Algia Mae Hinton
Algia tours ferociously with Lightnin’ Wells and she can make a person tired just watching her dance. Her latest CD, Honey Baby, is available at www.musicmaker.org.
Armand and Bluesology
From festivals in Europe and across the United States to clubs up and down the East Coast and in the Midwest, Armand Lenchek cut his teeth playing blues and R&B, backing artists like Skeeter Brandon, Walter “Lightnin’ Bug” Rhodes, Nappy Brown, Alberta Adams and Bo Diddley. Also note that Armand is frequently joined by some of the best musicians in the area, like former Bonnie Raitt guitarist Will McFarlane and Catbaby keyboardist Tony Bowman. Too Much is Just Enough is available at fine record stores, through the band’s Web site and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Albert King, Eric Clapton, Will McFarlane
Beverly “Guitar” Watkins
Beverly is constantly playing shows and festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad. She also taught a guitar workshop at this year’s N.Y. State Budweiser Blues Festival. Her CD, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins–Back in Business is available online.
Billy does more than just entertain; he gives audiences a blues/rock experience while exposing them to a broad swath of American musical history. As “The Modern-Day One-Man Band,” Billy recreates the sound of five musicians with his unique array of keyboards, harmonicas, drum machines and high-tech sound gear. As he plays the bass with his left hand, Billy plays the upper registers of his keyboard with his right, creating a rhythmic accompaniment for his vocals and blues harp. Meanwhile, he controls a variety of pre-programmed rhythm tracks and effects with his feet, delivering a remarkably full sound in venues large and small.
SIMILAR 2: Sonny Terry, John Mayall
Bluesville does a lot of original material and takes old blues standards and obscure songs and puts them in a contemporary setting. They play private parties, clubs and a lot of outdoor events for the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. It’s soulful, energetic, rockin’ blues. You can find their latest album, Hoochie Coo, at shows and online at
Captain Luke has an incredibly deep baritone voice singing gospel and country blues. You can find Captain Luke’s music on Outsider Lounge Music with Cool John Ferguson, at www.musicmaker.org.
Cool John Ferguson
The son of a Gullah mother, John Ferguson was born off the South Carolina coast in 1953. He picked up the guitar three years later, became a by-ear autodidact and began playing professionally at five. He was a prolific musician throughout adolescence, appearing on Charleston television in a family gospel group, playing hundreds of church services and forming an integrated late-’60s psychedelic band before finishing high school. He toured with tent revivals across the South for years, followed by session work with Atlanta’s LaFace Records. The blues guitarist met Tim Duffy–director of The MusicMaker Relief Foundation–in 1995, and he moved to North Carolina to become the program’s Director of Creative Development. Taj Mahal has called Cool John “one of the five greatest guitarists I’ve heard in my career.” —GC
SIMILAR 2: B.B. King, Albert King, Luther Allison
The latest CD, Raw Sugar, can be found at www.musicmaker.org.
Cora Mae Bryant
Cora Mae doesn’t write songs–at least that’s not how she puts it. She says her tongue already wrote it–it just lets her know when to speak it. Find her newest CD, Born with the Blues, at www.musicmaker.org .
Rough-edged songs from a dark place in the soul … performed on homemade instruments. His Love and Death should be released in September.
SIMILAR 2: Robert Johnson, Willie Dixon
Drink has earned his living from music his entire life and will continue to do so. Help Drink out: order his latest CD, Drink Small–The Electric Blues Doctor Live!, at www.mapleshaderecords.com .
Eddie plays in just about any venue. He is currently on the festival circuit. His latest CD, Eddie Tigner–Route 66, can be found at www.musicmaker.org.
George learned the blues as an oral tradition handed down to him from previous generations. He’s played everywhere from the U.S. to Europe and from local venues like The Cave to New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. George’s latest album, Tarboro Blues, is available online.
John Dee Holeman
John Dee is an excellent storyteller. He entertains not only with his voice but also with his dance. At age 75, Holeman is among the last of Durham’s great blues songsters. A veteran of rent parties, liquor houses and backyard barbecues (not to mention international tours, folk and blues festivals and Carnegie Hall performances), John’s soulful voice and tasteful guitar have won him both National Endowment for the Arts and North Carolina Heritage awards. He is often joined by Billy Stevens, a veteran of the local music scene for almost thirty years. Billy plays harmonica with John Dee’s Piedmont tunes, morphing into his own “One-Man Rhythm Section” for the up-tempo electric blues that John Dee loves to play. Piedmont Blues from North Carolina, John’s newest CD, is available at www.musicmaker.org —CT
SIMILAR 2: Lightning Hopkins, Blind Boy Fuller, Brownie McGhee
Lightnin’ is not only an amazing musician who first started performing in Chapel Hill. But he is a history buff when it comes to the blues of the South. Ragged but Right, Lightnin’s latest, is available at www.musicmaker.org
Lise Uyanik and the Mobil City Band
“We play something we like to call nostalgia rock for aging boomers who still know how to get their groove on. We’ve played together for 25 years, and our fans are out there dancing as soon as the music starts. The strength of our bond as a group contributes to our grounded energy, and our joy and love of the music easily infects others. Our 2003 release, Song for Us All, features some live and some studio cuts, and is available online through minnomedia.net, and at the Regulator Bookshop, High Strung and Cozy.”
SIMILAR 2: Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Martha and the Vandellas
Little Pink Anderson
Little Pink is following in the family tradition. His father was a talented and well-known bluesman by the name of Pinkney “Pink” Anderson. Little Pink performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2002. You can find Carolina Bluesman online at www.musicmaker.org
Waymon “Buttermilk” Meeks
SIMILAR 2:Son House, Louisiana Red, Blind Mississippi Morris
Mel Melton & the Wicked Mojos
“Mojo Dream was named Zydeco release of the year 2000 by Real Blues Magazine. And when people leave one of our shows, I want them to feel like they’ve been at a party down in the swamp. We play high-energy Louisiana dance hall music. I’m a Cajun chef and also do some cooking for shows when I can. Let the mojo roll.” Mel’s latest album, Papa Mojo, will be available in October.
SIMILAR 2: The Red Hot Louisiana Band, The Radiators, Clifton Chenier
Pittsboro’s The Ravens are at the crossroads of songwriting and performance, of fully-tilt boogie and tight, three-minute songs. A combination of blues, Stax soul, New Orleans and Motown–mixed into original music that stays true to the roots without being some museum piece.
SIMILAR 2: Dr. John, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Cray
The Rocket Band
The Rocket Band is best known for its rockin’ blues live shows. They’re the kind of band that’s playing off in the corner somewhere when you ask yourself, “What are they doing at this little pool hall?” In fact, The Rocket Band can be seen weekly on some central North Carolina hole, amazing anyone who might stumble into a show. Stage to Stage is available at shows and CD Warehouse in Raleigh.
The Rockin’ Bluesboys
Harvey Dalton Arnold experienced the “big time” in the 1970s as the bass player with Southern rock and boogie band The Outlaws. Touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, playing Madison Square Garden, opening for the Grateful Dead, as well as having his songs recorded on several gold records, Harvey has been there and done that. Now living in Clayton, Harvey is experimenting with guitars–acoustic, electric and slide–and belting out the blues. He is joined by Billy Stevens who backs him up on bass, keys, harp, percussion and vocals.
SIMILAR 2: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, John Mayall
“Primitive blues songs are a staple of all of our set lists; this simple rhythm-heavy style is the key ingredient in almost everything we play. We mix it into our own songs–old-timey tunes and songs by artists like Tom Waits. We have been playing music in this area since the 1980s. Judy was an original member of The Nee Ningy Band. Randy has played with The Woodchucks in Babylon, The Nee Ningy Band and The Big Zukes. Tom and Randy have both spent time playing back-up for local blues personalities like Big Boy Henry.”
Country (includes country rock, alt. and otherwise)
Bill and Libby Hicks
“We tour nationally and play regionally as well–local gigs include NC Art Museum (with the Red Clay Ramblers), Pittsboro General Store Cafe, Bynum Store, Triangle Country Dance Society, The Cave, The Open Eye, weddings and parties. We have a full sound system where needed. If you created a pigeon-hole called ‘acoustic roots/fusion,’ that might catch us.” Their latest CD, Bill & Libby Hicks: South of Nowhere, can be found online at efolkmusic.org, amazon.com and cdbaby.com.
SIMILAR 2: Buddy and Julie Miller, Louvin Bros, Nichols and May
Brown Mountain Lights
After a decade of backing Arrogance’s Robert Kirkland in The Hanks, rocking heart-break songs in The Ruins and powering pop numbers with Frosted Sugar Bombs, Jeff Hart found himself with lots of original material and without an outlet. He had taken time off from The Panther Branch Boys in 2000, so when singer/songwriter Janet Place approached him with the possibility of forming a duo, he jumped at the chance. The pair recruited Panther Branch Boys guitarist Greg Bowers for the project, and Brown Mountain Lights was born. These Lights render warm, rock-infused country informed as much by Gram Parsons and The Byrds as by Paul Westerberg and The Beatles. They can be heard on their recorded two-night stand, Late Show at the Cave. —GC
SIMILAR 2: The Byrds, Patsy Cline, Asylum Street Spankers
One-half of the vocals that drove alt.country pioneers Whiskeytown to greatness, Caitlin Cary eventually emerged from the ashes of that band with the EP Waltzie in 2000, followed by the critically acclaimed While You Weren’t Looking in 2002 and the finely crated I’m Staying Out the next year. Gorgeous pop tinged with country resilience. See Tres Chicas. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Carol King
Carla Wilson & All American Country
Carla, who grew up in the small town of Maysville, Ky., has been singing since she was three years old. She is influenced by artists from Emmylou Harris to JoDee Messina. Carla’s performances are high-energy, family entertainment that thrill audiences of all ages. Her demo CD is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Martina McBride, JoDee Messina, Patty Loveless
Chatham County Line
Mandolin man and fiddler John Teer claims he can play nearly any instrument with strings, and vocalist Dave Wilson is one of the wittiest, most observant narrative songwriters in memory. Add to that the surefire bass work of multi-instrumentalist Greg Readling and the able banjo playing and harmonizing of Chandler Holt, and Chatham County Line is the stirring result. The band released a brilliant eponymous debut on Bonfire Records in 2003. Produced pro bono by Chris Stamey, it included the sprawling ode “Song for John Hartford,” a sublime take on “I Shall Be Released” with Tift Merritt, and was widely considered one of the best national bluegrass outings of 2003. A follow-up will be recorded later this year. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Del McCoury Band, Norman Blake
As a Florida-born child, Thad Cockrell knew he loved country music. His father, a straight-laced Baptist preacher, didn’t want his son to hear those white man’s secular blues, though, disallowing country from his home and forcing Thad to sneak listens. After college and a stint at Wake Forest’s Southeast Baptist Theological Seminary, Cockell fell in love with the notion of writing his own songs, dealing with a college heartbreak in his own tunes and words. A few alt.country barnstormers in Raleigh changed his life, causing Cockrell to enlist local all-stars for his Starlite Country Band. A demo recorded by Chris Stamey, Stacks of Dreams, was released through Miles of Music, followed by the gorgeous, heart-crafted song cycle Warmth & Beauty in 2003.
Crooked Smile Band
The Crooked Smile Band is a diverse group of established musicians assembled from several of the Triangle’s finest bands. CSB brandishes its own unique blend of high-energy roots-rock, described by one music writer as “Hank Sr. meets the Stones.” Their latest CD, Crossroads Grocery, can be found at cdbaby.com.
SIMILAR 2: Hank Williams Sr., and The Rolling Stones’ love child
“This band contains some truly gifted musicians who love to do what they do. The band can handle many styles of music and are well adapted for different audiences. We play in the country club scene and are a great opening or headlining act.” Their demo CD is available at www.dakotarain.com
SIMILAR 2: any top country band
Durham Rangers Old Time String Band
“Since 1976 we have been the most punctual string band in the Southeast. We play traditional mountain music of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, French Louisiana (Cajun music, sung in French) and down-home blues (one of the very few acoustic blues bands). We learned directly through an oral transmission of the folk process from the late great legendary masters of Southern rural music … in person. We entertain at private social functions.” Their latest album, Walltown Reverie, is available at shows and by phone.
SIMILAR 2: Skillet Lickers, Balfa Brothers, Cannon’s Jug Stompers
“Flat Stanley is the premiere underdog in the N.C. area. People either love us or don’t understand us or end up repeating our mantra … robble, robble, robble. That’s okay though: Flat Stanley doesn’t need understanding, just hard booze and a PA system.”
SIMILAR 2: acoustic disaster rock
Starring Ed Crawford (formerly of fIREHOSE) on lead guitar and vocals and the rhythm section Jenn and Laura. Tours with Mike Watt on occasion. E.C. and Jenni Snyder used to be in Whiskeytown. Past drummers have been Jon Wurster (Superchunk) and John Howie Jr. The song “Money and Love” is feature on Yep Rock Revival Vol. 2 and is available online. An EP recorded with Monica Swisher will be released soon.
Hooverville is fronted by three songwriters, each with his own distinct sensibility and voice. Hooverville blends the vocals together in a tight harmony style inspired by the brother-acts of early bluegrass but set against honky-tonk, roots-rock and other Americana music. Hooverville primarily plays at clubs, festivals and house concerts. Lucky Rabbit’s Foot can be found at local music stores, shows and at www.hooverville.org
SIMILAR 2: Steve Earle, Uncle Tupelo, Gillian Welch
Kickin’ Grass is a high-energy bluegrass band with tight vocal harmony, driving instrumentation and effusive energy on stage. They regularly perform at a wide variety of venues including festivals, clubs and private events across the Southeast. The band prides itself on reaching bluegrass and non-bluegrass audiences alike with their “originality, spunk and wonderful harmonies,” as described by Buddy Michaels from WKXU’s Weekend Festival. Backroads, the latest CD from Kickin’ Grass, is available at local music stores, at shows and at www.kickinggrass.com.
SIMILAR 2: Mountain Heart, Open Road, Steep Canyon Rangers
“Our original music has been classified as acousti-funk rock, but lately we’ve been taking a stab at a country crossover and it’s pretty interesting. We did an East Coast tour in the late ’90s, but took some time off for personal reasons. We’re back, and our second CD, appropriately titled Back Around, is scheduled for release this winter.”
SIMILAR 2: Vaughan Penn, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams
Following a string of late-’90s gigs with Two Dollar Pistols, Tift Merritt formed The Carbines– including all-star players Greg Readling, Zeke Hutchins, Dave Wilson and Jay Brown–in 1998 as an outlet for her material. A 7-inch followed, as well as the breathtaking “Lullaby” on a Yep Roc compilation, The Garden State. Merritt recorded a powerful seven-song set of covers and originals with The Pistols, highlighted by a poignant take on “One Paper Kid.” A subsequent deal with Sugar Hill Records fell through, but–on the strength of a win at Merlefest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest and the promotion of Ryan Adams–Merritt signed to Lost Highway for her deceptively mature debut, Bramble Rose. Merritt’s sophomore effort, Tambourine, will be released Aug. 24 on Lost Highway.
SIMILAR 2: Emmylou Harris, Maria McKee, Mindy Smith
“Tennessee meets Jersey. Not too country, not too folk and not too rock ‘n’ roll, but the best of all three. Four-piece all original band. Hear us online at our web site.” Mary Johnson’s Says the Water is available at Schoolkids Records, select Borders Music stores, online at www.maryjohnsonmusic.com and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Patti Griffin, the Be-Good Tanyas, Carla Bozulich
“The sound of early honky-tonk accompanied by the smashing of material objects. In essence, the world’s noisiest country band.” A two-CD set, Pine State’s Mellow Madness and Rollin’ with the Low Rollers, is available online.
SIMILAR 2: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Pussy Galore, Geto Boys
“I’m new in the Triangle, but I’ve been writing songs for eight years or so now. I’m currently working on two separate CDs, one about my family, and one a more rock ‘n’ roll-country album. I have an 11 track full-length CD (2002) and an eight song EP, Songs from the Valley (2003), available online and at shows.”
This band plays very few shows due to its members’ varying schedules. They like to rock hard and loud live and can take you from Gram Parson’s Country to Crazy Horse madness with a turn of the down beat. Though they call themselves the longest running band with no official release, they’re looking to break their six-year streak with a studio record, which should be out soon. Stillhouse Live at Budokan is now available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Crazy Horse, The Jayhawks, George Harrison
Joe Swank & the Zen Pirates
“We play mostly originals. Covers tend to be classic country amped up to a rock-ish level. Outlaw style music with a Southern rock edge. Lots of killing and drinking.” Swank has two previous CDs–The MoJoDeans and Cowpunk.
SIMILAR 2: Kinky Friedman, Jason & the Scorchers
The Tims Family Band
“We are a family band that has been playing for 11 years. We started when our fiddle player was six years old. We play for private events, festivals, public events, etc. We are working on a CD which will be available at shows.”
