Posted on

shirlette ammons — “Language Barrier”

Churchkey Records is pleased to announce that we will be co-releasing shirlette ammons’ sophomore album Language Barrier of February 5th, 2016, in partnership with newly-launched SugarQube Records. The first single, “Earth Intro”, features a guest appearance by Grammy Award-winning duo The Indigo Girls. Other guests on the album include Meshell Ndegeocello, Amelia Meath (Sylvan Esso), Hiss Golden Messenger, German rapper sookee, Heather McEntire (Mount Moriah), Median (Foreign Exchange Music Group), Joceyln Ellis, and Phil Cook. All of the music was composed by Daniel Hart whose credits include St. Vincent and Broken Social Scene amongst others. shirlette worked with a broad and talented roster of award-winning guests to create a record that blends and bends genres. shirlette recently debuted a few tracks from the album at ¡Que Viva!, the annual day party presented by Churchkey Records and The Layabout at Hopscotch Music Festival.

“As a part of the whole Language Barrier concept, I wanted to write an album that explores the ways we love across imposed and implied barriers. In this sense, Language Barrier is an album about love as an act of resistance. I also wanted to approach genre as a ‘barrier’ then break it down.” The album seamlessly moves between indie and classic rock, hip hop and ambient soul. “To have an opportunity to work with Meshell, The Indigo Girls, Amelia, Hiss Golden Messenger—and all on one record—is a dream come true,” shirlette says.

SugarQube Records is the brainchild of identical twins shirlette and Shorlette Ammons, and Language Barrier is their debut release. Asked about working with SugarQube to release Language Barrier, Churchkey’s Kyle Miller and Steve Jones said “shirlette is such a fantastic artist, and we’ve wanted to work on a record with her for years—we’re thrilled and flattered to be working together with the Ammons twins as they launch SugarQube Records.”

Posted on

Wood Ear – “Electric Alone”

While two years between releases might seem like an eternity for some bands, fans of Wood Ear might be surprised to hear the new EP, Electric Alone, following so quickly after its predecessor. Though he began writing Wood Ear songs in 2001, it wasn’t until 2006 that Nate Tarr self-released Wood Ear’s debut EP The Hard Way, thanks to a gift of some analog tapes that had been found in the trash. Six years and numerous personal challenges later, the band followed up with Steeple Vultures on Churchkey Records, more frequent live shows, and a growing profile throughout the Southeast.

Having begun as a solo act most easily comparable to Jay Farrar, Wood Ear’s growth into a full rock band has allowed Tarr to put forth songs that channel the likes of J. Masics and Paul Westerberg as well. The full-framed rock sound that surprised some on Steeple Vultures has become a staple of Wood Ear’s live show, and Electric Alone pushes the Durham, NC band even further in that direction.

The songs on Electric Alone reveal that the struggles haven’t stopped, continuing to tackle pain and loneliness, but also opening the door to fresh starts and forgiveness. Sometimes that glimmer of hope is what it takes to keep you going—here’s hoping it will lead to a continued stream of output from Wood Ear.

Click here to buy Electric Alone in CD, MP3, or FLAC formats

Stream or download “Pack of Cards,” the opening track from Electric Alone, via Bandcamp:

Posted on

Spider Bags – Singles

ckr015-200pxWe’re thrilled to announce that Spider Bags will be releasing Singles, a collection of singles released between 2008 and 2012, on CD and LP via Churchkey Records June 25th. Click here to pre-order Singles on CD or LP, and get an MP3 download of the full album instantly.

– – – – – –

Following the release of Goodbye Cruel World, Hello Crueler World, the band’s sophomore LP, Spider Bags Dan McGee, Gregg Levy, and Rock Forbes toured the country relentlessly in an old Mitsubishi Mirage, with Forbes crammed into the back seat alongside the band’s gear. Three of the six 45s mined for the upcoming Singles collection were recorded during this period, a creative frenzy for McGee and his cohorts. Levy has since returned to the North, replaced by new bassist Steve Oliva, and the three newest songs on Singles offer sightlines to the new line-up’s bright future. But for McGee, the collection is most meaningful as a document of Spider Bags’ first consistent configuration.

“I made a CD for Steve when he joined the band,” McGee recalls, “a CD of the other songs that weren’t on the albums, and I listened to it before I gave it to him. I was like, ‘This kind of tells a weird little story.’”

More than consolidating the output from one of Spider Bags’ most crucial periods, Singles chronicles McGee’s evolution from bare-bones garage purist to ambitious rock experimentalist, a journey that comes full circle on Shake My Head. Released in 2012, the band’s third LP is an intricately explosive collection that builds on techniques that McGee refined with a trio of 7-inches (Teenage Eyes, Dog in the Snow and Take It Easy Tonite) each released on a different local label between 2009 and 2010.

