INITIAL 2014 HOPSCOTCH MUSIC FESTIVAL LINEUP: SPOON, MASTODON, ST. VINCENT, AND MORE! 40+ BANDS WILL BE ADDED IN JUNE. TICKETS ON SALE NOW
“Hopscotch is now the premiere experimental and underground music festival in America.”—Ad Hoc
Hopscotch Music Festival, recently called “America’s (Secretly) Best Festival” and “the premiere experimental and underground festival in America,” celebrates its fifth anniversary in downtown Raleigh, N.C., this Sept. 4-6, 2014. The festival, noted for its diversity and selective programming, features nearly 160 bands in a wide range of genres. With today’s initial lineup announcement of 115 acts, Hopscotch reaffirms its commitment to showcasing North Carolina’s thriving scene alongside notable artists from around the world. For the fifth year in a row, approximately 40% of the festival’s artists hail from in-state—a figure few, if any, nationally recognized music events can claim. An additional 40 bands will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“While most of our bigger slots are programmed and now public, we chose to break up the lineup to limit information overload,” notes Hopscotch’s founding director, Greg Lowenhagen. “We’ve presented everyone at once in the past, and because the festival is still five months away, we thought it made sense to pull back and reveal artists in two stages. We hope this approach is more welcoming and makes the lineup easier to digest.”
Hopscotch 2014 will be highlighted by two nights in Raleigh City Plaza, the city’s most inviting downtown space. On Friday, Sept. 5, Spoon—prolific pop experimentalists and one of indie rock’s most commercially and critically acclaimed bands—will headline the festival’s main stage. Friday’s bill also features St. Vincent, creator of one of 2014’s best records and most captivating live shows. Lonnie Walker will open. On Saturday, Sept. 6, Mastodon—Atlanta’s perpetually evolving and consistently enthralling hard rock nonconformists—will top a bill with Detroit’s punk pioneers Death and local favorites Valient Thorr.
Some 150 other bands will perform in various clubs during Hopscotch’s three days. A sampler of these acts so far includes: Sun Kil Moon, High on Fire, Thurston Moore, Jamie xx, How To Dress Well, Tony Conrad, Deniro Farrar, Lunice, Power Trip, American Aquarium, Obnox, Lee Noble, The Haxan Cloak, White Lung, Palehound, Ava Luna, Reigning Sound, Sun Araw, Open Mike Eagle, Mapei, Phosphorescent playing solo, and one of former Ween frontman Aaron Freeman’s first performances with his new band FREEMAN.
This year, Hopscotch’s former day party coordinator, Nathan Price, was promoted to talent coordinator to help Lowenhagen book the festival. “My job was to maintain Hopscotch’s established identity and credibility while offering my take on what I thought would attract fans in 2014,” says Price. “We wanted to highlight artists—both established and emerging—who are making incredible music right now, while also presenting Hopscotch’s usual roster of unorthodox and less obvious festival choices. I think we’ve found that balance so far.”
INITIAL LINEUP IIII, 6 String Drag, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, American Aquarium, Artificial Brain, Author & Punisher, Axxa/Abbraxas, Ava Luna, Avers, Bedowyn, Blanko Basnet, Blursome, Body Games, Canine Heart Sounds, Coke Weed, Cousins, Dark Rooms, Davidians, Dead Gaze, Demon Eye, Deniro Farrar, Dent May, Diarrhea Planet, Drag Sounds, Death, Eagulls, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, Enemy Waves, First Person Plural, FREEMAN, Free Clinic, GEMS, Ghostt Bllonde, Guerilla Toss, Helm, High On Fire, Holygrailers, How To Dress Well, Jacuzzi Boys, Jamie XX, Joe Scudda, KEN mode, Krill, Last Year’s Men, Landlady, Lee Noble, Loamlands, Lonnie Walker, Lunice, Mark McGuire, Marley Carroll, Mapei, Mastodon, Matt Kivel, Matt Northrup, Mas Ysa, Museum Mouth, Mutual Benefit, Nest Egg, New Music Raleigh Presents: Future Shock, Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, No Eyes, No Love, Obnox, Octopus Jones, Open Mike Eagle, Potty Mouth, Power Trip, Palehound, Paperhaus, Phosphorescent Solo, Prince Rama, Reigning Sound, Ryley Walker, Saint Rich, Screature, See Gulls, Soft Cat, Solar Halos, Spoon, Strange Faces, St. Vincent, SubRosa, Sun Araw, Sun Club, Sun Kil Moon, The Haxan Cloak, The Nervous Ticks, The Tills, The Range, The White Octave, Thurston Moore, Tony Conrad, T0W3RS, Valient Thorr, Virgins Family Band, Walin’ Storms, Well$, White Lung, White Laces, Wild Fur, Wing Dam, Winston Facials, Witch Mountain, Wowolfol, Y’ALL, Young Cardinals, YVETTE, Zack Mexico
TICKETS VIP and 3-Day passes are on sale now at www.hopscotchmusicfest.com/tickets. Each of these passes allows entry into all festival clubs and both City Plaza headlining shows.
In June, along with the release of the 2014 Hopscotch schedule, 1-Day passes will be made available. These passes will allow entry into every Hopscotch show on a specific day and will range from $65–$85.
Individual tickets for shows in Raleigh City Plaza will be made available soon. The Friday, Sept. 5, show featuring Spoon, St. Vincent, and Lonnie Walker costs $40. The Saturday, Sept. 6, show featuring Mastodon, Death, and Valient Thorr also costs $40.
IMPROVISER-IN-RESIDENCE Continuing a festival tradition established in 2012 with multifaceted drummer Chris Corsano and carried on by Japanese noise pioneer Merzbow in 2013, Thurston Moore will take over the role of Hopscotch’s Improviser-in-Residence. Moore’s volume of work—from his time in Glenn Branca’s ensemble to Sonic Youth’s legendary catalog to his collaborations with Mats Gustafsson, Jim O’Rourke, Nels Cline, and countless others—makes him one of the most inventive and influential musicians of his generation. No stranger to Hopscotch, Moore visited Raleigh with John Moloney last year to play a day party produced by Three Lobed Recordings and WXDU, and afterwards, they were joined by Merzbow for a special performance. Carrying the improvisational torch to this year’s festival, he will play a full set of his own on Thursday, Sept. 4, and join other bands onstage for impromptu appearances.
MORE TO COME In the coming months, Hopscotch will add 40 more bands to its official lineup. The festival will also bring a bevy of day parties to downtown Raleigh in September, as well as the second annual SiteWork art exhibition, a photography exhibit, and the inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival.
HOPSCOTCH DESIGN FESTIVAL Hopscotch Music Festival and New Kind, the Raleigh-based design and community-building firm, are thrilled to announce the inaugural Hopscotch Design Festival. The first event of its kind to emerge from an acclaimed music event, Hopscotch Design Festival will gather distinguished national talent and notable local contributors to share ideas and foster conversation about how design is shaping the future. Scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 3 and Thursday, Sept. 4, in various downtown Raleigh venues, Hopscotch Design features more than 25 sessions from presenters who work across the disciplines of graphic design, user experience design, urban planning, technology, architecture, music, food, film, and more. With interactive sessions, workshops, and parties, the two-day event will blend seamlessly into Hopscotch Music Festival beginning Thursday evening.