SIMILAR 2: contemporary bluegrass
Founded on the sweeping vocal harmonies of their three female songwriters–Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown), Lynn Blakey (Glory Fountain, Oh-OK) and Tonya Lamm (Hazeldine)–the ladies draw on the roots-driven sounds of their other bands to forge pretty, heartbreaking songs that crackle with emotion. Though their music often sways to a country twang, underscored by Cary’s violin, elements of rock bubble just beneath the surface. Though the tight, rich harmonies are the band’s highlight and calling card, it would be remiss to understate how well they write or deliver their frequent, heartfelt covers. Founded in 1999, the demands of their other acts held back the creation and release of their debut, Sweetwater, until this summer. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Beat Farmers, Kelly Hogan, Lucinda Williams
Two Dollar Pistols
Ambling through the part of town where heartache lurks in every corner, singer/guitarist John Howie Jr.’s like a star-crossed motorist who manages to hit every pothole along romance’s stretching by-way. His old school honky-tonk owes an obvious debt to George Jones, and unlike some retro country revivalists, there’s no nudge & wink involved in the dusty, downhearted odes leaking enough tears to fill a tavern full of empties. Howie’s last call desolation relies on clever wit (as in “It’s All Fun And Games (Til Someone Breaks a Heart)”), a sonorous bruising baritone, and crisp playing. The former drummer has gone through a number of different lineups across four albums (and an EP with Tift Merrit), but always seems to surround himself with crack musicians. His latest release, Hands Up! (Yep Roc) arrived early this year. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Buck Owens, BR5-49, The Derailers
Like a Flannery O’Connor story, something dark and Gothic resides within the loping alt-country crawl of this Chapel Hill quartet. The most likely culprit is singer/guitarist Melissa Swingle whose distinctive drawl emanates the weary, jaded tone of a crime scene photographer who’s witnessed a lifetime of unhappy endings. This bleak and somehow blase vibe haunts the music in the spooky guitar reverb echoing as though from within a tomb, the grim, lumbering stand-up bass, and the other Halloween touches such as a lonesome singing saw or death row harmonica lines. Though capable of jauntier tunes, over the course of five albums their light has receded in favor of the approaching night. Their latest release, Hope Is A Thing With Feathers, came out in 2003. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The Gourds, Meat Purveyors, Mojave 3
“I play with Paul Rosenberg, who is the ‘Paul Shafer’ of the group–talented, great guitarist, singer and studio head. Jordan Koronet is the best bassist in the land and plays in another band, The Percolators. Bill Hicks lends his fiddle talents on my upcoming CD, Fascination Farm. Bill plays along with his lovely wife Libby and was an original member of The Red Clay Ramblers. Need I say more?”
SIMILAR 2: Lowell George, John Fogerty, Doc Watson
Playing in a wide variety of venues all over the country–colleges, coffeehouses, festivals and clubs. One-third of the live show is comedy (funny songs and intros), the rest is folk, pop, blues and country. Seven albums. Teaches guitar and songwriting privately in Durham and in classes at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro and the Durham Arts Council. The latest CD from Jamie Anderson, titled Listen, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Shawn Colvin, Meg Christian, Joan Armatrading, Steve Goodman
Scott Boggs is a remarkable fingerstyle guitar player; his renditions of Celtic and original tunes benefit from years studying with legendary guitarist, Duck Baker. While some performances are just solo guitar, elsewhere Scott adds a clear, lyrical voice to originals, traditionals and an eclectic array of cover songs.”
SIMILAR 2: Bert Jansch, Pierre Bensusan
More than simply a singer/songwriter, Byrd is a fine finger-picking folk player whose compositions have a light gossamer grace with touches of Appalachia, bluegrass and country bubbling through. He sings with a strong, clear tenor and works in a bit of wit alongside his frequent ballads, such as the Percocet-popping, ex-con from the title track of his second album, The Waitress. He joins the world music duo Dromedary on his newest release, The Sea & The Sky, which came out this summer. –CP
SIMILAR 2: John Wesley Harding, Two High String Band, John Hartford
“We excel at spontaneous music and generate a lot of energy in our audience. We believe in taking every show to some kind of higher place. We love to play unusual places that aren’t always venues, like parks, roofs, art galleries, our house, your back yard, etc. Our newest CD, Sunday, is available at local music stores and online.”
SIMILAR 2: Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Waterboys
A member of Silver and a recipient of an N.C. Arts Council Fellowship for Songwriting, Mary performs her own songs as well as material drawn from the folk tradition. Her voice is rich and expressive and her songs sound as if they were descended from the root-stock of American and Celtic ballads.
SIMILAR 2: Emmylou Harris, Nancy Blake, Ollabelle Reed
Jon Shain Trio
“Since his Flyin’ Mice days, Jon Shain has been turning heads with his vocals, a cross between John Hiatt and Steve Forbert, and his mean, lean finger-picking. Changing genres as easily as changing his shoes, Shain’s music has always seemed to bubble up from deep within, flowing smoothly and easily.” –Grant Britt, in ESP magazine, Greensboro. Their latest CD, No Tag, No Tail Light, is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: The Band, John Hiatt, Hot Tuna, David Bromberg
“Harmonious folk probably describes us best. Our strong, rich vocals blend, offset by a lively beat. We perform traditional, contemporary and original material that appeals to our ear and heart. Available for house concerts, parties, weddings and other gatherings.”
SIMILAR 2: Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tim O’ Brien
This Raleigh-based trio moves easily from bluegrass to organ-driven blues to wispy folk with tinges of country poking through, all informed by a strong inspiration undercurrent. Solid musicianship and the upbeat attitude make this bright, sunshine-y day music. Their full-length debut, Sunny Side Up (Zenergy), arrived earlier this year. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The New Christy Minstrels, The Cox Family, Hot Rize
“The True Believers are Judi Chatowsky and Jim Magaw, a Carrboro-based singer-songwriter duo who perform traditional and original folk, blues and old-time music. We have played at private parties, music festivals and local clubs, including the Six String Cafe, Open Eye Cafe, Pittsboro General Store and other favorite acoustic music venues. ”
SIMILAR 2: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Lucinda Williams, John Hiatt
“The title ‘singer-songwriter’ makes me feel like I’m wearing uncomfortable shoes and need to walk really far by myself. Without shoes, I can dip my toes in lots of different waters and play footsie with friends. Oftentimes, Ameliorate is motivated by books, artwork and essays, trying not to rhyme but always doing it anyway. Ameliorate appears in many forms: four-track recordings recreated alone on stage with loops from my drumkit and echo pedals, my simple guitar and singing partnered with the brilliant guitar style of Andy Shull, as a full-throttle rock band with (Roxotica’s) Abby Pearce on drums and harmonies, (Sleepies’) Andy Magowan on bass and (Dom Casual’s) Andy Shull on second guitar (then it’s AAAAmeliorate). Or sometimes Ameliorate creates tweaky improv or four-track music for dance performances. Loud or fast or slow or mean or quiet or sweet or short or repetitive. Your choice. I enjoy it all. You may still be able to find some Amelia-only Ameliorate is Staying Home at local shops.”
Recently moved to Raleigh to make a record … and for the BBQ. Critics say, “Randy Newman for Generation Y, performing sad songs of lost love at the Donut Hut, and mining his heartbreak with the wryest of smiles” (DeRogatis), and “This songman from Toronto is some kind of genius–not the unerring kind, more the coruscating kind” (Christgau). Listen to tracks from my various releases at mp3.com/bryk. The latest CD, Lovers Leap, is available at Schoolkid’s Records and online.
SIMILAR 2: Randy Newman, AMC, Aimee Mann, Flaming Lips, Jonathan Richman, FoW, Jim Webb, Pavement, Barry White
David Karsten Daniels
DKD has a doleful, lethargic grace underscored by a variety of approaches from a sturdy thrumming undercurrent of electronics, washes of psych folk acoustic to sparse, minimalist guitar. The tone recalls Drag City’s ’90s roster with echoes of Bill Callahan, Will Oldham and The Silver Jews in Daniels’ mournful confessional elegies. There’s a scrapbook/journal-ish stream of consciousness style that makes his latest album, Angles (Bu Hanan), an especially intimate portrait of a break-up. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Smog, Radar Brothers, Royal City
Davis co-founded Sleepytime Trio in 1994, a Virginia-formed, punk-inspired troupe known for an intense live presence. Sleepytime disbanded, and Davis formed Milemarker with friends, mixing polemics with post-hardcore angst. Milemarker moved to Chicago, but Davis remained in Chapel Hill pursuing his own music, and working with a new band, Bats and Mice. In 2001, he released The Hushed Patterns of Relief on Lovitt Records, a sort of mini-Dischord Records of the South. Collaborating with Triangle musicians, Davis revealed an introspective side, with deftly layered vocals and minimal instrumentation. Aided and Abetted followed in 2003, involving 16 musicians, moving effortlessly from somber pop to gut-punch anthems. Bats and Mice released a new EP in 2004. –CP
SIMILAR 2: early Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Built to Spill
“My momma rocked me to sleep to Stevie Wonder. I’ve been musical all my life. I mix acoustic and electric soul, ambiant rock and pop sensibilities with a message of freedom and liberation. What sets me apart from others is my versatility and ability to adhere to most situations, whether solo or bringing in other songwriters and rhythm players, or writing out string arrangements.” Dechen Hawk — Live @ Penny Lane, is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Jeff Buckley, Lauren Hill, Maroon 5
Like Matthew Sweet or Elliott Smith, Tad Dreis sings stacks of harmonies with himself and recounts tales of mosquitoes and lust, of kittens and the trees that love them. All we can say is that sometimes the surreal is confessional and sometimes a jangle becomes a twang. Solitaire For Two can be found at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Matthew Sweet, Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Neil Finn
Tracy S. Feldman
“I play music that ranges from hard-edged and fast paced to introspective and delicate. I try to tackle big topics with my lyrics and music, aiming for universalities while avoiding the cliche.” Sea of Lucky Numbers is available at amazon.com, cdbaby.com and at shows.
Former lead man and songsmith for Raleigh-based Kernel Mustard. Melodic folk-rock with contemplative lyricism. Eclectic and intricate, unusual chord progressions and stylings, thin, throaty, emotive vocals.
SIMILAR 2: David Gray, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews
Alternative singer/songwriter music that aims at a contemporary adult audience by creating music that includes elements of jazz, rock and acoustic. The voice is smooth and articulate and ranges from baritone to tenor. The well-played guitar parts tend to be finger style or syncopated rhythms with a penchant for “jazz chords.” This blended mixture of musical genres coated by a lightly focused vocal creates a unique sound that is not easily categorized but crosses over to several audiences.
SIMILAR 2: Elvis Costello, Eric Clapton, Tony-Bennett-meets-Dave-Matthews
“Been refining songwriting for a long time in many different genres (power pop, Americana, honky tonk), and it’s nice to have a large diverse backlog to draw from at live shows. Have had the privilege to play in bands along the way with some of my heroes and state legends such as Chris Stamey, John Howie and Robert Kirkland. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. A new solo CD is underway and will include tracks with my long-standing band The Ruins and members of Brown Mountain Lights and the Frosted Sugar Bombs.” Glances From a Nervous Groom is available online.
SIMILAR 2: The Byrds, The Kinks, Buffalo Springfield, Paul Westerburg
Writing spiky, buzzing compositions that are as clever as they are pleasing to hear is Haskins’ gift. The Costello comparisons are legion, but hard to avoid as Haskins dips his toe into slinky new wave/power pop numbers that veer between the infectious bounce of Weezer and the sly compositional left turns of Costello. His irrepressible Big Star melodies and infectious choruses will camp out in your brain for days, while just below the surface, the guitar wrings out the noisy angularity of post-punk without diminishing the catchiness. He is currently working on a new album with piano that should prove a departure from last year’s overEasySmokemachine. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Elvis Costello, Possum Dixon, The Rentals
“Since high school (that was four years ago), I’ve been trying to assemble original life songs from unoriginal chords. It’s hard, and it’s fun. That’s why I do it. I like pop music. I like country music. I like rock music. I like Eminem, and that’s fight music for high school kids.”
SIMILAR 2: Ben Harper, Josh Ritter, Death Cab for Cutie
Mark Holland, who used to write for and be in Jennyanykind before their recent break-up, is the main force behind the band. “We make sure it sounds evil. We are planning to record a new full-length album in Fall 2004 with brother Mike at the board and release it for free online. We play music for it’s own sake. Trying to sell my music in the past has always been a drag. I now prefer to just give it away.”
SIMILAR 2: John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf
Andrew Kasab is a one man jam band. He has played at restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, festivals, and other venues along the East Coast both as a solo artist and a band member. “It [the business of music] is a lot more work than most people think” (Fox 43 interview, Harrisburg, PA, Feb. 2003). He’s recorded three solo CDs of original material. A professional singer, songwriter, guitarist and bass player performing solo and with other musicians since 1989, he has demonstrated his ability to learn from many sources and create different textures within his own music. Whether playing in a bar or on the street, he always stands out as a consummate showman and musician. Great Feets Live (2004) is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Keller Williams, Michael Hedges, John McLaughlin
Susan L. Kirk
Solo singer and songwriter with guest appearances from other musicians. Susan Kirk Band LIVE from Dairyland Studios 2003 is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Natalie Merchant
Alysson Light is a 19-year-old songwriter, keyboardist, pianist, vocalist and producer. She “is a prodigiously talented teenage singer-songwriter” (says David Menconi of The News & Observer). Her latest album, Looking Glass Conversations, is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin
“Well I believe that I have a good positive energy and a peaceful yet soothing sound. THE PLACE WE LIVE is available at shows.”
Haunting melodies and intelligent lyrics delivered with warm vocals and smooth guitar work. “On a good night, I might even break out a kazoo.” Generation X-istential Blues is available at local record stores, online at cdbaby.com and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Townes Van Zandt, Gordon Lightfoot
Shannon O’Connor’s traditional roots mix and match old-time fiddle tunes with bad-girl rock and edgy ballads. She best describes her music as sultry-Americana and expects to release a new album soon. Her self-titled album is available at local music stores and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Gillian Welch, Mazzy Star, Trailer Bride, Lucinda Williams
Insightful and intelligent lyrics with rapid-fire phrasing … not commonplace in the least “(Guitargirls.com). “Strong driving melodies, funky rhythms … complex, subtle instrumentation” (Kweekak.com). “A powerhouse voice that rips the stage off of any women’s music concert or coffee house” (Splendid e-zine). “A cross between the best of ’60s folk and ’80s punk rock” (Folio Weekly), Jess’ music dances the line between Joni Mitchell and Annie Lennox with the sassy presence of Cyndi Lauper. Receiving rave reviews and national airplay. Critics Choice in TimeOut NY. Her latest release, Slightly Skewed, is available at stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Ani Difranco
“So this guy comes out and starts playing his guitar, right. I mean, it’s kind of dark, moody stuff and I’m like, whatever, but then he starts singing in this incredible, sultry voice and after, like, a couple songs I totally want to take him home!” (audience member). Ryan Pound vs. Matt Brown, is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Lou Barlow, Elliot Smith, Jeff Mangum
Brian is relatively new to the Triangle, hailing originally from Louisville, Ky. With a style of songwriting that is unmistakably his own, he fills the room with stories of living to learn. His band, Mogote, is working on an EP and will be playing around the Triangle shortly.
SIMILAR 2: Wilco, Iron & Wine, Cub Country
The Lisa Ray Trio
Lisa Ray is a bilingual Asian American and a classically trained pianist. Her original songs are in Japanese and in English, and influenced by Japanese folk music. The trio’s latest album, This Moment is the Show, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Tori Amos, Sarah Mclachlan, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Faye Wong
“I have performed (solo and with a full band) at many kinds of venues and events, from concerts as well-known as Lilith Fair to the smallest bar or coffee shop in Hicksville, USA.” Kick Pleat Skirt is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Edie Brickell, Fiona Apple, The Sundays
Kenny Roby has always been peripatetic. His father was a Navy man, leading his family to several Atlantic ports before finally settling in Clemson, S.C. after retirement. Roby followed suit, moving from Clemson to Raleigh along with his punk-rock troupe, The Lubricators. They disbanded a year later, but Roby regrouped quickly, forming the proto-6 String Drag in Raleigh before returning to Clemson to begin the band again a year later. That band returned to Raleigh, recording and touring its way to a deal with Steve Earle and Jack Emerson’s E-Squared. Roby recorded Mercury’s Blues after the band split, followed by 2002’s darker Rather Not Know, a rustic songwriter’s brilliant, cinematic and troubled examination of his father’s recent death. Roby recently completed recording for his third solo effort tentatively titled The Mercy Filter. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Randy Newman, Steve Earle, Paul Westerberg
Kenny Shore/Kenny Shore & the Hot Donuts/Widget
“People say I sound like Don McLean after he’s had a fistfight with John Prine. Prine would win, I think. But I don’t smoke cigarettes, so I’m not as raspy. Concord College (Athens, WV) described my show as ridiculous and irreverent! I like that. I occasionally perform at colleges around the Southeast. My rock band, Widget, is all about power pop, Big Star style. We do a fun cover of ‘Back of My Car.’ Soon, I’ll be performing with Weezer tribute band, Wannabeezer! Can’t wait!” The latest CD, One Breath At A Time, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: John Prine, Tom Waits, Mike Cross
Mark Smith and Circle of Friends
“Often I’m soloist and accompanist at local Unity churches; I also love to lead singing at events ranging from peace rallies to dance camps, kids camps, conferences, gatherings and monthly chanting sessions. I share songs that can light folks up and let them find new ways to see and feel the wonder of their lives and the world around them. I Send A Voice is available at local music stores, online and directly through me.”
SIMILAR 2: Pete Seeger, Universal Chanting, Celtic, Native American, Buddhist and original chants
He’s played with Ben Folds (in Pots & Pans), released four albums as Bus Stop in the ’90s, and has released several solo albums in addition to joining local super-group International Orange. Snuzz (aka Britt Uzzell) plays roots-pop, i.e. dusty folk and country inflected pop songs, heavy with hooks and catchy choruses. He released The One Piece Band in the summer of 2002.