“Teenage Eyes” crystallizes the Bags’ touch for ragged but resplendent rock, a skill that is complicated by psychedelic scuzz on Singles’ subsequent offerings. “Dog in the Snow” drives ahead with a kraut-ish bass line that recalls Thee Oh Sees as McGee howls with wild abandon through dense layers of effects and reverb. “Take It Easy Tonite” goes even further. The song went through dozens of revisions before its first release in 2010 and is perfected on Singles with a dizzying sax solo from the Wigg Report’s Ben Riseling. The addition complements McGee’s tangled distortion, blowing out this simple call for a night of relaxation into an absorbing spectacle.

Singles tracks Spider Bags’ evolution from roughly recorded songwriting outlet to one of the most skilled and exciting rock ‘n’ roll outfits around, and that — in addition to a slate of exciting songs that challenge the band’s proper LPs for catalog supremacy — makes it essential for any fan wanting to understand them completely.

Singles track listing:

  1. Teenage Eyes
  2. Papa Was a Shithead
  3. Walking Walking Nowhere Nowhere
  4. Dog in the Snow
  5. I Wish That I Never Had Fed You
  6. Take it Easy Tonite
  7. Shaunda (I Don’t Know My Sign)
  8. Eileen
  9. Professionals
  10. Out of My Head, Into My Bed

Looking for the individual Spider Bags 7″s?

Posted on

Best of 2012: Steve Jones

In the past I’ve put my favorite albums of the year in a ranking order. This year I’ve decided to not to do that because at some point during the year each of these records have been my favorite.

Patterson Hood Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance (ATO)

Patterson Hood is absolutely my favorite songwriter/storyteller. No one does a better job of writing about the South than him except maybe Larry Brown.

Spider Bags Shake My Head (Odessa)

Dirtbag rock ‘n’ roll made by dirtbags for dirtbags. The Bags might not be the best live band, but they ARE the best band to see live.

River City Tanlines Coast to Coast (Big Legal Mess)

I’m a sucker for female-led powerpop, and Alicja Trout is really good at it.

Japandroids Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)

This is a rock ‘n’ roll record.

The Golden Boys Dirty Fingernails (12XU)

Spider Bags’ Texan dirtbag cousins. I once had the misfortune of seeing John Wesley Coleman pull his cowboy boots off on the porch at the Layabout. I’m not sure how long they had been on tour, but Wes had apparently lost or forgot socks. I’ve never seen a nastier sight in my life. I still have nightmares.

Gentleman Jesse Leaving Atlanta (Douchemaster)

I have no idea why this band isn’t huge. Not many people can write and play hooks like Jesse. He also has a sweet cat named Chong.

Ty Segall Twins (Drag City)/ Ty Segall Band Slaughterhouse (In the Red)

Ty Shreds.

Beachwood Sparks The Tarnished Gold (SubPop)

This is a beautiful, beautiful record.

Kathleen Edwards Voyageur (Zoë)

No one uses the word “fuck” as gracefully as Kathleen Edwards. Pretty sure the only Canadian on my list.

Posted on

Best of 2012: Kyle Miller

We can argue all day about what “best” means, so let’s just call these my favorite non-Churchkey songs of 2012.

Spider Bags — “Simona La Ramona”: There have been lots of songs I’ve loved over the course of the year, but this has been my favorite song for the entire year, even before I heard the recorded version. I love dancing to it at live shows. I love dancing to it at my desk. I love dancing to it in the car. It means a lot to me in a way that I can’t elegantly explain. So even though I can’t be bothered to put the rest of the list in any sort of order, this one goes first.

Plateaus — “Beach Coma”: I’m absolutely loving this song right now. Conveniently, it’s the end of the year, so we don’t have to find out if it stands the test of time. It really reminds me of some of the Jay Reatard Matador singles.

The Golden Boys — “We Are Young”: This is probably my favorite sing-along song of the year. Er, make that shout-along song. That Golden Boys show at Kings was one of my favorite shows this year, and I totally lost my voice the day after. Please come back, Golden Boys. And thanks for giving me a ride, Chaz!

Terry Malts — “Tumble Down”: “Up on the hill, I held your hand. Both of us so drunk we couldn’t stand…” It’s a pretty adorable love song, and it gets me bopping up and down without noticing. Everyone in Durham is glad that Dan & Craig introduced us to Terry Malts, right?

Cloud Nothings — “Stay Useless”: What happened to Cloud Nothings? They were on my “must see” list at SXSW this year (they were excellent) and then they pretty much disappeared. Anyway, “Stay Useless” is 90s as fuck, and got a ton of repeats this spring.

Howler — “Beach Sluts”: I listened to America Give Up almost every day this spring and summer on my afternoon walks to the post office. Walking to the post office when the weather’s nice is actually one of my favorite things to do, and the Howler record just sort of became part of the habit. I love that I run into friendly faces all around downtown, and it’s nice to stop and chat or just wave. “Beach Sluts” sparks some of that warmth in me, even when it’s too cold to walk to the post office.

