seeing Doors Wide Open last night at In Your Ear studios for this month’s Shockoe Session. So much so that I don’t even know where to start with this jazz fusion band or their stunning performance.

I’ll be honest: jazz fusion, outside of a few heavyweights impossible to ignore, isn’t really my thing. I blame The Rippingtons and their absurd brand of cheesiness, but this was so far removed from that style that it’s shameful they share a similar description.

It was mesmerizing watching the band play their set with every member bringing something cool, fun, and exciting to the mix. Matt Zavitz’s saxophone playing was just exhilarating. When the rest of the band is shaking their heads in disbelief at somebody doing a blues interlude — you know it’s great. More

Oh Pep!

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Sometimes you want dissonance. Sometimes you want harmony. Thankfully there’s “Bushwick” by Oh Pep! to help when you’re in the mood for both.

I’m a big fan of this Australian duo’s new record and this song in particular is immensely intriguing to me. Tense and sharp mandolin. Understated harmonies. Simple and graceful progressions. Epiphanic lyrics. There’s an uneasy elegance within this song that really has to be celebrated. More

Wylder

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Travelled up to Arlington last night to Sehkraft Brewery with my wife to see Feral Conservatives and one of our best friends. We spent way too much time on Virginia’s version of the devil’s playground and I’m thoroughly exhausted today, but it was definitely worth it to see the band and our friend… and to discover this great chamber folk band called Wylder.

Wylder opened the night at the brewery as a percussion-less trio offering up some soothing melodies, glistening harmonies, and compelling song structures. Well, they did have a drummer join them for one cool Weezer cover, but outside of that, it was a set-up of mandolin, guitar, and bass, with none of their songs even needing percussion, or anything else really. To my surprise this morning though, their recorded music is much more fleshed out and incredibly spacious. The band has a new record out from April, Rain And Laura, that not only adds percussion to the sound, but violin, cello, and piano as well for a quite robust chamber sound. Seems last night, I got a small, but filling appetizer of the grand musical cornucopia Wylder has to offer. More

Tabula Rasa

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Three reasons why we’re talking about Miami quintet Tabula Rasa today.

1. The cover to their new album is stunningly gorgeous. Here, look at high res version of it and see what I really mean.

2. The band is named after a fascinating philosphical concept with boundless implications that seem to perpetually splinter off… honestly, like the band’s music itself.

3. Their new record, Crimson, is shimmering artistry. It completely blew me away the first time I heard it. I’m still in awe of it, almost viewing it as a towering musical monument expertly built by a truly gifted band. More

The Aces

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Hopefully you’ve heard about The Aces by now, but if not, let me give you a much deserved introduction to their sparse power pop that won me over in 15 seconds.

“Stuck” is the debut single from The Aces, four striking Utah musicians who hold some substantial musical power. It’s pop heaven for those who love blaring songs with the windows down. It’s dance bliss for anyone looking for an organic groove that ebbs and flows. It’s infectious ear candy with a chorus that will get stuck (sorry) in your head for days and days and days. Okay, maybe not that long, though it does bear stating that I can’t seem to go 48 hours without putting this on. Can’t go through Aces withdrawal now. More

Turning Thirty

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Yay or something...

So I turn 30 today.

Honestly, I don’t how to feel about it or if I even care at all, but it’s still a day that deserves some commemoration even if just from me writing some thoughts down. Originally, I thought about doing a list of my top 30 songs of all time, but considering I had less than a week to do this, I opted to keep my sanity. I think I made the right choice. I landed on the idea of looking at each year of my life in music, and while I’d love to do records if I had the time — again, sanity — I figured doing some songs would be a simple way at achieving my goal.

I’d like to note here that it was far from simple, but I’d also like to note that I did keep my sanity intact and screamed at my computer library only a few times (if few means eight). More

Dori Freeman

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Country, folk, Americana - call it what you may, but it's simply amazing here.

Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the Virginia Is For Music Lovers launch party at The Broadberry, hosted by Virginia Tourism and the wonderful VA music champion Andrew Cothern. Vibrant Virginia music was on full display all night with a taste of the new Virginia music radio station playing — side note, you should all be listening to it here — as well as performances from Richmond bands No BS! Brass Band & Avers and an artist out of Galax that everyone should be talking about: Dori Freeman. More

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