SIMILAR 2: Old 97s, Marshall Crenshaw, Ween
Greg is a songwriter, singer and music teacher. His songs have made him a finalist in four songwriting contests in the past two years. Greg plays primarily at cafes, festivals and parties. His first CD, All In My Hands, was released this past spring and is available at shows and via email.
SIMILAR 2: Bruce Cockburn, John Lennon, Elvis Costello
In a bold move to enlarge their fan base on the East Coast and to collaborate with other artists, The Basics opened their own home recording studio, The Second Story, in Durham. They have collaborated with Dale Baker of Sixpence None the Richer, Ken Coomer of Wilco, Chris Donohue of VOL, Phil Madiera and Claire Holley. They have gained valuable experience doing session work for a wide assortment of projects, both commercial and artistic. They recently wrote two original songs selected for a tribute to Payne Stewart that aired on ABC and ESPN as part of the U.S. Open golf telecast. The Basic’s latest album, Grow, is available at pastemuisic.com, cdbaby.com and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Sheryl Crow, U2, Shawn Colvin, Peter Himmelman, Indigo Girls
Drawing from his experiences in a rock band, Chris’ style has evolved into what can easily be described as lyric-driven-acoustic-folk-rock. His catchy melodies and lyric-based songwriting have won him fans at coffee shops, bars, bookstores, colleges and fine restaurants. Some Things Never Change is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
This Chapel Hill native produces unique, original songs rooted in traditional music.
SIMILAR 2: Gillian Welch
Larry Weaver serves up funny country-fried pop songs with a heapin’ helping of stand-up comedy. His song, “Ghost in the Trailer,” set off a wave of haunted mobile home hysteria across America. His live act is loaded with great music, audience interaction, outrageous characters and, of course, the occasional wig. What would you expect from a guy who once worked as a professional wrestling manager and now spends half his time rooting out spirits in trailer parks?
SIMILAR 2: “Weird Al” Yankovic, Rev. Billy Wirtz, Mojo Nixon, Ray Stevens, Frank Zappa, Adam Sandler
“At my solo acoustic shows people don’t really know what to expect. I run looping and delay pedals on both my guitars and vocals. It’s not easy recreating the same sound every show, so I don’t bother trying. I like the fact that the pedals force me to do it different each time. The pedals also add another degree of fun to the solo show. Keeps things interesting.” The Road is available at local music stores, online and at shows
SIMILAR 2: Gavin DeGraw, Pat McGee, Ben Folds
R&B, Soul and Gospel
Skeeter is a legend. He is a man of a million songs and will tailor his show to what the situation calls for. Work has been very slow for Skeeter as health issues have prevented him from traveling. He has played some of the most prestigious festivals and clubs in the East as well as several tours of Europe. In short, Skeeter is a cat that should be famous … but hasn’t had the luck to push him over the edge. It’s Good To Go can be found online.
SIMILAR 2: Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Brown
Essie Mae Brooks
Essie Mae excels at singing a cappella but is always willing to sing with a backup band. She sings at weddings, parties and funerals. Her CD, Rain in Your Life, is available online.
D.S.F. Earth Corps
D.S.F. Earth Corps is a positive, spiritual, original music experience that uses many styles, like R&B, reggae, rock and funk to get the groove across. Since 1991 the dudes have been creating, recording and playing live this unmatched style of music that is refreshingly new, yet comfortably familiar, in this region. Their Sampler Platter is available at shows. dsfearthcorps.iuma.com
SIMILAR 2: Santana, George Benson, Bob Marley
“Mosadi is a creative bunch. We enjoy music and collectively have a wide range of creative gifts. We also are a lil’ goofy and self-absorbed like most artists.” A new CD is in progress and will be available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: ’60s soul and ’90s hip hop
“My label name describes me best: Sultry Storm. My vocals are very sultry and very passionate. When I deliver a piece, you will be caught up in a storm of emotion and passion while being well-entertained at the same time.” Sincerely Yours, recorded in New York, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan
Landy Void — The Void Brothers
The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band–an eight-piece ensemble featuring a full horn section and a lead singer with all the moves down.
SIMILAR 2: Michael Jackson
Electronic & Instrumental
Apple Juice Orchestra
“We are a live band that plays many different styles in the electronica genre, from drum and bass to house, from down-tempo to two-step. Our members are a variety of local musicians including The Apple Juice Kid (Sankofa), Bobby Patterson (Dag), Jana Privett (Not So Dandelions), Blake (DJ at 5 Star and Retail) and Dana Chell (the Mighty Burners).” A 7-inch recording is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Portishead, Bjork, Daft punk, Zero 7
A Problem of Alarming Dimensions
Originating from the swamps of the central Arkansas hinterlands, A Problem of Alarming Dimensions combines experimental textures with variegated instrumentation to form a surprisingly accessible blend of [mostly] instrumental rock mayhem. h-hov-hover is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
Jim Crew & Shimmy Shack
Jim Crew and Shimmy Shack play old-school acid jazz and Latin grooves mixed with modern electronica and extended improvisation. Great for clubs, parties and festivals. Shimmy Shack is available at Quail Ridge Books and online.
SIMILAR 2: Martin, Medeski and Wood, Soul Live
Multimedia visual show set to an electronic soundscape. Performance availability limited to art galleries and loft parties. Wir Sind Das Molested can be purchased at Bickett Gallery and shows.
Dr. Gonzalez plays instrumental music that provides the listener with a virtual ‘tapas’ of musical flavors. Their music contains elements of Americana, old school R&B and funk grooves, jazz influenced textures and the occasional film score vignette. Dr. Gonzalez is led by guitarist Mike Krause and features keyboardist Steve Potak, bassist Danny Kurtz and drummer Chris Stephenson. These instrumentalists par excellence have in recent years played and/or recorded with some of the who’s-who in the Triangle music scene, including Caitlin Cary, Thad Cockrell, The Connells, Tift Merritt, The Two Dollar Pistols, Whiskeytown, The Backsliders and International Orange.
SIMILAR 2: Soundtrackcore
“As their name carefully suggests, North Carolina’s Orchestra 8 produce beautifully crafted orchestrated pop. Expect lush pop with very strong Brian Wilson/VanDyke Park leanings. Nice!” —The Big Takeover. “We play on the club and coffeehouse circuit.” The Return of Captain Bringdown is available at local music stores, online and shows.
SIMILAR 2: Vivaldi, VanDyke Parks, Scott Walker
“We are a new-music ensemble and composers’ collective dedicated to presenting boundary/genre-defying concerts. We specialize in American music, especially experimental styles, and commission new piece by emerging composers from around the world. We like playing in venues that ‘classical musicians’ usually don’t–galleries, rock clubs, parties, etc. –as well as the conventional concert halls.”
SIMILAR 2: Scratch Orchestra, Bang On A Can, Frog Peak Composers Collective, Jandek, Alfred Schnittke, Glenn Branca, Diamanda Galas
Rhythm Circles for Everyone
“Spice up your special event with participatory music making. From Exploris Museum to local schools to the LEAF Festival in Black Mountain, we get folks grooving to their own beat!”
Shadow of a Great Name
Stretching the rock song until it snaps back. Their latest CD is Exteriors.
SIMILAR 2: post-punk electronic rock
Sirens play instrumental rock music–the band’s unique combination of baritone/bass guitar, viola and drums is a survey of all three members’ interests and influences. The songs cover a lot of ground–at times sinuous and lyrical, at others heavy and driving, but always rhythmically inventive. “Gus’ mom, Mrs. Grizlac, just thinks it’s depressing. We’re in the process of recording a full-length record, tentatively titled Sign Language.”
SIMILAR 2:Unwound, Shipping news, Funk Brothers, King Crimson
Small Life Form
It’s drone music inspired by post-World War II classical music and some post-punk using real tape loops. It’s about sound more than music.. It’s not really meant to appeal to everyone.
SIMILAR 2: Gyorgy Ligeti, Cindytalk, Swans
The Apple Juice Kid
The Apple Juice Kid is a drummer in Chapel Hill who has produced a CD with guests including DJ Pez, Mark Wells, Shirlette Ammons and Omatade as well as many others in the area. He also won the beat battle championship at Local 506. In addition to being a musician in several bands, he is now DJing, producing, and writing tracks for many artists in the area. The Apple Juice Kid’s latest album, Plus, is available online and at Schoolkid’s Records, the Record Exchange and Border’s Bookstore.
The Roots, Thievery Corporation, NERD
DJ Chela is “a DJ and activist based out of Durham who DJs clubs, shows, radio and other events. She is the urban music director at WXDU 88.7 and broadcasts a weekly mix-show Monday nights 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. She has performed across the US and Nicaragua, opening for KRS-ONE, Remy Martin, dead prez, Saigon, and 5th Platoon and has spoken at Wisconsin University, NC A&T and Exploris Museum. She is available for special events, club bookings, custom CDs, DJ classes and speaking events.” Her CDs are No. 1 Product Vol. II, hosted by Shelly B and Mothernature and Da Worst of K-Hill Part I.
Downside is issuing a wake-up call to the hip-hop industry. Far removed from the everyday pitfalls of cash, cars, jewelry, and the overall thugged-out mindset, this is hip-hop of a more conscious nature. Instead of focusing on the bling-bling, Downside discusses such topics as the destructive tendencies of man towards others and the environment, the conditioned norms of society, the call to take responsibility for our actions, and the direction mankind is heading. This is hip hop of a deeply moving and spiritual–not to be confused with religious–nature. Their latest CD release is Spontaneous Languages.
“We’re a new band. We make subversive hip-hop, but we don’t have subversive attitudes. We’re all from Durham, but Pierce lives in Greensboro, Aden lives in Chapel Hill, and Hollin lives in Raleigh.”
“I rep the L.O.B. Fam hailing from east Durham. I was the K97.5 freestyle champ for 13 weeks and never lost a battle. They had to retire me.” P. Batters Presents The Ransom Note is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2:Beanie Segal
Born in northern Virginia, Kevin “Kaze” Clarence Thomas attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he founded Hip-Hop Nation, devoted to fostering a thriving hip-hop scene on campus. After leaving school, he evolved into his role as the founder and host of NBC’s nationally syndicated Hip-Hop Nation. Kaze moved on to found Soul Dojo, Inc, through which he released his explosive self-produced debut, Spirit of ’94, in March 2003. That entree revealed Kaze as a studied emcee rooted in the old school but with a solid, inventive flow, more concerned with his boys, ladies and philosophy than with his cash. He followed with Enemy of the State in April 2004, featuring appearances from 9th Wonder, L.E.G.A.C.Y. and DJ Forge. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Skillz, Little Brother, Nas
“Kerbloki is not your typical rap group. All music is created originally with real instruments in our private studio. It gives the music a different feel. Our lyrics are about whatever we are currently feeling–woes about day jobs, partying, trying to pay bills, where we are currently living, etc. You definitely won’t hear any rhymes about the bling. Our live performances are unparalleled and are a must-see, very high-energy. We’ve played clubs in NYC, LA, Oakland and Chapel Hill and have shared the stage with groups such as Milemarker, Atom & His Package, Prince Paul, X-Ecutioners and local heroes Little Brother.” Their self-titled CD is available at local music stores and online.
’80s-style rap groups
“That’s who Little Brother is: Phonte and Pooh on the rhymes, 9th Wonder on the tracks,” Triangle emcee Phonte told British hip-hop magazine Elusive Styles last year. Using that cohesive crew mentality and a love of old-school hip-hop from Pete Rock and A Tribe Called Quest to Eric & Rakim and Gang Starr, Little Brother–whose three members became best friends at North Carolina Central University as freshman there–exploded in 2003 with their ABB Records debut, The Listening. ?uestlove of The Roots, Zaakir of Jurassic 5 and other hip-hop heavyweights immediately signed on as fans, pushing the band to spots on MTV and tours with Blackalicious. Since then, 9th Wonder has been busy, producing tracks for Jay-Z, Murs and Raleigh’s The Justus League. –GC
SIMILAR 2: De La Soul, Jurassic 5, Black Star
The two MCs in Living Dead have been performing together since high school. “We started rapping at parties in the mid-90s and first hit a Chapel Hill stage in 1999, at the Local 506. Now we are tearing up shows locally but look forward to more gigs out of the area. We like eating flesh and are often seen around town with a various limb of some sort. We are Living Dead. There is no ‘The.’” Featured on the “Nod Craft Sounds” compilation CD, available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: early Gravediggaz, Eastern Conference All Stars
The Nicky Band
The Nicky Band formed to back the musical inspirations of Nick Whitley, former drummer and vocalist of Cherry Valence. All instrumentation on the album, produced by The Beatgeek of Pro-L/Futurock Productions, was done by Nick. The band members include Danny Vaughn (Mothlight) on keyboards, Ian Mark Willis (Pro-L) on bass, veteran Dave Hogan on drums, backup singer and hype man Max Unruh and Nicky with vocals and guitar. They play for fun, getting indie-rock kids on the floor. Their last CD, The Nicky Album came out in 2003.
SIMILAR 2: Sly and the Family Stone, Hall and Oates, R. Kelly
The Remix Project
“We are a live band that plays the current and old school songs mostly heard on the radio and MTV along with some originals. We play instrumental covers — from hip hop to pop to dance music — and remix them, sometimes adding drum and bass or house music to the songs you already know. A live CD is available at our shows.”
“I’m a hip-hop extremist! I’m a 100-percent B-boy! I represent the freedom of music and the liberty of thought. Pauly Snubnoze is the essence of Hip Hop! Massive Ditto’s to The Anti-Crew! I’ll catch you at the next show yo! Peace, Pauly.” Her latest album, Victimology, is available online.
SIMILAR 2: Wu-Tang, Kool G
Pro-L formed in 1998. The Cyborganic hip-hop outfit consists of drummer Nick Whitley, guitarist Viswas Chitnis, bassist Ian Mark Willis and MCs B-Nice and Non P. These members are the founders of Futurock Productions, scheduled to release Pro-L’s Songs about girls, B-Nice’s The B-Nice Mixtape, the Beatgeeks’ Appalindia and Scott Lynx’s The Unusual Suspect by 2005. For Free came out in 2001, and The B-Nice Mindframe came out in 2002.
SIMILAR 2: The Roots, Outkast, Tribe Called Quest
Shelly B has performed with DMX, Fabolous, Trick Daddy, Trina and Cash Money, just to name a few. Some production on Somethin’ Hot was done by 50 Cent’s G-Unit crew.
Smokwun has a unique rap style: the deep baritone of Big Daddy Kane, the cynicism of Eminem and the humor of Bernie Mac. His CD, Smokwun-Attatime, can be found at Schoolkids, Maddwaxx and the Record Exchange.
“I would describe what we are doing as similar to the punk movement of the early ’80s. I was a part of that scene and had not been able to find that energy until we formed Spitune. We are hip-hop, not rap, and the differences are enormous. If you consider the two as the same come check out a show and feel the difference.” The Nod Craft Compilation is available online and at shows.
Frankie Alexander and Friends
Frankie Alexander and her trio of seasoned musicians give a fresh interpretation to jazz classics. It’s music for the introspective listener. They have two cuts on the compilation Jammin’ese, available only at the Akai Hana Japanese restaurant in Carrboro.
SIMILAR 2: Carmen McCrae, Shirley Horn
“Besides our original tunes, we also feature medleys of Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, etc., done instrumentally in our style.”
SIMILAR 2: Headhunters, Medeski, Martin, and Wood
“We like going from a private party or wedding reception to a rock ‘n’ roll club and making them all move.” Their latest CD, Sadlack’s Stop, is available at local records stores, online and at shows. “The best party band in the Triangle.”
SIMILAR 2: Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the JB’s, Rebirth Brass Band
Chris Boerner Trio
“Rip your face off, loud, jazz, funk, fusion, feel good music. We are an instrumental guitar trio playing original music. Complex harmonically and metrically. Experimenting at Slims every Wednesday night.”
“Whenever we play a wedding, it ends in disaster. Usually the groom runs off with a member of the band. And our drummer likes to spike the punch with LSD.” Raw Deal is available at CD Alley, Schoolkids and the Record Exchange.
SIMILAR 2: Spike Jones, Charles Mingus, Cannon’s Jug Stompers
Europa Jazz Quartet
“We are a tight quartet of seasoned musicians playing the music of the great French gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. We are reviving his and others’ jazz standards from the ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s for a new generation of hepcats. We’ll play at restaurants, festivals, jazz clubs, weddings, etc.” A demo CD is available at shows and by request.
SIMILAR 2: Gypsy Jazz, Django Reinhart and Stephane Grapelli, Trad Jazz, Swing
Edgy, provocative groove. a power-trio that keeps your booty on the move. Guitarist Scott Sawyer ain’t your daddy’s idea of jazz. And when both the bassist Bobby Patterson and drummer Kenny Soule of DAG are added to the mix, those who feel the need to classify a sound are further challenged to come up with a commensurate description.
SIMILAR 2: John McLaughlin, John Scofield, Bill Frisell
Howling Dog Theory
Two veteran guitarists, Mike Babyak and Bo Lankenau, form this semi-acoustic duo featuring ringing fingerstyle 12-string guitar, slinky Hawaiian steel and an occasional guest percussionist. The material is flowing, open improvisation with a hook or two thrown in for good measure. Howling Dog Theory plays once a month at the General Store Cafe in Pittsboro and other assorted bars, coffee shops and cafes in the region. Their latest CD, Live at the Blue Bayou Club, is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: John Fahey, Leo Kottke, Ry Cooder, David Lindley, John Scofield, Shark Quest
“I also play for wedding reception dinners and other similar events. Besides the boogie woogie style, I play jazz ballads and standards.”
