Actual Persons Living or Dead

Actual Persons Living or Dead

Actual Persons sound more like indie rock of another time. From the mix of local bands (Work Clothes, Wembley) and art rock luminaries (Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Joy Division) APLOD names as influences, one gets a fairly accurate suggestion of this band's interests. It's congenial, unpretentious and neighborly music, built on a foundation of thoughtful repetition and breezy atmosphere.

And indeed, this teaser offers glimpses of real promise in its shambling Sunday-afternoon indie rock. Joyce Ventimiglia, the band's leader, delivers lines with the same deadpan tone as Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon as Pavement-like guitar melodies wind around her vocals. Kerry Cantwell plies simple, steady drumbeats, countered by plinking auxiliary percussion. Dave Cantwell keeps his bass lines near the instrument's middle register, prioritizing countermelodies over rhythmic plod. - Bryan Reed

Imagining a Raleigh rock ’n’ roll festival without Goner is a little like imagining one of the trio’s springy numbers without a hook. It just doesn’t happen. Indeed, for the last decade, or for each of their three albums, Goner’s foregone guitar, instead building its songs on an athletic, exuberant rhythm section and multiple layers of Scott Phillips’ keyboards—a hazy organ, a crashing piano, a twisted synthesizer. And, above it all, like a cabaret-spirited Springsteen or a street-beat journalist with a voice, Phillips has described the bacchanalian life that those around him can’t stop living in songs that us listeners can’t start forgetting.

“Hair’s been thinning/ You’re way past beginning,” snaps Phillips on “Fight of Yr Life,” a three-minute sprint that conjures Ted Leo sweating through a house show. “This isn’t college/ You know the difference.” For Goner, aging—or the tension between having a life and living that life—serves as a principal muse these days. Phillips is an elementary school teacher, and both drummer Chris Dalton (listen for a metal fan’s relentlessness and a pop zealot’s restraint) and bassist Greg Eyman (sans guitar, he adds texture with distortion and high notes) are fathers and husbands. “Hella Jean, how long can we live on this ever-shifting scene?” Phillips asks at one point, interrogating a downtown damsel that deserves better. He hopes they can make it into adulthood with at least a little dignity. He details the specifics of the setting with a clarity so crafted, you know he’s been there. Age doesn’t delete verve, though it does alter situations. To wit, Rock ’n’ Roll Always Forgets, Goner’s 2008 album, is its best to date, taking the occasional chance on a slow, noisy burner or an acoustic sing-along. But in the end, it remains essential Goner—smart, enthusiastic and, at its best, completely irrepressible. —Grayson Currin

Arrows Out

Arrows Out is an instrumental 4 piece band from Durham, NC.

Sterling Rozear: guitar
Michelle Preslik: guitar
Noah Goyette: drums
Kevin Slater: bass

$5.00

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The Pinhook

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Actual Persons Living or Dead with Goner, Arrows Out

Thursday, August 1 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM at The Pinhook