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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Jason Isbell Discusses Reckoning with White Southern Masculinity on His Excellent New LP, The Nashville Sound

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 4:25 PM

Jason Isbell’s The Nashville Sound is the summer soundtrack for those of us who fled small towns because of the sexism or the racism or the lack of opportunities, only to see all of those things amplified with the election of Donald Trump, rendering our hometowns almost hostile to our very existence. “I used to think that this was my town/What a stupid thing to think” Isbell sings on "Hope the High Road," the first single off the album. “Hear you’re fighting off a breakdown/I myself am on the brink.” It is a white man’s record about the problems inherent...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Durham's Beats n Bars Festival Needs Your Help to Keep Growing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 2:29 PM

This fall, the Durham-grown Beats n Bars festival wants to be more than just a hip-hop festival: it wants to celebrate the many connected communities around hip-hop, from musicians to DJs, dancers, promoters, and more. After last September's festival, Beats n Bars has merged with the DURM Hip-Hop Summit for one cohesive showcase of the Bull City's hip-hop up-and-comers. And now, Beats n Bars is trying to raise an additional $25,000 to beef up its programming. It's got a Kickstarter campaign and a few events this month to make that happen. There are two more pop-up parties this month to...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Concert Review: Decades After New Wave, Joe Jackson Keeps Looking Forward

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Joe Jackson Carolina Theatre, Durham June 5, 2017 Since most of Joe Jackson’s compatriots in the British new wave have long since hit the Stop button—either that or they tour in perpetual Rewind—it’s a notable act of chutzpah that he named his latest album and current tour Fast Forward. Then again, the Staffordshire singer’s career trajectory never followed a predictable path. After first emerging among fellow angry young men of the late seventies like Graham Parker and Elvis Costello, in subsequent years Jackson rifled through a series of genres from Beat Crazy’s reggae and ska to the jump blues and...

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Watch Sylvan Esso Throw the First Pitches at a Durham Bulls Game

Posted By and on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 8:04 PM

Durham has a few claims to fame: its long history with tobacco, its contributions to the blues, and, in more recent years, its minor-league Bulls baseball team (thanks, Kevin Costner). Tonight, a pair of more recent well-known Durham residents got up with the Durham Bulls for a little bit of fun. The Bulls host regular local theme nights, where other local institutions join up with the Bulls On Sunday, it was Merge Records' turn, but tonight's game featured Durham-centric clothing brand Runaway Clothes for the second year. The company designed special hats and jerseys, and collaborated with the Bulls'...

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Video: Mipso Celebrates a New LP at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 10:57 AM

Mipso North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh Saturday, May 6, 2017 Fresh off a successful showing at the thirtieth edition of Merlefest in Wilkesboro at the end of April, Mipso brought its new album, Coming Down the Mountain, back to the Triangle to celebrate its release. Despite the threat of heavy rain during the performance, crowds flooded the grassy amphitheater grounds with blankets and picnic baskets. Instead of hosting the CD release as a multiple night affair at Cat's Cradle, the group held court at the North Carolina Museum of Art. That move seemed to hit the mark, as there...

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Moogfest, Night Three: Crossing the Finish Line with Octo Octa, Pharmakon, and Flying Lotus

Posted By on Sun, May 21, 2017 at 7:54 PM

Moogfest Downtown Durham Saturday, May 20, 2017 Festivals are a marathon, not a sprint. This year marks my fifth Moogfest, and experience has shown that the third day is usually when my music festival morale starts to crumble. My left foot will suddenly develop strange blisters. Cheap beer and food truck dining, great for the last forty-eight hours, begin to swirl together into a queasy glop in my stomach. My phone stays at 1 percent, always barely clinging on. I begin to question whether I even like live music that much. I was feeling exceptionally groggy Saturday morning after two...

