Friday, November 29, 2013

Show Review: Gross Ghost w/ Last Year’s Men, Schooner

In celebration of Gross Ghost’s newest release, Public Housing, they threw a party with a solid lineup on Friday, November 22. The show was at Cat’s Cradle’s newly opened “back room,” located in the same building as the Cradle in Carrboro but a separate space entirely. This was my first time there and I really enjoyed the set up. You can find it by walking behind the Arts Center or the Cradle depending on where you parked. Pro tip: there’s a new parking deck that’s usable for show overflow parking, which came in handy considering the main room also had a show going on that night. Immediately when you walk in you have the bar to your left and the stage on the right. I watched the show from the upstairs area, a bit compact but great vantage point with both seated and standing room available without feeling a disconnect from the downstairs crowd.

Simply put, Schooner gets you pumped. They were a great choice to kick off the night. Bouncing around and switching off instruments between members depending on the song, they played old and new tunes. Juan Huevos joined them on stage to rap during “Still in Love,” a pretty chill track off of their newest album Neighborhood Veins. It added a different flavor from the album version and really complimented the vibe of the song.  The new songs translated well to a live performance, and as usual, the band didn’t disappoint.

Last Year’s Men followed, rocking out with a few scattered dance moves and head bangs.  It’s absolutely impossible to stand still during their shows. Within a few strums you’re inevitably going to be tapping your foot, drumming on your bottle with your free hand or dancing. A vivacious band with fast guitar riffs, they cracked some jokes between songs and easily impressed the people in the crowd who were unfamiliar with them before.

Gross Ghost, hosting the night, looked overjoyed to hop onstage and share their new songs. While most of the show focused on Public Housing tracks, they still hit all the favorites from Brer Rabbit, including “Leslie” and “Architect.” The new songs were equally as catchy, offering stomps and hooks that became earworms. Some of my favorites of the night were “You Will” and “Seeds.” The album as a whole has been getting significant play on the local college radio stations and good reviews across the board. The band brought the energy that solidified this. Vocals followed the guitar melody that came to life with Mike Dillon’s stage presence. Thankful and appreciative of the crowd, they had a hell of a set, including cameo appearances from local artists, too. Christy Smith of the Tender Fruit joined for supplementary vocals on “They Say,” and Stu McLamb of The Love Language took over bass at the end of the night. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Album Review: "Public Housing" by Gross Ghost

"Public Housing" was released on Oct. 29 on
Odessa Records. Gross Ghost will be celebrating
their album release this Friday, Nov. 22 at Cat's Cradle's
new Back Room w/ Last Year's Men and Schooner.
“It starts this way/nothing to do nothing to say,” Mike Dillon desperately sings out as the opening track to Gross Ghost’s latest full-length Public Housing kicks in. A brisk drum beat and bouncing bass line drive along until the electric guitar frenetically bursts through the mix, setting the tone for what’s to come on this enthralling sophomore release from Gross Ghost.

While their debut Brer Rabbit relished in playful poignancy, Dillon and company go straight for the throat on Public Housing, an album the chronicles a hectic period of couch surfing during the post-break up wake. Tracks like the album’s opener “Seeds” display a lot of the sentiments that can be found on Public Housing, Dillon wears his emotions on his sleeve as he runs the gamut of reactionary tales. While the overarching themes delve into looking back on loves lost, their sonic foundation is strongly geared towards the future.

Public Housing is a crisp record that was recorded at The Pinhook in Durham, one of the attributing factors to the unequivocal energy that oozes out of these tracks. The addition of longtime collaborator Christopher Hutcherson-Riddle has allowed the drums to serve as a powerful driving force for these rhythmically focused songs. Vocal melodies will frequently mirror the guitar riffs, making for wonderful interplay between all of the various textures in place. Public Housing finds Gross Ghost putting together all of the pieces that make for a tight, cohesive band with a strong drive to succeed.

