WOOL is very promising band from Raleigh on the cusp of releasing their first EP, Delta, this Friday, and they stopped by the After Work Special for an in-depth chat with DJ e baby and myself, Spaceman Spiff. We discussed their songwriting process, the happenstance nature of musical discovery on the internet, and their myriad of creative influences.
The band brought their instruments and played gorgeous renditions of “Mountains” and “Stars.” I’ve seen WOOL live several times in the past few months, and I was always struck by the beautiful noise they made: lovely dream pop songs, enveloped in hazy guitars, that build to rapturous crescendos. The acoustic versions they played were intimate and confessional: the pop underbelly of the songs were brought to the foreground. We played their recorded single “Bulletin Air,” and the band debuted their recorded version of “Delta.” If the other two songs on the EP sound this great, we’re truly in for a gem.
WOOL’s EP Release Show is this Friday, October 25 at Kings Barcade with See Gulls and Derek Torres of T0W3RS.
Show Review: Wavves with King Tuff and Jacuzzi Boys
The energy at the Cat’s Cradle on Monday night was electrifying. We were heartbroken to have unfortunately missed the opening set by Jacuzzi Boys, a trio whose most recent self-titled release dropped this past September, but we were hyped to arrive to catch King Tuff in all his rough and tuffness. His band’s sound is nostalgic, their influences ranging from glam rock to psychedelic garage. The crowd reached a wide range of ages, from middle school skater bros to cool dads. Towards the stage, throngs of trill bros jammed and moshed out. Even old Old Gary on drums seemed to be having a good time. King Tuffy ended his set with “Bad Thing,” off his eponymous release, a song the crowd chanted and screamed along with him. King Tuff’s persona is out of this world: totes rad, bro. He is bad to the bone.
[caption id=”attachment_26932” align=”aligncenter” width=”400”] Rock on, man! King Tuff’s scuzzy performance was loaded with killer riffs and bad ‘tudes.[/caption]
Why are some people so easy to idolize? Nathan Williams, the frontman of Wavves, attracts fervent devotees. His casual, fuck-off charisma is magnetic. Many of the teenagers in attendance at Monday night’s show knew all of his lyrics, chanting along to his songs while joyfully working themselves into a writhing, moshing mass.
[caption id=”attachment_26933” align=”aligncenter” width=”400”] Wavves had the crowd in a frenzy; we stood back where the moshing was less intense[/caption]
Perhaps Williams is so popular because his music fills the pop-punk void left when Blink-182 and Green Day became more self-serious: his songs are anthems for kids yearning for catchy, angry, Endless Summer rock ‘n roll. As Wavves’ mangy bass player announced the song “King of the Beach,” a trio of high schoolers shoved past me as they raced to the front row. We stood back and basked in the crowd’s energy, and we couldn’t help but dance and try to sing along.
by e baby and Spaceman Spiff
Show Review: Saint Rich with WOOL
WOOL is one of the most promising new bands in the Triangle, and it was a pleasure to be wrapped up in their sound on Sunday night at the Pinhook. Frontman Troy Hancock writes gorgeous, glowing dream pop gems, his romantic vocal melodies enveloped by a sound womb of guitars and brilliant, wiry bass lines. These are earnest pop songs wrapped in a blanket of noise.
[caption id=”attachment_26927” align=”aligncenter” width=”400”] WOOL played a mesmerizing set[/caption]
Troy expressed their excitement for opening for Saint Rich before launching into a short, mesmerizing set. Songs such as Mountains and Bulletin Air broiled into enchanting, slow-burning climaxes. Our station has been enamored with the Bulletin Air single released in January, and I cannot wait until they officially press these songs. Their EP release show is on Friday, October 25 at Kings with The Human Eyes and See Gulls, and I’ll surely be there.
[caption id=”attachment_26928” align=”aligncenter” width=”400”] Saint Rich had swagger and songs to boot[/caption]
Saint Rich followed shortly after a hushed pep talk with Mac McCaughan, who co-leads Merge Records (might I add that Mac’s band Superchunk has an amazing new album?). Saint Rich announced that Sunday night’s show was their first in their record label’s hometown, and they did not disappoint. These guys made playing rock and roll look effortlessly easy. The band nailed a roaring set of country rock, and their triumphant guitar leads of Steve Marion and swaggering vox by Christian Peslak had my toes tapping.
[caption id=”attachment_26929” align=”aligncenter” width=”400”] The Pinhook has the nicest bathroom graffiti![/caption]
Rogue Wave, Midlake, and Peter Wolf Crier Impress at the Cat’s Cradle
After an impossibly long week, I had hoped that last Saturday’s show at the Cat’s Cradle would be great. I was in no way prepared for the powerful emotional journey I would experience. Each band attempted impossibly, yet successfully, to up the ante of intensity by giving a more impassioned and stirring performance than the previous band. Incredibly, even with their considerable body of recorded material, all three groups performed better live than on their albums.
