Random acts

Of note

Local roots-rock group Black Eyed Dog‘s recently released second album, Distance Inbetween, has been selling far better than expected, and will soon be going into a second printing. “[T]here’ll be a second run in the spring sometime with a small N.C. label,” explains front man Brian Landrum via e-mail, adding, “we’ll probably have enough to hold us over till then, given our terrible marketing skills.” (With an album that’s nearly sold out after only three months on the shelves, one would think that Landrum’s marketing skills would be the last thing in doubt.) For more information, visit www.blackeyeddog.com.

Regional dark-metal act Daylight Dies will be releasing its new full-length CD in the near future. The album, No Reply, is the first produced by Daylight Dies under their new contract with Relapse Records. No release date for the album was available. For more information, visit www.daylight-dies.com.

Front-row reviews

Who: The Port Huron Statement w/The Labiators

Where: Vincent’s Ear

When: Saturday, Feb. 9

After the gladiator and the gorilla started slow dancing, the show went downhill quick.

As comic relief for the occasionally somber Boone-based band The Port Huron Statement, the costumed pair’s antics were so entertaining that only a truly lackluster performance could have ruined the evening’s momentum. It happened — but it took The Labiators the better part of the evening to suck all the fun out of the show.

Combining honest, if occasionally surreal, songwriting with strangely ornamented garage-rock is what The Port Huron Statement does best. Their intense songs go back and forth between reflective and rocking — and are enough on their own to capture attention. Still, the band usually hedges its bets with a “surprise” live appearance of The PHS Gorilla (and, more recently, The PHS Gladiator). By the time the band left the stage, the crowd was primed to enjoy practically anything that followed.

In fact, they really tried to enjoy The Labiators, but somehow that local hard-rock trio managed to lose the evening’s momentum completely. Barring the reasonably rehearsed-sounding song “To Part Her,” the show was an extended jam session that involved a lot of rock star-type posing, bland playing and little else.

At the very end of the show, Labiators front man Chad McRorie left the stage and climbed onto this reviewer’s table, posed a bit, and promptly fell. Normally, this would have been a moderately entertaining experience, but it followed such an otherwise astoundingly dull show that it really didn’t help. Leave it to The Labiators to make something as dramatic as breaking a reviewer’s table seem insincere.

Rant and rave

Jonathan Hagen and his wife Shy opened Atmosphere Music and found a sizable group of dance-music fanatics, area DJs and vinyl purists hungry for a place to shop. Six months later, they moved their store from the relative obscurity of a Merrimon Avenue mini-mall to a prime spot in the heart of downtown, bringing a whole community with them.

Mountain Xpress: Have you already seen an increase in traffic since you moved [to Broadway]?

Jonathan Hagen: Definitely foot traffic. Right now, there’s just so many random people downtown anyway, that they’re coming in. They see a new store, they’re excited about it, and they’ll just walk in.

MX: Do you see [the store] becoming a community hub for the dance-music scene?

JH: We certainly hope so. We’re going to start bringing in more equipment, [and] more than just music. We’re going to start bringing in clothing, accessories, and [things] like that. I hate saying this, but I guess it will be the local rave store. I’m not real proud of that.

MX: Why?

JH: Unfortunately, there is such a social stigma with raves nowadays that it’s pretty much why we don’t want to be associated with that. That’s why were going to stress “underground dance music” as opposed to the rave scene.

MX: How has being cast in the role of the “local rave store” changed things for Atmosphere?

JH: Having that direction helps. When we started out, we just chose things to bring in, not really knowing [what] the market would want, and what people wanted. Now that we’ve got a good grasp of what the people want, I guess we’re just going to have to follow that path. And make some money off of it, just to survive. It will help the culture grow, really.

Top threes

Top-three quick reviews of bands at Asheville Music Zone late Sunday night (2/10):

• Inferior cross-breed of Marilyn Manson fashions with Rob Zombie music (The Saint Famine Society)
• NIN meets REM (Synchro Nine Factor)
• Velvet Underground Goes Ska (The Eclectic Bastards)

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