by Paul Bowers
Whoever says Charleston doesn't have a buzzing music scene just isn't paying attention. Exhibit A: The City Paper Music Awards showcase, a free concert put on by you-know-who, which will feature soulful uke-strumming cowgirls The Local Honeys, Gadsden-flag-waving punks The 33's, tap-dancing jazz-rockers Flat Foot Floozies, and local rap king Dirty Dave Da Fly Guy. 7 p.m. tonight at the Pour House. Be there or be boring.
Exhibit B: Elim Bolt's new album, Nude South, which was released on Election Day. Formed this year and fronted by former Sequoyah Prep School bass player Johnnie Matthews, Elim Bolt plays a polished, crooning indie rock. Matthews belts it out with a haunting voice that calls to mind Devendra Banhart in one of his more sober moments, and organist-and-recording-engineer Dan McCurry (of Run Dan Run fame) dunks the whole thing in glowing reverb, creating an atmosphere that sounds like one of the better Daytrotter sessions.
There were a few other notable releases this week, including a new single by old-school groovy vibers Explorers Club.
In October, the band traveled to Atlanta to record an updated take on the song "No Good to Cry," originally penned in 1967 by a young Al Anderson (who would go on to front the jazz rock band NRBQ). In usual Explorers Club fashion, the result is a dreamy throwback and a pure pop pleasure, with lush vocal harmonies and a full-on horn section. The track is available as a free download on NoiseTrade.
In another Election Day release, Shovels & Rope put up a hotel-room rendition of Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding." Band member Michael Trent is an avowed Costello fan, and the song takes on an especially doleful tenor when he tackles it with wife and bandmate Cary Ann Hearst. As a word of explanation, the band wrote on their Facebook page:
We were feeling patriotic today so we went old school and made a hotel recording of a song that moves us every day... not just election day. Heres one for all y'all… republicans, democrats and libertar-vega-totalitarians and everybody else that stood in line today to vote.
Here's one more release with roots elsewhere in the state. Will Flourance, formerly of the consistently crass Columbia rap duo Sweet Vans (who toasted former Gov. Mark Sanford's extramarital affair in the song "Sanford, Son!"), has been sowing his wild oats in recent years, notably with the solo project Ramphastos, an electronic trap-beat soundtrack to some sort of hipsterific house of horrors. In his latest project, the one-man band The Keeper, Flourance (now living in Washington D.C.) employs vocals, guitar, bass, organ, and drums in the service of a faintly spooked, gothic take on surf-rock. "It's all material inspired by and created for friends and family," Flourance says in an e-mail. "I guess a lot of it is spooky, but it makes sense to me because I turn to those I know the best when I get paranoid and freaked out."
Two tracks, "Center of the Ocean" and "Boogieman," are available as free downloads on Bandcamp.