Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

In the four years since Ex Hex released their debut, lamenting over the lack of a follow-up has become something of an indie rock pastime. The good news is that Mary Timony, Betsy Wright, and Laura Harris finally do appear to be hard at work on one, but as it turns out, we may not have needed the whole gang to satiate the craving for more. Wright, having teamed up with drummer Laura King, has gifted us with Bat Fangs, a record that is far more than just an interim Ex Hex release holdover—it’s a total beast unto itself. Riff-saturated, loud, and fearless, the album flies by (get it?), over before you want it to be, an unpretentious blast of old-school bar rock.

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NC/DC superghouls Bat Fangs pick up where Roky & the Aliens blasted off– cranking acid-soaked 80s hard rock for the living and the dead. Making heady heavy music for third eyes and stiff upper lips, Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) shreds ‘n’ howls over Laura King’s (Flesh Wounds / Speed Stick) deep-thunder drums. 

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When Beat the Champ came out, a wrestler named Sasha Banks tweeted at me: “Where’s my song, @mountain_goats?” As a territories guy I had to learn her story. I said I’d finish the song by the end of the tour; it took a little longer than that.

Last night Sasha Banks wrestled for the Money in the Bank title, and while she didn’t take it home this time, I’ve learned enough about where she came from and how she got to where she is now to say with confidence: the sky is the limit for you. Your walk is just beginning and the day will come when all your setbacks look like steps on a ladder.

Jon Wurster and I recorded this song at Chris Stamey’s place last week — that’s Chris on bass; I last worked with Chris on the Moon Colony Bloodbath DP. Thanks to Chris for making this happen and to the Boss, Sasha Banks herself, for inspiring us all – to learn about you and to write this song was a real honor for me.

Dedicated of course to Sasha and to everybody who’s even had a hint of what it looks like when your dreams start pushing their elbows through the gauze into the real world of blood & sweat & bone.

The MGs always take care of their fans, they don’t have to do a ot of the things they do and they always do it with quality writing and craftsmanship.
Released June 18th, 2018
John Darnielle – Guitar, keys, vocals
Jon Wurster – Drums and Percussion
Chris Stamey – Bass

In creating this album, we somewhat recreated ourselves, settling into a fresh method of collaboration in which each of us contributed equally and openly to the creative process. The result is a newly synergetic vision we’re proud and excited to share.

When I heard the burbling synth at the top of River Whyless‘ new album, Kindness, A Rebel, I knew I was in for something different from this Asheville-birthed quartet. Their 2016 folky world-beat album We All The Light was a favorite of mine, but this album has more drive, it’s more cohesive and lyrically more thematic; the album’s title is a hintDrummer Alex McWalters, one of four songwriters in the band, says, “We’ve reached a point where we just understand that the songs are more important than the egos.”

That opening song is called “All of My Friends,” and it’s a good example of how River Whyless is changing. Singer and violinist Halli Anderson wrote the song and quite liked it, but the album’s producer Paul Butler didn’t. And since this album was to be a group effort instead of relying on the individual strengths of these four songwriters, she initially let the song go. But a few days later, that burbling sound resonated from the synthesizer and the song was reborn. Singer and guitarist Ryan O’Keeffe said, “It was the first time I felt like we captured a song in the moment of creation. Lyrics were changing in the moment. Melodies were changing in the moment. Singers were changing. It was really difficult and emotionally intense but so gratifying when we were done.”

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Released June 8th, 2018

River Whyless announced their new album, Kindness, A Rebel – due out June 8th . This is the follow-up to the band’s 2016 breakout success We All The Light.

