Saturday, December 08, 2012

Dive Bar, Volume 11 to close

(Batillus at Dive Bar, Sept. 29. 2010)

I wrote about the closing of Dive Bar for the Independent's music blog, Scan. You can read it here. In the post, I briefly touched on the fact that Volume 11 is also closing, and that as of Jan. 1, the Triangle will no longer have a dedicated metal club.

The timing of these two closings is coincidental, but still terribly disappointing for me. I admit that I wasn't a Volume 11 regular, but I still saw some amazing shows there -- notably Carcass and Trouble, both back in 2008.

Dive Bar, however was probably my favorite local club to see bands. I can't say enough good things about The Dive's booking agent, Robby Rodwell, who booked some of the most adventurous metal shows I've ever seen in this area. I was also very pleased to hold the last two Mann's World Hopscotch Day Parties at the club. Robby and Dive Bar deserve a lot of credit for offering great shows that were almost always free. The club owners told me that they are looking for another location. I hope they find it soon because I will seriously miss this club.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Karen Weatherman is a true Metal Mutha

Pick up the latest edition of Decibel Magazine, with Phil Anselmo on the cover, and you'll see my first piece for them: A Metal Muthas feature on Karen Weatherman, mother of COC's Woody. In case you're not familiar with this monthly feature, it profiles the mother of a noted metal musician. Anyone who knows Karen (and her husband, Toney) knows she loves supporting COC. I spent an entire afternoon with her, hearing the most outrageous, entertaining stories. I only had room to include a select few in the article, so unfortunately Decibel readers won't get to find out that Woody's first show ever was at the opening of the new Rex Hospital (???) with a band called Middle Earth. That's a story just for you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inter Arma at the Soapbox

 (Inter Arma)

I've been needing to see Inter Arma again. I've been enjoying their last release, "Destroyer," and looking forward to hearing the new stuff they've recorded for Relapse.

Also, I've been wanting to get out of Raleigh more. I've been living in this town for 18 years. The only other place I've lived that long was my hometown, Morehead City. Even though I occasionally get the urge to move back home, I don't think I could seriously live in a place where I'd have to drive at least two hours to see great music on a regular basis. I'd prefer to move to Asheville, but job and family concerns are keeping me closer to the coast, so I thought I'd check out Wilmington. What better way to accomplish two things at once (seeing Inter Arma and checking out Wilmington) than going to the No Turning Back Fest last weekend at the Soapbox.

(Mortal Man)

I can't say I learned a lot about Wilmington from just being there a few hours, but I do like the Soapbox. Inter Arma sounded great, despite playing for a small-ish crowd. Somehow the singer cut himself on the forehead during the set, which looked pretty freaky. I also got to see the awesomely doomy Mortal Man (from Wilmington) and crazy, female-led Raleigh punks Last Words.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Red Fang, Black Tusk at Kings

(Andrew Fidler of Black Tusk)

Vacation kept me from posting these photos of Red Fang and Black Tusk from last Thursday (Nov. 8) at Kings. It's just as well since I didn't get many photos I was happy with. Both bands rocked, but I was especially impressed with openers Lord Dying, who opened for Witch Mountain at Kings back in the summer. 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

MAKE releases 3-song EP

I've spent the weekend listening to, and completely enjoying, MAKE's new mostly instrumental 3-song EP, "Axis." The first song, also called "Axis," sets the standard for the EP. At a whopping 17:01, the song builds slowly from a searing, electric drone, eventually forming a crushing, almost Eastern-sounding melody. The band runs through crushing, psychedelic sludge with the second song,  "Chimera," then winds down, ending with a quiet piano melody on "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters." MAKE's live show was one of my highlights for Hopscotch. I'm glad to see they lived up to their live show with this new EP. Buy it here.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just in time for the election: The Infamous Sugar's "Stop Talking Politics"

I was at Slim's when The Infamous Sugar filmed the crowd scene for his first video, "Stop Talking Politics." I figured the finished product would be pretty hilarious, and I was right. If you're tired of the election (and of all the political posts on Facebook), take a look at this video.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Show of the Week & new music from The Infamous Sugar

This week's show of the week and .mp3 of the week are by the same artist, The Infamous Sugar, the famously filthy raunchy rock keyboard savant who will have his CD-release party this Saturday, Oct. 6, at Kings. The show is free, and you'll get to see the debut of the new video for his timely new single, "Stop Talkin' Politics," which was filmed on a recent Sunday Funday at Slim's with a cast of usual suspects all holding silly political signs. I was there and got to witness the filming first-hand (the "God Hates Homo Sapiens" sign was my doing). If the finished product is half as funny as the filming then you will not want to miss this. The Bleeding Hearts open the show. To get you in the mood for the show, here's my favorite song on the album (and really my favorite of all Suge's songs), "Sloppy Drunk."

