I take Dive Party personally. For each of our two local music showcases this year, I put in an incredibly large amount of work.I won’t rehash the blood, sweat and tears for you, but, suffice it to say, it hasn’t done me any favors in my classes.
Somewhere in the evolution of popular music culture, the term “mainstream” became a dirty word. In a realm ruled by rebels and visionaries, a sound with obvious mass appeal is seen as sacrilege.But despite the terrible music that can come from trying to reach large numbers of people, there are artists who genuinely are good at making approachable music.
So, get this! This duo from Winston-Salem plays indie rock with only guitar and upright bass. And the guitar dude also does drum buttons with his feet. Knee jerk reaction: This is probably going to suck.Reality: It’s pretty kick-ass.
It’s fitting that members of Red Collar, Midtown Dickens and other local bands would choose to tribute Nebraska. There is no record in all of Bruce Springsteen’s illustrious catalog so ready-made for homage.The 10 haunting folk treatments on this 1982 essential are nothing but the raw essence of The Boss.
Patrick Stickles has an interesting world view. Well-versed in rock ‘n’ roll, pop culture, literature and history, the leader of New Jersey band Titus Andronicus shouts hyper-intelligent barbs over the group’s roaring brand of E Street punk.
Many of the best new acts to step out on the local scene recently have started as one or two-man bands. The Love Language and Max are shining examples.Autumn Ehinger’s Cassis Orange might soon join the list. The new EP she’s crafted under that name is promising, if not fully pleasing.
It’s easy to forget, but at the end of Alexandre Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers,” the titular members of the king’s guard actually add a fourth member. Coming from different social circumstances but believing in a common cause, the four heroes create a support system. “All for one, one for all,” they’ve always got each other’s backs despite their differences.
UNC squeaked by the Bulldogs of Mississippi State 76-74 Saturday March 20 in Starkville, Miss.
I can’t tell you if New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus has a truly broad appeal. I just know that it does a doozy on me.I love the statement of naming your band after Shakespeare’s goriest play. Titus Andronicus is out for blood, and every English nerd out there will know it from the start.I love Bruce Springsteen, and this band’s every move careens down the melodramatic E Street turnpikes paved by The Boss.
Steampunk is not a mainstream thing. A cultural movement that involves art and music made in the way they would have been during the era of steam power, it's a left-field venture, most often seen in small bohemian sort of places. But Saturday at Morehead Planetarium, the music of this movement will be on proud display. Jay Cartwright, a great local steampunk musician, will deliver his product alongside art and science exhibits. The free event starts at 11 p.m. and will show the ways steampunk and science intersect. Looking forward to the event, Diversions Editor Jordan Lawrence caught up with Cartwright for a short chat about his unusual style.Diversions: You're doing the steampunk event at Morehead this weekend. Why did you want to take part in this?The reason I was asked is just that I've been involved in the steampunk community in Carrboro and Chapel Hill, mostly through the rock band I used to play in Lemming Malloy, which was a steampunk band. The planners of this steampunk event had talked to some of my friends, and then it got back to me that they were looking for some folks. And I just thought it sounded like a lot of fun.
Roman Candle - Cat's Cradle - April 14 Call them proof that Pitchfork doesn't quite rule all of the music world. Call them proof that Southern charm doesn't necissarily have to be stupid or redneck. If you must, call them a Dixie Wilco, though I don't believe that even comes close to covering it. Call them what you will, but I personally call Roman Candle one of the very best things to come out of a very good area.The Chapel-Hill-turned-Nashville group of outsized pop-rockers played a homecoming concert to their old stomping grounds at Cat's Cradle last night. And though openers The Parson Redheads were great, a warm bath of lush harmonies, it was Roman Candle who owned the night.In a polo and jeans, lead-singer Skp Matheny didn't look to have an aged a day since his days pounding out jams in town, and his powerful attack hasn't wained either. He attacked the mic and his guitar with a bemused smile, barking out lines with incredible charisma. His backing wrapped his wonderful perforance in agressive rock, organs and keys underpinning electric guitar licks.Simply put it was great. In fact, about the only bad thing I can say about it is I don't know when I'll get to see the band again. Because even though the band's outsourced to Nashville, they'll always be Chapel Hill to me. Come back soon.
Animal Collective's "visual album" "Oddsac" has been a long time coming. Four years in the making with whispers of what it might be like accompanying it the entire way, the fact that it's actually coming out is exciting enough.It's getting even more exciting for Triangle residents. "Oddsac" will have two screenings at Franklin Street's Varsity Theater on April 23. Members of the band will be on hand as will director Danny Perez. As you'll see by the trailer below, it should prove for one extremely psychedelic affair.Tickets are $15 and can be aquired in advance here.
