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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Love Language, The Connells and Marcy Playground (?) to headline tornado benefit

Posted by on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Carpenter Ryan Carlson sits underneath a tree that landed on his roof in the Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh. A record 92 tornadoes tore through North Carolina on April 16. - JEREMY M. LANGE
  • Jeremy M. Lange
  • Carpenter Ryan Carlson sits underneath a tree that landed on his roof in the Oakwood neighborhood of Raleigh. A record 92 tornadoes tore through North Carolina on April 16.

In the wake of recent Raleigh tornado benefits at Kings and Tir na nOg, and another next week at The Pour House, the city will officially throw its own musical assist next month. The event—dubbed Rise Up Raleigh headlined by The Connells, The Love Language and Marcy Playground, or that band who sang “Sex and Candy”—will take place June 3 at the Raleigh Amphitheater, the outdoor venue the April tornado missed by less than a mile. Also aboard are talented locals like Motor Skills, Kooley High and The Small Ponds.

A few questions come to mind, though: Why is the event free? The city could easily have charged a cover. True, the multi-sponsor show gives attendees the opportunity to donate, and funds will be administered by United Way to four local charities. But by making the event free, this benefit concert loses revenue that—frankly—people would be happy to pay not only because the clout of The Love Language and the legacy of The Connells but also because, well, it’s a benefit. People will generally pay to help their friends, even if it’s just a few bucks and even if it’s just to giggle at Marcy Playground. Speaking of which, if this is a game of “one of these things is not like the other,” I think we’ve spotted the odd band out. Hopefully this means Candlebox’s Kevin Martin will be busking through the city the night of the benefit for charity.

The June 3 event starts at 5 p.m. For more details, check the city’s very, well, special website here.

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    A free benefit to raise money for tornado victims in Raleigh generates a few questions.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Tonight, a benefit for a late heavy metal fan

Posted by on Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Carrie Martin was a mother of two, a tattoo artist and a lover of local heavy music. She worked at Raleigh’s No Shame Tattoo and “didn't have insurance,” says DIVEbar Raleigh booking agent Robby Rodwell. “So there's a lot of bills that need to be taken care of.” And, though she died in March, Raleigh’s heavy music scene shows that it has not forgotten one of its own.

Tonight’s memorial show at that bar may serve the essential function of allowing the late Martin’s friends a chance to honor and keep her memory. But there’s also a practical side. Both Caltrop and MAKE are donating their guarantees for the evening; the bar itself is giving 15% of the evening sales. The hat will be passed, too, all to benefit Martin’s two daughters.

Rodwell was a friend. He remembers seeing shows with Martin and her fiancé, David Askew. And he remembers how thrilled she was to see local metal. “Carrie, David and I had just gone to see the Ragnarok Fest,” Rodwell recalls, referring to an August weekend of heavy music at Carrboro’s recently closed Reservoir Bar. Caltrop and MAKE were among the dozen bands that played. “I remember her saying on the ride home that show was one she would never forget.” So when Askew saw the two acts were booked May 13, which would have been Martin’s 26th birthday, he approached them with the memorial show idea. They agreed without hesitation, says Rodwell.

The past six months haven’t been easy on the local heavy music community. The Reservoir, arguably driven out by climbing rents, can be replaced. But the losses of Martin, as well as Reservoir co-owner Wes Lowder in a November car crash, have left a lot of people reeling.

The show starts at 10pm. Anyone unable to attend who still wishes to help Martin’s children can make a donation at any branch BB&T to Nola & Bella Martin, care of Margaret Morgan Holland.

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    Carrie Martin was a mother of two, a tattoo artist and a lover of local heavy musi

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Southern Culture on the Skids

Posted by on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 5:34 PM

Seasonal favorites: Southern Culture on the Skids

Originally released in 1992 with four songs on Zontar Records, and then again in its current six-track form on Estrus in 1996, South Culture on the Skids’ Santo Swings EP lives on in tribute to the Mexican wrestling icon and movie star. It recently went out of print, so SCOTS rescued it with this digital release, just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

On it, the trio’s signature rockabilly is given a vibrant mariachi flair. There are a couple of instrumentals, highlighted by the four-minute “Meximelt,” with its low-riding surf/ spy flavor, the racing party-starting Santo ode, “Viva Del Santo!” and the original version of their hit, “Camel Walk,” which feels right at home amidst these playful tunes. The two covers from the Estrus release—The Swinging Medallions’ “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” and Slim Harpo’s “Baby Scratch My Back”—are also reprised here, with Spanish vocals from El Mysterioso. They’re an unexpected treat.

As if that weren’t enough, the band’s giving away a free bonus track on their site. It’s the Link Wray-inspired “La Marcha de los Cabrónes,” or “March of the Goat People.” They’re holding a contest whose winner will receive three Mexican wrestling masks when the contest concludes July 4.

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    SCOTS reissues its Santo Swings EP.

