Friday, December 29, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, December 29 - The Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim and War Eagles, Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band @ Lincoln Theatre (folk/rock/indie)*
Friday, December 29 - The Noises 10, Modern Skirts @ The Pour House (pop/indie)

*The Avett Brothers' show is SOLD OUT. I hope you bought your tickets in advance.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Thursday, December 28 - Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell, B.J. Barham (of American Aquarium) @ The Pour House (folk/rock)

As you can probably tell, the shows have been slow around the holidays, but here's a little something for this week.

Monday, December 25, 2006

RIP 'Godfather of Soul'

Soul legend James Brown died in an Atlanta hospital this morning. He was 73.

What can we say? He was one of the true legends of soul music. He was an amazing singer, songwriter and showman. He will be missed.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas from Clear Channel

Fans of Sunny 93.9 may be disappointed to learn that the station is straying from its adult contemporary format.

When the station ends its 55 day run of Christmas music Tuesday (don't even get me started on that), the station will switch to a "Rhythmic AC" format. Don't know what that means? You're probably not alone. Program director Chris Shebel told the News & Observer listeners can expect to hear artists like Kool & the Gang, Earth Wind & Fire, Jennifer Lopez and Madonna.

The station will also air Whoopi Goldberg's morning show (yes, someone gave her a radio show) called "Wake Up With Whoopi" during the morning drive, from 5-9 a.m.

Sunny also won't be so "sunny" anymore, dropping its current moniker. No word what the new name will be.

Before you ask, yes, Sunny 93.9 is owned by Clear Channel Communications. Just two months ago, Clear Channel rocked the boat by switching up 106.1 (once classic rock station WRDU, now country station The Rooster) and 100.7 The River from a sort-of adult alternative format to one with a little more emphasis on classic rock and bands like Boston.

Who knows what sort of musical void they're trying to fill with this move, but when you're pulling in $2.7 billion dollars a year and own more than 1,200 stations nationwide (thanks, FCC), who needs a reason?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Already over: 2006.

The year 2007 is fast-approaching, and while many of us are still trying to get used to the fact that Christmas is mere hours away, it's once again time to look back at the past year and think, "What happened?"

So while we're going back to come up with our favorites, here's a question for you. What was the best concert you saw in '06? Favorite album? Post in the comments and we'll get back to you with our picks.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Annuals to play Conan

Tune in to Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Thursday, Jan. 18 to see local band Annuals. The band, which has been garnering quite a bit of national attention lately, will be back on home turf just days later, Monday, Jan. 22, to play a show at Cat's Cradle with The Dears.

Kevin's weekday picks [UPDATED 12.19]

Monday, December 18 - Trekky Records presents: Christmas at the Cradle w/ The Mountain Goats, The Strugglers, Bellafea, Prayers and Tears, David Karsten Daniels, Bowerbirds, Ben Davis, Erie Choir, Billy Sugarfix, En Garde @ Cat's Cradle (indie)
Tuesday, December 19 - Red Collar, We Landed On The Moon, The Busy World, Pluto Is A Planet @ Cat's Cradle (indie/rock/pop)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, December 15 - Forward Russia, Snowden, Conshafter @ Local 506 (indie rock/alternative)
Saturday, December 16 - Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey, Roman Candle, Caitlin Cary, Lynn Blakley, Django Haskins, plus more @ Local 506 (folk/rock/pop)*

*This is a Christmas CD Release & Benefit. Proceeds will benefit the Interfaith Council.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Knowledge is power

It's a sad fact these days that the "music business" is much more about business than music, and your business savvy could potentially get you farther than your best song.

Keep yourself and your band from getting screwed over by learning some of the basics of the business of music.

Raleigh-based music management firm Murphy to Manteo will host a crash course entitled "On the Record — Breaking Your Band" at the Berkeley Cafe on Sunday, Jan. 28 from 2-4 p.m.

The directors of MTM, who have in the past managed acts such as Hootie and the Blowfish and Cowboy Mouth, will provide and overview of how record labels work, what booking agents look for in a young band, the importance of publishing and the roles of attorneys, producers and managers.

