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Album Review: Long Live The King by The Decemberists

A few days age the Decemberists  closed out the year with their EP Long Live the King, in many ways a counterpart to their release from the beginning of the year’s The King Is Dead. Stylistically the release is in line with the last album’s return to lead singer Colin Meloy’s folksy roots in Montana (where he hails from), which is quite a departure from the bands earlier medley of sea shanties, moanings of chimbly sweeps, paeans to the soldering life which culminated in the prog-rock epic concept album The Hazards of Love. Make no mistake though, Meloy’s literary songwriting style is still in full swing and he still plays the role of the bard- just a slightly different kind of bard (maybe one whose swapped his tweed jacket for a corduroy one). Like the last release the theme of mass catastrophe and disaster is still strong, but this time more from the perspective of the rebuilding after the fall. The Grateful Dead cover of Row Jimmy is surprising faithful to the style of the original, with the same loose groove and amelioration of pain. The amorous romp of I 4 U & U 4 Me is surprisingly lighthearted for a Decemberists’ love song. But its not all an after the storm rejoicing- E. Watson with its fever civil-war pitch dream clasping sounds akin to R.E.M.’s Swan Swan H.  Buryin Davey is downright spooky as well, like stumbling across some wild-west funeral, or perhaps something out of the Southern Gothic tradition. But perhaps the greatest display of Colin’s love for the literary in in the song Sonnet is an actual sonnet from Dante Alighieri (Medieval Italian author of The Divine Comedy) to his dear friend Guido Cavalcanti. This EP certainly has an albums worth of feeling, but with The Decemberists, whether their singing about Elizabethan sailors or life in the deep south, this is to be expected. Now that Colin has a son and is working on children’s books with wife, as well as most of the other band members being involved in other projects, we may see less frequent releases from The Decemberists, so treasures like this are fine indeed.
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Concert Review: The New Pornographers @ UNC

Seeing a band you love in a less than ideal setting can often ruin the entire concert experience. Fortunately The New Pornographers were able to escape this trap while playing UNC’s Carmichael Auditorium last saturday night. Even though the stage was set up towards the middle of the tiny arena while the audience was sequestered to the seats roughly 20 feet away, the band was able to connect to the crowd throughout their set. The six-piece band played a fantastic set consisting of songs from all of their albums. Highlights included All The Old Showstoppers, Sing Me Spanish Techno and crowd favorite The Bleeding Heart Show.

Local favorites The Love Language opened the show with a rousing set that included new songs as well as songs from the bands first two albums. However, the highlight of the set was an energy filled cover of My World Is Empty by Diana Ross and The Supremes.

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Concert Review: Wild Flag At Cat’s Cradle

On the evening of October 21st the indie “super-group” Wild Flag took to the stage at Carrboro’s Cats Cradle. The all female quartet ripped through an hour-long set that drew heavily from their self-titled debut album. While all members played with a tremendous amount of intensity and energy, former Sleater-Kinney front woman Carrie Brownstein stole the show with her high kicks and windmill guitar playing. With their fantastic musicianship and showmanship, Wild Flag proved that they are more than just a side project for some of indie rock’s most notable women.

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311 Ticket Giveaway!

311 is coming to Greensboro Coliseum Special Event Center on November 29th and WSOE is giving away tickets! To enter go to the WSOE facebook page ( and write on our wall that you would like to enter the 311 ticket giveaway. Winners will be contacted after the drawing occurs at the end of the week.

Tickets for the show can be purchased at the Greensboro Coliseum Box Office, online at, select Walmart locations or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. For more information visit

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Review: Hopscotch Music Festival Day 2

Dodos (City Plaza)

The San Francisco based Dodos are best known for their beautiful and catchy indie rock that is usually based around an acoustic guitar. However, at Hopscotch the band put aside their acoustic instrumentation and put on one of the better rock n roll shows I have seen in a while. The songs off of their newest album No Color sounded great on the big speakers in city plaza and new songs found new life with the more “rocking” instrumentation.

Guided By Voices (City Plaza)

Right after Guided By Voices’ headlining set in City Plaza a friend pointed out that the band is pretty much a bar band. While it is easy to see how one could think that, fans of the band realized that they were seeing one of the most prolific songwriters of the 90’s perform his classic songs, possibly for the last time. Whether or not the band’s set ends up being the bands last, it was clear that they were playing like it was. Guided By Voices packed in songs like Gold Star For Robot Boy, Game Of Pricks and many other fan favorites into their all too brief set.

