Bad news comes in threes: Late last year, the area's music scene confirmed that adage when a triptych of bad booking stories broke just before the holidays. Tess Mangum Ocaña, long responsible for turning The ArtsCenter of Carrboro into an interesting listening outpost, had been laid off. DIVEbar and Volume 11—long the region's two strongholds for heavy music—would shut their doors with the arrival of the new year. Requisite scene-is-dead proclamations ensued.
But this time, good news comes in twos. In the space that once belonged to Volume 11, the minds that once ran DIVEbar launch The Maywood this weekend. Redesigned to be more intimate and acoustically conducive to cranked amps, The Maywood promises DIVEbar's same slate of free weekend shows, coupled with some bigger touring bills. The bar's recruited good company for its christening in ASG, the Wilmington trio that all but disappeared after a series of sneering and swiveling rock records for Volcom Entertainment. They've returned with Blood Drive—their first album in six years, their first for Relapse Records, and the best work of their career. Blood Drive taps into the recent successes of Southern metal, trussing the architectural splendor of Baroness to the leaden buoyancy of Torche. Newly infectious and energized, ASG seems poised and able to thrill with riffs and to hold in thrall with hooks. Both Blood Drive and The Maywood have arrived at the perfect time. —Grayson Currin