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***June Twenty Sixth Two Thousand and Fifteen***



Lost one of my best friends this week.  Despite the heartbreak I put together a memorial page for her.  

RIP Mouse the Cat








***June 
Fourth Two Thousand and Fifteen***



Due to a friend turning 40 and my cat getting lost for three days and my overwhelming sense of laziness, I kinda got
behind on this month's pointless entry.  The whole mess couple have been avoided if everyone just got drunk in a sink
like this cat.  


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Instagrams of the month:


Family portrait.  Cary, NC.


Crib tester.  Cary, NC.


My invention - the ice cream sandwich sandwich.  Cary, NC.


A new kind of flower.  Cary, NC.


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Links-n-such:

Although I've still not seen the full-length video, Thrasher has been posting "raw" videos for each rider from "Propeller,"
the new Vans video.  They've all been great but so far Tony Trujillo aka TNT has had my favorite.  

For my favorite part by someone I had never heard of, I give you Trevor Morgan.  He does an excellent job of mixing
goofy tricks with gnar ones, and the Budos Band

The sole non-skate link this month - color footage of Berlin taken just a couple of months after the end of WWII.  Pretty
fascinating to get such a clear look at the aftermath of years of war.

One photo journal jam, some band photos to no one's surprise.


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Mac McCaughan
with Flesh Wounds
Cat's Cradle Back Room
5/23/2015

I've not spent nearly enough time seeing Flesh Wounds live, for reasons that are entirely not clear to me.  They put
on a great live show and I'm way into their brand of punk rock, and yet...this is only the second time I've seen them
play.  To no surprise they were fantastic, burning through a dozen or so songs in probably not much longer than twenty
minutes, barely stopping to catch their breath.  It's unclear how much the mostly middle-aged crowd was feeling their
youthful exuberance, but I was certainly up front and way into it.  I've really gotta make an effort to see them more often. 

For the second time this year I would get to see Mac McCaughan play a solo set apart from my beloved Superchunk;
for the first time this year, I would be able to see his set in it's entirety since I didn't show up late like a damn fool.  His
performance was really three sub-sets, with Flesh Wounds (or as he referred to them "the Non-Believers") acting as
his backing band at the beginning and the end, and Mac all by himself for a little while in the middle.  The full band por-
tions were made up mostly of songs from his new solo album "Non Believers" and at least one Portastatic track - it
was all quite enjoyable, but since I've not really digested this solo material yet I wasn't quite as invested as I usually am
at a show by Mac or any of his bands.  But that middle portion where he was all by himself - yep, all Superchunk, and
real goddamn exciting as always.  Some highlights included "Detroit Has a Skyline," "Driveway to Driveway," "Iron On,"
and "Watery Hands."   Of course he didn't play even close to everything I wanted to hear with such a small portion of his
set dedicated to the Chunk, but it was a nice selection and a fun night. 



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Lightning Bolt
with Whatever Brains
Kings
5/11/2015

Lightning Bolt might have been the headliners, but make no mistake Whatever Brains were the main draw on this
night.  Sure, I've seen them dozens of times, but word on the street (aka my friend John who is friends with the band)
is this was going to be their final show.  Upon hearing this news a different friend asked me "what are you going to
do for fun now?" - the only answer is there will be no more fun ever again.    Now, this word of the end of WB comes
from a reliable source, but the band hasn't explicitly said anything about it themselves, and they are planning on re-
cording a new record, so who knows what happens at this point.  I certainly wasn't going to take a chance of missing
the gig if it did end up being their last performance, and worst case scenario is they keep playing but I just saw
another show by them, something I've never had a problem with.  Anyways, yadda yadda yadda, it was a great show
with lots of whistles and rototoms and dual drumming and Rich making crazy faces while he plays guitar, just as we've
come to expect from these guys.  I think I was sorta expecting one of their more "weird" shows since it was supposed
to be the last one, but it was a pretty straight-forward effort.  No complaints outta this guy though. 

I saw Lightning Bolt a few times back in my San Francisco days - they played all the time for a non-local band, or
maybe they just never stopped touring so it felt that way.  They were always a fun show, even if every gig pretty much
felt (and sounded) the same.  After a number of years out of the loop, I stuck around after Whatever Brains to see what
has changed for them - apparently, the big difference now is they play on stage in stead of the floor.  But they're still a
two piece, still play brutal barely melodic noise rock, still with the singing drummer wearing a creepy mask with the mic
attached to it, and still attracting a mosh heavy crowd of bearded dudes.  And still fun too, to be fair, though after five or
six songs I felt like I'd had enough of it all and headed home. 