“Like most who know of its perfection, I’m almost afraid to gush too much at the risk of jinxing or ruining the best three days of music experiences one can be given. It’s SXSW without the stress, corporate overwhelming smack across the face, and dare I say Raleigh, NC becomes the most special town in the world for this one weekend.Perfectly curated with a blind ear to any buzz, specific genre, or anything else…Hopscotch Festival can turn the biggest music snob cynic into a carefree music lover once again. The word perfect is thrown around lightly all over the place (I misuse it all the time), but that’s the only word to describe this dream of a music festival…PERFECT.”—We Listen For You, Louisville
“Hopscotch Music Festival is one of the best and most eclectic music festivals in America.” —Spin
“In Raleigh Thursday through Saturday, it was all about an extraordinarily cool roster of bands. With streets cordoned off throughout the downtown area, thousands of people … wandered among ten participating music venues, creating a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere.” —Rolling Stone
“Hopscotch Music Festival is fast becoming Raleigh’s cultural center of gravity.” —Raleigh Public Record
Moogfest began back in 2004 as a way to honor the ingenuity of Dr. Robert Moog. The festival began in New York City and has since moved to Asheville where Moog spent the last 30 years of his life. The performing artists are all people who pioneer in their respective fields and have embodied the innovative spirit of Moog. In addition to the great music, the festival also offers panels, workshops, a film festival, art installations and much more.
Keeping in the spirit of innovation, Moogfest will also host it’s 4th Annual Moog Circuit Bending Challenge. So what is circuit bending? Circuit bending is the art of creating unique instruments by tinkering with various electronic devices such as keyboards, children’s toys, drum machines, and basically any other electrical device that generates some type of noise. It is a very experimental and chance-based art form that is the perfect hybrid between music and electronics that so perfectly embodies Moogfest.
Each year the festival receives lots of different entries from people of all walks of life. They select a few finalists who receive a pair of passes to the festival and the chance to showcase their work. This year, they received so many great submissions that they had to choose five finalists. The winners will be chosen on the last day of the festival and the top 3 finalists will win a Moog synth. To see the finalists, check out the YouTube playlist here.
The circuit bending challenge entrants are tasked with making an instrument that creates new and unique sounds through circuit bending with a total cost $70 or less. By confining the cost, Moog keeps the competition close to its humble beginnings while forcing entrants to create truly innovative instruments with limited resources. Be sure to check out the circuit bending finalists as well as all of the other amazing innovations at Moogfest!
Heading into the end of the night on Friday of Hopscotch 2012, I wasn’t sure I could last much longer. Non-stop concerts and drinking since 8 o’clock the night before had left me drained; yet I stumbled my way into the Pour House and up to the front amongst a crowd of particularly sweaty individuals to witness what I had been told would be the show of the festival: Dan Deacon. It wasn’t more than a few moments into his set that I felt the energy surge back through me, the cacophony of dual drums and glitch beats swaying my body back into movement.
It’s been about a year and a half since that show, and I would still be hard-pressed to think of a show that I have enjoyed more than that one and it’s why, when Dan Deacon was announced as part of this year’s Moogfest line-up, I instantly penciled in my first must-see show. Getting a chance to see him, and subsequently YACHT, is something I would recommend to any friend; thus, I say to you: plan to spend 11 pm to 1:30 am at the New Earth Main Room on Thursday, April 24 for what will surely be a fantastic show.
Slim’s Downtown is hosting 5 amazing nights of music April 15 - April 19. Why? Because we’ve been here for fifteen years and if we didn’t celebrate it would be highly out of character for us. It has been a long and lovely ride, from what we can remember (and according to the stories we’ve been told about our behavior on the mornings after). We would like to thank everyone who has made Slim’s their living room away from their living room. You’ve helped us become the community of drunks, musicians, servers and patrons we are today as we look forward to many more great years ahead. Thank you, Raleigh, now let’s get silly.
Ticket Giveaways for Widespread Panic presented by Live Nation
Widespread Panic will be coming through Raleigh this summer, with special guest Galactic. Thanks to Live Nation, WKNC has 5 pairs of tickets to give away!
Tickets will be given away from Monday, April 14 until Friday, April 18. Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for calls on air to win a pair of tickets! Tickets for this concert go on sale Friday, April 18at 10 am on Ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, and at 800-745-3000.
Keep it tuned to WKNC all week long for your chance to win tickets to any of these great shows below! Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for it, and you and a friend could be hitting up some of the coolest local acts around!
Tue April 15 - Trust with Mozart’s Sister @ Pinhook
Wed April 16 - Yandrew with Odonis Odonis @ Pinhook
Wed, April 16 - Bobby Bare Jr. with Cory Branan @ Cat’s Cradle Back Room
Thu April 17 - Lonnie Walker with Paperhaus @ Kings
Thu, April 17 - Cloud Nothings with Ryley Walker @ Cat’s Cradle
ALBUM REVIEW: The Hotelier - Home, Like Noplace Is There
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Record Label: Tiny Engines
Genre: Emo, Pop Punk
I believe the cover can say a lot about an album. This one’s a familiar image, suburbia. Though, it’s not a comforting view. The words of the album title are painted in black across the vinyl panels of this weary-looking house. It’s almost definitely a sarcastic remark. The lawn is overgrown. The hedges are misshapen. The shutters are dirtied. This doesn’t feel like home.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Oh no, another pop punk album about the suburbs.” Well, if there’s one thing that sets this album apart from — those — it’s the writing. The lyrics on a song like, “Your Deep Rest” make that very clear. You don’t have to read too far into them to see the song is about loss, particularly the loss of someone you love. It’s a theme that permeates the whole album. In “Dendron” it’s summed up with the words, “Part of your charm was the way you would push me from all of the traps that I just couldn’t see. Figures the one that was there to have tripped you up would be the one was set there by me.” For me, these aching moments of regret are the album’s highlights. Where you felt you could have done something more. You could have somehow fixed a hopeless situation.
The Hotelier’s sophomore album, “Home, Like Noplace Is There” was released a couple months ago. While this means I’ve missed the hype train, it also means I’ve had plenty of time to let this record settle. Well, this collection of nine songs has been on consistent rotation, and it still sticks. It’s the kind of emo/pop punk hybrid that hasn’t been a rarity in the past few years. But, it’s much more endearing than most. I think when people look back on the late 00’s and early 10’s era of DIY “emo” music there are only a few bands they’ll remember. Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing, TWIABP, and The Hotelier will be among the most prominent.
In a weird way, this album also shares elements with bands like Third Eye Blind, Blink-182, and Taking Back Sunday. But here, the emotions, the guitar distortion, and the vocals, are all much more raw. What I love about this album is its tendency to conjure up memories in me, like being in middle school, waiting endlessly in carpool lines, or just the feeling of being young and aching to have a purpose, dreaming of living an unhinged life, but still so scared to leave home. It brings back memories of hopping creeks and sneaking into construction homes. The failed relationships that can’t be resurrected, the regret of letting time make its move, the snare of depression. Things that feel so strange to look back on now… “Home, Like Noplace Is There” will surely be looked back on. It’s undoubtedly one of the best rock albums of 2014.
PS: Do yourself a favor. Read the lyrics with this one.
