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Friday, August 29, 2014

Bear in Heaven, Young Magic, and the trickiness of good dark synth-pop

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Bear in Heaven, Young Magic, Weeknight Cat's Cradle Back Room, Carrboro Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 Shawn Brackbill Bear in Heaven: synthetic blues Dark synth-pop is a tricky aesthetic. When done right, it's an immersive, fascinating experience blurring electronic and traditional instruments, and it can provide the same mind-altering experience as good sci-fi. When done poorly, though ... well, there's also bad sci-fi. Two bands on Saturday night's Cat's Cradle Back Room bill succeeded at this genre through different, though exciting, methods. And one—opener Weeknight—did not. It was an enlightening contrast. Thematically, Weeknight wasn't that different from Bear in Heaven or...

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Live: Merle Haggard closes out Southern Folklife Collection festivities

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:02 PM

On Saturday night, the spotlight rested comfortably on the shoulders of country music legend Merle Haggard as he closed out the Southern Folklife Collection’s 25th anniversary weekend. Haggard and his backing band The Strangers had nearly reached the end of their 90-minute set when their leader stepped out on his own to deliver one of country music’s most introspective numbers, “Footlights.” Haggard stunned a sold-out crowd with his rendition of a song and its weary lyrics that perfectly suited the 77-year-old troubadour's voice. And that wasn't the first time this happened on Saturday. “Sing Me Back Home,” “The Fugitive,” “Misery...

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Art Menius retires, Brad Porter takes over The ArtsCenter's music booking

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Adam Graetz Brad Porter: busy man. Last week, Carrboro's The ArtsCenter announced that operations director Brad Porter would move into a music booking role, taking over for lifelong roots-and-folk devotee Art Menius. Considering Porter's involvement with local bands—he drums for Some Army and Wild Fur and sometimes sits in with Wichita Falls and other projects—it seemed his lead may result in a louder, more rocking ArtsCenter. Yes and no, Porter says. "If I differ in any way from Art's booking style, in one word, I'd like to say 'electricity,'" he explains with a laugh, though he clarifies that he doesn't...

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Live: Old Crow Medicine Show really loves Raleigh

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Old Crow Medicine Show, Shovels & Rope Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Wednesday, August 20, 2014 North Carolina has been good to Old Crow Medicine Show. The Nashville-based string band—and newest members of the Grand Ole Opry—got its big break when Doc Watson's granddaughter discovered them busking outside the Boone Drug Company, one of the late Watson’s favorite Watauga County spots as well as his own former busking corner. Co-written by Bob Dylan and famously covered by Darius Rucker, the group’s signature song, “Wagon Wheel,” highlights the state—and Raleigh specifically—in its lyrics. Those lines have been embraced such that they now...

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Live: Big Star returns to life with a celebratory Cat's Cradle homecoming

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Big Star's Third Live Cat's Cradle, Carrboro Friday, August 22 2014 The hypothetical passerby who happened to hear the chorus of voices issuing from Cat’s Cradle on Friday, singing, “Jesus Christ was born today/Jesus Christ was born,” might have envisioned a revival meeting of a sect that celebrates Christmas in August. But to the audience joining in with lead vocalist Mike Mills of R.E.M. and more than 30 musicians, this communal sing-along’s religious aspect probably had more to do with a Big Star of Memphis than with the star of Bethlehem. One indication of the lasting strength of Big Star?...

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Video: David Childers makes the simple meaningful in Saxapahaw

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 11:48 AM

In Saxapahaw on Friday evening, the roots organization Artists Like You (ALY) presented Charlotte singer-songwriter David Childers at the Haw River Ballroom. The group is working to present concerts featuring North Carolina-based folk artists throughout the state; Childers couldn't have been a better choice. In recent years, Childers has become a favorite of the Concord-based Avett Brothers, with bassist Bob Crawford (and his bandmate in Overmountain Men) going so far as calling him "the most prolific North Carolina songwriter alive." Childers walked to the stage at the outdoor Haw River Ballroom Amphitheater backed by a two-piece band and made a...

