Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Album Review: "Only" by Jenny Besetzt

Jenny Besetzt is playing w/ The Lollipops
Thursday, October 24 @ Kings Barcade in Raleigh
Within the past few years Greensboro has blossomed into a fantastic asset in the North Carolina music scene, acts like Braveyoung and Bronzed Chorus have helped kickstart the independent music scene in a town that's been ruled by oversized coliseum shows for years.  As the days go by it seems like Greensboro becomes a more and more lucrative stop, with local record store CFBG acting as a venue for names like Titus Andronicus, Ceremony, Dinosaur Feathers, and oodles of locals, the city is truly beginning to develop a sound that fits within the spectrum of North Carolina's scene.

Jenny Besetzt is the band that can spearhead this resurgence in the Triad, the band just released their debut full length Only, but the album feels like a comprehensive and fully realized vision rather than an exploratory debut.  Driven by tight drums and sweeping synths, the fuzzed out shoegaze of Jenny Besetzt is an addicting sound that serves as the perfect contrast to this ever changing fall weather we get in North Carolina.  You're likely to go from a slow brooding synth line into a guns blazing guitar riff backed by punk-esque drum beats in seconds flat, making this the perfect album to pop on your headphones to and  go about your chilly yet suddenly sweaty day...or maybe that's just me.

The bristling rhythms found within this album are one of the main reasons to check it out, these songs have the ability to turn around on a dime, making for an album that's incredibly joyous to listen to time and time again.  John Wollober's vocals are nestled snugly within the instrumentation, serving more as a vessel to evoke powerful emotions through warm melodies rather than words on paper.  However, those who value lyricism being displayed in the forefront will still get everything they wish for, as Wollober's lines instantly snap you back to the days of a blissfully ignorant youth whose world is slowly becoming more realized.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sharon Van Etten Ticket Giveaway

Sharon Van Etten plays The Cat's Cradle on
Friday, October 26 w/ Damien Jurado
If you've been following The Bottom String for a while then it's no surprise to you how enamored I am with Sharon Van Etten.  Her stellar songwriting and heart clenching vocals are unparalleled, she perfectly combines musical simplicity with depth and wonder in her lyricism.  If you've been a fan of Van Etten's recorded material then I'd say you quite simply HAVE to see her perform these songs live, the sincerity pours out through these catchy tunes, eliciting a softly spoken singalong throughout the crowd that brings a sense of community to these shows.

Sharon Van Etten will be playing at The Cat's Cradle this Friday, October 26 with another incredible up and coming song writer, Damien Jurado.  Jurado has been honing his craft for fifteen years now,  his tenth studio album Maraqopa was released in February of this year and he's one of few artists who continues to get better with each release.  Much like Sharon Van Etten, Jurado's strength lies within his lyricism and his ability to instantly take you to his darkest or brightest place.  Likened to artists like Nick Drake or Elliott Smith, Jurado's beautiful lyrics nestle themselves snugly within the confines of an equally gorgeous arrangement.

Did I grab your attention yet?  Good, because now I can inform you of the pair of tickets I'll be giving away for the show!  Send an e-mail with the subject line: Sharon Van Etten to thebottomstring@gmail.com and you'll be entered into the contest.  No e-mails will be accepted after Midnight on Wednesday, October 24.

Check out videos from Sharon Van Etten and Damien Jurado below:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shakori Hills Fall 2012 Review

Mason's Apron
As I arrived on Thursday with my car loaded up with camping gear I was filled with an overwhelming sense of joy.  One of the first things said to me as I stepped onto the grounds was a simple phrase, "Welcome home" that stuck with me for the rest of the festival.  As I left on Sunday I realized how excited I was to come back, despite my shivering damp exterior I was genuinely ecstatic at the thought of Spring Shakori.  That's what separates Shakori Hills from other festivals, the sense of family and community that can be felt at Shakori is simply unparalleled.  One can walk out of the festival with bundles of new friends that you'd have never crossed paths with had you not shared the same love of music.

And that's really the demographic this festival caters to, music lovers.  Fans of every genre can walk away pleased with a lineup that includes a Grammy winning bluegrass band, a Grammy nominated jazz-funk group, and a legendary reggae band.  Shakori Hills had mostly beautiful weather with the exception of a late night/early morning storm on Saturday that left Sunday with dreary, cold weather.  The music persevered and the sun shone on as Sunday saw some of the strongest, liveliest acts of the weekend including Malian songstress Fatoumata Diawara and the legendary Wailers.

Regardless of weather, the festival brought another strong and diverse lineup that was filled with some big local and international names putting on unforgettable live performances.  I'll be giving you a rundown of everything I saw this weekend from Thursday onward, so let's get to it!