BET FreewayRevival

Smart bets: Freeway Revival

Recently topping the ReverbNation Americana charts for Asheville, Americana/country-blues collective The Freeway Revival writes songs about the Appalachian mountains but spends a lot of time touring outside Western North Carolina. Upcoming dates take the group to the Carolina coast, upstate New York and into the Midwest; last spring the band traveled to L.A. to record […]

Photo by Nolan Hall

5 questions with Allah-Las

California is important to psych-garage band Allah-Las. The Los Angeles quartet formed while its members — drummer Matthew Correia, bassist Spencer Dunham, and guitarists Miles Michaud and Pedrum Siadatian — were working at the city’s famous Amoeba Records. But it’s not a mere matter of geography. The attitude and the sonic history of the Sunshine State […]

Image from Water Liars' Facebook page

Five questions with Water Liars

The Water Liars take Instagrams of album covers, muscle cars, breakfast specials and random signs. They write the kind of songs that you get instantly and understand later. From Mississippi, Water Liars was originally singer-guitarist Justin Kinkel-Schuster and drummer Andrew Bryant, and their combined vision. Constantly productive and constantly on the road, the duo eventually […]

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Smart bets: The Tills

Asheville four-piece The Tills could absolutely call their music “grit-pop” if they didn’t live in a region where fans might confuse that label with a culinary term. The group’s latest tunes venture from the safety of ruggedly upbeat pop phrases to less charted punk yelps and back again before the refrain, all while conveying the […]

Sylvan Esso performing at The Mothlight. Photo by Monica Koerschner, via Twitter

Sylvan Esso at The Mothlight

Durham-based electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso, the project of Amelia Randall Meath and Nicholas Sanborn, launched their tour with a pair of sold-out shows at The Mothlight. The first, last night, was not without its glitches (the computer crashed, ironically, during the song “Play it Right”), but it showcased Meath and Sanborn’s considerable chemistry, energy and […]

STRING THEORY: “In retrospect, when I look back on my life, I understand there had always been a passion for banjo music,” says Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees. As a solo act, he's taken that instrument far from its folk and bluegrass roots. Photo courtesy of the musician

One-man banjo: Tall Tall Trees puts a new spin on an old instrument

When you think of the banjo, you might think of Earl Scruggs or Uncle Dave Macon, or even Steve Martin. You probably don’t think of loop pedals or bowing, or ancillary sounds from percussive tapping and blowing; you probably don’t imagine anything that could be classified as “space banjo.” But that’s exactly the kind of music banjo player Mike Savino of band-turned-solo-act Tall Tall Trees makes.

mates-of-state copy

Smart bets: Mates of State

Husband-and-wife, indie-pop outfit Mates of State consistently challenge the perceived limitations of a two-piece with their effortless harmonies and minimal pop appeal. One reviewer describes the band as “two people playing complex songs that sound like five people playing a simple song.” Kori Gardner (keyboard/vocals) and Jason Hammel (drums/vocals) formed Mates of State in 1997 and have […]