Monday, April 30, 2007


Here's where I apologize for the scattershot post. It's all over the place. I'm feeling pretty sick. So. See if you can make any sense out of it. I'm sure it does. It's just... This preamble is pretty useless anyways... I'm going to bed.

So, I'm listening to the new El-P album right now, thank you very much Amanda for getting that for me. A nice little present for doing nothing, quite nice indeed. I love getting presents for nothing. Maybe I did do something, and I just don't know what that might be. I do plenty of good deeds throughout my everyday life. That's a little egotistical isn't it? Scratch that. Rewind and forget that I just wrote that. Oh, Amanda's had some great blog activity lately, I highly suggest that you go over there and read something much better than where I'm going with this. Anyway, the point of the post... Oh. Yeah. I'm feeling pretty crappy. I think I might have an ear infection, or something. Something with the ear. It's hurting. But what's worse, is this diziness. Earlier today, I blew my nose, and I got dizzy for a minute and half. Like full blown, spinning around in circles like a five year old, dizzy. But it wouldn't stop. Now I'm just off balance, hours and hours later. So, this El-P album is really disorienting. It'd make me dizzy if I wasn't dizzy already. But damn, it's so good. El just comes around every five years or whatever, and turns hip-hop on it's ear (damn pun, couldn't avoid it) and then completely decimates every rapper/producer/b-boy/white person who enjoys the chorus of a Snoop Dogg song. (That's probably not a pun).

So, yeah. Dizzy. We had a great time in Michigan. We saw Bill Clinton speak at the big comencment for all of the Michigan students. Chris and Angelita were graduating from grad school, so they weren't involved in that one. So that made three graduation ceremonies in two days. It was a good vacation. No real down time, no sitting around watching tv. Which is something that I really don't like on vacations. The exception to that rule is when Amanda and I go down to the beach by ourselves. While not at the beach or a restaurant, we're in the beach house watching DVDs. It's good times. But vacations where we're visiting people, or with other people, watching tv is boring. A distraction. I'm getting off track. Steven couldn't come. Which was dissapointing, Steven makes everything much more fun. Not that we didn't have fun, mind you, but it would have been extra fun with Steven there. So, Chris and Ang are moving back down here. Which is really exciting and great. They've been up in Michigan pretty much since a couple of months since Amanda and I first started going out. Now we'll really get to know eachother, and it'll be great.

Once again, I'm going to apologize for the fractured nature of this post. I'm having a problem with focusing. I'm just doing this until the Nyquil puts me to sleep.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Goin' To Michigan.

what i'm listening to right now: Catch A Bad One by Del Tha Funky Homosapien
i'll be with these two, that large building in the back won't be there, though.
Tomorrow morning at 6, we're on our way to Ann Arbor, Michigan. We'll be seeing Amanda's brother and his wife graduate from the University of Michigan. A nice little escape from town. So, obviously, no posts until at least Monday.

Oak City Music Festival

what i'm listening to right now: Only Shallow by My Bloody Valentine
Okay, so I got this great idea. This is an idea and pretty much nothing else, since I don't have the resources to execute the idea. But, I thought I'd put it out there and maybe one day someone could pick up that idea and do something with it. Here in Raleigh, we'll be losing our public mental institution, Dorthea Dix, soon. The state will be closing it down in favor of privatized mental health care. This is an awful idea. Due to the phasing out of the hospital, the mental health of the city's homeless has been taking a serious hit. The homeless not being able to pay for consistent care from private mental hospitals. Which we don't even have in the capital city, the second largest city in the state.

So, being the types that turn bad governing into lemonade, the people of Raleigh are trying to make the Dix campus into a giant public park. Something we don't have here and would honestly be great. This brings me to the point of this post. Dix Park, if approved, would make a fantastic spot for a music festival. The park is a half mile from downtown, easy access to the hotels that the city is spending so much money subsidizing. A related event could even be held at the future convention center, that again, the city is spending so much fucking money on. This could bring attention to the area's indie music scene. Not just on a national scale, but on a local scale. Outside of the same people that you see whenever you go to a concert, there's a general feeling that most people in the city have no idea about the great music that's being made in their backyard.

