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                                   questions/comments/concerns - email thomas.magnum at

                                                              all contents copyright Jake Thomas

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   (updated 11/30
/2019)                                   Photo Journal   (updated 10/31/2019)       
                Music Reviews   (updated 11/22/2019)                       Live Show Review Archives

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Photo Archive:       
 +++People+++         +++Places+++         +++Bands+++        
+++Mouse!+++         +++Burt!+++
Pointless Nonsense Archive:         +++Movie Reviews+++         +++Links+++
                                                                (None of these have been updated in ages)                                          
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***November Thirtieth Two Thousand and Nineteen***

The new Star Wars has really taken a huge step back in the special effects department. 


Instagrams -

Dignity personified.  Marion, NC. 

The little kid is becoming a regular kid.  Cary, NC. 

Arctic fox (third visit to the zoo this year).  Asheboro, NC.


Movies -

Landed right on money at 31 movies for the month of October, putting me at +6 for the year with two months to go. 
Feeling good at hitting 365 for the year even though I wasn't even trying to reach this goal for the first chunk of the year.

Best of the month (new): Cold Pursuit (2019)
Best of the month (previously seen): Wayne’s World (1992)
Best stand-up of the month: David Cross: Oh Come On (2019)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: Tell Me Who I Am (2019)
Apparently there is such a thing as Midwest livestock mafia: Prime Cut (1972)
This month in good Christopher Plummer: Starcrash (1978) (also worst of the month)
This month in evil Christopher Plummer: Silent Partner (1978)
What in the everloving fuck is happening here: For The Plasma (2016)
Are you crazy? You don't feed a baby chili!: Mr. Mom (1983)
Yet another time where I thought Ron Palillo was Eddie Deezen: Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986)

The rest:
Beverly Hills Cop 2 (1987), Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh (2019), In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019), Nikki
Glaser: Bangin’ (2019), Blue Note Records: Beyond The Notes (2019), Welcome To Marwen (2018), Nitro Circus:
The Movie (2012), Wildlife (2018), Ringo And His Golden Pistol (1966), Remember The Titans (2000), Holmes &
Watson (2018), The Fog (1980), Deon Cole: Cole Hearted (2019), Happy Gilmore (1996), A Star Is Born (2018),
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), Murder Mystery (2019), Whiteout (2009), Blood Rage (1987), Jenny Slate:
Stage Fright (2019), Straight Time (1978)


I’ve seen Superchunk many, many, many times.  I’ve even seen the typical acoustic Superchunk set (where it’s just
Mac and Jim) quite a bit.  But this was the first time seeing the entire band put on an acoustic performance – in addition
to Mac and Jim, Wurster was on the drums of course, frequently playing with brushes and/or those weird bundled to-
gether sticks that probably have a name that I’m too lazy to research; tour ringer Jason Narducy was on the bass,
WHICH WAS NOT ACOUSTIC AT ALL THIS WHOLE THING IS A SHAM; and as an added bonus for this short tour
only, Matt Douglas on keys, extra percussion, and most importantly, sax.  Based on the crowd reaction every time Matt
busted out a solo on his shiny horn, I don’t think anyone would argue if he was added to the line-up full-time…though
he’s in so many bands already I doubt that is a real possibility.  He does add a nice extra dimension to their sound
though, and I’m into it.

The whole point of this gig was for Superchunk to perform “AF” in its entirety.  What’s “AF”?  For those not in the know,
It’s the inventively named acoustic re-working of their classic album “Foolish” in its entirety (in other words, “AF” equals
“Acoustic Foolish”).  Is it a cop-out and potentially a cash grab to release a new record that’s just a slightly different
version of an old record?  Maybe.  Does it bother me in the slightest?  Hell no.  I got my copy of the release from the
“Born Under a Good Sign” subscription they offered as part of their anniversary celebration this year, but I would have
gladly bought it regardless.  I don’t typically think of Superchunk as an “album” band, but if I had to pick a favorite
“Foolish” would probably be it (or at least tied with “Here’s Where The Strings Come In”)…I think what I’m getting at
is “AF” is really good.

Oh yeah, the show – it was exciting to hear this entire record from start to finish live, in which many of the songs I’ve
either never heard live before, or at least not since the mid-nineties when “Foolish” was first released.  Most import-
antly, it meant they would have to play “Why Do You Have To Put A Date On Everything,” one of my top five favorite
songs from the band, and one that almost never makes their set lists for reasons I’ve never understood (similarly,
though not played tonight, the same applies to “Her Royal Fisticuffs” and “Animated Airplanes Over Germany”).  Four
or five songs into the set, Mac had to explain to a particularly rowdy group seated at the front of the stage that they
were playing the album in order, a fact that seems obvious but was clearly blowing the minds of these (most likely
drunk) dude bros.  The band finished with a three song encore: old standards “Skip Steps 1 & 3” and “Slack Mother-
fucker” made an appearance, with Mac introducing the latter by stating “we really dazzled the nine year olds at the
matinee with this one.”  Sandwiched between those two classics was a true underrated gem – “Everything At Once”
from 2010’s “Majesty Shredding,” a song I don’t think they’ve played much at all since that album came out.
A damn fine performance.  I purchased the cool poster designed for the tour, something I haven’t done in ages.  No
idea where I’m going to hang it, but given how long it takes me to frame these things that’s not going to be a problem
I have to tackle for a while. 


