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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Landing in America: Kathleen Edwards' Voyageur

Tonight at Cat's Cradle

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Photo by Todd V. Wolfson"It still sounds like me, in the end." —Kathleen Edwards, on her new LP “I’m moving to America,” Kathleen Edwards sings over and over in the chorus of “Empty Threat,” the lead track of her new album, Voyageur. Thing is, it wasn’t an empty threat: The Canadian singer-songwriter recently relocated to Wisconsin, leaving behind a marriage to a former bandmate and finding a new beginning both musically and personally with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. It’s an auspicious new direction. Voyageur, her fourth album, is brimming with exploration and confidence, perhaps the full bloom of an artist...

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Live: Five bands in a taco shack

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Spider Bags, Paint Fumes, Flesh Wounds, Brainbows, SnakeThursday, Jan. 26La Salamandra, Durham La Salamandra isn’t designed for hosting rock bands, and it shows. The unassuming taco shack on Hillsborough Rd. features a long, narrow floorplan, divided by an elevated bar and chest-high barricade. The stage, if you want to call it that, is little more than a nook set back into the middle of the room’s length, just large enough for a drummer and some amps and placed so that, last night, most of the crowd would be treated to a side-view of the five performing acts. The sound...

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On Glenwood Avenue, a new, old-fashioned record store for Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Found! For more than a few years now, Hillsborough Street’s Schoolkids Records claimed the title of “only independent record store in Raleigh.” That’s no longer the case: In The Groove Records—a used-only record store that buys, sells and trades vintage vinyl, with plans to expand into new goods—has moved into the Carter Building, an art studio-dominated space just down from the intersection of Glenwood Avenue and Hillsborough Street. The store opened on January 18 and is owned by long-time Raleigh resident and artist Greg Rollins, who says he saw a niche for a used-only shop in the Triangle. “Used LPs—there’s...

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Raleigh courts the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM

The circulating word is that the International Bluegrass Music Associations (IBMA) Awards are looking for a new home. A group of local bluegrass musicians and enthusiasts are, of course, trying to make that new home here in Raleigh. Indeed, a five-minute video produced by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau recently landed on YouTube, appealing to IBMA on behalf of the state’s bluegrass traditions and the city’s entertainment assets. I sat down with Hank Smith, banjo player extraordinaire, last week to discuss this effort: INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: Who came to you with the idea of bringing the IBMA to...

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Oh, hell: Ben Folds Five recording new LP

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Major-label budget cuts, Exhibit No. 3,456,873 Following a MySpace-sponsored reunion show more than three years ago and last year's Folds box set containing some unreleased material, Ben Folds Five is reuniting for its first album since 1999. You can check out Ben Folds' Twitter for updates on the story. This information is all that was contained in something like a press release that Sony Music circulated yesterday, save for one unfortunate screen shot—of an Internet Explorer window, with a Tweet, containing a picture of the band in the studio. (C’mon, intern, right click, “Save as...”) Folds, bassist Robert Sledge and...

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the record: American Aquarium talks live LP

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 4:00 PM

American Aquarium has a lot in store for their fans this year. One is a live CD recorded at The Pour House, which will be available February 11. We caught up with the band’s Bill Corbin in Muscle Shoals as he was recording their new album, which will be out later this year. And yeah, it’s being produced by some guy named Jason Isbell. INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: What lead to the decision of doing a live album at this point in the band's history?BILL CORBIN: We've always wanted to do a live record and people always ask us to put...

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Live: Corrosion of Conformity apologizes for Asheville, unnecessarily

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Photo by D.L. AndersonLive and in color: Corrosion of Conformity Corrosion of Conformity, Hail!HornetSunday, Jan. 22Orange Peel, Asheville, N.C. When we parted ways, Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin offered an apology for what was, by his estimation, the worst show he’d ever played. The band had struggled through “The Moneychangers,” a cut from the band’s forthcoming eighth LP. It’s a characteristically complicated song, moving from steamrolling Motörhead speed-metal with Bad Brains-referencing cowbell clomps, into second-wave hardcore stomps and an atmospheric bridge before ending up somewhere near the lumbering doom of COC’s 2005 album In The Arms of God. And...

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Monday, January 23, 2012

An entertaining but troubled Glass opera in Raleigh

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Les Enfants Terribles Thursday, Jan. 19–Sunday, Jan. 22 Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh Kill your idols, sure—but what happens when your idol tries to kill you? Perhaps, as in Les Enfants Terribles, you abdicate reality for a dark fantasy world you share with your sister, where mutual cruelty becomes a twisted but biddable kind of love. Les Enfants Terribles is a fusion of opera and ballet by Philip Glass; the last in a trilogy of such hybrids based on the works of Jean Cocteau. Premiered in 1996, it was staged at Raleigh's Fletcher Opera Theater last week in honor of the...

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JKutchma and The 5 Fifths reveal new track

Posted By on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Two years ago, Jason Kutchma played the role of Bruce Springsteen in a wowing tribute to one of The Boss’s most enduring works, 1982’s Nebraska. That night, the frontman of Durham's barroom punk act Red Collar displayed a new side of himself, leading a brooding ensemble through devastating folk updates. He was brilliant, digging deep into the crises of the down-and-out with his reliably worn croon. The same brilliance shines through in “There's a Light On,” the first release from his upcoming album with ace backing band the Five Fifths, which features members of Rat Jackson, Maple Stave and...