It's our quest to make each Dive Party, the celebration of local music we put on once a semester, more special than the last. Well, if an absolutely stacked bill wasn't enough to make our quickly approaching shindig seem out of the ordinary, we're about to sweeten the deal.The April 9 party at Local 506 will also be an official listening event for Congratulations, the new album from hot shot electro-pop outfit MGMT. The new LP will be playing between sets, and we'll be raffling off lithographs and advance copies of the album before it drops on April 12. The album is currently streaming in its entirety at whoismgmt.com.Also on tap for next Friday's show are sets from Luego, The Beast, The Dirty Little Heaters and a solo performance by Red Collar's Jason Kutchma. Show starts at 9:30 p.m., so make sure you get out early to avoid missing any of the great music and goodies we have in store.Nine days and counting.
Wilco - Durham Performing Arts Center - Mar. 26 That's right. Dive got to go shoot some photos at the Wilco show last night. Check out the slideshow from Tweedy and Co.'s Durham stop and check the DTH tomorrow for a full review of the performance.
Shearwater - Local 506 - Mar. 15 Jonathan Meiburg's Shearwater works in broad, big strokes. Soaring landscapes light by, belted out by Meiburg's rich, insistent baritone. It's an amalgamation of woodwinds, strings, big melodies and even bigger ideas. So how does all this come off when the Austin band rolls through town with only five people? The answer Thursday night was shown to be very well. Trading the clean sound of the records for a more fuzzed out indie rock, the band kept its music huge while tearing into it with added urgency. Meiburg's voice was the star of the show. Expressive and versatile, it allowed him to deliver lofty messages with arresting charisma. Whether in expansive records or in small rock clubs, Shearwater moves audiences with surging anthems that land with visceral impact.
In the interest of shameless self-promotion, I am happy to present the poster for Dive Party VIII. This semester's posters were designed by Rat Jackson/Dry Heathens guitarist Steve Oliva, who also graced us with last semester's battle ready advertisements.And if this epic design isn't enough to get you hungry for some awesome local music, the links below will let you sample the music of each of the party's participants. 15 days and counting.LuegoThe BeastThe Dirty Little HeatersJason Kutchma
Jonathan Meiburg works in large concepts. It’s this fact that shapes everything his band, the Austin, Texas-based, orchestrally minded Shearwater, does.He describes the band’s new album The Golden Archipelago as the last piece in a triptych, the culmination of the themes and styles running through the band’s last two releases. For him, it’s the end of an artistic vision that has lasted almost five years.Shearwater plays Local 506 tonight as part of its current world tour. Diversions Editor Jordan Lawrence caught up with Meiburg for a long chat about his art, his politics and his plans for the future. Diversions: How’s the tour going?Jonathan Meiburg: Tour’s been great. We just got back from Europe the day before yesterday. We played 20 shows in a row. The audiences were bigger than we’d ever had over there. We were playing better and better, so I was really exciting like that. I’m always looking forward to playing in the U.S. I don’t know why, but it feels a little less like being in a zoo exhibit.Dive: You’re calling the new record the third panel in a triptych. What’s that about?JM: I think this album and the two that preceded it have a common emotional thread running through them as well as some common themes — thinking about the natural world and the disappearance of the old version of the natural world and the replacement of it with something that’s been created by us. Us being human beings. At the same time, I don’t like the idea of this being some kind of eco-rock band. I think it’s much more metaphysical than immediate, these concerns. I’m more concerned with what it means for the world to be changing in such tremendous ways with such speed.
Rejoice all ye fans of fiercely emotive power pop. Vancouver's famous group of lovesick indie rock punks The New Pornographers will be making a stop at UNC's Memorial Hall on June 25.The group, led by the irrepressible A.C Newman, will be on tour this summer supporting their new album Together, which hits record store shelves on May 4.Joining the Pornographers on their Chapel Hill tour stop will be The Dodos and The Dutchess And The Duke. Stay tuned to Diversions for more information on the concert as the date approaches.
This year Lewis Black's annual appearance won't be UNC's only high-profile comedy event. On April 27 the Bonnaroo College Comedy Tour will make a stop in the Great Hall of the Student Union.The first-ever comedy road outing for the Manchester, T.N.-based festival will feature performances from Amy Schumer, Pete Holmes, Kumail Nanjian and Reggie Watts."They sent out a thing to me, and then I saw the list of comedians," said Sam Morgan, comedy chair of UNC's Carolina Union Activities Board, the group brining the festival to the University. "I said, 'That's a really good line-up. We should bring them here.'"The tour will be swinging across the country, visiting various other campuses all through April and May, leading up to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which takes places from June 10 to 13 in Manchester.