Friday, July 31, 2009

Pipe and Dry Heathens playing Durham in August

Raucous and rowdy punks Pipe, fresh off of their immensely entertaining set at XX Merge last week, are gearing up for another show in the Triangle. They will play the Broad Street Cafe in Durham on Saturday, August 15. The show will start at 10pm and The Dry Heathens will open. Tickets are just $5.

Check out a video of the Pipe's performance of Joy Division's song "Warsaw" from XX Merge below.

[photo by Kevin Norris]

Sea Wolf announces fall dates, plays Chapel Hill

Los Angeles indie rockers Sea Wolf are gearing up to hit the road in September to support their new album White Water, White Bloom. The tour will come to the Nightlight in Chapel Hill on Wednesday, October 21. Tickets for the show are on sale now for $10 via Port O'Brien and Sara Lov will open the show.

White Water, White Bloom is due out on September 22 on Dangerbird Records. Download the song "Stanislaus" from the album sessions via the link below. It's a nice little tune. You have to fork over your email address to the record label to get the download.

Sea Wolf - "Stanislaus" (mp3 link)

Sea Wolf dates:
09.14.09 - Santa Barbara, CA - Soho
09.15.09 - Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar [Tickets]
09.16.09 - Pomona, CA - The Glass House [Tickets]
09.17.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Troubadour [Tickets]
09.18.09 - San Francisco, CA - Bimbo’s 365 Club [Tickets]
09.21.09 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
09.22.09 - Vancouver, BC - The Media Club [Tickets]
09.23.09 - Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern [Tickets]
09.25.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - In The Venue
09.26.09 - Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
09.29.09 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry [Tickets]
09.30.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Mad Planet
10.01.09 - Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
10.03.09 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio
10.04.09 - Newport, KY - Southgate House [Tickets]
10.07.09 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center for the Arts [Tickets]
10.09.09 - Toronto, ONT - Sneaky Dee’s
10.13.09 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
10.14.09 - New York, NY - The Mercury Lounge [Tickets]
10.16.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall [Tickets]
10.17.09 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar [Tickets]
10.18.09 - Baltimore, MD - The Talking Head Club
10.19.09 - Washington, DC - DC 9
10.21.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Nightlight [Tickets]
10.23.09 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl
10.24.09 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In
10.27.09 - Dallas, TX - The Cavern
10.28.09 - Austin, TX - Emo’s [Tickets]
10.30.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts [Tickets]

American Aquarium unleash a hectic tour schedule

Raleigh rockers American Aquarium are gearing up for grueling couple of months on the road. They will kick off a two-month plus tour at Depot Fest in Raleigh on August 6 and will play a show almost every single day between then and October 2. The tour will see the band mostly hitting the south really hard with the exception of a swing through the southwest and up the west coast. Check out the dates below.

The group are supporting their new album Dances For the Lonely, released in April on Last Chance Records. Download three songs from the album at

American Aquarium dates:
08.06.09 - Raleigh, NC - Depot Fest
08.07.09 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel *
08.08.09 - Savannah, GA - The Jinx
08.09.09 - Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
08.10.09 - Orlando, FL - The Social
08.11.09 - Miami, FL - The Electric Pickle
08.12.09 - Gainesville, FL - The Backstage Lounge
08.13.09 - Tallahassee, FL - The Engine Room
08.14.09 - Macon, GA - The Hummingbird
08.15.09 - Tuscaloosa, AL - The Mellow Mushroom
08.16.09 - Auburn, AL - The Struttung Duck
08.17.09 - Athens, GA - The Melting Point
08.18.09 - Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern
08.19.09 - Charlotte, NC - Snug Harbor
08.20.09 - Wilmington, NC - The Soapbox Laundro-Lounge
08.21.09 - Raleigh, NC - The Pour House
08.22.09 - Winston-Salem, NC - The Garage
08.23.09 - Blowing Rock, NC - Canyon’s
08.24.09 - Knoxville, TN - Barley’s Taproom
08.25.09 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
08.26.09 - Little Rcok, AR - The Whitewater Tavern
08.27.09 - Oxford, MS - Parrish Baker’s Pub
08.28.09 - Hattiesburg, MS - Mugshot’s
08.29.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Chelsea’s
08.30.09 - Lafayette, LA - Blue Moon Saloon
08.31.09 - Fayetteville, AR - George’s Majestic Lounge
09.01.09 - Lawrence, KS - The Bottleneck
09.02.09 - Fort Collins, CO - The Aggie Theatre *
09.03.09 - Lubbock, TX - Bash Riprock’s
09.04.09 - Albuquerque, NM - Burt’s Tiki Lounge
09.06.09 - Scottsdale, AZ - The Rogue Bar
09.07.09 - Los Angeles, CA - The Viper Room
09.08.09 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Boo Boo Records (in-store)
09.08.09 - Lake Forest, CA - The Gypsy Lounge
09.10.09 - Las Vegas, NV - The Double Down Saloon
09.11.09 - Reno, NV - Davidson’s Distillery
09.12.09 - Portland, OR - Ponderosa Lounge
09.13.09 - Seattle, WA - The High Dive
09.14.09 - Spokane, WA - The Empyrean
09.16.09 - Missoula, MT - The Palace
09.17.09 - Bozeman, MT - The Filling Station
09.20.09 - Chicago, IL - Quennect 4
09.22.09 - Fort Smith, AR - Landry’s
09.23.09 - Starkville, MS - Rick’s Cafe * [Tickets]
09.24.09 - Tuscaloosa, AL - Jupiter Bar and Grill * [Tickets]
09.25.09 - Athens, GA - Classic Center *
09.26.09 - Pensacola, FL - Seville Quarter * [Tickets]
09.29.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Doc Watson’s
09.30.09 - Washington, DC - The Red and The Black
10.01.09 - Bowling Green, KY - Capitol Arts Center *
10.02.09 - Raleigh, NC - The Pour House Music Hall
10.07.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - The Varsity Theatre *
10.08.09 - Oxford, MS - The Lyric Theatre *

* w/ Corey Smith

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New music from Lou Barlow - "Gravitate"

Dinosaur Jr. bassist and fantastic songwriter Lou Barlow has a new solo album due out via Merge Records on October 6 titled Goodnight Unknown. We have the seventh track from the album below available for you to download. It is a fantastic tune titled "Gravitiate."

