Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Shows of 2011

Happy holiday season readers!  I took a bit of a break after exam periods to enjoy the festivities but alas we're back to the blogosphere to keep spreading the good word.  2011 is winding down quickly and looking back through the year it's clear to see how blessed we are as North Carolinians to have such a flourishing music scene.  From the phenomenal acts brought to the state thanks to swiftly rising festivals like Moogfest and Hopscotch, which have been drawing more national attention to the state, to the incredible shows in tiny clubs, packed amphitheaters, and everywhere in between, North Carolina had one hell of a year for shows.  Agatha and I have both rounded up our Top 5 shows of the year, so let's get to it!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Around The Triangle: Beirut, The Sea and Cake (Video), American Aquarium, Jon Lindsay

Beirut at The Cat's Cradle on December 8, 2011

Exciting shows are rounding out 2011 in the Triangle, some of which find themselves being the highlight of the year for some showgoers.  Beirut was just one of these highly anticipated shows that popped up late in the year and the annual American Aquarium set at The Pour House proved to be just as incredible as usual.  Agatha was out shooting both Beirut and American Aquarium, as well as Jon Lindsay with Wiley Hunter and The Cazadores.  On top of all of this photo goodness we've got video shots from The Sea and Cake at Local 506 back in November.  Check out our captures from Around The Triangle after the jump!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"David Thompson" by Kooley High

David Thompson by Kooley High was released on
Fat Beats on December 6, 2011
North Carolina hip-hop has flourished this year, with Carolina's own J. Cole finding his way to a #1 debut atop the Billboard charts it's been clear that the overwhelming amount of talent in this state is beginning to get the recognition it deserves.  J. Cole is just scraping the surface of this talent pool though, the state is filled with names like 9th Wonder, Phonte, The Beast, King Mez, and arguably one of the fastest rising in the state with Kooley High.  While Kooley has established a name for themselves with their debut full-length, Eastern Standard Time, they're flexing their skills on this new release, David Thompson.  While some of Kooley High has relocated to Brooklyn, it's very clear that their heart still remains in North Carolina and the hip-hop scene that they've flourished in.  Between the stellar production and effortless displays of clever lyricism, Kooley High has placed their feet firmly in the door of national recognition with David Thompson.  Kooley High is celebrating their album release at The Pour House in Raleigh on Saturday, December 10 with King Mez, Actual Proof, and Lazarus

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You Should Know: Gross Ghost

You Should Know is a series that has been long awaited for me, after dropping the interviews from Bottom String Sessions it was a conscious decision to add a video feature to the blog, but the matter of bringing it all together was a bit more.  You Should Know is a video feature on local bands that highlights the band's formation, future, and a bit of everything else in between all the while focusing on the aspect of the band that has made them so prominent on the scene for me, their music.

Gross Ghost was kind enough to invite me out to their cabin outside of Carrboro to film our session, upon driving through the dirt roads and passing the "No Trespassing Signs" with an ominous "wrong turn" type of feel to it, Aggie and I came to the end of the path and pretty much dropped our jaws at how incredible this place looked.  Mike later informed us of his gun-toting neighbor being basically harmless, then gave us the grand cabin tour so to speak.  Mike, Tre, Rob, and TJ are all incredibly endearing individuals and upon finding out that they'd planned to film full band inside of the cabin I basically had an inner fanboy freakout over the fact that I'd get to see my own private Gross Ghost set inside of an empty cabin in the woods.  It was as awesome as it sounds.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Around The Triangle: Bottom String Session #16, Local Beer Local Band, Hammer No More The Fingers, Architecture in Helsinki

Photo Credit: Agatha Donkar
It's been busy times for The Bottom String lately with holidays and exams lumping themselves together, but we're jumping back on the train to keep bringing the goodness to ya!  We've got our You Should Know with Gross Ghost coming up this week as well as two new Bottom String Sessions, plus the beginning of our Year End lists!  For starters though we'll backtrack some and provide some awesome captures from the past few weeks with Architecture in Helsinki at The Cat's Cradle, Local Beer Local Band with Gross Ghost and Lilac Shadows, as well as Hammer No More The Fingers, Lonnie Walker, and Free Electric State at Nightlight.

Also after the jump is our Bottom String Session with Sinful Savage Tigers from the backyard of Andrew Marlin.  A stellar set of songs from an excellent upcoming folk band from Carrboro, Sinful Savage Tigers performed "Natural Ghost" from their debut release as well as "Ballad of John Grove" off of their latest album, "The Last Night Of The Revels".

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Show Review: The Sea and Cake w/ Brokeback & Butterflies

The Sea and Cake @ Local 506
Photo Credit: Agatha Donkar

The beginning of a show filled weekend for me, I was stoked to get to see The Sea and Cake and Butterflies coming into this show, however, I walked away with a new found respect and love for the band that was sandwiched in between the two, Brokeback.  This was my first show at Local 506 and I've got to say I thoroughly enjoy the place, I can't say for certain but the show looked to be about sold out.  I had to leave before the end of The Sea and Cake's set if I wanted to have a ride home, but the crowd kept coming so I'd assume they reached capacity, because it was certainly a show worthy of such.  Before the show I'd shot Bottom String Sessions with both Mandolin Orange and Sinful Savage Tigers and spent about two and a half hours inside of an incredibly busy Four Corners on the day of UNC's spectacle of a first game played on a gigantic boat.  It was...uhm...something.  I'm not big on college sports so lets just say that I wasn't into all of the fanfare but whatever floats your boat.  Plus, "gopack".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hear Here: November 16 - November 25

Mike Dillon of Gross Ghost from our "You Should Know"
Last week held one of my favorite shows of the year with Bombadil's glorious album release show at The Cat's Cradle so it's going to be pretty hard to follow that up with something better, however there is a show from one of my favorite bands at the Cat's Cradle this week so let's see how that plays out.  With a show I've been waiting ages for from Manchester Orchestra  at The Cradle on Thursday, much of the week falls back behind the shadows of my favorite band (yes, yes, now you know that Manchester Orchestra is one of the bans I fanboy over).  However, Chapel Hill is loaded with shows this weekend as well as a few gems popping up in Raleigh and Durham.

Show of the Week: Manchester Orchestra w/ White Denim & The Dear Hunter at The Cat's Cradle on November 17, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Around The Triangle: Bombadil, The Sea and Cake, Fitz & The Tantrums

From Bombadil's album release show on November 12, 2011
I feel like I keep saying this over and over, but I can't emphasize the point of how many damn shows there are in the Triangle that are absolutely awesome on an almost weekly basis.  This weekend provided for some very special moments though, especially with the album release of Bombadil (which our review of will be up soon) at the packed out Cat's Cradle.  I got to attend The Sea and Cake this weekend as well which will be getting reviewed this week with some live videos as well.  Check out some of the highlights of these awesome shows in the Triangle after the jump.