Produced & mixed by Paul Butler (St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Michael Kiwanuka), Kindness, A Rebel is some of River Whyless‘ most dynamic and heartfelt material yet. The album goes beyond the divide of our current political & societal state, as the band tries to understand what things are happening in our world, why, and how they can help to make it better. This band is an amalgamation of folk and pop and beyond. Brilliant harmonies and words. An abundance of talent from this Asheville band,

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The Band:

Ryan O’Keefe: vocals, guitar
Halli Anderson: vocals, violin
Alex McWalters: drum set
Daniel Shearin: vocals, bass, harmonium

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River Whyless have released a beautiful new track titled “Motel 6”, taken from their forthcoming new album Kindness, A Rebel. Penned by the band’s Ryan O’Keefe, “Motel 6” was inspired by their experience of being a band on the road over the last decade and a sudden moment of realization.

“We were driving home from a tough supporting tour, we were broke, which wasn’t uncommon. Halli had just moved to Oregon and we’d dropped her at a Motel 6 to spend the night before her morning flight. Watching her check into the motel as we pulled away felt like an ending. It was as if I removed a pair of tunnel vision goggles and could see the world and my life for the first time since we started this band. I felt incredibly small, fragile, irresponsible, foolish, at a loss for what to do next and very alone. The reality of what we had been trying to do for a decade came crashing down in an almost laughable way. We didn’t talk about it and I don’t know if anyone felt the same way but, at that moment, I changed. The funny thing is that a month later we had the most successful tour we’ve ever had.” — Ryan O’Keefe, River Whyless

Kindness, A Rebel will be available everywhere on June 8th Available as opaque white LP, CD, and digital download. All physical orders include an exclusive KAR flag enamel pin, as well as an immediate download of all three singles released so far.

The Nude Party are a six-piece from North Carolina . The fine folks at New West Records will be releasing their debut LP on June 8th. While you wait, check out how they came up with such a unique moniker.

The members of The Nude Party first came together in the freshman dormitories of Boone, North Carolina’s Appalachian State University in 2012. Patton Magee, and later Austin Brose, linked up with childhood friends Connor Mikita & Alec Castillo and stepbrothers Shaun Couture & Don Merrill. The following summer, the young men moved into a lake house outside of town to begin learning their respective instruments and jamming on rudimentary riffs. Friends came by the lake house to swim and party and soon there developed a group obsession with performing in the nude.

They quickly gained a following as the house band at a notorious Boone party palace referred to as the 505 House, and the bare honesty of their performances was so contagious that their audience also started partying au naturel. While these traditions may appear risqué to the casual observer, the band explains, “These weren’t orgies, they weren’t sexual even. It was just kind of a wild exhibitionism that we felt gave us freedom.” Best known around campus as “the naked party band,” this informal aggregation of musicians became a defined unit and chose to call their group simply “The Nude Party.”

THE NUDE PARTY: 
Patton Magee – Guitar, Vocals
Shaun Couture – Guitar, Vocals
Alec Castillo – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Don Merrill – Organ, Piano, Vocals
Austin Brose – Percussion, Vocals
Connor Mikita – Drums, Cowbell

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Alone on the road for nearly two months, B.J Barham pieced together a different lineup, steadily accumulating ideas for new songs at the same time.

“I don’t have a side trade,” he says from his home in North Carolina, where he’s taking a rare break from the road in anticipation of his baby daughter’s birth. “I write songs, I travel around, and I play them for people. Those are the only things I’m good at. When you have a mass exodus, like five of your best friends leaving the band at the same time, you don’t have time to throw yourself a pity party. My wife didn’t let me do that, at least. She gave me a couple days of thinking, ‘Woe is me,’ and then I was back at the grind, figuring out how to put another band together. I found a group of guys who were inspired to be on the road, and that inspired me as a songwriter.”

When Barham wrapped up his solo tour and returned to North Carolina on the Fourth of July, a new lineup awaited him, along with a new muse. Things Change, his first record featuring the revised American Aquarium arrives June 1st and dives into the political rift that’s split the country into warring factions – particularly in the American South, where B.J Barham has lived his entire life.

