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***July Thirty First Two Thousand and Fourteen***

 

Tis the season for grilling, and that only means one thing - time to put on the formal sausages.  

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Instagrams of the month:


Adoptable kittens.  Raleigh, NC.  


Garden results.  Cary, NC.


Self-bought birthday present.  Cary, NC.  


Monthly cat napping picture.  Cary, NC.  


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Links of the month:

Thought this article about how france is changing, both demographically and politically, to be pretty interesting.  And
the way the article is written is especially interesting, the author traces the route of the Tour de France and reports on
the small towns he passes through.  

couple of skate vids -
Crocodile Done Deal - Fourstar tour vid through Australia.  Talent through the roof on that team, and Crailtap always
make clips that are fun to watch.  
Kevin Coakley - not only is the skating bad ass, but he skates to the Archers of Loaf.  That's just making smart life
decisions right there.  

Two photo journal entries, both a collection of randoms - one band photos and the other just nonsense.  

My lack of  Music reviews is nothing but laziness at this point.  I didn't realize how little I've done lately, mostly just
older seven inches (of which I only have a handful left).  I'll do better next month, or not...who really gives a shit right?  



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Merge 25
Lambchop and Mount Moriah
Baldwin Auditorium
7/23/2014

Finally, the 25th anniversary of Merge Records is upon us, and the music festival that goes with it.  I'd been looking
forward to this for months. 

I managed to hear about two minutes of William Tyler before entering Baldwin Auditorium...going to shows solo in
fancy seated venues mean you can find a spot up front even if you arrive late, because there are always a few single
empty seats here and there.  All of the bands were set up at the same time on the giant stage, so switching from one
act to the next took no time at all - I think it might have been five minutes between the end of Tyler and the start of
Mount Moriah, which is unheard of at a rock show. 

I've seen Mount Moriah numerous times in multiple rock clubs across the Triangle, and it was a little weird seeing
them on this giant auditorium stage in front of an extremely quiet crowd.  The band almost seemed unnerved by how
quiet it was, as they should have been - it was downright eerie, way too many well-behaved adults in one room.  The
great thing about these types of rooms are they sound great, and Baldwin Auditorium was no exception.  Yeah, I might
have turned the bass up a little bit in the mix, but Heather's vocals were fantastic and Jenks' guitar work as good as
I've ever seen it.  There were only a few older songs in the set, "Miracle Temple" and an epic, amazing version of
"Plane" being the standouts, and the rest were new songs for an album on which they are working.  If this was the
preview for that new record, count me excited to hear the final results once Merge releases it. 

Lambchop.  To paraphrase what I said elsewhere, to say Lambchop were awesome would be redundant because
there is never a time when Lambchop aren't awesome; therefore, a better description is to say Lambchop were
Lambchop.  This evening they were doing a rare performance of their classic 2000 album "Nixon" from start to finish,
which Merge recently issued on vinyl for the first time in the US as part of their 25th anniversary reissue series.  If there
is ever a perfect location to hear Lambchop, it's in a deathly silent auditorium where you can hear every faint guitar
pluck and muted horn and piano tinkle...audio-wise I'm hard pressed to think of ever attending a better sounding show
in my life.  "Nixon" made up the entirety of their set, with the band re-taking the stage after a brief standing ovation to
play a one song encore of Curtis Mayfield's "Give Me Your Love," a glorious end to a musically gorgeous evening.  


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Merge 25
Superchunk, Reigning Sound, The Rock*A*Teens, and The Clientele
Cat's Cradle
7/24/2014

Night two of Merge 25 was upon us, and after last night's cushy seated gig it was time for a long evening of standing
on the cement Cat's Cradle floors.  Let's do this. 


I got in the club just before the Clientele got started, and in my usual way wormed my way near the front amid a sea
of photographers and three videographers with serious professional rigs.  Why all three of them were basically filming
from the same angle is beyond me, but they're the pros and I'm sure they know what they're doing.  I wouldn't call my-
self a superfan, but this was one of the bands I was most excited about.  Why?  I couldn't say exactly, but probably
some combination of their somber jazz pop sounding really good to my ears these days, combined with the fact that
I've only seen the band a couple of times so there was a certain novelty to their performance as opposed to someone
like Superchunk who I've seen tons.  Is it weird that I think of them as a British Sea & Cake?  It's not an exact match,
but they're mining the same vein.  The band is both fantastically smooth and smoothly fantastic, and the only thing that
would have made it better is if they had played "Rain."  I picked up the recent reissue of their classic "Suburban Light"
when I left the club later that night. 

Next up was the Rock*A*Teens.  I'm 98% certain I saw these cats a few times back in the late nineties, be it opening
for someone like Superchunk or at the old Kings or something along those lines.  They never really moved the needle
for me back then, and I was interested to see how I would react to them this go around.  The verdict: while still not my
favorite band in the world, I was definitely feeling it more than in the past.  They have a ramshackle, jangly garage pop
vibe to them, a little sloppy but I'm not sure that is particularly important to a band like this.  There were a number of
sound issues, most seemingly from the house and not the band, but the Rock*A*Teens plowed through without a care
in the world.  I might need to go back and revisit their old records now. 

Speaking of sound problems, Reigning Sound also seemed to have no shortage of them.  Greg broke a guitar string
early in the set and after changing it he just never seemed to get the guitar tuned back to his liking.  My musically stupid
ears couldn't hear anything wrong, but then again I thought the music sounded fine when he was just playing five strings
before he changed the broken one.  The band just released a new record called "Shattered" and played a number of
tracks off of it, as well as some classics like "Stop and Think It Over," "Debris," "I'll Cry," and probably the best song
they've ever written "Drowning."  Despite the difficulties I very much enjoyed the show, as I do with any Reigning Sound
show.  So stoked they're on Merge now.  

Superchunk closed out the night.  I had sorta hoped and/or expected them to play a "special" set in honor of the an-
niversary - a complete classic album or all requests or obscure b-sides or something unusual, but it was just a regular
Chunk show.  It might sound like I was disappointed, and maybe I was a tad, but you can't be that bummed out when
one of your all-time favorite bands is banging out classics like "Skip Steps 1 & 3" and "What Do I" and "Brand New
Love" and "Hyper Enough," paired with great new jams such as "Low F" and "Digging for Something" and "FOH."
At one point new bassist Jason Narducy got so spazzy he fell backwards into the drum kit and ended up with a trickle
of blood running from his head down his face and it wasn't until a couple of songs later when Jon Wurster told him that
he had any idea.  That's rock and/or roll right there!  So it was a fun show, regardless of "specialness," and a nice cap
on the second night. 


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Merge 25
Destroyer, Wye Oak, The Mountain Goats, and David Kilgour and the Heavy 8s
Cat's Cradle
7/25/2014

After stuffing myself silly at Carrburritos, I got into the Cradle right at the end of Imperial Teen's set and caught their
final two songs.  I've never been all that excited by these guys, but maybe I was in a good mood or the songs hit me
just right but I liked what I heard - tons of energy and the crowd seemed way into it, but as per usual I don't have any-
thing else to say about Imperial Teen. 

