Monday, September 30, 2013

Show Preview: FUZZ w/ CCR Headcleaner and Big No

FUZZ will be performing at Kings Barcade in Raleigh, NC
on Oct. 10 w/ CCR Headcleaner and Big No
Preview by Anastassia Olegovna
The heart of fall is coming up and I honestly think this is the best time to go to shows in North Carolina. Everyone thinks that summer is the time when bands tour but I’ve found that all of my favorite bands tour in the fall, which is either a weird coincidence or there’s some secret organization behind this.

If you are looking for a quiet way to pass the time look to another place, because on October 10th FUZZ, CCR Headcleaner and Big No will not spare your eardrums. 
Big No is a fairly unknown band hailing from San Francisco by way of Richmond, creating dark, manic pop songs that are understated and out-of-your-mind lo fi. Nathan Grice, the man behind the band, sings heartfelt songs that are borderline garage, laced with sugary-pop synths that create a unique sound in the midst of the Bay Area garage scene.

The San Francisco trend continues with CCR Headcleaner, the second opener for FUZZ. Don’t be fooled though, CCR Headcleaner is not just another California band but one that has its roots set in Georgia, Maine, and Washington, bridging the garage rock gap between the East and West coast in the heart of the Bay Area. They proudly boast a “not giving a damn” attitude backed by their noisy, destructive, psych and punk sound with a premeditated readiness to get real weird.

Finally, FUZZ headlines the show with a band name that should already give you an idea of what you’re in store for. FUZZ is the brainchild of the San Francisco garage rock genius, Ty Segall, and Charles Mootheart, who plays in Ty’s live band. (with Roland Cosio on bass) Segall, taking a break from the spotlight of his two other ongoing projects, Ty Segall and Ty Segall band, situates himself on the drums. Don’t expect him to sit there and haphazardly beat the drums, instead expect insanity and psyched-out drum solos. In fact don’t go expecting anything that might color Ty’s previous work because FUZZ sounds more like Black Sabbath and a heavier version of Ty Segall Band’s Slaughterhouse. Mootheart and Segall trade off vocals over fuzzed-out psychedelic rock and roll that distorts reality and may cause spinal injuries because you will not be able to stop yourself from lurching into the band’s madness headfirst.

Doors open at 8:30 pm and the show starts at 9:00. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Show Preview: Shakori Hills Fall 2013

Mason's Apron @ Fall Shakori 2012
Few things in life get me as excited as Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival. That's not even an exaggerated statement, the two weekends out of the year that I get to spend camped out on the gorgeous farmlands out in Pittsboro, NC are always the happiest days of my year. Perhaps it's because my dearest friends that are now spread across the state all reunite for a weekend filled with fantastic music, but I think there's more to it than that. The festival is--to quote Das Racist here-- a "pos-vibe emanator." Basically the minute you drive into that dirt-filled parking lot you feel like you've become a part of the family. After attending the festival a few time you grow to recognize the faces, make dear acquaintances, and the entire thing feels like a gigantic reunion of kindred spirits. Maybe I'm just wrapped up in the hippy-ness of the whole thing, but if so I've got zero problems with that.

The festival takes place from Oct. 10-13 and provides an awe-inspiring blend of music from all across the globe. Shakori Hills can somehow maintain a local focus while providing an outlet for highly acclaimed artists from a wide array of backgrounds ranging from Ethiopia to Canada. Shakori Hills is filled with laid-back vibes, it's a festival that allows you to roam around aimlessly and catch some incredible music that you may have never even thought to listen to. I know when I first started attending the festival I had a small interest in Afropop stylings, but after I saw acts like Diali Cissokho and Fatoumata Diawara I began to immerse myself in the throughs of African music. This festival is a chance to broaden your musical horizons, to leave your cell phone behind and wind down--or let loose! Shakori has a bit of both quite frankly, if you want to have a chill weekend filled with low-key acoustic acts then you've got a slew of options. However, if you're looking to release your inhibitions and dance away your troubles, there's plenty of that too.

Show Review: Screaming Females with Waxahatchee and Tenement

Tenement at Kings Barcade
Usually it would take a little longer to warm up the crowd and get them past their first PBR of the night cloud when everyone’s feet seem to be glued to the ground. Tenement was able to break that right away. They had fast-paced rock and half stacks almost as tall as the members. Bouncing all around stage, the guitarist showed off his vertical jump skills with a ton of mid-air kicks amplified by windmill-style strumming.  The energy was contagious.

