"There's four or five different places to buy records in Raleigh, but there's nowhere to hang out and talk about records and look at fliers for the shows that are coming up—just a place to be," Daniel Lupton says. "I want to do that."
"I don't have a date set, but I'm hoping to get it open before Nov. 1," he says. "I've managed to build all the shelves and do all the painting, so now it's just a matter of moving records in and pricing everything."
Lupton says the shop will initially open with limited hours during the fall, as he works as a teacher at UNC-Chapel Hill. He hopes to expand operations once his schedule opens up in the spring.
As the proprietor of the label Sorry State Records and its corresponding online shop, Lupton has already earned his position as a punk-rock vinyl dealer with an adventurous ear. But with a physical headquarters in Raleigh (instead of Lupton's Carrboro house, out of which Sorry State currently operates), the shop should further cement Raleigh as the perennial center of Triangle punk.
Part of Lupton's impetus to set up shop stems from a partnership he forged with In The Groove Records last year. Lupton would stock a curated selection of new punk records at the Glenwood Avenue store, and local punk fans would buy them from Greg Rollins, In The Groove's owner.
"Part of the reason I feel like it's tenable to start a record store is because of selling stuff at In The Groove and knowing that there's an appetite for it," Lupton says. "[Rollins] thinks it's smart for me to expand and keep moving forward. So at some point I'll take my records out of his store and move them into mine. Hopefully it'll be a symbiotic relationship."
Even as Lupton retains his punk-centric vision, the shop offers an opportunity for Sorry State to broaden its embrace, a prospect about which Lupton is particularly excited. "Some people say that it's a really eclectic label, and that makes me happy," he says. "But then some people really associate it with the whole early-'80s hardcore revival thing, and that bums me out. Anything I can do to shake that and broaden people's expectations, I think is a good thing."
To wit, he's already started buying up collections to fill the inventory with an eclectic (if rock-centric) offering. Only about half, he estimates, is punk.
As Sorry State broadens its purview beyond the hardcore, punk, post-punk and metal found in its distribution channels, Lupton imagines his shop will fill a niche for fringe-rock fans in the Capital City. "People don't really drive between cities in the Triangle unless they absolutely have to," he says, his own frequent commute notwithstanding. "So I definitely wouldn't be opening the store in the same town as All Day or Bull City. If there wasn't a third city that I felt was underserved, I probably just wouldn't be doing it."
For those across-town shoppers who don't want to make the trek, Lupton says opening the new shop will also coincide with an update to the Sorry State online store.
And so it begins: The first official event leading to the International Bluegrass Music Association's conference and music festival in Raleigh in late September happens tonight. Three downtown Raleigh venues will host viewing parties for the announcement of the 2013 IBMA award nominees.
Though the awards themselves have moved, this year's announcement ceremonies remain in Nashville, at the Loveless Cafe. North Carolina native Jim Lauderdale and newgrass innovator Sam Bush will host. The festivities begin at 6 p.m., and they'll be shown locally at Irregardless Cafe, Tir Na Nog and the Lincoln Theatre.
The Long Rifle Bluegrass band will perform at Irregardless after the announcements, while Tir Na Nog will have a BBQ special to celebrate the event. Cindy and Terry Baucom will host a Q&A session about the festival. You can stream the announcement at Music City Roots.
The festival runs Sept. 24-28 in downtown Raleigh, with an industry conference taking place at the Convention Center alongside showcases and featured performances happening throughout various venues downtown. For more information, visit IBMA.org.
Tonight, Raleigh's Kings Barcade will host a pair of extremely literate singer-songwriters. But John Vanderslice and Eric Bachmann—who performs with his Crooked Fingers—have more on their minds than penning pristine verses and strumming a guitar, which makes their well-written words that much more potent.
In addition to a slew of evocative, symbol-rich albums, Vanderslice is a respected producer, working closely with North Carolina's own Scott Solter to craft the sound of his last few solo LPs and helming a trio of albums by Durham's The Mountain Goats. Vanderslice's sense of sonic adventure finds one of its greatest expressions on 2011's White Wilderness, a collaboration with the experimentally inclined Magik*Magik Orchestra. Minimal but diverse, the LP finds him inhabiting ambient folk-pop a la Mount Eerie ("White Wilderness") and jazz-inflected ballads ("Sea Salt"). Proving his prowess, Vanderslice adapts seamlessly to each new environment.
