Young Blood Breeds Raw Rock:
Solid State’s bands fit the
bill at the Soapbox
For all of you punk rockers with a taste for music
outside the mainstream, you’ll be pleased to know about the Young Blood
Tour hitting Wilmington this December. Solid State Records, a division of
Seattle-based Tooth & Nail Records, formed just a few years ago to
support and promote burgeoning indie rock bands. Their impressive roster
of heavy rock bands covers every genre from metal to hardcore to screamo,
and includes such new sensations as Norma Jean and Underoath. Solid State
bands are taking the nation by storm with aggressive touring, evolving and
maturing into the indie label. You can catch a few of these rising talents
at the Soapbox on December 4th, where Showbread, He Is Legend, The
Chariot, As Cities Burn and Far-less will perform.
For a band that
coined the phrase “raw rock” for their campaign, the seven-man rock outfit
Showbread knows the value of pandemonium. Making a name for themselves
from their explosive live shows, the group, hailing from Savannah,
Georgia, just released their 13-track album, No Sir, Nihilism Is Not
Practical. Matt Davis (lead guitar), Mike Jensen (guitar), Ivory Mobley
(vocals), Patrick Porter (bass), Josh Dies (vocals), Marvin Reily (drums)
and John Giddens (keytar) comprise this ambitious band whose boisterous
brand of rock covers every topic, from art and religion to the literature
of Franz Kafka.
Four years ago five North Carolina natives, Schuylar
Croom (vocals), McKenzie Bell (guitar), Adam Tanbouz (guitar), Steven
Bache (drums) and Matt Williams (bass), formed the dirt-rock outfit He Is
Legend. This summer the band released their debut EP, 90125. You can catch
these tunes at Saturday night’s show, along with new material from their
November release, “I Am Hollywood.” Their sassy style of rock combines
southern charm with solid rhythms, all while tackling complicated subjects
like the hypocrisy of Hollywood and the grim future of rock ‘n’
For a chaotic performance of hardcore rock and stage
acrobatics, you would not want to miss The Chariot, darlings of the latest
buzz in indie music circles. Josh Scogin (vocals), Keller Harbin (guitar),
Jeff Carter (drums), Josh Beiser (bass) and Tony Medina (guitar) hail from
Douglasville, Georgia, and recently released their 10-song debut,
Everything Is Alive, Everything is Breathing, Nothing is Dead and Nothing
is Bleeding. Besides being fond of really long titles, the young
rockers—led by talented vocalist and former Norma Jean frontman,
Scogin—are confident that their energetic set will amaze and
The Christian hard rock outfit As Cities Burn formed just
two years ago and are ready to reveal all their tricks and treats this
holiday season. The collaboration of a few fragmented Louisiana bands,
Colin Kimble (guitar), Cody Bonnette (guitar), Pascal Barone (bass), Aaron
Lunsford (drums) and TJ Bonnette (vocals) have grown through positive word
of mouth in the Baton Rouge music scene. After giving up college, jobs and
girlfriends for a life on the road, these hardcore Christian rockers can
be found on tour all over the nation this fall.
(vocals), Ray Felts (drums), Joseph Powers (bass), Mark Karsten (guitar)
and Jordan Powers (guitar, vocals) comprise Far-Less, a band that combines
rock, metal and pop in a blistering live show. On the tails of two
successful EPs (2001’s Emerge and 2002’s Apossibility), the Virginia
fivesome recorded their first full-length album, Broken Hearts Unite, at
the nearby Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, in the spring of 2003. With
a varied sound sure to appeal to any music lover, Far-Less delivers honest
songwriting fueled with an adrenaline-pumped performance.
So, for a
night of headbanging, moshing and potential crowd-surfing, head to the
Soapbox on the 4th. The evening of sublime indie rock revelry begins at
Someone’s Sister Releases Debut
I may not be a fan of folk rock, girl rock, or acoustic music in
general, but I decided to give Someone’s Sister a chance when I found out
that they were from Greenville, NC (where I went to college), and all of
the proceeds from the sales of their new cd, Hand Me Downs, were being
donated to the prevention of child abuse (a cause with which I have
volunteered for the last three years).
The duo of Georgia Winfree
(New York/ Virginia) and Katherine Jones (Raleigh, NC) are said to be like
“a cool glass of iced tea after a hot summer’s day.” The two women come
from very different walks of life and bring diversity, on a common ground,
to their music. Georgia reveals years of emotional expression in her
lyrics and allows listeners to peek into her own pain, survival and
dedication. Katherine brings a positive, yet realistic, life perspective
to the duo. The two very different women joined forces in 2002 and haven’t
looked back since.
