FAMILY-FRIENDLY: Even though Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is based on the West Coast, he plans to continue collaborating with Asheville artists. “We have a shared history, and I love the flavor,” he says. "That’s the staple of my whole thing, a mutated genre thing." Photo courtesy of the musician

Weirdos R Us: 23 Skidoo celebrates the Year of the Weird with a book and album launch

In the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse. For the United Nations, it’s the Year of Family Farming and Crystallography. And, as designated by Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, it’s the Year of the Salamander. No stranger to celebrating diversity and creative thinking for all ages, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo honors […]

In the mix: “One thing about being a composer is to know the rules so that you can break the rules," says steel pan player Jonathan Scales, right. His new album, Mixtape Symphony, works with long-form songs. Photo by Zaire Kacz

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra explores long-form

After what he calls “years and years” of Roy “Futureman” Wooten preaching to him about pushing the art form to new compositional heights, Jonathan Scales at last decided to heed those words with “Mixtape Symphony,” his latest album with bassist Cody Wright and percussionist Phill Bronson. A record release show, slated for Friday, June 6, at Isis Restaurant & Music Hall celebrates the dense, 33-minute work.

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Beer Week: The spectacular Skillet six

Looming in the distance throughout Beer Week has been Burial Beer Co.’s Skillet Donut Stout Six Ways. On Friday, May 30, the weeks of patiently waiting came to an end as the Buxton Avenue brewery triumphantly presented their staple 8 percent ABV brew (quite possibly the best beer in town, flagship or otherwise) aged with six different adjuncts. […]

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Beer Week: Hop heads

Putting their own spin on Thirsty Thursday, Burial Beer Co. and its South Slope neighbor, Twin Leaf Brewery, unveiled Follow the Hops, their special Beer Week collaboration and hopefully the first of many co-ventures. Working from the same base recipe, a dozen different beers were dry-hopped with a single hop then shared with the public on […]

Photo by Sarah Arnaudin

Beer Week: Roundup of last weekend’s local special releases

Out-of-towners like Goose Island and Dogfish Head are set to descend upon Asheville as Beer Week rolls along, but the opening weekend belonged to a handful of local breweries and their special releases. Getting the festivities started was the Asheville Brewers’ Alliance White IPA. Made especially for Beer Week with input from 20 WNC brewers and made at Catawba […]

The beat goes on: "Each drum rhythm and song have specific dances to match," says bassist Ryan Reardon, left, of Zansa's songs. The local Afropop outfit headlines opening night of Mountain Sports Festival. Photo courtesy of the band

Drums + dance

Zansa kicks off big summer plans at Mountain Sports Festival Asheville Afropop band Zansa’s name comes from a Nouchi slang word from Ivory Coast meaning “combination” or “blend.” True to that moniker, Adama Dembele (lead vocals and djembe), Patrick Fitzsimons (guitar), Sean Mason (drum set), Ryan Reardon (bass) and Matt Williams (acoustic and electric violins […]

Fast friends: When Eric Norlander first met Robert Moog in '97, he suggested they collaborate on a synthesizer project. "He gave me an enthusiastic ‘Yeah!,'" Norlander says. "Go for the best, right?” Photo courtesy of the musician

Happy birthday to Moog

Tribute concert raises funds for Dr. Bob’s Sound School Synthesist Erik Norlander first met the late Robert Moog in January 1997 at the annual National Association of Music Merchants trade show in Southern California. At the time, Norlander was the synthesizer product manager for instrument company Alesis and was designing an analog polyphonic synth called […]

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars return to LEAF this spring. Photo by Zach Smith

A festival for one and all

For more festivals, visit Calendar and mountainx.com. LEAF, at Lake Eden in Black Mountain, returns for its spring installment with family-friendly camping, arts (performance, visual, healing, etc.), dance, crafts, kids activities and plenty of music. Headliners include Los Lobos, Beats Antique, Red Baraat, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and many more. Thursday-Sunday, May 8-11. Tickets […]

Work hard, play hard: Despite a hectic schedule that includes talent booking and venue management, Jeff Santiago y Los Gato Negros found time to record Rolling Towards the Moon. From left: Jared White, Debrissa McKinney, Clayton Jones, Santiago and Brandon Burney. Photo by Duncan Chaboudy

Thou hast seen nothing yet

Tapping time-management skills and Don Quixote, Los Gatos Negros releases a record

With all that local musician Jeff Santiago has going on in his life, it’s a minor miracle that his new album, Rolling Towards the Moon, exists. On Saturday, April 12, the singer/guitarist and his indie rock band Los Gatos Negros celebrate that achievement with a record-release party at Asheville Music Hall.