Whether it be the unforgettable hooks on tracks like “You Will” or the unshakeable grooves on “Howlin,” Dillon’s songwriting is the strongest it’s been to date on Public Housing. While Brer Rabbit was a wonderful album that I still find myself drawn to, it very much just tackled the surface of this band’s potential. Public Housing plunges deeper into the rabbit hole, allowing for intimate connections with these tracks. The album’s lone acoustic excursion, “Dissolve” is filled with insatiable longings of “wanting it all,” and manages to fit in perfectly with the distorted anthems it’s surrounded by. This can easily be attributed to that constant sense of connectivity with these songs, Dillon has poured himself into these tracks and it’s paid off immensely.

Whether you’re hulled up in the house or barreling down the interstate, Public Housing’s versatility lends itself to plenty of listening situations. The introspection allows for listeners to entrench themselves in these tunes while the upbeat, jangling instrumentation makes these songs capable of filling you with uncontainable energy, driving you to shake, sway and shout along to these infectious songs. Public Housing gives Gross Ghost a powerful foundation to build upon, with two fantastic releases behind them there’s an undeniable spotlight shone upon this group. It’s clear that Public Housing is only the beginning for this newly cemented lineup of Gross Ghost, and there’s nowhere but up to go from here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Show Preview: Gross Ghost w/ Last Year’s Men, Schooner

Gross Ghost at Kings Barcade at Hopscotch 2013
Gross Ghost are having their record release party at Cat’s Cradle’s newly constructed back room on Friday, November 22. The night will be stacked with local rockers Last Year’s Men and Schooner opening.

Schooner celebrated their much awaited first national release Neighborhood Veins (PotLuck, 2013) at the end of September.  The album got high reviews from outlets such as Pop Matters and BLURT magazine, which isn’t surprising considering the local love they’ve seen over the years. It showcases a good balance between fast and slow paced “pop-indie-psych-soul” with echoing low vocals from Reid Johnson. A good handful of the songs you’ll find yourself not being able to get out of your head, or at the least get caught dancing to at stop lights in the car.

Chapel Hill’s Last Year’s Men are some of the most fun guys to watch or just have general banter with. Expect garage rock reminiscent of The Stooges and Spider Bags with the energy of someone who just shotgunned a PBR then set the can on fire. Currently on Churchkey Records, the band has one full length out, Sunny Down Snuff that’s packed full of solid tracks that translate well to a live show.

Gross Ghost’s second full length LP Public Housing came on Odessa Records on October 29. This record marks a follow up to their debut Brer Rabbit (Grip Tapes, 2012), that was so well-received that the band snagged a main stage slot at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival, opening for Future Islands, Holy Ghost!, and A-Trak. Public Housing follows the Gross Ghost sound consistently accomplished on the first album, and continues with ten tracks of fuzz, hooks, and catchy melodies. Seeing the band perform is always a treat, and with new material to share it will have a fresh spin of energy.

Doors are at 8:30 pm and the show starts at 9:30 pm. Tickets are $8.00 in advance and $10.00 day-of. Gross Ghost is also offering half off the price of CD or vinyl purchases with admission. For more information about the show, visit

Monday, November 18, 2013

Art of Cool Festival Announces Lineup

The Art of Cool Festival will take place in Durham, NC
on April 25 & 26. Tickets are available now at $120 for a
2-day pass or $275 for VIP
Earlier this year The Art of Cool popped up on my radar due to an incredibly promising Kickstarter campaign. The project, led by Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong has been helping to increase the presence of our local jazz scene throughout the past few years. The local non-profit has been organizing events that showcase local artists along with internationally acclaimed acts at a variety of high-profile and low-key venues throughout the area.

The project got its starts at the LabourLove Gallery in Durham when trumpeter Al Strong was looking for a low-pressure, intimate venue to perform at. However, throughout the past two years it has blossomed into something that's capable of re-igniting the once vibrant North Carolina jazz scene.

