Category Archives: TVD Chapel Hill

King Mez releases self-produced single “Reign”

If you look in the bottom right-hand corner of this infographic from SPIN’s recent “The Changing Face of Hip-Hop” issue, you’ll notice that the magazine places burgeoning, Raleigh rapper, King Mez in the “Working Class Rappers” branch of hip-hop’s “The New Underground.”

There’s no reason to believe that Mez would disagree with this categorization, and toward the end of the subcutaneous “Nightmares” track from his The King’s Khrysis EP—which was released earlier this year—he even makes it clear that he’s content with the toils of an aspiring hip-hop artist.



King Mez | Reign

The labor theme gets an update with “Reign”—a brand new, self-produced track, which may appear on Mez’s upcoming project, My Everlasting Zeal. Here, he addresses the work ethic, “Nothin’ that you’re distraught about would even phase me/ These instrumentals I chalk out/ You niggas lazy/ and I work like there’s no tomorrow/ If you think I’m leaving now, then you crazy.”

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Weekend Shots!

It’s hard to say what’s king around here—college hoops or music. But, when the two are simultaneously in full-bloom the Triangle couldn’t be more magical. This is one of those weekends and it starts tonight with the three major college b-ball teams (Duke, NC State, UNC) kicking-off their seasons, with great music acts playing in their respective cities.

This past year has found Durham’s tastemakers extending their dreams of turning the city’s nightlife into a dance haven, so there’s no better way to tear the club up and round-out 2011 than with Big Freedia’s booty-poppin’, New Orleans bounce tonight at Casbah.

On Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, The North Carolina Brewer’s Guild brings beer galore to the Lincoln Theatre along with several amazing bands, but go heavy on the music and light on the beers because you’ll still have plenty of time to make it to Chapel Hill to help comeback kids, Bombadil, celebrate their new LP, All That the Rain Promises. Play ball!

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The Foreign Exchange’s Nicolay and The Hot at Nights team up for EP

While the Grammy-nominated soul unit, The Foreign Exchange finishes the last leg of their Authenticity Tour, Foreign Exchange Music has just released the Shibuya Session EP—a collaborative project between The Foreign Exchange producer, Nicolay and the Raleigh, jazz virtuoso outfit, The Hot at Nights, whose guitarist, Chris Boerner, also plays with TFE.  

In 2006, TFE producer, Nicolay visited Tokyo and three years later he released the evenly sheened, City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya as a testament to some of the sights and experiences from that life-altering trip to Japan.



Nicolay and The Hot at Nights – Meiji Shrine

Here we find Nicolay essentially updating and remixing his own project with The Hot at Night musicians, Nick Baglio (drums), Matt Douglas (saxophone), and Chris Boerner (guitars and piano).  Earlier this year, the group released their debut LP, Nice Talk, which music critic, Brandon Soderberg described as a “lithe, sophisticated approach to a stalwart genre past its “cool” expiration date…”

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Download Kooley High’s new single “Yeah Yeah” feat. Median

Here in the Triangle, family values are dictated by which ACC basketball team—Duke, UNC, or NC State—you’d die for in a bar fight. This means that at this very moment (and for eternity), somewhere in this 30-mile radius people are arguing about who was the best ACC basketball player of all time, Duke’s Christian Laettner, UNC’s Michael Jordan, or NC State’s David Thompson.  



Now, the symbiotic nature between hip-hop and basketball is the force behind Raleigh’s long-time, hip-hop sextet, Kooley High, naming their new album after David Thompson.

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Jazz in Durham:
Boney James and The
Art of Cool Project

I really wish I could say that my days as a record store employee were the kind of mom-and-pop store experience that every music connoisseur dreams of.  Unfortunately, it was not.  In the early 2000s, my experience at the retail chain, Willie’s Records Tapes and CDs, was more like a North Durham version of Next Friday.   

Willie’s was located in a run-down strip-mall across the street from a Church’s Chicken and sat among an illegitimate African hair-braiding operation, a pawn shop and the filthiest Wal-Mart in America.  Outside of it’s regular patrons—drug dealers and deejays—a majority of the store’s consumer base were middle-aged black folks checking for mainstream gospel music or the latest “smooth jazz.”

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Moogfest returns
this weekend!

