It's not wise to talk back to cops, and I'd been speeding, and we both knew it. Dude just couldn't resist, though. Having noticed the crimson ghost sticker leering from my back windshield, the highway patrolman whose name I purposely forgot gave me a sidelong glance when he asked, "Why do you like The Misfits?" I didn't like his tone.
"Why don't you?" I shot back.
So much for getting off with a warning.
But seriously, why wouldn't you like The Misfits? Glenn Danzig (born Glenn Anzalone) and bassist Jerry Only (born Jerry Caiafa) formed The Misfits in Lodi, N.J., in 1977, and the band quickly became one of the more enduring and iconoclastic bands to emerge from the American punk underground. With a succession of drummers and guitarists, The Misfits — mainly Danzig — conjured a sound that conjoined the pop melodicism of '60s teen idols with the buzzing punk of The Ramones or The Dead Boys, even an occasional shade of Suicide's droning minimalism. Matched with their obsession with B-movie schlock and striking visual presentation (greaser hairstyles remodeled into menacing "Devillocks" and plenty of skull-related decor), The Misfits were one of a kind. Three decades on, Danzig's deep croon is still one of punk rock's greatest voices, able to meet hardcore's gruff urgency with infectious, addictive melodies. Songs about murder, aliens, zombies and all other sorts of horror-flick ghouls stick in the ear like razor blades in candy apples.
Covering The Misfits is a rite of passage for most punk bands. Even the indie-rock icons in Superchunk have dipped into the band's potent well for choice live covers and a Record Store Day 7-inch. But for the elegant chamber-pop outfit Lost In The Trees, it's a surprise move, to say the least. After busting out a rendition of the ghastly sing-along "Skulls" in 2010, LITT frontman Ari Picker has now assembled a local supergroup dubbed Lost Skulls to fly the 'Fits flag at TRKfest on Saturday.
(Bonus: Lost Skulls landed a late headlining slot, so I won't have to drive too fast to see it!)
I caught up with Picker to find out what inspired him to pay tribute to The Misfits of all bands, and how Lost Skulls — which also features members of The Love Language, Some Army, The Toddlers and Gross Ghost — might bring the cult legends' most hellish hits to life.
Before his opening performance for M. Ward tomorrow at Duke University’s Page Auditorium, Sonic Youth guitarist and sometimes-singer Lee Ranaldo has a treat for the rest of Durham: He will perform solo material tonight at 6 p.m. at Bull City Records. The event is free.
Between the Times and the Tides—arguably Ranaldo’s first proper solo album, released earlier this year by Matador—still pushes pop-rock from the mainstream while keeping it extremely catchy. On Times, he employs eerie vibes to fetch sounds of The Yardbirds, Cream, Captain Beefheart and beyond, ball them up and present them to you now live. Assortments of muffed acoustics and snare-to-tom palpitations rumble the pop into experimental plains. Although enticing openings of tracks hint at Sonic Youth, by the time you reach the chorus, the essence of Ranaldo’s own work is apparent, showing little recognition of the bigger band. Check some songs out here, or read a dissenting opinion from Indy Music Editor Grayson Currin at Pitchfork.
Roscoe Holcomb and John Cohen—two names so entwined into the history of folk music that it's tough to overstate their importance. Hailing from Daisy, Ken., Holcomb was a coal miner who also sang with the accompaniment of banjo, harmonica and guitar, unleashing a piercing falsetto that is seen as a definitive example of the "the high lonesome sound" of Appalachia. John Cohen is a producer and filmmaker who has become famous for discovering many hidden gems of traditional American music, including Holcomb, who he introduced to the world in his 1963 documentary The High Lonesome Sound.
Tonight in Durham, attendees will have a chance to get closer to both legends. Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies will host a screening of Cohen's Roscoe Holcomb from Daisy, Kentucky. The film incorporates extra footage that Cohen had of Holcomb, who died in 1981. For those with even the most passing interest in folk music's foundations, this should prove an informative and entertaining treat.
The 7 p.m. screening will also feature pre- and post-screening refreshments. More info at cdsporch.org
It might not seem like it now, but The Pinhook was quite the risky endeavor when it opened its doors just in time for the 2009 Troika Music Festival. At the time, Durham's only other semi-consistent rock clubs were the student-booked Duke Coffeehouse, a multipurpose space on the university's campus, and Broad Street Café, a venue still trying to figure out its musical mix. The market for a Bull City indie rock venue was unclear. They could have been opening to more interest than their 150-capacity room could serve.
Three years later, The Pinhook is only an afternoon away from an anniversary blowout that will include national indie stars Javelin and Crystal Antlers. It will be a sweet occasion, made sweeter by the recent completion of their Kickstarter fundraiser to make key upgrades to the space, most importantly a new sound system. More than 270 backers (Note: Contributors include Independent employees, including Music Editor Grayson Currin) helped the venue best its $15,000 goal on the popular fund-raising website. Co-owner Kym Register calls the response humbling, a reminder of how important their little community arts space has become.
Carrie Martin was a mother of two, a tattoo artist and a lover of local heavy music. She worked at Raleigh’s No Shame Tattoo and “didn't have insurance,” says DIVEbar Raleigh booking agent Robby Rodwell. “So there's a lot of bills that need to be taken care of.” And, though she died in March, Raleigh’s heavy music scene shows that it has not forgotten one of its own.
Tonight’s memorial show at that bar may serve the essential function of allowing the late Martin’s friends a chance to honor and keep her memory. But there’s also a practical side. Both Caltrop and MAKE are donating their guarantees for the evening; the bar itself is giving 15% of the evening sales. The hat will be passed, too, all to benefit Martin’s two daughters.
Rodwell was a friend. He remembers seeing shows with Martin and her fiancé, David Askew. And he remembers how thrilled she was to see local metal. “Carrie, David and I had just gone to see the Ragnarok Fest,” Rodwell recalls, referring to an August weekend of heavy music at Carrboro’s recently closed Reservoir Bar. Caltrop and MAKE were among the dozen bands that played. “I remember her saying on the ride home that show was one she would never forget.” So when Askew saw the two acts were booked May 13, which would have been Martin’s 26th birthday, he approached them with the memorial show idea. They agreed without hesitation, says Rodwell.
The past six months haven’t been easy on the local heavy music community. The Reservoir, arguably driven out by climbing rents, can be replaced. But the losses of Martin, as well as Reservoir co-owner Wes Lowder in a November car crash, have left a lot of people reeling.
The show starts at 10pm. Anyone unable to attend who still wishes to help Martin’s children can make a donation at any branch BB&T to Nola & Bella Martin, care of Margaret Morgan Holland.
We’re losing a good one: Greensboro’s Andrew Weathers, an avant-garde composer whose evolution can be traced from his solo guitar-via-laptop work as Pacific Before Tiger to the more recent classical drone-folk of the ensemble that takes his name, is finishing at University of North Carolina-Greensboro and summarily moving to California. Good for him, but otherwise dammit.
So if he absolutely has to leave us, at least seeing him complete his degree in Music Composition should be a memorable sendoff. His senior recital happens at 9 p.m. tonight at Greensboro’s CFBG. He will be joined by, for this evening, what he’s calling Andrew Weathers Ensemble Auxiliary Orchestra. Review to come.
In response to escalating rent, the owners of the Reservoir have decided to look for another space. They have nothing lined up and will spend the summer finding a suitable location for the move, hoping to open back up later this year. Their absence will be sorely noticed, and not just by those hankering for a $1.50 tallboy on a Monday night. The Reservoir has come to mix things that aren't commonly combined by bars, not just in Chapel Hill or Carrboro, but throughout the Triangle.
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.
Concha Buika ravishes with her singing voice, but even in spoken conversation, the sweetly rasping flamenco singer provokes goosebumps, pouring out her ideas in poetic cadences. Her artististic principles are at one with her outlook on life: an open bisexual, a child of African immigrants, a one-time Tina Turner impersonater, an aspiring electronica programmer—nothing's a contradiction for the ever-evolving Buika.
In this interview, Buika reveals what "your mother" and Chucho Valdes have in common, and dishes how she got kicked out of Chavela Vargas' dressing room and danced with Antonio Banderas. The Indy spoke with her by phone back in September, before she embarked on a North American tour behind El Ultimo Trago (2009). She performs at N.C. State University's Stewart Theatre Tuesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m.
Independent Weekly: How would you prefer that I call you, Concha or Buika?
Buika: Well, my name in your mouth is yours. Both are my name.
You've lived your life outside of convention in many ways. How has that affected your expression as an artist?
I don't know how I do what I do. I can't explain it. I do what I do because I am what I am. I just close my eyes and I sing what I hear inside.
I'm very interested in this Latin scene that's going on in Madrid right now; your producer has worked with El Cigala and Bebo Valdes, and now you did this album with Chucho Valdes. How much is it a "scene," that is, a new remix of these elements of Africa, Afro-Cuba and Spain?
Well, I think all the world is united for the same thing: the arts. I think that arts are a unique religion that we have, because it's the only one that unites the world. The rest of the religions, they separate the people. Every time I find myself in front of another musician, or a painter, or a writer, or a photographer, I think that I'm in front of someone who is trying to do the same mission that I do. That's to reunite the world again. I think that we are living separate [because of] ideas that are from other people. And I think that our idea is to be together.
HOPSCOTCH MUSIC FESTIVAL BRINGS 120 BANDS TO DOWNTOWN RALEIGH SEPT. 9-11, 2010
Public Enemy, Panda Bear, Broken Social Scene to headline
The Independent Weekly proudly announces the Hopscotch Music Festival, the Triangle’s biggest music festival yet and a strong addition to the country’s festival circuit. Scheduled for Sept. 9-11, 2010, in downtown Raleigh, with 120 bands in 10 venues over three days, Hopscotch offers fans high-quality local, national and international options in just about every genre you can imagine—rock, hip-hop, alt-country, heavy metal, dance, punk, classical, noise, drone, folk and more. Tickets go on sale Thursday, April 1, at www.etix.com and www.hopscotchmusicfest.com.
The festival will be headlined by two nights in Raleigh City Plaza, downtown’s crown jewel, which opened last fall. Indie rock giants PANDA BEAR and BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE will headline Friday, Sept. 10, with support from Triangle favorites THE ROSEBUDS. Hip-hop’s most legendary group, PUBLIC ENEMY, will headline with a rare full-band set on Saturday, Sept. 11. Los Angeles trio NO AGE and Raleigh’s THE LOVE LANGUAGE will open. More than 110 bands will be spread between nine clubs throughout the festival’s three days. A sample of those bands includes: Washed Out, Tortoise, Lucero, 9th Wonder, Akron/Family, Marissa Nadler, Harvey Milk, Fucked Up, Javelin, Richard Buckner, Megafaun, Kylesa, Atlas Sound, Harlem and Bear in Heaven.