The Infamous Sugar - "Sloppy Drunk"

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New music from WAUMISS

The latest album by WAUMISS, "Subtle for Flames,"is out now on Little Ramona Records, the label run by WAUMISS masterminds Clarque and Carolina Blomquist. Clarque, you probably know, is also in Kingsbury Manx, and has played with other bands, and on other local records (most recently he guested on the latest Spider Bags release).

WAUMISS is a noisier, more electronic beast than Kingsbury Manx, though it does share some of Spider Bags' affinity for lo-fidelity. Collaborators include Eddie Sanchez (Bellafea, Fin Fang Foom) and Dan Partridge (Pine State) playing everything from beer kegs to singing saws. Apparently there's going to be a video for every song, which will be pretty cool to see.

WAUMISS - "Calling Mary Punch"

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photos from Saint Vitus, and an interview with Wino

Here are some photos from Wednesday night's spectacular Saint Vitus show at the Lincoln Theatre. See more here. Excuse the photos of my friend Brandy, who was still jacked up after meeting Wino as he strolled past Slim's earlier in the afternoon. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hopscotch recap!

Now that I've had a few days to reflect on 2012, I can truly say this was the best one yet. I wasn't sure I'd feel that way going into it. All the bands I really wanted to see (meaning the heavy bands) were stacked on Friday night. Baroness, who had to cancel all shows after their horrific bus crash in England, were my original go-to band on Thursday. With that cancellation, I assumed Thursday would be a wash. What that really meant was I was free to just wander around and observe. In the process I found my new favorite band, Hacienda, who were at Tir na Nog. I liked that band so much that I immediately downloaded their album, "Shakedown," as soon as I got home. Unfortunately for me, I found out way too late that the band was playing a day party the next day at Slim's. I managed to get there right as they were loading their equipment out. Also on Thursday I caught the always-entertaining fallen-preacher-man blues of J. Roddy Walston at Tir na Nog and GDFX's electronic trippiness at Kings. 

(Stella Lively at Sadlack's, Thursday)

Most of Thursday was spent at Sadlack's at the Guitartown party. If you remember, last year's Guitartown party was temporarily shut down mid-day for being too loud. This year organizers Jonathan Lee and Greg Rice got around the noise ordinance by having most of the afternoon bands at Sadlack's and Schoolkids. Standouts from that party were the Debonzo Brothers, who closed the party down, and  the dark, bluesy Stella Lively. As you can guess, by the time the party wound down, everyone was pretty well lubricated. 

(Lutie's spot, damnit! Thursday at Sadlack's)

 (Lollipops at CAM, Friday)

Friday I started off at the CAM party, where I nearly wilted from the heat. I ran up front to get a few photos of Lollipops, who were worth enduring the inferno, but afterward retreated -- along with half the people at the party -- over to the one thin strip of shade running along the building. I did get to try a baguette with chorizo and chimichuri sauce from Baguettaboutit, and it was awesome! But on the way to Neptunes for the Thrill Jockey party I truly thought I was going to pass out. 

(Guardian Alien at the Thrill Jockey Party at Neptunes, Friday)

I originally went to Neptunes to catch White Hills, who were playing as a duo, but I was blown away by Guardian Alien (which includes drummer Greg Fox, aka GDFX). Fox is the former drummer for Liturgy, and I've raved before about his insanely quick technique. Guardian Alien was jazzier, chaotic and otherworldly. Singer Alexandra Drewchin spent much of the time in the Neptunes DJ booth, intoning into a microphone. But when she suddenly lept out of the booth and did a crazy dance while chanting in time to Fox's rim shots, I thought I would jump out of my skin. The photo above was totally by accident, but I liked it. 
(MAKE, Friday at Kings)

