1. CARIBOU – Our Love – Merge 2. BEN WASH – Snob Rock – King’s Head 3. SBTRKT – Wonder Where We Land – Young Turks 4. 2 BEARS – The Night Is Young – Southern Fried 5. AMBULAUNZ – Darkroom Sessions – Self-Released 6. MACHINEDRUM – Vapor City Archives – Ninja Tune 7. LES SINS – Michael – Company 8. ALISON WONDERLAND – Run – Astralwerks 9. DIPLO – F10RIDA – Big Dada 10. CLARK – Flame Rave Warp
WKNC TOP 5 ADDS 1 DEERHOOF – La Isla Bonita – Polyvinyl 2 HOOKWORMS – The Hum – Weird World 3 AVID DANCER – I Want To See You Dance – Grand Jury 4 NOTS – We Are Nots – Goner 5 GRUFF RHYS – American Interior – Turnstile
WKNC RADIO 200 1 GENERATIONALS – Alix – Polyvinyl 2 CARIBOU – Our Love – Merge 3 EX HEX – Rips – Merge 4 FOXYGEN – And Star Power – Jagjaguwar 5 USELESS EATERS – Bleeding Moon – Castle Face 6 MERCHANDISE – After The End – 4AD 7 BOTS – Pink Palms – Fader 8 KING TUFF – Black Moon Spell – SUB POP 9 FLYING LOTUS – You’re Dead – Warp 10 SONDRE LERCHE – Please – Mona 11 PERFUME GENIUS – Too Bright – Matador 12 BRONCHO – Just Enough Hip To Be Woman – Dine Alone 13 ALEX G – DSU – Lucky Number 14 RENTALS – Lost In Alphaville – Polyvinyl 15 TOPS – Picture You Staring – Arbutus 16 TY SEGALL – Manipulator – Drag City 17 S – Cool Choices – Hardly Art 18 LAST YEAR’S MEN – Underwhelmed – Self-released 19 BAHAMAS – Bahamas Is Afie – Brushfire 20 ICEAGE – Plowing Into The Field Of Love – Matador 21 SHE KEEPS BEES – Eight Houses – Future Gods 22 VAN ALLEN BELT – Heaven On A Branch – Nonstop Everything 23 LVL UP – Hoodwink’d – Double Double Whammy 24 WAND – Ganglion Reef – God? 25 IN THE VALLEY BELOW – The Belt – Caroline 26 KEVIN MORBY – Still Life – Woodsist 27 BUDOS BAND – Burnt Offering – Daptone 28 AVI BUFFALO – At Best Cuckold – SUB POP 29 LYDIA AINSWORTH – Right From Real – Arbutus 30 WHITE VIOLET – Stay Lost – Normaltown
Until a week ago, I’d never had an opportunity to go to a music festival, so you can bet that I was pretty stoked when I found out I was going to Merge 25.
I figured that it was going to be awesome, but it wasn’t until I discovered the lineup that I truly flipped out. Among many other artists, two of my favorite bands of all time, The Mountain Goats and Telekinesis were playing at the three-day festival spread out across venues in Durham and Carrboro. I attended on Saturday at Cat’s Cradle, and I didn’t know then that I was going to see one of the best performances of my life.
I was a bit busy helping out the Merge staff in the morning, but I did get the opportunity to see The Love Language, the North Carolina natives who certainly rocked it on stage. They played a bunch of fan favorites including “Heart to Tell” and “Calm Down”, but “Lalita” was definitely my favorite. Something that I’ve always admired about The Love Language is the amount of soul that they put into their performances. This was my first time seeing them live, and they certainly did not disappoint. Frontman Stuart McLamb puts his heart into every verse he sings and every chord he plays; it’s the kind of passion that inspires people to achieve their own greatness. The Love Language is an icon of the North Carolina music scene, and their sound makes me proud to be from NC.
Later in the day, I caught the very end of Caribou’s set, and managed to get a rather decent spot, dead center, but about eight rows back to see what we’d all been waiting for- Neutral Milk Hotel. I assumed that Neutral Milk Hotel live was going to be an amazing experience, since the filming and photography of their performances was prohibited. It must be pretty special, right?
Well, it was pretty special, to say the very least. I’d never seen them live, and I didn’t know what to expect. The crew feverishly raced to assemble Neutral Milk Hotel’s set in a reasonable amount of time after Caribou’s performance. The stage was littered with all sorts of horns, in an almost Beirut-esque ensemble. There was an accordion, and even saws. After the stage was readied in what I’m sure was record time (shout out to the Cat’s Cradle and Merge employees), Jeff Magnum walked out on stage alone, gripping his guitar. By the end of the first song, the whole band was on stage. They dived straight into “Holland, 1945”, a definite fan-favorite, judging by the volume that the crowd shouted the lyrics back at the band.
