Music News and Interviews

The Great 8

The long-time music critic for The News & Observer, David Menconi, has released the 2009 version of the “The Great 8”.  The Great 8 is an annual list of local music talent that shines above the rest.  This year’s list is wonderfully diverse, with acts from the classic indie format to the old-school 90s punk scene to screamo to hip-hop, and he even threw in a video game music guru (because everyone needs kick ass music to listen to when taking down Bowser).  Not to toot the “WKNC is better than your mother” horn or anything, but 2 of the 8 artists featured this year where apart of 88.1’s Double Barrel Benefit 6 line-up from this past weekend!  If you missed DBB6, you still have a chance to catch some of these bands at a special “Great 8 Showcase” concert at the Local 506 on February 13th, 2009 including 4 of the 8 bands featured (HNMTF, Lonnie Walker, Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies, and Double Negative). Here is the full list:

Jason Graves, Raleigh

There are people who do absolutely no work and get all the credit.  Jason Graves does not fall into that category, in fact, he is quite the opposite.  As a video game track composer, Graves says that it does not phase him that his work is simply the background sounds to a usually much more complicated and interesting video game (unless we are playing PaRappa The Rapper, arguably the worst video game of all time).  Graves says that his contributions add to the overall entertainment value of the product, and that can evoke a lot of pride.  Graves also says he tries to tell a story in the lyric-less music he creates and I must say, some of his stuff evokes very strong emotions for being merely background music.  My personal favorites are his Star Trek compositions…THEY ARE EPIC!

Lonnie Walker, Greenville/Raleigh

Being a Double Barrel Benefit 6 performer, naturally, Lonnie Walker kicks ass.  This down-home feeling rock/Americana band signed to Raleigh based Terpsikhore Records has been compared to artists from Bob Dylan to Modest Mouse.

Double Negative, Raleigh

This old-school, hard-hitting, punk rock compilation sounds like, in terms our friend Jason Graves would understand, a band pulled directly off the soundtrack of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.  Yes, I mean the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater from the Playstation/Nintendo 64 era.  If that description is not your bag of chips, maybe you will just have to listen.

Violet Vector And The Lovely Lovelies, Chapel Hill

The second of the Double Barrel Benefit 6 bands on the list.  Pop on steroids with a whipped cream and cherry topping (after bathing in a rainbow shower).  That is my best description of Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies.  You can tell that these guys & gals truly enjoy what they do, and it shows in their music.

Alesana, Raleigh

If you could get as far from the type of music we just explored with Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies, Alesana would be right there smiling (well, maybe smiling isn’t quite the appropriate word).  This rift crunching, double-bass pedal pounding, mosh-it-out-over-breakfast screamo band is sure to have you with your hand in the air, fist clinched, and head banging all night.

The Loners, Raleigh

The Loners have a unique history in the Raleigh music scene.  They can be considered the diamond in the rough (the rough being the closing of King’s Barcade in downtown Raleigh in the spring of 2007).  After reuniting to play the last show at King’s, the band decided to stay together because of the outpouring of support they receive from the show.  Fast forward almost two years and The Loners are getting set to release their first album since 2002, entitled “Revolution!” (hmm maybe a reference to THE Revolution, 88.1fm…okay probably not, but I can dream).

Inflowential, Raleigh

The beat boxes are crazy, and the live show is amazing!  If you have not seen/heard of this group and you have been in Raleigh for more that a year, then you need to catch up.  Inflowential (not to be mistaken for Kooley High, another hip-hop group that has crossover members) can be seen at  local venues or maybe you remember seeing them place in the top three nationally in mtvU’s Best Music on Campus (a competiton with rising new music artists) last year.

Hammer No More The Fingers, Chapel Hill

Classic indie rock at its best from the town that cranks out indie-alternative like it is a day job.  Its very interesting to see how three driven musicians that grew up in Chapel Hill in the 90’s turn out musically given the crazy musical scene in the town during the past decade or two (I am trying not to dwell to much on a place that is home to the ever so horrible Tar Holes, but it is hard in this case).