Favorite tracks: “The Scope of All This Rebuilding”, “Your Deep Rest”, “Among the Wildflowers”
There’s only 6 days to go before the Spring Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival kicks off and using excited to describe how I feel wouldn’t do my feelings justice. If you’ve never take the trip to Silk Hope for Shakori Hills, it’s hard to describe the atmosphere as it’s truly one of a kind. It’s a family festival yet the community of returning festival-goers that’s developed has grown deep roots, making it a tight knit festival that’s always welcoming new members in. The lineups the folks at Shakori book (in both spring and fall) bring together an eclectic mix of music from North Carolina and the world that fit together like a seamless coat of many colors. Many of the bands return festival after festival, such as Donna the Buffalo and Driftwood, while others are performing for the first time at Shakori like Rising Appalachia and Ben Sollee. Some of the other major acts of this spring’s festival include the Indigo Girls, the Del McCoury Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Baloji & L’Orchestra de la Katuba.
You’ll be sure to find a number of WKNC DJs out at Shakori Hills next weekend. We’ll have a table with the other non-profit booths; stop by to say hey and to check out the other non-profit tables! Along with plenty of music, Shakori Hills showcases a plethora of crafts, food, kids’ activities, and workshops in sustainability and music. More information is available at http://shakorihillsgrassroots.org/.
Tucked away in a little strip behind Krankie’s Coffee lies Reanimator, a self-proclaimed record, beer, book and game shop. But Reanimator is more than it claims to be. Founded in the fall of 2012, the small shop has quickly become one of the main hubs of the music scene in Winston-Salem.
Most days at Reanimator, you can find people out drinking on the front porch in folding chairs, playing the arcade machine, and perusing the various items that found a home in the store. The best comparison that comes to mind is the Island of Misfit Toys with their random collections of old and new records, books, nostalgia-inducing video games, t-shirts, custom skate decks, and many other odds and ends. While everything in the store may seem odd and disconnected, there is no doubt that all of these things belong at Reanimator.
Reanimator has served as the “Wristband City” of Phuzz Phest the past couple years, welcoming both bands and participants of the festival to Winston-Salem. Within the past year, it has also started developing a name as an art gallery and intimate show space. This past weekend alone, the shop hosted 10 different day shows for Phuzz Phest. During this time, owner Shawn and Anthony could be seen running around helping bands set up and making sure everyone was happy. They brought out a keg and Anthony even wheeled out the grill and started cooking hot dogs for everyone as the bands played. In no time at all, people fell in love with Reanimator as it quickly became the official hangout of Phuzz Phest.
Now it seems that Reanimator has expanded past where they had ever dreamed it would be. With a simple message shown below, Reanimator asks for your help to be able to better support the thriving music scene in Winston-Salem and help foster a budding art community. Not even two years old yet, Reanimator has some big dreams of making the events of this past weekend at Phuzz Phest a reality all the time. If you are interested in contributing or learning more, you can check out their crowdfunding campaign here.
"We’ve come a long way with no bank loans or investors but now we need your help to equip Reanimator to become the community space for live music, art and of course vinyl records that we know it can be. And after all, there’s nothing more punk than asking people for money. Thanks for your support!"
WKNC is proud to sponsor the NCSU Center Stage concert series. The final performance of the season will feature The Pedrito Martinez Group on April 12, 2014 at 8 pm. This will take place in Talley Student Union Ballroom.
More information about the group can be found here.
Tickets can be purchased online here or call 919-515-1100
I didn’t know what to expect coming into this year’s Phuzz Phest. I had never spent much time in Winston-Salem and I had little to no idea of what the local music scene was like, but I was excited for the opportunity to explore it over the course of a music festival. Overall, I would say the festival was fairly successful, but I had my gripes.
Phuzz Phest utilized three venues for the festival: Krankie’s Coffee, The Garage, and Ziggy’s. Krankie’s and The Garage each appeared to have capacities hovering around 200-300, while Ziggy’s was at an astounding 1,000-person capacity, an incredible difference. This could have been really useful for the festival to put their larger names at but, instead, the decision making in that area seemed flimsy. Putting a band as large as Mount Moriah at The Garage irked many people because they weren’t able to get inside the over-packed venue. This was occurring on the same night that I saw Woodsman perform at Ziggy’s to a total crowd of around 25 people. Headliners White Fence, No Age, and The Love Language, all played at Krankie’s Coffee. I was simply left questioning these decisions. It also did not help that Krankie’s Coffee is a solid 15-minute walk from both The Garage and Ziggy’s, making it very difficult to transfer from show to show without missing anything. It was also difficult, as an out-of-towner, to stay all the way through Sunday night in Winston-Salem when Diarrhea Planet, the final band, didn’t start playing until 11:40 PM.
Despite my gripes, Phuzz Phest was a really fun time! The Tills, Body Games, T0W3RS, Mount Moriah, and Loamlands all put on amazing sets and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see them in addition to some great Winston-Salem acts. The day parties at Reanimator were a blast. Krankie’s: thank you for the delicious coffee that kept me alive throughout it all.
Final thought: Winston-Salem, you’re pretty cool. Just don’t try so hard to be Portland.
Eye on the Triangle is WKNC’s weekly public affairs programming, with news, interviews, opinion, weather, sports, arts, music, events, and issues that matter to NCSU, Raleigh, and the Triangle. This week on EOT:
This week included a very special edition of Poetry Corner in which Selma read some work submitted by a listener who is a prisoner at Central Prison. The pieces touch on his experiences with poverty, and they’re definitely worth a listen.
Here at NC State there are majors of all kinds for all types of people. Our newest contributor, Mirtha, had the chance to speak with a student who has set up quite a fascinating combination of studies for himself. Mirtha has the scoop.
Chief Terrence Parks is an aviation ordnanceman in the US Navy. If you’re confused about what that means, stick around to hear what our contributor Michaela brought us this week.
Listen to all this, plus national and international news from Andrew and Sydney, meteorologist Katie Costa’s forecast, and a community calendar.
Nick Savage and Andrew Eichen bring you another edition of “Eye on the Triangle,” live each Tuesday at 7 p.m. on WKNC 88.1 FM and wknc.org/listen and available as a downloadable podcast.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Phuzz Phest. It was incredible! I got to see a lot of my favorite acts, and there was not a set I didn’t enjoy. Here are a few standouts:
Loamlands played a bunch of material I hadn’t heard since the last time I saw them (February 14th for DBB11 Night 2). This new material has Will Hackney playing the most technically complicated parts I’ve seen from the band. There’s more grit everywhere, including on his acoustic guitar. Each note (both vocally and guitar-wise) from Kym Register feels more confident and deliberate. And of course, the four rotating members of the rhythm section are all some of the triangle’s best (Matt McCaughan (Bon Iver) and Nicolas Sanborn (Sylvan Esso, Megafaun) were in tonight, Terry Lonegan (Hiss Golden Messenger, Mount Moriah) and Brad Cook (Megafaun) have killed it on others). It has been amazing seeing their material grow from the first show they played together 363 days ago, and I see the band continually reaching into territory that no other local band, or any band for that matter, can claim.
Whatever Brains is another band I keep seeing, and after their performance on Sunday, that won’t change. It was very odd to see them in the context of Ziggy’s, which has the most massive stage of any rock club I’ve seen. Rich’s and Will’s vocals felt extremely high in the mix, which gave a very different quality compared to my usual experience of getting soaked up in droning noise. I’m really digging the two bass set up backed by Matt Northrup and Anthony of Winston Facials, Primovanhalen, and local “space” Reanimator. Check out their set on April 17th at Slim’s with the equally amazing Protomartyr.