Peter Wolf Crier took the stage first and stunned with their short and blistering set. Peter Pisano and drummer Brian Moen played with soulful, biting fervor. At times the duo’s dynamics recalled the consonance of the drums-and-guitar pair Dodos, but for most of the show, Pisano dominated the stage; the very air in the room became an extension of his body. Like a stationary one-man band, his myriad of amplifiers and effects pedals became a playground for his manic and maximalist compositions.
Crier’s performance would have been tough for any band to follow, but Midlake followed in stride. Appropriately, the band walked onstage just as Fairport Convention’s brilliant rendition of “Tam Lin” faded to a close over the venue’s speakers. A pastoral, electric folk ballad, “Tam Lin” is exactly the sort of song that underlies Midlake’s sound.
The seven musicians crowded the front of the stage in the best approximation of a democracy they could muster. Singer Tim Smith began the set crouched low in a folding chair, his presence subdued until the songs began to take shape. As guitar lines melded with flutes, close vocal harmonies and restrained drumming, the songs would weave and swell into evocatively textured sonic tapestries.
Rogue Wave took the stage without much fanfare. With their intentions clearly set on playing great songs, the band impressed with their joyous musicianship and their impeccable craft. Even after two great performances leading up to their set, Rogue Wave was the highlight of the night. Zach Rogue played with a fiery glint in his eye, and his bandmates deftly followed his every move. Fan favorites such as “Eyes” didn’t simply soar, they filled the room with their beauty. As I drove home later that night, I realized something: this is why I go to concerts—to be moved.
Hooray For Earth, Surfer Blood and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart rock the Cat’s Cradleby Tommyboy and Spaceman Spiff
Atmosphere is not the only thing that matters for a show, but few will argue against it’s utmost importance. The atmosphere at the Cat’s Cradle on the 15th was, forgive the term, awesome. Laid back and congenial, the three bands on the bill obviously got along like good friends. The Cradle was one of the last stops on their long tour together and the amicable vibe that evening was reinforced when each band mentioned the stop to be of personal significance.
The first to play was NYC-based Hooray For Earth (who had earlier in the day paid a visit to the WKNC studio for a live interview with our very own DJ Ones). Several of their instruments appeared to be held together with duct tape, an eccentric detail that complimented the marvelously ramshackle nature of their music. Their songs were slightly off-kilter and poppy and their set was high in energy. Especially intense was the presence of two on-stage percussionists.
Following in rather quick succession, as opposed to the customary half-hour wait between bands, the much-lauded West Palm Beach, Florida, natives Surfer Blood took the stage. The performance was prefaced with lead singer JP Pitts voicing the notion that “we’re all the same; you guys are just like us, and we are just like you.” After plucking the opening notes of “Take It Easy,” Pitts slyly asked the audience, “Do you want the guitar on or off?” His question was met with a few seconds of stunned silence. Surely the musicians behind one of the best guitar albums of recent memory, Astro Coast, would want to thrill us with their riffs? The response for “on” was overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and for the rest of their set Pitts ran around the stage taking power stances, holding his ax like a gun. The energy of the evening built to the soaring one-two punch of “Swim” (for which all willing guests were invited onto the stage) and “Anchorage.” With calm confidence, the band masterfully captured the rich and spacious sound of their album.
Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart took the stage after a short break to play a solo rendition of “Contender” before his full band took their places behind him. With his band poised to start, Berman shyly asked the crowd, “Are you ready to rock?” The band proceeded to breeze through pop gem after glorious pop gem only to peak with the catchy fuzz of “Young Adult Friction” and their new single “Say No To Love.” If Surfer Blood is a guitar band, then the Pains are certainly a drums band. Kurt Feldman, who also fronts the equally fuzzed-out band The Depreciation Guild, plays enchanting beats to which many people in the audience were enthusiastically air drumming. JP Pitts of Surfer Blood and Gary Benacquista of Hooray For Earth gleefully appeared at the right moments to dance onstage and add frantic shakes of their tambourines.
As if the aggregate experience of these acts was not enough, members of all three bands took the stage for the encore, abiding by the crowd’s fervent request for their rendition of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” (see below for a video of a similarly energetic performance of the song in Orlando). With everyone in the room grooving along to the song, it wasn’t clear who was enjoying themselves more: the musicians or the audience. Quite simply, everyone was experiencing the joys of celebrating music together.
(Video source: Pitchfork)
Superchunk schools audience on the power of Rock and Roll
by Jacob and Spaceman Spiff
On Friday evening, the paragons of the independent age of music, Superchunk, played a night for the fans at the stage they helped build at the Cat’s Cradle. The show was a warm-up for the summer music festival season and an east coast tour in the fall that will coincide with the release of their first full length album in nine years Majesty Shredding. Fears that the show would highlight a laid back set from Superchunk stemming from the inclusion of Ryan Gustafson on the bill were quickly alleviated by Gustafson’s inclusion of friends from the Drughorse Collective to add a full band sound to his twangy pop. Gustafson’s set was fantastic, the crowd was dancing and bobbing heads in approval as he performed his catchy songs with heartfelt conviction.
