The Raleigh News & Observer recommends filling your loved one’s stockings with awesome local tunes this year. If you can only choose one, I recommend Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies’ EP-1.
Perhaps its time to stop placing Bon Iver and Alina Simone in the Local category, but its not time to stop giving them any attention. And hey, we can still call John Darnielle our own right? All three cracked the top 100 of USATodays Pop Candy 2008 People of the Year poll, compiled by Whitney Matheson.
The purpose of USAToday’s Pop Candy is to “unwrap pop culture’s hip and hidden secrets." No secret to us or our listeners though, these three can all claim some citizenship to WKNC and the Triangle.
Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) comes from DeYarmond Edison, transplanted band from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Vernon left the band a year after moving to Raleigh, and Megafaun was born of the remaining members (Brad and Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund). We are still thanking Justin for that, and also for his latest release For Emma, Forever Ago which has scorched the airwaves all over America in the past year (I still listen to "Blindsided” about once a day). Matheson put the band at #88 on her list with the kind words:
“The band, led by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, transfixed fans of all ages with a winning debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, and must-see live performances. ”
Look for Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP to hit the shelves January 20th (if you havnt already gotten an illegal copy that seems to have found its way to every wanna-be pirate website on the net- just google it).
Alina Simone claims to preside in Brooklyn, but we in North Carolina know better. Her unique brand of alternative folk/indie/ukrainish-punk (whatever it is) can be heard many times live throughout the Triangle during any given year. Lets all convince her to just move down permanently. Matheson made her #83 on the list saying:
“It’s true that I can’t decipher what Simone sings on her latest record, Everyone is Crying Out to Me Beware. But the singer’s emotions come through on this powerful tribute to Russian punk/folk musician Yanka Dyagileva. ”
Not familiar with John Darnielle? How about the Mountain Goats? Thats what I thought. Darnielle concieved the Durham based band in 1991 while in college in California. Interestingly enough, he didn’t make Matheson’s list for his music, but rather for his book Master of Reality. He is #79 on the list:
“While he’s best known for his band, The Mountain Goats, this year the musician grabbed my attention with his book about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. Instead of delivering a dry history of the record for Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, he penned a moving, fictional account of a metal-loving teen trapped in a mental hospital. By the end, readers get a sense of why the music matters – and feel an overwhelming urge to spin some Sabbath.”
Matheson forgot to mention that Darnielle used to work as a psychiatric nurse.
As of today, there are still 50 more spots to go, and while I normally disregard polls such as this, its always nice to find those North Carolina gems getting some hard earned recgonition. So congrats!
You know the story. Local music die hard, and WXYC alum, Cy Rawls, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in June of 2008. Unable to pay his mounting medical bills, bands and friends from all over North Carolina, Virginia, and the US pitched in to throw some of the most amazing concerts, film viewings, and even bake sales, with all benefits attributed to a fund which paid for Cy’s medical bills. Unfortunately, at just the age of 33, on October 3, 2008, Cy passed away at Duke Medical Center.
Thankfully, it did not end there. Enter CyTunes, a nonprofit music download site that “features exclusive music from artists who have contributed tracks (both live and in-studio) to help raise money for cancer research in memory of Cy Rawls." There are 44 bands and artists in all (as of today) which include:
Cantwell, Gomez, and Jordan
Cy Rawl’s Sweet Militia
Dirty Little Heaters
Hammer No More The Fingers
I Was Totally Destroying It
Johnson, Eubank, Morrow, Pence
Shake Some Action
Sorry About Dresden
ALL PROCEEDS from CyTunes go to Tisch Brain Tumor Center, where Cy was a patient. Please support this amazing organization, the bands that contribute to it, and the memory of Cy Rawls.
For more information, feel free to read these excellent articles by the Independent Weekly, and this write-up by Pitchfork.
The Independent Weekly has chosen their top 40 tracks from the Triangle music scene from 2008. The list features brief summaries of each band and their song, plus free downloads of all 40 chosen songs. Very cool.
Some notable gems that even we at WKNC missed include Lois Deloatch’s traditional piece of “Down By The Riverside,” a fantastic jazzy/blues number, Michael Holland’s country tune “Ballad of Eric Rudolph,” and Kooley High’s hip-hop track “Kool With It” from the Summer Sessions. Be on the lookout for these tunes to hit the Local Lunch & other WKNC formats in the near future.
A couple of songs I might have been able to survive without out that made the list include Bryce Clayton Eiman’s static laced “The Black & The Black” and ambient/indie band Boyzone with their song “Six Hunkth,” but its no secret I shy away from ambient/experimental tunes, and you gotta make everyone happy, right? I am also a tad bit confused on how Oregeon folk singer David Karsten Daniels made the list. I understand he plays the Triangle frequently, but would appreciate any knowledge on his relation to the Triangle.
