Best New(ish) Charlotte Records


Andy Smith, Charlotte magazine’s digital director, and I created this list of our favorite albums from local bands from the past two years. This was published in Charlotte magazine’s March issue.

Dirty Art Club
Basement Seance
Each track on Dirty Art Club’s 2017 album feels like 100 songs wrapped into one. That’s largely because each one is—the local psychedelic act samples old, obscure records and splices the beats together to create one trance-like song. Clocking in at 23 tracks, Basement Seance is impressive not only in length but also in its ability to intertwine genres and remain approachable for all listeners.


Editor’s Note: Please & Thank You

Essay, music

My editor’s note from Charlotte magazine’s March issue. Cover image by Jonathan Cooper.

IS THERE anything promptu about seeing a show at Snug Harbor? For every band I’ve seen at the Plaza Midwood venue, it’s always been a last-minute decision: If the set starts at 10:30 p.m., I’m calling the Uber at 10:28.

Spontaneity is also why I love Snug. The bartender asks, “What beer do you want?” I shrug and say, “Just give me whatever is cheapest.” The friend I drag along asks, “What band is even playing?” I say, “Does it even matter? You’ll love them.”


Q&A: Hectorina’s New DIY Rock Album


An interview that was published in Charlotte magazine’s March issue about local rock band, Hectorina.

HECTORINA KICKS OFF its Snug Harbor residency this month on Feb. 6, ahead of the release of their new album, Knotted Everest. The local DIY rock group’s fifth full-length record is moodier than Hectorina’s past pop punk style albums, but that’s just a part of the band’s mission: to constantly evolve. Charlotte magazine spoke with frontman Dylan Gilbert in January about Hectorina’s new album and about the city’s—and Hectorina’s—ever-changing sound (edited for clarity and space).

Charlotte magazine: What’s the inspiration for the name of the album, Knotted Everest?
Dylan Gilbert: 
A lot of our earlier work was more colorful and more psychedelic, but the stuff we’ve been thinking about and writing about now are more anxiety-driven. Just thinking about our current time, it can be more stressful. Knotted Everest is this enormous thing all tangled up.

CM: How has your music evolved in Hectorina’s seven years?
 I think that a lot of artists find what they like, and they want to stay in their realm. Of course that’s OK, but our M.O. from the very beginning was let’s keep going. Always asking, what’s next for us? A lot of the time, whenever we put stuff down on paper, we’d already be onto the next thing stylistically or creatively before the other thing released. Maybe it’s hard: The people who like our band, can’t keep up with us, but hopefully that could be a good thing, too.


Photo courtesy of Hectorina.

The Big Love: Charlotte Musicians Gigi Dover and Eric Lovell

music, Storytelling


A profile I wrote about the couple behind Gigi Dover & The Big Love, a local americana band in Charlotte, for Charlotte magazine’s July issue.

A PAIR OF PANTS—tight, pinstriped, black pants. When Eric Lovell talks about the early days, he starts there.

It was Christmastime 2002. Lovell and singer/songwriter Gigi Dover were performing together for Spindale public radio station WNCW’s holiday party, she as the headliner and he on bass guitar. The two had known each other for years, both staples in the Charlotte music scene for more than a decade. Lovell played guitar during Dover’s tour for her first solo album earlier that year, Unpicked Flowers.

At the time, Lovell had long, laid-back ringlets that landed at about his waist. Dover remembers watching his hair rock back and forth to the music as he played a rock version of “Away in a Manger” on bass that night. He only remembers her pants, though.

“She’s a long-legged woman,” he says with a wide grin, his mustache curled on the ends. “They just fit perfectly.”

Before, their timing had never been right for anything more than friendship. They were both married to other people and busy building their own music careers.

Who made the first move is still up for debate. But eventually feelings evolved and their friendship intensified into attraction, and then grew into something much deeper. The two married in 2006 and have worked together on more than 15 albums, four as the band Gigi Dover & The Big Love. Collectively, they have performed hundreds of shows in Charlotte, at the Evening Muse, the Visulite Theatre, and at the now-closed Double Door Inn. Thanks, in part, to a pair of pants.


Photo by Chris Edwards.

Around Towns: Saluda, Charlotte Magazine

music, Storytelling, travel


A travel feature story for Charlotte magazine’s November 2016 issue. 

SALUDA IS NOT in the foothills of the Appalachians, and its locals are quick to correct me on that. If you’re driving north from South Carolina, the town sits atop the first peak in the Blue Ridge range and is home to the steepest railroad grade in the country—or would be, if the trains were still running.

In 2001, freight trains stopped passing through Saluda. Now, the town leans on its musical traditions to build itself up as a hub for live music and local art. You might say Saluda traded in the sounds of whistling trains for strumming chords, and the people here want you to listen.


Photo by Logan Cyrus