Monday, August 24, 2009

Quick notes before rushing out of town


I'm going to Montreal this week, and I have no idea what rock clubs I should go to, or what bands I should see. Any suggestions? I'm open to them all.

Now a note about last weekend. Caught Caltrop and Decoration Ghost at Slim's. Grappling Hook opened, but I didn't get there in time to catch them. Caltrop rocked as always, but since I've documented them many times, I decided to just enjoy them and record Greensboro's Decoration Ghost. They remind me a lot of Archers of Loaf with a little U2 thrown in.

Decoration Ghost from Mann's World on Vimeo.



Now, on to this weekend: Lots of great shows (check the calendar below), but two that you absolutely need to know about are the Music for Fences benefit with Superchunk at Durham Central Park and the Hear Here Compilation release party at Cat's Cradle, both on Saturday. The Music for Fences benefit begins at 4 p.m., so you might actually be able to do both, and I would encourage you to do so. Also, look for my interview with Amanda Arrington from the Coalition to Unchain Dogs tomorrow on New Raleigh and learn why chaining dogs is a really terrible thing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cool shows this week: Caltrop, Love Language, Bowerbirds/Megafaun



(Megafaun)

OK, this is going to be an amazing weekend for live, local music. Too amazing, unfortunately, particularly on Friday night when the calendar is just plain jammed up with great music.

Thursday's big show is an early, free show with The Love Language and Lost in the Trees at Wallace Plaza in Chapel Hill. Wallace Plaza is the amphitheater space on top of the parking deck off of Rosemary Street. Gates (so to speak) open at 6, and the music starts at 7.

Friday, as I've noted, is full of music, but if you're in Raleigh and you like your rock heavy, you need to see Caltrop and Decoration Ghost at Slim's. Decoration Ghost includes Scott Hicks who has been in a bunch of Greensboro bands, including Taija Rae. See my Five Questions interview with Caltrop here.

If you're in Chapel Hill on Friday, and your tastes run more toward alt-country, you should check out the Benefit for the Goathouse Cat Sanctuary, with Tres Chicas, Luego and Gambling the Muse at Cat's Cradle. It's for a great cause, and the music will be stellar.

Finally on Saturday, the big show (and in fact the show of the week) is Bowerbirds and Megafaun at the ArtsCenter. Check out stories and some really nice photos from the bands' co-tour here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Polvo in Wired


Thanks to New Raleigh for posting this link to Wired's interview with Polvo's Dave Brylawski. But I'm really not sure where Wired got the idea that Polvo is math rock.

Also via New Raleigh, Flaming Lips have invited Birds of Avalon to play the All Tomorrow's Parties fest in New York in September.


From Away-Team comes news that Clutch will host the Planet Caravan festival with Pentagram, Wino, Kylesa and many more at the Orange Peel in Asheville Sept. 17 & 18.

Finally, news from Merge: If you pre-order September releases from The Clean, Polvo and/or Our Noise you can win a SCORE! box set. Polvo's In Prism, which is available for pre-order starting today.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Video of Erectus Monotone!


(Kevin Collins from Erectus Monotone)

I spent too much time yapping at Raleigh Times last night, and ended up missing Rocket Cottage and much of The Loners at Tir na Nog. I did, however, purchase the new Rocket Cottage record and will report on it soon. And because it was a work night, I only stayed for a few Erectus Monotone songs. Supposedly this is their last show ever, but I get the feeling we'll be seeing them playing here and there. The crowd was so into them, and they were having too much fun to let this die completely. That's just me speculating, so don't take it for any sort of gospel.

Erectus Monotone, "Vertigogo" from Mann's World on Vimeo.


Here's video of "Vertigogo."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ear Farm's 10 N.C. Bands to Hear Right Now


Looks like this little post on Ear Farm has generated a little controversy. North Carolina nativeturned Brooklyn music blogger Matt Tyson listed 10 North Carolina bands you should hear right now on his influential blog. The problem for quite a few people is that the list is pretty Triangle-centric. A notable exception is The Bronzed Chorus (above) who are from Greensboro.

The Triangle-centricity of the list doesn't bother me. My personal list would have been different, but all in all, I think he did a great job. But it did make me wonder: Who ARE the best non-Triangle North Carolina bands? I honestly don't know. And I also don't know who the most reliable and readable non-Triangle North Carolina music bloggers are. I bet if I figure out that last part, the first will follow.

So, help a Triangle-centric out. Who, outside of the Triangle area, should I be listening to and reading. Please provide links and any pertinent info. And if you're affiliated with the bands or blogs you list, please also be up-front about it.

Pipe's "Ball Peen" now on Cy-Tunes!


Thanks much to Christina for alerting me to the fact that Pipe's long-out-of-print debut "Ball Peen" is now on Cy-Tunes. Go ahead and download it (all proceeds benefit Duke University’s Tisch Brain Tumor Center), and get ready for the band's show with Dry Heathens this Saturday at Broad Street Cafe in Durham.

Grayson has the full news here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This week's cool shows: Pipe and more!



This week's Show of the week is Pipe and the Dry Heathens Saturday at Broad Street Cafe in Durham. Due to illness on the band's part, and bad scheduling on mine, I still haven't seen the reunited version. Hoping to change that this weekend.

Other notable shows include The Infamous Sugar, Dirty Hookers and The Kickass, also on Saturday at Slim's. This show is notable in part for having such a popular flyer that at least one other local show is using it too! Also, Dirty Hookers is the new side project The Sugar himself and Joel from Static Minds.

