Friday, October 29, 2004

"I Believe in Rock and Roll/Moving Fast to Save My Soul": The Rosebuds

Raleigh's Rosebuds make light-hearted guitar pop -- nothing weighty, just lots of energetic fun. There's a somewhat old-school vibe here, and bands like the Kinks are a common reference point. I'm especially fond of the loping pace of "Big Heartbreak," a slower track from Make Out, their full-length debut on Merge Records. The heart of the band is guitarist Ivan Howard and his wife, keyboardist Kelly Crisp, joined by a rotating roster of drummers (currently, it's Wes Phillips of Ticonderoga).

Here's an interview with Howard from 2003.
Pitchfork reviews Make Out.
Scroll down here to read the Independent's listing of the Rosebuds as one of "12 Bands Not to Miss".

MP3: "Kicks in the Schoolyard" (note that this is a higher bitrate MP3 than the one I linked previously)
MP3: "My Downtown Friends"
MP3: "Big Heartbreak"
MP3: "Waiting for the Carnival"
(From Make Out, Merge Records 2003. Buy)

MP3: "Happily Ever After"
(From Old Enough to Know Better: 15 Years of Merge Records, Merge 2004. Buy)

MP3: "Back to Boston"
(From The Rosebuds vs. Utah! 7", Pidgeon English. Out of print. Unclear to me if this is different from the version on Make Out.)


And yet again still more with the Stamey-related stuff

Badgerminor's got another post over at Orbis Quintus with some fine old-school Triangle-related rock. Check out two tracks each from the dB's and Let's Active. (And compare, if you wish, the studio version of "Black and White" with the live version I linked to back here.)

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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Yet again with the Chris Stamey related music

Check out this post at the fine (semi-)music blog Orbis Quintus for a couple of songs from the Sneakers, the short-lived 1970's band that united a pre-dB's Chris Stamey and a pre-Let's Active Mitch Easter. They were produced by Don Dixon, who had played in Arrogance (a band that I'll get around to posting about sooner or later) and went on to produce, among others, R.E.M. (as did Easter). Great early power-pop.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Vote Baby Vote

"Early Voting Sets Record" (Raleigh News & Observer)*

And part of that was me yesterday afternoon. Glad to have it over with -- the next week is going to make me sick, I'm afraid. In honor of all these folks doing their civic duty, and to continue the Chris Stamey theme that's been running for the last week, here's a get-out-the-vote PSA that Chris recorded with Yo La Tengo.

MP3: "V-O-T-E Vote" (Chris Stamey & Yo La Tengo)
(Thanks to Kingblind for the pointer to this.)

*May require registration. if you don't want to bother.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Southern Culture on the Skids

Over at Scenestars, Patrik posted "House of Bamboo" by Southern Culture on the Skids, a long-established mainstay of the Chapel Hill music scene -- pace Patrik, they've been around since the mid 1980s. They have one of those really appealing (to me) sounds that mashes a variety of different styles together into (in this case) a spicy southern-fried stew. (I know that's mixing food metaphors, but, really, it's appropriate with SCOTS. Check out the recipes on their web site!) They play up the white trash kitch, but it doesn't seem to come across as overly smug or ironic. The main streams of influence include rockabilly, surf rock, and garage rock, with a nice dash of horns thrown in now and then.

All Music has a more detailed bio than you'll find on their own web site. SCOTS also host an eclectic local festival called Sleazefest. Scroll down a bit here for the Independent's review of their latest, Mojo Box. And here's two tracks from that album:

MP3: "Doublewide"
MP3: "Swamp Fox"
(From Mojo Box, Kudzu Records 2004. Buy or download )
Other samples on their website, but only about a minute long.

For a taste of their live show, check out the Live Music Archive:
MP3: "Liquored Up and Lacquered Down" (love the woozy trumpet! Doesn't start till about 1 minute in)
MP3: "Greenback Fly"
(Live at Graceland -- Seattle, WA, not Memphis, TN -- May 7, 2004)
More live shows here in .shn format.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Ciompi Quartet plus a percussion bonus

OK, here's something altogether different from the music I've linked to thus far: the Ciompi Quartet, a chamber music group based out of Duke University, where they have been in residence since 1965. Their repertoire ranges pretty widely, with a special emphasis on 20th century American composers; they often premiere compositions by Duke composers including Scott Lindroth and Anthony Kelley. The Quartet comprises Eric Pritchard and Hisao-Mei Ku on violin, Jonathan Bagg on viola, and Fred Raimi on cello. (When I was in college, Raimi was my academic advisor before I declared a major. I guess I had given them the idea that I wanted to be a music major, which wasn't really true. As an advisor, he's a great cello player...)