I got there a little early specifically because I didn't want to miss any of David Kilgour & the Heavy 8s.  To be com-
pletely honest I've not listened to his solo work all that much, but I love his band the Clean so much I felt it imperative
I see him perform live as much as possible, regardless of what songs he might be playing.  Even though I didn't know
any of the setlist, I thoroughly enjoyed the band's set - most notably Kilgour's excellent guitar playing, which held me
transfixed for much of the set.  His New Zealand accent was so thick he jokingly put on a fake British accent to be
understood, but you need no translator to understand good music.


I've never seen a Mountain Goats show that featured so little banter from frontman John Darnielle - I guess they took
their short time slot to heart and decided to power through as many songs as possible.  They played a lot of crowd
favorites like "San Bernardino," "Amy," "This Year," and what is probably the band's greatest song, one that had the
entire crowd singing along, "No Children."  There was also a cover of the American Music Club song "Who You Are,"
a track I had never before heard, but Darnielle and company really made it their own.  Knowing how rabid Mountain
Goats fans are, I'm betting there were folks who attended this show or even this festival specifically for them - I hope
they at least enjoyed the quality of their offerings since there was a lack of quantity, because the quality was high. 

Wye Oak held down the penultimate leg of the evening.  I've said it elsewhere but they're really two different bands
these days, the former guitar-based Wye Oak versus the current bass heavy electro-pop Wye Oak.  I really like both
versions, though I might give a slight edge to the older, more rockin' version of the band because that is the one re-
sponsible for their best song "Holy Holy," which they thankfully played in their set this night.  Outside of that track and
a couple of other older ones, Jenn Wasner left her guitar in it's stand and focused on songs from their new record
"Shriek."  It's a little bit of a shame because she is such an excellent guitarist; but it's no surprise that on the new
songs, she dominates the bass just as well.  Oh, and that amazing voice, plus she's incredibly attractive.  Honestly
it wouldn't take much cajoling for me to quit my job and travel the world stalking her professionally (at a respectable
distance, of course - I'm no creep; well, only a slight creep).  It's an odd feeling, loving a band's new direction while
simultaneously missing their old sound...usually I hate when a group changes as drastically as Wye Oak have, but
in this rare case it works. 

Destroyer closed the night, and it was incredible.  The last time they rolled through town in support of "Kaputt," it was
like the whole band, especially frontman Dan Bejar, had downed a fistful of 'ludes before taking the stage.  By com-
parison this outing was downright ebullient!  Early in the set Bejar exclaimed "Gotta find my tambourine...it's gonna
be worth it," and I knew based on his mood it was going to be a good night.  Including Bejar the band was running at
eight members, including two full-time horn blowers and an organist.  Outside of a couple of new songs (which
sounded great), most of the setlist was made from the albums "Rubies and "Kaputt" - and the best songs off of those
albums to boot.  The list included "Savage Night of the Opera," "Chinatown," "European Oils," and the closer for the
night, the epic "Rubies."  There was still a little time until 2 AM and I was hoping the band would keep going until
closing, but like some crusty old Englishman once told me we can't always get what we want.  I'm pretty sure this gig
is going to lead me down a manic Destroyer listening party for the next few weeks.  I don't see that as a problem.


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Merge 25
Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Teenage Fanclub, Bob Mould, and Mikal Cronin
Cat's Cradle
7/26/2014

I tried to prepare myself for a long day of standing in the hot Cat's Cradle parking lot by purchasing a chocolate milk-
shake, and this led to me arriving at the venue late and only seeing part of
Mikal Cronin and his super-catchy fuzz
pop.  This might lead the regular person to exclaim "damn you milkshake!" for making them late, but it wouldn't be
sincere on my part because the milkshake is the true love of my life.  Anyways, I believe all of the songs I did get to
hear were from his excellent Merge record "MCII," and since I didn't miss hearing one of the best pop songs of the
last few years, "Shout It Out," I can't get too mad about missing part of his set. 


I know this will possibly result in my "music fan" card being revoked, but I've never listened to much Bob Mould or
Husker Du.  And the thing is, every time I hear a song by either act I usually enjoy it...just never translated to any pro-
longed listening to his/their music.  Mould's backing band is the current rhythm section of Superchunk, Jason Narducy
and Jon Wurster, their second and third times playing the festival respectively.  Narducy managed not to make himself
bleed this time, but Wurster did still sweat a shirt shiny.  I didn't know most of what they played but I liked it - the only
song I did recognize was "I Don't Know You Anymore," and I'm told he played a couple of Husker Du tracks.  Also,
host Margaret Cho (oh yeah I forgot to mention she was the MC of the day's festivities) came onstage and sang a
couple of songs with the band - apparently she's a huge fan.  She didn't have a bad voice for a comedian, but maybe
not a great voice for a musician, ha.

Finally, what anyone with good taste had been waiting for, one of the greatest pop bands of all time, Teenage Fanclub
I was as giddy as one of those crazed One Direction preteen fans, minus the high-pitched shrieking.  I don't think I've
ever seen as many musicians watching another band as I did during this set - a large selection of most of the acts on
the day's bill were posted at the side of the stage taking it all in.  The band might be a little older but they haven't lost
a step musically - everything sounded gorgeous.  The set list, while short, sampled their entire catalog...sure, there
was a ton of things I would have loved to hear like "Star Sign" and "Radio," but getting three songs from their perfect
record "Songs from Northern Britain" takes the pain away.  And then there was the end of the set, when they amped
up the awesome exponentially - first with "The Concept," then "Sparky's Dream," and finally "Everything Flows."  It
might sound like an exaggeration but this set alone was worth the price of the entire four day pass; this kind of happy
doesn't come along that often. 

After Fanclub I knew I was kinda going to be ruined for any other live music, but there were still two bands to go.  I went
inside the Cradle to have a drink, cool off out of the sun, and try to get my brain screwed back on straight.  When I
wandered back outside, Caribou was partially through their set.  I had always thought that this band was just one guy
manipulating shit on his computer, and maybe that is the case on the recordings - but live it was an actual four piece
band with an exceptionally bad ass drummer.  There's nothing I can tell you about this band or show that you can't
read elsewhere with more details, but I will say if you are like me and wrote these guys off as boring knob twiddlers,
that definitely isn't the case. 

