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Monday, March 31, 2014

Merge Records to release new Flesh Wounds EP in May

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Chapel Hill garage-rock trio Flesh Wounds recently teased their forthcoming debut LP by posting three new songs online. In May, just ahead of the album’s release, the band will issue another set of tracks, this time pressed onto wax by indie powerhouse Merge Records.  This isn’t the first time Merge has picked up a scrappy local band for a single in recent memory; they released the debut EP from Raleigh’s Barren Girls a year ago. Unlike the then brand-new Barren Girls, though, Flesh Wounds have prior releases to their name. Their Abrasions, Abcesses, and Amputations cassette, from 2012, introduced the trio’s raw and rowdy garage-punk to local...

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Friday, March 28, 2014

A Little of the Old Anger: Notes on Sam Herring's Dancing

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM

"He's like a combination of Greg Graffin from Bad Religion, Dave Matthews—and Meatloaf," my friend Lawrence and I decided over beers at Neptune's on Tuesday. We were listening to Future Islands "Singles" and talking about Sam Herring, the North Carolina frontman who has exploded after a following a phenomenal dancing performance on David Letterman earlier this month. The next night, I made my younger brother watch Herring's Letterman performance. "This is weird," my brother said. After the band finishes "Seasons" Dave comes up to them bursting with enthusiasm, "Look at that! I'll take all of that you got! That was incredible!" Strange to watch...

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Live: Ryan Gustafson and Thomas Costello play in Mipso's barn

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Ryan Gustafson, Thomas Costello In a Carrboro Barn Thursday, March 20, 2014 The idea of two folk soloists performing within a tiny barn in Carrboro—a barn owned by members of the neo-roots trio Mipso, nonetheless—was irresistible. You just had to make sure not to miss the narrow winding driveway leading up to the place. The beer was free, so there wasn’t much to complain about, except something that wafted sulfurous fumes strong enough to dominate the ashy notes emanating from a substantial bonfire near the barn stage. No one seemed mind that too much, though. Thomas Costello, who performs beguiling...

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Abigail Washburn talks collaborations with her husband Béla Fleck, plays UNC tonight

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck have thriving musical careers that have spanned the globe, from the hills of the Sichuan Provence in China to the flood plains of The Gambia. And now they have Juno, their baby boy born last year.  As one-half of the adventurous ensemble The Sparrow Quartet, Fleck and Washburn reimagined chamber music with a folk personality. Individually, they’ve taken on old-time, Chinese traditional music, bluegrass, indie, jazz and avant-folk. Now as a duo, they present what may be their most pure, careful balance of their strengths yet through a set of traditional and original tunes. They offered a soft...

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

First bands announced for Merge 25, tickets on sale Friday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Nobody throws a birthday party like Merge Records throws a birthday party—for itself. The Durham-based independent imprint that has grabbed top spots on the charts and pulled down unlikely Grammy wins outdid itself when it turned 20 in 2009. Merge XX took over the Cat's Cradle for most of a week, running through an impressive lineup—Lambchop, Spoon, Conor Oberst, Magnetic Fields, Superchunk, etc.—in a succession of shows where the bills were all unannounced. It was a Russian Roulette of great music. This year, Merge hits the quarter-century mark. And while it's already announced other commemorations—a 25K on Saturday going...

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Durham-Chapel Hill-Hillsborough Old-Time Jam finds a new home in Carrboro

Posted By on Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Starting tomorrow, old-timers can head to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro for the Durham-Chapel Hill-Hillsborough Old-Time Jam. The need for a new space for the twice-monthly jam came after The Depot in Hillsborough closed this December.  “Sadly, something did not work out, and they decided to shut the doors altogether,” says organizer Mike Sollins. “I posted the news that first and third Tuesdays would no longer be at the Depot on the Old Time listserv, and Art Menius volunteered The ArtsCenter. A few emails back and forth, and we were all set for meeting there except when they have shows booked.”...

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Bradley, a Raleigh band since 1968, plays Kings Saturday night

Posted By on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 5:51 PM

The description of Saturday’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser on the website of Raleigh rock club Kings sells the night’s music by way of oddity, portraying Bradley as a band “who played ’60s music during the actual ’60s.” This is most certainly true of the longstanding, on-again-off-again roots-rock outfit that formed in Raleigh in 1968. But the members have no interest in simply stirring nostalgia or winning points for longevity. “We were serious about being musicians,” offers guitarist Tommy Goldsmith. “We’ve all gotten a lot better since then, but we’re all friends. We’re all still alive. And we’re all still in Raleigh. We just started playing...

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

After a bout of online bullying, a Durham woman walks away with a new Moog synthesizer

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 3:58 PM

After taking 2013 off, Moogfest is back and clammering to be at the top of your social media news feed. Their big idea to make that happen? The Moogfest Amplification Society, which, during February, turned would-be fans into marketing minions who posted, tweeted, shared and instagrammed for a chance to be atop the contest’s leader board for festival tickets or a Moog Sub Phatty, the company’s high-end analog synthesizer. Durham’s Sarah Eldred ended the contest with 335,115 points, a score that nearly doubled that of the second-place finisher. “I do social media for my job at a non-profit, so I...

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The 2014 IASPM-US Annual Conference comes to Chapel Hill this weekend

Posted By on Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 2:23 PM

The domestic branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, or IASPM-US, will host its annual conference on the UNC campus today through Sunday. The organization will offer lectures and discussions on topics ranging from the parallels between surfing and music to the research and documentation of various local music scenes. Southern Culture on the Skids will also perform Friday night at Playmaker’s Theatre, in conjunction with their career-retrospective at Wilson Library. The professional organization promotes and provides a forum for academic approaches to popular music and culture, including research into the ways popular music affects “personal and collective identity,...

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Videos: Wayne Hancock gets to the country at The Pour House

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Wayne Hancock's publicity generally relies on his position as a revivalist of classic country music. But he is actually a preservationist of many forms of music—western swing, rockabilly and, yes, classic crooning country. Playing at a packed Pour House, Hanocock convinced many of the willing to dance from the first note he played. Over the years, Hancock has traveled with a string of ace lead guitar players, from Eddie Biebel who was at his side during gigs at Hideaway BBQ and the Berkeley Cafe to the baby-faced Zach Sweeney, who accompanied him at The Pour House. Sweeney is a picker...

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Mipso covers Drake, refuses to admit doing so was fun

Posted By on Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 12:17 PM

If you’ve ever listened to the young Chapel Hill kind-of-like bluegrass band Mipso  you know that there’s more going on there than mere picking and strumming. Their pleasant debut LP, last year’s Dark Holler Pop, pointed to the group’s melodic inclinations in its title and confirmed them during most of its breezy, affable music. They’ve now taken the next logical step and covered a radio smash, Drake’s c’mon-girl hit “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” in a video presented (and sponsored by?) by their apparent landlords, Chapel Hill’s Mills Rentals. But the logical step isn’t always the best one, is it? The Drake original...

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Indigo Girls, Des Ark, Del McCoury, and dozens other to play Shakori Hills April 17-20

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 4:12 PM

The original DMB: The Del McCoury Band plays Shakori Hills this April For such a massive festival, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival—the four-day weekend of music and mud on a 72-acre site just north of Pittsboro—doesn't worry with big announcements. On Sunday, the festival created and posted its official Facebook event. The lineup, too, just went live, and features what's come to be expected from this fest in its 11th year: lots of roots and Americana, a sampling of worthy locals, a handful of noteworthy or even legendary "they got who?" acts, and enough unknown quantities to reward a little...

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Live review: Future Islands at the Haw River Ballroom

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 3:24 PM

At the end of last night's sold-out Future Islands show at Saxapahaw's Haw River Ballroom, vocalist Samuel Herring asked to have the house lights turned up—not a lot, just a little—to "strip the artifice for this last one." Then the band played "Little Dreamer," an old and tender song, written, as Herring pointed out, in Backdoor Skate Shop in Greenville, N.C., where the band formed. In his typically melodramatic way, Herring clutched his head and appeared to be either on the verge of tears or deep in desolate contemplation as he sang. There wasn't much to dance to in this last moment of a four-song...

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John Darnielle set to release his first novel

Posted By on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle is known as a storyteller in song. But this October, he moves to printed fiction when Farrar, Straus and Giroux publishes his debut novel, Wolf in White Van. The story follows Sean Phillips, a man isolated from society since an injury at 17 left him disfigured. Broader plot points are scarce, but there are hints of shifts between real and imagined worlds and the sort of weird, dark, adventurous beauty we’ve come to expect from Darnielle. “John Darnielle’s novel moves through the mind like a dark-windowed car through a sleepy neighborhood, quiet, mysterious, menacing, taking you places you will never,...

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Live review: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Purling Hiss

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro Monday, March 3 At the end of the first song of Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks’ show at Cat’s Cradle on Monday night, a technician came onstage to aid the former Pavement frontman while the other Jicks began strumming an impromptu version of Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” It turned out that the wiring of Malkmus’ guitar was shocking him, traveling through his limbs and torso to leave his lips tingling with the current. But it was Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss that truly seemed electrified. When Purling Hiss took the stage, the venue was a gawping hole occupied...

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Free Thursday concert in Krzyzewskiville to feature Chance the Rapper, more

Posted By on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 12:41 PM

The “Tentagon” is the name of the towering green tent that sits on the edge of Cameron Indoor Stadium’s lawn, or Krzyzewskiville, where the Cameron Crazies have been camping out since January in tents. They're vying for wristbands that guarantee their entry to Saturday night’s No. 4 Blue Devils’ rematch against the No. 14 Tar Heels. There’s that one, and then there’s the solar powered tent. But Krzyzewskiville's main attractions will become part of the background on Thursday, when 2013’s hip-hop magazine coverboy, Chance the Rapper, headlines Duke’s K-Ville Concert. The South Side Chicago emcee rang bells last year with the release of...

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Video: Future Islands do Letterman

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Last night, Baltimore's Future Islands played The Late Show with David Letterman. The dramatic synth-pop trio is still claimed for the Triangle by many local musicians and fans, largely due to their origins in nearby Greenville, but also because of their continued personal and professional connections to North Carolina. While they have not called the state home in years, they remain a North Carolina success story and a staple in the local music press. And Wednesday, right on the heels of their network TV debut, they'll play a sold-out Haw River Ballroom date. Last night was surely exciting for the...

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Tonight: Flesh Wounds with Mayday! at All Day Records

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 4:24 PM

At the end of February, the Chapel Hill garage rock trio Flesh Wounds quietly released three new songs online. A brisk, hooky, in-the-red run, the songs nod to surf-rock icons The Trashmen through a barrage of Guitar Wolf scuzz. Strong in structure and sound, they realize the promise of 2012’s raw cassette release Abrasions, Abcesses, and Amputations. So it should be little surprise that this quietly released bundle is no mere stopgap EP. Instead, these are preview tracks from a forthcoming full-length due sometime this summer. And according to singer/guitarist Montgomery Morris, they aren’t even the best of the batch. Tonight, Flesh Wounds play an early...

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Megafaun's Joe Westerlund issues his freewheeling debut as Grandma Sparrow May 20

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Grandma Sparrow, the long-gestating solo project of Megafaun drummer Joe Westerlund, will finally debut May 20, when Matthew E. White’s Spacebomb Records releases Grandma Sparrow & His Piddletractor Orchestra.  Westerlund is a steady drummer not only for Megafaun but also for Califone and Mount Moriah, but he’s long had other musical ventures. He studied composition and improvisation at Bennington College in Vermont and brought that academic background to Megafaun’s high-minded collaborations with Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, minimalist master Arnold Dreyblatt and the band’s own shape-shifting mélange of traditional folk, classic rock and experimental music. He brings that same training—albeit in surprising...

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Have to say Im onboard with this take on The Beatles influence and joy in my life... not at all …

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