New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 8/31

Hear Here: The Triangle Various Artists Flying Tiger Sound, Terpsikhore Records, and WKNC
Drew St. Claire

I’m going to level with you. We write these CD reviews to tell you if something’s good or bad. Whether the stuff in it works or it doesn’t work. Who it sounds like and who it doesn’t sound like. Yet this one, Hear Here: The Triangle, is a different animal. It’s quite literally my baby, our baby actually, seeing as you fund the student radio station that compiled it.

So how can I just pick this thing up with some stylized tweezers and plop it into a genre’s zip-lock bag? I can’t.
It’s too diverse and too unique to its creator. Like the old adage says- you never think your kid’s ugly. Well, I guess I’ll have to abandon the normal objectivity and just tell you how beautiful this kid is.

Fitting to geographic location, the album features three solid hip-hop artists. Kooley High’s track “Can’t Go Wrong” speaks for itself. With beats reminiscent of hip-hop’s golden age and smooth rhymes how could you go wrong?

I bet if you crank this up while cruising down Hillsborough Street you’ll enter a time warp back to L.A., circa 1993. Blount Harvey’s “the Three” is an ode to big, beautiful women accompanied by soulful female vocals and Inflowential’s contribution, “Sherriff”, is a rendition of Marley’s classic reggae hit.

Keeping things particularly intense on the hard rock front are Colossus and Static Minds. With guitar virtuosity that’s taken straight from the Valient Thorr playbook and vocal power that rivals the late Freddy Mercury, Colossus reminds you exactly why they have a copyright on such an epic band name.

Not to be left out is Static Minds. Essentially, they’re the best proto punk band you’ll ever hear, the only difference is they’re from 2009, not 1969.

Here’s a rundown of the other local talents. The Love Language combines the best aspects of I’m From Barcelona and the Beach Boys.

Never’s “Littlest Things” is a crooning acoustic ballad, like a modern version of the Beatles’ “Because”. Despite the grisly implications of Kingsbury Max’s “Custer’s Last Stand”, the song feels very bright and shimmery.
It’s almost like you’re taking a whimsical monorail made of sunlight through a happier version of Dark Side of the Moon. And although Americans in France may give a nod to European aesthetics with their band name, the fuzzy chaos of “No Love For a Prophet” is pure grunge-era Sonic Youth.

I racked my brain over how to typify the other bands, most notably the Rosebuds, Hammer No More the Fingers, and Birds of Avalon. But then, I came to a realization.

Would the Sex Pistols have been punks if they grew up in Topeka? Would Johnny Cash have been the man in black if he lived in Manhattan? Would the B.I.G. be Notorious if he came from the suburbs? No. The fact of the matter is that local bands are great because they are ours.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

Music News and Interviews

Pavement Reunion?

I am not usually one for “gossip” (okay, that’s a lie), but I wanted to report it has been confirmed by Entertainment Weekly & Pitchfork that Pavement is reuniting for a benefit show at Central Park SummerStage on September 21, 2010.

This will mark about 11 years since the the band’s final performance.

Anyone up for a road trip?

DJ Highlights

Sweet Annie Rich on Goodnight, Raleigh!

Several WKNC DJs have been featured on Goodnight Raleigh, and Sweet Annie Rich has now joined the ranks.  Check out this small glimpse into WKNC’s Saturday mornings!

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 8/24

Engineers’ latest release a dull effort
Jon Gomes

Shoegaze, in a nutshell, is theme music for dreaming. In a semi-conscious drift, substance gives way to texture. Emotions are established rather than statements. The sound can bloom from a whisper into a wall of reverb-drenched guitars, awash with frothy vocals and crash cymbals. It’s difficult to take it all in, but shoegaze is meant to sweep you away. Sometimes the experience is breathtaking. Other times, it all seems like haphazard noise. The sophomore effort by the British post-rock group Engineers, Three Fact Fader, finds itself vacillating between these two extremes.

Four years have passed since the release of their stellar self-titled debut in 2005. Since then, Engineers have focused on further developing their sound: a meld of ambient post-rock, shoegaze, and psychedelic influences. Though still sonically distinct (especially with the pillow-soft vocals of lead singer Simon Phipps), the end result is a lukewarm album that lacks substance.

Three Fact Fader comes on strong but cannot sustain itself. The opener, “Clean Coloured Wire,” establishes a swirling, smoldering sound which harkens back to their previous album. The song’s latent energy makes it an excellent prelude for the next track.

The album climaxes all too soon with the glorious “Sometimes I Realise.” The first lyric captures the dreamy essence of the song: “Time works slower in red / Flowing back to the start.” The driving bass line of the verse escalates up to the chorus, an afternoon thunderstorm of distortion and drums — easily the best moment on this album.

