Archive for November, 2011
Scarcely before the ringing in my ears from Bombadil’s album release party could fade, I found myself back at Cat’s Cradle for something worlds away, both sonically and geographically.
Sophie Hunger was absolutely charming. The Sunday night crowd started out pretty far back from the stage, slowly trickling in and milling about, but by the end of her set she had coaxed more than a few to the front to better catch her heartfelt lyrics and genuine enthusiasm. Vocally she sounds a bit like Feist. They both have that soft, crooning quality in their voices, but Hunger proved she was no stranger to belting out a verse or two where necessary. She switched between singing in English, German and French fluidly and frequently, so I probably only caught a fraction of the lyrics, but I like to think the meaning still came through.
It’s hard to pin her sound down to a specific genre. She herself switched between guitar and piano throughout the set and was accompanied by Michael Flury (trombonist/box player/chest percussionist) and Christian Prader (flautist/guitarist/pianist). Some songs were folk in the best tradition of the genre, while others sounded of heavy jazz influences mixed in with who knows what else. Whatever the influences, it was all a pleasure to listen to. Her endearing solo acoustic “Sophie Hunger Blues” was the song that won me over, and I could tell I wasn’t the only one. The personal narrative, catchy melody and raw emotion she put into that song had the audience smiling and laughing in a big way.
From Swiss-born, European bred folk/jazz fusion we somehow made the transition to acoustic Saharan desert blues from former African rebels. For the uninitiated, Tiniariwen is a group from northern Mali made up of Touareg rebels. They received military training in Libya and fought for the rights of oppressed nomadic peoples in the Touareg rebellion. Sung in a Berber language called Tamashek, their songs carry the revolutionary message of the cause they fought for.
If you’re not intrigued yet, then I really just don’t know what to tell you.
Before they even came on stage there were enough guitars set up to comfortably field all of Broken Social Scene, plus a few percussion instruments whose origins I could only guess at. The band was all robes and cloth when they did come out, certainly looking the part of desert bluesmen. A few greetings in what sounded like French (why didn’t I take French?) and they were off. You might not think that dusty, Middle Eastern folk and blues would be that danceable, but it definitely is. The percussionist (playing either a hand drum or a large half-sphere gourd of some sort hit with his palms and two lighters) and bassist laid down a simple but irresistible groove that the rest of the band built on. To their credit, they kept the crowd fully engaged throughout the night. I’m pretty sure I even spotted whatever the slow moving, mid-to-late-thirties equivalent of a mosh pit would be, but folks were packed too tight for me to venture out and investigate further.
Tinariwen’s latest release, Tassili, has more of an acoustic sound to it, a departure from their previous albums which made extensive use of the electric guitar. The set drew heavily form the new album, but they broke out the ax for several numbers, including one of my absolute favorites, “Amassakoul ‘n’ Ténéré.”
Tinariwen has been gaining a fair amount of international attention recently. There’s even a track on Tassili featuring Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio fame. If you haven’t heard about them yet, you probably will soon. If you haven’t listened to them yet, go ahead and do yourself a favor. I love local music but there’s nothing like some African desert blues to broaden one’s musical horizons.
by sarahnade on Nov.16, 2011, under Promotions
Commercial radio stations that have a modern alternative format are hard to find – and those that put on good winter concerts are even harder to find.
96X is a modern alternative radio station based out of Norfolk, VA. The station will be putting on “Winter Meltdown,” featuring Bush, Foster the People, Cake, Cage the Elephant, Taking Back Sunday, The Naked and Famous, Young the Giant, Sleeper Agent, and Grouplove. The event will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, at The Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va. beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Many of the bands performing at Winter Meltdown have already played major festivals this year, including Moogfest, Future Music Festival, Treasure Island Music Festival, Lollapalooza and SXSW.
WKNC will be giving away two pairs of tickets to this event – and it’s not one to miss. Listen in over the next two weeks for your chance to win a pair. When the WKNC DJ asks for it, be the correct caller at (919)860-0881 or (919)515-2400.
