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Friday, July 3, 2015

Yankee Doodle Weirdo: A far-out Fourth of July YouTube mix

Posted by on Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 1:11 PM

Once you’ve muddled through your cavalcade of Petty and Katy and Miley and the Boss, the offerings for Independence Day-themed songs can get intriguing fast. At least that’s what I discovered after seeking out the less-explored corners of YouTube for rarified offerings in a patriotic spirit.

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    Dig through David Klein's deep Fourth of July-related finds, even when they get out there.

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Billy Sugarfix is back (and already booking shows)

Posted by on Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Czech out the view: Wendy Spitzer and Bill McCormick - PHOTO BY DOUGLAS VUNCANNON
  • Photo by Douglas Vuncannon
  • Czech out the view: Wendy Spitzer and Bill McCormick
After a year in Prague, Bill McCormick is back in North Carolina. Better known by his stage name of Billy Sugarfix, McCormick left last summer to teach English overseas and to experience Europe with partner and fellow Triangle musician, Wendy Spitzer. While there, the couple ate and drank well and attended Krampus runs in Austria. McCormick even developed a taste for opera.

"In my opinion, guys like me don't go to operas because we grew up on tobacco farms," the Kentucky native says with a laugh. "The best ones were Czech operas. We even saw a twelve-tone opera."

Now that he's back, McCormick seems to be picking up mostly where he left off. His holiday-loving band, Evil Wiener, is returning to its usual modus operandi with a 4th of July show at The Kraken (for once, not The Cave!) in Chapel Hill.

But he's not done traveling or living internationally. Now that he sees he can pull it off, he wants to go to Vietnam and Mexico. Before any of those trips, though, he plans on visiting Spitzer, headed to England for another degree.

We caught up with McCormick to talk about the year in Prague and the years to come.

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    Evil Wiener plays its traditional Independence Day show tomorrow at The Kraken.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Live: Pursuing immortality with The Rolling Stones

Posted by on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:42 AM

Ron Wood and Keith Richards, joking around late during The Rolling Stones' set at Carter-Finley Stadium on Wednesday - PHOTO BY DAN SCHRAM
  • Photo by Dan Schram
  • Ron Wood and Keith Richards, joking around late during The Rolling Stones' set at Carter-Finley Stadium on Wednesday
The Rolling Stones & The Avett Brothers
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Rolling Stones exploit the best implicit touring marketing pitch money cannot buy: See them now, because there’s no telling if they’ll live long enough for you to see them again.

The age of the infamously hard-living Stones has been a punchline for decades, or so long it’s now simply a wonder of anti-science: How have they survived when so many of their peers and idols have passed on? And more important, how have they persisted to perform for more than two hours on a balmy and breezy Southern weeknight, while smoking onstage and sipping from mysterious cups, as they did on Wednesday for a stadium of 40,000 people in Raleigh? Despite the pyrotechnics and multi-hundred-dollar tickets, the stadium-tall projection screens and football-field-length catwalk, a Rolling Stones show is really a circus sideshow of rock ’n’ roll provided by biological freaks, a Ripley’s installation of three septuagenarians and a sexagenarian, all clad in crinkly reptilian skin, causing you to pose one constant question: How do they still do that?

The feeling occurred again and again during their hits-heavy 19-song set at Carter-Finley Stadium. During opener “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” Mick Jagger glided and jerked across the stadium-wide stage on legs that looked unhealthily thin, as though he were a marionette rescued from salvage. But save for a mid-show, two-song bit led by Keith Richards, he didn’t stop moving for two hours, as he flung the various jackets and shirts of a half-dozen wardrobe changes into alternate corners of his band’s perch. He always returned to a semi-sheer, incredibly tight black shirt, which he would push suggestively to his midriff to the knowing squeals of the crowd.

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    When the glaciers finally dissolve into the sea and even the fate of the cockroach seems questionable, The Rolling Stones will still be here.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oops! The Rolling Stones forget to get N.C. State's permission to use the Wolfpack logo

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 4:40 PM

If they’re not careful, The Rolling Stones may soon find themselves under the thumb of N.C. State University: During their ZIP Code Tour appearance tonight at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium, the Brits who appropriated the blues will sell merchandise featuring the Wolfpack’s familiar “Tuffy" mascot, with the face replaced by John Pasche’s iconic tongue-and-lip logo for the Stones. The goofy wares include a “Go Stones” rally towel, several shirts and a football jersey.