Neutral Milk Hotel were the closer for the night, and for the festival.  After plenty of admonishment not to take any
photos or videos or recordings or to look Jeff Mangum in the eye (that last part may or may not be true), Mangum took
the stage by himself to perform "I Will Bury You in Time," and was shortly joined by the rest of the band (which could
be anywhere from five to seven members depending on the song they were playing at the time).  There was a couple
of horn players (hornsmen?  horners?), each of them with a ton of different instruments from trombones to french horns
to trumpets to...I think a euphonium?  Also, at least one of those hornsmen was the human embodiment of Papa Smurf,
in case you were wondering.  There is really no reason to go into what songs the band played, because it was ob-
viously their two albums they released over 15 years ago.  As much as I love their recorded material, the live show
was a bit ramshackle.  Maybe it was the mix, maybe it was the musicians, maybe it was the poor acoustics of an
outside show, but whatever it was, the gig wasn't as good as I had hoped.  Not bad by any means, just...okay I guess. 
In fact the best material of the night were the handful of tracks that Mangum played by himself, his voice clear and
unmuddled by the cacophony of sounds coming from the stage.  That was how Neutral Milk Hotel ended the show,
the same as how they started - just the iconic singer and his guitar, closing out a great four days of music.


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Noun
with Modern Hut and Lonnie Walker
Nice Price Books and Records
7/9/2014

I finally made it to Nice Price for one of their rock shows.  Yeah, I popped and caught a band at a matinee gig while
I was out and about a month or two ago, but after telling myself I would show up for multiple gigs, I finally followed
through. 


Lonnie Walker was the first act of the night...or at least part of Lonnie Walker - singer Brian, Nathan of DiggUp Tapes
on bass, and a drum machine.  I guess the rest of the band wasn't available and Brian wanted to do something other
than a solo show, but who knows.  The set list was a lot of the usual subjects, "Compass Comforts" and "Summertime"
and their cover of Art Lord & the Self Portraits "Bouncing Away" which I honestly always thought was a Lonnie Walker
song.  There was also a new song (or at least new to me) at the end of the set that sounded a shitload like Modest
Mouse's "Dramamine," only further cementing in my head the comparison between the two acts.  The band members
might change but a Lonnie Walker show hasn't much changed in five years, and I'm not complaining because I always
enjoy seeing them. 
Modern Hut had the middle slot.  The band was a two piece, a dude who handled most of the vocals and Marissa
from Screaming Females on backing vocals - both were also playing electric guitars.  I knew Marissa was going to be
in the final band Noun (this was a major part of the motivation to get off the couch and to this show), but had no idea
she was involved with this act.  The music was earnest and the vocals spoken almost as much as they were sung - the
closest quick comparison I could come up with is the Silver Jews or more broadly, music you would have expected to
be released on Shrimper in the mid-nineties.  I wasn't nuts for the music to be perfectly honest, but it was decent and
it seemed like a lot of the kids in the crowd were digging it.  Oh yeah, the crowd was super young...that's almost not
worth my mentioning anymore, because I'm clearly the outlier in these scenes. 

As mentioned earlier, Noun aka Marissa from Screaming Females finished the evening.  It was just her, her guitar
and her wicked vibrato voice.  The crowd piled in close around her and made it tough for me to take photos (which
was already tough due to the extreme lack of light), but somehow I survived the whole ordeal.  I'd never heard any of
this solo material, and honestly to me it just sounded like Screaming Females songs minus the rest of the band.  The
songs were maybe a little less rocking and her guitar playing a little less shredding, but Marissa's voice is so unique
it would be difficult not to compare this solo act to her main gig.  She was great though - if you've seen Screaming
Females you know she puts on a great live act, and even a slightly mellower version of her is still a win. 


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Museum Mouth
with Ghostt Bllonde
Kings
6/6/2014

As frequently seems to be the case, the older I get the less likely I am to go out and see the new young bands that
are always popping up.  No matter what my age is, there is always a pack of dudes in their early twenties ready to
take on the world with their rock and/or roll. 

The first band I saw tonight was Ghostt Bllonde - yes, the misspellings in their name are apparently intentional.  I
often comment how young the crowd is, but this time I suspect many got into Kings via fake IDs.  I had 15 years on
almost every person there who wasn't actually working in the club...including the band.  They were a lively bunch
though, crowd and band alike, very upbeat and dancey and having themselves a fine Friday night party.  The music
was sort of a combination of jangly pop ala Lonnie Walker mixed with a little dance pop upbeat catchiness.  It was
sometimes a little sloppy, but everyone seemed to be having fun so who cares right?  I would see them again, and
look forward to seeing what these young lads grow into. 

Despite being from Wilmington, this was apparently the album release party for the new Museum Mouth record
"Alex I Am Nothing."  Maybe they also had a release party in their hometown and just wanted to have more parties,
who knows.  Either way I'd been hearing about these kids for a little while and then heard one of their tracks on the
local NCSU college radio station WKNC and felt it imperative I see what they were all about live.  They are a three-
piece with the unusual characteristic of a singing drummer - like our very own local Phil Collins or something!  I'd put
their sound firmly in the pop-punk camp, but we're talking more Jawbreaker and Husker Du and Archers of Loaf than
Blink 182.  On some of the mellower numbers there was also a bit of Connor Oberst maybe.  It was a fairly quick set,
and I dug it enough to buy the record at the end of the night.  


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Foals
with J. Roddy Walston & the Business
Red Hat Amphitheater
5/2/2014

Some local radio station was putting on a free show, I didn't have shit else going on, so why not hit the town?  I'd never
been to Red Hat or seen any of the bands, so it seemed like an entertaining enough way to spend the evening. 

As always, free shows bring out weird crowds - lots of very young kids, random old people, stoners, wookies, folks
that are likely homeless, and rejects from the filming of "Spring Breakers."  The line was all the way around the block
so my idea of catching most of J. Roddy Walston & the Business was out the window - I did get to hear most of
the set though, and we finally got inside in time to take in the last three or so songs.  I've had friends for ages saying
they are must-see live, and even though this was probably the wrong venue I could see what they were getting at. 
The band, especially J. Roddy, were very exciteable and enthusiastic on stage, playing their piano-led southern bar
rock with a great deal of zest and - dare I say it - pizazz.  They were somewhere in the spectrum between the Hold
Steady and Kings of Leon, with a little Ben Folds mixed in.  The crowd seemed into it, much more so than I expected.

The middle band - Foals - was the main draw for the evening (we didn't even stick around for headliners Cage the
Elephant).  Where the band is from in England they apparently sell out eleven thousand seat venues in a matter of
minutes, but in Raleigh they're the middle act of a free gig.  Amazing the difference an ocean can make sometimes. 
The band has put out four full lengths, the first two were even on Sub Pop, but somehow I missed all of this.  Anyways,
yadda yadda yadda, the band basically plays a modern, updated version of that Brit pop sound we've all known and
loved for ages now.  It's a tough sound to precisely describe, but we all know it when we hear it.  They put on a good
stage show, had a lot of fancy lights happening, and the crowd ate it up.  I'm not sure they were a band I'd seek out for
a regular paying gig, but for a free show?  They were well worth it. 