Bands are encouraged to bring their CD, publicity photo and press kit to the seminar. One act will be randomly chosen for a free mini-consultation and critique at the end of the event.

Tickets for the seminar are $12 in advance or $15 at the door and can be purchased at Berkeley Cafe, Schoolkids Records in Chapel Hill and Raleigh or by visiting or by calling their office at 859-5333. The Berkeley Cafe is located at 217 West Martin Street in Raleigh.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Raleigh Expatriate

Editor's Note: Welcome to what we hope is a recurring feature here at Triangle Music, The Raleigh Expatriate. This is our chance to share with you what North Carolina-bred musicians are doing outside of the home state. Enter Lilit Marcus, a former North Carolinian and UNCG alum, who has since moved on to the bright lights of New York City. Lilit (read more about her at her blog, Lilit in Stereo) will be your tour guide to all things Raleigh on the New York scene. And for her first assignment, what better expatriate to report on than Ryan Adams?

I admit, it’s a bit of a cliché: girl from North Carolina dreams of moving to New York City. On the way there she falls in love with music by a boy from North Carolina who moved to New York City. The cliché came full circle last night when I (now into year three of living in Gotham) finally got to see Ryan Adams perform. It was the third of his three consecutive shows at Town Hall, a venue that’s more sit-down Broadway theater than downtown rock club. Everyone had assigned places to sit and couldn’t bring their refreshments in, lest they ruin the carpet. Maybe the adult venue fits with Adams’ latest life change: he announced to the audience that he is now seven months sober. Usually, a jeans and T-shirt guy, Adams may have used his newfound energy to create a wacky stage outfit: he wore knee high black vinyl platform boots and tied his shaggy hair into pigtails.

If the announcement of Adams’ sobriety came as a surprise to many audience members, the set list wasn’t as much of a shock. Adams had declared that he wouldn’t repeat a single song over the three shows, and most of the fans had found the previous nights’ set lists online. The two earlier lists leaned heavily on selections from Heartbreaker, Gold, and Adams’ two albums with The Cardinals. Most of the gems were saved for the final show: he opened with a lovely rendition of “Come Pick Me Up” and segued into “When the Stars Go Blue,” reminding everyone who has heard the Corrs or Tim McGraw covers that the original is always the best.

From there, Adams showed why he’s such a diverse musician: he brought in harmonica for a slow, bluesy “Hallelujah,” and switched to piano for “Blue Sky Blues.” Despite the hecklers yelling out song requests, a staple at Adams shows (and yeah, there was a “Summer of ‘69” request, and yeah, everyone booed him), the audience was in love with Adams, singing along to each song. The songs with the biggest reactions were probably for “Starting to Hurt,” a rare loud note in a mostly subdued evening and “Blue Sky,” the best track from Adams’ latest album, 29. There was no encore, and no special guest star (the previous night, Norah Jones had showed up to duet on “Dear John”). But I got to hear the song I’d come a long way to hear, and that made the whole night an even bigger success.

Kevin's weekday picks [UPDATED 12.14]

Tuesday, December 12 - Chris Pureka, Laura Blackley @ Local 506 (folk/indie)
Thursday, December 14 - Mighty Lester, Edsel 500 @ The Pour House (blues/r&b)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks [UPDATED 12.09]

Friday, December 8 - The Comas, 1986, Schooner @ Cat's Cradle (indie pop/rock)
Saturday, December 9 - Dirty5Thirty, The Urban Sophisticates, Social Memory Complex, L in Japanese @ Cat's Cradle (hip-hop)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Tuesday, December 5 - Pernice Brothers, Elvis Perkins @ Local 506 (indie/pop/folk)
Wednesday, December 6 - Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, The Changes, Can Joann @ Local 506 (indie pop/rock)
Thursday, December 7 - Micah Dalton, Tyler James (early show) @ The Pour House (pop/soul/acoustic)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, December 1 - Steep Canyon Rangers, Big Fat Gap @ Cat's Cradle (bluegrass)
Saturday, December 2 - The Bravery, Radio 4 @ Lincoln Theatre (rock/alternative)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The return of the Zippers

Remember that whole swing music explosion of the mid-90s? And how a Chapel Hill-based band, Squirrel Nut Zippers, had a pretty big role in all of it? And how things didn't work out so well for them?