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Moogfest, Day Two: Exploring Ambient Beauty, the Depths of Dark Noise, and a Children's Book

Posted By on Sat, May 20, 2017 at 12:04 PM

Moogfest, Day Two Downtown Durham Friday, May 19, 2017 As someone who has helped start fake celebrity sighting rumors at music festivals, Hannibal Buress is ruining our gag. Everywhere I went Friday at Moogfest, someone had a story about seeing him. They spotted him in an elevator, or walking down the street. Pictures of him tinkering with synths showed up on Twitter. At one point, I got a text from a friend saying Buress was about to moderate an Animal Collective interview, a stunt I can only imagine was willed into existence by his Eric Andre Show bit about Animal...

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Watch: G Yamazawa Celebrates North Carolina and His Home State with "North Cack"

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 1:47 PM

Earlier this month, North Carolina Hip hop got a big bump from Durham native George Yamazawa, in the form of his excellent new song “North Cack.” Many know George, or just “G," for his nationally recognized poetry and youth workshops that he has been curating for over the past decade. Yamazawa shows his range from poetry to hip-hop with this anthem with the help of Durham hip-hop heavy hitter J. Gunn and fellow artist and educator Kane Smego. Yamazawa makes it a point in the song to demonstrate that, in and everything that he does, that he's nothing without...

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Moogfest, Night One: Virtual vs. Actual Realities

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Moogfest Downtown Durham Thursday, May 18, 2017 A mélange of ambient sounds is flowing from a hut made of corrugated plastic, blending with the noise of nearby construction in a downtown Durham in flux. In the geodesic dome-like space, an ensemble is seated around a circular table, making sounds with such devices as a microphone running through a series of effects pedals, a rattle, and an austere-looking electronic mixer. The event, titled “Democracy’s Exquisite Corpse,” is my entree to Moogfest, and it’s a fitting introduction to the festival. “Democracy’s Exquisite Corpse” sought an alternative to now-common scenarios of artists producing music in isolation...

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Moogfest, Night One: Gotye's Not Just Somebody That We Used to Know

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 1:22 PM

Moogfest: Gotye Presents a Tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey Downtown Durham Thursday, May 18, 2017 Shortly after his hit song “Somebody That I Used to Know” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011, it seemed, by all accounts, that Gotye had vanished back into the foothills of Australia whence he came. As it turns out, he’s spent the last five years tinkering with Ondiolines, rare French electronic instruments pioneered by alternative pop visionary Jean-Jacques Perrey. On Thursday afternoon, Wally De Backer (aka Gotye), along with members of his Ondioline Orchestra, gathered on stage for the second time to...

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Friday, May 12, 2017

PWR BTTM Dropped from Hopscotch Lineup Amid Sexual Assault Accusations

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 2:41 PM

On Tuesday, the Hopscotch Music Festival announced the lineup for its eighth annual festival in Raleigh to deserved fanfare. Headliners include Solange, Future Islands, Angel Olsen, and Big Boi atop a respectable slate of locals and touring acts. But this afternoon, the festival announced that it had removed PWR BTTM, a quickly ascending queer rock outfit that's enjoyed waves of positive press recently, from its lineup. The action comes a day after sexual assault accusations against Ben Hopkins, who is half of the band, were made public on social media. Since then, two touring members of PWR BTTM have left...

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Video Premiere: Watch Organos Get Catty with the New Video for "Please Hold"

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 2:11 PM

A few weeks ago, we brought you news of new music from Organos and Faults, issued digitally and in the form of a limited seven-inch record. Today, Organos has followed that up with a video for "Please Hold." The video was conceived and directed by Chapel Hill artist Jerstin Crosby, and it's a colorful, psychedelic presentation of anthropomorphic cats. Watch as they smoke cigarettes and work out on a ThighMaster—cats, they're just like us...? Sure, it's a little unsettling, but the video is still plenty of fun. You can watch the video below, and you can buy the split...