The problem? The Rolling Stones’ merchandising wing, Bravado USA, and the promoter, AEG Live, forgot to get permission from the school.

Gregg Zarnstorff, the university’s director of trademark licensing, says the promoter asked to use a modified version of Tuffy in March to drive ticket sales online and through advertisements. But the deal didn't allow the tongue-and-Tuffy graphic on merchandise, even when AEG Live asked for permission to do exactly that three weeks ago. So yesterday afternoon, university officials were surprised to see their beloved mascot on those towels, Ts and uniforms, especially since they hadn’t been promised a take of the profits. Zarnstorff attributes the error to a miscommunication and says they are retroactively working to secure their cut of the cash.

“AEG Live’s representative acknowledged the mistake and the ‘need to make this right’ with the university,” he says. “The university is working to resolve this amicably with AEG Live and Bravado in a timely manner, but is expected to receive its full trademark royalties (12–14 percent) on any sales with that particular graphic.”

According to Zarnstorff, these royalties support scholarships, endowments and student programs. At press time, an official with The Rolling Stones was not aware of the mistake and was seeking comment from the band’s merchandiser and promoter.

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    The university and the promoter are working to resolve the mistake.

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Live: Waka Flocka Flame gets soft in the club

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Turn up better, Waka Flocka Flame - PHOTO BY REID ROLLS
  • Photo by Reid Rolls
  • Turn up better, Waka Flocka Flame
Waka Flocka Flame
Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh
Saturday, June 27, 2015

A “Pyramid of Moisture” is exactly what it sounds like—a 5-foot pyramid stacked with many of the twerk-sweat-soaked women Waka Flocka Flame invited onstage for his large living room party on Saturday night at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre. Waka loves the ladies, it seems, unless they pull out their smartphones while he’s trying to party with them. Then, they’re getting booted back into the crowd, as they were Saturday.

Admittedly, my Waka Flocka fandom only goes as far as repeated watches of the “Rooster in My Rari” video. But the spectacle of a human-sized rooster dancing and hanging out in Waka’s Ferrari offered enough sensory overload that I never thought to listen. Supposedly, the song is about Waka having a woman in his car. But now I know better: The song is definitely about having anal sex on Xanax, a topic that surely would have made for an insightful discussion during Waka’s pre-show meet-and-greet on Saturday night.

Too bad for the suckers who shelled out the extra $25 for the private gab, though, as they could have just met Waka when he spent 20 minutes of his set moshing through the audience. I watched as the Flockaveli rapper carved out a mole trail through the thicket of fans. He accepted their drunk hugs and pushes to the sound of Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What” and Machine Gun Kelly’s “Wild Boy,” which features Waka.

Unless you knew Waka’s catalogue, though, you wouldn’t have known which songs were his, as he never actually performed much of anything. He rapped one or two lines from each number on his set list, favoring instead a mixture of derelict antics like ad-libbing fleeting segments of hits like “Hard In Da Paint” or violently shaking his dreads and throwing water into the crowd while “No Hands” played. At one point, Waka gave up doing a show altogether, choosing instead to sit in front his DJ’s Macbook and scroll through “old-school music.” He played Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” stood there, looked at the crowd and began browsing his phone. He was as apathetic to the music he was supposed to be rapping as he was to his security detail, noticeably annoyed when they had to shield their star from the crowd’s overly eager Brick Squadians.

When you add up all of Waka’s concert shenanigans—the attention-deficit hyperactivity, the inability to perform a song, his all-play-and-no-work attitude—it computes that his Flockaveli 2 LP has been indefinitely postponed after two years of bogus release dates. Remember how Waka Flocka wants all of us to take his candidacy for president of the United States seriously? If he can’t even deliver a full version of “O Let's Do It,” what could he possibly offer at an inauguration speech?

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Live: Jamey Johnson lights up The Ritz with a three-hour set

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 9:07 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Paradigm Talent Agency
Jamey Johnson
The Ritz, Raleigh
Saturday, June 27, 2015

The one thing longer than Jamey Johnson’s beard may be his set list.

