Chapel Hill has long been known for its indie rock scene-from Mammoth to Merge Records, to the multitude of noises pulsating within a given hole in the wall, dimly lit alleyway, or down some ominous stairwell on any night of the week. However, a very particular sound floated towards the top of the community’s musical melting pot this year, and it involved deep, rhythmic bass, glistening guitar, emotive keyboards, and some of the most energetic drumming around.
Andrew Rooney’s stage persona “Apollo” and his out-of-this-world “Celestial Starship Band” threw a wrench into the plaid shirts, snap buttons, and tight denim world of Chapel Hill/Carrboro with inventive hip hop backed by funkified, soulful jams that can’t be heard outside of the Triad’s “Solos Unit”, the undisputed local masters fusion hip hop.
From a sold out CD release show at Local 506 with fellow Vinyl Records’ labelmates Lafcadio and Lake Inferior, to nearly every on-campus concert and outdoor festival he could get his hands on, Apollo proved himself a trusted source for socially conscious, local hip hop that kicks out the jams and maintains a party vibe to the nth degree.
Though Apollo can be expected to still make face around Chapel Hill next year, his life leads him a bit east, into the heart of downtown Durham as an up-and-coming high school math teacher. There’s no doubt Apollo and producer Proper-T will continue their musical pursuits, but it does mean he will be parting ways with Chapel Hill-based Vinyl Records UNC, once again finding himself as another face in the vast sea of self-releasing and promoting hip hop artists. What are his distinguishing characteristics? A solid sophomore release, “The Architect,” available at his myspace for only eight bucks, and some incredible familiarity with the local music scene and many of its avid supporters–not to mention he’s a soon-to-be UNC graduate with friends, family, and a university-based swath of supporters to back him up whenever he desires a return to the lime light.
So long, Apollo, and we wish you the best of luck. We can’t wait to stroll down 9th Street and hear “Spittin’ Rhymes” blaring out of Shooters. And for our readers, download these free tunes, including the second single from “The Architect,” “Crusin’” as well as a live version of his anti-Asher Roth “College Life.”
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Want to work for Vinyl Records UNC?
Drop by one of our two interest meeting opportunities today in the Union Cabaret at either 3pm or 6pm. And don’t worry about it being a Monday, or April 20th…we’ve got enough food and excitement to get your butter churning!
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Look forward to meeting you all!
Hey vinylites! I hope everyone’s spring break was full and fun. I wanted to share a story with you that I still almost don’t believe myself.
I’m studying abroad in Montpellier, France right now, and a friend of mine from Columbia University named Richard interviewed the members of Fall Out Boy for a local radio station, not 3 days ago. Fall Out Boy have been touring Europe, and soon Japan, on their “Believers Never Die” tour, which coincidentally is coming to the US in April (Charlotte on the 24th, OMG! that’s in NC!)
Richard was approached by an old French man with sunglasses and sandals on the sidewalk one day, who was thrilled to find out he was an American because he had been trawling the streets of Montpellier all day trying to find an American student to go backstage at the Fall Out Boy concert and interview them for the radio station. It couldn’t have worked out better that he found Richard, who is one of the most impulsive and interesting people I have ever met. Naturally I assumed the stage was set for some fake-punk embarrassing air-wave slaughter.
Richard started off by kissing them all on the cheek (called “bises” in french) then asking them about their music and their tour. From their they launched into a discussion of the Prison Industry Complex, the economic crisis, and the differences between Anarcho-Syndicalism and Anarcho-Primitivism, (for those of you who, like me, were dumber than Fall Out Boy, Anarcho-Primitivism is a philosophical and political movement that views the shift from a hunter-gatherer to an agrarian lifestyle as the cause of society’s current problems and advocates a reversion to a “pre-civilization” paradigm, whereas Anarcho-Syndicalism is associated with a movement of labor unions that will ultimately shift power from the Capitalism system to a more self-governed one.)
I don’t mean to suggest that simply being familiar with some edgy ideas makes a band cool or better, but the fact that Richard and I had both written them off as typical pop-star-MTV-pandering-sellouts is telling.
The music industry does tend to create boring prototypes for popular groups to fit into, to assure record sales and associated merchandise revenue, but artists are artists, and it turns out that they often have something interesting to teach you. So take the time to talk to the local, home-grown talent, they may surprise you and in the process you can discover the rich and diverse music scene we are blessed with at UNC.
The moral of the story is this: artists are much more than just the sum of their musical parts Look at it this way, if Fall Out Boy have something interesting to say, imagine how hip and riveting the non-industry-lap-dog musicians in your own back yard must be!
