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by Ryan Snyder

It’s bittersweet that, in 2014, North Carolina will make a case for being the South’s preeminent music festival dollar destination (which will be subject to state sales tax for the first time). Moogfest will reboot under the guidance of Paxahau, promoter of Detroit’s awesome Movement Festival. Durham’s new Art of Cool Festival will plant its flag as the world-class, forward-thinking jazz festival that the state that gave birth to John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk needs. Both will happen over the same crazy weekend as MerleFest, while the Triad will mostly be on the outside looking in. Phuzz Phest is doing great work in Winston-Salem on a smaller scale, and No. 4 is in position to make big gains April 4-6. Look for its lineup around January 12.

It’s a mid-sized fish in a really big pond, however, and the rebooted Moogfest will be a leviathan of biblical proportion. Three nights of Kraftwerk in 3D plus Chic and Giorgio Moroder would be a coup by themselves, but together they feel like bait for something else….

2014 will also begin in the area with two fewer stages, as the Flatiron’s closing was a long time coming, though Sessions’ shuttering was more unexpected. How much the embattled watering hole will be missed, however, depends entirely on who you ask. The New year starts off with a whisper (or a hangover) with a featherweight music schedule in its first week. The only guarantees on Wednesday are Ibuprofen and Twilight Zone reruns, while blues jammers in the wind after the Flatiron’s closing can find shelter on Thursday at the Underground Theatre’s blues and funk jam.

Monika Jaymes turns up some pretty NSFW search results, but the one from Raleigh who sings pretty acoustic rock is the one on stage at the Blind Tiger this Friday. Swamp rocker Beth McKee, host of last year’s Swamp Sistas La La benefit at SECCA to promote food access in impoverished areas, is in town to plan the 2014 installment.

She’ll tune up with her trio at Krankies. Matrimonial folk duo Lowland Hum toured far in support of their debut album last fall, but they’re keeping it close this go-round with a show at Turntable on Friday, and then a follow-up at the Garage on Saturday. The Family explore the full jam spectrum at the Blind Tiger, while ex-Killwhitneydead and Five Ls members turn up in Get Rude at Greene Street Club with Hephystus. At the Green Bean, Tyler Nail and friends offer great songs and good company.

It’s ska Monday at New York Pizza with the Leeves, the Snails and Corporate Fandango, and Bruce Piephoff will release his new record, Soft Soap Purrings, on Tuesday. He just needs somewhere to do it. !

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