Welcome to the first column of "Scene and Heard," as resurrected from Indy days gone by. The idea hearkens back to the golden age of rock journalism: the days of Cream and Circus, up through Trouser Press and NY Rocker. I'll cover band bust-ups, new bands, who's in the studio, who's in town, all that good stuff. However, you'll find no "What famous local alt-country rocker was seen with what young actress who has a penchant for musicians?" or any such twaddle. Oops, that was a real one ... ."Scene and Heard" is an attempt to give music followers an update on what locals are getting their sticky fingers into. Of course, this being one small column, and with all the bands, clubs and musicians in the Triangle, this is just a sample of what's out there. If you've got some news, or the real skinny, lay it on me: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Road
The Comas are going out on their own at the end of February for a 10-day Northeast tour to support A Def Needle in Tomorrow. They've also got a single coming out on Sit and Spin. Adam Price from the Mayflies USA is a "semi-permanent member," meaning he'll be out with The Comas when the Mayflies aren't busy. Speaking of the Mayflies, check out their nifty spread in the latest Magnet.
The Comas' Margaret White has been asked to play violin and bass with Sparklehorse for their upcoming month-long European tour starting the end of April. She'll be doing double duty at Austin's SXSW music fest with both bands. (Word later on a Yep Roc Records showcase featuring N.C. bands.)
Tift Merritt, who's been recording demos for an as-yet-unnamed subsidiary of Mercury Nashville, is set to do a European solo acoustic tour opening for Whiskeytown's Ryan Adams this February. The label has already signed Adams and Lucinda Williams and plan to release Pneumonia, the long-recorded Whiskeytown disc.
Varneline's Anders Parker is doing an acoustic tour starting later this month that includes five West Coast dates opening for Son Volt's Jay Ferrar. Parker, who now resides in Raleigh, has a by all accounts rippin' new-ish band with Motocaster/Bandway guitarist Bo Taylor (on bass) and transplanted guitar-tech extraordinaire Jim Vincent on drums. So far, they're called The Anders Parker Disaster.
Superchunk are doing a short Southeast tour starting the end of February with Spoon in the opening slot. Spoon's first Merge release, Girls Can Tell, will be out Feb 20. On March 3, both bands head out to San Francisco's Noise Pop Festival.
In the Studio
Chris Stamey is currently finishing up the new Hazeldine album for a German label Glitterhouse. Hazeldine's Tonya Lamm is still busy with Tres Chicas, and this year should see a full-length by Chica and Whiskeytown co-founder Caitlin Cary. (Stamey also produced her EP.)
Transplanted Minneapolis producer Brian Paulson manned the board for Sorry About Dresden's forthcoming EP and recently finished the new The Kingsbury Manx album. Upcoming sessions include guitar/drums duo Lystra (former members of Capsize 7).
Rick Miller (SCOTS) has gotten his Mebane studio off and running. The first outside project was the as-yet-unreleased Grand National album, former fIREHOSE guitarist Ed Crawford's power trio. Michael Holland, of the disbanded Jennyanykind, will be engineering at Miller's, along with well-known Reflection studio engineer Mark Williams. Incidentally, Holland has a new musical alter ego, Damon Ray, which he describes as having a "more of a Muddy Waters meets Sun Ra" kind of sound.
Former Squirrel Nut Zipper Ken Mosher has a new studio, KensWay. (Queensway is Daniel Lanois' studio in N'Awlins where the Zippers recorded.) He's also got a new band, the b-sides, featuring honest-to-god teenage musicians. It's Weezer-esque pop--not remotely do-dee-oh-do.
You Don't Say
Ryan Adams. Yup, it's true, he is seeing Winona Ryder, or maybe that'll be was by the time this hits the street. Most interesting Ryan tidbit: He's going to play a teary-eyed bear (not a real one, a cartoon) in a film. Eric Clapton will be the voice of the older, wiser bear.
Say farewell to Raleigh Renaissance woman Dana Kletter (Black Girls, Dish, The Kletters, Dear Enemy), who's moving with her husband to Boston. Dana's take on the world is a wry, insightful one, illustrated by the pieces she wrote for this paper. She's an original, and she'll be missed.