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"
I'm allergic to sushi. Every time I eat more than 80 sushis, I barf. "

Hey here's a bunch of Belle & Sebastian b-sides.  Looking forward to seeing them in a couple of months in Miami.  
If you're looking for me I'll be the one in the crowd in the thong.  
A Century Of Fakers
Dog On Wheels
I'm Waking Up To Us
Jonathan David
Lazy Line Painter Jane
The Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner

Camera Obscura - Fifth In Line To The Throne.  Why not follow up B&S with a band that always gets compared
to B&S?
New Year's Resolution
This Is Love (Feels Alright)

Light Pines - Climbing Towards You.  Great local band that broke up way too soon.  They released all of their
recordings on Bandcamp for free.  
Come With Us

Mojave 3 - Sarah.  It might get me labelled a pariah but I vastly prefer Mojave 3 to Slowdive.  
Where Is The Love

Every once in a while I remember that there are a lot of rad early REM songs.  
Ages Of You
Bandwagon
Burning Down
Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars)
Crazy (Pylon cover)





***June Thirtieth
Two Thousand and Fourteen***

 

As the kids say, "it's called fashion, look it up."


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Instagrams:


Pelicans.  Apex, NC.


Giant Leopard Moth.  Cary, NC.


Burt, distracted.  Cary, NC.  


Home Savings Bank - being restored.  Durham, NC.  


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Additional pictures:
Some medium format snaps from our trip to Joshua Tree last December.  







See more of these photos in the Photo Journal section.  


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Links:

Occasionally I make a mix for the wife as my way of cojoling her into listening to the music I love.  This is the most
recent one.  Some of these songs have probably already been posted here...who cares.

Really into this website called GooBing Detroit.  It tracks deterioration in the city based on street view photos from
google and bing - results that are both fascinating and depressing.

I'm not usually one to get jazzed about bike riding, but this is pretty great - Danny MacAskill does street trials (I think
that's what they call it) in the Argentinian town of Epecuen, which until recently had been underwater for thirty years.  

And this a short documentary called Pablo's Villa about that town and it's one remaining resident.  A good pair of
videos to watch back-to-back.

Two photo journal entries - the medium format photos from our trip to California last December, and some snaps
from a weekend trip to Cherokee.  

My lack of  Music reviews this month is to be fully blamed on how much time I've spent watching the World Cup, but I
did get around to listening to the new records by Wye Oak and Liars,  plus a few of the old seven inches.  



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New Boss
Nice Price Books & Records
5/31/2014

En route to go play old man basketball with some friends, I stopped off at Nice Price to take in some day rock and try
not to buy anything for once.  I can't overstate how much I like a daytime or even happy hour rock show, it is one of the
great joys in life.  I knew very little about who was playing and only had a few minutes to stop in, but it was free and who
cares, day rock!  I managed to see a short set by a band called
New Boss, which is apparently an offshoot of the
Charlottesville band Invisible Hand.  It was unclear if this is just a side project or if Invisible Hand is no more...hopefully
side piece status, because I dug the Hand.  The basics are: five piece band, female singer, excellent guitar playing. 
The guitar work especially reminded me of Pavement, and the overall vibe of the band was Teenbeat Records circa
1995.  But more than anything, and this didn't hit me until their last song, they reminded me of Television Personalities. 
Or rather Television Personalities with bitchin' guitar.  I'll gladly see these guys again, even at night!



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Marc Maron
with Ryan Singer
Goodnights
4/19/2014

I know Marc Maron is performing bits when he is onstage, he's been doing this comedy thing for a few decades now
after all.  But he's just so damn comfortable up there that it feels more like a conversation (and sometimes a rant) than
it feels like a comic performing a routine.  There were a few noteworthy bits about driving a car in LA turning into a
"hate pod" and how farting never stops being funny, but the best parts were his ruminating on Jesus / religion / Good
Friday (it was particularly topical given the date of the show) and taking questions from the audience.  One audience
member asked him about crossfit which set him off on a particularly funny rant if I remember correctly.  The man is
easily one of the best working comedians out there today, and I'll never not ever not miss him tell the jokes and the
whatnot. 

His opener, Ryan Singer, was the exact opposite - his act was so perfect and well-rehearsed it felt more like a one
act play than it did comedy, not that I didn't laugh a lot.  He also opened the last time Marc came to town, so one would
assume they are friends and this is the usual Maron live show experience.  I enjoyed Singer so much I'd gladly go see
him on his on if he ever came back solo, the guy has a bright future.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.)


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Protomartyr
with Whatever Brains and Spray Paint
Slims
4/17/2014

I missed Protomartyr at Hopscotch last year or the year before or whenever it was, but I remember people that I trust
giving them a big thumbs up and that was enough to get me out of the house and into Slims.  The place was packed,
probably sold out but I didn't poll the doorman or anything.  As I hadn't even listened to more than a song or two of their
music, I was forming most of my opinion on the band from this show.  You would definitely never know what you were
getting into from just looking at this pack from Detroit - singer Joe Casey looked like the doppelganger for Craig Finn
of the Hold Steady, the guitarist looked like a refugee from a frat jam band, and i don't recall the bassist or drummer
(insert rhythm section jokes here), but everyone looked like they were coming from something different.  More import-
antly though, the music - rad.  Super rad.  The overwhelming vibe was a protopunk/postpunk sound along the lines of
the Fall or Pere Ubu depending on the song, with moments of noise sludge like US Maple and pop punk like
Jawbreaker making occasional appearances.  Did I mention how rad they were?  So rad.  Radical.  Radiating rad-
icality. I can't recommend this band enough.


Saw Whatever Brains again, they had the middle slot,  Shocking, I know.  They were rad as per usual, equal parts
weird and rock, but the only thing particularly noteworthy here is it was their first gig with their new bassist, or at least
the first I had seen and the first for Slims.  Maybe because he is still being indoctrinated into the cult of WB, it was their
most "traditional" set I've seen in quite some time...no long jams, no keyboard skronk offs, no weird covers.  But again,
rad nonetheless. 

The opener was a band called Spray Paint from Austin.  I had briefly listened to a couple of songs online and while it
didn't wow me, it was interesting enough to see what they were all about live.  It turns out they are one of those three
piece bands that features two guitarists and no bassist as seems to be popular these days.  All three band members
sang, and often it was two or even all three of them singing at once.  And while I never really got this vibe from my brief
foray into their recordings, I got a strong A-Frames vibe this night at Slims.  Anything that even slightly reminds me of
A-Frames is a very, very good thing. 

As a side note, someone obviously needs to set up a show where Charlotte's Paint Fumes follow Spray Paint. 


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Doug Benson
with Graham Elwood
The Comedy Zone
4/12/2014

You know you love a comedian when you're willing to drive all the way to Charlotte to see them.  I actually had a chance
to see Doug Benson a couple of days earlier in Raleigh, but Superchunk was playing the same night and I miss
Superchunk for no one.  He was performing at his favorite time, 4:20 in the afternoon, not only because he is a stoner
but mainly because having a comedy show in the afternoon usually insures the crowd is definitely there to see you, and
not just some drunk oafs who decide it might be fun to go to the comedy club at night and be annoying loud assholes.

