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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sylvan Esso announces new single; debut LP forthcoming

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Sylvan Esso, one of Durham’s most promising new bands, is the duo of singer Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) and electronic producer Nick Sanborn (Megafaun). The folksiness of their established projects gives way to intricate, dynamic electronic pop that mines an unsuspected seam between the experimental vocalism of tUnE-yArDs and the acid house of 808 State. Today, new song “Coffee” premiered on Stereogum. The stately track will appear on a twelve-inch single, backed with “Dress,” on March 25 via Brooklyn’s Partisan Records, which has previously released music by Mountain Man. Sylvan Esso’s 10-song, self-titled album, home-recorded by the band and mixed by...

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Future Islands sign to 4AD, discuss new LP

Posted By on Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Most likely, it's no longer accurate to call Baltimore-via-Greenville's Future Islands rising stars: These guys have risen. Yesterday the emotionally charged dance-pop trio announced its signing to 4AD, making the band labelmates to big-draw acts such as Bon Iver, Deerhunter and tUnE-yArDs and part of one of the most influential catalogs in indie rock lore. This marks a split from their longtime label, Chicago's Thrill Jockey. Future Islands also revealed the March 25th release of their new LP, Singles. There's a whirlwind February tour with dates across Europe, and then the band hits the road in earnest this March for...

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Black Skies announce new LP, premiere song and video

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Black Skies have never been known to rush; in eight years, the sludgy Chapel Hill trio have managed only two full-length efforts. They released the first one, On the Wings of Time, two years ago. The second, Circadian Meditations, is out November 19. Like its predecessor, the new record moves at a tectonic clip,  especially when compared to the brisk and brutal EPs that preceded them. With production from Harvey Milk's Kyle Spence, who also handled their last LP, the record comprises six muscular numbers, each scorched and bruised by molten distortion. The drums come from Caltrop's John Crouch, as...

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Opening Flower Happy Bird (featuring Airstrip's Matthew Park) post catalog for free

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Among the cooler aspects of Bandcamp—besides the ability to stream music and buy vinyl on a single page—is that many musicians have used the service to re-release old material, often for free. This tactic has been especially beneficial for some artists in North Carolina. Heads on Sticks offered two archival EPs before releasing 2010's Mocking Bird, establishing local love that helped jumpstart the fledgling project. Ashrae Fax—the once -defunct electro-pop outfit that preceded the folkish oddities of Durham's Filthybird—offered their 2003 swan song Static Crash a few years ago. Today, they're touring behind a reissue from popular Brooklyn imprint...

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Rosebuds scare up a pair of Halloween treats, offer a free download

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Man, The Rosebuds really love holidays: Last year, the Raleigh-nurtured duo of Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp released an entire full-length of Christmas songs, a move that felt a little uncharacteristic. After all, The Rosebuds don't revel in chipper melodies like their yuletide-favorite label mates She & Him; their records are more often dominated by foreboding atmosphere and dark imagery. To wit, see the entirety of 2007's Night of the Furies. "Whisper" and "Where the Freaks Hang Out," the two horror-themed singles they released this Halloween week, stick closer to their strengths, making appropriate fun of their oft-gloomy vibe....

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lost in the Trees premiere video, announce new LP, Past Life, for February

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 9:52 AM

 "Rites"—our first taste of Past Life, Lost in the Trees' new LP, due Feb. 18 via ANTI—isn't a great single. That's not to say that it's a bad song. Premiered Monday by Rolling Stone along a with minimal, sing-along video, its arrangement is airy and calming. Back-up singers and reverb follow Ari Picker's ever-delicate singing, intimate emotions expanding subtly like ripples on a pond. The music is skeletal, with guitars and bass that mainly keep time and a few piano notes to fill in the gaps. Following two albums of string-buttressed sorrow and redemption, Picker promised that the...

