Friday, October 30, 2009

Spoon to release 'Transference' in January

It's a big week of announcements for Merge Records releases in early 2010. We let you know about Shout Out Louds new album on Monday, and now Spoon have announced that their new album will be released in January. It is titled Transference and will hit stores on January 26 [Release date moved up; check out new post here].

The album will feature the band's most recent single "Got Nuffin" that was released prior to the XX Merge Festival in July. Stream the song and check out the complete Transference track list below.

New music video from Valient Thorr - "Tomorrow Police"

Chapel Hill's local rockers from another planet, Valient Thorr, have released a new music video from their 2008 album Immortalizer. The bizarre, yet enjoyable video is for the song "Tomorrow Police." There are odd looking creatures with swords that are chasing Valient and at one point he's in a car. It's all done on a green screen which also adds to the funny. Check it out below.

Take a gander at Valient Thorr's remaining US tour dates after the break.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Matisyahu to play Schoolkids in-store

The Hasidic MC Matisyahu will be making a pit stop in Raleigh before his show at the Lincoln Theatre on Tuesday, November 10. He will stop by Schoolkids Records for an in-store performance promoting his latest album Light as well as his show later that night. He is scheduled hit the Schoolkids stage at 6 p.m.

Check out a performance of "One Day" from Matisyahu's in-store at Independent Records in Colorado Springs, CO on October 27 below for a taste of what you can expect at the Schoolkids in-store. You'll also find his complete tour schedule down there.

Guster anniversary show stirs old memories in Charlotte

(Ed. note: Please welcome our friend and guest blogger Carrie who brings us this review from Charlotte.)

Ten years ago I had recently graduated from Queens in Charlotte and was living in an apartment so crappy I didn’t let my mom see it until I moved out (she thanks me for that). After having purpose and direction for as much of my life as I can remember, I suddenly had neither. I was a bit adrift.

It was around this time that a friend introduced me to the band Guster via their album Lost and Gone Forever. Even though I bought their two previous albums (they had me at bongo), this album was the soundtrack of my life for the next two years.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New music - Xiu Xiu's remix of The 6ths "Volcana!"

With the release of SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE REMIXES! about three weeks away, Merge has offered up a taste of the album. Download the Xiu Xiu's remix of The 6ths song "Volcana!" below. The remix is doesn't really stray that far from the original structure, but the more mellow sounds from The 6ths versions are replaced by electronic noise and the sound of destruction. It's an interesting listen.

SCORE! 20 Years of Merge Records: THE REMIXES! will be released on Tuesday, November 17. Check out the details of the album here and stream the full album here.

Xiu Xiu - "Volcana!" (I Hope Your Train Crashes remix) (mp3)

Shout Out Louds to release 'Work' in February

The fantastic Swedes of the Shout Out Louds have are wrapping up production of their their third full-length album titled Work. The album was mostly recorded in Seattle, WA with Phil Ek who has worked with Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, The Shins, Built To Spill and Modest Mouse. Details of the album are sparse right now, but it will be released via Merge Records on February 23.

Check out a short video of the band working on the album below. It doesn't give away very much, but it's a little something to we the whistle. The band are expected to announce new tour dates soon, so we'll keep you posted in they're coming back to the Triangle. Check out our review of their Cat's Cradle show from October 2007 here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lincoln Theatre adds full bar and memberships

More than two years after hinting at it online, Lincoln Theatre has pulled the trigger and will indeed become a membership-style club offering a full bar.

The club is offering free memberships to subscribers of its e-newsletter, but it's uncertain whether they mean only subscribers up until the announcement was made, so get on it and sign up just in case.

Seeing as owners have been contemplating this change for some time, it's interesting that they choose to make the change just as a smoking ban is about to go into effect statewide—one that exempts private clubs, allowing them to remain a safe haven for smokers.

