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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Trap-A-Long Karaoke Comes to The Pour House. Why, Trap Lord, Why?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 10:50 PM

What a time to be alive when we have the luxury of listening to a podcast of music critics arguing about who made trap music “album-worthy”—T.I., Travis Scott, Post Malone, or Future? Hell, while we’re at it, we might as well expand the conversation to even more ridiculous lengths by asking the more pressing question: Who deemed trap music “karaoke worthy?” The quick answer may be easily found in this brilliant 2¢ Pt. II mixtape. The DJ duo of Craze and Four Color Zack strike back at the “comically saturated market” of today’s DJ culture, which, among other offenses, has...

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't Miss Boulevards' Ecstatic New "Move and Shout"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 6:24 PM

On Friday (or May 6, if you're in Europe), Raleigh's Jamil Rashad is poised to launch a worldwide funk renaissance with GROOVE!, his debut LP on Captured Tracks, a New York label with a lot of deserved cachet. Yesterday, Rashad issued the final preview of the record, "Move and Shout," and as intended, it's only boosted anticipation for the record. Over a classic, snapping groove, with guitar slicing through stabs and washes of synths, Rashad beckons the listener to come to the party, to forget about their "bad luck day" and let the DJ fix the mood. Into just four...

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Watch a New Video from Skylar Gudasz, "I Want to Be With You in the Darkness"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 1:19 PM

Last month, after nearly three years of work, Skylar Gudasz finally released her full-length debut. Oleander is a wonderful record stacked with thoughtful, gorgeous songs, which Gudasz says explore her relationship with herself as much as they do relationships with other people. The video for "I Want to Be With You in the Darkness" follows Gudasz through the city and across a beach. She wanders to the sound of the song and considers how to be with someone in a way that isn't just a false promise of forever.  It's the second single from Oleander, following the pointed, tongue-in-cheek...

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Live: At Duke, Joan Baez Calls Trump a Troglodyte, Wows With Guthrie and Cotten

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 1:58 PM

Joan Baez Duke's Page Auditorium, Durham Sunday, March 20, 2016 Joan Baez pulled no punches when she visited Duke University's Page Auditorium Sunday. She played the same room in the mid-sixties. Just as she spoke out then against the troubles facing the country, she did it again now. After walking on stage by herself, met by backdrop lighting and stage fog, she kicked off the show with a local favorite, Libba Cotten's "Freight Train." After a handful of songs, she welcomed her band, which included multi-instrumentalist Dirk Powell, percussionist Gabriel Harris, and back-up vocalist Grace Stumberg. Shortly thereafter, Baez started...

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Justin Vernon and Megafaun Reunite to Cover the Grateful Dead ... With Bruce Hornsby?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 3:21 PM

Dia de los Muertos usually falls at the end of October, but it comes early this year with the release of Day of the Dead, a five-CD, fifty-nine-track Grateful Dead tribute album that drops in May. Organized by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National, the project’s proceeds will benefit the AIDS/HIV-fighting Red Hot Organization. But before even a single (legal) download occurs, the project has already yielded fruit in having reunited DeYarmond Edison, the early act of Justin Vernon (pre-Bon Iver) and Phil Cook, Brad Cook, and Joe Westerlund, before they became Megafaun. DeYarmond Edison’s collaboration with Bruce...

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Live: Mount Moriah Makes a Powerful Homecoming in Carrboro

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Mount Moriah Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro Saturday, March 26, 2016 Heather McEntire stepped to the microphone Saturday night chewing a cough drop. On tour, she confessed, all four members of Mount Moriah had played through colds. But, she promised, “I’m gonna sing my heart out for you. And we’re gonna play our hearts out for you.” For an hour and a half on Saturday night, she kept that promise. A month to the day after releasing its magnificent third album, How to Dance, Mount Moriah finally shared the songs onstage to a hometown crowd large enough to fill the Cat’s Cradle.  How to...