First though - Graham Elwood opened the show, as he seems to often do with Doug on the road.  He is the Washington
Generals to Doug's Harlem Globetrotters, only in this case I'm betting both are terrible at basketball.  He is good at
comedy though - not as good as Doug, but I enjoyed his short set.  Outside of some comical karate talk I don't remember
much about it, but I definitely laughed. 

After a few minutes of Graham Doug came out.  He read some tweets and commented on them, did some crowd work,
and at the end of the set he brought Graham back out to play the Leonard Maltin game with an audience member (who
won when Graham couldn't name the movie, if I remember correctly). In between all of that though, Doug was working
on honing his material for a comedy special he would be recording a few days later (on 4/20, obviously).  Despite
having listened to hundreds of hours of the "Doug Loves Movies" podcast, I've actually not listened to a ton of his
stand-up.  He was hilarious.  I sometimes try to write down a few notes on some of the highlights from a comics set,
but all I wrote down after Doug was "carpet and anal sex" - I'm not sure if that means there were jokes about carpet and
jokes about anal sex, or jokes about the two of them together, but either way I felt the need to write it down because
I must have really had a good laugh over it. 

When it was all over we left the club and it was still light out and that was really weird.  Then we went to a Bobcats
game to make the trip to Charlotte complete.  The end.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.)


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"
You know when you hear girls say 'Ah man, I was so shit-faced last night, I shouldn't have fucked that guy?' We could
be that mistake! "

A few selections from the great comp "Behind Closed Doors: Where Country Meets Soul," which is exactly what it
sounds like.
Aaron Neville - The Grand Tour
Al Green - I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Arthur Alexander - Detroit City
Joe Tex - Skip a Rope
Millie Jackson - If You're Not Back in Love By Monday
Percy Sledge - Take Time to Know Her

Console - By this River (Brian Eno cover).  I had no idea who Console was, picked up this release "Mono" at a
local thrift store.  Turns out it's one of the dudes from the Notwist!  And it's pretty great, especially this cover of Brian
Eno's best song.  
Bonus: Magnolia.  

Mikal Cronin - I'm Done Running From You.  His record "MCII" was one of my faves from last year, it is exceedingly
catchy.
Bonus: Shout It Out.  
Bonus: Weight.  

Telekinesis - Dark to Light.  This is also exceedingly catchy, hence my posting it here.  I like catchy shit.  
Bonus: Empathetic People.  
Bonus: Power Lines.  

Tubeway Army - Listen To The Sirens.  This whole year I've been blasting this first Tubeway Army in my car like it's
1978 and I have an angular haircut.  
Bonus: My Shadow In Vain.  





***May Thirty First
Two Thousand and Fourteen***



Memorial day has passed so summer is here, time to strap your pizzas to your miniature
horses and head to the beach!


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Instagrams:


Chelsea & Burt.  Cary, NC.  


Grain.  Fuquay Varina, NC.  


Mouse sleeping.  Cary, NC.


Old house.  Between Benson & Coats, NC.


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Got some medium format pics developed...these were taken at Leo Carillo State Park north of Malibu this
past christmas when we visited the wife's family in California. It was a beautiful 80 degrees on christmas day.  










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Links:

A trio of superbly superb skate flicks:
 - Connor Kammerer from "Tengu: God of Mischief" - Dude has a weird name & video has a weird name but don't
    hold that against it - skating is beyond rad, great mix of tech and weird and raw street.
 - Mauro Caruso from "MỤRICA" - Dude just straight up kills the ancient town of Modica in Sicily.  No one is ever,
    ever, EVER allowed to complain about rough ground where they skate again.  
 - Mark Gonzales, re-edit of his part from 2001's "Reel to Reel."  Footage that is 13 years old and older, and it's as
    fresh and enjoyable as anything made today.  

In other video news: Wes Anderson made a short film/commercial for Prada called "Castello Cavalcanti" starring
Jason Schwartzman.  It feels very Wes Anderson, as expected.  

One photo journal entry this month - band photos of Perfect Pussy, Whatever Brains, Cheap Time, Last Year's Men,
and more.  

In the Music reviews, like a broken record still with the old seven inches.  New reviews include Stephen Malkmus,
Ernie Graham, the War on Drugs, and...shit, that might have been all the new music I reviewed.  So lazy.   



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The Carvers
Satellite Bar and Lounge
5/24/2014

The wife and I went to Wilmington for a little Memorial Day vacation and to visit my good pal Brian, and it just so
happened that a band featuring both one of Brian's bandmates and his former college roommate,
the Carvers, were
having a release party for their record.  Why not go see a little surf rock?  well, surf rock with a little vintage sixties
garage rock thrown in.  The band was a five piece, all wearing matching burgundy blazers, and rocked it out like the
house band of every Roger Corman sixties biker flick ever made.  It was a mix of originals and covers, from the Sonics
to Dick Dale to the Santo & Johnny classic "Sleep Walk."  The crowd was also as mixed as I've seen in some time -
from the usual young crowd to the middle age set like myself to older folks cutting a rug to the jams, pretty much every-
one was represented here.  Everyone seemed to have a good time, including myself...not bad for a free show on a
whim. 



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Brody Stevens
with Howard Kremer
Local 506
5/23/2014

Weird comedy show was weird.  To be fair, I knew this would be the case going in. 

After a local opener, Howard Kremer was the first of the touring duo to take the stage.  It should be noted that the
whole reason I was even at this gig is because the wife is obsessed with his podcast "Who Charted," but even she
was wary about how odd this might be.  Howard isn't really a stand-up - he occasionally says funny things, but it's
awkward and not well formed at all like a typical comedian.  Still, I laughed more than I cringed so I count that as a
victory.   


Brody Stevens - not even sure where to start with him.  First off, he is crazy.  And I don't mean in the joking way "oh
he's so crazy," no, he's actually been committed.  He's been well known in the LA comedy scene forever, does a ton
of audience warm up gigs for various shows, had a documentary show about him on Comedy Central, and is friends
with a ton of A-listers.  But none of this means I'm going to laugh seeing him live.  He started his set by DJing songs
from his iPod/iPhone/iWhatever and "pumping up" the crowd...and then he proceeded to tell jokes for over two hours. 
Well, not so much jokes as yell and do his crazy character and I think he did crowd work on three-quarters of the
audience.  I'm not actually sure how much over two hours because that is the mark we left at...at the time Brody was
on stage using a pair of chairs like a drum kit.  Seeing him is like seeing a life coach tripping on mushrooms - lots of
laughs but I basically felt high after it was over.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.  Brody did not perform comedy with a dog.)


