The city of Richmond, Virginia, has had a long and storied music history steeped in punk rock and heavy metal. Some of the most gargantuan and influential cult bands to ever emerge in both of these scenes came to power in the state’s capital. Even though Richmond is a town that loves its vibrant arts scene, and it truly is musically diverse, it’s the punkers and metalheads that put R-Town on the rock ‘n’ roll map. While Avail and GWAR are probably the most high-profile, other groups such as Alabama Thunderpussy, Lamb Of God, and River City High (among others) made trash rock lovers salivate at the indie record shops. And although bands come and go, year after year, it’s a positive reminder for Old Dominion residents (like myself) that New York City or Los Angeles (or other Metropolitan cities) aren’t the only breeding grounds for exciting underground music. With such a soundtrack artistically shaping Richmond’s landscape, it’s no surprise that artists are being influenced into creating something that’s original, intelligent, and wonderfully unique. One of the more recent gems to arise is a three-piece that call themselves Toward Space…
Vocalist/guitarist David Patton and vox/bassist Seyla Hossaini met when they were both 11 years old. Bonding over their mutual interest/worship for ’70s punk (especially the Ramones), Nirvana, and Sparklehorse, the two began jamming together regularly, exemplifying a sound born of their influences. To up their game, they started collaborating with other area musicians, hoping that something would gel into a substantial group. Eventually they were forced to say “fuck it” and started gigging as a two-piece in King Khan & BBQ fashion, with David playing guitar AND drums. Their shows began attracting a larger base of locals, including one Javier Yamamoto, who offered his services to occupy the drummer’s throne. David and Seyla accepted Javier’s offer, and with the pieces in place, they recorded their debut “Avoid the Draft” (released June 28, 2016, and highly recommended). Over six tracks, the trio offered up an impressive mix of garage punk, swamp rock, and an underlying flavoring of trashy surf. By this time, Toward Space was hitting the road/opening up for such stalwarts as Nobunny and Shonen Knife, impressing the crowds and winning new fans on the club/bar circuit. Not ones to just let their motors idle, the threesome put their collective heads together and began working on their next record…
On March 12, Toward Space dropped “The Bomb That Fell”, an album that continued the band’s consistency at crafting well-written songs on an honest-to-fucking-goodness rock ‘n’ roll document. The opener (the title track) is a haunting, metal-flirting garage beater that exhumes a dark flair reminiscent of the Black Angels. The second track, “Black Cat”, is a catchy rocker which has a ’70s punk feel, showcasing damn fine chops all around. “Night Sorrows”, a tasty power pop tune, would have fit perfectly in the back catalogue of England’s the Boys, and others of their ilk. “Dream Love Kill” is a sublime number, with Seyla’s vocals displaying the fact that not only can she handle garage punk, but possibly even straight-up pop. “Swamp Theme” is a nails-down-the-back scorch-rocker with Seyla delivering a sultry delivery, singing the praises of living the swamp life. Gears are switched with “Take Peace”, a slower composition that has shades of Radiohead, proving that David, Seyla, and Javier can broaden their sound to an even wider musical palette. The fitting closer, “Black Magic”, is a psych/garage masterpiece that takes you on an eerie ride of emotions, even venturing into stoner doom territory. You definitely feel that this selection could be playing over the ending credits of an exploitation drive-in flick, one that has truly fucked with your head, but in the best way possible (which is a perfect summation of this recording). These seven songs are a welcome diversion from the commercialized crap that’s clogging up the mainstream, and another testament that real rock ‘n’ roll still exists. Without a doubt, “The Bomb That Fell” is a bomb to your senses, and it deserves a ranking on “Top 10” lists for this year.
You can order a copy of “The Bomb That Fell” and “Avoid the Draft” on Bandcamp.
Stay up-to-date with Toward Space, including the latest news and tour information on Facebook.