Merge Records is right down the road in Durham, and they could use some of their significant pull to attract not only their bands (Arcade Fire, Spoon, Rosebuds, Superchunk/Portastatic, etc.), but other indie bands. If Merge could get Arcade Fire down here for a festival, I think plenty of other bands would jump at the chance to play with them. Indie festivals seem to be popping up all over the place, and indie music is even overtaking jam band festivals. Look at the lineup for recent Bonaroo festivals and see how much they've been leaning towards bands of the indie persuasion.

Holding the festival at Dix Park would generate revenue for the city. More so than holding it at say, Walnut Creek. Where there would be all sorts of user fees and other headaches that would just take money out of everyone's pockets.

Of course, this is all contingent upon whether the city council listens to the will of the majority of the citizens, or to their friends, the developers. The developers want to turn Dix into a condo/upscale shopping/office park. How much more upscale shopping and condos can we have in Raleigh. Where are the people working in the upscale stores and cleaning the condos gonna live? That's another post.

Then, someone has to take this ball and run with it. I have no experience or expertise with anything like this. I think there are enough people in this city that could pull this off, though. So talk to your friends about this idea. Maybe one of those friends will talk to one of their friends, and maybe, someone who knows what they're doing will get wind of it. And maybe, just maybe, it'll happen. I'll have some little sense of satisfaction if it does.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I just found out that a great and frequent customer of mine just died. I am extremely sad. Richard Miller had Parkinson's. Yet, he was always coming in, drinking wine, eating sashimi tuna and fish or pork. By the time I met Mr. Miller, he'd already had Parkinsons, which had taken it's toll on him. He was 68 but looked 15 years older than that. He could barely talk. And wore a neck brace toward the end. The worst part of the night would be running his credit card with his picture on it, taken before the disease ravaged him. A handsome man with blond hair.

The Return Of The Shuffle Game

So, I was going through Marco's blog, and found that he had created some more questions for "The Shuffle Game", which I played along with a couple of months ago. As I'm feeling like posting stuff more than I have recently, I'm gonna go with it while the fecundity is still here.

1)What was your greatest accomplishment?Shuffle Says: "Attitude" by Bad Brains. Being punk as fuck? Well, at least I'm cool. This song ended before I wrote this.
2)What would you say to Jesus if you met him?Shuffle Says: "Beeswax" by Nirvana. I got my diddly straaaaang! That's all I could say. He'd probably see into my heart or something like that. I might as well say "I got my diddly string".
3)What is your favorite thing to wear?Shuffle Says: "Ankh" by Sun Ra. from wikipedia- The precise origin of the symbol remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has been widely accepted. Scholars such as Howard Carter speculate that it is derived from a primitive representation of human genitalia (with the upper circle representing the vulva and lower 'T' shape representing the penis and testicles), and variations on this theme are common. Similar assertions are that the symbol is a representation of the pharaoh's penis sheath or that it is a stylized pubic triangle. So, birthday suit, I reckon.
4)How does your financial future look?Shuffle Says: "Boyscout'n" by Menomena. Whistling. Baritone Sax. Somewhere between those two things, is where my money's gonna be. In other words, I'm gonna hit that scratch off jackpot, son! Double Doubler!
5)What is your ideal vacation?Shuffle Says: "Part Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder. A sexcation. In the eighties.
6)What does an apology from you involve?Shuffle Says: "Her Majesty" by The Beatles. It takes the Queen herself to get me to admit I'm wrong.
7)What kind of food are you in the mood to eat?Shuffle Says: "Little Red Corvette" by Prince. Damn, shuffle, this is the second time I've played this game, and this song has showed up both times. In a very suggestive question. Damn, Prince, you are beating that horse/condom/sexual partner metaphor to death in this song.
8)What is your worst habit?Shuffle Says: "Margarete vs. Pauline" by Neko Case. I'll admit, I'm pretty bad about pitting girls against eachother. Damn. This song takes my breath away. Neko Case takes my breath away, really.
9)If you were a boxer, what music would they play as you entered the ring?Shuffle Says: "Love To Fight" by Sebadoh. Seriously. Not shitting you. I didn't rig this. I clicked "skip", and the perfect song for this question came up.
10)What is your most prized possession?Shuffle Says: "Vietnamese Baby" by New York Dolls. I bought this baby, cash!
11)Describe your creative side.Shuffle Says: "Search And Destroy" by The Stooges. I am, in fact, a streetwalkin' cheetah with a heart full of napalm.
12)What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?Shuffle Says: "Jackson Cannery" by Ben Folds Five. Enough's enough, I'm leaving this factory. Jeff, leave the factory. cuz all you need, yeah, it's free, cuz you're a factory. wait, that doesn't make any sense.
13)What is one thing you would change about yourself if you could?Shuffle Says: "Bullet The Blue Sky" by U2. 100, 200! Damn. Sometimes, you forget how awesome U2 are/were. So, I guess I'd change... well, this song really doesn't apply to me.
14)What song will play over the credits in the movie about your life?Shuffle Says: "Don't Mess With Cupid" by Otis Redding. Yeah, sure. That works. This song is pretty awesome. I guess the movie could focus on my secret life as a vengeful match maker.
15)What will cause your downfall?Shuffle Says: "That's Not Me" by The Beach Boys. Moving out of my parents house will cause my downfall. Geez. I'm fucked. There's a whole long life after that, right? Right?!?
16)Where did you leave your keys when you lost them?Shuffle Says: "Somebody To Love" by Queen. Oh. That's where I left them? Ugh. I can wait till they come out on their own.
17)How do you feel about the Bush Administration?Shuffle Says: "Full Disclosure" by Fugazi. If it were opposite day? Yes.
18)What's you best pickup line?Shuffle Says: "Don't Believe The Hype" by Public Enemy. Yeah, girl, don't believe the hype! I don't got no diseases! Don't believe the hype! I'm not homeless, and I ain't gonna steal your prescriptions when I ask to use your bafroom!
19)What was your biggest mistake?Shuffle Says: "Pattern Against User" by At The Drive-In. "Hypodermic people pokin' fun at the livin'." Yeah, I was a real asshole for doing that. Sorry. I apologize for myself and all of my hypodermic people.
20)What superpower do you want?Shuffle Says: "The Narrator" by Apples In Stereo. I am the omniscient narrator of the world. Or at the very least, an Apples In Stereo record.

