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Rock & Roll Call

The Best of Charlotte's Original Music Scene

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It's impossible, of course, to ever be truly comprehensive when compiling a list of local artists, no matter the medium.

That sentiment's especially true when it comes to music. Some artists may have broken up their band or recently left town, and some bands may be just getting started. And then you have the bedroom geniuses, content to simply share their talents with the curtains and cabinetry.

As such, this list is not truly comprehensive -- but it is, we think, pretty damn close. It's not a list of our favorite bands, though many are assuredly on here, too. It's more of a look at what we see as the best of a Charlotte original music scene that is more vibrant and healthy than at perhaps any time in our history -- no matter which style of music you may prefer (as someone once said, "labels are for suckers"). However, we did try to fit bands into the pre-established categories we felt they fit best, for convenience's sake.

In short, we think it's time for our hard-working Charlotte bands, duos, and independent musicians to stand up and be counted. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: Creative Loafing's Rock & Roll Call. Go see "em. Go support them. And whatever you do, try not to get counted absent.

Jazz
Featured artist: Ron Brendle

Ron Brendle, a freelance bassist in the Charlotte area since 1981, has won more Creative Loafing "Best-of" awards over the last 20 years than most anybody not named Lupie Duran. His performance/recording vitae includes stints with Nneena Freelon, Clark Terry, Charlie Byrd, Andrew Hill, Charlie Rouse, and Mose Allison. Ron's latest project is the Lost Dogs, a combination of two saxophones, drums, and bass (the group recently performed at the Hampton Jazz Festival). (www.ronbrendle.com)

Don't Forget:

The Chad Lawson Trio, currently on the Arizona-based Summit Records (www.chadlawson.com)... Jaime Ibarra, formerly of De Madera and a top-notch flamenco guitarist (www.jaimei barra.com)... Scott McCloud and Hipshack, longtime Charlotte vets and jazz/funk-practioners (www.hipshack.com)... Jim Brock, champion session man and world-class percussionist (www.jimbrock.net)... A Sign of the Times Big Band, a rolling history of black popular music...Beth Chorneau, Charlotte's jazz vocalist extraordinaire... Celine Berman and Jazztrack, supper-club jazz (www.jazztrack.com)

Punk/Hardcore
Featured Artist: My So-Called Band

If there was a local music Hall of Fame, Chris Peigler would get in for time served. Peigler's been promoting shows, flyering, writing for magazines, putting together benefits, and attempting to consolidate Charlotte's punk and hardcore scene for years now. To boot, his (so-called) band has received nationwide acclaim for its meat-and-potatoes, old-school take on conscious punk. (www.mysocalledband.com)

Don't Forget:

The hardcore metallic maelstrom of Choke Their Rivers With Our Dead (www.choketheirrivers.com)... The Hungry Ghosts, riff-heavy political stomp... Drat, all-star old-school Charlotte boot rock (www.dratusa.com)... The Bad Samanthas, Pixie-fied Southern punk... Ten Missing Days, youth-fueled wall of noise dynamics (www.tenmissingdays.com)... Antiseen, the once and future kings of Charlotte punk and perhaps the most internationally famous band in Charlotte history (www.antiseen.com)... Minority Party, Rancid-style rave-up... Hopesfall, hard-touring Trustkill records stars (www.hopesfall.com)... Aria, metal-influenced hardcore (www.tribunalrecords .com)... A Closing Skyline, atmospheric aggro (www.aclosingskyline .com)... Seneca, melodic NC hardcore... Hell or High Water, Southern hardcore... Walsham, metal-flaked hardcore with an emo streak... Babyshaker, dirty glam boys (and girls)

Heavy Rock/Metal
Featured Artist: Gideon Smith and the Dixie Damned

Signed to the super-cool Detroit-based dirge rock label Small Stone (Dixie Witch, Throttlerod), Charlotte music scene veteran Gideon Smith seems to have hit his stride with the Dixie Damned, his best project yet. The band's Southern Gentlemen proved where there's (pot) smoke, there's fire, and no less a pop culture phenomenon than HBO's Sopranos recently used one of the band's songs in a scene ("Draggin' The River"). (www.smallstone.com)

Don't Forget:

Sever the Tie, brutal hardcore-influenced riffology... The Dead Kings, Dirty South punk metal (www.thedeadkings.com)... Horse Thief, calculus-level math rock... Black Lagoon, ethereal swamp dirge (www.theblacklagoon.com)... Semi-Pro, purveyors of self-described "sonic rock" (www.semi-pro.com)... Oh What a Nightmare, The Avett Brothers' hard rock project (www.theavettbrothers.com/owan/)... Elevator Action, energetic punk-tinged glamour rock (www.morisen.com) ...Murdercycle, bloodthirsty riff rock (www.murdercycle.us)

Indie Rock
Featured Artist: The Talk

Equal parts 70s punk, 60s pop, and late 80s indie, The Talk are following up their last one, No, You Shut Up with a new release, It's Like Magic In Reverse, which is due out later this month. Produced by Saddle Creek knob-twiddler Mike Mogus (Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Faint), the record is picking up airplay daily, and for good reason -- these guys pack more rock into one song than some people do on entire albums. (www.the-talk.com)

Don't Forget:

Pyramid, an eight-man sonic collective (www.sidewalkexplosion.com)... The Sea of Cortez, Rodney Lanier's equally large Spaghetti-O western band... The Houston Brothers, brazen emotional atmospherics (www.thehoustonbrothers.com)... The Sammies, energetic post-punk rave-up (www.sammiesrock.com)... Bellglide, Mitch Easter-produced and shoe-gaze friendly (www.bellglide.com)... Bullship, anti-formula math rock (www.bullship.com)... The Interstellars, space rock -- the final frontier (www.theinterstellars.com)... The Virginia Reel, low-fi indie comers (www.thevirginiareel.com)... The Gold Coast, a new songwriting project manned by ex-First Night on Earth drummer Vance Carlisle... Ashley Robinson, recently signed to Liquilab Records (www.ashleyrobinson.com)

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