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Local Music New Album Review

Fresh Cold Cream from Carrboro

Surfacing form the deep depths of Carrboro, NC is Cold Cream with their newest addition to the music world, “Cold Cream II”. As a psych-punk band, these folks have all the sounds you could desire: catchy vocals and beats; screaming; grounded, realistic lyrics.

In terms of members, Cold Cream claims “exes of Pipe, Superchunk, Bat Fangs, Flesh Wounds, Spider Bags, and Entez Vous” to be a part of this band (as stated on their Bandcamp bio). The band has Clark Blomquist (drums, synth), Laura King (bass), Ron Liberti (guitar) and Mara Thomas (vocals).

Cold Cream II

Cold Cream released the album on February 1, 2024, and it features eight tracks with a run time of about thirteen minutes. FCC warning: there are curse words and foul language in a few of the tracks on this album.

Cactus Wife

Alrighty I picked three songs to dive into a little bit. “Cactus Wife” has the most classic punk and indie rock vibe to it. It’s a pleasant reminder of other NC bands like Archers of Loaf that have been ruling and inspiring artists for over thirty years. “Decorate the World” also a similar upbeat punk rhythm to it if you enjoyed this track.

Fixedair

Here, we are able to find the most psychedelic inspired track on this album. The wavy reverbed vocals sink in like teeth into an ice-cream bar. It’s not pleasant for some, but I love it. The heavy drums have a rainy pitter-patter meant to keep your feet movin’.

Shitbird

A lovely title has to have a lovely sound, right? This track slams and thrashes the most (in comparison to the other tunes on this album).

Last Bite

As I’ve been writing these articles and posts for the last few months about NC music, I keep finding more hope and new bands to latch onto. I grew up being jealous of other states with exemplary music scenes like Philly or Seattle. Now I am beginning to find bands and sounds that have existed for some time, but finally want to unearth themselves to my ears.

I’m excited for the young bands coming onto the scene too. A few that I’ve written about like Babe Haven and smattering of other hardcore bands, are slowly getting pushed into the limelight because of their amazing talents.

Cold Cream is a another one of these bands (comprised of music veterans) that should be able to foster the growth of more unique NC sounds to come.

Categories
New Album Review

New Releases of 2024 I’ve Been Keeping Tabs On

evilgiane’s #HEAVENSGATE VOL. 1

The cover of evilgiane's mixtape #HEAVENSGATE VOL.1

Evilgiane, member of the Surf Gang Collective, has been on my radar since about 2021, when I took note of his excellent collaborations with an underground rapper which resides in North Carolina, BBY GOYARD. In the years since then, he’s become kind of a juggernaut in the underground rap music scene, having collaborations with more mainstream artists like Earl Sweatshirt, PinkPantheress, Kendrick Lamar, and Baby Keem. This 2024 release keeps us acutely aware that despite the fame, he’s still got his ear tuned towards the new breakthrough artists of the scene, just like the years before.

The mixtape is full of choice collaborations with on-the-cusp artists like Nettspend, Harto Falión, Bear1Boss, Rx Papi, xaviersobased and Woesum, to name a few. The picks here prove he’s still primarily a voice for the lesser-known talent that can utilize his refined production skills to make memorable and revisitable tracks all throughout the tape, albeit with some misses here and there.

All in all, this mixtape is quite well made and definitely deserves a listen if you’re an underground rap aficionado. 7/10

karl koyomi and 999 Heartake Sabileye’s Daune Sounds

The cover of karl koyomi and 999 Heartake Sabileye's Daune Sounds

999 Heartake Sabileye’s production on this mixtape is absolutely fantastic, and their involvement in this project is what keyed me into listening to this. I learned of them while making my HexD set for part of a 3-hour HexD marathon with DMC Woodstock and chalcopyrite, but to hear they’ve taken to producing was a welcome surprise. The production here is absolutely fantastic, and you can tell by honing their craft on avant-garde genres like HexD and Mashup, they’ve got their finger on the pulse of what makes abstract hip-hop click.