SIMILAR 2: James Booker, Dr. John, Mead Lux Lewis
The Michael Jones Trio
“The trio provides the best music in contemporary, traditional and smooth jazz. Our music covers the most traditional jazz selections from Duke Ellington to complex fusion selections from Chick Corea. We are available for wedding receptions, private venues, parties, grand openings and public performances. Big sound for a small price.” Their latest releases are It Makes You Wonder and The Michael Jones Trio “Live”!
SIMILAR 2: Herbie Hancock Trio, Oscar Peterson Trio
Wayne Leechford Trio
The Wayne Leechford Trio is a jazz combo featuring Wayne Leechford on saxophone. This group plays a diverse mix of traditional jazz standards and modern, funky jazz. “It’s the perfect addition to any kind of fun social event, dinner party or reception.”
“We play accessible jazz–bebop, blues, Latin, originals. Very danceable! In concert events, we often feature nationally known jazz musicians such as Lou Donaldson, Sonny Fortune, David “Fathead” Newman, Brian Lynch and many others.” Their latest album, Jazz Tonight, is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett, Cyrus Chesnut
Lulu and the Lounge Lizards
Lulu and the Lounge Lizards, a musical group based in the Triangle, specialize in hot jazzy swing tunes, passionate “my man done me wrong” torch songs and “get down” blues. This lively group features vintage jazz and swing from the 1930s and 1940s–music made popular by the greats, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller. They perform at Triangle and Piedmont swing dances, LEAF and other festivals, wedding receptions and torch song performances. Lulu and the Lounge Lizards’ latest release, Let’s Swing, is available online and at shows.
Moore Square Dixieland Band
Hometime band plays at Big Ed’s on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m to noon. Listed with the N.C. Cultural Arts Society. Available for private bookings. Specialty: “You pick the place, we’ll make the party.” Dixieland One More Time is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Pete Fountain
“The only (as far as I know) serious established organ trio in the area.” A self-titled album is available online.
SIMILAR 2: Jimmy Smith Trio, Larry Goldings Trio, Larry Young
Raleigh Jazz Orchestra
The Raleigh Jazz Orchestra performs as a trio, quartet, seven-piece combo or full band, and they tackle standards from The Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” to Charlie Parker’s “Birdland.” Directed by N.C. State jazz master Dr. John Entzi, the Orchestra is associated with The Raleigh Symphony and The Meredith College Jazz Concert Series.
SIMILAR 2: N.C. Jazz Repertory Orchestra
“Dynamic. Bluesy. Soulful. Classy. Scintillating swing. Vocalist Susan Reeves has just returned from performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and has released a new CD, alive! Known for her glowing energy and hand-picked repertoire, her unique voice will turn your ears.” aLive! is available at shows and online at cdbaby.com.
Chris Reynolds Swing ‘n’ Jazz
Chris formed his Swing ‘n’ Jazz Band in Miami, 1990, with Pete Minger, formerly of the Count Basie Band. In 1999 Chris reformed the band in Chapel Hill. They play about 2000 tunes–from blues to Broadway–including jazz versions of some pop, country and movie songs. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
SIMILAR 2: Diana Krall, early Nat King Cole, Gene Harris
Tyson Rogers Quartet
Kevin Whitehead, jazz critic for NPR’s “Fresh Air,” calls the Tyson Rogers Quartet “rich with ideas, confidently executed, melodic and inventive all at once.” Their latest CD is The Blueprint Project.
SIMILAR 2: Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter
Shape Shifters is a new trio, featuring Mike Babyak (good friend and musical collaborator of the formidable Steve Kimock) along with two knockout instrumentalists, jazz percussionist Dave Bentlage, and bassist Leo Kishore of Lamar Jonz. Shape Shifters was formed just after the New Year in 2004 with the aim of providing a somewhat different, and sometimes louder improvisational format than available in Babyak’s acoustic band, Howling Dog Theory. ShapeShifters features a mix of original world, blues, and jazz-influenced tunes along with a songlist of interesting and often obscure old jazz and blues covers.
SIMILAR 2: Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Robert Randolph, Robben Ford, Steve Kimock
Terry Tickle and the Swing City Big Band
“We have a good national following among big band radio stations and have been featured on NPR’s “One Night Stand” and on Chicago’s WDBC, plus international play. Locally, we are primarily a country club and wedding band.” Swingasaurus Rex is available through the web site.
SIMILAR 2: Dancebands of the Miller, Dorsey style
Tristeza specializes in the cool and detached rhythms of the Bossa Nova. The band features the ethereal vocals of Rhonda Bailey, whose voice is strongly reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto, of “Girl from Ipanema” fame. The sophisticated interplay between John Currie’s nylon string guitar and FJ Ventre’s standup bass create the foundation for the elegant rhythms characteristic of the Bossa Nova style. Available for parties and receptions.
SIMILAR 2: Astrud Gilberto
Raymond J. Warden
“Raymond J. Warden performs intimate original music for solo guitar. The music is a culmination of classical and jazz stylings presented via structured guitar pieces and improvisational excursions … The thought provoking sounds provide the perfect backdrop for art galleries, openings, restaurants, coffee shops and private affairs.” His latest album is Sils.
SIMILAR 2: Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, some say Wes Montgomery
Mark Wells Jazz Trio
“We are a jazz trio that plays mostly standards, ranging from swing to bebop. We can also play soul and funk, a la Stevie Wonder, or some of our originals. We all are UNC graduates and play several times a week in restaurants, weddings and private functions.” Downloads at www.soundclick.com/theapplejuicekid
SIMILAR 2: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder
“We are an improv-oriented groove band, heavy on the electronics (with no apologies to jazz purists), using loosely structured compositions as a springboard. Eclectic styles are incorporated, from funk, folk and various ethnic to the unclassifiable. However, we try to stay away from ‘beep-squawk’ and ‘stuck pig’ sounds. We play local concerts, clubs and festivals.”Twilight is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Medeski, Martin and Wood, Zonymash, Jon Hassel
International (Latin, Reggae, Ska, World)
“We’re a performance-oriented ska band that plays throughout North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic. Our latest CD, Impacto, is available at shows.”
SIMILAR 2: Sublime, The Pietasters, Reel Big Fish
Billy and Toni Stevens have performed around the world on behalf of the United States Information Agency, presenting programs on American music and culture in over 25 countries in the developing world. The duo recreates the sound of a whole band using five instruments between them, including synthesizers, harmonicas, percussion and tight vocal harmonies with and without a vocal harmonizer. On their tours, they are often joined by local musicians, especially guitarists. None of them can compare, however, to their old friend and area veteran, Al Dawson.”
SIMILAR 2: Beatles, Everly Bros., Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff
Led by award-winning composer Alex Weiss, Different Drum blends the sounds of Africa and the Americas with jazz. Beautiful Melody is available online.
SIMILAR 2: a cross between the Canadian Brass and the Flying Karamazoff Brothers … but we don’t juggle
Donovan Carless & The Posse
The vocals of Donovan Carless would be nothing without his posse, made of Eric ‘B-Way’ Broadway on drums, Xstopher ‘Tuffer’ Thurson on bass, Sly on keyboard and Trippa on lead guitar. They keep in the tradition of playing authentic reggae music, Jamaican style with lots of drum & bass, conscious lyrics and positive vibes. Donovan is a veteran Jamaican recording artist who has shared the stage with Bob Marley & Dennis Brown. He is a roots, rock reggae artist similar in style to Delroy Wilson. Recently, he headlined First Night Raleigh 2004 and has toured with The Peter Tosh celebration Tour. Be Thankful, the latest from Donavan Carless & the Possee, was recorded in TrippaTones, Virginia and should be out soon.
SIMILAR 2: Soul Syndicate, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Roots Radics
Carnavalito was founded in 1989 by Ricardo Granillo, host of WSHA 88.9FM Latin music program since 1988. Tu y Yo was described as “deal music for a party” and “one of 1999’s best recordings” by Latin Beat magazine editor and Latin music historian Max Salazar. Carnavalito has performed their brand of Latin music throughout the Southeast in festivals, concerts, parties, television, radio and many other events. Their latest CD, Tu y Yo, can be found at local music stores and online.
The Crucial Fiya Reggae Band’s smooth blend of originals and cover songs allows the group the ability to keep the party going nonstop. They have backed up or opened for many international reggae artists like Frankie Paul, Culture and The Wailers. Recording on a debut album will be completed this year.
SIMILAR 2: Toots & The Maytals, Steel Pulse, Bunny Wailer
“We are so versatile that we’ve recently shared stages with Israel Vibration, Mother’s Finest, Gran Torino and the English Beat’s Dave Wakeling. Our latest CD, Sofa King Dread 2003, is available online.”
SIMILAR 2: Multi-car pile up at Five Points among the Wailers, Steely Dan, the Police and the English Beat
Flojo is a four-piece catchy punk-rock band from North Carolina. The group has been playing throughout the region for over two years, doing shows everywhere from festivals, bars, parties and racetracks to basements and backyards. The latest from Flojo, What’s Wrong With My Radio?, is available at the Record Exchange and shows.
SIMILAR 2: Foo Fighters, Spitalfield, Sublime
A middle-eastern jazz Arabic funk fusion ensemble originating from the Raleigh/Durham area. JAAFAR are no longer just local boys. They have recently completed a two week tour of Cairo, Egypt, and, for the second year in a row, they have been invited to perform at the Conga Square Jazz Festival in Calcutta, India as well as a jazz festival in Poland. The instrumentation is usually bass, oud, kesy, dumbek, drum set, and sometimes a double neck guitar thrown into the mix. It is an awesome blend of Western and Eastern ideas fusing seamlessly through traditional Oriental themes and Western jazz/funk. Their self-titled CD is available at Temple Ball Gallery in Carrboro, online at www.abstractlogix.com and at shows. For more information, pictures, reviews, mp3s, etc., please visit the web site.
SIMILAR 2: Shakti, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jonas Hellborg
Les Bon Ton Too!
Les Bon Ton Too! consists of Cathy Pratt-Davis, Chris Mankoff, Harold Brady and Pat Hicks. They play authentic, acoustic Cajun music, some old, some new. Cathy plays real Cajun button accordions, hand-made in Louisiana. Durhammite Chris Mankoff plays fiddle and has a diverse musical background having played old-time and bluegrass music with many local musicians. Harold “Thumper” Brady, originally from Southern Pines, plays bass fiddle and has played in the Triangle with various musical groups for several years. Pat Hicks, on guitar, resophonic guitar, steel guitar and mandolin, was born in Southwest Louisiana and raised on a steady diet of Cajun music. A demo CD is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Balfa Brothers & Balfa Toujours
Magnolia Klezmer Band
Magnolia has played Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro ArtsCenter, Duke Gardens summer jazz series, Worldfest, International festivals and community celebrations including weddings and parties. Sonically, an original, antidepressive mix of Eastern Europe Jewish music, dixieland and swing. Dixie Diaspora is available at dixiediaspora.8k.com.
SIMILAR 2: Klezmer Conservatory Band
Mappamundi (“Map of the World”)
More-or-less traditional music from the northern hemisphere and the previous millennium, including British Isles, Western and Eastern Europe, Klezmer and Israeli, swing for listening and dancing, contradances, general folk, old-time and early North Carolina. Concerts, festivals, weddings, bnei mitzvot, etc. World Music Our Way is available online and at shows.
“Project Mastana’s unique ability lies in connecting the audience with a soulful Indo-World fusion that sets everyone in motion. Enter the Nautch Girls and get ready to dance! Project Mastana explores the vast riches of India’s lesser known traditional music (qawaali, bhangra, raas-garba) and the “music of the millions”–India’s popular music, topping U.K. pop charts and legendary for it’s cross-cultural appeal.
“We’re a nine-piece Latin music ensemble that plays salsa, merengue and cumbia music. We were the Indy’s May band of the month!” A three-song demo CD from 2003 is available upon request.
“Universal Chanting is an open community of folks who love to get together to sing and play chants of many spiritual traditions, both Eastern and Western. We meet once a month near Chapel Hill and also lead retreats and other events–info and directions available on the Web site. COME SING WITH US! Live from the Heart is available at local stores, online and in person.
SIMILAR 2: Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Ram Dass, World Music
Viswas Chitnis and Chris Johnson
Viswas Chitnis began playing sitar at age 15. His teachers include Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Partha and Pandid Khrishna Mohan Bhatt among many others. Chris Johnson began playing tabla in Nashville, Tenn. He also performs as a yogal percussionist and dijeridoo player. The duo is accompanied by tamboura, a four-string drone instrument that provides the necessary backdrop to create precise melody forms known as ragas. Their latest CD is Viswas Chitnis LIVE @ WKNC, which came out earlier this year.
SIMILAR 2: Johnny Sarod, Sudah Ayer
Alli With an I
The Raleigh quartet formed in 2000 out of the ashes of a pair of local high school bands, seizing on the punk-pop/emo sound. Lead singer/guitarist Matt Sileno sounds like The Get Up Kids’ Matt Pryor, while the punky, hyperactive rhythms, hook-ridden melodic crunch, and stop/start dynamics drive high-throttle ballads full of lost loves and confusion that would fit well within the rosters of genre powerhouses Drive Thru and Victory Records. After the self-released debut, they released their follow-up, I Learned By Watching You (Law of Inertia), last summer. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The Starting Line, Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day
A mutant blues/punkabilly/garage rock outfit, Bad Checks was founded in 1980 by the Mann brothers, Robin and busy Clifton Lee (Pipe, The Ghost of Rock, Chrome-Plated Apostles). The old school rockers became one of the area’s signature acts playing with about every important underground punk and alt-rock group of the time. Alternating between a laconic rumble with the despondent blues pulse of Jon Spencer and a muscle car guitar hum racing hell-bent for leather down old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll highways and unmarked dirt roads, the quartet sizzles like steak gristle cooking on V-8 manifold. While still performing locally on occasion, their last album, High Dollar (Yep Roc), came out in 1998. –CP
SIMILAR 2: John Spencer Blues Explosion, The Grifters, Rocket From The Crypt
Bats & Mice
Luke Herbst from local luminaries Cobra Kahn, Cursor and Tens of Thousands recently took over on drums for Bats & Mice and infused the group with a driving energy that has focused the band as they write songs for a new full-length release and 7-inch, both to be out on Lovitt Records. For now, Believe it Mammals is available at local music stores and shows.
SIMILAR 2: Swervedriver
“We usually play basements. A significant part of our band is our ‘Black Castle’ concept. Our soon-to-be-recorded full length has the theme of approaching, entering, then clearing out all the monsters from the ‘Black Castle.’”
SIMILAR 2: Men’s Recovery Project, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Black Dice
2000 Jim Beam Bourbon B.E.A.M. music grant winner; 2001 showcase at the Atlantis Music conference on the Jim Beam stage; semi-finalist in the Musicians Magazine Best Unsigned Band contest; listed in Faze 3 Magazine as one of the best bands in North Carolina. Their CD, Blister vs. The Theory of Evolution, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Ramones, Nirvana, the Hives
The Ghost of Rock
This rumbling garage-fueled punk outfit plays with more energy than a pack of Ritalin-fueled 1st-graders out on recess. Its clipped, crunchy numbers rattle your chest cavity like a TB-victim in death throes, packing so much punch they should be greeted, “Hey Kool-Aid.” The band reunites two members of ’90s punk powerhouse Pipe — gutter grime guitarist Clifton Lee Mann and vocalist Ron Liberti, who sounds like he gargles whiskey and motor oil for breakfast–all the better for fueling the band’s high octane attack. Though their favored form is a Dead Boys meet The Stooges rawk party, bits of melody and razor-edged hooks are strewn haphazardly across the band’s self-titled debut (on Mann’s DemonBeach Records), which came out this summer. –CP
SIMILAR 2: MC5, The Damned, Dead Boys
“Insurgence has been around since 1987 and has played more than 400 shows, released two CDs and two 7-inch and have been on numerous compilation releases. Though shows in recent years have not been as frequent, we are still together writing new songs.” Insurgence continues to record and will be releasing its third full-length album sometime next year. Their latest album, In The Grip Of A Secured Rebellion, can be found online and at most indie record stores.
SIMILAR 2: Clash, Gang of 4, Fugazi, Yo La Tengo, Mission OF Burma
The band’s sound is straightforward and in your face streetpunk that concentrates on melody and musicianship as much as angst and ideals. Each member of the band brings their own ideas to the table, which results in a very driven sound that is somewhat familiar but also unique. They spent the last year playing shows in Atlanta, Columbia, S.C., and Charlotte, and are currently in the studio working with Greg Elkins on their full-length debut, which will be out this fall. Their latest EP, The Pissed and Loud, is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Business, CockSparrer, Patriot, The Clash
Old school punk. Songs titles are the chords to each song. Gave birth to the next generation of molestation, Das Molested. Their latest CD, Samurai Bastards, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Led Zepplin
“Three-piece, all free spirits, we get in trouble because we speak our minds. We are very political, left wing but not politically correct. Our mission statement is to destroy the military-industrial complex. We will stop at nothing. Of course laughter is the secret key that unlocks the universe, but we are deadly serious. Slaughter is just laughter with an S in front.” Destroy All Who Oppose Us is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Big Black, The Birthday Party
Xtreme Badasses was started to be the world’s best party band. And if you don’t think we’re on our way, you’ve got another thing coming. You can find the Xtreme Badasses’ latest CD, Pump up the Treble, at local record stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Queen, Devo, Mr. Bungle
“Great songs, three-part harmonies, rockin’ soundz. (Yes, we’ve been closed down by the police.) We play anywhere and everywhere. “Postmodern Boogie is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2:Blue Areoplanes, Mountain
The Alan Davis Band
An Alan Davis Band show is a high-energy yet intimate affair that involves the audience as much as the musicians. The originals are carefully crafted songs built on a rock-solid foundation of lyrical and evocative songwriting. Many of the tunes have roots in bluegrass, newgrass and folk, but the influence of classic rock and funk is undeniable. And Begin is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Railroad Earth, Paul Simon, Jump Little Children
Nathan Asher & The Infantry
There are seven of us. We formed seven months ago. We are like crack dealers. We push half-formed and poorly washed parables into the blue red veins of the North Raleigh suburbs. We are awesome, but don’t take our word for it. Check out this quote from 105.1 DJ, Kenn Jockstraw: “These guys are not attractive enough to make it in the music industry. If only they were better looking, their music would sound better; and that’s a fact. Also, the singer should stop with the political stuff.”
