Wounded Messenger’s Top 12 Albums and Concerts of 2012

If I replace a top “ten” albums or concerts of the year list with a number corresponding to the year, by 2030 I won’t even have to decide anymore.

It’s dangerous and a bit cheesy, just like most popular music. But I will give in to the urge to not have to chop two more albums off this list and roll with my top 12 albums of 2012, in alphabetical order.

Ben Folds FiveThe Sound of the Life of the Mind
Choir of Young BelieversRhine Gold
DiivOshin
Father John MistyFear Fun
Hiss Golden MessengerPoor Moon
Maps and AtlasesBeware and Be Grateful
Matthew E. WhiteBig Inner
The Mountain GoatsTranscendental Youth
Patterson HoodHeat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance
Punch BrothersWho’s Feeling Young Now?
Sharon Van EttenTramp
Tame ImpalaLonerism

What’s that you say? Serve myself? OK, here are 5 honorable mentions, AKA albums 13 through 17….

First Aid KitThe Lion’s Roar
Jason LytleDept. of Dissappearance
Jimmy Herring BandSubject to Change Without Notice
Titus AndronicusLocal Business
WoodsBend Beyond

If you follow the Twitter, you know I saw a ton of shows in 2012. Here are my 12 favorites, in alphabetical order.

The Grandmothers of Invention – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
The Hold Steady – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
Journey/Pat Benetar/Loverboy – Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, NC
Matthew E. White – Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh, NC
Puscifer – Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
Roger Waters – PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
Rodrigo y Gabriela – Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
Superjam – Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
Toon & The Real Laww – Pour House Music Hall, Raleigh, NC
Warren Haynes Presents The Christmas Jam – Asheville, NC
White Denim/Maps and Atlases/Tiny Victories – The Lincoln Theater, Raleigh, NC
Victor Wooten Band/Jimmy Herring Band – Carolina Theater, Durham, NC

Look for live tweets from the 24th Warren Haynes Christmas Jam this weekend, and a review too. Happy Holidays!

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Hopscotch 2012 Photos

Here’s some of my favorite shots from the 2012 Hopscotch Music Festival, held September 7-9 in Raleigh, NC.

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Photos: The Oatmeal Conspiracy, Raleigh,NC, August 20, 2011

The Oatmeal Conspiracy continues to evolve and improve, and their set at Raleigh, NC’s Pour House Music Hall served as a showcase for their expanding catalog.  As one of the most talented local bands on the circuit, the quartet’s unique instrumentation and boundless energy make them a joy to watch and hear.

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The Oatmeal Conspiracy is Brett Connor (drums), Chad Johnson (keys/guitar/vocals), Matt Levine (bass/vocals), and Mitch Morton (saxes/guitar/vocals)

Shel Silverstein Tribute Album Review at Glide Magazine

My review of Twistable Turnable Man is now up at Glide Magazine! This tribute to the brilliant Shel Silverstein features My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, Andrew Bird, Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and a host of others.

Hopscotch Music Festival Preview

Our love for the city of Raleigh, NC and its music scene is well documented here and at Glide Magazine. Well, from September 9-11, 2010, we and the city will be exchanging a big ‘ol sloppy musical kiss. We’re pleased to be covering the inaugural Hopscotch Music Festival, which will take over a large swath of downtown Raleigh for three days of club-hopping mayhem and outdoor festivities. It’s safe to say that this weekend will feature the most eclectic, concentrated gathering of artists that Raleigh has ever seen, and we’ll be doing our heat-of-the-moment Twitter updates, bringing you daily photo galleries, and providing a full review after the smoke clears.

It’s not hard to imagine Hopscotch eventually incorporating the new Raleigh Boutique Amphitheater into the event, and if that happens, we’ll have a monster of a festival on our hands. But for the time being, headliners will perform on the City Plaza while 9 different clubs host the rest of the artists, and that alone should make for an interesting weekend. Friday and Saturday, the music at the Plaza starts right around happy hour before moving into the clubs around 10 PM.

There’s no music at the Plaza on Thursday, but the festival begins in earnest with a dynamite threesome at The Lincoln Theater. Triangle favorites American Aquarium are sandwiched between local up-and-comers Max Indian and the raucous Memphis rock outfit Lucero. Of course, we’ll only get to see that bill if we sacrifice a ton of other stuff – for instance, Madison, Wisconsin’s highly emotive Collections of Colonies of Bees and indie darlings Beach House playing back-to-back at Tir-Na-Nog, one of Raleigh’s finest establishments. Trailblazing Portland act Akron/Family at The Pour House should make for a nice nightcap, in any event.

Friday evening has the potential to be infinitely special, as a couple of hard-to-find headliners will grace the Plaza stage – Broken Social Scene and Panda Bear. There’s a certain anticipation building around Panda Bear’s set, so much that we’ll be interested to see just how engaged he can keep a crowd of this size. But the action really starts after those two bands have had their way with your innards. At 9 PM, one of Triangle’s finest exports, 9th Wonder, will be taking over the Lincoln Theater for what is sure to be a night of wicked lyricism and head-nodding beats with many special guests, including one Raekwon. It’s going to be tough to stay in one spot though, as music beckons from all around the city. Hardest to pass up? The Small Ponds at Deep South The Bar, Mountains at The Busy Bee, Bowerbirds at The Pour House and Fucked Up at the Berkley Cafe.

Saturday night should fly by after Public Enemy is done with their headlining set, because there’s so much to see in so little time. Tortoise at the Lincoln Theater is a must, especially since Brooklyn’s Bear in Heaven are on directly beforehand. Durham, NC’s own Megafaun promise “a seamless night of sound” with various collaborators at the reborn Kings music club, and there’s delicious juxtaposition at Deep South The Bar as local hip-hop collective Kooley High will follow the eccentric Canadian group First Rate People.

On the surface, the Hopscotch schedule appears manageable. But for an adventurous music lover, it’s a mountain of conflicts to rival the biggest mega-festivals like Bonnaroo or Jazzfest. In researching the bands that I had never heard of until I saw their names on the lineup, I found it much more difficult to plan coverage. We’ll just have to give it our best shot, see what happens, and hope you come along for the journey.

Music Flows on St. Patricks Day at Raleigh’s Pour House Music Hall

At The Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh, Steve Mang embodies the phrase “he’s a regular”. The guy is second only to the employees when it comes to attendance, and he’s seen a ludicrous amount of music at the venue, so you know he won’t steer you wrong when vouching for music. “The Oatmeal Conspiracy is always good,” he said, heading into the venue for a St. Patrick’s Day triple-bill that featured them along with two more bands, Triple Wide and Waylandsphere.

Pearsall, Bryce, and Morton

Anyone that frequents the bar knows that those three names on a poster means one thing – a night of non-stop collaboration where three bands take on a group mindset. The difference on this night, though, was the deep, rich sound of two relatively new local bands turning the corner and heading toward bigger and better things. The Triple Wide foursome is coming up on two years together, and there’s been a pronounced increase in familiarity amongst the band since their inception. Their newfound confidence and tightness has greatly benefited every aspect of their music. The Oatmeal Conspiracy has been together for much longer, but recently unearthed an entirely new sound thanks to the addition of a full-time bassist. The two bands are playing better than they ever have right now, and the combination of the two groups on this holiday night only amplified that fact. Continue reading