New Album Review

Double Barrel Benefit #8 Compilation CD

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 2/8/11, written by DJ Switch, WKNC deejay

You never think your kid’s ugly. Well, at least you never tell your kid you think they’re ugly. My parents never did. They did say I have a face for radio, but I never quite got what that meant. Either way, there’s no need to lie about the beauty of WKNC’s Double Barrel Benefit compilation, because even though the student radio station put it together, it’s a handsome piece of local music by all objective accounts. Recorded mostly in Caldwell Hall, this album was passed out to the crowd at 88.1’s annual benefit concert as they watched those very same bands bring down the house.

Showing the diversity of Raleigh’s music scene right off the bat is rapper Inflowential’s “Wherever.” It has a cheerful rhythm that reminds of Sugar Ray. As soon as you’re swaying to that, he slips in nonchalantly and starts commanding a pitter-patter of rhymes. Inflowential has an easy mastery of words like Nas or Jay Z, but with none of the intimidating lyrics.

Kid Future has some seriously artful song lyrics, such as “you were born with no blood, wind in your veins,” and the Old Ceremony has that simple beauty that you used to only be able to find in Bob Dylan or James Taylor songs.

Luego are students of the Guthrie school of folk rock, but, like Blitzen Trapper, they bring their modern indie rock sensibilities to give it a modern twist. Don’t let the song title fool you, “California” is an ode to the good old North State, done right by a group of native musicians with true Carolina accents.

Cassis Orange easily became one of my new favorite bands with their contribution, “May, June, July.” Now, normally I don’t like dance music. I think this aversion stems from a childhood of getting rejected by girls at the middle school dances – and an adulthood of getting rejected by some of those same girls at college parties – but this track made me forget all that entirely. It’s sort of like a mellowed-out Madonna, but not so dancey that it loses its beautiful, trippy melody and its mature songwriting.

Yardwork makes order out of chaos with “Hot Balloons.” The guitar solos seem to climb around the impassioned vocals like ivy, wrapping over the pounding snares in an effort to quell this eminent crescendo of emotion. Bright Young Things is a sort of happy hodgepodge resembling something like Kula Shaker or maybe even an experimental-era Beatles.

Like their name, Hammer No More the Fingers is something both indescribable and obvious. You can’t pin down exactly what it is that works for this band, but you know that it works— and “Blanko Basnet” definitely works. The vocals are some of the most unique I’ve ever heard. They have a slight adolescent twill, but still retain the power and resonance to howl above the rich intensity of the song.

No lie, this compilation is beautiful. Me, on the other hand—that might be another story.

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week is published in every Friday in the print edition of Technician, as well as online at and

Music News and Interviews

Double Barrel Benefit compilations available at Schoolkids, Bull CityRecords

There’s still time to get your own little piece of Double Barrel Benefit 8, while also supporting your local independent record store!

Compilations are $7, and are now available at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh and Bull City Records in Durham.

WKNC DBB 8 Compilation:
1. “Wherever” Inflowential
2. “Like a Camera” Kid Future
3. “Day That I Was Born” The Old Ceremony
4. “California” Luego
5. “May, June, July” Cassis Orange
6. “Hot Balloons” Yardwork
7. “King of Fools” Bright Young Things
8. “Blanko Basnet” Hammer No More the Fingers

Tracks 1-7 were engineered and mixed by WKNC staff, under the direction of WKNC Sessions Director Eric Scholz, in Caldwell Lounge on the campus of N.C. State University; track 8 was engineered and mixed by Pete Kimosh; all tracks were mastered by Kitchen Mastering in Carrboro, NC, and CD duplication was provided by Triangle Duplication Services in Raleigh, NC.

Concert Preview

DiggUp Tapes Cassingles Vol 1 Release Party!

Don’t stop now! I know you were out all last weekend at Double Barrel Benefit and the weekend before that at Moving Island but you CANNOT stop now! There will be a record release show for DiggUp Tapes on February 10 and 11 at Kings Barcade in Raleigh. Don’t miss the fun and there will be singles and box sets available!!