Well, forget all that, at least for now, because the band is reuniting (at least in part) for a series of shows on the east coast, one at Triangle indie rock haven Cat's Cradle.

The show is Thursday, Feb. 8. Tickets are $16 in advance or $18 at the door...but something tells me they might not have to worry about that. Snag your tickets now through Etix.

But before you get too excited, check this out. N&O music writer David Menconi wrote in his blog, "Yes, founding members Jimbo Mathus and Katharine Whalen will be there, along with drummer Chris Phillips, bassist Stu Cole and horn man Je Widenhouse. But this model of the Zippers doesn't include two members from the band's hit-making period, Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher. Maxwell, of course, wrote and sang "Hell," the Zippers' big breakthrough hit. So if you go to the Cradle show expecting to hear that one (or the Maxwell-penned "Put a Lid on It"), there's an excellent chance you'll be disappointed."

Oops. But to the optimists and those who are just fans, I'll see you there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Piano man to play RBC

The RBC Center has released yet another concert date for the 2007 season, and this is one that I'm particularly excited about.

Billy Joel will make a stop at the arena on March 3. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Dec. 2, through Ticketmaster and the venue box office.

I know, Billy Joel isn't supposed to be "cool," but I really don't care. I'll take "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" any day over 99% of what they play on G105.

In related news, Movin' Out, the musical based on Joel's tunes will return to the Progress Energy Center in downtown Raleigh Jan. 2-7. Show info is here. Looks like there will be many places for dorks like me to get their Billy Joel fix over the next few months.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks [Updated 11-29]

Monday, November 27 - The Von Ehrics @ The Cave (southern rock)
Wednesday, November 29 - The International Drive, Casket Salesmen, SEDA @ The Brewery (alternative rock/pop)
Thursday, November 30
- Straylight Run, Matt Pond PA, Kevin Devine, Street To Nowhere @ Cat's Cradle (rock/indie/pop)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, November 20 - The Evangelicals, Vague Angels, The End of the World @ Local 506 (indie rock/alternative/experimental)
Wednesday, November 22 - Earl Greyhound, Barbarella @ Local 506 (rock/soul)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, November 17 - Race the Sun*, Holiday Parade, Yearling, In Our Own Words @ The Brewery (pop/rock)
Saturday, November 18 - Cursive, Jeremy Enigk, Fin Fang Foom, The Cops @ Cat's Cradle (indie/rock/experimental)
Sunday, November 19 - Cat Power, Dexter Romweber Duo @ Cat's Cradle (indie/soul)

Race the Sun is billing their current tour as the "Last Tour Ever."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Zach Galifianakis at the Cat's Cradle

When I was a kid I had a huge fascination with Victor Borge. Something about his combination of music and humor (Borge was actually quite an accomplished pianist) just got me and I could sit and watch him for hours.

Now, it appears, I have developed a similar interest in Zach Galifianakis.

I won't waste my time telling you how funny Zach was or how great The Explorers Club, a band from Charleston, SC, sounded. Instead, through the magic of multimedia, I'll show you.

Here's my disclaimer: There IS foul language and there ARE jokes of, uh...questionable taste. Proceed at your own risk!

Zach berates Claudia, an audience member who just couldn't help talking on her cell phone from the front row.

The Explorers Club closed their set with "Johnny B. Goode." Be sure to stick around for the end when their guitarist defies gravity.

Not a "best of," but an assortment of jokes from Zach's act.

Wish you were there

Well, it's way past my bedtime but I still can't get over tonight's show at Cat's Cradle — Zach Galifianakis and The Explorers Club. A more detailed review will come tomorrow but for now let's just

Here's a video of The Explorers Club (a band that is further proof that the Charleston music scene is just awesome) performing their song "Forever" to tide you over until tomorrow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More events at the RBC Center

Looks like the bookers over at the RBC Center have been keeping busy lately.