Carly Rae Jepsen — “Call Me Maybe”: It’s not just a hell of a pop song. Every time I hear “Call Me Maybe” it stirs up fond memories of summer nights at the DBAP.

Gross Ghost — “Devious”: I think “Lurker” is probably my favorite song on Brer Rabbit, but since it came out in some form or another in both 2010 and 2011, I’m going with “Devious” here. There’s no wrong choice—Gross Ghost rules. I rang in 2012 just minutes after Gross Ghost finished their set at The Soapbox, and I’m already looking forward to seeing them for the first time in 2013 (Jan. 15th @ The Pinhook.)

Superchunk — “This Summer”: The “This Summer” / “Cruel Summer” single almost singlehandedly got me through a tough road trip in June. It got me some pretty weird looks on 95, too.

Jaill — “Everyone’s a Bitch”: Speaking of driving, I listened to “Everyone’s a Bitch” on repeat the whole drive from Portsmouth, NH to Logan airport. It was kind of a mistake at first, but I just went with it. What? You think I’m a weirdo?

Posted on

Churchkey @ Hopscotch 2012

Hopscotch Music Festival 2012 is only a few days away! Here’s a quick rundown of where you can find Churchkey-affiliated bands and events throughout the festival:




 Thursday, September 6th:

  • Wood Ear @ Tir na Nog — 9pm (hopscotch wristband required)
  • Free Electric State @ Kings Barcade — 10:30pm (hopscotch wristband required)

 Friday, September 7th:

 Saturday, September 8th:

  • Last Year’s Men @ The Berkeley Cafe — 3:00pm (free; no wristband required)
  • Spider Bags @ Hargett St. in front of The Raleigh Times — 12:30pm (free; no wristband required)


Posted on

First One’s Free

Y’all are kind of broke right now, right? But y’all like going to kickass rocknroll shows, too, right? We’ve been busy scheming with our pals at The Pinhook to solve this very problem. Just in time for summer.

Churchkey Records and The Pinhook are excited to present “First One’s Free,” a series of free shows on the first Saturday night of each month at The Pinhook in Downtown Durham.

The series kicks off on Saturday June 2, with Whatever Brains and Gross Ghost, sponsored by Scion A/V.

Raleigh’s Whatever Brains are an abrasively upbeat garage-punk conundrum. Dense tangles of distorted guitar zoom about under the stomping impact of crusty bass lines and punishing drums. Pepper in in the irreverent provocations that Rich Ivey spits with his appealingly nasal bleat, and you arrive at the most divisive and devastating rock the Triangle has to offer.

Carrboro’s Gross Ghost are decidedly more accessible, but nonetheless engaging. Forcing the fuzzy distortion of ‘90s indie through a buoyant pop filter, the band creates catchy and kinetic jams that resound with a blurry sense of excitement.

Got it? First One’s Free. First Saturday of every month. At The Pinhook. Let’s do this, y’all.

These screen-printed posters by Steve Oliva will be for sale at the show.
Posted on

Best of 2011: Kyle Miller

Today we have the top ten songs of 2011 from Churchkey co-founder Kyle Miller, in no particular order.

An Horse — “Dressed Sharply”: this one was a favorite of mine from the first time I heard it, at Mohawk in Austin during SXSW. Nearly a year later, it’s still one of the songs I sing in the car most often. I’m always amazed by how “big” this band sounds, live and on record, and I love the contrast when the guitars drop out at the end of this song. That part is also a nice reminder of how terrible of a singer I am.

The Mountain Goats — “Damn These Vampires”: I bought All Eternals Deck,  the rest of which which ended up not sticking with me at all, on the strength of this single. No mystery why: the chorus is totally unfuckwithable. Big Mountain Goats fans would probably consider this blasphemy, but hey, everyone’s got their thing. If Friday Night Lights was still on TV, “Damn These Vampires” would be the perfect backdrop to one of those season premier montages, before they cut to Slammin’ Sammy Meade on the radio, right?

Telekinesis — “50 Ways”: Loud, quiet, loud. Works every time, just like Colt .45.

Black Lips — “Family Tree”: Instant dance party. Every time. My neighbors have almost certainly witnessed some embarrassing dance moves. As did about 800 strangers at the Lincoln Theatre when I saw the Black Lips, The Love Language, Spider Bags, and Last Year’s Men live and under the influence at Hopscotch. Absolutely one of my favorite nights of the year, and one of my favorite songs of the year.

Fucked Up — “Queen of Hearts”: Man. I feel like I can do anything when I hear the opening riff. If I was going to get out of bed in the morning and take over the world, I’d put this song on in my headphones. Also, the video with the kids singing along rules.

