2008 Troika schedule | Music Feature | Indy Week
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2008 Troika schedule 

Read also: "Troika Music Festival turns to local stars and organization"

This year's Troika Music Festival splits 64 mostly local bands over three days and 10 Bull City stages. We've done our best to differentiate their sounds and, briefly, their stories; via asterisks, we've selected which shows we think will serve your time and money best. Speaking of funds, tickets for Troika 2008 are available at OffBeat Music and Chaz's Bull City Records or online at www.troikamusicfestival.org. They cost $20 and include a separate ticket for Friday's Carolina Theatre engagement. Individual tickets for that show may also be purchased for $15 at the Carolina's box office.

Denotes an Editor's Choice

Thursday, Nov. 6


Future Kings of Nowhere (8:30 p.m.) FKON's Shayne O'Neill pulls elements from a long line of songwriters: He gathers Blake Schwartzenbach's emotional clarity and metaphorical whims, Elvis Costello's hooks and sarcasm, John Darnielle's detailing eye, and Billy Bragg's knack for pulling universal truths from small experiences. All sung, it's what makes his busker-punk project one of the area's best. —BR

Lost in the Trees (7:45 p.m) Among strings, horns and the rock band backbone of Lost in the Trees, Ari Picker's grand symphonic pop ambitions flourish. Alternately precious and powerful, Lost in the Trees is consistently charming and imaginative. —GC

Paleface (7 p.m.) Though overshadowed by confederates Beck, Daniel Johnston and The Avett Brothers, if you've heard Paleface, you remember the new Ramseur Records signee's sandpaper-coated pipes, if not the anti-folk shambles beneath. —SG

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All Your Science (6:15 p.m.) This new Durham duo's dreamy sounds (imagine The Spinanes, just gauzier, and with the ability to go instrumental and interesting) come from one guitar, two voices and a drum kit that's portable by bike. Fitting, then, that All Your Science makes perfect sounds for a settled early evening outdoors.—GC

Angelo Spencer (5:30 p.m.) This French songwriter shares a child named Panda with fellow Troika performer Kimya Dawson. His one-man band calisthenics skitter between the solo musings of rambling acoustics and the spastic drums of arty indie. —KJ

Duke Coffeehouse (Crowell Building, Duke University's East Campus)

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Red Collar (11:15 p.m.) By injecting Springsteen-sized arena rock with punk menace and punk sneer with Springsteen-learned magnetism, Red Collar could save your soul with rock 'n' roll—at least for 45 minutes. —GC

Sorry About Dresden (10:15 p.m.) With Let It Rest a half-decade old, Sorry About Dresden's live schedule looks busy only when compared to its discography. Look for Matt Oberst to deliver cathartic post-emo yarns over a bed of agitated guitars and bashed drums in this rare appearance by Saddle Creek Records' Triangle satellite. —SG

Le Weekend (9:30 p.m.) The revived Le Weekend does mostly what you least expect, shifting between art rock ("Spread Your Mind" sounds at times like Tortoise) and vintage FM radio fare ("Spread Your Mind" also sounds maybe like Christopher Cross), cutting through a half-dozen ideas every two minutes or so. Consider us excited to see where this band heads. —GC

Sequoya (8:45 p.m.) This Durham two-piece leaves a big impression with rich vocals that weave in and out of slow acoustic arrangements. Listen for tunes from new record Sleep and Dream of Fire, out now on Subdivision 67. —EL

Pink Flag (8 p.m.) Named for Wire's debut album and its own three-female cast, Durham's Pink Flag twists its spry jangle with three-part harmonies and strengthens it with thick bass and concise punk drum fills. —GC

The Pinhook (117 W. Main St.)