The cloudburst excitement of “Sometimes I Realise” is quickly dissipated by the next track, melancholically titled “International Dirge.” Slightly somber and flavored with psychedelic flourishes, it’s a decent song but does not mesh well with the established sound of the album. Fader begins to wander at this point with two more slow and sedated tracks.

Thankfully, the energy begins to rise again with “Hang Your Head,” an upbeat number with an insistent beat and huge swaths of guitar chords. Engineers also achieve a similar sense of liveliness with the title track, “Three Fact Fader.” But the sound changes, for the worse yet again, from animated to anemic for the next song.

With the possible exception of the final track, the back half of Three Fact Fader consists of decent yet forgettable songs. There are a few successful moments here and there: the string orchestra section at the end of “Emergency Room,” or the sudden transition in “The Fear Has Gone” from calmness to calamity. Yet overall, these tracks fail to provoke any emotions. Despite the tidal waves of droning guitars and cascading drums, there’s no feeling of majesty that groups like M83 or Sigur Rós accomplish so well.

In the end, Three Fact Fader loses itself in the ennui of shoegaze. Tracks like “Sometimes I Realise” demonstrate what Engineers are capable of, but the album as a whole fails to reach its potential — a disappointment considering some of the excellent parts in some songs. Fader sounds like a dream but it never awakens from its comatose state.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

Concert Preview Local Music

Local Beer Local Band Night

This Thursday at Tir Na Nog is the Sparkcon Kickoff show. Sparkcon is
a annual DIY festival that showcases Raleigh’s top artists. This show
has a great local lineup: Starmount, Aminal Music, The Jackets and
Bright Young Things. Starmount is a psychedelic, down-tempo, four
piece band headed by Greg Elkin, who has produced albums for many well
known local artists (including Goner- YEAH!). Aminal and The Jackets
will bless the stage with a heavy dose of Americana-Indie rock
followed by Bright Young Things, which will crush you with its pop

This event will also provide local beer tasting from Foothills beer, a
Winston Salem brewery.

Tune in Thursday at 7  p.m. for an interview with Bright Young Things.

DJ Highlights

Sessions@KNC: North Elementary

One Friday night, I decided it would be a great idea to completely shave my head.  The next day, North Elementary happened to sessions@KNC.  The following aerial shot gives a great view of my shiny bald glory.  Oh, yeah, and the band too.

So seriously, as a result of a day properly divided between music-making and skater-heckling, you all have the chance to download three new North Elementary Tunes and one old one.  I highly recommend you do, because they rock.  If you’re a geek like me, listen to Chad’s drums in the slow part of “Lose Your Favorite Things.” Great Drums + Caldwell Lounge = incredible sound.Right now, North Elementary is in the studio cutting tracks for a new album, so keep an eye out for another release!Also, I’ll shout a huge thanks to Mikey, Liz, and Matt for showing up and volunteering good chunks of their Saturdays.

Music News and Interviews

An interview with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis

“Four weeks ago, if you were to ask me if I would be here, at Tir Na Nog, playing with Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds, and watching football, I would have said, ‘No way,’ but here I am,” Michael Lerner said as he smiled at the crowd. His glance, the thick black rimmed glasses absent from his face, shifted from the football game on the TV in the back of the bar, across the crowd, and back to his music. He adjusted a tuner at the head of his three-fourths, formica guitar and went into the next song, “I Saw Lightning.”

Four weeks ago, if you were to ask me if I would be posting an interview with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis a day after watching the Monday night performance from the newly formed Telekinesis lineup at Tir Na Nog, I would have said, “Well, maybe.” I’ve learned to never eliminate fanciful ideas from the list of maybes.

A day after Michael Lerner arrived in Raleigh from Seattle, we snagged him for an interview in our WKNC studio. He is a young musician who has found love for music in his journey as a record store employee, student at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, recording studio employee and now full time musician. We sat down and talked about how the release of his self-titled debut has kept him busy, where the inspiration for those quirky fresh pop songs come from and what in the months ahead.

WKNC Interview with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis

Music News and Interviews

Giveaways for the Week of September 14th!

Listen in for your chance to win tickets to these awesome local shows happening this week:

Tuesday, September 15th
Missing Cats @ Presented by Cat’s Cradle at Arts Center

Trail of Dead and Secret Machines @ Cat’s Cradle

Wednesday, September 16th

Cowboy Mouth w/ Simplified @ Lincoln Theatre

Keegan Dewitt with Parachute Musical and Wakey Wakey @ Nightlight

Thursday, September 17th

Old Habits with Shotgun Romance and Johnny Swank @ The Pour House

Friday, September 18th

Old Ceremony with Sunfold @ The Pour House

Zoso with Van Heaven @ Lincoln Theatre

Who’s Bad with Barbarella @ Cat’s Cradle

Saturday, September 19th

Le Weekend with Summertime Whiskey Band and Inspector 22 @ Nightlight

They Might Be Giants @  NC Museum of Art

Don’t forget to check out The Rock Report for your complete list of local shows happening in your area!
Music News and Interviews