Apex Manor — “Teenage Blood”: I totally missed the boat on The Year of Magical Drinking when it first came out. It took a $5 Amazon deal and a recommendation from Dan McCleary to get me to finally check it out. Dan used the magic words “Replacements” and “Teenage Fanclub,” so I had no choice but to check it out. It was probably the best five bucks I spent this year. Lasts a lot longer than a pint of Mother Earth Kölsch, too.

Mount Moriah — “The Reckoning”: “Lament” made my list last year, and I’m going with “The Reckoning” this year, now that the Mount Moriah album has gotten properly released. This song is just beautiful from beginning to end, lyrically and sonically. I can’t really say anything about it that hasn’t been said at this point. If by chance you haven’t listened to this song, please do.

Gillian Welch — “Tennessee”: I find myself humming the chorus at random times of day, even when I haven’t heard the song for weeks. That automatically qualifies it for this list, right?

Whatever Brains — “The Future of Porn”: In Rich Ivey I trust. For full impact, see it played live. Whatever Brains is quite possibly the best live band in the Triangle right now.

Titus Andronicus — “Breed”: This was on the Newermind tribute album that SPIN released for free online to mark the 20th anniversary of Nevermind‘s release. In contrast to the hugeness I’ve come to expect from Titus Andronicus, it sounds like your favorite punkrock band playing in your friend’s basement. Rad.

Posted on

Halfway to Hell Sale: 50% off all releases this week!

These days, it’s easy to get behind on your record buying. The economy’s in a pinch. Gas prices are through the roof. And let’s face it, records often aren’t the cheapest things in the world. We feel your pain, and for the next week, everything on our online store ( is 50 percent off. That’s right, half-off every release in the Churchkey catalog — this week only. Just enter the coupon code halfway when you check out and the price of every item in your cart will be cut in half. The discount is good on both physical and digital products, and valid through midnight Eastern time on Friday December 2nd.

We’re proud of the records we’ve released, and we want to give you the chance to own each and every one.

Happy record buying!

Posted on

Churchkey at Hopscotch 2011!

The 2011 Hopscotch Music Festival kicks off in less than a week! We’re psyched to have so many Churchkey bands involved. This page is your guide to where you can find Churchkey-related happenings throughout the festival weekend.

You can get live updates from us throughout the festival by following @churchkey on Twitter. You might also be amused by following @stevesjones, @kylecmiller, and @jordanlawrence; all three of us will be at the festival all weekend. If you show up at the right dayparty on Thursday, you might also be able to catch Steve Jones sitting in on bass with some good friends of ours.

Thursday, September 8

  • Spider Bags and Last Year’s Men at The Lincoln Theatre @ 9PM
    • Last Year’s Men opens the show at 9PM, followed by Spider Bags at 10, The Love Language at 11, and The Black Lips at 12:30.
    • This will be the first local performance by the current four-piece Spider Bags lineup. You just might get treated to some new songs you’ve never heard before, and some old songs you haven’t heard in a very long time.
    • Hopscotch wristband required for entry (or $25 at the door, if space available)
  • Hog at the Berkeley Cafe @ 10PM
    • Hog plays the Berkeley at 10, followd by Mouthus and Oxbow. Hog will be freshly back from a northeast tour, so you can catch them in peak form.
    • Hopscotch wristband required for entry (or $25 at the door, if space available)

Friday, September 9

  • Daytime Layabout 2 at Slim’s Downtown @ 1PM
    • We’re helping throw another party with the Layabout House at Slim’s this year, co-sponsored by Nice Price Books, Bull City Burger & Brewery, and Gravity Records.
    • Indoors: Brainbows @1:30, Last Year’s Men @ 2:30, Gross Ghost @ 3:30, Mount Eerie @ 4:30
    • Outdoors: The Wigg Report and Belove Binge alternate sets between indoor sets.
    • There will be some delicious beer on hand from Bull City Burger and Brewery. Probably the first time it’s available in Raleigh!
    • Free dayparty! No Hopscotch credentials required.
  • The Loners at Slim’s Downtown @ 10PM
    • The Loners hit the stage at Slim’s at 10PM, followed by Vivian Girls and Coliseum.
    • Hopscotch wristband required for entry (or $25 at the door, if space available)

Saturday, September 10

  • Hammer No More the Fingers outside the Lincoln Theatre @ 2PM
    • HNMTF plays the “Rosebuds & Friends” dayparty in the parking lot outside of the Lincoln Theatre, along with Tonk, The Big Picture, Shirlette & the Dynamite Brothers, Youth Lagoon, Ben Sollee, and The Rosebuds.
    • Free dayparty! No Hopscotch credentials required.
  • Free Electric State at White Collar Crime @ 3PM
    • Free Electric State represents Durham’s own WXDU at the College Radio Showcase at White Collar Crime. They will be joined by Nests, The Bronzed Chorus, and Whatever Brains.
    • Free dayparty! No Hopscotch credentials required.
Posted on

Say hello to Hog

[frame_right alt=”Hog” title=”Hog”][/frame_right]

We’d like to take a minute this morning to officially extend a warm welcome to some old friends.