On Jamming

what i'm listening to right now: Instant Pleasures by Simply Saucer

This post started out as a response to Michael in the comments to his post about Phish vs. The Grateful Dead. I ended up getting a little long winded for just a comment. Then I started talking about how Neil Young makes me feel like a loser. So I moved it over here.

By the way, this is my 50th post on this blog. A milestone has turned, or something like that.

So, jam bands. Or jamming to be more specific. There's nothing wrong with that. Michael's right, it gets a bad name, when it can be very adventurous musically. It can really change your perception of the music. (Most) every musician that I respect does it. It's kinda like masturbation. You don't talk about it with your friends that much, unless that's all your friends talk about (hippies). Shit, The Velvet Underground did it. Ever listen to any of the live albums? "Sister Ray" is a kinda-jam.

Just like any genre, or more specifically, just like any musical apparatus, jamming has it's transcendent moments, and it's large pool of pretenders. Unlike Mike, can I call him Mike? I'm sure I can. Unlike Mike, I would put Phish in that pretender pool. Phish, while technically proficient, has that one string that they pull. The jam, and that's it. The jam has to have some root in a song. A jam is a device in a toolbox, not the box itself.

The Grateful Dead on the other hand, and Mike argued this same point, so I'm just reiterating here, always had a song to return to. If they went off for thirty minutes, they always had the choice to return to a great melody and for the most part, some fairly great lyrics.

My personal favorite jamming, though is the jamming of Jimi Hendrix. In the last decade a shit ton of posthumous live albums have come out. Some better than others, but the one theme that runs through all of them is "holy shit, I'm listening to the greatest musician ever". The same kind of feeling when you listen to John Coltrane completely freak out on his saxophone. Jimi's jamming is more like Coltrane than Garcia. It's much more about unconscious musical ability. There's more emotion than there is "this would sound cool if I did this..." The difference between these two musicians and the rest of the world is their need to do this, in an instinctual sense. Like you can't imagine anyone else taking the triteness of "My Favorite Things" and turning it into a towering monster that scrapes the bottom of heaven. Like you can't imagine anyone else making their guitar sound like a machine gun for twelve minutes, and actually, sincerely mean it.

I might throw Neil Young into this group. Less graceful than either two, but there is real emotion behind his ragged playing. Neil Young really makes me feel like the underachiever that I am. By the time he was 24, he had been in a band with Rick James, Buffalo Springfield, made Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After The Goldrush, AND Harvest. Damn. I can't really compare with that. How great is "Down By The River"? It's one riff, and like eight words.