Telekinesis Interview to Air Monday Evening at 6:20pm

Aside from playing a slam-down awesome show at Bug-Fest in downtown Raleigh this weekend, Michael Lerner of Telekinesis dropped by the WKNC studio for a one-on-one interview with our very own Mz Kelly.  The interview can be heard tonight on 88.1fm, or online, around 6:20.  Sharing insights about the band’s beginnings, inspirations, and plans for the months ahead (including their upcoming European tour), Lerner also performed two tracks from the band’s April release.  The newly modified outfit (a “power trio” comprised of Lerner, the Rosebuds’ Ivan Howard, and BJ Burton of Flying Tiger Sound) will be playing another show tonight at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub in downtown Raleigh.

Music News and Interviews

Local Music Blogs, Newspapers & Web sites — the Definitive Guide

As last week and this week are excruciatingly busy for me (a couple of lab reports, 3 exams, homework, etc.), my blogging has no doubt unfortunately dropped off a little and I will be taking this week off.  But fret not my readers, below is a nice listing of all of my favorite local music related blogs and Web sites that you can fill your time with.  From newspapers to personal blogs, below should fill your appetite for all things local music and news related (I know I don’t have them all listed, so if you can think of any that I might have missed, please e-mail them to with a short description). I will see you back on the blogs next week!

Local Music Related Blogs/ Websites
Alt Music Chapel Hill

A Google group/forum in which all posts are generally geared to the alternative music scene in the area (catering much to our good friends WXDU and WXYC).  You will find topics on shows in the area, musical equipment for sale, upcoming and past events, and nearly everything in between.  Just another contribution from legendary Ross Grady.

Choose Local Music
This blog has been taking on the incredible task of trying to cover the entire local scene.  It’s relatively new and just starting up with infrequent posts but has hopes to really do wonder for the music scene here in N.C.  Contributors are Local Music Czar (Taintradio DJ and WKNC Alum) Steve Salevan, Red Collar’s Jason Kutchma, WSOE’s GM Ryan Sweeney and Kyle Miller.

& Dive Blog
Diversions is the well-done music section of UNC’s Daily Tarheel, and the Dive Blog is an offshoot of that that focuses almost solely on local music.  Jordan Lawrence (section editor), Linnie Greene, Jamie Williams and Jonathan Pattishall, among others, contribute some fantastic album and show reviews, interviews and multimedia blog posts.  Diversions is really on top of the scene.

The Hidden Places
Blog for DJ Stevo & Rachael of Taintradio’s The Hidden Places.  Lots of hilarious posts that these two find interesting as well as podcasts from their show.

Loud, Local & Live
Infrequently updated local music blog featuring show reviews and concert updates.

Mann’s World
Karen Mann is one of the veterans of the local music scene.  Her blog (which recently got a nice facelift) is filled with videos, pictures, concert updates, links, etc.  Karen also does a couple of articles for New Raleigh from time to time and she updates almost daily with a lot of breaking information.  A definite must-read.

One of my favorites that has also teamed up with WKNC’s Blog, Music.MyNC posts all of your up-to-date breaking news from North Carolina.  The Web site is filled with multimedia-based blogs and even streams their live Sessions from NBC Studios over the Web.  It is no doubt one of the most frequented and commented on blogs.

New Raleigh: Music
In addition to having a fantastic all-around news related Web site, New Raleigh also does a superb job of following the local music scene.  Their blogs range from videos, to short informational posts, to interviews and show reviews.  Updated a couple of times a day, you can stay on top of everything through this Web site.

NC Music Factory
A 35-acre campus in Charlotte that encompasses all parts of music and art entertainment in the area.  Night clubs, art galleries, restaurants, etc.

NC Music History
A lovely blog dedicated to the history of N.C. music.  The sheer volume of information on this Web site can be a tad overwhelming but stays entertaining and educational.

Oak Room
It hasn’t been updated since August 2oo7 but still is a good read for older stuff.  Does anybody know anything about this Web site they would like to share?

On The Beat: David Menconi on Music
David Menconi is the music writer for the News & Observer.  He frequently updates his personal blog with local and national music news, interesting music-related links, interviews and just about everything else.  David has been on the scene for some time and has a great resource of knowledge about all of our favorite North Carolina artists.

Quick, Like A Bunny

Wow!  Album and concert reviews galore.  It’s never a boring read and I find that I have similar tastes.

Raleigh Indie Music Examiner
Justin Weber (also a blogger for Triangle Music) compiles links, articles, mp3s, stories and everything else you could want to read up on in the local music scene.

Raleigh Music

A really well done Web site about all of the music events going on in the capital city.  Shows, news, stores, classifieds, etc.  It’s all here.

