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Friday, September 26, 2014

The Connells at 30: Doug McMillan on three decades of music

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 5:04 PM

This Saturday, The Connells celebrate 30 years of music. For a band to last that long is, in a word, “bizarre,” says singer Doug McMillan. Started in 1984 by two brothers, Mike and David Connell, the band found early success with their jangle-pop, college rock sound. They released material on Elvis Costello’s Demon Records, recorded with Mitch Easter and nabbed a Top 20 hit in the UK with the 1995 single, "’74-75." Comparisons to REM were abundant at points and so were tour dates. In recent years, the band has slowed down. Family life and steady jobs have taken...

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Mosaic Wine Lounge's Fall Music Fest ends this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM

The second weekend of this year’s Mosaic Fall Music Fest launches tonight at Mosaic Wine Lounge, with Brooklyn-based tropical-bass pusher Geko Jones behind the decks. Jones will likely pick up where DJ Mes’ gushing house set left off last Friday, with the exception of jacking-up some of those deep bass lines with snappy cumbia licks and tribal melodies. On Saturday night, the festival closes out with the restless rave grooves from Good For You Records’ Justin Schumacher. The last time that Schumacher played in the Triangle, at Chapel Hill Underground, he barrelled through his techno-house bunch until the two worlds...

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Shawn Galvin's triangulated homecoming with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Editor's note: Raleigh percussionist Shawn Galvin is a co-founder of New Music Raleigh and a performer with the North Carolina Symphony and several other ensembles in the region. He's spent the last week touring with the renowned Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, who perform at Chapel Hill's Memorial Hall Sunday, Sept. 28–Monday, Sept. 29. We asked Galvin to write about his experiences with the PSO. Tickets for the performances are available here.  In May of 1996, I was lucky to get one of the last standing-room tickets to hear Lorin Maazel's final concert as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony. I was a wide-eyed college freshman at...

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The Monroe Reels: Peter Rowan reconnects with his former colleague

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 2:03 PM

In our second installment of performances from Bill Monroe's former home in Raleigh, we met with onetime Bluegrass Boy Peter Rowan. Rowan was a part of Monroe's legendary backing group from 1964 until 1967 and was the first member to not hail from the South. His time with Monroe continues to influence his musical life. As Rowan arrived to the downtown Raleigh home during the 2013 World of Bluegrass festivities, he took a few minutes to sit on the porch alone. After several moments, he looked up with a smile on his face and wondered aloud how many of Monroe's first recorded...

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

After a four-year battle with cancer, Durham musician Letha Rodman Melchior died last night

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Durham painter and musician Letha Rodman Melchior died last night, following a four-year battle with cancer. She was 55. On his personal Facebook page, Dan Melchior, Letha’s husband, wrote, “My darling Letha passed away tonight at approximately 9.05. Obviously, I am heartbroken, as I'm sure many others will be. She was the best.” Letha played bass in her husband’s band, Und Das Menace, and made her own music, often under the name Tretetam. Respected around the world for wildly diverse and experimental brand of rock, the British-born Dan Melchior settled in Durham eight years ago, living and working side-by-side...

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Remembering George Hamilton IV

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 4:40 PM

With a rose and a candy bar, he became a teen heartthrob in the mid-'50s while still a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill. Although “A Rose And A Baby Ruth” was the song that put him in the national spotlight in 1959, it didn't define George Hamilton IV's career, in tone or genre. The singer passed away in Nashville Sept. 17 at the age of 77, four days after suffering a heart attack. He will be remembered as a country artist. He crossed over into country in 1963 with “Abilene,” topping the country charts and rising into the Top 20 on...