I have discovered that in my later years (well, I’m only 21, but still) I have become more lazy and less inclined to ever leave Raleigh to do anything. Especially to do something that requires money, like go to a concert.
Add Bombadil to the picture and it changes things completely.
On Saturday, Nov. 12, Bombadil graced Cat’s Cradle with their album release party for All That The Rain Promises, the long awaited new album from this local band that is comprised of four very talented men: Bryan Rahija, Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips. The show opened with local favorites Future Kings of Nowhere and Jay Kutchma and the Five Fifths, two groups that don’t play too much around the Triangle right now.
Seeing the lineup, I knew I had to get out of Raleigh for a night. So I filled up my gas tank, picked up some friends, and made my way to Carrboro after feasting on some delicious pre-Bombadil steak tacos cooked for us by Laser Beard, who also served as our photographer that night. We hoped to get to the Cradle early enough to get a rose, but arrived just a little too late. Instead we ate some cookies and milk (thanks Bombadil!) and moved toward the stage as Future Kings of Nowhere set up and tuned their instruments.
Future Kings of Nowhere was full of energy and a lot of fun. They played a selection which included new songs and started and ended with the crowd favorites “Let’s Be Pirates” and “10 Simple Murders.” I was really excited to see Jay Kutchma and the Five Fifths next. Red Collar always put on high energy shows and I was curious to see how Jay Kutchma would be without the rest of Red Collar. The excitement was for good reason. Kutchma’s stage presence was intense, the set starting with slower rock songs with a twang and building in energy until Kutchma was jumping up and down with his guitar accompanied by an enthusiastic Five Fifths. The bass player is the one who stuck out in my memory; he looked like he was having the time of his life on stage. Kutchma made sure to include powerful monologues as well, which is something that he has brought over from Red Collar. Overall, the opening bands were really fantastic and provided high energy that grew even higher while waiting for Bombadil to take the stage.
I can say without a doubt that everybody in the audience on Saturday night was truly excited for Bombadil to get on stage. The last time the band played was two months prior at Hopscotch Music Festival. The last time Bombadil played at Cat’s Cradle was December 2010, opening for the Avett Brothers at their surprise show. When a talented band like Bombadil does not play often, you know that when they do play it’s going to be a good time.
This was definitely the case for Saturday night. Wearing colorful embroidered and painted blazers, Bombadil opened the show with the old song “Jellybean Wine” which earned a huge cheer from the audience. They continued through a great mix of old and new songs with the audience giving wholehearted applause and the band grinning and thanking us for coming repeatedly throughout the night.
I think one of the best things about Bombadil is that the music they make is meaningful. After hearing bands play music that has no emotion or has no point, it is refreshing to listen to Bombadil and also to see a band that shares your excitement for being there. Highlights of the night included “Laundromat,” “I Will Wait,” “A Question,” “One Whole Year,” “The Pony Express,” and “Leather Belt” off of All That The Rain Promises and old songs like “Honeymoon,” “Oto the Bear,” “Marriage,” “Johnny,” “Three Saddest Words,” “Smile When You Kiss,” “So Many Ways To Die,” and “Cavaliers Har Hum.”
The band put on an amazing performance that the audience just didn’t want to end. Two encores later, the band had to ask the audience to stop cheering because they simply hadn’t prepared anything else to play. We certainly wore the band thin and I enjoyed every minute of Bombadil’s performance on Saturday night.
I only have one request for Bombadil: can we do it again?
by sarahnade on Nov.15, 2011, under Promotions
It has been a long time since we have heard anything come from the local folk group Bombadil, which is really quite a shame. Maybe that is why I was so excited for the release of All That The Rain Promises, a new album that follows their 2009 release of Tarpits and Canyonlands. Everything that you hoped would be present on a Bombadil album is apparent in this new release: strong emotional ballads, beautiful folk and pop melodies, and upbeat songs with deeper meanings all combine to create an album that one can become emotionally attached to.