Richmond’s Nervous Ticks was an extremely interesting find. Singer, percussionist, and noise wizard Liza Jane is spastic and loud, yet with a very amazing flow to her on-stage persona. Killa K beats a Floor Tom and Metal pale with an urgency that matches. And finally, Guitarist and frontman Chaz Tick plays with a harmoniously disorienting energy and speed that you have to check out.
I wrote about The Tills in anticipation of Phuzz Phest here, and their two sets met my expectations 100%.
Favorite set of the fest goes to Greensboro’s Drag Sounds. Drag Sounds have the perfect combination of all of my favorite things going on. The guitar parts are weavy, the bass lines fun, and the drums hit HARD. By the second song I was completely spaced out. Drag Sounds have an excess of good vibes. I can’t remember if this was taken during their set or the proceeding (and also great) band R. Father, but it pretty much sums it up. After that set, I think I mentioned to my friends that “Drag Sounds are great” something like 20 times. Note: their bandcamp releases do not represent what they sound like (yet). See this band live.
As absolutely incredible as my time at the festival was, I think it’s appropriate to mention my own personal feelings of what I’ve been seeing go on in the triangle these past few days. Without getting into details that have been arising through various social media outlets, I just want to say that I live for local music. Ever since I was a senior in high school in Durham, I’ve been going to as many shows as I can. I’ve made some of my best friends, had my best experiences, and met some of the best mentors I’ve had through the shows that many of you reading this have also attended. But all of these things should come second to our responsibility to make sure that the kind of content and events we all attend, promote, support and play so readily are safe for everyone. Do not be afraid to ask people for their support in this goal, do not be afraid to speak out if you feel uncomfortable, and do not be afraid to take a stance against things that might hurt others. It’s one thing to support only those musicians that don’t fall below your own personal threshold or intuition regarding the safety of people, but it’s much more important to actively assist in improving the quality of experiences through your own actions. What this means for me is that I will try to make sure that I am more diligent in making sure that the types of events I attend, talk about, play and get my friends to come to do not have the possibility of being hurtful to others. I’ll try to ask questions and seek responses when situations that feel uncomfortable to me do arise. And most importantly, I will try to make sure that you, whoever you are, know that I’m a person who has made the safety of people within our local music community a core value through my actions and words. We’ll all fuck up and make mistakes, but growing from those mistakes is how we will all actually keep this amazing community amazing for everyone. I also want to sincerely thank those that have come forward and shared their own views and actions including Aimée Argote, Ryan Martin, Philip Pledger, Kym Register, and many more.
My final thoughts on Phuzz Phest 2014 is a quality tip of the hat. Growing up from around the area, I never considered Winston-Salem to be the most hopping place in the triad. However, after experiencing Phuzz for the first time, I can rightfully say that I am impressed with the music scene and efforts that everyone is working towards in this old tobacco town. While there, it was not hard to believe that I was partaking in what could be the beginning stages of something similar to a SXSW. With places like Krankies Coffee, The Garage, Ziggy’s, Reanimator, and top quality restaurants, Winston-Salem is a hot spot that is full of potential.
Not only are wonderful things happening in Winston, but there is so much room for expansion. Be it abandoned warehouses, or the large piece of land that separates Krankies from the highway, I am eager to see the growth of Winston-Salem as a city and music scene over the next few years.
I should not dare forget to mention though that this year’s festival included top performers and was very well organized. One aspect that impressed me was how on schedule most of the acts seemed to be and how professional all the venues were run and organized. Additionally, Phuzz Phest provided a lot more events that were separate from just the lineup. With a coffee conference, brunch, and multiple day parties, Phuzz Phest was an unrelenting outlet of entertainment. Although I enjoyed all of the music acts that I came into contact with; I would say that at the end of the week it is the quality, growth, and potential of Phuzz Phest that ultimately puts the biggest smile on my face.
Ticket Giveaways for Slightly Stoopid presented by Live Nation
Slightly Stoopid will be coming through Raleigh this summer, with special guests Stephen Marley and G. Love & Special Sauce. Thanks to Live Nation, WKNC has 5 pairs of tickets to give away!
Tickets will be given away from Tuesday, April 8 until Friday, April 11. Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for calls on air to win a pair of tickets! Tickets for this concert go on sale Friday, April 11 at 10 am on Ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, and at 800-745-3000.
Phuzz Records Dissolves Relationship with Twelve Thousand Armies
From Phuzz Records:
It is with much deliberation that myself and my partner in Phuzz Records have made the decision to sever ties with Twelve Thousand Armies, whose new album was released on our label two weeks ago.
Two months after signing a contract with Justin Williams, the songwriter performing under the name Twelve Thousand Armies, and days before the album’s release date, a red flag was raised against Justin by a local record store owner suggesting a history of violence against women. As we were unsure of how to proceed with the information at our disposal, the record was released as scheduled, however our recent discussion with primary sources new to us has led us to see no alternative to ending our professional relationship with Twelve Thousand Armies and Justin Williams.
As a new, small and self-funded record label, canceling a record into which we’ve invested significant money and energy translates to a complete and total loss. While we agreed to put the album out because of our love for music, we feel that new information has made this decision the only one we can make in good conscience.
Because of past interactions with Justin, we were aware that he struggled with alcohol abuse, however, we were completely shocked by the depth of allegations against him by numerous individuals. Regardless of any legal documents available or unavailable to us regarding Justin’s history, we do not condone any sort of violent behavior, and cannot in good faith continue promoting the album.
This is not a condemnation of Justin as a human being. We wish no ill will toward him, believing that hate can only breed more hate. We also believe in the power of redemption for people willing to take steps in that direction. We hope Justin and his family can have a peaceful future, but are unable to continue being involved with Justin in a professional capacity.
Additionally, we have decided to make a donation in the amount of $500 to Family Services, our local domestic violence women’s shelter. This equals the amount of money we have recouped from our investment in the record thus far. We realize this does little to ease the pain of the millions of women who are physically abused each year, but we hope to raise awareness about this serious and pervasive issue. We also hope to take steps towards making amends with anyone who may have been offended by our original decision to release this album.
Mobb Deep Album Release Concert at King's // April 1, 2014
It’s not too often that you find a sold out hip hop show in Raleigh these days, let alone on an unsuspecting Tuesday night. But the formula of the infamous Mobb Deep, North Carolina’s own 9th Wonder, and a fresh album release combined to pack King’s with hip hop heads ready to celebrate some of the greatest craftsmen still in the game.
The show started off with 9th Wonder spinning beats for some of the up and coming artists on his new Jamla is the Squad album. GQ and Rapsody killed it and got the crowd sufficiently hyped up for the main event. 9th Wonder graciously relinquished the stage and the heavy weights entered (literally, Mobb Deep had a 350 pound body guard chilling in the corner). The Infamous kings of east coast rap have not lost a step, as both Havoc and Prodigy spit bar after bar of electrified gold.
WKNC presents Fridays on the Lawn, our FREE OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES, with Double Barrel Benefit 10’s JKutchma & The Five Fifths and local favorite, Wool! It will be catered by Howling Cow- ICE CREAM!
