There’s a certain amount of intimacy in listening to local bands that fails to transition into mainstream music. Not only do you live in a fifty-mile radius of this person but there’s this barrier removed between artist and audience. There is no fame or ego involved; just the music and how it makes you feel. If you vibe with their sound, no barrage of body guards is there to stop you from walking up and saying “Hey, I really liked your set.” Which sounds better than piling into a group of people after the concert who have their phones out trying to get a grainy picture they’ll post on all their social media accounts, maybe that’s just me.
Greensboro has its fair share of local bands, varying in style. From rock ‘n roll to experimental, we have it all. Totally Slow, a band of the punk rock variety is one of them. A group of four lifelong friends Scott Hicks, Andy Foster, Greg Monroy and Chuck Johnson. Do not get fooled by the name, be fully prepared to receive a most pleasant shotgun blast to the eardrum. When they come on you can’t help but head-bang just a little. Their gritty in-your face sound is invigorating and the voice in the back of your head is telling you to have a good time. The tone they set harkens back to the Clash or early Green Day. Since their formation in 2012 they’ve released two albums the latest being “Bleed Out”, which was released back in September. Each song has a unique raw feeling that hits the right spot every time. “Idol Hands” is the second song off their new album that gets the blood pumping. It will make an ordinary day ten times louder, which in my experience is never a bad thing.
Now we come to Ameriglow, an alternative band comprised of Doug Pug, Yakob Darden and Kelly Tahey. They released their first album in 2013, “Anti-Americana: Speaking to the Unconscious Mind of the Southwest.” This past February they released an EP with a shorter but no less cryptic title “The Guthrie Deathbed Roll.” Each of the three tracks has a smooth and subtle tone that lulls you into a trance until you realize the song is over. It has the heart of folk songs from 1960’s Greenwich Village scene, but with a modern synthesizer update. The third song “Glitter Zephyr” stood out to me the most, the echoing lyrics and lone guitar blend to bring this almost haunting final song. For those of you free this upcoming December 6, they will be performing at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room.
This next artist has sounds that are not as simply defined or conventional as others. Ever find cicadas humming during a summer night enchanting? Knives of Spain uses them as a part of her inter fusion of instruments in “Top of the Stairs”. Knives of Spain is 21st century trobairitz music, in this experimental style you never know what to expect from song to song, the variety is endless and your expectations will always be met. Behind it all is Gwen Young who started her work as Knives of Spain in 2010. In October she released her second LP “Telluric” in which each song is a journey to the next. It holds a mystical gravitas that relays a fresh feeling of serenity and peace. In “Jealous Cannibal” one of the more synthesizer heavy songs there is still a soothing rhythm that’s hard to get out of your system. She recently performed at WUAG Presents back in October.
Keep an eye out at local venues for some of these guys or go check out their websites and give them a listen.