Local Music Music News and Interviews

Colossus Interview During Local Lunch 1/22/09

Colossus will be bringing metal mayhem to Local Lunch on Thursday, January 22nd, for an interview.

Colossus’s Rylan Wilshire & Sean Buchanan will be in studio for the interview at around 12:30pm. Afterwords, Colossus will be playing with WKNC Double Barrel Benefit 5 alumni, Tooth, at WKNC & Tir Na Nog’s first Local Beer, Local Band that will feature Metal music.

For more details about the show, check out the WKNC Rock Report, and don’t forget to tune in for the interview!

Music News and Interviews

The Beast and Cashmere Live on WKNC 88.1 FM Tonight

The Beast will be live in the studio for DJ J Wall’s underground show tonight at 10pm. Also Cashmere will be calling into the DJ Nominal Late Nite Mix Show at 12am. Don’t forget to check out The Beast, Edgar Allen Floe, and Natalie Steward (½ of Floetry) at the Brewery on Friday January 23rd at 8 pm.


The 88 Hottest Women in Indie Rock

We’d hate to be shallow, but these women are not only physically good-looking, they’re also immensely talented. Here are my 88 Hottest Women in Indie Rock:

1. Jenny Lewis

Not only is the #1 hottest woman of indie rock the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, she’s also sung with the Watson Twins, and DNTEL & Ben Gibbard in the iconic Postal Service. Oh, and she has her own solo career too, proving that not all childhood actors go the way of Macaulay Culkin. Put on your Rabbit Fur Coat and Rise Up With Fists, this fiery redhead Las Vegas native is hot enough to sustain lava. Her latest, “Acid Tongue” brings all the boys to the yard to test out that acid tongue for themselves. And hey, I’m into her. She’s hella hot.

2. Zooey Deschanel (She & Him)

For an actress turned “she” of She & Him, she makes crossovers look good. With acting chops in The Good Girl and the recent Yes Man, her soothing croon and huge seafaring eyes, Zooey marks number two on the list. Too bad she’s engaged though. According to Stereogum, Zooey is Ben Gibbard’s (Death Cab for) Cutie. Which gives hope to all hefty bearded soft men everywhere.

3. Joanna Newsom

It’s not difficult to mistaken Joanna Newsom for an angel. Her voice is this weird folky and entrancing slice of heaven. Also, she plays the harp.

4. M.I.A.

M.I.A flies like paper. If Beyoncé were into indie rock, she’d be M.I.A. Her blue hair and giant, corny sweaters has inspired many a Halloween costume, but not in a scary Dick Cheney kind of way.

5. Marnie Stern

Yeah, Marnie Stern is hot. and This Is hot and I Am hot and You Are hot and So Is That and He Is hot and She Is hot and It Is hot and That Is That.

6. Feist

Canadian Goddess of Ipod commercials, Feist played an angel on A Colbert Christmas and had the muppets humming “1, 2, 3, 4”. How cute.

7. Cat Power

Chan Marshall’s breathy seduction of a voice has made her the #7 contender on the list. Her stage name is also my favorite euphemism of lower girly parts, interestingly enough.

8. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)

She’s so hot, it’s almost barbaric. Kim Gordon is the smokin’ female bassist behind the holy Sonic Youth and one of the frontrunners of indie rock. Now approaching her late 50’s, this is one cougar I wouldn’t mind being jumped by in the forest.

9. Emily Haines (Broken Social Scene)

Indian-native, Canadan-raised Emily Haines is probably one of the hottest women to come out of Canada and India at the same time. Her looks are as delicate as her piano and vocals with Broken Social Scene. She’s like if Kiera Knightley was in a kickass band but could probably still be that girl in your Spanish Diction class.

10. Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt looks more like a model than your average country singer-songwriter (think Reba). But don’t be fooled, this Carolina chanteuse can sing a gorgeous Americana piece like no other.