The rapping from karl koyomi is nothing to scoff at either, yet I can’t help but feel it kind of takes a backseat to the interesting experimentation 999 Heartake Sabileye performs all throughout this EP. It’s a bit disappointing to me that a collaboration like this is limited only to 5 tracks, being a little under 15 minutes worth of music (a complaint they address at the end of the EP), but it ultimately means that this ep will not overstay its welcome by any stretch of the imagination.

I really recommend this EP to anyone who wants some abstract hip-hop that won’t be anything like that which you’re used to. 8/10

ericdoa’s DOA

The cover of ericdoa's album DOA

This album was probably the one i felt the most conflicted on. When I think ericdoa, I feel his brand over the last few years has been heavily hyperpop-tinged trap that straddles the line between guilty pleasure and genuine passion. However, this energy wasdrained from this new project, leaving a moreso corporate-friendly pop-rap project that will definitely get streams, but feels less confident, in a ways. It’s not as artistically authentic as his prior releases, and reeks of label involvement in my opinion, or that’s what i thought at first.

As the project goes on, I see glimpses of the production that ericdoa initially captivated me with in the years prior, but they are sparse and few and far between. I’m not entirely opposed to hyperpop artists switching genres, like as Jane Remover, Frost Children and glaive have done before, it’s just that I’ll be more likely to compare the differing projects with each other. If they don’t compare favorably, that’s just how it is, I guess.

I’m sorry to say that bar the few flashes of brilliance this record contains, most of it is painfully dull compared to his earlier work. 4/10

DJ Fives

Categories
New Album Review

NC Track Round-Up

By: DJ French aka Phillip Fries

Bi-weekly brief write-ups on new music I find searching the “North Carolina” tag on Bandcamp.


2/5/24

Song: “Sweet White Pine”

By: Jodi Jones

From: Carrboro, NC

In her recent EP titled “Balladeer,” Jodi Jones channels the rich heritage of folk-singers in Pennsylvanian Appalachia. In her words, “Sweet White Pine is a song I’ve written about the legend of the White Woman of Murphy’s Bar, Susan Hilbish, whose tragic death at her own hand haunts the village of Shamokin to this day.” The track features beautiful vocals over a simple folk guitar melody. Jones’s interpretation of the tall tale encompasses a range of emotions to unveil a sinister ending.

Ep Link: https://jodijones.bandcamp.com/album/balladeer


2/10/24

Song: “Nail Biter”

By: Cor de Lux

From: Kill Devil Hills, NC

The track starts with a fuzzy rattle of what sounds like a spray paint can & segways into a monotonous buildup of bass, drums, and a sprinkle of keys. Said instruments meld with fuzzy electric guitar and angsty lyrics- softly delivered. Nail Biter is Cor de Lux’s first single after the release of their 2023 album, titled “Media”.

Song link: https://cordelux.bandcamp.com/track/nail-biter


2/14/24

Song: “The Prom You Never Had”

By: Austin Tighe

From: Charlotte, NC

The track starts with a silly flute riff and lofi chillhop drums but quickly evolves into an effervescent dream/bedroom pop track. Vocals are reminiscent of Jerry Paper. Sound likely inspired by artists like Paper & Mild High Club, with a smooth vaporwave-esque twist. Pretty guitar, bass & synth melodies.

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Miscellaneous New Album Review

What’s New in Afterhours?: Feb 2024

It’s been a while since the last one of these, hasn’t it? Tragically, the start of 2024’s been pretty dry for new electronic releases, but here at WKNC, we push through to find only the best. Here’s a few that have been added to rotation in the past month!

Spencer Hodo – “deafness”

Genre: IDM

Tracks Added: “follaiseach,” “altwithdrawdeemedW.A.M.I.O.A,” “utqiagvik rockstar”

Yeah, this album is IDM, but Spencer Hodo plays around with what that means. Most notably is the amount of ambient techno influence on it – tracks like “follaiseach” lean hard into that territory, while still keeping some more straight-up IDM tracks, like “absorball.”

Regardless of what genre it is, “deafness” feels mechanical, with just enough ominousness to make an album that deserves its cover art. It’s a strong album, and good for those who like their electronic music on the more technical side.

Shygirl – “Club Shy”

Genre: House, pop

Tracks Added: “thicc,” “f@k€,” “4eva,” “mute”

Shygirl isn’t reinventing music in this EP, but it’s a solid 15 minutes of club-ready bangers. It’s house-y, fun, and most importantly danceable, and while a little more straightforward than some of her previous music, it’s a worthy addition to Shygirl’s discography.

