Random acts

Of note

New Dawn for Daylight Dies: Regional metal band Daylight Dies is nearly finished with its new record, No Reply. Expect it to hit stores in October. The group signed with Relapse Records earlier this year. For more information, visit www.daylight-dies.com.

NDS throws in the towel: It seems that Asheville’s would-be rock stars New Dark Science have called it quits, at least for the time being. Fans of the short-lived group need not despair, however, as guitarist John Cogburn has recently announced plans to release a full-length solo album later this year. For more information about NDS and John Cogburn, visit hometown.aol.com/newdarkscience/myhomepage/index.html.

Front-row reviews

Who: The Black Lips

Where: Chicken Alley

When: Saturday, June 22

I can’t tell you much about where I saw The Black Lips except to say it was a private show/quasi-house party somewhere on the dead-end downtown street known to those who live there as Chicken Alley.

It’s not a particularly scary place — at least not as back alleys go — and the late-night, pre-show barbeque hosted by the band and its promoters did quite a lot to make the place more cozy.

A variety of people had described this group as utterly insane, promising that the local show would be one for the history books. The band was said to be filled with a reckless youthful energy, and their stage show was touted as second only to that of Iggy and The Stooges in their prime.

During one of the band’s most recent shows, I was told, members had, quite literally, set each other aflame with lighter fluid. Another person mentioned that, at their last Asheville performance, the guitarist had performed a none-too-subtle solo with a certain naughty bit of his anatomy.

The June 22 show wasn’t bad. It didn’t really live up to the hype, but it did have a certain charm all its own. No one was set on fire, and, to my disappointment, I didn’t see a single reproductive organ used to play an instrument, but it was still fun. The four members played with a truly raw energy that successfully overshadowed the fact that their vaguely surf-rock-sounding music was little more than an excuse to jump off things or ram into each other. Some of their more-memorable songs were their amped-up covers of “These Boots are Made for Walking” and “Gloria.”

Even without non-stop madcap antics, the show was well worth a short jaunt into the dimly lit heart of downtown Asheville.

Local vocals

“I’m young, I’m a woman, I like dissonance and shyness,” offers up-and-coming local acoustic performer Brianna Lane. “I’d like to think that I carry a different stage presence than most folkies in town,” she explains. “I know that there will be people out there who will like my music and others who won’t. I want to entertain and mesmerize.”

Lane has been performing as an acoustic singer/songwriter for almost four years, but since her arrival in Asheville, she seems to have blossomed. Coming to a town with such a supportive live-music community has allowed her to become more than just another face with a guitar at an open-mic.

“I discovered songwriting at the age of 16 and at first I used it as an outlet for teenage growing pains,” says Lane. “I began treating [it] more as an art and something that I wanted to get good at. I wanted to sing more than camp songs and folk covers. Solo acoustic music just seemed to be a natural progression at that point in my life.”

Lane first moved to the area to attend Warren Wilson College, but she’s stayed around, at least in part, because of the acoustic-music community. It was through this network that Lane met Chris Rosser, who has since produced her first solo album, on rooftops, due out this fall.

For Lane, working on her new album has been quite a learning experience.

“Chris is always in a calm and welcoming state,” she says, “while I’m usually half in wonder and half in nervousness. It’s always great! Working with a performer and producer as good as him has really improved my playing and my understanding of music has grown.”

Even with such a good support network around her, however, Lane is still a little worried about the future.

“There’s a lot of pressure for a good CD-release party,” she says.

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