Bottom String Session #15 - Mandolin Orange

This session kicks off what was a powerhouse of a weekend for The Bottom String.  We filmed three new sessions, filmed a brand new piece called You Should Know with Gross Ghost, as well as covered The Sea and Cake and Bombadil release show.  Amidst all of the running around Chapel Hill this weekend, some of the best footage I've filmed so far was captured, including some of this excellent session with Mandolin Orange.

Mandolin Orange was the first band I ever attempted to film over a year ago when they stopped through my town of New Bern for a breath taking set in one of the finest venues I've ever gotten the chance to be a part of, the old Broad Street Music space.  It was then that my adoration for this band began and it has only blossomed since then.  Andrew Marlin was kind enough to let myself and Agatha Donkar in to shoot for not only this Mandolin Orange session, but a Sinful Savage Tigers session on his back patio as well (which will be up later in the week).

Mandolin Orange was joined by an array of talented local musicians for this session including Seth Barden on upright bass from Sinful Savage Tigers, Josh Oliver (formerly of The Everybodyfields), as well as Josh Moore. We got one Mandolin Orange original and two classic covers that ended up becoming glorious jams.  Unfortunately the camera shit out on me for an excellent cover of "The Long Black Veil", but alas technology can't always be perfect.  Check out all of the videos plus some excellent photos from Agatha after the jump.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hopscotch announces new venue and ticket information

Long View Center is the first new venue announced
for Hopscotch 2012
While Hopscotch is only a few months behind us, announcements for Hopscotch 2012 have already begun pouring in.  Between their exciting "Hopscotch Presents" series, which thusfar has announced acts like Hopscotch alumni Akron/Family playing at The Pour House in January, and their continued stream of information drops, it looks like Hopscotch is going to start building up anticipation early this year.

From September 6-8 of 2012, Raleigh will be alive with the sounds of music once more, this time encapsulating fifteen venues and over 175 bands.  The addition of two new venues and over twenty-five more bands than last year proves the continued growth of Hopscotch throughout the past few years, and with the bands brought in last year one can only imagine how Independent Weekly will try to top themselves in 2012.  Either way it's a win-win situation for us fans.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sharon Van Etten announces new album as well as her return to the Triangle

Sharon Van Etten will play The Cat's Cradle on
February 7, 2012 with Shearwater
Sharon Van Etten is all set for her debut on Jagjaguwar, setting an official release date for the upcoming album Tramp on February 7 as well as announcing a full US tour in support of the new album.  Tramp is the follow up to Sharon Van Etten's breath-takingly beautiful sophomore release epic.  Recorded with the help of The National's Aaron Dessner and filled with contributions from artists like Walkmen, Beirut, Wye Oak, and Julianna Barwick, Van Etten's fans are surely already salivating over the release of Tramp.

I for one though will be salivating at the chance of seeing Sharon Van Etten yet again as she stops through the Triangle with her February 12 show at The Cat's Cradle with Shearwater.  I got the chance to see Van Etten earlier this year at Kings and witnessed one of the most tantalizing sets I've ever seen.  Van Etten will surely bring a packed house at The Cradle with her fame only increasing since the release of epic thanks to shows with Neko Case, The Antlers, and a spot on Pitchfork's music festival.  The rest of Sharon Van Etten's tour dates are as followed:

"All That The Rain Promises" by Bombadil

All That The Rain Promises by Bombadil was released
November 8, 2011 on Ramseur Records
All That The Rain Promises is much more than any old comeback for the boys of Bombadil, plagued with injuries and cross-country moves, it appeared that these Carolina favorites would never truly get the recognition they deserved after they broke up in 2009 after the release of their heavily heralded release Tarpits and Canyonlands.  Daniel Michalak, singer and bassist, fought through severely debilitating hand injuries that left him unable to even play his instrument without pain, but as we found out back in September with Bombadil's big return show at Hopscotch, Bombadil has risen from the ashes anew and arguably better than ever.

Celebrating their album release on November 12 at The Cat's Cradle with local favorites Future Kings of Nowhere and Jason Kutchma, Bombadil is set to fill the hole left in the Triangle music scene when they left it two years ago.  A new found simplicity can be found in All That The Rain Promises, but their stripped down instrumentation and back-to-basics songwriting has shined a new light on the band.  Filled with eloquence and beauty, Bombadil's latest effort is the album that their forlorn fans had all hoped for.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jeff Mangum announces more tour dates, stopping through Chapel Hill

The legendary Jeff Mangum shocked the music world when he announced new tour dates in 2011 and returned from his lengthy hiatus, but his comeback doesn't seem to be over just yet.  Mangum recently announced more new tour dates for the US as well as some rescheduled European shows as well.  As this news gradually spreads I'm sure you'll be able to hear the fanboy shrieks throughout the Triangle (myself included) for days to come when they find out that  Mangum will be stopping through the beautiful Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill on January 30 with tickets going on sale this Friday, November 11 at noon.

The rest of Mangum's tour dates are as followed:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hear Here: November 4 - November 12

Bombadil @ Hopscotch
Photo Credit: Agatha Donkar
It's been quite some time since our last Hear Here, our regular piece updating you about the shows we're most looking forward to around the state, but alas we're back to spread the good word of all of the great shows going on.  These past few months it's been hard to turn in any direction without having an awesome lineup to check out, and that goes for Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Asheville, and even Wilmington has been stepping up their show game.  So without further ado here are the shows that we're most excited for in the upcoming week.

Show of the Week: Bombadil w/ Future Kings of Nowhere, Jason Kutchma @ The Cat's Cradle on November 12, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Around The Triangle: Wild Flag, Blitzen Trapper, Sinful Savage Tigers, Emily Stewart & The Baby Teeth

Wild Flag @ The Cat's Cradle on October 21, 2011
This week's edition of Around The Triangle brings us yet another new Bottom String Session from Shakori Hills, this time with Emily Stewart & The Baby Teeth out of Greensboro, NC, as well as more awesome shots from Agatha Donkar's ventures around the triangle.  This week's shows included Blitzen Trapper and Smoke Fairies at The Cat's Cradle, Wild Flag and Eleanor Friedberger at The Cat's Cradle, and Sinful Savage Tigers album release show with Phil Cook & His Feat at The Station in Carrboro.

