Instant Pleasure Fest 2014 featuring Futurebirds, Avers, The Young Sinclairs, The Diamond Center

Instant Pleasure Fest 2014 featuring Futurebirds, Avers, The Young Sinclairs, The Diamond Center

Ladygod, Dave Watkins, DJ Harrison, Revolt of the Apes, Stimulator Jones

Sat, October 18, 2014

8:00 pm

The Broadberry

Richmond, VA


Baba Yaga, the second full-length album by Athens, GA's Futurebirds, marks a milestone in the continuous evolution of the eclectic ensemble. The 13-song album finds Futurebirds – Thomas Johnson, Carter King, Dennis Love, Brannen Miles, Daniel Womack, and Payton Bradford (who has since left the lineup to pursue a non-musical career path) – delivering an expansive yet intimate set that takes the band's trademark mix of earthily accessible songcraft and free-spirited experimentation into inspired new territory.

Like the band that made it, Baba Yaga defies easy categorization, boasting a beguiling blend of warmly catchy tunes, stirringly evocative lyrics, distinctive sonic textures and unexpected melodic twists. The music is both intense and uplifting, capturing a good deal of the soaring, primal, sweat-soaked spirit of Futurebirds' live shows, which have already won the group a rabidly devoted fan base and a reputation as a singularly inspired, bravely unpredictable performing unit.

Throughout Baba Yaga, Futurebirds' inventiveness and energy are suffused by a bittersweet, introspective melancholy that lends added emotional resonance to such compelling tunes as "Virginia Slims," "Serial Bowls," "Death Awaits" and "St. Summercamp," which showcase the band's indelible melodies, vivid lyrics and vibrant instrumental rapport.

"This album definitely feels like a big milestone for us, no question," King says. "Just the fact that it's finally coming out feels like a milestone in itself," adds Johnson. Indeed, Baba Yaga's long journey to the public's ears is a story in itself, but the music more than justifies the album's long and often frustrating birth cycle.

Early in their existence, Futurebirds' balance of homespun roots and forward-thinking exploration made the band a favorite in and around their bohemian hometown. The 2009 release of their self-titled debut EP was followed the next year by their first full-length debut album, Hampton's Lullaby. It was followed by the self-released EP Via Flamina, and the limited-edition 2011 Record Store Day release Live at Seney-Stovall Chapel, which sold out on the day of its release.

Futurebirds continued to build its fan base by touring relentlessly, sharing bills with the likes of Drive-By Truckers, Widespread Panic, Heartless Bastards and Alabama Shakes and performing at such prestigious festivals as Austin City Limits, Outside Lands, Hangout, Wakarusa, Forecastle and Bonnaroo. Futurebirds was also featured on 2011′s Bonnaroo Buzz tour, playing between Gary Clark Jr. and headliner Grace Potter & The Nocturnals.

Futurebirds' combustible musical chemistry reaches inspired new heights on Baba Yaga. "In some ways we're like one organism with six brains, but at the same time everyone in the band is vastly different," King observes. "We had five different songwriters in the band on this record, with very different influences and inspirations. We get into the studio and people bring in their songs, and by the time we get done with a song, there's a piece of everybody in it."

"We all come from different backgrounds and chase different sounds, but when we play together there's this weird dark chemistry amongst us," Johnson notes, adding, "I can hear a song that someone else wrote and know exactly what I can bring to it, and the same goes for the others when they hear my songs."

Baba Yaga was recorded in 45 studio days over the course of seven months, with the band touring between sessions in order to pay the recording bills. The musicians originally demoed about 30 songs for the project, 25 of which they recorded during the sessions, before paring that batch down to the 13 that appear on the finished album

"The songs on this album seem to all come from a similar place," adds Johnson. "They don't all sound the same or have the same vibe, but we've shared so many experiences that there's an unspoken understanding amongst us as to where a song is coming from and where it wants to go."

The bumpy road to the album's release – which resulted in a near two-year gap between Futurebirds releases—included making difficult decisions in finding the proper home for the album, but helped to inspire the band to name it Baba Yaga, after a forest-dwelling, child-eating witch from Slavic folklore.

"It was a long and painstaking process trying to get this album out," King explains. "We got pretty discouraged, feeling like maybe it would never see the light of day, and one day I was talking to Thomas and started saying, 'God, is this record some mythical creature out in the woods that only exists in our imaginations?' Then we read about Baba Yaga, and that perfectly described how we were feeling about this record."

Fortunately, Futurebirds has emerged from its business travails a more confident and determined creative unit – a fact that the band plans on demonstrating by touring as much as humanly possible.

"The songs can take different lives from night to night," King says, "because you feed off the energy of the crowd, and that energy can be really different from night to night. The most important thing is to keep things fresh and not be up there going through the motions."

"Musically, we're a lot sharper now than we've ever been, and that's a product of playing so many shows," Johnson concludes. "Going into the recording of the record, we were much better musicians, songwriters and collaborators than we'd ever been, and we feel like the end result reflects our maturity and development."

With Baba Yaga finally a musical reality rather than an elusive myth, Futurebirds are more than ready to show the world how they've grown.
With four songwriters, four singers, and 11 tracks of guitar-saturated rock & roll, Avers' second album, Omega/Whatever, is proof that there's strength in numbers.

