Band/Artist Profile Local Music

Carolina Grown Preview: Nov. 15


This week’s installment of Carolina Grown is exciting for a few reasons. First off, since the show started I’ve yet to have an entire hour where I get to do nothing but play local music! Granted the whole point of a talk show is to chat with guests, but throughout the second hour of the show this week listeners will get the treat of continuous local tunes from a wide variety of artists and genres. I’m far more excited for this than I probably should be, but combining it with the fact that we’ll be highlighting our November Artist of the Month during the 5:00 hour, this makes for an awesome two hours of programming.

November’s Artist of the Month, and my guest for the first hour of Carolina Grown, is Whatever Brains. For those unfamiliar with this Triangle standout act, Whatever Brains are an amorphous punk band that has swiftly come to command the attention of everyone in proximity. Combining sparse electronic percussion with wrangling instrumentation that teeters simultaneously between noise rock, punk and garage rock, Whatever Brains’ music slowly unfurls with as much aggression as they have precision. With three full-length albums, all self-titled might I add, the band has steadily stayed close to their roots while slightly experimenting with their tried and true sound to make things both exciting and familiar.

Whatever Brains have swiftly become the figureheads of Raleigh’s punk-rock scene, especially with the untimely falling out of Double Negative. The band combines spastic punk rock roots with sprawling bouts of lo-fi psychedelia and riveting lyricism to tightly pull it all together. The band is oozing with tightly wound frustrations that pour out through their caustic live performances, displaying the tact and finesse that many punk bands are devoid of.

Band/Artist Profile Local Music

August’s Local Artist of the Month: The Love Language

The Love Language

When you discuss Raleigh music or even North Carolina in general, it is impossible to avoid The Love Language.  They have become a staple of Raleigh music.  Now that they have continued to receive national attention from the likes of Pitchfork and Paste Magazine, they are representing Raleigh to the rest of the world, and they can’t offer a better representation of us.

The Love Language started as the bedroom recording project of Stuart McLamb after a rough breakup and being kicked out of his previous band, The Capulets.  The pop-smart songwriter and multi-instrumentalist set out to make music as a therapeutic excursion in 2008.  The demos made their way around and eventually ended up in the hands of The Rosebuds who invited him along to help kick off their Life Like tour.  Like that, The Love Language became a full-fledged band.

In March 2009, they released their self-titled debut to rave reviews.  They began to grow as their live shows became more renowned with performances at SXSW and Monolith Festival in addition to supporting tours for Cursive and The Rural Alberta Advantage.  Following these highly praised performances, The Love Language was signed to Merge Records.  Their second album Libraries was released in July of 2010 on Merge to even more widespread acclaim.

It has now been three years since The Love Language’s last release and despite its positive reception; those years have not been easy.  With a rotating cast of band members and an on again off again touring schedule, people began to wonder what would happen to The Love Language, but McLamb proved on his latest effort, Ruby Red, that The Love Language is still alive and kicking

Over the past 3 years, Stuart has been carefully crafting the songs for his third album, Ruby Red.  He again teamed up with BJ Burton for what turned into a long road to perfection.   Although the band has still maintained its infectious breed of emotionally-fueled pop, its latest effort is much more sonically experimental as it explores much larger spaces.  This time around they enlisted over 20 other musicians to fully flesh out the songs and fill every corner, and it shines through on this record.  Each song seems meticulously thought out and very carefully put together.  With the release of this new record and a string of strong tour dates ahead, The Love Language boldly state that they are here to stay.
Ruby Red

You can check out their new music video for the song “Calm Down” featuring some WKNC DJs over at Pitchfork.TV.

Check out The Love Language’s upcoming tour dates here:
Aug 27 Nashville, TN – Stone Fox
Aug 28 St. Louis, MO – Firebird
Aug 29 Chicago, IL – Schuba’s
Aug 30 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
Aug 31 Kansas City, MO — Czar Bar w/ Schwervon
Sep 01 Omaha, NE — O’Leaver’s
Sep 02 Denver, CO – Hi Dive
Sep 03 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
Sep 04 Boise, ID Neurolux ^
Sep 05 Portland, OR – MusicFest NW
Sep 06 Eugene, OR – Cozmic Pizza %
Sep 08 Seattle, WA – Neumos %
Sep 10 San Francisco, CA – Rickshaw w/ Bleeding Rainbow
Sep 11 Los Angeles, CA – Bootleg Bar
Sep 12 San Diego, CA — Soda Bar ^
Sep 13 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock w/ Soft Metals
Sep 14 Tucson, AZ — Club Congress
Sep 16 Austin, TX – Mohawk – Inside ^
Sep 17 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
Sep 18 Houston, TX – Mango’s
Sep 19 New Orleans, LA – Gasa Gasa
Sep 20 Atlanta, GA — Masquerade w/ Man Man
# w/ Eternal Summers
* w/ The Critters
% w/ The Dodos
^ w/ On An On

