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CD Review: Flobots

The Deal: Denver, Colo., hip-hop collective releases debut album.

The Good: While rap-rock has gone the way of the dodo, Flobots take it in a new direction – call it funk-rap. Setting the band apart even more is its use of a viola. Toss in the occasional trumpet and you've got a unique sound that is sure to make people listen twice. The band's first single, "Handlebars," is all over the radio these days. They make beatboxing sound fresh on "Combat" and give you the impression that classic instruments were always a part of hip-hop music.

The Bad: The band aims to get across the message more than a hook – it's refreshing, yet risky. The album as a whole came across as: It's good, but nothing blew me away or thought I should share it with others.

The Verdict: A unique approach, straight-forward lyrics – does that mean it's good? My verdict is still out. The more I listen, the catchier it gets. It's a solid debut, but the band will have to head in the same direction on future efforts if it wants to stay relevant and up-to-date. I kept waiting for a fantastic groove or catchy riff to kick in to take it up a notch, but I was left waiting ...

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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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