Waxahatchee followed, toning the liveliness down a bit. Guitarist and singer Katie Crutchfield was accompanied by a bassist and a drummer on stage. They didn’t interact with each other much. Katie seemed to drift away into her lyrics, with emotive singing while keeping her eyes heavy. She had an effortless air and softness to her voice that sounded great over the distorted guitars.

Screaming Females
Screaming Females came out and rocked it. Marissa Paternoster’s spastic leaps across stage between pick slides and finger taps were impressive. She wore a Slinger Hip instead of the traditional over-the-shoulder guitar strap. It seemed that it made it easier to roll around on stage not having the extra stability based on the shoulder. From backbends to deep lunges and propped-up poses, she ran back and forth between facing the crowd and going ballistic with drummer Jarret Dougherty and bassist King Mike. Screams and powerhouse vocal were raw – it was loud and awesome.

The bill as a whole flowed together and made for a good mid-week mental break. 
Screaming Females

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Show Preview: Screaming Females w/ Waxahatchee & Tenement

Screaming Females will be performing with Waxahatchee
and Tenement at Kings Barcade tonight, Sept. 18
As we’re all still coming down from the Hopscotch high, perusing through post-festival blogs and reliving the weekend through Flickr photo albums, Hopscotch has teamed up with Kings Barcade to present Screaming Females with label mates Waxahatchee and Tenement.

Three-piece Wisconsin rockers Tenement will open the night with what should be a high-energy set that veers from their recorded music. Known for improvisation at live shows, Tenement has played a strong role in the punk and hardcore scene in Wisconsin since their formation in 2006.  The band has a knack for balancing occasional harmonies with fuzzy punk, making it damn near impossible to get through their show standing still.

Singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield, under the name Waxahatchee, has been involved in the music world since her early teens, rooted in punk. Waxahatchee has had a busy year, going on a lengthy tour with Katie’s twin sister’s band, Swearin’, as well as playing festivals including Hopscotch, SXSW and FYF Festival. Her sophomore album, Cerulean Salt, was released in March of this year on Don Giovanni Records in the US and Wichita Recordings for the UK release.

Screaming Females stems from the New Jersey punk scene and is constantly cranking out more guitar-driven rock, releasing five full lengths since their start in 2005. Lead guitarist Marissa Paternoster’s vibrato vocals range from whaling over mesmerizing guitar riffs to screaming alongside noisy feedback-ridden power chords. When paired with bassist King Mike’s vocals, it creates an almost eerie balance that works perfectly with the music as a whole.  The band released a 7” split with Tenement in early September and has plans to come out with another full-length next year.


Tickets are available in advance or at the door, both $10. This is an all ages show and doors are at 8:30 PM.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Show Review: Hopscotch Music Festival, Day 3

Spiritualized @ City Plaza
By the time Saturday rolled around exhausted is one of the words I had in my rolodex to tell people how I was feeling when asked. But despite my energetic woes, there was no way that I'd miss out on the full days worth of shows that came along with Saturday's Day Parties. While the move shows my nonsensical youth at work, my day began right at 12:00 thanks to Trekky's Day Party and an open bar thanks to Team Clermont. Because what better way to battle hangovers than with a quick round of day drinking?

Winston-Salem's fuzzed-out rockers Estrangers kicked off the day for me, so while half of this attendance was for the free booze the other was most definitely to see this fantastic band. Their debut full-length Season of 1000 Colors (you can check out my review in Creative Loafing Charlotte today!) was released earlier this summer and proved to be one of my favorite local releases of the first half of the year. It's unfair to make Love Language comparisons of any local act that's got reverb-washed, classic pop stylings--but frankly the comparison is apt when it comes to Estrangers. Phillip Pledger's unrestrained vocals are liable to turn on a dime, ranging from delicate croons to passionate wails.

