WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

August 23rd, 2008 – Maple Stave’s EP3 Release.
September 10, 2008, 3:48 pm
Filed under: This Past Weekend

Back with another video edition!
Saturday, August 23rd, Durham’s Maple Stave put together a free EP release show at BCHQ. This is their 3rd release to date, all of which have pretty much been self-released, self-designed and self-printed EPs. They’ve got that DIY bug to ’em. They chose to organize the show and open it up, free of charge to anyone who wanted to come – only passing a hat for Cy. The CDep was handed out to anyone who asked. Evan muttered something along the lines of “we always end up charging our friends too much anyway, so this is our thanks.” That’s a total misquote probably, so technically I should leave off the quotations, but I’m not. This EP has basically become a thanks to anyone who has ever bought one of their CDs, paid to get into a show, bought a t-shirt or just plain listened to them on the radio.

After that first week, when they trickled down to the shop, they came in priced at a measely 5 bucks. And worth every penny of it. The Maple Stave were born musically from an era when the angular mathrock of Touch & Go and Matador bands reigned supreme. You could most definitely line their sound up with the 90s crews of Don Caballero, Dazzling Killmen and US Maple. More specifically, you can hear high respect for Chicago heavyweights Slint. The pieces are predominantly instrumental, but haunting vocals drift in and out through cracks in the stretches between movements.

Chris Williams, one of the guitarists/songwriters is also the creator of 1/3 of the hand-done flyers you see around town (alongside Matt Hart and Ron Liberti). Check out Plastic Flame Press.

Cantwell, Gomez & Jordan opened the night:

Red Collar played second:

Maple Stave closed out the night:


This Past Weekend.
August 14, 2008, 2:47 pm
Filed under: This Past Weekend

Or a couple ago.

A few weekends ago our friends – Bek, Kym and Heather – put on a benefit at BCHQ. This started off just a couple months before as a small, ramshackle idea that had been passed around and was met with a little bit of interest. By the time Heather was done curating it and throwing her promotional skills behind it, it had turned into a full-fledged, all out, day-long event. Somehow it pulled together in the month leading up to it and exploded into an amazing finish on Saturday, August 2nd.

For some reason the city of Durham tends to frown down on people posting flyers around the city, with this in mind, I’m amazed at the turnout and the buzz that was created for this event all through underground avenues and word of mouth. A little piece of Durham that never ceases to amaze me. There seems to be this buzz that runs down the sidewalk in whispers about stuff happening tucked away in houses or art spaces.

Anyway. What started out as an idea to promote and raise awareness and funds for a documentary project turned into a day which gave a glimpse into how great our little area is. It was a celebration of local musicians, artists and friends just as much as it was a celebration of awareness and things to come.

This was the line-up from headliners to openers: John Darnielle (of Mountain Goats – solo and acoustic), Megafaun, Mount Moriah, DJ Mel York, Embarrassing Fruits, Beloved Binge, Shayne O’Neill (of Future Kings of Nowhere – solo and acoustic), Des Ark, Allelai, Shawn Luby, Timothy Thomas Cleary, Arty Lovelight & His Pickled Piano and a vegan brunch cooked by Chef Shirle.

Unfortunately, due to work, I missed the bulk of the day’s fun, but I was able to swing out in time for the last three acts. Which were amazing. If only I had been able to be there the whole day!


“The Eye Opener”: A Celebration of Trans-Continental Awareness.
A couple of BCHQ’s board members are working across continents on a project working with trans-gender awareness. Specifically with the Hijra communities of India. I believe there’s a photo book in the works at the moment. Pretty exciting! Stay tuned for more on that….

Wikipedia / BBC
(on the Hijra community)

Some highlights:

John Darnielle (with some great praise about Durham!!):


That’s the first song of the set leading into the second. It’s a good representation of the full, bipolar swing of their shows. With their haunting blend of psychedelic campfire folk, they slowly draw the listener in, get ya to the edge of your seat and then swoop in blindsiding the audience with a shout-along-stomp-along-sweat-along beat. Feedback and noise drifts in and out weaving across their Appalachian folk melodies and twist the music into a modern psychedelic soundscape. Check here for another song.

Mount Moriah:

Achingly beautiful country rock. Heather McEntire fronts a ridiculous amount of bands in the area (see also Un Deux Trois and Bellafea), each as another outlet for and exposing a different side of her songwriting. She is joined in this outfit with Jenks Miller (Horseback, In the Year of the Pig, Un Deux Trois, Hem of His Garment, etc) and Brad from Megafaun as well as some other musicians I recognized but could not place. Definitely give it a listen!! Amazing melodies.