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Solange, Future Islands, Big Boi, Run the Jewels Headline Hopscotch 2017

Posted By on Tue, May 9, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Raleigh's Hopscotch Music Festival just announced the lineup for this year. And, y'all: It looks good. Solange is this year's biggest name, an exciting and major get for Hopscotch. Future Islands, who've come a long way since packing the Berkeley Café at the first Hopscotch, sit in the second headlining slot, alongside Run the Jewels and Angel Olsen. Big Boi, who was supposed to perform at Hopscotch in 2013 but had to cancel, is up there, too. As in years past, the lineup boasts a broad array of styles, running the gamut from rowdy rock (Protomartyr, Richard Lloyd, Mary Timony...

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree

Posted By on Sat, Apr 29, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Art of Cool Festival Friday, April 28, 2017 Various venues, Downtown Durham Music festivals bring up a lot of feelings. There’s delight, excitement, curiosity, and most of all, exhaustion. Rarely, though, does an experience at a music festival inspire the kind of visceral frustration I felt bubbling up inside me Friday night. But let’s start with the good: judging by the crowds, Art of Cool was off to a good start for its fourth year. Early in the evening, Christian Scott offered a mesmerizing set at the Carolina Theatre. The sound of the trumpeter’s distinct, golden horn gleamed over his...

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Saturdays in Saxapahaw Announces New Lineup and Launch Crowdfunding Campaign

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 11:16 AM

The Saturdays in Saxapahaw Music Series, which has been serving up the best of homegrown musical acts for more than a decade, just announced its 2017 lineup. Not surprisingly, it’s a solid slate of some of the finest talent in the area, with a concentration on roots, Americana, and traditional sounds. What’s new is that this year the announcement comes with a new crowdfunding campaign designed to shore up the growing series. The series has always been free of charge, and it will remain so, but for the second year, audience donations aren't enough to meet the myriad expenses...

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Review: Big Star's Third Takes Over the Big Screen in Durham

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Thank You, Friends: Big Star’s Third Live Carolina Theatre, Durham Friday, April 21, 2017 To the uninitiated, a film about a Big Star tribute concert that happened a year ago in Glendale, California, might seem a rock history footnote. And if the relatively paltry turnout at its North Carolina premiere last Friday is any indication, most of us around here are uninitiated. But to those of us who know, Big Star’s centrality to the seventies and eighties indie rock canon justifies just about everything Big Star. Not only every tribute show but every remaster, reissue, bonus track, live recording, torn...

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Shirlette Ammons, Phil Cook, and Tamisha Waden Team Up for a New Single

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:41 AM

Three mighty local talents have come together on a wonderful new track, "Skin and Bone," released yesterday. It's a collaboration that's felt like a long time coming, featuring Durham's Shirlette Ammons, Tamisha Waden, and Phil Cook. If you need a mid-week boost, "Skin and Bone" will get you there. The song features Ammons coolly rapping over a sunny, soulful groove, with Waden and Cook coming in to sing the chorus. It's an uplifting and encouraging number that feels like a balm. You can stream the song below, and it's also available as a name-your-price download. Proceeds from sales of the...

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Listen: Boulevards' "Wear and Tear," a Funky If One-Sided Duet

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 2:05 PM

We learned from Laura Reed’s 2014 debut LP, The Awakening, that the Triangle-based singer-songwriter could nail anything within the soul, pop, and R&B range. However, no one could have anticipated that she’d give a throwback genre like eighties disco funk a go, which is what we have on “Wear and Tear,” the new single from Raleigh’s chief party funkster, Boulevards, which features Reed on supporting vocals. For Boulevards and the jam’s producer, Rollergirl, the track’s vintage feel falls right in line with some of their previous work together, such as “Move and Shout” from last year’s Groove! LP. And while their...

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Flock of Dimes, Caleb Caudle, Loamlands, and More Coming to Duke Performances' Music in the Gardens Series

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 9:46 AM

Gardens are places where roots thrive, and the Duke Performances Music in the Gardens series has in recent years emphasized musical acts with N.C. roots and rootsy influences. The upcoming iteration of the series, which runs Wednesday evenings at seven p.m. from June through July at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, stays true to the roots emphasis, although not entirely. The biggest veer from tradition is series opener Flock of Dimes, the solo project of Jenn Wasner, formerly of Wye Oak, whose layered, mostly keyboard-driven songs, lustrous voice, and full-band backing should make for an intoxicating beginning. From there, the...

