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Friday, February 27, 2015

Some Kind of Magic: Talking to Burt Bacharach

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:55 AM

A consummate songwriter, Burt Bacharach penned his first hit in 1957 for Marty Robbins. He crashed the Top 40 sixty-five more times. In what was scheduled to be a ten-minute chat, he opened up to the INDY about a host of subjects: his perfectionism, his big break, what’s on his workout playlist and why, at age 86, he’s touring. Bacharach plays the Carolina Theatre in Durham Wednesday, March 4.  INDY: Before you got into the business, you made a serious study of music theory and composition. At that point, did you have an inkling where your career might take you? BURT BACHARACH:...

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Video: 6 String Drag unveils its new album in Raleigh

Posted By on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 at 2:51 PM

Need to warm up this cold day with a little rock ’n’ roll? 6 String Drag released their first album in nearly 20 years Friday night at Kings in Raleigh. We've got four videos from the show below. And while you're at it, check Spencer Griffith's review of Roots Rock 'n' Roll and David Klein's 2013 INDY feature on 6 String Drag frontman Kenny Roby.  6 String Drag, "Drive Around Town" 6 String Drag, "Give up the Night" 6 String Drag, "Choppin' Block" 6 String Drag, "Kingdom of Getting' It Wrong"...

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hear Hiss Golden Messenger cover Led Zeppelin for a Physical Graffiti tribute

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:20 AM

40 years ago yesterday, Led Zeppelin released its sixth LP, Physical Graffiti, an extra-special culmination of the titanic band's broad abilities. The London-based music magazine MOJO assembled a track-by-track tribute CD as a companion for its April issue, of which Zeppelin graces the cover. Alongside the likes of Laura Marling, Sun Kil Moon and Blackberry Smoke, Durham's Hiss Golden Messenger handles "Black Country Woman." True to form, Hiss Golden Messenger's take on "Black Country Woman" is mellow and warm, softening the edges of Robert Plant's wail for a soulful take that could sit comfortably among Haw or Lateness of Dancers. Mandolin...

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Mandolin Orange announces new record, Such Jubilee, and shares "Old Ties and Companions"

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz are loyal—loyal to the serene Americana that shaped their first three albums and matured with 2013’s This Side of Jordan, their first on Hillsborough’s Yep Roc, and loyal to the road, as they've devoted an incredible amount of time to touring in recent years. But as the Chapel Hill duo’s latest single, “Old Ties and Companions,” shows, they are also loyal to their location and roots. An ode to that restful home, it’s the opener to their upcoming album Such Jubilee, due May 5 through Yep Roc. The song finds Marlin reflecting on...

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good vibes: A vibraphone invasion for local Latin jazz

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 4:42 PM

Vibraphone has often been a rare specialty on the local jazz scene, but two vibes-based bands have recently appeared: Onda, an up-and-coming Brazilian quartet, did three sets at Brasa, while Juan Alamo Quintet gave a formidable Cal Tjader tribute as part of the Carolina Jazz Festival. Onda, coming up on one year as a band in April, marks Stephen Coffman’s vibes debut. Better known as a trapset drummer with Peter Lamb & The Wolves, Shana Tucker and The Beast, Coffman shedded hard on his vibes technique after hooking up with guitarist Nelson Johns at a Blue Note Grill jam session....

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Video: Bryan Sutton steps to the front of the house at Fletcher

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Bryan Sutton Band Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 Just before Valentine's Day, the eight-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitarist of the Year Bryan Sutton returned to Raleigh. This performance was unique in that Sutton, instead of backing a variety of other leading players, was out front himself, leading his own Bryan Sutton Band. In the past, Sutton has tended to be the "hired gun" for a variety of bands, most recently Hot Rize. His backing band included a younger yet quite talented bunch of musicians. Just as Sutton once played under Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Tim...

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Live: At a little theater in Selma, Dale Watson dazzles

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Dale Watson & his Lonestars, Eric Strickland & The B-Sides. Ice House Theatre, Selma Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015 Roughly 30 minutes southeast of downtown Raleigh sits Selma's Ice House Theatre. The nondescript white building was converted into a venue from the remains of a factory that once supplied the area with ice and coal. The intimate room still sticks to the roots of its past life: Inside, exposed wood beams, brick and the remnants of a track offer reminders of how the large blocks of ice were moved within the century-old building. More than an hour before showtime, the Ice...

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Live: Shirlette Ammons revisits the inspiration of Meshell Ndegeocello in Durham

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 3:23 PM

Meshell Ndegeocello Carolina Theatre, Durham Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 More than two decades ago, a friend gave me a bootleg cassette of Meshell Ndegeocello’s Plantation Lullabies. I had been tinkering with the bass for about six months, and her music was an affirmation, a window into myself. Here's this little black, bald, bisexual woman endowed with genre- and gender-defiant prowess, wielding the bass like she invented it. I played that cassette until the spools refused to cooperate. With this newfound authorization to destroy the bounds of my very own construction, I also began shedding my skin. I agreed to create...

