Downtown Raleigh's annual Hopscotch Music Festival, now two weeks away from its Sept. 5—7 run, has announced a full slate of day parties to accompany its evening showcases, along with a few changes to the original festival schedule.
Late adds to the lineup include D.C. Virginia DJ duo Gents & Jawns, New Hampshire metal band Vattnet Viskar, Toronto electronic duo Moon King, heavy Brooklyn groups Hunters and Sannhet, Triangle singer-songwriters Brett Harris and Skylar Gudasz, and New York performance artist Mykki Blanco (aka Michael Quattlebaum, a former Indies Arts Awards winner as a Raleigh teen).
Dropping out are XXYYXX, Loincloth, Riton, Foot Village and Ex Cops. Raleigh hardcore band Double Negative called it quits this summer, forgoing its scheduled Hopscotch slot. And, as reported last month, headliner Big Boi was replaced on Friday's City Plaza schedule by A-Trak and Holy Ghost!, but will play a makeup date at Memorial Auditorium on Sept. 21.
The day party schedule includes five officially sanctioned Hopscotch shows along with more than two dozen events in a variety of mostly downtown venues sponsored by various businesses. Admission to all day parties is free.
With several nighttime highlight acts on the day-party slate (including Eros and the Eschaton, Doug Paisley, Torres) plus at least a couple of high-profile acts that are only playing day-parties (Thurston Moore/John Moloney Caught on Tape Duo, Chris Stamey, Spider Bags), a case could be made that this year's day-party options actually outshine that of the formal festival.
• Thursday, 1—10 p.m., at Sadlack's Heroes and Schoolkids Records: Third annual Hopscotch Kickoff party with eight acts (including Magnolia Collective and Lynn Blakey & Ecki Heins) indoors at the two neighboring venues from 1—5 p.m., plus seven more (including June Star and Hank Sinatra) on the Sadlack's Patio from 5—10 p.m.
• Thursday, noon—5 p.m., at The Pour House: The Art of Cool Project party with George Tisdale Band, The Hot at Nights and Brand New Life.
• Friday, noon—5 p.m., at CAM: Hopscotch official party with Valient Thorr, Colossus, Pontiak, Toon & the Real Laww and DJ Nixxed.
• Friday, noon—5 p.m., at Deep South The Bar: Schoolkids/Radio 96.1 party with River City Ransom, Hank Sinatra, Kenny Roby, Brett Harris and Onward, Soldiers.
• Friday, noon—5:15 p.m., at Kings: Three Lobed/WXDU party with Thurston Moore/John Moloney Caught on Tape Duo, Desert Heat, Glenn Jones, Magik Markers, Tom Carter and the Jenks Miller Band.
• Saturday, noon—5 p.m., at Lincoln Theatre: Hopscotch official party with Chris Stamey & the Fellow Travelers Orchestra, Lonnie Walker, Debonzo Brothers and Organos (plus DJ music on an outside stage).
• Saturday, noon—5 p.m., at Raleigh Times Bar (on the street outside): Hopscotch official party with Mandolin Orange, Doug Paisley, Lowland Hum and Cousins.
• Saturday, 12:30—5:30 p.m., at Busy Bee: Phuzz Phest Shredstorm with Spider Bags, Torres, Drag Sounds, Other Colors and Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk.
• Friday—Saturday, noon—5 p.m., at Rebus Works: SHOPscotch market with four acts each day including I Was Totally Destroying It and Wesley Wolfe (Friday) and Countdown Quartet and Goner (Saturday).
• Sunday, noon, at Slim's: Fourth annaul Hopscotch Hangover with Jack the Radio, The Vibekillers, Some Army, Old Quarter and Cousins.
Check out the full list of day events here.
(Disclosure: INDY Week music editor Grayson Currin is co-director of Hopscotch.)
Raleigh's upcoming Hopscotch Music Festival has announced the topics and participants for its annual series of day panels Sept. 5—7 at the City of Raleigh Museum. The panels include many of the musicians performing at the festival, held at a dozen venues in downtown Raleigh. Each discussion runs from 3—5 p.m., and admission is free. Counter Culture Coffee Company sponsors the series.