Russian Circles
With Windhand

Sweet Bill’s balls it had been ages since I last attended a good metal show, and this Russian Circles performance
definitely delivered respite from this affliction.  I can typically depend on Hopscotch to deliver a couple of decent
metal acts, but even they failed me in that regard this year.  This Russian Circles gig was terrible photographically
speaking – zero house lights, completely backlit, and not quite strobed, but close…glad I don’t have to do this picture
taking thing for a living!  Holy shit did they sound good though, as if the stage lighting has no bearing on rock n’ roll –
heavy and pummeling but somehow not overly loud, which is no small feat given the mountain of amps on stage. 
Perhaps it’s Motorco that deserves the tip of the cap in this department rather than the band, but either way the mix
was fabulous.  I’m shit with song titles under typical circumstances, but for an instrumental band…forget it.  What I can
definitively say is I recognized a few tracks from their excellent new release “Blood Year,” and I don’t think I heard
anything from their first record “Enter.”  Everything else was a blur of post technical stoner doom metal or whatever
subsection of the heavy genre you might assign this trio of rippers.

Virginia’s Windhand opened the night, a more straight-forward doom metal offering that served as a good companion
piece to Russian Circles’ instrumental mastery.  Because I’m not a smart person, it wasn’t until right before the show
started that I realized that Windhand wasn’t Wovenhand, a group I saw once during Hopscotch that reminded me a of
a subpar version of the Cult...and I never really liked the regular version of the Cult.  Once I got this sorted I actually
made it to the club in time to see most of their set – vocalist Dorthia Cottrell is a nice change of pace in this genre,
and not just because she’s a woman; I appreciate that she actually sings the songs instead of growling incoherently as
so many dudes do, it adds an extra melodic layer to a genre that could often use it (predictable opinion from a pop
fanatic like myself).  Also, their lone guitarist is friggin’ amazing – it often sounded like he was playing two or three parts
at the same time.  I would definitely recommend Windhand, particularly now that I know who they actually are (or more
importantly, aren’t). 


"Yeah some of our clothes are from victims. You might bite someone and then, you think, 'Oooh, those are some nice

AC/DC - Let There Be Rock.   This is the greatest AC/DC song of all time, and I'll not hear any arguments to the
Whole Lotta Rosie

American Aquarium - Crooked+Straight.  Likewise, this is the best American Aquarium song of all time.  Though
"The World Is On Fire" might be the best song BJ Barham has ever written, and I may have gotten a little verklempt
when I heard it the first time. 
The World Is On Fire

Honey Bucket - Far Side.  These songs are from the album "Furniture Days," one of my honorable mentions from
2018.  These guys are just the right amount of quirky and weird. 
Terra Cotta Forest

R.E.M. - Fall On Me.  Time for my age old comment for a band of this ilk - "I think these guys are gonna make it big
one of these days."
These Days

Rock*A*Teens - Black Ice.  The nice thing sbout getting into an almost local band like this after they have been around
for decades is it's real easy to find all of their old CDs in the used bins of our local record stores.
Never Really Ever Had It
Your Heart Or Your Life

The Cure - A Few Hours After This.  A couple of truly great Cure B-sides, it's truly shocking the weren't on a proper
album.  That band was just spinning pure gold back in those days. 
The Exploding Boy

The Night Marchers - And I Keep Holding On.  For those that wish John Reis sang more Hot Snakes songs, the
Night MArchers scratch that itch. 
In Dead Sleep (I Snore ZZZZ)

The Twilight Singers - Flashback.  Cue witty statement about Greg Dulli being able to sing the phone book and I'd
still listen. 

Lastly, a few random power pop (and power pop adjacent) tracks from a singles comp I made for myself.
Gentleman Jesse & His Men - I Don't Wanna Know
Nasty Facts - Get To You
Richard And The Taxmen – Now We’re Through
Terminal Spectators - Reach For The Sky

***October Thirty First Two
Thousand and Nineteen***   

Not an Iron Maiden fan I see.  Your loss.  


Instagrams -

Pumpkin farm onlookers.  Raleigh, NC.  

Green anole.  Cary, NC.  

Corn cribbin'.  Raleigh, NC.  


Movies -

After a strong run, I missed my monthly goal by 3 movies with 27 total in September.  I'm starting to think that spending
one entire weekend at a music festival plus watching a 16+ hour Ken Burns documentary on country music may have
cut into my movie watching time!

