Culture watch

Betcha Can’t Kill Just One

Rocking chairs? Weak. Coffee tables? That’s pretty much the Dullsville Town Square, man. What modern-day woodworking needs to be hip is something a little more lethal — like the handmade fly swatters about to make Haywood Community College student Robb Helmkamp about as famous as an artist can get in the world of chemical-free pest control. Later this month, cable network HGTV will feature Helmkamp’s beautifully murderous little devices on their show That’s Clever. While the HGTV feature is nice, they weren’t exactly first in line to give Helmkamp his propers: Helmkamp is also in the running for an American Craft NICHE award. The artist’s small-screen debut is slated for Wednesday, Sept. 27, at noon. Now, if only he could find a way to make mousetraps a little funkier …

Even God Gets Evicted Sometimes

Perhaps the last place you’d think to look for Asheville’s most-notorious musicians is in a church. But that’s exactly what’s happening, thanks to Echo Mountain Recording, which turned a run-down house of worship on North French Broad into a house of rock (although they did keep the stained glass window). The recently opened studio doesn’t appear to be fooling around, either. According to bands who have recorded there, it’s one of the most advanced and complete recording venues the town has ever had. Echo Mountain’s local and regional clients include the Avett Brothers, Yo Mamma’s Big Fat Booty Band, Menage, Screamingjays (better known as the Blue Rags’ Jake Hollifield) and Fisher Meehan (of now-defunct local headliners DrugMoney). While the studio may, in fact, live up to its hype as a world-class place to lay down tracks, one can only wonder exactly how long it’ll last. After all, Asheville has no shortage of recording venues — including a wealth of home studios — and given how many downtown musicians tend toward the perpetually broke side of personal finances, I’d guess that Echo Mountain will soon be needing an infusion of out-of-town funds.

Real Life American Movie … Sequel

And speaking of recordings, the reunited Kerouac Or The Radio is set to release their first full-length album. According to front man Jeff Markham, the band should have the effort completed by the end of the year, although the title is still being decided. KOTR has been through a number of changes since their kinda-released 2003 debut demo Real Life American Movie, including a two-year-long stint performing as The Dark Engine after losing drummer Denny Ball. Markham says that the CD release will be followed with a regional tour early next year.

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