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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Live: Jandek & a raucous rhythm section (plus exclusive photos)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Jandek (with John Darnielle, Anne Gomez and Brian Jones) Gerrard Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill Sunday, Feb. 21 Jandek spent the first 26 years of his career removed from the very human perils of live performance. During those decades, the prolific Houston songwriter/ improviser/ label head did just two interviews, made no public appearances, never revealed his true identity, and communicated with his zealous cult following only through a voluminous recorded output, mysterious album art and elliptical handwritten notes. In 2004, however, Jandek broke this embargo, playing a surprise set backed by Brit experimentalists Richard Youngs and Alex Nielson at a...

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Live: Toby Love's short, spicy set

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Toby Love/ Girlz Talk Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh Sunday, Feb. 22 Bronx bling met Dominican swagger Sunday night at the Lincoln Theatre, where “crunckchata” chanteur Toby Love and his protegés, Girlz Talk, played to a house of about 50. Love, neé Octavio Rivera Jr, is Puerto Rican, “but I have Dominican family,” he says. A former member of bachata boy band Aventura, Love claims he’s 24 (though other sources add 5 years to that). At least he owns the youthful image, spicing our interview with “yes ma’ams” and wears a black chainmail hoodie and “Gucci” backpack, plastic still covering the...

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Live: Dr. John & The Neville Brothers vs. Memorial Hall

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2009 at 10:13 AM

Dr. John & The Neville Brothers Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill Tuesday, Feb. 24 The eye sockets of the skull perched atop the grand piano glared at the sold-out, seated audience in Memorial Hall last night. Dr. John spent his Mardi Gras away from his New Orleans home to be in Chapel Hill, and, although it had been showered with beads beforehand and encouraged to get up and dance, most of the crowd sat quietly and tapped its feet as Dr. John led his band onstage. Luckily, a few numbers finally pulled some people out of their seats....

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Live: Double Negative, Birds of Avalon, Whatever Brains, The Plague

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 9:20 PM

Double Negative, Birds of Avalon, Whatever Brains, The Plague A House, Raleigh Saturday, Jan. 21 "We are The Plague," exclaimed Hank Williams, the long-time Raleigh concert promoter, nearly breathless after the premiere of his new band, The Plague, "and you're dead." He was almost right: Saturday's show at a house somewhere in Raleigh was a sardines-and-sweat affair, crowding revolving-door groups of a few hundred into a living room and in a stairwell to see three of the city's best bands—Whatever Brains, Double Negative and Birds of Avalon—and one of its newest, The Plague. The steam within the tiny living room...

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Confidential to K-Hill, but you other rappers should read it, too.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 8:03 PM

On the Triangle's preeminent  hip-hop message board, "The Lawn," local rapper/producer K-Hill recently voiced his opinion regarding the lack of coverage that I've been giving to North Carolina hip-hop in the music pages of the Independent Weekly. The comment stemmed from a thread announcing a show featuring local R&B songstress Keisha Shontelle. "Who the fuck is Keisha Shontelle?" I asked, jokingly. In essence, I was suggesting that, given Shontelle's relative disappearance from this music scene lately, I wasn't even sure if I remembered her anymore. But I did. "Ask Grayson," K-Hill responded. "He actually writes about the other movements that...

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Some Web site really hates The Curtains of Night

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 3:57 PM

I'm a little hesitant to link to Jordan Blum's review of The Curtains of Night's excellent debut, Lost Houses, for fear of driving traffic its way. I'm especially hesitant since I'd actually forgotten that Delusions of Adequacy, the Web site that published said review, existed, although it has been around since 1999. But Blum's review is, frankly, one of the biggest misses I've ever read (The Curtains of Night does not sound like Opeth, especially since the band does not make music), and I'd feel much worse about not sharing it than poking fun at it. Such foolery happens...

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Matador picks up Whatever Brains

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 12:03 PM

Well, kind of: Matador Records—current and/or former home to lil' ol' bands like Pavement, Superchunk, Sonic Youth, Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian, Sleater-Kinney, Bardo Pond ... I think you get the picture—will distribute Mt. Whatever, the three-song, two-side 7-inch from the Raleigh quartet Whatever Brains. We've been raving about the Brains for the last few months ("Raleigh's best new band," "shaggy garage punk sing-alongs," "Rookie of the Year" ... I think you get the point again), so this tickles us, of course. It's also big news for Bull City Records, the store/ label that made Mt. Whatever its first release ever....

