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.
As the lovely host of Americana Blues & Company here at WKNC, I am frequently asked two questions when I try to explain my show to someone:
1. Wait, your DJ name is Sweet Annie Rich? But that’s not your real name…
2. What is Americana?
To answer the first question, I must say to you: Gram Parsons. If you do not know who he was, look him up. It will make answering the second question much, much, MUCH easier.
Secondly… Americana is a LOT of things. It’s not simply country or bluegrass or rockabilly or what-have-you. It’s an amalgamation of the genres born right here in America (hence “Americana”), and, to quote the late great Gram Parsons himself: it is Cosmic American Music. It is where all of the purely American styles come together to create the true spirit of music. It is pure and transcendent.
For a primer in Americana, here’s a video which contains the old (a Gram Parsons song with Emmylou Harris, who is ubiquitous to the genre) meeting the new (Ryan Adams singing the part Gram used to sing) to keep this transcendent spirit alive and going:
New album ‘Heart On’ lacks electricity
General Manager, WKNC 88.1 FM
Hailing from Palm Springs, Calif., Eagles of Death Metal is masterminded by high school friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme. Though Homme’s other band, Queens of the Stone Age, had already achieved widespread success prior to Eagles’ debut release of Peace, Love, and Death Metal in 2004, he has maintained a musical partnership with Hughes since 1998.
First and foremost: Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band. Perhaps best summarized as garage rock, Homme once described the band’s sound as “bluegrass slide guitar mixed with stripper drum beats and Canned Heat vocals.”
Their debut received favorable reviews and several tracks were featured on commercial spots and in the movie Thank You For Smoking. Their follow-up, Death by Sexy, was released in 2006 and featured contributions from Jack Black, Liam Lynch and Dave Grohl among others.
Heart On opens with the rhythmic clapping of “Anything ‘cept the Truth,” which quickly descends into the treble drenched riffs of Hughes’ guitar. In addition to the opener, Eagles are at their high powered rocking best with upbeat tracks like “Wannabe in LA,” “High Voltage,” and “Secret Plans.”
Of course, as with any other Eagles of Death Metal album, the release is latent with hilarious quips on the nuances of sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Tracks like ‘(I Used to Couldn’t Dance) Tight Pants’ and ‘Cheap Thrills’ highlight the band’s authentic brand of rock humor, but neither compare to the majestic ode to self abuse that is ‘Solo Flights.’
Ultimately, the album makes for a fun listen and contains solid tracks from top to bottom, but if you’re looking for that infectious toe-tapping crunchy rock anthem that stays in your head for days, then look elsewhere. There is not a single track on the album that can be identified as a weakened link to the album’s fluidity, but conversely, there is not a single track which differentiates itself as spectacular. This lack of electricity is what ultimately places Heart On behind its predecessors.
88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.