Soundchecks: Stoll Vaughan, On the Cinder, Dallas Baker & Friends, Salti Ray, Rare Creatures, Mo Lowda & the Humble

Live music to catch this week

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GLEN WEXLER
  • Glen Wexler

AMERICANA | Stoll Vaughan
Wed. Jan. 15
6 p.m.
$5
Awendaw Green

The Awendaw Green Barn Jams are an ongoing outdoor original music showcase that manages to bring some of the most interesting singer-songwriters in America to a somewhat obscure area of the Lowcountry. This week's concert features Stoll Vaughan, a Los Angeles-based folk musician who has been honing his craft for over 20 years now and has played alongside some of the finest in the business. Recently, he co-wrote tunes with the Allman Betts Band for their 2019 debut record, and Vaughan's latest LP, ​The Conversation, was co-produced by Carl Broemel, of My Morning Jacket. Vaughan's material tends to explore human emotions, spirituality, and the larger significance behind everyday encounters. And he takes his vocation seriously. "There's a certain magic that still exists in music, and it's present whenever I watch somebody I've never met react and connect to a song in someplace I've never been," Vaughan tells the ​City Paper. "Sharing my stories in an intimate way out on the road is a vital part of my life that allows me to be free," he adds. This Wednesday, fans can expect a career-spanning set that is modeled after some of Vaughan's musical heroes that include John Prine and the late great Townes Van Zandt. "I've worked really hard over the years on crafting a really solid singer-songwriter show. It is completely solo and focused on the acoustic guitar, with lots of open tunings and beautiful arrangements," Vaughan says. —Kevin Wilson WEDNESDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

MELODIC HARDCORE | On the Cinder
w/ Billy Riot, Blue Ricky
Sat. Jan. 18
9 p.m.
$5
The Sparrow

Lamplighter, the most recent album from New York punk trio On the Cinder, tells the listener everything the band is about upfront. Opening track "Lifeline" kicks the LP off with rolling drums and quick bass stabs, before exploding with a pop-punk melody that carries the rest of the song. It's not really a hint at the band's sound — it's a full taste. Since their 2013 EP, Feed Them to the Children, On the Cinder has specialized in fast rhythm playing, triumphant melodies, some unrestrained feedback, and surgically placed screams for backing vocals. Some sections of Lamplighter, like the dissonant middle break of "#Anarchy," show an influence from American hardcore pioneers Black Flag. Other tracks, like "Punk Kid" and "Fat, Happy, Poor," show the band's knack for finding the sweet spot between pop and punk. The former song is a desperate run through a short chorus, illustrating the character in the lyrics as he is just "scraping by." On the Cinder's songs were built with speed in mind, a methodology that crafts music that's best heard live. —Heath Ellison SATURDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

BLUEGRASS | Dallas Baker & Friends
w/ Sunflowers & Sin
Thur. Jan. 16
9 p.m.
$8
Pour House

There's an Americanarama going down on Jan. 16. Duo Sunflowers & Sin will be joining the ever-rotating ensemble known as Dallas Baker & Friends for one night at the Pour House. The acts are not only veterans of the venue but also two of Charleston's most beloved homegrown folk performers. Sunflowers & Sin have established themselves through seamless vocal harmonies and upbeat acoustic songs that can be found on their debut EP Of Water & Whiskey, which will be turning a year old this March. Dallas Baker will bring his usual merry band along for a bluegrass set infused with a jam band execution. Both are acts that thrive onstage, and in a comfortable environment they're both bound to cut loose a little. It will likely be full of familiar faces and songs for Pour House regulars as well as a fun night out for those looking for a taste of Charleston panache. —Alex Peeples THURSDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

INDIE POP | Salti Ray
w/ Slark Moan, Hannah O
Weds. Jan. 15
9 p.m.
$5
The Royal American

There are new bands who play different styles of music because they're still trying to define their sound, and then there are new bands who make doing whatever the hell they want their modus operandi. Spartanburg's Salti Ray is definitely the latter. The band formed around the nucleus of singer/guitarist Mary Norris and lead guitarist Noelle Taylor back in 2017, with drummer Houston Garrett coming on board shortly after. Norris and Taylor have about a decade's worth of friendship and collaboration to build on, having met in a guitar class in middle school and eventually attending college together as music majors. And they use that connection to write blissful dream-pop, raw indie-rock, introspective folk, and just about everything else. "We didn't think too hard in terms of what we wanted to be," Norris says. "We just let our songs be what they are. We weren't thinking, 'Oh, we want our band to be this, or to go in this specific direction.' We write something, and if we all like it, we go with it. We let ourselves do whatever we're feeling." Having said that, Norris points to some definite musical influences, particularly where Taylor's fiery, spectacular lead guitar work is concerned. "We tend to lean towards indie-pop like Alabama Shakes and Lake Street Dive," she says, "but we also like a lot of alternative rock and grunge. Noelle was heavily influenced by Mike McCready from Pearl Jam. It's all over the place." —Vincent Harris WEDNESDAY

PROVIDED
  • Provided

ALTERNATIVE ROCK | Rare Creatures and Mo Lowda & the Humble
w/ 87 Nights
Sat. Jan. 18
8:30 p.m.
$15-$25
Pour House

Mo Lowda & the Humble is a mouthful of a name for a three-piece band, but then again, these three guys make a sound so big that it's easy to assume they're a larger group. The Philadelphia band creates a wall of sound around singer/guitarist Jordan Caiola's sweet-and-sour vocals, shoring up his heart-on-the-sleeve vulnerability with insistent rhythms and layered guitars. It's an interesting wide-screen approach for a group that started out doing house shows, where intimacy and stripped-down presentation are often the order of the day. But there's a definite through line of anthemic, passionate rock running from their 2018 full-length album Creatures to their just-released new single, "Sleeves." Whatever their indie-rock roots are, their production is certainly high-quality enough to cut it on mainstream radio. In fact, there are times when the band resembles both NEEDTOBREATHE and Kings Of Leon, mixing icy-cool pop choruses with beefy guitars and passionate vocals. "Sleeves" adds some synths to the mix, as well, lending a polished sheen to Mo Lowda's sound without being distracting. The song isn't quite as heavy as some of their past material, but it still feels like a natural progression for a group that's never shied away from big, lump-in-the-throat moments in their music. It remains to be seen how much Caiola, bassist Jeff Lucci, and drummer Shane Woods have shined up their overall sound on their next full-length album (scheduled for release later this year), but the band certainly hasn't lost their nose for a strong chorus and appropriately large-scale production. —Vincent Harris SATURDAY

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