All of this week's photos as well as our latest Bottom String Session can be found after the jump!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Around The Triangle: Liam Finn, MC Chris, Driftwood, & Frontier Ruckus

Liam Finn @ The Casbah on October 17, 2011
The Triangle has been insanely busy over these past few months and it only appears to be getting better.  Between the upgrades to The Cat's Cradle leading to a larger capacity, Haw River Ballroom pulling increasingly incredible acts (Stephen Malkmus at the beginning of October and an awesome bill for November 11 with Megafaun and The Bowerbirds), and consistently strong bills from Kings, Local 506, and other small local spots, it's been week after week full of incredible acts stopping through the area.  This past week alone was filled with shows for our photographer, Agatha Donkar, Liam Finn at The Casbah, MC Chris at The Cat's Cradle, and Frontier Ruckus at Local 506 just to name a few.  Also included after the jump is our most recent Bottom String Session (BSS #13) from Shakori Hills with Driftwood, an incredible rootsy folk band from Binghamton, NY.  Coming with next week's Around The Triangle will be BSS #14 with Emily Stewart & The Baby Teeth of Greensboro, NC

Sinful Savage Tigers prepare for album release

Last Night of the Revel is being released
on October 22, 2011 at The Station
in Carrboro, NC
Sinful Savage Tigers have sculpted a wonderful folk soundscape with their latest release, The Last Night of the Revels and they're prepping for what's sure to be an incredible night of music on Saturday with their big album release show with Phil Cook & His Feat opening at The Station.  Sinful Savage Tigers is composed of Seth Martin, Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), and Seth Barden.  Special guests amongst the band include a who's who of the Triangle music scene with names like Phil Cook (Megafaun), Emily Frantz (Mandolin Orange), and James Wallace (Max Indian). Together these three have crafted a delightful bluegrass/folk album that glides along for just over forty minutes of catchy, heartfelt, and rustic tunes.

The Station is an absolutely incredible location for this release show, the vibes that will surely be radiating throughout the room will encapsulate the listeners with the sincerity and how relatable Sinful Savage Tigers' sound truly is.  Plus the show is free, so there's really no excuse to not go and check out these locals celebrating the release of this great collection of songs.  The album's opener "Chocolate Cake" draws back feelings of nostalgia, simplicity, going back home and most importantly, getting some of that chocolate cake.  The album is filled with moments like this, filled with tinges of southern anthems, but most importantly they don't just allow themselves to fall into the same old thematic same-old same-old.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Pinhook aims to renovate with Kickstarter project

The Pinhook recently started up a Kickstarter project in an attempt to renovate the already excellent space to provide for a much greater sound quality from the venue.  The Pinhook is one of the highlights of Durham's local scene, having housed excellent local and national acts in the first three years of it's existence.  Opened in November of 2008, The Pinhook is aiming to raise $15,000 before November 2 so that they can build a new sound-proof stage, design a new room with the help of John Koelle (engineered Kings and the fantastic Haw River Ballroom), and to purchase new equipment.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 Review

Howard Levy of The Flecktones
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance is a unique experience in the sense that there is such a strong bond of community on these Chatham County farmlands.  Smiles are found on the faces of the flocks of families, festi-freaks, hippies, and just about everyone in between.  Shakori Hills doesn't carry the pretentiousness that comes with other festivals, it's a four-day marathon of bluegrass, folk, funk, motown, and just about everything in between.  Highlights of the festival can come completely unexpectedly, and one thing I've found with my Shakori schedule is that I more frequently bounce around from tent to tent and stage to stage than at any other festival.  Between the close proximity of the stages and the guarantee that almost every act you see will have redeeming qualities.  The worldly sounds of Sidi Toure filled the Meadow Stage, the legendary Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings brought high-energy and crowd participation to a new level, and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones brought a performance that will be remembered by many as one of the best of their lives.  The talent on display at Shakori Hills is astounding, but the best part is that there is so much more going on at the festival other than just great music.

Activities are abound at Shakori, with everything from a Jazz Workshop on the Front Porch on Friday with Peter Lamb & The Wolves to a Puppet Parade throughout the festival on Sunday afternoon.  While you may not always have a band you want to be checking out at Shakori, you're guaranteed to be able to find something to keep yourself preoccupied until the tunes start back up.  I wore myself thin this weekend at Shakori and between running here, there, and everywhere in that perfect fall weather I wound up with Bronchitis after the weekends festivities (I'm sure the massive amounts of campfire smoke didn't help either, nor did the handful of hours of sleep I got throughout the weekend) but still I couldn't find a negative thing to say about the entire weekend.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Around The Triangle: Shakori Hills Fall 2011

Shakori Hills is a four-day festival held twice a year in Pittsboro, North Carolina and if you've yet to attend then you're missing out on one of the guaranteed best weekends of your life.  From Thursday to Sunday the farmlands out in Chatham County are alive with music, love, and good vibes.  There's an aura to Shakori that spreads like wildfire and leaves its attendees feeling blissful and carefree, all the while allowing them to enjoy some of the best live music that has graced the state of North Carolina in a very long time.  Between the big headliners of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (with their original lineup!) and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Toubab Krewe, Des Ark, and Donna The Buffalo, this festival's lineup was filled from top to bottom with phenomenal acts.  I was out at the festival all weekend with Agatha dropping in for days two and three, but we got some incredible shots of some incredible artists this weekend.  Check back soon this week for a full write-up of the festival including two new Bottom String Sessions with Driftwood (Binghamton, NY) and Emily Stewart & The Baby Teeth (Greensboro, NC)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall Preview

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival is held October 6-9, 2011

With Shakori Hills (October 6-9) a mere two days away the anticipation has gotten to an unbearable level.  Each time I peek at the performance schedule I struggle between bands, I get giddy with excitement, I research unfamiliar artists, the list goes on.  There's so many incredible things going on at Shakori between workshops, children's activities, and not to mention the days and nights full of live music.  With all of the incredible local and touring acts coming through for Shakori it's hard to siphon through it all to pick out what you absolutely HAVE to see. Well that's what we're here for!  From funk to soul to bluegrass to jazz, Shakori offers a little bit of something for everybody.  Here's our day-by-day rundown of who you should be checking out at the glorious promised land of Shakori Hills out in Pittsboro.

Around The Triangle: Week of October 3

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks @ Haw River Ballroom
on October 1, 2011
There's been an abundance of incredible acts stopping through the Triangle lately, so much it's almost become rather daunting.  Within a week of each other Fleet Foxes and Wilco both graced the stage of Raleigh Amphitheater (Fleet Foxes in an absolute downpour has become my favorite show I've ever attended) as well as numerous local powerhouses making waves as well.  Our photographer Agatha Donkar has been here, there, and everywhere as well and this week we'll both be out at Shakori capturing Bottom String Sessions and photos of some of the incredible acts that will be playing throughout the weekend.  Below are Agatha's shots from the Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks show at Haw River Ballroom and from Mandolin Orange's big album release show at The Cat's Cradle:

The full sets of Agatha's photos can be found over at her photoblog

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bottom String Session #12 w/ Bombadil

After an absolutely stunning set at Fletcher Opera Hall, Bombadil has proved that they're hitting the ground running with their big return to the Triangle music scene.  The band announced a November return to The Cat's Cradle for an album release show for their upcoming record, All That The Rain Promises and it's a date that's been marked on the calendars of many in the Triangle and surrounding regions.  Before heading out to the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion the gentlemen in Bombadil invited me into James' home to film some new songs from their album.