11. Santogold

She’s dropped her first album in her mid-thirties, opened for Coldplay, and co-wrote songs for Ashlee Simpson. And though the latter two seem to contradict each another, there is no doubt that Santogold can belt out beats to the likes of M.I.A. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

12. Madeline

This DIY acoustic star has soft, approachable looks reminiscent of her quiet, honest songs from such albums as “Kissing and Dancing” and “The Slow Bang.” She’s as delightful as the cartoon french girl of the same name.

13. Kaki King

A pretty girl with sweet vocals and post-rock instrumentals? That deserves to be mentioned.

14. Kelly Crisp (the Rosebuds)

A local Raleighite, Kelly Crisp taught English at a community college before forming the Rosebuds. She’s also a comedian, (will her talents ever stop emerging?) which undoubtedly caught the eye of the charming Ivan Howard. And he’s not bad-looking either.

15. & 16. CocoRosie (Bianca Leilani and Sierra Rose Casady)

Twins! Bianca and Sierra Casady make for a pretty hot pair in their band CocoRosie. Bianca (Coco) and Sierra (Rosie) oftentimes wear elaborate makeup on stage, making it hard to figure which one is which. Luckily, they’re both hot sisters who make beautiful, psychedelic sounds.

17. Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females)

She’s so tiny, I feel like I could put her in my pocket. But when this girl screams, she screams. With her mouth. It’s so evil and delicious.

18. Karen O. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Part Korean. Part Polish. All hot woman. Her quirky, orgasmic-like vocals leave her an enigma as the centerpiece of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

19. Jill Andrews (The Everybodyfields)

Frontwoman of Tennessee’s The Everybodyfields, Jill Andrews, is a gem. Her soft country twang intriguing many a bearded male in plaid.

20. Mel Draisey (The Clientele)

So hot she makes the rest of her bandmates look bad. Her pouty eyes and sultry violen make Gwyenth Paltrow sulk.

21. Nicole Atkins

This “pop-noir” singer from Jersey, with her so-short dresses and duotone hair, can wear Old Navy and still look hot.

22. Anna Spence (The Annuals)

Raleigh’s own Anna Spence is the folksy next-door neighbor. You figure she’s cute, but really, you just want to court her and hold her hand.

23-25 The Pipettes (Rosay, Gwenno, RiotBecki)

Their kisses are wasted on you. Though the original members may have severed ties to the band, they were hot while they lasted. Their hits were catchy; their charm, infectious.

26. Thao Nguyen

27. Lykke Li

28. Beth Tacular (Bowerbirds)

29. Ladyhawke

30. Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers)

31. Nicole Barille (Mr. Gnome)

32.& 33. Camera Obscura (Tracyanne Campbell, Carey Lander)

34. Charlotte Gainsbourg

35. Þórunn Antonía (Fields)

36. Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead)

37. Neko Case

38.-40. Au Revoir Simone (Erika Forster, Annie Hart, Heather D’Angelo)

40-44. Sleater Kinney (Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Corin Tucker, and Lora McFarlane)

45. The Ettes (Maria “Poni” Silver, Lindsay “Coco” Hames)

46-48. Pink Flag (Princess Ojiaku, Betsy Shane and Jessica Caesar)

49. Goldfrapp

50. Khaela Maricich (the Blow)

51. Kristin Gundred (Grand Ole Party)

52. Nikki Monninger (Silversun Pickups)

53. Eleanor Friedberger (The Fiery Furnaces)

54. Analee Fery (Monsters Are Waiting)

55. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond)

56. Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond)

57. Satomi Matsuzaki (Deerhoof)

58-59. Tegan & Sara

60. Victoria Legrand (Beach House)

61-61. Midtown dickens (Catherine Edgerton and Kym Register)

62-64. The Vivian Girls (Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy, Ali Koehler)

65. Belinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)

66. Joan as Policewoman

67. Katrina Kerns (Sufjan Stevens)

68-70. Ladytron (Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo)