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USX
with Generation of Vipers and Sinister Haze
The Cave
4/29/2015

I've probably mentioned it before, but I've been friends with Nate Hall, the front man of USX (aka US Christmas) since
high school when he wore ridiculous vertical striped polo shirts and had a bowl haircut.  I saw him perform not too long
ago but it had been quite some time since I had seen him with this particular outfit (he also has another band called
Nate Hall and the Poison Snake, as well as releasing solo records) - USX was the first, and continues to be my fav-
orite of all his different efforts.  The band has had many forms and different members, but the current line-up of Nate
singing and playing guitar, Meg on violin, Josh on bass, and Billy on drums appears to be the most stable they've
ever been, and their most enjoyable for my money.  Their set was a nice mix of songs from across their spectrum of
albums, a concise and powerful 45ish minute set; it was a stoned, sludgy, slow metal dirge with occasional bursts of
power and aggression.  As always, I dug it; nevertheless I still made fun of Nate after the show, as I've always done,
as it shall always be.   

This was my first time seeing Knoxville's Generation of Vipers, even though I've known 2/3rds of the band for quite a
while.  Josh and Billy of USX make up the guitar/vocals and drums along with a cat named Travis on the bass.  Unlike
USX, GoV is much more straight-forward metal - heavier, faster, etc - but that's not to say it's generic or rote.  And
maybe it's just me, but there is a heavy punk vibe infused into their songs, though I'd be hard pressed to give an ad-
equate answer as to why I feel that way - just a feeling I guess.  I get a similar vibe from a band like Coliseum, and I
think you could make a very light comparison between them and GoV. 

The first band I saw this evening was Sinister Haze, an almost totally instrumental trio out of Richmond (there was a
touch of vocals on their last song).  Knowing very little about metal (I'm pretty sure you already realized that), I'd say
they reminded me a stoner rock version of Russian Circles or someone of that ilk.  The drummer was absolutely ruth-
less and killed it the entire set.  I'd definitely see them again, and hopefully being only a few hours away will mean that
happens sooner rather than later. 



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"
What do you mean brought it bowling, Dude? I didn't rent it shoes. I'm not buying it a fucking beer. He's not taking
your fucking turn, Dude. "


A few selections from the Merge25 seven inch subscription series...it was tough only picking seven.  There are reviews
for all of the records (and therefore all of these songs) on the review site linked at the top.  
Ex Hex - All Kindsa Girls (Kids cover)
Lambchop - FA-Q
Matt Suggs - This Is My Light
Mikal Cronin - Take It Easy
Mountain Goats - Shot In The Dark (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
Vertical Scratchers - Jackie's Favorite
Wye Oak - Better

Blind Willie McTell - Kill It Kid.  One of the top three best blues songs for my money.  Everything else he does is
great too, but this song man...
Bonus: Dying Crapshooter's Blues
Bonus: Little Delia

Dogs - Stranger Than Me.  French rock band from the late seventies that has elements of pub rock and punk and
should be much better known.  Their first two records never got released in the US.  
Bonus: Terminal State

Solids - Blame Confusion.  One of my top records from 2014 that would rank even higher
Bonus: Cold Hands
Bonus: Traces





***April
Thirtieth Two Thousand and Fifteen***



A rough approximation of my recent Caribbean vacation.  Tons of photos in the Photo Journal section!


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Instagramery:


Sunbeam action.  Cary, NC.  


Thrift store kitten.  Raleigh, NC.  


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Linx:

Grant Taylor & the Makas - A Nike tour video celebrating a shoe release, but what really matters here is a bunch of
rad footage of Taylor and CK1 and Ishod and more.  Shreddery.  

Hockey Skateboards Promo - no music, no frills, just John Fitzgerald and Donovan Piscopo destroying shit left and
right.  Fitzgerald is especially impressive, like a next gen Westgate.  

Multiple entries in the photo journal section, this is where the bulk of this months work went.  We went on a Cruise!  
Five pages of photos from that good time.  Also some band photos and other nonsense.  