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Song Premiere: Listen to New Tunes from Organos and Faults on a Forthcoming PotLuck Split

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 8:56 AM

After a hibernation of nearly five years, Durham's Organos is, at last, back with a new song, a quick little number that you can listen to right here. It's side the A-side of a forthcoming split with Faults, the the current project of Gross Ghost's Mike Dillon, who relocated to New York from Durham last year. Organos' "Please Hold," is a sharp, biting tune about a friendship falling apart, and it's the band's most polished track by far. Faults, meanwhile, offers low-key bummer lyrics behind fuzzy guitars and an upbeat rhythm. The songs share a rough-around-the-edges charm, and they make...

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Listen to "Continuo," a Cool New Cut from The Hot at Nights

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 9:03 AM

We may be finally out of the woods of winter, but Raleigh trio The Hot at Nights has a snowy new video for its latest single, "Continuo." It's the second cut the band has shared from Three Kids, the band's new LP that's due out on May 12. The band's most recent release, last year's wonderful Cool It EP, was a five-track clutch of instrumental reinterpretations of songs by other North Carolina artists, from Sylvan Esso's "Uncatena" to Hammer No More the Fingers' "O.R.G.Y." But Three Kids finds the generally jazz- and rock-inclined Hot at Nights taking a sharp turn into...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Meadowmont Music Series Reverses Course on Cancellation After Local Outcry Against Censorship

Posted By on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 11:44 AM

The Holland Brothers are “a good-time, beer-drinking act,” specializing in a mix of old country and blues styles, says Mark Holland. So the trio, consisting of Mark, his brother Mike, and bassist Billie Feather, were a natural fit for the Meadowmont Music Series, a small Chapel Hill event now in its second year. But after being hired to play, the band suddenly found itself disinvited due to the content of a single song, one that is not in the trio's collective repertoire and which they were not even planning on playing. Ultimately, after being besieged by emails charging censorship, Meadowmont reversed...

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Moogfest News: Michael Stipe and His Multimedia Installation Have Joined Moogfest, New Music Included

Posted By on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 at 1:07 PM

If you need further inducement to attend the upcoming Moogfest, which returns to Durham in May for a second iteration, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe will be there, and he’ll be premiering a multimedia installation— an “exploration of desire and movement”—that will feature a never-before-heard instrumental score along with footage the singer shot in New York City. This isn't the first time Stipe has released music in the post-R.E.M. era—he collaborated with producer/songwriter Andy LeMaster on the instrumental soundtrack to The Cold Lands—but for this project he's made good use of Moog’s invention, and he's done it on his own. Stipe...

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A New Free Block Party Set to Debut on Hillsborough Street in April

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 2:10 PM

To kick off spring in the Triangle, Hillsborough Street will be humming with a newly announced festival set for Saturday, April 8. Taking place on the 2200 and 2300 blocks of Hillsborough Street, the Live & Local Spring Fest will feature a bevy of family-friendly entertainment, including a musical stage that will feature a day’s worth of entertainment ranging from the classic country of headliners Chatham County Line to hip-hop from The Beast, among a diverse roster of local talent. Raleigh Brewing Company will oversee the event’s Beer Zone. The Artist Village will bring together a wealth of talented area...

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Moogfest Announces Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, and More in Its First Nighttime Programming Lineup

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 11:31 AM

After many weeks of slow reveals of its programming via a weekly email newsletter, Moogfest just dropped its first major announcement of the nighttime programming for year's festival. Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, and composer Suzanne Ciani are among the big headliners this year, joining the earlier music announcement that included Moor Mother, SURVIVE, and Nona Hendryx. Like last year, there are a few names that you might not associate with electronic music—experimental guitarist Marisa Anderson and harpist Mary Lattimore stick out in that regard. Locals ZenSoFly and Professor Toon have jumped the bill, too. And hey, remember Gotye? He'll be...

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