Best of the month (new): Bad Times At The El Royale (2018)
Best of the month (previously seen): Beverly Hills Cop (1984)
Best stand-up of the month: Bill Burr: Paper Tiger (2019)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: They Shall Not Grow Old (2018)
Interesting idea, CGI hot mess in reality: Mortal Engines (2018)
When Lifetime gets a bigger budget: Unforgettable (2017)
Early eighties NYC decay porn: Wolfen (1981)
Cocksuckers: Deadwood: The Movie (2019)
Are you sad that somewhere there's a sack not being hackied? Between Two Ferns: The Movie (2019)
Everyone in this needs a goddamn bath: Revenge (1990)

The rest:
Do The Right Thing (1989), Hitsville: The Making Of Motown (2019), Farmsteaders (2018), Now More Than Ever: The
History Of Chicago (2016), White Boy Rick (2018), Wanda Sykes: Not Normal (2019), Rodman: For Better Or Worse
(2019), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), Looker (1981), Saturday Night And Sunday Morning (1960), Whitney
Cummings: Can I Touch It? (2019), The Long Dumb Road (2018), Late Night (2019), Q-Ball (2019), The House That
Jack Built (2018), Isn’t It Romantic (2019), Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones (2019)


Links - 

Absolutely no idea why it took me so long to watch the new Girl offering called "Doll", but to no surprise it's goddamn
great.  Everyone is great but Simon Bannerot is next level whoa.

Another collection of rippers in the short Vans video "Take It Back."  Sure, Geoff Rowley ain't what he was during
his prime Flip years, but his transformation into old man ditch ripper works for me.  And he still takes the worst slams
on the planet.  

There are no words for the legless ripper Felipe Nunes in his "Welcome To Birdhouse" part.  Really excellent at
making you feel like a worthless, unmotivated piece of shit if you have perfectly functioning legs!

Eleven minutes of new Mark Sucio footage is all you need as proof that he's the best skateboarder in the world right

Finally editted our Virginia pics and put them in the photo journal , if that's your bag.  

A few reviews at the music reviews link - really into that Gino and the Goons record, so simple and perfect.  


More Photos -

For some reason I found the scans of some old film photos, and decided to throw them up here because why the hell
not.  This show was held on the UNC campus in the middle of the day on a Saturday right before the 2008 election...
much more hopeful times to be sure.  I'm pretty sure the point if it was to remind people to vote; maybe I'm over-
estimating my peers, but I feel like the crowd for these bands already vote at a pretty high level?  I suppose it can't hurt
to get the message out there though.  In addition to the bands pictured below, I remember Bowerbirds and the dBs
also played.  

Billy Bragg


The Rosebuds

The background singers during "Nice Fox" I believe.  

Superchunk (Mac & Jim acoustic edition)


Built To Spill
With Prism Bitch & Love As Laughter
Cats Cradle

I love that the Cat’s Cradle almost always starts their shows right on time these days, but of course there are excep-
tions where you’re running late but still hoping to see the first band, and crossing your fingers that the club is operating
on rock n’ roll time this evening.  Alas, punctuality was the victor on this evening, and I managed to only catch the last
three or four songs from Love As Laughter.  This was a bummer because I’ve long been a fan of this elusive band
for two decades now; I think the last time I saw them live was in the early 2000s, (probably) at Bottom Of The Hill in
San Francisco.  Given it’s been eleven years since their last full length, I assumed they had quietly faded into the sun-
set, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them listed as a part of this line-up.  Hot gear talk: frontman Sam Jayne
played two guitars the entire time I was there: a Jackson that would make a 1987 hair metal band proud, and a de-
lightful-but-shitty Silvertone – a cheap Sears guitar from the sixties that instantly goes out of tune if you even look in
it's general direction (and it's also the only guitar I own, the case gathering dust in my closet).  I was pretty pleased I at
least got to hear the great track “Dirty Lives,” one of their best songs, and one that Sam described as “that was off our
last record” as if it was an album that just came out.  In fact it was from the release “Laughter’s Fifth,” which came out
in 2005; also, that wasn't the last album they released.  Given his personality on stage it’s a toss-up if he was fucking
with the crowd or legitimately didn’t know what album the song was from, or when it came out.  I would welcome a
return of their Pacific Northwest jangly indie rock if this is the beginning of a resurgence from Love As Laughter...or at
least at a minimum, a time machine so I can go back and get to the Cradle in time to see their whole set.

I’m kinda at a loss on what to say about Prism Bitch – I was neither wowed or put off by them, rather mostly just cur-
ious and confused.   They were definitely very…active – I called them rock n’ roll sharks elsewhere, as everyone (other
than the drummer, obviously) was constantly moving.  As with most shows I attend, I was taking photos –  a little action
out of the band can sometimes help yield quality results, but this was almost too much.  This quintet from Albuquerque
were all kitted out in matching Adidas gear (they should trade fashion tips with Bat Fangs) – the two singers were in
matching tennis-style dresses and Adidas trainers, while the other three members had on some or all of the famous
Adidas track suits.  Describing this music is where I might particularly struggle – they sometimes had the radio-friendly
pop vibe of Haim, other times the dual vocal punk attack of Sleater-Kinney, and there were even a couple of tracks that
ventured into Breeders territory.  Yes, I’m comparing this mostly female band to other female-led bands because I’m a
simple-minded buffoon and that’s just how my brain works.  I think there could be *something* here, but it’s just not
quite there yet – and as Prism Bitch only have a couple of self-released EPs in their discography, it would appear
they are only at the beginning of their journey.

After all that activity on stage, a Built To Spill performance feels more like a visit to a museum than a rock show. 
There are musicians more immobile than Doug Martsch, but not by much.  Despite that, I’ve seen this band live doz-
ens of times and keep coming back for more; and it ain’t for the histrionics or consistently awful crowd – it’s the music,
some of my favorite music in the whole world.  This appearance was part of the “Keep It Like A Secret” tour, an album
that is 20 years old now.  To celebrate what is probably the bands most popular release (I’m a “Perfect From Now On”
man myself, which is…a perfect album), they were going to be playing the whole damn thing.   And they did!  No
fretting over trying to get a peek at the set list on this evening, and I must say there is a certain freedom in knowing
exactly what a band is going to play.  Then again, I’ve never been one who liked surprises.  Doug had an entirely new
backing band with him, including an additional guitarist – something sorely missing from the last couple of times I’ve
seen Built To Spill perform.  Doug might be a goddamn wizard on the guitar, but the songs he writes have a lot going
on in them and it was damn near impossible for him to handle all of that by himself.  I do miss the joy of watching Brett
Netson add all the extra color to their songs (still the only person I’ve ever seen change a guitar string during a song,
while continuing to play that same guitar the whole time…while also singing), but this new cat did a perfectly cromulent
job.  This extra slinger was definitely necessary when playing this particular record, because there is a shitload of slide
guitar on most of those songs.  The band used the encore to throw out a few non-KILAS tracks – a couple of new ones
(I think?), plus a cover of Elton John's “Benny And The Jets”...It's just not a Built To Spill show without at least one ran-
dom cover song thrown in there somewhere. 


ZZ Top
With Cheap Trick & Frankie And The Witch Fingers
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

I’ve lived in the Triangle for almost half of my life, but this was my first foray to the gigantic shed known as the Walnut
Creek Amphitheatre (or as the corporate overlords would prefer you call it, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut
Creek, but ain’t nobody got time for all that).  It's rare there is a band playing at a venue this size that I give a shit about,
and even if there is, the prices are completely bonkers ($17 for a beer!!!).  Hey, at least parking was free!  As is
almost always the case, if I’m in a place like this, I’m there with my mom & Bryan; they chose the Raleigh concert over
their closer option of Charlotte as Cheap Trick wasn't opening in the Queen City. 

Before the big bands though, let me briefly mention the first act, Frankie And The Witch Fingers.  To be perfectly
honest I was in no hurry to get to Walnut Creek in time to see them based solely off of their stupid name alone, but the
two or three songs I actually caught were pretty damn impressive.  They had a King Gizzard-like heavy psych vibe, or
at least what King Gizzard sounds like 70% of the time when they’re not trying their hand at being a (really fucking
great) metal or (considerably less great) jam band.  Frankie's singer might be the only musician in the country to com-
pete with John Dwyer on who plays their guitar higher on their chest.  I’d definitely go see them again if they came
back through town at a smaller venue more befitting their sound and vibe, but the comported themselves quite well
in such a giant locale.  

It's a rare occurrence, but I was at this concert for the opener nearly as much (if not more) than the headliner – which
is easy to say when that opener is the legendary Cheap Trick.  The bad news first: they didn’t play “Southern Girls,”
one of the top 5 best power pop songs of all time, and my very favorite Cheap Trick jam.  I knew there was only a
medium chance it would be performed, but goddamn it, I wanted this to be one of those times.  Still, it was super
great to hear tracks I’ve loved my whole life like “Surrender” and “Dream Police” in person.  According to my mom,
when I was a wee lad I would just repeat the chorus of “Surrender” over and over…”Mommy's alright, daddy's alright,
they just seem a little weird.”  I mean, the song ain’t wrong, my parents were definitely weird.  A couple of other note-
worthy items: Rick Nielsen plays a different guitar every song, sometimes even more than one in the same song. 
I guess that shouldn’t be surprising for a man who owns hundreds of them, but it was still entertaining to see what he'd
perform with next.  And Tom Petersson’s bass…what in the everloving fuck is going on there.  A hollowbody Gretsch
with 12 strings, arranged as two small (baritone guitar?) strings and then a bass string in four groups of three – I’ve
literally never seen anything like it (but if you want to buy your own, Gretsch sells Petersson's signature model for the
paltry sum of $12,000).  The instrument seems more in line with some prog nonsense and not a band who mostly
write great pop songs, but the man was also dressed like an extra from “Deadwood” so I’m guessing he marches to
the beat of his own drummer at all times. Lastly, I had totally forgotten that the hair metal-esque ballad “The Flame”
was a Cheap Trick song (I would have probably guessed Bad English or Firehouse or one of those schlock acts). 
Still, it's kinda catchy...