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Big Business
with Birds of Avalon
Neptunes
4/6/2015

I was a little surprised they booked this show at Neptunes and not up at Kings, especially since there wasn't anything
happening at Kings on this night, but the bookers here have been putting on gigs for a while so I'll defer to their exper-
tise.  I do know Neptunes was fairly packed and hot and overwhelmingly populated by dudes with beards...there's
probably a bear joke in there somewhere. 

I got there just a few minutes before Birds of Avalon started their set, once again proving my natural instinct for
knowing when a show will actually start is amazing, and why can't I be this talented at any actual useful skills.  When
I saw them play a few months ago with Ex Hex, their regular drummer wasn't available so they had the drummer from
Valient Thorr filling in - who did a fine job.  With their regular drummer now back, but the Thorr cat still available, what
do you do?  Two drummers of course!  They played together like they were mentally and physically linked, and it
sounded awesome.  Other than that, it was the typical fantastic Birds of Avalon outing - heavy kraut rock jams with
hints of prog and pop mixed into the fold, all while a light show enveloped the performance.  They're easily one of my
favorite local live acts, and not to be missed if you have any goddamn sense. 

I saw Big Business a ton of times back in my California days, which seems like yesterday...only I moved back to North
Carolina seven years ago so it has definitely been way too long since I last witnessed their pummeling brand of sludgy
punk metal.  From Karp to the Whip to now Big Business, Jared Warren keeps his sound in the same lane regardless
of band, but the results are always excellent, so no complaints here.  Drummer Coady Willis beats the drums so hard
during every single song that it's amazing he doesn't spend a fortune in replacement drum heads; he's such a badass
that you totally forgive him for wearing a headset mic.    I don't know shit about Big Business when it comes to song
names or any of that nonsense, but they put on a helluva good performance - unrelenting really - and the low ceilings
and tight confines of Neptunes made it feel even more intense.  hopefully I won't be so stupid as to wait this long before
seeing them again. 



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Sylvan Esso
with Flock of Dimes & Ivan Howard
Carrboro Commons
4/3/2015

Sometimes a good show just falls right into your lap.  Rosebuds singer Ivan Howard got added as an opener for this
gig at the last minute, and our mutual friend (and touring Rosebuds member) Brian decided to drive up from Wilming-
ton to check it out.  Brian and I got over to Carrboro early, met up with Rob (who also plays with the Rosebuds
occasionally), and dicked around town at some record stores and the OCSC until it was show time.  Carrboro
Commons, the location of the evening's entertainment, isn't actually a venue but rather a city park, and apparently all
4500 tickets had been sold.  It was going to be a wild (and crowded) night. 

By the time Ivan Howard took the stage around 6 PM, there were already a ton of people there - I suppose if even a
quarter of the expected crowd was there when he began playing, that's over a thousand people...kinda nuts.  It was just
Ivan and his electric guitar, and he played songs from across his career as a musician - Rosebuds songs, Gayngs
songs, Howard Ivans songs (the solo moniker he used on a seven inch he recorded with Matthew White's Spacebomb
crew a couple of years back), and even some new solo work that hasn't been assigned to any of his other monikers,
and might just come out under his own name finally.  I couldn't tell you much about the new material as it was my first
time hearing it, but one of the songs was about the hairdresser from the show "227," so I eagerly anticipate that one
getting fully fleshed out and recorded.  Even though it was mostly a very young crowd there to see the headliners,
they were supportive and seemed to be into what Ivan was cooking up. 

I was most excited for the middle act Flock of Dimes.  Why?  Because it is the solo act of Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak,
a person I have a crush on in every possible way you could have a crush on a person: shreds the guitar, great voice,
writes awesome songs, and as if that wasn't enough, she is very pleasant to look at.  I had never listened to this solo
work of hers before, but given how much I've listened to Wye Oak it would be almost impossible for it to not sound
very familiar to me.  Lots of prerecorded music to go with multiple keyboards and synths made up the bulk of the per-
formance, along with a small amount of guitar and her terrific vocals.  The best comparison would be the most recent
Wye Oak album "Shriek," minus the real drums.  I was mesmerized for the entire set - I don't have the vocabulary to
state just how fantastic it was.  She is perfect.  My wife is likely filing divorce papers on me now after reading this
review...who am I kidding, she doesn't read any of my nonsense! 


