Monday, December 13, 2010

The Bottom String's Top 10 North Carolina albums of 2010

The year of 2010 proved to be something great for the North Carolina music scene in more ways than one.  With the addition of the first annual Hopscotch Festival being held in Raleigh and Moogfest in Asheville, the scene had a chance to flourish like never before, and flourish it did.  This was mainly due in part to some of the awesome records that came out of North Carolina this year.  Highlighted by The Love Language, Lost in the Trees re-issue, a great full-length debut from Wild Wild Geese, and much more, the albums put out this year all stepped it up a notch.  So here is what The Bottom String thinks are the records from 2010 that YOU need to check out!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ Kevin Devine

Kevin Devine is an artist that's been evolving since his solo debut back in 2002 with "Circle Gets The Square" and only continues to do so with his latest effort, Bad Books, a collaborative project with the guys in Manchester Orchestra.  Kevin was nice enough to sit down with me before the first show on the Andy + Kevin tour at The Cat's Cradle and do a Bottom String Session.

We talked a bit about the process of making the Bad Books record, his progress on his upcoming full length, and much more.  After our interview Kevin performed "Country Sky Glow" from "Make The Clocks Move".  Check out the interview and performance below!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Album Review: "33.3" by Monsonia

33.3 was released on October 19 on Holiday For Quince Records

Monsonia is a three-piece post-punk band out of Raleigh/Chapel Hill that have been making waves in North Carolina's scene for years now with their tight, gritty sound that continues to develop with each album.  "33.3" is Monsonia's latest effort and their first record released on Holiday For Quince Records.  Even with "33.3" being the band's first album as a trio, you can tell the band flows excellently together with bassist/engineer Nick Petersen, drummer Andy Willard, and guitarist/vocalist Carter Browning all producing a sound that seems rough around the edges, yet calculated at the same time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Show Preview: Butterflies Album Release 11/20 at The Cat's Cradle

This Saturday, Butterflies will be celebrating their album release with a very special show at The Cat's Cradle...and a free one at that!  Butterflies are coming out with 4 other fantastic bands from the area to give you a free night of amazing local music, AND a chance to pick up their new record "Residual Child".  The lineup at the Cradle on Saturday will feature Wes Phillips, Cassis Orange, Erie Choir, The Strugglers, and Butterflies, quite the array of bands from the area.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Album Review: "Residual Child" by Butterflies

"Residual Child" is released November 23 on Trekky Records 
Butterflies are a band out of Chapel Hill that just released their sophomore record, "Residual Child" on Trekky Records, a record that comes out of the gate pretty clear with it's have some fun. More specifically, the album focuses a lot on finding happiness in what's around you, and when you put out a record like this one there's a lot to be happy about. The band has improved leaps and bounds since their last record, adding another member with Patrick Jones who has added much more depth to the band than on their previous record.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ Birds & Arrows

While staying in Chapel Hill over the weekend of Troika Music Festival, held in Durham on November 4-6, I got to sit down at the studio with Birds & Arrows as they were getting some recording in and do a Bottom String Session with them.  Birds & Arrows opened up the Troika Music Festival to a packed crowd despite the cold, wet weather in Durham on November 4 and left the crowd thoroughly pleased.

We talked a bit about the upcoming Stroke It, Noel performance at the Cat's Cradle, their progress on a new record, and the Musical Chairs Compilation as well.

Birds & Arrows played two songs for me outside of the studio, a new on called Beyond The Pale and Time Alone.  These videos can be found at the bottom of the page and also on our Youtube channel.  The interview can be found below:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Album Review: "Amusement Park" by Transportation

Amusement Park was released on Odessa Records on October 12

Transportation are a band out of Chapel Hill that takes an intriguing spin on the traditional indie rock sound, but not in the way you'd expect.  Transportation have the same crunch and distortion as all of the other bands, but their vocal melodies and guitar solos give the feel of a classic rock band.  The way that the band intertwines the two sounds makes for a very individual sound that you don't see in many of the other bands around the area.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Troika Day 3 Highlights

Before I say anything about the night's festivities I want to say that Troika 2010 was an amazing weekend full of amazing music. North Carolina's finest shined throughout the festival and proved to everyone in attendance why the Triangle has one of the best music scenes in the whole country. A big thanks goes out to everyone who put the festival together and to everyone who helped keep the wheels spinning throughout the weekend.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Troika Day 2 Highlights

Day 2 of Troika proved to be a night that was somehow even better than Day 2.  The night opened up with a set that I knew was going to be good, but didn't realize HOW good.  Wesley Wolfe at Motorco was the first show of the night for me, and it was a show that shone throughout the night as one of the best.  Wesley Wolfe and his band all made it feel like they truly enjoyed being on stage and they brought a great energy to Motorco that seemed to fill the room as the heads began bobbing and the bodies began to move.  Wesley Wolfe definitely was one of the highlights of the night for me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Troika Day 1 Highlights

The first day of Troika definitely set an amazing mood for the days to come.  The night started off a bit later than anticipated seeing as my stay in Chapel Hill lasted a bit longer than I was trying to, so unfortunately I missed Birds & Arrows set at Central Park.  However, I came just in time for the beginning of Mosadi Music's set.  The band kicked off their set with some crowd interaction that as they said "would keep you warm".  The moving around did just that, and the funk-rap sounds of Mosadi Music kept the crowd entertained.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Troika Music Festival Itinerary

The Annual Troika Music Festival
 in Durham kicks off Thursday

Troika Music Festival is back yet again with another awesome lineup.  Now looking at the schedule you may see a bit of conflict amongst who you want to see, but hopefully The Bottom String can help you clear that up a bit.  During our stay at Troika, The Bottom String will be recording Bottom String Sessions with Old Bricks and Birds & Arrows, both of which we're very excited for!  However, onto the schedule:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Album Review: "Southern Rescue Trails" by North Elementary

Southern Rescue Trails was released September 24 on 307 Knox

Chapel Hill's North Elementary put out their sixth LP back in September with "Southern Rescue Trails" on 307 Knox Records.  The band uniquely combines crunchy, distorted guitar riffs with infectous synth lines for a very interesting sound once you throw lead singer and songwriter John Harrison's gritty voice into the mix.  The band will be playing at Troika Music Festival this weekend in Durham

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Album Review: "staysail" by Gray Young

staysail was released October 23 on 307 Knox Records

Raleigh's Gray Young cemented their place in North Carolina's music scene with their impressive 2009 debut album "Firmament".  The band gave us an emotionally and musically driven album, impressing listeners with how dynamic of a sound they could truly provide.  The band took the post-rock archetype and somehow made their album stand out amongst the rest with how raw and soothing their sound was.  Gray Young had their album release show for their sophomore record "staysail", released on 307 Knox Records, at The Pour House in Raleigh on October 23 and while the band may not have made as strong a statement with "staysail" as they did with their debut, they certainly proved that "Firmament" wasn't just a fluke.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Album Review: "Sorry, Earth" by Wild Wild Geese

Sorry, Earth was released October 12, 2010 on Odessa Records

Wild Wild Geese is made up of members of Americans In France, Rongo Rongo, Toddlers, and Spider Bags, so needless to say sights should be set high for their full-length debut.  If you're one of those who was anticipating this release, then you've certainly had your expectations met.  Wild Wild Geese released a 4-song EP titled "Are You A Baby?" last year, but "Sorry, Earth" is their first full length release and it stands as one of the best of North Carolina's 2010 releases thusfar.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Troika Music Festival 2010

Hammer No More The Fingers, Troika veterans,
are closing out the festival
The 6th annual Troika Music Festival is almost here.  November 4-6 will be an amazing string of nights for downtown Durham as bands such as Valient Thorr, Midtown Dickens, Old Bricks, Chatham County Line, Hammer No More The Fingers and much more grace the stages of venues such as Central Park, 618 Foster Street, The Trotter Building, Motorco Music Hall, Fullsteam, Pinhook, and Casbah.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ Embarrassing Fruits

Photo credit to J Caldwell
Embarrassing Fruits are a band that many have come to love in the North Carolina scene.  The band has always exhibited the feel-good rock vibe of the 90's, and with their latest release they proved their maturity as  a band while still keeping their trademark style.  Embarrassing Fruits kicked off WKNC's "Fridays on the Lawn" series with Birds and Arrows last week and after their performance they sat down to talk with The Bottom String and do a few songs.  The band talked about everything from the writing process for the new album to their excitement to play at the newly re-opened Kings.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Album Review: "Rock N Roll Ghoul" by Mad Tea Party

Rock N Roll Ghoul is Mad Tea Party's 2nd Halloween EP

Mad Tea Party have made it pretty clear that Halloween is their favorite holiday.  With last year's "Zombie Boogie" and this year's follow up with "Rock n Roll Ghoul", the band has been putting out Holiday EPs pretty frequently.  Mad Tea Party is a rock duo based out of Asheville, North Carolina comprised of Jason Krekel and Ami Worthen that boasts a unique blend of vintage garage rock and even doo-wop vocal harmonies combined with their "uke-abilly" base.  On "Rock n Roll Ghoul" the band brings out an assortment of garage rock/pop songs that leave you wishing it lasted just a bit longer, topping out at a little under ten minutes for the four track EP.

