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CD Review: The Metric System's Watchdog 

Charlotte trio's smooth indie-pop awash with sparkly guitars and singalong melodies.

Smooth indie-pop awash with sparkly guitars and singalong melodies. Charlotte trio The Metric System (David Dorenfeld, vocals, guitar, piano; Sean Beck, bass, vocals; Olivia Neal, vocals and drums) moves their sound along over well-greased rhythm tracks, gliding effortlessly toward their pop destination. Although trace elements of old-school New Wave show up from time to time, The Metric System's current catalogue is composed of mostly mellow melodies that float along as soothing background music for a leisurely lifestyle. "Si Loin," an upbeat catchy radio–ready melody with a whistled chorus that's hard to get out of your head, should be the breakout single. "Twisted Mind" recalls the '67 Beatles Magical Mystery Tour period. "Cigarette Smoke" is a jangly, angular chunk of indy pop that would be perfectly at home in a Nada Surf set, with Dorenfeld doing a spot on Brit punk vocal impersonation Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong would be proud to claim. "Wait" has an R.E.M. feel, with Dorenfeld's guitar chiming like church bells on a rampage. Dorenfeld and Beck have been playing together as a duo for more than a decade, and mesh seamlessly. Drummer Neal was added late in 2010 when the trio began calling themselves The Metric System. All three take a turn on lead vocals and harmonize like a family unit. This six-song EP of all original tunes is easy on the ears. Even if you're not a pop fan, this one is worth a listen and a wish for a full-length release the next time.

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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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