71. Jolie Holland

72. Lovefoxxx

73. Nico Vega

74. St. Vincent

75-77. Tilly and the Wall (Kianna Alarid, Neely Jenkins, Jamie Pressnall)

78. Annie Hardy (Giant Drag)

79. Sia

80. Bat for Lashes

81. Gabriela (Rodrigo y Gabriela)

82. Anita Robinson (Viva Voce)

83. Emiliana Torrini

84. Mirah

85. Inara George (Bird and the Bee)

86-88. All Girl Summer Fun Band (Kathy Foster, Jen Sbragia, Kim Baxter)

Music News and Interviews

Joaquin Phoenix, Rapper?

I have a thing for rappers. I have a bigger thing for indie rappers. There is just something so cool about weird music, awkward tempos, and RAPPING!

Joaquin Phoenix is the newest to the rapping industry. That’s right. Mr. Ladder 49 decided to make the jump from the acting bandwagon to the rapping bandwagon. How legitimate do you think this is?

I found an article that speculated on different rapper names for Phoenix. There is Quin Money, Lil’ Jo, MC Joaquin, but the best is Young Pheezy.
Any other ideas? I think I would go with Ying Yang Quin.

Music News and Interviews

The Rise of Underground

The Rise of Underground

As a self proclaimed music head with my ear to street, the emergence of “Underground Hip Hop” sites are both good and bad. They are pushing to the forefront the unheard artists free of charge and giving pretty good insight on what’s hot and what’s not. Even Myspace is a good start for an upcoming artist. A quick visit to these sites and you’ve got a light dose of the rap or underground or hip hop scene. The bad things are obvious; too many uneducated hands in the cookie jar. “Ol’ heads” used to dictate the game, with their wisdom and experience. Now almost anyone can talk like they know their music with these sites without fully understanding where it came from or why it’s written like that. It also does the worst thing possible, commercializes underground rap. It can make people greedy until they aren’t spittin’ about real issues anymore, they are talking about whatever will sell. Now us as the listeners must dictate the market; should we accept pointless music and use the internet like everyone else or push against the norm by recognizing lyricists and not falling for the hype?

Here’s a few examples of the websites;
All Hip Hop
Mixtape Monster

-Buck Nasty

Band/Artist Profile

DBB Feature #1: Schooner

This is the first installment of WKNC’s features on all the bands included in this years Double Barrel Benefit.  Be on the lookout for more blogs, interviews, and other cool information in the coming weeks!

For those of you who know me well, you’re aware of how prone I am to wax poetic about the superlative elements of our local music scene. Local music is one of those topics that I’m wont to speak at length about given any tangential opportunity, so when I was asked to write a blog post about Schooner, I had to compile my thoughts for a while. What was I going to write that hadn’t already been said?

I don’t think that it’s a secret to anyone that Schooner is one of my favorite bands from North Carolina. I know what you’re saying…  I’ve got a lot of favorite bands from North Carolina, right? Well, OK, yes… but for those of you who doubt my veracity, I’ve got proof: their bumper sticker is currently one of two adorning the rear of my trusty 1998 Geo Prizm (though, admittedly, it sort of matches the color scheme).

Schooner sound a bit like Stephin Merritt if you replaced his early synthesizer fixation with an equivalent fixation on Buddy Holly and the hazey sounds of shoegaze.  Like Merritt, Schooner’s songs are rooted in solid pop melodies and hooks, but you’ll often find them drenched in more reverb and paired to dreamy choruses. Amidst the atmosphere, Reid Johnson sings with a Merritt-like baritone croon straight out of the 50’s, and adding to that general 50’s vibe are slide guitars, mandolins, and those characteristic palm-muted slow dance rock chords.

