Monstrance: Don’t Call it a Jam

After a hearty hello via transatlantic telephone, Andy Partridge asks me, “so, now, are you tape recording this?” I tell him I am, asking if it’s okay. “No, I absolutely prefer it!” He explains, giving an example. “You get about twelve sentences in, and then you pause. And the interviewer taps about five or six

Mon Frere: Let the Music Do the Talking, I Guess

“Basically, I guess that’s a bit more, um, farther than we wanted to go.” Such was the response to a question about the cover art on Mon Frere’s releases, 2005’s Real Vampires EP and the trio’s newest release, the full length Blood Sweat and Swords. The artwork on both makes liberal use of goth imagery,

Peter Millis: Mountain Music Meets the Bard

Peter Millis believes that there’s a strong musical connection between pre-Elizabethan England and WNC. His work with the Montford Park Players serves to illustrate that relationship. Actor/musician Peter Millis got involved in drama as an adult playing and singing in an Appalachian drama called Way Back When. And although he’s played for friends, family and

The Machine: A Living, Breathing Thing

The Machine are a four-piece band based in New York and dedicated to bringing the music of Pink Floyd to concert audiences. Since the last Pink Floyd concert (not counting the brief Live 8 reunion gig) was in October 1994, bands like The Machine are one of only a precious few ways to get a

Eliza Lynn: Music as an Emotional Safe Haven

“I don’t remember not singing,” says folk/blues/jazz/Americana musician Eliza Lynn. “I remember being on the way to preschool, riding down Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive, making up songs.” “It’s just sort of a way of being for me. I’ll be driving, waiting at a stoplight, writing songs about sittin’ on empty.” In fact, she explains, “I write

Los Straitjackets: A New Twist on an Old Sensation

Legendary instro-rockers Los Straitjackets have taken worthwhile stylistic excursions before. While their primary métier is surf music, they joined with a host of vocalists for 2001’s Sing Along with Los Straijackets. And their upcoming release–Rock en Español, which should hit the streets by the time you read this–will feature vocals by the front-men of Los

Legendary Pink Dots: Connecting With the Dots in Chapel Hill

Unpredictable and experimental as always, The Legendary Pink Dots make a concerted and successful bid to connect with their audiences. Cutting a swath through the USA’s eastern seaboard — mostly by way of tiny clubs — the Legendary Pink Dots appeared in the dark, humid confines of Chapel Hill’s Local 506 this night to a

Lake Trout: Weird, Catchy and Everything in Between

Take equal parts pre-Dark Side of the Moon Pink Floyd, Kid A era Radiohead and Soft Bulletin period Flaming Lips, and what do you get? I’d love to report the answer is Baltimore-based Lake Trout, but it’s not that simple. Those influences are certainly there, and in the best way possible, but Lake Trout isn’t

Nana Kitade: Gothic Lolita and J-pop Hit American Shores

I spoke to J-pop vocalist Nana Kitade through an interpreter. Though her Japanese answers (and my questions, for that matter) were subject to filtering in the process, hearing her voice gave me some sense of her reactions. Though the now-nineteen year old Kitade spoke in a childlike, sing-songy voice — a bit like Pebbles from

The Collection

It wasn’t shrinkwrapped, but appeared to be new. The cover sported a black-and-white photo of The Beatles dating from 1969. There was no title on the front. On the back, there was an odd cartoon drawing of a guy with headphones, and endless text, most of which seemed to be gibberish or some elaborate inside