It's pretty nuts how big Sylvan Esso have gotten - just a couple of years ago I saw them opening for the Rosebuds at
Hopscotch in front of a decent-but-not-large crowd and there was a little blog buzz about them.  Now, after one album
and a shitload more buzz, they've gotta be the most popular band to ever come out of the area.  Even Superchunk or
the Archers of Loaf in their heyday could not have sold out this park and filled it with so many young people in various
states of undress and druggedness.  I'm not even sure their set has really changed in that couple of years - it's still
mostly the same songs, and there aren't many of them (their set couldn't have been much more than 45 minutes long),
but that didn't seem to bother the crowd that was aggressively singing along to hits like "Hey Mami" and "Coffee." 
And same songs or not, they put on a damn entertaining show for a pair of people singing and dancing around on
stage to a pre-recorded track...I'm still coming around to the idea that bands can perform even though no instruments
are being played live, but the kids today definitely don't give a shit - live music is live music no matter how it is deliver-
ed it seems.  All that really matters is you have a good time right? 


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"Because if I tell you, you'll tell your friends, your friends are callin' me on the horn all the time, I gotta show up at shop-
ping centers for openings and sign autographs and shit like that and it makes my life a *hell*. Okay? A living hell."


Dntel - Rock My Boat.  This track has vocals by Mia Doi Todd, a common contributor ro Dntel's work; the better track
is the one below, which has Jenny Lewis on the mic.  
Bonus: Roll On

Hayden - Motel.  I hadn't listened to this cat in forever until I randomly gave his 2013 record "Us Alone" a few spins -
he's still got it.  Really damn good record.  
Bonus: Old Dreams

Protomartyr - Come & See.  One of my favorite recent bands both live & on record.  I had a tough time only posting
these three songs.  
Bonus: Scum, Rise!
Bonus: Trust Me Billy

Spider Bags - Friday Night.  I've posted a lot of Spider Bags and possibly even some or all of these tracks, but I'm
too lazy to look it up.  It's not like you can listen to the Bags too much.  
Bonus: Keys To The City
Bonus: Standing On A Curb

The Cure - A Few Hours After This.  A couple of random Cure b-sides, who I've been listening to a lot lately.  
Bonus: The Exploding Boy

The Night Marchers - (Wasting Away In) Javalinaville.  Anything at all Hot Snakes related is a keeper, and these
guys are 3/4ths of Hot Snakes.  
Bonus: Tropical Depression





***March
Thirty First Two Thousand and Fifteen***

 

Some people say the greatest day in the history of this country was the signing of the Declaration fo Independence;
others might pick Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, or possibly the end of WWII.  Clearly the only correct answer is whatever
day this group of luminaries got together to take this picture.  


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I'grams:


Poor sleeping posture.  Cary, NC.  


Once a motel.  Marion, NC.  


Old barn.  Marion, NC.  


Near Glenwood.  Raleigh, NC.  


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Linx:

I only recently got around to watching the vigilante film Ms. 45, and I loved it.  And if you follow the link in the name it
takes you to the full thing on youtube.  Definitely recommended.

A drone video of
Hang Son Doong Cave, the largest cave in the world.  Kinda crazy that this was only "discovered"
somewhat recently.    

Wes Kremer
won 2014 skater of the year, and this was the video of the ensuing trip that Thrasher always sends the
winner on.  Any video that features this much Wes Kremer is a keeper.  

One entry in the photo journal section this month from that time it snowed and I stood outside in the cold like a rube
taking photos of a bunch of dumb birds.  

My music reviews were sparse as usual but I did like three records this past month - Tweedy, the Terry Malts EP and
one of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's dozens of recent releases.  


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Twerps
with Ultimate Painting
The Pinhook
3/16/2015

It's that time of the year, the time when touring acts on their way either to or from SXSW make a stop in the Triangle to
entertain our country bumpkin ears.  First up on this evening was Ultimate Painting from the UK...I'd heard of these
cats for a little while, and they released a record on the great Trouble in Mind, but this was my first time actually hear-
ing them.  The verdict on this four-piece of fancy British lads: a damn fine pop band.  The biggest, most immediate
influence you hear is the Velvet Underground, especially in the first and last songs of their sets, which were long,
stretched out rockers in the vein of VU's "Sister Ray."  I also heard dabs of the Zombies, early Teenage Fanclub, and
even the Clientele.  The sound was very clean, driven mostly by the hollowbody guitar one of the guitarists played,
and I was way into it. 

