Troika Music Festival schedule | Music Feature | Indy Week
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Troika Music Festival schedule 

Wednesday, August 24
Joe & Jo's
D. Cantwell's Pocketful of Experimental Delights
As a pal explained more elegantly: In every small town and in all nooks of the country, search enough and you'll find the freaks who dig the squeaks. Dave Cantwell wears, figuratively, a diamond encrusted, capital "F" of bling, the Triangle's purveyor of subterranean sound and the malapert drummer of Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan. Pocketful of Experimental Delights is his curated evening. Had Jesus dug drummer Jonathan Kane, Joseph Irving's Clang Quartet wouldn't exist. Thankfully he didn't, and Irving's unparalleled percussion testament lives. SpaceLab opt for sky-wide projections to match its gushing electronic torrents. Data Hata, Glockenspiel, Pykrete and Jazz Brunch join in. (9:00) --EW
Also Appearing: Jaguaro (7:30), Hotel Motel (8:15), Maple Stave (9:00)

Kings
Blackstrap
Durham rock bands don't mind wearing a little politic on their sleeves. Blackstrap snarl and grind through numbers that feel good going down, like cold beer after reading the day's news. (9:25) --CT

Port Huron Statement
Port Huron Statement leader Chip Taylor (and in case there's any confusion, he's not the Chip Taylor who wrote "Wild Thing" and"Angel of the Morning") was formerly a member of the Boone, N.C.-based outfit Sticky. But whereas Sticky dealt in scruffy power pop, Port Huron Statement keeps things a bit trippier and Flaming Lipsier, with some of the quirkiness a natural byproduct of PHS's homegrown, 4-track origins. (10:15) --RC

Spader
The snappy, three-piece sound of Raleigh's Spader fits for fans of Gang of Four-derived ensembles, so references to Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads and Kasabian are in place. Thankfully, they bring something different to the mixing board, too: a perfectly petulant, girl-bothered, girl-enamored sense of humor, frontman Mike Dillon laying it down in a high-school tantrum. (11:05) --GC

Art Lord and The Self-Portraits
If you dream of late nights cruising the dance bars, chaperoned by Duckie (Jon Cryer) and experienced in a high-concept montage soundtracked by guys with fake European accents and plinky keyboards, you've been looking for the Lord (and his Self-Portraits). Their post-wave bounce-pop sautés Kajagoogoo and a small trim of Psych Furs over a bed of Talking Heads. (11:55) --CP
Also Appearing: Sold (7:45), Lud (8:35)

Thursday, August 25
Duke Coffeehouse
David Karsten Daniels
David Karsten Daniels' music is spare and his words are presented raw, as if straight from his soul and gut to your ears with no time for overbaking. Just keep them away from your wrists, because they're also razor sharp and unyielding, especially as presented on his most recent release, Angles. (8:40) --RC

Alina Simone
A recent arrival to the Triangle scene, Alina Simone has long had a Triangle connection, as her rapturous debut, Prettier in the Dark, was released on the Chapel Hill-based Fractured Discs. Simone harkens to the brazen femme effrontery of Cat Power and PJ Harvey, but she does it in lucid narrative segments--painted in dark grey shades of memory, stored well away from the stultifying vacuum of disappointment--as opposed to the scattered, jagged ambiguity of her predecessors. Country warmth pervades her geographically attached work, marking her as much a storyteller as a poet. (9:20) --GC

The Wigg Report
Hark the sound of ragged beauty, acoustic jangle tumbling like Slinky™ down a lo-fi pop incline toward early-'90s progenitors Small Factory, Talulah Gosh and The Wedding Present. Shuffling through an unassuming and gentle air, their passage is punctuated with blasts of horns and boy/girl harmonies as sweet and chewy as those old sugar-encrusted fruit drops. (10:00) --CP

The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers
The boys of Bu Hanan Records--the collective that includes The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers, The Physics of Meaning and David Karsten Daniels--recently settled into a house in the woods of Durham County, and they've got recordings slated there through the end of the year. The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle suggests it will be the Pink House of indie. Meanwhile, John Vanderslice says Wright's first full-length is the best home recording he's heard in years. And that's not just name-dropping: Perry Wright--a new songwriting hero--has the rare gift of devouring, digesting and distilling most of the world in four minutes, injecting it all in subdurals. He's one to notice. (10:45) --GC
Also Appearing: Billy Sugarfix (7:45), Schwervon (8:15), The Mountain Goats (11:30)