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Friday, March 25, 2016

This Week Has Been a Grind. Let GRRL's "Keep it Going" End It Well.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 25, 2016 at 9:38 AM

It should come as little surprise that Durham dance producer and DJ was among the North Carolina representatives at the ever-expanding South By Southwest music festival in Austin earlier this month. That's for a few reasons. First, look at the growing number of listens and followers on their Soundcloud following the release of last year's impressive Shards EP. Then consider the wide, ambitious net that the beatsmith is casting: in a given week, the “curator-turned-DJ” can be found on such disparate platforms as the Party Illegal series in downtown Durham as well as online British creative collective NTS,...

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Nice Price Books in Durham Is Closing, Probably in May (Updated)

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Nearly three decades after opening their first Durham location, the owners of Nice Price Books are closing the 811 Broad Street store, operating there since 2001. Co-owner Cindy Kamoroff says the store will not re-open in another location. Instead, she and her husband, Barry Blanchette, are retiring from the used-book-store business they started in 1987 in Carrboro. Blanchette and Kamoroff say they expect the Durham store to close around the end of May. She says she'll miss the community that's built up around the store. "It's been a real locus of culture and social interactions for us, with our employees," says...

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Moogfest Announces Daytime Programming of Interviews and Workshops

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Moogfest announced its daytime programming today, dubbed "Future Thoughts," which will include interviews, workshops, master classes, and film screenings led by some of the festival's top acts and leading "technologists." The day portion of the fest, which happens May 19–22 in downtown Durham, will feature interviews with GZA (Wu-Tang Clan) and Laurie Anderson, a panel on Afrofuturism with Reggie Watts, Tyondai Braxton, and Raleigh native Mykki Blanco, and master classes led by producer Daniel Lanois (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, U2, Peter Gabriel) and legendary British ambient act The Orb, who will also be presenting the U.S. premiere of the film Lunar Orbit....

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sad About Phife Dawg? Need to Feel Better About Yourself? Watch Margaret Spellings Scratch Records.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 11:33 AM

As you have likely already heard, A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg has died, presumably late last night after a prolonged battle with diabetes and a kidney transplant eight years ago. He was only forty-five, an age that seems much too soon, especially for someone who had such a pioneering impact on music. Speaking of that impact: UNC-Chapel Hill, of course, has a pioneering hip-hop program. Yesterday, during her tour of her new system's flagship school, the fresh UNC system president got a glimpse of it when she stopped by the 1789 Venture Lab. Andre Barden, or DJ A-Minor, sampled Spellings...

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Live: The North Carolina Symphony Nods to the Sky and the Earth—and the Electric Violin?

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 5:07 PM

N.C. Symphony: Vivaldi's Four Seasons Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh Saturday, March 19, 2016 Last weekend’s North Carolina Symphony concert, which the orchestra will reprise tomorrow night in Raleigh, was all about strings and the natural world. The show featured pieces that investigate natural cycles, performed by more violins than you can shake a poorly rendered long-leaf stick at. The opening moments of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Musica Celestis just simply appear, sublimating out of silence. It’s a good explanation of the piece as a whole, an arrangement of the slow movement of Kernis’s first string quartet, written in 1990. The piece seems to be constantly rising...

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Live: Sylvan Esso Unveils New Songs in Texas

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Unannounced shows at SXSW are the quintessential marketing tactic. They exist to give festival showcases an air of speculative mystery, but they must play their hand far enough in advance for #brand influencers to show up, lest civilians take all the available spots. These secret shows can end up being uninteresting (Neon Indian DJ set, anyone?), but many of the rarest and best one-offs hide behind a veil, so asking around and constant Twitter scouring is required. Early on Friday in Texas, I got a tip that Durham’s Sylvan Esso would play the unannounced closing set Friday night at Mohawk....