"The Lawn" is back to its roots at HARRIS FIELD in front of WKNC at the Witherspoon building. This is on the intersection of Cates Avenue and Dan Allen Drive.
Come out for a FREE evening of local music, free food, prizes, and giveaways. Bring some buds and a blanket, and enjoy a wonderful spring afternoon!
Parking is available in Dan Allen Deck and all spots marked “C” at and after 5 PM.
JKutchma & The Five Fifths Jason Kutchma has been a staple of the North Carolina scene for some time now, rising through the ranks of mediocrity and anonymity with one of the most popular local groups of the past decade, Durham’s Red Collar. But when Red Collar decided to take a break back in 2010, Kutchma didn’t and continued on the road performing heartland rock inspired solo material, hardly starting over.
After a year and two live EPs, perfecting his newfound spur jangling, percussive playing craft, the Five Fifths were introduced and their incredible debut album, Pastoral, was released. The Five Fifths combine the punk attitude and energy of his old band, Red Collar, with the boot stomping, soul searching rawness that he became known for while performing solo in between the groups. What emerges is the best of both worlds.
WOOL From Impose Magazine on WOOL: "Every so often there is a single that transports your entire sense of being to places where even the sky can’t reach. Such is the case with the premiere of this new interstellar song from Wool, with "Stars". A creative crew that heralds from Raleigh, North Carolina; Troy Brian Hancock, Zack Oden, Johnny Hobbs, and Raymond Finn continue to make music that is not of this planet alone. Following up 2013’s Delta EP and the recent single "Divine", "Stars" takes off into the hazy density of black holes, red dwarfs, and seltzer water supernovas of the mind’s eye.
With the application of head changing effects, WOOL makes a dream machine spaceship. “Stars” orbits on account of steady percussion programming, Hancock’s moonage-space-dream vocals, with everything wrapped in the rhythm and sustained fuzz guitars generators. Troy and Zack find the right affected keys and treatments for a guitar sound that creates an instant chemical and empathetic response from the listener. The song connects the dots from the star-gazing earthbound folks with ears to hear to the galaxy trekking star-bound fans of the final frontiers. For over three minutes you can experience the bridging of solar systems and planetary collisions compliments of Raleigh’s indie quintet with “Stars” in their eyes.”
Keep it tuned to WKNC all week long for your chance to win tickets to any of these great shows below! Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for it, and you and a friend could be hitting up some of the coolest local acts around!
Thu April 10 - Roadkill Ghost Choir with Desert Noises @ Kings
Fri April 11 - T0W3RS with Oulipo and Hectorina @ Kings
Fri, April 11 - North Elementary and LUD Dual Album Release party @ Cat’s Back Room
Fri April 11 - Professor Toon & The Real Laww with Must Be The Holy Ghost, Cracker and the Doctor @ Pinhook
Sat April 12 - Pissed Jeans with Thee Tsunamis and Apache Dropout @ Pinhook
Sun, April 13 - Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra @ Cat’s
Eye on the Triangle is WKNC’s weekly public affairs programming, with news, interviews, opinion, weather, sports, arts, music, events, and issues that matter to NCSU, Raleigh, and the Triangle. This week on EOT:
Contributor Saba spoke with an NC State student and WKNC DJ who may have the opportunity to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mars! In our continuing coverage, here is the final part of their discussion.
The Voice is a nationally-broadcasted TV show that highlights untapped talent from around the country. A graduate from NC State got the chance to be on the show, and an interview with her was featured last semester on Eye On the Triangle. She made another visit to WKNC recently, and Sydney had the chance to speak with her. On the previous Eye On the Triangle, the first part of their discussion was aired. In another continuing-coverage piece, here is the second part.
Listen to all this, plus national and international news from Andrew and Sydney, meteorologist Katie Costa’s forecast, Ben with sports, and a community calendar.
Nick Savage and Andrew Eichen bring you another edition of “Eye on the Triangle,” live each Tuesday at 7 p.m. on WKNC 88.1 FM and wknc.org/listen and available as a downloadable podcast.
Ticket Giveaways for O.A.R. and Phillip Phillips presented by Live Nation
WKNC has 5 pairs of tickets for O.A.R. and Phillip Phillips on July 13 at the Red Hat Amphitheater thanks to Live Nation.
One pair of tickets will be given away each day from Monday, April 7 until Friday, April 11. Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for calls on air to win a pair of tickets! Tickets go on sale Saturday, April 12 at 10 am on Ticketmaster.com, at Ticketmaster outlets, and at 800-745-3000.
I had the chance to sit down with Keegan DeWitt and Jeremy Bullock of Wild Cub before their performance at Cat’s Cradle on March 30, 2014. They released their first album, Youth, in the beginning of 2014 and are currently touring the U.S. alongside Vampire Weekend and American Authors. Below are some highlights of our interview.
So you guys are familiar with Raleigh?
Jeremy: I grew up here. Cat’s Cradle was the kind of venue growing up that I would look at the concert calendar and that’s how I would discover bands.
How did you both come together in Nashville?
Keegan: Jeremy moved there initially with Pico and my sister was in a band called Roman Candle, which was originally from Chapel Hill. I was in New York for the last eight years and decided I wanted something different. So I came to Nashville and that’s how I met Jeremy. At the time I was doing singer/songwriter stuff and I was kind of stealing him away from Pico whenever I could. Eventually Pico transitioned into something else and I knew I was in a similar place. We had the idea to begin this project so we started recording “Thunder Clatter,” took over Jeremy’s house, and started recording the record. Then the record suddenly was done and we were like, ‘okay I guess we should do this!’
Keegan: In some ways, the record is a year and half old because we recorded it before we were even a band. In January we re-released it to the world.
You guys are signed to Mom + Pop Records alongside some other WKNC favorite artists such as Polica, Andrew Bird, Cloud Nothings, Sleigh Bells. So what made you decide to go with Mom + Pop?
Keegan: That’s one of the reasons we chose Mom + Pop. As you grow you have these couple moments where you have to make strategic choices about how you want people to receive your music. It’s a really precious thing how they encounter the music and how they contextualize it for themselves. We just felt like we’re making pop music that’s hopefully going to reach a lot of people and will speak to a large amount of people. Mom + Pop represents a record label that is so curated and so tastefully put together and has so many artists who kind of skate that same line where we are, which is yeah, we’re making pop music but there’s depth to it. We really labored to make it thoughtful and feel like something special. To say that we signed to Mom + Pop was a big point of pride for us.
Jeremy: You can just look at their roster and it just looks handpicked and it feels like it represents one big family. So that’s kind of how Wild Cub operates.
Where have you guys found inspiration for your sound and how did it develop?
Keegan: We use a lot of organic sounds like with “Shapeless,” we used a little Casio home keyboard. A lot of it was trying to make the record as organic as possible because a lot of what’s happening in music right now is that it’s so sleekly produced- especially electronic music. It’s just so airtight. What was important for us was to make electronic music that still felt really authentic almost like you found someone’s diary with a bunch of photographs stuffed into it. So, although some of the songs are electronic in some formation, it still feels like there’s a breath to it. Jeremy brought in a fourtrack, which had to be the same fourtrack I used when I was like sixteen learning how to write songs. Our producer, Dabney, had the idea to take all the drum parts and all the synth parts we had recorded in the computer and run them onto the tape. It gave it a kind of grittiness to it and made it feel authentic.
