Moogfest 2019

Moogfest 2019

Moogfest is returning to Durham, NC, April 25-28, and as usual it’s pulling on patch cables from an eclectic mix of genres. Pedal Fuzz has a handful of highlights below, and you can see the full lineup for daytime and nighttime shows, the schedule for workshops and talks, and you can grab your tickets while they last right here.

Thomas Dolby. Courtesy: Moogfest

Thomas Dolby. Courtesy: Moogfest

  • Inventor, composer and 2012 Moog Innovation Award winner Thomas Dolby is joining the lineup for three rare appearances, including a live performance and a two-way interview with Buzzfeed News Sr. Investigative Reporter and 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason Leopold. Dolby and Leopold will converse on their shared passion of truth seeking among creative topics.

Kimbra. Courtesy: Moogfest

Kimbra. Courtesy: Moogfest

  • Daniel Miller, founder of seminal synth-pop and industrial label Mute Records, is joining for both a conversation and a modular live set;

  • Tim Hecker will participate in a conversation about his most recent record which incorporates Japanese gagaku music and joined by The Koyoko Ensemble for a nighttime performance;

  • Craig Leon will hold a joint conversation with William Basinski, who will lead the Sleep Concert and perform an additional live set including songs from his acclaimed new album;

  • GAS and the founder of Kompakt records, will share his philosophies behind his seminal project and perform at nighttime;

  • Renowned for his work at the intersection of visual art and live performance, techno artist Max Cooper will hold a lecture on integrating these concepts into the new A/V project he’s performing at Moogfest and perform an afternoon spatial set.

  • Meyer Sound Laboratories will provide Spatial Sound to The Armory, Fruit Co., the Carolina Theatre, and 21c in collaboration with Virginia Tech (ICAT). Afternoon spatial sets by Jim Lang, Patrick Gleeson and nighttime with Matthew Dear (live), The Field, Kimbra, Jlin, Stephan Bodzin, and Mount Kimbie (DJ set).

  • 21c’s Main Gallery will use a six-channel system to enable an immersive sound experience for durational performances by A Place to Bury Strangers, Richard Devine, and Greg Fox.

  • The Fruit Co. will include a quad system to provide new spatial opportunities for DJ sets by Daniel Miller, Matthew Dear, nd_baumecker, Mor Elian, Bergsonist, Ouri, Minimal Violence, Brooklyn English, and the afterparty with The Floor.

  • Moogfest is also excited to welcome Ash Bowie of Polvo and Helium fame, who will perform a very special set with a band of his friends and close associates.

  • Sound designer Richard Devine will explore synth design with renowned author of modular synthesis techniques Kim Bjørn and various instrument designers.

  • Kim Bjørn will teach workshops on modular synth patching techniques at the festival.

  • Kimbra will discuss her creative process, her career, and her production work.

  • Mount Kimbie’s Kai Campos will be in conversation about the contrasting expressions between a live set and DJ work.

  • U.S. Girls is joining during the daytime and for a nighttime performance and Eli Kezsler will also be performing at night.

2018 Pedal Fuzz Favorites

2018 Pedal Fuzz Favorites

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Contributors from Pedal Fuzz have weighed in on their favorite albums of 2018. there was (thankfully) no shortage of excellent music released this year. We hope you give these artists a listen, a share, and maybe even smash that ‘buy’ button on Bandcamp or at the counter of your local record store.

***note***these are listed in order they were sent to the editor

Dustin K. Britt




Janelle Monae,  DIRTY COMPUTER


Florence + The Machine, HIGH AS HOPE

Gorillaz, THE NOW NOW


Mary Lattimore, HUNDREDS OF DAYS

Neko Case, HELL-ON

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, YEARS

Troye Sivan, BLOOM

Jon Foster

The Nels Cline 4 – Currents, Constellations – Nels Cline is one of those figures that’s always been on my peripheral. His name has floated around progressive independent music for decades. His association with Wilco didn’t cause me to go through his discography. This record just popped up this year, a little promotion from a devotee helped a lot. Seeing him play at Big Ears this past year solidified my interest.

 Currents, Constellations is fascinating, the interplay between Nels and technical wizard Julian Lage keeps pushing the music forward, sometimes noisy and sometimes jazz freak-out. It’s a perfect gateway record, not all the way jazz and not all the way progressive rock. After listening to the record for a few weeks I ordered the last two Lage records and a couple Cline ones. Julian Lage’s Modern Lore is also on my best of 2018 list.


Similar Fashion – Portrait Of – I don’t know anything about this band. I don’t know where they come from. I have no context other than a simple post from the producer, John Dietrich of Deerhoof fame. Just that last bit of information caused me to click on the link, a task any music fan can do dozens of times in a day when the music is in front of you all the time. Another Bandcamp link, nah…I’ll pass.

 Thankfully I clicked on the link and heard a record I immediately loved. It was energetic and progressive, a little silly even. How many records reference the TV show, Scandal? One thread going through the record is this quasi-Raymond Scott feel. He’s the guy who wrote a lot of music for Looney Toons, and I love him. Imagine Bugs Bunny chasing Foghorn Leghorn through a forest while a small group of music majors raised on jazz and rock and roll score it. The best songs on the record are full of exuberance and sugared up energy.


