BANDS BENEFITING DARFUR
Saturday night's benefit for the Save Darfur Coalition at Cat's Cradle was probably the best five dollars I'll spend all year. As organizer and PORTASTATIC frontman Mac McCaughan explained late into his headlining set, he felt a bit selfish with the benefit bill. He simply asked the locals he wanted to hear to join the bill, and they said yes. Ditto: McCaughan reached into his back catalogue a bit, pulling two from Summer of the Shark. WORK CLOTHES' new five-piece even got people to dance and/or sway, and THE STRUGGLERS nailed the title track from their forthcoming (sometime?) The Latest Rights, former FAKE SWEDISH guitarist Eric Haugen clenching the coda. The highlight, though, came with the Cradle premiere of the DES ARK three-piece. Back in front of a ferocious rock band, Aimee Argote cut way loose, spinning in concentric circles and throttling guitar neck to guitar neck with new guitarist Welch Canavan, moving to Ashley Arnwine's punch-perfect drumming. This is going to be good.
Speaking of bands Mac McCaughan likes, the only non-Portastatic North Carolina band currently active on the Merge roster is THE ROSEBUDS. Their third album, Night of the Furies, is earning acclaim from most points, and—after a successful two-show sendoff in Asheville and Carrboro—their scheduled five-week North American tour seems to be going even better.
"The Rosebuds were absolutely incredible. It was actually the first time I ever saw them live, and now I might be a little obsessed," wrote popular New York music blog Brooklyn Vegan about the band's show last Thursday at The Bowery Ballroom.
One bad spot, though: Frontman Ivan Howard aggravated a basketball knee injury onstage at the Bowery, and his showmanship was a bit belabored during the late portion of the set. "I'm sure some people noticed something was going on with Ivan's knee last night at the Bowery Ballroom show. He really hurt it playing basketball recently and he reinjured it last night on stage," the band wrote online (therosebuds.blogspot.com) the next day. "Too many leg kicks, too much jumping around. So he crawled off stage. Today it is pretty bad—he won't be able to walk without something." Merge says the band plans to finish the tour, though, even if Howard occasionally needs to take to crutches and a stool.
The Getback, the third album from Durham's LITTLE BROTHER and the first that finds them working primarily as the duo of emcees Phonte Coleman and Rapper Big Pooh, is in its final stages of completion. Manager Dho Burgess says the group, no longer on Atlantic Records, hopes to have a single out by the end of the summer.... Burgess also says that the debut LP from Durham rapper JOZEEMO will be released later this year, pending a suitable distribution contract.... SCHOONER's long-awaited debut album, Hold on Too Tight, arrives via 54°40' or Fight! in August, but it's available for online order now at www.fiftyfourfortyorfight.com.... PATTY HURST SHIFTER has released Fugitive Glue, the first in a series of forthcoming EPs.