Jet playing a free show in Raleigh midst US tour

During the band's inexplicable tour Papa Roach, Australian rockers Jet will be making a stop in Raleigh for a free show sponsored by 96 Rock. The show will go down at the Lincoln Theatre on Monday, November 16. Tickets will be given away via many sources including at bars around Raleigh, via on-air contests and other such things. The show is 21 and over, which likely means they'll be pimping out alcohol and/or tobacco products at the show. Check out all the details here.

Check out the rest of the band's tour dates below.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Album Review: The Swell Season - Strict Joy

The Swell Season, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, are back with Strict Joy, their first proper album after the Once soundtrack with their Oscar-winning song "Falling Slowly."

Hansard is still the driving force on the album, but for the first time I hear more of him and less of his previous band, The Frames. His previous work had a tendency to be overwrought, but this album is full of warm nooks and crannies that can be explored endlessly.

Irglova performs beautifully during the duets — her haunting vocals are the perfect complement to the earnest Hansard — but her solo tracks like “Fantasy Man” feel a little stiff.

The Avett Brothers playing Merlefest 2010

The Avett Brothers announced late last week that they will return to Wilkesboro next year to play the fantastic four-day Merlefest. The event will take place on from April 29 through May 2. The Avetts will play the main stage on the final day, Sunday, May 2. Other main stagers during the event include Elvis Costello, Works Progress Administration, Sam Bush, The John Cowan Band, The Duhks and many more.

With the good news of another Avetts North Carolina show comes some bad news for the Triangle. When announcing the Merlefest show, they noted that it will be "our only NC performance in the first six months of 2010." This means no Triangle shows until around July at the earliest. I and Love and You will be approaching it's one year anniversary at that point.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Mars Volta's show tonight is canceled

Bad news for anyone planning to catch The Mars Volta show tonight at the Disco Rodeo in Raleigh. The show has been canceled at the last minute. No reason was given by LiveNation who was putting on the show and the band's websites have not even acknowledged the cancellation. So it's a bummer. Tickets will be given starting Monday, October 26 at the point of purchase.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stream R.E.M.'s new double live album 'Live at the Olympia'

The south's favorite college rock icons, R.E.M., have a new double live album due out on Tuesday, October 27 titled Live at the Olympia. The album features 39 songs recorded at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin, Ireland during the band's live rehearsals in 2007. You can stream all 39 songs now on NPR's website.

There will also be a deluxe version of the album that will include a DVD shot by Vincent Moon and Jermeiah titled This Is Not a Show. Check out the trailer for the film after the break.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bowebirds perform "Northen Lights" & "Chimes" in a chapel

The fine folks over at Pitchfork TV have posted two fantastic performances from the Triangle's own Bowerbirds, performed live in a chapel. They performed "Northern Lights" and "Chimes" from their latest album Upper Air. The big open sound of the cathedral really lends it self to the band's sparse, somber songs. Check out videos of the performances below.

The band are currently touring Europe, but will return to the US in early November and will swiftly play the Troika Music Festival in on November 5 on the Backstage at DPAC venue. 3-day passes for the festival are available here for $20.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Album Review: Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom

White Water, White Bloom, the sophomore album from Sea Wolf, starts out in much the same way that his last album did: with a slow, atmospheric build up. If I hadn't already internalized most of Leaves in the River, it would be tough to tell these albums apart.

Sea Wolf doesn't stray far from the gypsy pop formula that made the first album so memorable: a little Arcade Fire, a dash of Decemberists, some Bright Eyes and a heaping of melody. Except for the melodies, these traits seem to be a bit more exaggerated the second time around.

This isn't a bad thing. If you do something well, don't abandon it. White Water, White Bloom plays it safe and that doesn't disappoint me, but they tracks that make a slight departure from the familiar are the ones that stand out in my mind the most.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Deer Tick frontman plays solo set at Schoolkids

After pushing back the time of their Schoolkids in-store today from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Deer Tick frontman John McCauley finally hit the stage around 4:30 p.m. All was forgiven when it became apparent that he was fairly sick. That didn't stop him from playing a short set and his condition seem to accentuate his already raspy voice.