The Bottom String will also be covering Bombadil in November as our "You Should Know" band, highlighting some of our areas finest local talents and quickest rising up-and-comers.  We've got our first "You Should Know" with Gross Ghost coming up soon, so keep your eyes peeled.  But for the time being check out these excellent new songs from Bombadil's upcoming full length:

Hopscotch '11 In Retrospect

So after allowing myself a week to really absorb the events that transpired at Hopscotch (that's code for eating snack cakes and lounging around all week because seeing live music all weekend takes something out of us bloggers) I can sit back and appreciate all of the great things I got to experience at this year's Hopscotch Festival.  So here is The Bottom String's Top 6 Hopscotch Moments:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hopscotch Day 3 Review

The Flaming Lips @ City Plaza
Starting off Saturday was the strangest feeling, a combination of exhaustion and excitement for the day to come even if it's going to be full of sweating, walking, and fighting crowds.  It's mainly okay because of The Flaming Lips though.  Our day started off a little bit late after trying to work out a ticket issue for a friend in need of admission to The Flaming Lips, but once it was all settled out we headed downtown to get on with our last day of Hopscotch'ing.  Choosing between Day Parties today was a doozy, there were so many incredible bands playing at the same time that it was hard not to find something that wasn't jaw-droppingly great.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hopscotch Night 2 + Day Parties Review

After a jam packed night on Thursday, the beginning of Friday seemed a bit like a blur.  It started off early catching an intimate Dinosaur Feathers performance at Marsh's Woodwinds followed by a filming of the next Bottom String Session with the band.  After that it was off for some Day Party goodness, and while I begin allow me to say that I just stopped following my itinerary completely today.  Oops.  It ended up working out awesomely though with a set from T0W3RS in a crowded Hive being the highlight of the Day Party events for the day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hopscotch Night 1 Review

The Love Language played to a packed
Lincoln Theatre for Night One of Hopscotch
Night 1 of Hopscotch kicked off in a fashion that should have been expected, but I still find myself pleasantly surprised at how incredible everything truly was.  Last year's festival was a great taste for what was to come ahead with the 2011 incarnation, the added venues switched things up a bit but the walk time in between everything was practically nothing, so another excellent job at planning to add three more venues and keep walk times down.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Organos drops video for "Same Eyes" and announces video series

Organos is the sort of ambient/experimental folk side project of Maria Albani, bass player for Durham's Schooner, that's been building up steam leading up to the release of her upcoming record Concha.  Concha features members of Broken Social Scene/Feist and Floating Action lending a musical hand, and also boasts a pretty cool project to go along with the record.

8 artists, filmmakers, and musicians from around the United States and Canada will be making music videos for the song of their choice from the record, the first of which has already been released.  "Same Eyes" was chosen by visual artist Jerstin Crosby and the video for it can be found below.  Organos will be playing a set Saturday at Hopscotch Music Festival next weekend at 11:30 @ Deep South along with Andrew Cedermark, The Tomahawks, and Frontier Justice.  Concha is scheduled to be released in Spring 2012.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Bottom String's Hopscotch Itinerary

Hopscotch Music Festival is exactly one week away and the region is buzzing with excitement for the festival's second year, topped with legendary acts like The Flaming Lips and Guided By Voices (playing what's allegedly their last show of the reunion), Hopscotch is breaking boundaries in the Carolina music scene.  These boundaries aren't being broken just because of the gigantic bands that will be gracing the City Plaza stages on Friday and Saturday, but instead because of how centralized of a focus there still is on local bands and the local scene.  It's hard to choose between so many incredible acts over the weekend, but luckily we've taken on some help from friends and fellow writers (on our sister site Myxem) in Terry McElhennon and Kyle Bement to make sure that we cover as much of the festival as physically possible.  While the age limitations prevent me from checking out everything I want to see (alas, just one more year!), here is The Bottom String's official Hopscotch Itinerary.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Bottom String's Hopscotch Day Party Schedule

Hopscotch is just over a week away and quite frankly I'm finding it hard to contain my excitement for the whole thing.  The festival has been dropping LPs off at random locations in downtown Raleigh, continually having Day Party announcements and even had a few names drop and get added to the lineup a few weeks ago (The Light Pines being the most disappointing loss for me), so the excitement and hype is all finally going to be coming to a head when next week's festivities kick off on Thursday.  Thursday recently had Day Parties added onto it with an insane amount of music going on at Sadlack's Heroes, a 307 Knox hosted show with the likes of Pink Flag, and a Raleigh Denim/Flander's Gallery show highlighted by a Gray Young appearance.  Hop around town on Thursday if you're free to catch some of these awesome free sets to get you pumped up for the night's festivities.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones top off new Shakori Hills lineup additions

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are one
of many new names added to the Shakori
Hills lineup
Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival has made yet another lineup announcement in regards to their October 6-9 fall festival and this one's a big one.  The legendary banjoist Bela Fleck will be joined with the original band of the Flecktones with Victor Wooten on bass, Futureman, and Howard Levy at Shakori this fall.  But possibly the most exciting announcement yet is the addition of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, the soulful funk group led by their powerhouse of a frontwoman Sharon Jones.  However, these two acts are merely two of the exciting names that have been added to an already stellar list including Donna The Buffalo, Eilen Jewell, Toubab Krewe, and Brett Dennen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Around The Triangle: TRKFest 2011

TRKFest was held Saturday August 13, 2011 at
Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC
TRKFest is always one of the most enjoyable parts of the North Carolina summer, it's filled with local love whether it be vendors, bands, or fans who all seem to be enjoying themselves to no end.  Rain or shine TRKFest was going to pull through, and when the rain came the decision was made to move TRKFest to Saxapahaw's Haw River Ballroom, a gorgeous indoor venue that's been hailed by many local musicians and patrons as one of the Triangle's finest.  Our own Agatha Donkar was at TRKFest and captured some awesome shots of some of the bands.  Check 'em out!

For the rest of Agatha's shots from TRKFest 2011 check out her Flickr account

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Around The Triangle

Chatham County Line @ Cat's Cradle
With the recent addition of Agatha Donkar as our newest Bottom String member we're going to be bringing you more show coverage than ever before.  We're implementing our first new piece this week with "Around The Triangle", shots from shows all over the Triangle from local and touring artists.