Some notable exceptions include Greg Humphreys, Lonnie Walker, Tift Merritt, & Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies. But alas, only room for 40, and I think the Indy always does a fantastic job with these sorts of lists. By the way, does anyone consider Ryan Adams, Hotel Lights, or Roman Candle local anymore? Just a thought…
Pelican is a band from Chicago on the amazing Hydra Head Label run and founded by Aaron Turner, founder of ISIS. Other bands on the label roster include Boris, Jesu, Kayo Dot, Lustmord, Merzbow, Zozobra, and Cave In. Past bands include Cult of Luna, Sunn O))), and Neurosis. Many of these bands are ambient drone bands or post-rock bands. Other bands which are similar to these artists are ISIS, Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, Anathema, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Adai, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, The Angelic Process, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, North, Godflesh, and Mountains Became Machines. All these bands are pretty heavy, when it comes to emotional and moving music, and have toured with metal bands. Many metal heads listen to these bands and enjoy them. So is Post-Rock really Indie Music? Or is it just another offshoot of Heavy Metal. I’m going to say Metal, due to the sheer fact that most of these bands have metal roots. ISIS was a doom band as well as Anathema. Justin Broadrick, founder of Jesu and Godflesh, was the original guitarist on Napalm Death’s “Scum”. It just seems to me that Post-Rock should have it’s name changed. In this author’s humble opinion, to Ambient Metal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go work on my Instrumental Ambient Metal Avant Garde band, Renob Sinep.
Local hard rock act, Downcycle, announced today that their lead singer Joe Verga is calling it quits in the band after a year and a half since the band reformed in May 2007, citing “personal issues." The three original members, Barry Knain, Todd Parham and Sean Loepp plan on sticking around however, and looking for a new vocalist or "joining the circus.”
This is their second vocalist in as many years, the first being Mike Bonavita.
In the meantime, its unlikely Barry, Todd, and Sean’s side act, Headbelt, will be seeing the same drop off.
Popular local act, Future Kings of Nowhere has just announced their plans to go on hiatus for the first couple months of 2009. According to the Future Kings of Nowhere’s myspace page, the band is taking time off due to the constant stress and workload that their touring required and to get their creative processes back in order. Below is taken from their myspace blog:
After our last 4 shows in December, The Future Kings of Nowhere will be going on hiatus. We have played a ton of shows over the past few years and have had a ton of fun, but I’m frankly a bit worn out. I’m stunned when I look back at all of my life goals that I’ve already accomplished in this band; playing at CBGBs, getting reviewed in magazines, opening for one of my musical heroes (twice!), getting radio play all over the country, being able to use the band to help promote some good causes, going on some long tours. Not to mention the incredible thrill of connecting with an audience while you all sing along with our songs. On the flipside, we’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time and money pursuing this, and I’ve let that pursuit do some real damage to some important friendships. Somewhere in the last year or so, this whole thing turned from fun into serious work. Everything has become opportunity cost and promotion. I know that anything good takes effort, and I’m not scared of putting my back into my music, but I never wanted to be a businessman. I got into this because I loved playing music and when I sang these songs it felt like it was going to save my life. I feel like there is something that I’ve lost about what it means to really truly love what you’re doing, and I need to take a little while to figure out what I forgot.
We’ll still be around though. I’ll still be playing drums with Resist Not, Mike will be playing washboard with Midtown Dickens, and Jon will still be playing the coffee machine at 3 Cups. Thank you all…from the bottom of our hearts…for buying our albums and coming to our shows and singing along and telling your friends and giving us couches to sleep on and meals to eat while we were on the road. And hopefully, in a few months we’ll be rested and ready to go again.
Shayne, Mike and Jon
Hopfully, this break is only a temporary one, and FKoN comes back even stronger than before. In the meantime, their last four shows for 2008 might be the last for awhile, so be sure to check them out:
Having some Avett Brothers withdrawal this time of the year? Here is a nice remedy to curb that unwanted emptiness:
Scott Avett’s artwork is now on display in an ongoing presentation at the Envoy Gallery in NYC. The presentation is called “Sketches from the road, from home and from the life of a transient artist.” Click to see these beautiful drawings here.
“While traveling constantly and moving as often as I do, I have learned that to occupy my time with learning and or creating is crucial to my well-being as an artist. It is important, like all things, that a balance is enforced and that I don’t shut myself off entirely from my surroundings for there is so much to see around us. Never-the-less there are times where there is no way to turn but inward as well as there are times that the only way to grow or complete a task is to disappear and work. The drawings available through envoy gallery are products of that time disappearing. Each come from one of three scenarios, which are all, linked to my time with The Avett Brothers and our creative journey. One is self-portrait, my most loyal and accessible subject matter, second is the observational drawing which is a drawing of a person place or thing around me used as practice or just to kill time, and three are preliminary drawings that serve as research for the visual side of The Avett Brothers.” -Scott Avett
And I must add, Scott Avett can certainly draw an excellent pair of testicles.
Winston-Salem has proven to be the relative breeding ground of emo bands in North Carolina throughout the 2000’s. And though this strange, somehow popular, and in most cases annoying musical genre that bases much of its sound around the fashion of japanese anime hairdos and post hardcore punk, tries to come off as tough and rugged, it has begun showing its softer side. In this case, popular W-S band Yearling has posted images of the band having a pillow fight (a presumed initiation of their most recent band mate) on their myspace page with the opportunity for their fans to write a humorous caption. The winner gets a free copy of their new album, a t-shirt, and an autographed poster. Needless to say, this contest is turning out more to be entertainment for heterosexual males such as myself, rather than the assumed reactions the band was hoping for. The contest ends December 1st. This should be interesting…