While there's always been handfuls of dedicated jazz listeners and performers in the area, Art of Cool is helping to bring the rich local scene back to life with their massive festival set to take place next April in Durham. Their aforementioned Kickstarter campaign raised over $25,000 and this past Friday the festival announced their long-awaited lineup. With high hopes set, Cicely and Al certainly didn't disappoint, combining some of the most revered local acts with a Grammy Award-winning artists and internationally acclaimed icons. The festival's marquee headliner, Maceo Parker (saxophonist for James Brown and Parliament) just so happens to hail from Kinston while the five-time Grammy nominee Nnena Freelon (mother of The Beast's Pierce Freelon), has called Durham home for decades.

While acts like Nnena and Maceo feel like givens for a high-profile jazz festival, the standouts amongst the lineup are those that provide the biggest surprises. Seeing acts like Thundercat and Cody Chesnutt on the lineup beside names like Robert Glasper, The Foreign Exchange and a special arrangement by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Though the Atwood-Ferguson piece has been public knowledge since this summer, it doesn't make it any less exciting. For those that aren't aware, Atwood-Ferguson is a widely renown multi-instrumentalist/composer who has worked with a breathtaking lineup of musicians ranging from Ray Charles to Dr. Dre to Hall and Oates and pretty much everywhere in between. For the Art of Cool festival, Atwood-Ferguson has been commissioned to create a staggering tribute to North Carolina's most renown jazz musicians. An 11-person ensemble will perform Atwood-Ferguson's composition paying tribute to John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Thelonius Monk and Roberta Flack with promised special guests to join the already staggering array of musicians on stage.

For jazz aficionados this is an absolute dream come true. It's a Hopscotch-level festival that touches on an entirely different area of our state's great scene. On April 25 and 26, Durham will be filled with the entrancing sounds of some of the world's most talented musicians. The festival's headliners will perform at the gorgeous Carolina Theater while the other acts will perform amongst some of Durham's finest venues like Motorco Music Hall, The Pinhook, Beyu Cafe, Heyti Heritage Center and the Durham Arts Council. Among all of the awe-inspiring jazz, soul and experimental music on display, artists will be taking part in panel discussions and master classes throughout the area, making for a unique and immersive experience for everyone involved. Check out the full lineup below:

Art of Cool Lineup:
Maceo Parker | Robert Glasper Experiment | Miguel Atwood-Ferguson | Cody ChesnuTT | Amel Lerriux | Alice Smith | The Clayton Brothers | The Foreign Exchange | Thundercat | Mark de Clive-Lowe | Revive Big Band | Russel Gunn | The Beast | Kneebody | Nnena Freelon & Maya Freelon Asante | Lois Deloatch-Gomes | NCCU Big Band | Rafiq Bhatia | Butcher Brown | NCCU Jazz Vocal Ensemble | The Hot at Nights | Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz | Shana Tucker | Akua Alrich & Kris Funn

Friday, November 15, 2013

Show Preview: Os Mutantes w/ Capsula

I have seen amazing things in the Triangle. I've seen Beach House open for Vampire Weekend, Akron/Family bring their sense of weird to the Oak City, The Flaming Lips shoot lasers at the capital building; hell, man, I've seen our state's capital grind to a halt and erupt into a blocks wide and miles long music festival (on more than one occasion). That being said, I am always flabbergasted by the things that happen here. A close friend mentioned Os Mutantes were going to be at the Pour House and I thought that, for sure, he must have read something wrong. I had to check the Pour House's schedule AND the Stagger to be absolutely certain. Yes, Os Mutantes will actually be at the Pour House on November 22nd.

Os Mutantes, 2013.
Denise Truscello/NPR First Listen
Being active for 50 years, give or take a few hiatuses, Os Mutantes have had plenty of time to gather around themselves a pretty large following. Beck, Flea, and Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes all count Os Mutantes among their influences. The Talking Heads' David Byrne and his world music label Luaka Bop have made a career-cum-hobby of preserving and re-releasing their music.

