This week’s Listening Party starts with the solo work of Caroline Pond, best known for her fiddle playing and singing with local all-star bluegrass/swing/novelty outfit Snake Oil Medicine Show. Not surprisingly, Pond’s solo work reveals an eclectic mix of elements, from jazz and bluegrass to pop and “psychobilly.” A frequent collaborator with Asheville-based novelty jazz act The Mad Tea Party, Pond’s solo work has a similarly infectious sense of fun to it. We suggest starting with “Dance Instead,” which you can find on her MySpace page.
Next up is Opus Grey, a fairly straightforward heavy rock group with a few surprises up their collective sleeve. For the most part, their songs tend to be thick, threatening and muddy guitar-driven works that would make for great intro music in any sporting event where people hit each other. This description seems to fit their group identity, too. “Now beware, beware the four-headed snake, poisonous and euphoric,” warns their MySpace bio, “for our names are Mystery, Madness, Groove and Grit.” But, once you get past the image, it quickly becomes obvious that Opus Grey has softer side. This is particularly true on ballad-y tracks like “Bliss,” and on Led Zep-meets-Limp Bizkit song “Sweat.” To start your Opus Grey experience, however, we suggest “Wicker Park,” which is available on the group’s MySpace page.
And lastly, we have Silver, a vaguely Christian-oriented alt-rock group which claims both Raleigh and Asheville as their hometown. While they’re not exactly blazing a new trail with their music, Silver does seem to know how to put a listenable song together. Although “The Second Coming” is probably their most revealing track, we suggest starting with “December,” which has a ‘90s college radio feel to it.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.
Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums.
— Steve Shanafelt, A&E editor