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.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, September 18 - We Are Scientists, Art Brut, Spinto Band @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock)
Tuesday, September 19 - Nickel Creek, The Mammals @ Memorial Hall [UNC Campus] (folk/bluegrass/pop)*
Wednesday, September 20 - Jay Clifford, Meghan Coffee @ Lincoln Theatre (pop/acoustic/indie)
Thursday, September 21 - Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond @ Memorial Hall [UNC Campus] (indie)**

*Nickel Creek is sold out. Check out M. Ward, Lambchop and Portastatic at the Cat's Cradle Tuesday night if you were not lucky enough to get Nickel Creek tickets.

**Sufjan Stevens is sold out. Check out Dr. Dog, Schooner and Shakermaker at Local 506 Thursday night if you weren't lucky enough to get Sufjan tickets.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, September 15 - Chatham County Line, Hooverville @ Cat's Cradle (bluegrass/folk/country)
Saturday, September 16 - Work Clothes, North Elementary, Erie Choir @ Local 506 (indie rock)
Sunday, September 17 - Rogue Wave, Jason Collett, Foreign Born @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Jay Clifford Experience

When Jump, Little Children announced their "indefinite hiatus" late last year, one of the most popular questions among fans was "What's next?" Nearly a year later, we found out when band frontman and principle songwriter Jay Clifford rolled into the Cat's Cradle for a one-of-a-kind show.

"I missed you guys too," Clifford told the crowd of about 200 as they greeted him with wild applause Wednesday evening.

He then launched into "Dim and the Dark," off the band's last album, Between the Dim and the Dark. The rest of the set list was anyone's guess, and everyone's suggestion. Clifford opened the floor up to requests for the rest of his 90-minute set, allowing room for old favorites as well as some surprises.

Rarities included "Hang it on the Wall," a Jump song that never quite made it to an album, and "Safekeeping," a song from his other band, Rosebud.

He also charmed the crowd with three newer songs, "Invisible Sun," "Diving Bell" (which was debuted at one of his solo shows a year or two ago) and "Caught in the Rain," a song only publicly performed once before, during its debut at Jump's last show in Charleston, S.C. this past December.

Clifford closed the main set with one of his most well-known and often-played songs, "Cathedrals." But more noteworthy than the song itself was hearing the story of its conception, a tale that involves, in no particular order, nudity, Pat Benetar, a bag of fruit and possibly some LSD. Still with me?

He ended the night with a flawless performance of "Mother's Eyes" off the album Vertigo. Neck stretched and mouth agape, Clifford hit every note of the seven-minute song's challenging range as members of the audience bobbed their heads in a trance-like state.

It's a forced to be reckoned with, the Jay Clifford Experience. If you missed it, catch him at Lincoln Theatre next Wednesday, Sept. 20. Tickets are $10 in advance and the show will start at 10. Meghan Coffee opens.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, September 11 - The Casual Fiasco, Zox, The Vints @ Local 506 (jam/indie pop)
Tuesday, September 12 - Paleo, The Scourge of the Sea, Force Majeure @ Wetlands (indie)
Wednesday, September 13 - Jay Clifford, Meghan Coffee @ Cat's Cradle (pop/acoustic/indie)
Thursday, September 14 - Band of Horses, Chad VanGaalen, Simon Dawes @ Cat's Cradle (indie rock/alternative)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, September 8 - Rachael Sage, Kyler England [early show] @ The Pour House (pop rock)
Saturday, September 9 - Nola, Gambling the Muse @ Bickett Gallery (folk rock/country)
Sunday, September 10 - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Black Crowes @ Alltel Pavlion (rock n' roll)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Surprise! David Mead is coming!

You wouldn't know it by looking at his website, but David Mead will be playing a seemingly-last minute show at The Pour House this Sunday, Sept. 10. Bill West will open the early show (doors at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.). Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.

We wish we could go, but Tom Petty and the Black Crowes are calling us over at Walnut Creek. Mead's presence has been growing in Raleigh over the past year, as have the crowds at his shows, but if you still need some convincing, head on over to his MySpace page and listen to a few tracks off his most recent album, Tangerine. And let us know how the show was!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Kevin's weekday picks

Monday, September 4 - Cheyenne Kimball, Starting Tuesday @ Cat's Cradle (pop)
Tuesday, September 5 - Mike Borgia, Forward All, The Stock Market Crash @ The Brewery (indie rock/pop)
Wednesday, September 6 - Ward Williams, Steve Fiore (of Sky Harbor) @ Local 506 (folk rock/pop)
Thursday, September 7 - Jerry Douglas, Donna Hughes @ Cat's Cradle (bluegrass/country)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Kevin's weekend picks

Friday, September 1 - House of Fools, Annuals, Farewell**, William Vaya @ The Brewery (alt rock)
Saturday, September 2 - Will Hoge @ Local 506 (rock)
Sunday, September 3 - The Sammies, Birdmonster @ Lincoln Theatre (indie rock)

**Farewell will be showcasing for Epic & American Records as well as some indie labels.