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Live: Andrew Weathers doesn't say farewell—not yet, at least

Posted by on Thu, May 5, 2011 at 5:22 PM

Note: Last week, I was in error. I said that Andrew Weathers’ senior recital in Greensboro was his sendoff, inferring it was our last chance to catch this remarkable young composer before his upcoming move to Oakland, where he’ll pursue an MFA in electronic music at Mills College. Yet he isn’t actually leaving until August, and he will be playing select engagements until then. What’s more, Weathers says these will be performances of his 2010 record, A Great Southern City, which saw his break from digital guitarscapes into classical acoustic timbres. One of these dates is July 28, at Chapel Hill’s Nightlight.

Andrew Weathers and his big band
  • Photo by Andrew Marino
  • Andrew Weathers and his big band


CFGB is not far from the Greensboro Coliseum. The door of the unassuming little storefront stands open to the street. Pushing aside the black cloth that hangs at front reveals a slate-walled room, a pew pushed against one side. Andrew Weathers—lanky and with a seemingly permanent smile—stands and greets people as they enter. Many get hugs.

Behind him, a nontraditional orchestra tunes: There are two keyboards, most parts of a string quartet, saxes and a guitarist with a red, hollow electric. Weathers’ own instruments—three guitars, a banjo and a laptop—sit by his empty seat. Though many are undoubtedly familiar with his drone-oriented orchestration, there’s a quiet excitement, a sort of “what the hell is this going to sound like?” sense lingering in the room.
Shortly after 9 p.m., the man of the hour takes a seat at the head of his ensemble and says, “Hi, I’m Andrew Weathers. I’m trying to graduate college. I guess we’ll get started.”

He begins with a simple guitar-and-voice piece. There is no microphone, and the room’s natural reverb clings to his vocals. This more traditional approach to the guitar—that is, playing chords and singing—is a relatively recent addition to Weathers’ output. His latest album, We’re Not Cautious, was the first to feature folk-built songs with this feel. Yet several minutes into “O/OU,” the opening movement of what turns out to be a solid hour of uninterrupted music, Weathers’ guitar signal passes through his laptop. A blend of looped feedback tones—rounded sounds that very nearly punish the ear but remain gentle—build for several minutes.

With a quick, commanding glance back at his ensemble, Weathers, the conductor, sets the octet gently playing. Each instrument explores close tones and, as a whole, the sound is of one enormous chord, showing itself asymmetrically. Rich with sustained warble, it’s like an acoustic approximation of feedback. Weathers directs without dominating. Over the course of maybe 15 transformative, patient minutes, the piece unfolds. Harmony, form and melody emerge from the placid wash. In the end, a long cello tone leads into a computer-manipulated soundscape.

“The Lungs, Which Rot” follows. Weathers moderates a conversation between his acoustic guitar and computer. Soon, his fingerstyle playing moves into a new digitized landscape, where the chords expand and multiply into a cascade of signals. He sings, his voice purposefully a bit obscured. At this point, maybe 40 people sit on the floor or on the pew, politely and quietly. “Receiving Vessel” begins with a familiar drone, as Weathers’ ensemble gathers a wash of conflicting sounds. Thankfully, he doesn’t take 15 minutes to bring the piece together this time around.

Even if this isn’t his last show as one of North Carolina’s own, I’d like to remember Weathers as in his final piece, the short “Van Blues.” Barefoot, as he’s been the whole recital, he plays his banjo and sings: “When we’re moving we’re also running.” Two minutes of applause follow and then, as the ensemble packs, the audience moves on. The impression I’m left with is that Weathers isn’t asking questions so much as he’s making assertions: The laptop can be a classical instrument, he seems to say, and that the classical and folk worlds aren’t such disparate spheres as is commonly accepted. His glue for the two—drone—is his own, and he uses it well.

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    Andrew Weathers brings the big band to graduate college.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Animosity-era COC back on road, back in studio

Posted by on Wed, May 4, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Crazy face: COC
  • Photo courtesy of the band
  • Crazy face: COC

As a band, Corrosion of Conformity have hardly been the most stable. Some 13 members have cycled through COC in the last nearly three decades. Still, the steady turnover didn’t stop the COC from becoming one of the South’s most influential loud rock acts—inspiring then-nascent hardcore and metal scenes. At the nexus of the two genres, 1985’s Animosity stands as perhaps COC’s proudest achievement. So naturally, excitement was high when the trio behind Animosity-era COC reformed last year—as COC3, differentiating itself from COC BLiND, which reassembled the line-up of 1991’s Blind. They subsequently cut a 7-inch single and played a handful of shows around the country.

Well, Woody Weatherman, Mike Dean and Reed Mullin haven’t let up. The trio is preparing to embark on a busy summer of touring. It will kick off at Cat’s Cradle May 26 with D.C. hardcore favorites Scream. (For trivia fans, Scream was Dave Grohl’s pre-Nirvana band. We don’t expect Grohl will be performing this gig, though.) They’ll then head to Baltimore for the hesher heaven of Maryland Death Fest. COC will hit Europe for the Hellfest, Getaway and Graspop festivals, before joining Clutch for the remainder of the summer.