All photo credit goes to Agatha Donkar unless otherwise noted.This week's photos come from Chatham County Line's Cat's Cradle on Saturday, August 6 with Justin Robinson and The Mary Annettes and Onward Soldiers' July 30 show with The Pneurotics and Effingham

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Bottom String Turns One!

It's crazy to think a year ago that I was sitting down and working out all of my logistics for this new Carolina music blog that I'd had the idea of starting.  I wasn't necessarily at a thrilling place in my life, but I knew that I had this massive adoration for the North Carolina music scene and way too much free time on my hands for a 19-year old to know what to do with.  Bit by bit, brick by brick, The Bottom String began to build into something that I became proud of and could put my time and dedication to.  I began to delve deeper and deeper into the independent scene of thriving musicians in North Carolina and continued to be perplexed with the talents that I found hidden throughout the state.

Before I started The Bottom String I promoted shows in New Bern and now one year later I'm heading off to Raleigh to jump in feet first with this blog.  The first year of The Bottom String went better than I could have ever dreamed of, I got to speak with some of my favorite artists, met one of my biggest inspirations, and better yet started to hear feedback from the bands that I was helping get coverage of.  The thanks I've received from the bands and the readers for simply running this website has been heartwarming.  However, even over the past year the North Carolina music scene has gotten exponentially deeper with the addition of Hopscotch, Moogfest, and consistently amazing local and touring bands playing at all of these great local venues.  As such we must accommodate this growing scene, so The Bottom String has some growth of it's own to announce.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shakori Hills makes lineup announcement for fall festival

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival will be held October 6-9
in Pittsboro, NC
The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival is a twice a year joy that's become one of the beacons of light for not only the North Carolina music scene but for the south-east region as a whole.  Three days full of good music and good vibes, Shakori Hills is a home away from home as a family-friendly festival that's still filled with enough hippies and festi-freaks to fulfill your needs.  Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival is held in Pittsboro, NC twice a year acting as a fundraiser to help the Shakori Hills Community Arts Center to buy the farmlands that the festival is held on in order to provide an outlet for community building through arts, nature, and through education.

The group is holding a Shakori Hills Benefit on August 20, 2011 for the second year in a row, NC Stars In The Round, an event that gathers names like Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange), Justin Robinson (of Carolina Chocolate Drops), and Charly Lowry (of Dark Water Rising) in a singer-songwriter circle, plus a headlining slot from The Old Ceremony.  This fall's festival will be held October 6-9 and the festival recently announced a handful of artists in what will be the first wave of announcements. With names like The Old Ceremony, Toubab Krewe Eilen Jewell, and Bret Dennen this fall's festival is already shaping up to be an exciting one.

Tickets for Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival are already on sale now at early-bird prices.  Early-bird prices last until August 14th so if you're trying to get a great deal on tickets then now is the chance to do so.  Ticket prices and festival lineup are as followed:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mandolin Orange announce new double album + Cat's Cradle release show

Haste Make | Hard-Hearted Stranger by Mandolin Orange
will be released on September 24, 2011
Mandolin Orange dropped a bomb on us today when they announced not only that they'd be having an album release party at The Cat's Cradle on September 24, 2011 but also that it was for a brand new double album that they'd be putting out.  Mandolin Orange is a folk-duo that's been on the cusp of something big for the better part of a year now, this release can have the power to thrust them into the limelight of the Carolina music scene right where they belong.  The band will be playing at Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh this September as well as announcing more CD release dates throughout the state including Wilmington, Asheville, and Charlotte.

Haste Make | Hard-Hearted Stranger, the new double album from Mandolin Orange was recorded over the span of the past year with Haste Make being recorded with Jeff Crawford and James Wallace in Winter 2010/2011 at Arbor Ridge Studios and Arbor Ridge Studios West in Chapel Hill and Franklin, NC respectively, produced by Jeff Crawford and Mandolin Orange.  Hard-Hearted Stranger was recorded in the summer of 2011 at Rubber Room Studios in Chapel Hill and features only Andrew and Emily, produced by Andrew himself.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Troika Music Festival calling it quits

Troika Music Festival will not return to Durham, NC
in 2011
After ten years of festivities it appears that Troika Music Festival is no longer.  Festival organizer and owner of 307 Knox Records, Mel Thomas released a statement last week announcing that the Durham, NC festival would  not be happening this year.  Troika Music Festival began in Durham back in 2000 and has since been credited to helping the Triangle's scene flourish, and flourish it has.  With Hopscotch only 6 weeks away and boasting acts like The Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices, Superchunk, and Drive-By Truckers it was clear that the scene has started to "outgrow" Troika.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Surfer Blood, Wye Oak, and Free Energy capture the crowd at Deja Fest + Jack The Radio's Bottom String Session

Through the pounding heat and pounding rain, Deja Fest pulled through and provided for an awesome free event in downtown Raleigh that got me sufficiently stoked for Hopscotch in September.  The festival was put on by Deja Mi, a mobile media sharing app that allows users to share their concert footage and the like on their iPhones or Droids so you can check out what's going on all over town.  It's a pretty nifty app once all of the kinks get worked out and you get over the fact that you're looking at a bunch of people's camera quality pictures, but either way it's provided for a pretty awesome outlet in terms of a great free event for Raleigh.  Bands like Wye Oak, Free Energy, and Surfer Blood stuck out throughout the day but there were quite a few surprises throughout the lineup.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hear Here: Week of July 18

This a week I've been looking forward to for a while now, we've got some incredible shows happening in the state this week and in particular I'm incredibly excited for the free Deja Fest in Raleigh this weekend!  Before we get to that though we've had some pretty exciting shows announced for the fall as well including the likes of Ra Ra Riot, Cut Copy, and tUnE-yArDs.  In other news the Okkervil River show on September 13 at The Lincoln Theatre just had opener Wye Oak added, making these tickets even more in demand so get them in advance if you plan on going!

Show of the Week: Deja Fest in Raleigh, NC w/ Surfer Blood, Wye Oak, Hooray For Earth & more on July 22-23

Friday, July 15, 2011

Hopscotch Music Festival announces Day Parties + Ed McKay Artist and Author Series

Hopscotch Music Festival is held from September 8-10
in downtown Raleigh, headlined by The Flaming Lips
and Guided By Voices
It's been a big week for Hopscotch, not only did Guided By Voices announce that their September performance in Raleigh would be their farewell performance, but Hopscotch also announced some of their free Day Parties and their Ed McKay Artist and Author series.  The Ed McKay Artist and Author series will feature some headlining artists joining in on some of the most exciting parts of Hopscotch, I mean who can turn down seeing Wayne Coyne discuss "The Limits of Pop Music" or John Vanderslice and Patterson Hood discussing "The Power of Narrative Songs".  Not only does the Artist and Author series deliver but we've also got some awesome Day Parties going on this year between two features from DiggUp Tapes on Friday and Saturday and some of last years favorite's such as Trekky's Daydream, Hometapes' Friend Island, and much, much more.

