Music Review: Age Against the Machine...

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     As a Connecticut boy born and raised, Atlanta music came to me in three helpings. In non-chronological order: First came the dubstep, during a three-night tour through my old friend’s current life as a club promoting hustler savant, from the nightclub where we watched the crowd’s supplication to the DJ from our perch on the stage, to the bar where I watched blissed-out kids bob and weave in pharma-enforced unselfconsciousness to fat-assed bass. Second came the car-sheared-in-half-black metal that a second friend semi-professionally records, music so harsh and dirty your only recorded choice is a cassette tape. And finally were the two lodestars of southern hip-hop, Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and Goodie Mob’s Soul Food. Did I hear these diamond-hard classics at an epic sweaty house party? Did I discover them in a stack...

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Music Review: Annie Up

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      Well that was bad timing; Pistol Annies cancelled all their tour dates in June and now nobody knows if they’re still together. Dammit. Huh. A shame, regardless of the reasons behind it, though judging from the lyrics of Annie Up, the trio’s 2nd album, it could definitely have something to do with booze. Just saying.      Annie Up’s a lean, wise and witty album that hugely satisfies, turning away deftly from cliché and easy resolution at every opportunity. Now, no surprise; Miranda Lambert’s obviously no slouch, and Ashley Monroe’s recent solo record Like A Rose matches Annie Up’s sass and bite track-for-track, and together with Angaleena Presley (no relation) the Annies are an embarrassment of talent.      Annie Up dissects country music’s tendency toward rose-tinted songwriting in favor of the raw, twist-in-the-wind mood...

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Lulu’s Chocolate Bar

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     Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a kitschy kind of a place in Savannah, where echoes of the Deep South ring loud and where today’s tourists encounter ever more fascinating sites and events to explore.      I discovered that Savannah in spring and summer is almost overwhelmed by visitors looking for a taste of the Old South in a city steeped in it. Finding a parking place on the city’s popular River Street is no longer possible. Instead, a multi-tiered parking garage provides a spot with a short hike. Not far away from River Street and Savannah’s most well known attractions is Martin Luther King Jr. Street. Here is one of Savannah’s most popular drinking holes and absolutely the best dessert spot any chocoholic will ever find. While River Street hosts the internationally known River...

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Music Review: Last Day of Summer...

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     There are a few things I do not appreciate about music criticism. Example one: when the critic describes a band as “sounds like (insert name of band) if (that band sounded like something else)” or “like a combination of (band) playing (music by another band/artist).” It’s sloppy writing, for one. And it presupposes that the readers listen to, and care about, the bands the critic is using to illustrate the point. And it also gets to one of the root problems with music, namely that writing about the subjective listening experience can quickly, and often, slide into useless indulgence.      Okay, with that out of the way: White Denim is a band I’m tempted to describe in exactly this way. Their sound is nowhere near easily categorized. I have to physically...

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Stage Review: A Field of Glory...

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  Much ado is being made in many arenas due to the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. I have opted not to take part in what I have dubbed “this weird nostalgia,” but I did seize the opportunity to view the July 20 world premiere of Sharon Talbot’s Civil War play, A Field of Glory, which ran at Raleigh’s Kennedy Theater. The short, two-person production tells the story of Rosalia Taylor and her son John, revealing their complicated personas and family dynamics. The play also centers heavily on those stereotypical Southern matters of pride and family secrets. The play begins humorously with the somewhat batty Rosalia -- played by Talbot herself-- cursing, hitting the flask, and working in her decaying Mississippi garden. The matriarch’s son, portrayed by Jesse Janowsky, returns unexpectedly from war for...

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