Oh Sees –  Smote Reverser

Oh Sees – Smote Reverser

Oh Sees – Smote Reverser – Oh Sees have a lot of records. They might have too many records. Because they have so many records it becomes difficult to get excited about a new one. Although I listen to all of their new records I don’t buy them automatically. I feel like I need to sample them. Recently they’ve been going through this tour of the outer fringes of rock and roll subgenres. You know, last year’s record was the folk record with psychedelic touches. They’ve done the garage record with psychedelic touches. Smote Reverser is their early 70’s hard rock record with psychedelic touches.

 When trying to describe the record, I feel like I have nothing positive to say about it. At the core there’s the usual really loud Dwyer leads over the top of everything. You know they’re coming, they’re always there, it should be an annoying cliché but they sound so good. His tone is delicious. Mix in dueling drums and an interest in letting songs unfold for no particular reason, and it’s a record to fall into.

Palberta – Roach Goin’ Down – This is a punk record. It’s ragged and personal and it feels like it could fall apart at any moment. Sometimes I think the musicians are superb players, while on other songs I feel like it’s the first day of them playing their instruments. The songs are short blasts of postpunk joy that could have been made in 1980.

 While I’m enthralled with this record, and enjoyed them immensely when I saw them live in Raleigh, I worry about them. I worry that this perfect moment will be ruined if they become a little more adept at their instruments. Taking away some of the passion in their playing might neuter their effectiveness. A better scenario might be for them to break up and move onto other things leaving this batch of songs as their only work.

 New Optimism – Amazon to LeFrak – New Optimism is basically Miho Hatori, most notably of Cibo Matto fame. It was a record I didn’t know existed until I started down a random google search hole. It was one of those days where think to yourself, “Oh, I wonder what they’re doing” and then six hours have past. Not setting out to find new music by her and then there it is, was like a wonderful present. Unfortunately it’s only an EP. Unfortunately I haven’t heard anyone talk about the record at all. It came out in July and I worry it’s already buried under mounds of other new releases. Googling Hatori again I realize she has produced a full length record I didn’t know anything about. This last surprise was released in October.

 The music on Amazon to LeFrak is right in line with her work in Cibo Matto and her painfully underrated Ecdysis from 2005. The music is colorful and dancey, vibrant and a little quirky. I hope this flurry of creative continues into the New Year.

Eddie Garcia

In 2018 I listened to and focused on music from films as much or more than straight-up albums. Here are my favorites, they’re all magnificent and worthy of your time.

Hereditary  - Colin Stetson

Hereditary - Colin Stetson

Favorite Film Scores & Soundtracks

Hereditary - Colin Stetson

Mandy - Jóhann Jóhannsson

Suspiria - Thom Yorke

Black Panther - Kendrick Lamar

You Were Never Really Here - Johnny Greenwood

A Star Is Born - Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper

Vox Lux - Sia / Scott Walker

Revenge - ROB

Kin - Mogwai

Thoroughbreds - Erik Friedlander

Eighth Grade - Anna Meredith

42 Grams - Takénobu

*Honorable mention* Halloween (2018) - John Carpenter. I mean, it was great to hear The Theme loud & revved up/industrialized in a theatre, but not really doing much new here if I’m being honest. Love to John Carpenter forever though!

Favorite Albums

There was much that I ‘liked’ this year in music but less that I ‘loved’ (gonna blame that partially on a shortage of deep listening time). I also had a few instances where live greatly outweighed the record, no matter how much I tried to listen. So rather than list out 40 albums, here are the ones that really affected me, so much so that I even have physical copies of 90% of these.

Sons of Kemet -  Your Queen Is A Reptile

Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile

Sons of Kemet - Your Queen Is A Reptile

Bill Frisell - Music Is

Ohmme - Parts

The Nels Cline 4 - Currents, Constellations

The Messthetics - s/t

Mary Lattimore - Hundreds of Days - Meg Baird & Mary Lattimore - Ghost Forests

Dark Prophet Tongueless Monk - Insides

Yo La Tengo - There’s A Riot Going On

Shane Parish - Child Asleep In The Rain

Yonatan Gat -  Universalists

Yonatan Gat - Universalists

Low - Double Negative

Marisa Anderson - Cloud Corner

Mind Over Mirrors - Bellowing Sun

Renata Zeiguer - Old Ghost

The Sea And Cake - Any Day

Oh Sees - Smote Reverser

Yonatan Gat - Universalists

Julian Lage - Modern Lore

***I just picked up The Hex by Richard Swift and Mattson 2 Play ‘A Love Supreme’ but as they haven’t gotten a full spin yet I can’t include but they sound mighty fine so far.

Favorite Pop Song

Kimbra - “Top Of the World”

*I don’t really listen to much modern pop music but this song slays and instantly appealed to me the first time I heard it.

Patrick Wall’s Top Ten

Knee Meets Jerk, or: In Which a Semiretired Music Critic and Journalist Offers Brief, Non-Critical and Non-Sequitur Thoughts on His Favorite Music of 2018. Because, Hey, Music Is Personal and Subjective, Right?

*Results listed in alphabetical order and subject to change.

