29 May 2008

You Can Make Him Like You

Sweet zombie Jesus, The Hold Steady have lined up a date at Charleston's Pour House on August 10. The Loved Ones open the show.

Also at the lovely Pour House on July 25th, an evening with Jason Isbell. Two sets, no opener. That's what I'm talking about.

Built to Spill are taking "Perfect From Now On" on the road for a Summer/Fall tour. I would much prefer a "Keep It Like a Secret" tour, but I'll take what I can get to see Built to Spill before I die. (They are nowhere near the Southeast--unless you count VA, and really who does--so roadtrip people.)

I'll be at the Village Tavern this tomorrow night for The Helio Sequence and The Explorer's Club. Apparently those boys from The Explorer's Club are blowing up. Nice job, boys. Represent Chucktown, ya hear?
(Those boys need some sunlight, stat.)

mp3: The Hold Steady: "Sequestered in Memphis" (Thanks, I Guess I'm Floating)
mp3: The Helio Sequence: "Can't Say No" One of my favorite tracks of the past month. (Thanks, Sub Pop)

23 May 2008

20 May 2008

All Together Now

Make yourself a part of the music you love:
Parts and Labor need your help for their new album!

mp3: "Fractured Skies" from the LP Mapmaker
mp3: "A Great Divide" from the LP Stay Afraid

You thought Kenny Rogers sucked? You're right! But don't tell that to Canadians The Constantines and Feist. You can receive a limited edition seven inch from Daytrotter. It's just takes a little motivation and, ummm....writing an essay about Kenny Roger's beard?

19 May 2008

Sound Forged Like Spine

In addition to having one of the best titles for a song I've heard in a long time (re: the blog post title), The Winter Sounds are one of those bands that hold the coveted spot in my library of "repeat player." Seldom few albums make it to this spot and the ones that do are in good company--"Destroyer's Rubies" by Destroyer, "Fort Recovery" by Centro-matic, "Blue Screen Life" by Pinback, etc. The Winter Sounds' debut full length, "Porcelain Empire" has that brilliant quality of suiting every mood during any given week of the year. I'm not sure what a sound forged like (out of?) spine would sound like, but I bet The Winter Sounds' know exactly what it is. And they know how to recreate it from scratch every night.

I was fortunate enough to catch them at Charleston's latest (and so far divey-ist, in a good way) bar, The Tin Roof. For a Monday night, these guys and gal weren't phoning it in and I enjoyed every minute of it--from the $1.50 PBRs to the stage left exit at around midnight. I'll definitely be back...especially now that The Map Room has closed its doors. (Sniff.)

It would be easy to dismiss The Winter Sounds as just another pop band from Athens, GA but there is so much more to discover with this band. And you can almost rest assured they will come play a city near you.

Check out their MySpace page and listen to samples.
The Winter Sounds website.

More photos of the band at my Flickr site

Visit The Tin Roof's MySpace page to see upcoming shows.

15 May 2008

Live Review: Radiohead, Charlotte, NC, May 9, 2008

Would it be asking too much to go ahead and proclaim Radiohead to be the biggest band in the world right now? Who are the competitors? In terms of cash, the Rolling Stones would be at the top of the heap, and for sheer longevity I’ll award R.E.M. and U2 for their 20+ year careers. But in terms of sustainability, fanbase (casual or otherwise), and sheer unpredictability, I’ll vote for Radiohead to claim the top spot. So what does the biggest band in the world sound like live?

Pretty boring, actually.

I’m not going to pan Radiohead in a live review. I enjoyed every minute of my time at the concert (even when some 17-year-old punks decided it would be okay to smoke pot beside me in seats that weren’t theirs). It’s over three hours to Charlotte from Charleston, and I-77 is an unforgiving stretch of interstate at 2 AM—but that’s neither here nor there. The sheer enjoyment of being able to say, “Yes, I’ve seen Radiohead live” was enough to make me go all a-twitter.

My companion, P, and I arrived late, missing the opening set by The Liars (though we did hear them from the road into the venue where we sat in traffic for 90 minutes). And once we found our seats the show started as the clouds released threatening lightning overhead. P was of the mindset that they would open with “15 Step” since the last time he saw Radiohead in Atlanta the opened with “2 + 2=5,” the first track of their then-released Hail to the Thief. I was banking on a livelier opener, like “Bodysnatchers.”

Both wrong, we were greeted with “All I Need” followed by “There There,” two songs that show such a restrained climax it’s almost unbearable. The show picked up after a few songs with “Airbag” and “Idioteque” but remained restrained most all evening until the end of their set when an amped-up version of “Everything In its Right Place,” “Bangers and Mash,” and “Bodysnatchers” materialized. “We might need to go lay down and take a nap after this one,” Thom Yorke joked before “Bodysnatchers” began.

They left the stage, but then reappeared for two encores. The first encore held an incredibly dull song with acoustic guitar, “Talk Show Host” (you know, that cool track from the lame Romeo + Juliet movie?), “Exit Music (For A Film),” and “House of Cards.” I was in the parking lot by the time encore number 2 started, I heard the opening stanza of “Paranoid Android” and kicked myself for leaving, but not too badly.

You see, I’m not entirely sure what I want out of stadium concerts at this point in my life. I’m spoiled by intimate venues where I can talk to the artists, take photos, and buy a cd directly from them. I could barely see the band onstage, the sound was great, but all the songs basically sounded like they were coming out of my home stereo, only louder. Radiohead have nothing to prove to me or anyone, and that’s what makes them a phenomenal band and I’m sure they struggle with the lack on intimacy in a stadium show. But for anyone who didn’t make it out to see them, or who won’t make it as they continue across the US of A, don’t worry; you’ve got all that you need right there on CD or vinyl. Enjoy it.