The Ed McKay Artist and Author series last year featured names like Chuck Dee, Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene), and local Grammy-winning producer 9th Wonder, but this year's boasts even bigger and better names for the unique and invigorating series that gives the fans a bit closer of a look into these artist's perspectives.

Hopscotch's second year of Day Parties continue to bring the heat as well, there's some incredible lineups already set up and even more to be rolling out between now and September.  Some highlights include The Rosebuds & Friends outside of The Lincoln Theater with The Rosebuds, Hammer No More The Fingers, Ben Sollee, and The Big Picture just to name a few.  DiggUp Tapes Saturday show has a pretty awesome lineup as well with Lonnie Walker, Birds of Avalon, Quiet Hooves, Thank You, and surprise guests.  Check out the full list of Day Parties below along with the Ed McKay Artist and Author series information.  You can get more information about Hopscotch Music Festival from their website at http://www.hopscotchmusicfest.com.  The number of All-Show 3 Day Passes are dwindling though so pick one up while you still can!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Album Review: "Last Summer" by Eleanor Friedberger

Eleanor Friedberger's Last Summer was released on July
12, 2011 on Merge Records
The Illinois songstress Eleanor Friedberger may be best known for her work with her brother Matthew in the critically acclaimed The Fiery Furnaces, but after hearing all of her talents shine through on her debut solo record, Last Summer, it's clear that she's much more than just the (pardon the pun) fiery frontwoman of a heavily influential band of the 00's, she's also a powerhouse of a solo artist who's mastered all of the little nuances of her sound, making sure that there's not a single moment on this record that's lacking in sound or lyricism.  Friedberger's record is filled with densely packed layers of instrumentation that perfectly compliment the refrain and subtlety that's displayed in her vocals.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hear Here: Week of July 11

It's almost overwhelming at how many excellent shows have been announced for the tobacco state within the past few weeks and they continue to roll in as the summer goes by.  With only eight more weeks to wait until Hopscotch we've got a lot of anticipation building this week for the free day party announcements.  That's not the only thing exciting that will be dropping this week though, between some awesome shows (like our show of the week featuring Merge Records artist The Ladybug Transistor) and some even more exciting show announcements we've got a lot to cover!

Show of the Week: The Ladybug Transistor w/ James Husband, T0W3RS @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hear Here: Week of June 27

With the amount of incredible shows being announced for North Carolina lately, it looks like we're going to have one of our best years for live music yet in the state.  Between the recently announced free festival in Raleigh, Deja Fest and the other big show announced yesterday, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw this week alone has been an exciting one for new shows in the area but there's even more to be excited for believe it or not.  Plus no sense in getting ahead of ourselves with excitement when we've got great shows like Fucked Up tonight at Kings.  Either way, lets get started

Show of the Week: Fucked Up w/ JEFF The Brotherhood, Double Negative on Tuesday June 28 @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC

Monday, June 27, 2011

deja Mi announces free festival in downtown Raleigh with Surfer Blood, Wye Oak, and more

deja Fest, held on July 22 and 23 is a
free music festival held in downtown
Raleigh in cooperation with Hopscotch
deja Mi announced the lineup today for their absolutely free two day festival to be held in downtown Raleigh in cooperation with Hopscotch and it's packed with awesome local and nationally touring artists.  With names like Surfer Blood, Free Energy, and Wye Oak,  Deja Fest will be held on July 22 and July 23 in various venues around downtown Raleigh with the Friday night festivities kicking off at Tir Na Nog, The Pour House, Slim's, Kings Barcade and Neptunes Parlour from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.  Saturdays music will be starting at 1:00 p.m. on East Cabarrus St. outside of The Lincoln Theater and music will last until 2:00 a.m. with the afterparty taking place inside of The Lincoln Theater.  Deja Mi is a new media sharing application for sharing experiences via photo and video and Deja Fest will be coinciding with launch of their website and mobile application.

The lineup and schedule for Deja Fest are as followed:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moogfest drops second round of artists including Moby, The Antlers, Dan Deacon

Moby is among the 11 new artists added to
Asheville's Moogfest held October 28-30
In it's second year, Moogfest seems to be pulling out all of the stops to be viewed as the premier North Carolina music festival this year especially after this awesome second batch of bands has been released.  It was announced this morning that Moby, Amon Tobin, Dan Deacon, The Antlers, and much more will be joining the already stellar lineup on October 28-30 this year.  Headliners for Moogfest are The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, STS9 and there's still another batch of around twenty artists to be released after these eleven excellent bands have been added.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hear Here: Week of June 20

An unexpected absence last week means we've got to have an awesome Hear Here this week, so we'll start it off by introducing a new piece to Hear Here which announces noteworthy shows that have been added to the calendar for local venues so that you can become well aware of these awesome shows before they potentially sell out.  Some great stuff is in the works for the late summer/early fall in NC and there's some great shows going on this week too so lets get right to it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Winoca Fest in Wilmington features Gillian Welch, The Felice Brothers, and more

Gillian Welch will headline Winoca Fest in Wilmington, NC
on August 27, 2011
Tickets for Winoca Fest, the Wilmington, NC music festival put together by Winoca Records went on sale at noon today and their lineup is an excellent mesh of brilliant local talent and nationally touring acts as well.  Headlined by Gillian Welch and The Felice Brothers, Winoca Fest will be held on August 27, 2011 at Battleship Park in downtown Wilmington with tickets priced at $30 in advance and $35 day of.  Winoca Records is home to Bottom String favorites Onward, Soldiers who will also be playing at the festival.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Album Review: "Loud Planes Fly Low" by The Rosebuds

Loud Planes Fly Low was released by The Rosebuds
on Merge Records on June 7, 2011
The Rosebuds have made a name for themselves as one of the most consistently great bands in the North Carolina scene and with Loud Planes Fly Low the band has released their most accessible and arguably best record yet.  The Rosebuds founding members Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp were recently divorced and while it's clear that the evolution of this relationship was very pertinent in this record, it certainly doesn't fuel it and the band doesn't use it as a gimmick to get attention.  All of it seems incredibly sincere and at times it's almost off putting at how personal the lyrics can sound.  They've truly honed their sound and given themselves that extra bit of "umph" that I personally needed to really become absolved with the bands.  Loud Planes Fly Low feels like it's got much more direction and that they've really found out the perfect way to convey the image they wanted to.  It's a record of rebirth in a unique sense, the rebirth of a relationship after its dissolution.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Midtown Dickens sign to Trekky Records, announce tour with The Mountain Goats

It was announced today that Trekky Records' latest signing is none other than Durham's own Midtown Dickens. Midtown Dickens have been tearing up the North Carolina scene with their energetic, rootsy folk music that has left many a crowd breathless.  Trekky Records own Will Hackney is a member of the band making the signing all the more special by officially adding the rest of the band to the Trekky Family.