Thursday's opener may be the most intriguing of the bunch, bearing the title "For free or for sale: The boon or burden of giving away music on the Internet." Participants include Marnie Stern, Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso, Kate Perdoni of Eros and the Eschaton, Eugene Robinson of Sal Mineo and Andrew Martin of Potholes in My Blog. Brian Howe, editor of Duke Performances' blog The Thread, moderates.
Friday, the talk turns to touring with "On the road—again: The realities of touring for a living." Participante include Sam Herring of Future Islands, Heather McEntire of Mount Moriah, Blake Harrison of Pig Destroyer, Dave Hartley of Nightlands, and journalists Marc Masters (Pitchfork.com) and David Menconi (The News & Observer). INDY Week music editor Grayson Currin moderates.
Saturday turns a bit more esoteric with "The hits and the misses: The current and future importance of the full-length album." Participants include Kid Millions of Spiritualized, Seth Olinksy of Cy Dune, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Tim Rutili of Califone, Mackenzie Scott (a.k.a. Torres), Drew Daniel of Matmos, Cesar Comanche, and journalist Mark Kemp (formerly of Rolling Stone and Creative Loafing Charlotte). Frequent INDY Week contributor David Klein moderates.
New to the festival this year is SiteWork/Hopscotch, a series of seven visual art projects to be held at indoor and outdoor locations in the Raleigh City Plaza vicinity during the festival. The exhibitors, all of whom are musicians who incorporate sound or music themes in their work, include four Triangle artists—Casey Cook, Harrison Haynes, Lincoln Hancock and Neill Prewitt—as well as New Yorkers Sara Magenheimer and Xaviera Simmons and Japan's Taiyo Kimura. Further details are at siteworknc.com.
[Disclosure: INDY Week music editor Grayson Currin is co-director of Hopscotch.]
Hopscotch Music Festival has announced a Sept. 21 makeup date at Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium to replace hip-hop artist Big Boi's cancellation of his originally-scheduled Sept. 6 appearance at City Plaza during the festival, which runs Sept. 5-7 in downtown Raleigh.
The festival also announced former Kanye West tour DJ A-Trak and Brooklyn synth-pop duo Holy Ghost! as replacements for Big Boi on the Sept. 6 City Plaza bill, joining previously scheduled openers Future Islands and Gross Ghost. The concert will now run from 5:40 p.m. to 11 p.m.
An announcement on Hopscotch's website provides the following details for customers who purchased single-show tickets to Big Boi's Sept. 6 appearance:
1) Customers will be contacted directly and provided a free pass to the Sept. 21 show;
2) They can also keep and use their tickets for the reconfigured Sept. 6 City Plaza show;
3) Those who wish for a refund on account of Big Boi's cancellation can request one from Etix by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The announcement specifies that refund requests will be accepted not only for Sept. 6 single-show tickets but also for one-day passes to all Sept. 6 shows, as well as three-day festival passes.
[Disclosure: INDY Week music editor Grayson Currin is co-director of Hopscotch.]
During the past seven years, the above symbol has become synonymous with the resurgence of Raleigh hardcore. Double Negative, the band that have emblazoned it on everything they release and every piece of equipment they use, arrived in 2006 and quickly became the standard-bearers for a new generation of Triangle punks. Founded as a four-piece filled with scene veterans, they funneled their powers into a sound that was as sharp as it was explosive, catalyzing one of the most exciting periods in Raleigh's storied punk history.
Wednesday night, after years of playing chaotic live shows and producing a catalog that is pretty much unimpeachable, Double Negative announced that they are calling it quits.
"In 2006, I went to a show, saw some bands and said, 'This is really cool, we can do this,' Scott Williams recalls. The guitarist, who had previously played in bands including Days Of... and Daddy, rallied friends with equally impressive résumés. Singer Kevin Collins fronted the wonderfully skewed Erectus Montone. Brian Walsby had drummed with the pre-Superchunk outfit Wwax and the pre-Whiskeytown ensemble The Patty Duke Syndrome. Bassist Justin Gray had played with a long list of local bands, a few of which also included Williams.