My strategy for each night was to take a long nap after the day shows, so I basically missed Built to Spill. I started off at Kings, where Scott Endres from MAKE was playing with a possibly broken thumb. Maybe it was a good omen because the band sounded phenomenal. New Hampshire black metallers Vattnet Viskar were up next, and they sounded great from what I heard, but they really did suffer from having a slot that was right before when Pallbearer was scheduled to go on at Pour House. That meant that a bunch of folks cut out halfway through their set, and a bunch of other folks (yours truly included) spent the first half of the set nervously wondering whether or not we should go ahead and head to the Pour House. At least they fared better than Black Tusk, who went up directly against Pallbearer. I love Black Tusk, but there was no way I was missing Pallbearer. 
(Black Skies, Friday at the Pour House)

As it happened, there wasn't much to worry about. I got to the Pour House in plenty of time to get up front, catch the end of Black Skies (who sounded really tight despite the fact they hadn't played in six months) and stake my claim on a spot right in front of Pallbearer leader Brett Campbell. 

(Pallbearer, Friday at the Pour House)

Throughout this entire Hopscotch, as soon as I knew they were booked to play, I had been looking forward to Pallbearer. Their "Sorrow and Extinction" album had been my No. 1 album of the year (followed very closely by Dawnbringer's "Into the Lair of the Sun God"). I was honored to be able to write the description of the band for the Hopscotch website. And wouldn't you know it, they started off with my absolute favorite song from the album, "Devoid of Redemption." Somewhere there is an Instagram, taken during that song, of me holding a "Goblet of Rock," as one commenter put it. It was completely beyond an invisible orange. If I could have built a fire onstage and offered up a human sacrifice of thanks for that one song, I would have done so. 

After Pallbearer, I headed back to Kings for The Atlas Moth, a band I normally love. Their 2011 album "An Ache for the Distance" was my No. 3 album of the year (after Graveyard and Feist), and I was blown away by their show last year at Nighlight. But, man, I just couldn't hang after Pallbearer. I spent a good bit of the show sitting at the bar, thinking, "at some point I'm going to get with this." But I never did, so I went home before the end of the set, totally missing Altar of Plagues. 

(Salvacion, Saturday during the Mann's World party at Dive Bar)

Saturday's big event, as far as I was concerned, was my own Day Party at Dive Bar. This is the third year I've held a heavy music day party, and the second time I've done it at Dive Bar. And each year, when I wake up on Saturday, I think to myself, "why in the hell am I doing this?" I'm always terrified that no one will show up. And I'm always a bit disappointed that I can't walk around and catch the other day parties happening that day. And, like each year before, as soon as it's over, I think "that was awesome. I can't wait to do it again!" This year, with Salvacion, Earthling and Caltrop, was by far the best. The place was packed, the bands were on it (Earthling in particular had a phenomenal set) and everyone seemed happy. There's nothing like pumping your fist to some screaming metal in a dark bar with 70 other smelly metalheads, only to have someone open the door and have daylight flooding in on everyone. That truly made it 10 times better for me. This killer show was happening in the middle of the afternoon, and everyone was happy about it. 

I had no real plans for Saturday, but a good friend (who btw ended up skipping out on Hopscotch altogether) had convinced me that Berkeley was the place to be, particularly because of Charlotte's Young and In the Way). But I'll admit that Saturday's downpour, and the fact that I was pretty much exhausted from the previous two days, meant that by 7 p.m. on Saturday, I really just wanted to hang out at home with a glass of wine. Even with missing a ful day of official Hopscotch shows, I can say that this was the best festival so far. I really can't wait for next year! 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

New music: Lollipops and Beloved Binge

OK, by now you probably know what you're planning to see during Hopscotch. Hopefully you have the CAM/now official day party, taking place Friday, Sept. 7, on your to-do list. The Love Language will headline, but for my money the band to see is the incredibly awesome Lollipops, brainchild of local guitarist Iggy Cosky. Cosky recently finished the band's first album, "Your Royal Masochist & The Love Crusades," and put it on Bandcamp as a free download. Rarely have I heard a band and been absolutely convinced right off the bat that they were destined for greatness. That's the feeling I get from Lollipops. Check them out before they're too big to see at a free day show. Hear "I Hope You're Alone"

Next up is Durham duo  Beloved Binge, who will release their fourth album, "Pockets," on Sept. 22 at the Pinhook. According to drummer Eleni Binge: "Our record release show will include a play in three acts, where improv actors loosely interpret our songs, while in character as Three's Company actors.  I don't know if anyone has done this before, but we'll find out by 9/23 whether or not it's advisable." 

