Troika Music Festival unveiled the first draft of its schedule for its three November days of music in Durham this morning, and it looks like organizers have landed on the most closely curated pool of bands and bills since the festival's inception in 2002: All told, 71 acts will spread over eight venues (two of which remain unannounced) Nov. 5-7, and no more than four bands will play any venue on any night. In other words, lots of great bands will get ample set times.
Troika 2009 will begin with a centralized outdoor show on Thursday, Nov. 5, featuring the equally but divergent eclectic The Beast and Megafaun. Four sets of four bands then head indoors to four venues—one unannounced, The Pinhook, Duke Coffeehouse and Broad Street Cafe. For a measure of this year's quality, note that Bowerbirds, Max Indian, Future Islands and The Moaners headline their respective venues. Now there's a Versus to get excited about.
Music for Fences—a four-band benefit in Durham Central Park, beginning at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon and running until Superchunk has, hopefully, ripped through "Precision Auto" and "Nu Bruises"—deserves your consideration on this beautiful Saturday for a handful of reasons.
First, the cause: In the past several years, The Coalition to Unchain Dogs—led by community activist and organizer Amanda Arrington—has built fences for more than 100 Triangle dogs, supplying boundaries for animals once chained to poles or trees the space to play and to become, as Indy reporter Vernal Coleman wrote last year when Arrington won one of the newspaper's annual Citizen Awards, "a less sullen, more loving pet." The stories of many of these dogs can be seen on the Coalition's Web site here, while you can see a list of the dogs still waiting to be removed from chains here (or simply by driving throughout the Triangle). The coalition also works to educate the community on the issue of tethering and to advocate for laws banning such tethers (a movement that has been successful to an extent.)
For a dude that has so damn much to say on his records, D.C. rapper Wale stays fairly terse in interviews. Nevertheless, he dropped a reference to King Trajan Langdon to end a chat with Duke's Playground blog, published this morning: "I look forward to coming [to Duke]—this is gonna be the biggest event at Duke since Trajan Langdon," Wale told the paper about his appearance in Duke's East Campus Quad tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Otherwise, he said lots of nothing, but we don't expect that to be the case tomorrow night. Get there early for J.Cole, too, a Fayetteville rapper who's capable of big things and major word play.
Speaking of Charlie Poole: On August 15, the same day that Tompkins Square released its two-disc Red Fox Chasers anthology, Loudon Wainwright III released his latest, titled High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project. On the two-disc set, Wainwright—with help from the likes of David Mansfield, Geoff Muldaur, and Chris Thile, as well as various Wainwrights and Roches—tackles songs from Poole's repertoire and contributes nine new songs centered on the life of the rambling and roving Poole and the times that couldn't contain him. Among other things, this project adds to the already-abundant off-the-beaten-path promise of this fall's Rich & Loud show in Greensboro. For those not on a first-nickname basis with the duo, that's Richard Thompson, who's been known to dig back, oh, 400 or 500 years for a tune, and Wainwright.
And Danville, Va.,'s Kinney Rorrer is again in the thick of things again. Wainwright's Web site highlights Rorrer's Poole bio, Rambling Blues, as a chief inspiration, and Rorrer showed Wainwright and High Wide & Handsome producer Dick Connette around Poole's Spray, N.C., stomping grounds as they geared up for recording. Click here to download "Milwaukee Blues," an outtake from the new set.
While still touring and promoting his most recent The Foreign Exchange LP, Leave it All Behind, Little Brother's Phonte Coleman is somehow finding time to churn out all sorts of other projects. Whether he's hosting his Raleigh dance night, serenading over a joyful Jazzanova track or guest-emceeing on a R&B record from two rising soul vocalists (Anthony David and Algebra Blessett), Coleman—who will also be featured on the upcoming The Roots album, How I Got Over—remains one of the Triangle's busiest, most in-demand artists.
We figured we'd keep you up to date just in case you aren't doing your fair share of Twitter stalking: Via I'm Flashy, here's a brand new track featuring Coleman, entitled "True Love" and from Connecticut emcee Apathy's upcoming Wanna Snuggle LP. Apathy is mostly known for his collaborative effort with Jedi Mind Tricks, Army of The Pharaohs. Here, Phonte's subject matter is women and their misdirected love-affair with hip-hop, or, as he addresses, "Sex and the City hoes" and "Raphael 'Saad-idy' hoes". Leave it up to Mr. Coleman to form labels like this one...
Parents, teachers, young music listeners, listen up: Jessica Hopper, author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, is reading at Nightlight in Chapel Hill tonigh, August 25. The show also includes two rad young female artists Katie Stelmanis and Ghost Bees and Durham female band Pink Flag. It's all ages, costs $5 and starts at 7 p.m.