Say hello to Hog.

Hog’s debut EP Archetypes is available now in the Churchkey Records online store.

The metal cliche of rising from one demise to another triumph doesn’t interest any of the members of Durham’s large, lumbering Hog. Hog was born made of three members (guitarist Rich James, bassist Ryland Fishel, and drummer Noah Kessler) of Tooth, the metal juggernaut that for two years slayed NC clubs with a fast metal attack that threw out big, beefy riffs with razor-sharp accuracy. Hog rounded out its lineup by adding guitarist Alec Ferrell before heading to the studio to record its debut EP.

Archetypes, produced by Phillip Cope of Kylesa, will be in stores May 17th via Churchkey Records. As with Kylesa, Hog’s songs meander down gloriously tangled riffs and bass lines that are as explosive as they are intricate. The sludge here doesn’t bubble up slowly from the ground, it explodes outward in continuous bursts like an erupting volcano. They manage to sustain this force, creating elongated jams that never lose their forceful grip.

Hog aren’t risen from the ashes because they never burned down what made their previous work great. Smartly, they choose to build on it, refining the tools at their disposal and creating a new style all their own. Neither forsaking nor dwelling on what made their prior band great, they have built a sound that respects its heritage and harnesses it to reach even loftier heights.

Posted on

Best of 2010: Steve Jones

Finishing our year-end lists, we have the top 10 records of the year from Steve Jones:

1. Titus Andronicus – The Monitor
2. The Goodnight Loving – Supper Club
3. The National – High Violet
4. Harlem – Hippies
5. Last Year’s Men – Sunny Down Snuff
6. The War on Drugs – Future Weather
7. Ty Segall – Melted
8. Best Coast – Crazy For You
9. Sharon Van Etten – Epic
10. (tie) Nobunny – First Blood
10. (tie) Overnight Lows – City of Rotten Eyes

Posted on

Best of 2010: Kyle Miller

Today we have a “best of 2010” list from Kyle Miller:

Like last year, I’m posting my ten favorite songs of 2010. This year I’m excluding anything released on Churchkey since, you know, I’m biased. These are in no particular order, because that seems like a lot of work.

  • Titus Andronicus — “A More Perfect Union”: This song gets me every single time. Whether I was standing outside in a parking lot at noon at SXSW, or listening in my car, it got me every time. Equally great as both album opener and live show opener. The Monitor was without question my favorite album of 2010.
  • Mount Moriah — “Lament”: I’m going to count this as a 2010 song since it was released on that HFQ comp, and because I saw it performed live almost a dozen times this year. Holy crap. “Lament” is my favorite Mount Moriah song, but at least half a dozen others might be your favorite song. It’s going to take an incredible 2011 release from someone to top their upcoming album on my list a year from now (you know, if I was making a list of albums.)
  • The Wigg Report — “What You Don’t Know Might Kill Me”: This song, originally by the Future Kings of Nowhere, and included on the Friends of FKoN benefit comp, sounds neither  like the original, nor particularly like The Wigg Report. For some reason the lyrics never sunk in with me until this version. Maybe I’m slow? It’s both sweet and haunting at this pace. Honorable mention to HNMTF w/ Steve Oliva covering “Paper Napkins” on this same comp, which gave people goosebumps at the This Machine Kills Cancer benefit show. Really. Fucking. Good.
  • The National — “Runaway”: I haven’t yet been able to accurately describe to anyone why I love this song. And I actually tried, sitting outside a bar on a not-so-distant Tuesday night. It’s been pretty darn perfect for me all year, though. So there.
  • Harlem — “Faces”: If The Monitor wasn’t the album I played most this year, Hippies was. Tons of great songs on the album, but “Faces” gets the nod because it makes me look forward to flipping over to side 2.
  • The Goodnight Loving — “Doesn’t Shake Me”: My first exposure to The Goodnight Loving, despite Chaz’s prior urging, was a show at the Layabout House this year, where they played with The Dry Heathens. They were good, not great. A month or so later, I got The Goodnight Loving Supper Club through Chaz’s record of the month club. Somehow it didn’t do it for me on the first couple of listens, but it grew on me quickly after that. “Doesn’t Shake Me” does shake me, as does “The Pan”. Now I can’t wait to see them live again.
  • Cee-Lo Green — “Fuck You”: I’m not sure I can say much about this song that hasn’t been said already. My dad, who’s not into music at all and has never heard of Cee-Lo, saw this song performed live at a Letterman taping. Famously anti-f-bombs, my dad said “wow. that song was so rude.” and followed it with “but I gotta admit, it’s pretty darn catchy.” I’m pretty sure that’s the intended reaction from middle America. I just think it’s a damn good pop song, swear words or otherwise.
  • Superchunk — “Horror Business”: I know they meant for this to be a throwaway, but goddamn, I love Superchunk and I love the Misfits. How could this go wrong?
  • Superchunk — “My Gap Feels Weird”: “Digging For Something” was my favorite song from this album for a long time, but somehow I found myself liking this song more, which I would have considered a real dark horse on my first couple listens of Majesty Shredding. Also, the cadence of the chorus still throws me off when singing along.
  • Veelee — “Animal Dreams”: I suppose this was a common theme for me this year:  The Future Sight seemed like it wasn’t quite what I was hoping for on the first few listens, which was a bummer, since I really like Veelee. I came back to it a few weeks later, though, and it was exactly what I was hoping for. Weird how that happens. “Animal Dreams” edges out some of the other gems because it sounds so powerful live, when it crescendos into the “whoah-whoah-oh-oh, whoah-whoah”. Well done, sir and ma’am.
Posted on