Os Mutantes emerged at an interesting point in Brazilian history, to be certain. As the world became hip to Brazilian bossa novas and its antecedent sambas, Brazil became hip to the psychedelia and avant-gardism that was gaining popularity the world over. Thus, the tropicália movement was born, a fusion of the external influences and traditional Brazilian culture. Squarely in the middle of the movement, nearly from its onset, Os Mutantes stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Now, the sole consistent member of the band, Sérgio Dias, brings Os Mutantes to the Triangle after the April release of Fool Metal Jacket. Jacket is first Mutantes release since 2006's Haih Or Amortecedor, which signaled the end of a 35-year absence from the studio and the second album with the new lineup. NPR's Jasmine Garsd voiced her hesitance, "Like many fans, I braced myself for Mutantes 2.0, but was pleasantly surprised to see their madness has aged well. These are the weirdos who survived every Latin American apocalypse..."

Capsula in a press photo.
The Mutants (as we'd say in 'Merica) bring with them Capsula, also hailing from Brazil. To purport myself as a Capsula scholar and profess fanaticism would be disingenuous, to say the least. However, in doing research about them for this very article (yes, the one you're reading (wow such meta)), I have become intrigued by their music and excited to see them perform. Described as garage-glam, the band took their indie credibility and released a song-for-song cover of Bowie's seminal Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, aptly named Ziggy Stardust, in 2012. Crushing through classic tunes with steady beats, fuzzy guitar, and an attitude reminiscent of the Thin White Duke himself, the band proves their point fairly early on. They're good, they're really good, and certainly deserving of your attention.

Rolling Stone magazine's senior editor David Fricke chose to highlight Capsula's latest release Solar Secrets in his "Fricke's Picks" column. Calling it a "dynamic compression of the Who, the Cramps and Sonic Youth in a high tide of psychedelia" seems to cement them as an obvious choice to open for Os Mutantes, as they've done on many dates of their latest tour.

With tickets going for $20 pre-sale and $25 at the door, you'd be remiss, even with all of the other opportunities in the Triangle, to neglect attending this performance. How often does the good fortune of seeing a legendary Brazilian psychedelic band and their glam-rock progeny inside our very own beltline for a mere Andy Jackson turn its head? Exactly. I will see you there.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Show Review: Manchester Orchestra w/ The Front Bottoms and O'Brother

Manchester Orchestra
As I've grown older and older, I kind of come to dread sold out shows. There's bound to be a lot of densely packed people, probably acting like assholes, elbowing and excusing their way through the crowd to fit into a minuscule spot that's physically impossible for one person to fill. However, despite the shoulder to shoulder standing room and gawking pre-teens definitely breaking the rules of their after-9, Saturday's show at Cat's Cradle was a warmly welcomed trip down Nostalgia Blvd. This marked the sixth time I've seen Manchester Orchestra live, I've got lyrics from the band tattooed on my chest and they pretty much got me through my formative high school years. Plus, I've booked numerous shows for O'Brother back in my hometown and have shared late nights eating day old donuts and pizza that a friend acquired from a Dunkin Donuts and Little Caesers dumpster. Needless to say, these bands have a very special place in my heart.

As O'Brother took the stage and Cat's Cradle began to gradually fill in, I was filled with a sense of elation...followed by a bit of laughter. While I love O'Brother, the way they've grown as a band couldn't be further from what a Manchester Orchestra crowd would expect from an opening act. Those that were privy to these ambient metal upstarts were head banging and mouthing the words to O'Brothers standout track "Lo." However, lots of the fans seemed a bit perplexed by the swiftly gathering fog and moody lights that turned O'Bro into a group of hair swinging silhouettes. It seemed like right as the crowd was really warming up to O'Brother's industrial brand of post-rock, they were announcing their last song. It was a treat to hear some of the new songs from Disillusion, an album I've yet to dig into at this point. However, judging by the intensity of this live show the band has delved deeper into riff-driven amped up stoner metal while retaining all of their gripping melodic nuances that drove me to the band in the first place.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Album Review: You're On The Wrong Drugs by The Lollipops

“I’m over the bah bah bahs,” Iggy Cosky says. And the gritty garage of October’s You’re On The Wrong Drugs demos has his band, The Lollipops, pushing in different directions for sure. Since The Lollipops broke into the Triangle music scene last year, they’ve been known for their melodramatic pop dazzlers with catchy choruses about love.