Jessica Hopper repped punk bands, played in a few and has written a lot—in her own zine, Hit It or Quit It, and all over the place. She notably became a voice for women in modern punk circles in an article for Punk Planet, "Emo: Where the Girls Aren't," later anthologized in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2004. Her work has appeared in two subsequent editions.
The Indy talked with her recently as she embarked on a tour headed this way.
Charlie Poole and his North Carolina Ramblers weren’t the only musicians in the Tar Heel State to put their stamp on handed-down ballads and to create their own misty mountain hops in the hardscrabble late 1920s and early 1930s. That said, it’s hard not to cite the music made by Poole and his two cohorts—a banjo, fiddle, and guitar chasing Poole’s “vinegary bark” (borrowing a lively phrase from roots music scholar/deejay/musician Kinney Rorrer, grandnephew of Rambler fiddler Posey Rorer) around a single microphone—as the inspiration for the proto-country sounds that immediately followed.
That was the premise of the three-disc “You Ain’t Talkin’ to Me”: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music, released by Sony/ Legacy in 2005. That compilation made its point by including, in addition to a generous helping from Poole’s catalog, turn-of-the-century recordings of songs later interpreted by Poole and sides cut by groups that followed in the Ramblers’ wake. One outfit in that latter group was the Red Fox Chasers, whose 1928 recording of “May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?” was included on “You Ain’t Talkin’ to Me” alongside Poole’s version, itself a sizable hit three years earlier.
Here's another reason to dig through CyTunes, the digital music download store designed to benefit Duke University's Tisch Brain Tumor Center in the name of late local music booster Cy Rawls, who died of cancer last year: Pipe's long unavailable 1992 debut EP, Ball Peen, was re-released this morning via the Web site. Purchased at once, the 13-minute set runs $5; each of the six songs can be purchased separately for $1.
These six tunes, originally released by Boston label Sonic Bubblegum, feature the band's original line-up of Mike Kenlan, Ron Liberti, Chuck Garrison and Dave "I.T." Alworth. By the next year's "You're Soaking in It" 7" for Amish, Kenlan—who took his leave to lead Small 23—had been (temporarily) replaced by Bad Check Clif Mann. Ball Peen roars from its haunches with a tuneful punk ambition, the harmonies of "The Astronaut Song" making its central desire—the hope to be the first man to smoke in space—that much more memorable. "Bender" is a tight mess about getting loose and living to tell the tale, while the great closer "Basement" is a great little slab of young-dude confusion. Click that box above to stream it, and here to buy it.
And just a quick reminder of other CyTunes goodies: live Superchunk, live Magic Babies, live Polvo, Hammer No More the Fingers, exclusive Rosebuds collaborations, Chew Toy, The Whole World Laughing, live Double Negative, Lud and lots more. And one more reminder: Pipe at Broad Street Cafe Saturday, Aug. 15.
The Fall edition of Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in Silk Hope is set for Oct. 8-11, a little less than two months away. This morning, festival organizers announced the first 27 acts of this season's celebration. The big names so far are the usual suspects—The Duhks, The Gourds, festival founders Donna the Buffalo. Among the most exciting acts in this initial batch, though, are young locals stretching beyond Shakori's Hills Americana roots—eclectic hip-hoppers The Beast, melancholy Trekky kids Butterflies, the steamy soul of the Howie Dewitt Band—and national acts like The Belleville Outfit and Casey Driessen & the Colorfools, both of which never met a genre they couldn't integrate. Also notable: Chatham County Lines, Christabel and the Jons, Midtown Dickens, Mosadi Music and new band Good-Timin'-Campin' Hackney Farm Family Band Super Groove Ritual Joint.
Big Surprise Tour (Old Crow, Dave Rawlings Machine, the Felice Brothers, Justin Townes Earle)
Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary
Monday, Aug. 10
With anywhere from one person to 15 people onstage over the course of the evening, Monday night's Big Surprise Tour in Cary was addition by subtraction and addition by addition and, maybe once or twice, subtraction by subtraction. And, you know, the grand finale part of a multi-act affair like this must be everybody on stage, singing and playing, right? That happened, like, three times, starting with the first song—The Felice Brothers tune that gives the tour its name.
The heat and the revolving door that led to the stage made it a night more for images and quick thoughts, less one for a coherent line of reasoning: images like four fiddles lined up on the riser ready for action; an upright bass on its side looking like part of an ornate sleigh, a thick cooling mist pumping in behind it; a beaming Gillian Welch playing drums surrounded by, in her words, "a lot of dudes."