Best of 2010: David Koslowski

1. Getting to rock an eyepatch and getting my eyesight back after surgery this summer.

2. Devo at The National in Richmond, one of my Top 5 concerts ever.

3. Beach House at Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill.

4. Completing my first documentary film, FREAKS IN LOVE : A Quarter Century of Underground Rock with ALICE DONUT.

5. Berlin…spending 10 days in this fantastic city of art, music & culture. While there seeing Faust & NEU! (2 of my all time favorite Krautrock bands) in concert. Shirlé got to hold a lyric sheet for Jean-Hervé Péron of Faust during their show and then we met him & drummer Zappi Diermaier afterwards.

6. Bear In Heaven at Local 506 in Chapel Hill and then at Hopscotch in Raleigh.

7. Annual Daniel Festival with Hammer No More The Fingers, which brought about the birth of Loose Coozy.

8. Touring with Gray Young, but especially Baltimore where GY bassist, Dan Grinder at an after party had to text FES to “go to bed.”

9. World Cup 2010…even though Germany lost.

10. Records by To Rococo Rot, Deerhunter, The National, Beach House, Liars, Weekend, The Soft Moon and No Joy.

Posted on

Best of 2010: Steve Oliva

Today’s ‘best of 2010’ list comes from Steve Oliva of The Dry Heathens.

10) The Extra Lens – “Undercard”

Perhaps, sometime off in the distant future, John Darnielle will release a record that I don’t love.  I fucking doubt it, though.

Choice cut: “How I Left the Ministry”

9) Last Year’s Men – “Sunny Down Snuff”

This is my favorite garage record of the year.  Super hooky, super skuzzy, super fucking great four chord rock and roll.  I love these kids and I love this band and I love this record.

Choice cut: “Spilled”

8) Phosphorescent – “Here’s To Taking It Easy”

What a fucking COOL record.  At times pissed off, sad, joyous and boastful, this is just an awesome pop-rock record, with a dash of alt-country thrown in for good measure, about girls, getting drunk, and trying to figure out life.  Relatable.

Choice cut: “Tell Me Baby (Have You Had Enough)”

7) The Love Language – “Libraries”

If “Heart to Tell” doesn’t make you sing and dance like a preteen girl at a slumber party, then you and I aren’t going to be friends.  The best pure pop tune on this, and maybe any, record this year.  Stu also, however, made sure to wedge in a bit of the mournful lo-fi majesty that made his debut such a hit with “Wilmont,” another absolutely stunning song.

Choice cut: “Wilmont”

6) Superchunk – “Majesty Shredding”

New Superchunk record?  Fuck and yes.  Find me a two-word chorus as catchy as that in “Crossed Wires.”  I fucking dare you.

Choice cut: “My Gap Feels Weird”

5) No Age – “Everything in Between”

This is one of those rare records that I was really REALLY excited about both before and after its release.  This one’s a little more reined in than “Nouns,” but not in a detrimental way.  The tracks are a little poppier, sure, but that noisy No Age weirdness is still pervasive.  Basically, this band just keeps getting better at what they do.

Choice cut: “Fever Dreaming”

4) Veelee – “The Future Sight”

Dear Matt Park and Ginger Wagg: I heart you.  Local record of the year, for my money.  And “Animal Dreams,” all six and a half minutes of it, is perfect.

Choice cut: “Animal Dreams”

3) The Tallest Man on Earth – “The Wild Hunt”

There’s not a song on this record that I couldn’t listen to every day from now until forever.  “The Wild Hunt” is a very simple album, admittedly: intricate acoustic guitar lines, clever songcraft, and (for the most part) excellent lyrics.  Funny that this formula, when held to strictly, can still produce a compelling, powerful record.

Choice cut: “The Drying of the Lawns”

2) Titus Andronicus – “The Monitor”

What a mighty, angry, triumphant, brilliant record we have here.  A solid hour of the sounds of being young and pissed off.  I suppose there might be folks to whom this is not appealing.  By all means, let me know if you are one of them.  And then we will fight.

