Butcher Brown has a lot to celebrate. The Richmond quintet was recently tapped by ESPN to record an updated version of Little Richard’s “Rip It Up” as the new theme song for “Monday Night Football.” On the heels of that opportunity, the group made its major label debut on Concord with the release of its eighth studio album, #KingButch. The 13-song collection is an energetic display of the signature jazz/hip-hop/funk fusion that’s made the band a commonwealth mainstay since 2013. Recorded at Butcher Brown’s home base of Jellowstone Studios in Richmond, the album features core members DJ Harrison (deejay, keys), Corey Fonville (drums), Andrew Randazzo (bass), Marcus “Tennishu” Tenney (trumpet, saxophone), and Morgan Burrs (guitar). While #KingButch is brimming with influences from the ’60s and ’70s, the album title’s hashtag demonstrates a cultural awareness that’s prevalent throughout the sonic landscape. With a unique approach (think Southern rap meets Sly and the Family Stone), Butcher Brown has crafted one of the most exciting records of the year (released 9/18).
From dorm rooms and house shows to studio sessions and indie label signings, Will Marsh has been climbing the musical ranks with his project, Gold Connections, for nearly a decade. Marsh moved to Charlottesville after graduating from the College of William & Mary in 2015, channeling the legacy of two of his musical heroes—David Berman and Stephen Malkmus. With wry lyricism and catchy alt-rock hooks, Gold Connections certainly gives a nod to Pavement and Silver Jews, but with a flare all its own. Marsh’s friend and former bandmate Will Toledo (of Car Seat Headrest fame) shared a producer credit on Gold Connections’ self-titled debut on Fat Possum Records. Backed by the local EggHunt Records, Popular Fiction (2018) and Like a Shadow (2019) soon followed. Gold Connections’ latest EP, Ammunition, is a five-song explosion that harkens back to the ’90s, but lyrical descriptors like “late-Obama-era” place the EP squarely in the present. Marsh took the producer reins on this release, and it shows: Ammunition is his tightest offering to date (coming 11/16).
Let It Leave
Richmond native Ali Thibodeau has a varied background in performance, taking on roles in theme parks, theaters, cruise ships, festivals, and studios across New York, Idaho, Florida, and Virginia. But her latest iteration—as singer-songwriter Deau Eyes—may be her best yet. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, her debut full-length, Let It Leave, is a passion project that was recorded at Trace Horse Studios in Nashville and took two years to come to fruition. The fact that Thibodeau has spent years honing her skills in performance is evident: Let It Leave glistens with a gusto and grace that’s a refreshing addition to the current spate of indie rock. At once playful and vulnerable, Thibodeau delivers a captivating meditation on love, loss, and womanhood. With tinges of Americana shrouded in pop-punk touchstones, Thibodeau’s buoyant, sinewy vocals are the star of the show (released 5/8).