Music News and Interviews

Giveaways for the Week: December 8th – 14th

12/8 – Old Testament / Shine Brothers @ Local 506


12/10 – Full Body Tones / Bear With Me / Vanguard Party @ Local 506


12/11 – Deep Sleeper @ Back Room 


12/12 – Lost in the Trees @ Haw River Ballroom


12/12 – Chris Pureka @ Pinhook


12/13 – Mutoid Man / Bedowyn / Dogs Eyes @ Local 506


12/13 – Collapsis @ Back Room


12/14 – Museum Mouth / Wailin Storms / Body Games @ Local 506


12/14 – The Blow @ Pinhook


This week, tune into WKNC 88.1 FM and when the DJ asks for it, call the request lines to win tickets to these shows!  Good luck and happy listening!

Festival Coverage

Drumstrong Rhythm and Arts Festival


DRUMSTRONG Rhythm & Arts festival, an annual 3-day event in the rolling pastures of Misty Meadows Farm in Weddington, N.C., has confirmed its performer lineup for May 16-18. This yearʼs acts include:

Railroad Earth, Felice Brothers, Kopecky Family Band, Chatham County Line, American Aquarium, Yo Mamaʼs Big Fat Booty Band, Dom Flemons (Formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops), Joe Pug, HRVRD, Lost in the Trees, The Mantras, The New Familiars, The Love Language, Marley Carroll, Bombadil, Overmountain Men, Junior Astronomers, Dirty Drummer, Elonzo, Ancient Cities, Super Ape, Grown Up Avenger Stuff, Of Good Nature, Replicas, Sinners and Saints, Time Sawyer, Pullman Strike, The Business People, Cairo Fire, Miami Dice and more to be announced

Located just 4 miles south of Charlotte in Weddington, NC, festivities start Friday evening, May 16 with outrageous stage sets, art & food vendors, a craft beer garden, yoga, KidzFun and some “warm-up” drum circle activity. We have on-site drum and yoga instruction, health expo, vendors with drums, food, and unique souvenirs. Come out and play, drum, learn, dance, eat, camp and show your support.

About Drumstrong

DRUMSTRONG events raise awareness and funds for cancer organizations globally through family friendly rhythm gatherings. Since the first 25-hour drum session at Misty Meadows Farm in 2007, DRUMSTRONG has expanded to over 70 cities in 25 countries to help local cancer initiatives.

About CLTure

Founded in 2012, CLTure is a cooperative business collaborative that utilizes the most artistic and creative minds in the area to produce superior media, print, video and web content. As a full service boutique marketing, advertising and entertainment company, CLTure helps businesses market their products through creative interaction with their target market by utilizing their exclusive network of creators. The company is proud to advocate for independent business, music, arts and culture.

New Album Review

Lost in the Trees finds footing in new album


Lost in the Trees has long since been a band best known for its grandiose orchestrations – it was the band’s calling card of sorts. When I first happened upon the band, it had more than 10 members in its lineup, but during the years it has gradually trimmed down the roster, yet beefed up its sound. Though the band performed only as a sextet for A Church That Fits Our Needs it produced some of its loftiest, most ambitious work to date. When a band becomes so firmly known for a trademark sound, it can take two directions: settle into that foundation, or strip it all down and start anew.

For Past Life, Lost in the Trees chose the latter and it paid off in bunches. Gone are the swelling chamber arrangements, steeped in rich classical tradition. In return they have delivered dense soundscapes crafted by synths and electric guitars. Though there is a handful of moments where its orchestral backgrounds peep in through the mix, Past Life is prominently built upon this new minimal approach and it works. Instead of emphasizing the pomp and fanfare of the string section, songwriter Ari Picker can concentrate more on the core aspects of these songs.

Though Picker’s previous work was dedicated to his recently deceased mother, Past Life trades in autobiographic musings for more abstract lyrical explorations. Dealing with less emotionally weighted subject matter allows for a more leisurely listening experienced listeners can put away their empathetic heartache and allow the soothing sounds to wash over them. Picker certainly still sings of love and longing, but it’s more firmly rooted in contemporary styling as opposed to the theatrical approach we’re used to receiving from this group.