I think that idea is awesome. I can totally see some scheme of Jack and Larry's getting foiled by Mrs. Roper during this song. FYI the Beloved Binge painting is by Bonnie from Sequoya.

Beloved Binge - "Notary"

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, 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.

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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Photos from Mike Scheidt/Nate Hall and Town Mountai

Last week I saw two shows that were a bit mellower than what I've been listening to recently. The first was Mike Scheidt (aka the frontman for Yob) and Nate Hall (U.S. Christmas) at Kings on Wednesday. I wrote about the show for the Independent's Scan blog. Hall played first - focusing on songs from "A Great River." Scheidt joined him onstage toward the end of the set, then played a set of his own. It was good to see some of my metal buds at the show -- as well as some folks who aren't normally into metal, but love good singer-songwriter music. 

The next night I saw Asheville's Town Mountain, who were holding their CD-release party at the Pour House. I don't see as much bluegrass as I would like, and I'm going to make an effort to change that. The band sounded phenomenal, and I had a great time, even if I did have to put up with a bunch of frat boys basically making idiots of themselves. Not sure why the frat boy/jam band crowd has become so enamored of bluegrass -- maybe it's the influence of the Avetts and Mumfort & Sons. Regardless, I hope that trend passes soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This week's cool shows: Mike Scheidt & Nate Hall, Town Mountain and more

Lots of good shows happening this week, but I'm personally most looking forward to the solo acoustic show featuring Mike Scheidt of Yob and Nate Hall of U.S. Christmas, Wednesday, July 18, at Kings. If you're familiar with Yob's driving, mystical doom, then the uplifting AM Gold melodies on Scheidt's solo record "Stay Awake" (Thrill Jockey) might be a bit surprising. But if you free your mind of pre-conceived notions about heaviness, and just surrender yourself to the music, you'll find that "Stay Awake" is just as deep as anything Yob has created. Nate Hall's excellent solo record, "A Great River," is out now on Neurot. Looking forward to seeing both of these guys at Kings.  

Also this week: Up-and-coming Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain will be at the Pour House on Thursday, July 19. On Friday, July 20, Valeint Thorr, Holy Grail, Royal Thunder and Caltrop will be at Cat's Cradle. All four of those bands put on some of the most amazing shows I saw last year, so this is going to be a killer show. Finally on Saturday, July 21, Hog, Sons of Tonatiuh, Man Will Destroy Himself, and Stampede will be at Casbah. Looking ahead, get ready for Agalloch at Kings on July 29!

Photos and video of Demon Eye

One of my favorite local bands to see live is a cover band, Corvette Summer, mainly because the covers they choose tend to be the deep album cuts like "Rat Bat Blue" by Deep Purple (RIP Jon Lord) and "Rocka Rolla" by Judas Priest. Their alter ego, Demon Eye, plays originals that sound like they could be deep cuts from all your favorite albums of the '70s. Here's footage of them last Friday, July 13, at Dive Bar.

UPDATE: Demon Eye will play Casbah in Durham with Grohg and Chest Pains on July 26

Demon Eye - "Devil Knows the Truth" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

New music from Estrangers, Grohg and more!

I feel bad for not posting this yesterday because Estrangers, who are from Winston-Salem played last night at Local 506. Their fuzzy, summery, AM Gold EP, Sunmelt, is great hot-weather listening, and more than a little reminiscent of the Love Language's first album. Appropriately, they even have a song called "AM Summer Radio Bech Hit #3," which really does explain their whole aesthetic. I'd like to see them live, but unless they book another show soon, I'll have to wait until the Local Band Local Beer, Aug. 23 at Tir na Nog. For that show they'll be with The Lollipops, a newish Raleigh band I've been hearing great things about. If you're in Winston-Salem, Estrangers will be at Ziggy's tonight. 