Battling illness in the band and now cross country living situations, I would say that it is quite a feat that Bombadil has been able to get together and record All That The Rain Promises. The album was recorded in a barn in Oregon in the month of January, and the band had to warm themselves by a fire in between recordings. The album was named after a book found on site. Even after being separated and having gone through a lengthy break in recording, Bryan Rahija, Stuart Robinson, Daniel Michalak, and James Phillips of Bombadil were able to create an album that sounds like the same band that played together in 2009, as if no time had passed.
All That The Rain Promises begins with the strong ballad “I Will Wait,” sung by Stuart Robinson. This piano-driven song is an emotional and bare start to the album with Robinson singing to God and asking him to guide him in the right direction. “I will wait for you to swing below and take me away,” ends the ballad. It leads into “The Pony Express,” which includes all members of the band and speaks of a relationship that has fallen apart.
The album transitions to something more upbeat and hopeful with “Laundromat.” The percussion-heavy beginning turns into a catchy song about taking some chances at a Laundromat. “The next time I am at the Laundromat/ I’m going to talk to her!” or “The next time I am at the Laundromat/ I’m going to call my dad!” Bombadil’s use of vocals, harmonies, and storytelling songwriting is one major characteristic of the band and is just right for the music they are creating. It seems that the melodies are written around the lyrics instead of the other way around. The guitar, harmonica, drum, bass, piano, ukulele, keyboard, and trumpet used throughout the album create good accompaniment for the stories that Bombadil shares.
All That The Rain Promises continues with higher-energy songs. “A Question” is, well, awkward, but in the best way possible. The ukulele and high-pitched “what is it Stewart?” add a lighter aspect to something as potentially traumatizing as asking someone if they have deeper feelings for you, which could indeed make things uncomfortable.
Bombadil has mastered the art of emphasis in their music. There are songs on All That The Rain Promises where the spotlight is on the vocals. “Leather Belt” begins with a beautiful harmony concerning a dropped acorn, and “Flour Water Sugar” consists primarily of singing and harmonies. “Avery,” on the other hand, is a very successful instrumental piece almost right in the middle of the album.
When the last song, “Unicycle,” ends, it’s hard not to turn back to the first track and listen to the album again. All That The Rain Promises contains all the makings of one of the best albums of this year through the instrumentals, melodies, harmonies, and of course, the emotional attachment that accompanies every Bombadil song. I look forward to what this band produces in the future.
by DJ Ones on Nov.14, 2011, under Daytime
I think I picked the right place to study abroad.
Constellations Festival is relatively young, but that doesn’t keep the event from bringing in some of Indie’s finest acts. 2010′s festival included the likes of Broken Social Scene, Sleigh Bells, Local Natives, The Vaccines, and many other fantastic acts. With hopes high for this year, the festival returned to the University of Leeds Student Union on Nov. 12, and it brought acts including Yuck, Braids, The Big Pink, The Antlers, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.
One building, five different proper music venues, and nine hours of cramming in as much music as possible is a daunting task to say the least, and thankfully the folks planning this event allowed for seeing the majority of the largest names with ease. They could have easily planned the event in a way that makes more sense musically. This would include The Antlers opening for Wild Beasts, Yuck opening for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and Summer Camp opening for The Big Pink. Thankfully the large acts played back to back in the same venue with the periods in between sets long enough to pop over to another venue and catch the majority of another band’s show.
The culmination of these elements made for one hell of an afternoon and night filled with music, and below are some of the highlights.
This was by far the biggest surprise of the night. I was amused by the sound of Summer Camp after my initial listen of their debut album Welcome to Condale, but I felt as if there was still much to be desired. Although I had my reservations about the group, they put on one of the most delightful performances of the festival. Their love of 80s nostalgia, although they are probably too young to remember the 80s, brought about a charm to the performance. Famous dance scenes from 80s films projected to a screen on stage alongside the upbeat pop duets with some real swing left me wanting to reevaluate my initial stance on their debut.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks
One of the most anticipated acts of the festival did exactly what they needed to do. Consistent throughout, Malkmus and company brought their a-game during their hour-long set. Playing mostly new tracks off of Mirror Traffic, they also revisited some of the earlier solo work from Malkmus. The act left me feeling satisfied and lived up to many of expectations I had.