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Superchunk
with Loamlands
Haw River Ballroom
4/10/2014

It's a bit of a drive to the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, certainly more so than most other venues.  But it's a
pleasant drive, and with my friend the Cook-Out tray there to accompany me, we made the trip in no time and got
there in time to see the last half of
Loamlands set.  They're almost a local all-star band, mainly consisting of a couple
of former Midtown Dickens members but from show to show includes any number of other recognizable musicians -
tonight in particular Matt from Portastatic and Bon Iver was handling the drums.  Despite the pedigree I'd not listened
to or seen the band before - turns out they play very pleasant folk pop with a slight country tinge.  Singer Kym Register
has a fantastic voice, one that could easily hold my attention all by itself, but the songs and musicianship seemed to
be top notch across the board.  It looks like they're finally releasing some recorded music this summer, and I'll be
gladly picking that up. 


Then it was time for my biannual Superchunk live show experience.  Even though I get to see them fairly often these
days, I'm as excited as a teenager each and every time.  I don't have any great insight or special things to say about
this show over the many others I've seen, but like always I feel the need to document it.  This was my second time
seeing the band without Laura Ballance on bass and with Jason Narducy as her replacement; he may not pogo as
much and I haven't had a crush on him my entire adult life, but he is a fair substitute. The attendance (or lack thereof)
was somewhat interesting - not that the place was empty or anything, but there was way less folks than I expected...
I guess it takes some serious motivation to get folks to drive all the way to Saxapahaw, and since it was only my
second time I can't argue with that.  Chunk put on a great show regardless, playing tons of songs I wanted to hear -
they leaned heavily on their newest record "I Hate Music" as well as "Indoor Living" which was just recently reissued. 
Of particular note was them performing "Under Our Feet," which according to Jim Wilbur was the first time they had
ever played it live.  There was also a cover of a song called "Can't Fool Me" by A Number of Things - I'd never heard
of this band but apparently Mac was briefly in the group in the eighties and the singer recently passed away.  Track
had a nice Black Flag vibe to it, I'd be curious to hear the original. Other than that, there were a few classics like
"Skip Steps 1 & 3," "For Tension," and "Driveway to Driveway" that I sang along to like a damn fool.  As always, it
was a grand ol' time, and I can't wait to see them again.  And again.  And again. 



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Todd Barry
Kings
4/3/2013

I saw Todd Barry again.  It was at Kings again.  I laughed my ass off again.

This gig was part of his final crowd work tour.  What does that mean?  Todd came out on stage without a set of pre-
pared jokes, and instead talked to the audience and riffed off of whatever direction they would send him in.  There
probably aren't a lot of comics who can do this as successfully as Barry, he's just so quick with the banter, and couple
that with his general personality that would have me laughing if he was reading the phonebook, and you've got a
successful show. 

There's really not much to say though, other than I laughed so much my face hurt.  He managed to make a bunch of
RTP tech nerds sound interesting.  A former NC State soccer coach was there and talked to Todd - he was a much
better sport about it than I would have expected, but then again this isn't a regular comedy show at a comedy club and
I'm guessing he knew Todd and what he was getting himself into.

(Photo not mine, found randomly online.)


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"Ned, next time you have a brilliant idea, whisper it to me first. Otherwise I look sort of like a Day-Dream-Johnny, you
know."


Best Coast - The Only Place.  I wanted to love the most recent Best Coast record, but I really only loved the first song.  
It's probably their best song ever though, so there's that.  

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - I Gave You.  A track from his collaboration EP with Matt Sweeney.

Cheap Time - Country and City.  One of my favorite records so far this year; unfortunately it came out last year.  Garage
punk with a little glam flavor.
Bonus: Spark in the Chain.  

Fuzz - Raise.  One of my favorite records and live shows of last year, heavy but not metal; Groovy but not hippy.  
Bonus: Sleigh Ride.  

Hayden - Woody.  I go through phases with Hayden, and lately he has definitely been back in the play column lately.

Slayer - Angel Of Death.  I don't really need to talk about the greatness of these songs do I?
Bonus: Raining Blood.  

Yo La Tengo - Is That Enough.  A couple of tracks from the most recent YLT record.  They just keep chugging along.  
Not their best record but it's definitely in the plus column.  
Bonus: Ohm.  

Picked up a Grandaddy-curated mixtape at the thrift store, and these are some of the better songs from it.  I might have
already posted some or all of these at one point or another, but they're good enough to merit another look.  
Beulah - Burned By The Sun
Blonde Redhead - For The Damaged
Fruit Bats - The Little Acorn
Snow Patrol - Run





***April Thirtieth
Two Thousand and Fourteen***

 

To dream the impossible dream...

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Burt in a sunbeam.  Cary, NC.  


Ford Model A.  
Cary, NC.
;

Gordon, the patron saint of our basketball court.  Raleigh, NC.  


Annual "azaleas of my house" photo.  
Cary, NC.


Junkyard.  Near Asheboro, NC.  


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LINKS -

The B-Side / extended cut of Colin Provost from Emerica's "Made" video.  Dude is a serious beast.

Another Visualtraveling vid, this one called "The Persian Version" where they actually manage to get into and skate
Iran!  I love these videos, they combine my two favorite things: skateboarding and travel.  

Not a lot of links this month.

Two new photo journal entries this month - the other two (of four total) parts from the cruise we took last month.  

In the Music reviews, still going through my old seven inches and adding new ones via a recent estate sale.  New
this time are reviews of The Clientele, Mark Kozalek, Pagans RSD release, even more Fuzz, and more.  



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Moogfest
with Kraftwerk, Egyptian Lover, Giorgio Moroder, Clark and Moderat
Downtown Asheville
4/25/2014

After hearing from so many friends on the west coast and in the northeast go on about how good Kraftwerk has been
on their current tour, I called up my friend Brian and decided it was time for a road trip to Asheville - Asheville had
Moogfest, and Moogfest had Kraftwerk. 

After a leisurely drive up we hit the streets of Asheville about 5 in the afternoon.  They had the street in front of the
Moog factory blocked off and in place of traffic was vendors and food trucks and a big ass stage.  Performing on that
stage was a guy named Egyptian Lover.  Initially I thought he was just a guy paying homage to the early days of rap,
but it turns out he was an actual part of those early days!  His music was highly influenced by Afrika Bambaataa's
"Planet Rock" - very VERY heavy 808 beats paired with a futuristic/robotic sound.  The lover sorta sing/raps his lyrics
and had a hype man there to help plus a dude playing keyboards on a couple of tracks.  In a word, it was fantastic. 

Our next destination was up the hill to Thomas Wolfe, where we would see the early show by Kraftwerk (they had
already played once the night before and had another scheduled for later this night).  Honestly I don't think there is any
possible way to put into words the joy I felt from this performance.  Yeah, it's four old German dudes in matching outfits
playing electro krautrock in front of 3D graphics, but it was oh so much more than that.  They played for two hours
spanning their entire catalog, but of course I was most excited for the older material - I've still got a smile plastered on
my face from hearing "The Robots" and "Numbers" live.  Truly the only even slightly negative thing I could say is I wish
they had played "Pocket Calculator," but given how happy I was walking out of that auditorium, I won't be losing any
sleep over it.  I might have balked a little bit when I dropped over a hundred bucks for this single day of Moogfest, but
this performance was worth every cent if not more.  You can peep the entire set list here, if you're so inclined.