SIMILAR 2: Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M.
“Our music does the talking. We play and sing with unbelievable passion. Producer Dick Hodgin (Hootie & the Blowfish) says he’s more excited about us than anything he’s been excited about in a long, long time. We will take this nation.” This Life is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Goo Goo Dolls, the Nixen’s, Match Box 20, Creed
Pretty, delicate indie pop stocked with more hooks than a tackle shop and sweet simmering vocal melodies. It’s gentle enough to be Twee, catchy enough to recall Big Star, with just a dash of guitar crunch for texture. Their facility in segueing from the softer to the louder parts is one of The Balance’s great charms, melding beauty and attack. There’s plenty of light guitar jangle and acoustic strumming that, when overlain by thoughtful lyrics, give the impression of a singer/songwriter album. Features former Ashley Stove guitarist Jim Brantley, Ticonderoga bassist Wes Philips and Portastatic drummer Matt McCaughan. They recorded a self-titled, self-released album in the Spring. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The Plimsouls, Butterglory, The Softies
“We try to put on a good show with a lot of energy and charisma. Our originals have a familiar feel that people seem to be drawn to. We include many styles and improvisation in our music, and anything can happen on stage.” A demo CD is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Phish, Dave Mathews, Widespread Panic
Wilmington pals Heather McEntire and Brent Fuscaldo form Chapel Hill’s Bellafea, one of two new releases slated on Raleigh’s Pidgeon English for later this year. Brent pounds the skins and Heather belts the songs, fragile one moment, emboldened the next. Expect The Family Tree EP later this year with plenty of guests flourishes on the two-member minimalism. One of the best new bands in the Triangle. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Slits, PJ Harvey, Shannon Wright
Big Mama E and the Cool
“Big Mama E and the Cool have been together seven or eight years. They’ve self-produced two CD’s, both of which were well-received critically. Their most recent, High Maintenance, recorded in Durham, was named by two North Carolina publications as one of the top recordings by a local artist. Big Mama E continues to turn out new and better tunes that they plan to record as soon as they can figure out how to pay for it. The band also continues to gain fans around the Triangle.” High Maintenance is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Fleetwood Mac meets Bonnie Raitt with Mark Knofler sitting in
“Blackstrap says it’s important to blurt out uninformed opinions … the sort of thing you’ll regret saying later on. Blackstrap is going nowhere yet coming to a club near you. Blackstrap should have stopped years ago but is uncomfortable enough to keep doing it. Blackstrap is robots in ecstasy. Blackstrap eats at TGI Doomsday’s.”
SIMILAR 2: X-Ray Spex, Warsaw, Gun Club, Johnny Thunders
Blatant Disarray materialized in the underground Triangle metal scene. They succeed in awing their audiences with a spectacle of musical ability and by sweating raw stage presence. A self-titled CD is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: old school Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer
The Bleeding Hearts
Sam Madison met New York transplants but longtime Triangle natives Jimbo Britt, Joe Yerry and Scott Taylor at a party over a year ago. Madison, a veteran of Triangle bands including Big Dixie and Man Will Destroy Himself, began to practice with the band, and he loved what he heard. He began writing again, dealing with a divorce through a song cycle based on plotlines of high school love and hate. Stayin’ After Class, the band’s debut, was released two months ago on New York’s Abray Records, and it showcases perhaps the finest local classic rock band currently cranking out a blend of dirty thoughts and wet dreams–rock n’ roll built on Cheap Trick, KISS, The Ramones and an arena-sized attitude.
SIMILAR 2: Cheap Trick, Judas Priest, Sloan
“We cover music from Rolling Stones, CSN, CCR, Led Zepplin, Van Halen, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morisette, The Donnas and more. We are a band that has a lot of fun when we play. We are from Roxboro and have started to sprout our wings in other cities. We recently played in Fayetteville. We have a CD of seven of the originals that we do.” It is available by contacting Barry Nichols at the above e-mail.
The Boneys are the longest-lived rock ‘n’ roll band in the Triangle, playing with the same personnel since the mid 1970s. Inspired by jam bands like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and the Doors, the Boneys love to play for dancers who expect extended solos and long sets. Veterans of clubs, festivals and parties for over 25 years, the band is known for their spontaneity, preferring live gigs to practice, and will always play at least one tune live for the first time. Loud and loose, the Boneys wing it without set lists, preferring to choose from their large repertoire of classic rock, R&B, and Grateful Dead on the fly, catering to the occasion and whims of their dedicated following.
Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton
The Cherry Valence’s Brian Quast began writing several songs out of the context of TCV in 2000, recording all parts and instruments on 4-track by himself. He remained in close contact with ex-Polvo frontman Ash Bowie, then living in Boston. When Bowie returned to the Triangle, he began recording the songs with Quast, eventually recruiting other locals to play in the live setting as the BQ’s. Multiple changes in the line-up followed over the next four years, with Dragstrip Syndicate’s Eric Sugg and Dynamite Brothers’ Scott Nurkin eventually settling in. The BQ’s are now recording in the recently converted TCV practice space.
SIMILAR 2: Big Star, Cheap Trick, Flamin’ Groovies
Featuring singer/guitarist Kaia Wilson and drummer Melissa York from Team Dresch, The Butchies follow the queercore lead of their former band, fashioning punchy, punk-pop. However, while they certainly compose raw-edged guitar-led paeans with a pumping backbeat, punk-pop’s too limited in describing their oeuvre, which blends in elements of rock, pop and even disco. They do so with plentiful pop smarts and scintillating vocal melodies that would be radio-ready in a different political/social environment. Each of their four albums have shown greater confidence and assurance, capped by their best album to date, Make Yr Life (Yep Roc), released this Spring. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The Runaways, Le Tigre, Bratmobile,
Cam-Zen are usually down for playing any type of events and places, having played bars, clubs and more in the Triangle and elsewhere. Playing all original music in different rock styles. A self-titled CD is available at record stores, online, and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Nirvana
“We are four friends from the Triangle who love to make music together. We have been playing out for a year now and are proud to be from Chapel Hill. Our EP, The Aiden Grace, is available at indie music stores and at shows.”
Cantwell Gomez & Jordan
“We play spazz-prog-no-wave-free-experimental-avant-21st century-pre-post-fake jazz … but in a punk-rock way. A self titled CD is available at local music stores and by emailing email@example.com .”
SIMILAR 2: X-Ray Spex, US Maple, Raymond Scott
The Cartridge Family
One of the few Raleigh bands that is able to cross the gray line between the alt.country scenesters and the McDowell St. hipsters, The Cartridge Family emerged from the ashes of various local bands, including jam act Shady Tree, G.I. Jesus, and Big Joe, which immigrated to Raleigh from Kentucky because of its growing alt.country population. A band that plays only because it’s so fun, The Cartridge Family grits its teeth in the live setting, letting loose a gritty, soulful white-trash-in-the-city flair. The band’s Kenny Roby and Rob Farris-produced debut, Here Come The Rock Stars, will be released later this year. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Faces, The Pretty Things, The Black Keys
A sort of resistance to the alt.country scene seemingly running rampant miles down the interstate, Chapel Hill’s The Comas in 1998, quickly evolving into a respectable, interesting indie band and releasing Wave to Make Friends on Plastique in mid-1999. Def Needle in Tomorrow followed on local country-ish label Yep Roc, quickly becoming one of the label’s most refreshing pieces since its inception. John Harrison left to form the sunnier North Elementary following the release of the record, but The Comas followed with their sophomore Yep Roc effort in 2004, Conductor. This is a band that seems destined to become the stateside, country cousin of Canadian Arts & Crafts piece de resistance, Broken Social Scene.
SIMILAR 2: Sparklehorse, The Beta Band, Broken Social Scene
Darwin was right: Evolution rules. Cold Sides has mutated from melancholy melodies to full band Brit-funk dynamics to crafty outer-limits skree in around three years. Zeke Graves (Three Stigmata) and Robert Biggers (ex-White Octave), the two constants, worked in different lineups, recording their debut in 2001. Drummer Dave Cantwell (Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan) later anchored the band, with Crowmeat Bob on sax and guitars Neill Prewitt on bass. They experimented more with electronics, effectively using the beat as instrument. After Cantwell’s departure this year, Cold Sides now works in noise squalls and distinct dance-influenced rock. Several intermittent small salvos include a split single with pals Sorry About Dresden on Sit-n-Spin Records and an EP, Corrugated Sibilants. Their vinyl-only LP, Perpetual Hypeness Machine, just came out on FrequeNC Records. –CT
SIMILAR 2: Wire, Public Image Limited
Corrosion of Conformity
Corrosion of Conformity, the pummeling punk band that regularly embarrassed larger, national touring acts coming through the Brewery with their religion-in-reverse stage presence and thundering sound, is the stuff of legend. C.O.C. formed in the early ’80s, playing a metal-infused hardcore that created a hotbed on Hillsborough St; lineup changes followed for the next two decades, with longtime backing guitarist Pepper Keenan eventually settling with the microphone. The band toured on Lollapalooza, and gained the most popular acceptance with 1996’s Wiseblood, which followed 1994’s landmark Deliverance. The band has cut a dozen songs for its highly anticipated first studio release in four years, due out early next year on Sanctuary Records. –GC
SIMILAR 2: D.R.I., Suicidal Tendencies, Slayer
Chrome Plated Apostles
Another band on the Clifton Lee Mann axis, the Chome Plated Apostles feature Bad Checks singer Hunter Landen, Jett Rink and Fake Swedish’s Dave Vespah, and Pipe bassist Greg Adams, as well as Mr. Gutter Grime Guitar himself, Clif Mann. Like anything with Mann on the six-string, the sound is loud, raw, and dirty like R. Kelly’s mind. On CPA in particular, the crunch of each slide-guitar downstroke throbs like a purple vein in your forehead ready to burst. It’s like Bo Diddley, dropped an octave and sped up to double speed, played through Radio Shack speakers, underwater: a huge sonic wave threatening to drown you in its nasty, rawkus guitar murk. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Royal Trux, Rocket From The Crypt, Butthole Surfers
New Year’s Eve 2001, Creekside was born in the ski town of Jackson Hole, Wy. and soon grew to be the Valley’s favorite jam band. After deciding to move closer to home, four of the members moved to the East Coast in October of 2002 and exploded into the North Carolina jam band scene. A quixotic sound with piercing solos and a smooth continuous flow as one song leads to the next, Creekside has mesmerized their crowds with their full sound and experimental style.
SIMILAR 2: Psych of Pink Floyd meets funk and Stevie Wonder
Formed in 1999 as the songwriting and roots outlet of Jets to Brazil bassist Jeremy Chatelain, Cub Country released an eponymous EP on Ear to Ground Records back in 2000, followed by the stunning, quiet, epic full-length debut High Uinta High on Jets to Brazil’s domicile, Jade Tree. With JTB on a possibly temporary hiatus, Cub Country has become Chatelain’s full-time project, with an appearance on Another Country 2 in 2004 and a second LP, Stay Poor/Stay Happy, slated for release on Future Farmer Recordings later this year. These songs–intimate, idiosyncratic plainsong portraits from an unexpected source–have a tendency to be perfect.
SIMILAR 2:Leonard Cohen, Damien Jurado, Pedro The Lion
Death Runs Silent
Young but rising metalcore band from Raleigh filled with deep growls, insane guitar solos and a crazy live show. Though the band is entirely under 18, we have played venues around the Carolinas and Virginia with such nationally-known acts as Daylight Dies, Dead To Fall, This Runs Through, and many more!” A three-song demo is available by request; Mp3s are also available at mp3.com .
SIMILAR 2:Extol, Arch Enemy
Des Ark formed as an offshoot of Durham band Rubeo as a three-piece. Currently reduced to a duo, guitarist/vocalist Aimee Argote and drummer Tim Herzog make a joyful clamor. Argote’s voice swells and soars with palpable emotion, while the band imprints the songs’ narratives like a three-hole punch smacked into a forearm. The distressed nature of Argote’s delivery–along with Herzog’s tight, economic percussion–make Des Ark one of the best live bands you’ll see in the Triangle. An EP, “Day of Prole,” came out in 2003. Des Ark is recording its debut long player with Jay Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and Zeno Gill for Bifocal Media this summer. –CT
Destroyed By Kittens
This new Durham three-piece shows a lot promise, swinging easily between aggression and sweetness. Stacy Lavin and Jessica Rubio’s vocal yin-ying counterpoints a deep, tough Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde)-style alto with soaring soprano harmonies, as the guitar cuts a deep, dirty groove. Apparently, Dan Hill likes to cut the collars out of his shirts, which are usually pink. He rocks the drum kit with My Little Pony at the helm. Stacy and Jessica like to harmonize, and not just with the voices in their heads. Their shows have been known to feature megaphones and subtitles. The Destroyed By Kittens demo/EP, recorded at the Burninatorium, is available at indie music stores and at shows. –CP
SIMILAR 2:Concrete Blonde, theSTART, The Motels
Winston-Salem high school pals and bandmates Greg Humphreys and Chris Goode parted ways before college but reunited years later to form jangle pop powerhouse Dillon Fence with guitarist Kent Alphin and drummer Brooke Pitts. Pitts took a quick exit and was replaced by Scott Carle; Mammoth Records signed Fence in 1991 on the strength of a demo re-released in 1993. Three albums and a series of transitional EPs followed, but Alphin and Goode quit before a short-lived band hit the road with The Black Crowes and former fraternity circuit brothers Hootie & The Blowfish. The Goode/Carle lineup re-formed for a reunion show on December 22, 2000, and Dillon Fence recently toured in support of Best+, an upcoming collection of favorites and seven new songs. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Connells, Hootie & The Blowfish, Oasis
Dom Casual evoke the innocent optimism of ’60s pop as it slams headfirst into the disillusionment of ’70s punk with a healthy dose of carbon monoxide-imbibed garage choke, plus clever instrumentals that come off like Hugo Montenegro chatting up go-go girls at a Sandals session. “We play at clubs, parties or anywhere people want us.” Their latest CD, This Is the Sound of Dom Casual, can be found at local music stores and shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Kinks, Modern Lovers
They play an original kind of instrumental music that will knock your damn socks off. Joe’s Uncle is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Pixies, NOFX, TMBG
The Dynamite Brothers juxtapose the soul and groove of American roots music with the grit and fervor of garage and punk. The result is a blend of sanctified, highly danceable rock ‘n’ roll that’s caught somewhere between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Live shows are tight and delivered with sincere intensity. Sweat is a given, but don’t be surprised to see these boys bleedin’ for ya. Their latest CD, Clap Along with the Dynamite Brothers, is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Minutemen, Funkadelic, Chambers Brothers, early ZZ Top, Vanilla Fudge, any Fat Possum artist
Billy Sugarfix, Cuck and Groves have been making fine pop music and putting on famous holiday-themed shows for more than a decade. Their latest, Evil Wiener Presents Billy Sugarfix’s Lost Gumdrop Kingdom, was released by Smith Level Records in 2003.
Eyes to Space
“There’s a certain nostalgia and vague zeitgeist of the ’80s in our songs–not a specific genre, but the sound of filmstrips from that era, the old video games we used to play, the keyboard sounds and guitar tones people used. We play songs that are melody-driven, hook-laden, sometimes tongue-in-cheek. We are a tight and technical band; all of us are trained musicians. Oh, and Jay built his own keytar out of a MIDI keyboard and lumber from Home Depot. We’re nerds, but we don’t play like it. Or more broadly, music for a robot sock hop. Our tortured nerd upbringings have gone underground to the darker world of rock, producing music that’s aggressive, witty, ballsy and fun: good-humored dance music for the robot intelligentsia.” The Eyes to Space EP, 4-Sight, was recorded at Duck Kee Studios and is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Devo, They Might be Giants, Trans Am
“We are a band that focuses mostly on songs, but we are also not afraid to dive head-first into pyschedelic improv jams. We enjoy flying by the seat of our pants onstage, and we tend to draw comparisons to late 60’s psychedelic rock. That’s ok with us.”
SIMILAR 2: The Pretty Things, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Groundhogs
“We try our hearts out to write cerebral rock compositions with interesting lyrics and vocal melodies. The bass is punchy while the guitars bathe in a distorted echo. Both guitarists play a combination of lead and rhythm parts, and all three vocalists have their own distinct tones used in various combinations. Our EP is available at shows and by contacting the band.”
SIMILAR 2: David Bowie, Jesus and Mary Chain, Siouxsie and the Banshees
Sadness. Suicide. Murder ballads. Blossom End Rot is available at local music stores and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Jim White, Gillian Welch.