On the heavier end of things, Grohg has released an EP, Culture of Petty Thieves, on bandcamp, and will have a release party at Kings on July 7. Parts of this I really like, and parts of it I'm indifferent to (not really into the sampled voices that show up throughout the EP). But I REALLY like the song "The Artist's Divine Inspiration," which has a bit of a Jesus Lizard feel. It's funny that I mentioned The Love Language already because I still keep hearing people say they will not listen to Grohg because "that guy from The Love Language" (a.k.a. Stu McLamb) is in the band. I have had some really smart open-minded people say this to me. First off, Stu is no longer in the band. Craig Hilton -- whose metal credentials cannot be disputed -- took his place. Secondly, even if Stu were still in the band, why in the world would that matter? Is it really inconceivable that someone can create pop music and metal? Do you really think that if you hate a band, you're going to hate another band simply because the two share members? I actually love the Love Language, so I don't get this at all, and I really don't get it because Stu is no longer in the band! If you're into heavy music, you should listen to Grohg. If you hate them, you hate them, but don't hate them because of someone who is not even in the band. 

The rootsy Radar's Clowns of Sedation also have their first album out now, and you can hear it on Bandcamp. Fans of Jennyanykind or Jule Brown would definitely like this. Make sure to check out "In the Longest Night."

Also, The Bowerbirds have a new video out for "Sweet Moment" from their recent release "The Clearing." See it here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Music: Spider Bags

It's Friday evening, so enjoy this track from the upcoming Spider Bags upcoming third full length album, "Shake My Head," out Aug. 7 on Odessa Records. I know I've been enjoying it! 

Spider Bags - "Friday Night"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This week's cool shows: The Sword and Red Fang

I'm giving you a full week to prepare for the show of the week: Red Fang and The Sword at Kings next Wednesday, June 20. Red Fang, which inclues former Raleighites David Sullivan and John Sherman, is currently touring behind its excellent new Relapse release "Murder the Mountains." The Sword is touring before heading back into the studio later this month to record their fourth album. Kyng opens the show. 

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

This week's cool shows: ANTiSEEN, the dBs, Witch Mountain and more

It's going to be a good week for longtime fans of North Carolina music. Two of the state's most venerable bands -- from very different spots on the musical spectrum -- are playing Saturday night. ANTiSEEN, which celebrates 25 years this year, will bring the mayhem to Slim's along with KIFF and Bad Idea for the Show of the Week. If ANTiSEEN celebrating 25 years doesn't make you feel old, I don't know what will. Meanwhile the dB's will hold a record-release party for their first album with all-original members in 30 years over at Motorco.

Also this week in Raleigh, female-fronted Portland doomsters Witch Mountain will play Kings with Hog and Lord Dying (also from Portland) this Wednesday (tomorrow night).

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Photos of Ghoul and Dragged Into Sunlight + video

Tuesday was another of those typical nights in Raleigh were two great shows happen at the same time. At least they were around the block from each other: Ghoul and Occultist at Kings and Dragged Into Sunlight, Cough and MAKE at Slim's. Quite a few people spent the night walking back and forth, catching bits and pieces here and there. At least it was a good chance to walk off some PBR.

Ghoul (above), whom I knew almost nothing about, was the only band I saw at Kings. I kept seeing Facebook warnings about blood and chicken beheadings, so I was honestly expecting something like Watain. The reality was more like a hilariously low-budget slasher flick  -- complete with hooded figures, an evil priest and a voodoo priest with a skull-topped cane that spat blood -- with an awesome thrash soundtrack. But nothing was funnier than watching people try to mosh on a concrete floor covered with fake blood.

Over at Slim's, Dragged Into Sunlight played some truly horrific blackened doom -- meaning I can easily imagine horrible things taking place while this music is being played. The worst thing I can imagine happening while Ghoul is playing is running out of beer (and that's pretty bad). But I have to say, I seem to have temporarily lost my senses while watching them, because  when I looked back at my photos, almost none of them were in focus. Evidently I thought I was shooting in autofocus mode. Not sure what happened there. I just chalk it up to living and learning. See more photos.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New music from The Pinkerton Raid

When my former N&O colleague Jesse James DeConto wrote to me recently about his band, The Pinkerton Raid, he described the music as "outlaw pop." I'm not sure I'm getting the "outlaw" part. To me that conjures up memories of bands like Lone Justice. Instead, the lush sounds on The Pinkerton Raid's self-titled debut are more reminiscent of 10,000 Maniacs and one of the band's stated influences, The National, with a smattering of World Party thrown in. Check out The Pinkerton Raid on their Reverb Nation page, and see them live tomorrow night (May 26) with Birds and Arrows at The Casbah. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Confessor at Lincoln Theatre

I wrote about my impressions on Friday's Confessor show at Lincoln Theatre for the Independent. You can read that review here. See more photos

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Photos and video of Salvacion, plus photos of Red Warlock and Pontiak

Last Thursday was one of those nights where I go out intending to see one band, and end up catching something else entirely. I was all prepared to spend the majority of my evening at Kings seeing Pontiak -- and I did spend a good bit of time there. But before heading over, I went to Slim's, and was totally blown away by Salvacion, a raucous dual-guitar classic metal band from Wilmington. I'd listened to their stuff before and liked it, but I was completely won over by their live show. They ended up being my favorite band of the evening. Looking forward to seeing them again.