Thursday night lineup:

Arbor Myst (Multimedia set with help from Bubbly Mommy Gun from Athens, GA),

NAPS (Electronic Set),

Birds of Avalon (Experimental Set)

Whatever Brains (New Wave Set)

Friday Night line up:

Bubbly Mommy Gun (featuring a bunch of Athens dudes plus members of Quiet Hooves),

Fat Camp (from Charlotte),

Embarrassing Fruits and

Lonnie Walker

Show is going to be awesome! DiggUp Tapes will be releasing DiggUp Tapes Cassingles Vol 1 on FEB 15!  But remember, you can get your copy early at the Kings show!!  Twelve of DiggUp’s favorite bands on 6 tape splits. Featuring Whatever Brains, NAPS, Lonnie Walker, Birds of Avalon, Veelee, Motor Skills, Gross Ghost, Yardwork, Embarrassing Fruits, Fat Camp, Arbor Myst (Ben Clack formerly of Dark Meat) and the Snails (Featuring Members of Future Islands). The label was created by the two most attractive men in Raleigh. And they’ve created the most attractive compilation of the year.

DiggUp Tapes itself is currently working with 5 artists:  Lonnie Walker, NAPS, Arbor Myst, Nests, and Nieces and Nephews.

“Raleigh songwriter Brian Corum, who through his band Lonnie Walker will soon be, if there’s any justice, a bonafide Avett-level hero of independent music in the Old North State, created DiggUp Tapes last year with longtime friend Nathan Price. Their plan was simple: promote quality music in danger of being overlooked. Keep the focus local. Do it with rare but affordable tapes and vinyl LPs that have a keepsake quality.

DiggUp’s catalog thus far has featured bands in which Corum and Price are involved (Lonnie Walker, NAPS, Felix the Drum Machine), but the pair was ready to up the ante on an ambitious new project. The Cassingles collection is meant to be a document of North Carolina’s current underground music landscape, uniquely presented as a 12-song compilation divided over six two-band “split” cassettes. Each split has its own artwork, and the tapes can be purchased separately or as a set of six in special packaging.

The 12 artists who contribute exclusive tracks for Cassingles arrive at different stages of development and notoriety, but none is too far removed from humble origins or DIY spirit.

"Cassingles loudly declares that the Triangle’s independent music scene can stand up to any in the country. And while you don’t have to dig nearly as deep as before to find worthwhile music in North Carolina, sometimes having things wrapped up in a nice little package doesn’t hurt. ”– Coby Mangum

you can listen here.

Concert Preview

Lineup for Night Two of Double Barrel Benefit 8!

Night two of Double Barrel Benefit 8 features Kid Future, HaLo, King Mez, Yardwork and Hammer No More the Fingers.

Kid Future
(Kieran Moreira, WKNC Program Director)
Kid Future could possibly be one of Raleigh’s best kept secrets. The indie band maintains a low profile online only featuring one of their recorded tracks. However, it can only be a matter of time before their talent betrays their anonymity. After catching them at a packed Slims Downtown in July and seeing them perform at Hopscotch in front of Raleigh Times, it’s clear that Kid Future has a knack for mesmerizing audiences. What’s to be expected from their performance? Dreamy synth sounds mixed with frontman Bryan Costello’s moody voice creates a recipe that is very reminiscent of the National and the Killers.

(Tommy Anderson, WKNC General Manager)
Ahem, that’s “hah-low,” or “Mr. Ben Ready” to you, good sir.  This guy is witty, upbeat, and dare I say funky hip hop out of Raleigh. HaLo is connected with 9th Wonder, and he appears on Kooley High’s much acclaimed recent album Eastern Standard Time. This gentleman has already developed a name in the area and beyond (he’s also got one Local Beer Local Band under his belt.) Request his stuff on WKNC during Local Lunch and Underground. Fantastic stuff.

