Monday, January 29, 2007

Menconi's Great Eight -- and my own

Most of you know that I work at The News & Observer. I was honored to be part of the production crew for this year's Great Eight, in which music critic David Menconi lists his eight bands to watch for the upcoming year. Real kudos go to my co-worker Rob Roberts, who did all of the Flash heavy-lifting here (I just helped shoot video of some of the bands). Check it out.

As for David's selections for the Great Eight, well, let's just say I politely disagree with him on every one of his choices except for the Annuals, who are truly one of the most exciting bands in the area (and they're playing this Saturday at Kings, so go and check them out for yourself). The Never and Old Ceremony are both good bands that have the potential to become great, but aren't quite there yet. I would have put Roman Candle on my list rather than Old Ceremony, and Schooner rather than The Never. (To be fair, David put both those bands on previous Great Eight lists). Dirty530 is flavorless jam-hip hop -- Urban Sophisticates blew them away at Cat's Cradle. Darien Brockington is just fine at smooth r&b-flavored hip-hop, but since that's not my thing, he's not going on my list. Southern Culture was played out 20 years ago. As for Des Ark, Amiee Argote has a beautiful voice, and at her best sounds like a female Rick Danko, but she sings in such a mannered way that it ruins the experience. She sounds awesome on the songs she performs with Ben Davis on the split CD "Battle of the Beards." But the truth is, Ben Davis and the Jets, whose Eric Wallen is one of my favorite local guitarists, are much more deserving of a spot on the list.

The biggest surprise on David's list, for me, is the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a young old-time bluegrass band. I'm looking forward to see how they develop, so I'll make them an honorable mention on my list.

As for my own list, it's true that my tastes tend to be more harder edge than David's.

1. Ben Davis and the Jets
2. Black Skies
3. The Annuals
4. Roman Candle
5. Thunderlip
6. The Greatest Hits
7. Schooner
8. Urban Sophisticates

Honorable mentions: The T's, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dynamite Brothers, Black Taj, Red Smokes White, The Trousers and Un Deux Trois.

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