But on the opening track “Call the Doctor,” Cosky proves that The Lollipops are capable of so much more. “Call the Doctor” is a fuzzed out, frantic two minute rager. There’s a dizzy guitar riff that holds down the track while Cosky screams over it. This is not a dreamy love song. “Some people might think I’m losing it,” Cosky says. But he insists that You’re On The Wrong Drugs shows a natural evolution into something that he says is “not as polite or tame” as the old Lollipops.

This past summer Cosky listened to a lot of Jay Retard and Fela Kuti, with the former influence showing up in the demo’s interludes. The terse interludes are Cosky’s interpretation of what he calls “sex funk.” “I took an Afro-beat approach,” Cosky explains, “The grooves are syncopated. The bass is locked in with the drums.” “There’s a riot going on” is just shy of a minute, closing out the demo, lingering with the listener, leaving them wanting more.

And more is to be expected with the ever prolific Cosky. He’s already in the works on a side project called Julius Ransome, which he self describes as “RnB/Funk that may take a Kraut Rock/Jazz direction.” More Lollipops demos will be released soon as well, one will be folky and the other will be more electronic. But if You’re On The Wrong Drugs is a preview of the new Lollipops, where ever Cosky leads them next will be exciting to see. 

Listen to You're On The Wrong Drugs here.

Listen to new music from Julius Ransome below:

Friday, November 8, 2013

Show Review: King Khan and the Shrines w/ Hellshovel & Black Zinfadel

As a first time passenger of the Bridge Bus, a bus that runs between Durham and Raleigh at night on the weekends, I wasn’t entirely sure if I would make it to the show. My bus anxieties were dissipated very quickly and I made it to Durham just in time to catch Hellshovel play.

Although I missed Black Zinfandel, I can tell you that they are a band not to be missed even though I did just that...They blend conventional punk stylings with psych-rock recklessness to create a crass, yet refined style. Regardless, Black Zinfandel gives me hope that the punk scene in Raleigh will eventually become much more visible.

When Hellshovel began to play all I could think about is how much better their shoes were than any of the shoes I own. That's actually not all I thought about but these dudes had some good shoes and very mod style that fit well with their rockabilly psych rock that was a lot more jam-band than a typical garage band, but it was refreshing to hear. Hellshovel played mellow garage tunes that still had energy infused into them to keep the crowd going until King Khan hit the stage. 

King Khan and the Shrines
King Khan's specialty lies in his live performances that tend to be over the top and exposed. Literally exposed, as most of the time, he sings in a cape and nothing else but his underwear. Because this is not what immediately happened, I was a bit surprised and maybe even disappointed to see him in a dapper suit, however the show proved to be nothing but a riot.

A moshpit formed very quickly and everyone in it seemed to be convulsing to the soulful sounds the band created. With a live band consisting of eight people, it was surprisingly tame until the encore when Khan finally came out dressed as I would have expected him, commando, with a cape. This show was first of hopefully many shows where I witnessed the span of fifteen to fifty years of age all together in the same moshpit, having a blast. And when an artist can elicit that big of a response from that wide of an array of people, there's obviously something fantastic happening.

Show Review: And So I Watch You From Afar, TTNG, Mylets

LA record label Sargent House put together a solid bill that flaunted some great rock at Kings Barcade on Tuesday, November 5.

Mylets, putting out his first full-length Sargent House album next year, plays mostly instrumental music. Written and performed by himself, Henry Kohen utilized numerous pedals and samplers to play his songs. At times, he’d yell over the aggressive loop-based songs. He had a knack for making loops on the fly, a difficult task not many can do, especially impulsively to a high tier quality. His guitar riffs were layered, also taking time with the synth bass and percussion pads to build a full sound.

TTNG (This Town Needs Guns) was first of the two headliners, both of whom played full sets. The guys chatted between songs, commenting on the tour, sharing some stories and trying to pump up the audience. Given it was a Tuesday night, there was a decent crowd, but it took a while for the majority to really wake up. As you would expect from the music, a large amount of the songs were constructed with taps, pull offs and harmonics – always fun to watch this guitar style being created feet from your face. Henry Tremain, lead vocalist, guitarist and bassist, had a creative setup. He played a good bit with two guitars stacked on each other, hanging from different lengths. The top, tuned “normally,” the bottom Squire tuned an octave lower to emulate a bass guitar sound.