Radiohead 5/9/08 Charlotte, NC Set List

Set 1: All I Need, There There, Airbag, 15 Step, Nude, Sail to the Moon, Weird Fishes/Apreggi, Myxomatosis, Idioteque, Morning Bell, Videotape, Optimistic, Where I End and You Begin, You and Whose Army?, Everything in Its Right Place, Bangers & Mash, Bodysnatchers

Encore 1: Go Slowly, Talk Show Host, Exit Music, Planet Telex , House of Cards

Encore 2: Paranoid Android, Reckoner

Read this guy's blog (solely dedicated to Phish) who was apparently live blogging at the show. His descriptions of the people in the parking lot are dead on.

07 May 2008

Girl, Why Not Take Out the Trash?

This past Sunday I dug into the mess that is my bonus room (or FROG - Front Room Over the Garage here in Chucktown). CDs, books, comics, computers parts, and random papers were everywhere. Here's the soundtrack to Sunday cleaning. As you can tell I gave up after about three hours. A body can only take so much. (CD images link to amazon.com)

Built to Spill, Live--My obsession with BTS continues. One day I will see them live. Or not. Either way 20 minutes of Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" was enough to drive my wife and cats crazy.

They Might Be Giants, The Else--TMBG rock better than most bands who have been around for 20 years. (Yes, I'm looking in your direction U2, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, R.E.M., etc.) Every album manages to sound fresh to me despite whatever beef Pitchfork has with them. P4K seems incapable of handing them a good review.

Band of Gypsys, Live--Picked this one up on Record Store Day on vinyl. Even remastered the sound is still just-okay. But damn, Billy Cox and Buddy Miles make a hell of a rhythm section. An awkward, but fitting end to Hendrix's career...and really the only album I can stomach listening to now (they all remind me too much of Jr High when I was cranking out Hendrix licks on my axe).

You can still download Piltdown from Wide Awake Press, the Free Comic offered as part of Free Comic Book Day! Do it! To see my stellar piece, view the HTML version and I'm at the end (page 43). Or just skip to this link. (Sorry, Chris.)

Guess who's going to see Radiohead this Friday in Charlotte? (Hint: It's me.)

02 May 2008

Reading is For Closers

Get some downloads a-plenty today and tomorrow and read some funny books while you listen to the muzak:

-You Ain't No Picasso has a five song CBC session with Wolf Parade. I'm not the biggest Wolf Parade fan but I do like these tracks.

-Thanks to So Much Silence for pointing me to a band called Source Victoria. Their album The Fast Escape is available for a free download until tomorrow. Follow this link and click on the "take the fast escape" link.

-Most importantly, though is the free comic book being offered by Wide Awake Press for Free Comic Book Day. Tons of great artists (some of them even talented!) and the best part is...it's free. Oh, and there's a piece by your favorite blogger. Get it here, starting tomorrow and not a moment sooner cheaters.

01 May 2008

Honey, I Don't Believe This

#5: Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies
(dir. Todd Phillips, 1994; released on DVD, 1997)

Only circumstantially aware of GG Allin and who he was, my main familiarity with his (ahem) work were the tales of theatrical and scatological stage antics and one great song by the Drive-By Truckers, "The Night GG Allin Came to Town" on the just-okay LP Pizza Deliverance.

I never meant to watch Hated, but if you're so inclined you can watch it on Pitchfork TV; it's being shown online as part of the "One Week Only" feature and will be available until Monday, May 5. Watch it here (NSFW!).

I've watched horrible things in my lifetime. I've seen most of Pink Flamingos, enjoyed Man Bites Dog, and highly recommend The Devil's Rejects as authentic campy horror. I didn't mean to watch Hated; I was just checking out Pitchfork TV and it happened to be the first thing that started playing. I can't say I'm glad I watched it, but I don't feel worse for seeing it.

My problem with Allin isn't the onstage defecation, the nudity, the indignancy toward humanity, or even the gross-out factor. Instead I take offense at the lack of a message in his body of work. The music itself is only secondary to his behavior and, in levels of fuckedupedness, drummer Dino ranks a bit higher than Allin. (Watch for him to start babbling in random words about the Lunachicks, yet in his mind he's making perfect sense.)

Instead, Hated takes on a sadly comic tone after the intial shock wears off. GG's brother Merle is as loving a brother as anyone could ask for--when asked about GG's propensity for violence towards others and his claim of committing suicide onstage Merle seems genuinely awkward and upset (even though he is sporting a Hitler-stache). Then there's the GG Allin fan Unk, who essentially boils Allin and his music down to a "hilarious" circus act, nothing more.

There are two scenes that stand out in this genuine mess of a documentary. The first I can't describe because it has to be witnessed for impact. I'll just say it involves a request that GG makes for his birthday that involves human waste and a female companion. But the second scene that captivates is the steady shot of GG playing an acoustic guitar powerfully and belting out an old-fashioned drug-murder-outlaw ballad that would stand tall on any Hank Williams or Johnny Cash album. It is here that one may come to realize that GG created the shell of a cycle that he became trapped in; perhaps his "serious" musical qualities could have been known had he not fallen into the endless pit of audience expectations and a persona he couldn't live up to, but could never live down.

Read about GG Allin's death at Wikipedia here. It's quite interesting.

Read the Drive By Truckers' lyrics to "The Night GG Allin Came to Town" here. You can listen to the song here if you have Rhapsody installed.