In surprise of the listening year

Exactly 76 seconds into “Jellybean Wine”–the opening cut on the self-titled debut EP from Durham’s Bombadil–surprisingly good gets intriguingly great. What was at first a simple, playful rag about Sunday morning hangovers thumped through with piano, bass and drums morphs into compli-pop territory, a furious xylophone solo bouncing in, only to be met 32 seconds later by a perfectly integrated string part, pushing the action with smarts to make Sufjan Stevens smirk. Like Swedish pop star Jens Lekman, Bombadil smears dollops of humor over self-conscious self-seriousness during outrageously chirpy pop songs and decidedly staid ballads. And like their Ramseur Records labelmates The Avett Brothers, the band exudes energy even when trying to curb it. The execution of the quartet’s hustle-and-bustle live show doesn’t quite match the seemingly carefree intricacies of their stellar debut, but the promise of these four Duke undergraduates demands an audience immediately. Just remember this: If Cravin’ Melon had ever been interesting, they would have been Bombadil. Maxwell/Mosher open the band’s CD release party at The Pour House in Raleigh on Thursday, July 20 at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5. –Grayson Currin


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In final moves

If you’ve been meaning to get to the American Dance Festival, consider this your last chance for this year. The 2006 season promises to close this weekend on a scorching note. Those who’ve seen the pyrotechnics of dancer Soledad Barrio‘s group Noche Flamenca have raved about the passion, the sweat and a dark genius seemingly in league with the duende itself. The performances in Duke’s Page Auditorium run Thursday through Saturday nights. For reservations, call 684-4444. For more information, visit —Byron Woods

In winding country roads

There’s a lot of country in Delbert McClinton‘s music. He’s written hits for a string of country artists including Vince Gill, Lee Roy Parnell and Martina McBride. Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris and Doug Sahm have covered his tunes. But the singer has never gone for a career in country music. “I hate to think about going any kind of way,” McClinton said recently from McClinton world headquarters in Austin. “I’d rather just go where what comes out takes me.” His latest, Cost of Living, took him in a blues direction, winning him a Grammy for best contemporary blues album. You’ll likely hear that blues strain in his performance this Saturday, July 22 outside at the N.C. Museum of Art. You won’t hear Delbert on the radio, but that doesn’t seem to bother him. “I don’t much care anymore,” he laughs wearily. “I’m doin’ this for me. Me and other people–there are other people that understand it and like it. Hey–I got the world by the tail.” The show starts at 8:30 p.m., with Will McFarlane opening. Tickets are $18-$23. For tickets and info, call 715-5923 or visit —Grant Britt

In scary movies

Calling all pathetic earthlings! The Carolina Theatre of Durham’s monthly showcase of horror, gore and camp–known far and wide as Retrofantasma–is rolling out the bloody red carpet for its loyal patrons on Fan Appreciation Day. Things kick off at 4 p.m. with the 1980 chucklefest Flash Gordon, complete with the killer Queen score. Hardcore students of gore will gravitate to Pumpkinhead (1988), directed by F/X ace Stan Winston. Things go biological later in the evening with The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and The Deadly Spawn (1983). All in all, four fright films for the low, low price of absolutely free. The beer and popcorn, however, are another story. For more info, visit —David Fellerath

In dreamcasting

On Tuesday, July 25, Raleigh’s Artspace hosts a meet-the-artist event for its summer artist in residence, IlaSahai Prouty, a sculptor and printmaker who often uses casts of her own body in her work. She has been teaching adult and children’s classes during her month-long residency. She’s also been creating a project titled Dream Repeater, based on her own recurrent dreams as well as the dreams recorded in blank books by participating visitors to Artspace’s First Friday in July. From those recollections, she will create imagery for her exhibition opening this upcoming First Friday on Aug. 4. Tuesday’s talk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. will feature a slide lecture charting her artistic evolution. Admission is free. Artspace is located at 201 E. Davie St. in downtown Raleigh. For more information, call 821-2787 or visit —Michele Natale