If you are a fan of Yuck’s self-titled debut, you need to see this band live. There are certain things that recorded songs cannot convey, and the sense of raw, distorted power is definitely one of them. The band had some initial technical hiccups after the mics cut out on them toward the end of their last song, and walked off as the stage crew came back on to get everything working properly. The band took it in stride. After walking back on stage frontman Daniel Blumber jokingly announced, “This is our longest encore ever.” The band mixed up their tracks much like in their album, going from one faster paced harder sound to one a bit more reserved. It was the track “Rubber” that stole the show. The 7-minute song provided a visceral listening experience that shook the ears and body to its distorted 90s rock core, something much better understood when experienced instead of described.
This band is easily one of the best in filling the room with their atmospheric sound, regardless of size. That’s exactly what they did on this night. Playing the best from their debut and their second album, The Antlers demonstrated how they are able to beautifully construct songs that in some moments lack vocals yet sound structured, and when the vocals kick in it provides a fine compliment to their rest of their truly gorgeous sound.
It was a bit of a homecoming for the band currently based in Leeds, and their set brought out the largest crowd of the entire night. The large room was packed to the ceiling as the band covered tracks from their entire discography, and the songs both slow and upbeat highlighted the best of the band. Like Yuck, Wild Beasts live proved just how incredibly powerful their vocals are. It felt like a somewhat surreal experience to hear these regular guys produce such operatic and captivating voices. All in all, they gave one of the best performance of the night ending what was already a fantastic day.
Photography by WKNC Photographer Katie Hill
Skylar Gudaz & the Ugly Girls
On Saturday, Nov. 12, Mystery Roach will be celebrating its 4th anniversary. Since the first broadcast on Nov. 17, 2007, the show has explored 1960s and 1970s Progressive, Garage, Fusion, Psychedelic, and noise every Saturday morning from 8-10 a.m. Additionally, La Barba Rossa, the show’s host, has welcomed an eclectic mix of guests from around NCSU’s campus and around the Triangle. There have been conversations about beer, ants, film, the suburbs, the Mellotron, roller derby, fungus, hot peppers, comic books, censorship, and more. Frank Stasio has even stopped by for beard care advice.
Be part of the show by calling the Mystery Roach Hotline (919-322-8863), posting on the Facebook Fan Page, or sending an email. What do you like about the show? What do you hate about it? Have you noticed any trends over the years? What do you do whilst listening to the show? Is it part of your Saturday ritual? Do you have any requests?
Thanks for listening over the years!
1. Future Islands – On The Water (Thrill Jockey)
2. Zola Jesus – Conatus (Sacred Bones)
3. Widowspeak – Widowspeak (Captured Tracks)
4. Young Man – Ideas of Distance (Frenchkiss)
5. The Field – Looping State Of Mind (Kompakt)
6. Class Actress - Rapproacher (Carpark)
7. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy (4AD)
8. Megafaun – Megafaun (Hometapes)
9. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation (Fat Possum)
10. Sugarplum Fairies – The Images We Get (M-M)
11. Various Artists - GRPTPS Vs. PTLCK (Grip Tapes)
12. Viva Voce – The Future Will Destroy You (Vanguard)
13. Wilco – The Whole Love (Anti)
14. Wild Flag – Wild Flag (Merge)
15. Mandolin Orange - Haste Make/Hard Hearted Stranger (Self-Released)
16. Icebird - The Abandoned Lullaby (RJ’s Electrical Connections)
17. Real Estate – Days (Domino)
18. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)
19. Bonnie Prince Billy - Wolfroy Goes To Town (Drag City)
20. Wavves – Life Sux (Ghost Ramp)
21. Mike Doughty – Yes And Also Yes (Megaforce-Snack Bar)
22. High Places – Original Colors (Thrill Jockey)
23. Jens Lekman – An Argument With Myself (Secretly Canadian)
24. Touché Amoré - Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me (Deathwish)
25. Donora – Boyfriends, Girlfriends (Rostrum)
26. Phantogram – Nightlife (Barsuk)
27. Jono McCleery – There Is (Counter)
28. Patti Smith – Outside of Society (Columbia)
29. Hella – Tripper (Sargent House)
30. Wu Lyf - Go Tell Fire To The Mountain (L Y F)
M83 does one heck of a job with their latest double disc album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, which was released on Oct. 18. Being their sixth studio album, and following behind such pivotal releases like Saturdays = Youth, M83 had a lot to live up to. Even though some have criticized the album for sounding different, I think it’s a beautiful new direction for the band.