Lou Barlow will be touring in the fall, opening for his band Dinosaur Jr. The Missingmen will be Barlow's band on the tour. Unfortunately, they're not coming to the Carolinas. Check out the dates below.

Check out our review and photos of Lou Barlow's set at XX Merge at the Cat's Cradle here.

Lou Barlow - "Gravitate" (mp3)

Lou Barlow dates:
09.30.09 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre [Tickets]
10.02.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East [Tickets]
10.03.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East [Tickets]
10.04.09 - Clifton Park , NY - Northern Lights [Tickets]
10.06.09 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge [Tickets]
10.07.09 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
10.08.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.09.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts
10.10.09 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall [Tickets]
10.11.09 - Pontiac, MI - The Crofoot [Tickets]
10.13.09 - Madison, WI - The Majestic Theatre
10.14.09 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant [Tickets]
10.15.09 - Chicago , IL - Vic Theatre [Tickets]
10.16.09 - Louisville , KY - Headliner's Music Hall [Tickets]
10.17.09 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse [Tickets]
10.26.09 - Kansas City, MO - The Beaumont Club [Tickets]
10.27.09 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
10.29.09 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
10.30.09 - Fort Collins, CO - Aggie Theatre
11.03.09 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
11.04.09 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
11.05.09 - West Hollywood, CA - House of Blues [Tickets]
11.07.09 - Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom [Tickets]

Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey close out Duke Gardens series

Local North Carolina songwriters and dB's leaders Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey closed out this year's magnificent Duke Gardens summer concert series.

The duo, accompanied by three band members played a lengthy set comprised mostly of new songs from their just released album Here and Now. A few older tunes as well as a couple of Everly Brothers covers and a Chris Bell cover of "I Am the Cosmos" made it into the set too. Unfortunately, due to a couple of pile-ups on I-40, we missed the first part of the set, leading to the incomplete set list below. That, along with the gloomy weather likely led to a slightly smaller turnout than the rest of the series.

That didn't deter the band though. They played longer than any other act and by the time they finished the three-song encore, you could hardly see them under the stage tent. For a large portion of the set, Holsapple and Stamey sang into the same microphone, showing off their long-tested ability to harmonize with each other.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Superchunk to play benefit show for dogs in Durham

Just when you though the Merge related posts would slow down, here comes some more. Local heavyhitters Superchunk have announced a show Durham next month. They will play a show in Central Durham Park dubbed "Music For Fences" that will benefit The Coalition to Unchain Dogs. The group helps raise awareness of animal welfare and the money from the show will go to build fences so dogs do not have to be chained up.

The show will start at 4:30pm on Saturday, August 29. Other bands on the bill are Regina Hexaphone, The Kinksmen and Ray Norteño. Tickets are available for $8 in advance via Paypal. Tickets on the day of the show will be $10.

Check out our review and photos of Superchunk's showstopping performance at XX Merge last week here.

The Avett Brothers SXSW Daytrotter session is up

The Avett Brothers Daytrotter session that they record at the South By Southwest music conference in March has finally been released. The group only played one song, "Laundry Room," from the band's forthcoming album I and Love and You, set for release on September 29. Go here to download or stream the session.

The set list is:
Laundry Room
A Lover Like You
More of You
Paranoia in Bb Major

Check out the band's upcoming tour dates below. There's still no Triangle show.

07.30.09 - Buffalo, NY - Thursday at the Square
07.31.09 - Syracuse, NY - Westcott Theatre
08.01.09 - Newport, RI - Folk Festival 50
08.02.09 - Northhampton, MA - Calvin Theater
08.04.09 - Dewey Beach, DE - Bottle & Cork [Tickets]
08.08.09 - Charlotte, NC - Bojangles Coliseum [Tickets]
08.14.09 - Ozark, AR - Mulberry Mountain Festival
08.15.09 - Kansas City, MO - Crossroads
08.16.09 - Omaha, NE - Sokol Auditorium
08.19.09 - Telluride, CO - Sunset Concert Series
08.20.09 - Steamboat Springs, CO - Streamboat Springs Free Summer
08.21.09 - Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater
08.22.09 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theater [Tickets]
08.25.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Red Butte Garden
08.26.09 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory [Tickets]
08.28.09 - Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
08.29.09 - Jacksonville, OR - Britt Festival
08.30.09 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Festival
09.01.09 - Arcata, CA - HSU Van Duzer Theater
09.03.09 - Reno, NV - Grand Sierra Theatre [Tickets]
09.04.09 - Camp Mather, CA - Strawberry Music Festival
09.05.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Orpheum Theatre [Tickets]
09.17.09 - North Charleston, SC - North Charleston PAC [Tickets]
09.18.09 - Augusta, GA - Westobou Festival
09.19.09 - Tallahassee, FL - The Moon
09.20.09 - Tuscaloosa, AL - Bama Theatre [Tickets]
09.22.09 - Oxford, MS - The Lyric
09.24.09 - Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall
09.25.09 - Little Rock, AR - Robinson Center Music Hall [Tickets]
09.26.09 -Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
09.27.09 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
09.29.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Baton Rouge River Center Theatre [Tickets]
10.01.09 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues [Tickets]
10.02.09 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Festival
10.03.09 - Midwest City, KY - Rose State PAC
10.05.09 - Murray, KY - Lovett Auditorium [Tickets]
10.15.09 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live [Tickets]
10.16.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory [Tickets]
10.17.09 - New York, NY - Terminal 5 [Tickets]
10.18.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues [Tickets]
10.20.09 - Iowa City, IA - Englert Theatre
10.21.09 - Madison, WI - The Barrymore Theatre
10.22.09 - Urbana, IL - The Canopy Club
10.29.09 - Huntington, WV - Keith Albee Theatre [Tickets]
10.30.09 - Louisville, KY - Louisville Palace
10.31.09 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium [Tickets]