All of that was a bonus - I was actually at the gig to see one of the newest Merge signees, Twerps, out of Australia. 
They also play pretty straight-forward pop music, sounding more like the Kiwi pop of the eighties (the Clean, the Bats,
the 3Ds, etc) and occasionally a little bit like Yo La Tengo.  With both male and female lead vocals, the set can take
on different vibes from song to song, but I dig what both singers are offering.  I felt like the dude singer occasionally
sounded like Ben Lee, but I'm not sure if he actually sounded like him or my brain was just making the link because
both are Australian.  The room was decently full (though not packed) for their set, and it seemed pretty well received. 
I know I was into it - hopefully their being on Merge means they come back and play often, or at least as often as a
band from the other side of the world can. 



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Outer Spaces
with Lace Curtains
Nice Price Books and Records
3/6/2015

I hadn't been all that excited for a show in a few weeks, so of course when two good gigs finally rolled around both
were on the same night.  I bypassed two of my very favorite locals that I've seen a million times, Whatever Brains and
Pipe, in lieu of checking out a couple of bands I'd never seen before.  It also didn't hurt that this show was in Raleigh
and the other in Chapel Hill...my code of laziness is the one I take the most seriously. 

I was there mainly to see opener Lace Curtains.  The singer is from the excellent Austin band Harlem, which is the
whole reason I knew of them in the first place.  Harlem ruled, for the record.  The first Lace Curtain's record "The
Garden of Joy and the Well of Loneliness" was really damn good and even though I hadn't heard their more recent
output, I was sure the show was going to be a keeper.  They started their set off with a couple of songs from that
older record before getting on to newer tracks, so that made me quite happy.  The six-piece band was pretty damn
tight, which made for a nice juxtaposition with the singer who was a bit sloppy off of too much wine, but in an endear-
ing & entertaining sort of way.  They're a tough band to describe musically, sort of an indie-soul-pop with occasional
garage rock tendencies...like a mellower/less schticky Make-Up perhaps.  It was a grand time and I was already
pleased with my decision to attend this gig. 

I knew nothing of the next act, Outer Spaces, but decided to stick around for a couple of songs to see what they were
all about.  Good decision by me - I ended up watching the entire set and loving every second of it!  The trio hails from
Baltimore, a couple of dudes manning the drums and keys and a gal with an amazingly beautiful voice in charge of
guitar and vocals.  They reminded me a lot of our very own Mount Moriah, though a little less twangy; perhaps another
comparison would be Young People, a criminally underrated band in my opinion.  I rushed right over to the merch after
their set to buy their record, and will be making every effort to see them again if they come back to town. 



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"
Slutcicle Orange Lipstick from Kesha's Morning After Collection, available exclusively at Hess gas stations."

Just a set of tracks that I've been feeling lately.  Too lazy to explain each song, but every one is A+.  

Dinosaur Jr - Repulsion (Acoustic) (Live at CBGBs)
FKA Twigs - Two Weeks
Gal Costa - Baby
Heart Attack - English Cunts
Ike & Tina Tuner - Cussin', Cryin' & Carryin' On
John Lennon - Mind Games
Leadbelly - Pig Meat Papa
Lee Hazlewood & Ann-Margret - No Regrets
Les Sultans - Il N'y A Rien Au Monde Que Je Ne Ferais Pas Pour Cette Fille
Mississippi Fred McDowell - Shake'em on Down
Rex Garvin & the Mighty Cravers - I Gotta Go Now (Up On The Floor)
Steve Moore - Enhanced Humanoid
Sultans Of Ping FC - Where's Me Jumper
The Equals - Police On My Back
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Ghost Of A Smile





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December 2008        November 2008        October 2008       September 2008         August 2008        July 2008                   
June 2008  
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December 2007        November 2007        October 2007       September 2007         August 2007        July 2007                    
June 2007    
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December 2006  
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June 2006  
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December 2005  
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June 2005  
          May 2005            April 2005              March 2005            February 2005              January 2005         
                 
December 2004 
       November 2004       October 2004        September 2004