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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Live: How a room of Sleater-Kinney fans reacted to THEESatisfaction

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 8:24 PM

Sleater-Kinney & THEESatisfaction The Ritz, Raleigh Wednesday, April 22, 2015 When I found out Seattle duo THEESatisfaction were opening for Sleater-Kinney in Raleigh, I wondered how a crowd of aging hipsters and guitar-loving music snobs would react to a hip-hop duo. I first heard Sleater-Kinney in high school, when my quest to find edgy music on the Internet led me to their MP3s. For me, it was a time where all-women rock bands seemed scarce. You either listened to heavy, riot grrrl-like acts like Sleater-Kinney or Le Tigre or more juvenile acts like Kittie or The Donnas. But what stuck...

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Live: Emotional ins and outs with Lion and the Lamb in Durham

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 2:03 PM

Ari Picker: Lion and the Lamb Duke's Nelson Music Room, Durham Saturday, March 28, 2015 “In like a lion, out like a lamb” goes the saying about the month of March. This March ended with both in a way, thanks to the premiere of Ari Picker’s Lion and the Lamb in Duke’s Nelson Music Room. The new composition by the man once behind chamber pop outfit Lost in the Trees wove together Picker’s background as a Berklee-educated composer and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. The performance, the piece's second, offered a breathtaking exploration of isolation. Nelson Music Room generally hosts...

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Video: Rain and cold can't topple the back half of MerleFest

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 10:39 AM

MerleFest Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26  Arriving early to the festival grounds of Wilkes County Community College Saturday morning, the day's weather promised to be dreary. The wind picked up and blew coolly as crowds hurried through the front gate and to the various stages that hosted the first sets of the day. I headed for the Creekside Stage to catch the intriguing pair of Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. The Seattle-based duo plays refreshing traditional music with simple instrumentation and vocal phrasing similar to that of Tim O'Brien. Despite only catching half...

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Live: The North Carolina Symphony mixes the old with the new

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 12:59 PM

North Carolina Symphony's “Appalachian Spring” Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh Friday, April 24, 2015 In a preconcert conversation on Friday night, North Carolina Symphony Music Director Grant Llewellyn talked about discovering the term “indie classical” as he prepared music by Judd Greenstein and Sarah Kirkland Snider for the night’s concert. At first, he wasn’t sure what to make of it, thinking it might be lightweight and faddish. But the music of Greenstein and Snider made him realize they were composers of depth with plenty of interesting things to say. While I find the term “indie classical” troubling for reasons of my...

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Tonight: The return of US Christmas

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 11:48 AM

Nearly four years have passed since the Western N.C. quartet USX, or US Christmas, released a proper album, 2011’s The Valley Path. A swirling, smoldering 40-minute exploration of heavy psych-rock, haunted Appalachian blues and spartan drone, The Valley Path is a heady journey of a record and USX’s best and most cohesive statement to date. That cohesion remains the record's greatest surprise. After shuffling lineups, singer/guitarist Nate Hall finally seems to have arrived at an ensemble that suits his vision. With bassist Josh “Asa” Hold, drummer Billy Graves and violinist Meg Mulhearn now committed to the project, USX finally feels more...

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Day by day: A glimpse into Art of Cool 2015

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 9:07 PM

Art of Cool Festival Downtown Durham Friday, April 24-Saturday, April 25 Friday, April 24 In a world far removed from the stages of the 2015 Art of Cool Fest, which began Friday evening inside the Durham Armory, an intellectual beef between two titanic black academics—Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West—recently reached one of its most vicious rounds. Dyson delivered critiques of his estranged friend and colleague to Ebony. “The unsexy normal versus the sexy spectacular: That’s what it’s about,” he said. “A lotta us are seduced by the sexy spectacular and not the unsexy normal.” I carried that statement with...

