Even though May is just beginning, 2009 has proved to be one of the best musical years in the Triangle and North Carolina in my memory. As the new Local Music Director at WKNC, my mailbox has been flooded with tons of music from all around the state and our community. This blog will highlight some of the newest local material you will hear on WKNC.
Bombadil– Tarpits & Canyonlands:
While this album is not set to release for a couple more weeks, Bombadil was kind enough to leave WKNC with a copy a little while back. Needless to say, after my first listen to Tarpits & Canyonlands, I knew this would become an instant classic in our area. After the second listen through, I grasped that it was indeed a musical masterpiece. After my eighth listen I realized it was the best album I have heard in the past six years, local or not.
This is the third release by Bombadil, a band out of Durham, North Carolina, in three years and by far their best output. Bombadil is well known for its generally upbeat folky and lyrically witty sounds, backed by instrumentation that carries the listener to a grassy field filled with barefoot serfs tipsy on bootleg mountain whiskey and rum. Or, as a review of their first album by ex-WKNC DJ Big Fat Sac more blatantly put it, “It sounds like a bunch of hobbits in Durham got together and made folk music.” Tarpits & Canyonlands does not stray far from this unique sound, but a definite sense of maturity is noticeable as compared to their 2008 release A Buzz, A Buzz. And while Bombadil delightfully keeps their catchy and original sonic personality within the music that has made them so popular, the main themes delve deeper into more serious and somber issues such as marriage, relationships, and growing old. Many songs reflect a more somber tone and feature unaccompanied harmonies unlike previous releases (such as “Reasons”, “Cold Runway”, & “Marriage”), while others retain that familiar goofiness and playful innocence of their first release (“Oto The Bear”, “Laurita”, & “Malaysia”). Even still some of the more stand out tracks such as “I Am”, “Sad Birthday”, “Needless to Say”, and “25 Daniels” offer a new glimpse into Bombadil’s creative genius.
Bombadil has certainly grown up the past three years and become one of the premiere bands to see and hear not only around these parts, but elsewhere as well. Be on the lookout for this album to receive massive attention from our DJs.
Lonnie Walker– These Times Old Times:
Another yet to be release album has made its debut on WKNC this month. Lonnie Walker, a local favorite from Greenville has slowly been gaining in popularity as noticed by their pick in the N&O’s Great 8, and as a choice for WKNC’s own Double Barrel Benefit 6. If you have never heard their material before, picture a hardier Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks with intense vocal outbursts and crushing guitar. This is their debut release and features several new editions of songs already in WKNC rotation from their demo album. Popular tunes such as “Wider Than White,” “Summertime,” and “Pendulum’s Chest” stand out as ferociously better than their original counterparts while newbies such as “Grape Juice”. “Back Home Inside With You”, “Ships”, and my personal favorite “Crochet” make a stand as a mark of growth within their work. These Times Old Times certainly deserves the attention this band has been getting.
Roman Candle– Oh Tall Tree In The Ear:
It’s hard to believe this is only the second full length album by this former Chapel Hill band (now based in Tennessee) but it doesn’t miss a beat. In comparison to their first album it is remarkably similar, yet better at the same time. Oh Tall Tree In The Ear features the same poppy lyric style and musicality but manages to come off as wittier, catchier, and seemingly more developed.
American Aquarium– Dances For The Lonely:
This album has been in rotation for a couple of weeks now but is worth mentioning. Meet Bruce Springsteen the second with even more of that down to earth heartland rock. Luckily, this is not a bad thing and tunes such as “Katherine Belle” and “Louisiana Beauty Queen” keep your foot tapping for more. Dances for the Lonely has a solid country/southern rock groove that will be a staple on WKNC for some time.
Many other new tracks you will hear on WKNC this May include some older tunes that were either overlooked or not brought to our previous attention. These include:
Aminal– A Face To Fight
Aminal– A Will To Fight
Brett Harris– Side Two EP
Brett Harris– Yesterdays News
Connells– Darker Days (yes, this album is from 1985, but it completely kicks ass!)
Kickin Grass Band– The Kickin Grass Band
Lemming Malloy– The Return Of The Norfolk Regiment
Luego– WKNC Sexclusive Pre-Sampler
Our Velvet Revolution– Our Velvet Revolution EP
Stars Explode– The Stars Explode
Water Callers– Springboard
Waumiss- Waumiss LP