The votes have been tallied, and Vinyl Records is proud to welcome our newest recording artist:
With over 38 percent of the vote, Colby is the winner of Vinyl Record’s February Face-Off 2009. Many thanks to the 2092 UNC students that voted. More than that, thank you to Eric DiMarzio, It Is Rain In My Face, Jacquelyn Lee, and the Hugeunots for making the Face-Off itself such a great time. Future musical success for those acts would not be surprising at all.
Look back here soon for more on Colby, as well as the usual coverage of Apollo, Lafcadio, and Lake Inferior. While most news has been about the Face-Off lately, our other acts haven’t exactly been sitting back.
Again, congratulations Colby! We’re all excited to make you a part of Vinyl Records.
In less than 24 hours it will happen…the big moment you’ve been waiting for…the event of your lifetime….the night you’ll tell your grandchildren about…it’s the VINYL RECORDS FEBRUARY FACE-OFF.
Colby Ramsay, Jacquelyn Lee, The Huguenots, Eric DiMarzio, and It is Rain in My
Face all compete to become a member of the Vinyl label. Who could make such a difficult decision? You. That’s right, voters from around Chapel Hill, around the state, around the country, and around the world will be sitting anxiously by their computers, casting their votes. Reports come from Beijing, from Baltimore, and from Arizona that the voting frenzy is likely to be beyond any predicted scale. With all of this in mind, IF you are reading this, and IF you are in the Chapel Hill area–how could you not attend?
If those artists aren’t enough, then come for the DJ’s before and between sets, or come for your friends, or come so you have a free place to take your date! Beginning at 8:00 at Garrard Hall (near Memorial Hall), the face-off is not to be missed. If you’ve checked out the artists myspace, and like their songs–come hear it live! If you’ve
checked out the artists myspace, and don’t like their songs–come hear it live!
There is simply no better way to spend your friday evening, and so I look forward to seeing you there.
Taking a break from our coverage of the upcoming February Face-Off, we must remind everyone of a great night of music happening on Saturday. Our very own Lafcadio will be opening for The Whiskey Smugglers for the late show at the Cave, but not before a fantastic band from Asheville named Buffalo takes the stage for the early show.
If you like folk music, standup bass, loud banjo, and maybe some spoons or dobro if they feel inclined, this is the band for you. After Buffalo are done with their set, have a drink or two and wait for this ball of gorgeous to take the stage:
Buffalo plays at 7:30, Lafcadio at 9:30. All times approximate and subject to change.
“It is Rain in My Face” consists of one man, Matt Jones. This “jungle/emotronic/visual” artist uses a wide range of instruments and effects to create a haunting and enrapturing sound. Inspired by The Legend Of Zelda, Star Wars, and Tim Allen, “It is Rain in My Face” is built of home-made loops and vocals, as is clearly audible in “underdoggy”. From the myspace (myspace.com/itisraininmyface), “Quarter Out Malone” is my personal favorite–so what’s yours? Listen long enough, and you too may find some hint of The Ruby Suns or maybe even Band of Horses…but to really get a better taste of the rain in your face, there’s Friday nights showcase!
In preperation for Friday’s showcase, I’ll be posting a biography/description of each artist that will be performing. Since I know you’ll already be coming out Friday, why not keep yourself hip and find something out about these artists beforehand?
Colby Ramsay is 7/16ths Jamaican, and otherwise very much Canadian. Heavily influenced by other Canadian artists, Ramsay has a self-described U.A.M. sound (that’s Unhibited-Animal-Magicality), and Ramsay performs it with his voice, piano, guitar, and bass. His music is certainly worth checking out on his Myspace, myspace.com/colbyramsay. If you’re short on time can only listen to two songs, I recommend “Lost” and “So Incredibly Small”-the contrast between the smooth groove of “Lost” and acoustic strumming/vocals of “So Incredibly Small” offers a good range of Ramsay’s musicianship–and are solid tracks as well!
If you’re in Chapel Hill today, make sure to pick up a copy of the Daily Tar Heel. Jordan Lawrence, the DTH’s Assistant Arts Editor, provides a review of the Vinyl Records CD Release show at Local 506 last week. Lawrence seemed to enjoy things – he says that he’d never seen a crowd have that much fun at Local 506, and the worst thing he writes is that Apollo sounded too much like Jay-Z. At this stage, we’ll take Jay-Z.
If you won’t be able to grab a paper, the review is online here.
The Daily Tar Heel blog also had a recent post about the CD release, complete with photos by Sarah Acuff.
Thanks to Lawrence and everyone at the DTH and Dive for their coverage.