The band invited Mylets on stage to play a song with them, and he looked stoked, getting into the half-screaming vocals with one arm cemented behind his back as he danced around a bit. At the end of their set, they did something else pretty special. Introducing “26 Is Dancier Than 4,” the first track off of their self-titled 2008 album, they got a great response, pegging it as a crowd favorite. Tremain asked who knew the song, who knew the words, and then after a wave of cheers, who wanted to come up and sing it with him. A younger guy named Casey jumped up on stage and melted right in. Harmonizing wonderfully with Tremain throughout the set, he had no shyness getting behind the mic. At the end of the song, he respectfully and nervously thanked each of the members, shaking their hand, and accidentally interrupting a guitar riff to do so – but it’s cool, he rocked.

And So I Watch You From Afar
And So I Watch You From Afar came on a little after 10:15. They opened with songs off their newest album, All Hail Bright Futures, including “Ambulance,” a track that builds up upon a single riff with powerful beats, breaks, and shouts. Inevitably, a small pit soon formed a few people back from the front. After a few songs, I looked at the friend I was standing next to who hadn’t seen them before. When I could see her face between hair-flying head banging, she was grinning ear to ear. That pretty much reflected my experience. ASIWYFA plays very tight with palpitating energy that mirrors their music in a physical and visual way.

With instrumental shows, there are different approaches the performer-audience connection can take. From an audience perspective, it often feels like you’re sitting in on a practice and watching through a glass window, or at a theatre watching a hi-brow performance. Then, you have ones like this that play to the audience and bounce energies back and forth, transforming it to an emotive rock show. They, too, invited Mylets on stage for a song. Their tour manager also joined for a song and the group just looked like they were having a blast, and the crowd was responsive. I was incredibly happy with the set list’s flow, and they hit all my favorites, including “7 Billion People All At Once,” “Set Guitars to Kill,” and an extended version of “The Voiceless” as their final song.

The bands share the same label and are working closely doing the whole tour together. There is an undeniable level of support and camaraderie between them that made the experience interconnected, rather than seeing three individual bands at face value. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Show Preview: Manchester Orchestra w/ The Front Bottoms & O'Brother

Manchester Orchestra will perform at Cat's Cradle
on Saturday, Nov. 9 with The Front Bottoms & O'Brother
Rarely does a band strike me the way that Manchester Orchestra does, so needless to say anytime I get the chance to see these guys display their poignant brand of indie rock I jump all over it. They've come a long way from touring the southeast with former local standouts like The Never and Annuals, now they're performing at House of Blues' and hosting their own festival in Atlanta, but whenever they stop through at Cat's Cradle it's always a momentous affair. Manchester Orchestra has been off the road for some time now, working on new music for a forthcoming album and generally catching up on some presumably much needed rest from a constantly hectic tour schedule. However, this Saturday is going to be one of those truly special nights that acts like Manchester Orchestra are only capable of. Joined by former labelmates O'Brother and The Front Bottoms, Cat's Cradle is slated for a night filled with aggressively emotive rock ranging from head-banging ambient heavy rock to introspective indie rock anthems.

O'Brother will start off the evening with the equivalent of a musical kick in the teeth. These guys started out as an experimental indie rock outfit from Atlanta and have gradually morphed into an ambient take on hard-rock that still harkens back to their ethereal beginnings. This Sriracha loving band of musicians knows how to play into the ebb and flow of dynamics, one minute vocalist Tanner Merritt is crooning over a gently picked guitar line and the next you've got the Dang brothers flinging their long black hair around as your eardrums begin screaming out in sweet, sweet pain. They take the heavy-quiet-heavy dynamic and run it over with their barreling wall of sound, choosing to craft their own sense of sonic structure rather than fill in pre-determined molds.