"I was like, ‘Let’s put a band together and play like a couple house parties,’" Williams continues. "It went from that to going around to other countries and across the sea and around the country. It turned out pretty good. I had a pretty good time."
Double Negative did indeed stretch its renown beyond Raleigh, packing clubs across the country and venturing to Europe, but their impact on the local scene has been enormous. As their crowd grew, they played alongside new acts, such as the pile-driving Stripmines and the wily Whatever Brains, helping to foster a fleet of intense and provocative bands that push the punk envelope. Starting with their second release, the aptly titled Raw Energy EP, they issued all of their material on Sorry State Records, bolstering the national profile of the flourishing Carrboro imprint and serving as an anchor for its strong local core.
The band never failed to deliver music that lived up to this scene-leader status. The Hardcore Confusion singles, issued in four installments over the past two years and recently compiled onto a digital compilation, capture Double Negative at the height of their powers. Riffs move on an undercurrent of feral noise and frenzied rhythms that shift drastically and unexpectedly, merging speed and force.
But the group had been in flux the past few years. In 2011, Collins and Walsby left the band for personal reasons. They were replaced by Brain F≠ drummer Bobby Michaud and Logic Problem singer Cameron Craig, for a time creating a new, equally powerful configuration. But Michaud moved to Atlanta, forcing them to search for a new drummer again. The process was trying, and nobody worked out for very long. Frustrated and put out, Gray suggested they hang it up.
"Double Negative changed everything," Ira Rogers commented on Double Negative's Facebook announcement of the break-up. Rogers has played in local outfits such as Stripmines and routinely books punks hows in Raleigh. "You guys were a fucking game changer, and raised the bar in hardcore, and the NC music scene. DN was one of a few reasons I've been happy to live in Raleigh for the past 6 years, and hold a certain pride and integrity to being a Raleigh hardcorepunkmetalfreak."
Taking place each year on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July is—in theory, at least—a celebration of freedom. Chief among the liberties we enjoy in America is the freedom of expression, and no Triangle band stands up for that right more emphatically than The Beast. Deftly distilling socially conscious hip-hop with smoothest jazz, the Durham quartet litters its muscular anthems with other disparate inflections—sheeny electronics, rock 'n' roll psychedelics. The breadth of that power comes into clearest focus when The Beast plays with their Big Band configuration, augmenting their typical lineup of bass, keys and drums with strings, horns, additional percussion and robust vocal backing. Thus, it makes sense that the group would play with their reinforced complement on Independence Day—and offer up goodies for everyone who shows up.
The Beast + Big Band will play a free show at American Tobacco's Center Stage (on the lawn between DPAC and DBAP) in Durham today at 5 p.m., and—as an exclusive to attendees—they'll be selling advance copies of Gardens, an EP of Beast songs recorded in their enlarged configuration. Opening the show will be Apple Juice Kid, the immensely talented producer with whom Beast frontman Pierce Freelon operates the Beat Making Lab, a UNC-Chapel Hill initiative that has also hit spots around the globe in an effort to give people the tools to make their own hip-hop. To commemorate their Independence Day team-up, The Beast and Apple Juice have posted a mash-up of the official U.S. anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the unofficial black national anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Check out the track below as well as a performance clip of The Beast + Big Band performing last year at the Motorco Music Hall.
It's hard to imagine a more fun curatorial task than organizing the Duke Performances series. The Durham university's annual slate of live music, dance, theater—and ambitious intersections there of—is an onslaught where traditionally "high culture" offerings meet more challenging concepts. Spaced between September and May, it's not a series for people who want their art rigidly divided by arbitrary criteria. It's for those who get giddy when performers break down those boundaries and mess around in the space between, an expectation very much maintained by the recently unveiled schedule for the 2013-14 season.