Choice cut: “Theme from ‘Cheers’”

1) Fang Island – “Fang Island”

It would be very difficult for me to tell you how much I love this record.  Good God, it is everything I want from rock and roll: loud guitars, huge choruses, minimal vocals, fucking hooks galore, and just fun, fun, fun.  I’ve listened to it, on average, probably once every two days since the spring.  Not tired of it.  Not even a little bit.  This one’s a winner.

Choice cut: “Sideswiper”

Posted on

Best of 2010: Nick Williams

Today we’re kicking off our year-end ‘Best of 2010’ lists, starting with Nick Williams from Free Electric State.

Nick’s top 10 shows of the year:

10. Birds of Avalon at Casbah, Troika Music Festival
9. Bear In Heaven at Local 506
8. Valient Thorr at  Motorco, Troika Music Festival
7. Bellafea at Kings, Hopscotch Music Festival
6. Hammer No More The Fingers at Annual Daniel 2010
5. NOMO at Lincoln Theatre, Hopscotch Music Festival
4. In The Year Of The Pig at The Pinhook
3. Caribou at Cat’s Cradle
2. Gray Young at  Casbah, Troika Music Festival
1. Lurch at The Pinhook (this was all JME’s fault)
Posted on

Spider Bags single up for pre-order today

[wpsc_products product_id=’12’]

More info:

[frame_left alt=”” title=”Blue/purple: limited to 100 copies”][/frame_left]

[frame_center alt=”” title=”Black: limited to 400 copies”][/frame_center]

The A-side is based on the band’s tendency to party a bit too hard on tour. Every time the Bags pull in late to a town, they agree to “take it easy tonight.” It never works out that way. “By the time we get to the bar, you’re not taking it easy anymore,” says singer and guitarist Dan McGee, recalling drunken nights and minimal sleep. “It sounded kind of fun to write a hard-rocking pop song around the idea of ‘taking it easy.'” Mixed for over a month, the song is a dense, guitar-driven piece of psychedelic pop-rock with myriad layers and textures to explore. “I wanted it to be one of those things where you could just smoke a joint and lay down and listen to it and be like, ‘What is that? I didn’t hear that last time,’” he explains.

Similarly psychedelic, B-side “Shonda“ is a collaboration with the Bags’ good friends The Golden Boys. On tour together, the two bands stopped in Omaha, Neb. for a quick overnight recording session. The results formed the bulk of The Golden Boys’ 2009 LP Thee Electric Wolfman, but some songs ended up unused. This cut features the Bags backing up the Boys’ Bryan Schmitz for a late-night rock ‘n’ roll slow-burner. Heaped with overdubs including backwards drums and additional reverbed vocals, it’s a singeing breath of strung-out fire that’s sure to leave a mark.

Posted on

Double record release party 10/23!

We’re excited to announce the upcoming release of two records we love this fall: The new Spider Bags 7″, “Take It Easy Tonite” will hit store shelves on October 19th, and the debut album from Last Year’s Men, Sunny Down Snuff will be in stores on November 9th.

To celebrate the release of these two new records, we’re inviting everyone we know to come party with us at Duke Coffeehouse on October 23rd. That’s right: a double record release party! Last Year’s Men and Spider Bags will both be performing, and we’ll be announcing a special guest opening act soon as well.

Five bucks at the door, and both records will be available for purchase!

Posted on

Churchkey at Hopscotch!

There’s a ton of good stuff going on at the Hopscotch Music Festival in downtown Raleigh this weekend, and we’re honeored to be a part of it. Below you’ll find a guide to everything Churchkey-related that’s going on this weekend. Keep your eyes on the @churchkey Twitter feed for live updates from the festival all weekend long.

And if you’ve got an iPhone, grab the Hopscotch Music Festival app. It’s free, and will definitely come in handy.

Thursday, September 9

  • Hammer No More The Fingers @ The Hive (Busy Bee), 12:30 AM
    • Hammer headlines the Thursday night bill at The Hive with local buds Goner and Old Bricks, and out-of-towners Pattern Is Movement.
    • Hopscotch wristband required for entry (or $20 at the door, if space available)

