Most of the folks on this mix I know at least as acquaintances if not as close friends. I grew up in Virginia and played DIY shows there for years, and this beautiful spring Sunday morning sitting in Portland, Oregon, I got inspired to make a mix of some of the great new music coming out of my homeland right now.
The James Badfellows are darkly hedonistic garage rock monsters from the pleasantly rolling green hills of western VA. This is a track from their newest album which you can only get on tape by emailing them. It’s a gamble because you might not want them to have that much information about you.
Tom, Hanks is a dual cover band that pays homage to Tom Waits and Hank Williams, though Hank fans are usually unpleasantly surprised by the show, as this unhinged band typically performs more in the style of the most twisted and abrasive Tom Waits records. Their spectacle is something to behold. I’m sharing a live version of the Waits tune “Filipino Boxspring Hog” because it shows them in their element.
Buck Gooter is one of my absolute favorite currently operating bands. This prolific industrial blues duo represents the DIY punk ethic to the fullest. if words like “integrity” or “authentic” meant anything, they would describe Buck Gooter. They have a brand new album out, but this is one of my favorite tracks from their last album. One of the best protest songs I’ve ever heard.
New Boss is an indie/glam/power-pop band from Charlottesville, VA. long time veterans of the western VA DIY music scene come together to make a thinking man’s rock’n’roll. I love the concise beauty and catchy riffs of this track “Last Try”, which was on repeat during my bus commute for awhile.
Uncle Bengine is a prolific singer/songwriter in the alt-country mode. I have shared bills with him on many occasions. I love this lofi demo of his barnshaker “Covered In Sin”.
The Turlocks are now defunct but their bandcamp remains. These songs, a mix of power-pop and country-rock vibes, are written by one of my best friends and frequent past collaborators (who now plays guitar in the aforementioned James Badfellows). Black Poppy Tea is a reminiscence about a friend who passed away.
Valkyrie is one of the more well known bands to come out of the western VA area. Doom metal warriors that share a member with Baroness. I have pumped my fists and head banged hard at many a very heavy Valkyrie show. This is a classic from their first LP.
Keeping with the metal theme, Salvaticus is a crusted over black metal band from the dim hollows of the VA mountains. They specialize in longform studies in brutality punctuated by haunting moments of beauty. Blackened husk meets delicate mist. “Breeding Ground” is the first track from their debut cassette, released on their own Nocturnal Reign Records (http://nocturnalreign.storenvy.com/).
Shenandoah Alley is a traditional style bluegrass band with a punk attitude. again, some of my best friends in this band. This mix is becoming even more incestuous, as SA shares members with Tom, Hanks. Their newest track is called “Shotgun Wedding”. The cover art is by my brother!
Finally, this. A live version of a track that was never really recorded by my old band Dirtpond, which has been defunct by a decade. I put this on here because it ties the list together…with Dirtpond, we played shows with Valkyrie, Uncle Bengine, and Buck Gooter, and the myriad old bands of the folks in New Boss and The James Badfellows. The members of Dirtpond went on to form or be in Salvaticus, The Turlocks, and The Badfellows. so this track wraps the whole thing up pretty well.