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Phil Cook's gospel feat

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

If there's one thing that connects most interpretations of hymns like “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” from your local church's dutiful recitation to this rapturous show-stopping turn by the Blind Boys of Mississippi, it's a sense of wonder and awe. In this light, Phil Cook's take on this hymn from a digital “seven-inch split” might seem to come up short. Cook doesn't have the transcendent type of voice that can inspire spiritual conversion, and his Band-like (or Megafaun-like, if you prefer) banjo-and-piano arrangement here lacks a similar oomph. But what Cook & friends do bring to this song is...

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First Listen: Caltrop's second album is worth waiting for

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 3:11 PM

File Photo by Jeremy M. LangeCaltrop, back when. On April 3, Caltrop will release ten million years and eight minutes, its second album, and first in nearly four years. That sort of gap between albums is rare in an era of constant content streams, but it actually suits Caltrop; in its own unhurried way, the Chapel Hill foursome has used the lengthy interval to sharpen its approach and add new elements. By no measure is ten million years a departure from the template set by World Class, the band’s heavy debut platter of Sabbath sludge and Zeppelin sprawl. It’s just...

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Kickin Grass, celebrating a decade (live video)

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Kickin Grass, this is your life: Saturday night in Durham, Kickin Grass celebrated 10 years together in front of a large crowd and in the elegant and recently refurbished Carolina Theatre. That’s a long way from the band’s humble beginnings as a backing band for The Apple Chill Cloggers, though Kickin Grass did a fine job of making their timeline’s ends meet. The evening served as a reflection on the group’s many miles spent on the road, albums released and members who have come and gone. Many stories were told, from early jam sessions taking place in an old...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Double Barrel announces lineup

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 2:14 PM

In the last few years, N.C. State's student radio station WKNC 88.1 FM has become one of the most reliable champions of local music in the Triangle. Their steady stream of N.C. talent—during regular blocks of programming as well as their Local Lunch and Local Beat segments—is a vital resource to area artists. Their annual Double Barrel Benefit has become an extension of that mission, a two-night celebration that exposes local bands to audiences that might otherwise remain ignorant. The lineup for this year's event, which takes place Feb. 3 and 4 at Raleigh's Pour House, continues that tradition. (Here's...

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Chris Malarkey heads to the Lincoln Theatre

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Chris Malarkey, a 13-year member of the staff at Raleigh’s Pour House Music Hall, has signed on to help book acts at the Lincoln Theatre. A local music fixture, Malarkey has been the sole booking agent at the Pour House for about five years. “It’s a bigger level,” Malarkey says of the move. The Pour House lists its capacity as 350, while the Lincoln holds 800. “It just opens up a lot of different avenues as far as the bands that I can book. The bands that I booked at the Pour House, I can take two bands that draw...

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kenny Roby lands Kickstarter success in less than a day

Posted By on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Photo courtesy of the artistKenny Roby, funded. Early yesterday afternoon, I reached out to Raleigh singer-songwriter and former Six String Drag leader Kenny Roby with a few questions about his Kickstarter campaign, which he'd launched just a few hours before. I'm a proponent of artists funding projects through Kickstarter, but still, I sometimes get flustered by artists who ask for and promise the moon in exchange for a little financial boost. Roby's campaign was especially intriguing, then, as he was asking for a mere $2,000 and offering actually interesting content (like the download of an unheard song) for as little...

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Last round: A booking shift at The Pour House

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Chris Malarkey, the former booking agent at Raleigh’s The Pour House Music Hall and a local music fixture, is moving on from his post after 13 years with the venue. Malarkey joined the space in 1999, begging his way into part-time gigs as a way to break into the live music business. “I was a big music fan, an old Dead Head, so I thought it would be a good way to get in to doing something I love,” Malarkey remembers. “A friend of mine was bartending there. I told Eric I’d put up posters, whatever type...

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Bull City Metal Fest steps up

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 12:36 PM

The Body's tough. Last year’s inaugural Bull City Metal Fest saw sets by some of the best heavy music in the Triangle, from Jenks Miller’s widely praised brainchild Horseback to blues-metal blacksmiths Caltrop. The second is now scheduled to happen Feb. 3-4 at Durham’s Casbah, and it promises a continuation of this theme. With such diverse bands aboard as Braveyoung and The Body (hard to list them separately, considering 2011’s excellent split), Asheville’s Shadow of the Destroyer and Bitter Resolve, there’s little pattern beyond this: It’s heavy, it’s good and it’s all on the same weekend. “I tend to always...

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First listen: Corrosion of Conformity readies its first self-titled album

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Image by Seldon HuntTake note: If you're putting out your first self-titled album after 30 years, the cover should be this badass. It’s notable that, at least until now, Corrosion of Conformity has never released a self-titled album. Over its almost 30-year history, the band has been a revolving door of membership. Only guitarist Woody Weatherman has never left the band. But older and wiser and returned to its founding trio of Weatherman, bassist/singer Mike Dean and drummer Reed Mullin, COC appears to have decided how its legacy should be remembered. Corrosion of Conformity is the band’s ninth album (counting...

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Live: Crooked Fingers' folk heaviness

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Photo by Jordan LawrenceCrooked Fingers' Eric Bachmann, crooning hard Crooked Fingers, Mount Moriah Friday, Jan. 6 Kings, Raleigh Technically, Crooked Fingers Friday night stop at Raleigh’s Kings was not a hometown show. It has been 15 years since leader Eric Bachmann left Chapel Hill and 14 since Archers of Loaf, the now-legendary indie rock outfit he leads once more, ended their initial run. In that time Bachmann has landed in D.C., Seattle, Atlanta, Denver and Taiwan. For the last year, he has resided in Athens, Ga. Still, even if Crooked Fingers don't belong to the Triangle, the rapt crowd at...

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