WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

February 19, 2009, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Shows

Don’t forget.

JANDEK is coming to Chapel Hill. Gerrard Hall. Sunday night.

Accompanying him are locals Anne Gomez (CGJ, America’s Next Top Models, etc.) on bass and John Darnielle (Mountain Goats, himself) on keys with Brian Jones (Agents of Good Roots) on drums. Jandek has been recording his music under a shroud of mystery for the last thirty years. Recording and layering his music by himself and releasing it, again by himself, to the masses first through LPs and now through CD. We can be hopeful that he returns full time to vinyl.

Grayson’s article (a discussion about Jandek with John) – here.
Wikipedia article – here.

What’s the total number of performances he’s done? It’s somewhere in the ballpark of 40. Over thirty years. The numbers show it’s not something to miss.

You can grab presale tickets here if you live in Durham and you need them. I think they’re just 20 bucks, I’m too lazy to open the drawer and double check.


Quick Plug.
January 7, 2009, 8:01 pm
Filed under: Shows

Thursday, January 8th.
9:30pm. Nightlight.


2009 starts off with a serious, scattering bang as one hell of a garage show slams into town. The Whatever Brains are one of the most exciting bands to hit the Triangle in the last decade. Yes, they’re a brand new band, with a brand new 7″ (wink wink), but they’ve all been honing their chops in various other bands for years now. This sound was worked over and pieced together in the basement and just recently was allowed to creep out unto the unsuspecting masses. Best local band of the new year? Yes. Best local band of the last five years? Woncha come out and see? Manic, jittery garage pop with a fever of a spin on Phil Spector’s wall of sound.

Judging from what people have said about the Box Elders’ Goner Fest performance in Memphis, this is going to be absolutely amazing. I’ve heard a lot of good feedback from this year’s fest, but nothing has my ears ringing as much as the anticipation of seeing this band tomorrow night. Well, I’d really like to see the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and they might be the only other band that I’ve heard as much praise for concerning their live performance during Goner Weekend (if you haven’t already, listen to their latest LP, geeeeeez). Anyway, I haven’t even allowed myself to go unto myspace to give the Box Elders a spin. I’m too excited just to see them and take it all in at once.

Gross Ghost is Mikey Dillon’s new project. I haven’t heard them yet and I don’t know what he’s doing with this one, but I’m psyched to see it! Shouldn’t disappoint. This is their first show.

As it’s closing time, I’ll leave you with some YouTube footage for enticement purposes.

Whatever Brains:

Box Elders:

The Return of Troika!
November 7, 2008, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Durham, Shows

After last year’s awkward gasp of the previously inspiring Troika Music Festival (aka the Durham Music Festival), it did not look too good for the longevity of the event or its handlers. It rattled the community and left bands crossing the festival off their lists of possible future shows. It was unnerving and I was even guilty of not saying very nice things about it to a few friends. Not being easy things to organizing and maintain, festivals rarely run smoothly in their first handful of years and this was absolutely no exception. Before the work started getting done this year, it was already not looking too good. Then something happened, something flipped inside the inner workings of Troika and a ship that was once slowly sinking was immediately righted to enthusiastic, cheering masses. Even bands that had sworn off the festival reapproached it, excited again.

On stepping into the Pinhook last night, I was enamored with the overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment I saw on faces as I entered. Then it slowly crept across my own face. This wasn’t just another show in another city. It was the Triangle celebrating itself. It was music bound by a community that loved it and appreciated it. It was a newly opened, three-day-old meeting place packed wall to wall with an unapproachable bar! It made me proud of Durham, the Troika Music Festival and all the bands that exist here. It’s amazing that so many bands of different styles and backgrounds can play shows together, share crowds, even members and end the night with smiles on their faces and exclamations of how good the other groups were.