If you're not already plagued with a bang-over from the guttural rock sounds of O'Brother then you'll probably find yourself bouncing and bobbing to the infectious sounds of The Front Bottoms. While many may label the band as a pop-punk leaning outfit, there's much more sincerity and diversity within this group to write them off as such. While some songs may follow simplistic structures, it doesn't take long to realize that The Front Bottoms are about as gritty and inclusive as one could hope for. "Who am I kidding, I can't get past you" belts vocalist Brian Sella on "Skeleton," a track from their latest album Talon of the Hawk. "You are the cops, you are my student loans." There's no filter here, just unapologetic indie rock with punk leanings. So frankly they'll serve as a perfect opener for a band as sincere and boisterous as Manchester Orchestra.

Manchester will surely expend every fiber of energy possible for this set, hell I've seen the band play for nearly two hours before at the Cradle. Their shows are communal in every since of the word, much like The Front Bottoms' and O'Brothers' shows. Fans aren't just fans, they're die hards. Words are shouted back, emotions are palpable. These songs are more than just words for these fans, they're places in time that can't be replaced. I'll never forget shouting along to "Golden Ticket" at the now defunct Soapbox in Wilmington, clasped to a railing whilst silently praying that the buckling floor doesn't break beneath the weight of hundreds of Manchester die hards. Now the band will surely fill out the bulk of Cat's Cradle, much like they have in previous years. But this renovated Cat's Cradle hasn't seen Manchester before, much like we've all yet to see what sort of new songs Manchester has in store for us. It's going to be an incredible night of music punctuated by powerful performances from every act on the bill. It's hard to recall when I was this excited for a single bill, but all I know is that Saturday night will surely be one of the standout shows of the year for me.

Doors will open at 7:30 and the show will begin at 8:30. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available at

Show Preview: And So I Watch You From Afar, TTNG, Mylets

And So I Watched You From Afar will perform at
Kings Barcade on Nov. 5
Sargent House, a Los Angeles-based management company and record label, is hosting a tour coming to Kings on Tuesday night showcasing three of their artists. And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) will co-headline this show with TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns), each playing full sets, with Mylets opening. The label is also known for artists such as Russian Circles, Tera Melos, Red Sparrowes, Boris and Bosnian Rainbows.

Mylets is Henry Kohen’s one-man project, self-described as loop rock. Aggressive vocals lay over mixtures of acoustic and electric drums and guitar. Chances are, if you’re a fan of either of the headliners, you’ll dig Mylets. He’s orchestrated a full rock band sound, and watching him create it live should be interesting. Mylets will record and release his Sargent House debut full length next year.
Math/prog-rock trio TTNG hails from the United Kingdom, which translates to they don’t come through the area very often. They released their sophomore album in January of this year, and received solid reviews from music critics at Consequence of Sound and Sputnikmusic. It also marked the transition to officially being called by their acronym, TTNG. If you haven’t checked them out yet, the sound is reminiscent of Minus the Bear and label mates Maps & Atlases, with nontraditional time signatures and impressive rhythm sections.

Irish instrumental rockers ASIWYFA return to the Triangle for another sure to be high-energy show. They also released an album this spring, All Hail Bright Futures, which strays slightly from the sans-lyric form the band has historically done, and delved a bit deeper into experimenting with new sounds and ways to achieve those sounds. While a lot of the set is likely to be drawn from this, expect to hear some old favorites, too, that the band may expand on live. Riff-driven, loud and experimental (one of All Hail’s songs features a strong guitar riff sung rather than played), the band is a fine-tuned machine that puts on a seamless and powerful show.

Doors open at 7:00 pm and the show will begin at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $13 in advance, available online at, and $15 day-of at the door.  

Show Review: Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit

Pretty Lights
The (sort of) inaugural Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit was a weekend that proved to be every bit as memorable and exciting as I'd hoped it would be, which means that it met quite lofty expectations that I'd set. Three evenings filled with more electronic music than I usually see all year made for an exhausting weekend, but the diversity of the other acts peppering the lineup made the marathon of music a much more doable feat. Mountain Oasis proved itself to be an excellent representative of the current state of music, many of the acts were forward thinking electronic-based artists--whether that be bro-leaning dubstep icons, English house duos or psychedelically infused indie bands--but there were handfuls of iconic throwbacks that allowed festival goers the option of soaking in age-old nostalgia or entrenching themselves in skull-rattling bass.