In September, Duke's resident and reliable Ciompi Quartet will team up with the Kruger Brothers, a knotty and exhilarating Appalachian group, mining the often ignored overlap between classical music and bluegrass. In November, local musician Nick Sanborn, an impressive collaborator whose credits include Megafaun's mystifying folk experiments and Sylvan Esso's sly electro-pop, will present his own genre-busting piece exploring the existence of rock 'n' roll sidemen. For a few dates in February, Bombadil will pair their emotionally potent, musically playful folk and rock with Torry Bend's distinct puppetry.
These are the kind of bold, original ideas that set Duke Performances apart from many of their university-funded peers. But the goodies don't stop there. Grammy-winning jazz pianist Billy Childs will offer up a piece he wrote to commemorate the 50th anniversary of integration at Duke with help from the powerfully piped Dianne Reeves. Lauded—and happily married—pianists Emanuel Ax and Yoko Nozaki will add one of their rare and coveted duo performances. The Urban Bush Women, long a force in the world of African dance, will open minds with pieces that splice modern dance and ballet with African traditions.
The full schedule, which you can check out here, features many more intriguing selections. Check it out.
Last week, Django Haskins, lead singer for Durham's Old Ceremony, posted a short performance to YouTube. "This is a public service message to our so-called public servants," he sneers before launching into his song, entitled "We Are Not For Sale." The take (streaming above) is quick and shambling, a series of typical G, C and D chords underpinning Haskins' straightforward words. He has to glance at lyrics to keep them straight, and his intonation is somewhat inconsistent. But his barbs ring true. He points out what he sees as the folly of frackers: "They'll need water too." He compares retroactive voting policies to the days of "old Jim Crow." He's mad.
For the past nine weeks, thousands of protesters have descended upon the N.C Capitol for "Moral Mondays," reactions to the ultra-conservative policies of the state's Republican-dominated legislature—eliminating extended unemployment benefits, stripping funding from public schools and healthcare programs, etc. Many have refused to leave the chambers until they are arrested and taken away. As the buses carrying them roll out, people line up to cheer on their civil disobedience. "If you think that you can silence us, you'll need a bigger jail," Haskins offers. "We are not for sale."
As it turns out, Haskins is far from the only musician looking to leverage his talents to fight these policies. The NC Music Love Army, a new grouping of local artists, has emerged to make its voice heard. The coalition, organized by Raleigh's Caitlin Cary and Charlotte's Jon Lindsay, plans to produce an EP-length compilation of protest songs to be unveiled with a large-scale concert. Dates and location have yet to be announced.
The impressive roster includes Haskins and nationally recognized songwriter Tift Merritt as well as members of American Aquarium, Hiss Golden Messenger, JKutchma & the Five Fifths, The Love Language and more. Proceeds from the collection will benefit the NAACP, Progress NC, and Planned Parenthood, three organizations at the forefront of the Moral Monday movement. Filmmaking members of the NCMLA will capture all activity for a forthcoming documentary.
Anyone too restless to wait for the compilation's release can attend an open rehearsal this Saturday at Durham's Pinhook. The free event takes place between 3 and 6 p.m. Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or simply asking questions can contact Caitlin Cary at NCMusicLoveArmy@gmail.com.
“Calm Down,” the pile-driving psych-pop single recently unveiled by The Love Language, is all restless energy. Its bass line lends beefy bulk to jittery syncopation, hurtling headlong with force that never relents. Near the end, it devolves into a dizzying dust-up, distorted riffs chasing each other around and around until they become indistinguishable from one another. All of this perfectly suits Stuart McLamb’s impassioned story about a dude stuck in a relationship that never lets him feel at ease.
It makes sense, then, that the video for the song—the first single from the forthcoming Ruby Red, The Love Language’s third LP—would be similarly restless. Filming is scheduled for 22 different locations, mostly scattered across Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. One locale is the Chapel Hill rock club Local 506, and on Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is encouraged to come participate in a scene. The event is free.