Fin Fang Foom
This Chapel Hill (by-way-of Jacksonville, Fla.) trio pitch to and fro over rough sonic seas, their tightly wound arrangements propelled through the musical crests on thundering drums and guitar that rain down and slowly dissipates shrouded in a willowy swoon like post-downpour steam rising off the summer blacktop. Piano often replaces the bass as the medium of melodic ballast, creating an undertow for their swirling eddies and choppy waves of guitar, pushing and breaking, licking at the corners of the songs before submerging the tracks beneath a gathering storm of math-rock roar. Formed in 1996, they’ve released two full-lengths and an EP. Their future suffered a blow when guitarist Michael Triplett was struck in February with spinal meningitis. He’s up and around, though, and as sassy as ever. The latest album, With The Gift Comes The Curse (Lovitt), was released in 2003.
SIMILAR 2: Trans Am, June of 44, Polvo
The Flood is free from overplayed grunge influences and silly top-40 predictability. They draw from a melodic writing style, rich in energy and imagination, rarely seen in today’s new bands. It is clear that they are deeply interested in the real craft of music. The Flood’s first release was voted in the top 20 albums of 2002 by Triad Style magazine. The latest from The Flood, Field Trip, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Sting, U2, The Samples
Frosted Sugar Bombs
“We write big, hooky pop songs and play them. We have nice-looking instruments and storied histories. We play dives, festivals, pig pickin’s and basements, and that’s just the beginning; we might expand in the future.”
SIMILAR 2: Fountains of Wayne, NRBQ, Wings, Rockpile
“Gerty sounds like an energetic early ’80s new wave band and an indie rock band who are fighting over who gets to play the latest dance 12″ from Williamsburg. We’re on a mission to make people in the Triangle and across America shake their butts and have some fun for a change.” Dance The Swivel Hips (Pox World Empire) will be available this fall at record stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: B-52’s, The Cars, Pretenders, Blondie
Forming as the duo The Sundowners, Lynn Blakey and John Chumbris recorded blame Love with Blakey’s ex-Let’s Active bandmate Mitch Easter in 1997. The Beauty of 23 was released in 2002, and featured the rhythm section of Will Rigby (dB’s) and Nic Brown (Athenaeum) and production from Easter and Chumbris. Combining a rock n’ roll, man-woman dynamic coursing through thick harmonies and a rich, warm country beauty rippling inside of heartbreak songs, Glory Fountain remains a gem, one of the Triangle’s best-kept secrets. Glory Fountain is a duo once again, though they haven’t played live since December 2003, as the honey-voiced Blakey has busied herself with local supergroup, Tres Chicas.
SIMILAR 2: Richard & Linda Thompson, Fleetwood Mac, Kasey Chambers
Go Machine formed in 2003 led by solo artist David Karsten Daniels and Daniel Hart, who was among the score of musicians comprising Austin’s symphonic popsters Polyphonic Spree. Employing an equally adventurous approach, they build gently pulsing tracks from an exotic mix of samples, loops, violin and Theremin in addition to the standard guitar/bass/keyboards/drums set-up. Their experimental pop sound covers a wide territory with plenty of bleed and overlap–from parched country dirges to rumbling bluegrass and bubbling electro-pop, all infused with a majestic grace. Their debut EP, Look To The (Bu Hanan), came out early this year.
SIMILAR 2: Crooked Fingers, Four Tet, Varnaline
Retro-fitted, sans-guitar pop that rings in the ears long after the nifty musings of keyboardist Scotty Phillips have ended. How Good We Had It (bifocal media) is available at local music stores, online and at shows.
The Greatest Hits
Jeramy Lowe of The Greatest Hits spent his formative years in the hallways of Fuquay-Varina High School with current bandmate Trent Bowles, contemplating riffs, women and their eventual departure from the growing suburb. Lowe is a balls-to-the-wall, rock ‘n’ roll screamer, a quintessentially gruff-voiced frontman who doesn’t mind laying his heart on the line. It works well with the outfit, too: big, loud guitars cutting swathes of sweaty fever in, around and above a rollicking, furious drum attack.
The Half-Baked Beans
Deemed by many as “inappropriate music for all occasions,” the Half-Baked Beans is a collection of guys who play satirical, humorous music and also perform skits as part of their repertoire. At every show, The Beans leave people in stitches, yelling for more. There’s nothing like it around here. The band plays clubs, festivals and private parties. Their latest CD, Quentin Rehab Power Hour — Fucoffagus, is available online, at shows and upon request.
SIMILAR 2:Ween, Frank Zappa, Weird Al Yankovich, Devo
“We are just who we are: four local music fans from the most ‘hick’ corners of Wake County. Rural/suburban guys who loved The Beatles, R.E.M., the Byrds, Arrogance and The Woods. I think in a way, we sort of wanted to ‘be’ those bands, but we came out sounding just like The Hanks. And that’s a good thing.” 420 Bickett Blvd. is available online.
SIMILAR 2: The Byrds, The Beatles, Arrogance
Heads on Sticks
The occasional side-project of Strange frontman David Mueller, Heads on Sticks was convened in late 2003 when members of that band were unable to make a gig. Mueller is recording with Alex Cox and Wesley Gillespie for an EP due later this year. –GC
“The core of Dillon Fence had been Chris Goode and I,” says Greg Humphreys, who left Dillon Fence in 1994. “It was all we knew, and we always kind of wondered what else was out there.” With both that and the collection of old school soul and R&B he had been obsessing over for years, Humphreys formed Hobex with Andy Ware and Johnny Quest alumnus Steve Hill, cutting the Payback EP in 1996. Back in the ’90s followed with the Bio Ritmo horn section and a score of guest appearances. The supreme, white-soul offering U Ready Man? was released in 2002 on Tone Cool, delivering the band’s most Stevie Wonder-prone material yet. Now a quartet, Hobex is recording the follow-up, due for release early next spring. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Jamiroquai
The Honored Guests
“We’re a three-piece with somewhat introspective rock songs that tend to lean towards pop. We try to incorporate everything that we are influenced by. But our crowds tend to tell us that we sound like a really vocal-heavy Tom Petty.” Their single, “Postmarked,” is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Tom Petty and The Heart Breakers with a bit of Chapel Hill and British influences
Anne Gomez, Matt Kalb and Bob Wall join up for Hotel Motel, of which Sorry About Dresden’s Eric Roehrig says, “Hotel Motel thinks they are a pop band the way your dog thinks he’s people.”
SIMILAR 2: We sound like what members/ex-members of Cantwell Gomez & Jordan, Razzle, Audubon Park, V. Sirin, Spacelab, and Jazz Brunch have always sounded like: America.
“While trying to order chaos, we are somewhat funk and jazz tinged hardcore. We’re suckers for odd times and fluctuate tempos as Jonny screams, sings and generally raises the devil. As of the end of July, we’ve now played 5 shows and have 45 minutes of originals.”
SIMILAR 2: Mr. Bungle, Primus, Coalesce
Despite having only produced an EP, this trio of songwriters–Snuzz (Bus Stop, Ben Folds), Robert Sledge (Ben Folds), & Django Haskins–and drummer Jason Faggalonius have established themselves as one of the best acts in the Triangle. Each songwriter contributes to a sound that features bits of power pop, twangy pop jangle, and rich indie pop swoon. As that description indicates, there’s a strong pop sensibility at work that ensures sweet, tasty hooks that go down easier than the neighborhood ‘strawberry,’ with a surplus of lyrical smarts. The quartet’s initial release, Spoon Box EP, came out this Spring and is to be followed by a full-length early next year. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Spoon, XTC, Fountains of Wayne
Jackie O. Pillbox
Jackie O. Pillbox is a collaboration of musicians who periodically get together to give life to the compositions of Don Raleigh. Don’s music is heavily inspired by one of his passions, traveling the world. The membership of the band is a who’s-who of local musicians, including former members of Betsy in the Gene Pool, the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Micro East Collective, Flyin’ Mice and Katherine Rogers, a stunning singer saved from a life of musical theater. The instrumentation suggests jazz or Latin roots (vibes, gut string guitar, organ, upright bass, horns and drums), but the sound is original and delightfully uncategorizable. If you were a spy in the south of France, Passport could be your soundtrack. Passport is available at shows while Sing Along with Jackie O. Pillbox can be found in stores.
SIMILAR 2: Pop Noir
Look for the Jacuzzi Brothers “reversed” EP.
SIMILAR 2: Giorgio Moroder, Can, Daft Punk
From the dark and distant past comes the primal sound of Jaguaro. With beats stronger than 10 gorillas and a guitar more savage than a sabretooth tiger, joyous cacophony and untamed energy, Jaguaro seeks to unleash the throbbing force of Nature sealed within the breast of humanity! Durham-based Jaguaro has been prowling since May 2004.
SIMILAR 2: anything but the White Stripes
“We’re a unique group from different backgrounds musically speaking … each of us is equally important in choosing music, venues and direction of the group. No one is a prima donna, we work together to make this the best a cappella group ever.”
SIMILAR 2: Manhattan Transfer, King Singers, Mint Julips, Longhouse
Combining the joie-de-vivre of the best party bands, post-punk’s jagged grooves, and a live charisma that is unrivalled in our fair area, Durham’s Jett Rink brings the carnival with ’em. The purr of ancient organs and guitar riffs alongside a pulsing beat leave nom-de-plumed singer Viva Cohen plenty of room to crawl around while he howls at the moon. On stage, Viva contorts himself like some seven-foot gargoyle, lurching through the crowd, preaching the decadent Jett Rink gospel until they turn the lights on. They released an EP in 2003, and are touring currently. Guitarist Ben Felton was added this year. Don’t miss ’em live. –CT
Joceifus Rifle hails from Rocky Mount, where band members, Matty Russo, Ellis Ramey and Matt Bergenn joined forces in the summer of 2003. In 2003 Russo met Ellis Ramey and Matthew Bergenn who were playing in the Rocky Mount-based band Long Shore Drift. Ramey and Bergenn were looking for a different sound, and Russo’s rock tunes sparked a creative flurry between the three musicians. After a few jams, Joceifus Rifle was born in July 2003. Chris Duke, the newest addition to the band, is a veteran of the NC scene and has played bass for a variety of bands over the last 10 years. Joceifus Rifle’s debut, a 5-track self-titled EP, was recorded at Split Rock Recording in New Paltz, NY, and was released in Apri. It is available online and at shows.
Jolei is one of Moon Caravan’s newest artists. The singer, Joyce Bowden, also a member of the Milagro Saints, produces lyrics that have a soft, folky feel with a voice that is hauntingly beautiful and can draw you into a dreamlike trance. She is releasing her first, self-titled album in August.
Kennebec makes its summer days country pop, laying steady grooves behind Troy Smith’s songs that still rustle with the comfort of his rural childhood. The quartet claims it gets its inspiration from the “simple joy of playing together, and Kennebec is, as the great Hunter S. Thompson would say, ‘only for those of true grit’… and we are chock full of that man!” –GC
SIMILAR 2: Josh Ritter, Josh Rouse, Dan Bryk
Suffused with a languorous feline grace, the Manx ply warm, lush folk psychedelica with a lingering rustic twang and gentle harmonies. Like a daydream within a J.M.W. Turner landscape, the quintet float on a whorl of brightly hued melody, coasting between the lysergic pop elegance of Pink Floyd and the bubbling shimmer of The Byrds. It’s an atmosphere of fluffy clouds and light whimsical texture that has grown increasingly more focused across the band’s three albums. While still prone to winding hypnotic melodies that hover like the morning haze, their latest album featured a number of more straightforwardly pop numbers. The Manx released their self-titled debut in 2000, catching the locals by surprise as they’d hardly played out to that point, concentrating from the get-go on the album. Their latest album, Aztec Discipline (Overcoat), came out in 2003. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Beachwood Sparks, Flaming Lips, Rain Parade
“We like to wear our own T-shirts onstage because that’s what real rockers do. It’s OK to have pride in yourself.” Live and Terrible was recorded at Star Bar in Atlanta.
SIMILAR 2: John McEnroe
Land of Chocolate
Land of Chocolate can best be classified as sophisticated rock, incorporating complex arrangements influenced by jazz, classical, fusion and hard rock. Throw in multi-part vocal harmonies, groove-oriented passages, virtuosic playing and a healthy respect for song structure, and you have a musical concoction that will make your mouth water. The latest from the Land of Choccolate, Regaining the Feel, is available at Schoolkids Records, CD Alley, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Living Colour, Cave In
The Last Nerves
“If we were to describe ourselves, we’d end up sounding like everybody else, but the Last Nerves are not like everybody else. We play simple, noisy rock with great lyrics.” Our EP, Able, is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Pixies, The Kinks, Velvet Underground
Roaring down the track like a locomotive loaded with fireworks, Leadfoot is the result when that train hits KISS’s tour bus, stalled at the crossing. With a down-home Southern guitar bent (distorted and amplified within an inch of its life) filtered through a soaring, preening metal guitar solo aesthetic. It’s Skynyrd if they’d gotten into Motorhead. Leadfoot’s pedigree includes former Corrosion of Conformity singer Karl Agel and bassist Phil Swisher. You might find something more anguished than the band’s slower, gritty hard rock sound, but each album has revealed more melody at the band’s core. Their latest, We Drink For Free (Abstract Sounds), came out in Spring of 2003. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Thin Lizzy, Killer Dwarfs, Hammerlock
The Levee–A Musical Salute to Led Zeppelin
“The Levee is little-known in the Triangle but very well known among hard-core Led Zeppelin fans all over the world. Almost 50,000 unique visitors from almost 90 countries have visited our Web site. We use one of the world’s largest collections of unofficial live Led Zeppelin recordings to create authentic, unique and exciting performances of both the ‘radio’ Zeppelin songs and more obscure ‘deep cuts.’”
SIMILAR 2: Led Zeppelin?
Brenda Linton and The Ravens
Brenda Linton has been writing, playing, and recording music for over 30 years. She works in a variety of performance venues including clubs and restaurants, festivals, musical theater productions, and literary and community development events. In the studio, Brenda has recorded demos for songwriters, radio commercials and advertising jingles, and supporting vocals for other musicians. She is currently working on a self-produced CD with a release date of winter 2004. In small venues, Brenda’s acoustic guitar, piano, and vocals are supported by Robert Hudson on percussion. In larger venues and music festivals, Brenda enlists the help of The Ravens–a talented group of North Carolina musicians–as well as special guest performers.
SIMILAR 2: Mark Knopfler, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin
Lud has been around since 1992, anchored by pals Kirk Ross and Bryon Settle, veterans of the infamous Yellow House scene. Now with bassist Aaron Oliva and drummer Lee Waters, the band has released four full-lengths of its conceptually centered, philosophically brazen rock on American Primitive Recordings and Smith Level Records. He Who Sits on The Ice Hears Me Singing was released in 2003.
SIMILAR 2: Can, Henry Mancini, Early Pink Floyd, Burt Bacharach
If you like rock ‘n’ roll, Mama Tribe is a must-see. A Mama Tribe show isn’t just a performance, but it’s a true rock experience! Great songs, a commanding stage presence, gospel background vocals and serious talent.
SIMILAR 2: The Black Crowes, Led Zeppelin, Cry of Love
“Maple Stave plays rock music with odd timings and tunings. The songs sometimes involve singing and are often more than four minutes long. The set-list is rarely more than six songs long. We tour in a Ford Focus two-door hatchback. We are interested in meeting you. A six-song EP is available.” What Brought the Summer Stayed can be found at local record stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2:Shipping News, Slint, Unwound
If on the latest Snatches record, singer/guitarist Michael Rank reigns in his glam impulses in favor of galloping, Stonesy rawk, then Marat’s emerged as the outlet for an even fuller hard rock approach. Full of squealing solos, loping ballads draped in long, textured curtains of guitar, and that rock star essence best imagined in the seedy leather and jean clad ghost of Mark Bolan, Marat delivers prickly seventies metal renovated for immediate occupancy. More hard-riffing than heavily hooked, there’s a certain churn and chug to the band’s movement. Their self-titled debut came out last Fall. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Sweet, Smashing Pumpkins, T. Rex
Their EP should be out in winter.
SIMILAR 2: Remy Zero, Counting Crows, The Cure, Pete Yorn
Memphis is an all-original garage roots rock band driving on many other influences. “Memphis is serious about the business of building their rock garage,” wrote Grant Britt of ESP magazine. Last of the Cadillac Days was recorded and produced by Jimbo Mathus (ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers frontman and Knockdown Society member) and is available at local music stores.
SIMILAR 2: Widespread Panic, The Band, Uncle Tupelo
Agent Starchild likes to write songs about the liberation of humanity and girls who upset him. He sings while playing a late 80’s Alesis QS6 synthesizer and the harmonica. Tyler Hipnosis is probably the most multitalented, multigenre performer in the Triangle area. He plays the drums, raps, DJ’s and produces his own electronic beats. Their latest album, Babylon Bleeds, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Beulah
Seeing that Trailer Bride has been described as one of the spookiest, most harrowing and altogether most Southern bands in recent history, and that Grand National is known as one of the best country rock acts in the Triangle, any combination thereof promises intrigue. Such is the case with The Moaners, the duo of Trailer Bride moaner Melissa Swingle and Grand National pounder Laura King. Swingle approached King with the prospect of a duo in the summer of 2002 after they shared a bill, but the two have just now found time to concentrate on the project. The Moaners are currently recording a debut with Rick Miller at his Kudzu Ranch studio, due out later this year. –GC
Bassy, dark, edgy rock with minimal vocalswith members from Carrboro and Raleigh.
SIMILAR 2: Unwound, Sonic Youth
“We play western Scandinavian death country–brutally innovative country music topped off with morbid vocal stylings. Available for birthday parties.”