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Big Star's Jody Stephens talks the reinvented Big Star

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

In the wake of Big Star’s dissolution in 1974, drummer Jody Stephens stayed on at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the band found its sound and recorded its three timeless LPs. He’s been there ever since, as A&R director and wearer of many hats. Stephens has never stopped keeping the Big Star flame alive, from the 1990s reunion shows through his current work with Big Star Third Live. When we spoke with the man who was one half of the titular Sister Lovers by phone last week, he was at the studio and had been re-familiarizing himself with songs from...

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An interview with Asheville's Harvest Records, turning 10 with a festival next weekend

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 9:12 AM

A decade ago, Harvest Records opened doors in Asheville. In the years since, Harvest has expanded beyond just a record store. Under the Harvest Records banner, Mark Capon and Matt Schnable run the shop, put out records and occasionally book shows. A major feat for Harvest arrives next weekend with Transfigurations II, a festival that celebrates Harvest's 10-year anniversary with artists including The Clean, Endless Boogie, Angel Olsen, Hiss Golden Messenger and dozens more.  We caught up with Harvest Records co-founder Capon about Transfigurations II and Harvest Records' place in Asheville's culture. You can still get tickets to Transfigurations II...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

2014 DURM Hip-Hop Summit yields mixed results

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 3:13 PM

On most days, The Bullpen—a brightly lit co-working space in the basement of Durham’s American Underground—is dotted with the city’s resident idea people: solo-entrepreneurs, start-up employees, ostensible creatives. But on Saturday afternoon, the VIP ticket holders of the second DURM Hip-Hop Summit commandeered the space to view an opening exhibition of tap- and breakdancing alongside preview sets from area emcees, Cayenne the Lion King and Cesar Comanche. It seemed to be the first time that many in attendance—including headliner Comanche—had been in the basement of the Main Street building. That dissonance computes: Aside from being two of Durham rap’s most common...

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Video: Wild Fur and See Gulls offer local Hopscotch preview

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Last Thursday's Local Band, Local Beer at Tir Na Nog featured two relatively new groups of Triangle music scene veterans. The night began  with Wild Fur, a project lead by Wylie Hunter and Nick Jaeger. Joined by Brad Porter and Casey Toll, the group dips into rich sonic territory, as heard below in "St. Gloria." See Gulls, on the other hand, powered straight ahead with a roar of rock 'n' roll goodness. Fronted by Sarah Fuller, the group also features Maria Albani, Leah Gibson and Duncan Webster. Both groups have been tapped for Hopscotch this year: Wild Fur will be playing...

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Tonight in Raleigh: A cross-country hardcore sampler

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:13 AM

After opening for the hardcore supergroup OFF! last night at Kings, Phoenix noise-rockers Gay Kiss will offer an encore at an appropriately unconventional venue, Raleigh’s Nice Price Books. The used book-and-record shop on Hillsborough Street has become a reliable hub for van-bound punk bands looking for an all-ages space, and tonight’s triple-header is as fine as any they’ve hosted.  Gay Kiss, who fill the middle slot, boast an aggressive and agile brand of noise-rock. It bridges the splatter and sputter of fellow Southwesterners NASA Space Universe and Avon Ladies with leaner, driving rhythms. To wit, Gay Kiss’ two-song, tour-only cassette...

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Live: Eston and the Outs and Shelles summon mighty songs at The Cave

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Eston and the Outs, Shelles The Cave Thursday, August 14 2014 Two Triangle acts that shared a bill at the Cave last week, while set to very different speeds, presented contrasting but equally compelling testimonies to the restorative power of plugging in and cranking up. Stu Edwards, who made cracked folk records as a duo with Old Bricks, now leads a recently assembled group known as Shelles. Edwards’ rhythm guitar meshed with a solid rhythm section of bassist Chris Gerard and drummer John Jaquiss, while lead guitarist Reid Johnson of Schooner and violist Justin Blatt (Shit Horse) sent glints and...