Jeremy: We say that we turned my bedroom into a studio, but I don’t know that you’d actually call it a studio. A lot of it, like the Casio keyboard, was stuff that was just lying around. We were just limited to what was around us and the sounds on the record kind of reflect that.
Keegan: It’s sort of funny, we’ll get into a rental car in L.A. and hear Thunder Clatter on the radio we’ll think, “that’s kind of hilarious; we recorded that in a bedroom.” I hope that somewhere that’s why people connect to the song and the record in general. It’s a record that is now reaching a lot of people but it was created in this teeny-tiny way and a lot of us just saying, “I think that’s how you mix a record?”
In terms of influences, a lot of the non-sonic stuff was filmmaking and poetry. I was really digging into this poet, Philip Larkin, who was hinting at the same stuff thematically that I am trying to talk with on the record like growing up, aging, and what it means to get a little bit older. Also, to kind of look back on the developmental years of your life.
My big moment for the record happened two or three years before we formed the band when I came here to UNC and looking at the incredible collection of Walker Percy diaries. He kind of coined this phrase called ‘the sad little happiness.’ That phrase for me was such an exciting idea. The idea of this intimacy that you share with somebody that’s not like the big kiss or the first moment of meeting them. It’s like sitting in a car and listening to a song you both enjoy. You’re both connecting but not talking at all. There’s this intangible, smaller thing. Walker Percy was a big jumping off point for me as far as lyrics.
So, it was kind of those little fleeting moments that really inspired you?
Keegan: Yeah I feel like those are the ones that last. You don’t remember the moment your dad died but you remember how silly it was driving home that night when “Life Is a Highway” comes on and you think ‘this is ridiculous.’ It’s those cool, interesting contrasts that you have in your life. Yeah there’s the big spark moments that seem all impressive but it’s these small, like you said, fleeting things that you appreciate the most.
Random question: what are you guys currently digging right now in music?
Keegan: My favorite record right now is Warpaint’s but I say that too much. The guys in the van really have to suffer through me listening to a lot of Warpaint.
Jeremy: We saw them at SXSW and I think on their last record they were the band that we caught maybe more than we should. Maybe four or five times?
Keegan: Yeah we got addicted. We saw them once and were like ‘let’s just go catch them again!’
How did it go at SXSW?
Keegan: It was great! It feels a little bit like boot camp. It’s the thing where you play ten shows in seven days and I try to keep my voice and still try to talk to people.
Jeremy: I think this was our eighth year? We’re used to it by now. It’s nice you get excited about it but you’re preparing for it mentally. You’re like, ‘alright well, it’s gonna be a lot of vodka Red Bulls!’
Keegan: A lot of tacos at 2am. I remember two or three weeks beforehand we were sitting in Albany in a blizzard in a polar vortex and that was our carrot at the end of the stick. We just thought, ‘okay, two weeks from now we’ll be in Austin eating tacos!’
You guys played on Jimmy Fallon! How did that go?
Jeremy: Oh it was terrifying. It’s the kind of thing where you have a really early load-in and you sound check one song at 11am. Then you sit around until you play at 4:30pm. So you’re like, ‘alright I’ll just pace around our green room and think about the one song that we’re about to play on national television.’
Keegan: We had a great thing where one of our amps didn’t turn on for the first time we did the song so it was especially terrifying. After we played the entire first song we thought, “oh, we’re doomed!” Then, Jimmy came over and was like, “that was awesome. You’ll just do it again. It’ll be fine.” Then we relaxed and did it again but I felt like I aged that day. We’re hoping when we do Conan next week, we’ll just walk in super relaxed. We’ll just high-five the camera man.
Written by DJ Cancel, host of the Arroz con Pollo show, which airs every Saturday from 5-6pm.
To begin, here is some background information. Calle 13 is composed of two artists both whom were born and raised in Puerto Rico. The main vocalist is Residente, born René Pérez Joglar, and Visitante, born Eduardo José Cabra Martinez, is the beat maker. Residente’s half-sister, Ileana Cabra Joglar, is also credited as a vocalist for the band. With a first album self-titled “Calle 13,” released in 2005, Calle 13 proved that fame does not come from main stream media. Calle 13 gained fame the old fashion way by making great music. Though songs like “Se vale to-to,” “¡Atrévete Te, Te!,” and singles like “Querido F.B.I” won the duo a main stream media ban for being excessively vulgar, it also brought them into the spotlight. This gave the audience a chance to really listen to the music. Since then, their music has built an impressive legacy with a documentary titled “Sin Mapa,” two Grammys, and 19 Latin Grammys, a record tied only by famous artist Juanes.
What does Calle 13 stand for? Political equality, keeping those in power in check, and giving power back to the people. What genre do they fit into? It depends on who you ask. Calle 13 calls it urban music. Most label it as hip hop, rock-rap, and even reggaeton. In all honesty, Calle 13 has created its very own genre. Their beats and flow change with every album they release; this brings me to their newest album.
Multi Viral, Calle 13’s fifth and newest album, is a masterpiece. It is an album that has been developing since the beginning of Calle 13’s career. Calle 13 had help from Tom Morello, Julian Assange, John Leguizamo, Silvio Rodríguez, and more in this album. The duo finally found a way to express their thoughts in an eloquent and beautiful way without the need of appealing to anything but what they stand for. Hints of this can be seen in previous albums with songs like “Pal Norte,” “Latinoamérica,” and “La Perla,” but Multi Viral truly has it all. It includes inspirational songs such as “El Aguante,” and “Respira el Momento,” focused on people’s individual power to persevere. It includes songs like, “Gato Que Avanza, Perro Que Ladra,” “MultiViral,” and “Adentro,” charged with social and political commentary about government surveillance, the greed of the wealthy, and much more.
Multi Viral is the greatest of all of Calle 13’s albums to date. Having followed their career myself, it is amazing to see how Calle 13 has matured and grown these past nine years. I recommend this album to everyone, no matter what language you speak. The beats, rhythm, and flow of the album will make you fall in love just as much, if not more, than the lyrics themselves. I will leave you with my favorite verse from the album translated into English from the song “Me Vieron Cruzar,” which means they saw me cross:
Pero estoy preparado para // But I am ready for
Los días salados // The salty days
Cualquiera que camine // Whoever walks
Se tiene que haber resbalado // Must have slipped
Cai con todo el peso // I fell with all my weight
Pero si es fuerte la caída más // But if the fall was strong
Impresionante será mi regreso // My return will be even more impressive
I’ll be honest; prior to the Phuzz Phest lineup announcement I knew nothing about Judy Barnes. I’m still unsure of her musical background, but I have come to accept the fact that it doesn’t matter. The songs that Phuzz Phest put up of Judy Barnes from soundcloud captivated me like no music has recently. Barnes is able to blend beautiful piano melodies with jaw dropping vocals to create a sound of her own. Being a native a Winston-Salem, I feel like Barnes will be one of the best up and coming local acts to go see. Barnes will be playing at Krankies on April 6th at 9:00 pm; and even though I have to make the trek back to Raleigh that night, she is making a strong case on why I should stick around in Winston just a little longer.
Phuzz Phest is a stellar festival for not only seeing North Carolina artists, but also getting a taste for the local Winston-Salem music scene. With attendees coming from all around the area and the state, Phuzz Phest is a great opportunity for some of these bands to perform.
