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Hot local albums for 2015

by Britt Chester

It’s hard to keep up with all album releases in this digital world, what with artists dropping singles via YouTube and Soundcloud instead of focusing on full-length records. We try to keep track of them all, but sometimes they slip through the cracks. This week, we compiled a list of some of our favorite local albums that have come out in 2015. If you don’t see your favorite release from this year, tell us about it. Maybe we haven’t heard it yet. Maybe we agree with you. Maybe we disagree with you, which always makes from great conversation. Give these locals a listen and we’re sure you find a new favorite artist.

Ed E. Ruger Guerilla Grind Independent | January 3, 2015

“Guerilla Grind came to be from a slogan that we made up about doing everything locally,” Ruger said. “It’s doing everything on (our) own against a much larger opposition and putting the grind behind it.” For the past three years, James Raymond Armfield (Ed E. Ruger) has steadily maintained a presence in the local music scene.

He’s hosted, promoted and produced multiple shows, all of which lend to the advancing credibility of Greensboro’s hip-hop scene. “That’s the thing about these pay-to-play promoters. I don’t get ’em. If you play a show, you should be paid for it, not have to pay for it.” Which is exactly what Guerilla Grind is all about. Well, that and delivering new music to his fans.

Daddy Issues Double Loser EP Independent | February 14, 2015

Daddy Issues’ Double Loser album is the most recent release from the band. It’s described as surf rock, a title that hardly labels the band in the appropriate light, but it has been able to reach some of the largest outlets in music, namely Vice’s music side, Noisey. The album itself, though, tells the story of band. “Almost all of our members are sort of queer,” band member Lindsey Sprague said of the songs that make mention of taking girls on dates. But tracks like “Sex on the Beach,” which opens with a lovely vocal harmony, talks about finding love at the beach – responding to the siren song of the ocean and the moonlight. Perhaps this is where the surf rock misnomer comes into play, although the punk undertones are present and even eclipse the mellow lemma.

Grande Gato North Carolina Street Heat Pt. 3 J.O.T. Records | July 10, 2015

Terry has been in the North Carolina rap scene since the 1990s, and in that time has managed to release 12 studio albums, multiple CD singles, and a handful of vinyl pressings. The latest release for the Winston-Salem-based artist showcases Jonnotty, Firemarshall, Don Caban, J.O.T. and Grande Gato and Ms. Crystal. Terry, who performs under a handful of monikers, created the Street Heat project to showcase as much talent and types of music he can, and this release certainly shows that. Whether you’re in the mood for dancehall, reggae, Latin, or just a good ol’ set of 16-bars over a thumpin’ track, North Carolina Street Heat always comes correct.

Clay Howard Who The Hell is Clay Howard? Rocksteady Records | April 17, 2015

Veteran Triad rocker Clay Howard is known for his booming voice and his years as the front man for bands like stratocruiser and Diggin’ Taters. He’s put every bit of his talent and experience into his first solo album. Who the Hell is Clay Howard is a 10-song collection of straight rock tunes, the kind of tunes Howard grew up admiring in bands like Cheap Trick, Electric Light Orchestra and others. Howard wrote seven songs on the album and co-wrote three with producer Brynn Arens, a Minneapolis-based rocker who is the lead singer and guitarist for The Oddfathers, and former lead singer of 90’s favorites, Flipp.

Alan Peterson California to Carolina Independent | January, 2015

California to Carolina is a turning point for Peterson, partly because of the message he is delivering on the record. His first album was recorded in Los Angeles, and with the latest effort being started and finished within the border of North Carolina, that message is quite literal. A lot of pre-production went into the recording. Peterson said that in working so closely on rehearsals with Powers, Tommy Scifres, Jack Foster, McKinney, David McLaughlin, Whit Wright and Philip Pennington, the band was able to come into the studio and just hit record. “We adopted this mentality to not ‘punch’ every snare drum hit. These guys are pros, and we’ve played these songs hundreds of times. You sort of suck the life out of it when you dice it all up. Perfect was never the idea “¦ the idea was capturing the song in its most unique form,” Peterson said.

-HONORABLE MENTION-

Must Be The Holy Ghost Get Off (DELUXE EDITION)Cardigan Records | August 28, 2015

The re-issue receives an honorable mention because Get Off was originally released in 2014, but this new version has two more songs on it. We spoke extensively with Jared Draughon, the mastermind behind the songs on the album, right around the time MBTHG was releasing the debut music video for the single “Immoral Support.” The new version features “Airborne” and “All The Wrongs Words,” the latter being released through AMusicBlogYea.com. The additional songs follow the same pattern as the originals on the album, so thematically they fit perfectly within Draughon’s catalog. Needless to say, we anxiously await the follow-up to Get Off. !

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