Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Podcasting again!

It's been a while, but now I'm finally back to podcasting. I'm hoping to do this bi-weekly rather than weekly -- it turns out it's more work than I anticipated!

This week's edition features Portastatic, who will be opening for Yo La Tengo at Cat's Cradle on Monday, and The Broken West. And, for my "From the Vault" feature, well, guess who!

Download it:

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.

Friday, January 26, 2007

OMG I hope this is true!!

The Police might reform and play some dates in the U.S.!!!

Seriously, I saw The Police in Charlotte on the Ghost in the Machine tour (with Joan Jett opening!), and it was one of the best major concerts I've ever seen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A good local music calendar

The good folks at Triangle Music have come up with a good, complete local music calendar online. When you get to the blog, click on TRIANGLE MUSIC CALENDAR on the right rail.

As for yours truly, I am debating between Vietnam at Cat's Cradle (yes, Lemonheads are playing too, but I couldn't care less about them), and Black Skies at Alibi in Raleigh.

Monday, January 22, 2007

More N.C. rock on Youtube

Searching for "Comboland" on Youtube brought up a couple of gems.  Comboland sampler As someone who lived through N.C. rock in the '80s, the Comboland sampler brought back a LOT of memories. I saw many of these bands at Clawson's, which was an awesome little club in Beaufort in the early '80s, and whose manager always allowed us to come in even though we were underage. I remember seeing Doc Holliday at the Big Surf in Atlantic Beach, and PKM at a festival sponsored by WXQR at the Craven County Fairgrounds in New Bern. And I saw both PKM and Doc Holliday (along with Nantucket and the Bill Lyerly Band) at some outdoor festival in a parking lot in Jacksonville. I remember there was also a wet T-shirt contest -- in broad daylight -- and my boyfriend's dad, who was our chaperone, was absolutely mortified. I also saw Glassmoon at He's Not Here during my first visit to Chapel Hill in 1985. And I swear the Spongetones played ECU's Barefoot on the Mall every year. The only year they didn't play was when GWAR played, causing some visiting parents to threaten to remove their kids from the school as a result. The only band I don't remember from this sampler is Luky Owens & Revolver.  Arrogance at The Pier  PKM at The Attic. I wasn't there, but I think my friend Rachel was. Where are the Nantucket videos? Every time I search for them, I just get family vacation videos.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Volume 11 hosting shows again

Evidently they've worked through the permit issues. Here's the Myspace bulletin from Volume 11:

Slaves To Addiction, Faith In Ashes, & Viper on Friday Jan.19.Come out & support the local metal scene, their will be plenty of cold beer available at the bar. Thanks & tell your friends.

Comboland on Youtube!

Two people e-mailed me about this recently. It's the "Welcome to Comboland" segment that aired on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1985! Also, Rob Keller, who used to play in Six String Drag, and is now living and playing around Athens, Ga., sent me some videos him him and Kenny Roby recently. Check them out!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Check out these blogs

Here are links to a few blogs I've discovered lately. Check 'em out!

The Mill: Blog by former Indy music editor and local musician Kirk Ross. All about Carrboro. Thanks to Kirk for linking back to my videos! Blog by Baltimore band Pontiak, who were on my TMT Top 25 of the year.

Music is Free Now: Music and writing by Cesar Alvarez

Blackstrap: Kind of a band site, with rock writing by Ben Donnelly.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Videos from a free show at Cat's Cradle

Schooner (Myspace), North Elementary (Myspace) and Un Deux Trois (Myspace) were all part of a free show Friday evening at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. Schooner were great as always, and I'm very glad I gave North Elementary a proper listen. The evening's big surprise for me was Un Deux Trois, a trio with a winsome girl guitarist/singer that just blew me away. Check out the pics and videos.

Schooner from Mann's World on Vimeo.


North Elementary from Mann's World on Vimeo.

(North Elementary)

Another one by North Elementary from Mann's World on Vimeo.

(North Elementary)

Un Deux Trois from Mann's World on Vimeo.

(Un Deux Trois) See more pics here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

ElvisFest, night one at Local 506

Night one of ElvisFest (at Local 506) was a lot less crowded than I anticipated. I suppose the rain could have driven some folks away; I was soaked when I got there. Whatever the reason, those who weren't there missed some good performances by The Bo-Stevens (much better than the last time I saw them), Malamondos (ballsy female-led rock), TCB 56 and, of course, Dexter Romweber and the New Romans (pictured above). Enjoy!

The Bo-Stevens from Mann's World on Vimeo.

The Bo-StevensTCB 56 (this guy looks just like Prince William. Seriously)

TCB 56 from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Dexter Romweber and the New Romans from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Dexter opens the show with some weird naughty joke.

