Friday, September 28, 2007

Ryan Adams makes friends in Minneapolis

Our favorite Raleigh expatriate is making headlines for supposedly having a hissy fit on stage in Minneapolis last night.

According to the Associated Press and NME, Adams complained about the sound quality throughout a show at Minneapolis' State Theatre last night, at one point moving two monitors, his mic and pedals.

At the end of his 70-minute set, Adams announced his last song and left without an encore, inspiring some "fans" to boo.

I'm sure if I'd been there I'd have a slightly different opinion, but the people writing these stories and making this news need to chill out. Poor sound can be one of the most frustrating things for a musician to deal with, something I'm sure the people who are complaining have never had to deal with.

HopeFest goes free, drops two headliners

Organizers for Carolina HopeFest announced today that the show this Sunday at Booth Amphitheatre will be free. On the down side, Mat Kearney and Marc Cohn are no longer on the bill. Glen Phillips, who had been third runner up, will now headline.

The goal of HopeFest has been to raise money for Beacon of Hope, a group in Kenya that gives assistance to women with AIDS.

"We felt that we wanted to draw as big a crowd as possible in order to maximize awareness of the challenge in Africa," Jana Piepenbring, director of Carolina Hope, said in a statement. "It became obvious that the best way to do that would be to take some bold steps. Fortunately, because of the generosity of our presenting sponsor Lenovo, we are able to make this year's festival a free event and still make a meaningful contribution to the charity."

No word if the times on the schedule will change, but I'll let you guys know if I hear anything.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Triangle Music group on Facebook

Triangle Music now has a group on Facebook. If you're a member, come on over and join us! We are affiliated with the Raleigh/Durham network, so you must be a member of that network to join the group.

Foo Fighters return to form on Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace

Two years ago, Foo Fighters released a double album, In Your Honor. It seemed like they came up with a concept that could be effective. One disc of rockers and another of acoustic tunes. Unfortunately, the result was twenty tracks that could have easily been pared down to twelve or thirteen. The rock record was a too dark and the acoustic record was too fluffy and scattered. The two discs lacked cohesiveness.

It seems that during the writing and recording of their new album, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, Dave Grohl and the Foos rediscovered some of the sonic elements that made their 1997 album The Colour and the Shape a breakaway hit.

The album's first single, "The Pretender," is a hard pounding tune that the Foos have become known for in recent years. It's a catchy song with blistering guitars, a pounding rhythm section and a nice mix of Dave Grohl growl and clever melodies.

"Let It Die" is a four-minute song that slowly builds from a solo guitar and vocal to a full-on rocker at about 2:40. The band seems to have taken some cues from Arcade Fire on dynamics. The record is full of ups and downs which recent Foo Fighters records have lacked. The Foos recently covered "Keep the Car Running" from Arcade Fire's latest album Neon Bible on BBC radio in the UK (download an mp3 of the performance here).

"Long Road To Ruin" features and brilliant Grohl melody with a lighter rock sound. The song's vibe lies somewhere between "Everlong" and "Big Me."

Right in the middle of the record sits the acoustic tune, "Stranger Things Have Happened." This is another song that features and great Grohl melody and an intense vocal delivery. It's not until the kind of wonky acoustic guitar solo that you realize that the songs is just two or three acoustics, vocals and what sounds like a click track.

On the hilariously titled "Cheer Up, Boys (Your Make Up Is Running)," Grohl brings back the pop melodies that made "Monkeywrech" and "Hey Johnny Park!" such great songs. He also finds the clever chord shapes again that are a nice counterbalance to the thunderous power chords the Foos have been dishing out lately.

On the beautiful piano based tune and album closer "Home," we witness Grohl reaching a new high as a songwriter. The song's sad melody and softly sung lyrics beat anything on the second disc of In Your Honor. It's nice that the Foo Fighters carried some of the experimental elements of In Your Honor with them to Echoes. "Home" features a beautiful string arrangement and wonderful dynamics that that build up and fall back down again but never gets too loud.