This Past Weekend.
August 7, 2008, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Shows, This Past Weekend

I think I’m just gonna call past show posts by this name, it’s kinda catchy. It might not have been this past weekend, but it’s somewhere back there. I still have a few more videos from a handful of past shows I need to toss up.

Anyhow. Over the last week, our own little hole, BCHQ, has seen some amazing shows. First, I’ll tackle the punk rock show this past Tuesday, then we’ll dive into the big benefit over the weekend.

Tuesday night saw some of my favorite touring friends come through. Mikey Dumps and Josh Redbeard. They’ve come through handfuls of times each with their various other bands or as roadies for various other bands. This time they were swinging through Durham as Jonesin’. Originally it was supposed to be a Down in the Dumps tour, booked months in advance, but some stuff happened after the booking of it and instruments changed hands and names were changed out of respect. So, essentially, it’s the same band with a couple different members but the same two songwriters / singers. I love Down in the Dumps, but after seeing their new material, I think I like Jonesin’ even more. They’re entering into even more darker territories. Some obvious influences are Leatherface and Crimpshrine and they definitely take cues from the No Idea/Gainesville punk sound. That gruff-vocal, melodic punk we love so much and can’t seem to get enough of. Josh comes to us from Off With Their Heads, so there are elements of that brought into Jonesin’s songwriting too.

I can get more behind this style of pop punk because it’s a little more serious. Don’t get me wrong, I love goofy pop punk as much as the next crew, but here the lyrics are a little more poignant and that dark, doomed vibe running down the center of it sends chills up your spine. There’s a certain desolate emotion that comes out of that catchy, deep-throated gasp of singers like Mike and Josh.

The night started with the Begin-Agains:

I hit the record button on my camera a little too late, so I missed the first couple of seconds of this song. So far (of the five songs I’ve listened to from their demo), this track is my favorite. It’s titled “Breadcrumbs.” There’s a very definite early Alkaline Trio vibe coursing through the songwriting, but they tangle that style in with the sound of the early 90s Bay Area pop punk. Think Lookout! and Recess Records. And don’t get all uppity at the sight of an Alkaline Trio comparison, we all love their early records still. The Begin-Agains pull heavily from their Goddamnit and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire albums. They even do a spot-on cover of “Radio.”

Then, the Fellow Project:

The video is a little dark as most of the lights had been turned off, but you can still see it pretty well. Like I mentioned before, this is the next step in the band history of Down in the Dumps. Mikey Dumps and Josh from Off With Their Heads front the band outta their home base of New York. Long Island and Brooklyn, I believe. They’re one of my favorite touring punk bands, hands down. Great guys and awesome, dark melodic punk. The band as it stands right now has only been in existence for a few months, but they already have a split 7″ with Shang-A-Lang released in a split effort between Dirt Cult Records (Shang-A-Lang dude) and Dead Broke Rekerds with two songs by each band. A couple nights before the show in our area, their joint tour had ended and the Shangs had flown back to New Mexico, bummer. I’ve been wanting to see them. Jonesin’ had also printed up a four song tour CDr to take on the road with them. It has the two songs off the split and two more songs. Can’t wait to hear how this band develops! They played a lot of unreleased songs and apparently have numerous projects lined up.

To close the night out, we have The Future Kings of Nowhere:

If I remember correctly, I just posted “10 Simple Murders” up above. As Shayne announced it, the crowd yelled in response and the band surged into the song. It seemed to occur all in one swoop of motion. Shayne has really fallen into the position of band leader and crowd-invoker amazingly well. He’s nailed down the basics of pulling the crowd into your music with you. Very impressive. Big thanks to Shayne and the FKoN crew for pulling out a crowd on a Tuesday night for a last minute show! The Future Kings were a power trio with a charismatic, though geeky frontman. Now they stand in front of the audience powerful and charming in all their geeky glory with the addition of Drowsies‘ members (and a Begin-Again or two) flanking them on keys, horns and gang choruses.

The sound has gone from thin, singer/songwriter poppy rock to eventful, shout-along folkish punk/new wave. I used to draw comparisons to both They Might Be Giants and Elvis Costello. Now, as he’s proven with his choice of cover (“Welcome to the Working Week”) and his confidence, he’s dropping the TMBG association and is diving full bodied into that great upswinging 70s-inspired new wave / punk. He’s always been able to write a song that holds your attention and draws you into it with his wordy lyrics, but not until now has he really come into the sound he’s built his songs for. Take those 70s pop greats – Costello, Nick Lowe and Joe Jackson, and tie on a drink and some modern folk punk – Defiance Ohio, Ghost Mice and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb and you’re getting close to his sound. Great stuff.