Named after the Messier 83 galaxy, M83 continues delivering ambient tunes and goes back and forth between either solely instrumental or minimal lyrics with full-blown epic tracks on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. There are a ton of space and dream references, which create a feeling of being outside of this planet while the listener zones out to it.
Anthony Gonzalez, producer and main component of M83, described this two disc compilation as “brother and sister, with each track having a sibling on the other disc.” I personally can’t quite figure out if he’s referring to the six instrumental tracks, but that’s how I choose to believe the two discs are paired off. There’s also a few interesting plays with the way the tracks are arranged on the discs with titles, like tracks 10 and 11 being, “When Will You Come Home?” followed by “Soon, My Friend.”
Going back to the main theme of this album, dreaming, the listener can either feel it with the synth and shoegaze sounds, or with the spacial lyrics. Gonzalez said himself in an interview with Spin magazine that, “It’s mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you’re a kid, a teenager, or an adult. I’m really proud of it. If you’re doing a very long album, all the songs need to be different and I think I’ve done that with this one.” I agree that the album progresses perfectly, and one can get a sense of maturity as it continues.
Most of the lyrics on the album either refer to time, love, or space, like in “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea,” with the lyrics “I’m slowly drifting to you/ this star is a planet,” or in “Claudia Lewis,” saying “alone, twenty millions years from my place/ a slide on the starlight./ Watch out, a new planet right on my trail!/ The space, oh, oh it’s mine!”
They also chose to use instruments that they’ve previously never experimented with, like a saxophone jam on their first single and second track, “Midnight City.” The use of the saxophone and other instruments, and the way in which M83 created this album, seems to be heavily influenced by a mixture of the synth-pop, as well as shoegaze, created in the 1980s.
Prior to this album, Gonzalez toured with Depeche Mode, who were huge throughout the ‘80s and still create music with the same darker electronic sounds. The song “OK Pal” reminds me of Tears for Fears, who were also extremely popular in the ‘80s, because of the vocals and music. You can get a sense of the shoegaze genre with the droning repeated lyrics accompanied by heavy instrumental emphasis in the songs “Another Wave from You” and “This Bright Flash.”
They’ve also included two monologues: the track “Echoes of Mine,” which is a beautiful story in French of a woman walking through a forest and reverting back to her twenty-year-old self, ending with “I loved like I’d never loved.” The second, “Raconte-Moi une Histoire,” which means “tell me a story,” is of a child telling the listener about a frog that changes its life, which sounds peculiarly like a story of a drug experience. This adds a whole other level to some of the lyrics and sounds of the album, but relating it to space is enough detail on that, and it’s interesting that they chose to do an English monologue with a French title, then the reverse.
In all, this album has to be a huge personal revelation for Gonzalez. He said in an interview with music OMH, that Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming is “a reflection of my 30 years as a human being” and something he dedicated to himself. Each listener can travel to the place where he was each time they put on this album, and float out to space with the beautiful lyrics and synth sounds.
