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Monday, June 25, 2012

Black Zinfandel: funny name, casual band

Tuesday at Slim's

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM

By his admission, Brian Cruse isn’t adamant about much. But there was one thing upon which he insisted: “I was like, ‘My next band’s going to be called Black Zinfandel. I hope everybody’s cool with that because that’s the one thing I insist on,’” he says. “And I have a feeling that that name’s the only reason anybody cares about us—because it gets a few chuckles.” The moniker does elicit a few laughs, suggesting middle-aged women sipping stained wine by a pool. But the handle is hardly the only reason anybody cares about Black Zinfandel. Singer-guitarist Cruse, bassist Seth Beard...

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

With Tutankhamen, 9th Wonder wants you to buy the beats

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Tight spelling? Unless you’re an aspiring emcee looking for some quick beats to rhyme over, it might be hard to wrap your dollar bills around any legitimate hip-hop producer’s instrumental releases. Many of us don’t have any use for background boom-bap without vocals, anyway. But in 9th Wonder’s case—where many of his devoted followers pride themselves on collecting all of 9th’s jams, be they popular, unreleased or leaked—he’s now cashing in on an audience that views his work as classic compositions that mark a prestigious era in post-J. Dilla producer adoration. Earlier this week, 9th released his 40-track beat tape,...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Foreign exchange: UNC Beat Lab curriculum to be taught in Goma, DRC

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 11:11 AM

May 13th is UNC's graduation date, which makes it an appropriate day for the UNC Beat Making Lab to release its free compilation. These 13 tracks—which draw samples from a wide variety of North Carolina acts—represent the final project from a course on beat-making taught by The Beast emcee Pierce Freelon and Chapel Hill producer extraordinaire Stephen Levitin— better-known in music circles as the Apple Juice Kid. While the compilation will be free, there's currently an Indiegogo campaign set up to send Freelon and Apple Juice to Goma, DR Congo, this summer, where they'll teach the same course at...

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Red Collar debuts new single, "American Me"

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 5:27 PM

"The first words I ever learned/ Were 'Mommy' and 'Daddy' and 'heartbreak!'" Jason Kutchma roars at the onset of "American Me," the first single from Red Collar's new LP Welcome Home — due June 12 via Tiny Engines. The outsized Durham punk band has long mined the fractured ends of romantic ideals, but that line and the song that contains it express the band's unique brand of defiant heartbreak as well as anything they've ever released. Check it out now over at Alternative Press. That's good news for Red Collar fans who have waited since the band's 2010 album...

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Listen: Whatever Brains' new LP and 7-inch

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Before releasing their first full-length last year, Whatever Brains had marked their evolution from flash-bang scuzz-punk into warped and weird post-punk pranksters across a series of singles and limited releases. So when that first long-player was finally released, barely more than eight months ago, there was an already-deep well of experience from which to draw. And so it did. Snotty punk reminiscent of the band's early days, knotty, Fall-informed post-punk and keyboard-fueled visions of melted new-wave all had their say. The Brains threw all their ideas on the platter, and somehow most of it stuck. The band's second self-titled album,...

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Friday, March 16, 2012

First Listen: Horseback's new single offers Half Blood glimpse

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

After the flood of releases that preceded it, Horseback's 10-month lull has been a dramatic pause. But Half Blood, the long-awaited follow-up to 2009's The Invisible Mountain, has finally been announced, "set for a Spring 2012 release via Relapse Records." No specific date has been set, but at least it's something. In the meantime, the Chapel Hill outfit helmed by Jenks Miller has assembled two new tracks for a limited edition 7-inch, which is streaming now [see below], thanks to the heavy-centric blog OMG Vinyl. The A-side, "On the Eclipse," features Miller's now-signature guitar meanders and scorched shriek, suggesting something...

