I have to give credit where credit’s due and give thanks to Sounds of RVA for posting about the new group Vampire Octopus, who released its new album today. And it’s a damn good album.
Vampire Octopus consists of songbird Lydia Ooghe and master musician Trey Pollard. The two released “Thanks For Everything” earlier this year on a compilation and I’m glad they got more together for an album. Like Sounds of RVA said, it’s very happy feel good music that reminds you of summer. Take a listen:
Songbird Lydia Ooghe came out of nowhere last year and delivered “Love That Glow,” an incredible album full of her singsong voice and luscious melodies. The album even made my best albums of 2010 list. Richmond had a musical gem in the form of Lydia.
Unfortunately, like all good things, Lydia Ooghe will be leaving Richmond to pursue her dreams. She is moving to LA and while it’s definitely sad to see her go, she will do great things out there. Plus, you know there will be a great welcome home party if or when she decides to return to Richmond.
But for now, she’ll be celebrating Tuesday night at the Camel with a CD release party for her new EP “Give It.” The new EP is a definite stepping stone in her musical career and shows off her growth and her band’s talents.
“Secretly Y’all” is a unique story-telling collective that started in Charlottesville and now holds events every other month at Balliceaux. The public is invited to tell a true story in front of a crowd in the name of bringing people and their stories together.
Tonight’s event focuses on the words behind music. Sometimes the best part about experiencing live music are those rare moments when the artist unleashes the story behind the song. Hear eight musicians, including Zac Hryciak, Browning Porter, Herschel Stratigo, Cole Sullivan, Chris Milk, Lydia Ooghe, Andy Vaughn and Chris McNew, tell their tales of songs they’ll sing. There will be two sets of four storytellers with an intermission.
“The Musician’s Secret” takes place Monday, Sept. 12 at 7pm.
I’ve heard many good things about Charlottesville rockers Teddy and the Roosevelts when a friend informed me that I had to drop everything and see them when she caught one of their shows in C-Ville awhile back. I may now get that chance.
Check out the song Lydia Ooghe and Trey Pollard recorded called “Thanks For Everything.” Crucial Music has listed it as #3 of their Top 10 songs this week.
Lydia Ooghe & Trey Pollard – Thanks For Everything
Also, Matt Klimas’ one man band The Snowy Owls has two new tracks debuting – “Sand” and “The Dance.” The Snowy Owls will perform a live acoustic set on WVCW radio this Saturday, Feb. 26 from 2 – 3 p.m. Stream here: http://wvcw.org/listen.m3u
Richmond had so many amazing albums come out this year, there was no way I could lump them in with national releases and narrow them down to 10. So I made a completely separate list. And it was still hard to do. Here are the best albums Richmond musicians had to offer for 2010.
LONG ARMS – TO HOLD YOU
If there was one Richmond album that I listened to over and over again, it was Long Arms. These guys know how to make a rock song that leave you begging for more. Hands down, my favorite Richmond album.
Long Arms – Downtown Dreams
JONATHAN VASSAR & THE SPECKLED BIRD – SIGNS & WONDERS
Always a favorite of mine, I knew folk artists Jonathan Vassar & the Speckled Bird would be on this list. And after hearing it, I’m reminded why. The group spent over a year putting this thing together and built on what they do so well and make it even better to create a stand out album.
Jonathan Vassar & the Speckled Bird – Turn To Face The Wind
NICK COWARD & THE LAST BATTLE – KINGS Nick Coward and the Last Battle hadn’t been heard from in a good while and then out of the blue, they release “Kings,” a soothing-folk-rock-meets-dramatic-art kind of album. I listened to this and was so caught up in it that I had it on repeat without realizing it. Perfect album for a dreary day.
Nick Coward & the Last Battle – Funeral
SAMSON TRINH & THE UPPER EAST SIDE BIG BAND – THE ABBEY ROAD PROJECT
Everyone seems to think they can cover Beatles songs. However, Samson Trinh & the Upper East Side Big Band do it in a way that makes it fresh and exciting. Trinh and the 19-plus members of the Big Band covered the Beatles’ classic in its entirely, reconfigured in their big band sound. With all the talent put into something like this, I won’t have to worry about these Beatles songs.
Samson Trinh & the Upper East Side Big Band – Come Together
AGAINST GRACE – SHOUT IT OUT
The boys in Against Grace (finally) released some new material this year and “Shout It Out” quickly became a constant listen. They expanded their punk style with synth and well-thought-out melodies. And recording with hip-hop act Doethepaperboy for the single “Monday” (awesome song, released separately) brought a new crowd to their shows. Listen to these guys.
