When most people think of a great music scene, they think of L.A., New York City or any other big city hosting a music festival. But people skip over smaller cities and towns which often leads to overlooking some great smaller bands. For right now, I've focused on Richmond, Virginia. A city known for its love of music and the arts, Richmond boasts an impressive amount of local bands, some of which are working on touring the country. And I guarantee that when they begin to tour, they will take America by storm. Check out 20 of these up-and-coming bands from Richmond so you'll be ready to rock, groove and dance all night when they finally come to you!
20. Evan McKeel
Evan was the last person I ran into at the Richmond Watermelon Festival. I was on my way to get some food when I heard him singing and immediately stopped to listen to the rest of his set. He's soulful, smooth and not too bad on the eyes. Evan is a soulful singer-songwriter with an alternative twist. He frequently plays around the Richmond area, in restaurants, and was even featured on Virginia This Morning.
He recently joined the band VisualAudio, which has also been playing around the area.
Check out Evan's music at http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/evan-mckeel or VisualAudio's song "Reaching" at http://www.reverbnation.com/visualaudio4
19. The Kindling Kind
For many of my close friends, The Kindling Kind is a band that is not to miss, ever. I have friends who make it to every single performance that The Kindling Kind puts on. I've attended some performances too and can safely say that this is one of the best bands coming out of Richmond right now. They are a folk/indie/rock band that plays songs with fantastic beats and mellow ambient sound. They're perfect to listen to when sitting and sipping a drink, but also perfect for moving around and dancing. They have been taking Richmond by storm and will soon be drawing attention from listeners all over the country.
Listen to their songs at http://www.reverbnation.com/thekindlingkind , especially "Awakening," which I think is one of their best songs.
18. Negative Gemini
Negative Gemini is a project by Lindsey Elise French with heavy synth and interesting melodies that will keep you interested in every single one of her songs. She describes her music as: "contemplative synth heavy downtempo dream-pop." Though she mostly performs in the Richmond area, Negative Gemini has been making an appearance in places like Harrisonburg, Va. Hopefully soon she'll be able to travel around more!
Check out Negative Gemini's music at: https://soundcloud.com/negativegemini
17. Imaginary Sons
I have had the pleasure of getting to talk to some of the members of Imaginary Sons, and they are truly great guys with a passion for music. They write on their reverbnation page that they are "a rock band that is on a mission to save rock and roll from computers." Go to http://www.reverbnation.com/imaginarysons to listen to some of their music. It's all great, but "Never There" is a personal favorite.
16. The Southern Belles
This psychedelic rock-and-roll band consists of Adrian Ciucci, Andrew Carper, Raphael Katchinoff and Tommy Booker. Though they aren't exactly belles, they are a fantastic band. They combine elements from various types of musical styles and roll them all into one, allowing for listeners who enjoy jazz, rock, funk, synth and country to love their music. Currently, The Southern Belles are working on touring around Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, New York and Pennsylvania. Get ready for the takeover!
Go to http://www.thesouthernbellesmusic.com/ to listen to songs and get more information about where they are playing!
Cosby started in Richmond in 2012 and has since grown in the scene as a synth-pop band. Personally, I love their music and have already bought their entire first album "In Flight," which costs and can be found on their Bandcamp page at http://cosbymusic.bandcamp.com/ or you can buy it on iTunes. The album was performed and produced by Chip and Chris Cosby. Together, the two brothers create a powerful and pleasant listening experience.
14. The Weather
A local band from Richmond, The Weather is comprised of members Chris Leggett, Trevor Chatless, Joey Gibson and Yuchen Tian. Their music is smooth, a mix of indie/rock, pop and acoustic. Some of their influences include Arctic Monkeys, Young The Giant and Third Eye Blind. Check out their song "So Long" for a great listen!
You can buy The Weather's music on iTunes, or listen to them at: http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/the-weather
I was never really into reggae music until I started listening to Antero. They've got a fresh, smooth beat that makes you feel like relaxing on a beach with a drink in your hand. They play some slower songs and some with very high energy. Altogether, they've got a great collection of songs which you can download on iTunes and Amazon.
Check them out on their reverbnation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/antero7
12. Ben Berumez
Over the summer, I was walking around the Richmond Watermelon Festival when I heard someone singing and I was drawn right in. When I pushed my way through the crowd, I found Ben and his band playing their music and just enjoying themselves. A talented singer-songwriter with some bold yet heartfelt vocals, Ben is truly a fan favorite. He began his music career in 2008 and released his first album "Forward Motion" in 2012. You can listen to his music at: http://www.reverbnation.com/benberumez or http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/ben-berumez . No matter where you listen, I promise that you'll love his songs.
11. Celtic Panda
Celtic Panda is one of my favorite bands in the Richmond area. Comprised of Michael Caporuscio on bass guitar, Alex Grant on drums, Macon Mann on keyboard, Ryan Piersante on guitar and Connor Wills on guitar and vocals, Celtic Panda is a band which always brings a great show. With their psychedelic and funky tunes, listeners can always guarantee that they'll be having a great night of music. ecently, Celtic Panda has been branching out of the Richmond area, playing in other areas in Virginia and even in North Carolina. So start listening to them now, because if they ever come to your area, you DON'T want to miss them!