For those who don’t know, Robert Moog was a pioneer of electronic music.  His best known invention, the moog synthesizer, was popularized by Wendy Carlos in 1968 when she painstakingly re-assembled entire Bach compositions, released one of the best-selling classical albums at the time and won three Grammy awards for her efforts.  Today Moog’s memory is honored with an annual festival in Asheville, NC, where he lived for the last 30 years of his life.

Downtown Asheville will host the main venues for the festival such as the Orange Peel (named one of the best rock clubs in the country by Rolling Stone), and the Asheville Civic Center.

This year Moogfest is also moving outdoors!  The Animog Playground at the Renaissance will provide open space, fresh air, interactive art installations, and great performances.

Highlights of this year’s festival will surely include The Flaming Lips, Moby, STS9, Passion Pit, Dan Deacon, and Atlas Sound, along with many others.

Check out Moogfest here and be sure to follow the action on Twitter and Facebook.

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TVD Live (Interview): Danny Brown at Lincoln Theatre, 10/4

Danny Brown is hoping to score some weed. Dressed in a turqouise button-up and stonewashed, black denim pants, he’s just stepped off stage and is lounging on a sectional sofa, backstage at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre.

Meanwhile, the hip-hop trio, Das Racist, is on stage, rapping amok, stomping through tracks of their satirized, gosh-rap act.  Between songs, they make it a point to introduce themselves as Scrillex. One of their hypemen announces that he’s Kreayshawn. This is the kind of humor that’s brought them the huge wave of recent attention.

These days, pop irony is king. They’ve provoked everyone to reach in their wallets and throw their driver’s licenses on the stage. After someone tosses a Food Lion discount card on-stage, Das Racist member, Dapwell, picks it up, shows it to the crowd and somehow turns this gesture into a shining highlight. Above the stage, a screen displays the word, “RELAX.” Oddly enough, that’s also the name of this tour.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: SIGNALFEST, 10/1

TVD has teamed up with the organizers of the the Southeast Electronic Music Festival (SIGNAL) and we’re giving away a pair of tickets to attend both Saturday night (10/1) shows in Chapel Hill, NC and neighboring Carrboro, NC.

As we mentioned before, SIGNAL is in its sixth year and has expanded its reach to Raleigh where one of our favorite female deejays, Jubilee, will be headlining on Friday night at Mosaic Wine Lounge. But to make things a little easier on you, these tickets will get you and a guest in both Saturday night’s back-to-back shows at Local 506 and Cat’s Cradle—both within walking distance of each other.    Read More »

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New releases from
J. Cole, 9th Wonder, and Phonte declare Tuesday, 9/27 “North Carolina Hip-Hop Day”

North Carolina has always been a wellspring of musical activity, and today three of the state’s top hip-hop acts are all releasing heavily-anticipated solo projects taking the state’s music heritage a step further. The September 27 release-date triumvirate of J. Cole’s Cole World: The Sideline Story, 9th Wonder’s The Wonder Years and Phonte’s Charity Starts at Home has recently been commonly referred to as “NC Hip-Hop Day” and while it’s unlikely that these guys initially planned to drop their albums on the same day, we welcome the happenstance, united front.

J. Cole drops his debut LP Cole World: The Sideline Story a couple of years after becoming the first artist signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label.  In this Complex magazine, online cover story, music journalist, Damien Scott tells how J. Cole followed his dreams of becoming a Jay-Z-endorsed, successful hip-hop artist from Fayetteville, NC.

Cole World—which is almost, entirely self-produced—should retain all of the scrappy and assertive mojo from his last two mixtapes (The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights) as well as some added, commercial sparkle from having Shawn Carter as a mentor and benefactor.

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SIGNAL 2011 returns
to Chapel Hill, expands
to Raleigh


Here in North Carolina’s Triangle-area (Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill) the post-summer-music-festival woes were eased by Raleigh’s 2nd annual Hopscotch Music Festival headlined by rock veterans The Flaming Lips—whose headlining show included the infamous crowd-surfing space bubble, balloons the size of exercise balls, and a shower of Post-It Note-sized confetti.  

It had all of the pilings of a block-party rave even if the music wasn’t as fitting.