In my little corner of Troika last night, the belles of the ball were the Screaming Females. I have never, hands down, seen a better guitar player in person in my life. Granted, they’re not exactly local, but they’re honorary Durhamites having played here countless times and befriended countless music geeks and lovers. They’re an always welcome guest at area spots like BCHQ and the Nightlight as they make a point to play all ages spaces. All five plus feet of Miranda channels every ounce of her being and passion into her squealing guitar. Quietly she mumbles into the mic in between songs, but as soon as you’re thrown thick into the heart of the song, you realize you’re witness to a battle – the bending of the will of an inanimate piece of wood and metal turned screechingly animate. Blues. Punk. Psychedelic garage. It’s the best, bastardized awkward hybrid I’ve seen of those genres. To see this band is truly something magical and I suggest you make a point to see them next time they’re in the area.

Future Islands then crashed the stage and took the night in a totally different, though equally awe-inspiring direction. As the bar was so packed (and the band played on the floor), I could only make out the mylar-colored backdrop aiming all noise directly at the audience. No one’s ears were to be spared or left unbruised. This was my first time seeing the group and I was surprised to find myself really getting into their dark dance synth dance party dance music. Sweaty. 80s dark dance wave? There, that’s it. The singer has a great, creepy way of offering out his lyrics which becomes the main aspect of the group that really draws them out ahead of the pack of their fellow dance wavers. In my opinion anyway. Anything that veers off in a creepy or dark direction will always get my attention.

Don’t miss another night of this Festival. Make it out. Those were just a couple of the amazing bands playing. Both were from a little bit out of town, but have close ties to the community through friends and labels.

Highlights tonight – the Rosebuds and Kimya Dawson at the Carolina Theater! Wigg Report at Bull McCabe’s!
Highlights tomorrow – Hammer No More the Fingers, Tooth, Midtown Dickens, Dry Heathens, Travesties, I Was Totally Destroying It, Heist & the Accomplice, etc, etc, etc. Good luck making it to all these as they’re all over the place and all happening at the same time!! Yikes!!

It’s the most amazing thing when there’s too much in this town to see everything that you want to see. It’s truly inspiring. Thanks Troika!!! We owe ya one!

Upcoming Shows!!
October 15, 2008, 1:43 pm
Filed under: Shows

Thursday, October 16th.
@ BCHQ. 9pm. 5 bucks.

Le Weekend
Cantwell Gomez & Jordan
Impossible Arms

(Ross wins with his description over at Triangle Rock.)

Monday, October 20th.
@ Local 506.

Pierced Arrows
Dirty Little Heaters

Pierced Arrows is Dead Moon. Essentially. Different drummer though. Fred Cole has been plugging away at the music game since 1960 in an early psychedelic garage band. Then he never grew up. I’d be comfortable saying he’s the Lemmy of the garage world. Today Fred Cole and his wife, Toody, make some of the best current garage rawk. They have remained DIY since nearly day one, even cutting their own vinyl on their own lathe and then releasing that vinyl on their own label. A couple years back Sub Pop put out a phenomenal anthology that is completely worth picking up. Last time I saw them, they lit a candle shoved into a whiskey bottle and played until it burned all the way out. Pretty rad. The Dirty Little Heaters are one of North Carolina’s great garage hopes. Reese has some of the finest howling, yowling pipes on the east coast. We’re talking the kind that send shivers up yer spine. Their new 7″ should be out soon on Churchkey Records!!

Saturday, October 25th.
@ BCHQ. 9pm. 5 bucks.

Grappling Hook
Actual Persons (Living or Dead)

HALLOWEEN SHOW!!! HOOKWRECKER ’08!! Were you there last year?? If so, you know what to expect, if not, don’t make the mistake again!! We all know the Torch Marauder. And we all know when so inclined, Torch can pack the customes. Epic, sprawling prog metal from the pipe-man himself with dual-neck guitar visions and cloaks spun of dark, horror-keys. Don’t forget the power madness brought from the werewolf behind the kit too! Shipwrecker lay out crooked shanties from the dark, empty seas crooned out in a J. Cash manner. They ride like tales of loneliness and dashed, broken dreams, but I have a feeling that’s not really the subject matter. What do you think? Actual Persons!! I’m psyched for this!! New project from the Cantwells and Joyce. Oh my, oh my. This’ll be my first time seeing them, so I don’t have much to say on them, but I bet it’s gonna be awesome. From their site – “Mezzo piano punk rock for Durham and beyond.” I’m sold!!