Built To Spill announce fall dates, play Carrboro

We're getting back to our regular programming here after a big week of XX Merge coverage. Our first news back is that indie rockers Built To Spill have announced a big North American tour from September thru November. The band will stop at none other than the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro on Sunday, October 18. Tickets are on sale now via for $20. Swiss group Disco Doom will open the show.

Built To Spill will release a new album titled There is No Enemy in the fall, though no release date is available yet. An October release is expected. Check out the band's tour schedule below.

Built To Spill dates:
09.18.09 - Boise, ID - Hyde Park Street Fair
09.19.09 - Murray, UT - Murray Theater
09.20.09 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater [Tickets]
09.21.09 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
09.23.09 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
09.24.09 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue [Tickets]
09.25.09 - Madison, WI - Barrymore Theatre
09.26.09 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre [Tickets]
09.27.09 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom
09.28.09 - Bloomington, IN - Bluebird Nightclub [Tickets]
09.29.09 - St. Louis, MO - The Pageant [Tickets]
10.01.09 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall [Tickets]
10.02.09 - Newport, KY - Southgate House [Tickets]
10.03.09 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
10.04.09 - Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop [Tickets]
10.06.09 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace [Tickets]
10.07.09 - Toronto, ON - Lee’s Palace [Tickets]
10.08.09 - Ithaca, NY - State Theater
10.09.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East [Tickets]
10.10.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East [Tickets]
10.11.09 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East [Tickets]
10.12.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall [Tickets]
10.13.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall [Tickets]
10.14.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg [Tickets]
10.15.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg [Tickets]
10.16.09 - Philadelphia, PA - The Trocadero [Tickets]
10.17.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10.18.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle [Tickets]
10.20.09 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
10.21.09 - Memphis, TN - Minglewood Hall
10.22.09 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater
10.23.09 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live [Tickets]
10.24.09 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
10.25.09 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
10.27.09 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater [Tickets]
10.28.09 - Tuscon, AZ - Dry River
11.15.09 - Eugene, OR - WOW Hall [Tickets]
11.17.09 - Bellingham, WA - The Nightlight [Tickets]
11.18.09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom [Tickets]
11.19.09 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market [Tickets]
11.20.09 - Seattle, WA - Showbox at the Market [Tickets]
11.21.09 - Spokane, WA - Big Easy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

XX Merge night 5 at Memorial Hall: She & Him

Here we are. We've reached the end of our XX Merge coverage. The final band of the three-band bill Sunday night at Memorial Hall was the classic pop styling of She & Him. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward took the stage with a four-member backing band including Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond on backing vocals (we recently covered her on The Decemberists' tour).

The set featured songs from the group's debut album released last year titled Volume One (voted the best album of 2008 by Paste). The set started slow, with some of the slower songs from the album including "Black Hole" and "Change is Hard."

XX Merge night 5 at Memorial Hall: Wye Oak and American Music Club

So here we are. The final night of XX Merge at Memorial Hall. The line-up was solid and the show was great. Let's get started.

Young Baltimore duo Wye Oak took the stage first. They played a set mostly of songs from their brand new album The Knot, released on July 21. "That I Do," "Take It In" and "For Prayer" were all stellar tunes. They also played a fantastic new rocking song, which you can see a video of here.

Jenn Wasner's vocals shined throughout the set and Andy Stack gets huge props for playing the drums so well while also playing bass lines on the keyboard. This was my first time seeing Wye Oak live, like many of the bands at XX Merge, and they were truly excellent.

XX Merge night 4 at Cat's Cradle: Destroyer and Imperial Teen

The unfortunate task of following M. Ward's excellent performance on the fourth night of XX Merge at the Cat's Cradle fell to Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer. He delivered an nice solo set accented by his unique singing style. The set included music from his various Destroyer albums. The song "Streets of Fire" stood out in the set. He recorded it for the 1996 Destroyer album We'll Build Them a Golden Bridge and he recorded it again with The New Pornographers in 2005.

Bejar said that he offered a cab driver $100 if he could get him to the Cat's Cradle on Friday in time for ten minutes of Polvo's set, but he didn't make it. His charming banter with the crowd and excellent performance kept the crowd happy throughout the set. Check out the set list below and a video of the performance of "Painter in Your Pocket" here.

XX Merge night 4 at Cat's Cradle: M. Ward

The headliner of the night four of XX Merge was M. Ward, but he didn't close the night. He was the fourth of six bands. It was a bit odd and you'll also notice a lack of quality photos with this post because his tour manager put the kibosh on photos for his set. I did manage to snap a few crappy ones from the side during the encore though.