Bad years look better when they’re gone.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt more unstable — professionally, personally, psychologically — in my life than I did in 2018. In the past eighteen months, I've moved twice — from a new home to an old home to very, very far away from home. I bounced from a solid if unexciting job to no job to high-paying but infrequent freelance jobs to steady and cool but low-paying jobs to a high-paying but stressful and wholly unfulfilling job. Commutes went from long car rides to long bike rides and long walks to long train and subway rides. As summer faded to fall and turned to bitter winter, the world just felt increasingly, incontrovertibly, ineffably doomed. New homes didn’t feel as such. Old ones seemed gone, unable to be returned to — no man, Heraclitus mused, can step twice in the same stream.

If things were roiling internally, they weren’t any better externally. The planet is doomed. The authoritarians won. The world got colder. Some of my friends got cancer. Some of them, their cancers came back. Some of my friends got sad. Some of them came to the brink of death. Some of them got help, got better. Some of them didn’t make it through the year, taken either by illness or by their own hands, their voices now silhouettes, never coming back.

All this is to say: I have done far less critical listening this year than in the past. My time is more limited. My tastes are broader and more tolerant now than when I was a quote-unquote critic, but they’re harder to fathom. The things I connected with this year, I don’t know that I could explain why. I don’t know why Cave’s “San’Yago” spoke to me on the same level as Janelle Monae’s “Make Me Feel,” Jeff Parker’s “Blackman,” They Might Be Giants’ “Last Wave,” The Fearless Flyers’ “Ace of Aces,” Superchunk’s “What a Time to Be Alive,” The Messthetics’ “The Inner Ocean,” Fucked Up’s “Normal People.” I don’t know that I can qualify why none of the records those songs were on made the list below, or why I connected with those records in times of existential crisis. (Though, were I to give it some good, critical though, Monae’s Dirty Computer would probably grade out as the best of the year.)

How do we measure out our worst years? What defines them, shapes them? What do we reach for when everything feels bad? What do we reach for when we just need things to get better? The sensitive among us, we to turn art — the gear-minded among us, to music, in particular. But how do we code ourselves to forget, when the music we listened to — the music we connected with the most — brings us back to those places?

If you’re lucky, you get to close that part of yourself off and forget about it. If you’re luckier, you don’t. You recognize those sounds — those emotions — when you hear them again. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to close that part of yourself off and forget about it — but you’ll recognize those sounds when you heard it again. You just need to realize that you were lucky enough to have heard them in the first place.

So here are eleven records released in 2018 that I listened to that I enjoyed more than the other ones I listened to that were released in 2018. These are the records that provided some small comfort, and that will reinforce, in the years to come, that bad years look better when they’re gone. We hope.

Rafiq Bhatia, Breaking English [Anti-]

The Body, I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer [Thrill Jockey]

Khruangbin, Con Todo El Mundo [Dead Oceans]

Ohmme,  Parts  [Joyful Noise]

Ohmme, Parts [Joyful Noise]

Julian Lage, Modern Lore [Mack Avenue]

Low, Double Negative [Sub Pop]

Makaya McCraven, Universal Beings [International Anthem]

Mount Eerie, Now Only [P.W. Elverum & Sons]

Ohmme, Parts [Joyful Noise]

Miles Okazaki, Work [self-released]

Tangents, New Bodies [Temporary Residence Limited]

Ryley Walker, Deafman Glance [Dead Oceans]

Patrick Wall is an infrequent contributor to Pedal Fuzz. Sometimes, people pay him to write things. He used to live in North Carolina; he currently lives in Massachusetts. The record he actually listened to the most this year? Psychic Temple’s Plays Music for Airports.

Tom Sowders

 This year I listened to a lot of music that did not come out recently. BUT. I did have some favorites in 2018.

Eric Bachman - No Recover

The National - Cherry Tree Vol. 1

The National - Boxer Live in Brussels

Big Red Machine - S/T

Cat Power - Wanderer

The Love Language - Baby Grand

Shopping - The Official Body

Waxahatchee - Great Thunder

Speedy Ortiz - Twerp Verse

Surfbort - Friendship Music


Lee Wallace

To make this as absolutely accurate as possible and to allow for any sudden last minute submissions, I am writing this at 8pm on New Year's Eve.

My best of 2018:

Guided By Voices - Space Gun (Rockathon Records). This has already become one of my touch stone GBV albums, in roughly the same status as Mag Earwhig! or Class Clown Spots a UFO or even Vampire on Titus. Fifteen concise psych pop rockers, not a micro second wasted.

Adrian Legg - Live (self release). Adrian is surely one of the two or three best finger style guitarists on this planet, and for nearly forty years he has been traveling and performing solo gigs at house concerts, coffee bars, pubs and anywhere ears will listen.  As wonderful as his playing and composing can be, his arduous fans know that his eloquent, story like song introductions are half of the appeal of seeing him in person. This is perhaps the first time that Legg has released a live album with these stories intact. His ruminations lately have concerned greed, materialism, racism, and the destruction of the environment, all from the perspective of a sagely septaugenarian that has traveled the world many times over, but they are as beautiful as his delicate, astounding guitar playing.

Julia Holter - Aviary (Domino Recording Co.). Holter's third album takes an extraordinary leap from the intelligent chamber pop of her previous work to spooky, other worldly avantgarde. Since so many music reviewers tend to make lazy comparisons to Kate Bush when writing about Holter, imagine if “Lionheart” had jumped straight ahead to “The Dreaming” with 21st century technology. Batshit arrangements and sonic freakouts, lysergic orchestral pile ups that come from outer space, on first listen it all sounds like a mess in places, but hang in there, your brain will thank you.