However, from September 29th – October 1st, the Southeastern Electronic Music Festival, otherwise known as Signal, rolls back into town three-weeks later, for its sixth year of an electronic music spree, this time expanding it’s traditional list of Chapel Hill and Carrboro venues to also include locations in Raleigh. This year’s lineup welcomes renowned electro-jockeys such as Jubilee, Tunnidge, and Atlanta’s eclectic, dance-fusion specialist, Distal.  NC-based, dance-floor controllers such as DJ FM, OneDuran and Steve Feinberg also contribute their own home-grown groove sessions during this busy weekend.

Earlier this month Distal collaborated with FACT magazine for FACT mix 279.  After the jump, acquaint yourself with Distal’s arsenal of footwork magic and pounding basslines.

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TRK Fest 2011 Lineup Announced


Bowerbirds, Mount Moriah, Hammer No More the Fingers and a slew of other local bands have been announced for this year’s annual Trekky Records Fest, planned Aug. 13 at Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, the label has announced.

The event started in 2008 as a fundraiser for the small label and has expanded now into its third year as a full-fledged day of music, arts and crafts.  Food trucks including Only Burger, Pie Pushers and Parlez-Vous Crepes are also planning to attend.

A suggested donation of $10 will get you in.

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Thao & Mirah: The TVD First Date and Vinyl Giveaway

Friends and first-name-only ladies Thao & Mirah have joined forces and will be stopping by Black Cat tonight, along with BOBBY and Led to Sea. TVD Chapel Hill is also currently running a ticket giveaway for their show at Local 506 tomorrow night.

Mirah took a little bit of time out of their busy touring schedule to go on a First Date with us and reminisces about another famed collaboration, Maurice Sendak and Carole King’s Really Rosie.

When I was in first grade, I played the role of Pierre’s mother in our elementary school production of Really Rosie. My floppy hat and oversized dress, barely held up from under the heels of my clompy boots by the wide sash gathering all the extra material at my waist, made me look every bit the part of the Maurice Sendak drawing I was to bring to life. Thus began my life-long adoration of this album.

Seriously, what better collaboration could there be? And I love that it was between an illustrator/author and a songwriter. I like collaborations that cross-pollinate between mediums.

Thao & Mirah | Eleven (ft. tUnE-yaRds)

I still have my copy of Really Rosie on vinyl from back then and recently bought a vinyl copy for my five-year-old nephew. Gotta pass on the good stuff.

We’re trying to pass on the good stuff as well. For a chance to win a copy of Thao & Mirah’s self-titled LP, tell us your favorite musical collaboration in the comments below. Other than, of course, Thao & Mirah!

The winner of the vinyl will be chosen next Friday (6/17) and must have a mailing address in the continental United States or Canada.

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Thao & Mirah play the Local 506 Saturday, win tickets!


Thao and Mirah both often go by their first names only. That is mostly why they wanted to make a record together. Other reasons include: they are friends, they were finally in San Francisco at the same time, and both joyfully welcomed a short departure from their respective successful solo careers to collaborate on a project.

Mirah (K records) started making music in thelate 90’s in the Pacific Northwest, becoming a much beloved indie fixture there and well beyond. Her 5 celebrated solo records and multiple previous collaborations have brought her together with an eclectic assortment of dj’s, baltic music enthusiasts, entomologists and multi-media artists.

Thao signed to Kill Rock Stars in 2006 and has since released two records with her band, The Get Down Stay Down, to wide critical and popular acclaim. She has fast established herself as a well-loved songwriter and performer in and out of the indie realm.

The two enlisted dear friend and colleague Merrill Garbus (Tune-Yards, 4AD) as co-producer, guest musician (and for one song, guest writer) and the aptly titled album Thao and Mirah was recorded over 2 freewheeling weeks for Kill Rock Stars this past summer.

Thao and Mirah each wrote a new batch of beautiful songs which were jointly performed and produced by the three with some help from fine Bay Area friends. The album is a collection of songs from two distinctly different, highly respected songwriters, threaded and woven together with the creative energy and freedom of collaboration. Such freedom allowed for varied and rewarding levels of innovation, and a determination to keep the music-making as in-house as possible: both Thao and Mirah assume many of the instrumentation duties: from drums and bottles to slide guitar and knee caps. All songs maintain the writers’ shared gifts: profound emotional poignancy with lyrics and melodies to match and stay with you.