The reanimated COC is also promising a new full-length album, a follow-up to last year’s no-worse-for-the-wear Your Tomorrow 7-inch. No details about the new album—except that it’s this trio’s first since Animosity—are available yet, so stay tuned.

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Interview: Jack the Radio's double duty

Posted by on Wed, May 4, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Raleighs Jack the Radio
  • Photo courtesy of the band
  • Raleigh's Jack the Radio

Raleigh’s Jack the Radio mixes modern Southern rock with light electronica, incorporating just enough a bit of grit into otherwise polished pop tunes. Last Tuesday, the band both released its debut LP, Pretty Money, and played a 10-band benefit show for local tornado victims. We caught up with George Hage and A.C. Hill, who share vocal and songwriting duties for the project, to ask about the busy week.

Independent Weekly: What did you have planned for the release day before the tornado benefit came up? Had you planned a release show and did this benefit on release day change the feel of Pretty Money's launch?

A.C. Hill: The day before, we had planned a small listening party at Slim’s, just a get together to give the CD a few spins. The tornado benefit didn't really change the feel of the launch for me, and if anything, I felt even more excited to play for such a great cause on the day our record came out.

George Hage: I totally agree. Since this is our first full-band, full-length release, we wanted to do something low-key where we were able to sit back and enjoy the work we put in over the last year. We did a last-minute, short acoustic set and made the entire event free. It gave us a chance to talk to folks about the record. We were all really stoked to be part of the tornado benefit, and I don't think any of us thought twice about it being same day as our release.

What stood out the most about the Tir na nOg benefit?

AH: It was a great musical lineup to be put together in such a short time; to be a part of that was great. I also was just happy to see that many people out on a Tuesday evening, supporting all the victims.

GH: Yeah, I was really impressed with how fast people in the community came together to help out! Mark Connor contacted several bands three days before the show, and he ended putting together a great line-up with 24 hours. It was great to see local brewers, businesses and artists coming together, hopefully showing how strong a community we are part of.

Were any of you personally impacted by the tornado?

AH: We were not directly hit. I know Brent’s neighborhood [drummer Brent Francese] was hit pretty hard, I believe they lost power for a few days. We were all extremely lucky.

How did the band get from the initial electronic incarnation to the Southern rock style it has today? I heard some of your first recordings, and the record almost sounds like it's by a different band.

AH: The evolution really came about by simply adding other members. When George and I started, it was just the two of us, acoustic guitars and a laptop computer to help out with some drum sounds. So, obviously, we were a little limited. Adding Brent and Danny [Johnson on keys, lap steel] really opened that up. To me, the writing style is still there, but it just has more space to move ... and “dance.”

You guys had some songs on the TV show No Reservations recently. How did that come about?

GH: We were very excited, to say the least. We are big fans of the show and couldn't be happier with how the songs were placed. We set up our own publishing company last year [Pretty Money Publishing], and we were lucky enough to set up licensing with Reverbnation Music and APM Music. APM houses a library of over 300,000 songs and caters to film and television.

Jack the Radio’s debut, Pretty Money, is available digitally on iTunes, at http://jacktheradio.bandcamp.com, and in limited quantities as a physical disc. The quartet’s next show is Friday, May 6, at Southland Ballroom.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Airiel Down's military marathon

Posted by on Mon, May 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Thirsty for justice: Beaux Foy, in the shades, leads Airiel Down
  • Courtesy of Airiel Down and Phoenix Photography
  • Thirsty for justice: Beaux Foy, in the shades, leads Airiel Down

Beaux Foy isn’t a fan of the evening news: "It pisses me off every time you turn on the news. The only time they mention our troops is when they have casualties,” the Airiel Down front man says.

To counter that, Foy is joining forces with Lowe’s, Pepsi and NASCAR on a campaign to honor the everyday achievements of servicemen and women who “put themselves on the line everyday to help in the greater good of global humanity.” He teamed up with Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.—“all class-A gentlemen”—at a Norfolk, Va., Naval base for the promotion, set to run as a commercial in theaters nationwide, on morning news programs, at Charlotte Motor Speedway and displayed at Lowe’s stores,

In December, Raleigh's Airiel Down shot a music video atop the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, and this summer the group will play for troops in Guam and the Persian Gulf. The USO of North Carolina will honor Foy with the Heart of a Patriot Award at a ceremony in Raleigh in October.

“I said, ‘We don’t do this stuff for recognition,’” Foy says. “They said, ‘That’s exactly why we want to recognize you.’”

Foy has never been hard to recognize, though, especially while sporting Johnny Depp, Willie Wonka-style eyewear in the NASCAR promotion. “Junior and the boys got a big kick out of it,” says Foy, a bandana and goggles collector. “I said, ‘Hey, you guys have your uniforms on, I better put mine on.”

Big kicks: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Beaux Foy
  • Photo Courtesy of the Band and Phoenix Photography
  • Big kicks: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Beaux Foy

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