Can Anything Good Come From North Carolina?

Some times things move quickly. In a couple of minutes, one gets a handful of friends for life.

Here’s How

After more years than I care to think about as a somewhat (some people might say) autistic Dylan listener, I woke up one day with the urge to find out what had happened in the music world outside since 1990 or thereabouts.

So a year ago, I went to Pitchfork’s list of the best singles in the 2000s. And I listened to horrendous amounts of LCD Soundsystem, Beyonce, Jay-Z and other modern stuff for a while.

And lo and behold if one’s musical horizon wasn’t extended a bit, although I still don’t get Daft Punk’s greatness.

New Year — New List

When the new year was still green, I wanted to check out what had been big in the old one (while I had been busy catching up — there’s a barely concealed irony in there somwhere, which I’d rather not get), and again, I headed for Pitchfork — this time the 100 best singles of 2010 list.

Again it was LCD Soundsystem, Robyn, Kanye West all over the place, and I thought:I’ll be damned if I want to go through that once again.

And I did what I should have done right away: I found hearya‘s Best of 2010 (so far) list.

I Hear Ya

And this was something else. At the very least, one doesn’t have to pretend to love well-made but commercial techno-hip-hop-electronica.

But there was more.

Here was Lost in the Trees (from North Carolina), a cross between Radiohead, Hank Williams and J. S. Bach, who take advantage of the obvious but rarely exploited fact that folk and classical music are both acoustic genres. Here in the video for Walk Around the Lake:

Here were The Morning Benders, so young, so young, but oh so fresh and tender, attacking the legends of the past with the unfazed arrogance of someone for whom Nirvana is as ancient as the Beatles:

And here was The Tallest Man on Earth, a tiny little Swede with a huge voice, a great guitar technique, and an artistic integrity so great that it gushes from every pore. Here shot on location in the snow outside his native Leksand in Dalarna, Sweden:

And just around the corner, there was more: The Avett Brothers, also from North Carolina — two brothers whose style is probably best labeled sentimental hillbilly punkpop. They balance the thin line … — no, they embody the line between sentimental and cacophonous, between sugarbutter and gangrenegarlic. Here’s a live version of “Laundry Room” off their latest album I and Love and You (and miles above the Rick Rubinized album version. They start playing at about 2:30, and when they start rocking strangely in the latter part of the video, it is because they also play drums with their feet):

And Megafaun — from Wisconsin but now living in — you guessed it — North Carolina:

All in all: I’m not complaining.

But what the hell do they put in the water over there in Carolina?

9 thoughts on “Can Anything Good Come From North Carolina?

  1. Eyolf, I greatly appreciate your writing and transcribing of the dylan material. More about that at a later date . On the dylan index I have of your efforts to provide tabs and comments on Tell tale Signs I notice there are three discs not two which my cherished copy totalled. Where would I look for a recording of that third disc?.

  2. If it’s something in the water then it’s been around for a long time.

    There’s a long list of musical luminaries from my home state of North Carolina. Just to a name a few of the more artistically inspiring individuals: John Coltrane, Doc Watson, Charlie Poole, George Clinton, Thelonious Monk, Earl Scruggs, Nina Simone.

  3. You should add Mumford and Sons to your list of interesting new music. Not from Carolina, though. And they backed a certain Bob Dylan at the Grammies…

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