This whole tour was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of ZZ Top – the same three dudes playing as one unit for a
half-century ain’t too shabby.  To no surprise, it was just hit after hit after hit, frequently played back to back with no
stopping at all – “Got Me Under Pressure,” “Waitin’ For The Bus,” Gimme All Your Lovin’,” it went on and on.  I don't
think they even spoke to the crowd until their set was well past half over.  There were also covers of Sam & Dave
(“I Thank You”), Elvis (“Jailhouse Rock”), and Merle Travis (“Sixteen Tons”).  I was shocked they didn’t play “Cheap
Sunglasses” though – I guess it’s a nice problem to have when you have so many hits that you can’t play them all in
one show, but I would have loved to hear that one.  They closed out their main set with “Sharp Dressed Man” and
“Legs,” complete with the furry instruments from the famous video, and saved “La Grange” and “Tush” for the encore. 
Dusty and Billy still do nearly all of their rocking on stage in unison for almost the entire show – these days likely more
from muscle memory than intentionally trying to appear synchronized.  For a band to keep things so simple for so long
and still reach such great heights is both impressive and an inspiration…of course, it doesn’t hurt when the band's
guitarist is one of the greatest in the world.  It’s a shame it took me 50 years to finally see these legends, but better
late than never.   


"Six people left in the world and one of them is Bill fucking Murray. I know that's not your middle name. I've been watch-
ing you since I was like... Since I could masturbate. I mean, not that they're connected."

J Mascis + The Fog - Sameday.  I hear this dude Jay Masicks is a real guitar shredder.  
Where'd You Go

Loamlands - Little River.  It took me a couple of years to finally listen to the first Loamlands record, but goddamn if
I haven't listened to it as much as anything else this year.  
Restless One

Pipe - Bender.  The greatest punk band of all time, fuck everyone who disagrees.  

R.E.M. - Radio Free Europe.  I always found it interesting that for a band with as many big songs as REM had, it was
their very first single that remains their best.  
Moral Kiosk

Rock*A*Teens - These Starving Heartists.  It feels like I've included a Rock*A*Teens song nearly every month this

Sufjan Stevens - In The Devil's Territory.  These two songs are from his "Seven Swans" album.  I have zero re-
collection of listening to or uploading these songs.  I must have liked them though if I went to the effort.  
The Transfiguration

The Psychedelic Furs - Book Of Days.  I have no idea why it took me four decades to listen to the Psychedelic Furs
so's one of my many great failings as a man.  

The Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss.  The Shangri-Las may not have been proto-punk in sound, but they
were highly influential in their look &  attitude.
Train From Kansas City
What Is Love

The Twilight Sad - I-m Not Here [Missing Face].  My level of hate for all their weird syntax in the written song names
on the most recent Twilight Sad record is indirectly proportional with my love of the album - probably their best work yet.  

***September Thirtieth Two Thousand and Nineteen***   

Prepare your sphincters and your souls,
it's almost time for the state fair!


Instagrams -

Family portrait number one.  Cary, NC.  

Family portrait number two.  Cary, NC.  


Movies -

Managed to add a little more surplus to my year total in August - watched 34 in the month, making it +9 for the year.  
That number is going to drop back closer to the median after September though, it has not been a movie heavy month
so far.  

Best of the month (new): Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood (2019)
Best of the month (previously seen): The Big Lebowski (1998)
Best stand-up of the month: My Favorite Shapes By Julio Torres (2019)
Worst of the month: Hottie And The Nottie (2008)
The really-stupid-but-still-fun award of the month: The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)
I play real sports. Not trying to be the best at exercising: Iron Cowboy (2018)
If you see just one post-apocalyptic movie about a person turning into a house, see this one: The Bed-
Sitting Room (1969)
I still don't understand why those tunnels are there: Us (2019)
I'm still upset about the bunny: Fatal Attraction (1987)

The rest:
The Town (2010), The Favourite (2018), The Old Man & The Gun (2018), Drop Dead Fred (1991), Captain Marvel
(2019), Chappaquiddick (2017), Boogie Nights (1997), Ghostbusters (1984), Collateral (2004), Bloodsport (1988),
The Catcher Was A Spy (2018), Triple Frontier (2019), What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali (2019), Happy Winter
(2017), Goonies (1985), Gone Girl (2014), Jim Gaffigan: Quality Time (2019), Fallen (1998), I Am Patrick Swayze
(2019), MacKintosh Man (1973), David Bowie: Finding Fame (2019), The Shining (1980), The Good, The Bad, The
Hungry (2019), Peppermint (2018), Stan & Ollie (2018)


This month was mostly spent on the Hopscotch Music Festival...writing reviews, editing photos, editing more photos,
continuing to edit photos, screaming at myself for taking so many photos, etc.  links to reviews below; all photos can
be found
in the photo journal section.

Day one review here.  

Day two day parties review here.  

Day two review here.  

Day three review here.  


"I'd love to see an all-male reboot of Ocean's 8."

3Ds - Hellazapoppin.  After the Clean's "Tally Ho," my second favorite kiwi pop song of all time.  So much good
shit has come out of that small country.  
Outer Space

H.C. McEntire - A Lamb, a Dove.  It seems like Heather's band, Mount Moriah, somewhere between done and on
hiatus, which is a shame.  But as long as she's singing songs in some form, I'm there.  
Quartz In The Valley

Iron Maiden - Hallowed Be Thy Name.  Greatest band ever named after a medieval torture device?
Run To The Hills
The Number Of The Beast

Jeff Tweedy - Some Birds.  Hey it's that Wilco dude doing what sounds like a Wilco song only not under the name
Wilco so it's different!

