A record getting a lot of spins at No Echo HQ as of late has been Cross My Heart, the second full-length from Break Away. The Richmond, VA outfit brings to mind a balance of '90s-styled hardcore with the energy and spirit of vintage-era Revelation Records. Break Away is fronted by A.E. Stallings, a multi-talented member of the hardcore community, who not only books shows in his local scene, but also works as an author, penning a book called Mourning Songs that was released over the summer.
Since A.E. is such a staple there, I figured it would be fun to ask him for some of the newer hardcore-related bands from the RVA music scene.
Comprised of former members of Malfunction, Lost Souls, and current members of Backtrack, this band came out with a 3-song demo this year that audibly knocked me out. Taking influence from the likes of Integrity and Burning Spirit-era Japanese hardcore, Candy creates a sound that is a combination not often heard or even attempted to be emulated in 2017. They’ve only played two shows at this point and have already announced a debut 7” coming out on Triple-B entitled Candy Says. I truly cannot even fathom how cool this band is sometimes and am honestly in awe at their momentum and trajectory.
Nosebleed came out with a self titled 7” this year that at first I somehow glanced over. For some reason I thought they were going to fade into the obscurity of house show punk bands that this city seems to come out with monthly, but god damn was I stupid and wrong. Since I started seeing them this year, they have gotten consistently better and better, their sets more crazy each time. They have a straight forward style, reminding me of Wasted Time here and there, maybe some Abused influence. Valentina really makes the band, she sounds sick and just has an overall cool vibe. I know they will also be releasing a sophomore 7” soon on a label of repute, but I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say which one yet. Either way, this band is definitely on the rise and someone to look out for.
Division of Mind
Talk about a nightmare incarnate. Division of Mind also dropped a 3-song demo this year that hit everyone that came in contact with it like a ton of bricks. “Brightout” is an insanely well put-together song. DoM features members of Bent Life, Nosebleed, I believe the guy they just added on guitar is also going to play for Red Death (I heard rumor of this), and alumni from Hard Stripes and Friend or Foe. Their drummer, Zac, once jokingly described them as “mysterious guy beatdown” which ironically in regards to vibe and sound is incredibly accurate. It’s hard to pin down their influences, I’d say some IDS NY-type bands influence, Kickback perhaps? Hatebreed? but all channeled through people that would wear dangly earrings (I don’t think any of them do, but if they did I wouldn’t be surprised). Their sets are wild, real dance hard or die scenarios. If you get a chance to check them out live, I implore you to do so, it is an experience.
Red Vision has been around longer than the other three bands I’ve mentioned but are still relatively new at about a 2-year tenure. I met these kids when they were teenagers, and some members still are. Their excitement about the genre and the energy they bring to every single show whether they be on or off the stage is inspiring. I love these kids. They have a small collection of friends called Red Vision Crew that make any show big or small they attend, a fun one. Musically speaking, they play straight-forward hardcore in the vein of 86 Mentality, Antidote, Freedom, and other NYHC and NYHC-influenced classics. They have a 7” out on Edgewood Records, the newest label offering from RVA, and one that is growing at very fast rate (owned and operated by Craig Kenney a former member of my band). Red Vision has started to hit the road more, so shake their hands if you see them in your city.
D-beat warriors on the offensive. Taking cues from the likes of Discharge and Motörhead, among many other bullet-clad ensembles. They had a 7” come out on Vinyl Conflict last year and I’ve seen them creeping up and on their way onto a fair amount of cool stuff. The drummer used to be in Hard Stripes and also plays in a band I know called Anti-Christ Siege Machine. They operate a little outside my normal circle, so I haven’t seen them as much as I would like, but I have a show set up with them on it about one week from me writing this, so I’m hoping I see them a lot more coming up.
Head to Break Away's Bandcamp page to check out their new album, Cross My Heart, and you can also follow the band on Instagram. If you live in the Richmond area, make sure you're following Richmond Hardcore Shows on Instagram. Oh yeah, Ace's personal IG can be found at this link, and you can also find out more about his book here.