Janelle Monae - Dirty Computer (Atlantic). Composer/singer/dancer/actress/ time travel enthusiast Monae can be high on concept sometimes but she is even higher on melody, groove and astoundingly great vocal performances. I haven't yet taken the time to dissect what all of this “means” in terms of her commentary about contemporary society and what not, but it sure sounds superb. I suspect that she isn't even close to her peak yet, either.

Lilac Shadows - Brutalism (Diggup Tapes). This Durham, NC quartet has apparently done cassettes and digi downloads before but this is on a bona fide high quality vinyl LP in beautiful packaging. Flavors of “Movement”-era New Order and classic 4AD make this music nerd proud to share some geographical proximity with them. Excellent live band too.

EarthQuaker Devices Black Ash Endangered Fuzz

EarthQuaker Devices Black Ash Endangered Fuzz

Limited to 1500 units worldwide, Black Ash is a fuzz/overdrive that takes some cues from the vintage “three-knob Bender.” It uses a highly curated cache of rare and irreplaceable components including paper-in-oil capacitors and NOS half-watt carbon composition resistors from EarthQuaker Devices President Jamie Stillman’s personal stash to light a fire under this classic fuzz/drive with an explosive-yet-detailed treble response, a sturdy midrange, and subterranean bass extension.

Black Ash Endangered Fuzz has a retail price of $199.00


  1. Fuzz: Adjusts the amount of gain. Counterclockwise for less fuzz, clockwise for more fuzz.

  2. Top: Adjusts high frequencies between 2kHz - 10kHz and controls how “forward” the guitar sits in the mix. Counterclockwise for less top, clockwise for more top.

  3. Level: Sets the output volume. Counterclockwise is quiet, clockwise is loud.


RADfest Music & Arts Festival In Asheville Features Diet Cig, LSD and the Search for God, Anna Burch, Nest Egg

RADfest Music & Arts Festival In Asheville Features Diet Cig, LSD and the Search for God, Anna Burch, Nest Egg

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RADfest announces its inaugural music and arts event in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC on October 13-14, 2018. The all ages festival will take place at the Grey Eagle music venue located at 185 Clingman Ave.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit local non-profit, Our Voice which serves all individuals in Buncombe County affected by sexual assault and abuse, through counseling, advocacy, and education. In addition to a wide variety of genres, the festival will feature live mural art by Ian Wilkinson and Gus Cutty; an art installation by Amelia Pate as well as work by Ariana Dixon, Cat Fly and more.

Diet Cig. CREDIT:Nick Grennon

Diet Cig. CREDIT:Nick Grennon

This year’s headliners are New York-based, punk pop duo, Diet Cig. Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman aim “to tear you away from the soul-sucking sanctity of your dumpster-fire life and replace it with pop-blessed punk jams about navigating the impending doom of adulthood when all you want is to have ice cream on your birthday.”

LSD and the Search for God

LSD and the Search for God

and Northern California’s psychedelic shoegaze outfit, LSD and the Search for God, who have become a cult band in their own right. Seemingly from another place and time––dosing audiences with hypnotic performances built upon swirling guitars, otherworldly drones, fuzzed-out pop melodies, and dreamy male/female vocal harmonies.

2018 INITIAL LINEUP also includes:

Anna Burch | Linqua Franqa | Free Cake For Every Creature | Nest Egg | Indigo De Souza | Spaceman Jones and the Motherships | Common Holly  | Contour | Nihilist Cheerleader | Kitty Tsunami | Fred Thomas | AMBY | Pie Face Girls | Ex-Gold | SIYAH | Brucemont | Wednesday | Jay Americana | DJ HijX De La Chingada | Celia Verbeck | Temp Job | Devyn Marzuola | DJ Kutzu

RADfest is coordinated by local filmmaker, Andrew Vasco and Community Organizer and Events Coordinator, Emma Hutchens.

Anna Burch

Anna Burch

“Asheville has an amazing music scene of local acts and bands that come through town.  We wanted to curate an event that brings the two worlds together. In terms of festival diversity, we hope our lineup speaks for itself.  Emma and I are excited because it has a mix of diverse genres that don’t always get to share the stage. You’ll find everything from hip-hop, punk, synth pop, and neo soul to psych rock and dream pop,” says Co-founder, Andrew Vasco.

“The goal was to throw a party that we and our friends and community would actually want to attend - where everyone would feel welcome and safe.  We’re partnering with Our Voice to center those intentions and help us establish norms for the festival to intentionally create a more accessible, safer space,” adds other co-founder Emma Hutchens.

The festival weekend will also include a launch party at the Wedge and an after party on Saturday night at the Crucible.

TICKETS: Weekend and single day passes are on sale now at and  Tickets are limited.

This year’s poster is designed by Nathanael Roney, logo designed by Emily Parrish.