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Looking to like Sylvan Esso at a karaoke party

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Sylvan Esso Hosts Karaoke The Pinhook, Durham Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 Even my grandma knows about Sylvan Esso. Last year, the innocuous electropop of Durham duo Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn made Sylvan Esso new indie darlings. They sold out shows on a few continents and made late-night TV appearances; they’re billed rather high on the upcoming Coachella lineup, and Meath recently sat in with My Morning Jacket. Lots of people like them, but I really don’t. Around here, though, when I express those feelings, I’ve learned to expect a fiercely loyal rebuttal from a friend who knows them. Their...

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Concerning Delta Rae's confounding new "Scared" video

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 10:53 AM

Delta Rae, the local folkies gone major, have long been an INDY favorite—favorite punchline, perhaps, or favorite means by which to troll our beloved commenters, maybe? Still, a favorite! Their next big move dropped yesterday via MTV. It’s an ambitious video for “Scared,” the new single from their upcoming second album, After It All. Given that record’s cover, you may think they would have stocked the reel with CGI-skull-faced Minotaurs, brooding amid slo-mo silk swoops, like a Madonna video from when she was getting into Kabbalah. But no, Delta Rae leaves behind the dodgy Old South signifiers of earlier clips, taking...

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

On taking mom to see Diana Ross in Durham

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Diana Ross DPAC, Durham Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 “Did I ever tell you about the time my friends and I dressed up as The Supremes in high school?” my mom offered just as the lights began to lower in the Durham Performing Arts Center last Friday night. For me, it was a revelation. A grade-school teacher for almost four decades, mom glowed even in the dimmed house. For the first time in her life, she was about to see her longtime idol. As the opening chords to the 1980 hit "I'm Coming Out" echoed through the theater, my mother and...

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Hear the first cut from Lilac Shadows' new LP, Brutalism

Posted By on Thu, Feb 12, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Durham psych rockers Lilac Shadows turned heads last year with No Dark/No Light, an ambitious song cycle that took listeners spaceward in a storm of melody and texture. On Feb. 28, they host a special release event at The Pinhook in anticipation of the actual March 3 arrival of their new LP, Brutalism, through Raleigh’s DiggUp Tapes. They’ve provided a hint of what’s to come with the debut of a song and a video, “Alive in Dying History.” The song’s percussive, astringent guitars recall seminal British post-punkers like Gang of 4 and Wire. Sam Logan, who built the band four years...

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Video: Watch See Gulls, Daddy Issues & Midnight Plus One delight Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 5:29 PM

See Gulls, Midnight Plus One, Daddy Issues Tir Na Nog, Raleigh Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 In a bill of up-and-coming acts from the Triad and the Triangle, Tir Na Nog's long-running series Local Band, Local Beer gathered one of its more impressive lineups in recent memory last week. Indeed, by the time Greensboro's Daddy Issues opened the night, the bar was nearly full. With one catchy surf-pop-rock tune after another, Daddy Issues gave way to the heavier Midnight Plus One. The night closed with the See Gulls, who just get more infectious and irresistible.  If you missed this installment—or if...

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Mac McCaughan announces new solo LP, Non-Believers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Somewhere out in the ether, a near-complete collection of “invigorating power pop” tunes recorded by Superchunk frontman and Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan exists. It’s a tantalizing prospect—enough to have a fan of his jittery indie rock band or Portastatic, his more subdued and eclectic solo project, giddy with anticipation. And it certainly would have been a savvy move for McCaughan’s first solo album under his own name. But that's not the record that Merge will release on May 5. Soon after deciding to finish the album that would become the new Non-Believers, McCaughan changed course. He returned instead...

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Durham's Eric Oberstein wins two Grammys for his work with Arturo O’Farrill

Posted By on Wed, Feb 11, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Durham’s Eric Oberstein has had an eventful few months: Sure, he took home a Grammy on Sunday night for his work as the producer on an album by longtime friend and collaborator Arturo O’Farrill. But he’s just returned from a trip to Cuba to record his next album with O’Farrill, too—all while holding down his fulltime position as associate director of Duke Performances. “This past weekend was fun and surreal, but it’s the icing on the cake. We do it because we love the music. Me being in the studio with these artists, that’s the cake for me,” Oberstein...

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Live: Branford Marsalis and his MF's take on Duke's Baldwin Auditorium

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 3:45 PM

Branford Marsalis Quartet Duke's Baldwin Auditorium, Durham Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 Injecting fresh blood into an established group like the Branford Marsalis Quartet carries inherent risk. But done with the proper care, it can be invigorating, as I heard in late January during the group's first concert of a two-night-stand at Duke’s Baldwin Auditorium. With regular drummer Justin Faulkner away on a Wilmington movie set, and bassist Eric Revis playing New York City’s Blue Note, Marsalis turned to two young recruits to carry the load: Rudy Royston, who regularly drums with Bill Frisell, and the 20-year-old Russell Hall on upright...

