WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

Wednesday, June 4th @ the Cave.
June 29, 2008, 3:39 pm
Filed under: Shows

The Feeling of Love (France) with Pinche Gringo (Greensboro).
The Cave in Chapel Hill.

Mid-week garage shows can be harsh in the Triangle. It’s sad, but true. However, if you’re lucky enough to catch one coming through to the Cave, it makes it fully worth pulling yourself off of yer couch and yer comfort zone to head out there. Down the steps you go, past puddles of beer and stubbed out cigarettes. Through the door to the basement, you’re met with a small front stage area (minus the stage) and a long, stretched out room with a bar running the length of it. Perfect setting for a sweaty, garage rawk’n’roll show. Cram in if you can.

First up we had Pinche Gringo. A piece of the sadly defunct Spinns. Pinche Gringo is the one-man band garage/blues project of Josh. it’s a sound that would fit perfectly at home on a label like Bomp! Records. Soulful, dirty, trashy and rawkus. I’m pretty psyched to see more of him around town! It’s a stiff dose of one-man bands past and present (Hasil Adkins/BBQ) with some great 60s garage worship. You can hear one hell of a record collection hiding behind his sound.

Following Pinche Gringo were another couple of out of town bands. Annoyingly I’ve spaced on their names. One was basically the band French Kiss Coma but with a rearranged line-up I believe. Anyone remember the name?? Crap, sorry. [Edit: It was the Dragonfly Hunters!! Much better name.] They were pretty good. Loud, psychedelic indie sounding stuff. The other band really liked Nirvana, or maybe just Kurt Cobain. Hmmm.

Next! The Feeling of Love! From France. Our French buddy and liaison, Pascal, organized this tour for them. He had brought Cheveu through last time they came to the States. Somehow we became the only stop between New York and Florida. Ouch. On a Wednesday night too. New York was apparently great and I’m sure Orlando, FL was a mess too. Errr, a good mess. One of their labels (and one of my favorites for garage) – Florida’s Dying – is based there and had organized a full night. Based on the 7″ that I’d heard of Feeling of Love, he was a one-man trash-garage band. Great 7″ actually. Noisey and chaotic disguising great songwriting. On this tour, he had filled out to a three piece. Seb Normal from the Normals had picked up into the band! It was actually really, really good.

Feeling of Love in stock.


Upcoming Shows.
June 29, 2008, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Shows | Tags: , , , , , ,

Another thing I’d like to do with this here space is showcase upcoming events from time to time. Hopefully this might get to the point where people will start commenting on the shows themselves which will hopefully in turn spark some more interest in them. So comments (negative or positive) are highly recommended!!!

Sunday, June 29th, 2008.
@ BCHQ. (723 N. Mangum, Durham.) 8pm. 5 bucks.

MONIKERS (myspace)
LIKE HELL I WILL (myspace)
BEGIN-AGAINS (myspace)

I know, a little late on this one. It’s just a few hours away at this point, but hell, figured it wouldn’t hurt to say something! I’m pretty damn psyched for this show. One of the ones I’ve really been looking forward to this summer. The Monikers are on their way back south from Insubordination Fest, one of the biggest (pop) punk fests on the east coast. Probably only rivaled by No Idea Records’ The Fest down in Gainesville, where they’re also guaranteed to be playing each year. And where it’s also guaranteed you’ll find me…with a million other beardo kids weaving the streets.

The Monikers play in that marvelously gruff-vocalled pop punk tradition nailed down by Crimpshrine, early Jawbreaker and yes, even Leatherface (who they paid tribute to on this comp). The good ol’ summer afternoon beer-in-hand, smile on face, sittin on the porch type of punk. Feel good punk. Nothing like some high energy, sweat and hooks to ease the long day’s work outta mind. Ryan (guitar/vocals) honed his skills slinging it with Discount back in the day. A legendary Gainesville pop punk band from the 90s. [Hint: members went on to the Monikers and The Kills.] But you didn’t hear that here. Can’t wait to see these guys again tonight! If you want a taste of what The Fest in Gainesville is like, this is the very tip of the iceberg.