While I was looking for a picture of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, I happened upon the picture above. I always forget about the Crazy Horse on a mountainside thing, and everytime I stumble upon it again, I'm once again blown away.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Greetings From Ys-burry Park.

Ooh Ooh Ooh! The other day we got the new Joanna Newsom ep. A couple of weeks before it comes out. Oh the benefits of having a girlfriend who's a music editor for a local magazine.

So, it's fantastic. Having been lucky enough to see Newsom live on her recent tour, I was floored by her full band arrangements of songs from Ys. At the time of the concert, I hadn't bought the album yet. So, the show kinda colored how I approached the album after I got it. (Directly after the show). As amazing as Ys is, the full band arrangements were something else entirely. The Ys Street Band, as she refers to them, make the songs sound even more Renaissance Fair-y, but that doesn't really faze me. I could see how this could disarm someone not willing to go along with the whole Sword In The Stone vibe of this ep. The thing that gets me is Newsom herself. She's amazing. Her lyrics are labyrinths that are very easy to get lost in, beautiful labyrinths, with all the amenities of home. A labyrinth that I don't mind settling down in, making a pot of coffee, letting the exit come to me.

I miss that show, there are certain bands whose shows reach this level that you don't ever want them to end. You want to live at these shows, you want to become familiar with the corners and hallways of the shows. Using the settling in metaphor again, I guess. It's where you want to be. Not like a Dead or Phish concert thing, where you just go, get fucked up, and appreciate the music much more while you're tripping and making grilled cheese sandwiches in the parking lot. No, more like following Joanna Newsom to watch this house that she's building get windows, a roof. Later on, couches, cats, and microwaves.
And that brings me to how much I already miss Kings. It was a place where you could watch a band do that. We were really lucky to have a couple of beyond fantastic bands that built a house in Kings. The Rosebuds were starting to put pictures of children (The Bowerbirds) on the walls of their house. Amanda and I were talking the other day, and we realized that we've seen the Rosebuds more than we've seen any band in our life. Probably a half dozen drummers, a stand up bass player once, now a full band. We've all been lucky in this town, able to watch this little band grow up into this big thing that they are now. I don't know how many people get to do that. Watch a good band become great, in front of you, three or four miles down the road.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Purple Monkey Dishwasher, Pass It On.

A number of blogs of people I know, or Amanda knows have been doing a list of their top ten high school albums. It's spread from Marco to Jenny (whom I also stole the "Shuffle" post from, which she took from Marco), to Michael. Now I'm doing it. The three of them are a few years older than I am, so my list should be significantly different. Here it is.

10. Jimi Hendrix- Band of Gypsys. Of course, this didn't come out while I was in high school. A good percentage of what I'll write about didn't. I was into older stuff in high school. I listened to this album incessantly. It's amazing. It's heavy jazz/funk. Not rock at all. My brother, Dan spent a year learning every second of this album on his guitar. We bought a bootleg video of the concert, a CD of a guy telling you which nobs to turn to get the guitar tone. It was an obsession.
9. Pixies- Surfer Rosa. Holy shit. I'd never heard anything so unhinged before. I bought it, only to take it home and find the disc was broken inside the case. It took another week for it to come into the store again, and when it did. This was one of the albums that I spent a lot of time listening to pushing carts in the Target parking lot. Ah, Walkmans. How inconvenient was that huge circle that I carried around.

8. The White Album- In middle school, I dabbled with the idea of enjoying heavy metal. I tried, oh, how I tried to enjoy a Marilyn Manson album, or a Sepultura album. I really tried. Of course, I couldn't stand the shit. During this time, I got in a little trouble at school. You draw one pentagram on your algebra notebook... So, my teacher feverishly calls my dad, tells him I'm on the path to hell. He forces me to cut my long hair, takes all my tapes and CDs and goes through the lyrics to each one. Anything objectionable, gone. Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Pearl Jam, Nirvana (for not having lyrics, so they must be doing something subliminal). I talk him into letting me sell them to the record store. I get enough credit for two CDs, The White Album and something I don't remember. I don't think I've listened to any album as much as I have The White Album. It's perfect. If I had to choose one album to keep out of the thousand plus we own, that'd be the one.
7. The Velvet Underground & Nico. The fondest memory I have of this album is driving down 401 in my dad's truck, the windows down, the volume all the way up. "The Black Angel Death Song" is blowing my mind, and then what I thought for a moment was a second drum part, turned out to be my tire going flat. Also, playing this on the CD player in second period art class. Jessica Davis was loving "Sunday Morning", and then she joined everyone else in hating the Velvet Underground and me.
6.Ben Folds Five- s/t. Another carryover from middle school. I listened to the tape of this so much that it eventually broke the tape player in my mom's Ford Contour (which I would later crash.)
5.Blind Melon- Soup. Probably the least cool album on this list. I have a soft spot for this band, and I'm not ashamed to say it. I bought it in a huge record store in Akron when we were visiting there one year. I remember playing it a lot in my grandma's basement while Dan and I were avoiding my uncle Wayne.
4.Fugazi- Repeater. I've written about this before, so I'll keep it short. I listened to this pushing carts at Target. A lot. It made me a mini communist and I quit my job. Before I could quit my job, I was driving that Ford Contour and crashed it while a Fugazi song was on 88.1. I should clarify that I didn't crash the car through my negligence, someone hit me over on Martin Street by Moore Square.
3.Modest Mouse- This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About. I listened to a burned copy of this over and over for pretty much all of high school. I can't attribute any specific memories to it, though. Probably a couple of long drives, though.
2.Aesop Rock- Labor Days. We listened to this a lot senior year. My friend Derrick would take us to eat at Bojangles at lunch, and then do something crazy with his truck. Usually, he'd drive it into this field that is now a Target. He had 4 wheel drive, and just didn't give a fuck. The grass was really high in that field, and there were a lot of big holes in it. I'm not sure how we didn't get injured while he was doing that. He did wreck it shortly afterwards, along with at least one more car before we graduated. Might have been more than one, actually. Derrick's since joined the Marines. A completely unbelievable thing.
1.The Cherry Valence- s/t. The first time I went to Kings was to see Nebula and The Cherry Valence. Nebula was neither here nor there. They didn't leave an impression on me because they went on after the best band in town. I saw Cherry Valence every time they played in town. They routinely blew my mind. It was like if James Brown replaced whatshisname in AC/DC.

honorable mentions.
Ghostface Killah- Supreme Clientele. Listened to this plenty of times playing video games over at Lamont's.
The Doors- Morrison Hotel. I really liked the Doors in high school. A little too much.
Coldplay- Parachutes. Are Coldplay pussies? Yes. Am I? Probably best to leave that unanswered.

TV On The Radio- It's All Fart Jokes From Here On

I've tried, and I just can't write much about this show. It was just amazing. TV on The Radio were earth shattering. They were The Colossus of Rhodes, standing astride all of indie rock, looking down at all the little bands in their little boats. They played a frenzied set that didn't relent. What passes for a ballad for them was a tent revival where the Bad Brains were the house band. Where jazz was the teacher, and funk was the preacher. Where I run out of metaphors and just give up on trying to explain this show.
I can explain that I wasn't fond of the opening band, The Noisettes. I was hoping from the sound of their band name that they'd sound like the Sonic Youth album that Phil Spector never got to produce. If they did sound like that, I'd probably like them more than Sonic Youth. That wasn't the case. They sounded like a punky version of Thin Lizzy without the charm and hooks of Thin Lizzy. Nothing impressive.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Holler To My Little Brother

Crazy things have been going on over North Raleigh way the past couple of days. My little brother, Tyler found a neighbor dead in his (the neighbor's) front lawn. He's really shaken up. I can't imagine how fucking traumatic that is.

Tyler's a good kid, and I just wanted to write about that. I made a whole lots of bunches of mistakes when I was living with my family before I moved out. I was probably an asshole, and I'm really sorry about that. Thankfully, Tyler didn't follow my bad example and has turned into a really good kid. Add to that, he's into much better music than most 17 year olds around. That would be a good example he picked up from me (and Dan, my other younger brother, who of course, wouldn't of known anything outside of Janet Jackson's "Design Of A Decade" if it weren't for me. But I digress.)

