Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Butchies

Durham's Butchies are a zippy punk/pop power trio. Their candy-colored web site reflects the tone of their latest album, Make Yr Life (Yep Roc 2004) -- bright, fun, and loud. (Except for the slowed-down cover of the Outfield's "Your Love" that closes the album.) Many of their lyrics are driven by the band's feminist/lesbian politics, which resulted in a spot on a recent episode of VH1's "My Coolest Years" that focused on homosexuality.

I don't have time for more commentary, so here's another review/interview that touches on the recording of Make Yr Life and their new relationship with Yep Roc, and here's a review of their 2001 album 3.

MP3: "Trouble"
(from Make Yr Life, Yep Roc 2004. Buy or download)

The Butchies web site also has three older songs to download ("Anything Anthology", "It's Over" , and "To Be Broadcast"), but I can't tell you anthing about them. They're .zip files, and though I think I'm downloading and extracting them correctly, I can't get the MP3 files to play. If you have a chance, leave a comment and let me know if this is some bizzare problem that only I have or if it really is a problem with the files. Thanks!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Great Show at Local 506 Tomorrow

There's a fantastic lineup of (mostly) Americana-influenced bands at Local 506 tomorrow night. I've already mentioned the Honored Guests (here) and the Strugglers (here), and they're joined by Cub Country.

Launched by former Jets to Brazil bassist Jeremy Chatelain, Cub Country works a much more rootsy vein. According to this interview, Chatelain doesn't care for their music to be labeled "country" or "Americana", and I suppose "alt country" would make his skin crawl -- but you'd pretty much have to call their music something along those lines.

The first Cub Country album, High Uinta High, was recorded with a catchall collection of Chatelain's friends, but their 2004 release Stay Poor, Stay Happy features a more stable lineup of Chapel Hill musicians (Matt Sumrow on bass, Jeff Clarke on guitar and Jeff Ansley on drums). They'll make a great complement to the Honored Guests' "gauzy pop" and the Strugglers' "cracked folk" (adjectives courtesy the Independent).

MP3: "St. Louis"
MP3: "High Uinta High"
(from High Uinta High, Jade Tree 2001. Buy or download)

MP3: "The Salt Islands"
MP3: "Missed the Train"
(from Stay Poor, Stay Happy, Future Farmer 2004. Buy or download.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

I love the 80s: Gerty

Think maybe of Kim Carnes fronting the Cars, or something like that. Gerty is primarily husband and wife team Shirle Hale and David Koslowski making throwback New Wave music that manages to capture the charm and energy of the era with little of the cheesiness. Of course, the cheese is probably part of the charm, but they rarely go overboard. Even when they do ("Lower Moreland", I'm looking at you), it's still fun.

Their latest album, Sweets from the Minibar, was produced by (who else?) Chris Stamey. "Magnastar" features a guitar solo by Mitch Easter, another guy who was making some fine music back in the 80s.

MP3: "Short Drive Home"
MP3: "Magnastar"
MP3: "Lower Moreland"
(from Sweets from the Minibar, Eskimo Kiss 2002. Buy)

The neo-New Wave sound is pretty fully developed on Sweets..., while on the previous album, Two Kisses in a Row the synths aren't quite as well integrated into the songs. "Red Mopar" illustrates the point -- it's a fun song with nice harmonies, but the synth into feels a bit tacked on.

MP3: "Red Mopar"
(from Two Kisses in a Row, Plastique Recording Co. 1999. Buy)

Their earlier incarnation was more straight-ahead indie rock, which is fine but less interesting. Here's a representative track:

MP3: "Martin"
(from Raggedy Aneurysm, Merkin 1996. Buy)

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Rosebuds on KVRX

Austin radio station KVRX has a fantastic series of in-studio performances archived on their web site, including this shimmering, stripped-down version of the Rosebuds' "Big Heartbreak". I imagine this is just Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp performing one of my very favorite songs from Make Out.