Superchunk took the stage at 10:00 p.m. brimming with intensity, vitality and volume. Mac McCaughan owned the stage with moves that would put most Guitar Hero avatars to shame, Laura Balance is still a master of control with the bass, Jon Wurster’s drums told the packed house when to dance and when to jump, and—self-deprecating humor aside—Jim Wilbur’s guitar knew the potpourri of songs spanning the bands 20+ career better than anyone in the room. What really set the show apart was that the majority of the set wasn’t forged to promote an album or conform to the bands comfort zones, but it was instead fueled and filled with requests taken by the band over email from the previous week. It was a thrill to hear “Slack Motherfucker,” “Precision Auto,” and “Water Wings” in the same evening, and fans responded with great fervor.
As the night wore on, the magnetic energy in the room became tangible. Superchunk was good enough to preview two songs from their new album Digging For Something and Everything at Once. John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, who will be a guest on Majesty Shredding, came out to lend backup vocals to “Digging For Something” and was in the envious position of getting to dance around on stage with Superchunk. An easy highlight of the evening, the fast and furious “Everything at Once” may be giving fans’ favorite songs a run for their money. The only downside of the night was that it took the tech crew at the Cradle the first three songs of Superchunk’s set to blend the audio levels properly, but this may be a testament to the band’s rowdy enthusiasm. For an hour and a half they rocked hard, and we were all mesmerized.
2. For Tension
3. Skip Steps 1&3
4. Learned To Surf
5. Digging For Something (ft. John Darnielle)
8. I Guess I Remembered It Wrong
9. Florida’s On Fire
10. Water Wings
11. European Medicine
12. Package Thief
13. Everything At Once
14. Precision Auto
15. On The Mouth
16. From The Curve
17. Slack Motherfucker
18. Hyper Enough (ft. John Darnielle)
19. Throwing Things
Love is all you need — besides music
I think the Magnetic Fields said it best: music comes from love. On Monday, February 15 from 5 to 7 p.m., DJs Vice, Justin and I will be hanging out in the studio to bring you a show about music’s greatest muse! Of the millions and billions of songs inspired by love we have handpicked some of our favorites—songs of tender care and understanding and of bitterness and longing. We’ll explore such topics as the Indie Pop Infatuation, the Acoustic Heartache and the Malevolent Power-pop Lament.
And yes, we’re going all Delilah on you all (minus the relationship advice) and asking for your requests. Please comment to this post between now and Monday or give us a call at our studio request lines (860-0881 or 515-2400)! If you have any shout outs to loved ones we’d love to hear them!
Prabir and the Substitutes On-Air Interview
This past Thursday was a busy day for Prabir and the Substitutes! After being stuck in traffic, the band dropped by the 5 o’clock Shadow for an in-studio interview with Mikey P and me. Then, the band headed to Tir Na Nog where they completely rocked out WKNC’s weekly Local Beer Local Band Night with Chapel Hill natives Embarrassing Fruits.
Considering their hectic touring schedule, I was excited to have such a relaxed discussion with the band about their music. Prabir and the Substitutes are a pop-rock group from Richmond, Virginia with a knack for melody and harmony and a keen appreciation for the joys of playing music. Appropriately enough, we discussed the trials and tribulations of touring and the many ways the band keeps their lives enjoyable (everything from maintaining an amusing website to smashing their instruments after their shows). We also spun some great tracks off of their new EP Hello. Check out the interview below!
Prabir Interview Part 1
Prabir Interview Part 2
Prabir Interview Part 3
Prabir Interview Part 4
Prabir Interview Part 5
In today’s digital world, it’s great to see a band that cares so much about the physical release of an album. I love having something I can hold in my hands when I buy my music—the thrill of driving to my local record store, thumbing through the collection, talking with the clerk as I pay, peeling off that cumbersome sticky tape before prying open the cover, admiring the pictures in the liner notes—owning the physical CD connects me more with the artist and their work. In the 60s, the single was the primary means by which an artist released their music before bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys demonstrated the artistic importance of the album. In 2007, Prabir and the Substitutes demonstrated their respect for the physical release of an album by intending for the duplicate copy included with their EP, Share, to be given to a friend. The group might not save the physical album from certain doom, but they’re putting up a valiant fight.
Local Beer Local Band On-Air Interviews Today!
As a precursor to what will be an awesome version of Local Beer Local Band tonight (Thursday, 5/7), we will be interviewing both Embarrassing Fruits and Prabir and the Substitutes today!
Embarrassing Fruits will be on air around 1:00 for a phone interview with the infamous Mikey P (our Local Beer, Local Band Coordinator) .
Then, during the 5 o’clock Shadow (not coincidentally, at 5:00 PM), DJs Spaceman Spiff and May Day will be interivewing Prabir and the Substitutes in studio. As per usual, the FREE show will get started at Tir Na Nog around 10:00 tonight! These you don’t wanna miss.