Thursday, August 23, 2012

Soundchecks: Two Fresh, Now You See Them, Pillage and Plunder, Pepper

Posted by Devender Sellars on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM

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Electronic hip-hop | Two Fresh
w/ HeRobust and Pericles
The Pour House
Thurs. Aug. 23
$15

The Denver air has apparently been good for Tennessee-born twins Sherwyn and Kendrick Nicholls (a.k.a. Two Fresh). Or maybe it's just all that legal weed. Whatever the cause, the whiz-kid producers have been on a creative high since leaving the South for Colorado's electronic music mecca this past winter. After spending much of 2011 sharing the stage with the likes of Skrillex and Pretty Lights, the brothers, along with live drummer Colby Buckler, have been busy slicing and splicing 15 new tracks of pulsing, lubricated rhythms and playful synth melodies, all rolled up in their signature old-school, instrumental hip-hop. "I'd say our songs now are more upbeat, and even more Southern rap sounding, but still keeping our melodic lines," Sherwyn says. Not surprisingly, moving to the Mile High City took some adjustment. "We moved out here to pretty much jump straight into this amazing thing that's happening in electronic music out here. There are so many talented producers that work together, it becomes an amazing place to sharpen your craft." Their upcoming EP, Brainstormed, is due out this fall. For more information, visit charlestonpourhouse.com. —Miles Britton

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Folk Pop | Now You See Them
Awendaw Green
Wed. Aug. 22
$5

The Royal American
Thurs. Aug. 23
$5

Multi-instrumentalists Jason Mencer, Dulci Ellenberger, and Shane Conerty are all Pennsylvania natives, but they didn't meet until all three moved to the Big Apple. "When we all met, we were all trying to survive in New York, working odd jobs and trying to find our dreams. We somehow decided to travel together," Mencer says. The trio moved to Hawaii for a season, then they headed to Australia for a spell. "At the time the band was only a temporary thing, so we decided to call ourselves Now You See Them because, with all our moving around, we'd assume that someday, 'now you don't,'" Mencer adds. After returning to the States, Now You See Them settled into the bustling band scene in Asheville, a town Mencer calls "the greatest musical community that I've ever seen." On their latest album, What We Want, they draw from an array of vintage pop, rock, and folk. Some tunes fit nicely alongside the Avett Brothers and Shovels and Rope while others, like the cheerful "We Will Never Be Young Again" and the hand-clappin' "Postcard Song," resemble the polite pop of the '50s and early '60s. "The Shirelles, the Chiffons, the Ronettes, Bobby Darin, and Sam Cooke are just a few of our favorites. We'll borrow themes, chord progressions, modulations, and more from the music of that era — and then we combine them with current, relevant subject matters and a modern, indie twist," Mencer says. Now You See Them is on the bill for a 9 p.m. set at this week's Barn Jam at Awendaw Green. They headline the Royal American on Thursday night at 10 p.m. Visit facebook.com/nowyouseethem for more. —T. Ballard Lesemann

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Indie | Pillage and Plunder
w/ Southern Femisphere
The Tin Roof
Sat. Aug. 25
$5

At the heart of Atlanta-based indie-pop band Pillage and Plunder is a long-running friendship between Gokul Parasuram and Hsiang-Ming Wen. The two guitarists met in middle school and shared a mutual interest in music, video games, and comics. When they were 15, they started playing together, but it wasn't until their college years that they met drummer Noah Kess and formed their first band. "From the start, both Gokul and I shared bass and guitar duties, swapping between songs onstage and off," Wen says. "Generally, these days, whoever is playing guitar and singing is the one who wrote the song." They're all adults now, but there's a youthful spirit to their music. Stylistically, the songs on their latest release, a six-song EP titled Look Inside for the Prize, swing from riffy art-rock to delicate and dreamy pop. Imagine the Housemartins or the Violent Femmes attempting Belew-era King Crimson. "We don't really have a particular end goal in mind when writing a song," Wen says. "We just draw from our amalgamation of influences and hope the listener can enjoy our interpretation. The music on Look Inside for the Prize essentially reflects our different reactions to failed relationships." —T. Ballard Lesemann

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Jawaiian | Pepper
w/ Jordan Miller
Music Farm
Tues. Aug. 28
$20/adv., $23/DOS

If you want your reggae with a heaping helping of aloha, look no further than Pepper. Since forming in 1997, these Big Island surfer dudes — singer and bassist Bret Bollinger, singer and guitar player Kaleo Wassman, and drummer Yesod Williams — have made a career out of adding a little Hawaiian flavor to traditional reggae music. (The late, great uke player and singer Israel Kamakawiwoole is one of the band's inspirations.) This Tuesday, Pepper will perform at the Music Farm as part of a 12-city tour of the East Coast promoting their 2011 release Sitches. With more than half a million records sold and their own record label, LAW Records, Pepper's music has been featured in several movies, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Good Luck Chuck. For more information, visit musicfarm.com. —DeAnna Kerley

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