Moving on to the music though, Matt and his band played a killer set of tunes spanning his albums and tossed in a few choice covers as well. He tackled Louis Armstrong's "I Get Ideas" and "Roll Over Beethoven" during the set in top fashion. He also played his fantastic version of Buddy Holly's "Rave On" which is featured on his latest album Hold Time. "Rave On" was on the set list, but got skipped in the set.

Ward's unique and superb guitar style shined during the set as did his somber, raspy vocals. His band is quite fantastic as well.

During the encore, he was joined on stage by his She & Him partner Zooey Deschanel who recreated her backing vocals on "Never Had Nobody Like You." She stuck around for the final song, which was a rousing cover of The Beatles' song "Birthday" in honor of Merge's birthday. It was a fitting close to a great set. Check out the complete set list below.

M. Ward set list:
Poor Boy, Minor Key
Poison Cup
Fool Says
To Save Me
I Get Ideas
Vincent O'Brien
Big Boat
Fahey/Fisher of Men
To Go Home
Chinese Translation
Roll Over Beethoven
Rave On (on the set list but not played)
Never Had Nobody Like You (w/ Zooey Deschanel)
Birthday (Beatles cover w/ Zooey Deschanel)

Monday, July 27, 2009

XX Merge night 4 at Cat's Cradle: The Ladybug Transistor

Third on the schedule on night four of XX Merge at the Cat's Cradle was The Ladybug Transistor. The set saw the return of bassist Julia Rydholm who played on Friday with The Essex Green. The band played great set of melodic pop songs which included the song "Always on the Telephone."

Frontman Gary Olson played some trumpet and well as guitar and singing lead vocals. Olson popped up on trumpet during Spent's set on Friday and Annie Hayden of Spent returned the favor by joining Ladybug Transistor on backing vocals for two songs. The group pleased the Cradle crowd, setting them up for the should-be headliner M. Ward who followed. More on that later.

Check out photos of The Ladybug Transistor below. More coverage of night four and coverage of night five is coming soon.

XX Merge night 4 at Cat's Cradle: Telekinesis and Erectus Monotone

After a hot outdoor set at Orange County Social Club, XX Merge-goers gathered two hours later for the fourth night of the festival at the Cat's Cradle. The night started with a surprise introduction of the first band by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. He popped out for about five second to introduce Telekinesis.

As the band took the stage, there was another great surprise. Telekinesis brainchild Michael Benjamin Lerner were joined on stage by Matthew Caws of Nada Surf on guitar and Ivan Howard of The Rosebuds on bass. Lerner plays drums and sings live, but played most of the instruments on his debut album. The all-star band had rehearsed once, just hours before the show, but sounded great. They launched into the catchy tune "Tokyo" and quickly made their way through a nine-song set.

Ticket giveaway: Chris Stamey & Peter Holsapple at Duke Gardens

Local legends and founding members of the dB's Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple will conclude Duke's Music in the Gardens summer concert series this Wednesday, which means we've got one more ticket giveaway for you!

To enter, email with the subject line "Stamey/Holsapple tickets" no later than noon Tuesday. We'll randomly select and notify the winner that afternoon. (UPDATE: A winner has been selected.)

You can purchase tickets here or at the door for $10 ($5 for Duke employees, free for students & children under 12).

We've had such a fantastic time hanging out and watching the phenomenal bands at the Music in the Gardens series this summer that I'm sorry to se it end, but I can't wait to see what the folks at Duke Performances have in store for us next summer!

XX Merge day 4 at Orange County Social Club: Radar Bros. and 3Ds

The fifth band to play at Orange County Social Club on Saturday was Los Angeles group Radar Bros. The group played a mellow set for the crowd, opening with the song "Papillon" from the album The Fallen Leaf Pages. They played two new songs, dubbed works in progress, before a wonderful cover of Rufus Wainwright's "Oh What a World."

Towards the end of the set, the band took a crowd request and played "Shoveling Sons" before closing with "On the Line." It was a nice somber set for a humid day under a tent.

The last band to play the outdoor stage was also the only band to play two XX Merge sets. That was the New Zealand band 3Ds. They tore through another great set that included a cover of The Clean that didn't make it into the Cat's Cradle set (if anyone knows the title, let us know).

XX Merge day 4 at Orange County Social Club: Matt Suggs and Tenement Halls

The third band to take the stage at the free XX Merge show at Orange Social Club was Matt Suggs (formerly of Butterglory). He played a great set comprised of solo tunes and old Butterglory songs. Suggs was joined by Zach Holland on guitar for a few songs and Mac McCaughan played drums during most of the set.

The old Butterglory songs really shined, specifically "She's Go the Akshun!" and "Better Gardens, Better Homes." You can check out video of the entire set on YouTube thanks to user chiglartayindustries. It's well worth checking out. The complete set list is below.

XX Merge day 4 at Orange County Social Club: The Music Tapes and Portastatic

It was a warm humid day outside Orange County Social Club on Saturday, but six XX Merge artists marched through the heat to play great sets.

First up for the afternoon show was New York performer Julian Koster, aka The Music Tapes. He came with his giant metronome and some other odd contraptions that accompanied him as he played some songs on the banjo, the "singing saw" and other instruments. The short set included the song "Big Beautiful Shops" and as well as a new song. As a whole, it was a fantastically quirky performance.