Shane Parish Releases New Album Child Asleep In The Rain

Shane Parish Releases New Album Child Asleep In The Rain

shane 2018.jpg

Out on cassette via Null Zone, Child Asleep In The Rain finds the Asheville, NC based guitarist Shane Parish (Ahleuchatistas) in an exploratory mood. Striking a much different tone from his last (excellent) solo acoustic album Undertaker Please Drive Slow (Tazdik Records), this one takes a deep dive into the sonic unknown.

The phrase "Shane Parish is a father" keeps appearing in my mind while listening. I hear the dread of now, wrestling with the hope of now - the struggle of “it’s all gonna be ok,” that idea you work to convey even if at times you’re not so sure. Parish is a gifted improviser, and you can trace the threads of thoughts connecting as sounds whir around you, the notes still intimate though often awash in effects.

Shane Parish’s notes on the album:

I am going to try to briefly talk about music as an emanation since this album seemed to just appear on my computer one day.  I have strived to cultivate a way of life that will allow my creativity to grow and flow over my lifetime. I believe that if you steep yourself in the raw materials of an art form and you are honest with yourself about who you are, expression will manifest itself in many different shapes and they will all be you.  And they will also all be everybody and everything. There is one infinite resource passing through seven billion finite filters of subjectivity.

Mastery of the body can lead to virtuosity, but that can take a lifetime.  And we must imperfectly communicate and express our feelings as we move along the path.  Our limits reveal our shape. Technology can bridge the gap between mind and body, an idea and its realization, in performance and the production of artifacts.  Sometimes, our bodies are all the technology that is required. Sometimes we need more.

I have always attempted to allow intuition and a feeling to guide my work, even when I have introduced technical and conceptual obstacles to be overcome and employed.  I feel that my most relatable and musically successful endeavors are the ones that seem to emanate fully formed and with no effort. Still, I am committed to the practice.  And the letting go.”

Child Asleep In The Rain is available digitally via Bandcamp and on cassette from Null Zone Tapes.

Tour Dates:

9/21 - Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC

10/1 - If Art Gallery - Columbia, SC

10/2 - Duke Coffeehouse - Durham, NC w/ Polychord

10/4 - Rhizome DC - Washington, D.C. w/ Anthony Pirog/Jarrett Gilgore

10/5 - Jalopy Theatre - Brooklyn, NY w/ Iva Bittova, Eva Salina

10/7 - Downtown Music Gallery - New York, NY Shane Parish & Frank Meadows Duo

10/7 - Wonders of Nature - Brooklyn, NY w/ Ross Hammond

10/13 - Golden Pony - Harrisonburg, VA

10/26 - Go Bar - Athens, GA

12/1 - Monstercade - Winston-Salem, NC w/ 1970s Film Stock, Spectral Habitat

Hopscotch 2018: Pedal Fuzz Picks

Hopscotch 2018: Pedal Fuzz Picks

The Hopscotch Music Festival is almost here! From September 6-8, downtown Raleigh, NC, will be electric with nearly-non-stop music. The Pedal Fuzz team scoured the schedule of over 120 bands for some of the acts we can't wait to see.

Our picks come from Dustin K. Britt, Melvyn Brown, Jon Foster, Eddie Garcia, and Tom Sowders. 


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H.C. McEntire - Thursday, 5:50pm (City Plaza)

I'm not going to lie or flatter myself: when I initially saw the Hopscotch lineup for 2018, I didn't recognize the name H.C. McEntire. I'd kind of slept on Un Deux Trois and Mount Moriah, even though when I'd hear them in passing they'd be added to my ever-expanding Mental List Of Things That I Definitely Need To Sit Down And Give A Serious Listen To Sometime Soon. But when I realized that H.C. McEntire was also Heather McEntire, from erstwhile mid-2000s Durham band Bellafea, I perked up pretty quickly: I loved Bellafea every time I saw them to the extent that I've considered peeling one of their old stickers off of a friend's bumper and keeping it for myself (sorry, Adam). Heather/H.C.'s new stuff is soulful and self-searching, and country-tinged in a way that avoids cynical, syrupy pastiche in favor of the authentic and sincere. I've now had a few serious listens through my headphones, but I can't wait to hear this stuff live. -  Melvyn Brown


Real Estate - Thursday, 7:15pm (City Plaza)

I got into a fun fight with a friend a few weeks ago about whether or not "New Jersey sux LOL" is a lazy and unoriginal take (correct answer: it is!), and along with Walt Whitman and The Wrens, the band Real Estate was one of my main arguments on the Garden State's behalf. "It's Real" from 2011's Days is the cut that immediately made me a fan: the melodic interplay between the guitars, the rhythmic counterpoints and switchbacks from the bass and the drums, and the keyboard swirls all come together to produce a sound that's dreamy yet grounded, effervescent yet substantial, focused yet effortless. Martin Courtney's vocals wash cooly above it all, like waves over the sand on some idyllic Jersey Shore afternoon. The overall impression is clean, direct, and mildly euphoric, something like the mirror twin of a hangover-induced panic attack. -  Melvyn Brown


The Flaming Lips - Thursday, 8:45pm (City Plaza)

I turned my attention to The Flaming Lips for the first time after finding out that Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker loved the song “The Gash,” off of The Soft Bulletin. I checked that song out and loved it and put it on a VERY important volume of my personal mix cd series (I believe it was Stinger Vol. 13). Anyway, it became a favorite: so big and dreamy, like a sky full of javelins. Since then, The Flaming Lips have lavishly expanded indie rock into a colossal dreamscape full of giant eyeballs and lasers and feather boas, and I have still never seen them live. That’s bout to change, y’all - I’m eager to see what these fearless freaks do at Hopscotch. - Tom Sowders