I didn't get much, photo-wise, from the Pontiak show, but they were good and heavy, and sounded great. Midway through their set, I headed back to Slim's to see Red Warlock, an epic, dark metal band from Italy. See more photos.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Cool shows this week Kraken Fest, Pontiak and more!

Continuing a fine tradition of really cool shows happening while I'm out of town, this week's show of the week is KrakenFest, a really cool trans-North Carolina show happening this Saturday, April 7, at the Kraken Bar in Chapel Hill. Colossus drummer Milton Doza Hawes put this show together, and supplied the following description:

We're having an outdoor metal cookout in chapel hill Apr 7 at the Kraken Bar. Tickets include 6 bands plus all you can eat bbq. It's a special show because I wanted to represent a cross section of metal sounds from bands spread all across the state from the mountains to the coast.

I want people to see that our entire state is a vibrant place for music and that metal is thriving and evolving.
 The lineup, from West to East:
US Xmas: from the NC mountains near Asheville, representing folk/metal/blues/psychedelic
Mountain of Judgement: from the foothills near Hickory, representing doom/psychedelic/ambient Boolow: from the piedmont near Shelby, representing hardcore/metal
Ruscha: from Chapel Hill, representing instrumental downtuned technical awesomeness
Colossus: from the Triangle, representing classic metal
White Tiger and the Bed of Roses: from the coast, representing punk/hardcore/rock
Then dance your ass off at the 80's Afterparty with DJ Fader

OK, this show features metal, an '80s dance party and some 'cue. Is there any question that this would be the show of the week? Go and tell me how it is. I'll be at the coast waiting hand and foot on my mom while she recovers from cataract surgery. There's also a pretty good chance I will be at sunrise services on Sunday, so I think it's safe to say you'll have a more rockin' weekend than me.

 Also this week, Pontiak will be at Kings with Left Outlet on Wednesday. I've liked this band for a while, but haven't had a chance to see them since their Reservoir show back in 2007. I'll definitely be at Wednesday's show.

 The band has just released the album "Echo Ono" on Thrill Jockey. Here's "Highest Echo" off of that release. And here's video of the band playing "Panoptica" / "Lions of Least" in Rome.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Windhand and Balaclava at Slim's

I've been trying not to use a flash when I shoot bands, mostly because I don't want to get on the band's nerves, but partly because I think most band shots work better with ambient light. But when shooting at Slim's, where the stage is small and dimly lit, sometimes that doesn't work out.

Windhand, a solid female-fronted '70s-style doom band from Richmond, were awesome last Saturday night. But singer Dorthia Cottrell performed in the audience rather than on the stage, which basically meant she was in the dark the whole time. Still, I kind of like the trippiness of the shots I got.

And these guys were loud. This was one of the few shows where I actually wore earplugs. As a result, the audio is blown out here, but you can still get an idea of what they sound like.

Windhand from Mann's World on Vimeo.

I feel bad because I really and truly thought Balaclava was called BACLAVA. Luckily the band (who are also from Richmond) laughed when I told them, and said that's a common mistake. They were a lot faster and thrashier than Windhand.  See more photos. 

During the show I noticed that I knew almost NO ONE at the show. Turns out the rather considerable crowd had traveled from Richmond to see two bands that they probably get to see on a regular basis. That's dedication. I'm sorry Raleigh missed such an awesome show, and I wonder if there's any band here that would inspire so many people to drive to another state to see them.

Balaclava from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New music from Caltrop!

My day got a lot more exciting yesterday, thanks to an email from Team Clermont publicity with a new Caltrop .mp3 from the band's upcoming Holidays for Quince album, Ten Million Years and Eight Minutes, scheduled for release April 3.  The song premiered on The Obelisk, which also has a few dates listed (no Triangle so far).