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Live: What did MC Chris just call me?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 7:51 AM

MC Chris [N.C. Comedy Arts Festival] Cat’s Cradle Saturday, Feb. 21 During his performance of “Hoodie Ninja” Saturday night, MC Chris commanded the gathered masses to do The Twist. When people on the sides of Cat's Cradle failed to comply, he called them “30 year olds” and berated them, saying, “Twist in your chairs, you paraplegic bitches!” The crowd Twisted....

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Live: The charming Los Tigres del Norte

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 7:34 AM

“They’re like the Mexican Beatles,” says Edgar Ramírez, waving a tri-color bandana and sporting a heavy, black felt cowboy hat covered with the signatures of Los Tigres del Norte in calligraphic, silver Sharpie ink. Outside of Disco Rodeo, fans endure freezing temperatures to pay $60 to see these Godfathers of Norteño, but Ramirez won free VIP access on La Ley 96.9 FM’s call-in contest. Meanwhile, Merch sellers patrol the floor with signable stuff—cowboy hats, photos, T-shirts, stuffed toy baby tigers. “Tigritos,” a border guard once dubbed the four juvenile Hernández brothers when they first came to the U.S. in...

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Live: Willie, the Wheel and their boys

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel Durham Performing Arts Center Friday, Feb. 20 Row I, Seats 307 and 309 Drunk man wearing boat shoes with no socks: [to leather-clad faux Harley chick sitting two seats from him.] Your hair is so black! What's your ethnicity? Faux Harley chick: Ethnicity? I don't know ... Southern? [5 minutes later.]...

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tir Na Nog scores Valient Thorr

Posted By on Sun, Feb 22, 2009 at 5:00 PM

The boys from Valient Thorr, some of whom were in attendance at last night's killer Double Negative/ Birds of Avalon/ Whatever Brains house show, will kick-off their pre-SXSW tour a week from tonight (Sunday, March 1) at Tir Na Nog. It's a major coup in bartender Chris Tamplin's bid to position the Irish pub as a legitimate rock venue in the absence of King's. Chapel Hill's Caltrop, whose Murat Dirlik helped Thorr cover Funkadelic for their Raleigh Undercover set a month ago, are slated to open the $7 show at 10:30 p.m....

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Live: Jason Isbell keeps 'er between the ditches

Posted By on Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 4:34 PM

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh Friday, Feb. 20 In three short years with the Drive-By Truckers, the Georgia-based southern-rock stalwarts, Alabama native Jason Isbell was a model of efficiency: The eight songs he wrote for them, over the course of three albums, are among the group's finest tracks. (I would argue Isbell's "Outfit" is the best song they ever did.) Last night at Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre, Isbell--who now fronts his own group, the 400 Unit--sounded great, but had noticeably less restraint. The show, which included highlights from Isbell's tenure with the Truckers, as well as tracks...

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Live: Friday Night Fix in Raleigh

Posted By on Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Local music fans had tough choices in Raleigh Friday night: While The Pour House held a second release party for The Old Ceremony’s Walk on Thin Air, Slim’s hosted Gray Young’s Firmament release show. Though you couldn’t go wrong—both are fine CDs—those who decided to spend their whole night at only one of the venues missed some great music just yards away. Armed with a couple memory cards and bolstered by a late-night caffeine fix, I hustled to catch them both....

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Jason Isbell at the Lincoln Theatre: Indy "full of s**t"

Posted By on Sat, Feb 21, 2009 at 8:23 AM

Midway through last night's packed show at the Lincoln Theatre, Jason Isbell asked the crowd if anyone read the weekly paper: "They didn't like me at all. They didn't think it'd be a good show. I think it's been a good show. I think they're full of shit."...

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Jandek's Coming No. 3: Mixtape, etc.

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 3:30 PM

We asked Marc Masters, who did interview Jandek for the Independent, to come up with a five-song Jandek mix. Enjoy, and watch a video from his first public appearance after the break. Listen up! If you cannot see the music player below, download the free Flash Player....

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Briefly: N.C. Symphony 001; Raleigh's downtown amphitheater?; two new labels get going; New Raleigh on Manchild 4

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 3:09 PM

—N.C. Symphony releases a record; Menconi on the downtown amphitheater; Odessa and Hot Releases; Manchild 4...

