Since one of my goals for 2011 is to see more new-to-me local bands, the first Two Sentence Reviews of the year is all local to the Triangle-ish, all the time. (Basically mostly I just trust Ash to point me in the good local directions. And she does, and I listen.)
Two Sentence Reviews, Local 2010 Releases I Haven’t Reviewed Before Because I Am A Lazy Jerk Edition:
Luego — Ocho: these guys banged onto my radar with a couple of shows with American Aquarium and/or members of American Aquarium right at the end of 2010, and there’s something about Patrick’s warm, twangy, guitar pop songwriting that really appeals to me; a sense of honesty, a level of cleverness, and a lot of really great drumming, maybe. You can grab it here if that sounds like your thing.
Last Year’s Men — Sunny Down Snuff: two years ago, I took photos of Ben Carr playing the trumpet with Future Kings of Nowhere, and we’ve been Facebook friends ever since. He was 15 at the time, and so imagine my surprise (but not really) when his garage punk band Last Year’s Men blasted onto the local radar last year with a debut album that pretty much everyone I know and a lot of people I don’t were raving about. Ash warned me that it might not be my thing, which is true because it is not my usual thing, but this album is too good to ignore, crashing guitars and a killer rhythm section and songs that just won’t get out of your head. And he’s only 18.
Wylie Hunter & the Cazadores — self-titled EP: this is not an indie rock album; it is a straight up, catchy as hell rock and roll album. Wylie’s a super compelling frontman, and it’s danceable, and you can hear in it exactly why they destroyed it covering Bruce Springsteen last Friday. It’s available as a pay-what-you-want download here, and I recommend giving them some money. This is a great release.
Filthybird — Songs for Other People: man, this is the weirdest thing to say, but Filthybird sounds exactly like the small town where Brian Haran, one half of the brains behind the band, has his guitar shop; it’s all slinky slide guitar and sultry drums underneath Renee Mendoza’s gorgeous voice. It sounds like the stretch of North Carolina highway that runs between Chapel Hill and Graham, and I think it’s going to be perfect for 3am summer night driving with the windows down. And if I’d heard it before 2011, “Leaving Trail” would have been one of my top tracks of 2010 for sure. (February 22 at Kings with Futurebirds. This is going to be a killer show.)
Onward, Soldiers — Ghosts In This Town: drums-and-acoustic blues, creepy in that way that Low Anthem can be creepy, slippery and sexy in that way that good fiddle playing can be. And then the electric guitars kick in, and it swings like hell. If you don’t dance to this, you’re doing it wrong. (At the Nightlight January 18.)
The Beast — Silence Fiction: I don’t listen to a ton of hip hop, but as with Onward, Soldiers, I trust Ash when she tells me that things are good, and this is good, this is great; Pierce Freelon is one of the cleverest, more intelligent emcees working today, the rest of his crew is equally talented, and this album is a fantastic fusion of hip hop, funk, and jazz. If “Translation” doesn’t make you want to get freaky, you might be dead. I need to see the Beast in 2011. Yes. (At Motorco with the Old Ceremony and Midtown Dickens for an early benefit show — 5PM — January 28.)