Joe & Jo's
Opening Flower Happy Bird (10:30)
Also Appearing: Ricky Dollars (8:00), Fluff Chick (8:50), Junior Varsity Superheroes (9:40), Dom Casual (11:20)

Local 506
Ticonderoga
Grinnell, Iowa transplants Ticonderoga first graced the Triangle with their music--quiet, acoustic-guitar surrealistic solipsism given to brazen micro-climaxes embedded in jazz's dynamic shifts and turns--18 months ago. Since then, they have quietly released some half-dozen CD-R EPs on their own, eventually signing to Michigan-based 54˚40' or Fight! Their eponymous, home-recorded debut is sublime and fascinating, and their live sets--often tailored to a theme or tone--carry that weight well. (10:05) --GC

STRANGE
STRANGE is past the possibility of sophomore slump. Four months after the release of their haunting, murky debut, the band hit the stage two weeks ago at Kings and played almost entirely new material in a headlining set. The unfamiliar fare exploits Linc Hancock's room-rattling low end with an unsettling arrhythmia, but no difference is as conspicuous as new drummer Brian Donahoe, who doesn't lay into the songs as much he lays onto them. Across-the-kit, there-and-back-again circuitousness, Donahoe's drumming recharged the band and turned this hot Tuesday night into quite possibly the best set the band has ever played. Look out. (11:45) --GC
Also Appearing: The Experts (8:25), People Under the Bridge (9:15), North Elementary (10:55)

Friday, August 26
Duke Coffehouse
The Whole World Laughing
Gather all the drumsticks on earth, shoot them out of a cannon and blow them out of the sky like so much skeet. Dave Cantwell (CG&J) and Scotty Irving (Clang Quartet) will not help you. Two of the most inventive percussionists and noisemakers in the Triangle, this dynamic duo squiggle and crash like no others. (7:45) --CT

Tennis and the Mennonites
Jerstin Crosby's songs move in melodic turns, made visual by lyrical detail. The spare pop arrangements cushion Crosby's distinct vocal play--arched, affected words cracking on their way out. Disarming and desperate, the characters in TATM's songs still resonate as very human. (8:35) --CT

The Sames
Anxious calls to Center for Infectious Pop go unanswered. Bill, the bald-pated epidemiologist, is on a desk doing his arms in that stairmaster/'50s go-go girl motion, while Sandy's thrown off her spectacles and let her hair down, whipping it around like Warrant's Jani Lane (back when he had any). They're overcome by The Sames' swirling synth and guitar new-dream-wave-pop frappe. Use as directed. (10:15) --CP
Also Appearing: Gerty! (9:25), I Am the World Trade Center (11:05)

The Rosebuds
Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp--the Raleigh couple fronting the Rosebuds--are one hook away from the type of upper-indie echelon success that Merge labelmates Spoon and The Arcade Fire have found in the past year. For better or worse, Howard isn't pushing too far too fast with the band's second LP, Birds Make Good Neighbors, due next month: This sophomore effort cuts pastoral swaths through mellow, conflicting romantic inroads, exploring the mysterious cult of marriage with an honest, hopeful eye and understated, twang-toned reverb. Howard may be singing from behind the drum kit for this one, as the band is in a lineup transition and between drummers. (11:55) --GC

Joe & Jo's
Dirty Little Heaters
The Heaters, a Durham rock lady duo, yelp and sputter but keep it fun and noisy. The guitar-drums basics make for a stripped-down clatter. (9:15) --CT

The Moaners
The Moaners are Trailer Bride's Melissa Swingle and drummer Laura King, veteran of Chapel Hill's Grand National and a host of punk bands in her former home of Baltimore, and their musical world is one in which Elizabeth Cotton and Flannery O'Connor are Southern-cool divas and pushy men are little yapping dogs. Fittingly, the key song on the duo's early-2005 debut Dark Snack is "Secret Joy," which celebrates the start of a beautiful partnership. (10:55) --RC

Fontana
Just a few Joe & Jo's sets into it, Fontana--hopped up on Neil Young cosmic country, Gram Parsons self-loathing and Wayne Coyne's sweet-as-space whine--is a Durham band for dreamers and weepers. Pedal steel, feedback guitar and a pushy rhythm section stapled to sincerely severe world-weariness. (11:45) --GC
Also Appearing: Jack the Radio (8:25) , Americas Next Top Models (10:05)