The outlaw country music favorite played for nearly three hours Saturday night at Raleigh’s The Ritz, daring the full house to request an encore by closing instead with a matter-of-fact nod to the crowd.

“Thanks for coming out tonight. You’re the reason we get to do what we do,” Johnson said, raising a plastic cup before following his seven-piece band offstage. “Y’all be careful out there.”

The brief sign-off may have been the singer’s longest string of words of the night. Throughout the dense show—jammed with dozens of songs from his break-out album, That Lonesome Song, and its follow-up, The Guitar Song, plus several hardcore country covers—Johnson offered very little commentary. Not that the crowd needed a pat on the back or backstories on the songs: Even without the support of mainstream country radio, practically a requirement for modern widespread success in the genre, Johnson has become a household name for the country-music-for-people-who-like-country-music crowd.

Writing some of country music’s biggest songs can do that for a singer-songwriter, as evidenced by the recent success of Chris Stapleton’s solo debut, Traveller. The opening licks of Johnson’s rendition of “Give It Away,” the song that broke Conway Twitty’s record for most Billboard Hot Country Chart number one singles for Texas titan George Strait, won him the biggest cheers of the night. (Side note: One of my favorite live music moments stars Johnson and this song. The singer closed his 2009 N.C. State Fair concert against the Fair’s nightly fireworks, visible through Dorton Arena's northern windows, with a deft re-tooling of its final lines: “I’ve got a furnished house, a diamond ring, and a fireworks display/And I can’t even give it away.")

In addition to his original songs and co-writes, Johnson pulls from a deep well of covers. Waylon Jennings, Don Williams and Willie Nelson, whose influences color nearly all his work, made the cut, but his renditions of George Jones’ liquor-soaked “Still Doin’ Time” and Keith Whitley’s “Bitch at the Bottom” won with the help of his long-time steel guitar player, Cowboy Eddie Long. A loose, rocking group of players dubbed the Kent Hardly Playboys backed Johnson well, but Long’s yearning, piercing backbone truly defines his sound.

All in all, the night was a celebration of that sound, one Johnson has locked down and nearly trademarked. Still, five years after the release of his last album of original material and the breakdown of his major-label deal, there was some staleness, a void where experimentation and new music felt tamped down in favor of crowd favorites and country classics. In a time when country music is pushing its boundaries, here’s hoping we haven’t seen the creative climax of one of its very best.
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    The outlaw country star tore through a packed set of his and others' hits in Raleigh Saturday night.

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Durham Main Library, Merge Records to present a program on album art

Posted by on Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 9:07 AM

  • Illustration by JP Trostle
Heads up, big-time music nerds: if you've ever wondered what goes into the creative process behind album covers, Durham Main Library has the perfect evening lined up for you on July 7. Maggie Fost, Merge Records' creative director, will discuss the creation of different album art in varying formats, from the 25-year-old label's early cassette tapes to more recent vinyl releases.

Fost will expand beyond Merge, too, discussing the cover art for other independent records from the past decade.  Superchunk and Merge co-founder Mac McCaughan will also weigh in on the artistic collaboration that goes into making the perfect album cover. The program begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public, with no reservation required. More information is available here.
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    Learn about the development of and creative processes behind album art via Merge Records' creative director Maggie Fost.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Video: Southland Mission makes a stunning debut onstage

Posted by and on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 2:17 PM

  • Photo by Dan Schram
Phil Cook's Southland Revue: Introducing Southland Mission
e Gardens, Durham
Wednesday, June 24

The program for the packed final night of Phil Cook's Southland Revue was straightforward and self-explanatory: With the show titled Introducing Southland Mission, the band tore through Cook's nine-song LP due out via Thirty Tigers in September. 

After beginning with "Ain't it Sweet," the band followed with Charlie Parr's "1922" and Cook's "Great Tide" (you can listen to the studio version of it here). Cook previously played "Lowly Road" on Tuesday night, but beefed it up Wednesday with the full band, which included Tamisha Waden as a backup vocalist. The band became even fuller Wednesday when Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath joined Waden to help with vocal duties. 