Also happening this Thursday, Erectus Monotone, The Loners and Rocket Cottage at Tir na Nog. Rocket Cottage will sell their new record at the show. Check New Raleigh soon for my interview with Erectus Monotone.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Video from Max Indian


My friend Alex has been raving about Max Indian for a while now, and on Wednesday I finally caught a short bit of their show at the Busy Bee. Spencer Griffith's old review from the Indy describes them better than I can after such a short exposure, but I will say they made me think of The Band, and that I definitely want to see them again. They also have the best facial hair of any band around here right now. Max Indian also seems to be the buzz band of the month, which meant that the show was PACKED -- one reason why I only stayed for a few songs. More photos here.

This was also my first time seeing a show at the Busy Bee. The show was upstairs in "The Hive" area, which is essentially a big rectangular room with high ceilings and a bar right in the middle. The sound was pretty clatter-y, and the lighting can best be described as atmospheric. That's kind of what happens when a venue that wasn't originally designed to host bands starts hosting bands. I will give Busy Bee kudos for making the show free, and doing something more venues should do around here: booking one band and having the band play two sets, early and late. Max Indian apparently started at the bright and early hour of 9 p.m. (I saw them during the second set). As someone who is now supposed to be at work early each morning, I truly appreciate that.

Max Indian from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Runinations on the most underrated guitarist in rock


You know, I tend to think music a lot. I think about music history; I think about the connections between bands; I think about who would be in my dream band for various genres; I think about the stories behind various songs.

One of the ongoing inner dialogs I've had for years is, "who is the most underrated guitarist in rock"? Malcolm Young usually gets my top vote with Ted Nugent, Prince and Ronnie Wood making frequent appearances as well.

I'm starting to think Unknown Hinson should be on that list. The dude SMOKES on guitar. Seriously, if you forget everything else about him -- the hillbilly Dracula outfit, the Squidbillies, the hi-larious lyrics -- and just concentrate on what he does with the guitar, it's pretty amazing. And in case you're not familiar with him and think that he's totally alt-country, last night's show at The Berkeley was easily one of the most rockin' I've ever seen. It's obvious, both from the covers he chooses and the licks he throws into his original stuff, that this guy spent a major portion of his youth absorbing everything Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Robin Trower ever did. In the middle of "King of Country Western Troubadours," I thought to myself, "this sounds a whole lot like 'Day of the Eagle." As if to underscore the point, he started off the next song, a cover of "I'm 18," with the opening of "Bridge of Sighs." BTW, Russ has informed me that Robin Trower will be at Lincoln Theatre on Oct. 7.

Also recently, I've been thinking a lot about Charlie Watts. Specifically, I've been thinking about how Charlie always has this half bemused, half bored look on his face. The man is a drumming genius. You can set a clock to that snare beat, but he always has this look like he's watering the garden or something. Mind kind of elsewhere. Just doing his job.

Unknown Hinson's drummer, in a suit, tie and glasses, has the same look and quality, and I suspect he's spent a lot of time listing to and emulating Charlie. But when they hit on "King ... " I thought the guy was going to jump off his drum stool. That was the most animated he looked all night!


For this show, I refrained from video for obvious reasons, though it does seem like he's pretty taper-friendly. However, I did include a video of Robin Trower performing "Day of the Eagle", and a video of Unknown Hinson playing "King ..." last year in Kentucky. See if you hear the same similarities I do. Here are more photos from the show.



(Robin Trower)


(Unknown Hinson)

For parents who are really sick of Dora the Explorer or Thomas the Tank Engine ...


I don't have kids, so I don't even know if kids like Dora or Thomas anymore. I do know, however, that when my now-20-year-old nephew was a kid, that my Pink Floyd-loving brother really did his best to be a good sport about listening to Barney songs over, and over, and over again. I imagine it's the same what with today's parents. Whatever it is your kids love, they love the hell out of it. And they will listen to it or watch it day and night.

Mommie offers a great solution to harried music-loving parents, and is pretty awesome for us non-breeders too. First off, if you're familiar with local music, you've probably seen all these guys before in a variety of bands (The Connells, Motorolla, Ashley Stove, etc.). They play well-written pop music with a few alt-country tendencies (mostly due to the pedal steel guitar)about cool kid things like dump trucks, cherry pickers and carrots. The genius trick is that they do it without being cloyingly cute. Now, granted, even Mommie will get old when your kids screams "play it again!" for the 50th time in a row, but I do believe you'll enjoy this band at least 48 out of those 50 plays.

Despite a pretty relentless early evening rainstorm, Mommie played at Seaboard last Friday night to a pretty packed audience. I'm just calling it Seaboard because I really don't know exactly what this area of Seaboard is called. It's right beside Peace China Restaurant which is pretty good for a walk-up-style Chinese restaurant (I got the Singapore noodles, which were quite tasty). I can say the adults in the audience all seemed to love it. The kids seemed to alternate between listening and splashing each other in the puddles. I guess for Mommie's main demographic, jumping in a mud puddle might be a more entertaining option. However, the little boy pictured above was ENRAPTURED the whole time. I'm thinking he's going to start begging his parents for a guitar before long. Then the fun will REALLY begin for his parents.



Here's a photo of Doug McMillan and his daughter, who was holding her ears. I think it was part of a joke, but it does beg the question, if kids traditionally rebel through rock music, what's the child of a genuine rocker to do?


Mommie - "Bubble" from Mann's World on Vimeo.


Here's video of "Bubble" and more photos of the show.