Thursday, April 26, 2018

Listen Up: Ahmir the King Rolls Deep on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 40

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 11:12 AM

Ahmir the King is growing up right before our eyes. The 19-year-old, whom CL named Best Up and Coming Rapper in last year's Best of Charlotte issue, is ready to release some new, more developed material, and he brought some along to play on our podcast.

He also brought along the squad: Fresco and Orpheus, both local rappers who have come up with Ahmir since high school — and earlier than that in the case of Fresco, his older brother. We talk about how Ahmir and the trio as a whole have used music as a coping mechanism for hard times and why when it comes to the fam, friendship comes before making music.

Make sure to keep up with the rest of our team at Queen City Podcast Network, and catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher. You can also just type "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar and you're good to go.

[From left] Ryan Pitkin, Fresco, Mark Kemp, Ahmir the King and Orpheus.
  • [From left] Ryan Pitkin, Fresco, Mark Kemp, Ahmir the King and Orpheus.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Listen Up: Charlotte Goes Experimental on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 39

Posted By on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 at 7:00 AM

For this special edition of Local Vibes, we're checking the pulse of Charlotte's more experimental, avant-garde and art-music leanings with a panel of adventurous local musicians who know how to tinker with different tones and musical ideas — electronic musician Angela Saylor (Minthill), experimental rock artists Lenny Muckle (Lofidels, Patois Counselors) and Bo White (Calabi Yau, Yardwork, Patois Counselors, others), and free-jazz saxophonist Brent Bagwell (Eastern Seaboard, Great Architect, Ghost Trees, others). All four create inventive music that helps keep the Charlotte music scene interesting.

They are by no means the only artists doing adventurous music in Charlotte, and below this story I've linked several works worth listening to by them and other local musicians, some of whom these artists have collaborated with at one time or another. I've also linked music by a few of the pioneering artists we name-check or allude to in this podcast, including Pauline Oliveros, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ornette Coleman, the recently deceased Cecil Taylor, and Sonic Youth.

So open your ears and your minds to some different sounds from those we usually offer on Local Vibes.

And be sure to check out the Queen City Podcast Network, a new team we started up with four of the *other* best podcasts in Charlotte. Also, catch up with all our past episodes on iTunes or Stitcher, or just type "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.


Patois Counselors (Bo White)

Lofidels (Lenny Muckle)

Minthill (Angela Saylor)

The Eastern Seaboard (Brent Bagwell)

Zodiac Lovers (Casey Malone)


El Malpais

Astrea Corp.

John Starosta

Craig Bove


Pauline Oliveros
Oliveros' musical philosophy focused on ideas like "sonic awareness" and "deep listening." Her early experiments with tape and electronics along with likeminded composers such as John Cage, Terry Riley and later the experimental rock band Sonic Youth, have had a long-lasting impact on music, notably musicians who work in ambient electronic music and electronic dance music.

Ornette Coleman
In the late 1950s saxophonist Coleman's quartet began making a kind of improvised free jazz that reflected the changing times — the chaos of the nuclear era — through sound. His self-described "harmolodics" sought to free music from its traditional tonal center, placing equal value on harmony, melody, speed, rhythm, time and phrasing. Some music traditionalists considered it noise; others took Coleman's ideas into other types of music, and Coleman became one of the most influential musicians of the modern era. This clip talks about the beginnings of Coleman's experimentation.

Cecil Taylor
Like Ornette Coleman, pianist Taylor, who died this month at 89, sought to free jazz and other kinds of music from traditional rules and structures. And like Coleman's music, Taylor's was criticized by traditionalists and hailed by artists seeking to explore different ways of making music.

Karlheinz Stockhausen
In the podcast, saxophonist Brent Bagwell makes a reference to Stockhausen's Helikopter-Streichquartet, which the avant-garde composer after he dreamed he was hovering over four helicopters, each carrying one member of a string quartet. The composer, known for his early experiments with electronic music, wrote, planned and executed the piece in the early '90s. This is a 2012 performance of the piece by the Elysian Quartet performing in Birmingham, England.

Sonic Youth
In the late 1980s, major record labels began signing some so-called "alternative rock" bands, one of which was the highly experimental Sonic Youth, which had been influenced by Stockhausen as well as other experimental composers such as Glenn Branca. When Sonic Youth's friends in Nirvana also signed to a major label and wound up recording a No. 1 album, Nevermind, in 1990, singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain began talking in the media about his more experimental influences. The result was that mainstream pop audiences were exposed to sounds they had not heard before. Watch Sonic Youth perform its "Bull in the Heather" on Late Night with David Letterman.

