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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

VIDEO: Watch The Menders Unveil a New Song, "Pass It On"

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Last week I headed out to Bessemer City to catch up with The Menders, whose new album, Nina, comes out this week. You can check out the band's newest song, "Pass It On" — scheduled to appear on Nina's followup —  in this video. And head over to Freeman's Pub in Gastonia this Friday at 10 p.m. for Nina's release party. Oh, and don't miss my story on The Menders in this week's Creative Loafing, which hits racks all across the Charlotte area on Wednesday, March 15.

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Watch Charlotte's Sinners & Saints Sing Sweet Harmonies

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 12:42 PM

On the cover of Creative Loafing Charlotte this week: Pat Moran writes about Mark Baran and Perry Fowler of the Charlotte acoustic duo Sinners & Saints. Check out his video clip of them doing what they do best: harmonizing on a sweet country-folk tune.

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Friday, January 13, 2017

CL catches Travis Phillips of Charlotte's Modern Primitives in the act of imitating Yoda

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Creative Loafing stumbled into Charlotte grit-rockers Modern Primitives — drummer Phillip Gripper, bassist Tim Nhu and front man Travis Phillips — on the back patio at Common Market in Plaza Midwood Thursday night.

The guys were in mid-PBR consumption when we caught Phillips in the act of imitating Yoda from the Youtube clip "SEAGULLS! (Stop It Now)," the Bad Lip Reading spoof of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back that apparently everybody but your humble correspondent has seen.

For comparison, we've submitted a pair of videos — Phillips' imitation, and the original. Decide for yourself how well our guy did:

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 7, Part II

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Maf Maddix at The Last Word, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 7, Part I

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 11:18 AM

Rapper Maf Maddix seems to do it all. On the latest episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo, his jazz-tinged rhymes filled The Last Word like plumes of smoke in a speakeasy, seeping into the old books on the shelves.

But Maf lacks one skill: Playing checkers. While he can cast a spell when rapping about inequality and hardship, he is no match for my board game.

In this week’s episode, Maf and I have a friendly yet competitive checkers match while digging into the power of words. 

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 6, Part II

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 10:08 AM

This week’s episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo is an ode to the first day of spring, which officially started on Sunday. The band Death of August plays their original song, “Equinox.” Vocalist Helena Radeva and guitarist Amirah Brunache give us a killer riff a la Guns 'n' Roses and take us on their heavy metal-soaked odyssey.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 6, Part I

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 7:01 AM

There’s a thrilling disconnect between seeing and hearing the band Death of August. You may hear a solid combination of rhythm and lead guitar with heavy drums that rival a seasoned metal band, but you see two teenagers that still need to do Algebra homework after a show.

Soft-spoken vocalist and guitarist Helena Redeva balances high school life with her lead singer duties. Her bandmate, guitarist Amirah Brunache sighs at this. “You’re probably the coolest one in high school,” says Amirah, although she can shred on her guitar, red hair tips bouncing with each head bang. It’s safe to say both of them make their schoolhouse rock.

On this week’s [Untitled] with Lara Americo, two petite teenagers melt our faces. There are no whimsical Taylor Swift covers here.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 4, Part II

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 7:00 AM

It seems musicians Albert Strawn and Derrick Hines of Bless These Sounds Under the City were transported from a past life, where music had a pure, wandering soul. This duo may have been a pair of troubadours from the 11th century, traveling singers that were croning about chilvalry and courtly love. While this duo seems ripped from the past, a lottery ticket on the refridgerator told me they were firmly in the present and future. Albert, munching on a bag of hard ginger candy, said he hopes he and Derrick will strike it big. Their music in this episode of [Untitled] with Lara Americo tells me they are already on their way.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 5

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 9:59 AM

Punk pop band Hunter Valentine scorched The Milestone last Wednesday night as part of their Farewell for Now Tour. They are ready to take on new side projects involving music – and even food. They were last in Charlotte when they toured with Cyndi Lauper in 2014, and the city holds a special place for them.

“Everybody likes to really just party and have a good time [in Charlotte],” drummer Laura Petracca said, who wants to works as a chef and potentially open a restaurant. “Dancing is a big thing and nobody just stands and around and watches you. They get into it. I feel like in New York that happens, but it takes sometimes a warm up period.”

You may remember the original members of the Brooklyn-based band on season three of The Real L Word. “They wanted to focus on female musicians,” Petracca said of the show. “Of course they focus a little bit on your personal life and relationships and that’s also very hard.”

In this episode of Untitled, I catch up with lead singer Kiyomi McCloskey, along with Petracca, bassist Leanne Bowes and guitarist Lisa Bianco about their tour and post-Hunter Valentine plans.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

[Untitled] w/ Lara Americo, Episode 4, Part I

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 11:29 AM

I met with the duo Bless These Sounds Under the City, a self-proclaimed “electric folk soulful pop band,” while the Panthers played the Green Bay Packers this past November. The television blared in the living room of their ranch home in Charlotte.

“Can you keep track of the game?” asked percussionist and vocalist Derrick Hines, walking into his home studio for our filming session. Associate producer of Untitled Joanne Spataro nodded and went into the living room to watch the game for him.

Meanwhile, singer/multi-instrumentalist Albert Strawn prepared for his performance and talked about future touring plans. “Even people at the top, they talk about their stories about how they slept in alleyways and lived on busses,” he says. While the musicians are hungry to be full-time independent artists, yet they are split on whether that means temporarily living inside of a van while they tour the U.S. for long periods of time.

“As much as I love being on the road, [and] I freaking love the road, I can’t go out for nothing,” says Derrick ,who has a teenage son that often lives with the duo. 

The differences between the two musicians extend beyond their desired living situations. Strawn’s falsetto vocals are haunting when paired with the eerie sounds of a glockenspiel played with a bow. Hines’ vocalscould be compared to R&B artists such as Brian McKnight or D’Angelo . Together the two create an ephemeral, listening experience that breaks your heart and stitches it back together all in one listen. 

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