Music News and Interviews

Giveaways of the Week: June 8th – 14th!

6/10: Minor Stars / Megafauna / Fake Swedish @ Cat’s Cradle


6/10: Somebody’s Darling @ Kings Barcade


6/11: Striking Matches / The Secret Sisters @ Local 506


6/11: Chastity Belt / Family Bike @ The Pinhook


6/12: Family Bike @ Kings Barcade


6/12: Birds and Arrows / John Howie Jr. and Sarah Shook @ Local 506


6/13: Heartless Bastards / Craig Finn @ Cat’s Cradle


6/13: Strand of Oaks / Avers / The Tender Fruit @ Cat’s Cradle


6/13: Professor Toon / Slowriter / B Stacks @ The Pinhook


6/14: Annabelle’s Curse / Time Sawyer / Lord Nelson @ Local 506


6/14: Iceage / Low Life @ Kings Barcade


6/14: The Helio Sequence / Lost Lander @ Cat’s Cradle


6/14: Boo Thang 1.0 @ The Pinhook


6/14: Unknown Mortal Orchestra / Jackson Scott @ Cat’s Cradle


Tune into WKNC 88.1 FM this week and when the DJ asks for it, call the request lines at

919-515-0881 or 919-515-2400 for your chance to win tickets to these shows! Good luck!

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!

Concert Preview

Must See Shows For This Week (1/14-1/20)

This week is going to be a great one for shows in the Triangle, but it could involve some tough decisions on certain nights.  Check out some of the best shows listed below and many more listed in the Rock Report.

Tuesday, January 15th- Spider Bags and Gross Ghost at The Pinhook, 9pm

These bands are two of the best acts in the area both live and on the record.  Gross Ghost released their Grip Tapes’ debut “Brer Rabbit” in March of last year and showing that in their several years of existence they have already crafted a sound of their own.  This diverse album features hints of lo-fi garage rock, 90’s era indie rock, as well as some influences 60’s pop-rock.  Last year they were seen playing all over the Triangle, but most notably at WKNC’s 9th Double Barrel Benefit and the 3rd annual Hopscotch Music Festival where their music lit-up the audience.  They are followed up by Spider Bags.  Spider Bags are beginning to become a household name in the North Carolina.  They are known for their incredibly energetic live shows that will leave your ears ringing for days.  Their latest effort has been receiving a lot of national attention including an 8.1 review on Pitchfork as well as sitting number 1 atop PopMatters’ Top Overlooked Albums of 2012.  This is a show that you don’t want to miss.

Thursday, January 17th- Birds and Arrows with Katherine Whalen at Tir Na nOg, 10pm

Katherine Whalen of Squirrel Nut Zippers fame is back at it again.  Her solo work is often labeled under the title of “folk music,” but her new sound encompasses so much more.  Her new album titled “Madly Love” has something there for everyone.  Birds and Arrows are an incredible act that were seen at last year’s Double Barrel Benefit.  The trio’s folky sound led by a cello appeals to every audience  with their well-perfected live show.  The trio has well stood the test of time in an area that has seen many folk acts come and go.  It is amazing to see three people translate such intricate music perfectly to the stage.  This is a show is a folk-lovers’ paradise and a great introduction to anyone else.

Friday, January 18th- Bleeding Rainbow and Jenny Besetzt at Duke Coffeehouse , 9pm

If you have yet to go to a show at Duke Coffeehouse, there is no better time.  The atmosphere there always makes for the most energetic and intimate shows.  Greensboro natives Jenny Besetzt open up the night.  Jenny Besetzt are a brand new band who have exploded onto the local music scene.  They turned many heads when they performed at last year’s Hopscotch Music Festival as well many different shows all around the Triangle.  Their debut LP “Only” dropped this past October.  Their sound is a fusion of dream-pop and shoegaze with a punch which they describe as “dream-punk.”  The night ends with indie-pop quartet Bleeding Rainbow out of Philly.  This band has only released a handful of 7 inches, but with their debut album due out at the end of this month their are bound to break big.  With several different tracks being reviewed by Pitchfork and the like, they have created quite a buzz for themselves.  This is bound to be an amazing show that you do not want to miss.

Friday, January 18th- Annuals with The Lollipops and  Eros and the Eschaton at Local 506, 9pm

This night starts up with the great Greensboro husband-wife duo Eros and the Eshaton.  Their sound falls somewhere between shoegaze and dream-pop.  This new act has been turning heads opening for many different acts over the past year.  They are followed up by The Lollipops.  This lo-fi indie pop bedroom project of Iggy Cosky has expanded into a full band project and exploded onto the scene in the past year with their numerous recordings.  Their live shows have proven themselves time and time again to be just as fun as their songs.  The night ends with the always entertaining Annuals.  Annuals’ name speak for themselves.  This 6-piece indie pop group out of Raleigh have been a household name in the Triangle since the release of their critically acclaimed debut in 2006.  They have been known for their energetic live shows.  If you have not seen them yet, there is no better chance then with this great supporting cast.