SIMILAR 2: Emperor, Impaled Nazarene, Johnny Cash
“In mothlight, another Futurock joint, the Cherry Valence drummer, Nick Whitley, and young guitarist Daniel Vaughn combine to make a goofy and interesting blues-driven prog. We wouldn’t mind being compared to Art Ensemble of Chicago or the Turtles. We have nothing for somebody and something for nobody”
The Mountain Goats
In about a decade, John Darnielle–at times, either all or part of the lo-fi songwriter’s dream band, The Mountain Goats–has performed over 400 different songs, released nearly 20 full-length albums and toured incessantly. A California nurse in the early ’90s, Darnielle began recording his songs on a store-bought boom box and distributing the subsequent cassettes–chock full of immaculate song cycles sung through the nose in front of a manically strummed acoustic guitar and onto a hissing tape deck–through California’s Shrimper label. Darnielle’s reputation grew, eventually resulting in records with indie stalwarts 4AD, Emperor Jones and Sub-Pop. A prolific poet with an eye for detail duly examined, twisted and exonerated, Darnielle released the gorgeous We All Shall Be Healed following a move to Durham in 2004. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Sebadoh, Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan
The Music Company
“The Music Company’s 2003 Sampler tells a story that transcends a wide variety of moods. It is partly upbeat, traditional, classic rock, partly slower, love-ballad pieces, and partly a combination of the two. Not to mention the fact that some of the songs almost have a bluegrass feel to them, and several stand in a class of music that’s almost impossible to categorize in any existing genre. We play anywhere we can: parties, clubs, weddings, you name it.”
My Dear Ella
Descended from the throbbing melodious roar of British shoegazers such as My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3, with a muffled, enveloping psychedelic swirl that recalls the saccharine, vaguely country, distortion-ridden sonics of the Flaming Lips, Chapel Hill’s My Dear Ella barrels down the lysergic highway with gentle, carefree grace. Whereas the aforementioned bands thrived on power, MDE feels especially fragile and as defined by their quieter moments as their full-bodied ones. They released their second album, Bright Orange Tailspin (Squished Spider), early this year.
SIMILAR 2: Dream Syndicate, Grandaddy, Mazzy Star
Renowned Cat’s Cradle poster artist Casey Burns and occasional Independent Weekly music writer Finn Cohen form The Nein with drummer/keyboardist Robert Biggers. As they put it, they are a “three-piece band featuring people who have done lots of other good stuff.” An updated version of their EP Twelve Thirteen Fourteen will be re-released later this year by Canadian label Sonic Unyon.
SIMILAR 2: Wire
Originally assembled for a school project, The Never released an album and an EP under the name The B-sides, but changed it when their rhythm section left. Demonstrating a sophistication that belies their tender years, this Pittsboro quartet play sumptuous pop that mixes soaring Beach Boys-style harmonies with churning prog rock-descended arrangements and winsome melodies, which still fail to do justice to the band’s stylistic breadth. Their latest album, Enjoying the Outdoors (MoRisen), came out in May. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Weezer, Barenaked Ladies, They Might Be Giants
New Town Drunks
“Music for drinkers. Puerto Rican Garage Rock. Southern-fried Flamenco. Fun Sexy Rock.” Trust Us With Your Car due out in September.
SIMILAR 2: X, Evil Wiener, Red Hot Poker Dots
Still a member of The Comas some four years ago, co-founder John Harrison began writing songs not meant for the band, opting instead to record them in his bedroom on a four-track. He took his exit of The Comas following A Deaf Needle in Tomorrow, playing a handful of man-with-guitar shows before recruiting violinist and roommate Margaret White to join him in 2001. John Jaquiss enlisted as well, followed by Chris Smoak, who joined to record the band’s debut Out of Phase, a promising look at lo-fi, forlorn indie pop reminiscent of mellowed late ’80s Flaming Lips. Second guitarist Chris Bowman and keyboardist Terga Stone joined after that release. North Elementary returned with the gorgeous Lose Your Favorite Things last month before touring with Cub Country. –CP
My Morning Jacket, The Delgados, Mecury Rev
The Nickel Slots
Their latest album, Starving Artist Sale, can be found online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Wallflowers, Goo Goo Dolls
“We know our job is to rock, and we do it right. We hate each other so much that every performance has the explosive potential to be our last show ever.”
SIMILAR 2: The Who
Odd is an animal, vegetable and mineral; a solid, liquid and gas. Odd is good either late at night in a basement or early in the afternoon in a garden. Odd makes a range of music from film soundtracks to dance club drum and bass. Atomic Soul Invasion is available at live and DJ shows only.
SIMILAR 2: Mikey and The Soul Generation, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, The Meters, The JBs, Lowell Fulson, Soul Brothers Six, Graham Central Station
Ohio Farm Cats
“Mostly original rock ‘n’ roll–super tight and a little funky rhythm section–that can get pretty sloppy. Sometimes the garage door is open and of course there is that one song that will make you cry… if you’re drunk and just got dumped. We go to town, we throw ’em down, pick up the pieces and laugh out loud…”
SIMILAR 2: Replacements, Wilco, Crazy Horse
One Way Glass
“We are an original alt-rock group trying to get heard, so we play long shows (about three to four hours), with lots of good covers, and throw in some originals as well. Always a good time! We’ve played the Cantina in Raleigh, Players Choice in Greenville, Hunter Hill Pub in Rocky Mount and Papa Joe’s in Wilson.” A free untitled EP is available online.
Out of Orbit
“Our songs are vast and exploratory. We definitely all jive on bands such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, yet we feel our music displays a more modern intensity. We recently moved to Raleigh from Southwest Virginia, and our latest CD, A Wake in Understanding, is available at shows.”
SIMILAR 2: Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, Pink Floyd
Ozone Quartet is an instrumental rock-fusion band based in Raleigh. Originally known as Cloud Nine, the group was formed in 1992 by Wayne Leechford (Chapman Stick) and Hollis Brown (electric violin). The group’s two releases, Fresh Blood and Nocturne, have received critical acclaim by the worldwide progressive rock community and international radio airplay. After a three-year hiatus, the band is performing again and plans to release a new CD, Live at Local 506, in September. Their album, Nocturne, is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, Jean-Luc Ponty
The name is recognizable as the title of Blur’s 1994 opus, and the correlation sticks: Parklife makes British influenced rock driven by a pop fondness for chorus and solo memorabilia. Lonely Eyes and Amsterdam nailed the formula, but expect a rougher, homier feel for their to-be-released Songs from the Imperial Hotel, recorded at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium. This is a band with the unfortunate habit of not getting the breaks such songcraft deserves. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Queen, The Stone Roses, Echo and The Bunnymen
Patty Hurst Shifter
Patty Hurst Shifter began as a simple ploy to snag an opening gig for the new favorite band of bassist/drummer Johny Williams(Glory Fountain) and guitarist Marc Smith (34 Satellite), The Drive-by Truckers. They recruited Chris Smith, a young singer/songwriter who had impressed locals with his country-tinged rock songs, as a frontman. After 10 feverish days of rehearsal and a debut at The Brewery, Van Alston offered PHS a record deal on his Ricebox Records. Ex-Whiskeytown drummer Skillet Gilmore joined for 2002’s Beestinger Lullabies, an emphatic fireball of a guitar-rock album recorded in the now-defunct JAG Studios. Johny Williams played his last gig with the band in May 2004, but Ron Bartholomew (The Never, The Hanks) soon joined. PHS is currently recording a follow-up with Greg Elkins. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Replacements, Slobberbone, Drive-by Truckers
Perfect Salvation has performed with acts such as Leon Russell, Chairman of the Board, Erin O’Donnell, Emerson Drive, and Shaun Groves. Using the advice of Reverend Richie Furay, they covered a song for the upcoming POCO tribute album. They’ve played all over the state at venues like The Cave, Joe & Jo’s, Java Divine and Spirit Fest. Their latest CD, Mystery, produced by Hubert Deans at Snow Hill Studios, came out in May of 2002, and they plan to record their second album in October.
SIMILAR 2: Third Day, Eagles, Allman Brothers, Seven Curtis Chapman
“Our style is somewhat unique in the way we combine electronic textures and beats with melodic guitar lines, live drum and bass, and passionate, emotional lead vocals. We work a lot on layering different sounds and flowing from melodic, melancholy sections of songs to harder driving ‘wall of sound’ movements. These dynamics pack our live shows with plenty of energy–at our last Local 506 show, a fan called our live performance a mix of Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine.”
SIMILAR 2: Radiohead, Flamming Lips, Pink Floyd, Lake Trout, Led Zeppelin, Smashing Pumpkins
Drew Robertson and Dustin Dorsey of the “half-composed, half-improvised droney minimalism” duo Phon played their first gig together as The Gaze at Superfest 2003, joined by The Ladderback’s Jason Aylward and Shadow of a Great Name’s Brian Donohoe. Dorsey and Robertson played at Bickett Gallery for 23 Hours last year, followed by a string of shows under The Gaze moniker. The two began working under the name Phon in April, recording and releasing a live set with jazzman Crowmeat Bob in April and at Chicago’s famed SOMA Electronic Music Studios in July. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Gastr del Sol, Labradford, Brian Eno
Pico Vs. Island Trees
“We’re a five-piece jazz-influenced rock band who’s moved by artists from Ben Folds to The Flaming Lips. Our name comes from the court case where Stephen Pico took the Island Trees School Board to the Supreme Court for banning books (i.e. Huckleberry Finn) and ended up winning.” Just Wait (Deep South Records) is available at music stores everywhere, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Ben Folds Five, Guster, Maroon 5
The unofficial princesses of Capital City guitar pop, The Pink Slips formed in early 2003 after frontchick Leigh Fox found guitarist Beth Turner through an Independent Weekly advertisement and drummer Elizabeth “The Hammer” Hammond through friends. The trio delighted a first-night crowd with a Cave debut before winning an online Last Band Standing competition. Their charm-coated, hook-laden debut EP, New Crush, was recorded by Ken Mosher and Robert Sledge and released in early 2004. Second guitarist Erin Bell was added in Summer 2004. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Blake Babies, The Raincoats, That Dog.
Maria Albani, Mario Gonzalez, Eric Hermann and Sean Parker make up Pleasant. They are currently recording a new album under the local Durham label Pox World Empire, due out this fall. The Pleasant EP is available at indie-music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Modest Mouse, The Wedding Present, The Feelies, Archers of Loaf
“Polynya is a band that experiments with composition and texture in an intelligent but rarely obtuse manner. Keyboards with self-programmed sounds, guitar, bass, drums and two female vocalists. Interesting and clever arrangements, engaging lyrics. We like to play in any environment, and the variety of our music allows us to accommodate many situations. We most favor playing in clubs, but call us anyway!”
SIMILAR 2: Stereolab, Karp, Can, Broadcast
The side project of Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan has a softer, quieter tone than his band, relying principally on acoustic guitar strumming and bubbling analog synth lines. Delivering the same bittersweet melodies, clever wordplay and moody melancholia one might expect from Superchunk, the difference is largely found in the hushed, somber vibe and frequent experimental touches. Since the first, lo-fi release in 1994 across six albums, Portastatic has followed a similar aesthetic, though the transition from a studio act to a live one last year produced a significantly stronger attack, as evidenced on the most recent album, Autumn Was a Lark, released last Fall. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Folk Implosion, East River Pipe, Magnetic Fields
Any two Quarantines songs will never sound the same. Although they all share the same bass guitar-driven approach and smooth, lilting vocal lines, they steer clear of each other in both form and dynamic. The lyrics are cautionary, the drumming is steady and the psychosexual metaphors abound.
SIMILAR 2: Pinback, Afghan Wigs, The Psychedelic Furs
“Just an old fashion rawk band. Whether it’s for a large crowd or four people drinkin coffee, we just enjoy playing. Especially when Kyle has too much to drink.” Cowboys and Indians is available online and at shows.
the radio silence
Five-piece indie rock outfit. Pretty songs with alleged prog-rock tendencies (but in a good way). Demonstration, recorded in Charlotte, is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Antarctica, My Bloody Valentine, Coldplay
The Real Facade
“We think we have our own sound, even though we’re playing rock n’ roll like so many other bands. What sets us apart is a certain intensity in the melodies and the drive of our sound. The sound itself comes from anger, which gives us a spark that’s been missing in a lot of rock for a long time.”
SIMILAR 2: Nirvana, The Stooges, Faith No More
Red Skeleton’s self-titled CD is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Dinosaur Jr., Squirrel Bait, Tree People
When Dish disbanded in 1997, Sara Bell (Angels of Epistemology, Shark Quest) had no intentions of not playing music: she recorded some simple tracks with Jerry Kee, who, in turn, played them for Chris Clemmons. At a party, Clemmons approached Bell about playing those songs, and the band debuted live in 1997 with Greg Humphreys on guitar and Zeke Hutchins on drums; Margaret White–a violinist who has toured with Cat Power and who had been an avid Dish fan–asked to join. Recording was sporadic as most members busied themselves with other projects, but Regina Hexaphone contributed tracks to compilations before recording a rough debut entitled Eleven Songs. The proper first record, The Beautiful World, followed in 2004 with current drummer Jerry Kee producing. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Beautiful South, Dirty Three, Calexico
Remora lives a double life doing singer-songwriter acoustic pieces and gut-shaking walls of noise and feedback. A winning combination. The Alcohol EP is available online and by special order at local music stores.
SIMILAR 2: Swans, Lovesliescruching, Aarktica
Rocketfire Red got their start in ’01, when college friends Becky, Tajhia, Dawn and Matt united in the name of Rock. Grounded in pop sensibilities, Rocketfire Red combines a range of influences–from old-school punk to ’60s girl group to indie rock–creating bubbly pop that’s a bit rough around the edges. They recorded their debut album, The Year of the Red, in 2003 and plan to head back into the studio in the fall of 2004.
SIMILAR 2: Sarge, The Donnas, The Ramones, Tuscadero, Sleater-Kinney
Wilkesboro brothers Skip and Logan Matheny began Roman Candle in 1996 while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The band’s debut EP, recorded in their father’s Triple Cove Studios in Wilkesboro, became a local favorite in 2000. The band eventually signed to Outlook Music, an upstart owned by Denver Broncos defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, for the release of its infectious, 2001 debut, Says Pop. An ambitious summer tour, two spots on MTV and a nod in Rolling Stone followed. A new version of Says Pop (re-recorded by musician and producer, Chris Stamey) will be issued later this year on Hollywood Records. Stamey joined the band–now a five-piece with Skip’s wife, Timshel, on keyboards–and Thad Cockrell in a unique three-night stand at The Speakeasy in Carrboro to record a live EP in April. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Rolling Stones, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown
Dexter Romweber has been in the movies, and movies have been made about him. He’s been on MTV and the David Letterman show, and he’s recorded at Sun Records and with Scott Litt. He’s toured with The Cramps, and he’s toured Europe. Above all of that, though, Dexter Romweber has been rocking since sometime in the early ’80s, dazzling fans with his inventive guitar riots and his Eddie Cochran-spun garage rock revue that was the seminal Chapel Hill-based Flat Duo Jets. Romweber recently completed Blues That Defy My Soul, a spine-tingling, hell-raising travelogue written and played by one of the originals. “His songwriting…is one of the best kept secrets of the rock ‘n’ roll underground,” notes Jack White of Romweber. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The White Stripes, Legendary Shack Shakers, The Black Keys
Founded by guitarist and vocalist Ivan Howard–a college basketball player that went the band route after a knee injury sidelined him at The University of North Carolina in Wilmington–and Kelly Crisp, The Rosebuds have a fortunate way of capitalizing on serendipity. The band formed after Howard turned down an opening slot in Wilmington on behalf of his band (then on its last leg) only to take the gig as The Rosebuds, a hitherto imaginary arena for his new material. He taught Crisp the songs in an afternoon, played them that night with her on keyboards and has rarely looked back since that introduction. After relocating to Raleigh, The Rosebuds were signed to local indie stalwart Merge Records on the strength of a six-song demo and a stream of solid, exuberant live performances. Their debut LP, Make Out!, was released to critical approval in 2004. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Kinks, Spoon, The Killers
Roxotica is the beautiful, hard-rocking, three-headed love child of Venus (goddess of love) and Vulcan (god of metal). Masters of double-entendre, purveyors of three-part harmony, flaunters of fishnet, they can be found in clubs from Wilmington to Asheville, putting the “harm” in harmonies and the “chic” in “chick-rock.” Not ones to take themselves too seriously (hyperbole notwithstanding), Roxotica serves up your rock entree smothered in a delicious gravy of bawdy humor and bad British accents. Horn of Plenty is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Rock Goddess, Katatonia
Leaving behind their rhythm section, Round Two is currently performing two to four nights a week as an acoustic/electric duo. “Their intelligent choice of cover songs along with several upbeat originals has qualified them as one of the best acoustic acts in the Carolinas. Catch lead singer and guitarist Travis McCann and lead guitarist Mike Sivilli regularly at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh and the East End Martini Bar in Chapel Hill.” Their latest CD, Habit, is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Jack O’Pierce, Edwin McCain, Guster, Howie Day
Currently working on new full-length album. The Sames’ EP was released by Pox World Empire.
On the strength of their latest EP produced by John Custer, Saunter has been triumphant once again. The band’s new sound is a refreshing take on what rock and roll can encompass, which has, in turn, led to critical praise and airplay on XM Radio, 96 Rock, and Mix 101.5. Can an alto sax really rock? Yes, definitely. Hot EP is available at local record stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Steely Dan, Cake, Talking Heads, Face Rock
Full-on anthemic goddamn rock music. Souvenir is available in stores.