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stripmines debut LP Crimes of Dispassion makes impression, but band's future uncertain

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM

Last Friday at Raleigh's Berkeley Cafe, five mostly new local hardcore bands took to the stage to raise money to help LA grindcore musician Sergio Amalfitano cover his daughter's medical expenses. The altruism was a warm touch, but with Greensboro's Torch Runner serving as the most veteran band on the bill, the gig was representative of a surge of new bands that formed nigh simultaneously—and in part because Raleigh scene titans Stripmines kinda-maybe-almost broke up. Of the bill's five bands, three featured members of Stripmines. Earlier this month the band released its excellent LP debut, Crimes of Dispassion, and plans...

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Band Alert: Is Infección the Triangle's new punk supergroup?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 6:49 PM

The new Raleigh punk band Infección runs the risk of an overcrowded résumé: Its four members can count Double Negative, Whatever Brains, Brain F≠, Devour, Logic Problem, Grids, Street Sharks, Cross Laws and Crossed Eyes as relevant experience. But with only one show and a raw three-song practice space video to its name, the quartet of guitarist Daniel Lupton, bassist Rich Ivey, drummer Bobby Michaud and singer David Mirabedini already has differentiated itself from its members’ other activities. “While there's still a lot of hardcore in the mix, it's much more garagey and catchy,” Lupton told me via e-mail....

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Red Collar record due this summer

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Jo KingsburyRed Collar vs. plastic lawn chairs On June 12, Durham's sociopolitical firebrand rock outfit Red Collar will release its second LP, Welcome Home, the followup to 2009’s Pilgrim. And though the band doesn’t play as regularly as it did around Pilgrim time, the three-year wait for Welcome Home comes from a desire to get this record right rather than a lack of time or commitment. As guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jason Kutchma puts it, the new album is the result of two years of hard work: “If we were pressed we could've released an OK EP at the end...

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I Was Totally Destroying It's new single a 'major let down'

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 11:47 AM

“I’m a major let down,” I Was Totally Destroying It’s Rachel Hirsh sings with sugary confusion on “My Internal Din,” the band’s newly released single. “I don’t know what went wrong.” That makes two of us. The song (streaming over at Alternative Press) is the first offering from the Chapel Hill outfit’s forthcoming fourth LP, Vexations. It marks a new low point in a stunning and frustrating decline for what was, until recently, one of the Triangle’s very best pop-rock outfits. If the single is par for the course, it’s likely the title will be quite accurate. The Alternative...

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Friday, February 24, 2012

Rapsody warms up on "Right Now" with 9th Wonder

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM

The last time 9th Wonder played with an R. Kelly sample, he landed a song, “Threat,” on Jay-Z’s The Black Album. This time, over the R. Kelly and Public Announcement track “Honey Love,” we get the same chopped-up formula, but with Jamla Records queen-b-girl, Rapsody, doing the rhyming honors. "Right Now" doesn't necessarily showcase Rapsody “Castor Troy-ing” anyone, but she stalks around on this song like she’s planning something unforgettable. Maybe she’s just warming up before the release of her Kobe Bryant-inspired EP, The Black Mamba, which will be released today, Feb. 24—that is, unless Jeremy Lin vetoes it....

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores' single

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM

On a 7-song debut EP released in 2010, Chapel Hill newcomers Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores served notice they were to be taken seriously. Frontman and songwriter Hunter, a Greensboro native, wrote from the somewhat green perspective of a kid in his early 20s, because, well, he was in his early 20s. But you believed him when he sang, such was the sheer passion and dedication in his voice. "Someone You Used To Know," released Feb. 3 as a single to advance the band's upcoming album of the same name, picks up where that EP left off and shows a...

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Really, Kaze? New project, JETSETMAFIA, stumbles

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 2:30 PM

The localized hype surrounding last year’s N.C. Hip-Hop Day might have made you believe that veteran Chapel Hill rapper Kaze would return, re-energized, to the scene’s forefront with ass-kicking zeal. Well, he’s returned, but something has just gone terribly wrong: JETSETMAFIA, Kaze’s new duo with Miami-based model and recording artist Liz Harlow, has just released the video for its debut single, a muddy and badly mixed remix of UK dubstep artist Flux Pavillion’s “Bass Cannon." You might know Flux Pavilion from the international rave hit “I Can’t Stop," sampled on “Who Gon Stop Me” from Kanye West and Jay-Z’s...