“Thicc” is my personal favorite track, and exemplifies a lot of what I think is best about this release. It’s perfect to put on at just about any party, unless you go to really weird parties where you stand in complete silence or something.

cluli – “CLUECORE!”

Genre: Hyperflip

Tracks Added: “tf we gon do in our thinking chair,” “i was never book smart im clue smart,” “they besties”

Yes, we added a song that samples both Jay Eazy and the line “sticking out your gyatt for the rizzler.” But also, consider: it is, in fact, good.

Cluli brings their own take on the popular-if-you-are-a-very-specific-type-of-person microgenre of hyperflip here, leaning more into the “brostep-indebted extreme production bangers” side of things rather than the “meme sample-heavy” side, though it still brings plenty of the silliness. The result is a potential new classic, and a new artist to look forward to new releases from.

Conclusion

New music is always awesome, and these are no exception. Watch out for them playing on WKNC!

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Concert Preview New Album Review

DBB 20: Saphron’s Album “Ecce Homo”

Welcome all ye listeners to the weird and strange and the normal and the everything else under the umbrella of all music. There’s this little thing WKNC does every year to raise money. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe not. WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit is in its twentieth year of existence and there are many amazing bands and artists coming out to King’s on February 16th and 17th to help us raise money to keep doing what we’re doing (all things music).

This year’s Friday headliner, Saphron, is the main objective of this article. While I don’t have much info about the members of the band, I’ve been sinking further and further into the depths of their sounds. 

Saphron is an emo punk band from the wondrous city of Raleigh, NC (we love a good ol’ local band). The members include Zoe Hardee (Composition, Production, Vocals, Guitar, Synthesizer), Ian Waddill (Production, Arrangement, Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Ari Moore (Sound Engineering, Arrangement, Drums, Backing Vocals). All of these credits are for their most recently released album, “Ecce Homo”, which was given unto us on October 14, 2022.

Saphron’s sounds swirl in my head. The moving lyrics and lead vocals of Zoe Hardee jolt me and console me all at once. Little whispers telling me to feel something explode into screaming fits. This band’s unique noises continue to pop in my ears at the most random times of day. Saphron tends to the fields of addicting noise that I can’t quit. 

Ecce Homo

I, as per usual in my album reviews, will stick to highlighting my favorite tracks on this release. Please excuse my abundant adoration of Saphron’s sounds. They’re quite bewitching to me, and I still can’t figure out why.

Pity Stunts

Bass beats and drum thumps echo through the empty rooms in my head. This track fills silence better than any conversation. It’s a cry for love and why we have to give everything we can to smother that feeling. I keep trying to figure out what music scenes I belong to. This song reminds me no one cares, just dance.

Chelsea

This song is my favorite on the album. I keep going into the addictiveness of this music. I can’t stop alluding to it. How does a band do this to my head? What else am I supposed to say to get you all to listen to this? There’s probably some weird formulation of words that make everyone’s head scream at them to listen to a writer, but I don’t have those words at my disposal. Just listen to the song. 

Perfect Love

Both this song and the previous perfectly blend all the band’s talents to create a smoky atmosphere of beauty and pain. There are more explosions off in the distance as the world burns. How am I supposed to care when there’s only my floating consciousness trying to exist when this song plays?

Knives

With a synth opening that’s about as addictive as any sweet candy, this song is the reason I can’t stop returning to Saphron’s music. Hardee’s intoxicating vocals are like a stab to the gut. You don’t really want to be hurt, but the pain is freeing in some odd f***** up way. 

Conclusions of a Sort:

I can’t sum up a band. There’s never any real expectation to, but I feel like it helps people who skim articles or even myself come to a final conclusion about sounds produced in the world. Saphron’s music doesn’t need a summary because it’s here in the world to stay and exist in the moments we want to listen. “Ecce Homo” is a great first full length release for this band (obviously an understatement from my point of view) and as this band continues to age, experience life through music and create more heavenly sounds, I will be here listening to anything they can give us. 

