The amps were humming, the guitar was bottom-y and loud as crowds packed into Go! Room 4 last month for a double bill pairing of The Ghost of Rock with Raleigh's Cherry Valence. Bass-free trio TGOR reunites former Pipe members Ron Liberti and Cliff Mann for a one-two punch combo that sounds like punk rock performed by The Swingin' Neckbreakers, with frontman Liberti using all his best moves. The stylish Cherry Valence--besides looking effin' cool--feature two guys on drum kits. Introduced as the tightest band in Raleigh, they burned through a set of Guns 'N' Roses-meets-The Sonics brand of balls-out trashified rock. Watching these guys is like highjacking a muscle car and driving over state lines with a trunk full of contraband (or an underage nookie partner). When 22-year-old drummer/frontman Nick stripped off his shirt, blinding the audience with his white chest as he screamed and writhed like the unholy spawn of Axl and Jim Dandy, the audience was rapt. Recently signed to Estrus Records--the garage-rock label--look for their debut CD in May.
I Thought You'd Be Taller in Person ...
At a recent Ryan Adams show at L.A.'s Troubadour, Alanis Morrisette joined the singer-songwriter on stage for a duet. (They've written a song together--isn't that ironic?) Also in attendance was Adams' fan Sir Elton John. He went on to perform a surprise opening set for Superchunk at their Knitting Factory gig March 5 in Los Angeles. Scheduled opener Matt Suggs got stranded outside town because of bad weather, so Adams, currently living at a hotel across from the club, volunteered his services. He's working on his first album for Def Jam/Island, and has enlisted the services of studio heavyweights Jim Keltner (Lennon, Dylan, Steely Dan), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty) and Bucky Baxter (Dylan, Neil Young), with Ethan Johns (son of Glyn--producer of The Who, Stones, etc.) manning the board.
Chris Stamey recently returned from a recording project in Sicily with Italian sensation Moltheni, who threatens to visit North Carolina in the near future. Also, the new release from San Diego grease-punks Rocket from the Crypt features Superchunk's Jon Wurster on drums.
We're Calling it a Collaboration
Austin's Alejandro Escovedo almost seems like a local at this point; he recorded his latest album here in town, mastered it at The Kitchen, and now he's planning a "tour" with none other than Algonquin author Larry Brown. Escovedo and Brown clicked when they met out at SXSW and discovered they'd admired each other's work (or they were drinking buddies--you decide). Look for a five-city tour to kick off in Chapel Hill as the author and troubadour do a series of musical readings.
Raleigh's Goner recently mastered their Greg Elkins-produced disc at The Kitchen and the word is that it's excellent. Clok-Lok has a mastered album full of beautifully angular girl/guy tracks that ooze mood--look for a late spring/early summer release. the b-sides just finished their bright retro-pop debut, recorded at founding member (and former Zipper) Ken Moser's studio, Kensway. Lystra, an acoustic-flavored duo consisting of former Capsize 7 members Chris Toms and Joe Taylor, has a new album just finished by Brian Paulson. Paulson has also been busy finishing the eagerly awaited Kingsbury Manx record, due out in May.
Snatches of Pink just mastered a new album with Brent Lambert. "He said it's the loudest guitars he's ever done," says frontman guitarist Michael Rank of the session. This will be their eighth album in an 18-year career. "It's come full circle," he says, referencing the Heartbreakers and Richard Hell. If you've seen them live, you know they're Exile on Main Street with a little mascara. Look for a June release for the Snatches disc.
Ian Davis of jazz/improv group Micro-East Collective says their new album, Fabric, will be available at the end of this month on his and Chris Stamey's label, Umbrella, and will feature such local luminaries as Chris Eubanks and Chuck Johnson.
Look for former Milemarker Ben Davis' (no relation to Ian) solo CD within a few weeks on Lovitt Records. For the recording session, Davis assembled a Who's Who roster of local musicians: The Comas' Nicole Gehweiler, The Mayflies' Matt Long, Tom Lainey on bass and Jonathan Fuller on drums. Davis has another project, Bats and Mice, that plans to record a full-length this summer.