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Video: Whatever Brains, T0W3RS play Nice Price Books

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Whatever Brains, T0W3RS Nice Price Books, Raleigh Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 Friday night in Raleigh, Nice Price Books continued its wonderfully curated series of concerts with two local favorites, T0w3rs and Whatever Brains. T0W3RS' Derek Torres began with several selections from his highly anticipated new album, TL;DR, due in November. Half frantic dance music and half cosmic cowboy stuff, the rollercoaster that was the T0W3RS set soon yielded to the hurricane that was Whatever Brains. Starting with a menacing build that emptied into a full electronic and percussive onslaught, the Brains instigated a quick and familiar mosh pit in spite...

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Live: Lorde commands and charms an allegiant audience in Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Lorde, Majical Cloudz Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 After his brief opening set last night at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater, Majical Cloudz frontman Devon Welsh did something that seemed to surprise even him: He jumped offstage, turned around, leaned his back hard into the black bulwark that separates the front row from the stage, and posed for the cameras of several expectant fans. It made little difference that one of the world’s biggest young pop stars, the New Zealand singer Lorde, was about to play for several thousand fans during her first visit to the city, or...

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Art of Cool Project reaches Kickstarter goal to fund 2015 festival

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM

An hour or so ago, thanks to The Art of Cool Project’s achieved $35,000 Kickstarter goal, Grammy Award-winning soul standout Anthony Hamilton will be joining the main attractions at the 2015 Art of Cool Music Festival in downtown Durham. As the INDY reported yesterday, Art of Cool had only 33 hours to raise the remaining $9,000 it needed to ensure that its second annual festival packed the same classy punch as its first one. To reach the goal, the festival teamed up with the Charlotte singer Hamilton for a last-minute video announcement proclaiming his arrival. In exchange, he promised to perform the...

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Live: Petty, Winwood show that the old pros know what rock's detractors don't understand

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 3:38 PM

PNC Arena Sept. 18 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Steve Winwood Rock ’n’ roll, the old-fashioned meat-and-potatoes kind, has been under attack of late. In recent weeks, Gene Simmons of Kiss said that rock was not only dead, but it had been the victim of a homicide (file-sharing, not the butler, did it).Cantankerous folksinger Mark Kozelek, tired of doing acoustic covers of songs by Yes and AC/DC, derided the rising, Tom Petty-influenced The War on Drugs as “beer commercial lead-guitar shit.” More broadly, the whole of rock music from the 1970s and ’80s is frequently knocked as “dad rock,” which...

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hoppin' John Fiddlers' Convention starts today at Shakori Hills

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Allison Springer Hoppin' John square dance regulars The Five Points Rounders in 2011 On Thursday morning, things are hectic in the Shakori Hills office. The sprawling farmstead and festival site, just north of Pittsboro in rural Silk Hope, is preparing for the 8th Hoppin' John Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddler's Convention, which starts this evening. There's a new online check-in system debuting at Hoppin' John, but the Internet's out, explains convention coordinator Julie Amani when she answers the phone. "It has to be something," she says with a laugh. She's confident it'll be fixed soon. Besides, the tents are...

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33 hours from the end of its Kickstarter campaign, The Art of Cool dangles a new reward for Durham

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 2:24 PM

In an eleventh-hour attempt to make it over a fundraising hump, The Art of Cool Music Festival has teamed up with one of R&B’s consummate soul crooners, Anthony Hamilton, for a special video announcement regarding the second Art of Cool Music Fest, due next April 24–26. If the Kickstarter campaign reaches its $35,000 goal, Hamilton will be added to next year’s festival lineup. As a bonus, he’s promised to perform the entirety of his 2003 LP, Comin' From Where I’m From, which would commandeer the festival’s well-received “Carolina Soul” slot. In April, before The Art Of Cool Project co-founder Cicely...

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Des Ark's Aimée Argote plans memorial bike ride Friday night

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Last year, Des Ark's Aimée Argote and Taylor Holenbeck were the first to arrive at the scene of a hit-and-run crash that killed cyclists Alexandria Nicole Simou and Ivin Levander Scurlock outside of Chapel Hill. Argote detailed the personal effect of that night on her blog, describing the scene and encouraging people to be more mindful of cyclists and each other at large. "Nobody who’s texting and driving, drinking and driving, driving while exhausted—whatever the vice may be—NOBODY sets out in their car looking to kill another living being that day," she wrote. "But you are not above it."  Argote was on...