"Sonic Reducer"/"Golden Apples"
We began the podcast with Lenny Muckle's experimental mashup of the proto-punk classic "Sonic Reducer" and the Country Teasers' "Golden Apples." "Sonic Reducer" was first recorded by Rocket from the Tombs, which evolved into the experimental art-rock band Pere Ubu, and later recorded by early punk band Dead Boys. "Golden Apples" is on the Scottish indie art-punk band Country Teasers' 1999 album Destroy All Human Life. Below are both versions of "Sonic Reducer," followed by a live version of "Golden Apples" and finally the Lofidels mashup, "Aurum Reducer," for comparison.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Listen Up: Kevin "Mercury" Carter Shares the Gift on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 38

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Just three years ago, only Kevin "Mercury" Carter and two close friends were aware of his magical singing voice. Luckily for all of us, those friends were able to convince Kevin to break out of his shell and share his talent, and that's how his first release, Mercury, came about in 2015.

In our 38th episode, Carter came through the podcast studio to chat about the heartbreak that led to Mercury, and where he wants to take his music next. He also shared an exclusive song that he recorded one tipsy Friday night and decided never to release.

We've been proud to join up with the newly formed Queen City Podcast Network along with some of the other best local podcasts in CLT, so make sure to go check them out, and you can always catch up with our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or by typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

[From left] Mark Kemp, Kevin "Mercury" Carter and Ryan Pitkin.
  • [From left] Mark Kemp, Kevin "Mercury" Carter and Ryan Pitkin.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

GRAPHIC VIDEO: CMPD Releases Footage From January Ambush of Police Officers

Jonathan Bennett was killed after opening fire on police in parking lot

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 2:23 PM

This afternoon, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department released footage of an incident in which a group of officers were ambushed at the department's headquarters in January. An officer was shot in the incident, while the suspect was shot and killed.

According to CMPD, on January 11, officers with CMPD and North Carolina Probation and Parole were briefing in the parking lot of the headquarters in Uptown Charlotte when a man approached and opened fire. Officers returned fire, killing the man. Officer Casey Shue was struck by a bullet in the leg. She would later recover.

The suspect was later found to be Jonathan Bennett, who was wanted for the murder of Brittany White in west Charlotte earlier that day.

Tuesday afternoon, CMPD released three videos from officers who were involved. In the third video, from the body camera attached to officer Jeffrey Zederbaum, Bennett appears at the center of the screen almost immediately, then opens fire, sending officers running for cover. Shue can be seen at the left of the screen. When shots ring out, she runs across the parking lot.

A Superior Court judge today granted a media request for the department to release the footage. A judge denied the request in February, despite the fact that CMPD had not objected to the release.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Listen Up: Autumn Rainwater Springs Forward on 'Local Vibes'

Episode 37

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 10:27 AM

Autumn Rainwater (Photo by Saloan Rochelle)
  • Autumn Rainwater (Photo by Saloan Rochelle)

Spring may not seem like the right time to bring in Autumn Rainwater, but there's never a bad time to catch up with this local R&B sensation. We talked to Autumn about last year's release, Leaf, and whether all these connections to nature are purposeful.

We also discussed the local R&B scene, dating stoners and why friends are weary of leaving her a voicemail.

As always, catch up with our past episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or by simply typing "Local Vibes" into your Spotify search bar.

Also, be sure to check out the newly formed Queen City Podcast Network, featuring five of the city's best podcasts, including yours truly. There's plenty of content to keep you in the local loop until we return next week.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

GRAPHIC VIDEO: CMPD Releases Footage of 2017 Hostage Situation, Shooting

Officers fire on man after he holds woman at gunpoint

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 3:15 PM

A still from the body cam footage of CMPD officer Joseph Bauer.
  • A still from the body cam footage of CMPD officer Joseph Bauer.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department released body camera footage this afternoon that shows officers shooting a man in west Charlotte in 2017 after he held a woman at gunpoint.

The department released three videos from the officers involved in the shooting — Shon Sheffield, Joseph Bauer and James Tindall — from the night of September 25, 2017, when those officers and others responded to a breaking-and-entering call on Holly Street in west Charlotte.

Upon arrival, officers surrounded the house in question. After a couple minutes, 28-year-old Johnathan Autry can be seen exiting the house with a woman, who screams to officers that she is pregnant. Autry can be seen holding a gun to the woman and hiding behind her while yelling at officers to back up. Autry leads the woman across the street and behind a separate house, before he reaches the edge of the woods and officers fire on him.

Autry was later taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries. The woman was unharmed.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office reviewed the incident and found the officers acted lawfully. Upon his release from the hospital, Autry was arrested and charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to CMPD, a report of the office’s findings will be released after the criminal charges against Autry have been adjudicated.

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