Bachmann is most famous as the frontman for the recently reunited Archers of Loaf, and Crooked Fingers similarly benefit from the singer's unflinching intensity. Crooked Fingers favor chamber pop smolders over the Archers' explosive rock, but Bachmann brings a level of energy uncommon in his singer-songwriter peers. Whether he's sitting solo at the piano for a subtle and breathtaking rendition of a classic like "Chumming the Ocean" or striding through a stomping anthem from last year's Breaks in the Armor, Bachmann's presence is captivating.
Vanderslice and Bachmann are renowned for their songwriting, but there will be more than just pretty words to appreciate when they hit the stage tonight.
Last week, a blog post about a change in personnel at Durham rock club Casbah got a few key facts wrong. The article incorrectly stated that former talent buyer Steve Gardner had been fired from his position; he was laid off.
The article also quotes Gardner’s replacement, Elysse Thebner, saying that she plans to increase the number of local bookings. As Gardner points out, Thebner’s quote incorrectly represents the ratio of local and touring acts booked during his tenure at the Casbah. Attendance records produced by Gardner verify that at least 73 percent of his 2012 bookings came from the area. More than 230 area bands played the venue during that time.
“It seemed to be an article about how I was fired because I didn’t book enough local music,” Gardner said during a follow-up interview. “That’s just not true.”
Asked to clarify her assessment of the club’s previous booking, Thebner replied: “My evidence of that statement was purely anecdotal, from being an employee at the venue. I think [Gardner’s] statement is fair. … I’m going to take the work Steve has done in a little bit of a different direction.”
American Aquarium —Raleigh's favorite whiskey-besot, country-rocking semi-romantics— release their new album, Burn. Flicker. Die., today. Many of you might have had a taste of the record at the band's sold-out CD release show down at the Lincoln Theatre Saturday night. Though it maintains the bitter, boot-stomping intensity of previous American Aquarium efforts, Burn. Flicker. Die. sees the scars of their road-warrior existence wearing a little more heavily than before. In one song, singer BJ Barham longs for the mundane existence of a policeman or a lawyer and not his current life as a "casualty of rock 'n' roll."
But somehow the band keeps going, and there was evidence of that determination Saturday night. Bassist Bill Corbin had his appendix out the afternoon before the show, getting sewed up and immediately heading over to the venue for sound check. The outfit's publicist sent out this summary of Corbin's Saturday schedule:
Bill checks in to ER at 1pm on day of CD release show.
Bill goes into surgery at 3:15 for emergency removal of appendix.
Bill arrives at Lincoln Theatre at 5:30 for soundcheck.
Bill steps onstage to sold out crowd at 11:15pm and rocks the house.
Sunday, he slept.
If a member playing a show after major surgery doesn't prove that American Aquarium has the will to make its rock 'n' roll dreams come true, then what can?
Ben Carr and Ian Rose, songwriting guitarist and drummer for the essential Chapel Hill garage punks Last Year's Men, are starting a new limited-run label, Sonogram Records. The business model follows the raison d'etre of many micro-labels: two friends releasing their friends' music to help them out, sure, but also for the fun of it. Yet Carr and Rose have mixed their love of music with a creative approach, and Sonogram may be a different creature—even in a region with multiple such boutique labels.
"Hopefully [we'll] work with bands that have already broken up to reissue some releases," Carr says. But first Sonogram is releasing a Gross Ghost cassette, solo work by Spider Bags' Dan McGee and material by remarkable Toronto garage-psych rockers The Pow Wows. The first of these releases should be out by early fall.
"We're doing this to try and work with the established rock 'n' roll scene and help it grow," says Carr. "If we can get an out-of-town band whose material we've released in front of a crowd of 50, then I think we've done a pretty damn good job."
Rough-and-tumble country outlaws Hank Sinatra headline the 10-band show, which starts at 5 pm. Antibubbles bring peppy, though sincere, garage pop-punk. Jack the Radio, whose debut LP actually hits shelves today, calls to mind southern rock-educated-pop, a la The Wallflowers. Also aboard are A Rooster for the Masses, Richard Bacchus, Brett Harris, OAK Team, Stella Lively, Maldora and This House on Fire. And the nOg—which many of us know has a fantastic kitchen—will have at least one food giveaway.
If people’s true character is visible in times of adversity, then Tir na nOg and these 10 bands deserve our admiration. Donations of any amount are encouraged. And if you can’t attend this show, here’s the link to the Red Cross’ donation page.
The Canadians and the Californians will bring their tour to UNC-Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall Friday, June 25. The Dutchess and The Duke open. Oh, well: You can't win ’em all.
Watch this video at 9:48. "I like John Lennon and, like, Bob Iver." Yes.