Past Life finds Lost in the Trees bursting past expectation, album opener “Excos” opens with haunting vocals and a sparse piano arrangement that slowly unfolds to find Picker singing of the “rising water” and an infinite longing for another’s love. The song gradually devolves into a melodic collage of sorts, Emma Nadeau’s wordless chorus meshes with Picker’s verses, beautifully countering the subtle yet piercing horns in the background all washed in faint percussive embellishments.

As the song slowly bleeds into the titular track, we’re tossed into the waters of this new arrangement and it feels insanely gratifying. “Past Life” erupts with a melodic guitar lines and a minimal drum beat that pops and clicks along as Picker croons softly of warm, comforting images. As the driving synth line erupts within the song’s chorus, one can finally feel at home within this new soundscape.

Lost in the Trees always felt like they were in a category of their own musically, while their music felt immediately connectable it could easily be slightly dissociative due to how deeply it was entrenched within the classical and baroque styles. 

Past Life finds the band pulling more from its peers, but doesn’t make its music any easier to classify. Although it has stripped down to a quartet, they’re still equally ambitious in their musical goals. Tracks like “Daunting Friend” and “Wake” are perfect examples of how Lost in the Trees has retained much of its initial extravagance, creating lush arrangements from minimal tools. 

Shedding away the strings makes Picker’s songwriting the immediate draw-in, which is one of the most fantastic parts of Lost in the Trees anyway. Picker’s lyrical acrobatics are part of what makes this music so easily accessible, he paints vivid pictures and elicits specific emotions through his wordplay to make listening feel therapeutic.

But to only concentrate on what Lost in the Trees has changed for Past Life is doing a disservice to the album. If this were the band’s debut it would still be equally impressive, whether you’re aware of its orchestral background or not Past Life serves as an incredibly middle-ground between string-laden folk music and inventive electronic instrumentation. These songs feel firmly rooted in its contemporary influences like Radiohead and Blonde Redhead. It’s made a bold transition into the art-rock territory and did so flawlessly.

Lost in the Trees have reinvented themselves with Past Life. It has wiped the slate clean and left its future wide-open. One of the most exciting parts of this album is the knowledge that its sound can evolve in seemingly infinite ways now, and as a long-time Lost in the Trees fan, that has me as excited about this band’s frontier as I was the first time I saw it.

WKNC’s Pick of the Week is also published on

Concert Review

Lost in the Trees can do no wrong, ever

Lost in the Trees had their album release show at Cat’s Cradle this past Friday, April 20. Brice Randall Brickford and The Toddlers were the two opening bands. The Toddlers are another side project band of Missy Thangs (The Love Language, Soft Company). Alongside Missy Thangs were Noah Dehmer, Ellis Anderson, and Nathan Toben. They started off with a galloping song and before the set was over I could swear that they were close to resurrecting Jim Morrison on stage. Dehmer’s voice sounded remarkably like the Lizard King himself and everyone seemed really into it.

When Lost in the Trees came out Christmas lights turned on around the stage and everyone knew it was about to be an extraordinary set. They started the set with “Walk Around the Lake,” which pleased everyone to hear a familiar tune right off the bat. Next up they began playing songs off their new album starting with what is probably the most popular song on the album, “Red.” The set list continued to build; all the songs and stage presence were very strong and evocative. Emma Nadeau, dressed in red with glitter on her face, seemed to effortlessly produce the most hauntingly beautiful vocals while she wasn’t playing her French horn. Ari Picker and Jenavieve Varga never hold back in their performances and that was definitely the case at this show. Ari’s fidelity to his songs resounds through his vocals that travel for miles, with a voice so emotionally pure you can tell what he’s singing isn’t forged. Jenavieve is a powerhouse violinist and it’s her performance that lets you know how meaningful the music is.

The apex of the show was their song “Garden,” which was played midway through their set right before they reeled in the rest of their songs. “Garden” is the most involved song off the new album and served as the perfect beginning to the end of their show. They then relaxed and played an old favorite, “Song for the Painter.” Before they began to play “Golden Eyelids,” Ari requested that everyone slow dance to the song to make it special. Specifically asking to recreate scenes from “Back to the Future 1 or 2, but not Back to the Future 3,” he said, laughing. For the encore they performed “All Alone in an Empty House.”  It was a spectacular show as always; I can’t imagine anyone could have walked away disappointed.

