North Carolina. The Tar Heel State. If you doubt even for a second the musicians of the 9th most populous state in the union aren’t as cultivated or driven as other more-traditional “cultural centers” in the US, you’re dead wrong. Creative forces are bursting at the seems. Where does it all come from?
That perpetual drift of corroded mini-malls boasting trends from yesteryear, cookie-cutter development neighborhoods, and beat up school yards that have been underfunded since the beginning of time itself. It’s safe. It’s bland. It’s my childhood.
Perhaps Durham-based gloom-auteurs Lilac Shadows summed up this sentiment best on the title of their debut full-length No Light / No Dark. There’s a feeling of isolation that defines North Carolina’s musical landscape–but it’s hard to put a finger on it. This band inhabit the so-called Tri-Scene: Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham–An art-centric ecosystem of music venues, cooperative grocery stores, cassette tape and vinyl record stores, tattoo-piercing-shops, thrift stores, and all things hipster cool.
Lilac Shadows draw from a wide spectrum of sounds and techniques but front and center is the gloomy-angsty-vibe of late-70s post-punk: Gang of Four, Wire, The The are often sited as being key influences. There’s also a nod to the pissed off shoe-gaze of My Bloody Valentine. Perhaps the best comparable contemporary would be Deerhunter–a band that too often grapples with a similar dismal collective consciousness.
Although Sam Logan assumes most of the creative-duties for the band, the overall varied lineup has included a wide range of other aspiring local artists over the years, perhaps most notably Derek Torres, aka TOW3RS, who you might say is kind of a big deal around here. Lilac Shadows and TOW3RS have done some cool stuff together, including this split Velvet Underground tribute.
Unfortunately, according to their Facebook page, Lilac Shadows appears to be going back into hibernation for the time being to pursuit other creative outlets. No doubt though, Logan and company will be back with another vicious lineup soon enough.