PHOTOS: Hearts and Plugs Summer Shindig
What's sweeter than an outdoor showcase of some of the city's finest indie pop and rock? One that's got free ice cream cones, that's what. Charleston record label Hearts & Plugs' Summer Shindig was a fine celebration of all-things sunshiney, complete with a nine-band lineup that persevered in the sun after a brief but battering downpour, girls and boys adorning fresh floral headdresses, and complimentary scoops of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. It all went down a treat last Sat. June 28 at King Dusko, and it was interesting to watch how the musicians collaborated with one another. While they also fronted their own sets, Nick Jenkins played a lot of drums, including Michael Flynn's, Grace Joyner joined in for backup vocals with Run Dan Run, and the Elim Bolt crew backed up Gold Light. The six-hour show passed swiftly by, with Brave Baby closing things down to a packed backyard. Label founder and director Dan McCurry not only pulled off a damn delightful time had by all, he also sent everyone home with a free Hearts & Plugs sampler to keep listeners floating long after the music stopped.
PUNK | Rule #9
w/ Eye On Attraction, Ntepotism
Wed. July 9
Charleston’s Rule #9 are big fans of pop-punk, and it’s obviously the foundation of their sound, but like many second wave post-millennial emo acts, they also like to toss in more aggressive post-core elements. Though the band only began three-and-a-half years ago, its members have been playing together since 2006 and clearly bear the imprint of the era. It’s there on tracks like the swelling “Independence Day” and the screamo of “My Favorite Shade of Red,” which contrasts a spooky-elegant piano intro with Cookie Monster growls, thudding breakdowns, and an extended sample from the film Grapes of Wrath. Tracks like the spunky “City of Lights,” even suggest Rule #9’s ability to pen the kind of winsome, hard-charging single that could break on radio (with better production). Since forming behind Kyle and Kevin Porter and their friend Robbie Drawdy, Rule #9 has grown into a quintet and released an EP each of the last three years. Their recordings are pretty tight, and they’ve shown the ability to tackle a variety of styles, but what’s missing is a full-length album that could go a long way in establishing a more distinct identity. —Chris Parker NEXT WEDNESDAY
GOSPEL | Music Independence Fest
The Sunday after Independence Day, the celebration continues as talented Christian musicians join forces for a free show in North Charleston. “The Music Independence Fest is a one-day summer music festival that provides a great family atmosphere, and our theme [is to] celebrate faith, family, freedom, and Christ,” says Gerald Footman, an event representative. The show will feature soulful tunes by national recording artist Joshua Rogers (also the youngest winner of BET’s Sunday Best), plus Algeron Wright, Mike Brown & F.O.C.U.S., Vernita Dunbar, and many more. Folks of all ages will be taking the stage to share spiritual songs, so you can look forward to seeing some cute kids up there belting away. Last year’s event drew hundreds of people to the Rivers Avenue Walmart in North Charleston to celebrate and groove along to everything from gospel to jazz. The event will take place rain or shine, and though some seating may be provided, showgoers are encouraged to bring their own chairs to this parking-lot party. —Michaela Michienzi SUNDAY
GYPSY JAZZ | The Resonant Rogues
The Resonant Rogues are a real treat. If you’re in the mood for something groovy, a little off-kilter, and altogether fun to listen to, then you need to familiarize yourself with this Asheville band immediately. Go ahead. I’ll wait. OK. Welcome back. First off, was I right, or was I right? If you checked out the band’s most recent work, April’s Swing Set EP, then you know exactly what I’m talking about here. You have to love the lumbering gypsy-jazz pacing of “When I’m Gone,” or the way the acoustic guitar, violin, and accordion all meld together seamlessly on tracks like “What Lies Ahead.” Of course, maybe your favorite part was when vocalist, banjoist, and accordion player Sparrow added sassy, almost seductive lines like “He’s got the most nice everything in town” on the ragtime-style track “Most Nice,” or when she showed off her French on “Douce Ambiance.” There’s a lot to like here, especially since The Resonant Rogues sound like a gleefully unplugged street band just trying to give you another reason to enjoy your summer night out. This is fine entertainment, so stop reading this, and go discover your new favorite band now. In addition to a performance on the laid-back grounds of Awendaw Green, the band will also play on Thurs. July 10 at The Mill in North Charleston and Fri. July 11 on Folly Beach at Chico Feo. —Brian Palmer NEXT WEDNESDAY