Lyrically, Schooner’s songs can seem like character studies from a Faulkner novel; they’re often told in the past tense and are filled with bruised, distinctively Southern tales of lost love, missed opportunities, and regret.  It can be heavy stuff, surely, but with the sweet pop melodies that Schooner brings to the table, you could make even the saddest tale feel like a catchy, danceable rocker.


So why do I consider them to be one of my favorite local bands?  To answer that, let’s listen to one of their songs, “Married,” from their 2007 release, Hold On Too Tight.

Listen carefully and you’ll realize that in three short minutes, through oblique phrases and echoing slide guitar runs, we get a glimpse into a lifetime’s worth of memories and regret. Whatever your interpretation of lines like “constellations were laid upon,” you know several things for certain by its conclusion: she was the one, he’s probably been in love with her for far too long, and her marriage symbolizes the end of hope that she’ll come back.

The ability to fit all of that complex sentiment within the trappings of a deceptively simple verse-chorus pop song is a gift that few songwriters possess, and the fact that Schooner is able to do it so effortlessly with just about every song they write earns them a spot in the highest echelons of my music collection.

The best part? They’re awesome live, and you can see them at this year’s Double Barrel Benefit.

Whatever your tastes are, there’s a vast bounty of world-class music to be had here in the Triangle, and it’s due to this great variety that we’ve held the Double Barrel for the past six years.  This year’s edition promises to continue what has become one of the best damned Raleigh traditions around, and we’ll be writing features for each artist playing.

Schooner plays third on Friday, February 6th, and tickets are available from the Pour House website.

Music News and Interviews

Colin Munroe Is The Unsung Hero

Colin Munroe’s new mixtape is a little different…well, maybe it’s a lot different.  It’s easy to see that crossing over between genres is the ish nowadays. Specimens like Yeezy’s 808’s and Heartbreak and Kid Cudi’s A Kid Named Cudi prove that hip hop artists are not afraid to flow over less traditional instrumentals. mixtape

Colin Munroe brings an alternative/electronic sound to his tracks while his guests, well known underground artists like Skyzoo, Saukrates, Wale and Black Milk, lend their lyrical skill. Munroe’s effort combines the best of both worlds, resulting in a different vibe. I guess it would be more suited for those in-betweeners and people who are into different genres of music. Probably not for the hard-core hip hop fans, but don’t be afraid to diversify your bonds!!

Music News and Interviews

Schoolkids Records Moving

Its no secret, the last Schoolkids left, the only one, the rarest of the surviving independent record stores is moving.  Thankfully, its just half a mile down the street from its current location.  And while this means I have to walk an extra 5 minutes (making it a total of 5.5 minutes for me now), at least its not moving away forever or to some distant land (say, like Chapel Hill or Durham).  The “Great Schoolkids Move” of 2009 will take place January 25th, and reopen January 26th. 

AND, not only are they moving, but they are marking this occasion with some really kickass shows.  The Annuals will be coming in on February 2nd (show starts at 6pm), and the Dexter Romweber Duo is performing on February 10th (also at 6pm).   The best thing, both these shows are FREE.

There are some good things about this move.  In addition to two free shows, I could possibly stand to burn some New Year Resolution calories hiking the extra distance, and I could stop at a number of the resturaunts along Hillsborough on the way home (or all of them) without feeling guilty.  I never understood the idea of positioning such a fantastic store between a NCSU staff parking lot, Fed-Ex Kinkos, and Gumby’s Pizza to begin with (bad luck I guess).  Its new address at 2114 Hillsborough St will get a bit more foot traffic in between Buddha’s Belly and Sadlack’s, and hopefully the rent is cheaper.

DJ Highlights

Gettin’ Religion

In the same vein as La Barba Rossa (because hey, I see the dude every week and it turns out we have similar wacky mindsets), I think it’s high time to get a look at (of all things) religion in Americana music.  It’s an undeniable element that in some way has some root in the creation of all these songs.  Whether it’s about getting religion, losing religion, changing religion, musing on religion, or losing your girl to religion (you think I’m joking)… one just cannot deny that the presence of a higher power is integral to American music.