Sunday, October 26th.
@ BCHQ. 8pm. 5 bucks.

Used Kids
Whatever Brains

Pre-Fest showdown! Used Kids are on their way down to Gainesville’s Fest VII. They are from New York. Oh, and not only that, but they also just happen to be a super group created, almost Big Bang style, when the Modern Machines, the Ergs and Cheeky all melted into one another. the UKs are Nate and Danny, the main songwriters for MoMacs, Mikey Erg, of the glorious Ergs and countless other amazing bands and Kate from Cheeky! Soooo, from that you should be able to kinda figure out their sound, right? Yeah. Awesome pub rock riddled punk pop. Whatever Brains are new to the Raleigh scene, but they’re old mainstays in their own rites. Members of Crossed Eyes, Grass Widows, etc. They play hyperfast jittery poppy garage. Kinda a dark cross between the Adverts and the Marked Men with a skewed view on Ronnie Spector’s wall-of-sound creation.

Monday, October 27th.
@ Reservoir. 9pm. 5 bucks.

Pretty Boy Thorson & the F’n A’s
Movers & Shakers
Cortez the Killer

Pretty Boy Thorson are Durham’s wayward brothers from Minneapolis. They’ll usually blaze through town in a haze of beer and racket once or twice a year. They’ve kicked up dirt at both the James Joyce and Siren’s. They hit Siren’s on Halloween night one year ago with the Dry Heathens. That was a show. They play a country punk blend close to what you’d get if you crossed Merle Haggard with the Dillinger 4. Reckless and awesome in a style not too far off from the Replacements. Cortez is on tour with them and they play a twangy, upbeat garage punk hybrid as well. Surprisingly catchy in a Replacements manner as well.

Movers & Shakers. These guys you really gotta move out to see. I highly recommened it. It’s going to be one of those shows that you’re just plain glad and grinnin’ that you came out on a Monday night to see. Don’t believe me? Take a second out of your day and listen to “Boom Splat” on their myspace page. I haven’t heard something this refreshing in a loooooong time. How do you describe that? Dark and ominous, heartbreaking western rock’n’roll? Sounds like it came out of some murky, damp spot beneath the floorboards of a flophouse in the old west. It’s got the feel of old Social D meets the Neighborhoods but extremely more classic and timeless sounding; even more layers of outlaw country.

Now, I know I’ve said this many times before, but this is it. This is for real. If you want to transport yourself back to that feel from the heyday of earth shattering shows and tours by the likes of the Replacements, Husker Du, Meat Puppets, the Neighborhoods, etc – this is the night to come out. It’s gonna be something amazing and I can guarantee you will be happy you came out.

Thursday, October 30th.
@ Local 506.

Jay Reatard
Cola Freaks
Grass Widow

You’ve heard me rave over Jay Reatard many times before and now’s your chance to go out and experience it. Last time he came through it was with Double Negative in Raleigh and he sped through a blistering, amphetamine soaked 20 minute set. I imagine this show will be a little longer and a bit more full, but man, if it’s anything like the last one, we’re in for something special. That was just a little over a year ago and he’s already more than doubled his solo recordings. Dark, hooky garage punk is what we’re gonna get. I’ll try and post some video from last year’s show later today. The Cola Freaks just came over from Denmark. Very similar to Reatard in that catchy, weirdo garage punk vein. They played a house in Raleigh a week or two ago and I’ll get that footage up this afternoon too. It’ll explain better than my words. It’s amazing and super high energy, so it’ll be fully worth the trek out to Chapel Hill. It’s a good idea to catch this show, as I suspect next time it comes through town it’ll be a Cradle-size show. Catch it while it’s in the smaller venue!

See ya out!!

This Past Weekend (another)
October 7, 2008, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Shows

German blister-speed garage rawkers, Dean Dirg, kick through the Brewery. On a Monday night no less. Our buddy Hank over at Thrashatorium Presents wrangled these guys, Cloak/Dagger, Logic Problem and R.B.T. into the old haunt of hardcore years past. This was the scene for many a Corrosion of Conformity and friends show and there’s a rich history planted and stained right into their concrete floors. Bad Brains, Circle Jerks and Black Flag among many others have graced the stage of this ridiculously long running venue. It’s a little removed from its past at this point as far as booking goes, but recently there’s been a steady amount of good ol’ rock and roll swinging back through. Reviving it for those of us slighly older than the average crowd.