I’m equally as excited to see two new local bands on the scene. When younger, newer bands pop up around the ol’ mainstays, it’s always invigorating. Not necessarily a changing of the guards, but a new life gets breathed into a scene that’s been slacking it out. Tonight we have: Like Hell I Will and the Begin-Agains. Which are actually pretty close to the exact same line-up, but with a rearranging of positions and instruments. An interchangeable backing band and shuffling of frontmen. Yeah.

Like Hell I Will are for the most part from Raleigh and come heavily ‘Mats-inspired. Kickin’ up dust and tossin’ a little rowdiness and wordiness into their brand of laid back punk-rawk. Geoff fronts this group and can also be seen as a backing member of the Begin-Agains. These guys are definitely a welcomed addition to the area!! The Begin-Agains feature Ben who used to play in the Adversity. He is a highly integral part of the local punk/diy community. He’s young (in high school), but still one of the most active pieces of what’s going on around here. Within songwriting (Begin-Agains) he sticks mainly to light-hearted, catchy-as-hell pop punk a la Screeching Weasel and the Ergs. Outside of songwriting, he’s usually positioned behind a drum kit (Like Hell I Will). This is one of the first shows for the Begin-Agains and one of the first handful of shows for Like Hell I Will!!

If’n you’re bored swing out for the show!
Stay tuned for pictures/video from the show.

June 26, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: New Music

I didn’t believe it. Hype to the record store clerk (as I’m sure you are all aware having come in contact with us), creates this negative magnetic force for an album. When the hype alarm rings, we immediately pass over an album and usually forget to come back to it. It’s a really bad habit. I miss a lot of good stuff because I assume anything with spiraling push and praise behind it is going to be the same old stuff. Something safe to listen to. Something that sounded like the last big thing to be hyped. For the majors this is true. For our beloved indie leagues, it can actually sometimes carry some weight. Because a lot of indies lack the promotional money and tools that majors utilize, hype is sometimes the actual backlash of an album being good. Really? For real. And I’m talking from the jaded, pretenious record store employee’s perspective right now. Anyway. That brings us to….

Black Angels – Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic)

This album just came out about a month ago. Compared to the push that the last album received, this release just seemed to sputter out to the masses. That’s not to say it didn’t come out to big noise as well, just not anything close to the previous. Their debut was hurled into the world kicking and droning something big. Comparisons were flying everywhere. The favorites – Jesus & Mary Chain, and oh yes, they went the full mile – the Velvet Underground. If record stores were to sell an album each time said release was stuck with a sticker referencing the Velvet Underground or the Beatles (sometimes even both!!), there’d be no such thing as the record store famine. Thus, anything that gets pinned as such, I just don’t get around to listening to. Sorry, underneath all this beard, I can be snobby too.

But. I got an in-store play copy of this release about a month before it came out. I had not really ever got around to diving into the debut, so I figured hell, I’ll toss it on and see what all the commotion is about. I loved it. It hit me. I passed up on a band that could have been one of my favorites over a year ago! My snobbery came back around and gave me a good kick in the ass.

The Black Angels’ got their name from a Velvet Underground song, it’s true. Their publishing company goes by the name Death Song. What do you get if you put the two names together? Yeah. Anyway. This is actually a real, live case where the lineage drawn from VU down to this band is actually consistent. It’s a good, straight line. It’s genuine. I figured these guys would be some kind of hacks ripping on Jesus & Mary Chain, Spiritualized, etc. But I was wrong. And pleasantly surprised. Within the realm of those masters of the sound, these guys actually find a comfortable seat. The Black Angels create this swirling, desert death rock sound. This is not an easy one to pull off, you can either (in most cases) fall incredibly, embarrassingly short, or you can be one of the few that gets it.

Me? What do I like? I’m a sucker for things like the Brian Jonestown Massacre (one of my very favorite bands), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and early Trail of Dead. So, really, it’s only natural that I’m into these guys. It’s that exact mood. That sparse, dark, psychedelic lost sound. Heavy, droning, bored guitars, a sitar-like distortion, repetitive, yet driving drums. These guys have it all. Even distant, reverbed and melodic vocals. The desolate imagery is masterfully laid out in front of us. When you pick this up, make sure to read the lyric sheet too. Fully worth checking out.