He didn't go it completely alone though. The newest member of the band, guitarist Ian O'Neil, came up to sing one of his own songs "Hope Is Big" with McCauley accompanying him on harmonica. The set closed with the song "Houston, TX" from the band's latest album Born On Flag Day.

The Blakes announce new tour dates, play Chapel Hill

Seattle band The Blakes are gearing up for a short tour in late October and early November in support of their new self-released album Souvenir. The schedule will bring them to Chapel Hill's Local 506 on Monday, November 9. Tickets are $8 and are available via now. Additional act(s) have not been announced yet.

Check out the tour dates and an mp3 from the new album below. Check out the band's Daytrotter session from last July here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Annuals headlining First Night on New Year's Eve

Raleigh indie superstars Annuals have big plans for New Year's Eve. The Independent has confirmed something we've been hearing for a little while. The band will ring in the new year as headliners at Raleigh's big downtown celebration First Night. Other performers at the event will include Crucial Fiya, Justin David, Barbara Bailey Hutchinson, Bob Margolin, Lenny Marcus Trio, Wayne Henderson and Jeff Little and El Gleno Grande.

Admission buttons for First Night will be available at local Harris Teeter stores for $9 starting on December 1.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stellastarr announces short tour, plays Chapel Hill

New York rockers stellastarr* are hitting the road in November in support of the their latest album Civilized, released in July. The first leg of the tour only includes four dates and Chapel Hill made the cut. The band will play Local 506 on Wednesday, November 18. Tickets to the show are on sale now via for $12. You also have the option of buying a VIP ticket for $22 which includes an autographed copy of Civilized. Drink Up Buttercup who recently signed to Yep Roc Records, will open the show.

Download a mp3 from the new album and check out the complete tour schedule after the break.

Dave Rawlings Machine announces debut album, tour

For those of us who have been waiting for a new Gillian Welch album for six years, the next best thing will be coming out next month. David Rawlings, Welch's long-time partner in musical crime, will release the debut album from the Dave Rawlings Machine titled A Friend of a Friend on November 7 via Acony Records.

The album will feature Welch, Benmont Tench (of the Heartbreakers), Nate Walcott (of Bright Eyes and the Mystic Valley Band) and members of Old Crow Medicine Show. The songs on the album are a mix of Rawlings and Welch penned tunes, a few covers and some songs Rawlings wrote with other artists, like "To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)" featured on Ryan Adams solo debut Heartbreaker. Check out the full track list below.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free live mp3s from Chatham County Line

Chatham County Line have released a pair free live tracks for those who are fans of the group on ReverbNation. The songs are "Route 23" and "Dark Clouds" recorded live in Charlotte, NC. They sound very nice and can be downloaded here (just click the down arrow to the right of the song title in the player).

Chatham County Line have a short November tour coming up that's ends with a show in Carrboro at the Cat's Cradle on November 7. Tickets are $12 and are available via

The band will also head out for a short holiday tour in December which includes a show in Raleigh at The Pour House on December 19. Tickets for that show are $17 and will feature the band along with friends. The tickets are available here. Check out the complete tour schedule below.

I Was Totally Destroying It play stripped down set at Schoolkids

I Was Totally Destroying It dropped by Schoolkids Records in Raleigh on Tuesday to celebrate the release of their new album Horror Vacui. Instead of the typical short in-store set, the band played a full hour of music from all three of their releases (check out the full set list below).

The stripped down set was similar to their performance at the early voting for Obama event in Chapel Hill November (see photos here). These performances seem to let the songwriting shine since there are no ear blistering guitar and drums.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New XX Merge video: The Rosebuds - "Leaves Do Fall"

The Converse, XX Merge video series ends today with a the performance we've been waiting for from The Rosebuds. Not surprisingly, the guerrilla footage shot at Jackpot in Raleigh back in July didn't make it online. It was so dark in there, I can't imagine much of the footage was usable. But they did film this performance of "Leaves Do Fall" at Raleigh Denim on the same day. Check it out here.

