TIFT ON THE SPARK
The Spark, Tift Merritt's long-on-hold radio program for Marfa, Texas, NPR station KRTS 93.5 FM, is finally on the air. A series of one-on-one interviews with artists Merritt admires, The Spark debuted Jan. 27, with a conversation with English writer Nick Hornby. The next three episodes include talks with poet C.K. Williams, painter Wolf Kahn and bluegrass trio Nickel Creek. To hear the first program, visit www.marfaspark.com. Merritt's third album, Another Country, is out Feb. 26 on Fantasy Records. She'll play Durham's Carolina Theatre March 22. —Grayson Currin
DOUBLE BARREL RAISES $5,000+ FOR WKNC
The Pour House was packed with sweaty bodies and loud sounds last weekend, providing what WKNC DJ and Double Barrel Benefit organizer Sam McGuire called "a crash course in local music." It started Friday night, when concert goers formed a line on Blount Street before doors opened. This year's lineup—more focused on young, up-and-coming local bands than last year's—opened with The Future Kings of Nowhere, North Elementary, The Never and headliners Annuals. The crowd of 400 bumped shoulders and inched closer to the stage.
Saturday night's show was a little less crowded, but the 300 in attendance felt the spark the moment Durham's Tooth took the stage, its loud guitars and growling vocals churning a crowd expecting mostly indie rock. Tooth's fellow Bull urbanites in Red Collar capitalized on the volume and momentum, its pandemonium-inducing set opening with frontman Jason Kutchma's preacher-man intro on the joys of listening to WKNC. Did Springsteen ever make local radio a cause?
Fin Fang Foom maintained the sound, fury and volume, passing the stage off to headliners and guitar-driven agitated janglers Sorry About Dresden. Along with the crowd's chorus of cheers, Sorry About Dresden shouted goodbyes and goodnights in the wee hours of Sunday morn, ending an introduction of the highest order to fresh Triangle sounds. The station benefited too, with cheap ticket sales and big crowds raising more than $5,000 for the station, tripling their profit from 2007. The funds will be applied to the purchase of a live remote unit for the radio station, which will allow WKNC to broadcast outside the Triangle. —Kathy Justice
THE LONERS ON WFMU
Raleigh's fantastic THE LONERS recently made a trip north in support of friends The Rosebuds. They stopped at WFMU's Jersey City studios to record a segment of Three Chord Monte with DJ Joe Belock, playing five songs and doing a short interview. The Loners head into the studio with Greg Elkins to begin work on a second album in May. The program aired Jan. 29, but you can stream the whole set at www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/26097. —Grayson Currin