Band/Artist Profile

06/04/13 Spotlight: Edgar The Beatmaker

Eighteen year old Archy Marshall aka Zoo Kid aka King Krule has been going by yet another moniker. Since January of 2013, the U.K. native has been releasing hip-hop oriented music under the name Edgar the Beatmaker. Marshall has uploaded a small collection of tracks to a Bandcamp page.

Back in 2011, Marshall described himself more as an MC than a vocalist and proclaimed love for East Coast hip-hop acts like D.I.T.C. and Gang Starr. In addition, the Beatmaker has a SoundCloud page which includes more beat-driven and rapping under the name DJ JD Sports.

Stay tuned for the next alias of the king of cool kids, Archy Marshall.

Band/Artist Profile Local Music

March’s Local Artist of the Month: Birds & Arrows

Birds and Arrows began back in 2007 as a husband and wife duo.  Andrea Connolly wielded the guitar as Pete commanded the drums.  On appearance, most people might have shrugged off the music.  With two people who are stuck together for better or worse, how much could their music really have to offer?  Their first batch of EPs easily dismissed these notions.  The instrumentation seemed to amount to so much more than just a couple on stage.  Their vocals complemented each other perfectly and made the music so much stronger than bands who enlist a whole army on stage.  In 2009, cellist Josh Starmer joined the line-up adding a whole other dimension to their already incredible sound.  His cello lines swimming in and out of the music along with their sweet, melodic voices.  Their calming breed of chamber indie-folk is an incredibly refreshing sound to fans of any type of music.

Since their inception, they have toured heavily throughout the Carolinas as well as several stints up and down the east coast. They have performed at several WKNC events including last year’s Double Barrel Benefit as well as Local Band Local Beer.  In their six years of existence, they have perfected their live show engaging a wide variety of audiences.  They make those who have no experience with folk music sway with their beautifully arranged music and their smooth, infectious melodies.  Their third full length Coyotes, is due out March 19th.  This album promises to be their best effort to date.  They recently released the music video for their first single “Firefly” from the upcoming album in Shuffle Magazine.  Be sure to check them out Thursday, March 14 at 6pm as we interview them live at WKNC for our Local Artist of the Month segment!

Band/Artist Profile

DBB9 Band Spotlight: Gross Ghost

Double Barrel Benefit 9 is coming up this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4, and oh my is it going to be something wonderful.  Filled with an eclectic mix of local talent spanned across two nights, The Pour House is going to be housing one of the finest locally-grown lineups of the year,  including The Kingsbury Manx, The Future Kings of Nowhere, Organos, MAKE and more.  Night Two in particular boats some of the Triangle’s most exciting and swiftly rising bands, especially Gross Ghost.

Gross Ghost is a four-piece band based out of Chapel Hill with a mesmerizing sound.  While the instrumentation is usually full of driving rhythms that are tinged with surf-punk vibes, the vocal melodies are infectious and perfectly contrast the fast-paced frenetic indie-punk soundscape.  Gross Ghost took the state by storm last year with two incredible EP’s, Lip City and Wicked Game, leaving fans anxiously awaiting their upcoming LP Brer Rabbit, which is to be released early this year.

Gross Ghost’s Grip Tapes label mate Heads on Sticks will also be playing Double Barrel Benefit on Saturday night, along with Naked Gods and The Kingsbury Manx.  Tickets for one night are $10 in advance while tickets for both nights are $15 in advance.  Under 21 is subject to a $5 cover charge.

Band/Artist Profile

Rising Artist Spotlight: Che Blaq

Seattle’s Che Blaq has brought a new innovative sound to the genre of R&B by combining the sounds of electro-pop, hip-hop, and vintage soul. What makes Che stand out amongst other upcoming R&B artists is his smooth, yet soulful and powerful voice, catchy and fresh melodies and edgy production.

