Sep 162010

Thursday, September 16

Big Head Todd and the Monsters w/ Carbon Leaf
Buster’s, 8 P.M. $20 adv, $25 door. 18+.

Believe it or not, Big Head Todd and the Monsters played the loudest show I’ve ever attended. Back in the early ‘90s, when I was a but a degenerate frat guy idealistic collegian on the prowl for randy co-eds and kegs of Natural Light hopeful, soul-enlightening music, the Monsters played a free show at the university’s pastoral outdoor amphitheater—or, they were to play a show at the amphitheater, except that about an hour prior torrential rains hit the campus, and the whole production was relocated to the student center’s “ballroom,” which closely resembled my high school’s gymnasium. This would have been fine but for the evident laziness of the sound technicians, who had set amplifier and speaker levels at the soundcheck that afternoon, under clear skies, and then couldn’t be bothered to adjust those levels for the new, smaller, indoor space. And thus the sound was deafening.

Hundreds of folks turned up–this was at the peak of the band’s national popularity, borne of the melodic magnificence of their 1993 release, Sister Sweetly. But there was quickly established a sort of no-fly sector within 50 feet of the stage, an area within which one risked rapid, irreparable hearing loss. Continue reading »

Aug 252010

By Megan Neff

It is Sunday night, August 22.  I finished my radio show this afternoon and ate the ritual #6 with barbecue chips afterward.  And after four years at UK, I felt out of place again as I walked to Jimmy Johns and back to WRFL alongside so many golden tans and carefree faces.

It made me think about my first semester.  About how I would rather be back there and not another recent college graduate who was unprepared for not being able to find a job in their field of study.  Or just a job that pays above minimum wage and has health benefits.

But on a positive note, it made me think about my introduction to the local music scene that semester.  About my first noise show and how John Wiese’s performance made me think of a painfully slow airplane crash.  The now defunct Icehouse and feeling the slight of the higher cover charge for outsiders.  And my very first show in Lexington, which strangely enough was at UK’s Student Center Spectacular four years ago.

It seems it is that time of the season again.  This year, I am not a freshman intimidated by the hipness of the WRFL crowd.  I’ve done this a hundred times before and know most of the people here.  Some of the magic is lost, but I can sense it in the crowd around me.

Real Numbers begin as the sun starts going down with a brand of straight forward punk-edged rock.  Vicious Guns continues with the trend but adds a dash of black leather, lace and some slightly drunken theatrics.  And Matt Duncan closes out the show with his unfailingly perfect blend of soul and buoyant pop.

So much has faded away in four years, but so much has grown.  And whether apparent to my disillusioned eyes or not, it will continue to grow around me.  Be it in a bug-infested lawn on UK’s campus or in another seedy basement.  And that in itself is some kind of magic.

Aug 252010

Brown Sugar: A Devine Intervention and Disco Damie Production, much like Lexington’s hip hop scene, has kept its wings tucked neatly beneath the radar for most of its existence.

The event is hosted by Cass Dwyer and Devine Carama at Al’s Bar every month.  It serves as both a venue for bringing local hip hop artists above ground and a way to draw outsiders into the circle.

“There wasn’t really a monthly event for all of us to get together and celebrate hip hop as well as let new artists introduce themselves to the Kentucky audience,” said Dwyer.

The latest installment of Brown Sugar took place last Saturday, August 21, and featured the local-based lineup of Devine Carama, Kae State, Scoupe and Kuntry Noiz, plus guest DJ WarrenPeace.  The next is only a month away, so be on the lookout.

For more information about the show and other Disco Damie and Devine Carama events, go to to

Aug 112010

By Megan Neff

Bethany Cosentino has effectively traded in her psych-drone robes after leaving Pocahaunted.  Since 2009, she and bandmate Bobb Bruno have released a slew of breezy summer singles on various labels under the Best Coast moniker.   The full length release on the Mexican Summer imprint finds a couple of those old tunes sporting some (kinda) hi-fi spitshine, plus 11 new tracks that easily live up to all the hype.

The sunshine state duo blend girl group harmonies and surf rock with what’s good about modern indie pop.  While they might be keeping time with a fad for beachy throwback music, they do it so well you can’t help but like it.  The songs are playfully nostalgic, relentlessly upbeat and never more than a short-but-sweet three minutes. Continue reading »

Jul 282010

NoC’s music staff breaks down the next two weeks

Wednesday, July 28

Home Blitz, Jovontaes, and Dead Rabbits

Green Lantern. 9 P.M. $5.

Jersey-spawned Home Blitz plays the sort of uptempo punk-pop made popular by Iggy Pop and the New York Dolls, refracted through the jaundiced lenses of the Dead Kennedys and the Damned, put away for a couple of decades, and brought back during the previous presidential administration by a number of since-vanished bands whose names I never bothered to learn.

It’s authentic stuff; the guitars and vocals are frenetic and forever teetering on the brink of being off-key or out-of-tune, while the drums pound in that way that fairly demands the spastic/vibratory style of punk dance (except for that one really far-out guy who always shows up at gigs such as this and opts for something like interpretive space exploration and ends up flailing into your beer). Yet what’s yet missing from Home Blitz is the cult-of-personality frontman: the Iggy, the Johansen, the Biafra, the Vanian. Is it better to be more loved than feared or more feared than loved? Here, probably a bit of both.  –-Keith Halladay Continue reading »

Jul 282010

By Megan Neff

Julian Lynch, Mare

It’s been a week now.  I’m still trying to clear my head enough to write this review.  It seems no amount of undisturbed space within my mind will be sufficient.  But that’s sort of the way this album goes.  Attempting level-headedness while underwater.

Technically speaking, it all adds up.  Lynch, a former Smithsonian Folkways Recrodings employee, now studies ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  An expertise in music spanning decades and genres is apparent in the album’s very fabric.  World blends with folk blends with ambient electronic.  Ancient wood keeps time with modern synthetics. Continue reading »