The setlist slowed down a bit after that, with favorites such as “Two Headed Boy” and “In An Aeroplane Over The Sea.” People were singing, dancing, and even a few were crying during the unreleased “Little Birds.” I’ve never been to a show where I’ve seen people more connected with each other. The crowd felt like a single being, with everyone intertwined by the shared experience of witnessing such a performance. I couldn’t imagine a better way to end my first festival experience.
Seeing Neutral Milk Hotel has always been on my bucket list. I thought I was never going to get that chance since they disbanded in 1999. But last year I was happy to learn that the band was back together, and touring again – coming to Raleigh for Merge Records’ 25th anniversary celebration.
The lineup for Merge 25 was stellar – Caribou, Destroyer, The Mountain Goats, Mikal Cronin, The Love Language, Mount Moriah, Superchunk, Hiss Golden Messenger – to name only a few of the bands that performed during the three-day event.
I was only able to see Caribou and Neutral Milk Hotel on Saturday, since I was busy in the afternoon helping out the Merge folks make sure the festival went smoothly.
About 20 minutes before Caribou came on, I slipped into the crowd alone and found myself a spot about four or five standing rows from the stage. I hadn’t heard a whole lot of Caribou, just their song “Leave House,” but I really liked it and was looking forward to hearing some of their other music.
Four men dressed in white sauntered on the stage and launched right into “Leave House.”
(read more after the jump)
I was captivated by the familiar song, swaying to the beat. As I looked at the other members of the audience around me, their faces all held the same, happy expression I was sure mine did. A guy behind me kept blissfully screaming “Oh my God!"
The music shifted between uptempo beats and dreamlike riffs, punctuated occasionally by lyrics. The sun began to set on the outdoor stage as the band played "Sun.” Dusk was upon us by the time Caribou left the stage.
Margaret Cho took the stage as Caribou cleared off to announce that Neutral Milk Hotel would be coming on next. She reminded the audience that photography was forbidden at the band’s request.
I was pretty disappointed that we wouldn’t be able to take pictures, but figured that would have to be the price I’d pay for finally seeing Neutral Milk Hotel.
By way of apology for the no-photography rule, Margaret Cho bared her tattooed buttcheeks, which depicted two ladies that “look like they’re talking” when she jiggled them. She invited the audience to take a picture of her butt instead. I, uhh, declined that opportunity.
I watched in wonder as the people onstage scrambled to set up Neutral Milk Hotel’s set. An accordion sat on its own table, flanked by a set of three different sized saws resting against an amp. A lighted lamb statue sat near a drumset with a picture of what looked like a saint in the bass drum. Many different horns were brought out, many of which I don’t know the name for.
Sometime after Caribou I was able to move forward two standing rows, putting me just two rows of people back from the stage. Everyone squeezed together, trying to avoid touching each other’s sweaty arms.
Then, right at 8:30, Jeff Mangum walked out on stage alone, carrying just an acoustic guitar and began to play.
As the set progressed, band members entered and exited the stage, playing their parts. A shiver ran down my spine as Julian Koster picked up the banjo and began to play “King of Carrot Flowers parts 2-3.”
The audience sang along loudly with the most popular songs, and fell into a somber silence during “Little Birds,” a slower, unreleased song.
When it was all over after the encore, most people stood staring into space, seemingly digesting what they’d just seen. It was definitely a show to remember, and a fitting way to mark an item off my bucket list.
I couldn’t help but think of a line from “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea:” “How strange it is to be anything at all.”
Tickets for the individual Merge 25 shows at the Cat’s Cradle & the outdoor party in Carrboro have already gone on sale Wednesday, March 26 at 11am EST — via the Cat’s Cradle website.
Full show line-ups & more information about other Merge 25 Festivities coming soon!
Wednesday, July 23 at Baldwin Auditorium Lambchopperforms Nixonwith more Merge artists to be announced soon! – individual tickets available April 22 through Duke Performances
Thursday, July 24 at Cat’s Cradle Superchunk, The Rock*A*Teens, The Clientele & more!
Friday, July 25 at Cat’s Cradle Destroyer, Wye Oak, The Mountain Goats & more!
Saturday, July 26 Outdoor party in Carrboro, NC Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Bob Mould, Ex Hex, The Love Language & more!
There are a limited number of tickets available for the Thursday and Friday shows at the Cat’s Cradle, while a larger number are available for the outdoor show. Tickets to the Baldwin Auditorium show will go on sale Tuesday, April 22 through Duke Performances.
It’s that lovely time of the year where we put up Christmas lights, enjoy egg nog shakes at Cook Out and look back on the year that was. 2010 proved to be an eventful year, despite all the terrible moments – earthquakes, oil spills, that bad call in the Maryland football game – this year saw the release of some good albums. I highly recommend my personal Top Five list for your listening pleasure over break.