Saphron will be headlining WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit on Friday, February 16th. Be there to support this band but also the other wondrous local musicians offering their talents to our ears.

Categories
New Album Review

Lip Critic – “The Heart”

Standing in the bowels of hell, I was able to ascend and see beauty carved from the carnage of beings and decrepit walls. This was my vision passed unto me by Lip Critic when I saw them open for Screaming Females last fall. 

This band’s unique atmosphere pools from the terrible traumatic experience of their sound. It’s a horrifying and fun landscape of sound destroying anything you deem holy. Lip Critic is from NYC. The band consists of two ferocious drummers Danny Eberle and Ilan Natter with samplers Connor Kleitz and Bret Kaser (also main vocals). 

An article by NME compares Lip Critic to Death Grips, one of the most well known experimental bands. I see it, but LIp Critic is their own behemoth. Way more synthy and electronic based. The lyrics are harsh, funky and certified fresh (from me). 

A few past releases of theirs have been “Lip Critic II”, “Kill Lip Critic” and “Lip Critic: Truth Revealed”. They’ve released a few songs in the past couple months. Most notably for me, is “The Heart”. It’s a beautiful melody of strange abhorrent sounds. Kaser’s vocals are anxiety inducing but they also have a weird calming sensation by the end of the track. 

Basically, if you’re into some weird strange noises that are a mix of spoken word, electronic BLAM and glitchy twitches, Lip Critic is a sound you’d enjoy.

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New Album Review

“Plague Infested Dump of the Future” by MooM

My goal in writing album reviews isn’t to rank albums and give them some arbitrary number. It isn’t to tell people they have to listen to a certain artist or track or they’ll be missing out for the rest of their lives. I think I want people to appreciate the time, effort and emotions poured into the music musicians create. 

In the case of MooM and Yo La Tengo, each of these bands have viewpoints they want expressed into the world. With each of their recent releases (MooM’s being this month and Yo La Tengo’s being last year), they both express their frustrations they feel are rampant throughout our world. 

In this article I’ll be talking about MooM’s perspective. In another article, I’ll be talking about Yo La tengo’s perspective. 

MooM is a powerviolence/ hc band from Tel Aviv Yafo, Israel. “Plague Infested Urban Dump of the Future” was released on January 10, 2024 through Raleigh’s own To Live A Lie Records. This album was recorded at Polar Studios by Gad Torrefrancae. MooM’s members include Sima (Vocals), Ez Ra (Guitar), Gad (Bass) and Heshbon (Drums). 

In an old article by Lixiviat Records that interviews MooM, they list a large number of projects the band members worked on in the past and bands they want to keep supporting that are local to them. It’s definitely interesting to read and understand a little bit of where this band comes from in terms of sound influences. 

Our Plague Infested Urban Dumps:

Intro” until “Ein Essek

The first four tracks of this album blend together seamlessly. The transitions from “Intro” into “Adom” are like an invisible barrier and that same treatment goes into the next couple tracks too. MooM’s sounds are incredibly harsh, which is why I was drawn to them; this band exudes anger, resentment, chaos and sludge. 

Ma Ye Ha’sof?” until “Meorav Ha’Porao

The next five tracks are also seamless. One flows into the next into the next into the next. By building up anger and grief and rage into your ears, MooM helps us explode in the faces of those creating our toxic dump urban sprawls. How do we stand up to those that allow harmful policies to continually destroy without loud opposition? Screaming at the tops of our lungs might be the first step, but how do we keep going if we’re running on fumes of rage?

Le’ashim Et Ha’yareac” until “Mazmina Shinui

Alright this section is quite as seamless, but that is because some of the tracks are meant to be more discordant than others. I really enjoy the guitar in this section of the album as it feels more violent and eruptive than earlier parts.

Wake Up from My Sleep” until “Lo Babayt

The vocals by Sima and backup guttural, throaty growls by another member are the highlights of this section of the album. A return to the never-ending, concussive drums creates a sense of fear and prickles crawling up and down my spine. This especially occurs in “Lo Babayt”. The final song of the album is a step down in pacing as it unwinds all the emotions ripping through our ears for the past nineteen minutes. 

Sprawling City ‘Scapes of Green. Where Are You?