So, I'll see Tyler tomorrow, and see how he's doing.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

You're Gonna Miss Me

what i'm listening to right now: My My by Menomena

So I really want to see this movie. Just wanted to share the trailer with y'all. I'll post more later today. Sorry for the poor writing in the previous post. I wrote it at 5 in the morning, I haven't been sleeping well.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Kings' Last Night

birds of avalon
black taj
birds of avalon
dynamite brothers

So, overall, a pretty crazy night at Kings. Lots of drinking from everybody, and it showed at the end of the night. Some roustabouts in the men's room started kicking the wall between their room and the dance floor out. No sooner than I wipe the drywall dust off my pants than some drunk girl starts throwing her top at the Birds Of Avalon. Lead singer, Craig Tilley kept giving her shirt back, which she'd put back on. Only to throw back off moments later. Wouldn't be the end of Kings without some drunken action someone was gonna regret later.

Oh yeah, a bunch of bands played that night, too.

I walked in at the end of Dynamite Brothers' set. I've been a fan of theirs since a Halloween show where they dressed as Billy Gibbons and Phil Collins, probably five years ago or more. Since then they've become the tightest band on the scene, yet they've been relegated to the early slot every time I've seen them. They were especially on fire this night, ending the set with a bruising, spot on version of "Young Man's Blues".

They were followed by The Greatest Hits, who introduced themselves as "the Duke football program of Raleigh bands". This is a pretty fair assessment. Their greatest moment, in probably ever, happened when they were joined by Scott from Goner and performed a fantastic cover of "This Heart's On Fire" by Wolf Parade.

The Loners played next. They only have one song, with different variations. They played these variations, and I drank beer and talked shit about EMI raising the price of their digital downloads to $1.35.

Black Taj were up next and they proceeded do as they always do, and crush heads. Left and right. I definitely don't get to see this band enough, and I'm guessing I'll get to see them less now that Kings is closed. I'd write more, but I can't find the words. They were just really good, like all the good things about Guided By Voices stretched out over the low end of a Polvo album.

Birds of Avalon ended the night. Confetti, streamers, breasts, rockin'... BOA took up where Cherry Valence left off. Minus those drummers, those fantastic, thrilling drummers. That is definitely what's missing here. I held out hope for a mini CV reunion, that didn't happen. BOA has definitely improved over the past year or two since they started up, though. They've become much tighter and sound less like a derivation of their former band.

Here's the point where I apologize for the fractured nature of this post. I woke up at 5:10 in the AM, and couldn't fall back asleep. I decided I'd finally get around to writing this, and I think when I read it when I wake back up in a couple of hours, I'll be chagrined or something. So, sorry, I could come back and edit this, but that kinda goes against the spirit of a blog. Doesn't it? Maybe not. I'm sleepy again. I did correct a few glaring grammar errors, the next day, though.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Dick Van Dyke One Man Band Machine: Johnathon Richman

I was originally going to write a post about Simply Saucer and Johnathon Richman and The Modern Lovers. In the end, I was more interested in writing about the song that was the main focus of the comparison between the Velvet Underground obsessed bands, "Velvet Underground" by Richman. So, in turn, I decided to add another semi-regular feature to the blog, Dick Van Dyke One Man Band Machine, (basically, song reviews with a pop culture reference title that has nothing to do with anything).

Johnathon Richman was a teenager obsessed with The Velvet Underground. While they were still together. There's that tired adage, only 100 people heard The Velvet Underground, but they started 100 bands. Richman is the personification of this saying. And what a band he made. The Modern Lovers' lone album is all jangled nerves and teenage worrying set to a VU shuffle. Years later, Johnathon Richman recorded a song dedicated to Velvet Underground. A song that should be the theme for every VU fan that's not actually into sadomasochism, heroin, speed, lonesome cowboys, and "suckin' on a ding-dong". It's all wide-eyed reverence and evangelizing your favorite band. Equating the Velvet Underground with "America at it's best".

Towards the end of the song, the friendly standard Richman shuffle shifts into a cover of "Sister Ray". I really can't think of another song that heaps such praise on it's subject, except maybe "Heroin".

so, the impetus for this post was Simply Saucer who are currently blowing me away. they're a Canadian band that officially released only a single while they were together. A posthumous album was cobbled together from sessions, demos, etc. they're going back into the studio now almost 30 years after they broke up. a Pitchfork news item about this reunion is how I found out about them. I'm going to be working a post about their album Cyborgs Revisited for The Red Skull, a feature on this blog about overlooked or stumbled upon albums (previously covered in Red Skull, The Kinks and Kaleidoscope).