MP3: String Quartet in D Major; 1. Allegretto (Josef Hayden)
MP3: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 93; 1. Allegro sostenuto (Sergei Prokofiev)
MP3: String Quartet in F; 1. Allegro moderato, tres doux (Maurice Ravel)
(From Live at St. Stephens, 2003)

MP3: "Dunkler Tropf (Dark Drop)" (Paul Hindemith)
MP3: "On Wenlock Edge" (Ralph Vaughan Williams)
(from Melancholie, Albany Records 2003)

The latter two are song settings; I'm not as much a fan of that style. I really enjoy the first three tracks, though the bitrate is horrifyingly low (32 kbps!). (Even so, they don't sound that bad, though it could just be that nothing sounds that great on my work computer...) You can buy either disc by sending $15 to Ciompi Quartet; Box 90665; Duke University; Durham, NC 27708.

MP3: "Nasuh" with soprano Susan Narucki (Scott Lindroth)
(recorded live in 2004)
This is an excerpt from a song setting of a "teaching poem" by the Persian Sufi poet Rumi. I think it's more effective that the previous two, though I'm not enough of a scholar to articulate why.

As a bonus, and a 180 change of direction, here's a percussion piece composed by Scott Lindroth called "Bell Plates". This is a live recording, including both acoustic and electronic intstruments. The performer is Adam Sliwinski, of the So Percussion group -- he's impressive. This is honestly my favorite of all the music in this post.

Have a good weekend!

More Chris Stamey

Over at Songs:Illinois, Craig has posted a couple more songs from Chris Stamey's Travels in the South (which I mentioned a few days ago), and a bunch of older stuff as well. I especially like "I Know You Will" and "Geometry" from the Stamey/Peter Holsapple collaboration Mavericks (a dB's reunion of sorts). I have a real soft spot for Stamey et al., since they're from my home town of Winston-Salem. Here's another live dB's track from 1984:

MP3: "Black and White"
(The dB's, live at The Metro, Chicago, December 1984)


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Back home again/Schooner

Well, a moderately pleasant trip to California was seriously derailed by my foolishly leaving my iPod on the airplane from San Francisco to LA. I've called the airline, and I know there are nice people out there in the world, but I really don't think I'll see it again. Grr.

While I'm enjoying doing this, I regret that I don't have the time to write as much or as wel as I would likel about the music I'm featuring. Ideally, I'd live with the music for a while and really figure out what I think about it. (And, you know, buy the whole album rather than just listen to whatever MP3s the band puts up on their web site...) As it is, this is more or less first impressions of bands that I don't know very well yet. Think of it as my listening diary, if you care to follow over my shoulder, and hopefully, eventually, I'll be able to work more detail into this.

Today's band is Raleigh's Schooner -- they play melodic indie rock with some interesting instrumentation, chiefly the Kathryn Johnson's keyboard/organ playing. Her brother, Reid writes fairly melancholic lyrics, though they're interspersed with a fair amount of wordless melody lines. I like the fact that Billy Alpin's drumming adds some different textures to the mix -- it's a little less straight-ahead than many bands.

MP3: "Trains and Parades"
MP3: "We Let the Cat Out"
MP3: "Stunts and Showmanship and Codes"
(from You Forget About Your Heart, Pox World Empire 2004. Buy )

The stately "Trains and Parades" is perhaps my favorite out of these three. Nice organ, and the most interesting drumming. "We Let the Cat Out" picks up the tempo some -- I like the way the harmonica drifts into the background. "Stunts" etc. is the most agressive of the three -- pounding drums and piano, distorted vocals. Frankly, it could use a little more variety. But given the range of these three songs (and reviews note that the whole album shows impressive range) I'm giving these guys the thumbs-up. Catch them this weekend at a free show at the NCSU Alumni Building (1:30 p.m. 10/24/04), and vote while you're at it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

West Coast Greetings

Much to my astonishment, people seem to be continuing to look in on this thing while I'm gone -- not a huge amount of traffic, but a steady trickle. In hope of enticing at least a few to come back later, I thought I'd drop one quick up date while I'm on the road (currently in San Francisco -- what a beautiful day!).