The weekend started off an hour into the first night for me. I arrived shortly after 8:00 and just in time to trek through the costumed crowds that were hiking up towards the US Cellular Center and plop in front of the stage for Purity Ring. The Canadian duo has been on my list of must sees since Shrines was released in 2012. Though the act leans towards electronic-pop, the instrumental foundation is heavily ensconced in the world of bass-heavy hip-hop. Pounding low-ends were marked by shimmering vocal melodies and a percussively oriented light show. As Corin Roddick would accentuate his beats with bright synth lines, corresponding orbs of light would illuminate as they were struck with his drum sticks, making for an incredibly well put together stage presence. Megan James' haunting vocals lingered throughout the Arena and a sense of disappointment filled the air once fans realized that their set was over. However, that disappointment quickly dissipated once Deltron 3030 took the stage. While I've admittedly not delved too deep into Del The Funky Homosapien's discography, this Deltron set immediately drew me into the highly revered rapper. Deltron is a hip-hop supergroup comprised of Del, producer Dan The Automater, and prolific DJ Kid Koala, but that's not the main draw of this high-energy hip-hop show. While it was fantastic to see Del and the crew pull out favorites like Gorillaz' "Clint Eastwood," the real highlight of this performance was the massive orchestration that backed this sci-fi hip-hop narrative. Swelling strings and soaring horns blended with bass and electric guitars to make for a unique and compelling live hip-hop set-up. It's always a crapshoot when you're stepping into a live hip-hop set-up, it could easily be a blasé affair with a strong lack of personality, but Deltron 3030 turned all expectations upside down and provided one of the most exciting sets of the weekend.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ears To The Ground: "St. Gloria" by Wild Fur

"St. Gloria" is the second track released by Wild Fur,
the new project from Wylie Hunter and Nick Jaeger
Lots of bands have gotten swept up into the electronic craze, but understandably so. Guitar music has been slowly phasing itself out of our world, arguably ever since Kid A dropped over a decade ago. Many claim that electronic music is the future--which may be true--but the musicians that are currently standing out have found the perfect way to blend electronic styling with those guitar driven rock tunes that have defined our era for so long.

Enter Wild Fur. Wild Fur is the new project from Wylie Hunter of Wylie Hunter and the Cazadores and Nick Jaeger of various local acts like The Tomahawks, Max Indian and Roman Candle. The songs took form earlier this year as Hunter was writing, but he quickly found that they wouldn't fit in with the Cazadores' style. Quite frankly they don't fit in with many pre-disposed styles, Wild Fur's sound is akin to an experimental Americana act that hasn't quite decided which end of the spectrum to fall on. Instead they choose to fill songs with whirring synth lines, minimalistic percussion and distorted guitars that somehow coalesce to form a sound thats simultaneously fresh and vintage.

Back in October Wild Fur debuted their first track "Keep The Band" on Speakers in Code, a wonderful blog based out of St. Louis that frequent Bottom String photographer Agatha Donkar shoots for. Shortly after that Wylie approached me to ask if I'd want to debut "St. Gloria," the band's second single. At this point I'd already listened to "Keep The Band" at least five times and was transfixed in the new direction that Hunter had taken his music. Wild Fur retains much of the rustic qualities that made The Cazadores so lovable and relatable, but delves into an exciting new territory that expands into the far reaches of the Southern aesthetic.

"St. Gloria" is a rambling, ambitious track that paints the picture of a head strong young woman named Gloria defined by late nights, red dresses and hidden scars. She's a rambunctious type that lives for the day whilst flippantly "burning bridges," but the narrator beckons for her to take down the veil before those surrounding her realize she's not the person she seems to be.

Be on the lookout for more new tunes from this promising act comprised of local favorites, because if the new tracks are anything like these past two songs then they're sure to be brilliant bursts of innovative sonic exploration.