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Virginia Wing

The duo of Alice Merida Richards and Sam Pillay, Virginia Wing's experimental pop is lush yet ever-changing sound. Early works like 2014's Measures of Joy drew comparisons to Broadcast, Stereolab, This Heat, and Blonde Redhead, but as the years went by, their music expanded to include elements of jazz and psych-pop as well as African and Asian inspiration. With 2018's Ecstatic Arrow, Virginia Wing established themselves as an equally innovative and heartfelt act, and on 2021's vibrant Private Life, they further expanded their horizons without losing any of their emotional pull. Originally featuring guitarist/keyboardist Sam Pillay (a former member of Let's Wrestle), drummer Sebastian Truskolaski, and keyboardist/vocalist Richards, Virginia Wing formed in South London in 2012. Taking their name from Grace Slick's mother, the band quickly set about gigging, rehearsing, and recording, issuing a single on Critical Heights and a self-titled 12" on the Faux Discx label in 2013. They followed it with the full-length Measures of Joy, which they recorded at London's Holy Mountain Studios with Misha Hering; Fire Records released it in late 2014. The single "Rhonda," which featured an appearance by Grimm Grimm's Koichi Yamanoha, arrived in April of 2016. When sessions for the next album began, Richards and Pillay headed in a more starkly electronic direction as a duo. Their second album, Forward Constant Motion, was again recorded with Hering, and was released in late 2016. For their next project, Virginia Wing collaborated with electronic experimenters XAM Duo on 2017's improvisation-based Tomorrow's Gift, which took inspiration from Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, and Holger Czukay. That year, Pillay and Richards worked with Jane Weaver on a cover of Suzanne Menzel's "It Starts Again" for Fire's Lost Library series. To record their third album, Virginia Wing decamped to Hering's family home in Switzerland and drew on playful and contemplative influences including Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Ecstatic Arrow, which also featured XAM Duo's Christopher Duffin on saxophone, came out in June 2018. The following year, the band issued Pale Burnt Lake, a set of abstract pieces based on Ecstatic Arrow's tracks, as a limited edition cassette for their U.S. tour. Pillay and Richards reunited with Duffin and took inspiration from artists ranging from YMO to Prince to Timbaland for February 2021's Private Life.
© Fred Thomas & Heather Phares /TiVo


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