This song rocks. No two ways about it. I seriously can't wait to hear the rest of the album.

Caltrop - "Blessed"

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Photos of COC and Valient Thorr from March 3

Here are a few belated photos of COC from last Saturday's show at Lincoln Theatre. The songs from the band's new self-titled album sounded great live. I have come to the conclusion that Woody's mom, Karen Weatherman, really needs her own profile in Decibel's "Metal Muthas" feature because of her untiring devotion to the band.

 I do have to say, Valient Thorr came mighty close to stealing the show. I hadn't seen them in a while and couldn't believe how tight they were. Constant touring is seriously paying off for those guys. Torche seemed to be having an off night. For whatever reason, they just didn't seem to connect with the audience.  Unfortunately A Storm of Light was ending their set as I got to the show, so I didn't hear much from them.  See more photos.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Catching up: Cool shows and new music

I feel like I write this post every few months or so, but this time I have good reason to be out of touch. I recently started a new job in public relations, and I love it, but as I'm settling in I've had a lot less time to think about blogging. I expect that will change as I get more comfortable in my job, especially since March is shaping up to be a stellar month to see live music in the Triangle.

And this week starts with one of the biggest shows of the month: COC's homecoming show with Valient Thorr, Torche and A Storm of Light, Saturday at Lincoln Theatre. COC is riding high with this week's release of their stellar new, self-titled album -- the first in six years, and the first in a very long time with just core members Woody, Reed and Mike Dean.  But other than COC, I'm probably most excited about A Storm of Light, whom I haven't seen but have heard good things about. Hear Reed talk about the record, and the band's history, on

Next weekend I'll be at Pinhook on Friday, March 9 for the Scott Kelly (Neurosis)/Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) show. A local group called WOWOLFOL, with members of Hog, Lurch, Future Kings of Nowhere, MAKE, and Hammer No More the Fingers, will play their first show as well. The next night, Richmond doomsters Windhand will be at Slim's.

On Wednesday, March 14, I'll be running back and forth between Pour House for stoner band Karma to Burn and Slim's for New Hampshire blackened doom band Vattnet Viskar. Wolf has some good info on that band plus a video here. EDIT: Just got the word that Karma to Burn are not playing but that Truckfighters (from Sweden) will be worth the show.

The following weekend is the big Racing the Cure megashow to benefit Oliver Gant, son of New Raleigh co-founder Jedidiah Gant (Friday, March 23). I'm really debating whether or not I want to deal with the insane crowd at Kings for The Avett Brothers. I admit it would be fun to see them in a club (something I never did), but I also get really freaked out being in overly crowded clubs, and that night Kings is going to be insane.

The next night, one of my favorite N.C. alt-country bands, The Debonzo Brothers, will have their CD-release at Slim's.

Unfortunately, the Debonzo Brothers show on March 24 clashes with another great show in Carrboro: Caltrop's CD-release show with Black Skies, Pipe and Dave Heumann of Arbouretum. You really can't go wrong with either show.

Finally, the month winds down on Monday, March 26, with Alcest, Deafheaven, MAKE and Grohg at Kings.

Finally, I'll leave you with a little new music.

First is a new song from Viva La Venus, whose new album, "Bleeding on the Edge of Happiness," is out now.

Viva La Venus - "Hesitate"

And Horseback is streaming a new song over at Brooklyn Vegan.
Horseback - "On the Eclipse" (Streaming via Brooklyn Vegan)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Photos and video from the Bull City Metal Fest

(Shadow of the Destroyer, night two)

Here are a few photos and some videos from this weekend's 2nd Annual Bull City Metal Fest, which took place at the Casbah in Durham. I admit that I originally wasn't as excited about this year's line up as I was about last year's. But I think I had a better time this year. I got to see a few local bands I'd somehow missed (Bitter Resolve, Knives), experienced the amazing Body/Braveyoung collaboration, and ended the weekend with one of my favorite current bands, Black Tusk. My only recommendations for improving the weekend would be to spread it out over three days, either Thursday-Saturday nights, or Friday and Saturday with an afternoon show on Sunday. A 10-hour show on Saturday is just too much for me. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Photos and video of Mark Holland at the Station

I've been working on a story on Mark Holland (Jennyanykind, Jule Brown, various solo projects) for the Independent, so I went to see him play his acoustic country blues set last Thursday, Jan. 26, at the Station in Carrboro. Mark is a good guy (as is his twin brother Michael), and it was good to talk to him again. I have to say, it was pretty amusing to see some of the Chapel Hill hippies dance to this stuff. He'll be at the Blue Note on Feb. 15

Monday, January 16, 2012

Photos of O C O A I and Generation of Vipers

Here are some photos of Johnson City's O C O A I (above), and photos and video of Generation of Vipers (below) from Friday at Dive Bar. O C O A I was as compelling (and loud) as when I saw them back in the summer. Unfortunately I couldn't get in a good position to record them, so I just stuck with still photography for their show.