Friday, September 10

  • Daytime Layabout @ Slim’s Downtown, 1:00 – 5:30 PM
    • A free dayparty presented by Fullsteam Brewery, Churchkey Digital, Nice Price Books, Bull City Records, and The Layabout House.
    • Churchkey’s newest band, Last Year’s Men, join up with a bunch of great bands for a rare non-Durham show presented by Durham institution, the Layabout House. Keep an eye out for members of Spider Bags as John Wesley Coleman’s sidemen, too!
    • 1:30 – The Wigg Report
    • 2:15 – Pinche Gringo
    • 3:00 – John Wesley Coleman III
    • 3:45 – Last Year’s Men
    • 4:30 – Harlem
    • Free – no Hopscotch credentials required!
  • Local Beer / Local Band dayparty @ Tir Na Nog, 12:00 – 5:00 PM
    • A free dayparty presented by Aviator Brewing Co and New Raleigh
    • This event is both a rock show and a “record store” with local record labels selling their wares during the show. We’ll be there, alongside local pals Merge, Yep Roc, Trekky, Holidays For Quince, 307 Knox, and Odessa. Stop by the Churchkey table for some specials, including $5 Churchkey shirts, and the “vinyl 3-pack”, all three of our current vinyl releases for a bundled price of $15!
    • 12:45 – Cellar Seas
    • 1:30 – Veelee
    • 2:15 – Filthybird
    • 3:00 – Temperance League
    • 3:45 – A Rooster For The Masses
    • Free – no Hopscotch credentials required!
  • Spider Bags @ Slim’s Downtown, 10:00 PM
    • Spider Bags join a raucous bill of fun and strange garage rock best buds, along with Followed By Static, The Golden Boys, and Harlem, all three from Austin. Spider Bags and The Golden Boys have done plenty of recording on each other’s records, and the Spider Bags’ upcoming 7″, “Take it Easy Tonite” features a b-side written and sung by Bryan Schmitz of the Golden Boys. You might recognize Harlem’s Jose Boyer as one-time Spider Bags bassist, before he moved to Austin.
    • Hopscotch wristband required for entry (or $20 at the door, if space available)

Saturday, September 11

  • Churchkey III @ Tir Na Nog, 12:00 – 5:30 PM
  • The Loners @ Local Time Day Party (Hargett St, in front of Raleigh Times Bar)
    • We haven’t seen set times for this show yet, but it runs from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, and The Loners are billed in the middle, so we’d guess they’ll play around 2:00. We’ll post more on Twitter as we learn it. Lots of other great locals on this bill as well, including Red Collar, The Old Ceremony, Des Ark, Maple Stave, Flute Flies, and NAPS.
    • Free – no Hopscotch credentials required!

Get out there and have some fun—we’ll see you in Raleigh!

Posted on

Announcing ‘The Congregation’

Today we’re launching ‘The Congregation’, a free club for fans of the bands on Churchkey Records.

The Congregation is a way to ensure that you’re in the loop on the latest Churchkey Records happenings: new releases, big shows, and special events. In order to make sure you’re the first to know about these things, we’re asking for your email address and mailing address (and we absolutely will not share them with anyone else.) We don’t like receiving unwanted emails any more than you do, so The Congregation is much more than a mailing list. First of all, we’ll only send you emails when we have something important to share with you. When we do send you an email, we’ll include a private download link to live and/or rare tracks from Churchkey Records bands that aren’t available elsewhere.

In addition to these emails and free downloads, congregation members will also get our yearly “Churchkey Christmas” release in the mail. These holiday releases are not available elsewhere, and have previously been available only to a small group of friends and colleagues.

Members of The Congregation will also be able to pre-order Churchkey Records releases before the general public, and download the pre-ordered release immediately.

But wait—there’s more!

Be one of the first 50 people to join the congregation, and get a free download of an entire album of your choice! Choose from any of our CD releases, listed on the form below.

Sound good? You can sign up below:

If you ever decide to leave The Congregation, just email and tell us you’d like to delete your information.

Posted on

Churchkey Three!

Maybe it’s the rich blues heritage. Maybe it’s the way its well-worn Southern tobacco nostalgia mixes with its renewed urban charm. Maybe it’s the abundance of college kids, raring to tear loose from the shackles of totalitarian parents. Or maybe it’s just the fact that so many awesome bands call the city home. Whatever explanation you favor, it’s hard to think of a more perfect rock ‘n’ roll town than Durham, N.C.

At Churchkey Records, we’re on a mission to share those local sounds with the rest of the world. Founded in 2007 by Kyle Miller and Steve Jones, Churchkey has kept it loud and local through these first three years, releasing records from an ever-expanding stable of Triangle rock bands.


On September 11, we will celebrate our third birthday (and the prospect of many more) with a little party. Churchkey Three will be a free, label-sponsored showcase at Raleigh’s Tir Na Nog as part of the first-ever Hopscotch Music Festival (with free beer provided by Triangle Brewing Company!) Headlined by popular indie rockers Hammer No More The Fingers, the five-band bill will pay tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll that Churchkey was built to promote.


  • 12:30 PM: The Dirty Little Heaters
  • 1:30 PM: Free Electric State
  • 2:30 PM: Last Year’s Men
  • 3:30 PM: The Dry Heathens
  • 4:30 PM: Hammer No More The Fingers

To get you psyched for the party and more familiar with each of our bands, Churchkey is presenting a series of interviews with all eight of our current bands. Every week starting this Wednesday a different local music publication will sit down for an interview with a Churchkey band. The results will be posted both on this blog and on the publication’s website. Linnie Greene from The Daily Tar Heel’s Diversions section starts things off tomorrow by talking with The Dirty Little Heaters. The full schedule is below: