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Friday, May 30, 2014

From the road: Purple Velvet International Female Hip-Hop Tour Diary, Vol. 3

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

L-Beach and its reputation had long preceded itself. I Googled the festival from home when I found out Purple Velvet would be making a performance pit stop there. L stands for — wait for it — lesbian. The video footage from previous L-Beaches was like if Beverly Hills 90210, Michfest and, The L-Word had a ménage à trois—lots of white women with that signature lesbian hairdo, the one that includes jagged bangs and a forward toss in a random direction. My final verdict though, was, “Whatever. It’s on the Baltic Sea.” We made the 3-hour drive from Berlin to Ostee,...

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The Art of Cool launches donor program for 2015 festival

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:32 AM

After this year's inaugural Art of Cool Festival in downtown Durham, co-director Cicely Mitchell told us that the organization would most likely instate a donor program to help goad the festival along financially. Mitchell imagined that the program would mirror those of events such as the American Dance Festival and Full Frame, which tap donors for tax-deductible donations. This morning, through Network for Good, The Art of Cool has launched such a "sustainer program" with the somewhat ominous plea "Bring the Art of Cool Festival Back in 2015!"  The site allows those interested to set up one-time or monthly donations to the program in...

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Billy Sugarfix and Wendy Spitzer: Musical Carrboro couple moving to Prague

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:06 AM

On June 21, Billy Sugarfix—the stage name of veteran local musician Bill McCormick—plays his first and last show with his latest band at the Cat's Cradle Back Room. Less than a week later, he and girlfriend Wendy Spitzer—another local musician with a long history of fascinating projects—are moving to Prague. McCormick, who has been active in area bands since 1988, gives a bulleted list of reasons for the departure: Spitzer's family, his interest in European folklore and relic pagan traditions, the city's rich beer culture. We caught up with McCormick to talk about the move, the new band and...

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The Monroe Reels: Marshall Wyatt and Chatham County Line explore The Father of Bluegrass' Raleigh Ties

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Nearly a year ago, ahead of the arrival of the first edition of the IBMA World of Bluegrass extravaganza in Raleigh, I began searching for a direct, deep connection between the city and the storied genre of bluegrass. There are several, but one of the most neglected and notable, it seemed, involved the "Father of Bluegrass" himself, Bill Monroe. Bill and his brother, Charlie, lived in Raleigh for a few years while working on a radio program for WPTF. They recorded in Charlotte and played shows throughout the region. They split in Raleigh and went their separate ways, with Bill...

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Prypyat changes name to Beauty World, prepares new EP

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Once upon a time in Durham, there was Prypyat, the cello-and-guitar duo of Hammer No More the Fingers’ Duncan Webster and former Lost in the Trees member Leah Gibson. The pair only had one EP, 2013’s Floor to Sky. But now, there's Beauty World, the pair formerly known as Prypyat. Gibson and Webster have a new self-titled EP (that is, Beauty World) slated for release June 10. The songs amble along as Gibson’s cello lifts and smooths out Webster’s more punchy delivery, resulting in songs that sound like a significantly more mellow version of HNMTF. Beauty World plays a release...

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From the road: Purple Velvet International Female Hip-Hop Tour Diary, Vol. 2

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 11:15 AM

May 6: Swag Jam On Tuesday night, DJ Boogie Dan (one of sookee’s house DJs) takes us to a weekly open mic named “The Swag Jam” at this spot called Badehaus (German for “bath house”). This is our first venture into Berlin’s night scene, which seems to feature venues dense with dirty walls reminiscent of Raleigh’s The Brewery, but quite a bit more underground and artistically grunged. The house band after whom the weekly event is named, is comprised of a slew of US musicians who seem to make a complacent living on the weekly door deal and local celebrity-ism....

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From the road: Purple Velvet International Female Hip-Hop Tour Diary, Vol. 1

Posted By on Tue, May 27, 2014 at 10:16 AM

May 4: North Carolina to Neukölln sookee sent along a well-detailed itinerary. I rummage through it as one of many projects designed to outlive an 8 hour layover at EWR. Purple Velvet International Female Hip Hop Tour (featuring 17 stops in 30 days will be the first of its kind to descend upon Germany and surrounding countries. It features three female emcees reppin three different continents supported by local (predominately) female opening acts. sookee, our host, hails from Germany and has visited the U.S. twice to tour with me on what we’ve deemed Pretty Precious Cargo Tour (Vols. 1 &...

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Video: Mary Gauthier rewards the brave

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 6:22 PM

"Thank you for braving the frightening weather," Mary Gauthier told the crowd during a recent set at the Cat's Cradle Back Room. Before the show, tornado warnings had sounded throughout the Triangle. Still, umbrellas in hand, a surprising number of faithful braved the downpour and filed into the room's comfortable confines, grabbing a drink and a seat for the 90-minute performance. Gauthier started with "False From True," a cut from her upcoming Trouble and Love. The album is only the eighth from the 52-year-old singer-songwriter, who began her career at age 40. Gauthier played a tune co-written by Canadian singer-songwriter Fred Eaglesmith....

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Live: Even at 81, Willie Nelson's still got it

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss & Union Station Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary Monday, May 19, 2014 It’s no surprise that the venerable country icon and outlaw Willie Nelson delivered an outstanding set Monday night at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. His rowdy energy belied his 81-plus years of age and forced many of the graying audience members out of their chairs.  Alison Krauss and Union Station primed the crowd for Nelson with an hour-long set that saw the singer return to form nicely after being diagnosed last fall with the vocal condition dysphonia. Although she seemed to struggle occasionally to summon sufficient volume,...

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Live: Audience or not, North Elementary and Some Army put on one hell of a show

Posted By on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Erik Anderson They're in there somewhere: North Elementary North Elementary, Some Army Kings, Raleigh Friday, May 16, 2014 There weren't many people at King's in Raleigh Friday night for North Elementary's Honcho Poncho LP release show: the 20 or 30 people in attendance largely hugged the walls or hovered at the bar, while the headliner played an unlit stage in front of a projector screen. In local music—hell, in music at all—this happens: Sometimes people don't come out. It's been the source of uncounted "Where the hell was everyone?" Facebook posts or blog entries, and it can be a...

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Monday, May 19, 2014

NASA Space Universe descends on Raleigh tonight

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 2:28 PM

For all its familiar ingredients—manic vocals, bludgeoning riffs that punch through walls of feedback, a belligerent rhythm section that lunges in fits as much as it keeps a backbeat—the Santa Ana, Calif. foursome NASA Space Universe don’t sound much like a typical hardcore band. Their scuzz-splattered aesthetic feels as much in line with The Urinals or the infamous Chicago band The Mentally Ill, while frontman Kevin Rhea’s frantic barks often favor Bad Brains’ H.R. and the tense, abrupt transitions between riffs recall Die Kreuzen’s abstract arrangements. They’re not prone to slowed-down mosh parts, but they’ve got a knack for...

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Live: Grandma Sparrow takes flight over two shows at The Pinhook

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Grandma Sparrow The Pinhook, Durham Saturday, May 17–Sunday, May 18, 2014 Depending on the crowd you run with, the phrase “performance art" has a variety of associations, pretension and inaccessibility often being among them. But these descriptors don’t hold up for Grandma Sparrow, an oddball performance art-meets-music show that held court  this weekend at The Pinhook for one night and one afternoon set. Grandma Sparrow is the long-gestating brainchild and alter ego of Megafaun’s Joe Westerlund. This weekend’s shows, in addition to one on Friday in Richmond, Va., served as the album-release sweep for Grandma Sparrow & his Piddletractor...

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Friday, May 16, 2014

Biz Markie, Da Brat among the headliners at tomorrow's Bimbé Festival in Durham

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 1:39 PM

To the hip-hop faithful, Biz Markie is the legendary emcee behind “Nobody Beats The Biz” and someone who’s evolved into such a high-caliber DJ and music aficionado that Technics gifted him with the world’s only pair of 7” turntables. To others, Biz is just the sucker behind the karaoke favorite “Just a Friend” and the guy who tours with Yo Gabba Gabba. Those perceptions unite this weekend for Durham’s 45th Annual Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival,  where Biz Markie and fellow rap veterans Da Brat and Nice & Smooth lead the Bull City’s celebration of African-American culture.  The festival’s history reaches back toward...

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Corrosion of Conformity releases “The Nectar,” a first taste of their new album, IX

Posted By on Fri, May 16, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Corrosion of Conformity’s self-titled, kind-of-reunion album seemed eager to excite and upset Corrosion of Conformity’s schism-prone fanbase. There were punk rock blitzkrieg’s to light a spark for old-time fans and languid blues riffs to please those more partial to the band's big-label heyday. Indeed, COC used that 2012 album as an opportunity to funnel its disparate past guises into a new one. They could still play fast and loud, but now do it with more dexterity than their hardcore-era outbursts. They could still unfurl a deliberate hard-rock riff, but they did it without longtime frontman Pepper Keenan. Corrosion of Conformity continued to...

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Carolina Performing Arts announces stellar 2014–2015 schedule

Posted By on Thu, May 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM

World War I, a 10th birthday and the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC’s Wilson Library—what could these three have in common? A lot, it seems, as Carolina Performing Arts will celebrate all three with its 2014-2015 season, which it announced Thursday evening. The organization enters its 10th season this year; during the last decade, they've established a knack for attracting artists of international acclaim and themes of intrigue. This year’s schedule is no exception. The season begins with a pair of shows in conjunction with the larger Southern Folklife Festival, celebrating the department’s 25th year anniversary. The concerts pair The Rebirth...

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"New" Hiss Golden Messenger track hits the web, but not the new LP

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 3:18 PM

The past year has been a big one for Hiss Golden Messenger’s Mike Taylor: His 2013 LP, Haw, garnered international acclaim. And last month, Taylor announced that he’d signed with Merge Records and would be releasing a new full-length this summer. Earlier today, Uncut Magazine premiered “Brother, Do You Know the Road?," an “orphan” cut that didn’t make the record. It’s not exactly a new song. Those who have seen HGM live a few times know it well—live versions have included Phil and Brad Cook (who appear on the studio version), Mount Moriah’s Heather McEntire and Phil Moore and Beth Tacular of Bowerbirds. Like some...

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Video: IBMA expands its timeframe and presence in downtown Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Fall is still a summer away, but the International Bluegrass Music Association and Raleigh are already buzzing with preparations for the second year of IBMA's September downtown invasion. Don't expect it to stop soon: Yesterday, at a press conference, IBMA revealed that it would host its week of events in Raleigh through 2018, three years longer than the original deal dictated. Given how successful the festival was during its first year in Raleigh, the extension should be a continued boon to both the city and IBMA. According to Denny Edwards, the president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor’s Bureau,...

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Live: Hayes Carll shares songs for mothers, kind of

Posted By and on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Hayes Carll, Travis Linville Southland Ballroom, Raleigh Sunday, May 11, 2014 Playing an intimate Mother’s Day evening show at Southland Ballroom to a smattering of mothers, grandmothers, couples and just plain dudes, Hayes Carll acknowledged that he didn’t have many songs appropriate for the occasion. Early on, he offered “Grateful for Christmas,” one of a few that, as Carll said, happened to mention his mom but wasn’t necessarily about her. “Let me finish out the ‘mom genre,’ then we’ll get on to the songs about drugs and sex and weapons to really celebrate Mother’s Day,” he said, only half-joking. Still,...

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Live: People still care about Conor Oberst?

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Conor Oberst, Dawes Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw Thursday, May 8, 2014 Bright Eyes frontman and mid-’00s manic pixie dreamboy Conor Oberst began his spring tour Thursday night at Saxapahaw's Haw River Ballroom with folk-rock act Dawes serving as both his opening act and backing band. In December, the singer-songwriter became embroiled in controversy stemming from sexual assault allegations, even suing the alleged victim for defamation. The ordeal has a particularly stinging local angle: the assault allegedly happened after a Cat’s Cradle show in 2003, and the accuser still lives in Roxboro, N.C., about an hour northeast of Thursday's show. Though show adverts in Chapel...

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Live: Third Eye Blind: Out with the new, in with the old

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Third Eye Blind Lincoln Theatre (outside), Raleigh Saturday, May 10, 2013 Shortly into Third Eye Blind’s Saturday night set outside the Lincoln Theatre, frontman Stephan Jenkins explained that the band was only on the road for a few dates and, living by the 3EB ethos, weren’t afraid to show some imperfections. It was an odd comment—one of many from Jenkins during the set, actually—considering that the group’s previous album, Ursa Major, was notoriously delayed  released more than six years after its predecessor. Their fifth and supposedly final album seems to be suffering the same fate, too. But Third Eye Blind’s headlining...

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Live: Cher dons her headdress, teases the crowd in Raleigh

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Cher, Cyndi Lauper PNC Arena, Raleigh Wednesday, May 7, 2014 “They just want you to come out in ridiculous outfits and sing and be fabulous!” declared the 67-year-old actor-singer-diva-phenomenon Cher, speaking about her audience circa 2014. And in the course of a Vegas-worthy performance at the PNC Arena for her Dressed to Kill tour Wednesday night, she did just that. Folks, many of them white-haired, were still making their way to their seats when Cyndi Lauper kicked off the proceedings with “She Bop,” a huge hit from her monster 1983 debut, She’s So Unusual. While an ode to masturbation might...

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Live: Haim shares the crowd's enthusiasm in Carrboro

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM

Haim, Shy Girls Cat's Cradle, Carrboro Tuesday, May 6, 2014 The sisterhood of Haim comes with denim and top knots, but if you can find a miniskirt or a pair of cutoffs, you’re in the club. At a sold-out Cat’s Cradle on Tuesday night, there were plenty of both. There were middle-schoolers and a member of Superchunk, too. There were women, and there were men. All told, the congregation’s real unifying factor seemed to be a love of sweet riffs and earworms, delivered like sugar and sent back to the stage in shouts. Indeed, the crowd’s fervor was one of last night’s...

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Update: Pipe almost done with first new album in 17 years, plays Chapel Hill Friday

Posted By on Wed, May 7, 2014 at 10:52 AM

In the ‘90s, Pipe burned bright before it burned out. After releasing a sizable catalog (an EP, four singles and three LPs, plus assorted compilation cuts) and touring with the likes of Archers of Loaf and New Bomb Turks, injuries and road fatigue ended the band in 1999, after only seven years.  Then, after a 10-year quiet, Pipe’s original lineup—singer Ron Liberti, guitarist Mike Kenlan, drummer Chuck Garrison and bassist Dave Alworth—reunited in advance of Merge Records’ 20th anniversary festival. And they kept playing. “Everybody’s playing as well if not better than ever,” Liberti says. “People are in such different mindsets now than we...

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Avett Brothers announce New Year's Eve ticket plans for Raleigh

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Mere weeks before 2013 came to a close, Concord’s The Avett Brothers announced that the band would be performing a New Year’s Eve show at PNC Arena … in 2014. In keeping with its apparent affection for planning ahead, the band has now announced that tickets for NYE 2014 will be available through a presale starting tomorrow and a public onsale starting Friday at 10 a.m. The band’s NYE shows have a reputation for being among their best; previous host cities include Greensboro, Asheville and, of course, Charlotte. The presale starts at 10 a.m. tomorrow and runs through 10 p.m. on...

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Monday, May 5, 2014

crowdsource, the new multimedia project from Baobab's Phil Torres

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Adam Graetz In Baobab, Phil Torres constructed elaborate pop songs that suggested both the chaos and rigid order of an active mind. With that project on hiatus, Torres has started a new, performance-oriented solo act. Now, as crowdsource, Torres manipulates audio and video streams, mixing between the two to create an experience specific to each event. July will see a crowdsource EP on Hush Hush Records; in the meantime, he opens for England's NYPC—that's the former New Young Pony Club—at Kings in Raleigh May 6. “The video can respond in real-time to the audio, the audio to the video, and both...

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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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