The one obvious mistake on the record is the bizarre acoustic instrumental track "Ballad of the Beaconsfield Miners." I mean, it's nice that the Foos can play some bluegrass-like speed riffs on acoustic guitar, but the song doesn't fit the album at all. It's the equivalent of a full on rock song being on a Ralph Stanley record. "Beaconsfield Miners" just doesn't fit. Plain and simple.

Don't let all of these comparisons to old Foo Fighters records and songs throw you. This is a new album by a band who has rediscovered elements of their sound that made past albums so successful while keeping their eyes on the future. Echoes is the Foos at their best. A rock band willing to take chances and create a record of diverse songs that sit well one after the other and keep the listener's attention.

Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace will be released tomorrow, September 25.


Foo Fighters will be playing in Charlotte at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena on October 5. Tickets went on sale Friday and are almost gone. They tickets that are left are available from the all powerful ticket beast. I think you can figure it out. Detroit based Hifi Handgrenades will open the show. The band features ex-The Fags singer John Speck.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Robbers On High Street discover grand sounds on Grand Animals

On their second full-length record, Grand Animals, Robbers On High Street took their pop chops to a new level with lush arrangements and new sounds.

It's obvious the band was looking for a new approach to recording when they recruited Daniele Luppi to produce the album. Luppi is most widely known for his string/horn arrangements and keyboard playing on Gnarls Barkley's multi-platinum debut, St. Elsewhere.

Robbers On High Street's jangly pop sound and Luppi's knack for arrangements makes Grand Animals a satisfying listen. The songs "The Fatalist," "Kick 'em In the Shins" and "Married Young" have that distinct jangly Robbers sound while the rest of the tunes venture out in to more lush arrangements.

"Crown Victoria" features some cool, 60s pop organ sounds while "The Ramp" is a mellow piano tune that would make Brian Wilson take notice. The strummy acoustics and reverb-soaked slide guitar on "Your Phantom Walks the Hall" evokes images of floating on a cloud. "Guard at Your Heel" is a waltz tune accented by tuba that doubles the bass guitar and a pizzicato mandolin that evokes images of sailing on a gondola in Italy.

The album's diverse instrument choices and arrangements are all held together by the impeccable pop melodies of lead singer Ben Trokan. He may be young, but he can write a song. Grand Animals is quite a leap from the band's previous album, Tree City, but they didn't meander. The album is a concise pop record that may seem scattered when analyzed, but is a solid piece of work from a budding young band.

Robbers On High Street will play Local 506 on October 23 with Great Northern and The Shaky Hands. The show is at 9 p.m. and tickets are available in advance via

Symphonic pop, California rock and Chicago swagger coming to the Cradle

One of the best tours of the fall just added a stop at the Cat's Cradle. The Polyphonic Spree, Rooney and The Redwalls will play the Cradle on November 13.

The Polyphonic Spree are touring in support of their third album, The Fragile Army, released in June. The Spree played the Cat's Cradle in May, just before the release of the album to preview new songs and play old favorites. Check out the review here.

Rooney is also touring in support of a new album. Their second full-length, Calling the World, was released in July. Just like The Polyphonic Spree, Rooney stopped by the Cat's Cradle in June, just prior to the release of their new record, to play a headline show in the midst of a tour with Fergie. Check out the review here.

Last but certainly not least, Chicago's The Redwalls will start the show. The Redwalls will release their third album, a self-titled record, October 23 via their new label Mad Dragon. The band's last record, De Nova, was released via Captiol Records, but like most good bands, they have moved to an indie to kick-start their career.

Both The Polyphonic Spree and Rooney pulled sizable yet very different crowds earlier this year while all the local colleges were out for the summer. It's safe to say that this show will most likely sell out, so get your tickets early.

The Polyphonic Spree, Rooney and The Redwalls will play the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on Tuesday, November 13. Doors will open at 8 p.m. and the show will start at 8:45 p.m. Tickets will $15 in advance and $18 the day of the show (if there are any left). Tickets will be on sale via There's no on-sale date yet.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Elvis Costello charms Cary crowd

You’re just not going to get me to say anything bad about Elvis Costello.