Deaf Wish - Thursday, 11:30pm (Slim’s)

I do ‘rock bands’ less and less. Whether it’s my age, the ‘been there done that’ sameness I so often encounter, or my compulsion  to explore ‘other’ sounds, I can’t say for sure. Probably all three. SO that’s why I find it goddamn significant that when I pressed play on the Deaf Wish song “FFS” (from a press release no less!) I listened to it three times in a row and sent it to a handful of friends. It’s got that Stooges snarl, the dissonance of Sonic Youth at their more aggressive early moments, and I bet it's going to smoke live. And every member of this Australian band takes turns at vocal duties, how cool is that? - Eddie Garcia

Thundercat – Friday, 7:15pm (City Plaza)

I first went to Japan in July 2000. It was a life-defining trip. In 2017, in connection with the college I teach for, I went again. The morning I woke up in Tokyo, I opened my window, and boiled some water for instant coffee. It was early. I looked out over the street. People were just starting to move around, starting to head to their jobs as the sun began to rise. The twelfth song on Thundercat’s album Drunk is “Tokyo.” Looking at the people from my tiny hotel room and thinking about the references in the song, both the song and the experience of being there again took on a new emotional depth. - Jon Foster

Grizzly Bear -  Friday, 8:45pm (City Plaza)

The quartet’s records emit a throng of atmospheric noises coming from some unidentified dimension. Airtight vocal harmonies, instrumental experimentation, and psychedelic soundscapes are easy enough to capture in the studio, but can Ed Droste et al. deliver a sonically precise package live with adequate spontaneity and animation? I intend to find out. - Dustin K.  Britt



Yamantaka // Sonic Titan - Friday, 10:00pm (Fletcher)

I never knew I wanted to hear a mix of shred / shoegaze / prog / pop but buddy was I wrong. And honestly, that’s not really doing justice to the melting pot of musical styles this band tackles. This experimental art & music collective swirls Buddhism with sci-fi while subverting the expectations of their Asian Canadian heritage. Their latest album is described as “the soundtrack for an unreleased Haudenosaunee- and Buddhist-themed Anime” From what I understand their live show involves much makeup and costumes and theatrical twists. I’m in. - Eddie Garcia

Shopping - Friday, 12:30am (Wicked Witch)

My wife introduced me to Shopping a couple years ago. We don’t always agree on what constitutes good music. That’s largely because I’m kind of a sad bastard who enjoys listening to the dreary music of other sad bastards, so that my own floating sadness can become inhabitable, and I can enter, sit down on a milkcrate, stay in there, and stay safe and headphoned. My wife prefers fun, cool music that ISN’T just an onanistic playground for narcissism masquerading as sensitivity. Anyway, it’s nice when we can land on a band that makes both our brains sparkle, and Shopping is such a band. Their music is like strutting with pointed toes on down a neon rainbow while LSD cartoons go dancing by in a great swirl toward the speaker at 174 bpm. I feel a physical need to get my groove on to their surfy, angular, rock ‘n’ roll dance music. - Tom Sowders

Moses Sumney -  Saturday, 6:40pm (Red Hat Amphitheater)

An expert a cappella arranger, Sumney’s androgynous voice seeps from the record player like a cloud of blue incense that gradually fills every room and penetrates your pores. On stage, his breath pushes gently against the spiritual waters of the amphitheater, growing exponentially into a wave that soars far above the heads of the crowd and crashes against every surrounding building. I plan to submerge myself along with the rest of downtown Raleigh, willing victims of the Sumney tsunami. - Dustin K.  Britt

Nile Rodgers and Chic - Saturday, 8:00pm (Red Hat Amphitheater)

Even when I was too young to understand the songwriter/producer/session musician nexus or to have any concept of a trademark sound, I knew that I loved "Le Freak" (Chic), "Let's Dance" (David Bowie), and "We Are Family" (Sister Sledge) because they all had some essential, incredible thing in common. Time passed; I listened to more music, read more magazines and gatefolds and liner notes (and frankly, watched a heroic amount of VH1), and I eventually pieced together that the previously ineffable common link between these songs and approximately a million others was Nile Rodgers. Seriously, you could get pretty lost in the weeds trying to chase down every recording he's had a hand in–I just found out, for example, that he produced and played rhythm guitar on my favorite B-52s track, "Topaz”.  Like the telltale trumpet trills of a Capitol-era Sinatra record or the twelve-string twang of The Byrds, Rodgers leaves his indelible but never overbearing signature on everything he touches so that even if you can't quite put your finger on it, you're glad that he already has. - Melvyn Brown

MC50 – Saturday, 8:45pm (City Plaza)

There’s no reason for this to happen.  The last time the MC5 were together, Richard Nixon was still in office. Wayne Kramer is the only original member playing, which should give music fans some reservations about why this is happening. There’s too many high profiled reunion tours that last too long and barely have any connection with the original music. Why would I want to see this band? The answer is easy, Kim Thayil (Soundgarden) and Brendan Canty (Fugazi). If those guys are in your “cover band” then they’re worth seeing. - Jon Foster