The Sweets, a four-piece local group, are one of those bands with such an opportunity. Their blend of lo-fi psychedelic garage pop has been a real pleasure to listen to so far online, and I’m looking forward to seeing how their live act holds up.
The Sweets were formed in December of 2012 by Zach and Justin, two brothers from the home of Phuzz Phest, Winston-Salem. With the aid of two more members, Danner and another Justin, they’ve released a few EPs and a couple of split cassettes, and are currently working on releasing their first 7” record on their label, Bleeding Gold Records.
The Sweets will be performing at Krankie’s at 7PM on Sunday, April 6th.
I’ve told a lot of people about Nashville’s Diarrhea Planet. Most people shudder at the name, assuming they’re a shock-value powerviolence band. Others simply don’t want to pay any mind to a band not willing to take themselves seriously.
Take a chance on them, however, and you’ll find an act that takes their live show very seriously. The six-piece brings a kind of energy like no other, creating a sound and spirit frequently likened to Andrew W.K. if he was a bit sloppier. These guys have shared bills with the likes of Titus Andronicus and played Jay-Z’s Made In America Festival. They have an uncanny ability to unite a crowd in drunken unison in their anthemic hit “Ghost with a Boner.” They also have four guitarists.
Diarrhea Planet headline The Garage Sunday night at 11:40. You’re probably going to want to read up on some lyrics if you’re going to sing along, though.
Tickets for the individual Merge 25 shows at the Cat’s Cradle & the outdoor party in Carrboro have already gone on sale Wednesday, March 26 at 11am EST — via the Cat’s Cradle website.
Full show line-ups & more information about other Merge 25 Festivities coming soon!
Wednesday, July 23 at Baldwin Auditorium Lambchopperforms Nixonwith more Merge artists to be announced soon! – individual tickets available April 22 through Duke Performances
Thursday, July 24 at Cat’s Cradle Superchunk, The Rock*A*Teens, The Clientele & more!
Friday, July 25 at Cat’s Cradle Destroyer, Wye Oak, The Mountain Goats & more!
Saturday, July 26 Outdoor party in Carrboro, NC Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Bob Mould, Ex Hex, The Love Language & more!
There are a limited number of tickets available for the Thursday and Friday shows at the Cat’s Cradle, while a larger number are available for the outdoor show. Tickets to the Baldwin Auditorium show will go on sale Tuesday, April 22 through Duke Performances.
N.C. State is reviving the North Carolina Literary Festival with a free, public event April 3-6 at N.C. State’s James B. Hunt, Jr. Library. The festival focuses on the Future of Reading and has invited a cornucopia of authors to program events on the topic.
Eye on the Triangle special correspondent Jacob Downey spoke with one of the events organizers, Jason Jefferies, and an artist-in-resident Hank Smith to talk about N.C. State’s revival of the festival. Information about specific events from bourbon tastings to engineering pop-up books can be found online. You can follow the festival on Twitter @NC_LitFest for more updates.
This album is full of fuzzy dreamy catchy and whatever other good vibe adjectives that you can possibly think of. Gift is sure to have a least one track on it that will appeal to any and all listeners out there.
Although this EP only has a total of four tracks, it is quite the head turner. Full of catchy rock melodies, this New York band is full of passion and definitely pushing their way into the music scene of today.
After coming up to the band after their set at King’s Barcade for Zack Mexico's Album Release Show to tell them I really liked the song with the upstroke part, that's the comment I received. Essentially, this band is a bunch of bastards that make some great, sunny 60's tunes.
What sets them apart from the pack is their ability to execute. Lead singer Harry Harrison has an impeccable belt and this real loose way of strumming chords (probably due to all that masturbation) that pairs well with lead guitarist’ Jesse Meyers deliberate style. Tom and Josh keep the feeling loose but the groove tight on the rhythm side of things. I saw The Tills again at Nice Price Books with Jenny Besetzt, and even though that band now has a machine of a drummer (the dude from The Bronzed Chorus), I remember thinking they held their own when it came to drummer awesomeness.
Charlotte’s Brain F≠'s first impression is usually, “How am I supposed to say that out loud?” The answer to that question, oddly, is Brain Flannel. However, upon listening to their release Empty Set, you won’t care about putting the punk band’s name into words as their white-knuckle riffs take hold. They bring the spirit of a poppy garage rock song, then get it into enough bar brawls until it’s a punk’d up mess that knows how to have fun. If you’re looking to spice up your Phuzz Phest schedule with a something to get the blood flowing during the middle of your weekend, look no further. Brain F≠ will take the stage on Saturday, April 5 at 9PM at Krankie’s Coffee. You should probably be ready to get rowdy.
From personal experience at the Hepcat and others around Raleigh I can say it is of the utmost of all fun. Little to no experience is necessary to participate and even succeed in these camaraderie building events. This race in particular looks cheap and inviting. Plus— there’s prizes, what else matters? The race will begin at Krankies Coffee on Saturday at noon.
Speaking of coffee, also in conjunction with the musical festivities this coming weekend is a “Coffee Conference” on Sunday also held at Krankie’s beginning at noon and all I have to say is—
free espresso shots until four! If you’re trying to get hyped for the evens later in the night, that’s what you’ll need. There will also be tables from coffee roasters and brewers from Carrborro, Raleigh, and Athens, GA as well as a keynote speaker and a live broadcast from KNC! Come stop by! We’ll be jittery.
Show Review: Dum Dum Girls at Kings Barcade 3.21.14
Playing for a sold out show, Blouse opened up vibrantly with an array of psychedelic projections, intense bass, loud drums, and a dreamy voice brought by the beautiful Charlie Hilton. After a terrific opener, the stage was lit with an electrifying blue stemming from the neon-lit heart behind the stage. The Dum Dum girls appeared on stage to fulfill their audience’s expectations. The performance was perfect leaving little time for conversation and more time for songs. Most of the concert came from their new album, Too True, where songs such as “Rimbaud Eyes,” “Are You Okay?,” “Too True To Be Good,” and “Evil Blooms” were played. Their most popular song, “Lost Boys and Girls Club,” was not played before they left the stage… only to be performed in their encore. Brilliant show.
After seeing No Age last September at The Pinhook, it was a no-brainer to add them to my list of artists to see at this Phuzz Phest. Seeing them with Spider Bags that night was an awesome experience and I’m really looking forward to the chance to see them again. It was, by far, one of the loudest shows I’ve ever been to, and I’m by no means offering that up as a complaint. The two-piece experimental punk group out of Los Angeles and signed to Sub Pop Records is known for their impressive gritty live performances. With An Object, their fourth full-length album exhibits a clear ability to improve and they have received rave reviews for the raw force behind it. To experience their incredible live show, be sure to check them out on Saturday night, April 5 at 11 PM at Krankie’s.
After making some changes to her look and modifying her music a little bit, Jessica Lea Mayfield is definitely on my chart of must-see artists for this year’s Phuzz Phest. From growing up listening to her hypnotizing acoustic sets to hearing her equally as talented brother cover her songs, the lyrics of Jessica’s songs are always something that have seemed to captivate and keep my ears perked. On top of the lyrics, Jessica’s soft and sweet vocals are able to contribute even further to her fairy-like presence. Now, I’m not one to say if her current look/sound is here to stay, but I know for a fact that it has not changed my outlook and appreciation for her artistic talents. Be it in acoustic version or soft rock form, I’ll be eager to get the front row of any Jessica Lea Mayfield show that is in the North Carolina area.