Immediately after Estrangers came a solo set from Hi Ho Silver Oh and it was one of the few sets this year that absolutely blew me out of the water. Everyone packed upstairs for the quaint show, but Casey Trela held nothing back in a powerful set that slowly evolved into a riveting full-band display with locals Joah Tunnel and Josh Kimbrough joining Trela for fully fleshed-out interpretations of his raw, attention-grabbing tracks. Trela's folk inspired melodies took form over a looped guitar that added depth and complexity to his bone-chilling vocal delivery. I walked in oblivious to this former North Carolinian's act and immediately left with the desire to immerse myself in their work. A stellar set that set the bar high throughout the day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Show Review: Hopscotch Music Festival 2013, Day 2

A-Trak @ City Plaza
14 hours of live music will take something out of you--I can attest to that. But the prospect of another full day of even more exciting festivities is enough to push me to drag my ass out of bed and immerse myself in a whole new day of beer drinking, fried food gorging and most importantly live music consumption. Hopscotch's three-day run is a unique festival experience, I've trekked out to Bonnaroo and know the woes of spending your days camping in the sun, but Hopscotch is an equally exhausting experience believe it or not.

However, one of my favorite parts of Hopscotch is the ability to revisit some of these acts--whether they be local or not--that you haven't seen in years and suddenly stumble upon. That's what my day was filled with on Friday, an afternoon of high-energy rock music from a wide array of genres. I begrudgingly attended my Friday class and made it downtown just in time for Last Year's Men to begin their set at Slim's. Last time I saw these guys was ironically enough at Slim's, so this was definitely a familiar environment for me. Their buzzing brand of garage rock continues to wow me as I experience the band in this tightly packed setting that is absurdly conducive to their sound.

After Last Year's Men finished up their raucous set I checked out The Everymen from New Jersey behind Slim's. Of course I feasted on free booze and veggie burgers, but the highlight of this experience was most definitely the discovery of an absolutely wonderful live act. The Everymen packed out Slim's back porch despite the beating sun and rocked harder than anyone I saw on Friday (including Valient Thorr). At one point the keyboardist picked up his instrument and pulled out a rocking behind the head solo which is arguably the most rock and roll thing a keyboardist can do. Their lively set even drew a crowd of underaged kids on the adjacent parking deck which everyone began to gawk over as well. All in all Slim's served as an awesome kickstart for my Friday.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Show Review: Hopscotch Music Festival 2013, Day 1

Kurt Vile & The Violators @ The Lincoln Theater
I say it each year, but I truly don't know how Grayson and Greg will be able to top themselves next year. Although this year's festival was plagued with last minute cancellations of some big named artists, the show still went off without a hitch. Artists like Action Bronson pulling out last minute made for brilliant, once in a lifetime moments like Big Daddy Kane's set at The Lincoln. And while many thought the cancellation of Big Boi could harm this festival, considering he was their marquee act, the addition of A-Trak and Holy Ghost! made Friday night's City Plaza set far more wild than Big Boi ever could have. While the hip-hop icon will certainly tear down the house on Sept. 21 when he plays his rescheduled show, few lineups in Hopscotch history have meshed as well as Friday's events.

So after seeing 35 bands in three days and amassing more hours of live music than sleep, I've slowly begun to take in everything that I checked out over the weekend. From the good to the weird, I can honestly say there weren't really any sets that I couldn't find something to enjoy. For those that frequent festivals like this, that's a true testament to the power of this lineup. When you've got as many bands as Hopscotch does on your lineup there's bound to be a few duds, but if they were around this year I certainly didn't get the chance to see them. As a matter of fact, I stumbled upon more surprisingly fantastic sets than I did disappointing.

Rather than lambast you with a gigantic, novel-esque post that encompasses all of these acts that I've seen throughout the weekend, I've chosen to give day-by-day reviews for all of this year's festivities. So indulge yourself in day one and be on the lookout for the Friday review tomorrow!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hopscotch Itinerary: Saturday, Sept. 7

Saturdays at Hopscotch are a beautiful thing. Maybe it's because we've all been cooped up in venues together for two days or maybe it's because everything rocks harder on the weekends. Either way, Saturday will serve as a fantastic finale for this overwhelmingly awesome festival. If you thought you had trouble trying to find the right parties and shows to attend on Friday, then man you're sure gonna have a time with Saturday's scheduling.

It's hard to even begin to rundown what to see on Saturday because there's just so damn much of it. Saturday will feature both indoor and outdoor day parties and will surely be filled with hours of day drinking and general musical debauchery. Some of the state's finest acts will be on display throughout the day, including some that were unfortunately left off of the festival. Mandolin Orange for example will be performing at one of Hopscotch's official Day Parties outside of Raleigh Times, with their latest full length This Side of Jordan freshly released, one can expect a fantastic set from this beloved act that'll be filled with new songs from their stellar album. But Saturday also gives fans a chance to see a few of the festival's standout acts from Saturday night. Got a hard time deciding who to see? Maybe you can cross off a few bands like Torres (performing at Phuzz Phest's Day Party at The Hive) or Jamaican Queens (performing at Spazzscotch at Slim's) to free up some of your evening's schedule.