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Interview: Asleep at the Wheel's Ray Benson

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 8:50 AM

Ray Benson’s been playing western swing with his band, Asleep at the Wheel, for almost 40 years. The group’s latest album, Willie and the Wheel, encapsulates the genre’s history, of which Asleep at the Wheel has become an integral part. The record pairs Benson’s band with his longtime friend Willie Nelson, a former western swing singer himself. With a 14-date tour supporting the album less than a week away, Benson took some time away from rehearsal to talk about western swing, building on a tradition and Willie and the Wheel. The band plays with Willie at Durham Performing Arts...

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jandek's Coming No. 2: The Spin Interview

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 2:03 PM

In 1985, John Trubee did something that—maybe?–one person's done since: interview Jandek. Trubee talked to Jandek for Spin, then in its first year, though the 50-minute tape wasn't released until the 2004 arrival of the documentary Jandek on Corwood. A Jandek fan named Jamie Morrison got around to transcribing the interview last year, posting the results on a Jandek listserv. Download the full transcript here, or read my favorite 300 words (and listen to a bit of it) after the break....

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anoop Desai Alert: No Top 12, but another chance awaits

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 8:12 PM

You gotta give this to Chapel Hill's Anoop Desai, who made it into American Idol's Top 36: He is a really sweet guy, even if, after tonight, he's not a part of the show's Top 12. After his first live performance drew less-than-stellar reviews from the judges Tuesday night, even the usually sharp-tongued Simon Cowell noted the UNC grad student's good nature, assuring Desai that he's got a very high "likeability" factor. Unfortunately for Desai and his disappointed supporters back home, that wasn't enough to draw the votes he needed to secure a place in the Top 12 contestants for...

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Jandek's coming No. 1: John Darnielle on Jandek

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 3:59 PM

On Sunday, John Darnielle, the founder of The Mountain Goats, will make his first public appearance behind a keyboard since the age of 9. He'll share the stage with bassist Anne Gomez (of Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan), drummer Brian Jones (of The Agents of Good Roots) and Jandek, the Texas enigma who's been releasing albums on his own label for three decades but only began performing in 2004. Last February, I played a 10-track mixtape for Darnielle in his Durham living room for a feature in the final issue of the late music magazine Harp. The closing track was...

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Anoop Desai Alert: Watching Anoop's watchers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 3:39 PM

Around 7:50 p.m. last night, a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Clef Hanger stood in front of a group of people in the Franklin St. nightclub Players and announced that the bar had drink specials. Soon, he added, his bow-tie-wearing, all-male-a cappella group would host its winter concert. Attendance was encouraged. Though the smells of stale beer and cigarette smoke from evenings of clubbing past hung in Players’ air, this was no normal bar night. Clefs, friends and strangers gathered to watch former Clef Hanger and UNC masters student Anoop Desai perform on American Idol. The owners turned off the...

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Superchunk announces new EP ... plans new LP?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Yesterday, Pitchfork Media broke the news of Leaves in the Gutter, a five-track Superchunk EP due in April on Merge. The quartet hasn't released a full album of new studio work since 2001's Here's to Shutting Up, though a rarities comp, four live releases, a Destiny's child cover and a 7" for Aqua Teen Hunger Force have all kept 'Chunk on the right side of active. Earlier this afternoon, Mac McCaughan took some time to answer some questions about the EP and the future of Superchunk. "By having this out there, we can play some of these songs live...

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Briefly: Tin Star EP almost ready; Ditto Luego; Mike Patton/Diplo at Signal?; See Pontiak

Posted By on Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 3:20 PM

—Tin Star EP almost ready; Luego with the recording stats; Mike Patton/Diplo at Signal?; See Pontiak tonight...

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Live: Ladysmith connects

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Carolina Theatre, Durham Friday, Feb. 13 “Peace, love, harmony”: That was the mantra Joseph Shabalala, the elder statesmen of South African vocal troupe Ladysmith Black Mambazo, repeated throughout the group’s Friday night performance at Durham’s Carolina Theatre. Ladysmith has clung to such universal hope for five decades—through apartheid, a post-Graceland rise to fame, and a third Grammy win earlier in the week. Shabala and seven other singers (four of them his sons, including future Mambazo leader Thamsanqa) spent most of the night singing in Zulu, their native tongue, but smartly connected with the audience by expanding the...

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Briefly: Red Collar/HNMTF releases; Arlo Guthrie reschedules; big metal shows

Posted By on Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 7:45 AM

-Red Collar and Hammer No More release records, but where?; Arlo, in May; big metal bills...

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