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Modest Mouse Are Not TVs.

what i'm listening to right now: Parting Of The Sensory by Modest Mouse

I've been listening to the new Modest Mouse album quite a lot. It seems that I shouldn't like it. It's slicker, more poppy, and has three guest spots from the man who's annoying and disappointing me most in indie rock right now, James Mercer. How awful is that new Shins album? Damn, disappointment of the century. A bit of hyperbole, I admit. I think what annoys me more about the Shins right now are the reviews and general press about the band. If I read another mention of Garden State and "changing your life" in reference to the Shins again, one of my eyeballs will explode. Among my myriad complaints about this reference: The soundtrack's not even that good, outside of the Shins song. It's a bunch of milquetoast post-indie rock. It's an easy space filler for music writers trying to fill up space in their review/profile. It's a tired cliche at that. Everyone else has already written each possible variation on this cliche. Did Lester Bangs parrot the same intro to his review of some shitty Jackson Browne record? Don't you want to do something besides trying to get into Pitchfork with overly verbose word stuffed reviews? Or maybe into Rolling Stone with a quick, succinct little pop culture based review that doesn't tell you anything about how the record sounds? Or maybe you just want to blather on about how everyone else is doin' shit wrong. Like me...
God, I can't even go over this post now, I can't check for spelling or grammar errors because, if I do, I'll have an eyeball explosion on my hands. Kinda like that Grover book, "There's A Monster At The End Of This Book". Good god, Jeff, just don't read this blog post after you write it, there's a monster at the beginning of this post.

So, I was talking about the new Modest Mouse. It's slick, it sounds more compressed, more modern rock than anything they've ever done. By my standards, I should be hatin' on this. I should be talking about it's greasy greasy gran-ma. Yet, I fucking love it. Slick and mainstream for Modest Mouse is still pretty fucking weird by most people's standards. The album starts off with "March Into The Sea" which is Isaac Brock leading a demented marching band, well, into the sea. It's unhinged, and it's classic Modest Mouse stomp. The single, "Dashboard" is a slick little nugget, just like "Float On", though I don't know if it'll get the American Idol and Kidz Bop treatment.

Then, there's "Parting of The Sensory", another giant stomper grows out of a "Bankrupt On Selling"esque acoustic ballad. Any hint from "Good News..." that Brock was becoming relatively happy and sane have been dashed by this song and his recent self mutilation on stage. Not sure why I'm cheering for him remaining crazy, that's not a good thing. It's good for his music. Yet, he's still a person. Maybe it's posturing. Maybe he's playing at crazy. Maybe it's none of my business.

Amanda told me that when she saw them years ago, they waited an hour to come out on stage, came out drunk/high/tripping, and then stumbled through singing "we're not tvs/don't look at us", then they left the stage, pissing just about everyone off. She refuses to see them now. So, maybe his craziness is none of my business, but it's his business, and he's airing it out for everyone. He's making it his business. The business that I buy into. He's not a tv, not in the literal sense.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Lament For A King(s)

what i'm listening to right now: Gemini Cusp by Polvo
Saturday night is the last night for Kings. The only rock club worth a damn in Raleigh. Some of the greatest shows I've ever seen have been there. Two of the best bands that have graced this town's scene have almost literally lived there over the past 8 years. The Cherry Valence and The Rosebuds owned that spot. I can't remember specifically if they played together on the same night or not, but that would have been a hell of a show. The Rosebuds played their last show there last month, and what's left of the Cherry Valence, a bastardized version of the band, Birds Of Avalon will close it out on it's last night this Saturday.

I've had bottles thrown at me by a Hasil Adkins cover band, seen a band from Tel Aviv set themselves on fire, and even fell in love (momentarily) with Three Dog Night.

It'll be a sad night, we've got The Jackpot, and that's it. Everything else has a shiny bar, well, Slim's doesn't, but that place is sketch as all hell sometimes. Though you can't resist the cheapness of the place. But neither of those places are going to fill the hole that Kings will leave. Sure, we'll drive to the 506 and the other venues in Chapel Hill, but that's in Chapel Hill, that's not Raleigh. Here's to Kings finding a new spot, even if it's no longer called Kings, just a place where some band isn't trying to either be Candlebox or Phish or both.