Midtown Dickens will be releasing their third album on Trekky Records which according to Trekky's blog will be released in early 2012 and is to be produced by Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, Spoon).  As if that wasn't enough good news for fans of the band, it was also announced that they'll be joining fellow Durhamite John Darnielle on a west coast tour with The Mountain Goats set to kick off next week.  The dates for said tour are listed below

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Album Review: "Brice Randall Bickford" by Brice Randall Bickford

Brice Randall Bickford by Brice Randall Bickford
will be released on June 14, 2011 by Trekky Records
Brice Randall Bickford is a name that you'll surely grow familiar with in the coming years if you're not already.  Bickford was the leading man behind The Strugglers and for his latest album he's dropped the name and created his best effort to date.  Brice Randall Bickford and his band have meshed together brilliantly for years and lived up to their name in terms of popularity, though the band continually put out excellent releases they seemed to gain no more notoriety or popularity anywhere outside of the Triangle.

This new self-titled record being released on his new label (local powerhouses of Trekky Records) opens up a realm of possibilities for Bickford and hopefully this gives the band a chance to drop the woes of their old name and start getting the recognition they truly deserve.  Bickford has crafted yet another brilliant album filled with lush orchestration and powerful lyricism.  The album release show will be held Saturday, June 11 at The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC with a Carolina star-studded lineup featuring names like Phil Cook (of Megafun), Django Haskins (of The Old Ceremony), Lee Waters, and Heather McEntire (of Mount Moriah).  The album will be officially released in Trekky's own LP + CD + MP3 format on June 14.

TRKfest 2011 Announces Lineup

TRKFest 2011 will be on August 13
and will be headlined by Bowerbirds
Every year Trekky Records continues to bring awesome music to the good people of North Carolina whether it be through their excellent artists or through the many events that the label has its hands in.  Arguably the most enjoyable Trekky endeavor though is the annual TRKfest, held at Piedmont Biofuels at 220 Lorax Lane in Pittsboro, NC.  This year on August 13, Trekky Records brings us yet another awesome music festival for a mere $10 suggested donation.  Trekky has brought their favorite NC bands to play yet again and with this year's headliners being Bowerbirds and boasting an undercard filled with Trekky favorites it looks like TRKFest 2011 will be yet another great one.

TRKFest will also feature local arts, crafts, and clothing for sale, make your own tye-dye TRKFest shirt, shadow puppets, and much more.  The event marks more than just a great day of music, it's a joining of the NC music community for an awesome fun-filled day in the sun.  Food and drinks will be available as well from Carolina Brewery, Pie Pushers, Parlez-Vous Crepe, and OnlyBurger.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hopscotch adds 13th venue and 14 new bands including Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus is one of the 14 new bands added
to the Hopscotch lineup
This morning Hopscotch announced fourteen new bands today, plus a new venue for all of these incredible bands to play at.  This new batch of bands holds quite a few surprises, the biggest name being the indie-punk group Titus Andronicus who've been a name in everyones sights for the past year or two, so getting the chance to see them at Hopscotch will be incredible.  The festival also added Merge artist Times New Viking, Vivian Girls, and Bass Drum of Death.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hear Here: Week of June 6

Summer is in full effect in the tobacco state, we've got blistering heat usually coupled with awesome bouts of humidity but it's all okay by me if we keep get awesome shows week in and week out.  It seemed like all of last weeks shows with national touring acts had practically all sold out before the week of the show, but we've got some great acts coming in this week with tickets still on sale.  The Decemberists and Best Coast will be playing at the Raleigh Amphitheater, and there's some pretty great local bills for this week too.

Show of the Week: Brice Randall Bickford w/ Phil Cook, Django Haskins, Lee Waters, Heather McEntire @ The Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, NC

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Moogfest 2011 announces lineup

Passion Pit will headline Moogfest 2011 along with
The Flaming Lips, Tangerine Dream, Crystal Castles and more
Last year's Moogfest sent waves through the Carolina music scene, popping up the same year as Raleigh's Hopscotch Festival, it was excellent to see two stacked lineups for these brand new North Carolina festivals.  This year is much of the same, as the October 28-30 Asheville festival announced their lineup this morning with headliners of The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, Tangerine Dream, Ghostland Observatory, and Crystal Castles.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hear Here: Week of May 30

Last week was an exciting one for North Carolina with the opening of the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC being host of an incredible lineup of The Old Ceremony and The Love Language.  However, this week boasts an absolutely PACKED schedule with some incredible shows coming through our state, so let's get right to it.

Show of the Week: Okkervil River w/ Titus Andronicus, Future Islands @ The Cat's Cradle in Carborro, NC

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Album Review: "We're Gonna Run" by Birds & Arrows

"We're Gonna Run" by Birds & Arrows was released on
307 Knox Records on May 7, 2011
Birds & Arrows is composed of husband and wife Pete and Andrea Connolly and Josh Starmer, and hails from Chapel Hill. The couple began in 2007 and released two EPs, an eponymous one, which tells of the tension of how the two met, and “Woodgrain Heart,” which tells of their maturing together. Since then they have added Starmer on the cello, and the the band have certainly matured as musicians. Just out is their new album, “We're Gonna Run,” a follow up of their 2009 debut LP, “Starmaker.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Album Review: "Nursing Home" by Let's Wrestle

"Nursing Home" by Let's Wrestle was released on
Merge Records on May 17, 2011
Let's Wrestle are an English rock band based out of London who've stirred up quite a bit of hype for themselves in the states.  The band's first album, "In The Court of Wrestling, Lets" got them enough attention to get picked up for their second album on Merge Records.  "Nursing Home", the band's second effort isn't too far from the tree in terms of the sound that they created for themselves, but they've certainly evolved as a band.  The lyrics are quirky and catchy to perfectly compliment the driving indie rock sounds they produce, albeit the lyrics get a bit absurd sometimes.  Overall there's nothing wrong with the album, but it tends to drone on a bit with such similar subject matter repeating over and over.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hear Here: Week of May 24

This week has some good shows in store, from the noise of The Death Set to the folksy P. Wolf and Avi. It's a good time to get out and see some summer shows, if you can.