Both Thao and Mirah work closely with Air Traffic Control- an organization dedicated to helping musicians become better social activists. They will team up with ATC to focus the release and touring efforts of Thao and Mirah toward supporting causes and organizations they love.

Thao and Mirah are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to focus their album release and touring efforts toward social causes they hold very dear. The duo will work to support organizations which raise awareness and offer resources in response to physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the home. Thao and Mirah look forward to working with local domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse prevention organizations in each city they visit on tour. Such collaboration will include inviting local organizations to shows as an effort to raise community awareness and appreciation, and the application of nominal surcharges to ticket prices (don’t worry, they recognize everyone is broke). Collected funds will then be donated to each respective community and organization. Thao and Mirah have been collaborating with Air Traffic Control (ATC), a resource for musicians working on activism and philanthropy, on these efforts. The artists recognize the difficulty and discomfort often surrounding these issues and thus feel even more compelled to encourage action and discourse. Thao and Mirah thank you in advance for your openness and support.

Thao and Mirah play the Local 506 Saturday. Want to go? Be the first to reply in the comments and you’ll get a pair of tickets.

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TVD Recommends: Alessi’s Ark at Bella Cafe, 6/11

Last Fall we spent a week here at TVD with our friends at Yep Roc Records and in doing so, introduced you to Londoner Alessi Laurent-Marke, she of Alessi’s Ark. On Saturday, Alessi will introduce herself in person when she plays DC for the very first time at the U Street Corridor’s Bella Cafe.

Thus, a rerun of our aforementioned feature seems in order and we’ve got a brand new track for you to preview prior to your attendance on Saturday, right?

The musical avatar of Alessi Laurent-Marke, Alessi’s Ark might begun as homework but the 20 year old’s quirky, blade-sharp folk pop is mature far beyond her years. Required to play an instrument in school, Laurent-Marke took up the drums at age 11 and by her 17th birthday she had quit school to focus on music, become a Myspace sensation and signed with Virgin Records. Her debut album Notes from the Treehouse was produced by Bright Eyes/Monsters of Folk member and Rilo Kiley producer Mike Mogis, and was released on Virgin in 2009. Alessi reaped word-of-mouth support and acclaim, touring relentlessly and receiving plaudits for some stand out appearances at South by Southwest in Texas. Following parting ways with Virgin, Alessi signed with UK indie label Bella Union in 2010. Her new EP Soul Proprietor signals a new beginning for an already unusually experienced young artist.

“I’m afraid I missed the vinyl boat growing up. Cassettes, CD,s and listening to the chart show on the radio every Sunday night are what I remember best.

When I started secondary school I picked up playing the drums and joined the school bands. Discovering live music and being excited by it, I started a zine inspired and encouraged by my family’s love of music.

A special memory I hold close is of the afternoon my parents dug out old records from a cupboard under the stairs and showed us (patiently) how to lay the needle down carefully on their record player.

Alessi’s Ark | On The Plains

Seeing their hands handle records with such ease was lovely. I could imagine them playing these very same records in their bedrooms and it was such a warm feeling.

With shaky hands I persevered and eventually felt more comfortable choosing tracks and setting up the songs to play. Every detail is so special. Even slipping out vinyls from their sleeves and being able to read album credits and see the artwork on a bigger scale in the big booklets got me excited. CD booklets are minute in comparison!

Together, we got through a big stack of their favourites but the discoveries that really stuck with were ‘On My Mind’ by the Marine Girls (chosen by Dad) and ‘Trouble’ by Lindsey Buckingham (chosen by Mum.)

Parents know the good stuff!!

Though still more comfortable handling CDs and cassettes, I look forwards to sharing favourite albums with friends and family in the future, sat on the floor around the player with albums stacked around us – a picnic of sounds.”

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Hopscotch schedule released, new bands added

Titus Andronicus, Times New Viking, Vivian Girls, North Elementary and Pepper Rabbit are among 14 new bands added to the second annual Hopscotch Festival, organizers announced today.

Planned Sept. 8-10 in downtown Raleigh, Hopscotch offers up 150 bands across 13 venues. Friday, Sept. 9, with Guided By Voices and Drive-By Truckers will headline Sept. 9 at City Plaza followed by The Flaming Lips and Superchunk Sept. 10.

View the full schedule or buy tickets.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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