NERD RAP | Random, ProjektZero, and Press B
Local hip-hop acts Press B and ProjektZero will join Phoenix-based artist Random for a night of self-professed “nerd rap.” What’s nerd rap, you ask? Drum-machine beats, video game-inspired synthesizers, and fierce space-age rap combine to “evoke a sound that introverts everywhere can hum along to,” says Matthew Rittinghouse of ProjektZero. Charleston-based emcee Press B, “born in the year 2,311,240 in the Alpha Lyrae star system,” apparently got sent back in time to spit sick raps and to save the future. Random, a.k.a. MegaRan, a middle school English teacher by day and rapper by night, was one of the first independent artists to secure an exclusive licensing agreement with a major video game developer — meaning he made his name by rapping over the MegaMan soundtrack, folks. “What sets us apart from other music in the scene,” says Rittinghouse, “is the fact that ‘nerdcore’ musicians, as a whole, always write from a geek’s perspective — and we don’t do it at the expense of the music, which I think makes the music a lot more relatable.” —Lindsay Anne Bower NEXT WEDNESDAY
"The Arrow at Your Feet," a song off of Michael Flynn's forthcoming debut solo album Face in the Cloud (out July 15 on Hearts & Plugs), comes across at first like a breakup song: "Just use the only words you know / To mumble through this perfect moment / Just rest your head against my throat / Breathing in / Even with / The arrow at your feet / Pointing you away from me."
You'd be forgiven for thinking that's what it's about. After all, Flynn is best known as one-half of the pop-rock duo Slow Runner, which has recorded its fair share of songs about romantic relationships and heartbreak.
But while the lyrics certainly work as a breakup song, that was not Flynn's intent. Care to guess what he's really driving at? To find out, read our interview with Flynn in next week's City Paper.
Like many songs on the album, "The Arrow at Your Feet" sounds like an outtake from a John Hughes movie soundtrack, circa 1985, with slowly building layers of synthesizer drones and chimes building toward an emotional climax. Another song, the spooky "Holy Ghost," debuted recently on the music blog The Wild Honey Pie:
Other sonic touches on the album are plain fun, like the vocoder singing on "A Love That Bends" and "That Danny Glover Feeling." The song "Winsome Lonesome," despite its melancholy lyrics, features a shake-your-fist-in-the-air opening riff and a repeating synth rhythm that calls to mind the Chariots of Fire theme. Appropriately, in a promotional YouTube video, Flynn paired part of the song with the climactic scene in Teen Wolf where Michael J. Fox's character sinks the game-winning free throw:
Click here to pre-order Face in the Cloud.
Hailing from Asheville, The Fritz will bring their unique sound to Chucktown for a funky show at The Pour House this Wednesday, July 2.
Fans can look forward to new songs the quintet is experimenting with the moment, plus old favorites like "Oppenheim" off of the band's 2013 release Bootstrap. Guitarist and vocalist Jamie Hendrickson says the single is about the Manhattan Project and Robert Oppenheiner, who created the first atomic bomb. The song touches on how Oppenheiner viewed himself as a monster. Woods says though, “It can also be taken as a dropping bombs or a making-love thing … A lot of Jamie’s songs have that sort of ambiguity to them.”
Lately, the Fritz has been “testing new music to see what works, and tossing what doesn’t seem to fit,” Woods tells us. “We’ll probably be recording this winter and some of the things we have on stage now will be in the upcoming album. We like to say we’re kind of in pre-production mode, but we’re intensively writing… Really working on solidifying our sound.”