DJ Highlights

Best of the Local Beat 7/13/12

This Friday, July 13 on “The Local Beat” we are continuing our “Best Of” series with three great interviews.

At 5 p.m. we are revisiting an interview from December 2011 when local hip-hop group Kooley High dropped by to talk about their newly released album “David Thompson.” Kooley High was planning a show at the Pour House in support of the album release with several other local hip-hop groups. The guys and I talked about their exodus to New York, the new album, music videos and much more.

The second hour we will re-listen to an interview from February 2012 when Jeff Shields of local act Kleptonaut stopped by to chat about one of my favorite albums from last year, “The Golden Age of Space Travel.” Jeff was an excellent guest and shared a lot of witty insight into the creation of his music. We had a blast talking about everything from his experience as a “podcast troubadour” to the naming of his instrumental songs.
Kleptonaut interview

For the final hour of the program we are just reaching back to March of this year when I was joined by one of my favorite all time local bands, Birds and Arrows. Pete and Andrea brought some guests into the station to promote an folk/hip-hop show they were putting on at White Collar Crime called “Folk What You Heard.” Millie Vaughn, Lazarus, and Corey McLemore provided some great insight into their craft and even free-styled over a ukulele beat for us. The whole hour was a lot of fun and I know you will enjoy it once again.

As always, the fun starts at 5 p.m. and will last until 8 p.m.! Be sure to follow the Local Beat on Twitter or Facebook and download tons of free local music on our ReverbNation page!

Concert Review

Minus Sound Research Opening Reception, 10/7/11

On Friday, Oct. 7, I made my way up to Motorco Music Hall in Durham for the opening reception of Minus Sound Research. I’ve never been to MSR or Motorco before (actually, this was my first show for WKNC, hooray!) so I had no idea what to expect. MSR is an annual art exhibition featuring artwork by local musicians. It started in 2006, and different artists are featured every year. The art shown is specifically created for MSR, so each year is a unique experience.

After making my way through the parking lot that was I-40, I finally got to the show. People were milling around outside drinking beer, playing foosball, and eating food from the food trucks outside. Inside the building, which looks like it used to be a car garage, people were checking out the artwork on the walls and watching two women perform some sort of slow-motion body art. It was interesting, and received a few skeptical looks from the crowd.

Unfortunately, I got to the show so late that I completely missed Inspector 22, the first singer to perform. Birds and Arrows started playing at about 7:30 p.m., and although the acoustics weren’t that great, people were really enjoying their music. The lead singer, Andrea Connolly, had a voice that could sing softly in one line and powerfully in the next. Her husband (who I could totally tell was her husband, even before she introduced him to the crowd, because they had such great chemistry on stage), Pete Connolly, joined in for backups and harmony. What really made them stand out was the cello player, Josh Starmer, who added a lot of depth to their music. Throughout their set Andrea made eye contact with the audience and was all smiles; you could tell they loved being on stage.

There were other artists performing afterward, but I unfortunately had to leave early.

The MSR exhibit runs until Dec. 3, and even though it’s a small collection, I would check it out if you’re in Durham.

Festival Coverage

A Safe Haven with Arbor Ridge Studios, Shuffle Magazine, and WKNC

Arbor Ridge Studios of Chapel Hill has put together a day party for Hopscotch – but this isn’t any day party.  Titled “Saved Haven” and presented in conjunction with Shuffle Magazine and WKNC, the party will present local bands at Tir Na NOg on Friday, September 9 from 12-5 p.m.  Oh, and the bands will be paired together on stage.

That’s right, instead of a set of just Mandolin Orange, it’ll be a set of Mandolin Orange and Josh Moore.  Not just Luego, but Luego and Wylie Hunter and the Cazadores.

The live collaborations are (in reverse order of appearance):

Sounds amazing, right?  Can it get any better?  Yes.  While all of this magic is going on, Arbor Ridge is giving listeners a sneak peak into what’s been recorded recently at their studio.

It’s a 2-in-1 day party – collaborations + listening party – and it is a must for Hopscotch.

Local Bands (together), Local Studio, Local Magazine, Local Station, Local Pub

12-5pm, Tir Na nOg, September 9. It will be beautiful.

Music News and Interviews

We have Troika Music Festival passes!

For 3 days, from November 4-6, Durham comes alive with music and art. Troika Music Festival began in 2002 and is still going strong. Bands featured this year include Birds & Arrows, Veelee, Old Bricks, I Was Totally Destroying It, Red Collar, The Small Ponds, Americans in France, Phil Cook and His Feat, Chatham County Line, Mount Moriah, Gray Young, Spider Bags, and even more! They’ll be performing at venues around Durham and WKNC has 3-day festival passes to give away!