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Video: Mipso and more make big impressions at MerleFest

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 3:24 PM

MerleFest Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro Friday, April 24 “For four kids from North Carolina, it’s a dream to play MerleFest,” said Joseph Terrell, of Chapel Hill’s Mipso, during the quartet’s 25-minute set on Friday night. Several people stood and cheered for the young group, appearing at the festival for the first time. Mipso struck a chord with the notoriously picky MerleFest audience, which showed the emerging outfit the same respect that the members of Mipso have seen their own heroes earn while attending the festival. Left with the unenviable task of following the Del McCoury Band and playing just ahead...

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hear the first single from The Old Ceremony's new LP, Sprinter

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM

Big Star’s Third may have been dead upon its release in 1978, but the damaged swan song of Memphis’ ill-fated power pop legends lives on in strange, sometimes wonderful ways. Last year, Django Haskins, the leader of the chamber pop outfit The Old Ceremony, collaborated and toured with the Jayhawks’ Gary Louris, whom he met through the tribute project Big Star Third Live. Now, for his sixth full-length record with The Old Ceremony, Sprinter, Haskins enlisted three stalwarts of that sprawling, on-again/off-again ensemble: Mitch Easter, who also produced The Old Ceremony’s most recent outing; arranger Chris Stamey; and R.E.M.’s Mike...

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Live: Celebrating an amped-up Record Store Day at Bull City Records

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 12:38 PM

William Tyler, Ex Hex, Mac McCaughan Bull City Records, Durham Saturday, April 18, 2015 The first person in line outside Durham's Bull City Records for Record Store Day 2015 arrived shortly after 6 a.m. I joined as the fifth fan not long after 8 a.m. The group stayed small until about 10 a.m. That's when the line started to stretch back beyond the Locopops store front. There were other record stores already open with many of the titles the folks in line at Bull City were hoping to buy, but we all waited for owner Chaz Martenstein to arrive and open...

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Live: In Raleigh, The Who take their own endurance test

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 11:22 AM

For a moment, I worried the 71-year-old Roger Daltrey had hurt his back. Half an hour into The Who’s show at Raleigh’s PNC Arena, the fourth stop on what’s being billed as the band’s farewell American run, Daltrey leaned deep into the microphone for the start of “My Generation.” He shouted the first few lines of the youthful tirade like someone several decades younger, as Pete Townshend volleyed the song’s responses from his left. But just as Daltrey hit the all-important and now all-ironic line “I hope I die before I get old,” he slipped his right hand just above his...

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Live: New love and a love renewed in Saxapahaw

Posted By and on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 6:42 PM

Hiss Golden Messenger, Natalie Prass Haw River Ballroom, Saxapahaw Friday, April 17, 2015 I did not walk into the Haw River Ballroom Friday night expecting to fall in love with an old flame. I billed this show as “The Natalie Prass concert” to my partner, in part because we’d both been enamored with the opener's debut album earlier this year and in part because I've seen Hiss Golden Messenger more times than I should confess. I assumed Prass would steal the show, her voice earning the adoration of 700-plus eager Hiss Golden Messenger fans. Prass, though, played an engaging and far...

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Live: Diarrhea Planet's serious fun in Raleigh

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 5:40 PM

Diarrhea Planet Kings, Raleigh Saturday, April 11, 2015 Examining the Nashville band Diarrhea Planet from a distance, it's easy to make arguments against them. The name alone invites easy criticism, not to mention the fact that two-thirds of the sextet play guitar. That statistic makes the band seem like a hokey, over-the-top, one-trick pony, especially to skeptics who have yet to become Planeteers. And the recorded material is only OK.  Seeing Diarrhea Planet live, though, puts those concerns to rest for all but the most serious attendees—few of which seemed to be present at Kings in Raleigh on Saturday night....