MooM’s PLague Infested Urban Dump of the Future” isn’t supposed to be a wakeup call to the horrors of our daily life. It’s a reflection on the terrible reality that people are constantly facing. It’s the emotions that leak out into the void and never echo back. Feeling and fueling the building discomfort from how the world is currently working is one way to help others find their own voice to critique the kinds of systems in which we live. 

Bringing MooM’s recent release into the same circle as Yo La Tengo’s “This Stupid World” is strange. The sounds of the two albums couldn’t be more different, but Yo La Tengo’s subject matter of the fear of time can relate to MooM’s anti-oppression and fear induced anger themes. Both are afraid of how people react to the systems that are reaching around humanity and stringing us up like a puppet, moving our mouths and arms and legs. 

Well, if you’re interested in a slower version of fear rather than MooM’s fast-paced anger, you can check out my thoughts on Yo La Tengo’s “This Stupid World”.

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New Album Review

Album Review: Hearth Room by Frost Children

I first discovered Frost Children during the George Clanton concert at Cat’s Cradle in October. A few days before, I checked out some of their top songs and did not think much about their music until the concert. While I was mainly looking forward to the other acts, Frost Children ended up being the stand out performance.

After the show, I listened to “Speed Run” and was hooked and wanted more. I did not have to wait long since they dropped their fifth album “Hearth Room” on Nov. 17, 2023. This album cemented the band as more than a budget 100 gecs.

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New Album Review

“Gift Horse” by IDLES

The first time I ever drove on the highway, I listened to an IDLES song.

Gripping the steering wheel with bloodless knuckles, my vision blurring from the sheer force of my skin-prickling anxiety, I barreled down the highway with the lyrics to “Never Fight a Man With a Perm” rattling around in the empty space where my brain was supposed to be.

Cover for “Joy as an Act of Resistance” by IDLES

IDLES, formed in Bristol in 2009, make music specifically for the situation I outlined above. Grimy, manic and thudding, IDLES is delightfully raucous.

“Tank” but with a bit of “G”

Back in October, they announced their upcoming album “TANGK,” which is set to come out Feb 14.

According to the band, the word “Tangk” is pronounced like “‘tank’ with a whiff of the ‘g'” and serves as an “onomatopoeic reference” to the band’s “lashing” guitars.

While the word may sit strangely in one’s mouth, it’s clear that “TANGK” is one of the band’s most ambitious projects yet.

As a preview, IDLES released “DANCER” on Oct 18.

Two months later in December, the band put out “GRACE.”

Most recently (Jan 15, to be exact), IDLES released another single from “TANGK,” “GIFT HORSE.”

Cover for “TANGK” by IDLES

The second song to appear on the album, “GIFT HORSE” is classic IDLES.

More fast-paced than “GRACE” and rougher around the edges than “DANCER,” “GIFT HORSE” — while not particularly striking on its own — is a fairly solid track to bolster the runtime of an album.

According to the band, “TANGK” will consist of 11 tracks and focuses on empowerment, trauma and community. I look forward to being able to listen through the whole thing come February.

Categories
New Album Review

“5 TRACK EP” by Inflicter

5 TRACK EP | Inflicter

I was going to write about some Chicago hardcore (hc) punk band, but I stumbled across this short little EP instead. Inflicter is from the UK and makes quick, ripping-loud, noisy, thrashy hc music. This kind of music makes my ears pop like they were clogged up from a bad cold. 

The sparse smattering of vocals drew me into this album. It feels like spoken word mixed with Egg punk mixed with classic punk vocals. In “Denied” the vocals are echoey and what I would describe as flavorful. They sound like a bubble ready to pop with lots of hatred about to spill out of it. Super cool and unique to put simply. 

Inflicter has another EP, “7 SONG DEMO”, that I have yet to listen to all of. The vocals are a little more clear. This band is angry (as are tons of hc bands) and they’re doing their best to voice their social frustrations in a cool way through their own sounds within the hardcore genre. 

This band feels extremely new, so there isn’t too much easy to find information about them except for one article that dove into their “7 SONG DEMO” and some of the local bands in the UK they appreciate and find inspiration from. 

Their music is currently on Bandcamp, and I hope to be listening to more of their sounds change over the next couple years as they grow and become more in-tune with themselves.