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Live: The momentary miracle of Farm Aid

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Farm Aid 2014 Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 On Saturday, Neil Young seemed tired—tired of writing songs that don’t change the world, tired of singing them for big crowds that might not be listening, tired of those crowds that, after three decades of massive Farm Aid benefits, have not sparked a revolution for themselves. “Thank you for coming to Farm Aid. We wish we didn’t have to be here,” Young said late from the stage of Raleigh’s Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, wearing a faded shirt that simply read “Earth” and a wireless microphone that allowed him to move freely...

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Live: Hiss Golden Messenger convenes a spirited celebration

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 1:35 PM

Hiss Golden Messenger Cat's Cradle, Carrboro Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 The last time I saw Hiss Golden Messenger at Cat’s Cradle, it was in the venue's significantly smaller Back Room. Like Saturday night’s performance, it was a release show, but for the Paradise of Bachelors reissue of Bad Debt. HGM mastermind Michael Taylor performed solo, with Alexandra Sauser-Monnig opening. It was a great show, but I was deep in one of the worst months of my life. The quiet anxieties of Bad Debt spoke to my own private panic. Fast forward six-and-a-half months: Everything’s better. I’m done with school, gainfully employed...

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watch Skylar Gudasz' "Car Song," plus an update on her debut LP

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Skylar Gudasz' "Car Song" video has garnered the Durham singer-songwriter some deserved national attention. It was featured yesterday on Boxx Magazine, and Gudasz was interviewed about the song and video earlier this month by Huffington Post. "We might always be on the road," Gudasz laments as the song gradually builds. "Ain't it sad that I gotta be alone." In the video, she stares from the large windows in the Carolina Theatre's ballroom, looking out at couples or groups of friends passing by. It's evocative of the potentially isolating 22 or 23 hours of the day a touring musician spends not...

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Live: The revived Big Shindig tries to find its edge

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 12:23 PM

The Big Shindig Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, Raleigh Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014 In the late 1990s, G105’s Big Shindig was exactly that—a daylong festival that folks, especially young folks, spent the summer imagining. Tens of thousands shuffled through Walnut Creek’s version of the Pearly Gates for a few years, smuggling disposable cameras and smelling of sunscreen, ready to sing along to pop radio’s heavenly chorus.  There were hangouts in the venue’s dusty gravel parking lots. There were autograph tents and merch tables. And there were the bands—oh, the bands! Each year, groups like the Barenaked Ladies and Train, Nelly Furtado and...

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

T-shirt of Slim's owner Van Alston edited by WALTER photographer

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 4:35 PM

If you’ve checked the recent issue of The News & Observer’s high-money, high-gloss magazine, WALTER, you might’ve been delighted to notice a short story about the downtown Raleigh watering hole and rock club, Slim’s. The piece even includes owner Van Alston’s recipe for the “Slim’s Cheerwine shot” and praises the “true grit” of the place. It’s a tad ironic, then, that the photographer wouldn’t let Alston’s “true grit” actually show. In Jason Dail’s photograph, Alston is wearing The Onion’s light-hearted “Your favorite band sucks” t-shirt. Except that Dail bowdlerized the shirt so that it simply reads “Your favorite band.” Strangely...

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Can Last Year's Men regain momentum with Underwhelmed?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Underwhelmed, the sophomore album released last week by the Carrboro garage-rock outfit Last Year’s Men, is good, very good. But I won’t say that it was worth the four-year wait since Sunny Down Snuff, the group’s locally lauded 2010 debut. Recorded with Oblivian and Reigning Sound leader Greg Cartwright back in January 2013, these cuts ride effervescent melodies with finely sharpened guitars and raucous vocals. As closely as Sunny got to the bedrock essence of rock ‘n’ roll’s primal appeal, Underwhelmed inches even closer, further mastering tricks that never go out of style. But the four-year gestation will almost certainly...

