It's been a long time coming for Durham, NC's Schooner Neighborhood Veins, the first national release by the Chapel Hill/Durham boutique limited release vinyl-cassette-art project PotLuck label. The band nearly broke up just after releasing 2007's Hold on Too Tight. Reid Johnson, who founded the group based on a 4-track recording project, took time off to re-evaluate his motivation for playing music. Members broke up & moved away. The rest of the band got day jobs. A different lineup came back for 2010's Duck Kee Sessions and things looked again like they were moving at a steady pace, with the band travelling to SXSW and being named one of PASTE Magazine's "Best of What's Next." Upon the start of recording Neighborhood Veins, however, the band changed lineups again. With none of the founding members remaining Johnson persevered with Maria Albani (Organos), Joshua Carpenter (Floating Action), and Chris Badger as the band on Veins, and received a generous amount of help from NC artists. The collaborative and enthusiastic effort of talented friends led to the appropriately named Neighborhood Veins. Partners in crime include Jeff Crawford, Andy Magowan, Ivan Howard, Catherine Edgerton, Wendy Spitzer, Billy Sugarfix, Matt Busch, Bob "Crowmeat" Pence, Ben Riseling, Jeff Herrick, Andy Shull, Clarq Blomquist, Jayne Carpenter, Andrea Connolly, Pete Connolly, John Harrison, Nick Jaeger, Josh Kimbrough, Evan Martin, Phil Moore, James Wallace, Nathan Oliver White, Radar, and Moose the dog.

D-Town Brass

D-Town Brass’s name is only an indication of what you might expect to hear from this savory jazz outfit: The 14-piece ensemble indeed spouts a great deal of brass, along with drums, marimba, bass, keys and vibraphone. Every D-Town Brass composition is so deliciously distinct, you’d never know you were listening to the same collection of crazy cats. Since D-Town Brass doesn’t fit snuggly into any cohesive genre, it is more prudent to highlight the diversity among their scintillating selections.

On “Zombie Rag,” horns wail and drums pop like hollow bones. One might divine a scad of skeletons jiving to the beat in an eerie underworld disco. On “Mystery Town,” the persistent bass line provides Bond-esque spy motion. Horns sound in succession, ascending to a string of saxophone and trumpet solos. “Totem Pole” is a minimally percussive piece whose spare arrangements are inviting. It’s as if the entire song grows in a question that doesn’t get answered until the end, when it asserts itself like a dance around a rapid rhythm. While D-Town Brass are no strangers to cacophony or free jazz’s open forms, “Switch Blade Brush” proves that they likewise don’t shy from tradition. The track is reminiscent of the bop jazz arrangements of Dexter Gordon and Illinois Jacquet.

See Gulls was birthed in early 2013, and after a few lineup changes, the band finally came to fruition with its current lineup of Sarah Fuller on guitar, Maria Albani (of Organos) on drums, Duncan Webster (of Hammer No More The Fingers & Beauty World) on guitar, and Leah Gibson (of Beauty World). See Gulls are moody with pop and a little punk. RIYL Breeders/La Sera/Throwing Muses/Ex Hex.



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