Local 506
Regina Hexaphone
This indie-folk-rock collective puts the hex in Hexaphone. The list of bands that its members have played in includes Shark Quest, Sparklehorse, the Comas, the Shames and Dish, and taking bits and pieces of those five high-atmosphere groups and doing some minor reassembling provides a good starting point for Regina Hexaphone's spell-binding sound. It's lush without being suffocating, and pretty without being all up in your face and batting its eyelashes. (9:15) --RC

The Strugglers
I've seen Randy Bickford pull the same trick with various incarnations of The Strugglers several times now, just after announcing he has two songs left. They'll launch into one, Bickford's voice aching over an amped Oldham youth, his Paul Reid Smith finding a note and then rattling around it. The song fades away, save a lone piano rising and falling on major chords. Bickford swings the guitar behind his back and tucks his hands together, standing there, pleading the opening rhymes for the title-track closer from the forthcoming You Win: "When you win, your ripples show / Under your smiling, a fondness comes and goes / For the losses that you have known." Still, the epic nature of it--unfurling, building, not climaxing--gives me goose bumps every time. This year is a critical year. (11:45) --GC
Also Appearing: Physics of Meaning (8:25), Winter Blanket (10:05), Erie Choir (10:55)

Saturday, August 27
305 South
Farmer Jason
In civilian garb, Jason Ringenberg is so mild-mannered that you're justified in thinking that the onstage Jason (frontguy for country-punk pioneers Jason and the Scorchers) qualifies as an alter ego, a manic ball of fire that's half Jerry Lee Lewis and half Jerry Lewis. Turns out that Ringenberg has yet another alter ego, one inspired by his three young daughters: kids-music artist Farmer Jason. Farmer Jason shares charmingly straightforward songs about life with chickens and pigs. And after the show, he'll sign your child's copy of A Day at the Farm with Farmer Jason and your copy of Lost & Found. (11:30 am) --RC

Goner
Every indie frontman wants to dabble with keyboards these days, and--if John K. Samson (Propaghandi, The Weakerthans) ever makes the electronic, sans-guitar crossover and recruits a driving rock rhythm section--Goner may have some company. Until then, Scott Phillips' kaleidoscopic keys band will continue to be an oddity, combining smart songwriting with playful, key-helmed pop. (6:50) --GC

Audubon Park
Joyous pop--songs that click along with a persistent beat yet have a wry humor--do not always work. One of these things often outweighs the others. With Audubon Park, the pop tones are catching like an epidemiologist's nightmare, only less complicated. So the humor, like songs about cats and horses, comes quickly too. (7:40) --CT

Bellafea
Bellafea's debut EP, Family Tree, was good, but it had big shoes to fill. The Chapel Hill two-piece's live show cuts through the hesitation of that entrée with the alt-as-orthodox tunings of Heather McEntire's screeching Jaguar and Nathan Buchanan's drumming, capable of amorphous mathematical inflections paired to driving, saddle snap snares and colliding cymbals collapsing in doublets. Vocally, McEntire kills with kindness in an instant. That is, until she decides she's had enough of pleasing everyone. Then, they roar. (8:30) --GC

Work Clothes
Jenny and Lee Waters flesh out their songs live with a full band these days, giving them the option of blasting some big rock or retreating to their sublime bittersweet atmospherics. Watch to see which emotional button they'll push. Folks who don't know Lee from his wilder times before WC might've been shocked to see him break a glass with a bass as he jumped in during the final Ghost of Rock set. (10:10) --CT

Tenement Halls
Chris Lopez once penned the beautiful heartbreaks of The Rock*A*Teens, a rock band that crossed musical borders with country's twang and dark, bitter resolve, but the exuberance of a hopeful hazy dream. Tenement Halls is his new deal, a landscape where noir stories are told, where a protagonist just got screwed, and there's nothing anybody can do about it. And yet he raises his fists in the air, yells and thinks to himself, "And there is a song." (11:00) --CT
Also Appearing: Odd International (4:20), Polynya (5:10), The Balance (6:00), Schooner (9:20)

Joe & Jo's
Destroyed by Kittens
Durham Women Rocking, Part Infinity. The two women in the band punch the vocals and guitar and bass, with the male drummer keeping time in the back, in dual harmonic pop-rock. (8:20) --CT
Also Appearing: Shawn Deena (7:00), April Crider (7:40), Trip (9:00), Mogote (9:40), Water Callers (10:20)

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