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On the record’s kickoff single, “Tough Folks,” he traces his family’s history through years of tobacco farming, economic depression, perseverance and rebirth. Along the way, he tackles President Trump’s election, neither condemning nor condoning the people — including the 2,362,631 North Carolinians who helped vote him into office — whose views differ from his own. Like the rest of Things Change, “Tough Folks” offers hope and positivity, positioning both as antidotes for the modern-day blues.

“The whole purpose of that song is perseverance,” he explains. “Growing up, most of my town was based on agriculture. When agriculture was taken away, some people bitched about it, but some people found alternate ways of making a living and feeding their family. You’ve gotta find a way to get through it. The line I’m particularly proud of is, ‘Last November, I saw first-hand what desperation makes good people do.’ Don’t get me wrong – there are some pieces of shit that voted for [Trump] – but there’s a lot of good, working people that voted for him.

American Aquarium is
BJ Barham – Vocals, Guitar
Shane Boeker – Lead Guitar
Joey Bybee – Drums
Ben Hussey – Bass
Adam Kurtz – Pedal Steel Guitar, Electric Guitar

With special guests
Byron Berline – Fiddle
John Fullbright – Piano, Clavinet, Mellotron, Guitar, Vocals
John Moreland – Vocals
Wes Sharon – Percussion
Dan Walker – Organ, Accordion
Jamie Lin Wilson – Vocals

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“Standing in the Doorway” was written and recorded during the making of Heart Like a Levee. I think I was trying to understand if and whether luck was related to my life at the time. I always liked this tune, but it didn’t seem to fit the emotional arc of that album for some reason. It also seemed like it could survive on its own, away from other songs that might give it context. Since Heart Like a Levee came out, a lot has changed in the world, of course. I’m currently writing this from the studio where we’re working on our next record and trying to live in this world with some kind of light.  —M.C. Taylor

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This song was recorded with the Spacebomb family—a collection of musicians with deep kinship and connection to Hiss Golden Messenger—in Richmond, Virginia, on February 7th, 2018. They love their families and friends in the same ways that I do mine. I was proud and honored to work with them on this song.

All proceeds from “Passing Clouds” and “Passing Clouds Dub” will benefit Everytown, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities. I urge you to perform your own small actions of peace whenever and wherever you can. We can make the world we want to live in. 

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No spiritual surrender. —M.C. Taylor, Durham, NC

Released March 21, 2018

John Darnielle has written almost 600 songs now, and some of them are very sad, dealing with hard drugs and tragic ends,hurting yourself and others, sicknesses of both body and brain, off-brand alcohols. They are told in beautiful, unnerving, specific detail because he is a very good writer, and also some of them are just true stories about his own life.

Last month, my cover of “Riches and Wonders” with Jherek Bischoff was unleashed on the world via the podcast “I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats”. It’s receiving a lot of praise from Mountain Goats fans, which means a lot to me. Jherek and I churned out both the arrangement and recording in only a few days last summer, then recorded the podcast with John Darnielle and Joseph Fink a few days later. It’s been hard to keep the project a secret for all these months! Such a fun gig! And an honor. 

You can listen to the song Here I am going to be extremely “tacky” and suggest that if you like the song enough that you think you’ll listen to it more than once, Please download it – Jherek and I receive a portion of the royalties, and I personally am insanely broke finishing up my epic music video and covers album without the help of a day job . Buying the song also supports the podcast. We are all busting our asses to make things, and I can speak for all of us when I say we appreciate your support.

Meanwhile, my covers album is taking forever , Although it’s Very close to completion – two more songs need a bit more mixing, and one of those songs is giving us a lot of hell, as it’s a pile of just Eliza voices, I’m open to input. I’m all ears – no pun intended). As a result, I’ve decided to release a song or two from the project as singles prior to completion and release of the album as a whole. Because not getting content out into the world regularly is making me feel completely insane. So keep your eyes’ n’ ears peeled for the first single, a cover of Rufus Wainwright’s “The Art Teacher”, another epic collaboration with Jherek Bischoff

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