Tuesday, April 27, 2010

From Ear Farm: Scott Avett sings Bombadil

Thanks to Ear Farm for this gem. A must for Avetts and/or Bombadil fans.

TRK Fest line-up announced

And it's a good one! This year's TRK Fest will take place June 26 at Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro. In addition to the bands, there will be volleyball, tours of the plant (which is actually a lot cooler than it sounds) and a "bliss tent." Here's the line up so far. Others will be announced soon.

Hammer No More The Fingers
Mount Moriah
Embarrassing Fruits
Midtown Dickens
Ryan Gustafson
Vibrant Green
many more to be announced!

Other attractions:
Local art, crafts and clothing for sale
Local food and drinks for sale
Pants-off Dance-off
Coffee Sack Race
Cool Kids Yoga Session
Musical Chairs Cake Walk
Sprinklers and Water Things
Tour of Piedmont Biofuels
Free Haircuts
Shadow Puppets
Bliss Tent
and probably more!

And speaking of Megafaun, The Red Alert has an interview with Phil Cook, so check it out!

An awesome surf rock band in Asheville?

Yep. It's true. Surf Church, whom I caught by chance at the Boiler Room in Asheville after my camping trip was rained out, are the real deal. They're a Dick Dale-style instrumental reverb trio led by a pretty amazing guitarist named Mark Kuhn, who apparently is from California and still has a band out there. The band also deserves kudos for putting on an amazing show even though there were only about three paying customers (including myself and the Wiz) at the show. I hope their next show, a big surf extravaganza at the Boiler Room on May 7, is better attended because I think they deserve to be seen. I also think someone in the Triangle needs to book them soon.

Check out the video.

The Surf Church from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cool shows this week: Shakori Hills and more!

Just from anecdotal evidence it seems like most people are headed out to Shakori Hills this weekend. You'll have plenty to see if you go: Bela Fleck, Bowerbirds, The Beast, Hammer No More the Fingers and a solo Des Ark are all on the schedule, so this is really going to be a full weekend of great music and family-friendly fun.

In Raleigh, the big news is the opening of the new N.C. Museum of Art. The Beast and Orquesta GarDel will be there Saturday. 

If you're not headed out to Shakori, you still have quite a few in-town options, including my new favorite band, Light Pines, at Tir na Nog on Thursday. On Friday, Gray Young, Mount Moriah, and Jews and Catholics will be at Duke Coffeehouse while Rocket Cottage, Torpor and The Infamous Sugar will be at Slim's on the same night.  Saturday's shows include Chip Robinson at Slim's, Black Skies at Dive Bar, Red Collar, Lonnie Walker, Bellafea at Duke Coffeehouse, and Whatever Brains, Invisible Hand, The Alphabet, Gross Ghost at the Berkeley. 

Calling friends of Shayne from FKON

I don't know what cancer has against the North Carolina music scene, but this is really starting to get ridiculous. I recently found out  that Shayne (O'Neill) Miel, the frontman for Future Kings of Nowhere, has been fighting lung cancer for a few months, and just got word that it has spread to his brain. His doctors at UNC are moving forward with an aggressive treatment that will take most of the year. He and his wife, Rebekah are updating this blog about his fight. 

Fiona Barrett, a friend of Shayne and Rebekah, is putting together a photo album to help keep Shayne's spirits up. Here's where the friends part comes in:

I'm going to make a book of photos for Rebekah and Shayne - can you take a photo of yourself holding up a sign for Shayne? Good luck, or we love you, or cancer sucks but you rule, or whatever! Any kind of loving or friendly sign.

You can even just print out a computer sign - or go a bit wilder with glitter, or do something in the sand, or a chalkboard, or anything!

Send the jpg to
fiona.barnett@gmail.com -- hopefully in the next few days. I'll put them in a book all together. It might be something to brighten a few minutes or make him laugh.

Also -- can you please pass this to any of his friends? I only know a few of their friends and am going through as many avenues as possible. We'd love the book to have a whole slew of people wishing them well from everywhere.