Over the weekend came news of two additional shows for the 2007 season.

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Gnarls Barkley will make a stop at the arena Monday, Jan. 22. Tickets go on sale Saturday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster and the RBC Center box office.

Crooner Josh Groban is also scheduled to perform Friday, March 16. Tickets for Groban's show will go on sale Friday, Nov. 17.

For more information, go to

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, November 13 - Cities, So Many Dynamos, Eyes To Space, Grasshopper @ Wetlands (indie/rock/experimental/pop)
Tuesday, November 14
- Califone, The Judy Green @ Local 506 (rock/pop/indie)
Wednesday, November 15 - Zach Galifianakis, The Explorers Club @ Cat's Cradle (comedy/pop)
Thursday, November 16 - Lucero, Rocky Votolato, Drag the River @ Cat's Cradle (folk/indie/rock)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks [UPDATED 10.11]

Friday, November 10 - Hearts and Daggers, The Triple Twins, The Della Rounds, Spader @ Kings (rockabilly/rock/indie/etc)
Saturday, November 11 - The Detroit Cobras, Taylor Hollingsworth and the Spider Eaters @ Local 506 (rock)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dirrty girl coming to the RBC

Christina Aguilera isn't just going on tour — she's going on a multi-city strip club extravaganza.

The "I'm sexier than Britney" pop starlet will turn the RBC Center into a strip joint May 1, 2007. Tickets will go on sale this Saturday, Nov. 11. Can't say the girl doesn't plan things in advance.

Rumor has it the singer's "Back to Basics" tour will be broken into three acts, 1920s, Juke Joint and Circus, and will include 15 different costumes. In one number, "Nasty Naughty Boy," Xtina will drag a certainly willing male audience member on stage and show off her S&M skills with five whips and a "burning wheel of death."

(Umm, okay. I guess it's not enough to give a concertgoer a lap dance anymore, a la Janet Jackson. Now we have to involve things called the "burning wheel of death.")

A leaked setlist includes mostly newer songs, but oldies "Come on Over," "What a Girl Wants" and "Lady Marmalade" (hello, strippers!) will still have their place. However, don't spend the night pining away to hear "Genie In A Bottle." Ain't gonna happen.

Tickets to the show will go for $49.50 and $75. Continuing the "stripper" theme is opening act The Pussycat Dolls and P. Diddy protégés Dainty Kaine.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks [UPDATED 10.08]

Monday, November 6 - The Tyde, The Explorers Club, Oh No! Oh My! @ Local 506 (indie/pop)
Tuesday, November 7 - White Whale, Headlights, The Honored Guests @ Local 506 (indie/experimental/pop)
Wednesday, November 8 - Roman Candle, La Rocca*, The Changes @ Cat's Cradle (pop/rock)
Thursday, November 9 - The Black Keys, The Black Angels @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock/lo-fi)

*La Rocca has had to cancel. Their van and all their gear was stolen in Philadelphia.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Holly Raleigh Christmas

That undeniable chill in the air can only mean one thing — winter's on its way and the holiday season is right on its heels.

It also means it's time for a barrage of Christmas and holiday-themed albums to hit the shelves. But instead of decking your halls to the tune of Mannheim Steamroller, you can rock out to some of the Triangle's own artists.

Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas features original holiday tunes by local artists like The Rosebuds, Schooner and Nathan Asher. The album is available at Schoolkids Records, Port City Java and a handful of other locations around town. For a complete list of bands and retail outlets, check out

Kevin's weekend picks [UPDATED 11.04]

Friday, November 3 - As-Is Ensemble, Chris Boerner Quartet @ Raleigh Music Hall (jazz/experimental)
Sunday, November 5 - Matthew Ryan, David Mead, Michelle Malone, Thad Cockrell @ The Pour House (rock/folk/pop)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, October 30 - Tapes 'N Tapes, Annuals @ Local 506 (indie/rock)
Tuesday, October 31 - The International Drive, Mercy Mercedes, Minutes Too Far @ The Brewery (rock/alternative)
Wednesday, November 1
- Danielle Howle, Regina Hexaphone @ Raleigh Music Hall (folk/alt-country)
Thursday, November 2 - MC Chris**, SNMNMNM @ Cat's Cradle (hip-hop/indie pop)

**MC Chris did the freakin' voice of MC Pee Pants on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, October 23 - Copeland, Murder By Death, The Dark Romantics @ Lincoln Theatre (rock/pop/indie)
Tuesday, Octboer 24 - Decibully, Megafun, Auxiliary House @ Local 506 (indie rock)
Wednesday, October 25 - Mojave 3, Tim O'Reagan @ Cat's Cradle (indie pop/folk)
Thursday, October 26 - The Dresden Dolls, The Red Paintings @ Lincoln Theatre (alternative/rock)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Well, crap.

Well, it looks like TM won't be reviewing Old Crow Medicine Show's concert at Cat's Cradle this Sunday as I'd hoped. For the second time in a row, their show has completely sold out. If you happened to get tickets, congratulations! Have any extras? :) Send your reviews and photos to!

Instead, I'll leave you all with a performance by native son Ben Folds on Conan last night. Who knew he was so into pirates?

Oh, and p.s., Ben Folds has a sort of new CD coming out on Tuesday, supersunnyspeedgraphic, The LP. The LP is a combination of several EPs Folds released, Super D, Speed Graphic and Sunny 16. Also included is Folds' recording of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Shit" (which was the b-side to "Landed"), a tune of The Bens EP and one from the "Over the Hedge" soundtrack. According to Folds' website, the songs have been "remastered and tweaked," but if you're a superfan who already owns all the EPs, don't expect any earth shattering differences.

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, October 20 - Old Habits, Shotgun Romance @ Bickett Gallery (bluegrass/folk)
Saturday, October 21 - David Bazan @ Local 506 (indie rock) [early show]
Sunday, October 22 - Old Crow Medicine Show @ Cat's Cradle (bluegrass/country)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks [UPDATED 10.18]

Tuesday, October 17 - Annuals, The Never, Tom Yoder @ The Brewery (indie rock/pop)*
Wednesday, October 18 - Okkervil River, Elvis Perkins, David Karsten Daniels @ Duke Coffeehouse (indie rock/folk)**
Thursday, October 19 - Amos Lee, Mutlu @ Cat's Cradle (folk rock/soul)

*This is Annuals CD release party for their debut LP Be He Me.
**Part of Troika Music Festival

Friday, October 13, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks [UPDATED 10.15]

Friday, October 13 - The Sammies, A Rooster For the Masses, Barbarella @ Local 506 (indie rock/pop)
Saturday, October 14 - Tiger Thief, Can Joann, Goner @ Raleigh Music Hall (inide rock)
Sunday, October 15 - Say Anything, Me Without You, Piebald, Days Away @ Cat's Cradle (alt-rock/punk)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Rooster is crapping all over my afternoon commute

Okay, that's a stretch. My afternoon commute is all of five minutes...and I usually listen to my iPod...but the recent shift on the FM dial is depressing nonetheless.

After being on the air for 22 years, 106.1 WRDU, pretty much the only consistently decent station in the area, switched to a country format — Rooster 106. I found out while on my way home last week and discovered one of my radio presets playing Faith Hill.

Oh, and have you noticed The River, 100.7, playing a little bit too much '70s music lately? Uh huh. Go to their web site and you'll still see pictures of Ray LaMontagne and Teddy Geiger (um, did they ever play them to begin with?), but they too have changed their format, from adult alternative to "rock-based adult contemporary." Translation: classic rock with no guts. At least they play The Beatles.

It's hard enough to find a reliable radio station in Raleigh without Clear Channel going in and mucking things up. But I guess that's just what they do. So where do we go from here: Sirius or XM?

