Random acts

Of note

New CD, no bull: Newly formed area metal band BullRush is currently at Sleeping Wolf Productions in Maggie Valley recording its debut CD. Although details on the effort are sketchy, the group’s plan is to release a full-length album later this year. For more information, visit www.bullrushrocks.com.

Speaking of new CDs: Roots-rockers Acoustic Syndicate are currently planning their fourth studio album (not to be confused with their upcoming double live album, due out this fall). No other information about the project has come forth, but the band has been in pre-production for the effort since early this year. For more information, visit www.acousticsyndicate.com.

Front-row reviews

Who: Rolly Gray

Where: Westville Pub

When: Saturday, May 11

Were you to ask practically anyone in the Westville Pub May 11 if Rolly Gray was a great band, chances are you’d universally get something approaching “yes.” But they’d all be wrong. Rolly Gray is an OK band — and for a cover band that specializes in Bob Marley covers, they were almost good.

For the most part, Rolly Gray gave a credible performance, only occasionally meandering from relatively interesting improv sections into blatant and pointless noodling. Sure, they made the people dance as they launched into their version of “Stir It Up,” but they were hardly innovative. At least their “No Woman No Cry” gave couples a moment alone — and everyone else a chance to rush the bar.

Getting personal with Nikki Talley

“Oh God, I shouldn’t have said that. That’s so bad. Oh God, I’ve ruined myself.”

It’s hard to make Nikki Talley blush. She’s not exactly the shy type — when pressed, she can swear like a sailor. It’s late afternoon at a local coffee house, and Talley, along with her bandmates, is on the receiving end of one of the toughest questions a band can face: “Why do you sing about sex so much?”

As the principal songwriter, arranger, and front person for her group, Flake, it falls to Talley to field the question. Alone.

“I like sex,” she answers after a short pause, “and talking about it.” Then she laughs and blushes. After she composes herself a bit, she eventually clarifies her answer.

“I guess I like to push people’s buttons,” she explains. “You know, play something pretty on piano, and be like, ‘Cram yourself inside of me.’ Sometimes, it’s not literal. It’s a fun thing to play off of, [and] it’s easy. It’s everywhere. I guess it’s just easy to write about.”

To understand why this is such an issue for her, you need a little background. Thus far in her career, Talley has made her biggest impact as a singer/songwriter, playing to smallish rooms of respectful listeners intent on digesting the hidden nuances of each line she sings. Along the way, she’s gathered some great reviews, drawing comparisons to both Tori Amos and Sarah MacLachlan and earning herself a reputation as a solid solo performer.

But when you dig down a little, what Nikki Talley really wants out of her music is quite simple. She wants to rock.

“I’m f••king 24, and I want to be loud and angry.” Then, after a pause, she says, “You know, and then I want to go and sing my sweet songs, too.”

Flake, which includes longtime collaborator Jason Sharp, drummer Mark Lowrey and guitarist Rick Weissinger, is decidedly hard rock. This isn’t the first time Talley has had a band — in fact, she’s had several in the last few years. But Talley is confident that this particular group can finally get her music out.

At the very least, they’ve had time to bond. Several months ago, after their first “real” gig playing to a crowd of “about 15″ at a post-Final Four party at a sports bar in Wilmington, the low-moraled group had to brave the seven-hour drive back to Asheville in the cramped cab of Talley’s truck. During that time, they came to an arrangement: No more folk music in the set. Since then, Talley has set out to become one of the hardest-rocking women around. So far, she and her band have done a pretty good job, easily keeping pace with the likes of local Southern rockers Marsupial and heavy-metal jammers Les Jamehlo. They even managed to have a better shot at Wilmington.

But Talley has something more crucial than a few good shows in her past: She has the support of her band. As Sharp puts it, “I think it’s definitely something different when you see a girl rocking.”

Top threes

By-the-numbers on the GoLocal Engine at MP3.com:

• Number of David Wilcox songs currently in the Top Ten: 5

• Number of GoatSukker songs currently in the Bottom Ten: 7

• Proportion of David Wilcox songs played (38,442) vs.

GoatSukker songs played (385): roughly 100:1

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