Next up was Merge co-founder Mac McCaughan and violinist Margaret White as Portastatic. The six-song set opened with a Caetano Veloso cover of "Baby" from the 2000 EP De Mel, De Melão. Also included was a great version of "San Andreas" which Mac noted was the first time they had played it with a violin. Check out the complete set list below and check out a video of the performance of "Noisy Night" here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

XX Merge night 3 at Cat's Cradle: Spoon

The headliners on night three of XX Merge were none other than one of the label's biggest bands, Spoon. The band played a set, heavy on their early albums including "Chicago at Night," "Lines in the Suit" and the show closer "The Fitted Shirt," all from their 2001 Merge debut Girls can Tell. They also played the new song "Got Nuffin" from their new EP of the same name as well as another new song called "Is Love Forever?"

It was a good set, but not the strongest they've done (check out our review of their Carolina Theatre show last year). One of the highlights was their regular cover of Paul Simon's "Peace Like a River." Another was Mac McCaughan joining the band on lead vocals on a cover of Wire's "Mannequin" during the encore.

XX Merge night 3 at Cat's Cradle: Polvo and Pipe

Fourth on the bill for the third night of XX Merge at the Cat's Cradle was local quartet Polvo. They played an ear shredding set for a packed room. Folks seemed to eat it up, but the band personally were not able to win me over. They played a tight set though and were the perfect follow-up for the unbeatable Lambchop performance because you just couldn't compare the two bands.

Mac McCaughan came out on stage before the fifth band instead of the night's emcee and announced that there was a lone protester outside. He invited him up on stage and it was Jon Wurster decked out in Phillies gear as Philly Boy Roy. He was holding a sign that said "Boycot MERGE." He complained that Merge didn't have any Philly bands on their roster and Mac said that they have bands from Jersey, which is close to Philly. You never compare Jersey to Philly in front of Philly Boy Roy. It was hilarious.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

XX Merge night 3 at Cat's Cradle: Lambchop!

The third band on the third night of XX Merge completely stole the show and no one was ever able to top it. That band was Lambchop. The band played a groovy set that featured ten members including a horn section. The entire crowd were enthralled with the set and band leader Kurt Wagner seemed taken aback numerous times by the thunderous applause in between songs.

The set included the song "Talk Like a Pirate Day" and many other great songs. I'll try to update this with more of the set list a little later. I've added the complete set list below thanks to Craig from San Francisco.

XX Merge night 3 at Cat's Cradle: The Essex Green and Spent

Night three of XX Merge kicked off with the night's emcee, Jon Wurster of Superchunk. He told the crowd that the "XX" sign was left over from Merge's brief foray into the world of adult cable programming. He said his favorite show was "Hot Girls in Chuck Taylors." On that note, he introduced The Essex Green.

The band played a 10-song set of infectious pop tunes including "Penny & Jack" and "Snake in the Grass." The band relied heavily on tunes from their last album, 2006's Cannibal Sea. Check out the set list below and help out with the missing songs if you can.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mid-XX Merge Twitter review: Everyone loves Lambchop

More on the evening's festivities later, but here's a snapshot of the consensus thus far!

XX Merge Night 2 at Cat's Cradle: Superchunk!

Last, but certainly not least, the one and only Superchunk closed out night two of XX Merge. The band triumphantly took to the stage to roaring applause and cheers and launched into "Cool" from the band's 1991 7" (MRG014).

The set shook out like a greatest hits collection, hitting "Detroit Has a Skyline," "Cast Iron," "The First Part" and others. Two recent songs, "Learned To Surf" and "Crossed Wires" made their way into the set and fit right in among the old classics.

The band played with the intensity of a flagship band playing their 20th anniversary celebration. Mac bounded around the stage, as did Jim Wilbur. Lara shared some of her signature pogoing and Jon Wurster didn't miss a beat.

XX Merge Night 2 at Cat's Cradle: 3Ds

The fifth band of the night traveled quite a way to play the XX Merge Festival. I speak of the New Zealand group the 3Ds.

The band's noisy, space rock delighted the crowded Cradle who seem to really latch on to a trio of tracks from the album The Venus Trail, released by Merge in 1994. "The Young and the Restless," "Beautiful Things" and "Hey Seuss" had the crowd cheering.

XX Merge Night 2 at Cat's Cradle: Guv'ner and Versus

The third band to take the stage (after an extremely long set change) on night two of XX Merge was Guv'ner. I give them tons of credit for getting up there after not playing for a decade, but they win the least prepared band of XX Merge award. The band's set was filled with mistakes and seeming confusion, especially from Pumpkin Wentzel.

The songs that landed were quite fun, quirky little pop songs. "Break a Promise" and "Love the Lamp" were two highlights from the set. The band also played a cover of "Looking For the Magic" by Dwight Tilley.

XX Merge Night 2 at Cat's Cradle: The Broken West and Richard Buckner

Here we are again. Night two of XX Merge didn't go quite as late as night one, but there was still a hell of a lot of music.

First up on night two was Los Angeles band The Broken West. The quintet played a high energy, nine-song set comprised of songs from their two Merge releases I Can't Go On, I'll Go On and Now or Heaven as well as one choice cover from an absent Merge band. They played a great version of Teenage Fanclub's "It's All in My Mind" from the group's lone Merge release (so far) Man-Made.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

XX Merge Night 1 at Cat's Cradle: Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

Closing out a long night of seven performers at the Cat's Cradle was Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band. Unfortunately, by the time they took the stage a little after 1am, there were only about 200 or so troopers left at the club. That didn't stop the band from ripping through a raucous 14 song set.

The band sounded great even though you could tell that they had been partying for quite a while prior to their set. Taylor Hollingsworth looked like a zombie but still ripped through his solos and his lead vocals on the song "Air Mattress."