Generation of Vipers shares a member with O C O A I and two members with U.S. Christmas, but is a lot sludgier than either band. I wasn't really in a good position to record them either, but since I'd never seen them before I went for it anyway. The kind of caught me off guard with the beginning of the song, though! Looking forward to seeing both bands again. See more photos.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This week's cool shows: O C O A I, Hog, Monoslang and more!

I have a short Hearing Aid piece on O C O A I and Generation of Vipers (Saturday at Dive Bar) scheduled to run in tomorrow's Independent Weekly, so I'll let you read what I had to say about this show there. I'll just sum up my thoughts like so: It's gonna rock and you should go. 

I also have a short "Introducing ..." piece on Church of Wolves, but I actually had the privilege of seeing COW one more time after writing that piece. I have to say, I am very impressed with how good these guys are after only a few shows. They'll be with Hog and Orthrus (Virginia black metal) on Tuesday at Nightlight. 

Also on Saturday, Monoslang will hold their EP-release party with Minor Stars and No Eyes at Kings. You can hear the latest from the new EP below.

Saturday: Rat Jackson, Spiderbags and Red Collar at Local 506
Sunday: 3 p.m. early show with Vile Discourse presents: Curmudgeon, Torch Runner, Mad Dog, Pure Scum, Abuse at Kings


A partial lineup was released today for this year's 2nd Annual Bull City Metal Fest, Feb. 3 an 4 at the Casbah, and it looks like a good one. Here's the announcement from the Casbah:

Tickets are now on sale for the 2nd annual BULL CITY METAL FEST, Durham's premiere 2-day eclectic heavy music festival to be held at Casbah Durham on Feb 3 and 4. Headlining the festival this year is Black Tusk. Other bands include The Body, Braveyoung, Hog, Bitter Resolve, Shadow of the Destroyer, Make, Widow, Gross Reality, Church of Wolves, Ruscha, Dark Sea Dream, Knives and more to be announced. Tickets (on sale now at are $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday, or $20 for a 2-day festival pass.

The lineup for this year's Double Barrel Benefit, at the Pour House, also on Feb. 3 and 4, will be announced  this Friday, Jan. 13, on WKNC during the local lunch.

New music from Lost in the Trees, Kingdom of Rust and Monoslang!

Continuing the mellow vibe that started with last week's post, this week's batch of new music is pretty and somewhat mellow. First up is "Red," the first song from Lost in the Trees' upcoming (March 20) Anti- Records release A Church that Meets Our Needs. It's streaming now on NPR, so check it out.

Next up is "Sweet Carolina" from the self-released first album by my longtime friend Mark Roper's band Kingdom of Rust. Mark and his friend Kevin Mitchell have been working on songs for more than a decade, so I'm glad to see them finally release a CD.  This one is very mellow, and even a bit jazzy at times.

Kingdom of Rust - "Sweet Carolina"

Finally, Monoslang will have their EP-release show this Saturday with Minor Stars and No Eyes at Kings.  Check out Monoslang's "Methlab," which reminds me of Pylon more than anything else. I'm really looking forward to hearing the rest of the EP!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Whores. and Church of Wolves at Dive Bar

Here are a few photos and video from the Whores. show, Friday at Dive Bar. I hadn't seen them live before, but I really like their just-released Brutal Panda album, Ruiner. I didn't expect to get three songs on the video, but they kept playing, and I kept recording. This video really doesn't do drummer Travis Owens' powerful and totally insane playing justice. Throughout each song he was twirling drum sticks and at one point bouncing them off the ground.  Unfortunately you can barely hear the vocals in this video. 

Durham's Church of Wolves opened up. It was only the second time I've seen them (and only their second show), and they sounded great. They'll be with Hog and Orthrus at Nightlight on Jan. 17. See more photos.