“We are shooting at 22 locations, and we’re filming over three days,” McLamb explains. “It’s basically involving various monotonous earthly activities. It’s more metaphorical for someone out of sync with his surroundings. He eventually discovers that he can break-dance like a motherfucker, and he transcends his surroundings.”
McLamb wasn't clear if that transcendent scene is the one being filmed at Local 506, but the Facebook event for the shoot does promise “a badass break dancer in an astronaut costume.” That sounds like something worth seeing.
All hail the power of competition. How it drives us to be better than we could ever be without it. Residing in towns separated by a scant 11 miles, Duke Performances and Carolina Performing Arts may not possess the same fierce rivalry as their hardwood counterparts, but their pursuits of excellence have escalated along similar trajectories. CPA, the annual performance series at UNC-Chapel HIll, has raised the stakes once more with its 2013-14 season.
Running from September to April, the slate begins with one of the program's most exciting performances to date. Psych-funk legend George Clinton will lead his famed Parliament Funkadelic and reunite with saxophone wiz Maceo Parker, whose brash and nimble blasts graced Parliament's essential '70s run as well as the most excellent stretch in James Brown's catalog. If that doesn't excite you, I recommend you just give up on this music thing all together.
The rest of the schedule doesn't fizzle. Wynton Marsalis, arguably the most revered trumpeter of our time, will lead the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in a celebration of gospel. Time-tested songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt will provide an evening of acoustic intimacy. Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang will perform, as will András Schiff, renowned for his renderings of Bach classics. He'll play the composer's Golberg Variations. Banjo pioneer Bela Fleck, a frequent CPA performer, will pair with clawhammer specialist Aigail Washburn. Wendy Whelan, something of a superstar in modern ballet, highlights the season's crowded dance crop.
At this point, it’s safe to say Superchunk is back and won’t be leaving us again anytime soon. With 2010’s comeback album Majesty Shredding, the veteran indie rockers proved they could still deliver the goods. But when the quartet issues its hashtag-ready 10th album, I Hate Music, on August 20, they’ll prove that those same goods have never been better.
Potentially the band’s fullest and most overtly pop album, I Hate Music marries indie-rock crunch to arena-rock gloss, big hooks to punk urgency, and ringing chords to jagged leads. Supported by clear, punchy production, the album’s 11 songs give clear nods to Superchunk’s varied influences, from the Misfits to Bananarama, and ultimately shows how well those disparate sounds have coalesced into Superchunk’s own.
Billed as a “dark twin” to Majesty Shredding, I Hate Music concerns itself more with heavier things. “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” gives the album its title with the opening troll: “I hate music/ What is it worth?/ Can’t bring anyone back to this earth.” But in its touring band narrative and titular reference to the Skatalites founder who died of cancer at 42, the song bridges its Sloan-worthy effervescence with self-doubt—that is, why dedicate one’s life to entertainment? “Staying Home” brews an anthem for homebodies, its sprint-speed blast and sing-along melody evoke early Dag Nasty.
Superchunk has never shied from adopting the character of resigned romantics. There’s the hangdog hangover of “Driveway to Driveway” and the unlucky long-distance lover of “Detroit Has A Skyline.” As is their wont, Superchunk’s songwriting sets a firm foundation for the soaring hooks above.
If anything, I Hate Music only shows this older, wiser Chunk hasn’t lost its verve.
That bodes well for stamina, which Superchunk will need as it tours both coasts behind I Hate Music in August and September, including a six-gig run with Spider Bags. Unfortunately, founding bassist Laura Ballance won’t be with the band. Disclosing her struggle with hearing loss on the groups’s website, Ballance wrote, “It's not because I hate music. And it's not because I am too old. You know, that thing about if it's too loud you are too old? That keeps running through my head, dammit.” She’ll be replaced on tour by Jason Narducy, the former Verbow frontman and current bassist for Bob Mould.
“For clarity, let me add, I have not quit the band,” Ballance adds. “I am really excited to have recorded this new album with Superchunk, and I look forward to making more.”
Full dates are below. They’ll be at Cat’s Cradle on August 24.