1) Yeasayer—Odd Blood
The sophomore release from this eclectic group is a warm, pop-infused masterpiece—a curious departure from the darkness of their 2007 debut album. Yeasayer introduces huge, pulsing synths and primal rhythms into their sound, resulting in some infectiously upbeat and organic numbers. Odd Blood isn’t one-dimensional, however. The album features a couple of heavier, darker tracks to balance out the pop sound. Yeasayer remains experimental as ever, exploring everything from R&B to Middle Eastern dance music. The end result is a well-rounded, highly enjoyable album. (Bonus points for the band self-producing it.)
2) Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Possibly the most anticipated album of the year, Arcade Fire’s third release garnered universal praise. Like Odd Blood, The Suburbs represents a new sonic direction for Arcade Fire—gone are the Baroque sounds and grand crescendos that defined the band’s sound. Instead, the album maintains a latent energy throughout every song, steadfast rhythms layered with rich textures and tones. These elements form the perfect vehicle for the album’s main concept – innocence and coming-of-age set in the backdrop of suburbia. Poignant and poised, The Suburbs is Arcade Fire’s best release yet.
Though many artists are doing the retro surf-rock thing nowadays, Best Coast does it best. The group is led by Bethany Cosentino, whose approach is refreshingly simple – reverb-heavy guitars, easy chord progressions and honest lyrics about boys, her cat or getting high. Sure, it seems like a third-grader can write these songs – “One day I’ll make him mine / And we’ll be together all the time” – but there is beauty in the simplicity. The songs on Crazy For You are little pieces of pop perfection – they’re sweet, short, and will stay in your head for days. Put this album on and you’ll feel like you’re on a beach.
Broken Social Scene is a rather apt name for the group whose massive lineup continuously changes. With so many band members playing so many instruments and adding so many sounds and textures, Forgiveness Rock Record is inevitably orchestral and grandiose. Each song exhibits a different dimension of beauty, from the majestic climaxes of “World Sick” to the melodic angularity of “Art House Director.” Though not as cohesive as previous albums, Forgiveness Rock Record is still classic Broken Social Scene – lush, resplendent and larger than life.
Dan Snaith, who operates under the name Caribou, is an electronica artist and British mathematician. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect those two things to go together. Swim evokes the same reaction with its out-of-left-field collection of tracks. Flip-floppy synths, divine bell chimes, and even jazzy flute flourishes all coalesce atop powerful, danceable grooves while whispery vocals echo and modulate in and out of your consciousness. This is not your father’s electronica album. Each and every song evolves into something surreal at the end, with elements of rock, jazz and psychedelica thrown in the mix. Out of all the albums on this list, Swim sounds the most transcendental.
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at technicianonline.com and wknc.org.
Halloween in the triangle area is always a must-experience event. As luck would have it, one of my favorite bands, Caribou, played at Cat’s Cradle on Sunday night, so it was guaranteed to be even more celebratory than usual! Costumed characters adorned the streets; walking to the venue, I saw several renderings of Gaga, Devo, and even a fleet of dominoes. The costumes flowed into Cat’s Cradle as well. To my right was a feathery albatross, behind me, a gory zombie. The night was off to a festive start.
As Veelee opened at Cat’s Cradle, the crowd went wild. I’m a new-comer to the Raleigh music scene, so it was my first time hearing their groovy dance beats, but I was instantly hooked. I’m proud to say that they are now in my music library. “When you gonna come home,” and I was already dancing… on the opening act.
After a swift set break, Emeralds played. Boy, did they perform. Every newly synthesized chord was a new revelation—Animal Collective in the style of Philip Glass, who wouldn’t love that? The shimmery instrumental hodgepodge of beautiful textures rained down. My legs were going rubbery from breaking it down, the crowd moving in rhythm. And Caribou hadn’t even been spotted yet.
The headliner of the night played a flawless show spotted with familiar songs with a few throwbacks to their older albums. “Odessa” was of course a crowd favorite, but I adored hearing “Sun” live. The band members were of course in costume, each wearing awesome camouflage suits. It worked—I barely saw them. I was too occupied with dancing at a great show.
You may not know who Robert Moog is, but if you’re even a casual fan of music, you should have heard of or know about the his Moog brand synthesizers. Aside from playing an instrumental role in the creation of electronic music, they’ve been used in every genre of music from prog-rock to hip-hop. AC Entertainment, the people behind Bonnaroo and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, are bringing a new music festival to the deceased Moog’s hometown and the location of his company, Moog Inc.
MoogFest will take place Halloween weekend, October 29-31, in Asheville, North Carolina. A full line-up announcement and ticket info are coming on August 10, but they’ve already released the headliners and a few other names, and they’re pretty hefty. Massive Attack, MGMT, and Thievery Corporation will head up the festival, with other acts including Big Boi, Jónsi, and Caribou set to play. Tickets go on sale August 13. Stay tuned to the MoogFest website for more info!