70 minutes long and not a boring thread in it. As you listen, you’ll hear something new each time. It’s pretty thickly layered. Are those Cicada’s at one point? I had to turn off my stereo just to tell. It’s one to turn on and zone out to.


Saturday, June 21st @ Lu’s
June 25, 2008, 12:54 am
Filed under: Shows

All Your Science‘s CD release with Clawform (Colin’s Black Metal Banjo Project) and Sequoya!

A great, positive night all around. One of the best formats for running a CD release is out of your own living room. Entirely. And this was just one more example that went to prove it. Lu very graciously accepted a bunch of Durham’s rowdiest kids into her house on a rainy night prime for tracking mud through each and every one of her rooms. The street was tucked away right near 147 and right off one of our busier streets in a spot I didn’t even know existed! It was a dead-end street hidden in a wooded area right off the highway. If anything, it was a pretty reassuring spot for a good house show which would probably go un-visited by the party police. This DIY setting was perfect for the night ahead of us. I showed up with a bag of three tallboys and we were off for the night.

First off was Sequoya. I pulled my rickety, squeaking bike up into the yard just as they were starting their set. Perfect timing. Another powerful acoustic guitar and banjo set for the night. They remind me a lot of the mood laid down at a Gillian Welch / David Rawlings concert. However, then they toss at ya a curve ball once you’re thinkin you got them pegged. Like this Crass cover they did. Incredibly moving.


Next up was Colin and his Clawform project. If I were to do the math semi-correctly, I’d have to guess this is only his second or third time playing out in this manner. I’d seen him once before at a BCHQ show and I was incredibly at awe to hear the addition of programmed death metal organ into his current set! Not only is he playing guitar-pedal-laced banjo against a menacingly thick black metal drum machine backdrop, but there’s now creepy, ominous all-holy-hell-raisin’ organ weaved throughout the tracks! Oh my. Ever since his grad program died down a bit for the summer, I’m thinkin he’s got a little bit of extra time on his hands. Here’s what we’re talking about:


Last up and closing out this charming evening was none other than All Your Science – why we were gathered here tonight. As always they stunned the crowd with Lu’s heavy washes of melodic guitar snapped into pieces and held in place by Dave’s whip-driven minimal drumkit. Dave plays only the parts of his drumkit that he can carry on his bike as that’s how he travels to his shows. With this in mind and watching him wail at a three piece mini-set, I’m always amazed how he truly is one of the area’s finest drummers. Not convinced? Watch the following video. I’d never seen a piano-based All Your Science song before and we got a nice dose of them this night. It was pretty amazing.

All Your Science:

A box of CDrs was passed around during their set and people put in a few bucks to take out a spray painted and stenciled release. Perfect. My only complaint for the night was that they played too short of a set (which really is not a complaint at all). While trying to pay a compliment to Dave about it, I stammered and awkwardly exclaimed how I would have liked them to play longer…loud enough that everyone sort of uncomfortably allowed me to keep mumbling to myself afterward. Oops. Regardless though, I do agree with their philosophy of playing short & sweet sets.

After I had had my share of cheesecake and unclaimed bottles of beer in the fridge, I hopped back on my trusty, rusty bike and fled home. I really need to get a helmet. It was a good night.

New Releases of Note (6/17/08)
June 19, 2008, 4:35 pm
Filed under: New Music

Hey all!! Here’s just a few things that were released this week that are of note. Well, I guess there were a ton of releases that came out that were definitely of note, but these are the ones I’m most excited about. Yup.

silver jewsSilver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea CD (Drag City)

New, highly anticipated Silver Jews release! It’s been a couple years since the last one and they’re still holding up marvelously against the tests of time. The mood is definitely a bit more old and weathered, but the lyrics and songwriting are fully on point and what you’ll be expecting. Beautifully crafted and engaging songs. The juxtaposition of male and female vocals (Berman & wife, Cassie) on a couple of the tracks is breath-taking. His harsh, weary vocals mixing with her cute, playful voice creates an amazing atmosphere in the song. Her vocals are somewhat reminiscent of Neko Case / Jenny Lewis at times. Fully worth checking out! Drag City rarely disappoints!

