10 to Spin | Gross Ghost

As a music blogger, it’s a bit tough to admit this – the reason I picked up Gross Ghost’s new LP, Brer Rabbit, is it has a really pretty cover. There. My soul is now free. Luckily, my post-purchase experience with it was even more pleasurable, even beyond the clear vinyl that the awesomely-designed sleeve housed.

As the record unfurled, it proved itself to be one of those albums that surprises the shit out of you. Tromping between traces of early garage-pop and the indie goodness that most of us aging music junkies fell in love with in the latter part of the previous century, Mike Dillon and Tre Acklen put together an album that is framed in past-reference, but doesn’t spend a second trying to replicate it.

Simply put – it’s the best album to come out of the Triangle this year. No, screw that, it’s the best album to come out of North Carolina so far this year. So, get to know them via their 10 to Spin, curated by Mike, then go here to listen/buy Brer Rabbit. We’ll even offer up one of those rare, SIC money back guarantees if your fancy has been tickled by the words above. 

The North Carolina Music Scene Playlist

Growing up on the Outer Banks in the early ’90s, the mythology surrounding the Triangle’s rich music scene was certainly one of the motivating factors for me to move a few hours inland when my high school years were up. A decade later, and I’m still here, partly because of the essential friendships I’ve made and just as well for the great bands these friends happen to play in. When your favorite pastime is music, why would you want to leave when the best stuff around is in your backyard? These are ten (out of many) examples of what I think is keeping the NC music scene mighty healthy. No nationals (yet) on this list!  

1 Schooner – My Friend’s Band

Reid Johnson has written at least thirty new songs since this gem, but I figured it was a fitting kickoff to a hometown mix. Seeing all the growth, experiments, and left turns that bands take after you’ve attended so many of their shows is one thing that makes living around here so great. Schooner are no different. Every time I see them, there is some captivating element I’d never noticed before. It’s wonderful.

2 AirStrip – Magician’s Assistant

This band is made up of four of the best guys around these parts (including Nick Petersen, owner of Track & Field Studios, who recorded our album and a couple of the songs on this list), and I find myself routinely envious of how much fun they probably have hanging out in between songs. Helmed by Mr. Matt Park, a guy who shares my eccentricities but unlike me, has never written a bad song. To my knowledge, at least!

3 Cocoon – Moth Inside My Ear 

Josh Pope has amassed an acumen for production that is astounding for any band I’ve met around town. He has gone towards a darker, more electronic based sound the longer I’ve known him. It suits him well. Through his various projects, he has a hefty back catalog that needs to be heard. Get it while you can.

4 Naked Gods – Popsicle Swamp

These guys aren’t from the Triangle; they are from Boone, actually. Still, they come down from the mountain(s) every now and then to remind us that they are fucking awesome.

5 The Toddlers – You Can Keep The Wheels

This song is the most recent in The Toddlers repertoire and I like where they’re going. I like this song mostly for the storytelling element. I’m also a sucker for new wave keyboards…

6 BoyKiller – Double Feature

These girls are schizophrenic in sound, which makes for a compelling live show, but this song in particular has so many great things happening in it. The harmonies, the percussion, the chord changes. The chorus is subtle and yet very moving. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next.

7 Jenny Bezetst – Teenage Lions 

One of the things I love about living around here is that the people you interact with everyday play in bands and sometimes you don’t know ’til you’ve hung out with them on various occasions. Then you hear said friend’s band and you are like, “Ohhhh. It’s like THAT.” Insert Jenny Besetzt.

8 Lilac Shadows – BloodWorth

We played a show with them once, and their attention to tone and detail made us look like Bebe’s Kids. I’m sure we practice one day a month more thanks to that show. Seriously though, Sam Logan and Co. are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and the whole DiggUp Tapes crew are doing it right!

9 Midnight Plus One – Over Come Over

My boss JB, veteran of many renowned NC bands, started Midnight Plus One recently. He understands and sometimes encourages (!) taking off work to play shows. If you are ever in Carrboro, come into Bowbarr. You’ll see most of the people on this list in there, and the drinks are divine.

10 Wesley Wolfe – It’s Good When You’re Here

Wesley Wolfe has been making great songs around here for a while. He’s also been getting recognition for making lathe cut records through his Tangible Formats imprint. Check it out.

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