Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New music from Sumner James (Bombadil solo project)


You probably know that Bombadil is playing again, and they have a show on Sept. 1 at Cat's Cradle. Well, Bombadil drummer James Phillips also has a new electronic solo project called Sumner James, and the debut solo album "29 Days" will come a couple of days before that Cradle show. 

Phillips says he wrote, arranged, and recorded these the album during the month of February as a "personal challenge," and to explore his newfound interest in electronica. "To eliminate distractions, I moved into the barn on Pendervis Farm outside of Portland, OR (the same barn where we did Rain Promises). It was really cold most of the time, so I had a circle of instruments and recording gear around a wood stove." The album is available for pre-order, and there are two songs streaming on the Sumner James Bandcamp. My favorite song on the album is the one below, "I Told You Not to Stay Here Anymore."

Sumner James - "I Told You Not to Stay Here Anymore"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Midnight Ghost Train at Dive Bar


I finally got a chance to see Kansas band Midnight Ghost Train, which actually plays around here fairly often, most recently with Truckfighters at Pour House back in April (a show I unfortunately had to miss). Glad I got to see them. Robby from the Dive Bar was right when he called the band "testifying blues metal." I've been enjoying their CD "Buffalo," and I appreciate them letting me photograph them with a flash.




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flute Flies raise awareness for CyTunes, Tisch Brain Tumor Center



The Flute Flies, the local music supergroup featuring Ivan Howard from the Rosebuds and GAYNGS, Reid Johnson from Schooner and Zeno Gill from Pound of Miracles, have a beautiful, lush new album out called "Yes Means Maybe."

The band released the album in order to raise awareness for CyTunes.org, the local-music download site that's dedicated to the memory or Rosebuds friend and music fanatic Cy Rawls, who passed away after a battle with brain cancer in 2008. The album is available on the Flute Flies Bandcamp site using the pay-what-you-want feature. All proceeds will go to CyTunes, and then be donated to the Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke, where Cy was treated.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Russian Circles at Cat's Cradle







So, I finally took the plunge and got a new Tamron F/2.8 lens. I hadn't seen Russian Circles, but given the often stark, industrial nature of their music, I thought they might be a band with very little stage lighting. I was definitely correct. Other than a few naked bulbs, the stage was almost completely dark.

The shadowy lighting was definitely appropriate for the music -- dark, guttural bass lines punctuated by crashing drums and guitar work that was at times crackling, other times floating. It was pretty amazing to see how the band's intricately layered music comes to life on stage.   See more photos.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012 Mann's World Day Party


This isn't exactly news, but I believe it's the first time I've posted it here (I'm breaking more news on Twitter than here now). The third annual Mann's World Day Party during Hopscotch will take place Saturday, Sept. 8, at Dive Bar in Raleigh. Once again this is a free show with three great bands: Caltrop (Chapel Hill), Earthling (Harrisonburg, Va.) and Salvacion (Wilmington). Here's the Facebook page for the event. Doors are at 1:30 p.m. Come on out and drink some beer and support three great bands! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Inter Arma sign to Relapse


Relapse Records announced today that they have signed Richmond's Inter Arma. They'l finish recording their second full-length this fall and release it on Relapse early next year. They also released a string of tour dates, the last of which is Oct. 10 at the Buttery Day Ranch in Greensboro. I'll admit I have no idea where that is. If someone out there knows, please enlighten me. Their recently released EP "Destroyer" can be streamed on their Bandcamp page.  Read more here.

Russian Circles post 1st of 3-part in-studio video series



Russian Circles, who will be at Cat's Cradle tomorrow night (Aug. 15) have released part one of a three-part in-studio live series of songs from their latest, Empros. The first video is for "309," yours truly's favorite song on the album. The live sessions were engineered and mixed by Toshi Kasai (Melvins, Big Business) at Entourage Studios in North Hollywood. The video series is the debut of a new live in-studio sessions series by Sargent House in conjunction with Terroreyes.TV. Watch VIDEO HERE (or, alternate Vimeo link). Tickets to the Cradle show are $10 in advance, $12 day of show. Chelsea Wolf and Marriages open; doors at 7:30, show at 8:30.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Agalloch at Kings











If you saw my post below, you know I had pretty high hopes for Agalloch, who played Kings on Sunday. I've been to quite a few heavy shows lately that were pretty disappointing -- not because the bands were bad, but because the venue was practically empty. No matter how great a band may be, they just won't have the same energy while playing to a half-empty venue. There are a lot of open-minded metal heads in this area. I'm not sure why so many shows are bombing. I've heard a few theories about the split between the Volume 11 loyalists and various other factions. I'm not sure it's that simple. I can say that most of the metal heads I know are in their 30s  or early 40s and have stable jobs that require them to be at work at 9 a.m. or earlier. If the average weeknight show doesn't start until 10 p.m., they're not going to come out unless it's a band they really want to see. I can also say that if we as a community don't find a way to get out and support heavy shows, the venues are going to stop booking them.

Having said all that, Agalloch played to a packed house and totally lived up to expectations. In retrospect, their show last year at Kings was probably my favorite of the year, and Sunday's show was easily my favorite of 2012. Singer-guitarist John Haughm once again began the show by lighting incense and placing it around the stage in tiny iron cauldrons. No offense to the band, but I honest to God think that incense made the show for me. Last year I liked it so much I Facebooked Aesop Dekker who said he thought it was actual agalloch wood. Evidently I'm not alone in my love of that incense because as soon as it started billowing over the rapt audience, the dude next to me looked at me and said, "they should sell that at the merch table." He's right; they should sell that at the merch table.

The band is touring behind their latest one-track release, "Faustian Echoes,"which they played during the show. Personally I was more looking forward to once again hearing songs from "Marrow of the Spirit," especially "Into the Painted Grey," and they didn't disappoint. That song might actually be one of my favorite songs of all time, and it was wonderful to hear it live again.



I didn't quite know what to make of openers Taurus (above), a two-woman, guitar-and-drums band that included Stevie Floyd of Dark Castle. I was pretty enthralled by the ethereal, 1970s Middle Eastern art movies that they projected onto the walls behind them. The music itself was loud, heavy, and exotic, recalling Diamanda Galas on more than one occasion. Each of their songs had at least one part I really dug, but a lot of stuff that did nothing for me. See more photos.