The title track immediately draws you into the record with a fast paced punk-esque sound to it with screaming backup vocals to end the song with.  The song, much like the rest of the record, doesn't slack off one bit.  Mad Tea Party could have easily thrown together a few songs to simply put out a Halloween EP but you can tell that the band really had fun with the record and by the end of your listen, you will too.  "Possessed" is the longest track at 3:05, a song that's a bit poppier than the rest of the record, Possessed still brings a vintage rock sound to the table.  The track that stands out the most is definitely "Frankenstein's Den", a cover of The Hollywood Flames.  Frankenstein's Den blends the uke-abilly sound that Mad Tea Party has become known across the region for while bringing doo-wop vocal harmonies to top it off.

Mad Tea Party didn't disappoint with this Holiday EP and hopefully they continue to churn them out.  If you're looking for a fun, quick listen through then definitely check the record out on their bandcamp at or even better check them out live on some of their EP release shows and pick up a "Rock n Roll Ghoul" vinyl 7"!

EP Release Shows:
October 2 - The Pour House - Raleigh, NC (with the Straight 8's)
October 15 - Stella Blue - Asheville, NC (with Mark Sultan)
October 16 - Double Door - Charlotte, NC
October 16 - The Cave - Chapel Hill, NC (part of Blackbeard's Lost Weekend)
October 29 - Uketoberfest - Aberdeen, NC

Monday, September 27, 2010

Album Review: "Frontier Justice" by Embarrassing Fruits

Trekky Records' Embarrassing Fruits
When one mentions the North Carolina indie scene, usually bands like Superchunk are the first to come to mind.  The band that created Merge Records and helped build upon the now booming music scene in North Carolina truly helped bring indie rock to the forefront.  But it's not just any type of indie rock, it's indie rock with a certain nonchalance that sums up what life is like to be a twenty-something adolescent going through the troubles of growing up, falling in love, breaking up, and doing drugs.  It's the mid-90's "slack-rock" as some refer to it, but most importantly, it's the sound that Embarassing Fruits continues to build upon in their latest record, "Froniter Justice".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ Lonnie Walker

Lonnie Walker, a band who has been named by Earfarm as the top band to hear in North Carolina, caught the eye of quite a few people at Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh.  They were named one of Paste Magazine's Top 5 moments at Hopscotch, thrown in with names like Broken Social Scene, Lost in the Trees, and Midtown Dickens.  If you've ever been to a Lonnie Walker show then you know why.  The band exudes energy whether they're playing in a packed house, like they did at Deep South for Hopscotch, or out behind a diner in a fenced in lot full of gravel, like they did for their Day Party performance outside of Remedy Diner.  I sat down with Lonnie Walker on Saturday at Ruby Red and talked a bit with the band about things such as the origins of Lonnie Walker, Brian's side project, NAPS, and much more.

The band also sat down for two acoustic performances of their songs, "Wider Than White" and "Teenage Poem".  Brian and Eric stripped it down for "Wider Than White" and the whole band got in on an acoustic rendition of "Teenage Poem" including drumming on the chairs and stomping on the porch.  Lonnie Walker's performance for The Bottom String Sessions was definitely a highlight of my Hopscotch experience.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ Lost in the Trees

Photo credit: D.L. Anderson
Lost in the Trees is a band whose name has become synonymous with the North Carolina music scene, and for a good reason.  Lost in the Trees can best be summed up as a powerhouse orchestral-folk band that can go from making you want to dance to making you want to cry within a matter of minutes.  Although it has been said for many bands, you've not heard Lost in the Trees the way that it should be heard if you've not seen them life.  Fortunately I've had the grace to see them on multiple times and which each performance they outdid the previous one, but the show at the Trekky Records Day Party for Hopscotch Music Festival was by far the best.  For those of you not familiar with Hopscotch, it is a music festival put on by Indy Weekly, a Raleigh magazine, which showcased some of the best bands North Carolina had to offer.  Lost in the Trees headlined the Trekky Day Party at the Pour House and had the placed filled from wall to wall.  Their set consisted primarily of new songs but "Fireplace" tore the place down as their last song.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kings Barcade brings even more live music to Raleigh

On August 27th, Raleigh was graced with the return of Kings Barcade.  Kings Barcade will be the location of quite a few Hopscotch festivities, but that's just the first of many great things that will be coming out of Kings Barcade in the near future.  Stay up to date on the shows at Kings through their website at but for now, check out some of the standout shows right here:

Wednesday, September 8th
Valient Thorr w/ Junius, Howl
9:00 PM

Friday, October 8th
Annuals w/ Ryan Gustafson, Jenna Smith
8:00 PM
$10 adv

Saturday, October 16th
The Thermals w/ Cymbals Eat Guitars
9:30 PM
$12 adv/ $10 door

Thursday, November 4th
The Felice Brothers
9:00 PM
$13 adv

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Bottom String Session w/ The Physics of Meaning

Last Saturday, The Bottom String sat down with Daniel Hart of The Physics of Meaning and got to talk a bit about what has made Daniel the musician he is, some of his favorite moments in his career, and what's up next for one of North Carolina's best on the scene.  When Daniel isn't busy touring with St. Vincent or performing for bands such as Polyphonic Spree, John Vanderslice, Annuals, The Rosebuds, and Pattern is Movement he is writing his own music and performing with The Physics of Meaning.

Daniel immediately caught the attention of everyone in the building at Broad Street Music when he started to play the first notes of the night all alone with his two band mates standing in the crowd.  Daniel began his loop on his violin and the crowd all perked up and turned their attention towards the stage.  When Daniel began to pluck the familiar opening notes of "Concerning the UFO Sightings Near Highlands" by Sufjan Stevens a select few in the crowd, myself included, felt a huge grin come across their face.  After the breath taking performance of a Sufjan favorite, the rest of the band came on stage and it only got better from there.  Daniel's voice resonated through the room of Broad Street Music and by the end of the night the entire crowd had fallen in love with The Physics of Meaning.  However, before the set even started Daniel graced The Bottom String with a solo performance as well.  Covering "Tears in the Typing Pool" by Broadcast, Daniel Hart performed for the first ever Bottom String Session.  The video for this can be found below.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hopscotch Festivities Finalized

Des Ark is just one of the Carolina favorites added to the Day Parties
The last time we covered Hopscotch, only a handful of Day Parties had been announced but alas, the rest has finally come out to the public.  These Day Parties have given us the joys of Des Ark, Lost in the Trees, Midtown Dickens, Megafaun, Hammer No More The Fingers, and many more North Carolina favorites.  However, the Day Parties aren't all that have been announced.  A showing of Animal Collective's movie "Oddsac" will be screening at the Galaxy Theater on Friday, September 10 at 3:00 PM for only $5.  Not to mention the several "Author and Artist Series" as well.

Here are the finalized Day Party lineups:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hopscotch Day Parties Update

Hopscotch Music Festival, in Raleigh, offers Broken Social Scene, Panda Bear, and Public Enemy as headliners

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you're well aware of the music festival that is hitting Raleigh on September 9, 10, and 11 with Hopscotch.  However, the lineup that was announced earlier this summer (which can be found here) isn't all that will be offered at Hopscotch.  A few day parties have been announced already with a few more being anxiously anticipated as well.  All day parties will be open to the public and will be 100% free.  Churchkey Records' day party even offers free beer from the Triangle Brewing Company!  Here is a glimpse at what has been announced so far:

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Devo, Disco Biscuits, and more added to Moogfest

Devo is just one of many more bands to be added to Moogfest
Asheville based music festival, Moogfest, added six new bands to the lineup on Friday with the promise of quite a few more to come.  The bands added on this bunch include Devo, The Disco Biscuits, Van Dyke Parks, Clare and The Reasons, Bonobo, and Ikonika.  On top of this lineup addition, Moogfest's schedule has also been released.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moogfest Lineup Announcement

MGMT is one of the headliners for Moogfest in Asheville

For the past few weeks there has been a lot of buzz about the first Moogfest, a 3 day festival in Asheville, North Carolina, which is put on by the Moog synth company on Halloween weekend.  The preliminary lineup announcement with MGMT, Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, Big Boi, Jonsi, and Caribou came out and got everyone excited for what Moogfest would have in store for the festival goers.  The lineup was announced this morning and is as followed:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lost in the Trees Album Review

All Alone In An Empty House by Lost In The Trees

For those who follow the North Carolina music scene, the name, Lost in the Trees, is nothing new.  However, with the re-release of their first full length, "All Alone In An Empty House", on ANTI- records, the band is now getting the exposure that they truly deserve.  Having been a hidden gem of the Carolinas for years now, Lost in the Trees getting their re-release on ANTI- opens up the band to a much wider audience.  The band is currently on a string of shows in California and were scheduled to play a tour with Neko Case which was unfortunately cancelled.