Just be the correct caller when the DJ asks for it now through November 3, and you could win a pair of 3-day festival passes!

Concert Preview

Fridays on the Lawn returns!

WKNC has again teamed up with our comrades in the Union Activities Board and Student Government to bring great live music to campus.

This Friday, October 15th, has local acts Birds and Arrows and Embarrassing Fruits performing on Harris Field (at the corner of Dan Allen Drive and Cates Avenue).  The show starts at 6:30 and is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC so bring your friends, maybe a blanket and a picnic basket, and come experience some awesome locally-grown musical talent.

P.S. There will also be some free grub for early-comers!

DJ Highlights Local Music

Local Beat preview 8/6/10


At 5 p.m., Gray Young is coming by for an hour to talk. The band has several shows coming up this month, including one tonight at the Berkley Cafe with the Loners, Goner, and Asheville band Knives and Daggers, and one tomorrow at the TTWD Fest where they are playing at 4 p.m.

Rat Jackson has an album release party for their new release Midnight Get Right with Aminal and Red Collar at the Broad Street Cafe on August 7. The new album is reminiscent of Rat Jackson’s live show, which is energetic, straight-up rock n’ roll, and I have a feeling the second hour of the program is going to be just that.

At 7 p.m., there will be a pre-recorded interview with  Graveyard Fields. Frontman for the Carrboro band, Brian Risk, came in last week with Pete and Andrea Connolly (of Birds & Arrows) who are also in the group.  We talked about the creation of the band and their debut EP Saturn’s Moon, which has been out for a couple of months. Two of the members of the group, Carol and Jon, are expecting their first baby at any moment right now, which made for some interesting conversation.

As always feel free to follow the Local Beat on Twitter, Facebook, or ReverbNation.  If you can’t tune into the show tonight, then stay tuned on the WKNC blog for our weekly recap of the evening.

DJ Highlights Local Music

Local Beat recap 7/9/10

Last Friday’s Local Beat was slammed full of live local music. We welcomed a new group to the scene, an old one getting back together, and announced some new local releases all in three hours. All the bands who came on the program also played some live tracks (nine total), never before heard, so be sure to listen to and download all of the brand new songs on the Local Beat ReverbNation page.

Find Gigs


In the first hour of the show, I welcomed in Raleigh group Kid Future who made some news when they played at Local Beer Local Band back in April. It was their second show ever, but they made quite the impression on the crowd, and I welcomed them onto the show to learn more about the group and introduce them to those who have not seen them live. Unfortunately, we learned that even though the group is relatively new, drummer Robert Fisher is leaving the band to head to Boston for grad school. Remaining members Bryan Costello and Kevin Donnelly plan on continuing the band, and you can still see the original Kid Future lineup for two more shows. The first is at Slim’s Downtown on July 15 with The Cellar Seas and Thomas Costello (of Mount Weather), and the second is at Local Beer Local Band a week later at Tir Na Nog Irish Pub on the 22nd with Midtown Dickens. Check out the live acoustic songs Kid Future played in the widget above!
Kid Future on the Local Beat 7/9/10

The 6 p.m. hour was certainly a special treat, as I was joined by Mike Roy and Rob Watson of The Whistlestop (also of Watson & Roy). The Whistlestop have not played live in over a year as the group took a hiatus due to the birth of Mike’s daughter a year ago and the release of his solo album Shot Friction.  Rob has also been working on his long awaited solo album but, in the meantime, the pair has had time to begin work on their second album and debuted some brand new material for us during the interview. In total, five live songs were played, including three brand new, never before heard tracks, which you can listen to and download on the Local Beat ReverbNation page. You can see The Whistlestop for the first time in 2010 this next Friday at Mac’s Tavern in Cary.
The Whistlestop on the Local Beat 7/9/10

For the last hour, I was joined by Billy Sugarfix of Billy Sugarfix’s Carousel along with Pete and Andrea of Birds and Arrows. The two groups are releasing a split 7" vinyl single through 307 Knox Records this coming Friday, July 16 at the brand new 307 Knox headquarters located at 618 Foster Street in downtown Durham. We spent time discussing vinyl’s relevance in today’s music industry and the death and possible rebirth of the “single”.  Billy Sugarfix is signed to Pox World Empire and recorded his new single “If There’s A Secret” there even though it is being released on 307 Knox (whom B&A are signed to), and we chatted about the two record labels and decided on a new name for them: “307 Pox”.  Both groups played their brand new singles for us, which you can listen to and download from our Local Beat ReverbNation page.  Also, check out the brand new Birds & Arrows music video directed and produced by Billy Sugarfix:
Birds & Arrows and Billy Sugarfix on the Local Beat 7/9/10