HIP-HOP | Battle of the Carolinas
w/ Walter Brown, Vaughn Postema, DJ Don Breeze, Latisha G., Johnny Jr., Tyler Cash, Keenotes, Yung Llogic, High Society
Fri. Jun. 16
9 p.m.
The Purple Buffalo

Rapper Walter Brown extends a friendly hand to our northern neighbors with the Battle of the Carolinas. Don’t let the name fool you — this isn’t a sneak attack. “What we want to do is integrate North Carolina,” says Walter Brown. “I want it to be a North Carolina-South Carolina meet and greet, so that other artists, or bloggers, can begin to network across state lines.” On the North Carolina end of things is videographer and founder of Medley Records Robert Medley. Brown and Medley coordinated the event together to give artists from both Carolinas equal exposure. “I think it’ll be fun for everyone to be in the same room, to kind of see what their sound is, what their style is in North Carolina and just meet people,” says Brown. Z93 JAMZ radio host Vaughn Postema will MC the event. Brown recruited rap and R&B artists from around Charleston and Columbia, while Medley pulled artists and fans from Raleigh and the surrounding area. Both show organizers have great ambitions for future Battles of the Carolinas, if everything goes well this year. For 2018, Brown plans to take the road trip up to North Carolina, and add more artists or different genres for future Battles. —Heath Ellison FRIDAY


ALT-ROCK | The Farm Upstate
w/ Alswel, The Lungs
Sat. June 17
9 p.m.
The Sparrow

Guitarist and vocalist Eric Barfield of local three-piece rock group the Farm Upstate does not hesitate to describe the band as “wuss-core.” “It’s something I made up and thought was funny,” he explains. There’s certainly an undeniable sense of humor that seems to be an integral part of this group, but a self-aware, ironic one at that, borrowing from their low-self-esteem-touting predecessors like Pavement, Weezer, and Sonic Youth. These strains of ’90s indie, rock, and post-punk all come out to play, both sonically and thematically, in the Farm Upstate’s 2014 album Appetite for Distraction. This studio project represents their sound nicely: ’90s-inspired guitar rock, playful yet distorted, just as much a nod to the Velvet Underground as it is to the trailblazing British Invasion. Whether or not Barfield describes the band as “dad rock” or “heavy, indie rock,” at the end of the day, he sets it straight: “We’re just a fun, noisy band that fills a niche in the local music scene … The band is an opportunity to hang out and play music and is just a fun thing to do.” Supporting the Farm Upstate will be local band Alswel, described by Barfield as having a “loud, shoegaze-y sound.” Fellow local group the Lungs will play a set of energetic post-punk. —Graham Crolley SATURDAY


w/ Crab Claw
Sat. Jun. 17
9 p.m.
The Royal American

One of the first things you’ll notice about 2 Slices’ premiere song “Slow Poison” is their strong vocal modification game. The new track uses pitch-shifted vocals that sit on a synth and drum pad soundscape for striking results. “I really wanted to try my hand at Top 40 pop music,” says singer Danny Martin. “All the cliches, throw them in there. And it was kind of freeing.” Martin and bandmate Brandon Fudge, better known as DJ Lazer Cat, use the mould that popular music has cast to create big radio pop songs, like “Slow Poison.” It has plenty of dramatic highs and dynamic keyboards to groove to, as Martin and Fudge show in the track’s new music video. 2 Slices’ upcoming album Best Believe will be filled with moments like the latest tune. “I really wanted to focus on big vocals, all the vocal melodies, and actually have lyrics that mean something,” Martin says. Many of the album’s themes are all about the transitions Martin’s made in recent years, from moving cities, to ending relationships. Best Believe is produced by Wolfgang Zimmerman and expected out in August. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY


NEW SOUL | Lawrence w/ Lake Street Dive
Tues. Jun. 20
8 p.m.
Music Farm

It’s fitting that the New York duo Lawrence is opening for Lake Street Dive at the Music Farm, because their music is, in its own way, just as sleek, stylish, and polished as the headliner. Musical siblings Clyde and Gracie Lawrence are also a pair of stylistic chameleons, moving from old-school smooth R&B (typically when Clyde takes the lead vocal) and more jazzy emoting with the occasional touch of electronics (when it’s Gracie’s turn). Working in a collaboration with producer Eric Krasno (Soulive, Tedeschi Trucks Band) on their 2016 album Breakfast, the duo creates a sound as rich and deep as shag carpeting, creating a heavy bottom end with just the right touches of Hammond organ and auxiliary percussion. In the wrong hands, the music could come off as overly stylized or kitschy, but there’s just enough grit in Krasno’s production to lend some serious authenticity to Lawrence’s joyous throwback sound. –Vincent Harris TUESDAY

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