Our minds blown, we left Thomas Wolfe and walked down the hill to the Broadway Outdoor stage to see what exactly
the
Giorgio Moroder performance was all about.  Of course I was hoping it was a band performing his scores live,
not that I actually expected that to be the case; instead, it was just him on stage DJing disco music.  There was a large
crowd and they were eating it up, but I just don't need to hear any more Donna Summer ever again.  We rocked some
grub from the food trucks, listened to the party music in the background, and then before we even had to decide
whether or not to stick around, his DJ set ended and the outdoor stage shut down for the night and we made our way
elsewhere.  In lieu of all that, let's listen to the amazing song he wrote for "Midnight Express," "
The Chase."

We walked a few blocks up the hill to the Diana Wortham theater and the Warp Records showcase happening there. 
There was a DJ/musician/performer named Clark doing his thing.  The sort of instrumental noisy-electronic-techno
that he was playing is so foreign to my usual listening habits I don't even know where to start in describing his set. 
Honestly, my best feel for this is it sounds and feels exactly like the sort of music I, as a non-raver, would expect to
hear at a rave - loud, repetitive, beat-driven music with a little glitchy IDM (id that still a thing?) thrown in.  It was pretty
interesting for about twenty minutes, but an hour of it was a bit much for me...I was definitely checking my phone for the
time at the end. 

The final band for us on the night was Moderat, a German trio made up of two other known acts Modeselektor and
Apparat.  I had watched a couple of youtube clips of the group performing live and they seemed interesting enough to
check out.   If nothing else, they stood apart from most of the other options in that they weren't just one person with a
laptop, but rather Moderat performed like a more traditional band, something that is important to an old fogey like me. 
Hell, they even played a guitar on one of their songs!  This would also notably be the only stringed instrument we had
and would see all night, for those keeping count.  Not really knowing much at all about these guys, I quite enjoyed their
music - I'm not sure what artists I would compare them to of the electronic ilk, but to my untrained ears they sounded a
lot like Radiohead's more recent electronic fare, minus Thom Yorke's vocals of course.  There were some vocals
though, although they were pretty few and far between.  We watched at least half of their set before heading out,
greeted by a giant line of folks waiting to get in the packed theater.  That was a wrap on Moogfest.



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Cheap Time
with Last Year's Men and Black Zinfandel
The Pinhook
2/27/2014

Somehow I'd never seen Black Zinfandel, despite their being on bills of shows I've attended (lazy late arrival on my
part to blame) and by all accounts playing the sort of music that would be right up my alley - that being something in
the neighborhood of what the kids call "art punk," though I'm struggling to come up with any particular comparisons. 
I managed to catch their last three or so songs, and I was really into it.  Other people have referred to them as garage
rock but I didn't get that vibe honestly.  this may be due to sharing the drummer of Whatever Brains, and I just can't
imagine that guy playing garage rock.  Also, the singer/guitarist has a bitching white man afro, which makes my stupid
bald head sad and jealous at the same time.  I need another viewing to really pin down what they sound like to me, and
I'll definitely be making a point of seeing them again, and soon if possible. 

Last Year's Men had the middle slot, and as is always the case I was almost as excited to see them as anyone they
are opening for.   The first thing I noticed was the line-up change - there was a new bassist.  Their old bassist was at
the show so I'm assuming it wasn't an acrimonious split, plus his other band Flesh Wounds just got signed to Merge
so I'm sure he's keeping himself plenty busy.  The second thing I noticed were all the new songs they played, and they
were pretty much universally awesome.  I've never been more convinced they are the perfect blend of Gentleman Jesse
and the Replacements than I was after these new tracks.  I really really really need a new record from them, and pronto. 


The headliner tonight was Cheap Time on tour from Nashville.  I don't understand how or why a state like Tennessee
produces so many great garage rock bands, but I hope it keeps happening.  After being mostly indifferent to this band
for a few years, I've gotten way into their most recent release "Exit Smiles," about as perfect a blend of punk, garage
and glam as you're going to get.  I'd seen front man and guitarist Jeffrey Novak a few years back in the Rat Traps, a
fun show but man has he upped his guitar playing skills - dude shreds.  The band just powered through a bunch of their
songs - no downtime, no banter, just forty-five minutes or so of blistering rock music as god intended it to be played. 
Amen.  



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Whatever Brains
with Motor Skills and Enemy Waves
Slims
2/7/2014

I've seen a lot of Whatever Brains shows, and I mean A LOT, but this one definitely goes down as the strangest. 
They've been adding more and more keyboards to the stage when they perform over the last year or two, but on this
night that's all there was.  No drums, no guitar, barely any vocals even...just keyboards, synths, and other electronic
noise makers...oh and a tin whistle, cause you gotta have something analog going on.  There were no songs, or at
least no known songs, just a long form electronic skronky freak-out...it was sorta Throbbing Gristle-ish.  Oh, and let's
not forget the shitload of smoke they had spewing from their smoke machine, they play that damn thing like it's another
instrument.  It was a fun, interesting performance, but to be perfectly honest I'd rather see their regular show.  Not that
something like this isn't a fun diversion every once in a while. 

Motor Skills had the middle slot.  Or rather, a band called Motor Skills that barely resembled what I was expecting to
see had the middle slot.  I guess, I've seen a few different iterations of the group, but the lack of Mike Dillon is a huge
change since he was the voice of the band.  In his place was a young girl, but take my designation of "young" with a
grain of salt because I'm the worst person with ages ever.  In fact the entire band was different outside of the dude
who plays the keyboards whose name I don't know but who has been in the band from the start.  It all sounded differ-
ent but still ok, not nearly as electronic/dancey and a little more straight-forward indie pop, but I was so thrown off by
it basically being a different band I'll need to see them again to get a better feel for Motor Skills 2.0 or 3.0 or what-
ever.0 version of the band this is. 

The night's opener was a new band called Enemy Waves.  It was either their first show or close to it, but these were
no rookies - two dudes from Birds of Avalon and Crowmeat Bob were among the members.  They just played two or
three long songs, all instrumental, with the occasional sax added in (think more noise sax than sexy sax).  There was
a definitely late-nineties Thrill Jockey vibe going on, maybe a psyche rock version of Trans Am at their most organic. 
More viewings will hone this useless comparison, but make no mistake I definitely want to see them again.  A strong
first effort. 