The Rosebuds are currently on tour in Europe with Telekinesis through the end of October. Check out a video Telekinesis' Michael Lerner performing the ELO song "Can't Get You It of My Head" in Dublin after the break. You can very clearly hear Ivan Howard singing backing vocals while filming the performance. It seems like they're having fun on tour.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Album Review: Royal Bangs - Let It Beep

The newest release by the Knoxville-based Royal Bangs, Let It Beep, is a like an entire pack of gummy bears melted together on a hot day: strange, but colorful and delicious.

Royal Bangs combine bouncy indie rock and layers of dancing electronics with a garage rock mentality for a sound that falls somewhere between Radiohead and Electric Six. The band often sounds as if they are driving without brakes, full speed ahead without a care in the world and no intention to stop.

This pure rock and roll attitude dominates the first couple of tracks. The opener “War Bells” is pretty straight forward, but sets up the urgent and explosive “Poison Control” nicely.

DPAC stage named as the final Troika venue

The final venue for the upcoming Troika Music Festival has been revealed and it's a doozey. The 2,800 capacity Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) will become a smaller venue on Thursday, November 5 when the stage becomes "Backstage at the DPAC."

During the show, both the bands an the audience will be on the stage, which is as big as a small venue anyway. The night's music will feature sets from Bowerbirds, The Future Kings of Nowhere (solo), Humble Tripe and Ghost Cats. Check out the set times below. It sounds like a fun way to see some cool local bands in what's normally a venue where you'd see Morrissey, Steely Dan or B.B. King.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last Avett Brothers video series clip, iTunes essentials

The final video of The Avett Brothers series has made it's way to the web via an unusual source. The band held a photo contest to allow a fan to host the video on their personal page. Here is the winning photo and the final video is available on Rhonda's (the winner) MySpace page. It features the final track from I and Love and You titled "Incomplete and Insecure."

The Avetts also now have their very own iTunes Essentials playlist. Browse through the Basics, Next Steps and Deep Cuts here. Are there any essentials you think are missing?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Uncut names top 150 albums of 2000s, the Triangle is represented

Another best of the decade list is out and once again the Triangle is represented. This list comes from the UK magazine Uncut who lists their top 150 albums of the 2000s.

Merge Records is once again represented, this time by Arcade Fire, Lambchop and The Magnetic Fields (I know the albums don't get released on Merge over there, we're still counting them). Triangle expatriates Ryan Adams and Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) also made the list. Check out the breakdown after the break and the complete list of 150 can be found here. It's very, very different than the Pitchfork list. The White Stripes album White Blood Cells topped Uncut's list.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Brendan Benson annouces US dates, plays Carrboro

Singer/songwriter Brendan Benson, best known as Jack White's songwriting partner in crime in The Raconteurs, is hitting the road in November to support his new album My Old, Familiar Friend released in August. The tour will stop in Carrboro at the Cat's Cradle on Thursday, December 10. Cory Chisel will open the show. We'll add ticket info once it's available. Tickets will be $15. No on sale date is available yet.

Benson's band includes drummer Brad Pemberton (from Ryan Adams' band The Cardinals), bassist Jared Reynolds (of Ben Folds' band) and guitarist/keyboardist Mark Watrous (of The Raconteurs). Check out the full tour schedule as well as the band's recent performance on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic after the break.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

New XX Merge video: Wye Oak - "Take It In"

The latest XX Merge take-away video has hit the web and it features the excellent Wye Oak performing "Take It In." It was filmed in a parking lot in Chapel Hill on Franklin Street. Jenn Wasner is playing her guitar through a little Pignose amp slung over her shoulder and Andy Stack is playing a floor tom and a tambourine. Check out the video here.

Wye Oak is currently on tour with Blitzen Trapper and will be playing the Cat's Cradle this Friday, October 8. Tickets are still available via for $10. Check out all of the dates here.