DJ Alex Kotch (midnight) Saxophone and drum programming takes you to the late-night tip. —GC

Future Islands (11:15 p.m.) Vociferous rants fuel the quivering, melodic electro-spazz of these Wham City rave-ups. For more, see our Listening With ... Future Islands story. —SG

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Screaming Females (10:30 p.m.) You're forgiven for mistaking New Brunswick, N.J., trio Screaming Females for a local band, as its two dudes and one fronting female guitarist/ shredder/ singer/ songwriter/ hero-on-the-make seem to play a Triangle venue every other month. Instead, Screaming Females is one of the few extra-area bands Troika organizers invited to this year's festival, and it's a commendable decision: Screaming Females' brash agit-garage thrum feeds terrifically off of Marissa Paternoster's guitar menace. If current finger-tapping indie darling Marnie Stern is the ballerina of female guitarists, Paternoster is like one of those defensive linemen who took ballet classes just to become one of the best in the game. This band razes expectations and raises hairs and fists. —GC

Juan Huevos (9:45 p.m.) Juan Huevos' electro-fueled hip-hop floats brash come-ons and boasts over clipped samples and taut beats, balanced—to Huevos' benefit—with wit and self-awareness. —BR

Dylan Gilbert (9 p.m.) Smart arrangements buoy Gilbert's songwriting, but he'll rely on his acoustic to float this solo set. —SG

The Marvell Event Center (119 W. Main St.)

Midnight Gladness Band (10:45 p.m.) Communal rock that slops over its sides with good vibes and a slight Southern shamble. —AR

Doly Toro (10 p.m.) Unassuming indie-pop where the boy/girl vocals trade the latter's dainty bounce for the former's understated breeze. —SG

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Oso Optimo (9:15 p.m.) This alt-rock revivalist act is an outlet for the aggressive bite of this power trio of clean pop-rock vets; begrimed, chug-n-slug verses come laced with soaring choruses. —SG

Alivia's (900 W. Main St.)

Brett Harris (9 p.m.) A spiritual descendant of Brill Building popsmiths, Harris' classic hook-lined pop-rock sparkles with inner light, buoyed by his effortless tenor croon and a hopeful, upbeat vibe. —CP

Bob Funck (8:15 p.m.) An acoustic singer-songwriter with a busy right hand and fiery romantic longings. The usual, sure, but sanguine in its way. —GC

Matthew Boles (7:30 p.m.) Strum-and-drum acoustic stomp textured by a side of Southern snarl. —KJ

James Joyce (912 W. Main St.)

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Jew(s) and Catholic(s) (10:15 p.m.) Upright bass isn't the first instrument that comes to mind when thinking nervy, sometimes noisy post-punk. But this Winston-Salem duo plays guitar and upright to drum machines and keyboards, its tight, angular figures often opening into big, romantic vistas. —GC

Simple (9:30 p.m.) Simple's wavering ballads simmer with lightly distorted guitar and succulent melody, spiced to ache in mid-tempo homage to late '80s alt-rock acts, striking a sweet spot between the melancholy twee of Small Factory, Dinosaur Jr.'s overdriven folk, and the Pixies' wiry post-punk creep. This Carrboro trio encourages supple beauty and insistent longing to make out. —CP

Sugar in the Dirt (8:45 p.m.) This Durham quartet splits its sound between melodramatic ambient and slow-spun dream pop, constructing its high/low clash with gliding strings and swollen beats. —KJ

Fujiyama Roll (8 p.m.) Authentic J-rock (well, from Durham), augmented by splashes of J-pop ballads courtesy of frontwoman and quasi-diva B.J. —SG

Broad Street Cafe (1116 Broad St.)

Puritan Rodeo (11:30 p.m.) The band's ambling Americana traverses bluegrass, country, folk and gypsy waltz with admirable assurance and pluck. —CP

Fontana (10:45 p.m.) Plaintive steel guitar sighs and the dried-up tears of Neil Young guide this band's rustic roots pop. —SG

Shakermaker (10 p.m.) Shakermaker's cool-breeze pop rock stays fresh thanks to touches of bluegrass twang and AM Gold gleam, using restraint and harmony like capital. —BR

Friday, Nov. 7

Carolina Theatre (309 W. Morgan St.)

The Rosebuds (10:45 p.m.) Now four LPs into a career, The Rosebuds is more confident, more assured and just plain better than ever before. The still-fresh Life Like is an effective synthesis of everything the band's done to date—jangle, pop, disco, dance, rock, roll, smile and sulk. —BR

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Kimya Dawson (9:30 p.m.) The former Moldy Peaches member, recently popularized for what she's been doing a long time thanks to the movie Juno, indulges fans with naïf-ish charm and offbeat cynicism. It all comes neatly bottled on her latest, Alphabutt, a collection of melodies for the kindergarten set. Count on some show and tell. —KJ

The Old Ceremony (8:30 p.m.) Suave melodic savant Django Haskins and his finessed bandmates exude pop ambition, combining expected influences like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Leonard Cohen. The band twists both musical and lyrical clichés into bright little gems, as capable of rock blast as they are gliding seduction. —GC

Bellafea (7:30 p.m.) Back from an extended European tour, Chapel Hill trio Bellafea should arrive sporting its best well-rehearsed qualities: tight, springloaded and anxious. Heather McEntire's distorted chutes-and-ladders guitar playing rides with a rhythm section that's as smart as it is tough and her own words, which mostly fit the same description. You'll rarely hear a better pairing of grace and grit. —GC

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Girls Rock the Movie (5:45 p.m.) Presented by Troika and the highly successful and influential Girls Rock N.C., Girls Rock the Movie conveys the story and triumphs of the national network of emergent music schools for teenage girls. The national organization sprang from humble beginnings, too, so—in the Carolina tonight—it could serve as continued encouragement for Troika itself. —GC

Bull McCabe's (427 W. Main St.)

Ex-Monkeys (12:45 a.m.) Reconnecting two piece of '90s Triangle trip-hoppers, Friend Side Monkey, this glitch-and-bliss electronic duo recalls the slicing approach of Four Tet, but with a danceable pulse recalling more aggressive, beat-oriented IDM. —GC

The Wigg Report (11:55 p.m.) Equal parts Beat Happening, Violent Femmes and Agent Orange, the Bull City trio throws eager sax and male-female vocal interplay into its jittery acoustic punk. Scrappy and fine. —BR

Saturday, Nov. 8

Broad Street Cafe (1116 Broad St.)

Hammer No More The Fingers (12:15 a.m.) Youthful passion catapults Hammer No More the Fingers' familiar indie rock catch-and-crunch, giving the pinwheeling guitar lines the right angles and the headstrong hooks just the right force. If you've long wanted to feel the Triangle's indie rock heroes rattle you with glee again, this trio awaits. —GC

The Dry Heathens (11:30 p.m.) Hazy and stumbling around Paul Westerberg's back pages, The Dry Heathens frontman Darren Sink understands alcohol, earnest living and exactly how fucked up the world can be. His Bull City trio pounds out small town four-four guitar rock in the best of ways. —RI

The Scott Waite Debacle (10:45 p.m.) Guitar-bass-drums pop rock that's quirkier than those really early Built to Spill singles. —RI

Death to the Details (10 p.m.) This Durham trio blends post-punk churn with melodic finesse and harmonies for chewy, muscular shimmer. —CP

The Pinhook (117 W. Main St.)

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I Was Totally Destroying It (11 p.m.) In the year that's passed since IWTDI released its out-of-nowhere full-length gem, the band has grown its occasionally wiry, hook-laden power-pop into a full-bodied force of stadium-sized proportions. For more, see page 40. —BR

The Travesties (10:15 p.m.) Three-fifths of the mighty Jett Rink, The Travesties subdues its antics for some dynamics. Singer Viva Cohen is still a bad dude, but Doug White's organ may be even badder. —RI

The Pneurotics (9:30 p.m.) The shuffling roots-twang underlying this Chapel Hill threesome's meaty guitar and bass rumble is the secret ingredient in its addictive Southern-reared rock amble. Hearty and comfortable. —KJ

Resist Not (8:45 p.m.) These melodic shots delivered with acoustic instruments reveal broadsides of topical lyrics, shot through a sneering punk attitude. —AR

Duke Coffeehouse (Crowell Building, Duke University's East Campus)

Tooth (11:35 p.m.) Fitting and smart that five-headed Durham Goliath Tooth headlines this show of sludge metal, antifolk and spazz: From Willie Nelson to Dark Throne and Public Enemy to High on Fire, Tooth's musical intake seems bounded only by the unquantifiable criterion of badass. The band's music—shape-shifting, swelling, slinking and strident Southern metal howled out and whirled forward with two guitars—manifests the same ideal in output. —GC

Midtown Dickens (10:45 p.m.) A Midtown Dickens show is a front-porch parade, gallivanting from off-the-cuff humor to unexpected poignancy, both exuding the same best-friend intimicay. These days, expert more instruments, better playing and the same ragged charm. —BR

