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 of the record’s creative process. The twee essence of the band’s early work has been steadily subsiding for a while now, and that transition continues on Home. There’s still a certain cuteness to Edgerton and Register’s wordplay, but here they’ve wrapped their songs in mature folk-rock arrangements—at times spare, at times lush, almost always smart.
Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, Spoon, St. Vincent) produced the record, and his well-trained hand shows through in a mix of traditional Appalachian sounds and grand psychedelic accouterments. For a taste, see the video below, which comes scored by an absorbing instrumental swell that uses mostly acoustic instrumentation to reach a state of ruminative bliss; Home is filled with such transformative moments, making it an early reason to get excited for Triangle music in 2012.
1. Home All Ways
3. No More Reason (To Pine)
4. Only Brother
5. Apple Tree
7. Crocodile Mile
8. Walk, Don't You Run
9. Volcanoes (Covered In Snow)
10. Cross My Heart
11. This Is My Home
The new tracks match the tone and theme of the original EP, but they aren’t especially fetching. The performances are sharp, but the songs are lacking. Only the instrumental “The Creeper” really stands out. Much of SCOTS’ music’s been unjustly marginalized for the alleged gimmickry of its trailer-park satire, but this release truly is a novelty, suited mainly for its holiday conceit. But if not on par with their best, fans will still appreciate the terrific playing and smirking good humor.
Southern Culture on the Skids plays Motorco Music Hall tonight, Friday, Oct. 28. Their Halloween Hullaballoo features The Straight 8s, The Tremors, The Wiley Fosters and Ormon Grimsby's 3D movie. The 9 p.m. show costs $13—$15.
“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 siren. It ricochets off of rock-solid bass and a backdrop chug of drums and rhythm guitar. Holsapple challenges modern notions of security, lashing out at his fellow 40-somethings for losing the revolutionary vigor of their youth: “Buying a Chevrolet is not a revolutionary act,” he taunts. An all-star effort by both local and national standards, the song features supplementary guitar work from Yo La Tango's Ira Kaplan and background vocals from The Old Ceremony's Django Haskins.
Feeding off the times, the band released the song in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement. One of the song’s two music videos is directly tied to the spirit of the protest. Directed by Raleigh's Mike Allen, the clip splices footage of the occupation with other defiant acts, both fictional and historical, and a curiously placed black-and-white cartoon.
“The OWS movement, and similar movements throughout the country and the world, implies to me that, when something is wrong, you can't sit around wringing your hands and hoping for someone to activate change,” Holsapple says. “You have to take the matter into your own hands and make it happen yourself. Hopefully, as with OWS, you will find like-minded individuals who can add to your number, and with that burgeoning number you can feel a certain amount of strength that what you are doing is valid and right and important.”
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.
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.
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.
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, “Man’s World,” from her upcoming Prelude to the Return of the B-Girl mixtape, is a temporary but burly fix. For now, we can all ignore the antagonisms that exist between the few female rappers and the largely dominated male hip-hop industry, which Rapdiddy touches on with the line “It ain’t ‘bout Big or J/ it’s ‘bout Lyte and Lauryn”. Just notice how she trounces all over what sounds like producer AMp's best imitation of 9th Wonder's famed Jay-Z “Threats” beat and blurs those gender lines like a pro, even if she claims to be “rookie of the year like I just started practice."
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 when we wake up the day after Leftback’s release and realize that there are no more Little Brother albums. Much like LB’s career, “Curtain Call” is an elegant, but short showcase of the the husky fellas’ honest rap offerings, delivered on top of one of Khrysis’ gentler concoctions—a perfect fit for a denouement as heartfelt and funky as this one.
Good news for Schooner a few hours ahead of their release party behind the Duck Kee Sessions: Despite only mailing the minimum of 150 promo copies of the EP to radio stations nationwide, the disc has broken the CMJ Top 200. Landing at No. 99, just behind Merge's Shout Out Louds and 10 spots ahead of the new Xiu Xiu record, this is the EP's first week on the charts. The big show starts tonight at The Pinhook at 10 p.m. For more, see our review of Duck Kee Sessions this week.