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Live: Some great sets and necessary work at the revitalized Bull Durham Blues Festival

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM

The spirit and the beat are alive at Hayti, transmitted from the stage down through the floorboards of the old church, the joists throbbing with the rhythms. The former St. Joseph's AME house of worship, now the home of the Hayti Heritage Center, hosted the first night of the 2014 Bull Durham Festival, in conjunction with Duke Performances. The Rousters kicked off the secular portion of Friday's show with Elmore James' version of “It Hurts Me Too,” guitarist Luke Congleton deftly alternating clean fingerpicking and greasy, searing slide. On the Rouster original “Get What You Deserve,” Congleton tossed around some...

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Video: Barefoot Manner reunites at the year's last Pickin' in the Plaza

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Originaly billed as two sets from Acoustic Manner, Hank Smith and company announced a change of plans for their late August show at Raleigh City Plaza. When multi-instrumentalist Lindsey Tims was unable to make the show, Barefoot Manner founding member Jeff Garland filled in, adding drums to the equation. Outside of a few spot shows, the group has mostly been on a break for the past several years. Reunited for the final installment of Pickin' In The Plaza and presumably unrehearsed, the group fell right back into their comfortable groove while playing for nearly two hours to a large crowd...

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Live: The Clean at the Cradle

Posted By on Wed, Sep 10, 2014 at 12:24 PM

The Clean, Boogarins Cat's Cradle Back Room, Carrboro Monday, August 25, 2014 “What should we do?” asked David Kilgour about four songs into a set by The Clean at the Cradle’s Back Room. “Do we want noise or a pop song?” The audience wanted both, of course, and The Clean gave it to them. But first they settled on a pop song, “Drawing to a Whole” from 1990’s Vehicle. That release—the first full-length by this influential New Zealand trio—was the moment when the band coalesced into the long-standing and still current lineup of the brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, who...

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Hopscotch, Night Three: Sound and spectacle

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 6:48 PM

The Curious Case of Button-Pushers The last night of Hopscotch 2014 brimmed with acts who mistook—and at times, benefitted from—spectacle instead of quality. Take this tweet by WXDU 88.7 FM DJ Zachary Lechner: “Holygrailers slaying via laptop at Pour House." The observation isn't just an exaggeration; it's just wrong. In the colloquial sense, Holygrailers didn’t “slay” anything. Literally speaking, yes, he did deprive his set of life, even if some of his fans in The Pour House feigned excitement for a bunch of broken beat switches. At best, the performance was exemplary of mannequin musicianship—DJs standing in a still, upright...

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Hopscotch, Night Three: What cheer? Right here.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 5:12 PM

After Friday’s bummer finish, I was really ready to rally for one last night of the fifth Hopscotch. Mastodon and Death delivered respectable sets at City Plaza early in the evening. The members of Death may be aging, but they did all right—and it was wonderful to see the band that holds the honor of being punk before punk was punk. By contrast, Mastodon may not be metal metal, but it did seem to be the one City Plaza band of the weekend that wasn’t underwhelming. And it was awesome to hear Fayetteville Street awash in something heavier than restaurant...

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Hopscotch, Day Three: Tailgate or music festival?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Sunny September Saturdays with shirtless guys and sundress-clad ladies wandering through canopy tents while day drinking and devouring snacks usually means one thing in Raleigh: an N.C. State home football game. But while the Pack was in town Saturday—forcing fans to decide between an underwhelming victory or Hopscotch for the second year in a row —those same trappings were also present at a very different scene less than five miles away at Legends Nightclub. That's where North Carolina labels Negative Fun and Self Aware joined with Richmond-based Cherub Records for Let Feedback Ring, a 14 act, two-stage affair dominated...

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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. …

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

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

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