You can listen to their music at http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/celtic-panda or at http://www.sonicbids.com/band/celticpanda/audio/
10. Black Girls
Black Girls is a true Richmond favorite, and I have absolutely no doubt that they will soon be starting their climb to fame all across the country. On Facebook, Black Girls describes their sound as: "glam, surf, pop, psychedelic Southern soul." Their music flows with groovy melodies and bright melodic sounds. Though they are originally based out of Richmond, they've been frequently touring from Atlanta to New York City, gaining a fanbase all of the way.
Their website, where you can find show information and listen to their music, is http://www.blackgirlsband.com
9. Little Sister
Alex Little, the singer behind Little Sister, is one of my good friends, which is why I'm super excited to let the world know about how talented she is. She's a folk singer with a smooth, soulful voice. The first time I listened to her song "Masked in Gold," I was so entranced that I played it on repeat for at least three or four times. Not only does she sing, but she plays guitar wonderfully. Right now, she's working on her first EP, which she hopes to release next month.
For now, listen to "Masked in Gold" and "Morning" at http://alexlittle.bandcamp.com/ and expect to be swept away by this unbelievable talent.
If you're a metal fan then Gritter is the band for you. Gritter has released three albums since 2009, been featured in many Richmond area newspapers and magazines and even opened for well-known band GWAR. Their music is loud and powerful, but sounds really great.
Check them out at: http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/gritter
Sunbox is powerful, emotionally-charged rock mixed with pop and alternative sounds. Sam McCoig, who is lead vocals in the band, has a wide vocal range, which sounds wonderful when listening. The other members of the band are also extremely talented. The vocals don't overpower the background melody or vice versa. Their music is both chill or fired up, meaning you can listen to it in your spare time or you could play it at a party.
If you're a fan of bands like The Summer Set or All Time Low, check out Sunbox's music at http://www.reverbnation.com/sunbox4?page_view_source=facebook_app or at http://rva.gigdog.fm/bands/sunbox
6. A Collegiate Affair
A Collegiate Affair just released their first EP in June of 2013. They play mostly rock and punk music and are currently working on recording some new music. Though they are playing mainly in Richmond right now, A Collegiate Affair is in the process of trying to plan a tour. These guys play some really awesome music, so definitely give them a listen. It's well worth it.
Their music can be heard at: http://acollegiateaffair.bandcamp.com/
Envoy is another band that I ran into while at the Richmond Watermelon Festival. They're jazzy, mellow and reminiscent of bands like Wilco, Lotus and Phish. They're a band you listen to when you want to relax and immerse yourself in the music. Envoy is considered a mix of alternative, indie, pop, rock and folk.
Find their music at http://envoy.bandcamp.com/ and get ready to sit back and relax.
4. My Darling Fury
My Darling Fury typically plays in Richmond and surrounding areas, including Washington D.C. Their music is pop-rock with some dreamy, haunting and psychedelic qualities. Their music flows well, and all of the elements really balance each other out. The vocals and lyrics are fairly original and enjoyable to listen to. Their song "Blots in The Margins" was chosen as one of the 75 best songs of 2013 by Pop Matters.
Look them up at http://www.mydarlingfury.com and find what you've been missing in your iTunes library all along!
3. People's Blues of Richmond
People's Blues of Richmond, also known as PBR, is probably one of the better-known bands on my list. They have traveled around the country playing their music, even playing recently at SXSW in Texas! They play loud, emotional, dark rock-and-roll music that makes you want to dance along. You can find PBR's music online or on iTunes. Make sure to listen to them and follow them closely so you can rock along next time they're in your hometown!
For now, settle with listening to them at http://www.reverbnation.com/peoplesbluesofrichmond .
2. Red Lewis & The Letting Go
Red Lewis & The Letting Go is folk music at its finest. Red Lewis writes and performs all of his own music, which is filled with pain, love, hope and a multitude of other feelings. Influences for Red Lewis & The Letting Go include City & Colour, Elliott Smith and The Devil Makes Three. When I listen to Red Lewis & The Letting Go, I want to relax, perhaps curl up in bed with a soft blanket and just think. The music is hauntingly beautiful, especially the song "Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder."
You can listen in at http://thelettinggo.com/
1. The Deems
The Deems describe themselves as "a laser-infused jam/rock/reggae/psychedelic/improvisational" band. This is another band on my list that is beginning to tour more and more, settling down and playing in North Carolina, Colorado, Kansas and Texas, among other places. So you know that soon, they'll be moving through even more states, and you better get ready! The Deems pride themselves on not playing the same show over and over again and even include a laser show with each performance.
Go to http://thedeems.bandcamp.com/ to find some great songs from this amazing jam band.