The legendary Pixies are back with a brand new recording, Indie Cindy, their first release in 20 years. Here's a video of the tracks and commentary by the band.
Beaming down to our humble planet during the retro surf revival of the early ’90s, Man or Astro-man? gifted humankind with hyperactive guitar riffs, kitsch sci-fi, lo-fi instrumentals and spacey garage rock. What better way to drink into the night than with the return of MOAM? After over a decade, they landed a new recording last year, the ripping album Defcon 5…4…3…2…1. Sound wizard Steve Albini, who has manned the boards on a couple of earlier albums, produced the latest one, and it bloody rocks. During this century, they’ve done sporadic gigs, and now the band is back on the road with harder-edged, propulsive rock without diluting their signature surf backdrop. Along with a slew of albums, they’ve also composed numerous bits of film and soundtrack work, including compositions for Nickelodeon and The Cartoon Network. They will perform on Saturday, April 26 at the Visulite Theater in Charlotte. www.visulite.com.
Singing and playing rural folk, bluegrass and country music that reaches back to the early part of the 20th century, Welch strolled onto the alt-country scene in the mid-’90s and impressed many. Over the years, she has evolved into a bluesy singer, but her love of the Carter Family and early bluegrass informs her foundation. She and musical partner David Rawlings have released several solid albums and written songs ranging from haunting blues to country folk, as well as recorded covers imbued with sparse instrumentation. Tapping into bygone eras from which ballads sung on porches and fields have become a part of the American musical fabric, she performs without coming off like a novelty act. Welch doesn’t have a clean singing voice — in fact, it’s rather dry — but that only adds to her natural charm. She will perform on Friday, April 25, at the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte. www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.
Live in Charlotte, NC Time Warner Arena, Sat, April 19, 2014
Bruce Springsteen opened his show in Charlotte with the poignant “Iceman” (originally an outtake from Darkness on the Edge of Town) and proceeded to blow the roof off the arena for the next 3 hours and some 14 minutes. Lead guitarist Little Steven was somewhere filming TV shows, but Tom Morello (ex-Rage Against the Machine) and E Street Band veteran Nils Lofgren backed Springsteen up with their mighty guitars. Morello especially roused the crowd with his wizardry on “Ghost of Tom Joad.” Other rockers, like the Celtic-flavored “Death to my hometown” brought the crowd to its feet, fists in the air. Springsteen makes no qualms writing about things that he perceives are wrong or have gone wrong; he takes everyman words and phrases and turns them into songs about the longings, disillusionment, as well as joys of growing up and living in America. The Vietnam War has affected his writing since the mid-70s. His heart wrenching rendition of “The Wall,” a song written after he visited the Vietnam War memorial and is on his latest record High Hopes, was one of the most moving songs I’ve heard anyone perform. He referred to it as a “prayer for my country.” Springsteen is a street fighting man, deeply spiritual when singing about the country he loves, but not afraid to shed light on its failings, foibles, and missteps. A personal highlight of the night was a blazing rendition of “Wrecking Ball.” (Note to Miley: Listen to the Boss’s title track from his 2012 album and learn). Springsteen has always been fan friendly, as several audience members were invited on stage during various songs to dance and sing along. He covered songs handed to him on homemade signs by fans including, “Louie Louie,” “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Shout,” and “Mustang Sally.” Springsteen never left the stage during the concert, no breaks or handing vocal duties to someone else. He closed the show with another cover, the band Suicide’s 1979 song “Dream Baby Dream,” another track off High Hopes, a simple song, a chant almost, of hope.
On a foundation of spoken word, scats and singing, sisters Leah and Chloe create a form of Southern folk that’s wrapped in soulful harmonizing, New Orleans mysticism and the echoes of Appalachia. The music is sparse, where the guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass or percussion weaves in and out of and around their voices. The duo is joined by a group of eclectic troubadours and characters, circus artists and percussionists instilling a cozy feel of Earthy vibes. It’s the trancelike vocalization and harmonizing that stamps their unique sound. The duo’s Southern roots are marked with poignant tales that are intermingled with Americana, where the songs are traditional and global all rolled into a whole. They will perform on Sat, April 19 at Visulite Theatre in Charlotte. www.visulite.com.
L.A.-based Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian are the core of Capital Cities, a duo whose electro-pop swirls around inside your noggin’ long after one of their songs has finished. Their retro-leaning originals, including massive hit “Safe and Sound,” are crooned with loads of harmony while their covers — “Nothing Compares 2 U,” “Staying Alive,” Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” — are corky but easy on the ears. The combo’s funky bass lines, flowing trumpet, and happy synth are custom-made for dance clubs but don’t sound too shabby in the car, either, especially while navigating snarled roadways. Last summer’s debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, is a keeper. The duo is on the road with a crack back-up band for their “Campus Consciousness” spring tour, hitting mostly colleges. They will perform on Sunday, April 13, 8 p.m. at UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena, 9201 University City Blvd. www.haltonarena.com.
Clearly, Israel is not on too many radars when it comes to the blues, but lead guitarist, composer and producer Naftaly is redefining those parameters while putting Israeli blues on the map. Along with songwriter and lead vocalist Eleanor Tsaig, the Tel Aviv-based combo plays and sings the blues as if they’ve led hard-scrabbled, road-worn lives in Chicago or Memphis. Naftaly’s crisp guitar playing and Tsaig’s smoky croon ably inject soul into electric blues, with just a touch of funk and rock. Sinewy slower numbers are intermingled with feisty blues barn burners. Formed just a few years back and with a couple of albums released, the Ori Naftaly Band continues to make a mark on global blues stages. They will perform live on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at the Double Door Inn, Charlotte.
Bob Mould has released "Hey Mr. Grey" - a new track from his upcoming album Beauty & Ruin, set to be released by Merge Records on June 9, 2014. Listen to the track here: