March 7, 2012 11:03

Best of: The music endorsements

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Singer
Crystal Bright, Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands
The closest approximation to Crystal Bright’s haunted incantations is that of another North Carolina native: Tori Amos. As audacious of a comparison as that might seem, it’s not only her vocal ability that approaches that of Amos, but the raw emotion with which she delivers it. Honorable mention: Steven Murray, Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Guitar
Nathan Myers, the Old One-Two
Sometimes, guitar is a dish best served nasty, and the Old One-Two’s Nathan Myers tone is straight out of the gutter. Part of his scuzzy blues sound is derived from deliberately crappy gear that probably couldn’t have delivered a clear tone in their best days; the rest comes from the incognizant influence of Magic Band alumni Jeff Moris Tepper and Bill Harkleroad. Honorable mention: Joel Kiser, House of Fools

Bass
Dan Briggs, Trioscapes
There was some confusion in last year’s poll over the heavy support of Between the Buried and Me; true, it is a Raleigh band, but several members indeed reside in the Triad area. Bassist Dan Briggs is one of those, and while his marathon bass runs for the progressive death metal quintet are well noted, Briggs’ work with the newly formed Trioscapes to this point is equally impressive. The abrupt time signature changes remain, but his style in the fiery jazz-fusion trio recalls Jonas Hellborg's brooding cadences while with the Mahavishnu Orchestra mixed with a little bit of Bill Laswell fuzz bass. Honorable mention: Billie Feather, the Darnell Woodies

Percussionist
Hunter Allen, the Bronzed Chorus/Casual Curious
As drummer for two of the tightest, yet musically adventurous bands in the area, Hunter Allen makes a strong case for most indispensible musician in the area’s rock scene; it’s MVP, if you will. With Casual Curious, he exerts a powerful presence in the pocket of the synth-pop outfit’s rollicking grooves. With the Bronzed Chorus, he’s a little more untethered, one moment throttling his floor toms to with the ebb and flow of Adam Joyce’s pedal board sorcery, the next, building a counter melody on keys with his free hand. Honorable mention: Daniel Yount, the Brand New Life

Keyboard
Jodi Burns, Estrangers
The wooly, reverb-soaked guitar pop and crashing beats of Philip Pledger’s Estrangers leaves scarce space underneath for much else to stand out, yet Jodi Burns’ work on their debut Black Ballroom leaves an indelible impression. Working in rather tight spaces throughout, her skittering piano melodies on songs like “House Ghosts” and “Tell Her No Thanks” recall Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste. It’s not nearly the most dominant aspect of the overall sound, but without it, the formula wouldn’t produce quite as effectively. Honorable mention: T. Lee Gunselman, Casual Curious

DJ (live)
Crewless
Cultivating a consistent scene in one of the most socially splintered metropolises in the state is no easy task, but Jason “Crewless” Honeycutt has been a key figure in fostering a vibrant, if often unsung EDM community in this area. His Facebass series generally makes its home at Club Orion in Greensboro and regularly draws the best in up and coming purveyors of dubstep, drum and bass, electro house and beyond. Honorable mention: DJ SK

Hip hop
Beau Young Prince
Greensboro has maybe two and a half more good years of Guilford College student Beau Young before he returns to the nation’s capitol and affirms his identity as a DC hip-hop artist. Until then, the prolific rapper and producer will continue to add to the mind-blowing seven mixtapes he’s created before hitting the legal drinking age. Honorable mention: Glueazy

Band
The Bayonets
What’s great about the Bayonets’ new album Driver is not that it overwhelms you from the outset, but that it stays with you long after you’ve listened to it. Singer/guitarist Caleb Caudle has steadily offered a better group of songs with each successive album and here, he’s brought his exceptionally talented bandmates into the fray to create a brilliantly cohesive work. Live, their brand of Southern indie rock can be an overwhelming experience. Honorable mention: Casual Curious

New Band
Trioscapes
As has already been mentioned, the trio of Dan Briggs, Walter Fancourt (woodwinds) and Matt Lynch (drums) can throw up a wall of sound with a small arrangement. Inspired by the great fusion acts of the ’70s, have been quite productive in their first seven months as a band. They released an excellent EP only shortly after their second show ever and have a full album ready to release later on this spring. Honorable mention: Jenny Beseztz

Cover Band
Who cares?

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