Concert Review

Concert Review: Carl Broemel and Dave Simonett

In August of this year, Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket and Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles announced they’d temporarily put guitar work for their bands aside and team up to tour their solo projects. Their November 10 performance at Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle marked the first stop in a tour that has since taken them up and down the Eastern U.S.

Though Carl Broemel’s solo work left behind the country influences of his previous act, the folk-inspired earthiness and grounded attitude remained. His act was simple in focus: a guitar and loop pedal were his instruments of choice, with only the occasional interjection of a saxophone riff. Broemel’s lyrics were equally straightforward, often dealing with familiar themes and using unadorned language. Although his performance tools were deceptively simple, Broemel’s musical composition and performance was anything but. Many of his songs began with a single guitar track and vocals on top; the loop pedal allowed Broemel to expand his sound by progressively layering harmonies, riffs, and rhythm on this steady foundation. The additive nature of the pedal meant that the sound increased in complexity linearly throughout the song–often reaching a climax at the point of greatest lyrical tension. The result of all this pedal stomping and shoegazing resulted in a sound that was grounded in human experience, yet extremely space-filling and satisfying.

Simonett’s solo sound represented a much greater departure from his work with a band; Trampled By Turtles’ version of progressive bluegrass became downtempo, melancholy folk. In contrast with Broemel’s complex, layered sound, Simonett’s songs consisted of nothing but guitar, vocal, and a harmonica that he hoped the audience wouldn’t find “too annoying.” (We didn’t.) But while Broemel sang of real-world heartache and experience, Simonett often focused on an abstraction of these concepts–he sang of the ideas of love and experience. It was this lyrical choice that added a unique philosophical weight to his music. While Broemel’s sound made me want to nod my head and partake in certain mentally-altering substances, Simonett’s music in many ways demanded a clarity of mind not often employed at concerts. While he sang and strummed the guitar, I couldn’t help but stand transfixed by the nearly meditative quality of his words. The intimate back room of the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro was a completely appropriate choice for this type of reflective songwriting, and allowed his performance to reach the audience in a way that would’ve surely been impossible in a larger venue.

Dave Simonett will continue touring his solo work with Dave Carroll through December.

– DJ Squeeze

Concert Review

Trampled By Turtles Concert, 10/20/11

I like turtles…

On Thursday, Oct. 20 at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, These United States was the opening band for a packed house. They consist of a drummer, acoustic, two electric, and bass guitar (sometimes keys). They were a high energy alt-country band that kept the audience prepped and psyched for what everyone came to see: Trampled By Turtles.

TBT came out playing. Their insightful lyrics and skillful instrumentation across the band led to a truly awesome show. Trampled By Turtles cannot be exactly classified as a true bluegrass band but rather a mix of genres, incorporating indie, folk, and bluegrass. Their style of music is applicable to all audiences and was very evident in the eclectic nature of the crowd. The crowd especially responded to “Victory” and “Codeine” before they ended their set with “Wait So Long,” which was truly the climax of the show. The audience sang along with every word. After cancelling their show in Carrboro a year ago, this show was long-awaited and met all expectations.

New Album Review

Now Playing 4/16

The Mynabirds- What We Lost in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood

WORD, this is my new jam. I am always a sucker for female vocals, and ta-boot, she is the woman from Georgie James! This album has an older feeling, reminiscent of the Dusty Springfield  era. A mixture of soul and country makes this album extremely hard to put down. Infectious R&B numbers filled with blues and country influences soaks up all your feelings like a sponge, and when it’s over it squeezes everything out of you and you feel so much better for having experienced it.

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Kings Go Forth-The Outsider’s Are Back

This is exhilarating. You start instantly sweating listening to this, your heart beats faster, your feet start tapping, your body starts moving.  Kings Go Forth bring a 70’s soul band sound and an extremely happy vibe all around. I don’t know what else I can say about this but enjoy!

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New Young Pony Club- The Optimist

The Outsiders are Back

There is a clear distinction between this album and their first. Both include dance-able rock music, an evolution of the almost forgotten new wave genre, but this album feels much darker. There is a more mature feeling in the music and in their lyrics. Regardless, this will keep your ass moving!

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Sarah Jaffe-Suburban Nature

Remember Cat Power back in the day, all she had was her depressing lyrics and a guitar? That is pretty much Sarah Jaffe, except Jaffe includes musical compositions that resemble Neutral Milk Hotel. I know, right? Awesome.

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Trampled by Turtles-Palomino

Suburban Nature

Now this is for the people who like to bring the house down with BLUEGRASS. Extremely frantic, upbeat bluegrass music that is so damn catchy I needed to get tested after listening to this album. If you enjoy listening to those Avett guys you will probably enjoy listening to this band.

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Hmm, now this was the only album I listened to that I just didn’t get. Sounds like mixture of Chromeo and Kings of Convenience. Sort of has an 80’s retro R&B theme to it, but sometimes that doesn’t translate as well as he wanted it to. However, there are some catchy tunes so take a listen and judge for yourself!

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The Radio Dept.- Clinging to a Scheme

This dreamy pop album cues light synths at the best moments possible and relies on a steady drum beat. This is alongside distorted, atmospheric vocals that have you feel like you’re walking on air.

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Inlets- Inter Arbiter

Singer/songwriter baroque pop that layers vocals and incorporates more fanciful instruments in a way that distinguishes themselves from the typical lounge act.

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Family Cactus- Come Howling

Slower, darker vocals match on top of faster paced rock songs. They range from light to heavy in sound, and this breaks the album away from what could have been rather mundane.

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Kate Nash- My Best Friend is You

More relationship enraged pop. This time Nash diversifies her sound well. She mixes high energy pop songs with cynical and jealous lyrics to create another fun experience.

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The Pack A.D. – We Kill Computers

We Kill Computers

Think White Stripes. Garage rock duo who are unapologetic and take no prisoners especially on their instruments. A showcase of spill out your guts vocals, distorted guitars, and relentless drumming that rarely lets up.

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Sally Seltmann – Heart That’s Pounding

Heart That’s Pounding

Verging on FROU FROU, this album is a JEM and pretty FEIST-y. Sally is a bright and sunny Australian who warms your heart from the start and invites you to listen to the rest of her album. I feel like she was in wistful love when she wrote all these cheerful pop melodies. Play on a pretty day!

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Wesley Wolfe – Storage


A very short and seamless collection of acoustic songs played mainly by Wolfe himself. The lyrics and melodies contradict themselves somewhat – introspective vs upbeat and it totally works! You might think he’s just another songwriter making music to complain, but check it out and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Cate le Bon – Me Oh My

This album creeps up on you. Beginning with a slow bass line and then added dark layers of crystal clear vocals and psychedelic guitar riffs, Cate really likes to mix things up but the albums main sound is folky. A Welsh version of Nico, even looks wise, Cate’s sometimes weird and awkward vocals have created a hauntingly beautiful album.

Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

Me Oh My

This could quite possibly become the anthem for your summer. Catchy, upbeat, synthy… could be categorized as electro-pop. You can’t help but bop your head and pretend to know the lyrics when listening to this. Not quite sure if these guys have their own sound  just yet, but this debut is very promising.

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