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Steve Oliva's poster prints join UNC's Southern Folklife Collection

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 12:25 PM

If you haven’t seen Steve Oliva onstage with the likes of Spider Bags, Rat Jackson or The Dry Heathens, maybe you’ve seen his screenprinted posters tacked or taped around the Triangle. He’s done them for Hopscotch, last summer’s Music in the Gardens series at Duke and many other local rock shows. The very nature of such posters is ephemeral, but last week, UNC’s Southern Folklife Collection announced it acquired 85 of Oliva’s posters for inclusion in its extensive archive. Oliva’s prints join a respectable collection of other poster art, with work by Ron Liberti, Casey Burns, Matt Hart, Chris Williams and...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Loud on every level: An interview with Lee Bains III

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires returned to Slim's on Sunday night for what is bound to be the band's last performance in the narrow rock club. Building on momentum from their latest album Dereconstructed, the group turned in a brief, fierce show. After watching sets from the front of the crowd by The Kneads and Old Quarter, Bains—his trademark gallon jug of water in hand—took to the small stage. The group worked the animated crowd, moving on and off the stage with Bains himself doing a slide down the venue's handrail during another smoldering solo. Watch most of...

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Video: J Kutchma's winding journey through Blue Highways

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 10:33 AM

J Kutchma Motorco, Durham Tuesday, March 10, 2015 On a cool Tuesday evening in Durham, J Kutchma performed selections from his fourth album, Blue Highways. Before the show, Kutchma screened a companion film made of old public domain movies. Kutchma's carefully crafted songs are intended as a road-trip soundtrack of sort, and the films he selected fit the mood of each song almost perfectly. They showed scenes of families traveling, parade footage and general community gatherings. After the hour-long film concluded, Kutchma sat solo at center stage and began telling stories related to each song and what he was trying...

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After a slow start, Blackbeard’s Lost Weekender rallies for garage-rock ruckus

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM

Blackbeard’s Lost Weekender The Cave and Nightlight, Chapel Hill Friday, April 10–Saturday, April 11, 2015 On Friday night at the Chapel Hill club Nightlight, the Orlando punk band Golden Pelicans roared through a short set of splattered beer, playful headbutts, larynx-shredding howls from singer Erik Grincewicz and beefy classic-rock riffs from his supporting band. As the foursome whipped the room toward frenzy, Grincewicz slipped a grin. “That’s what I want,” he said. “Intensity.” It was what I wanted, too. But with some very notable exceptions, the energy at Blackbeard’s Lost Weekender, the garage-rock festival that returned to Chapel Hill after...

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Video: Piedmont Melody Makers bubble up in Fountain

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 3:32 PM

Piedmont Melody Makers R.A. Fountain & General Store, Fountain Saturday, March 7, 2015 Roughly an hour east of Raleigh sits the small town of Fountain. With a population of less than 500 and a relatively empty main street, Fountain drew me on a recent Saturday night with a beacon of the past. For the past several years, Alex and Elizabeth Albright have run the R.A. Fountain General Store. The couple revitalized the space into a fully functional store that sells antiques, books, CDs, homemade ice cream and an array of knickknacks. Every Friday or Saturday night, they host regional roots...

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Live: Rhiannon Giddens brings her solo songs an ambitions to Durham

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 3:12 PM

Rhiannon Giddens Carolina Theatre, Durham Thursday, April 2, 2015 Rhiannon Giddens seems to have her sights set on superstardom. From the big instrumental arrangements and flashy light rigs to the longing gazes toward the back of the sold-out Carolina Theatre last week, the singer's desire for something bigger lingered in the air. On her debut solo record, Tomorrow is My Turn, the Carolina Chocolate Drop tries to establish herself as a talented, versatile solo powerhouse—and, above all, a singer. Though she’s a solid fiddle and banjo player, she only picked up those instruments a few times during the performance. The front...

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Live: Lots of lights, little substance from alt-J and Tycho

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Alt-J, Tycho Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh Friday, April 3, 2015 The surest sign of spring in the Triangle might not be a light coat of pollen or exposed shoulders and bare knees or the first warm-weather day. And it’s not when the breeze goes from lion to lamb. The definitive signal is when all of those factors commingle for one outdoor concert. That’s when people leave their jackets at home and smile at each other, happy to be breathing in spring air at last. Such was the case Friday night in Raleigh (and in Carrboro, too, it seems) when Red...

