In addition to The MollyWops — on the cover of this year's Music Issue — we've highlighted nine more up-and-coming acts in Charlotte to listen for until we come back next summer and tell you what to do all over again.
Name: Allamuto (means Wolf God)
Genre: Alternative soul / trip-hop / erotica
Beginnings: Allamuto began his music career in 2012 in Augusta, Georgia. "My music career started after I became a published poet. I entered a writing competition to get out of my senior essay. The poem that won was called 'Lies Upon a Million Eyes.' [Winning] gave me the fire of feeling what I had to say mattered to someone."
Neighborhood: The Underground. "It is not a specific location in Charlotte. It's where we developed more as artists together. From throwing raves until 10 in the morning to building with the underground hip-hop community and spreading peace through bonfires, The Underground is our place to do what we wanted."
Next gig or recording: Allamuto's debut album 'The Underground' is set for a January 2018 release.
- Blu House
Name: Blu House
Genre: Electric blues/rock/soul
Beginnings: June 2016
Members: Roscoe Leon, 25, lead vocals; Calvin Rembert, 29, lead guitar and vocals; Ricardo Portillo, 25, bass; Jeremy Dupree, 23, drums; Karlon Grant, 27, drums
Origin of the name? "Living in the South, and most of us growing up here, blues was the music that most influenced us," Leon says. "The way it has everything to do with the emotional bearing of what happens in life. We feel the blues is the perfect landscape to begin our journey together as musicians."
Rembert adds that Blu House's goal is to explore ways to reimagine blues traditions, from James Brown to Led Zeppelin. "Rock, metal, punk are all cut from the same cloth," he says. "Soul shit."
Next gig: Blu House will play the Milestone Aug. 10, promoting its debut album 'B|Side.'
Where do you see yourelf this time next year? "The plan is to get some exposure going in different cities and states while continuing to be a part of pushing the culture in the place we call home, Charlotte, N.C."
- John Starosta
Name: John Starosta
Genre: 21st Century Classical
Beginnings: Starosta completed his studies in music theory and 20th century composition in 2002 with an emphasis on serial and 12-tone music. At the same time, he studied under composer Craig Bove, a former student of new music pioneer Morton Feldman. While Bove had adopted some composition techniques from Feldman (including the idea of "slow-evolving music with recurring asymmetrical patterns"), Starosta and Bove together explored further the notion of composing in what he calls "an effortless mind state, while allowing the music to explore itself during the writing process." Continuing to exercise these philosophies, Starosta was determined to find his own voice during the years of studying under Bove, and to this day explores the many facets of sound and the thrill of organizing it into musical contexts.
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "Me and a pianist who was performing my work had a concert in Minneapolis...one person showed. Lesson in marketing."
Current project: "Ongoing composition for two mechanical pianos (unplayable by humans)." You can hear those and other works from this talented Charlotte composer at his soundcloud page: soundcloud.com/john-starosta, or watch them at starostajohn.org/video/.
- Dexter Jordan
Name: Dexter Jordan
Beginnings: Jordan has been singing since age 5, starting in the church. His music career got its jump-start when he attended the arts high school Weaver Academy in Greensboro. "I was exposed to so many things, and learned how much I enjoyed doing music. If it was not for my teachings at Weaver Academy, I am not sure if I would have decided to become an artist."
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "One time in church I had to sing early in the morning. I tried to hit this high note and cracked. It was pretty bad, because so many people were in the audience. However, it taught me what I should do to not let that ever happen again."
Next gig or record: 'ALIVE Sessions,' a collaboration with hip hop artist Yung Citizen, at Petra's July 23. Jordan 's new record, 'Hello, New Me,' a reflection on everything he has been through since his mother passed in 2016, is due soon.
Where do you see yourself this time next year? "I see myself still living in the moment, and striving to be the best I can be. I've learned not to control anything, but let the universe guide me in the right direction."