Che’s debut album “Fearless” will be arriving in stores soon and promises to be filled with songs written, produced and arranged primarily by himself.

Aside from his solo endeavors, Che is one half of R&B duo, The ARq, along with Jay Dot, who recently released their second album “Untouchable 2.0”. He is also the CEO of HouseHold Entertainment/Island Hills Publishing.

To find out more about Che, visit facebook, twitter,myspace and Ourstage. Check out “Real RnB Radio’s” exclusive Q&A with the talented singer/songwriter and listen to some of his music below.

Q: How would you describe your sound?

A: Electro-pop-soul. It’s a complex mixture of ambient undertones, heavy rhythmic patterns, and bright synths. Really emotional epic stuff.

Q: Who are your primary musical influences?

A: Sade, Sting, Seal, Daft Punk, Placebo, Donny Hathaway… I don’t really have a traditional ear for music. I try to keep an open palette.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your music?

A: I want to give a voice to the so called “different”. The people that don’t really fit in. The ones that seem to always get picked last. We all have a story…

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?

A: Being able to create something that the world has given so much love to. Doing what you love to do for a living is truly a blessing.

Q: If you weren’t singing, what would be be doing?

A: I’d probably be a wrestling promoter…lol. I’m such a fan!

Q: Guilty Pleasures?

A: Krusteaz DIY chocolate chip cookies, anything Batman, and scary movies.

Q: Fave TV show/cartoon?

A: Fringe, Law & Order SVU, Spongebob, and Kid vs. Kat

Q: Celebrity crush?

A: Eva Mendes and Rosario Dawson…lol

Q: Biggest Pet Peeve?

A: Being late.

Q: Anything you’d like to add about yourself in two or less sentences?

A: If you see me online, scream at me. I’m a pretty easy going guy.

Look out for Fearless later this year.

Band/Artist Profile

“Wind and Willow” or Mark and Sarah

A band’s music is available to everyone. But what goes on behind the scenes can change their reputation, for better or worse.“Wind and Willow,” or Mark Tillman and Sarah Peters are getting married this month, a fact that is hard not to see when they’re performing live. While boy/girl duos are nothing new, “Wind and Willow” has a story that’s pretty unique. Mark met Sarah while working in Canada, and since then they’ve been exchanging music and talking, a lot, on Skype. Divided by two countries, it’s only been within the past few months that Sarah could move to Raleigh. Since then the  duo has been able to really develop a mature sound, with each member contributing a vital, but incomplete part without the other. Sarah’s powerful voice can give a song its intensity at times, and it’s sweetness in others. Mark’s impressive assortment of instruments gives each song it’s unique character that Mark exhibits himself, both on and offstage. Both"Wind and Willow" as well as Mark and Sarah, have a lot to look forward to, though it may be a while before we see them onstage again.

Band/Artist Profile

Real RnB Radio’s Rising Artist Spotlight: Jason Jetplane

North Carolina’s own Jason Jetplane is a breath of fresh air to the world of music. His music is soulful, it’s R&B, it’s universal, it’s relatable,  it’s honest, it’s young, it’s fun! It’s what we need to hear more of.

Jetplane’s refreshing approach, musical sincerity and exciting production give him an edge up on the competition.

Vocally he could be compared, Musiq Soulchild and John Legend, but be clear,  Jetplane’s  style and voice is all his own. Musically, along with Janelle Monae, Jetplane’s sound is genre-bending, with its mass appeal and could be played on a number of formats.

Not only is Jetplane a singer, he writes, produces, arranges and engineers his own music, similar to R&B genius Ryan Leslie. With talented young upcoming acts such as Jetplane, the future of R&B shows great promise.

Find out more about Jason Jetplane on MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and ReverbNation.

Check out the exclusive Q&A Real RnB Radio conducted with the multi-talented singer below:

Q: How would you describe your sound?

A: I like to call the genre Electro Soul!  A fusion of Electronica and Neo-Soul/Lounge with some Techno vibes!

Q: Who are your primary musical influences?

A: My father Terence Jones, Musiq, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Beyonce, Neyo, Michael Jackson and the list goes on!

Q: What do you hope to accomplish through your music?

A: I want to give listeners an alternative to traditional r&b/soul music.  I want to make music u can feel and relate too… Fun Music!

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career thus far?

A: Performing for the children and being asked for an autograph by them. Kids are the future, so knowing I’m making music that’s touching children is a blessing to me!!

