Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This week's cool shows: Buried Underground, Weese Fest and more!

The Independent nicely summed up this weekend's festival mania in today's issue. From metal to punk to Americana, there's a festival for all tastes and in all three Triangle cities. Unfortunately my schedule is in flux, and I most likely will be out of town, but in case I'm here, I absolutely plan to be at the Buried Underground, at the Chapel Hill Underground, Thursday - Saturday. All three nights feature a killer mix of (mostly) local bands, but I'm especially looking forward to seeing Massachusetts band The Proselyte, who play at 7 p.m. on Friday.  Check out their album, "Sunshine."

The other big show for yours truly is Weese Fest (featuring Jack the Radio, Debonzo Brothers and much more) at Big Boss on Saturday. Weese Fest, named in honor of Big Boss bartender/Pour House doorman Benton Weese, is a benefit for the Jim "Catfish" Hunter Chapter of the ALS Society. There will also be a lot of food trucks, and of course some awesome Big Boss beer. The festivities begin at 3 p.m.

If you miss the Debonzo Brothers at Weesefest, they'll play a July 4 party in front of Raleigh Times at 7 p.m. I truly can't tell you how excited I am that Raleigh finally got a clue and moved the fireworks downtown. I have lived in this town since 1994 and never saw the fireworks in Raleigh because I just didn't feel like driving out to the fairgrounds. I think this is a great move, and am very much looking forward to the downtown party that night. I won't even mind dealing with a bunch of amateurs.

Also this week, the Girls Rock NC Showcase will take place Saturday (early show) at the Pour House. Come on out Pour House and support these rockin' young ladies and this very worthy program.

Finally, looking ahead, Yob frontman Mike Scheidt and Nate Hall of USX will bring their solo acoustic tour to Kings on July 18. Nate Hall's solo works shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. USX expands the boundaries of metal in all directions, including quiet acoustic. But man I was pretty surprised by the delicateness of the  Mike Scheidt stuff. The light guitar work and soaring vocals on "Stay Awake" were not what I was expecting from the man who pounded my mind into submission during last year's Yob show at Kings. This is a sit-down, sipping-some-wine show for sure. Can't wait to see what this is like live.

Also coming up, Agalloch with Taurus at Kings on Sunday, July 29. Agalloch has released their new album, Faustian Echoes, for streaming on Bandcamp.

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. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Photos of Witch Mountain, Lord Dying and Hog

 (Witch Mountain)

(Witch Mountain)

(Lord Dying)



It's no secret I was ambivalent about seeing Witch Mountain, Lord Dying and Hog from Wednesday, June 6, at  Kings. Hog rocks, and I rarely miss an opportunity to see them. I had checked out Portland's Lord Dying and was excited about them as well. But Witch Mountain? I've been struggling with them for a while now. The best I can describe it is when you meet a really hot guy (or girl), who is really sexy, intelligent,  enjoys all the activities you do, and seems to be into you, and the best you can muster up for them is "meh." So many people messaged me to tell me how much I would love Witch Mountain, but when I heard them, they just didn't do anything for me. All the elements were there, but it just didn't click.

But because I thought that it might click if checked them out live, and I knew that I liked both Hog and Lord Dying, I decided to give this show a chance, and I'm glad I did. Hog and Lord Dying lived up to expectations, and Witch Mountain sounded great. Singer Uta Plotkin's voice (the main thing about WM that I couldn't quite get past) sounded powerful. The show was pretty sparsely attended, so I give them major kudos for going out and putting on a good show to a small audience.  See more photos

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.