Palberta - Saturday, 10:30pm (Slim’s)

The problem with having too many music fans on your social media page is that you’re inundated with new stuff. There’s always something to check out. Most of the time I feel that listening to new music is homework: I have to listen to everything, or I won’t pass some god-awful hipster test. Add friend suggestions and posts from music blogs, and you’re never really on top of stuff. I “try” new things constantly, clicking on a few seconds of a new song three or four times a day. Somehow Palberta appeared in my Facebook newsfeed like it would for any “hip” 37 year old. I loved them immediately. They were trashy, noisy, and complicated all at the same time. They’re the perfect antidote for well-orchestrated soullessness. I imagine two things might happen when I see them: either they will play a transcendent show, or everything will fall apart as soon as they hit the stage. I don’t know which I prefer. - Jon Foster

Yonatan Gat - Saturday, 10:30pm (Pour House)

The first time I saw Yonatan Gat, he was playing as a trio on the floor of Snug Harbor in Charlotte. Setup in a circle, the band had lamps with colored bulbs surrounding them. Gat would switch them off and on to indicate a change was coming in the (to my ears) largely improvised songs they were playing. Gat (who the Village Voice once named best guitarist in NYC) is a dexterous, dynamic player who eschews effects, save for a wah-wah pedal leading into a reverb soaked amp. And the band is a Hendrix-Experience-but-in-the-2010s ball of psych freakout, holding it down while creeping into catchy chaos. On the latest album Universalists, radical tape-splicing techniques were used in assembling the record; I’m very eager to hear how that fractured methodology takes shape live. - Eddie Garcia

Mind Over Mirrors - Saturday, 11pm (Fletcher)

Last year’s Undying Color was one of my favorite albums of 2017. The drone of Jaime Fennelly’s harmonium was elevated by propulsive rhythms, searing synths, and cascading mysterious vocals. The blend was intoxicating. This year’s Bellowing Sun I can only describe as a Steve Reich dance party. They describe it as, “a sonic inquiry into celestial cycles and the illuminating nature of darkness.” So see, you win either way really. My No. 1 pick. - Eddie Garcia

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers -  Saturday, 11:00pm (Lincoln Theatre)

Once a beloved pourer of libations at Chapel Hill’s (not closing) The Cave, triangle folks haven’t seen much of our hometown hero lately, and for a damn good reason: our queer country crooner is ruling the world on a major tour. Shook and company stomped through Charlotte in June to open for Willie Nelson, and now the Triangle kids are getting our turn. - Dustin K.  Britt

Grouper - Saturday, 12:00am (Fletcher)

I think I’ve established that ONE kind of music I like to listen to is sad, sad music. I think this predilection emerged sometime around the release of Use Your Illusion II by Guns N' Roses. “Civil War,” “November Rain,” me swaying in my dark bedroom with a bowl cut, you get the idea. Well, I’m not ten anymore, so I need SADDER. I can’t wait to stand before the unfurling sparkle of the sequin weighted blanket that is Grouper. I just want to feel it in my sad bastard body. I need a hit, man, and Grouper’s got the sad stuff. - Tom Sowders

Dustin K. Britt is a Durham-based performing arts critic and award-winning theatre artist. He is the managing editor of Chatham Life & Style and provides content for IndyWeek and Carolina Parent. In your spare time, you can stalk him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  

Melvyn Brown is a musician (Toothsome, Broads, NONCANON, Ladies Auxiliary) and writer from Greensboro, NC who is also passionate about the Four Ts: taking photographs, Thai food, technology, and thrift stores. His appreciation of Scotch whisky is not necessarily related to Steely Dan. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or at



Tom Sowders pirouettes angrily through the streets of downtown Raleigh. Like really aggressively, really windmilling his arms around. His hobbies are not using his PhD and fronting the band Toothsome. 

Moogfest 2018: Free Programming

Moogfest 2018: Free Programming

The American Tobacco Campus stage opens on Saturday, May 19

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Leading Saturday's lineup are legendary hip-hop DJs and producers Pete Rock (Pete Rock & CL Smooth) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad (A Tribe Called Quest), plus a full-band performance by indie-soul singer-songwriter Moses Sumney, who returns to Moogfest for the second time

Saturday afternoon will open with Moogfest’s much-beloved Modular on the Spot Picnic, an outdoor modular synth performance started in Los Angeles by modular synthesist and skate photographer Eric “Rodent” Cheslak with bassist Bana Haffar. This year’s three-hour picnic offers a laid-back, family-friendly listening environment for a mind-expanding exploration of electronic sound, transitioning into a more upbeat affair as the day progresses. The Modular on the Spot Picnic will feature a rotating cast of performers that includes Cheslak himself, along withLightbath, Pete Speer, Jake Pugh, Lee Coleman, Jerry Kaba, and previously announced performer and daytime presenter Sarah Belle Reid.

New Conversation Additions

Michael Stipe’s audio-visual installation Thibault Dance will be featured in downtown Durham. Now the artist himself will return to Moogfest as well for a conversation on Saturday at 5 p.m. (ET) in the Carolina Theatre to offer insight on his current audio-visual work and his creative focus in the post-R.E.M. era. Stipe will be in conversation with Andy Battaglia from ArtNews, to present his new book, showcasing his multi-layered artistry narrated with experiences from his youth.

