Sunday, February 22, 2004

Last night we saw Corey Parker at Kings. He's added a guitar player, which added a little edge to the funkiness.

I was pleasantly surprised by The Nicky Band, which is a white-boy R&B/funk group led by Nick Whitley of The Cherry Valence. I had no idea what to expect. In fact, I somehow had the idea that The Nicky Band was lead by Nicky from Mercury Birds and Taija Ray, who is a black woman, not a white guy. Previously I'd only seen Nick Whitley sweaty and shirtless, pounding the drums and screaming like a madman with Cherry Valence. He's actually a pretty good guitar player and has a nice, soulful voice. I bought the CD, but haven't had a chance to give it a good listen.

Mr. X and I got into a discussion about bands that are better live than on record, and vice versa. I'd have to put Cherry Valence in that category. It's not that their records are bad, they just don't capture the band's live energy, which is its greatest strength. I'd love to see them put out a live record. Mr. X mentioned Chapterhouse, a shoe-gazer band that he loved on CD, but hated live. I posed this question on the Triangle Rock community on Orkut, so it'll be interesting to see some of the responses.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Still listening to Probot. I'm not quite sure what to say about it, and, judging from the reviews I've read so far, neither do most other reviewers. If this album had been made by your average no-name metal band, no one would give it the time of day. It's not bad, but neither is it very distinctive. Dave Grohl is a fine musician, but he really doesn't quite have the metal chops to pull this off. I found myself wanting to listen to the musicians' own bands rather than their Probot contributions. Still, it's obvious from his choice of collaborators that Dave truly loves metal, and I think he's done quite a public service by introducing these folks to a wider audience who might not have taken a chance on them on their own.

Last night I saw The Dynamite Brothers, Roxotica and part of Valiant Thorr at Kings. Dragstrip Syndicate was supposed to play, but unfortunately they broke up just recently. That's a shame because they're just the kind of band I like: fast, pounding, Southern-bluesy guitar rock with plenty of virtuoso leads thrown in. After I saw them, I felt like I'd been kicked repeatedly in the chest, which is always a good thing.

As far technique goes, The Dynamite Brothers are one of the best bands in this area. They're a trio, and both the drummer and guitar player sing. Singing drummers are fairly rare, so I always like to see someone do it, and do it well -- as long as they're not wearing one of those cheesy headset microphones. For some reason those things bug the hell out of me. No one looks cool wearing those things, unless they're Peter Gabriel, in which case their artiness outweighs their pretension.

Anyway, all three of the Brothers are amazing musicians, and I was spellbound watching them. But afterward, I had trouble remembering the particulars of the music. Like Dragstrip, The Dynamite Brothers are fast, heavy and bluesy, but with a little more garage rawness. But they don't offer anything significantly different than Dragstrip, or many of the other bands out there doing the same thing.

They didn't stick in my mind as much as Roxotica, even though they're musically light years ahead. Roxotica is the local tribute to Rock Goddess, an obscure all-girl English rock band from the '70s. Since I've never heard Rock Goddess, I can't say how faithful Roxotica is. What I heard last night was kind of sludgy, kind of poppy, kind of like Girlschool, but with hints of Deep Purple.

We only stayed for one Valiant Thorr song, but that one song reminded me of Gluecifer (call-and-response lyrics, double guitar leads, dynamic, testosterone-happy frontman). Speaking of Gluecifer, I've ordered their latest "Automatic Thrill," from, so I'll let you know what I think of it. A friend who really loves Gluecifer gave it nothing but high marks, saying it was a return to form after the tepid "Basement Apes."

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Currently listening to: Probot, the new Dave Grohl metal project

Dave has an impressive list of metal luminaries on this CD: Lemmy, Cronos from Venom, Tom G. Warrior from Celtic Frost, King Diamond, Raleigh's own Mike Dean, just to name a few. I'll give it a proper review after a few more listens.

Mr. X took me to task for saying that Urge Overkill was "serious." After a friendly debate about the whole thing, we agreed that Urge Overkill was more ironic than serious, while The Darkness is satirical. The next logical step would be to call Satanicide a parody, especially since, according to rumor, Satanicide was told they couldn't play with The Darkness because Satanicide is a parody and The Darkness isn't. I read an interview (which, unfortunately I can't find right now) in which Justin Hawkins said The Darkness wanted to get the music note-perfect so they could goof off with the lyrics and the image.

A couple of weeks ago, The Independent ran an article on the death of Chapel Hill musician Randy Ward. Ward, who was best known as a guitarist for Family Dollar Pharaohs and Metal Flake Mother, died in late January after a short bout with cancer. I didn't know Randy, but I am still a big fan of Metal Flake Mother, who, for my money, was one of the best bands ever to emerge from this area. I've been listening to their CD, Beyond the Java Sea, and remembering a time when people actually thought Chapel Hill was going to be the next Seattle. Two MFM alums, Jimbo Mathus and Tom Maxwell, went on to form Squirrel Nut Zippers, whose success led local Hep Cat Records to re-release Beyond the Java Sea in 1997 (it was originally released on Moist Records in 1991). Several local benefits are planned in memory of Randy.

Also recently, well-known local metal promoter Dio (not Ronnie James Dio) was injured during some sort of altercation. I don't know exactly what happened, but I will say that Dio is one of the nicest, most unassuming people I've ever met. A benefit is planned for March 7 at Lincoln Theatre to help defray his medical costs. A who's who of local metal, including G'n'R tribute band Appetite for Destruction, is scheduled to play.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Currently listening to: "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos," Public Enemy

Actually, I'm scrolling through my MP3s, and just listening to what comes up. A weird transition just happened: Pantera's "Cowboy's From Hell" to Public Enemy's "911 Is a Joke." I love digital music!

A few quick words: I can't open a magazine these days without seeing The Darkness, which usually means I won't be seeing much of them at all after about two more months. Remember The Hives? The Vines? I have noticed, though, that The Darkness' "Growing on Me" reminds me of Urge Overkill's "Sister Havana." In fact, both bands kind of similar image-wise in their faux pomposity, though there's never been any indication that Urge Overkill were anything but serious.