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Beast + Big Band ready new EP, Gardens, out Oct. 22

The Beast adds a little orchestra

Posted By on Wed, Oct 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

For a few years now, Durham's The Beast have thrilled Triangle crowds, using sometimes rather smooth jazz as an unlikely propulsion for restless, forward-thinking hip-hop. Since 2012, they've augmented that sound for a few gigs with their Big Band, a 13-strong configuration that includes orchestral players from the consistently ambitious New Music Raleigh and members of other popular groups, including Peter Lamb & the Wolves and Lost in the Trees. Together, they've opened for Nnenna Freelon, the Grammy-nominated mother of Beast MC Pierce Freelon, and hit the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival. Building on this success, they entered Durham’s Sound...

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

"New Vinyl" from King Mez

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 3:15 PM

King Mez has avoided becoming a walking, rapping contradiction for so long now that he's plateaued somewhere in the pre-boil plains, where he's both grounded by chastity and tempted by upscale tastes. On "New Vinyl," the DMV producer Oddisee outfits the Raleigh-raised MC with an elegant drum lounge—just a few BPMs and horn blares away from a splurge. This MC/producer combination could scream perfection if King Mez screamed at all, but its strength lies in teaming two elite members of hip-hop's humble-brag society, where less is more as long as your less is 100 percent untouchable. In one verse, King...

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Jenks Miller announces new solo album and Horseback compilation for late-summer release

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Stasis, it seems, is never an option for Jenks Miller. With the adventurous kind-of-metal outfit Horseback, Miller stretches strains of noise, black metal, doom and blues across albums that play like ominous expeditions. Even in the more restrained country-rock of Mount Moriah, Miller's guitar offers a sense of adventure, itching to stretch beyond the genre into new territory. Various experiments under his own name have explored harsh electronics, subtle drones and folk-rock mutations. So it should be little shock that Miller, never one to idle, recently announced two forthcoming releases. The first, a three-CD collection of Horseback rarities...

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Loamlands announce debut EP, premiere single

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Photo courtesy of Trekky RecordsLoamlands Some Kind of Light—the small-platter introduction to Durham's Loamlands, due Sep. 24 via Trekky Records—is quite promising, even if it doesn't feel altogether new. It's steeped in the fiery, minimal folk-rock that has taken hold in many parts of the South, especially the Triangle. It makes sense that the group would trade in this style. Kym Register and Will Hackney, Loamlands' core duo, are buds with several acts exploring similar territory: Mount Moriah, Hiss Golden Messenger, Megafaun. One member of that last band, Brad Cook, plays bass on the record and in the live band...

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Megafaun and Arnold Dreyblatt announce collaborative LP, share track

Posted By on Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Photo courtesy of Northern Spy RecordsArnold Dreyblatt and Megafaun The collaboration between Arnold Dreyblatt and Megafaun at last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh was met with some understandably raised eyebrows. Dreyblatt is a respected, rhythmically inclined minimalist composer residing in Berlin, but born stateside 50 years ago. Megafaun is a Durham-based folk trio of much younger men with a taste for playful noodling and robust noise. The gaps between them—both generationally and stylistically—are many, but it turns out that their music moves with the same manic energy, a commonality they exploit on Appalachian Excitation, the collaborative LP they’ll unveil...

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Love Language returns with new single and a third LP due in July

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 3:58 PM

“Calm Down” (streaming below) is the opener from Ruby Red—the third album from Chapel Hill and Raleigh's reliably hook-happy and heartbroken The Love Language, due via Merge Records on July 23. That’s the cover art at the top of the post. “Calm Down” is also the first of a handful of songs on Ruby Red that finds the normally grandiose pop outfit digging into deep garage grooves, taking cues from rising Bay Area rock acts such as Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall. Stuart McLamb—the outfit’s singer, songwriter and only reliable member—seems to have been paying attention to his...

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Raleigh hardcore bands Last Words and Abuse. ready new LPs for To Live a Lie Records

Posted By on Thu, May 9, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Since debuting in 2005 with a split 7-inch featuring California’s Godstomper and Maryland’s Magrudergrind, To Live A Lie Records—the one-man operation of Raleigh’s Will Butler—has steadily issued solid slabs of grindcore, powerviolence and hardcore from bands across the globe. Of the 91 titles in its catalog, though, only a few are homegrown. Of particular note: Thieves’ 2010 EP Positive Vibrations, Torch Runner’s 2012 album Committed To The Ground and Brian Walsby’s latest Manchild book. This summer, To Live A Lie’s local-interest catalog will grow with the release of full-length debuts from two young Raleigh bands, each spun from the...