XX Merge Night 1 at Cat's Cradle: The Magnetic Fields and The Rosebuds

Here comes part three of our coverage of night one of XX Merge. The next band to take the stage was The Magnetic Fields, who killed during their 40-minute set. The band opened with the song "California Girls" from their latest, non-Merge album before launching into a plethora of amazing songs including "All My Little Words," "The Book of Love" and "Papa Was a Rodeo."

Video: Eric Bachmann at Duke Gardens

After a rainy start, Eric Bachmann put on a great set at Duke Gardens last night according to Ryan, our ticket winner. He submitted this video from the show.

Next week's show with Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple is the last concert in the Summer in the Gardens series at Duke Gardens, so don't miss it! We'll post details about our ticket giveaway tomorrow.

XX Merge Night 1 at Cat's Cradle: Oakley Hall and The Clientele

Continuing our coverage of the first night of XX Merge, the third band to play Wednesday night was New York septet Oakley Hall. The group tore through a brief, energetic set of wild pop tunes and were even joined by Nate Walcott of the Mystic Valley Band for ones song. They ended with a cover of Nick Lowe's "I Love My Label," which they dedicated to Merge. How appropriate.

Next up was, as Kelly Crisp put it, the only British band playing XX Merge. That would be The Clientele. After some technical problems which delayed the set, the band mellowly rocked, kicking of the set with a cover of Big Star's "Nightime." As the set progressed, the other nine songs spanned the band's entire catalog and even included a couple of new songs from the band's forthcoming Merge release, Bonfires on the Heath. One of the crowd-pleasers of the set was definitely "Bookshop Casanova" from the group's last album, God Save the Clientele. Check out the complete set list below.

XX Merge Night 1 at Cat's Cradle: Pure and Lou Barlow

XX Merge night one is over after seven hours and we're starting to bringing you our coverage. To keep the post lengths reasonable, I'm going to divide them up, including just a couple of bands in each post.

The first band to hit the stage shortly after 7:15pm was Asheville band Pure. The band played their first show in 18 years. The set was short, but the band seemed to enjoy turning the amps up and hitting the fuzz pedal like they used to. The syncopated riffs and droning chords roared throughout the club, much like it probably did in the early 90s (I wasn't actually there, I'm just speculating). Drummer Danni Iosello gets huge props for playing the drums in heels. It doesn't sound like a good idea, but it didn't seem to phase her at all. I don't know the song titles, but they played music from their sole Merge 7" "Ballard" as well as a song called "Furnace" (I think). The band's set was a cool way to re-visit Merge's early days, before label had released their first full-length record.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leonard Cohen announces new dates, plays Durham!

The venerable Leonard Cohen has announced a new round of US dates in October and November of this year, and he's coming to Durham! He'll play the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) on Tuesday, November 3. Tickets for show are set to go on sale on Friday, August 7 at 10 AM here for a plethora of prices: $252, $127, $87, $59.50 and $49.50.

Cohen's latest release is the double-live album Live in London released last year. Check out a video of the song 1992 song "Democracy" from the album below.

Leonard Cohen dates:
10.17.09 - Sunrise, FL - BankAtlantic Center [Tickets]
10.19.09 - Tampa, FL - St. Pete Times Forum [Tickets]
10.20.09 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre [Tickets]
10.22.09 - Philadelphia, PA - The Wachovia Spectrum
10.23.09 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden [Tickets]
10.25.09 - Cleveland, OH - Allen Theatre
10.27.09 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre [Tickets]
10.29.09 - Chicago, IL - Rosemont Theatre [Tickets]
11.01.09 - Asheville, NC - Thomas Wolfe Auditorium [Tickets]
11.03.09 - Durham, NC - Durham Performing Arts Center [Tickets]
11.05.09 - Nashville, TN - Tennessee Performing Arts Center
11.07.09 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
11.09.09 - Kansas City, MO - The Midland by AMC [Tickets]
11.12.09 - Las Vegas, NV - The Colosseum at Caesars Palace [Tickets]
11.13.09 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion [Tickets]

Yo La Tengo announces fall tour, coming to Durham

Indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo are releasing a new album and hitting the road the support it this fall. First, the album. It's titled Popular Songs and will be released by Matador Records on September 8. Download a song from the album, "Periodically Double or Triple," below.

A week later, the band will kick off a five-week tour in Burlington, VT. Only a few days later, September 18 to be exact, they will play the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 24 here or at the box office for $23 or $20.

Yo La Tengo - "Periodically Double or Triple" (mp3)

Yo La Tengo dates:
09.15.09 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
09.16.09 - Boston, MA - Wilbur Theater [Tickets]
09.17.09 - Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
09.18.09 - Durham, NC - Carolina Theatre
09.19.09 - Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse [Tickets]
09.21.09 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
09.25.09 - New York, NY - Roseland Ballroom
10.02.09 - Montreal, QC - Le National
10.03.09 - Toronto, ON - Opera House [Tickets]
10.05.09 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom [Tickets]
10.06.09 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre [Tickets]
10.07.09 - Minneapolis, MN - First Ave [Tickets]
10.09.09 - Omaha, NE - The Slowdown
10.10.09 - Denver, CO - The Ogden Theatre [Tickets]
10.11.09 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up
10.12.09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
10.14.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee
10.15.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Avalon
10.16.09 - San Diego, CA - Soma
10.17.09 - Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theatre [Tickets]
10.18.09 - San Francisco, CA - Treasure Island Festival
10.20.09 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom [Tickets]
10.21.09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore [Tickets]
10.22.09 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo [Tickets]

XX Merge for the rest of us

If you're like me, you won't be at Cat's Cradle tonight. Or tomorrow, Friday, or Saturday. (Tickets are still available for Sunday, so no whining there.)

