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CD REVIEW: Portugal. The Man's In the Mountain In the Cloud 

THE DEAL: Portugal the Man releases sixth album — its major label debut.

THE GOOD: When I first heard the band's name, for some reason, I assumed they were a metal band. Don't judge a band by its name ... The group falls closer into line with MGMT or The Flaming Lips offering psychedelic grooves over melodic, folk-rock choruses. The album starts with the acoustic-strum folk of "So American" with the chorus of "There's a madness in us all" — letting the listener know early that the folk inspiration isn't all flower power. The band teeters between fuzzed-out guitars and more Beatles-esque style of musicianship. The influences are endless as the band digs into its own, comfortable niche. This is a band that played a 3 a.m. set at Bonnaroo, bringing in a 50-foot inflatable Tyrannosaurus Rex and performing on the back of a parade float with a massive Mr. T on the front. There's fun and hints of humor while keeping the songwriting solid.

THE BAD: Only that more people aren't aware of the band's music. Hopefully a major label debut and continuous touring will help change that.

THE VERDICT: Another enjoyable album from the just-off-the-radar band — 11 tracks clocking in around 45 minutes. Pick it up. When they're at the Neighborhood Theatre in October, go.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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