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Annuals drop first full-length in five years

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:51 AM

"It's been a couple years since I gave a fuck/ It's been a couple more since I ran out of luck." That's the opening couplet from "Omnicide" — the lead-off to Time Stamp, Annuals' first full-length in five years — and it couldn't be more blunt about the struggles that have forestalled its release. Since ascending to major label success — 2008's Such Fun came out on the Columbia Records subsidiary Canvasback — the group has parted ways with the imprint and endured the financial fallout from a pretty devastating break-in and theft at their practice space, all while...

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Future Islands precursors Art Lord and the Self-Portraits release a new master of an old song

Posted By on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Mike VorassiLooking to the past: Future IslandsThis Valentine's Day will see Art Lord and the Self Portraits, which broke up in 2005, celebrate its tenth anniversary with a show at Kings and a double-album release. The Definitive Collection, out that day on Friends Records, includes Art Lord's four releases, but also features a download code for early demos and two live recordings. Today, three Art Lord members - Samuel Herring, William Cashion, and Gerrit Welmers - comprise prominent Baltimore synth-pop outfit Future Islands. Yet the preceding band formed in Greenville, while they were art students at ECU, in the same...

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Friday, December 21, 2012

New benefit Christmas single: "Bing Crosby," by The Chorus Project

Posted By on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 7:06 PM

One new local Christmas track mixes nostalgic holiday R&B with the massed harmonies of a caroling glee club. "Bing Crosby," by Chapel Hill teenage vocal group The Chorus Project, was penned by Seamus Kenney of SNMNMNM and Trepak and co-produced by local audio engineer and dB's member Chris Stamey. Yet an all-star studio cast takes a backseat to the rich lead vocal of Durham School of the Arts student Wilson Plonk, not to mention the depth and texture of this 25-strong pop choir. Kenney's songwriting inverts the eternally suave (and occasionally disturbing) "This Christmas," preferring instead the optimistic heartbreak of...

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

A little Rosebuds for Christmas

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Santa has been making his list and checking it twice since 1939. The chestnuts have been roasting since 1944. And Rudolph with his nose-so-bright has had us blazed at Christmas since 1949. Christmas, it seems, is a holiday as much about nostalgic feelings as new memories; The Rosebuds' latest release, Christmas Tree Island, takes that spirit to heart. At 13 tracks, the record mines timeworn Christmas themes with new energy. The band's signature pop swells enthrall from the first jingle bells on "I Hear (Click, Click, Click)" to the beautiful strings on closer "Journey to Christmas Island." "Christmas music...

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Monday, November 19, 2012

The Rosebuds pay tribute to Sade

Posted By on Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Last week marked the 20-year anniversary of Sade’s classic, Love Deluxe. In tribute to the original, Raleigh-based band The Rosebuds (now living in New York) have released their own version of Sade’s Love Deluxe, recorded while frontman Ivan Howard spent some time on the North Carolina coast polishing up demos for The Rosebuds. Sade’s discography has always strongly resonated with the duo, explains co-founder Kelly Crisp in an essay, influencing the breadth of the band’s work over the years. The album was recorded independent of Crisp, but it still reflects all of the swooning moods and romantic battles that...

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stranger Spirits release new album, Masterpiece Rock Parlour

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Photo By Dudley Merrifield Check out a Stranger Spirits set, and you may find yourself faced with a hype ninja or a surfing Amazonian librarian or the Sherriff of Rockingham himself. “We call ourselves rock ’n’ roll pilgrims from another planet,” explains Aubrey Herbert, aka Destructika Poppins, a most evil take on a favorite English nanny. Adds Chris Wimberley, the regal Lord Wimberley of Bitchfield, “We have delusions about having our own set of action figures.” Whatever their excuse, these seven pilgrims are dressed to kill and ready to unleash a new record of altiverse melodies on audiences. Masterpiece Rock...