While the set list for his show with the N.C. Symphony last week wasn’t exactly as I would have written it (but is it ever?), there was hardly a thing I would’ve changed about the night.

The first half of the set opened with the symphony playing two songs off of Costello’s 2004 classical release Il Sogno.

“In my version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Puck is a jazz faerie,” Costello said, introducing “Puck One.”

Jimmy Eat World to play Disco Rodeo

Jimmy Eat World joins the growing line-up of shows this fall at Disco Rodeo. The band will play Raleigh on October 28, less than two weeks after the release of their new album, Chase This Light (out October 16).

There have been an increasing number of shows scheduled for Disco Rodeo lately. In recent years, the venue has hosted very few shows so the growing number of shows for the fall is quite a pleasant surprise.

Here's the Disco Rodeo schedule:

October 24 - The Hold Steady & Art Brut with Demander
October 28 - Jimmy Eat World
November 4 - Myspace Music tour featuring Hellogoodbye & Say Anything
November 28 - Brand New with Thrice, MeWithoutYou

It still isn't that many shows, but it's better than we usually get. Tickets for all of the above shows are on sale now via except Jimmy Eat World. That show will be on sale via on Friday, September 21.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hot Hot Heat mixes it up on new album

In the midst of all the Kanye vs. 50 Cent drama, it may be easy to forget that other albums were released this past Tuesday — and not just the latest from Kenny Chesney.

Hot Hot Heat released its third LP, Happiness LTD, on Tuesday.

The album has a distinctly different feel than the group’s past two offerings, Make Up the Breakdown and Elevator, but bassist Dustin Hawthorne told me Monday that that perception is no fluke.

“We took a different approach,” Hawthorne said.

Recording at home in Vancouver, the group worked with a trio of producers including Butch Walker, Rob Cavallo and Tim Palmer, and a group of four mixing engineers.

“It’s just a mishmash of different people,” Hawthorne said. “It’s definitely the weirdest thing we’ve ever done.”

But Hawthorne said he and his bandmates were definitely pleased with the results.

“I think it’s kind of cool. It’s not so necessarily cohesive,” he said. “Everybody uses different microphones, producers have different sounds.”

Working with so many different producers had some additional benefits for Hawthorne, who said he wants to record other bands someday.

“I always enjoy the studio time,” he said. “I’m always keenly interested as to what’s going on and trying to learn as much as possible.”

Next up for Hot Hot Heat is two straight months of extensive touring, though the closest they’re coming to N.C. is a show in Atlanta in mid-October. You can catch the group on Jimmy Kimmel Live tomorrow, Sept. 14.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Liveblogging the VMA's

Disclaimer: I don't watch MTV. Nor do I consider myself "hip" by any stretch of the imagination. I'm mostly watching this show because yes, I'm really intrigued by this whole "Britney comeback," and also it's Sunday night and I could use a laugh. Expect a lot of me going "Who are these people?" and "Why do I feel so old?" So without further ado, let's watch the VMA's!

8:55: All right folks, the show doesn't begin for another 5 minutes and I already feel like I'm too old for this. Should be an interesting night!

8:59: AHMAGAD BRITNEY SPEARS!!! (read that drenched in sarcasm)

9:00: Holy hair extensions, Batman.

9:01: Does some half-assed dancing and lipsyching really count as a comeback these days? Methinks we need to raise our standards.

9:03: The look of 50 Cent's face of "What the...." is priceless.

9:04: OK, that was just sad. Britney looked hungover and/or distracted for most of the performance. Put that next to her old VMA performances and there's no comparison. I won't say I've ever thought she was a good singer or anything like that, but the girl could dance. Past tense that is.

9:05: Dear Sarah Silverman, you are not funny. She just made a diarrhea joke for God's sake.

9:08: Why is she still talking? I'm still thinking about how sad Britney is.

9:09: More talking. This time Alicia Keys talking about Vegas and showing clips of preshow performances. Feels like they're stalling. Did Britney pass out in the wings?

9:12: Single of the year already? Oh my God not Daughtry. Please. What is Mims? Anyone?

