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Friday, November 27, 2015

Before #BlackLivesMatter, they had "Black Hoods": An interview with Durham's Language Arts

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 3:06 PM

“We sort of became these D.I.Y. all-stars. We learned by doing,” says Aden Darity, about his past years at UNC-Chapel Hill with bandmate and longtime friend Pierce Freelon. It’s been six years since the two have performed on the same stage together as the Durham rap duo Language Arts, but on Saturday, they’ll reignite some of the chemistry of their 2004 self-titled LP for a one-time reunion show at The Pinhook. Breakups may be endemic among Triangle hip-hop duos, but unlike most, Language Arts’ ending was a matter of timing and circumstances, not beef. Freelon and Darity recently spoke with...

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Listen to Mac McCaughan's new album-length remix of Non-Believers, called Staring At Your Hologram

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Back in May, Mac McCaughan released Non-Believers, his first record under his own name. Dominated by cold synthesizers and crisp drum machines, it’s a semi-autobiographical album that’s pretty far removed from Superchunk’s sugar-rush indie rock as can be. Yesterday, McCaughan issued Staring At Your Hologram, in which the Merge co-head honcho revises and deconstructs Non-Believers into an album-length instrumental remix. “If the most obvious influences on Non-Believers are bands like New Order or the Cocteau Twins, then for this version of the album I was drawing on a different part of the ’80s landscape and trying to imagine what it would...

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Live: Brian Wilson's touch of tenderness

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 1:49 PM

Brian Wilson Carolina Theatre, Durham Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 Brian Wilson and his ensemble were ready at 8 p.m. last night, even if some of us hadn’t taken our seats yet. By 8:03, though, having missed the opening benediction of “Our Prayer,” I was properly situated, gazing at a towering figure in popular music and reveling in the elusive glory of the line “Sunnydown snuff, I’m all right” in Wilson’s wondrous mini-symphony “Heroes and Villains.” The evening was full of moments like that—pauses with which to marvel again at words, harmonies and choruses that are completely familiar and yet endlessly beguiling. Wilson’s...

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Slow and steady: How Bill Frisell and Ry Cooder made a lifelong impact on my music

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:21 AM

By the time I was 19 years old, my fate was sealed. A musician's life was knocking, and I was eager to answer. But I had just started college, and with my small-town Wisconsin upbringing, I was only answering to the idea of a musician's life, something I wasn’t fully certain was even possible. Where I came from, there wasn’t a lot of precedent for professional artistry, so I couldn’t fully picture what it might look like, how I would live or if I could even hack it. Still, my college freshman self was following grand thoughts that were ever...

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

"White Suburban Minstrelsy": The Holderness family goes for Drake, Adele and Silentó in new Thanksgiving video

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 3:47 PM

The artistic death spiral of America’s most inexplicable show-business family—the Raleigh-based, four-person Holderness clan—continues apace with the latest viral-video plea for relevance, this morning's clumsily titled “Ultimate Thanksgiving Mashup: Hello, Hotline Bling, and Nae Nae, Holderness Family Style.” It’s the group’s second annual Thanksgiving offering, echoing 2014’s Meghan Trainor-inspired “It’s All About That Baste,” which charmingly spoofed the patriarchal nature of our most family-themed holiday. This year’s entry, however, features mom Kim gyrating (sexily?) with a glass of “Chardo-nae-nae” (ouch), plus a cheap jello joke at Adele’s expense (Hello?) and the 4,987th lame, awful “Hotline Bling” parody. The Holderness’ penchant...

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Video: Escape work (and land-speed records) with Earthly's new "Glaze"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 3:56 PM

Earthly—the Chapel Hill electronic duo of Edaan Brook and Brint Hansen, responsible for Days, one of my favorite area albums of 2015—have released a wondrous little video for one of the record’s most powerful tracks, “Glaze.” Produced by Belgian illustrator and GIF whiz Eno Swinnen, the concept for the “Glaze” clip is simple but transfixing: After a countdown, we accelerate, the speed flashing before us like a classic driver arcade game as the road curves and shifts ahead. As it continues to increase, though, glimpses of the highway start to fragment, and wormholes seem to open up for the driver,...

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Live: Hiss Golden Messenger's Heart Like a Levee paints a warm Southern setting

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Hiss Golden Messenger + William Gedney: Heart Like a Levee Duke's Reynolds Industries Theatre, Durham Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015 I don’t remember the first time I saw a Hiss Golden Messenger performance, but an early one lingers in my mind. It was in Winston-Salem at the second installment of that city’s small-but-solid Phuzz Phest. Hiss Golden Messenger—on that day, just Michael Taylor—was slated to perform on a stage inside Krankies Coffee. But Taylor relocated to an outdoor patio, strumming and singing for a small crowd of maybe 15. The sun slowly disappeared and a train horn wheezed in the distance...