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"
Eight hundred leaf-tables and no chairs? You can't sell leaf-tables and no chairs. Chairs, you got a dinette set. No
chairs, you got dick! "


Here's the entire Grandaddy "Now It's On" single, because why not.  All the songs are awesome.  
Now It's On
Trouble With A Capital T
Hey Cowboy, The Phone's For You

Boyd Rivers - Get Away Jordan.  A reverend bluesman from the deep south who finally had his only album released
thirty years after recording it.  And it's fantastic.  
Bonus: When the World Seems Cold.  

Great Lake Swimmers - There Is A Light.  I have nothing of note to say about this band, otherthan they make pretty
music.  
Bonus: Your Rocky Spine.  

Metallica - Creeping Death.  MY car was in the shop and for my rental I got a Dodge Charger; fittingly, I listened to
Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" over and over in it for over a week.
Bonus: Fight Fire with Fire.  
Bonus: For Whom the Bell Tolls.  

Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten.  Been on a real kick of all things Mark Kozalek lately.  One of my
favorite songs.  
Bonus: Silly Love Songs (Wings cover).  

The Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen In Love.  Classics of this caliber and pedigree need no explanation.
Bonus: Late for the Train.  
Bonus: Operators Manual.  





***March Thirty First
Two Thousand and Fourteen***

 

Spring is finally here!  Time to let the girls out, ladies!


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Instagrammery:

Burt and his sunbeam.  Cary, NC.


Surly Mouse.  Cary, NC.    


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The last of my medium format Mexico photos that I was posting for a while and then got sidetracked with some other
stupid shit but now I'm back to posting them and writing run on sentences.  


View from the top of Ek Balam.  


Templo del Norte, Chichen Itza.  


Chichen Itza.


Chichen Itza.


Tulum.


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Links:


In my attempt to post articles about pool for two straight months, here is a classic piece from 1961 about the real
Minnesota Fats,hustling, and the nature of pool tournaments.  I find these articles endlessly fascinating.  

The New York Times did one of their 36 hours travel articles on our fair town of Raleigh.  Like always I would have
likely mentioned a lot of other shit, but not bad.  

My dude John sent me this interesting article about a record store in New York City, the strange denizens that fre-
quented the place, and how that led to pre-war blues holding the popularity that it does these days.  

A long & well-written article that basically says what anyone with common sense knows - let your kids play.  

Two great skate vids this month:
 - Jason Park - Hawaiian dude with a nuts bag of tricks...part Daewon, part Richie Jackson, part old school freestyler.
 - Adidas Skate Copa - It's got both the Gonz and Lucas Puid in it, so it's automatically awesome.  Plus, like all Adidas
   vids, very well filmed and put together.  

Four new photo journal entries this month - band photos, documentation of a rare snowfall, and two (of four total) parts
from the cruise we took earlier this month.  

In the Music reviews, still going through my old seven inches and posting poorly written reviews (I've made it to the
second box!).  Some of the new reviews include the first two Merge subscription seven inches, Mandolin Orange,
Lovers, Future Islands, Fuzz, and more.    



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Eugene Mirman
with Derrick Brown
Cat's Cradle
2/5/2014

I nearly always go to rock shows alone, but for some reason it seems weird going to a comedy show solo.  I guess
laughter is com
munal or some such shit, but it's not like I was going to be the only person in the room.  The wife got
called out of town for work, so
I unloaded my extra ticket out front  - quite easily to be honest, as the show ended up
being sold out - and found a seat what to make
with the laughing and all that. 

Derrick Brown, a poet from Texas, opened the gig.  I guess he's won awards or something for his words, and it wasn't
as weird an opener as you would think.  His poems were short and funny and due to him having spent time in Fayette-
ville in the army, they had local flavor - in particular there was one about cruising in Benson, and another about party-
ing with the trash in Myrtle Beach.  He only spoke for 15 or 20 minutes, probably just the right amount for a poet per-
forming before a comedian.  His book (or books?) would likely be worth checking out if they are anything like what he
read this evening. 

I had never seen Eugene Mirman in person before, but between watching various stand-up specials and listening to
his albums I
knew exactly what to expect - and all those expectations were met.  He mixed straight-forward stand-up,
props and pictures, and
even multimedia into a great hour (or so) of laughs.  He showed off a series of comical por-
traits he was trying to get shown in a
Brooklyn Whole Foods; talked about taking out an ad in a brochure somewhere
in Vermont(?) to protest a parking ticket he got
there; aired an elaborate series of previews of fake shows for the
made up TV network he wants to create (it reminded me a lot of
Weird Al's "UHF")...oh, and he married a couple of
people on-stage.  It was a full and entertaining night, Eugene really knows how
to put on a show. 

(Photo not mine; also, not a photo.)


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Perfect Pussy
with Whatever Brains
Kings
1/9/2014

In retrospect this would turn out to be the last time I would see Whatever Brains in this particular configuration, as the
bassist would leave the band shortly thereafter.  I'm not the gossipy type so I have no idea what the details are, I just
know he wasn't with them at a later show and then there was a Facebook post about a new bassist.  None of that
really matters though, because they were just as weird and awesome as always regardless of band dynamics.  They
had Kings turn out nearly all of the lights making photography difficult, not that it didn't stop me from trying.  It was ex-
actly what you expect out of them - a little punk, a little art rock, a little attitude, and a shitload of keyboards.  As always,
much fun was had. 

Having already gotten my money's worth, why not stick around and see what all the fuss is about with Perfect Pussy
And I didn't even have to stick around very long, a their set was fifteen minutes long at the most.  They're pretty much a
straight-forward hardcore band with a female singer and a little keyboard noise mixed in.  You could barely hear the
vocals (they appeared to be coming from a small amp on the stage), but the band was plenty fun to watch - singer
Meredith Graves paced the stage like a panther and was very photogenic doing it.  I'm not entirely sure why the likes
of Rolling Stone and other major publications have glommed on to this band versus other hardcore bands, but I'd
rather Perfect Pussy be getting press than some other shit act. 



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"These boys grow up staring at the rear ends of cows and pigs, it's only natural that a real woman will get them chafing
their pants."


Bleached - Think of You.  Even if they never write another song close to as good as this one, it's still better than most
musicians can claim.  

Obits - Shift Operator.  Just now getting around to the Obits record from 2011; hopefully I can tackle last year's release
by 2020.  Good thing their shit is timeless.  
Bonus: You Gotta Lose.

Radiohead - Cuttooth.  Both tracks here are outtakes from "Amnesiac."  Still really love that album, haven't listened
to their work nearly as much as I listened to that one and "Kid A."
Bonus: Fog.    

The Mutants - So American.  Words can't describe the ridiculousness of this song.  The lyrics are perfect.  

The Sea and Cake - Covers.  Like Obits above, this band is timeless in my book.  
Bonus: On and On.  
Bonus: Skyscraper.

A wad of classic power pop.  The Pointed Sticks songs are particularly good.  
Paragraf Pop - Med Dig
Pointed Sticks - I'm Numb
Pointed Sticks - Lies!
Princes of Peace - X-Ray Proved
Terminal Spectators - Another Day
The Jags - Back of My Hand





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