9:13: Winner is....Rhianna for Umbrella...ella...ella.

9:14: Kanye West is performing...somewhere. As much as I can't stand him as a person I'm rooting for him to kick 50 Cent's ass this Tuesday. /sidebar

9:22: I love Seth Rogen. For serious.

9:23: Jennifer Hudson and some guy are on the stage. Her wig looks flat. What the hell is a "quadruple threat" award?

9:24: Beyonce, Bono, Jay-Z, Justin Timerlake, OK, all multi talented. Kanye West has a clothing line??? And is a "social activist" for something he said like, 2 years ago? Justin Timberlake takes is. He has to accept his award in a mosh pit. "I want to challenge MTV right now to play more videos," he says. I now LOVE Justin Timberlake.

9:25: They cut from him pretty quickly after that and to Fall Out Boy playing in like, someone's basement. Petey hardly has any room for the spinning.

9:27: And, 2nd commercial break. This show is just awkward.

9:31: WTF is up with these basement performances? Foo Fighters are up now, were mid-song as they came back from commercial.

9:34: Kanye and 50 Cent are presenting the "collaboration" award together. Helloooo, death stare. This is such bullshit. Winner is Beyonce and Shakira. Does anyone care?

9:36: I'm bored, they need to get Britney out there again.

9:37: Shit, now Maroon 5 is performing. Or no, just the lead singer with the "house band." For maybe 40 seconds. This format sucks.

9:43: Rosario Dawson is telling me to go to later. Now she's introducing Chris Brown. Wait--is someone going to get to do a whole song??

9:45: OK, I definitely don't know who this person is. And I don't think I care. Time to go find a snack.

9:48: Oh shit, kid's about to moonwalk. Is dancing to Michael Jackson. This could be totally awesome. (Shh, don't tell anyone I have a non-cynical side.) Damn, music changed and no moonwalking. My little heart just sank a little, I was looking so hard to find a sunny spot in this shitstorm.

9:54: Why must the producers tourture us by cutting to locations where people look like they're actually having fun before going back to the "casino tables"?

9:56: Lauren, Whitney and Audrina from The Hills are on to present male artist and Lauren's lipstick is way too dark. Nominees are Akon, Robin Thicke, T.I., Justin Timberlake and Kanye West.

9:57: Winner is...Justin Timberlake. Puh-lease make another wisecrack about the poor state of MTV. Talks about how Chris Brown makes him feel old. You and me both, honey. "And like I said, play more damn videos. We don't wanna see... [long pause as he realizes he's on stage with 3 MTV "reality stars"]... The Simpsons on reality television." Uh, nice save, bro. Did he mean Simpsons like Jessica and Ashlee or the yellow ones on Fox? I'm confused, an hour of MTV viewing has already warped my brain.

10:08: Fergie wins female artist of the year. Ludacris is supposed to accept on her behalf but forgets so Shia takes it.

10:11: Must. Fight. Urge. To Change. Channel.

10:19: Timbaland encourages everyone to bounce. I remain unconvinced. Is this Linkin Park? How did they get the room with an actual stage and a huge crowd? I WANT MORE FOO FIGHTERS! Jesus, I'm old.

10:24: Fall Out Boy accepts their best group award from their "suite." Pete Wentz is rambling about something. Their "fans" in the "suite" look much more excited than the band.

10:25: Uh...Dude from System of a Down is performing with the Foo Fighters. I have no words.

10:29: So wait. Criss Angel helped with Britney's performance? Did he make her "talent" disappear? So confused.

10:31: Rhianna sings in a suite with Fall Out Boy. I have to say, I don't loathe her. She wins the award for "female tonight who's actually singing."

10:32: How is Carrie Underwood up for Best New Artist? Didn't she win American Idol like, 2 years ago?

10:33: Alicia Keys is apparently going to sing a whole song. When did she start sounding like Gloria Estefan?

10:35: Alicia says "everything's gonna be all right." Maybe. In like, 25 minutes when the show is (supposedly) over. And just as I was about to take back the Gloria Estefan comment they bring out conga drums and horns and she starts singing George Michael's "Freedom."

