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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In the sandbox: A review of Sylvan Esso's new remix website

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2015 at 10:17 AM

Sylvan Esso's new supplemental website,, has one function—to remix "H.S.K.T.," a track from the voguish Durham dance-pop duo's self-titled 2014 debut. The site is minimal; what little text appears instructs you to use the space bar to start the beat and then to explore the keyboard to find other instrument and vocal tracks. You can then build the song again from zero, or shape your own version of it. It's a cool idea, a potentially clever way for this minimalist electronica outfit to allow fans to deconstruct and reconstruct Sylvan Esso—especially ahead of the just-announced remix collection for "H.S.K.T.," out...

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Faye Hunter, 1954–2013

Posted By on Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Today, there is an entire community of musicians and friends in Winston-Salem who are grieving and struggling to comprehend the loss of one of our own, Faye Hunter. She died Saturday. That community extends internationally to all who had seen and heard her as Let's Active's able bassist throughout the 1980s. Those of us who grew up with Faye also knew her as a sweet, droll and artistic friend who unintentionally served as something of a den mother and big sister to many of the younger musicians in town, myself included. At 13, I was still awestruck in the...

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Two weeks without the Possum, Part Two: Tom Maxwell considers George Jones' vocal poignancy

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Editor's Note: Country legend George Jones died two weeks ago, on April 26, 2013, in Nashville. Longtime area musicians John Howie Jr. and Tom Maxwell provided reflections on Jones. Below, Maxwell, meditates on Jones' voice and why it had the impact it did. Meanwhile, Howie presents an overview of Jones' life from the perspective of a budding country fan whose own band went on to open for Jones. Read that piece here. George Jones is gone now, finally. It’s surprising he made it this long, given his once prodigious appetite for alcoholic and chemical refreshment. It’s possible that he...

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Two weeks without the Possum, Part One: John Howie Jr. reflects on his youth and an evening with George Jones

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Editor's Note: Country legend George Jones died two weeks ago, on April 26, 2013, in Nashville. Longtime area musicians John Howie Jr. and Tom Maxwell provided reflections on Jones. Below, Howie presents an overview of Jones' life from the perspective of a budding country fan whose own band went on to open for Jones. Maxwell, meanwhile, meditates on Jones' voice and why it had the impact it did; read that piece here. Legend has it that the great Frank Sinatra once referred to George Jones as, “The second best male singer in America.” It’s one of my favorite quotes...

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Who needs a hardcore reunion? OFF! plays Kings tonight

Posted By on Sun, Sep 30, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Older dudes This wasn’t supposed to happen to hardcore. Reunion gigs and supergroups have historically been the domain of faded dinosaur rockers, the same type of axe-slinging pomp-rock that punk was supposed to be a reaction against. Hardcore—child of the trickle-down, Cold War 1980s—was primitive and impulsive, youth-centric and nihilistic. Under the shadow of nuclear obliteration, it was never meant to last. Steven Blush’s oral history of hardcore’s first wave, American Hardcore: A Tribal History, puts a hard stop on hardcore at 1986: Black Flag, The Dead Kennedys and The Misfits broke up that year. The Minutemen guitarist D. Boon...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Proud to call him Lumbee: Willie French Lowery, 1944-2012

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Community man Willie French Lowery Lauded Lumbee songwriter, artist, husband and father Willie French Lowery passed away May 3 at the age of 68. Lowery’s legacy includes more than 40 years worth of music, shaped by Indian, African, and European American traditions alike. His prolific career spanned psychedelic rock and children’s music, painting and stagecraft. Arguably, his most important career role, though, was as a cultural figurehead in the Lumbee tribe. An assistant curator at the North Carolina Museum of History and member of the Lumbee community, Jefferson Currie III calls Lowery a hero: “His entire career makes proud....

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

In Memory of Matt Brown: John Howie Jr., Mike Nicholson and Brian Hill remember their friend and drummer

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 11:12 AM

[Editor’s note: Matt Brown—a drummer with John Howie Jr. & the Rosewood Bluff, Stratocruiser, the Venables, Penny Prophets and many other local bands over the years—died of a heart attack last Wednesday afternoon. He was 42. Below, we have collected three remembrances from friends and bandmates of Brown. These entries have been edited by Grayson Currin and Peter Blackstock with permission. Howie originally posted his text in a different form on his Facebook account.] Photo courtesy of Yep Roc RecordsAt center, John Howie Jr; at right, Matt Brown By John Howie Jr. As I was putting my son to bed...

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Phonte Coleman & Eric Tullis present five songs to get you dumped for Valentine's

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Over the years, we’ve relied on The Foreign Exchange’s lead singer and one-half of Little Brother, Phonte Coleman, to offer helpful anecdotes on the casualties and celebrations of love and relationships. So, who better to provide us with five songs that would surely get us dumped on Valentine’s Day than Coleman himself? After the jump, he provides the tracks, and I provide the commentary. Disclaimer, though: Neither of us accept responsibility for any of your V-Day disasters. And, if you need a quick fix, The Foreign Exchange plays tonight at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro....

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Monday, August 10, 2009

The satellites are spinning: Sun Ra spectacular in Durham

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 8:23 AM

I'm not going to devote too many words to Saturday's Sun Ra spectacular in Durham, only because the whole event defied language. It was one of the moments that made me feel proud to live in Durham. About 50-60 Egyptian pharaohs, space aliens, interplanetary travelers and their kin paraded from Durham Central Park through downtown to the Durham Arts Council, where all sorts of otherworldly sights and sounds threatened to levitate the building. The music, which included bowed saw, theremin, pedal steel guitar, saxophones, oboes and other instruments, was a first-class skronkathon, aided by a psychedelic light show behind the...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tonight: My Teenhood among the Dan

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 5:58 PM

Steely Dan was my kudzu band, growing with me as I grew up in the ’70s and always seeming to find ways to wrap itself around parts of my life. Of course, growing up in a small town in upstate New York— a suburb of a suburb of Binghamton, with a population of about 500 and exactly zero stoplights—I had no idea what kudzu was. But I’m sure Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Donald Fagen knew. Those guys knew everything. This was a case of opposites attracting: Becker and Fagen were edgy, worldly, wise geniuses, and I was a...

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Twitter Activity


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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