Saturday, August 2, 2014

Show Review: Alpha Cop

Motorco, Durham
July 25, 2014

What's Alpha Cop like?

Like a group of weird contemporary* folks gave up working on the community supported garden and started a cyborg production facility in Bahama with plans to expand with a new co-op somewhere in Durham, posing as a food truck, sponsored by Viewers Like You and the Santa Fe Natural American Spirit Medical Sciences Division. Not the slightest bit concerned. Not sold out. Bought wholesale into the reality of industry eating itself for breakfast, lunch and din-din. Living in the sugary sporadic confection of hip martyrdom. Rejoicing in the somber noise of insanity.

Like that time after seventeen straight days of fourteen hour shifts, when six and a half minutes of intense concentration resulted in one migraine, three panic attacks and two epiphanies for these intrepid slackers. Break out the fiddle and pick up the Tele. Pluck. Cry a little. Capo the bass. Scream too much. Laugh at stupid flesh, moles and horsehair. Play. Shove metal into Ken dolls. Pull nylon hairs from Skipper. Fuck Barbie. And her flaming single-wide trailer in the background.

Their stimulating approach to rock drew me in and then more cigarettes had to happen as I processed my ping ponging emotions. Appreciate the sound's ability to reach through walls. Still listening. The audience. Is the void semicircle in front of the stage necessary? The floor is lava. Obviously. Static and stunned. Nodding in a combined effort. Like that was enough gesticulation for one night. Why aren't they dancing? Thrashing about like so many tadpoles? Cyborgs. Apparently. Whiskey and noise. Noise and bourbon and cheap beer. Sex legs. He said "Fuck up more often." Don't listen to me. Listen to them. -- Mork N. Sirl

Alpha Cop Links

Monday, February 10, 2014

Prevue: Texoma

Being sixteen in the dust blown hills of the lower Midwest you'll find no shortage of crop fields that needed five-dollar an hour day laborers, nor will you find a shortage of country music drifting from the AM radios of pick up trucks that drive you to them. Those long afternoons walking rows and pulling weeds or breathing diesel atop a rolling iron monstrosity were antagonized by a sun that seemed to perch itself in the apex of the sky and then burn for hours without moving.

Aside from the fifty bucks that was going to be made for a summer day's worth of sweating, the thought that kept the heads up and the legs moving was of the honky tonk which that fifty bucks would likely be blown at later that night. Honky tonk is a work-hard play-hard culture which is a creed in rural blue collar America and its songs are acted out every day in the lives of its subjects. They take it with them to the country bars, VFW parties, and anywhere else that the reveling in one-upmanship stories of the days hardships could be shared while the floor rumbled with swing dancing and the ceiling shook with joyous laughter.

The name Texoma is instantly recognizable in this setting. In the 1930's, the Corps of Engineers built Lake Texoma in the geometric center of honky tonk country...North of Texas, South of Oklahoma City. Given the imagery that can be derived from the people of this land, their culture, and their music, this Chapel Hill alt-country/folk rock band who plays their brand of boot stompin' good-time country under the same name made an exquisite choice.

Its the new project of ex-Whiskey Smugglers frontman Zach Terry, with Jon Ackley of Slingshot Cash riding shotgun. Texoma swings with an inspired blend of guitar rock and thumping bass riffs that could form a room into a line dancing party within a song's first few notes. The traits of this being a passion project are evident. Today is less than two months since their first show and Texoma's facebook profile is already glittered with videos and photos taken by a quickly arranging group of followers. Their first show was at Local 506, one of the areas most important rock venues, and a five-song EP was recorded and ready to be shared before anyone even knew that a dance was being planned. Indeed, Texoma is taking "working hard and playing hard" seriously.

February 22nd, the honky tonking will be at Motorco in Durham as Texoma and Raleigh alt. country rockers Buckshot Betty walk the rows and breathe the diesel. -- @carrboroninja

Texoma "Riverside"

Feburary 22nd @ Motorco in Durham - Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/567194883370917

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Video - Tall Tall Trees

Tall Tall Trees

I was introduced to the looping pedal in the same broke down college rent district living room where I learned to play my first "A" chord. That lesson went something like, "Here, press down all the strings on the second fret and strum. See, you can play guitar." The subsequent jam sessions revolved heavily around the A major chord and months later had expanded to G major, then to D major, and then we were a band. Like my guitar playing, this ensemble's adaptations of the looping pedal adhered to our stringent standard of "close enough" and we weren't bashful about looping anything. The pedal, operated by our complex lead guitar player Steve, had the tendency to go wildly awry, often taking center stage half way into a song with sonic hysteria that made the cat leave the room and everyone else to ask Steve if he was alright. We owe many cigarette breaks to Steve's looping pedal.

These impressions of making music as a group left me mystified and filled with wonder. I entrenched myself with rock and roll, but gave looping pedals a wide berth. Some took to it wholeheartedly however and I am a willing admirer when I see a band punch a neat riff into a live performance with a loop...and I'm downright in awe when I see a performer who makes looping the entire act.

Tall Tall Trees is that performer. This gentleman could contend for the heavy weight title of interesting and unique things to do with a looping pedal. Tall Tall Trees, aka Mike Savino is a NYC banjo player who loops up just about every percussive or pluckable sound that can be conceived with a banjo and sums it into smart folk pop. This video from his fund raiser campaign is the perfect example, and the good news is that the project is funded! So watch with impunity. -- @carrboroninja

Monday, January 13, 2014

Leyla McCalla: Heart of Gold

Eureka, a genuine and impassioned performance. This is the kind of video which stops you in your tracks, slows down the spinning of the day and takes control of your attention for a few minutes. This is Leyla McCalla, most recently known as the cellist for Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group that consistently produces elegant solo spin-offs. "Heart of Gold" is just one of the Langston Huges poems which Leyla delicately arranges to original music on her upcoming album Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes. Click play and enjoy!  -- @carrboroninja

vertical Leyla McCalla performs in Durham, NC at The Pinhook on Tuesday Feb 4th. Punkgrass specialists Grace and Tony open. See the event details here: http://www.thepinhook.com/event/457121-leyla-mccalla-durham/