The record shines new light on a band that made its first splash with 2014's Empty Light. Avers supported that debut release by leaving their hometown of Richmond, VA, and crisscrossing the country on tour, opening for bands like Foo Fighters and J. Roddy Walston along the way. They made a national splash during the 2015 SXSW Festival, too, with everyone from Esquire Maga-zine to The Daily Beast listing them as one of the week's breakout bands.

Two years after Empty Light's release, Omega/Whatever finds them returning to their unofficial headquarters — Montrose Recording, a modern studio located on a historic Richmond plantation and operated by bandmate Adrian Olsen — and creating another self-produced album of rumbling rock, shot through with pop hooks, layers of percussion, and coed melodies from four different vocalists. It's a mix of old and new, much like the studio that birthed it.

It's an album about balance, too, centered around the struggles of living in the modern world. There are songs about divorce, technology, late nights, corrupt politicians, and societal norms, all delivered by a group of songwriters who share their creative duties equally. Olsen, Alexandra Spalding, James Mason, and JL Hodges trade off vocal duties, too, with multi-instrumentalist Charlie Glenn pitching in on keyboards, harmonies, and swells of electric guitar. There's no consistent frontman, no singular leader, no main guitarist. Those roles are fluid, which makes Omega/Whatever very much the product of a band, not just one bandmate's vanity project.

Like the album that came before it, Avers' second release came together during a series of in-spired sessions at Montrose, with each song beginning as a fledgling idea brought to the table by one of the band's four writers. The entire group would then pitch in, turning that idea into something nuanced and layered. Avers would ultimately finish each song as a collective unit, recording the track the same day it was written. The result is an "infectious" and "ebullient" (The AV Club) sound that not only reintroduces the band, but not also offers an insider's look at their creative process.

Mixed by Peter Kadis (The National, Kurt Vile) and mastered with Greg Calbi, Omega/Whatever is a battle cry from a band that's fighting the good fight.
The Young Sinclairs
Even though they display a fondness for tube-amps, 12-strings, tambourines, spring reverb, and the analogue sounds of decades past, The Young Sinclairs are far more than just a fleeting retro act. Ever since the band formed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Roanoke, Virginia in 2005, they have never veered from their original vision of creating harmonious pop tunes and unbridled rock excitement. They produce and record all of their own music in the personal all-analogue studio, The Mystic Fortress, and have concurrently been releasing albums themselves D.I.Y.-style and releasing them through a handful of different independent labels (Planting Seeds Records, Kindercore Records, and Chimney Sweep Records domestically - their latest 7-inch is a joint release between France's Requiem Por Un Twister & Croque Madame Records).The Byrds, Sire-era Flamin' Groovies, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Who, Love, Rolling Stones, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Church, Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd, earlyR.E.M., and various 60's cult acts like The Dovers and The 23rd Turnoff are just a portion of comparisons that often arise and serve as good reference points for the unfamiliar listener. As a Committee To Keep Music Evil affiliate, they have successfully toured with The Brian Jonestown Massacre and Australian group The Lovetones. They have also opened for 60's stoner legends Blue Cheer and Sweden's Dungen, among many others.
The Diamond Center
The Diamond Center
THE DIAMOND CENTER pairs a wall of reverb and noise with an eerie gothic country creeper, creating an unique blend that is hard to put a finger on. Influenced by albums spanning the musical spectrum, they hint of Phil Spector and Joe Meek's experimental studio style, the live rawness of the Velvet Underground, as well as the nouveau psych-folk stylings of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Espers.

Influenced by their time living in Athens, GA, Brandi Price and Kyle Harris began The Diamond Center's first album, Claws and Flaws, with a close-knit family of friends from numerous other projects. Feeling the need for further stimulation, they migrated to Lubbock, TX, and were engulfed by the landscape and its surroundings. The languishing, yet prosperous, atmosphere proved fertile for their stream-of-conscious style of writing. With the addition of Jana Price, Brandi's sister, they recorded, at home, their second full length, My Only Companion, and self released it to glowing reviews. On this album, they managed a cohesive body of work that draws upon the melancholy bitterness and the unexpected sweetness of life through haunting vocals, minimalist percussion and layers of reverb drenched, swirling guitars.

With the addition of several Lubbock locals, they intensified what was on the record in their live shows. With the new line up, including bass, additional drums, and a healthy dose of vehemence and swagger, they scorched a trail across the country in a national tour.

Brandi and Kyle have since relocated again to Richmond, VA, followed shortly after by drummer Tim Falen, seeking yet another dose of inspiration. Again casting rotating
members into the concocted sprawl of musical vaudeville, they are demoing songs for their next release and appearances at this years SXSW music marathon
Rock & Roll Cult Fiction
Dave Watkins
Dave Watkins
You can find Dave Watkins on many different stages and spaces utilizing any number of sounds coming out of his hand-made electric dulcitar along with assorted effects and looping mechanisms. Often Dave will accompany his music with glitched out sounds and reactive video projections.
DJ Harrison
Revolt of the Apes
Revolt of the Apes
Lawgiver. Austin Texas Festival affiliate
Stimulator Jones
Stimulator Jones
Multi-talented Producer/DJ/Beatsmith/Vocalist/Songster based out of VA
Venue Information:
The Broadberry
2729 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA, 23220