Listen to the 5th annual recording of WVCW’s live Coverage of the 31st annual 2014 Dominion Christmas Parade. The parade started at the Science Museum on Broad Street and continued along Broad street until 7th street. This years parade featured Marching Bands, Balloons, Festive Floats, and some very special guests, including some who are nationally known like The Harlem Globetrotters, some storm troupers, and Walking Dead actor, Chad Coleman, as its Grand Marshal. The parade also hosted some groups that are unique to Richmond like Snow Bear. The parade of course also featured Santa Clause.
Malik Bowden’s Men’s Basketball Blog
VCU has finally begun their 2014-2015 basketball season. As of December 1st, the Rams are 4-2 with a competitive home win over Toledo, two blowout wins over Tennessee, and Maryland-Eastern Shore, and a 3rd place win in the Progressive Legends Classic over Oregon. Their losses are at the hands national powerhouse Villanova, and most recently a painful loss to longtime rival Old Dominion University. I expect to see VCU drop in the polls. Because the Rams already has the mid-major label, with two early losses (one reasonable loss, and one unacceptable loss) and the Associated Press prefers to give the top 25 spots to high major teams.
Regardless of the ranking the Rams can’t dread about last week’s performance and prepare for one of their biggest games of the year. On Tuesday, December 2 the Rams will travel to Illinois State, a team they defeated by 38 points last year in the Siegel Center. Illinois St. should be taken seriously just like the other non-conference opponents VCU will face this year. They’re currently 3-2 on the year, return three of their top five scorers and defeated ODU by 19 points at home.
The Rams can’t afford to look past the Redbirds in anticipation of what appears to be the Virginia college state championship game between VCU, and number seven ranked Virginia Cavilers. When the Rams take on the Cavs this Saturday in the “Stu” any true basketball fan that resides in the Commonwealth will want to tune in. Last year, VCU went to Charlottesville and defeated a UVA team that won the ACC conference regular season title, the ACC Conference Tournament, and made it to the Sweet 16. UVA also returns three of their top five scorers, and still excel in their half court, possession by possession style. These two Virginia teams play styles that are found on two different ends of the spectrum. In order for VCU to beat the Cavs they’ll need to make sure they dictate the tempo of the game. Although it’s easier said than done, the Rams need to make UVA run their offense at a much faster, and frantic pace. Naturally, UVA uses almost the entire shot clock when they have the ball. This means VCU must defend aggressively without fouling too much, and take some calculated risks, and go for steals which could lead to some rushed decisions by the UVA guards or bad shots that lead to long rebounds, and fast break run outs for VCU.
On the offensive end, if the rams can’t find Melvin Johnson or Jordan Burgess spotting up for three, and Briante doesn’t have a straight line to the basket, they need to make sure the offense starts, and ends with Treveon “ the Freight Train” Graham. No matter what the stats say the rams need him to be the leading scorer every game unless it’s a blowout or if another player is just unconscious from the field. He’s the best on the team right now at creating his own shot, and has the most experience on the team. If the Rams make sure those things occur they have a very strong chance of winning against Illinois St., and UVA, and climbing back up the rankings.
Intensity Ghost is a wonderful LP full of ambient music that draws you in. The 5 song Lp was released on October 28th by Pennsylvania based band Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band. This is the bands second work, they previously released Solar Motel (Paradise of Bachelors) in 2013.
The music in Intensity Ghost is technically masterful and pleasing to listen to. It is repetitive enough to blend into the background but if you pay attention there are dissonant sounds that build and swell to create tension that draws you in. The LP opens with The Ballad of Freer Hollow, which features a steady drum beat and repetitive dissonant sounds. The song is 11:25 min long though, and while it is a good song it is repetitive and and long. The Ballad of Freer Hollow would work better if it wasn’t the first song on the LP. Intensity Ghost’s second song, Yellow Square, interrupts the sleepy sound introduced by the first song a steady bass and drum beat. An electric Guitar threads in-between the two other instruments really wonderfully. The song builds slowly and it is still repetitive in nature. I Ain’t Waiting, the LP’s third song, is melancholic and it has a wonderful intro. The song builds with a chord progression that repeats and increases in speed .The sound expands and gets more complex while retaining its original simple nature. Overall the LP is very good, although it is rather repetitive.