Against Grace – The Music’s Back
Jonathan Vassar and David Shultz teamed up to create some music and came up with something different altogether. When you put music powerhouses together on a project like this, you’re going to get gold. This album is one track after another of well-crafted folk songs that will leave you warm on a cold winter’s night.
Ophelia – Hunter’s Bow
SAFETY WORD ORANGE – ON YOUR MARK, GET SET The pop punk of Safety Word Orange was a welcome surprise this year and I found myself listening to their release “On Your Mark, Get Set” constantly over the past few months. I’m eager to see what else these guys have up their sleeves.
Safety Word Orange – Fiending
HORSEHEAD – BEFORE THE BRIGHT LIGHTS
I had heard Horsehead for such a long time before giving them the chance they deserved. Then I heard “Before the Bright Lights” and smacked myself for not listening to them sooner. This album is a fun collection of tracks I want to keep listening to.
Horsehead – Blood From a Stone
LYDIA OOGHE – LOVE THAT GLOW Lydia Ooghe has the voice of an angel and sings about pina coladas, small yellow birds and ice cream. “Love That Glow” features her band Lux Vacancy and it shows off her endearing qualities and immense talent.
Lydia Ooghe – Girlfriend
DAVID KARSTEN DANIELS & FIGHT THE BIG BULL – I MEAN TO LIVE HERE STILL Fight the Big Bull is certainly a jazz favorite. But they took it to another level when they teamed up with San Francisco-based artist David Karsten Daniels and the music of both parties fuses together seamlessly but stands apart from each artists’ works. More collaborations should be like this.
David Karsten Daniels & Fight the Big Bull – The Funeral Bell
ALBUMS ALSO WORTH CHECKING OUT
These were too good not to mention.
Lobo Marino – Keep Your Head Up
Alex Enggist – Carpetbagger’s Cabaret
Prabir/Goldrush – An Introduction to Prabir/Goldrush
No BS Brass Band – No BS!!
Andy Moore – 5 in Common
Doethepaperboy – Doe Nation
The Greater The Risk
I hate when multiple shows that I really want to see are all in one night. For once, I actually have to choose who to see tonight from a collection of really great artists. I really hate having to choose.
First up, former Richmonder Mark Oliver Everett and his band The Eels are playing at the National with guests Trish Dunn and Jesca Hoop. The Eels have a brand new album out called “Tomorrow Morning” and, from what I’ve heard, it’s going to be very good.
Finally, songstress Lydia Ooghe and her band Lux Vacancy are (digitally) releasing their new EP, “Love That Glow” to fans who have been rabidly waiting for it to come out. They’ll be playing at the Camel with Jacob WIlliamson and Marcus Tenney. Plus, Lydia promises there will be cupcakes because it’s a party.
Lydia Ooghe and Lux Vacancy – Girlfriend
Now, dear reader: which show should I choose to see?
I think it’s safe to say that by now, if you spend an evening at the Listening Room (tonight’s show was number 6), you’re going to enjoy a great night of live music. The thing I love best about it is that I see artists I’ve either have never heard of or have never gotten the chance to see live. Tonight’s show was no exception.
Starting the evening was Lydia Ooghe, playing with Trey Pollard on steel pedal and Wells Hanley on keys. Lydia’s soft melodic voice and simple guitar chords echoed throughout the Michaux House and kept the audience’s attention on her. I felt as if I was transported to a hazy unfamiliar place like you see in avant garde movies. Clearly my favorite of the night, Lydia Ooghe’s music will be the sounds of independent films of primetime television in no time.
Next up, Nick Coward performed a solo set for the first time in a while. The last time, he said, was awful and hoped it wouldn’t be the same that night. It wasn’t. I had never gotten the chance to see Nick and his band The Last Battle perform, but if his full band is half as good as his performance tonight, I’m in for a real treat when I see the full thing. Nick spent his set talking about biting his fingernails, pretending to sing horn parts of a song and covering The Arcade Fire’s “Ocean of Noise.”
Finally, Moruza, a random assortment of musicians, performed. The word moruza means a mish mash of objects and the term couldn’t be more fitting. The randomness of the piano, fiddle, bass and drums seems go together perfectly. The beautiful, lush harmonies and uplifting sounds filled the places in songs about liars, butterflies over the highway and a love song for Richmond.
And so ends another perfect evening in the Listening Room.