Thanks so much!
-- fiona

She also wrote the following when asked if I could put this on my blog:

- the more the merrier
- getting one done is more important than making it perfect!
- send a decent resolution pic to

As someone who has had to deal with cancer in my immediate family, and among good friends like Snuzz, I can say that it absolutely sucks for everybody - the loved ones, the caretakers, and most especially the person who has to deal with it. If you can do something to show Shayne you support him, please do so. The photo above is by Matt. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Video of Ryan Gustafson

I finally took Alex's advice to go see Ryan Gustafson last night at Slim's, but due to the sound quality of the show, I'm going to hold off on making a final assessment. I don't know exactly what happened (I heard that something - whether the PA or an amp -  had broken), but the sound was truly terrible. Yes, I know that Slim's is not the best-sounding club in town. The only bands that sound great at Slim's are loud, dirty rock bands. But this went beyond the usual muddiness. Several die-hard Ryan/Max Indian fans - including Alex - took off early because they just couldn't deal with it.

That said, I can't tell much difference between Ryan Gustafson and Max Indian, probably because both bands  -- along with the Light Pines -- share three members: Gustafson himself, Carter Gaj and James Wallace. When it came time for Max Indian to play their set, they just switched bass players and kept going. Just to keep it confusing, Ryan Gustafson covered some Max Indian songs and at least one Light Pines song. Light Pines definitely have their own distinct sound, but judging from what I heard last night, Ryan Gustafson's music and Max Indian's are pretty similar. The biggest distinction is that Gustafson is far and away the best singer out of anyone in the Drughorse Collective. Listen to his material on Myspace. It's more rootsy sounding than what I heard last night, and his voice fits it perfectly.

And with that, I leave you a video that features Carter, rather than Ryan, singing. I'll get a better video of Ryan next time I see him.

Ryan Gustafson from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sometimes the balcony offers the best view

Generally I like to get right down in front when I see any band, but I've been known to stay in the balcony at the Pour House, especially when seeing a band like The Love Language. They've now gotten to the point where any time they play, the club is going to be packed with people who react almost in a Shamanistic way. That photo was taken after Stu McLamb invited the audience up on the stage (much to soundman Jac Cain's chagrin), but it shows what was happening throughout the show: arms flailing, bodies thrashing, heads banging. Seriously. I saw one dude literally head banging and whipping his hair. That made the balcony the best place to be in order to avoid getting mauled and to snap photos like the one above. BTW, I love the zombie-looking girl holding up the blue camera.

Thursday's show was my first time seeing the new Love Language line-up, and true to reports, it's both stripped down and more polished. With fewer people on stage, the show seems more straightforward. I have to say I miss seeing Jordan McLamb (the tall guy who used to play acoustic guitar and tambourine) dancing around out front. He's now behind the drum kit and doing a fine job of it. Check out their version of "Providence" from Thursday and see what you think.

The Love Language - Providence from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Thursday's show was very heavy on  the old material. In fact, I think they only played one new song, and that was during the encore.

Light Pines were one of the openers (didn't get there in time to see the first band), and they once again blew me away. Seriously, I think they're my favorite local band of the moment, and I will be at Tir na Nog next Thurday to see them again. They remind me a lot of the T's, not musically, but in the way that they sound really familiar, but at the same time don't sound exactly like anyone in particular. They sound like an amazing, long-lost band from the '80s, one that only college DJs from that era would remember. Bass-driven, but with lots of guitar and keyboards, dancable, but not in a disco sort of way. Very much like The Bolshoi with elements of U2, INXS and New Order. Check them out below.

Light Pines from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Friday, April 16, 2010

New music from Valient Thorr!

Even if you don't have tickets to the sold out Mastodon/Valient Thorr show Saturday at Lincoln Theater, you can still hear some new music from VT. Click here for info on how to have the new song mailed to you. 