By Beth Moore.

Festival Coverage

Hopscotch Schedule is HERE

After seeing the amazing lineup for Hopscotch, you have probably been trying to figure out how in the heck you will be able to see all the bands you want. Luckily, this festival takes place in downtown Raleigh, so all show are but a walk, a rickshaw, an R-line away.
They have released 14 new bands to the schedule and have added 3 new venues –White Collar Crime, The Union and Fletcher Opera Theater in Progress Energy Center. The show I am most excited about will be taking place in Fletcher Opera Theatre, featuring The Prayers and Tears, Bombadil, and Lost in the Trees. After checking out the schedule here, what show are you most excited about?

There are only a few 3 day passes left!

Concert Review

Lost in the Trees, Lost in the Music

Friday, May 13th the crowd at Cat’s Cradle was anything but unlucky. The set was extended, putting in a second opener to Lost in the Trees. Due to the growling in my tummy I missed the first opener, The Towers. Instead, I ran over to Carrburrito for a bangin’ fish taco (and not the Urban Dictionary definition, so please don’t go there!) . Mmmmm. Oh, right, the show.

Upon my return, completely stuffed, the second opening band, The Toddlers, came on. This unsigned Chapel Hill band played loud rock music that was carried by the lead singer’s deep voice. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the depth of his voice; somewhere in-between Matt Berninger, of the National and Charlotte-based artist Benji Hughes.

By the time The Toddlers were halfway through their set, Cat’s Cradle was packed. Questions of “is this Lost in the Trees?,” were being answered with shouts and whispers from “This is the second band… I don’t think so” and “How could you think that?”, to “Hell yeah!”. Needless to say, there were some very new fans in the audience, and they were about to be blown away.

After two 45-minute opening sets, the long awaited Lost in the Trees made it to the stage. Ari Picker floated across the stage as he plucked at his guitar, while Emma Nadeu did her usual amazing thing playing about eleventy-billion instruments. Having seen Lost in the Trees about 5 times now, I can say that this show had a different feeling than others. It was more focused and less ethereal. The back-up instrumentals became harder, while Ari himself became more billowy. It was a difficult scenario to describe, but I have a feeling that their new record will have many of these elements. They played a few songs that will be on that new record; they display the same musical genius as in the other albums but the energy seems stronger. They played some Lost in the Trees staples like “Song for the Painter” and “Walk Around the Lake”, to which everyone sung along, even the people who in the beginning weren’t sure if they were The Toddlers.

Lost in the Trees is up to great things, and always worth seeing!


Local Favorites on NPR Music’s Best of 2010

It’s December, which means the Best of 2010 album lists are already coming out all around you. If you’re like me, this means going back through iTunes and to see what was really listened to the most or has made that special impression on you since January. Being Local Music Director, I listen to much more local music than anything else and am finding that quite a few local albums have made their way into my list for this year.

The folks over at NPR Music have already put out their top 50 favorites of 2010 and the list includes most of the important albums released since January. I was excited to see North Carolina’s own Carolina Chocolate Drops on the list with their spring release “Genuine Negro Jig” alongside bands such as Arcade Fire, The National, and Sharon Van Etten.

Alongside the fifty chosen by NPR Music’s staff, music lovers everywhere are getting the chance to vote for their very own top albums of 2010. The results of the poll will be revealed during All Songs Considered on Dec. 14 and Carolina Chocolate Drops, Future Islands, and Lost In The Trees are all nominees. You can vote through the link below and listen on Dec. 14 for the results!

NPR Music: What Are Your Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2010.
Concert Preview

Neko Case headed to NC Museum of Art

It looks like Neko Case will be bringing her brand of country-rock mixed with a mind-blowingly good voice to the Joseph M. Byron, Jr. Theater at the North Carolina Museum of Art later this summer. The show will take place Thursday, August 19 at 8 p.m. with doors at 7 and local orchestral-folk group Lost In The Trees opening. Tickets for the show are available here and you can check out the remaining summer concerts on the Museum’s schedule here.

