Taking a Listen: Local Music Reviews

by Heather MacIntyre

Simple ­- Songs From A Broken Hip

Maybe I just expect a little more from Carrboro/Chapel Hill when it comes to this kind of music. A typical local band sound and a lot of distortion; I’m barely impressed. The constant monotone vocals certainly don’t add a thing to the overall production of any song. I appreciate a few bits and pieces of some of the tracks, like the drumming in “Fragile Moment” or the vocals in “The Weeds,” but even one of the albums most-popular hits, “Make-Out,” seems childish and lazy with lyrics that sound like they belong in a CSS song. It’s not all horrible, but I need something more than this lack of intensity and moody tone. Maybe if the recording was better, or maybe if they were a little tighter with guitar and a few other details…. Who knows, maybe they are more of a live-enjoyment type outfit. Find out for yourself at the Cave ( in Chapel Hill on July 1.

Rating: 2 records (out of 5)

Islands – Arm’s Way

Anti’s recording artist Islands have put out a full-length that has music skeptics wondering if they are going to be the “next big thing.” The album is a great mix of ups and downs (temporally and lyrically). Tracks are covered with a familiar vibe a lot like the Unicorns meets Trail of Dead meets Bloc Party. It didn’t just come together out of nowhere; you can tell they put a lot of time and concentration on this album of progressive indie-rock (new genre?). There isn’t much repetition (musically, lyrically) in any of the songs; everything turns into something different – which sometimes has you questioning whether you are still listening to the same song. The band is from Quebec. The title of the album cleverly pokes fun of how French Canadians don’t pronounce the H’s in words, so it’s “‘Arm’s Way,” without the “H.” Touring since earlier this year, their very last date this summer is in, where else, North Carolina. On June 28, they will be at Charlotte’s Neighborhood Theatre (, so check it out.

Rating: 3.5 records (out of 5)

Fleet Foxes – Giant Sun EP

“Oh what a life I lead in the sun/ What a life I lead in the spring/ What a life I lead in the wind and breeze/ What a life I lead in the spring.” Those are the first lyrics you hear when you press play on this Seattle indie-folk album. Fleet Foxes were impatiently waiting to put out this calm and friendly EP through Sub-Pop in February. Now, just a couple months later, people are catching on to its brilliance. With lead vocals parallel to Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, the front man really holds that light West Coast delicacy in his voice that you can listen to and, in a matter of moments, know for a fact that he has a beard and a good heart. The album is a nature-blooming hike in the woods through a perfect warm spring day – ending in a bonfire with friends at night. With a modest music arrangement, it’s no secret that the vocals, lead and harmonic, are really what make this absolutely phenomenal. There is no excuse to not buy it, or see them play. They will be returning from their European tour this summer to cover the US. See them in Chapel Hill at the Local 506 ( on July 6.

Rating: 5 records (out of 5)