Just some random speculation

For whatever reason, I'm a little obsessed with the state fair. Maybe it's the honey cotton candy, the lure of deep-fried Coca-Cola, or just playing a friendly game of "count the mullets," but I love the fair.

Some of you may remember me expressing some disdain with the selection of performers this year, as well as wondering why they didn't have a bigger name for the final night.

Turns out they may have tried.

Flip to the last page of the fair's program guide to the calendar for Sunday, Oct. 22, and you may see a familiar name blacked out for the concert: Willie Nelson.

The listing has been fixed on the pdf version of the program and hopefully on the ones to be handed out at the fairgrounds, but it's hard not to wonder what happened with that arrangement. Oh well. We may not have Willie's signature braids, but at least I still have my mullets.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Wednesday, October 11 - Built To Spill, Camper Van Beethoven, Helvetia @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock)
Thursday, October 12 - Built To Spill, Camper Van Beethoven, Helvetia @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock/pop)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Old Ceremony and Roman Candle rock the Cradle

I think I may have a new favorite band.

The Old Ceremony held their CD release party for Our One Mistake at Cat's Cradle last night, and what a party it was! More than 500 people turned out to see TOC and Roman Candle. I'd never seen either band before, but I was supremely impressed by both of their performances.

TOC played many songs off Our One Mistake — which won't be officially released until Oct. 24, but you may just find some copies around the Triangle after this Tuesday — including my personal favorite, "Papers in Order." Check out video clips from the show of that song and another new tune, "Radio Religion" below as well as Roman Candle performing "You Don't Belong to This World," off their new CD The Wee Hours Review.

One of the main things that makes these guys so damn appealing is how much they clearly enjoy performing and that they have a great time on stage, and I hope that comes across in the video.

If you missed the show, shame on you, because the next chance you'll have to see TOC is Oct. 21 at Evening Muse in Charlotte. Roman Candle will be back at Cat's Cradle on Nov. 8.

One thing's for sure: you can expect to see great things in the future from both of these outstanding local bands.

TOC - "Papers in Order"

TOC - "Radio Religion"

Roman Candle - "You Don't Belong to This World"

Friday, October 06, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, October 6 - Be Your Own Pet, Black Lips, Psychic Hearts @ Cat's Cradle (garage rock)
Saturday, October 7 - The Old Ceremony, Roman Candle @ Cat's Cradle (rock/pop)*
Sunday, October 8 - The Greencards @ The Pour House [early show] (bluegrass/folk)

*This is The Old Ceremony's CD release party for their new album, Our One Mistake.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Photos: Of Montreal play Duke

[All photos by Kevin Norris]

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, October 2 - French Kicks, The Little Ones, The Honored Guests @ Local 506 (indie rock)
Tuesday, October 3 - Ratatat, Envelopes, Panther @ Local 506 (electropop/indie rock)
Wednesday, October 4 - Tiger! Tiger!, The Cassandra Complex, Papercranes @ Local 506 (rock/alternative)
Thursday, October 5 - The Sammies, Elevator Action, The Talk @ Kings (indie rock/pop)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, September 29 - Sparklefest 2006 [featuring The Bleeding Hearts, Athenaeum, Olympic Ass Kicking Team, Mitch Easter, Tim Lee, The Cogburns, Bull City, Joshua West] @ The Pour House (rock)
Saturday, September 30 - Sparklefest 2006 [featuring The Upper Crust, The Shazam, Stratocruiser, The Anderson Council, The Breaks, Michael Slawter, Successful Failures, West Side Daredevils, Stone Fox] @ The Pour House (rock)
Sunday, October 1 - Carolina Hope Festival [featuring The Indigo Girls, Aimee Mann, Roman Candle, Over the Rhine, Caedmon's Call, Thad Cockrell, Alli Rogers] @ Koka Booth Amphitheatre (folk/rock)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Indigo Girls still relevant 'Despite their differences'

It’s not often that a band remains socially and musically relevant after two decades, but Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls have managed to do just that.