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Live: Ensemble InterContemperain extends textures and techniques in Chapel Hill

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Ensemble InterContemperain UNC's Memorial Hall, Chapel Hill Tuesday, Nov. 10–Wednesday, Nov. 11 I’m gonna geek out here for a minute about sound. It’s the only way to address properly the music that Ensemble InterContemporain (EIC) made Tuesday and Wednesday night at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill. Director Matthias Pintscher constructed the concerts to showcase music that doesn’t get performed often in the United States, and the seven featured composers covered a wide range of styles. But all of them dealt primarily with questions of sound and its materiality. Both nights were packed with incredible moments, flights of jaw-dropping virtuosity, thrilling builds...

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Listen to "Coldest Heart," the latest track from Well$

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 10:45 AM

Chapel Hill rapper Well$ has been doing a great Drake impression of late. No, he’s not issuing back-to-back dis tracks at fellow rappers or crooning over Latin riddims like the OVO flag-bearer, but his recent behavior mimics something that only Drake and a handful of other major artists seem to have successfully employed so far: the loose “single” as the most powerful marketing tool in any rapper’s arsenal today. Since May 2014’s MTSYD: Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher, Well$ has been completely quiet in terms of traditional releases. No EPs, no albums, no mixtapes. There were hints about a...

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Video Premiere: Get twisted around with Teardrop Canyon's new "Let it Rest"

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Though he once led the more pop-leaning Butterflies, Carrboro's Josh Kimbrough is taking his songs in a new direction as Teardrop Canyon. His first new track, titled "Let It Rest," is a catchy, crunchy tune that's got a bit of a bite to it.  A tight, chugging rhythm section powers "Let It Rest," with a few surfy guitar parts lending additional intrigue. But for all the song's directness, the video is a dizzying, dim journey that follows Kimbrough winding through a house. Colorful lights flash and fade, combining with blurring effects and the camera's natural movement to a swimmy,...

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Live: Caroline Shaw shines in Raleigh with the North Carolina Symphony

Posted By on Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 1:24 PM

The North Carolina Symphony with Caroline Shaw Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 Friday’s North Carolina Symphony concert was an undeniably affable affair. It began with a work that hasn’t been played by the orchestra, at least in anyone’s memory: Beethoven’s King Stephen overture, from 1811, which may be the composer’s most unabashedly gleeful work. Conductor Edwin Outwater introduced it by way of the play’s author, August von Kotzebue, a famous and peculiar German writer who once penned an essay called “Why Do I Have So Many Enemies?” and was assassinated in 1819. The details of the play...

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

American Aquarium to headline Raleigh's Winterfest Dec. 5

Posted By on Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 3:28 PM

The city of Raleigh is starting to book a little more of its own music scene. Just yesterday, Artsplosure announced that See Gulls and T0W3Rs, two of the capital city’s most exciting upstarts, will play First Night Raleigh’s inaugural “indie rock venue.” (Pardon the name or the location in a church.) And today, Winterfest has announced that American Aquarium will headline its big shindig on December 5. If you’ve never been, Winterfest is the annual downtown launch party for the little skating rink that sits just beside City Plaza. (Workers are building the rink today, in fact, if you need...

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Live: The Foreign Exchange makes a mighty return to Carrboro

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 9:30 PM

The Foreign Exchange Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 Dance, funk, soul, electronic, house, R&B: However you want to label The Foreign Exchange, they embraced it all during a groove-focused show at Cat’s Cradle Saturday night. Though at its core the act is the duo of frontman Phonte Coleman and producer Nicolay Rook, the group's sound has shifted and grown stronger through collaboration with other, like-minded artists. Vocalists Carmen Rodgers and Tamisha Waden add depth to the vocal attack, while keyboardist Zo!, bassist Darion Alexander and drummer Nick Baglio bring serious chops to the rhythm section. Those skills were...

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Live: DIIV, No Joy and guitars at the Cradle

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 6:37 PM

DIIV, No Joy Cat's Cradle, Carrboro Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 DIIV’s leader, the opinionated Zachary Cole Smith, seems to be known for everything except his music. In recent profiles with Pitchfork and The Fader, we’ve heard some about his upcoming record, Is The Is Are. But we’ve also heard a lot about the fallout from his 2013 arrest, his triumph over heroin addiction, his bandmate’s Internet racism and his relationship with the pop singer Sky Ferreira. With all the gossip and controversy, does DIIV even need to release music anymore? Still, onstage Thursday night at Cat’s Cradle with some new...

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Peter Holsapple on Allen Toussaint, 1938-2015

Posted By on Tue, Nov 10, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Allen Toussaint was a stylish and elegant man, from his demeanor and attire to his chord changes and melodies, all awash in tradition and guaranteed to tug on heartstrings. With his death in Spain following a performance last night, we all lost a giant, possibly the greatest ambassador of New Orleans music of all time. Consider the reach of his compositions. From the 1964 instrumental hit “Java” by Al Hirt to his 2007 collaboration with Elvis Costello,The River in Reverse, Toussaint’s presence has been as a fixture in popular music for more than five decades. Songs like “Southern Nights” by...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Live Nation will not tell the city of Raleigh how Walnut Creek performed in 2015—or at least they wouldn't

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 10:27 PM

Live Nation, the world’s biggest live-events promoter, does not want to tell the city of Raleigh how many people—or, more specifically, what kind of people—are using the property it owns. On October 17, I sent one city official and two Live Nation employees a customary request for end-of-season attendance data for Walnut Creek Amphitheatre and Red Hat Amphitheater, venues owned by the city and managed by the Raleigh Convention Center. Each year, local news sources—including The News & Observer and the INDY—publish those records between season’s end in September or October and December, as well as analyze the numbers for...