When asked what influenced the sound on Encyclopedia, Jacob Gram said he wanted the album to sound like a Disney Musical, while Jonny Pierce said he wanted it to sound like a garbage can. To take a line from Pierce, “I think you can hear a little bit of both”. Encyclopedia is the combination of tragically real lyrical prose and the instrumentation to convey Pierce’s haunting musings. Amidst turmoil with members of the band, this is the first album with the two as a duo, but the classic Drums sound is maintained and improved upon.
The album opens up with an exposé of the two’s talent on Magic Mountain, with what sounds like what a house show punk band would turn out trapped inside a real magic mountain with nothing but Chaucer and old copies of Vice, with the lyrics “Inside my magic mountain we don’t have to be with them”. Rapid and syncopated drums match harmoniously with synth and dreamy lyrics, but after this initial stand of independence, the Drums peal off the outer shell of cuffed jeans and adidas, and reveal the somber reality of the album, full of technical playing, but also an understanding of what it means to write a song that isn’t ashamed of saying what it needs to say. Pierce doesn’t try to tuck anything out of sight by admitting “So help me, because I feel you drifting. You’re drifting a little, And I’m scared” on I Hope Time Doesn’t Change Him.
Encyclopedia might initially sound like what you’d expect to find on a dream-pop album out of Brooklyn, but where it excels is its lyrical/ musical simplicity, crossed with mastery. Fear of dying, fear of leaving, yet set against a distinctly American backdrop of a band that’s started to dig deep into its own distinct niche. I feel this is conveyed clearly in U.S. National Park as Pierce sings “United States national park, I don’t wanna die alone by the campfire”.
If you came to The Drums through their 2011 release Portamento, you’ll still find the mesmerizing trance tunes full of guitar riffs, but the lack of their other two members will certainly stand out, though this is not necessarily a bad thing. It sounds almost more fitting to hear the sounds of The Drums in a more mature and reminiscent way. Encyclopedia is certainly worth a listen if you’re looking to be more concerned about your inner hopes and fears than the weather this winter.
With the inevitable clashing of electric guitars in the background, the sophomore album from Immigrant Union, led by The Dandy Warhol’s Brent de Boer, Anyway still manages to pass itself off as a neo hippie folk record. The dream pop-y lyrics melt right into the impeccable fusion of psych rock and country riffs. Instead of coming off as a band with varied ideas and cohesive potential, the album seemed to have a lack of direction within it as a whole. This doesn’t take away from the talent within each song, but there was no center idea.
Tracks “Alison” and “Trip Ain’t Over” are the only real standouts on the album, with the lyrics “Alison” giving a vibe reminiscent of the Nineties’ alternative scene without giving up the country infused sound present throughout the rest of the album. “Trip Ain’t Over”, which is easily the most upbeat and mainstream-friendly track on the record. Although most of the album’s tracks maintain its complete severance from de Boer’s previous project, “I Can’t Return”, the third track, could have come straight off of Dandy Warhol’s record; however it still manages to blend with the majority of the album. Overall, the album comes off as a success, albeit with some very non-memorable songs and a partially constructed concept.
Ever wonder what The Mamas and The Papas would sound like playing in a dirty basement show on a college campus? One would imagine it sounding something like this album. Garage rock takes on San Francisco summer of love psychedelia in Cool Ghouls’ “A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye”. Myself being a fan of the Haight Ashbury scene that Cool Ghouls draws from so heavily, I had high hopes for the album. “A Swirling Fire” however, did not deliver. The album desperately lacks variety with very little change in tone, dynamics, structure, or even tempo, and many tracks are nearly indistinguishable from one another. The last track however offers some respite from the noise. “Sweet Rain” is a slow burning groove that is the only really memorable moment on the album. It seems like Cool Ghouls had one good idea for this album, but couldn’t think of any more.