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lost in the Trees debut new song

Posted By on Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 3:13 PM

It took Ari Picker—the composer and songwriter who leads Chapel Hill's orchestrally inclined Lost in the Trees—four years to follow up 2008's All Alone in an Empty House. Though the record was reissued and expanded in 2010, Picker didn't debut a full collection of new songs until this year's haunting and fractured A Church That Fits Our Needs, an extension of All Alone's narrative and a tribute to his late mother. It seems that listeners won't have to wait another four years for the Tress' next effort. The band recently played a session at the Los Angeles-based radio station...

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Whatever Brains release video for new song, "Bellied Up at Sick Town"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Bellied Up At Sick Town by Whatever Brains from LoganSayles on Vimeo. Raleigh's Whatever Brains are nothing if not prolific. After releasing self-titled LPs in 2011 and 2012 that landed less than a year apart, the darkly sarcastic post-punks return with a video for "Bellied Up at Sick Town," a new demo that will likely be included on the outfit's in-progress third album. The video captures the Brains in their recent live line-up, which features the added percussion of an extra floor tom and two guys on synthesizer. The result is a complex and demanding track where rhythms ricochet...

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lloyd Pack, featuring Dan Melchior and Letha Rodman-Melchior, announce debut 7-inch

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 5:21 PM

They say in times of crisis, a person's true colors reveal themselves more brilliantly than ever. That certainly seems the case for Dan Melchior and his wife, Letha Rodman-Melchior, local musicians (he fronts and she plays bass for Dan Melchior Und Das Menace) who, since Letha was diagnosed with melanoma and breast cancer in 2010, have battled the diseases tenaciously and continued to pursue their artistic endeavors. The latest output from the Melchiors is the debut of a new band, Lloyd Pack, which finds Dan and Letha joined by Russell Walker of the English post-punk band The Pheromoans. The...

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hear a track from Le Weekend's third album, the magic y/ear

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 4:42 PM

The music of Chapel Hill's Le Weekend is marked by stark contrast: moments of catchiest pop abandon give way to noisy freak outs. To this point, it's been a balance that the trio has struggled to maintain. The transitions between its disparate elements sometimes get a bit too jarring. But the magic y/ear—the group's third album, which will be unveiled at an Oct. 19 CD release party at Durham's Pinhook—smooths the edges, allowing Le Weekend's parts to add up to their optimum sum. This time out, moments of polite tunefulness build gradually to aggressive conclusions. These catharses cover an...

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Shirlette Ammons debuts video for "Take a Chance"

Posted By on Mon, Sep 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM

At first blush, the video for "Take a Chance," the new single from Durham MC Shirlette Ammons, seems quite simple. A colorful blue and purple screen announces that there is breaking news. The bulletin: "Shirlette and Anansi find their Bentley mode." Shirlette sits making hilariously serious faces at a news desk as a monitor shows her and a young girl — Anansi — wandering about town. Without digging deeper, it seems slight but cute, a funny clip for a funny song with a stomping, up-tempo beat. But "Take a Chance" is the lead single for Twilight for Gladys Bentley,...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Hiss Golden Messenger and Elephant Micah cover each other on split 7-inch

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 4:36 PM

The past few months have been an exciting time for Hiss Golden Messenger, the Durham-based recording project of M.C. Taylor. Last year’s excellent and sedately funky folk-rock trove, Poor Moon, saw a CD reissue via the venerable imprint Tompkins Square. Taylor also contributed to a compilation honoring folk legend Michael Chapman and shared the stage with him in Durham. With recording under way for HGM’s Poor Moon follow-up, the outfit is offering yet another 2012 highlight. Paradise of Bachelors, the Durham-based label that first unveiled Poor Moon, is releasing a split 7-inch from HGM and Elephant Micah, the somber...

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I'm so happy to see this collaboration, and this affordable way to attend both!

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I'm so happy to see this collaboration, and this affordable way to attend both!

by Ruby Sinreich on Moogfest Announces Joint Pass with Art of Cool for 2017 Festivals (Music)

Though I know it isn't Redhat's fault she was late, I do think they could have handled the situation better. …

by mandeelion on Hopscotch, Night Two: Timing Tangles Erykah Badu and Young Thug (Music)

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