After "Time To Wake Up," a song Cook wrote to help his three-year-old son bounce back from naptime, "Anybody Else" and "Gone," Cook invited his friend and Ponysaurus Brewing founder Keil Jensen onstage to sing Tom Petty's "The Apartment Song." The band reprised Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner," which they covered Monday night, before launching into an extended cover of "Northeast Texas Women," with Meath belting the lead. That and the "Six Days on the Road" encore made for an energetic and grand finish. It was the perfect way to cap the three nights of performances that offered a fantastic portrait of Cook along with both his larger body of work and his influences.

Phil Cook & The Guitarheels, "Great Tide"

Phil Cook & The Guitarheels, "Sitting on a Fence Too Long"

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    Phil Cook and company played his forthcoming album in its entirety Wednesday night in Durham.

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See See Gulls' video for "Long Gone"

Posted by on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 10:57 AM

Sarah Fuller isn’t going to let this boy get the best of her. In the Jacki Huntington-directed clip for “Long Gone,” the mid-tempo seducer from See Gulls’ forthcoming debut EP, You Can’t See Me, the band’s leader is first surprised with a living-room breakup as she sips from a glass of wine. Consternation follows, as do tears, shouts, mascara-streaming drives, couch-sitting sadness and awkward encounters at bars where the ex (local musician Wylie Hunter) shows up with a new fling.

But she gets the last laugh here, emptying some neon-green vomit down his back and peering over a produce aisle to pronounce “Fuck you” as the bailer checks out some tomatoes. It’s as heartfelt and defiant as the rest of the great You Can’t See Me, which is out July 14.

See Gulls play Tuesday night at The Pinhook with Torres, their last show before a record-release party at Kings Saturday, July 18.

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    A little bit sad and a little bit funny, See Gulls' video for "Long Gone" gets surreal on a breakup.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Video: The Branchettes and Charlie Parr bring more light to Phil Cook's Southland Revue

Posted by and on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 5:29 PM

  • Photo by Dan Schram
Phil Cook's Southland Revue: Are You Ready for the Jubilee?
Duke Gardens, Durham
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A smaller crowd gathered for Tuesday's portion of Phil Cook's Southland Revue, but the evening sported a deeper, more electrifying spiritual current than Monday night's (also wonderful) Trials, Troubles, Heartaches. Like the set before, the evening began with Cook taking the stage alone with an electric guitar. He offered one of his favorite gospel tunes, "Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave it There," and followed it with "Lowly Road," a new Staples Singers-inspired track off his forthcoming Southland Mission.

Cook then invited The Branchettes, the gospel duo of pianist Wilbur Tharpe and Lena Mae Perry, onstage for a handful of gospel tunes. Cook took a back seat, filling in on vocals and allowing the bright Branchettes to shine.

Cook subsequently took on the role of one of Charlie Parr's sidemen, too, taking a seat at the piano and only occasionally chiming in between Parr's songs. Cook, Wallace and Gustafson all played on Parr's latest LP, Stumpjumper; because Parr normally tours solo, this evening was a rare opportunity to hear his songs almost exactly as they appear on the record. Parr's tunes all moved at a feverish clip, with "Stumpjumper," "Over The Red Cedar" and "Falcon" arriving as exceptionally energetic installments.

The Branchettes returned to the stage for the evening's final song, a moving and exuberant rendition of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." While Parr's portion of the set was excellent, The Branchettes managed to stir something deeper within me. I'm a skeptical agnostic on a good day, but there was an inexplicable something about their music that allowed me to connect with the songs' spirituality. I hadn't expected to leave Tuesday night's performance feeling so genuinely, generously shaken up.

The Southland Revue closes out tonight with Introducing Southland Mission, and Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath as the evening's special guest. Tickets are available here.

Phil Cook, "Lowly Road"

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    Phil Cook's cohorts continued to shine on night two of his three-night stand in Duke Gardens.

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Twitter Activity


That is a great one, no doubt -- but, you know, I was going for weird.

by David Klein on Yankee Doodle Weirdo: A far-out Fourth of July YouTube mix (Music)

Love this, David. Also, X: Fourth of July…

by Lisa Sorg, INDY Editor on Yankee Doodle Weirdo: A far-out Fourth of July YouTube mix (Music)

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