Richmond's own indie hip-hop group, Bomb Skwad, prides itself on being totally original, designing its own music without the sampling and trade that characterizes the general movement of hip-hop. Bliss, Ill Flow and Ceaz are serious about their sound and their sometimes offensive sense of humor. In the last two years they have built themselves up through a lot of local touring and the recent release of their album, "Micfight!" They play Alley Katz with Brooklyn-based veterans Helter Skelter, Foot Soldiers and more Sunday, Dec. 5, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Tickets are $10-$12. www.alleykatzrva.com.
The Vice Records Tour at the Nanci Raygun
The label responsible for projecting on the world the ravings of The Streets' Mike Skinner now launches three more bands at an unsuspecting Richmond. Panthers, Vietnam and Death From Above 1979, while being a mouthful to say, also have a mouthful to say. Panthers came out of the debris of a couple of highly political, philosophy-quoting bands to create music that you can dance to if you can dance really fast to a barrage of punked-out guitars. Vietnam is stoner rock with multiple personalities, a heavy, fuzzy sound that picks up speed and then drops back down to a level that might be called blues. Death from Above 1979 is the product of some emotional guys making their feelings known very loudly through a crashing metal sound. Vice Records will have some explaining to do, Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Nanci Raygun at 8 p.m. Tickets are $6. www.nanciraygun.com.
Old School Freight Train at Ashland Coffee and Tea
Some bands can't settle on a sound, a style, and end up getting washed out and watered-down by trying to grab at too many. Old School Freight Train, with its mix of bluegrass, Celtic, R & B and Latin elements, manages to blend these without suffering the consequences. It plays many festivals, and the audience response is always strong. Old School plays Ashland Coffee and Tea on Friday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8.
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