Wye Oak - "Take It In" (mp3)

Video: The Avett Brothers perform "Laundry Room" on the Late Late Show

The Avett Brothers made another network television appearance last night on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The band played a loose, rag-tag version of "Laundry Room" from their newly released album I and Love and You. Check out a video of the performance below thanks to the always swift AudioPerv.

Also, you'll find the twelfth part of the Avetts video series below thanks to Imeem. This one features "It Goes On and On." This leaves only one more part of the series to go.

Ring in 2010 with The Love Language

Have you been wondering how you're going to ring in 2010? Yes I know it's still over two months away, but you might want to consider spending the evening with The Love Language in Chapel Hill and Local 506. Ticket information and other bands have not been announced yet, but we'll keep you posted. Joining them will be Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies and Dirty Little Heaters. Tickets are on sale now for $8.

If you don't want to wait until New Year's Eve to see the band, they'll be playing at the Trotter Building in Durham as part of the Troika Festival on November 6. Check out more on the festival here.

As we told you last week, The Love Language have signed to Merge Records and are tentatively scheduled to release their sophomore album in 2010.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Anvil announce 2010 headlining tour, play Charlotte

On the heels of their new found success after the release of the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the Canadian band are set to hit the road on a headline tour in early 2010. Unfortunately, the tour won't stop in the Triangle, but it will stop in Charlotte at the Fillmore on January 19. Tickets for the show will go on sale this Friday, October 9 at 10 a.m. here. A pre-sale begins today, October 6 at 10 a.m. here too.

The documentary will be released on DVD today, October 6. I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but it looks excellent and is at the top of my Netflix queue. Check out the film's trailer and the complete tour schedule after the break.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Album Review: I Was Totally Destroying It - Horror Vacui

Maybe in a broad musical context, I Was Totally Destroying It isn't breaking any new ground with their sophomore release, Horror Vacui, but when you consider where they were in 2007, the band has come a long way.

The hooks come early and often, the tunes are hummable and, Horror Vacui begs to be cranked up with the windows rolled down. The themes don't differ much from the standard lost love fare, but they are sung with such commitment that I believe most of the band have actually felt these emotions and not just assumed what a break up was like.

Meet the man behind Ramseur Records

Driving around running errands this afternoon, I caught an interesting interview with Ramseur Records founder Dolphus Ramseur on The State of Things.

Ramseur talks to host Frank Stasio about how he went from a music fan to label owner, his business of handshake deals and what he looks for in new talent.

Of course, they also discuss The Avett Brothers, who he met early this decade, being in the studio with Rick Rubin, and Carolina Chocolate Drops, who have an album out on Nonesuch in January.

Definitely worth a listen, and yet another reminder of all we have going on here in this state of ours.

WUNC: Meet Dolphus Ramseur

U2 chowed down on local barbecue before leaving Raleigh

U2 may have put on one hell of a show at Carter-Finley, but they're pretty crappy tippers.

One of the band's staff members contacted Debbie Holt of Cooper's BBQ in downtown Raleigh before they landed at RDU late Saturday afternoon, asking if she could cater the band's post-show spread before they left town.

"We close at 6 every day," Holt told the N&O. "But when U2 calls you, you do what you have to do, honey."

Saturday, October 03, 2009

U2 at Raleigh's Carter Finley Stadium set list + videos

We didn't shell out the cash to go U2's show at Carter Finley Stadium tonight, but we've been following the happenings online and even parked across the way for a bit and heard "One," "Where the Streets Have No Name" and "Ultraviolet (Light My Way)" and "With or Without You." They all sounded massive.

Check out the set list below thanks to U2News. We'll scour the net for some quality videos and add them to the post once they hit YouTube and the like. Follow us on Twitter or check back later for updates.

[UPDATE: Added video of "One" after the break.]
[UPDATE: Added videos of "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "In a Little While," "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Uprising" by opening act Muse.]
[UPDATE: Check out David Menconi's review for some insane comments on the traffic and parking situation.]

