Album Mini-review: Brett Harris — Up in the Air

File next to: Chris Stamey, Emitt Rhodes, Pete Yorn You can learn a lot about a musician by studying the company he keeps. Durham NC-based Brett Harris has been a key component of Chris Stamey’s “Big Star 3rd” concerts, and The dB’s have enlisted him as utility musician/vocalist. His set was a highlight of the

Hopscotch Festival Part 1: Brett Harris, Mikal Cronin

“Best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray,” wrote Robert Burns (and not, as I had thought, Shakespeare, though he wrote pretty much every other quotable quote). My significant other and I were reminded of this truism as the second night of Hopscotch 2013 (our first night) unfolded. Though we had carefully mapped out

Album Review: Chris Stamey & the Fellow Travelers – A Brand-New Shade of Blue

Chris Stamey first earned well-deserved fame for launching Car Records, the label that released Chris Bell’s solo single. His work with The dBs is, of course, extraordinary. His solo body of work, equally so. As a key part of the Big Star tribute concerts, he shone brightly as well. But with few exceptions, all of

Sneakers: A Walk Through Powerpop History, Part 2

Continued from Part One … Speaking of wanting (or not wanting) to know, around the time that the original Sneakers EP was released, the band couldn’t get many gigs. In fact, according to Unofficial Sneakers Historian and bassist Robert Keely, Sneakers’ 2016 reunion performance at the Hopscotch Festival in Raleigh was exactly the band’s ninth

Best Music of 2016: New Releases

I’ve said it before, and in 2016 it’s true as ever: those people who complain that there’s no good music any more simply aren’t looking hard enough, or in the right places. I had no trouble coming up with a Top Ten Eleven list of new albums for 2016. I easily could have added many

North Carolina Musicians Standing Against HB2

Taking full advantage of their first majority in North Carolina government in decades, the state Republican party has pushed through their conservative legislative agenda. Among the most high-profile – and contentious – of their initiatives has been the passage of House Bill #2, officially known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, widely known

Hopscotch Festival Coverage to Date

Hopscotch 2012 Part 1: Zammuto, Built to Spill Part 2: The Jesus and Mary Chain Part 3: Field Report, Azure Ray Part 4: The dB’s Hopscotch 2013 Preview Part 1: Brett Harris, Mikal Cronin Part 2: Rose Windows Part 3: The Breeders, John Cale

Holiday Music Roundup 2015

Imagene Peise — Atlas Eets Christmas Let’s get a few things out of the way right up front about this holiday-themed release. First there is no Imagene Peise; despite a convoluted backstory, “she” is really The Flaming Lips. But no, that’s not quite accurate, either: This album – a reissue of a 2007 limited edition

Festival Preview: Hopscotch 2013

Today I’m headed on a road trip to Raleigh, NC for my second Hopscotch Festival. As with last year, I plan on taking in shows by a variety of undiscovered, bubbling-under, and critically-acclaimed acts from around the USA and abroad. Because there are so many venues – eighteen, in fact – with performances running concurrently,

The Chris Stamey Interview

Chris Stamey has been an important – if ever-so-slightly underground – part of the American music scene for decades. An early post-Big Star collaborator with Alex Chilton, he went on to create some of the best and most timeless music in rock/pop as a member of Sneakers, The dB’s, and as a solo artist. He’s