MP3: "Big Heartbreak"
(The Rosebuds live on KVRX, March 19, 2004)

Thanks to Alan @ 6eyes for the pointer to the KVRX archive.


Might as well do a bit of something else with this fairly short post. Here are the latest links in my blogroll:


Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Avett Brothers: "Piedmont Stomp 'n' Roll"

The Avett Brothers came together out of various rock bands, but they make sweet backporch music that will certainly appeal to readers of Songs: Illinois or Lonesome Music, or folks who liked O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Brothers Seth and Scott Avett join with Bob Crawford to play acoustic originals on guitar, upright bass, and banjo. You can get an idea of the quirky place their music comes from if you know that their most recent studio album, Mingionette, is loosely based around the tale of a 19th century shipwreck that ended in cannibalism(!).

Many reviews (e.g., this or this) make a lot of their rock and roll affinities, drawing comparisons to Uncle Tupelo, among others. From the music available to download from their website, that seems just a bit facile -- they're much more trad than that, I think -- but their live show does get some of this energy across. Check out this movie to see what I mean. (They ask that you download it rather than stream it from their site, so be cool. It's 26.2 MB.)

These guys are actuallyfrom western North Carolina, so they're not really Triangle musicians. But this stuff is too good to let that stop me from including it.

MP3: "Swept Away"
(from Mingionette, Ramseur 2004. Buy)

MP3: "Pretty Girl from Matthews"
MP3: "A Lot of Moving"
(from Country Was, 2002. Out of print.)

MP3: "Kind of in Love"
MP3: "Let Myself Live"
(from The Avett Brothers, 2000. Out of print.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Honored Guests

Something about the Honored Guests' music (previously mentioned here) seems to render reviewers incoherent:
Soon you find yourself reaching out to him, as the milk chocolatey riffs swell and wash over you, enveloping your mind and just short of drowning you in their steady, hypnotic pulse, like a musical undertow. Thus, an often pretty album's intriguing musicianship is undermined by the grip of its pervasive groove. (Independent review)
Then again, when drummer Andrew Kinghorn says, "I think we sound like if Tom Petty were being held at gunpoint by a British barbershop quartet," what can you expect?

I'll just say that they're mid-tempo indie rock with some nice vocal harmonies here and there (e.g., "Postmarked"). Their debut album, iawokeinacityasleep, features some nice tunes including "Postmarked" and the spacey title track. "Days are Getting Brighter" starts off as a mellow acoustic track, but falls into the mid-tempo drone that does make the album start to sound a little samey after a while (which I think is what the Independent reviewer was getting at up there). Their next performance is January 21 at Local 506 with Cub Country and the Strugglers. (That should be a fine show! See my previous Strugglers post.)

MP3: "Postmarked"
MP3: "iawokeinacityasleep"
Also download "I Can't Keep You" and "Days Are Getting Brighter" from
(from The Honored Guests, iawokeinacityasleep, American Laundromat 2004. Buy)

MP3: "Coming Apart at the Seams"
(from Postmarked [single], 2004. Out of print)

MP3: "Leaving"
(demo, February/March 2003)


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tres Tangled Truckers: amazing triple bill at The Pour House

MP3: "Cello Girl"
(from Caitlin Cary I'm Staying Out, 2003 Yep Roc. Buy)
MP3: "(Welcome to the) Sun Tangled Angel Revival"
MP3: "Madman Blues"
(from Kevn Kinney Sun Tangled Angel Revival, Compadre 2004. Buy)
MP3: "Never Gonna Change"
(from Drive-By Truckers The Dirty South, New West 2004. Buy)

Hope everyone had a happy new year celebration and whatever other holidays you were celebrating. Just a quick post to note the fabulous show at The Pour House in Raleigh tonight: solo performances by local artist Caitlin Cary, former Drivin' n' Cryin' frontman Kevn Kinney, and the Drive-By Truckers' Jason Isbell. Great songwriters and performers all, this should be an outstanding performance.