10:36: The liquor must finally be kicking in because people in the audience finally appear to be awake.

10:45: Shit, were Tommy Lee and Kid Rock seriously fighting? Because that would have been a million times more interesting than anything else they've shown tonight. Jamie Fox has been on stage for 30 seconds and hasn't sung yet, color me impressed. Jennifer Garner asks, "What's happening??" Oh, wouldn't we all like to know.

10:46: Best New Artist award goes to... Oh my god Jamie stop plugging your movie.

10:47: ...goes to Gym Class Heroes and Jennifer Garner sort of butchers their name somehow.
Cut to them in their suite slamming drinks and no one actually gets to talk to take the award. Smooth.

10:49: Miss Teen USA reading from a teleprompter. Sometimes poking fun at yourself is endearing. Other times, I want to slap the person. Consider this to be the later.

10:57: Mary J. Blige is introducing Dr. Dre and she looks like she's gonna cry. Dude, Dre is ripped. Like, post-roids Barry Bonds ripped. Dre is introducing video of the year and the animated voice pronounced "Kanye" wrong.

10:58: Video of the year is "Umbrella." ella. ella. Sorry. Ok really, 2 minutes left. Will this end on time?

11 p.m. Diddy is cracking a joke about his fight with Kid Rock. "We have to stop the violence in rock 'n roll." Uh huh. OK, last performance of the night, supposedly.

11:01 And they cut to Food Fighters. Some guy who looks like a hairy John Corbet is singing with Foo Fighters. And, commercial. Seriously, is this not over?

11:04: Last performance is Nelly Furtado. Is this really why I kept watching?

11:07: They're busting out the lasers for Timbaland and...who is this girl? Seriously no idea.

11:08: And in the longest performance ever, here comes Justin Timberlake.

11:10: The beat for "SexyBack" starts. Except now it's another Nelly Furtado song. And WILL THIS SHOW NEVER END. And to think, this year's was planned to be an hour shorter than normal.

11:11: Dear God it's over. Uh...yeah. So to sum up, Britney's dried up, MTV is completely out of touch and it's safe to say I'll never waste two hours on this crap again. And, if you somehow made it to the end of this post, God bless you. Good night.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Rosebuds pack Downtown Event Center

The Rosebuds packed out the Downtown Event Center Saturday night. The show was dubbed a "secret show" by some, but you wouldn't know it from the crowd of wall-to-wall hipsters.

The band rolled through a set of songs mostly from their latest release, Night of the Furies. The Rosebuds opened with "Hold On To This Coat" and tore their way through Furies tunes "Cemetery Lawn," "My Punishment For Fighting," "Night of the Furies" and others. Some of the crowd favorites were definitely "Kicks In the Schoolyard," "Back To Boston" and "The Lovers' Rights" from The Rosebuds' previous records Make Out and Birds Make Good Neighbors.

The Rosebuds' energy throughout the night made the show electric. It reached a high when the band asked people to come dance on stage during their single "Get Up Get Out." At least a dozen people hopped up on stage and pogoed throughout the entire song. Then when it seemed like it couldn't get any more crazy, the band brought up even more people for the encore to sing "I'd Better Run." Kelly stood at the edge of the stage getting the crowd to sing and Ivan dropped to his knees to play the final chords of the song.

The Rosebuds put on a hell of a show, especially for a three-piece. I honestly didn't think the Furies tracks would work with just three players, but they really pulled it off. As we mentioned in a previous post, this show was Rob Lackey's first show with the band. Rob played well and definitely knew the songs, but his drum sounded a bit off in The Rosebuds mix. He's a great drummer, but his drums could use a retuning.

The Love Language from Cary opened for The Rosebuds and were quite good. The six-piece band played clever pop songs. The large band and constant instrument swapping was very similar to Annuals and the group played with similar intensity. The Love Language is a band to keep your eye on.

The Rosebuds only upcoming North Carolina show is on Legends in Boone on Friday, September 7. If you're in the area, go to the show.