Chris Stamey is a key figure in the Triangle music scene, partly as a musician, partly as producer for a wide range of acts. He started out working with a young Mitch Easter in Winston-Salem, then was a member of the dB's, perhaps the classic almost-made-it-big NC band. In addition to a post-dBs solo musical career, he's produced records by national acts including Yo La Tengo and Alejandro Escovedo, as well as producing and mentoring many local bands, including the Caitlin Cary album I'm Staying Out which I've mentioned a few times (full post on Caitlin coming eventually), Whiskeytown, Thad Cockerell, and Chatham County Line.

MP3: "The Sound You Hear"
(from Travels in the South, Yep Roc 2004. Buy or download)
Well, dammit, I only discovered just now that Yep Roc has changed the sample MP3 they have up for this album. I had hoped to point you to "14 Shades of Green," which was the first thing I heard from this album, and is still the clear standout for me. The other songs are OK, they just tend to be a bit more pure pop, like this one, whereas "Shades of Green" has a little more edge and energy to it. Seek it out, even if this isn't quite your thing.

I don't mean to dog this track too much, I'm just disappointed the other one's not available. To make it up to you, here's a little live dB's from back in the day.

MP3: "pH Factor"
(Live at the Metro, Chicago, December 1984)
A nifty surfy instrumental number.

This has taken way longer than I'd intended (the things I do for nearly 10 readers a day...), but let me quickly thank Last Sound of Summer for blogrolling me. I've added that fairly eclectic music blog to my links list, as well as Big Rock Candy Mountain, a fine Chicago-based blog that's been working the twang angle somewhat lately. (Confidential to the proprietor of that blog -- if you want to link to me, you don't even have to ask...)

Gotta go now. See y'all next week.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Spread the Love

Just a very quick "thanks" for the link and kind words to Craig at Songs:Illinois. His tastes seem to be right in line with some of the twangy stuff I've been posting lately. (Although that's a really strong area of the Triangle music scene, there's plenty of more rock stuff, which I'll get to eventually.) Check out his recent series on multi-generation music families (Cashes, Wainwrights, etc.) and this post reporting on a recent concert at Schubas.

Two Dollar Pistols

This'll have to be quick -- I'm on the way out of town for a week or so, so look for slow posting (if any) until the week of 18 October.

Two Dollar Pistols swept the country music section of last weekend's Indy Music Awards, and I can see why (though the other nominees were strong as well). They're no alt-anything, just straight-up, unironic honky-tonk country in a George Jones/Merle Haggard vein. They've been kicking around since 1996. John Howie has a great baritone voice, and Scott McCall tears it up on slide guitar. Their latest album, Hands Up, was produced by Brian Paulson, who's worked with Wilco, Son Volt, etc.) Howie's clear, though, that Two Dollar Pistols are "a country band that likes R&B, that likes rock'n' roll, that likes rockabilly, that likes The Beatles, but not a rock 'n roll band that likes country music."

MP3: "Runnin' with the Fools"
(from Hands Up, Yep Roc 2004)
MP3: "You Ruined Everything"
MP3: "I Will"
(from You Ruined Everything, Yep Roc 2002)
MP3: "Lonely Avenue"
(from Step Right Up!, Yep Roc 1997)
MP3: "If Only You Were Mine"
( from Two Dollar Pistols with Tift Merritt, Yep Roc ????)

I'll add links to buy and download later.

Indy Music Awards Winners

It's not online as I write this, but the winners of the Indy Music Awards given out on Saturday (and discussed here) are:

Best Rock Band: Superchunk (this seems silly to me; see my previous post for why)
Best Rock Album: The Rosebuds' Make Out (this is good from what I've heard of it)
Best Rock Song: Portastatic's "Autumn Got Dark" (haven't heard it, no comment)
Best Country Group: Two Dollar Pistols (post on these guys comin' up)
Best Country Record: TDP's Hands Up!
Best Country Song: TDP's "There Goes My Baby"
Best Solo Artist: Tift Merritt
Best Solo Record: Caitlin Cary's I'm Staying Out
Best Folk Artist: Tres Chicas (see here)
Best Folk Record: Tres Chicas' Sweetwater