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J Kutchma announces new LP with The Five Fifths, Blue Highways

Posted By on Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 2:21 PM

At the end of last November, Durham singer-songwriter and Red Collar leader J Kutchma played a week-long residency at The Cave in Chapel Hill. It was his first string of shows in several months, and Kutchma cited the need to refocus on his performances as the reason for the preceding break. Now, on the heels of his hiatus and return, Kutchma and his band, The Five Fifths, are ready with a new record, Blue Highways. It’s due out March 19 via Last Chance Records. Like 2012’s Pastoral, Blue Highways has a book companion. This time, there’s also a film component. Kutchma is...

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Video: David Olney and Malcolm Holcombe find a fit at the Cary Theater

Posted By on Thu, Feb 5, 2015 at 2:19 PM

David Olney and Malcolm Holcombe The Cary Theater, Cary Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 A rainy Friday evening greeted songwriters David Olney and Malcolm Holcombe at The Cary Theater. Originally opened in the 1940s, the movie theater hosted a handful of notable acts in its prime, including Ernest Tubb and Patsy Cline. The theater transitioned for a time to an auto parts store before sitting empty for a number of years. The renovated space reopened in mid-2014 and serves as one of the less-known but best-tuned performance spaces in the Triangle. The evening paired two of the premier touring folk acts....

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Phil Cook interviews Trae Pierce, a Blind Boy of Alabama bringing his own band to Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 12:19 PM

Editor's note: Last month, Phil Cook—of Megafaun, Phil Cook & The Guitarheels and a half-dozen other projects—sent a text to let me know his friend and collaborator Trae Pierce was bringing his band to Raleigh. Could we write something about the show? I agreed, and we did. But I also asked Phil if he'd like to ask Trae some questions about making music, together and separately—an interview between friends. He also agreed. Pierce plays with The T-Stone Band Friday, Feb. 6, at The Pour House. The free show starts at 7:30 p.m. I'll let Phil take it from here. I first met Trae Pierce...

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Talking about The Shed, Durham's new jazz venue

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 10:13 AM

Three-quarters of a mile from downtown Durham sits Golden Belt, a massive mixed-use compound that's home to a hair salon, a coffee shop, loft apartments and more. Three months ago, Daniel Stark added to Golden Belt's list of attractions with The Shed, a 50-capacity club dedicated to jazz. Finding the right kind of space for jazz in Durham hasn't always been easy—Stark says he once got booted from the American Tobacco Campus for busking with his saxophone—so he’s made one that he hopes, along with Beyù Caffè, will fit his and other musicians’ needs. Stark and his wife, Jess, moved...

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Live: In Carrboro, the Drive-By Truckers get generous

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 5:01 PM

Drive-By Truckers Cat's Cradle, Carrboro Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015 A few songs into the Drive-By Truckers’ sold-out show at Cat’s Cradle Saturday, a fan exhorted the band to “Bring the heat!” Though well intentioned, it wasn’t necessary: From the moment they hit the stage, it was clear that the Truckers were bringing plenty of energy. Some folks later theorized that the band simply loves playing at the Cradle, and that may be the case. Whatever the reason, they gave the kind of passionate, gritty, high-energy show for which they've earned their reputation. The one time I’d seen them perform was...

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Live: Approaching Ali offers emotional attachment

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 4:50 PM

North Carolina Opera's Approaching Ali Music by D.J. Sparr, libretto by Mark Campbell and Davis Miller Carolina Theatre, Durham Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 I've never connected emotionally with an opera until the North Carolina Opera’s Approaching Ali last week. I’ve had a technical understanding of the emotions before—Mozart’s subtleties mean mischief; Wagner’s power chords mean, well, power—but I’ve never felt anything until bass singer Soloman Howard, as the young version of Muhammad Ali, stood on a plinth with gloved hands raised over his head and shouted, “And me, the Quadruple Greatest of All Times!” It turns out that “based on a true...

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Winston-Salem's Phuzz Phest returns for year five with Foxygen, Ex Hex and more

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 11:01 AM

For a festival that started accidentally—when two Winston-Salem booking agents scheduled four shows for four consecutive days and needed a way to market them—Phuzz Phest sure has grown. Last year, the event’s fourth outing featured simultaneous shows at three main venues across three days. There were eye-grabbing national acts like rapper Kool Keith and noisy pop-rock duo No Age, a coffee conference and a bike race. Despite its humble beginnings, Phuzz Phest now stands as one of the state’s most anticipated music festivals, raising the bar for events not named Hopscotch or Moogfest. The party returns to downtown Winston-Salem April...

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