Festival Coverage

TrkFest 2010

Saturday, at the Piedmont Biofuel facility in Pittsboro, was the third annual TrkFest put on by Trekky Records.  TrkFest has quickly become one of the most important local music events in the area and a group of WKNC folk made it out in full force.  It was terribly hot and humid outside while the sun was out, but not one single person complained, and I believe everyone had a fantastic time.  I was lucky enough to sit next to Rich and Mimi McLaughlin of the Pneurotics, and we had a fine view of both stages.

We missed Vibrant Green and Ezekiel Graves but got there just as Yardwork started up, and those guys put on a fantastic set to start our day.

After a excruciatingly hot but fascinating tour of the entire Biofuel center, we caught the last half of Ryan Gustafson’s set.  I have seen Ryan about six times now, but this was only the second with a full band, and he was awesome, as usual.

We had to escape the heat, so we headed into the shade during the Butterflies set.

Veelee went on next.  Their sound has evolved so much in the past year while still keeping with their same general style.  One song that stuck out to me was a new track named “T’morrow;” that was the first in their set.

Mount Moriah went on next and, as usual, played an incredible set.  I cannot describe how much I love this band and how excited I am for their new album to come out.

Midtown Dickens played one of my favorite sets of the evening.  Megafaun came on for a couple of songs, and Kym and Catherine are always entertaining but even more so for this event.  Fun, outgoing, and fresh is the best way to describe them.

It has been awhile since I saw Embarrassing Fruits play, but with a new album in the works, theses guys were as tight as ever as expected.

Hammer No More The Fingers has never been anything but a pleasure to see.  They are one of the most technically sound and entertaining groups in the area.  For a couple of songs they brought up Drew Anagnost and Leah Gibson from Lost in the Trees on the cellos and Brad Cook of Megafaun jumped on bass.

Lost in the Trees literally blew the crowd away playing second to last.  I was surprised that they could cram onto the smaller of the two stages, but it ended up being truly magical.  I feel like every time I see them live they sound different, which is always refreshing.

Megafaun ended the show as they always do: reeling the crowd in with their unique charisma and then putting them into a manic frenzy with their exceptional live performance.  I took several videos of the group playing some brand new songs with a variety of different musicians, all off of their upcoming album, but the sound quality came out too poor to post them.  Needless to say, every time I see Megafaun play, they retake the top of my list of local bands.

DJ Highlights Local Music

Local Beat preview: 6/25/10

It has been longer than a month since we have had a live Local Beat, and, since February, we haven’t had a full, three hour show (mostly due to NC State Baseball).  I have spent the past month recovering from throat surgery and also doing some summer traveling, but it is finally time to get back into the amazing local music scene here, and tonight’s show is going to be one for the ages.

We are dedicating the first two hours to Trekky Records and their kickass annual summer event TrkFest.  The event happens tomorrow, June 26, and this year there will be two stages of live music as well as the usual crafts, food, and beverages including:

  • Pants-off Dance-off
  • Coffee Sack Race
  • Cool Kids Yoga Session
  • Musical Chairs Cake Walk
  • Sprinklers and Water Things
  • Tour of Piedmont Biofuels
  • Free Haircuts
  • Shadow Puppets
  • Bliss Tent

I know I am going to get a haircut that I so desperately need and jam out to my favorite local musicians that include:

This is the 3rd annual TRKFest, and tonight, on the Local Beat, we will be chatting about all of the old and new things about the festival, the bands, and hearing some live music from some of the performers tomorrow.

At 7 p.m. my favorite local band Bombadil will be dropping by for what is the first time in well over a year.  As many of you may know, Bombadil has been on recent hiatus as some of the members have moved away and Daniel Michalak has been dealing with some health problems. With that said, this is their first interview as a group in quite some time, and one of the first since their Tarpits and Canyonlands hit the streets back in 2009  (If you remember, the album was my #1 album of the year).  The entire band is going to try to make it and and perhaps play their first live music together since last summer. It is seriously going to be awesome.

Band press kitsQuantcast