King Mez
(Tommy Anderson, WKNC General Manager)
What can you say? If you were fortunate enough to catch any of King Mez’s performances in the area (or elsewhere), you know what an energetic, committed show he is able to put on. Street-wise lyrics, lush beats (provided by Commissioner Gordon on his most recent release “The Parapalegics” ), and a style that is all his own, King Mez is unforgettable and singularly compelling. As with HaLo, request this during Local Lunch as well as Underground. We’re very very excited to have King Mez on board making night two that much more of a treat for anyone lucky enough to get a ticket.

(Nicole Kligerman, WKNC Local Music Director)
Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Yardwork is described as playing “South Eastern Minimalist Pop/Prog.“ No matter what you call this band’s music, it is awesome, and those who have seen this band live know that this will not be a show to miss. Complete with a large and eclectic cast skilled in multiple instruments, this group puts on a kaleidoscopic show that will entertain your eyes as well as your ears. Usually working with two simultaneous percussionists, the sound is so rich and deep that you’ll find a completely new array to look for in each song.

There isn’t a lot known about Yardwork, and the biography on the band’s Myspace is a story including feral, mutant school teachers and PV rays. Whatever the history of the band, the music they play is bad ass and great for jumping around.

Their Local Beer Local Band performance in 2010 was barely contained by the stage. The larger space at Kings should be a perfect opportunity for this helter-skelter outfit to unleash their full furry upon downtown Raleigh. I saw Yardwork for the first time at last years TRKfest and am so psyched for another chance to see the live energy at this years’ Double Barrel Benefit 8.

Hammer No More the Fingers
(Kieran Moreira, WKNC Program Director)
Possibly the coolest name for a band, Hammer No More The Fingers, hailing from Durham, are local heavy hitters with a UK tour under their belt. They’ve graced WKNC’s airwaves since 2007, so it’s only natural that they take their place as Double Barrel Benefit night two headliners. Looking For Bruce, which released in 2009, cemented the band’s success meshing a blend of quirkiness, mid-twenties male humor, rock, and pop. What’s to be expected from HNMTF at Double Barrel Benefit 8? Raw energy. Although a lot of indie artists delve into bubbly pop sounds, HNMTF tries to remain edgier and grittier with sharp guitar licks and soaring vocals. We are very excited to have these fellas on board as headliners.

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

Concert Review Local Music

6/17 LBLB Photos, and what to expect this Thursday, 6/24

Photos by WKNC photographer Katie Hill

White Tiger and the Bed of Roses

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Come down to WKNC and Tir Na Nog’s Local Beer Local Band Night on Thursday, June 24 to see Trekky Records’ Embarrassing Fruits, Charlotte natives Yardwork, and Raleigh’s Whatever Brains! The show is FREE! Starts at 9:30 p.m.  Plus, there are mighty yummy local beers on tap.  I think I will hit up Big Boss Diablo this Thursday…


“Over a breezy melody, lazily strummed chords and cymbal splashes, frontman Joe Norkus recounts fond memories of poolside dances and conversations about coffee with the girl he’s met on the corner. When lightning hits their town and Jesus Christ comes down for a visit, the people scatter—except for Norkus and his summer affection. Hell, they’re even making babies while the town burns.”
—Spencer Griffith, Independent Weekly

Read more:


Yardwork is a sick band hailing from Charlotte, NC.   Listening to them while I write this blog, I’d say they are wonderful, catchy and happy, songs to rock to.  A friend of mine is buddies with the band, so of course all of us are going to be there!


Whatever Brains is loud.  So loud and so awesome.  They have real talent turned up as high as the volume knob can go.  If they have T-Shirts for sale at the nOg, I recommend the hamburger one.

“Whatever Brains is, allegedly, a punk band gobbing guitar fuzz on songs paced like they were penned by a kid with ADHD and no meds.”  –Independent Weekly