The duo released a new album, Despite Our Differences, on Hollywood Records Sept. 19, their first record since 2004’s “All That We Let In.”

Produced by Mitchell Froom, who has worked with the likes of Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello and, most recently, Daniel Powter, the album shows just how far the group has come since their 1989 double-platinum debut.

“Pendulum Swinger,” the album’s opening song, is a blend of pop prowess and political activism, speaking to sexism and the administration’s approach to the war on terror — though that’s easy to forget when you’re bopping your head along to the chorus.

Other notable tunes include “Little Perennials,” the album’s lead single, and “Rock and Roll Heaven’s Gate,” where a guest appearance by singer Pink adds just enough gritty edge.

While there definitely are not any changes big enough to offend long-time Indigo Girls fans, the album marks a continuing evolution for the Girls, proving that after 20 years, they’re not ready to settle down yet.

The Indigo Girls will perform at Carolina Hope Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary this weekend along with Aimee Mann, Roman Candle and a slew of others. Tickets are $10 for students, $20 for lawn and $35 for reserved seats. Advance tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the amphitheater box office, 8003 Regency Parkway in Cary.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Afternoon delight: Of Montreal to play Duke

Quirky Athens, Ga. indie rockers Of Montreal will bring their unique electro pop to Duke University Friday afternoon. Details are sketchy, but we do know that the band is set to play at 3:30 on the West Quad and the show is free.

This show is the band's last scheduled date on their current tour. The only future dates include a stop at the LA Weekly Detour Festival in Los Angeles and a show at Mexico City's Corona Fest. The band will hit the road again in early 2007 after the release of a new album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? on January 23.

Download "Suffer For Fashion", a new song from Hissing Fauna by clicking the title.

So get off work early or just get off the couch and come out to Duke's west campus and enjoy a damn good show for the low, low price of nothing.

Go to to hear tunes from band's current release, The Sunlandic Twins as well as some older tunes.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ward Williams' "Beautiful Distraction"

We liked our last video post so much, we decided to do it again. Here's a video of Ward Williams performing a new song, "Beautiful Distraction," along with Ash Hopkins at Raleigh Music Hall Saturday night.

* My apologies for the dark and sometimes out of focus video. This was taken with a Sony Powershot. But considering that, the audio quality is amazing.

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, September 25 - Electric Six, Aberdeen City, The Blue Van @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock/pop)
Tuesday, September 26 - The English Beat, Westbound Train @ Cat's Cradle (ska)
Wednesday, September 27 - Space Captain, Thieves, Breakup Breakdown, The Relatively Calm @ Wetlands (indie rock/pop/alternative)
Thursday, September 28 - Valient Thorr, Double Negative, Caltrop @ Kings (crazy, loud, fast rock)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Jay Clifford — Video from Lincoln Theatre [UPDATED]

Welcome to our first video post!

Last week I told you all about the great show Jay Clifford put on at the Cat's Cradle. Well for his performance at Lincoln Theatre I decided to back it up with a little proof. Below are clips from the songs "Mother's Eyes," "Changing of the Guard" and "Afterlife," a rarity played by request. Enjoy!

"Mother's Eyes"


"Changing of the Guard"

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, September 22 - Cartel, As Tall As Lions, Holiday Parade @ Lincoln Theatre (alternative/rock)
Saturday, September 23 - Ward Williams, Steve Fiore (of Sky Harbor), Hugh Swaso @ Raleigh Music Hall (indie/folk/pop)
Saturday, September 23 - The Long Winters, Menomena, What Made Milwaukee Famous @ Local 506 (indie/rock)
Sunday, September 24 - Carrboro Music Festival [feat. Washington Lane, Grasshopper, plus 6 other bands] @ Cat's Cradle (rock/indie/blues/folk/soul)

Yes, I picked two shows on Saturday. They are both great shows so click the links and decide for yourself.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Nickel Creek sells out UNC's Memorial Hall

If Nickel Creek truly is calling it quits, they certainly know how to go out in style.