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Monday, January 23, 2012

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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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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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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, December 5, 2011

Midtown Dickens announce third LP, Home

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 11:46 AM

I’ve had the MP3s for Home, the forthcoming third LP from Durham's Midtown Dickens, for just more than an hour, and that is nowhere near enough time to digest any record. But after only one listen, this much is evident: Home is a great step forward for the band. The album drops Feb. 28 via Chapel Hill’s Trekky Records, in the label's signature CD+LP+MP3 format. The duo of Catherine Edgerton and Kym Register, which expanded to a quintet in the lead-up to 2010's Lanterns, now numbers four; multi-instrumentalists Will Hackney (who co-owns Trekky) and Jonathan Henderson contributed in many facets...

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Tonight: Southern Culture brings its Halloween release to the stage

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 5:07 PM

Southern Culture’s new Halloween-themed release, Zombified, is a look back as well as forward. That’s because eight tracks are remastered versions of a SCOTS 1998 Australian tour EP, Zombified, joined by five new songs. Befitting the theme, SCOTS exchange their usual fascination with redneck living for a horror movie set dressed in vampires, witches, zombies, undertakers and even a “Swamp Thing.” The EP dates to keyboardist Chris Bess’ time in the band, and the presence of his Hammond organ is a striking reminder of those old days. Since becoming a trio prior to 2004’s Mojo Box, they’ve (necessarily) pursued a...

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The dB's throw in for the revolution

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Photo by Daniel CostonThe dB's “Revolution of the Mind,” the new song from influential and underrated indie rock progenitors the dB's, does not sound like the work of a band that hasn't released new music since 1994. The tune, the band's first since the “classic” line-up began playing together again in 2005, is a burst of pop-rock energy with punk overtones and a rebellious message. Click here to download the MP3. A leftover from the sessions for Falling Off the Sky, the band's forthcoming 2012 reunion album, the Peter Holsapple-fronted track rides a guitar lick that mimics a European police...

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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

Photo Courtesy of the BandSeasonal 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...

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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

Photo courtesy of the bandCrazy 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...

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Interview: Jack the Radio's double duty

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

Photo courtesy of the bandRaleigh'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...

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Track premiere: Lonnie Walker's "Love Turn"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 3:30 PM

Future Islands and Lonnie Walker will release a limited-edition 7" next Tuesday via Baltimore's Friend Records. We've got the Lonnie Walker track right here, for your downloading pleasure....

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Rapsody track, "Man's World": Rapsody, higher than Gilead?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 4:48 PM

Christina Aguilera’s stunning 2007 Grammy Award show performance of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World” reinterpreted the Godfather of Soul’s declaration and turned it into a womanly rebuke. Few could have done it better. 9th Wonder’s female rap threat, Rapsody, who's signed to his It's a Wonderful World/Jamla group manages to cut her own improved, reinterpretation of the epic James Brown tune and does so without the B-girl pageantry that you might expect given her spot as the leading lady of her group, Kooley High. Impatiently, we’ve been waiting for her and 9th to expose her new material. This track,...

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Little Brother's "Curtain Call" (download here)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 12:27 PM

For those still trying to make sense of Little Brother’s announcement that Leftback will be the duo’s final LP, the Khrysis-produced lead single “Curtain Call”—released this week via, err, MySpace and available for download here—should debrief you, if not relieve you. The exit doesn't seem to rattle Phonte and Pooh here, both of whom sound satisfied with the precedent they set for newer rap acts like J. Cole, Wale, Pac Div and Jay Electronica, to name a few. “You mad wit’ me/ tough tittie/ get a training bra," spouts Phonte, foreseeing the disappointment that many of us going to be harboring...

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Thank you so much for these clips; it was a special show.

by Gee Funk on Video: William Tyler and Jake Xerxes Fussell Team Up in Durham (Music)

Billy Strings was amazing as well!

by Brian Moyer on A Look Back at Merlefest 2016 (Music)

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