bowerbirdsBowerbirds – Hymns for a Dark Horse (Dead Oceans)

Phenomenal local album finally gets a proper re-release!! This album came out on Burly Time Records about a year ago here in the Triangle. Sadly, it disappeared shortly after that for a long while. It’s one of those albums that completely removes itself from the realm of local music and quickly pushes itself way out into national realms of good, independent music. Jagjaguwar subsidiary, Dead Oceans, picked it up not too long ago and repackaged it, added a couple more tracks and threw it at us on CD & LP. They play a hauntingly beautiful version of folk, a sort of dream-folk. The melodies are eerie and seem to drift along at a slow, first-cracks-of-light pace. Perfect soundtrack for the sun coming up over a valley or meadow as a chance for something new comes around the corner. The Bowerbirds are three players who switch of on: nylon guitar, accordion, violin, piano and one single, solitary bass drum for emphasis and accent. The songs are stark with minimal instruments playing at once, so there’s no room for overcrowding the mood. Highly recommended to all you!!

king khan

King Khan & The Shrines – Supreme Genius of… (Vice)

This is our gratuitous garage release for the week. Hip, and getting hipper, label – Vice Records – has recently plunged itself head deep into the realm of garage and psych. Smart move ‘eh? There seems to be a wonderful influx of this stuff hitting the shelves at shops everywhere and people seem to be loving it. Use to be that these releases were reserved for smaller, more obscure labels and their cult fan base. Of which, yes, I tend to be a fanboy subscriber. I’m excited as hell to see this stuff gaining more shake appeal across the nation. Vice Records has also had a heavy hand in getting the Black Lips out to the masses (even more so than their constant, massive touring had achieved) and they also recently brought back the family psych folk freakout album by Dark Meat back into play. Anyway, I digress. King Khan is known from his 90s garage punk outfit, the Spaceshits, and the more recent King Khan & BBQ Show recordings on In the Red, Goner and Crypt. BBQ is also known as Mark Sultan…who was also in the Spaceshits (sounded like the Oblivians and the New Bomb Turks) and also has fine solo records out. King Khan plays out some ferociously catchy garage rawk. Doo wop and retro rock inspired with a heavy dose of sleaze thrown in for good measure! This release actually compiles a handful of tracks from a handful of releases, but it’s true to garage sleaze form through and through.

valient thorrValient Thorr – Immortalizer (Volcom)

Another outstanding local release! If you have not experienced a Valient Thorr live show, I’d say your soul is not quite complete and missing out on something big. Get saved. Get reborn. One of the most energetic, antic-inducing shows you’ll see these days. They’re definitely in the ranks of hard rock and metal with punk attitude and choruses (in the same vein as a lot of other Volcom releases), but they take it to the next, planetary level and infuse heaping portions of space travel and alien-lore. We’re not talking your daily dose of the same old, worn down modern metal, we’re talking a feeling harkening back to the true days of 70s hard-working, heavy blue collar rawk made for the bar-creeping crowd. They fit in perfectly alongside fist-raisin’ anthemic bands like label mates, The Riverboat Gamblers, that just make ya feel good and sweaty. Even did some touring with those guys! Full throttle, dirty rawk! This is not yer sister’s psych-folk or yer brother’s twee.

A few more new releases I haven’t touched on yet: My Brightest Diamond, Wolf Parade, Eef Barzelay (of Clem Snide), The Briggs, Coldplay, Notwist, Tilly & the Wall….

(You can pick ’em up at Bull City Records, or email ’em if you want to mailorder anything.)

Reissue of the Month
June 18, 2008, 12:38 pm
Filed under: New Music, Revisiting the Old

flesh eaters Last Tuesday, June 10th, was a great day. Finally, after years of waiting, a certain ’81 punk album was re-released onto the masses after hiding in a vault somewhere and going for ridiculous prices on eBay. I saw the CD go for more than the LP at certain times!! This record is a classic and I hold it very dear to my heart.