Show of the Week: Kopecky Family Band w/ Mynameisjohnmichael @ The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC ($10)

Wednesday, May 25

The Death Set w/ Win Win @ Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC


The Death Set will grab your attention instantly with their catchy lyrics and riffs. Their songs make you feel all-around better and a little more alive, like just waking up from a weird dream. They have a very interesting and gratifying use of sound effects that integrates perfectly and makes for wonderfully inventive songs.

Win Win are in the same vein as The Drums, with interesting melodies and a generally feel-good sound, but a little less hyper and more deliberate with their songs.

Kopecky Family Band w/ Mynameisjohnmichael @ The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC


These guys started out in Nashville in 2007, when late night wistful conversations of life and the future turned into a band. Since then they've had an impressive track record. The six have been seen at festivals the likes of CMJ, SXSW, and soon Bonnaroo. They can really get the “rock” in indie rock down, but they meld it with gentler strings so it isn't just more indie rock, and their lyrics are thoughtful and elegant. The Family only have three EPs out so far, but they are all excellent, being produced by the likes of Russ Long of Wilco and Chris Grainger of None the Richer.

Mynameisjohnmichael is the result of a challenge to John Rouchell to write, record, and release 52 songs in one year. They have opened for acts like Phoenix and Surfer Blood and have seen their share of festivals and tours, and their music sounds mature and developed. You can really hear the influence of Rouchell's New Orleans origin, and the music is easygoing and fun to listen to.

Thursday, May 27

P. Wolf and Avi @ The Cave in Chapel Hill, NC

Patrick Wolf and Avi Vinocur are from the San Francisco, but are no strangers to North Carolina; Wolf also plays in Chapel Hill bands Semi-Formal and Attic Orchestra. Together, they produce some good folksy acoustic music, with clearly southern influences, to the extent that one would be surprised that they grew up in California and Connecticut. You'll hear touching lyrics and skillful finger picking from these two, whose last album, from 2010, is a really promising record.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hear Here: Week of May 16

With the awesome bit of Beaufort Music Festival I got to catch last weekend (A solo set from Justin Townes Earle being the highlight of that night which consisted of American Aquarium and Onward, Soldiers as well) the summer certainly kicked off well for me, and now the summer shows begin to pour in.  The next few months have some pretty awesome lineups coming to the Triangle, Asheville, and Eastern NC as well.  Check out some of this week's top shows below:

Show of the Week: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC on Thursday, May 19

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hear Here: Week of May 9

After such a busy week in the Triangle last weekend with the 4-night stay of The Love Language which featured some incredible surprises such as full length albums being played at each show (Night 3 was White Light/White Heat, have fun kicking yourself for missing that one!), plus the Interpol show and Phosphorescent.  But this week features some exciting shows all around the state, one of the most talented metal bands to come from NC in Between The Buried and Me has a show in Asheville, and the son of legendary Steve Earle, Justin Townes Earle, will be headlining the Beaufort Music Festival for the eastern part of the state.  Another week filled with incredible live shows for the tobacco state!

Show of the Week: Beaufort Music Festival in Beaufort, NC (FREE!)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bon Iver announces Summer tour dates with The Rosebuds, stopping in Raleigh

Bon Iver will be playing at Raleigh Amphitheater on July 29
with The Rosebuds opening

Bon Iver already announced the release of their second studio album, a self-titled endeavor that will be released on Jagjaguwar on June 21, but today we were graced with tour dates including a July 29 stop at the Raleigh Amphitheater with The Rosebuds.
Bon Iver have set the bar high for their new album, especially considering their debut album, "For Emma, Forever Ago", has been deemed an almost instant classic amongst fans.  "For Emma" featured deeply personal lyrics that covered loss, love, and redemption through the falsettos and croons of Justin Vernon.  It's going to be interesting to see how the music of Bon Iver has evolved since their first effort, and especially interesting to see how well the fans respond.

Either way you can color me excited to see one of the best new acts of the past few years at what's sure to be a crowded Raleigh amphitheater, especially since the local favorites The Rosebuds are opening. Plus then you can take into account the roots that Justin Vernon left behind in Raleigh whilst playing with DeYarmond Edison (his former band with members of Megafaun) and realize that this show is going to be a special one.

All of the tour dates are listed below:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Album Review: "Fortescue EP" by The Charming Youngsters

"Fortescue" was released on April 25, 2011 and is
available for purchase on Bandcamp
The Charming Youngsters are a band from Greenville, NC that's come from the humblest of beginnings in their bedrooms and attics, but their latest EP entitled, "Fortescue" shows the development that the band has had over the years.  In comparison to their "Famous For Something Magical" EP, the band has got a much more fully developed sound and seems to have finally found a niche to fit into with their music, filling the listener's ears with infectious melodies and catchy hooks.  The EP was recorded last winter in Altamont Studios in Asheville and the band will be releasing a special limited edition version of their EP on cassette for their show on Friday, May 6 at Motorco in Durham, NC when the band will be playing with Annuals and Oulipo.

Back in March The Charming Youngsters joined me for a special Bottom String Session from Spazzfest in their hometown of Greenville, NC.  Nolan talked a bit about the recording of this EP, their songwriting process, and joined the rest of the band to play two songs for their Bottom String Session.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hear Here: Week of May 2

A new month and a new week of great shows.  April saw some awesome acts come through the state, but May packs an even heavier punch with some North Carolina favorites stopping through the state, whether it be Lost in the Trees or The Old Ceremony stopping through the Cat's Cradle in a few weeks or even indie powerhouses Interpol when they come to Disco Rodeo this week.  But first and foremost is this week's awesome shows, we've got two album releases and loads of great stuff in between.

Show of the Week: Phosphorescent w/ Family Band @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Album Review: "Pretty Money" by Jack the Radio

"Pretty Money" was released on April 26, 2011
Jack the Radio is the brainchild of A.C. Hill and George Hage, who met at NC State University. It began as a side project back in 2005 between the two when they were roommates, but it soon faded in favor of other interests. Hill and Hage have recently revived the project, adding more members and a fresh focus. Jack the Radio sounds like country indie funk, somehow seamlessly mixing the genres into something unique. “Pretty Money” is their debut album, showcasing their amazing dynamic as a band.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Bottom String Session w/ Langhorne Slim

Photo by Kathryn Friedman
At Shakori Hills we sat down with two artists for Bottom String Sessions.  BSS #8 was an acoustic performance from Stephen and Kevin from Holy Ghost Tent Revival (which can be found here on our Youtube channel), but on Friday we sat down with Langhorne Slim for an interview and acoustic session.  Braving the cold weather and rain, Langhorne talked a bit about his upcoming releases, touring, and a couple of prime North Carolina acts and venues.

Before the interview though Langhorne performed a brand new song called "Leander Apple" which can also be found on the Youtube channel or beneath the interview below