The trio, along with bassist Mark Schatz, played to a sold out crowd at UNC's Memorial Hall Tuesday, Sept. 19.

The set, which lasted more than two hours and encompassed a decade of material, was a prime example of how the group has grown over its years together. From the more traditional-leaning songs off their 2000 self-titled release, to last year's Why Should the Fire Die?, Nickel Creek has shared its coming of age with fans and listeners.

And while singer Chris Thile acknowledged Tuesday night that not everyone in the bluegrass community has appreciated their distinct ability to bend the rules, the 1,500 people in attendance didn't seem to mind — especially when the group launched into "Toxic," the mind-numbing pop song made popular by Britney Spears.

The song has become a standard in the group's live show, and as an audience member you don't know whether to bust out laughing or be amazed at how good they are at covering a song so far from their usual terrain.

The group also covered Gillian Welch's song "Wayside/Back in Time," which can be found on Thile's new solo album, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground.

During the encore, each band member took some time to showcase their individual talents, something quite relevant seeing as the group will be taking an indefinite hiatus at the end of next year. Both Thile and Sean Watkins have released solo albums this year, and Sara has said she plans to record her own. Even Schatz got in on the game, performing a song off his own solo album with the help of the band.

Nickel Creek closed the evening with a sing-a-long of "When You Come Back Down," a beautiful ballad befitting for a night of fantastic music.

The Mammals, a folk rock five piece from New York state, opened the show. While their style was all over the map, from bluegrass to alternative rock to Cuban, their musical competence at all genres added to their appeal and made it easy to see why Nickel Creek would be inclined to bring them out on the road.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Aimee Mann to release Christmas album, play local benefit

"I don't listen to music," she said.

The words traveled across 3,000 miles of telephone wire and singed my ears when they came out the other end.

Aimee Mann doesn't listen to music.

"There's a constellation of reasons for that," she continued, telling me stories about getting in a car wreck and her CD player literally flying out of the vehicle, and how she and husband (and musician) Michael Penn don't even have a CD player at home.

Besides, she said, "One of the last things you want to do is listen to music when you're playing or recording all day."

I guess I shouldn't ask her what's on her iPod.

These days, her mind is mostly on her own music, specifically her very first Christmas album, One More Drifter in the Snow, which will be in stores on Oct. 31.

"It's not a modern Christmas album in that I'm not trying to make Christmas songs sound like Aimee Mann songs," she said.

The track list includes a number of classics, such as "White Christmas," "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," "Winter Wonderland" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." She also tossed in one traditional song, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," for good measure.

But Mann said there's a good reason she only included one traditional tune.

"The only time the really traditional songs sound really good are when they're done by a group of people standing outside on your doorstep with snow falling on them," she joked.

Mann also teamed up with the album's producer and her bandmate Paul Bryan to write a new song, "Calling on Mary."

While Mann said she wasn't trying to make these songs fit her particular style, there was a certain vibe she was going for.

"There's an old Sinatra record called In the Wee Small Hours, and I wanted it to have a bit of that Sinatra flavor," she said. "When I thought of Christmas, Christmas to me as a kid was always that moment where you go to bed ... that middle of the night mystery."

Mann joined together with a small group of musicians in California over the summer to record the album.

"It was really fun to do a Christmas record in June, in the middle of the summer," she said. "Listening to the music you totally get that Christmas spirit but you don't have to worry about any of that family stuff or buying presents. It's all the good and none of the bad."

Mann will be making a pit stop in Cary for Carolina Hope Festival on Oct. 1 along with Indigo Girls, Roman Candle and more. Check out the amphitheater's web site for details and ticket info. Proceeds from Carolina Hope Festival will benefit Carolina Hope, a nonprofit organization based in Chapel Hill that seeks to respond to epidemics of poverty and disease. Carolina Hope primarily supports Beacon of Hope, a non-governmental organization in Nairobi, Kenya, which provides woman and orphaned children with opportunities for a future. Beacon of Hope has also developed programs to support the community in prevention and management of the HIV/AIDS virus.