As it’s been my unfortunate trend lately, I missed R.B.T. and Logic Problem. It was either R.B.T.’s first show or very close to it. I heard murmurs of fast metal with a bit of thrash thrown in. I was really bummed to have missed Logic Problem as I always love to see those guys. Dark, fast and snarly punk rock. The frontman is definitely bringing the Stiv Bators (Dead Boys) vibe, but the music is much more heavily propelled in the 80s hardcore vein. Even though I missed their set, Daniel still let me leave with the new LP by his other band, Devour. White vinyl version! Complete with a fold-out newsprint poster! More on them later though.

We wandered into the club just as Cloak/Dagger from Richmond was taking the stage. These guys are serious veterans of the Richmond punk and hardcore scene, but they’ve fallen into some killer Hot Snakes worship with this band. They started with a 7″ on their local label Grave Mistake (run by Alex of Government Warning) and quickly caught the attention of Jade Tree Records after just a few shows. They were immediately signed on for a full length which didn’t take too long to sneak out to the rabid public. The LP version was a little delayed but eventually saw light back on their original label, Grave Mistake. The full length is an amazing full-throttle, no frills, gutsy rawk record. Just amps cranked up and heavy drumming.

Cloak/Dagger (sorry for the crappy video and sound):

Next up was the eternally rowdy, Dean Dirg. Dean Dirg deliver fast, spinning rock and roll not too far off from the likes of the Circle Jerks. True rock set at the speed of hardcore. If you’re familiar with Henry Fiat’s Open Sore, you’ll absolutely love these guys. Roots for these guys can be traced back to the Mummies, the Rips Offs, Turbonegro and even Black Flag if you wanna push it back that far. With a sweet curly mop-top rippling down into a stunning mullet and one shiny, silver, dangly anchor earring, the frontman commands and beckons the crowd daring the beer cans to be flung. The music crashes and stays within minute-long boundaries, plenty of time to get said what needs to be said. This is just what I was out looking for this night. True, grit rock’n’roll. I picked up the new LP which is absolutely amazing and comes on neon green vinyl.

Dean Dirg:

More later!!!

Cola Freaks from Denmark played just a few nights after this in a living room in Raleigh!

This Past Weekend! (Show one)
September 30, 2008, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Shows

Brought me out of a funk. It’s been too long since I’ve ventured over to the smoke-filled, beer-puddled hole in the walls of Raleigh, NC. Too much time spent with indie rock and new releases and I’ve completely forgotten my love of live, raw, unbridled rawk’n’roll. Saturday rolled around and three bearded, grungey looking dudes in varying states of soberness met up at my place, huddled into an unfitting, bright little yellow bug (new model of course) and shoved off on the 30 minute trek across cities.

We were off to downtown Raleigh moving towards Slim’s where the Whatever Brains were set and ready to play. A little bird had whispered a start time of 11pm into my ear, so that’s what we were shooting for. And surprisingly it worked, we walked in just as the first band, Basalt, from Greensboro, were taking the stage. They were great. A dark, melodic and dreamy wash of guitar and lyrics spread over heavy, though restrained drums. From what I can tell, it’s a solo basement 4-track project fleshed out to a duo that night. Nicky is an engaging songwriter and would easily find a home among ranks of old K Records and Kill Rock Stars releases in a lo-fi, DIY kinda way. They covered a Death in June song! Basalt will actually be playing BCHQ in the upcoming months, so keep an eye out!