Maybe you couldn't scrape up the cash in time to get a week long pass, or maybe @#%&! etix just wouldn't cooperate the morning individual tickets went on sale (only one show per checkout? really??) and you couldn't get what you wanted in your cart before they all sold out 47 seconds later. Or hey, maybe you just don't give a shit and wish we'd stop talking about this already. (Come back Monday.)

Thankfully, Kevin, my blogging partner in crime, will be there capturing all the Mergey goodness and liveblogging the highlights via our Twitter feed. You'll also find updates and photos right here on Triangle Music from last night's show when you wake up in the morning wondering if you missed out on a covert Neutral Milk Hotel reunion.

See? It's just like being there. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be trolling Craigslist for tickets... [Update: XX Merge crisis averted! See you tonight!]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Merge video retrospective: Telekinesis - "Tokyo"

We've come to the last video of our Merge Video Retrospective series which means that the XX Merge celebration kicks off tomorrow night, which is immensely exciting. Since we started the series with Superchunk's video for "Throwing Things" from their 1991 album No Pocky For Kitty, we're going to the other end of the spectrum, bringing you Merge's newest artist. The video is for "Tokyo" from Telekinesis' self-titled debut album, just released in April. The song is a great, catchy pop song from a band that proves that Merge still has more great bands to discover and release far beyond this 20-year anniversary.

It's been fun bringing you all these videos, old and new, and I hope that you've enjoyed this little video snapshot Merge Records over the last 30 days. You can check out the full series here. See you at the Cradle.

Datarock announce North American tour, play Chapel Hill

Norwegian electro-rockers Datarock are gearing up for a North American tour in support of their new album Red, released digitally in June. The duo are best known for the song "Fa-Fa-Fa" featured in commercials for Apple, Coca-Cola and various video games. The tour will kick off on August 28 in Montreal, Quebec and will stop in Chapel Hill at Local 506 on September 20. Advance tickets are on sale now for $10 via

Click the link below to download the song "Stories" from the album Red below via Spinner.

Datarock - "Stories" (mp3 link)

Datarock dates:
08.28.09 - Montreal, QC - La Sala Rosa
08.30.09 - Toronto, ON - Virgin Festival
09.04.09 - Vancouver, BC - Richard’s on Richards
09.06.09 - Calgary, AB - Broken City
09.07.09 - Edmonton, AB - Starlite
09.08.09 - Winnipeg, MB - The Zoo
09.10.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Street Entry [Tickets]
09.11.09 - Chicago, IL - Double Door [Tickets]
09.12.09 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop [Tickets]
09.14.09 - Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club
09.17.09 - New York, NY - Highline Ballroom [Tickets]
09.18.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s [Tickets]
09.19.09 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
09.20.09 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 [Tickets]
09.22.09 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade [Tickets]
09.23.09 - Baton Rouge, LA - Chelsea’s
09.24.09 - Houston, TX - Warehouse
09.25.09 - Austin, TX - Emos [Tickets]
09.26.09 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theatre
09.28.09 - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room [Tickets]
09.29.09 - San Diego, CA - Brick By Brick
09.30.09 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey [Tickets]
10.01.09 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s
10.02.09 - Portland, OR - Holocene
10.03.09 - Seattle, WA - Nectar

UNC-TV to air feature on Merge Records tonight

Just because there are no events, last minute or otherwise, on the XX Merge calendar today doesn't mean there's an absence of celebration.

UNC-TV's nightly program North Carolina Now will air a feature on Merge Records tonight at 7:30 p.m. featuring interviews with Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance, Wye Oak, David Menconi, Grayson Currin and WKNC DJ Kelly Reid.

Here's the blurb from the show's broadcast schedule:
David Huppert and videographer Pete Bell explore how a couple of college kids from the Triangle defied the odds and formed one of the most successful alternative rock bands and independent music labels in the world, Durham-based Merge Records.
In case you miss it, the segment is scheduled to hit the web tomorrow.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Rosebuds ambush Jackpot crowd with a short set

As we sat and waited for The Rosebuds surprise show at The Jackpot in Raleigh, we were starting to wonder how the show was going to go down. And then suddenly, we see Ivan and Kelly walk through the doors, playing "Silja Line," accompanied by two cameramen and a sound guy.

The small crowd gathered around to hear a five-song set acoustic set by the band that was being filmed as a part of the XX Merge festivities. The set included songs from all four of the band's full-length LPs and closed with a cramped dance-along to "Bow to the Middle."

Merge video retrospective: Arcade Fire - "Black Mirror"

This is the next-to-last video of our Merge Video Retrospective. For this one, we go back to Merge heavy-hitters Arcade Fire. It is for "Black Mirror" from the group's sophomore album Neon Bible. It is a dark, beautiful and even a bit creepy black and white video that I won't even attempt to explain.

We're still crossing our fingers that at least some of the Arcade Fire show up and perform at XX Merge even though they're not on the line-up. Only a couple of days until we start getting our answers.

Enjoy the video and we'll see you here tomorrow for the last video of our series.

The Rosebuds playing free Raleigh show tonight

Word is spreading that The Rosebuds will be playing a last-minute, free acoustic show tonight in Raleigh. It's all scheduled to go down at Jackpot at 1303 Hillsborough St. at 9:30pm. The place opens at 9pm. The word is that the show will be filmed as a part of the XX Merge festivities going on this week. That's all we know right now. We'll see you there if we can get in.