New Pornographers - Play Money.  I can't think of anything witty to say about Canadian pop songs.  They're pretty
good, eh?
This Is The World Of Theater
Whiteout Conditions

Pretenders - Mystery Achievement.  This is the greatest Pretenders song of all time.  Of this there can be no debate.  
Tattooed Love Boys
The Wait

Rock*A*Teens - I'm Your Puppet (James & Bobby Purify cover).  My continual bing on old Rock*A*Teens albums
Who Killed Bobby Fuller?

The Fucking Am - The Gauntlet.  Unfortunately, the supergroup formed by combining the Fucking Champs and
Trans Am is not as good as its constituent parts, but it's still worth a listen.  

The Sea And Cake - Four Corners.   My favorite jazz rock band!  All 400 of their records kinda sound the same, but
it's a really good same.  
Left Side Clouded

***August Thirty First Two Thousand and Nineteen***   

Hurricane season is upon us - make sure you're taking the necessary precautions with your sea-worthy vessels.  


Instagrams -

Salt marsh.  Carolina Beach, NC.

Short Off Mountain.  Lake James, NC.  

Four years old!  Cary, NC.  


Movies -

July was 35 movies over 31 days, putting me at +6 on the year.  The wealth of bad eighties slasher films on Amazon
Prime is a boon for all of humanity.  

Best of the month (new): Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018)
Best of the month (previously seen): No Country For Old Men (2007)
Best stand-up of the month: David Spade: My Fake Problems (2019)
Worst of the month: Aenigma (1987) (a T&A slasher that had very little T, A, or slashing)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: Christine (1987)
The really-stupid-but-still-fun award of the month: Hotel Artemis (2018)
At least seven people are dead but sure, the gym is still open: Killer Workout (1987)
Something tells me the park wasn't ready to be opened to the public: Jaws 3 (1983)
Pointless movie, good performances: Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Good luck watching this and not being hungry after: Big Night (1996)
Can I borrow your towel for a sec? My car just hit a water buffalo: Fletch (1985)

The rest:
Elephant (1989), The Professionals (1966), Altered States (1980), Ramy Youssef: Feelings (2019), Fast-Walking
(1982), Foster (2019), Apollo 11 (2019), Veronica (2017), IanTalk: Ideas Not Worth Spreading (2019), Summer ‘03
(2019), Glass (2019), Aziz Ansari: Right Now (2019), The Dirt (2019), When Harry Met Sally (1989), Ralph Breaks The
Internet (2018), Alone In The Dark (1982), John Mulaney: New In Town (2012), Bisbee ‘17 (2018), The Insider (1999),
Five Easy Pieces (1970), Who Killed Garrett Phillips? (2019), Getting Over (2018), Hitch-Hiker (1953), Lavell
Crawford: New Look Same Funny (2019)


Links -

Sebo Walker makes a part, I post the part.  Luckily, that dude is basically the Robert Pollard of skate parts.

I actually got off my ass and made three photo journal entries this month - band photos, Memorial Day weekend,
and a spring trip to the Outer Banks.  


Mrg30 - Day 2
With Superchunk, Fucked Up, Sacred Paws, Lambchop, Fruit Bats, and Swearin’
Cat’s Cradle & Cat’s Cradle Back Room

I don’t always make it to every day’s festivities, but I’m always game for at least some of the anniversary party Merge
records throws every five years.  The most important night for me is always the Superchunk night, and thankfully that
night also coincided with Lambchop and Fruit Bats night!    

First up for me was Swearin’, who I last saw live before the band got back together* and signed with Merge.  I caught
their first few songs, and just as I remembered from a few years ago they were full of energy and lots of fun.  I must
confess I don’t love their Merge debut from last year “Fall Into The Sun” as much as their first two records (though I do
appreciate how much better it sounds – it would be rad if those old albums got remastered & re-released), but this
performance did prompt me to dig it back out and give it some more listens.  This wouldn’t be the first time this night
I would have that reaction.

The only reason I cut my Swearin’ attendance short was to get next door to the Back Room in time to see as much of
the Fruit Bats as possible.  It had been even longer since I had last seen Eric Johnson & company live – likely the mid-
2000s, probably in support of the release of their first couple of Sub Pop records “Mouthfuls” and “Spelled In Bones.” 
This band has always been Eric plus whoever he wrangles up to join him for any given record or tour, and this version
of Fruit Bats was a six-piece that collectively had the appearance of a Little River Band tribute act** (honestly, that
comparison probably popped into my head because musically they ain’t that far off from the Little River Band either…). 
Their set consisted entirely of their newest record (and Merge debut) “Gold Past Life,” unless they threw in a classic for
one of the last couple of tracks that I missed.  I’ve told anyone who will listen that this new record often sounds like the
early folk version of the Bee Gees covering the songs of disco-era Bee Gees…and nothing about seeing them live
dissuaded me from this comparison.  It’s a pretty great record, and definitely high in the running for one of my favorite
releases of 2019.  They’re coming back through the area on tour later in the year and I’m pretty sure I’ll need to be at