The Flesh Eaters – Minute to Pray, Second to Die.

Originally released in 1981 on Ruby/Slash out in LA. The players: Chris D., Dave Alvin (Blasters, hands down one of the best guitar players of the scene), Bill Bateman (Blasters), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Jon Doe (X) and DJ Bonebrake (X, one of the best drummers of the scene). So, as you can see, it’s a phenomenal line-up of some of the most important players in the LA roots rock/punk movement. While staying close to the styles of the players’ other projects, the sound from this particular album of LA roots/punk history has more of a B-horror movie, creepy vibe – more swampy swagger and bluesy punk than anything that the other guys were doing at the time. It’s got a definite noir and out-there aspect to it and for that reason, it’s one gem that a lot of people like me, keep close at hand and eternally close to the stereo. It’s pretty close in mood to Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s songwriting in the Gun Club, but Chris takes it a few steps farther…even throwing in some free jazz saxphone elements at times.

Chris D. (Desjardins) was a writer for the Slash fanzine, an aspiring gothic-tinged poet and an LA punk producer who ran the same circles as John Doe and Exene Cervenka. Because of his writing background, his lyrics, although dark and horror movie-like, are more literary driven than say, Glenn Danzig from the Misfits. Not to knock the Misfits, we all love them.

Given the opportunity to work with bands that he loved for his label, he produced such seminal albums as – The Gun Club’s Fire of Love, The Dream Syndicate’s The Days of Wine and Roses, Green on Red’s Gravity Talks, work from the Lazy Cowgirls, the soundtrack to Return of the Living Dead and he even helped mix the Misfits’ Walk Among Us. He was a key player in the LA underground and his albums, themselves, solidify him in the world of classic songwriters.

The Flesh Eaters had a few other albums (also great, but not as good) and Chris D. later went on to found the Divine Horsemen as well. The Divine Horsemen are a little more goth-fueled country punk, but they’ve got a couple classic albums out there. Fully worth checking out!! I’d look heavily into checking out the Flesh Eaters’ Minute to Pray, Second to Die CD reissue if you’re at all intrigued to dive into a piece of LA punk history or you’re tired of spinning the same Cramps and Gun Club albums over and over again. Something new. It should just be $13.98 at your local record shop. Fully worth it. Thanks!!


Saturday, June 14th @ BCHQ.
June 17, 2008, 12:15 am
Filed under: Shows | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This past Saturday, Grappling Hook curated a night at the Durham collective space – BCHQ. By the time 9:50pm rolled around, people had begun to show and the bands had just figured out who was playing first. The soon-to-be-renamed Travesties finished a little bit of tinkering and slid into the first song of their second show just as the clock hit 10pm.

Now, I didn’t get to see the band that three of these five men had previously been in together a little over five years ago, but I’d heard rumors and I’d heard stories. Apparently they were a band to experience. Sorry I missed them. This band is comprised of current and ex-members of: Pipe, Superchunk, the Chest Pains, Jett Rink, etc. A fine showing of local talent. There are obvious nods to some influential proto-punk (Television, Pere Ubu) and some great New Wave/Powerpop. I’m very excited for the emergence of this band in our area, and seeing as this is only their second show, we can expect some great things in the near future.

The Travesties:

Next up was Hazerai. Like always, this Chapel Hill post-hardcore group delivered what they came to lay down. Amazing bursts of technicality and brittle melody crammed, strained and convulsed through the stale air inside the space. These guys are never a disappointment. Think – Shellac, Fugazi, etc.


Next up, none other than local legends – Grappling Hook. Grappling Hook awakened as the Torch Marauder yearned to take his one-man music/performance act to new heights and took on a full band while dropping blue body paints and capes. Sure, it’s easy to miss the comedy and vhs deck-savvy of past Torch, but this new project is metal-mayhem purity. We’ve got parts of Cheap Heat and Maple Stave in this fiery concoction as well. There are even a few lingering ghosts of bands gone by…Analogue, anyone? We’re looking at some epic prog/70s heavy rock here. Get it?

Grappling Hook:

Enjoy!! I’ve got a bunch more videos of past shows to post as well! Stay tuned!