The Curtains of Night (10 p.m.) The monolithic riffage of the two-piece Curtains of Night offers a bigger and bolder bludgeon than most bands with twice the personnel. The duo's modal shifts turn blazing riffs into a monumental scorched earth campaign—an endlessly captivating, if deliberately paced, siege of burning amp-buzz and jagged rhythm. —BR

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Cantwell, Gomez, and Jordan (9:15 p.m.) No wave punk skronk trio channeling every weird moment of The Minutemen through some profoundly "what-the-hell" Beefheartism equals Durham's finest for real. —RI

The Gates of Beauty (8:35 p.m.) This Durham trio self described like so: "Three women ... three instruments ... three time signatures." Actually, two of those instruments are electric bass, but the point holds: With unorthodox everything, the fuzzy math of The Gates of Beauty will slap you with your own senses. —GC

Clawform (8 p.m.) This solo banjo black metal (yeah, we know, right?) project is sort of fantastic, full of blast beats and epic builds and escapes. —GC

James Joyce (912 W. Main St.)

Velvet (10:15 p.m.) Husband-and-wife pop dazzle from the relative wilds of Saxapahaw. Vocals will be swapped, new wave will be echoed, and you'll go home charmed sockless. —RC

*SONS (9:30 p.m.) After an extended hiatus, significant lineup changes and a few interpersonal triumphs, Scott Endres' *SONS—a cautiously blessed psychedelic guitar band—returns in tight trio form. Expect memorable lines suspended as a colloid, or like Spacemen 3 drifting by the Carolina shore. —GC

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The Heist and the Accomplice (8:45 p.m.) High-energy indie guitar rock for dancing with your eyes closed or skirting trouble with good friends. —AR

Sea Cow (8 p.m.) This Durham outfit plays New Pornographers-like, harmony-sweet hooks with warm, guitar-based orthodox Americana instrumentation. —KJ

The Sirens Lounge (1803 W. Markham Blvd.)

Schooner (11 p.m.) A greatest-hits description cobbled from various press raves: Guided By Voices do Pet Sounds fronted by Stephin Merritt. Insert "melodic" and "disheveled" in all possible combinations. Good to go. —RC

Nathan Oliver (10:15 p.m.) The caffeinated soul of Nathan Oliver sings from the intersection of wistful crooning and manic howls, coming together in a settled, melodic way. —BR

The Proclivities (9:15 p.m.) Head Proclivity Matthew Douglas seems to dream with his head high in the clouds, his arch songwriting often lifting him straight up, toward elusive redemption. Good thing his dexterous band, featuring Chris Boerner on guitar, keeps him grounded. —GC

Rat Jackson (8:30 p.m.) Booze and broads provide more than enough grist for the mill of Rat Jackson's tightly wound blues explosion. —BR

The Marvell Event Center (119 W. Main St.)

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A Rooster for the Masses (10:30 p.m.) Societal agitation that's never known life outside of Bush II: This Raleigh band recently returned with a triumphant, firebrand LP, just in time for the electoral afterglow or afterburn. For more, see page 40. —GC

Dr. Powerful (9:45 p.m.) Dr. Powerful has more in common with Polvo than just drummer Eddie Watkins. It approaches rock head-on, warping guitars as an accent, not a focal point. —BR

Veronique Diabolique (9 p.m.) French goth theatrics Veronique Diabolique raise a large red leather banner over its town's music scene: "Keep Durham Weird." —CT

The Virgo 9 (8:15 p.m.) Primal garage-punk trio, where raw vocals drive vicious grunge discharges. —SG

Alivia's (900 W. Main St.)

Spencer Scholes (9:30 p.m.) A newcomer Triangle songwriter. —GC

Tea & Tempests (8:45 p.m.) Hilary Ragin's thick voice and bare instrumentation combine for foot-tapping folk rock. —EL

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Clayton Sabine (8 p.m.) This Vermont songwriter sings like a more affected Will Oldham and writes like a young allegiant to John Prine and Elliott Smith. Literal and even-handed folk turmoil. —GC

CONTRIBUTORS: Rick Cornell (RC), Grayson Currin (GC), Spencer Griffith (SG), Kathy Justice (KJ), Elizabeth Lilly (EL), Chris Parker (CP), Bryan Reed (BR), Andrew Ritchey (AR), Chris Toenes (CT)


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