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Live: Sylvan Esso swings into spring at a crowded Carrboro Town Commons

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Sylvan Esso, Flock of Dimes, Ivan Howard Carrboro Town Commons, Carrboro Friday, April 3, 2015 Upon first breaching Carrboro Town Commons for last Friday night's sold-out and outdoor Sylvan Esso show, one was forced to make an instant decision as to which line to join. I didn’t need food, and I didn’t need a porta-john, but I did need to go to the ATM—hey, huge line. I crossed the road and hit the gas station ATM one block away. But upon returning, there was no way to avoid yet another line. Dwelling on this inconvenience may seem churlish, but it’s...

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Abigail Washburn to deliver surprise performance at UNC this afternoon

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 9:20 AM

This morning, UNC announced that renowned folk artist and banjo player Abigail Washburn would be delivering a "pop-up performance" on the steps of its stately Wilson Library this afternoon. The performance begins at 3:25 p.m., and is in celebration of the undergrad students going abroad to Asia this summer and fall. Though Washburn is known chiefly in American folk music circles, she's fluent in Mandarin and regularly integrates traditional Chinese songs into her work. Read about the last time Washburn did a guerilla performance in Raleigh, and get more details on this afternoon's appearance here....

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Hands in the Ayers: DJ Bro-Rabb delivers a 20-minute mix celebrating Art of Cool's co-headliner

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 12:25 PM

Week after week, you can count on DJ Bro-Rabb, a core member of Durham’s long-standing DJ crew The Butta Team, to drop one of his signature Throwback Thursday mixes via Twitter. He’s either flaunting his expertise on thematic mixes like “Fly R&B” and “Bedroom Chill” or decoding the discographies of select soul and hip-hop icons like Stephanie Mills, Rick James, Nile Rodgers, Ice Cube and Boot Camp Clik, among others. This week’s mix is centered around upcoming Art of Cool Music Festival (April 24-26) headliner Roy Ayers. Bro-Rabb excavates some of the legendary vibraphonist’s funk and soul classics, such as “No...

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

On the ropes with the Champ: John Darnielle on parenthood, wrestling and The Pinhook

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Some 30 months have passed since Durham's the Mountain Goats released Transcendental Youth in late 2012. That marks the longest stretch between albums since John Darnielle started recording on a Panasonic boom box in the early ’90s. Granted, there was Wolf in White Van, Darnielle’s debut novel that hit No. 9 on The New York Times Best Seller list last year, plus a National Book Award nomination and an All Hail West Texas vinyl reissue. There was a new baby boy, too. And eventually, there was the spate of songwriting to deal with it all, which resulted in 13 songs...

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Beyond Blind: An Interview with King Hitter

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 11:16 AM

Raleigh’s King Hitter, a new band of several veteran players, released its debut EP last week, and celebrated on Saturday with a set at Southland Ballroom. Karl Agell, the singer, once led Corrosion of Conformity, just as that band began making inroads to the mainstream. His current bandmates—guitarists Scott Little and Mike Brown, bassist Chuck Manning and drummer Jon Chambliss—boast past stints in Leadfoot, South of Heaven and Sex, Love & Money, all acts that had their own close calls with fame. On Saturday, in front of a nearly full venue, King Hitter put those veteran chops on display. The...

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Monroe Reels: Tommy Edwards and Andrew Marlin sing Bill Monroe

Posted By and on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 10:54 AM

In January, Tommy Edwards and Andrew Marlin convened at the North Carolina Museum of History for a rare public show. The set felt more like a peek into a jam session between buddies than a proper concert. The two have found a common language in bluegrass music, with each finding ways to learn from and bounce ideas off the other. Before that museum show, they met at the former home of Bill and Charlie Monroe, the two brothers who were crucial to bluegrass' beginnings. Watch them play a Monroe Brothers tune below, and check out our other sessions featuring Alice Gerrard, Peter Rowan...

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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)

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

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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)

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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