Another one by Dexter Romweber and the New Romans from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Dexter again See some photos here.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Two Fests for this weekend

Hosted By: Rock Bottom Productions/ Mikes Metal Night When: Saturday Jan 06, 2007 at 4:00 PM Where: The Lincoln Theatre 128 E Cabarrus St Raleigh, NC 27601 US Description: Rock Bottom Productions/ Mikes Metal Night Unfortunately I can't make it to this one, but Metalfest is always a lot of fun, so the rest of you should check it out. Also this weekend, if you're not into metal: Elvisfest at Local 506. I WILL be there tonight.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A couple of reviews

I've been very slack about reviewing local music CDs that are out there right now, which is something I'd like to change. So, why not start off the new year with a few words about a couple of new releases?

North Elementary (Myspace)
"Not for Everyone, Just for You"
North Elementary is one of those bands I've heard about for a while, but never really bothered to learn much about. I've only seen them once -- when they played with The Never at 506, and since I was actually there to record The Never for a project I'm helping out with at work, I didn't really pay that much attention to them. They're going to be playing Jan. 12 at Cat's Cradle, and I plan to be there and check them out in a proper manner. Also on the bill are Schooner, Pleasant, Audubon Park, and The Heist and The Accomplice (from Columbia, S.C.).

Vocalist/guitarist/pianist John Harrison also drums with The Comas, a band that always seems to either knock my socks off or totally frustrate me. North Elementary doesn't cause such diverse reactions. Instead they make consistently pleasant, uncomplicated organ-oriented pop that diverges here and there into freak folk ("Speed of Lies"), anthemic rock ("You Have a Heart," which sounds like a rough Cars gem) or slightly psychedelic Brit-pop ("Medical Sunset" and "I'm Not Foolin'," the best song on the CD). Harrison's vocals and guitar are most of the band's focus, but it's really Holly Lowman's organ that makes a lot of really good songs on this CD great.

If you get a chance, also check out the sampler CD of all the bands that are going be at the Jan. 12 show. Harrison says that he sent it to the usual local indie record stores (Schoolkids, Bull City, CD Alley). Also check out North Elementary's appearance on WKNC at 6 p.m. on the day of the show.

Gilbert Neal
"Drink the Beast With Me"
Fightin' Fool Productions

This one's been sitting on my desk for a while, so I'd like to start of with an apology to Gilbert Neal for not getting to it sooner. Secondly I should apologize to him because, unfortunately, I can't give this CD a very good review. I admit, this has less to do with the musicianship on this CD, which is fine enough and more to do with the fact that this style of clever, acoustic jazzy rock just ain't my thing.

Neal states on his Myspace page that he is very influenced by Steely Dan, an incredibly innovative, talented band that just happens to get on my last nerve. He's also highly influenced by XTC, whom I adore. Neal has a clear voice, some nice guitar work, a tight backing band and impassioned lyrics that try a little too hard to be deep. Little of it leaves much of an impression. There are, however, a few stand-out tracks: the breezy, up-tempo "Aurora," and the funkier "Olivia" and "You're No Match for Me."

Kelly Crisp's (Rosebuds) art on ebay

Repost from Kelly's Myspace bulletin:
Kelly Rosebud has donated a one of a kind hand crafted shadow box to be donated to the Merge Records charity auction on Ebay! 6 Days left to bid for two great causes (Oxfam America and TROSA). Read the Ebay discription below and follow this link to bid:

5X6 inch Shadow box created and autographed by Kelly Crisp of The Rosebuds!

Description by Kelly Crisp:
New Place
The concept for this series grew out of a new place I'd imagined as a child. When I was in the second grade I became so consumed with daydreaming that I couldn't do any schoolwork. My teachers thought I should either be held back or put into special classes because my grades were so poor. I was actually just spending all day planning where I would rather live if I ran away.

I knew the story of the Boxcar Children who, after being orphaned, lived in a boxcar on the margins of town and got by on their own. So I set about making plans for my own home away from where adults had messed everything up.
This shadow box series depicts a different version of that fantasy.

All proceeds will benefit TROSA and Oxfam America. Thanks!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Thunderlip, The Dynamite Brothers and Grappling Hook

I made up for missing Thunderlip last month by seeing them Friday, Dec. 29, at Kings. They put on a fine show, but somehow weren't as exciting as the last time I saw them. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. I can't really put my finger on the reason.

Thunderlip from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Dynamite Brothers, on the other hand, blew my socks off like always. I seriously believe this is the tightest band currently performing on the local rock scene. check out their cover of Superbad.

The Dynamite Brothers from Mann's World on Vimeo.

(Sorry for the unusually jerky camera angles on this one. I was trying to insert my earplugs and record at the same time.) I only caught part of Grappling Hook, and didn't get a chance to record them. But I can tell you that they're made up of The Torch Marauder and a couple of folks from Analogue. Didn't do much for me, but, as I said, I only caught part of them. 

Menconi is podcasting

Please take a listen to the inaugural podcast by my co-worker, N&O music critic David Menconi!

Hear it here.