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Friday, March 18, 2016

That Moogfest Map You Might Have Seen Today Isn't Quite Right

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 6:26 PM

Early Friday afternoon, a map of Moogfest's proposed footprint for the festival's inaugural iteration in downtown Durham in May began to circulate through social media. That map, sourced from The Herald-Sun reporter Lauren Horsch, enumerated twenty-two venues for the event, with some strange surprises, including the barbecue restaurant The Pit, the erstwhile clothing boutique Dear Hearts, and the bar Surf Club. But Moogfest director Marisa Brickman says that map, which was submitted to city council a month ago, is not accurate. Some of those venues won't be used for public Moogfest events, and some won't be used at all. (The...

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Live: Deviant Septet Dances with the Devil and Duke Composers

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 1:16 PM

Deviant Septet Duke's Baldwin Auditorium, Durham Friday, March 11, 2016 Over the years, Duke Performances and the Duke University Department of Music have collaborated to bring amazing musicians to the area to collaborate with grad students in the music composition program. Sometimes the groups—Eighth Blackbird, Alarm Will Sound, the Hilliard Ensemble—read a few pieces before heading off to their next stop. Others, like The Bad Plus and yMusic, stick around for a while, helping composers develop pieces and then performing or recording them. I know this first-hand from my time in the Duke music department, where I earned my...

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Video: Peter Rowan Holds Court at Duke's Baldwin Auditorium

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 10:12 AM

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band Duke's Baldwin Auditorium, Durham Friday, March 4, 2016 Earlier this month, the bluegrass stalwart Peter Rowan stopped in Durham for a performance at Duke. The show paired one of the more pristine, recognizable voices in bluegrass with one of the more acoustically sound venues in the region, the Baldwin Auditorium. Rowan was joined by a strong backing band with Keith Little on banjo, Paul Knight on bass, Chris Henry on mandolin, and Blaine Sprouse on fiddle. The quintet kicked the evening off with "Doc Watson Morning," an ode to a favorite son of North Carolina...

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

SXSW 2016: The Triangle's Watch List

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2016 at 1:15 PM

The music portion of Austin's South by Southwest has begun and will overrun Austin, Texas, through week's end. Though it's easy to gripe about the congestion and corporatization of the event, especially during the last decade, hordes of bands still make the southward pilgrimage in hopes of being heard at showcases both official and unofficial. Below, I've listed all the area bands making the trip, as well as some presumable reasons for doing so. And if I've forgotten someone, let me know, and I'll add 'em. SHIRLETTE AMMONS Why: In some ways, Shirlette Ammons's Language Barrier reflects the spirit of...

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Carrboro's The Station Will Reopen Under New Ownership April 7

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 4:22 PM

After closing at the end of December, Carrboro’s The Station will reopen April 7 under new ownership and with new management. The longtime Main Street venue will retain its live music focus but will shift from as many as seven nights of free events per week to three paid shows. So far, the programming looks to be more diverse than it’s previously been. “Our vision is to keep with the musical background of the space,” says Michelle Temple, who has signed on as the room’s talent buyer. “We want to run intimate shows in this room professionally.” Temple is a...

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Grandmaster Flash to Headline Duke's Brickside Festival

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash will headline the twelve-hour Brickside Festival at Duke Coffeehouse on April 9, the venue announced at midnight. Flash isn't the only New York stalwart on the bill: Martin Bisi, the producer at the helm of some of the city's most important records in the eighties and nineties, will play his own heavy solo material, too. The rest of the diverse cast includes the folk-punk mixups of AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) and the hard-hitting, topically astute romps of Downtown Boys. Rising Raleigh singer ZenSoFly joins Natural Causes and Bad Friends in the local slots. Duke Coffeehouse booking manager...

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Watch: Crooked Fingers Says Farewell at The Pinhook

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 3:58 PM

Next week, former Archers of Loaf leader Eric Bachmann will release a self-titled album through Merge Records. It's Bachmann's first LP since 2011 and the first album to sport his own name in a decade. The imaginative nine-song set is also the best work of Bachmann's career since the start of his former singer-songwriter outlet, Crooked Fingers, near the beginning of the millennium. Speaking of that nom de plume, Bachmann decided to finish some business under that handle before delivering his new work. In January, Merge reissued the first two Crooked Fingers works, the self-titled debut and 2001's Bring on...