This past Saturday, March 22, Merge Records (in association with Bull City Running Co.) celebrated its 25th anniversary with a 25 kilometer race from Merge’s hometown of Chapel Hill to the label’s new hometown, Durham. Over 800 runners signed up to run the grueling, 15 mile course from the streets of Chapel hill to the Motorco Music Hall in Durham. Dedicated runners, avid music lovers, and faithful supporters of Merge Records all came out to support Merge and to participate in the race. When the racing was over, food, music, and good times filled the atmosphere at the after-party as Merge Records artists, The Love Language and Vertical Scratchers, played for the crowds and rope skipping team, The Bouncing Bulldogs, performed jump roping tricks.
Merge Records is an independent record label that was founded in Chapel Hill in 1989 and has since gained much success from signing bands such as Arcade Fire, Spoon, and (WKNC, Double Barrel Benefit headliners) The Love Language and Mount Moriah. And just like the length of a 25k, Merge records has come quite a long way from their beginnings. Signing more bands and creating more successful events such as this 25th anniversary shindig, Merge continues to grow as a top independent music label.
In return for Merge’s many contributions to WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit concerts, WKNC DJs volunteered to help out at the race. “It was really cool seeing how many people came out to support Merge and getting to cheer them on in their endeavors! …but the food trucks were pretty great too.” says WKNC’s Yvonne Chazal, who was one of the volunteers at the race. When asked what Merge Records artist Yvonne would race a 5k against she answered, “First of all, I would/could/should never ever run a 25k, but I would definitely start a race with Autumn Ehinger from the Love Language, stop halfway through, and go get waffles. (Autumn, hope you’re into this!!)”. Being a personal fan of the adorableness of Autumn Ehinger, it is safe to say this was an excellent answer.
Local dog fanatic and WKNC Underground DJ, Emma Badorrek, also had a few things to say about volunteering for Merge. “My favorite part was the concert afterwards at Motorco Music Hall. It was super fun and free. Another great part was seeing all of the dogs that people brought (I don’t know just really love dogs) it was also nice to live vicariously through people in good enough shape to run 25 kilometers.” well said Emma, well said indeed. When asked what surprised her the most about volunteering, Emma only had this to say “I don’t know”. Wow, short and well spoken, brilliant.
"Supporting local record labels is really important, we need to keep music accessible to people who don’t live in places like New York and Los Angeles". Says Yvonne. And Merge Records is doing just that, bringing great music not only to North Carolina, but to music lovers of all sorts who are looking for some good ole’, solid, independent music. Keep it running, Merge!
Adam Graetz is better known as thefacesblur, up until recently that was the moniker adopted primarily for Greatz’s visual projections. These visuals have been spotted all over the Triangle throughout the past few years, a handful of Hopscotch sets have been graced with them, sets from Zack Mexico and T0W3RS as well. But towards the end of 2013 Graetz fully made the leap from visual to audio, crafting dizzying dance tunes under the same name.
Whether you’re soaking in his bass-heavy, melodic bangers through thefacesblur or as his supporting role in Body Games, it’s hard not to become entranced by these productions. Atmospheric keys float and skitter atop rattling low-ends, making for expansive tracks that get your head bobbing and mind whirring. Adam and I discussed the transition from visual to audio, balancing between Body Games and thefacesblur, and the future of both of his endeavors.
Listen to the full conversation along with new tracks below.
Phil Torres is a man you can expect to hear a lot more of in the North Carolina music scene. For the past few years he’s been blazing musical trails as Baobab alongside his partner Whitney Trettiien, but recently he broke out of the “folktronic” territory and has begun to craft heady dance tracks under the moniker Crowdsource. On this electronically themed show, I spoke at length with Phil about the origin of his electronic obsession, how he crafts these infectious beats and some of his sampling sources.
Alongside the songwriting aspects of his music, the conversation frequently delved into more logistical territories of electronic composition. For starters, many have harped on the lack of showmanship involved with live electronic sets, a qualm that’s quite frankly ill-founded. Phil discusses his live set-up along with some of his major inspirations for delving into the EDM side of the electronic spectrum.
Check out our full conversation, along with three brand new Crowdsource tracks from his forthcoming album Bit Rot Blues below.
Few artists are as capable of crafting music as emotive and engaging as Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba. Though Cissokho is primarily singing in a wide array of languages that the average layman won’t be able to comprehend, the passion still oozes from this incredibly charismatic performer. The music of Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba is unlike any I’ve heard before, be that from North Carolina or West Africa. Cissokho has been working on mastering the kora since he was 5 years old, and after a few decades the instrument seems to be an extension of himself. Leading up to the release of the band’s second full-length album, The Great Peace, I was joined in the studio by Diali and the rest of the band.
Throughout our conversation the eclectic group of performers shed some light upon the origin of the band, how they met, what the name means, and so much more. The group feels less like a band of musicians and more like a family, they’re tightly knit and seem to share the same deep rooted passion for music. Throughout the hour we discussed overcoming cultural boundaries, inspiration for music, and some of Diali’s rich history in his home country of Senegal.
The band also shared three tracks from The Great Peace that you can stream below along with our full conversation.
Some truly entrancing music from this Carrboro based outfit. Diali Cissokho hails from Senegal but moved stateside and teamed up with a crew of really talented local musicians to form this incredible band. Some ridiculously dancy tunes interspersed with some intensely emotional tracks. To hell with the language barrier, music is universal. Play it if you’re looking for something different!
This band is split between N.C. and N.Y, but you wouldn’t know that with how cohesive and smooth this EP is. Sort of like a mix between Love Language and Jamaican Queens, Ladyfriend combines surf-psych elements with experimental pop and some slight electronic instrumentation pepper throughout the mix as well. REALLY awesome stuff!
The name of this EP is far more descriptive than I’d imagined. These whiskey-soaked tunes can easily lead to some foot-stompin’ hootin’ and hollerin’ (pardon, that’s the eastern North Carolina coming out in me). A bit of ragtime influence thrown in with some exciting folk-rock standards, there’s tons of potential here! Remind me a lot of an early Holy Ghost Tent Revival.
This Charlotte based duo is churning out some excellent folk-rock music. A lot of strong influences bleeding through on this release, very reminiscent of acts like The Avett Brothers. All around some really enjoyable tunes that range from poppy and anthemic to slower folk-leaning ballads.
One of the most slept on local releases of last year without a doubt. Lots of comparisons can be drawn to The Love Language, but Estrangers add enough of their own flair to make it interested and unique (a little bit of classic 50s pop stylings and some sweet harmonies!) An excellent way to kick off Spring is by spinning these sun-soaked tunes!
Phuzz Phest is quickly approaching! There are over 50 incredible national and local acts performing at this year’s festival in downtown Winston-Salem April 4th-6th. If you haven’t had time to check out all of the artists yet, here’s a Spotify playlist to help get you started. Be sure to check out the festival schedule here to help you plan out your weekend and be sure to leave room for the coffee conference, Alleycat Bike Race, and some great afterparties. It’s sure to be an incredible weekend!
Check out the playlist here and be sure to check out the full line-up here for some of the artists who aren’t on Spotify!