As I enter my fourth year at UNCG, I have been reflecting on the changes I have seen in the local music scene. Many excellent bands have broken up over petty drama, acts have blown up and moved away, and now it seems like everyone I know has a vaporwave or trap project on Soundcloud. Despite all of this, Greensboro has many emerging acts that continue to impress me and stand for the improvement of the scene as a whole. I have curated five musical acts around the UNCG area that are worthy of both listening to and seeing live.
The first is Blueberry, the music project of Kate Burleson and Nate Goldsmith, that has quickly risen in local prominence since the release of their self-titled EP in 2016. With the addition of Butler Knowles on bass and synthesizer, Spencer Auten on guitar and backing vocals and drum machines programmed by Nate, their sound has evolved from atmospheric indie-rock into dancey dream-pop. On Aug. 4, the band opened for Mac Demarco affiliates, Homeshake at Kings in Raleigh, where they were met with positive reception from the packed-out audience. Since then, they have played a killer house show at Butler House in the College Hill neighborhood on Aug. 25, and are set to headline Local Band Local Beer in Raleigh on the Aug. 31 at Pour House Music Hall. If you want to hear Blueberry, check out the “Blueberry EP” on their Bandcamp page.
GrayScale Whale is a jazz-fusion quartet originally from Apex, consisting of Logan Butler on guitar, Nick VanBuskirk on saxophone, Alex Hornaday on drums and Kevin Beardsley on bass. I first saw the group perform at Poe Palace in spring of 2016, where their groovy, soulful jams stole the show and got the whole audience up on their feet and dancing along. Since their foundation in 2012, Logan and Nick have both become heavily active members of the jazz community around UNCG and Tate Street Coffee House, and also play in a rock oriented band called The Quarter Roys. Recently, the band has played on July 28 at On Pop Of The World and on Aug. 4 on the patio of Cheesecakes By Alex. Upcoming shows include a stint outside Ben & Jerry’s in Chapel Hill on Sept. 1, and Nick is currently organizing a forthcoming benefit concert to raise money for hygienic products to give the local homeless. The group is currently working on a new album for next spring, but in the the meantime you should check out “Beyond Aphelion” and “Belly of the Whale” on Bandcamp.
There is also SIIDS, the solo project of Sid Pennix, one of the brains behind the popular house venue, Poe Palace. When I first met Sid, he was sitting on his couch looping samples and synths on a touchpad, creating trippy melodies in a matter of seconds. Since then, he has rounded out his live sets by adding vocals and a few analog and vintage ‘80s synths, creating warm, luscious textures to complement his laid back grooves. From Sept. 8-16, SIIDS will be touring the East Coast with the Midi Boys collective, making stops in Wilmington, Greenville, Queens, Philadelphia and Atlanta, as well as a show at New York Pizza on Sept. 10. His newest project, “Love/Lust” dropped on Sunday, and be sure to check out his single, “Cut It Off,” released through The Greensboro Collective.
The fourth is Saphron; despite only living in Greensboro for a year now, Zoe Anastasia has quickly made a name for herself in the local scene. Zoe studies bass in the jazz department and fronts Saphron, an offshoot of her previous band Hectic January.
Saphron is an interesting beast to describe; the lineup of backing musicians is constantly changing, and her writing bends genres left and right from punk to dance to sad acoustic vis-a-vis Elliott Smith. These mysterious aspects keep every show fresh and filled with surprises, and allows her to experiment with her songs and explore them to their core. Recently, Saphron opened for Blueberry at Butler House on Friday and will play WUAG on Aug. 30, as well as On Pop Of The World on Sept. 30. She will be releasing a new project within the next few months, but in the meantime, you should check out her tracks “E-Cigs” and “Chelsea” on her Soundcloud page.
The last local artist you should check out is Jackson Honeycutt. Even though he is currently taking a semester off from UNCG, Jackson Honeycutt has made the effort to maintain his local presence around Greensboro. Recently, he has traveled back and forth from Garner to play both Radio Greensboro on Aug. 20 and Grime House this past Saturday. His music can be described as a laidback blend of indie rock and folk, and he cites Neutral Milk Hotel and Mac Demarco as some of his biggest influences. Jackson’s next show in Greensboro will be Sept. 30 at On Pop Of The World. His most popular song to date, “Talk 2 U,” has garnered a few thousand listens on the internet, and his 2015 album, “Dog Ears And Twilight Hours,” caught the attention of a few blogs and Raleigh’s News and Observer. Most of Jackson’s work can be found on Spotify, Bandcamp or Soundcloud.
Take some time out to support the Greensboro music scene by going to a few upcoming acts by these emerging artists.