Genre: Lo-fi, post-punk
Member: Lenny Muckle
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "It was at Tommy's Pub. I had the initial concept; write the songs to completion, remove the instrument I'd be playing and the main vocal, play the tracks off of a device and fill the rest in live. At the last minute, I totally panicked and decided to revise all the songs so that I was singing and playing bass instead of guitar, which I'd never done. Zero miracles occurred there. I figured the show was terrible, but the owner memorably said it reminded him of The Pixies. Turns out DIY freedom is honestly pretty dangerous."
Next gig or recording: 'Demonstration,' out in September. And where does he see himself this time next year? "Writing or finishing planned album number three. I might have an actual band!"
Genre: Latin Future: Futuristic Afro-Caribbean beats, salsa, bossa nova, and soul
Beginnings: December 2016
Members: Singer-songwriter Joseph Samuel Quisol; percussionists Nikolas Maldonado, 23, and Michael David Gonzalez, 22; bassist Randall Davis, 24; sax man Kevin Washburn, 24. The members are diverse with Puerto Rican, Oglala Lakota, Paraguayan, Ecuadorian and Colombian roots.
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "We hosted the second episode of Queen's Collective on January 6, 2017. We had the venue secured for just that day, so when we found out it was going to snow we decided to go through with the event. Audience members danced as snow began to fall. It hardly snows in Charlotte, and when it does, everything shuts down. Not us! We actually played in the ice and everyone made it home safely."
Next gig or recording: July 29, Queen's Collective Episode 5.
- Randi Johnsoon
Name: Randi Johnsoon (she'd call herself by her real name, Randi Johnson, but someone already claimed it on Facebook.)
Genre: Folk soul / acoustic rock
Neighborhood: "The outskirts way out west near the U.S. Whitewater Center."
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "I played at a now-defunct doggy bar on 7th Street; dogs frequently sniffed me whilst I played '80s pop songs. And I cannot blame them for doing so; I have tree-like characteristics."
Next gig or recording: "My next gig will be for a 12-year-old-and-under daycare. I am in the works of recording a 4-song EP at Asylum Digital." (Meanwhile, check out Randi's soundcloud page, soundcloud.com/guitargirlcity, for her terrific lo-fi cover verions of songs by artists ranging from Janet Jackson to Peter Gabriel to Nine Inch Nails.
Name: Summer Windham
Stage Name: Sidenote
Beginnings: "Officially, in 2012, I put out my first project, a poetry tape called 'The Relationship.' Once I got more comfortable with rapping I dropped my first mixtape, 'Pass the Ketchup,' in 2014. I've always wanted to rap. I used to watch my mom rap over beats. Finally got the strength to go for my dreams no matter what people thought."
Neighborhood: "I just moved back to the Plaza Midwood area from the west side of Charlotte. I'm from Charlotte and lived in a few different areas."
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "I want to say I've been pretty fortunate not to think I've had an 'awful' gig. I guess I'll say the weirdest gig was my first gig. It was in a basement of this house that everyone called the Shaus. I performed with my collective mates Hectorina. It was weird because of the decor, but it was actually pretty awesome for my first show ever."
Next recording: "I just dropped my first album called 'MR' and had a release show with Autumn Rainwater and Ricky Rogers at the awesome LeAnna Eden's 'Sessions.' I'm currently writing again and in the studio working on a new project."
Where do you see yourself this time next year: "On tour. I see my growth reaching new heights carrying the same spirit but dipping my toes into more genres and no fear."
Beginnings: January 2016.
Members: Drummer Chaz Harris, 27, lives in Gastonia; guitarist Mike Marrero, 25, lives off of South Boulevard in Charlotte; vocalist Conrad Harvey, 26, and bassist Alex Kalicinski, 26, both call Mint Hill home.
Weirdest (or worst) gig: "It was actually a solo gig, before Trismalux," singer Harvey remembers. "Now, this is nothing against the Double Door, rest its soul, but I got booked to play a CD release of a band I won't name, and for no reason I can think of, the headliners decided to make me go on after them. So, they finished the show to a packed house. Then, everyone cleared out, I mean everyone. It was easily the worst gig I ever played. (laughs) That was in 2014."
Next gig or recording: EP will be released in late summer, beginning with a song a week starting in August.
Where do you see yourself this time next year: "The intent is to cover as much ground digitally and reach as many humans as possible," Harvey says.