Michael Stipe had this to say on his participation this year:

"I get to return to Moogfest with the premiere of the second installment of my dance series, called ‘Thibault Dance’.  Creating these portraits means I get to work in video, which I love; with movement and performance, which I love, and with composing music as a reaction, which is new to me.  With my band I always had music to write against; in the case of these video portraits I am writing music to movement. It turns the entire process on it’s head. There is a trust between myself and the person I am creating a portrait of—  and that relationship, that ‘dance’, is important to me, and to the success of the piece.

With 'Thibault Dance’ there’s clear nuance and tension.  Thibault's performance is so powerful, showing immense strength—  a big part of that strength being his fearlessness as a performer in allowing vulnerability, awkwardness, humanity.     

I like working with Moogfest because they pull the most exciting performers and thinkers together in what feels like a future version of what a festival can be, and I get to create an immersive experience with the video piece, and I get to discuss that piece and other work in different mediums with Andy Battaglia.  I am very much looking forward to it."

Additionally, noted writer, podcast host, and Forbes “30 Under 30” recipient Aminatou Sow joins Chelsea Manning for the privacy activist’s Saturday keynote on the future of creativity. Manning and Sow will discuss how creative frontiers will evolve as privacy laws change in an expanding digital landscape in what will be an enlightening, eye-opening keynote.

Moogfest 2018 Free Programming Roundup

Ralph Steadman’s Harmon-INK! exhibit; Michael Stipe’s Thibault Danceinstallation;  the Modular Marketplace; the Moog Store and Moog Pop-Up Factory, which will be building the just-announced Moog Grandmother synth onsite; Vorticity, a collaborative sonified data installation between Nokia Bell Labs and Delta Sound Labs; Frivolous Artist: More Metal, a tactile, interactive live score piece by Wild Actions; Moritz Simon Geist’s robotics installation Soft Manipulator; the immersive environmental sculpture Infinity: Algorithmic Soundscapes from Magnetic Energy; a Moogfest poster and synth art exhibition; and the Reverb LP Record Fair.

Moogfest 2018 Mixtape

Moogfest 2018 Mixtape

Pedal Fuzz made a Spotify playlist featuring artists we're excited about experiencing during Moogfest 2018, May 17-20 in Durham, NC. 

Stay tuned to Pedal Fuzz for festival updates here and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.





Suzanne Ciani, the Diva of the Diode, who's plying at this year's Moogfest, releases LIVE Quadraphonic digitally on her birthday June 4th, 2018, with a numbered Quadraphonic vinyl package available for direct pre-order and at Ace Hotel locations around the world June 29th. The performance, recorded live at Gray Area in San Francisco on March 5, 2016, was her first solo Buchla synthesizer performance in 40 years, beginning a string of exclusively quadraphonic performances around the world at events including Ableton LOOP, Marfa Myths, MOCA Detroit, Moogfest, Terraforma, Red Bull Music Academy, Sonar, SXSW and an upcoming performance at Ambient Church in New York City.

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Suzanne’s performance at Gray Area, like every other since that day have been in the long forgotten Quadraphonic format; the earliest true 360° listening format of which the original Buchla 200 synthesizer natively output via the Buchla 227 quad output module. Since that performance, a global array of sonic experts have worked together to rebirth this Quadraphonic vinyl LP.

For this experimental release and inspired by the Buchla 227 quad output module, there is a limited edition of only 227 LPs, numbered, 45 rpm, 180g quadraphonic vinyl discs sold, plus a custom quadraphonic hardware decoder made in collaboration with Involve Audio to decode two channels of audio from the vinyl disc back to the four-channel recording- and with stunning results. The vinyl discs were thoughtfully pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Pressing plant in Detroit, MI and are fully compatible for play with any vinyl playback systems in stereo. Current owners of vintage Regular Matrixquadraphonic receivers may also listen to LIVE Quadraphonic in quad via any format, digital download, streaming, radio broadcast or vinyl.

Roe Peterhans, Oblique Strategist at Third Man's Cass Corridor location,  says “We really enjoyed the opportunity to work on Suzanne’s project. Adventurous projects like this are the kind our plant was designed for.”

As a part of its commitment to sonic exploration via its Studio A program, each Ace Hotel around the world will carry a specific serial number of the limited vinyl release in the Ace Hotel shop. Each numbered vinyl corresponds to a number in the address of each hotel location. For example, the London Ace will have number 100 available, corresponding to its address at 100 Shoreditch High Street. Specific detail on available numbers can be found on this fact sheet. All Ace Hotel shops: Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Palm Springs, Pittsburg, Portland and Seattle will carry one of the only 227 limited edition packages starting June 29th, 2018. Select record storesincluding Third Man Store Detroit, Third Man Store Nashville, and others will also be carrying the vinyl on the same date.

In celebration of this release the perpetually innovative non-profit radio station dublab will be playing the LIVE Quadraphonic vinyl over the air during their pledge drive in its entirety on Suzanne’s birthdayJune 4th, 2018 at Noon Pacific Time with Suzanne live on the air to talk about the project. One lucky contributor at this time will receive a signed version of the vinyl+quad decoder package when its available.