Let me start off by saying I always love a band that takes sips of beer in between songs. The boys of Yellow Ostrich were delightfully playful, with front man Alex Schaaf charmingly interacting with the audience and willingly answering questions like “What is your favorite color?” (It’s red.) Not only that, but they were extremely talented. The songs ranged from garage rock grittiness to melancholic and haunting ballads, most of which included clever, not annoying, uses of looping. Schaaf passionately shredded on his guitar and drummer Michael Tapper beat the drums like they were someone he hated. However, it was bassist Jon Natchez who stole my heart. When Natchez was free of his duties as a bassist, he doubled as a full-blown brass band, playing the trombone and tenor sax with impeccable style and talent.
Following Yellow Ostrich, I had a feeling I was in for a good time with Delicate Steve when I saw the strobe lights come out. I am familiar with Delicate Steve’s music, and they have been climbing my “Most Played” list on iTunes throughout the year. The stage lights had been turned off, and one by one the members of the band arrived on stage, lit only from below by the aforementioned strobe lights. The minute Steve Marion and the band begin to play the appropriate “Welcome – Begin,” the audience knew it was time to dance. I felt like I was walking in on the Wild Rumpus, with the tribal-like percussion and Steve’s fancy fingers shredding on his treble-like guitar. It didn’t stop there, as Steve and his crew managed to keep the party going with upbeat jams like “Sugar Splash,” but still made time to showcase the band’s real talent with more melodic tunes (which are still very danceable). It was a phenomenal experience, one in which I will not miss out on if they come around again.
-Salt Water Jaffee
Ra Ra Riot returned to the Cradle in Carrboro with more dazzling dance songs. The newly-revamped Cradle provided almost twice the amount of dance space than in previous years, and most concert attendees took advantage of all the leg room! The six-piece band showed off their dynamic instrumental talents throughout their set, changing instruments and having different band members sing lead vocals. One of the best parts of Ra Ra Riot is their added twist on what could be average indie. Violinist Rebecca Zeller and electric cellist Alexandra Lawn were the most interesting to watch on stage because of their obvious passion for their instruments, and lulls in songs were spiced up with their luscious arrangements. Lead singer Wes Miles fed off the energy of the crowd thumping and dancing. He kept the crowd enthralled with his energy and vocals, which never seemed to miss a note. The New York band played their hits from their first CD, including “Ghost Under Rocks,” “Can You Tell,” and “Boy,” as well as others from The Rhumb Line. The band mixed in new songs from their second album The Orchard, such as “Shadowcasting.” Finishing off the night, Wes Miles told the audience we were a “special crowd,” and continued into the encore that left everyone dancing even after the music stop playing.
by jdlanglo on Nov.02, 2011, under Eye on the Triangle
This week, Eye on the Triangle brings you stories from the NC Museum of Art, where Jacob Downey went to visit the new Rembrandt exhibit.
Switching from the art world to politics, Nancy McFarlane gives us an interview as the new mayor-elect for the city of Raleigh.
Mark Herring visits with the ROTC to gain some insight into their long and proud history. Speaking of history, Nick and Dave return this week with another installment of This Week in History. And just so things don’t get too serious, Jake Langlois brings us tales from the Wild West, in The Adventures of the Fearless Ranger.
As always, we’re bringing you soccer news, happenings around campus, and the latest from the sports desk. Also, be sure to check out our blog and look for the podcast of this week’s show up on Thursday, Nov. 3. Stay tuned.
1. Absu – Abzu (Candlelight)
2. Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce)
3. Chelsea Grin – My Damnation (Razor And Tie)
4. Machine Head – Unto The Locust (Roadrunner)
5. Warbringer – Worlds Torn Asunder (Century Media)
6. Mastodon – The Hunter (Reprise)
7. Cradle Of Filth - Evermore Darkly (Nuclear Blast)
8. Iced Earth – Dystopia (Century Media)
9. Anvil – Monument Of Metal: The Very Best of Anvil (The End)
10. Hull – Beyond the Lightless Sky (The End)