Besides playing for the pure love of music,
Someone’s Sister hopes to connect and help others through their music, and
there is no doubt they have accomplished just that with Hand Me Downs.
Producer/ Engineer Karen Kane says, “These women have gorgeous voices,
separately and together—you need to hear these voices.” When the album’s
first track (“I’ll Be There”) began, I couldn’t have agreed more. Whatever
hesitations I had about folk rock disappeared.
“I’m Still Here” is a
beautiful song about staying strong through tough times. The melody is
calm and soothing, but still invokes feelings of power and
“Nothing Without Love” perfectly portrays being in love
and living in the deep South. I can see the old diesel truck driving fast
past a billboard that’s advertising a cheap hotel, while the driver drinks
gas station coffee out of a Styrofoam cup on her way to see the one she
loves. What could make a country girl happier then drivin’ a truck to see
her man? Well, maybe singin’ and pickin’ her guitar, which these two do
“Another Rainy Day” is a captivating tribute to 9/11.
Many popular country singers, like Alan Jackson and Toby Keith, also
expressed their feelings about September 11th in radio hit singles.
However, there is something about hearing the innocence of a woman’s voice
sing about saying good-bye for the last time— it hits your heart in a
The album’s last track “New Shoes” is like taking a
leisurely look back on your life and the act of unconsciously growing up.
It’s that song that everyone can somehow relate to and truly reflect upon.
It is the perfect song on which to end.
Although I would never
normally look twice at an album that had the word “folk” in the
description, Someone’s Sister has undeniable talent for writing and
playing music that is truly timeless. I would not be surprised to see them
receive mainstream recognition one day, so enjoy them while you have them
here in Wilmington. Someone’s Sister will be holding their cd release
party December 4th at The Soapbox, with “guitar guru” Laura McLean opening
at 9pm. .
Tennessee Sounds of Sojorn
Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Sojorn consists of Kevin Mabin
on drums, J.T. Poe on percussion, Kevin Plant on bass and Scott Metzger on
guitar. The songs are all written by Hunter Williams, who presumably does
most of the vocals and some of the drum programming. Williams began
playing piano and drums at the age of 10 and has written over 100 songs
(which sounds suspicious to me, considering the fact that there are only
five songs on this CD). Also, recently added to their live show lineup is
Jennifer Morrison, who provides some pretty strong backup
Their sound is sort of an eclectic blend of dance, hip-hop,
and drum and bass. They are often compared to the likes of Groove Armada
and Basement Jaxx. They use drum machines, synthesizers and bass to create
dreamy soundscapes. However, to me, Sojorn sounds mostly like mediocre
house music, and they remind me of a more down-tempo Milli Vanilli. While
some of the drum programming and instrumentation is fairly decent, I just
could not get into the vocals at all. In every song of their five-song CD,
Williams combines singing with a sort-of spoken-word style rapping. His
voice isn’t that bad when he is singing, but when he starts the rapping
bits, his Tennessee accent emerges heavily, which clashes with the dreamy,
ambient atmosphere created by the music.
One of the more notable
tracks on the CD is “Hairspray Nights.” The only reason I say that it is
notable is because the intro sounds like a remix of the “Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy” theme song. I would swear that it’s the exact same beat.
Anyway, it’s a very simple song.
Laid over the top of the beat are
some minimalist, composer-esque synth work and some straightforward guitar
riffs. The vocals are sparse and consist chiefly of one verse repeated
over and over again. Jennifer Morrison provides some “oohs,” “ahhs” and
“yeah yeahs” in the background.
Another track worthy of mention is “Now
That I Found You.” I feel that this song has some of the cleverest drum
programming on the CD. Once again, synth riffs provide an almost ethereal
atmosphere, while a simple two-note bass line establishes a solid base on
which the song rests. Unfortunately, Williams decided to do a lot of his
spoken-word rapping on this song, which killed it for me. Every time he
says the word “rearrange,” his accent, yet again, rages out of control,
making it sound like “rearriiinge.”
Sojorn will be playing at The
Soapbox on December 10 with John Cheshire, whom I have never heard of, nor
do I know what he does. I tried to do a Google search for John Cheshire
and the first result was for Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire,
presumably of the RAF. It would be awesome if it were going to be that
guy. Unfortunately, December 10th is also the day that I take the GRE, so
I will likely be unable to attend the show. Darn.