SIMILAR 2: Andrew W.K.
Reid Johnson had been in several bands while at N.C. State, but he found himself frustrated with lineups that either wanted to sugarcoat his semi-pop songs or wanted to make them punk. Johnson continued to play in The AM, recording songs he didn’t find suitable for that Replacements-style rock band in his bedroom. He then met bassist Tripp Cox, who immediately understood what he was trying to achieve with his pop/rock hybrid. After a Humble Pie debut scheduled after an AM cancellation, the pair recruited Johnson’s sister Kathryn on keyboards and Billy Alphin (ex-Ashley Stove) on drums to play Johnson’s catchy heartbreakers. The band recorded its promising debut, You Forget About Your Heart, with Zeno Gill, and released it in early 2004. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Nada Surf, Modest Mouse, The Smiths
Shallow Be Thy Name
Currently a duo the band’s lineup has included members of Work Clothes, Mowing Lawns, The Kingsbury Manx and Transportation. Pox World Empire’s compilation features “A Call For Merry Punch,” Hypno-Vista’s I Can’t Get that Evil Weiner Song Out Of My Head compilation features “Mary Poppins, ” and Pete Records’ 7-inch single features “Maxi-Yow-Mini” and “Negatrano. ” The original self-released lo-fi-apartment rock-style S.B.T.(compiling 3 EPs released in 2000-2001) is still available at shows and at CD Alley in Chapel Hill.
SIMILAR 2: Unrest, Pylon, Velvet Underground
Shark Quest emerged from the magic of a collection of cassette demos recorded by Laird Dixon under the name Mordecai in the late ’80s with assorted local legends. Sara Bell was intrigued by the tapes, and she and Dixon played the songs sporadically as the two worked on other projects. The band grew, changing its name from the logical Malachi to Shark Quest. Their Battle of the Loons was recorded with Caleb Southern, followed by 2000’s Man on Stilts, produced in Richmond by Brian Paulson. Both releases reveal thoughtful, compositionally meticulous arrangements that resemble Tortoise spending summer camp in Appalachia. Work done for the score of Monster Road, a documentary about legendary animator Bruce Bickford, became the basis for the band’s forthcoming Gods and Devils, due August 24 on Merge. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Tortoise, Friends of Dean Martinez, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones
Short Bus All-Stars
“We try to put the raw energy of punk into a more crafted songwriting process. Basically, we play loud, fast and silly.” A demo, Big Dum Rok, is available at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Less Than Jake, Weezer, The Darkness
A melodic post-punk, four-piece outfit whose Men of Steel just hit stores. “Our drummer is ‘celebrated local cartoonist’ Brian Walsby, formerly of Polvo, Patty Duke Syndrome (Ryan Adams) and others–Yeah, we’re really making the hard sell.”
SIMILAR 2: Anathema, The Wipers, The Chameleons
A tribute band to Eric Clapton with local music vets. The band plays plenty of ballads, blues and rockers.
“We have been around for 11 years now playing our style of thrash/punk/metal or whatever you would like to call it. We are now about to release our second full-length album, All The Splendor & Rot, that is completely heavy. But our live show is where you can really see and feel the energy that we have to offer.” All The Splendor & Rot, will be available at local music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: G.B.H., Kreator, Slayer,
Snatches of Pink
Stumbling, double-visioned, Stonesy-swagger with a rebellious rock roar; scabrous, calloused guitar slipping through the hole in their melodic pocket and trailing behind like a series of dysfunctional relationships. The glam is gone but the dream isn’t, as singer/guitarist Michael Rank’s retrofitted outfit returns as a four-piece, jettisoning the textured explorations of Clarissa, and re-engineering the early hard rocking crunch into a hungrier, open-mawed bite of riff-heavy, fist-in-the-air rawk that makes the New York Dolls look like a bunch of cross-dressing momma’s boys. A dozen years had passed since the last Snatches album and half as many since the last Clarissa, but Rank shows no moss on their latest, Hyena (Morisen), which came out last year. –CP
SIMILAR 2: New York Dolls, Afghan Whigs, The Replacements
Accordion, guitar, amplified tuba, drums. “Admit it, you love geek rock.”
SIMILAR 2: They Might Be Giants, The Dead Milkmen, The Kinks
The five high school and college students who make up SonKissed perform an eclectic arrangement of Christian music that blends elements of rock, jazz and contemporary Christian into a unique acoustic-based style all their own. SonKissed’s first studio album, For Your Cause, was released in late July and has already brought the band #1 rankings on several Web sites for free mp3s, with “Tomorrow” reaching the #1 position on purevolume.com and download.com. For Your Cause is available online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Third Day, Dave Matthews Band, Jars of Clay
Sorry About Dresden
“We love to play weddings and post-prom parties. Sorry About Dresden has brothers in many professions. We’ll embarrass your mom.” Let it Rest is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: White Octave, John Vanderslice, Jimmy Eat World
Southern Culture on the Skids
Exulting in the down-home charms of Southern white-trash, trailer park culture, SCOTS are a loving parody of everything that entails from straw hats and ‘Daisy Duke’ cut-offs, to deep-fried roadkill and plastic seatcovers. Live, they feel like a moonshine-nourished, backwoods hootenanny, rough-riding bareback over chitlin’ circuit R&B, swamp blues, country-western, surf-guitar and rockabilly, all cut through with a sly punk wit. Led by singer/guitarist Rick Miller (also a popular area producer), their raucous, joyously wild-eyed gonzo attitude is as infectious as their light-hearted humor, producing eight albums in the last fourteen years, the latest of which, Mojo Box (Yep Roc) came out early this year. –CP
SIMILAR 2: The Cramps, Reverend Horton Heat, Hasil Adkins
Spacestation Integration plays non-traditional banjo-oriented music combining elements of jazz, rock, bluegrass, funk, Celtic and Indian styles with a focus on improvisation and musicianship. Their latest CD is Live from Nowhere.
SIMILAR 2: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Songwriters David Spencer and Will Acuff met through family connections before the summer of their senior year in college; the two began writing together, forming a band with Jeff Crawford and Tommy Perkinson five months later. Following graduation and Acuff’s summer vacation in Kenya, the quartet recorded the eight-track Moment Golden with Mark Williams and John Plymale at Overdub Lane. Opening slots for Wilco, Better Than Ezra, Will Hoge and Josh Kelley followed, as well as two Live from the Cradle albums, released by Digital Club Network. The band, which combines cool-handed acoustic rock with a strong roots element, is currently completing its sophomore studio effort in Nashville with David Henry (David Mead, Guster). An independent fall release will follow. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Guster, Josh Kelley, Will Hoge
“We are just four people who share the same common interests: having fun and playing music. It’s the only thing we care about.” Shadows in my mind is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: We get a lot of “man you guys sound like The Kinks all stoned on speed” or “you guys sound like The Animals” but I think most of our inspiration comes from obscure ’60s music, so I guess it is a compliment to get the feedback that we do.”
Stamey started The Sneakers, with Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby and Mitch Easter, emerging just ahead of American punk with a sound of bubbling, DIY garage pop suffused with hooks that rumbled and rang. Though relatively short-lived, it offered a blueprint for Stamey’s next band, The dB’s, formed with Rigby and Holsapple. A precursor for REM, The dBs combined The Sneakers’ power pop bounce with the warm, jangling guitars of what would become known as Southern pop. While Holsapple and Rigby forged on, Stamey left the band after their two seminal releases, Stands for Decibels and Repercussions, releasing a trio of solo albums during the late ’80s before beginning his second life as one of the region’s most sought after producers. Aside from a free improvisation album, Stamey remained quiet as a solo artist until this summer’s release of Travels in the South (Yep Roc). –CP
SIMILAR 2: Big Star, R.E.M., The Feelies
“We’re a low-key but intense trio. We have a lot of space between the notes and try to keep things closer to the quiet side. We also believe in keeping the mood, and we play for the song, not for the ego. That, and we have a self-deprecating sense of humor about our frame of reference.”
SIMILAR 2: Pedro The Lion, Death Cab for Cutie, The Clientele
Stomp, Vamp and Roll
This Groovestompin’ jazz/funk/rock band is comprised of Mike Rosado on drums, Clark Van Horne on bass and Ted Sampson on keys. With a steady mix of catchy and oftentimes mind bending original tunes and crowd-pleasing covers, Stomp, Vamp and Roll keeps the audience on their toes from their first note to their last. Working with guest musicians keeps their live shows fun. Watch for future gigs with the likes of Scott Sawyer and Mike Babyak burning things up on their respective six-strings.
Of the trio, whose Casualties of Cool was just released, Grant Britt writes: “Hillsborough’s Straight 8s play straight up rockabilly–no gimmicks, no effects. Well, maybe a little reverb on the vocals, but other than that, it’s stripped down to the basics–jangly guitar, doghouse bass, kick drum, a couple of cymbals and a rattly snare…”
Before Olympis Mons disbanded two years ago, David Mueller set to work on a batch of songs he hoped would carry him into some subsequent project. A revolving crew of friends played and recorded those songs, eventually leaving just Mueller and drummer Nick Speaks. Mueller circulated a demo he had culled from those home recordings as Strange, looking for future bandmates and gigs. Keyboardists/multi-instrumentalists Joel Rhodes and Vince Carmody joined in the same week, and the band began recording with Greg Elkins and Travis Konkle. Bassist Linc Hancock joined after those sessions but in time to record the band’s recently completed full-length debut, due out on Pidgeon English in September. Strange renders sonically loaded epics from Neil Young guitar histrionics and jazz-loaded psych rock trips. –GC
SIMILAR 2: The Cure, Spiritualized, The Walkmen
They are to Chapel Hill what REM is to Athens and Fugazi to D.C., which is to say the act that put the city on the musical map. A rambunctious cross between the chugging punk rhythms of the Buzzcocks and the chunky, distortion-fueled roar of Husker Du, the quartet’s long-running indie rock success enabled guitarist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance’s label, Merge Records, to grow and thrive. Whether opining on our personal skylines, the rules of the road or duplicitous mirrors, McCaughan has a lyrical gift for expressing pain, hope and frustration through the staples of everyday life. Their sheer sonic heft has declined across their eight albums (and three compilations), replaced with greater subtlety and a more measured tone. Their latest, Here’s To Shutting Up, came out in 2003. –CP
SIMILAR 2: Wedding Present, The Mieces, Buzzcocks
Upon first meeting Zack, Sydewynder’s clean-cut young front man, you wouldn’t expect him to possess the monster vocals and on-stage charisma that would rival a James Hetfield or a Sully Erna. You also wouldn’t expect his band, with its sleek and stylishly modern image, be influenced by acts such as Tool or Rage Against the Machine. And you also wouldn’t expect Sydewynder’s line-up, ranging from a medical doctor to a Web developer, to possess the capacity to throw down on stage. Oh, but they do… and they are very good at it. For 10 years Sydewynder has been captivating fans with their dominating performances and hard hitting albums, even attracting spotlights from MTV. Look for Sydewynder performing with Godsmack at the Raleigh RBC Center in early 2005. For more details, visit www.echoingwalls.com . Getsigned.com calls their newest release, Fire Storm, “A teeth-smashing masterpiece!” The CD is available at local music stores and online.
SIMILAR 2: Godsmack, Linkin Park, Filter
System Burned hails from Raleigh. Mixing a blend of modern rock, punk and alternative music with a highly political message. SystemBurned is a five piece formed in April 2004 and will be showcasing in Atlanta, Ga. Sept. 11th and 12th in front of Atlantic Records, Epic & Mercury National. Their latest CD, Acid Reign, is available at indie music stores, online and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: Incubus, Rush, Faith No More
An improvisation-rich band with influences deeply rooted in funk, jazz and rock. Thought Process brings a high-energy vibe to every stage they play. Mixing crowd-pleasing covers, unique originals and heavy improvisation, every show is a different experience and one that the crowd is likely to remember.
SIMILAR 2: Galactic, Phish, The Meters
This trio of friends Wes Phillips, Mark Paulson and Phil Moore, who moved to Raleigh piecemeal from Iowa City two years ago, have released three EPs and a full-length album in the eight months they have been playing live. Phillips joined The Balance on bass shortly after the move and he began Ticonderoga when Paulson and Moore arrived months later. The band members alternate between drums, keyboards and guitars for nearly each number, giving the material an enviable song-to-song dynamic. At best, Ticonderoga renders some especially magnificent, electronically distorted folk wrapped in fleeting melodic phrases and drones capable of gorgeous crescendos. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Low, Granddaddy, Centro-Matic
“We do a great live show. We usually do two full sets. No two shows are ever alike. We have played at The Berkeley Cafe, Stool Pigeons, The Cantina, The Pour House and other smaller bars around Raleigh. We have played at a wedding, a biker party in Nash County, a private party in the kitchen of a trailer and a birthday party outside in 18-degree weather (never again). We are also currently recording in Stuck Shot’s home studio.”
SIMILAR 2: Sublime, Phish, Incubus, Greatful Dead, Weezer, Widespread Panic
A guitar, bass, drum and trumpet outfit pushing the boundaries between art media with video projection from live feeds, active live art, acting, and staged theater all coming together with sound.
SIMILAR 2: Pavement, Tortoise, Stereolab
One of the handful of superb rock bands on Raleigh’s Demonbeach Records (run by Bad Checks/Ghost of Rock veteran Clif Mann), Transportation has a new three-song, seven-inch piece of black licorice out. These guys get their fire from “anyone who writes great songs and plays them with a lot of soulful energy.” –CP
SIMILAR 2: Queen, XTC, Bad Company
Their album, Fortune is On, can be found at local music stores.
SIMILAR 2: Spiritualized, Modest Mouse, Radiohead
“Rev. Brown plays a heavily-distorted acoustic bass through a guitar amp, producing a sound not unlike Godzilla’s roar. Visa Mastercard severs heads sonically and lyrically. Mr Surly’s drumming peaks out seismographs across the Eastern seaboard. And yet we’re still roaming the streets as free men. The Ugglians play loud rock about politics, relationships, love, hate… we play for anything that inspires great passion or at least turns up our volume knob.” Their latest album, The Ugglians Eat Your Head is available at indie music stores and at shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Dicks, Stooges, Shellac, Oxes, Nirvana
When you get five very talented musicians, all with their own styles and taste in music, and mix them together you get Untold–meaningful and very complex heavy rock at its best with a style of music all its own. Their self-titled CD is available at shows.
The Raleigh band Utah! formed in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1998 before relocating further away from its namesake to North Carolina in late 2001. Prior to the move, the college-town quartet (bassist Eric Singer departed in 2002) released a handful of 7-inches and an EP, followed by a debut recorded with Bob Weston at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio Studio. The band then relocated to Raleigh, gaining quick notoriety on the local scene thanks in large part to a sold-out split with The Rosebuds on Pidgeon English Records. A stunning sophomore effort, Plays Well with Others, was recorded in 2003 with Greg Elkins, showcasing a then three-piece moving in beautiful, serpentine time–clean from math-inflected beats and quaking cello swaths right down to Ed Pellino’s slogan-prone growl. –GC
SIMILAR 2: Sunny Day Real Estate, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead, Superchunk
Both male and female lead vocalists co-writing and arranging songs in a classic ’60s tune-smith style rather than using jams or loops. Eclectic rock blend peppered with new wave, country and jazz. Where Are the People? Is available at Schoolkids Records and shows.
SIMILAR 2: The Pretenders, Jon Brion, XTC
Veronica Blood plays the kind of raw spooky rock that Bauhaus defined as “gothic” at the end of the ’70s. Free from synthesizers, samplers and drum machines, Veronica Blood’s music is visceral and immediate. The Taste For Blood is available online and at shows. Check out the web site for more.
SIMILAR 2: Bauhaus, Love & Rockets, Specimen
Viva la Venus
Viva la Venus is an original rock band for true music fans. The powerfully seductive vocal harmonies of Wendy Brancaccio and Susan Darney are underscored by intricate distorted guitars, melodic bass lines and rock-solid drumming. Their music has enjoyed national exposure on TV’s Lifetime Network, and they always acquire new fans at every performance. Currently, Viva la Venus is working on a new CD release. The Never Ending Mending Story is now available at cdbaby.com.
SIMILAR 2: Veruca Salt, Hole, Sleater-Kinney, Heart
An essential Kings band whose eponymous Pidgeon English debut runs like a freshly written rock ‘n’ roll textbook, The Weather says, “We play rock and roll, no gimmicks, no frills. But we enjoy seeing other bands’ gimmicks and frills (especially frills). There’s a great network of bands that help each other out in cities all up and down the east coast, and we’re glad to be a part of that network.” –GC
SIMILAR 2: T.Rex, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple
The Wigg Report
“We have played house parties and clubs but never hesitate to play anywhere when asked. We have been known to do guerilla shows around Durham. A free EP, distributed through Guerilla Tactics, is available at music store counters, bars and bookstores, or through Olive Juice Music and can be found at olivejuicemusic.com. Look for us on ANTI-UP magazine’s compilation #4, due out in September.”
SIMILAR 2: Jonathan Richman, Yo La Tengo, Velvet Underground
Work Clothes are Carrboro newlyweds Jenny and Lee Waters, and they’ve both been making music in this area for years. She’s worked with Bevel and Clok Lok, while he’s been in Cobra Khan, Panzer and The Ghost of Rock and now drums for Lud. Their music is a sparse mix of mostly guitars and keyboards and haunting vocals. A followup to their 5 song 2002 EP is on the way.