I for one will be darting from venue to venue like a sweaty madman to check out everything I possibly can. However, it'll be essential to start out with Trekky's Day Dream at The Pour House for a few reasons. First off, because Trekky is awesome and they've got a killer lineup that features Estrangers, Hi Ho Silver Oh, and Loamlands, but also because they've got an OPEN BAR while the tab lasts. I'll be getting my drink on while taking in the sounds of Winston-Salem's fantastic Estrangers, but throughout the afternoon I'll be checking out Some Army at Deep South, Ghostt Bllonde and Jamaican Queens at Slims and hopefully some of Odessa's badass lineup at Kings that features Gross Ghost, Spiderbags and Flesh Wounds.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hopscotch Itinerary: Friday, Sept. 6

Ah, Friday. Even though we're only a day away I'm still stressing out about who I'm going to see, what sets I'm going to cut out of early and who I'll sadly miss all together. Even with this year's cancellations, Friday's lineup is still one of the strongest for a single day that I can remember. Day Parties kick into full effect on Friday and City Plaza starts off in the evening with an eclectic but incredible combination of locally and internationally acclaimed artists.

Since there's no WKNC commitments taking up the afternoon, Friday is thankfully a day entirely dedicated to bouncing around venues for some of the incredible Day Party showings. There's some local goodness of all varieties that'll be performing in downtown Raleigh this afternoon, so I'll surely be making my rounds throughout most of the day parties.

The Pinhook has teamed up with Cirque Du Vol Studios for an afternoon filled with some of the area's most talented female artists like Shirlette Ammons, Des Ark and the fantastically fun Creedence Queerwater Revival (featuring Kym Register and a barrage of CCR covers!). Their hilariously titled Bitchfork Day Party takes place at Cirque Du Vol and kicks off at 11. Deep South's Schoolkids Day Party is another awesome one with standouts like Onward, Soldiers and Kenny Roby. Slim's Churchkey Day Party is always a ridiculously good time and this year's lineup features some incredible acts like Spiderbags and The Beets. It'll also be nice to check out Caleb Caudle on Friday at The Hive as well as First Person Plural at Tir Na Nog. While it'd be sweet to get to see Thurston Moore performing at Kings for the Three Lobed/WXDU Party, I remember how packed Kings got for last years XDU show, so I'll likely stray away from that venue.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hopscotch Itinerary: Thursday, Sept. 5

This year's festival has a lot to offer for fans of all types of music. While diversity has always been a staple for Hopscotch lineups, this year's installment boasts such an interesting collection of bands that any festival goer could pop into any given venue and find something worth staying for. While this year has also been plagued with cancellations, the festival has done a remarkable job at maintaining high caliber replacements to make for an incredible weekend of music. While my festival schedule is still looking remarkably hectic for Friday night, Thursday will serve as an awesome, generally stress free opening night for the festival.

The day's festivities naturally kick off with day parties, which I'll be hopping back and forth from. Thursday's standout is most definitely the Rock & Roll Pizza Party at Slim's (mostly because you can't go wrong with free pizza, especially from Mellow Mushroom) which will host acts like Naked Gods and Lonnie Walker. But for a good chunk of the afternoon I'll be DJing at Wristband City as a part of WKNC's Remote Broadcasting. However, Thursday's daytime events also include some other awesome artists like The Brand New Life at Art of Cool's party at The Pour House and DiggUp Tapes Kings/Neptunes Party that highlights some of the label's finest artists alongside some of the state's standout acts that don't frequent the Triangle (I'm looking at you Alligator Indian).

But Thursday starts getting awesome quickly, as the night's marathon of a show schedule begins at 8:30 with Body Games at The Pour House. It'd be easy for fans of electronic music to just post-up at The Pour House, because it's filled with astoundingly talented artists all night, but those of us that want a bit more variety out of our Hopscotch experience will resort to venue hopping. Body Games is an incredibly promising new act from Carrboro with Lake Inferior's Dax Beaton behind the wheel. These electro-leaning pop tunes are an excellent way to kick off a night filled with energetic acts like this.