Swans (Fletcher Opera Hall)

It’s hard to hold a large crowd’s attention at a festival when there are ten other bands playing in other venues at the same time. For two hours the legendary genre-expanding band did just that. After opening with a 30-minute version of track No Words/No Thoughts the band filled the Fletcher Opera Hall with their abrasive yet beautiful songs. Continue reading

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Review: Hopscotch Music Festival Day 1

 The Love Language (Lincoln Theater)

The local favorites played a blistering set that consisted of songs off of both of their albums, as well as a few new songs. The band had much of the crowd dancing and singing along for most of the set. Highlights of the set included a horn section joining the band for Wilmont and a fantastic cover of Diana Ross’ My World Is Empty Without You.

 Black Lips (Lincoln Theater)

 Atlanta based garage rockers the Black Lips are known for their rowdy shows and this one was no different. Throughout the set the band fought with security, made out with each other and even played baseball with cans of beer and their guitars. With many bands these kinds of shenanigans would keep the bands from putting on a show that was musically sound. However, The Black Lips were able to act up a bit while still ripping through songs from their newest album Arabia Mountain as well as older fan favorites like Bad Kids and O Katrina.

Check out reviews of Lower Dens, Dinosaur Feathers and Spider Bags after the jump.

Continue reading

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Upcoming Shows 4/4-4/10

There are a ton of great shows happening in the area this week. Here’s a rundown of the best ones.

April 6:

The Black Lips & Vivian Girls at Cat’s Cradle

Atlanta quartet The Black Lips bring their raucous brand of retro garage rock to Cat’s Cradle. The Vivian Girls, an all female punk trio from Brooklyn, open the show. The show begins at 8:30 PM and you can purchase tickets online via etix for $12. Continue reading

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The Rosebuds To Release New Album In June

The Rosebuds have announced that their new album, titled Loud Planes Fly low, will be released on June 7th via Merge Records. Loud Planes Fly Low marks the North Carolina duo’s 5th studio album and the first release since their 2008 album Life Like. In addition, this album will be the first release from the band since band members Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard ended their marriage. According to a Merge Records press release this situation allowed Ivan and Kelly to write and record, “some of The Rosebuds’ riskiest and most rewarding songs to date.” Head over to to download the song Second Bird Of Paradise for free and check out the trailer for the album below.

Hopscotch Festival Announces Venue Information, To Announce Lineup 4/20

The downtown Raleigh based Hopscotch Music Festival, which takes place September 8-10, has announced the venue information for the 2011 incarnation of the event. While the 2010 festival took place in 10 downtown Raleigh venues including Kings Barcade, Tir Na Nog and The Pour House, this year’s festival will expand to 12 venues. The two new venues will be White Collar Crime and the Fletcher Opera Theater, which is part of the Progress Energy Center. According to the Hopscotch website the use of the 600 seat Fletcher Opera Theater will allow the festival to provide, “increasingly diverse programming, while providing a unique festival experience for artists and attendees.”

Hopscotch has also announced that the artist lineup for the festival will be released April, 20. Tickets will go on sale the same day. While the promoters have been tightlipped about who is playing the event, they have hinted that, “a visionary Paris based composer, a Chapel Hill folk band, a seminal trio of Australian improvisers, an experimental Brooklyn siren and many more” are set to play the festival. For more information on the festival visit the Hopscotch website.


Telekinesis and The Love Language Wow Sold Out Crowd at Local 506

Sunday evening a capacity crowd gathered at  Local 506 in Chapel Hill to catch an excellent double bill featuring the Seattle based Telekinesis and local rising stars The Love Language.

Telekinesis were up first and treated the crowd to an hours worth of catchy, danceable pop songs. While on record most Telekinesis songs can be docile and sweet, in the live setting the songs transform into more aggressive pseudo-punk anthems. The set began with a run of songs off of the new album, 12 Desperate Straight Lines, including You Turn Clear In The Sun, I Cannot Love You, and album standout Please Ask For Help. About midway through the set singer/songwriter/drummer Michael Benjamin Lerner came out from behind the drum kit to play a few songs on acoustic guitar including a Teenage Fanclub cover.

Once Lerner returned to the drums, Telekinesis were joined on stage by Love Language frontman Stuart Mclamb who helped them cover Guided By Voices 1995 classic Game Of Pricks. To end the set the entire Love Language crew joined Telekinesis for Coast Of Carolina off of their debut album. The song quickly turned into one giant singalong and eventually turned into an absolute frenzy complete with band members playing in the audience and crowd surfing.  Telekinesis brought an energy that few live bands can match. If the evening would have ended after Telekinesis I doubt anyone in the venue would have minded. Continue reading

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