Still groggy from last night's Love Language/Light Pines show. Light Pines blew me away once again. I think they're my favorite of the LL/Max Indian/Light Pines triumvrate. This was my first time seeing LL in their new form, and it's definitely more stripped down, yet polished at the same time. But the best part of the evening was seeing Pour House soundman Jac Cain scurry around trying to get the audience off the stage during the big finale. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

WKNC launches a podcast!

Check it out here

They also have a Twitter stream

Here's more info:
WKNC 88.1 FM announces the debut of SoundOff, a new music-related
podcast from the student radio station at N.C. State University. The
40-plus minute program divides its time between dissecting a handful
of music news and reviewing a new album.

“The idea for the show was clear, take some of the most interesting
news articles to discuss and do one in-depth review of an album that
had some real weight to it,” said the podcast’s producer Michael
Jones, a freshman in history and one of WKNC’s assistant indie rock
music directors. Jones hosts the show with fellow DJs Sarah Hager, a
sophomore in management, and graphic design sophomore Kirsten

“SoundOff goes beyond the brief time we talk about music during our
time on the air,” Jones said. “We’re able to give people who listen to
WKNC on a regular basis and those who just love the type of music we
play a greater understanding of what we DJs think about some of the
biggest releases.”

The first SoundOff episode discusses Modest Mouse front man Isaac
Brock contributing music for a Cartoon Network show, the Libertines
reunion and how The White Stripes almost didn’t release the single
“Seven Nation Army.” The album review is of Matt Pond PA’s “The Dark
Leaves” from Altitude Records.

“SoundOff is a great opportunity for our listeners to receive the full
musical package,” Tommy Anderson, WKNC general manager and a senior in
political science, said. “You get the background and commentary of an
album or news story, rather than just a sound bite.”

The podcast also represents a milestone for WKNC, as it will be the
station’s first program designed specifically for the Internet rather
than traditional over-the-air delivery.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New music from Love Language, plus video!

Snowed in with The Love Language from Jason Arthurs on Vimeo.

If you're having a hard time waiting for the release of The Love Language's new album, here's a little something to tide you over. First is a video from my former N&O co-worker Jason Arthurs (who is becoming the go-to guy for local music videos) showing Stu McLamb recording the album in Raleigh during last winter's blizzard. Second, here's an .mp3 of "Heart to Tell" from the upcoming album "Libraries" (cover art pictured above). Expect video from yours truly of the band's show tomorrow night at the Pour House.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Video from Small Ponds

My friend Alex, who knows more about alt-country than just about anyone around here, had been bugging me about going to see Small Ponds. Finally on Friday I took his advice. Small Ponds, btw, is the new band with Caitlin Cary of Tres Chicas and Whiskeytown, and Matt Douglas from The Proclivities. Before the show I checked out some of the music on their Reverb Nation and Myspace Pages, and thought it was good, but the live show really blew me away. 

Here's video of their cover of Tegan and Sara's "Call It Off". I'm not a Tegan and Sara fan (I actually had to ask Caitlin what song this was), so I have no clue how it stands up to the original. 

Small Ponds from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Friday was also my first time seeing a show at Marsh Woodwinds, which has gained a reputation for booking top-notch alt-country and jazz for early shows in a family-friendly atmosphere. In fact, you should be able to hear at least one baby crying in the video above. It's a great, kitchy little spot for an intimate sit-down show. I'm looking forward to seeing more bands there. 

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ear Farm interviews Grayson on Hopscotch

One of my favorite music blogs, Ear Farm (which is run by former Raleighite Matt Tyson) has an interview with Grayson all about the Hopscotch fest. Read it here!

Four Schooner songs for download!

... and continuing with the free downloads, Schooner now has four songs available for download on the VR Presents blog. Check it out here!

Monday, April 05, 2010

New music from BOA and Citified

Here are a couple of new tunes for you. The first is from the revamped Birds of Avalon, who will play their first show as a quartet (without singer Craig Tilley) tomorrow night at Local 506. To get you ready for the show, they've released a new song, "The Golden Nose", on Swift.fm.

Next up is "Sleepsound" which is part of a new batch of songs from Greensboro's swirly Citified. They'll be playing around here several times in May.