Saturday, June 13, 2009
You can’t stop progress nor the creativity of Carrboro entrepreneurs. The art crossed eclectically noted Beehive Hair Salon on Weaver Street in Carrboro celebrated a grand re-opening last night after forcing down interior walls and annexing the spaces behind them creating bigger and brighter room for artistic expression whether it be hanging on the wall or sitting under a salon dryer. New Town Drunks entertained the shiny spaces and happy faces with an unplugged yet voluminous performance.
The New Town Drunks fresh album The Ballad of Stayed and Gone has been released for consumption and details of a release party were whispered into my ear last night. On Saturday September 12, 2009 New Town Drunks will call to order bands of loyal followers on the sidewalk in front of The Beehive. Commencing a mobilized unplugged performance, the show will then meandrously sing its way over the hills, through the woods (and down the street) to The Local 506 where the hot amps and cold beer await a faithful production of The Ballad of Stayed and Gone. See you street side. --Carrboro Ninja
More images from Friday night;
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Pinhook, Durham
May 29, 2009
A couple of Friday nights ago an auction happy force of 175 art lovers, music lovers, Durham lovers, and ornately decorated bowling pin lovers filled The Pinhook to take home their own personal piece of the local music culture while raising a record three thousand two hundred and ten George Washingtons towards operationalizing the Troika Music Festival which is Durham’s own sxsw-like multi-venue music festival held each Fall.
Organized and executed by 307 Knox Records main gear Melissa Thomas whose omnipotent masterminding skills rival Sarumon, this activity known as The Pin Projekt spawns a yearly celebration of creativity among Durham's music and art culture icons. Coming together for laughs, pageantry, and support for Troika, the Pin Projekt is a cross-cultural art expose that bridges local music, visual, and plastic artists upon a common and entirely unique medium, bowling pins.
Ending a career at the business end of a bowling alley and opening anew as avant-garde assemblage make-over pop-art, these neutral clones are transformed by local artists into the unique. In no specific order, the pins, their prices at auction, and the person who lovingly designed and created them;
"Wired Briefly" by Zeno Gill, raised $65
"Mi Vaca" by Christine Fantini, raised $30
by Rich James, raised $60
by Steve Oliva, raised $50
Steve (right) posing with a happy bidder
by Jamie McLendon, raised $120
"The Big Lebowski on a Bowling Pin" by Beck Tench, raised $205
"Lucky Strike" by Jeff Mahorney, raised $310
by Chris Tamplin, raised $60
"Dream" by Tom Buhrman, raised $75
"Bead-dazzled" by Allison Marchant, raised $305
"Victory Durham!" by Stephen Mullaney, raised $100
"Phoenix" by Dave Rogers, Woodwright by $380
"Kingpin" by Julie Jones, raised $105
by Wendy Spitzer, raised $120
"Our Lady of Durham" by Savannah Ford (in frame), raised $135
by Maria Albani, raised $65 (thanks for the update Anonymous)
by Jeff Whetstone, raised $50
"Clementine" by Jodi Hoover, raised $80
by Rachel Goodwin (amount not captured)
by David Alsobrooks, raised $100
by Jennifer Lindsley, raised $65
haha, pin project at "The Pinhook"...I just got it. Deep set multi edged unintentional irony is the best kind. Troika 09 will sweep the Bull City on Nov. 5, 6, and 7th. Band submissions are open right now and will close shortly. Nav to http://www.troikamusicfestival.org for details. --Carrboro Ninja
at 11:40 PM
Friday, June 5, 2009
The Cave, Chapel Hill
June 3, 2009
A few months back I was musing how one punches up the dynamics of a solo performance. Perhaps a tambourine on a high hat pedal, or a solo kick drum? Maybe, but how about a harmonica, Bob. As if clairvoyantly sensing my inquest a friend linked me a circa 1971 video of Neil Young performing “Southern Man” on a small stage with nothing but a microphone and a Martin D-28 flat top. Neil captivated the room with his bare hands, the performance was brilliant and not a single space within the sound spectrum was vacant. My reply was simple truth, the great ones need only their guitar and their song to deliver their message. Fast forward to Wednesday night at The Cave and the lesson was reinforced by Carrboro's newest best kept secret, Justin Williams of Twelve Thousand Armies.
Maybe playing tricks on my mind was the gratification and excitement of finally being audience side for a sound I've followed on myspace for months, but it wasn't until about three songs into the set that it donned upon me that nothing was missing from this solo performance. Sparkling Lennon-esque vocals cutting like sideways lightening through the mix would illuminate through cloud banks full of orchestra and a heavy bottomed Gibson making its own bass rudder would only marginally benefit from reinforcement. Brought to bear by a man so intense that energy surges from the stage and cascades into the audience, a solo Twelve Thousand Armies performance is less a contradiction in terms and more so a new dictionary entry for the expression wow.