Three more parts of Avett Brothers video series

This post gets us very close to wrapping The Avett Brothers I and Love and You video series. This week three new videos were released including "Ill With Want" via No Depression, "Tin Man" via ShockHound and "Slight Figure of Speech" via AbsolutePunk. Check out each of the videos after the break.

With that there's just two videos left. We'll bring those to you next week.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Merge grabs 7 of Pitchfork's top 200 albums of the decade

Once again, Merge Records is well represented on one of Pitchfork's top music of the decade lists. This time, the label grabbed seven places of the site's list of the 200 best albums of the 2000s, including the number two spot with Arcade Fire's Funeral. You can't complain when the only album that beta you is Kid A. Spoon landed a whopping three spots on the list with their highest ranking being Kill the Moonlight at number 19.

Albums by The Clientele, Destroyer and Camera Obscura also made the list. I would have thought they would have gotten more than seven, but a lot of great Merge bands tend to get overlooked when these lists are compiled. Check out Merge's complete haul below.

Stream Built To Spill's new album 'There Is No Enemy'

Built To Spill's new album There Is No Enemy will be released this Tuesday, October 6, but it's available to stream now on the band's MySpace page. Check out the barnburning tune titled "Pat." It's full-on rock and roll.

The band will be heading this way on their new tour in support of the album. They'll play the Cat's Cradle on Sunday, October 18. Tickets are still available for $20 via Disco Doom and Violent Soho will open the show. Check out the complete tour schedule after the break.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Kanye West and Lady Gaga tour canceled

Remember that Kanye West and Lady Gaga tour we told you about just a few weeks ago that included a show in Greensboro? Well, it's already canceled. No reason has been given for the cancellation, but at least tickets for the Greensboro show hadn't gone on sale yet.

Here's a bit a sheer speculation though. I'm guessing tickets sales haven't been very good for the tour since Kanye made an ass of himself at the MTV Video Music Awards. Tickets as expensive as $130 probably didn't help much either. Oh well.

The Love Language sign to Merge Records

Exciting news out of the Triangle this morning as Pitchfork announces that Chapel Hill's own The Love Lanuage have signed to Merge Records.

Band frontman Stu McLamb said he hopes this is a sign of good things to come.

"As of yesterday, I've overdrawn my bank account by $200, my girlfriend dumped me, and my car won't start. I think this Merge deal could be a real turning point."

Personally, this is something I'd been hoping for since rumors started flying earlier this summer that The Love Language would be moving from their current home at Bladen County Records. We look forward to seeing and hearing what comes out of this new local partnership!

Album Review: Drummer - Feel Good Together

On a snowy afternoon in early 2009, Ohio-based Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney gathered his friends, who also happened to be drummers from Ohio, and – go figure – formed a band called Drummer. Carney plays bass and Jamie Stillman of Teeth of Hydra (guitar), Jon Finley of Beaten Awake (vocals, guitar), Stephen Clements of Houseguest and Six Parts Seven (keys, vocals) and Greg Boyd of Ghostman and Sandman (drums) complete the lineup.

There are some decent rhythms and guitar licks – see "Serious Encounters" – and the vocals have a comforting everyman quality to them, but most of these tracks I wouldn't be able to pick out of the rotation on a typical generic rock station. Some synth is brought to the forefront to break up the sound, but most of it just drives me crazy, particularly the opening to "Buddyscapes."

Valient Thorr launching massive tour in October

The Triangle's own immigrants from Venus are gearing up for another big tour. Of course I'm talking about Valient Thorr. The bearded rockers will kick-off a U.S. tour on Wednesday, October 7, right here in Raleigh. They will play The Pour House with Early Man, White Tiger and The Bed of Roses. Tickets will be $10 at the door and the show will start at 10 p.m.

The tour will take Valient and the gang across the country for a month and a half before wrapping up in Charlotte on November 20. They won't be stopping there though. On November 23, the band will kick off a three week European tour in London.