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Chapel Hill's Mipso will play aboard the KFC float during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 2:41 PM

After a jump into a full-time music career, the past year has been loaded for Chapel Hill's Mipso. This fall has been especially stacked, with an album release that found the young quartet's new record, Old Time Reverie, topping Billboard's bluegrass chart and the band itself pursuing a hefty nationwide touring schedule to support it. But Mipso has an interesting new item to add to the résumé before year's end: Earlier this week, Macy's announced the musical guests for this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mipso will perform "Bad Penny" atop the float for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Other performers in the parade...

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Live: Mary J. Blige closes out Central's homecoming weekend with a trip to church

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Mary J. Blige Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015 On a rainy and muggy Sunday evening, some 2,700 people congregated at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The combination of the day of the week and the well-dressed congregants suggested a church service, but no, we had gathered there for the last installment of N.C. Central’s three-night string of homecoming-weekend concerts. It was a little like church, though: Mary J. Blige’s songs and sermons of self-love and personal power resonated with her audience unlike any other performance I’ve ever seen. As I took my seat, I noticed that...

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This weekend: Pulitzer Prize-winning, Kanye West-collaborating N.C. native Caroline Shaw comes home for the symphony

Posted By on Thu, Nov 5, 2015 at 9:30 AM

According to some ads running on WUNC FM, this weekend's North Carolina Symphony concerts feature Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and a violinist named Caroline Shaw. They give no hint that Shaw is a North Carolina native, that she won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in composition, that she’s recently been hanging out with Kanye West or that she’s in town to play a new violin concerto, Lo, that the Symphony actually co-commissioned. Any orchestra can play Beethoven 8. Only Shaw can play Lo. Shaw premiered the piece in March with the Cincinnati Symphony. She played the solo. The concerts on Friday and Saturday...

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tuskha, the new project of Bowerbirds' Phil Moore, releases new video for "The Program"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 2:50 PM

Phil Moore, formerly(?) of Bowerbirds, just dropped "The Program," the debut single of his new electronic pop project, Tuskha. If you missed Moore's first-ever set as Tuskha at the Friend Island day party at Hopscotch, you can catch him again in an opening slot for Made of Oak, the electronic side project of Sylvan Esso's Nick Sanborn, at The Pinhook on Thursday, Nov. 19. Meanwhile, you can watch the Elise Tyler-directed video for "The Program." Related: If you were interested in the new Bowerbirds record, for which the band raised almost $38,000 three years ago, it seems as though that's no...

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Live: N.C. Central's homecoming concerts restore the faith in Faith Evans

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2015 at 1:41 PM

Bad Boy Reunion Show Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 Outkast, Destiny’s Child, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, The Notorious B.I.G. and a handful of other legends have headlined N.C. Central University’s homecoming festivities in years past. Most of those were in the early ’90s when the school’s homecoming concerts were held annually on “the yard," inside McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. In recent years, the school has switched gears, choosing to headquarter its weekend-long music programming downtown in the Durham Performing Arts Center facility as the Eagles gymnasium awaits its much-needed $750,000 in renovations. And who’s complaining? If...

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mount Moriah delivers first single, "Cardinal Cross," from new LP, How to Dance

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2015 at 10:26 AM

Just a month ago, Mount Moriah released a new three-song seven-inch that featured two new songs and a recording of "Plane" from the band's 2013 set at the Hopscotch Music Festival. It seemed as though a full-length album announcement was imminent, and as of today, it's here. How to Dance, the band's third LP, will be available on February 26, 2016, three years and two weeks since the band's last album, 2013's tremendous Miracle Temple. You can listen to "Cardinal Cross" via Soundcloud below. The tune begins with Heather McEntire mumbling a refrain that you can barely make out before...

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Live: Big Sean blows out N.C. Central's big homecoming party at DPAC

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 9:03 PM

Big Sean, Rich Homie Quan, Rapsody Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 In the middle of her opening set on Saturday night as part of N.C. Central’s Ultimate Homecoming Weekend, Rapsody delivered a strong message to the crowd that was still filing the space: “Any woman can do anything as well, or better, than a man can… all this talk about a ‘female MC,’ a ‘FemmeCee’? I’m a mothafuckin’ beast!” And with the side-stage video boards at Durham Performing Arts Center playing synced-up music videos, a live band performing behind her and the legendary 9th Wonder handling...

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