Not a single poppy happy song in the set, and not a single sappy bluesy one either, these were just good songs. Justin sings about a person he used to loathe, himself. Swirling metaphors of wisdom and truth, his material is entrenched in the drama of his younger years but his vantage point is one of triumph over his vices and sufferance over his sins singing, "if you (knew me back then) I'm fucking sorry you can stab me in the chest." Justin, the only apology I will accept is for not bringing forth this intangible music sooner.
Carrboro's newest because this secret has just relocated from Charlotte to fill the ranks of the army with the talent rich recruits of CHCa(tm) and best kept because, aside from the virtual who's who of the local music champions found grinning headlong at the stage during songs and nodding agreement for their worthiness between them, the crowd was delightfully sparse. Being a favorite son among a influential cast of local talent will likely result in hand picked band mates which will likely result in the dissolution of the secret and the creation of long lines.
Speaking of filling the ranks with talent, Twelve Thousand Armies next performance will be Sunday June 14 at 506 with members of MAX Indian backing. No, this secret isn't going to take long at all to expose. --Carrboro Ninja
and virtual who's who b/c sitting at the kit for the last (and encore chanted) song is current "it" band The Love Language front man Stu McLamb punching up the sticks.
at 10:51 AM
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
As any band who I have posted a show review about can attest, I snap a lot of crappy pictures with a hand me down first generation circa 1996 Sony cybershot digital camera and only after a lengthy process of post camera filters and touch ups are they somewhat acceptable for publishing. One benefit of capturing images this way is that I never have to worry about aperture, ISO, focal length and other considerations that professional photographers consider with their super sweet dSLR cameras because my cybershot's 3.1 megapixel sensor and 2x processor rendered zoom is the epitome of point an shoot, I couldn't tune those attributes if I wanted to. Backed into the corner and forced to use the shots I got in order to make my posts, I have learned a few tricks and the single most enhancing of them is what the pros call "zooming by cropping." I never adjust the zoom on my camera. It will capture the best part of the picture I am trying to freeze, I simply crop away the less interesting parts and what I want everyone to see becomes fuller, more prominent, and more purposeful. When the New Town Drunks clicked the shutter on The Ballad of Stayed and Gone the image caught a refined and polished Diane Koistinen in the act of trading the wailing vocal strength found in earlier works for a zoomed in range, tighter and more luminous. As Roberto Cofresí and the new town crew cropped away the fringe with eloquent Spanish guitar, lullaby western slide guitar riffs and 60's time capsule pop textures, the result is an album with the best parts of New Town Drunks in frame, parts fuller, more prominent, and more purposeful than before.
Fully achieving the next level in composing and producing, in The Ballad of Stayed and Gone, New Town Drunks rely on the interesting characteristics and enchanting melodies found in the crevices of the arrangement more so than the marching and anthemic calling which has ear marked their sound thus far. The album opens with "Walk" which displays these characteristics to the greatest degree. With dramatic shimmering symbol splashes, a persistently driving acoustic melody and one of the most beautifully haunting slide guitar parts you can hear this side of Nashville, "Walk" is a track that would have a fitting home as the theme music for a Tarantino shoot out. Tracks "Sofia's Lullaby" "Camilia" and "Stayed" possess a foreign quality which I'll stop short of referring to as English translated ye ye pop but I can easily picture these notes drifting across the veranda of a chateau during a wine sipping afternoon of relaxation and what ever else rich French people do at their chateaus.
Finding and singing about the human element that resonates on the street is New Town Drunks advantage however and between the consuming heartfelt ballads which surge upon this album, some space and time was still found for the amusing and whimsical New Town Drunks signature bar room chanting music and "Double Sunglasses Sunday" is a readily relatable example. This track's melding of western swing with blues softened rock steals away with a contagious foot tapping rhythm that adds texture to an album which is largely vintage in its appointments. A picture says a thousand words and one need not even listen to the song to see this picture or even draw a like example from their own memory, we've all been there and some more recent than others.
Check back soon for plenty more sub par ultra filtered images taken by me because New Town Drunks next appearance will be in Chapel Thrill at the grand opening of The Beehive Salon on June 12 at 6 PM and I'll have the cybershot working double time. If any of you pimp dSLR wielders want to give me a hand on this one the potential for actually capturing an image of a beehive in 2009 may be worth your while, I just want a frame full of high def New Town Drunks performing during their prime. --Carrboro Ninja
You may listen to select tracks and buy this album by visiting their myspace page found here:
also at reverbnation:
More album art
the piece that goes in to the toaster
at 10:58 AM