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Friday, March 11, 2016

In Pieces: Getting Misty with a Lachrymose Garth Brooks at His Raleigh Press Conference

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 7:03 PM

When Garth Brooks went on tour in the booming nineties, there was no wave of cell-phone photography to greet him from the other side of the stage. There was no Taylor Swift, so Brooks was the pop-country crossover master who pissed off the most purists. There was no President Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton was the First Lady, not a presidential candidate. There was no Great Dixie Chicks Controversy, where radio DJs dropped the group like a hot potato after Natalie Maines announced she was ashamed of George Bush’s Texas heritage. Back then, industry moguls didn’t debate whether or not being...

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Bowie Ball: A Glam Dance Party Returns to Durham Saturday Night

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 2:45 PM

A glam rock dance party with a focus on David Bowie is natural, like rhinestones and lightning makeup. In the early seventies, glam rock celebrated theatricality and camp over the era’s self-serious singer-songwriter ethos, and it suited Bowie exquisitely, providing him with his most indelible personae. Glam had a limited shelf life, but Bowie spent the first part of the decade decked out in heavy makeup, anyway. When he reemerged in 1975, he had moved directly into R&B. His performance of “Golden Years” on Soul Train cemented his relationship with dance music in the disco era, and, a decade later,...

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Live: Thank You, South by Southwest, for Bringing Big Thief to The Kraken

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Scorning South by Southwest has become the new stereotype. Too crowded, too corporate, too cliché: those are the ways we tend to talk about what’s become America’s biggest tripartite festival, which President Barack Obama will actually address today in person. I’m in no position to argue, either. After going for six consecutive years, I finally gave up the annual pilgrimage a half-decade ago and haven’t regretted the decision once. March is more relaxing now. One factor that assuages any possible guilt or FOMO-based anxiety is the Triangle’s situational geography. Every year, between late February and early April, bands from all...

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Q&A: Seamus Kenney Recalls the Quirks of SNMNMNM, Reuniting Monday

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 11:33 AM

After putting in roughly a decade as a band, the four-piece SNMNMNM (as in, S and M and M and M) split up after 2007’s Crawl Inside Your Head.  Since, tuba player Mark Daumen has kept busy with several area bands including Lost in the Trees. Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Seamus Kenney now leads the area singing institution Flash Chorus and contributes to a lot of local records. His brother, Matt, who plays lead guitar and sings, has been raising a family and is poised to graduate from UNC School of the Arts. Matt Vooris owns a lesson studio and plays with...

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Good Morning, Spring: Listen to Bobby James's Balmy "Lifted"

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 8:27 AM

With temperatures well above seventy degrees every day this week, many are taking North Carolina's balmy weather as a sign that winter is gone. In my mind, it’s been over for a few weeks now—ever since the warm California breeze of Bobby James’s new track, “Lifted,” made its way to the East Coast. James, a Raleigh expatriate and Los Angeles resident, has been relatively quiet since his move west nearly two years ago. In the ten months prior to this release, his Soundcloud account went completely silent, something he even references in this song: “Imaginary Player since Bobby been...

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Listen to Body Games' Debut, Damager, for the Next Forty-Eight Hours

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 2:30 PM

At long last, we have a Body Games LP: after the release of last year’s terrific Local Love Vol. 1, the Carrboro trio promised that its debut LP, Damager, would arrive soon. Nearly a year has passed, and Body Games will finally issue the album independently March 15. You can stream it below for the next forty-eight hours. Despite the delay, Damager does not disappoint. Imbued with melancholy and sweetened by the sonorous singing of Kate Thompson and Dax Beaton, these nine songs seem to trace emotional fault lines while somehow sporting a smile. Between the amorous dejection of the...

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