One of the first and most obvious places to go looking for religion is in the heart of Americana: the Appalachians.  The European immigration to the Appalachia region was in itself from deeply religious stock – think Scottish, Irish, Scots-Irish, English, Welsh.  Add to this mix the relative isolation of living in a mountainous region in the 18th century, and you’ve got a class of people who are going to have a strong sense of culture and preservation.  History lesson aside, this is still a region where music and religion make their most explosive collide.  Take, for instance, the Stanley Brothers.  The most familiar example is the song “Angel Band,” though not every song of theirs is so optimistic.  There’s an element of darkness and haunting that lurks at the edges of these songs that makes this sort of music so unforgettable.

Angel Band – The Stanley Brothers

In the same vein, more modern artists in the mountain music tradition are bound to include at least one song or one reference to religion – usually through a filter of the harsh reality of mortality, or featuring the Americana artist’s other favorite otherworldly being: the Devil.  The Devil and Death are the prominent elements of religion that you’re going to find in these updated takes, such as this tune by Gillian Welch.

The Devil Had a Hold of Me – Gillian Welch

And then there’s the issue of losing one’s religion, and trust me, the Americana giants were doing it long before Michael Stipe was even born.  Sometimes we know why the singers of the songs lost their faith, and sometimes we’re plunked down into the middle of their particular crisis without a frame of reference.  In either case, the end result is something vaguely longing and wistful – there is a sense that something is missing even when there’s an outright refusal to go back to the old religion.  Johnny Cash, who was known best for shooting a man in Reno just to watch him die, is no different.

Sunday Morning Coming Down – Johnny Cash

Of course, if nothing else, sometimes the entire point of this music is to almost create a new type of religion.  In the end many times it’s the songs that’ll change you – why else do you think there are always people who reverently speak of a song that changed their lives or at least gave them some sense of meaning?  Americana naturally has this same power.  In his biography of Gram Parsons (titled Hickory Wind), Ben Fong-Torres spoke of the times that Gram would sing hallelujah, and if you didn’t have religion before, you were bound to have it after.  When a genre has such deeply spiritual origins, it’s not so hard to believe that sentiment.

She – Gram Parsons

Concert Preview

Cotton Jones Debut “Paranoid Cocoon”

In the spring of last year, one of my friends peer pressured me into heading out to the Local 506 with her to see a couple of bands I had never heard of before. My expectations for the evening were not especially high. That night, to my pleasant surprise, Cotton Jones absolutely stole my heart. Originally formed as a side project to the now defunct Page France, Cotton Jones makes some of the most gorgeous and timeless music I’ve heard in a long while.

“Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw have hearts – huge, questioning hearts- full of music that mixes elements of soul, rock and gospel into a gauzy cocoon of small-town sound.” –

Since that fateful night, Cotton Jones has released an EP and teased me via their MySpace blog with promises of a full lengh. After more than six months of waiting, their debut full length Paranoid Cocoon will be officially released January 27th on Suicide Squeeze Records. An advance copy arrived at WKNC earlier in the week, and I was beyond excited to find it in the mail. For the past three days, I have hardly listened to anything else. It is a very relaxed and completely beautiful record from start to finish, the transitions from each track to the next are perfectly seamless.

“There’s no intentional theme behind these songs. Cocoon didn’t span a lengthy duration of time, so headspace and moods tend to remain threadlike throughout. I believe there’s a familiar mood from start to finish…they lyrics work like visuals of such moods.” -Michael Nau

Paranoid Cocoon is not a rock-your-face-off record. It’s not too loud, but it’s not too quiet. It’s not too fast, but it’s not too slow. Combining elements of bluesy folk and gospel with acoustic alt-country and pop, this album is just right.

You can catch Cotton Jones at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill on March 22nd!