I had a very good reason for not seeing the entire Fruit Bats set – I needed to head back over to the main room of the
Cradle to see Lambchop.  One of life’s unimpeachable rules is you never, ever miss Lambchop.  Even if you thought
their most recent record was weird and too full of autotune, you still never, ever miss Lambchop.  Lambchop live is
transcendent.  Performing along with Kurt Wagner and many of the Lambchop regulars (Tony Crow!) was a couple of
Merge records all-stars on the drums / electronics / sax: Matt McCaughan (Bon Iver, Portastatic, the Rosebuds, Mac’s
brother) and Andy Stack (Wye Oak, Joyero).  The nearly hour-long set consisted of only a few songs (four maybe?),
and they only played material from their last two albums “FLOTUS” and “This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You).”  This
band is known to really let songs breathe in a live setting, but this might have been a record low number of songs even
for them.  Not that I’m complaining – Kurt is mesmerizing on stage, an especially impressive feat for a performer that
moves so little.  They could play the proverbial phonebook*** and I would stand rapt for the duration of the show.

I knew very little about Sacred Paws before this night other than they were one of the newest bands on Merge.  What
I learned: they’re from Scotland; technically a duo, they were performing as a four piece; and the singer/guitarist is
probably the happiest person I’ve ever seen play live music in my life  I found it particularly noteworthy she was playing
her Telecaster straight into the amp – no pedals, no effects, only a all my years seeing live music I’m not sure
I’ve ever seen that with an electric guitar.  The music of Sacred Paws is a combination of surf rock, the guitar noodling
of North/West African pop, and mid-nineties Teenbeat/Simple Machines indie rock.  I can’t say that I loved them, but
they were fun enough to watch and made me want to give their recordings further consideration.

Fucked Up are probably at the top of my list of bands that are a damn delight to see live but who I almost never listen
to otherwise.  They were a few minutes into their first song before singer/wrestling aficionado Damian Abraham came
on stage in sweatpants and a gold fanny pack looking like he was ready for a Jazzercise class.  The group then did
their melodic hardcore thing for the better part of 45 minutes, Abraham barking, stalking, and writhing around on the
stage the entire time.  They ended their set with “Dying On The Inside,” the only song of theirs I can name…you know,
I should listen to more Fucked Up probably.  Or at least learn the names of more of their songs. 

The internet needs another poorly-written Superchunk review from me about as much as it needs more brony porn. 
The band was fantastically awesome as always, and despite being dead tired I managed to stick around for most of
it.  A long night of this many bands at a typical festival is one kind of tired, but the walking around to different venues
and/or stages actually helps.  But standing in roughly the same spot for an entire night is a different type of pain en-
tirely.  There were a couple of things though about this set that are worth mentioning – first, the band played at least
one song from every album they’ve released (including the singles compilations), and they played them in the order
of was one of my favorite set lists they’ve put together in quite a while.  The second was all the guests –
much like their most recent album “What A Time To Be Alive,” they enlisted the help of multiple labelmates towards
the end of the night…Sabrina from A Giant Dog joined on “Break The Glass,” and then Allison from Swearin’ and
Damian from Fucked Up jointly participated on a couple of the encore songs.

It was a real fun night, but holy hell was I feeling it the next day.  Who knows how I'll manage at the next one in five
years, but I'll for damn sure give it a try. 

*I was never clear if they had actually broken up or were just on hiatus – either way, they took a break from being a
band for a few years.
**According to my in-depth research (aka Wikipedia), the current version of the Little River Band is in and of itself
basically a tribute act, in that not a single member of the band is original.
***Kids: a phonebook was literally a book of phone numbers that the phone company would send to everyone’s
house – and if you needed to talk to a person or business, you looked them up in that book!  Wild times.


Mrg30 - Day 4 Day Party
With The Spinanes, Apex Manor, and Joyero
Orange County Social Club

The main reason I bought a ticket to the final night of Mrg30 was to see the Spinanes  - sure there were others I'd be
happy to see, but this was the main motivation.  But then when the final schedule got released, the Spinanes had been
moved to the free day party at Orange County Social Club (OCSC).  On top of that, Redd Kross had to cancel for
some reason, so it became a pretty easy decision – I sold my ticket and prepared the family that I’d be AWOL for the
better part of that Saturday afternoon.  