[found via New Raleigh]

Joshua Radin announces fall dates, plays Raleigh with the Watson Twins

Mellow troubadour Joshua Radin is hitting the road this fall, playing a plethora of shows across the country. The second leg of the tour will kick off on October 28 in Los Angeles and make it's way to the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh on November 15. The fantastic Watson Twins will open the show. Tickets will go on sale Friday, July 24 at 10 am via for $16. Check out all of the upcoming dates below.

Radin's latest album is 2008's Simple Times, though he did record a version of Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon" for the recent iTunes collection His Way, Our Way.

Joshua Radin dates:
09.09.09 Norfolk, VA - The Norva [Tickets]
09.11.09 - Albany, NY - Linda Norris Auditorium
09.12.09 - New Haven, CT - Toad’s Place
09.13.09 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
09.15.09 - Montreal, QC - LaTulipe
09.16.09 - Toronto, ON - The Opera House [Tickets]
09.18.09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Diesel
09.19.09 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom [Tickets]
09.20.09 - Columbus, OH - The Basement [Tickets]
09.22.09 - Indianapolis, IN - Birdy’s [Tickets]
09.23.09 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrew’s Hall
09.24.09 - Chicago, IL - House Of Blues [Tickets]
09.25.09 - Minneapolis, MN - Pantages Theatre [Tickets]
09.26.09 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon [Tickets]
10.28.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
10.29.09 - San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
10.30.09 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater [Tickets]
11.01.09 - Seattle, WA - Neumo’s
11.02.09 - Spokane, WA - Knitting Factory
11.03.09 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
11.05.09 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theatre
11.06.09 - Lawrence, KS - Granada Theatre [Tickets]
11.07.09 - St. Louis, MO - The Duck Room @ Blueberry Hill
11.08.09 - Birmingham, AL - WorkPlay Theatre
11.10.09 - St. Petersburg, FL - State Theatre [Tickets]
11.11.09 - Fort Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
11.13.09 - Orlando, FL - The Social [Tickets]
11.14.09 - Atlanta, GA - Center Stage
11.15.09 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre
11.17.09 - Washington, DC - Sixth & I Synagogue [Tickets]
11.19.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
11.20.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
11.21.09 - Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre
11.22.09 - Boston, MA - House of Blues [Tickets]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Merge video retrospective: White Whale - "What's an Ocean For?"

We're winding down the Merge Video Retrospective here, but we still have a few to go. Tonight's video is for "What's an Ocean For?" from White Whale's 2006 debut album WW1. The video is as simple as it comes. It's a black and white performance video with a few bizarre things happening towards the end.

White Whale are not scheduled to perform at XX Merge, but at least two of the band's members, Matt Suggs and Rob Pope, will be there. Who knows what might happen?

Click here for the rest of the Merge Video Retrospective series. Only 2, just 2 more videos until XX Merge.

Ticket giveaway: Eric Bachmann at Duke Gardens

This one's for everyone who couldn't get tickets to XX Merge! We're giving away a pair of tickets to see Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf fame this Wednesday at Duke Gardens.

To enter, email with the subject line "Eric Bachmann tickets" no later than 10 am Tuesday. (A bit of an extension from our normal schedule since I forgot to post this Friday!) We'll randomly select and notify the winner on Tuesday.

You can purchase tickets here or at the door for $10 ($5 for Duke employees, free for students & children under 12).

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Secret Machines announce tour

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead have announced new fall dates and will return to the Triangle for the second time this year. They will hit the road in September with Secret Machines opening each night. The tour hits the Cat's Cradle on Tuesday, September 15. Tickets will be on sale "soon" for $12 via

Trail of Dead's latest album The Century of Self was released in February. Secret Machines latest album which is self-titled was released in October.

Check out the current tour dates I've dug up so far below and we'll add more as they're announced.

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead dates:
09.14.09 - Atlanta, GA - Masquerade [Tickets]
09.15.09 - Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
09.18.09 - New York, NY - Webster Hall [Tickets]
09.19.09 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg [Tickets]
09.22.09 - Detroit, MI - Magic Stick [Tickets]
09.25.09 - Chicago, IL - Logan Square Auditorium [Tickets]
09.29.09 - Dallas, TX - Granada Theater

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Merge video retrospective: Camera Obscura - "Let's Get Out of This Country"

Tonight's Merge Video Retrospective comes from the Scottish band Camera Obscura. The video is for the title track from the band's last Merge album, 2006's Let's Get Out of This Country. It features the band packing up and boarding a paddle boat to get out of the country.

Click here for the rest of the Merge Video Retrospective series. Only 3 more videos until XX Merge.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Merge video retrospective: The Broken West - "Perfect Games"

Tonight's Merge Video Retrospective comes from Los Angeles band The Broken West. It is for the song "Perfect Games" from the band's sophomore album Now or Heaven, released in September 2008. The video follows two assassins that are trying to kill each other. It's a really funny video that we first posted in February. You can also download the song "Perfect Games" below.

Click here for the rest of the Merge Video Retrospective series. Only 4 more videos until XX Merge.

The Broken West - "Perfect Games" (mp3)

New music from Monsters of Folk - "Say Please"

The highly anticipated album by the supergroup Monsters of Folk (aka M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Jim James and Mike Mogis) is finally slated to be released September 22. The group have released the first track from the self-tilted album called "Say Please" which you can download below, or download on the group's site by simply saying please. Don't let the band's name fool you though. The song isn't very folky. It's a catchy, noisy little rocker.

In local news, both Oberst and Ward will be making an appearance or appearances at next week's XX Merge Fest in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The Monsters of Folk are expected to tour in support of their album at some point.

Monsters of Folk - "Say Please" (mp3)