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Video: Watch the Spider Bags play Frozen Letter in its entirety

Posted By and on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 10:13 AM

On August 8, Spider Bags hit The Pinhook stage for a two-set show celebrating the release of their debut Merge debut LP, Frozen Letter. Though the band played one of Duke’s Music in the Gardens shows earlier in the summer, it’s the late-night, not-so-family-friendly club shows that tend to display Spider Bags at their mightiest. Set number one featured the outfit—which included Carrboro's Clarque Blomquist as a guest guitarist and fourth member—playing straight through Frozen Letter. They followed with a set of their greatest hits—“Simona La Ramona,” “Keys to the City” and, of course, “Papa Was a Shithead"—and some misses. While the...

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Art of Cool talks going with Kickstarter again for 2015 festival

Posted By on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Earlier this year, Durham-based and jazz-centric nonprofit The Art of Cool Project hosted its first festival. The lineup featured national names, like Maceo Parker, Bilal and Christian Scott alongside local hip-hop, soul and jazz acts  such as The Foreign Exchange, The Hot at Nights and many others. Art of Cool hopes to bring its festival back for a second year; to power the push into 2015, they've launched their second Kickstarter campaign—with some big aspirations behind it.  Festival co-director Cicely Mitchell says the crowdfunding platform helps provide the money most music festivals need to get going. “The way funding works with festivals, or festival...

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Live: Nickel Creek carries on in Cary

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Nickel Creek, Josh Ritter Koka Booth Amphitheatre Thursday, Aug. 14 2014 In 2007, the not-quite-bluegrass trio of Nickel Creek wrapped up its “Farewell (For Now)” tour, going on one of those cursed indefinite hiatuses so its members could pursue other projects. In the years since, the trio of mandolinist Chris Thile, fiddler Sara Watkins and guitarist Sean Watkins have all been busy: the Watkins siblings have solo projects, while Thile’s had Punch Brothers, the Goat Rodeo, some Bach partitas and sonatas and a MacArthur “genius grant” to occupy his time. But in April the band released a new album, A...

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper carry on at PreddyFest

Posted By on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Down a dirt road in Franklinton, N.C. lies the festival grounds of "PreddyFest," an annual three-day bluegrass event that's been running since 1997. The festival is small, with one modestly constructed stage. In front of it sit lawn chairs, with a plethora of golf carts and ATVs parked within viewing distance of the stage under the long-leaf pines. The largely elderly crowd seemed to all know each other; they lined up row by row in their lawn chairs, delicately tapping their toes along to the driving bluegrass rhythms. After sets by the Grasscats and Sideline, 9-time IBMA Fiddle Performer of...

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IBMA's World of Bluegrass gets wider with Del McCoury

Posted By on Fri, Aug 8, 2014 at 1:29 PM

The lineup for this year’s World of Bluegrass festival, which comes to Raleigh with the International Bluegrass Music Association awards and conference, keeps getting better. The festival just announced that Del McCoury is now a part of the Saturday, Oct. 4, show. He'll play a special 90-minute set that celebrates the legendary guitarist's 75th birthday. The set will come in three pieces: first, a half-hour of the Travelin’ McCourys and Keller Williams, followed by another half-hour of the Del McCoury Band. LeeAnn Womack joins the Del McCoury band for the final third of McCoury’s set. The McCoury addition enriches an...

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I want to take a minute to thank the Indy for covering these events. Music is the area's main export. …

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Comments

I want to take a minute to thank the Indy for covering these events. Music is the area's main export. …

by Russell Scott Day on The Cave Closes on April 30 in Chapel Hill, Local 506 Changes Hands (Music)

Boots Riley has a Durham connection, including influence from the civil rights movement, worth exploring.

by Walter Riley on At UNC, Catch the Rapper Who Puts the "Conscious" in "Conscious Rap" (Music)

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