I annoyingly missed the first band, the Tip Tops – one of Greg Cartwright’s many projects – but I did get there in time
for Joyero.  I was worried the day was going to be hot as balls, but thankfully there was a giant tent to stand under and
a few large fans circulating the it was maybe only as hot as a single ball.  For those not in the loop, Joyero is
the solo project of Wye Oak drummer Andy Stack.  This would be his third performance of the festival, with Wye Oak
performing the night before and Lambchop the night before that.  This is truly a solo project, in that Andy does all the
music himself – usually a combination of pre-programmed beats and/or synth instrumentation paired with some com-
bination of guitar, keyboards, and/or vocals.  The set-up is actually incredibly similar to the solo project of the other
half of Wye Oak, Jenn Wasner, called Flock Of Dimes – but where her music is more upbeat and poppy, Joyero is
better lumped in with the low-key bedroom pop scene.  The first thing that comes to my mind for a comparison is
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (aka Owen Ashworth, now known as Advance Base), though they’re more alike in
spirit than actual sound.  There is also a folky jazz vibe running throughout his songs - if his debut album wasn’t already
out on Merge I’d say it sounds like something Thrill Jockey might put out.  It’s not the most exciting music from a live
angle, but I do think it’s quite good and I'm eager to hear the new record. 

As this day neared my excitement to see Apex Manor had grown precipitously – I’ve really listened to their most
recent album “Heartbreak City” a lot over the past couple of months, a release that doesn’t hit you initially but really re-
wards repeat visits.  The “band” is really just Ross Flournoy, but he had a couple of hired guns in local bass savant
Casey Toll (Mount Moriah, Skylar Gudasz, and I’ve seen him playing at one time or another with approximately 4,548
other local bands) and a drummer who I don’t know but was also very good at his job.  They performed the bulk of that
new record, further cementing my love of those songs – it's what I would call laid-back adult pop with enough hooks to
keep you invested, but it never ventures into cute or twee.  Speaking of Skylar Gudasz – she joined the band in a duet
towards the end of the set, and a better writer would let you know which song she helped on…but that ain’t me be-
cause I totally forgot to write it down.  Everyone already knows what a treasure Skylar is right?  Right.  Anyways,
“Heartbreak City” has a chance of being one of my favorite records of the year, so this gig was a real joy.

Speaking of excitement…the Spinanes.  Or rather: THE SPINANES!!!!!!!!!!  My love of their first record, “Manos,”
is nearly non-quantifiable – it’s easily one of my favorite albums of all time.  I still remember when and where I bought
the CD (a now-defunct record store on the corner of Patton and Coxe in Asheville back in 1994), and thank god I did
buy it on CD and not cassette (my preferred format during those years), because I listened to it so much I would have
surely broken the tape.  One of my top 5 vinyl wishes became a reality when Merge reissued the record last year and
I was able to finally own it in that format.  I had sadly never seen them live, and not only was it finally happening after
25 years of fandom...but their set ended up being exactly what I wanted to hear: pretty much the entire “Manos” album. 
I was literally beside myself with happiness – yes, my consciousness left my body and stood next to me so I could
enjoy the Spinanes live twice at once.  I was clearly not alone in this excitement – that tent got VERY crowded before
they started their set, a pack of similarly aged (i.e. old) indie rockers as eager as I was.  The band for this gig was
Rebecca Gates obviously, but in place of original drummer Scott Plouf (who according to Rebecca is now a pastry
chef and seemingly retired from music) was Jerry Busher, who was behind the kit for their final full-length album
“Arches And Aisles.”  Was the band a little rusty, not having performed in ages?  Yes.  Was there a soul within ear-
shot that cared the slightest?  I highly doubt it.  They closed out the day with a cover of Mission Of Burma's “Fame
And Fortune,” a track that was included with the digital portion of the “Manos” reissue. 

Honestly, it's probably a good thing I sold that ticket for the evenings festivities, because there is no way in hell I
wanted to see another musical act after fulfilling this decades old dream. 


"Oh? So you're from the future? I have three questions, then. One: is dubstep still a thing? Two: which Sharknado are
we on? And three: at what point will the audience say "enough with the robotic arms"?"

Damien Jurado - So On, Nevada.  My Damien Jurado fandom goes up and down like a sine wave - I've recently
been near the top of the wave.  
This Time Next Year
Working Titles

Hum - Stars.  At some point during my many moves years ago my copy of "You'd Prefer An Astronaut" went AWOL.  
Thank god for bargain bins and nostalgia.  
Little Dipper
The Pod

J Mascis - Cut Stranger.  From last year's "Elastic Days."  I'm starting to think this guy might be on to something.  
Picking Out The Seeds
See You At The Movies

Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter - Lonely Still.  Her album "Oh, My Girl" is one of the all-time most underrated
records I've had the pleasure of listening to obsessively.  These tracks are from the release the preceeded that one,
"Reckless Burning," which is also damn good.  
Made Of Wood
Reckless Burning

Jesu - Deflated.  I knew nothing of this band which is impressive given how long they've been around - shoegaze
metal?  Sign me up.  
Losing Streak

Metallica - Motorbreath.  Fact: the first record is the best record.  
The Four Horsemen

REM - Driver 8.  Man, I really posted a lot of classics this month didn't I?
Life And How To Live It

Stephen Malkmus - Asking Price.  I revisited the "Mirror Traffic" album recently - I've been really feeling his solo
work the last few months.  It's kinda weird that his solo career has been longer than Pavement as around (pre-cash
grab reunions).  


Archive -
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