Q: If you weren’t singing, what would be be doing?

A: Wow…I would probably be either a cook, because I like to EAT and I cut hair too, so I would consider being a barber!

Q: Guilty Pleasures?

A:  lol…I have an obsession with McIntosh Apples and Sweet Potato Pie…

Q: Fave TV show/cartoon?

A: My favorite Show is Heroes!!!  And I love the cartoon Hey Arnold!

Q: Celebrity crush?

A: Janelle  Monae

Q: Biggest Pet Peeve?

A: I can’t stand seeing people stressed!! It eats me up!

Q: Anything you’d like to add about yourself in 2 or less sentences?

A: Most People don’t know I was born in Rekyvik Iceland and started making beats when I was 10 years old. I got my college education from Full Sail University too!

*Congratulations to Jason Jetplane on his recent win for “Best Male R&B Artist” at the 2010 Carolina Music Awards.

Band/Artist Profile

Local Beat Mini Exclusive: Drughorse One EP

You may or may not have heard of the local music collective that calls itself Drughorse. If you haven’t, this may be due to the fact it is not one group, but rather a collaborative of several different local bands. Mount Moriah, The Love Language, Twelve Thousand Armies, Josh Moore, The Tomahawks, plus others all claim to be a part of this mysterious and secret gang of musicians. However, it seems the veil is slowly being lifted as a Drughorse EP is hits the streets tonight at the Local 506 in the form of an EP called Drughorse One.  Only three bands are presented on the EP, The Light Pines, Max Indian, and Ryan Gustafson.  It makes for an excellent Local Beat Mini Exclusive.

Email for bands


Carter Gaj of Max Indian and Tom Simpson of the Light Pines came in to chat with me about this new six-song EP as well as the Drughorse “Cartel.” The guys played four covers of songs by 4 different Drughorse associated bands, which are free to download at the Local Beat ReverbNation page and you can listen to them to the right in the music player. Album artwork, the recording of the EP, and details to certain songs were all topics of conversation. I also spent a great deal trying to pry and gather details about this mysterious musical franchise from the fellas but didn’t find out very much – just that it seems to be a bunch of amazing musicians who hang out and share bands with each other. It is a seemingly exclusive club and begs interest and intrigue to all outsiders. The new EP is absolutely fabulous and will leave you begging for the new Drughorse related albums set to be released this coming year.

Take a listen to the interview:
Local Beat Mini Exclusive: Drughorse One

Be sure to head out to the Local 506 tonight. Doors are opening around 9 p.m. and it only costs $7!

Band/Artist Profile

Double Barrel Benefit 7 presents: Midtown Dickens

Many words can cavalcade through a listener’s head when listening to the Durham based folk band, Midtown Dickens. One in particular has always caught my fancy. Organic. The beautiful duet vocals of Kym Register and Catherine Edgerton could only be fashioned with the various objects they discover to create music. ‘Objects’ seems to be the best term as they are not tied to conventional means of crafting sound. More recently, a chair and saw were used in demonstration at Pittsboro Elementary school to show Midtown’s versatility.  In fact, it is almost memorizing to see each player’s list of instruments. Unlike most bands whose members solely focus on their individual apparatuses, this front-porch group creates a sense of camaraderie with their sharing of instruments.

It’s only fitting that my recent discovery and love affair with this local band came after I saw its performance at Shakori Hills Grassroots music festival this past spring. In a place of warmth, good vibes, and acceptance, Midtown’s spontaneity was only fostered into greater appreciation. Their sophomore album Lanterns, which released this past fall, is riddled with meaningful jolts of experimental sound that charms and awakens the listener.  It is an engaging, yet actively involved listening experience not meant for the stomach of an audience bent on sole ambient noise.

Midtown had found strong support within the community for the development of Lanterns. With the dismal economy, high production costs for a large scale album, and the band’s personal financial limitations, Lanterns’ birth seemed dim. However, upon calling for help, Midtown received many generous donations from friends and fans. The band even received a $5,000 check from a complete stranger after he had seen the band perform at a festival.

Midtown Dickens is gracing the stage of Double Barrel Benefit 7 at The Pour House on its second night, February 6, performing after The Tender Fruit. The night’s remaining acts will be Chapel Hill’s Spider Bags and headliner Roman Candle.

For the complete Double Barrel schedule and ticket information, click here.