Research Triangle Rock
David Oskardmay posting on WRAL 5’s  Web site features all things local.  It’s a different taste for the area as it does not soley focus on the indie/alternative scene but tries to hit them all.  It is only updated about once a month but features nice interviews with local bands you might not know about.

Reverbnation is a Durham-based music Web site that is popularized by its high quality music widgets and radio.  It caters to venues, radio stations, fans  but mostly musicians.  Almost every local band and really EVERY band in the world has a Reverbnation page.  You can also check out its recent Free Music Giveaway, which features some local hits.

Secret Carborro Ninja Patrol
Another one of my favorites that is written by the always entertaining Jeremy Blair.  Always a good read about show and album reviews and lots of pictures.

Independent Weekly’s music blog is nothing short of awesome.  With writers like Grayson Currin, Bryan Reed and Eric Tullis, among others, covering the scene with album reviews, concert updates and just local music news in general, you are bound to be in-the-know from reading this.  And while it isn’t necessarily updated daily, you can also look into the Indy’s music section, which features articles from print.

Shuffle Magazine
Carolina’s music news from this FREE magazine that prints and posts their entire magazine online.  It covers the entirety of North and South Carolina’s music scenes with on-the-point articles that you will enjoy.

Subdivision 67
A really collaborative Web site of some interesting local bands that play together frequently featuring: Beloved Binge, Sawtooth McTweedy, Scientific Superstar, Sequoya, Sugar in the Dirt and The Virgo 9.

Triangle Music

A well done and frequently updated blog with posts mainly geared towards who’s playing and coming to the Triangle for shows.  This blog breaks plenty of stories and is on top of the scene and also features many photo and picture blogs.  It also features a lot of downloadable material for its readers.

Triangle Rock
Ross Grady’s frequently updated music blog that features all of the best shows in the area for the week, as well as Facebook events for each concert, a weekly oggcast of Ross’ show on WXDU and some other cool gadgets.  It’s one of the oldest and best done local Web sites out there.

The blog for Bull City Records run by Chaz Martenstein.  Features listings of new albums at the store as well as Chaz’s thoughts on new artists, albums, etc.

30Threads: Music
A Web site run by NBC 17 and local blogger Ginny Skalski, dedicated to pulling all as much local news to one spot as possible.  The music threads might be few and far between, but feel free to submit and comment as much as you like!

Local Related Blogs/ Web sites (Not necessarily music related)

Bull City Rising
An awesome blog dedicated to Raleigh-Durham that touches on some hilarious topics as well as serious ones.  Sports, politics and economy among others.

Bull In Full
Michael Bacon takes on as much of Durham as he possibly can with his posts that range from architecture, entertainment, food, culture and religion.

Endangered Durham
I stumbled across this blog a couple of months ago.  It’s very similar to Goodnight Raleigh in that it focuses heavily on Durham’s past and current architecture.  Many of the posts are generally just showing what Durham once was.  Truly an eye opener.  Also check out their massive list of links.

Ginny From The Blog
30Threads contributor Ginny Skalski blogs about everything.  Really.  Everything.  Music, arts, business, politics, her personal life, EVERYTHING.  It’s a great blog to follow for sure with a lot of insightful information.

GoGo Raleigh
A fantastic Web site on news in the Raleigh area.  It does not cover music much but is certainly on top of businesses, events, public/government news, etc.  Plenty of short updates every day.

Goodnight Raleigh
By far and away my favorite blog to visit, Goodnight Raleigh is known for their in-depth blogs about Raleigh history, culture and current events.  All of the contributors do an astounding job of finding and researching interesting parts of Raleigh (from architecture to interesting/important people) and posting amazing photos all around.

Raleigh Connoisseur
A very well done blog dedicated to downtown Raleigh.  A lot of insightful information from constructio to politics, to local business and everything in between.

Raleigh Philosophical Society
A surely entertaining opinion-based Web site dedicated to the discussion of all things Raleigh-related.  I am personally new to discovering this Web site and cannot get enough of it.

Raleigh Weekend in Review
Local citizen “Elyse” has a weekly podcast where she reviews local bands, the venues where they play and local restaurants.  Despite the name,  she covers Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

A Web site run by NBC 17 and local blogger Ginny Skalski, dedicated to pulling all as much local news to one spot as possible.

Local Newspapers

Cary News
Chapel Hill News
(Chapel Hill)
Daily Tar Heel
Duke Chronicle
Herald Sun (Durham)
Independent Weekly (Durham, Raleigh, & Chapel Hill)
New Raleigh (Raleigh)
News & Observer (North Carolina, National, & World)
Raleigh Downtowner/Chronicle
Raleigh Public Record
(NC State)

Like to follow things on Twitter as well?  Check out this blog post!

What am I missing?  Send me an email to let me know!  (