Next up was the Invisible Hand from the Charlottesville regions of Virginia. As we were driving out there, my old roommate and I were lamenting over the ellusiveness of that good ol’ indie punk energy. So many things seem straight up punk/hardcore these days or mellow, melody-focused indie rock. Where are the modern Archers and Superchunk?? A question I’ve been wondering aloud a lot lately. Where’s that carefree, raw and loose sound forged from a clash between powerpop, punk and a desire to write more substance into a song?? Well, it’s funny, our question was answered about two hours after our discussion. The Invisible Hand shove through their set fast and loud, but maintain a sense of melody and meticulously thought out song structure. The frontman has a guitar and stance not far off from Mike Ness of Social Distortion, but the music is a more biting, crashed-out sound reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr and well, Superchunk and Archers of Loaf. Exactly what we had been looking for! It was a great set and I’ll definitely be out for the next one. Word has it that they’re quickly becoming tour buddies of Whatever Brains.

Which is actually kind of funny. Because this was Whatever Brains‘ very first show. It was tighter than anyone was expecting. And now, somehow, they’ve already pared themselves off with a buddy band. There was actually another band, Order, that was supposed to play this night as well and that’s the bridge between the two. A little sharing of members action. But anyway, the four man Whatever Brains played and delivered, as promised, a high energy, high volume show of scuzzed out, awkward pop. They’re coming from garage, powerpop and punk backgrounds (Crossed Eyes, Street Sharks, Grass Widow, Strange and Black Castle) and sear noise and anxiety into their ultra-bizarrely-catchy, wall-of-noise songs. Completely skewing and bastardizing the knowledge passed down to us by Phil Spector and company. It was an amazing set.

Here was the first song of their first show. Which also just might be the first song to their first 7″…

This video again and three more right here.

Upcoming Shows.
August 9, 2008, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Shows

Hey guys! Got two great shows coming up this week, so we hope to see some of you all out!!

[Sunday, August 10th, 2008]
@ BCHQ (723 N. Mangum, Durham). 8pm. 5 bucks.
All ages, No alcohol.

Great melodic DIY indie punk outta St. Augustine, Florida. If you’re missing that positive energy punk outta the early 90s DC area, this is your chance to get another dose. They play Rites of Spring influenced indie punk. They played the space of few months back and floored us. Rich, the singer/guitarist, runs the label the released the Des Ark LP among other fine albums.

Fun, Florida punk with members of Tubers and Environmental Youth Crunch. I just got the CD into the shop and all the songs are about lizards! Just good ol’ feel good summer punk! Gotta love the humor of those laidback, jean short-wearin’ FLA kids.

This will be some form of the Midtown Dickens. It’s definitely Kym and Catherine with Mike on…washboard?? Bird calls?? Probably pretty acoustic hootenanny based. Rumors of some other special guests on board too.

[Thursday, August 14th, 2008.]
@ BCHQ (723 N. Mangum, Durham). 8pm. 6 bucks.
All ages. No Alcohol.

In the middle of a national tour playing Local 506 size venues, Titus very graciously decides to swing through BCHQ in our little town for the night. Recently tossed into a media stir after being named in Pitchforks ‘Best New Music’ section, the boys are kickin’ up dirt and bringing a rawk ruckus into every little town they touch. They’ve played Ringside (Future Kings’ CD release) and they’ve played Dain’s Place and they keep coming back for more. Come out and see what all the hoopla is about!! It’s definitely deserved and it’s one of those rare cases that I am in complete agreement with the hipzine.

With a full length coming out on In the Red in the fall and a handful of 7″s behind them, the Vivian Girls are also creating a bit of stir in the modern music world. They’re an all woman force to be reckoned with and create a punk, indie and shoegaze blend of greatness. Each time they release something it seems to sell out before I can listen to it or even track down a copy for myself!

Noisey, psychedelic country garage superstars outta Chapel Hill. They’ve got a full length out on Birdman Records and are in the process of getting more stuff out there. Always a blisterin’ set with lots of guitar and shout alongs.

C’mon, you already know and love these Durham natives. Come out and see ’em again. And if you have yet to see them, well, I’d suggest you best get up and get out here. Psychedelic campfire music, that’s what we’ll call it. They blend psychy Appalachian folk with melodic drone, feedback and pedal-magic. Definitely a must see!!

Also surprisingly heralded by Pitchfork Music (8.3!!). Poppy garage with great post punk tendencies outta Brooklyn. Think late 70s, early 80s UK post punk. The type of stuff that the Messthetics label compiles. Angular, fun and catchy.