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

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



Sunbeam action.  Cary, NC.  

Thrift store kitten.  Raleigh, NC.  



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

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

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


Big Business
with Birds of Avalon

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

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

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


Sylvan Esso
with Flock of Dimes & Ivan Howard
Carrboro Commons

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thirty First Two Thousand and Fifteen***


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



Poor sleeping posture.  Cary, NC.  

Once a motel.  Marion, NC.  

Old barn.  Marion, NC.  

Near Glenwood.  Raleigh, NC.  



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

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

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

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

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


with Ultimate Painting
The Pinhook

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

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


Outer Spaces
with Lace Curtains
Nice Price Books and Records

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

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

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


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

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

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

***February Twenty Eighth Two Thousand and Fifteen***

I'm with you pug, ship my ass somewhere warm, I'm over winter.  



He loves to play dead bug.  Cary, NC.

A rare Packard sighting.  Cary, NC.  

Snow cat. Cary, NC.  


Some medium format shots from a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway last spring.  The scans aren't great, but, well, yeah.  



Not a ton this time round...

David Gravette put out a new part, a little heavy on the fifty-fifties like always, but I've always enjoyed his skating.  

Kurt Braunohler put out a web series called Roustabout where he rides a jet ski down the Mississippi to raise
money for charity.  It's quite entertaining, and you can watch the whole thing starting here.  

Again just one entry in the photo journal section this month, and again it's some band photos - Ex Hex, Thee Oh Sees,
Sloan, and more.  

My music reviews fell off a cliff this month.  Nobody cares.   


WKNC Benefit
with Spider Bags, Lonnie Walker, and Mac McCaughan
Lincoln Theatre

Every year WKNC puts together a couple of shows full of great local talent that help raise funds for the NC State radio
station.  This year they were holding one here in Raleigh (this one), and another over at the Cradle in Carrboro a week
later, giving at least two-thirds of the Triangle access to a great event.  Sorry Durham, you gotta drive. 

My most anticipated act of the night's bill was Mac McCaughan (of Superchunk) playing solo.  Of course, as is my
way I got there way too late and only caught hi;s last three songs...what's worse is I was late because I got sucked into
watching an episode of "Cops"...seriously.  Sometimes I'm stupid on a level others can't touch.  Anyways, I walked in
to Mac saying "I wrote this song when 'Powerslave' was still on the charts" and then he banged out the great "Tie a
Rope to the Back of the Bus."  That one and the next track "Skip Steps One & Three" were both probably older than
3/4ths of the audience.  He closed the night with the Portastatic song "Noisy Night" - I suppose if you're going to be
stupid enough to arrive late, at least the three songs I did get were good ones. 

I suspect most of the crowd was here for Lonnie Walker, though I didn't conduct a survey or anything - just the vibe
I got.  It was my first time seeing them with the new line-up aka my friend Mike (formerly of the Annuals) now playing
bass for them.  I'm not entirely sure how long this has been going on - I do vaguely recall Mike mentioning it in the past
but that could have been six months or two years ago with the way my memory works.  They haven't lost a beat with
his addition and are still a fantastic live act, even if they are still playing (mostly) the same songs they have been play-
ing for the past half decade.  Don't get me wrong, those are some good songs, but I think we're all ready for a new
record!  There were a couple of songs I didn't know that I assume are new tracks, and they sounded great, so hopefully
something new is on the horizon. 

The final band was Spider Bags, which makes sense because you can't possibly expect anyone else to follow their
live performances.  The club turned every red light in the house on, making the stage look like Kramer's apartment
when they opened that Kenny Rogers Roasters.  The band then scorched through a huge swath of their set, and I was
happy to see so many of the young kids stick around for what is the best (or at least second best after Whatever
Brains) live band in the area.  I often have a lack of words for them, because how much can be said about a straight-
forward rock and roll band like this?  It must be witnessed and felt, not just read about.  Que viva Spider Bags. 


"I mean, does my scar look like a dog's vagina? You know, maybe. I don't know. I'm not gonna sit here and try and get
inside the mind of a dog. I mean, that's God's work. Well, not that I believe in God. I don't. Not since that Chinaman
stole my kidney."

Four songs from the excellent compilation "Miami Sound: Rare Funk & Soul From Miami 67-74".  I think the title of
the comp pretty much sums up anything I could write here.  
All The People - Cramp Your Style
Della Humphrey - Don't Make The Good Girls Go Bad
Gwen McCrae - 90% Of Me Is You
Helene Smith - A Woman Will Do Wrong

Cate Le Bon - Are You with Me Now.  Both of these tracks are from her 2013 album "Mug Museum," though I came
to each of them seperately from different places online.  Now I need to get the whole damn record and see if they
measure up to these tracks.  
Bonus: I Think I Knew (feat. Perfume Genius)

Holograms - ABC City.  I came to this band from a skate part, a rarity these days but a staple of my childhood.  Cold
Joy Division-esque punk from Sweden that I can't get enough of lately.    
Bonus: Monolith
Bonus: Orpheo

And a few random singles...
Destroyer - Song for America (Live at KEXP).  Great version of the second best song from "Kaputt."  

Don Drummond - Nanny's Corner.  Vintage first wave ska aka one of my single favorite moments in music ever.

Elvis Costello - High Fidelity (Peel Session).  His best song?  Certainly in the running.  Love this version.  

Isley Brothers - Ohio / Machine Gun.  Long soul songs from this era are the best ever in my book...this one, "Ball of
Confusion," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," all gold.  

Laura Cantrell - All The Girls Are Complicated. I don't know a thing about this gal other than she has an awesome
voice and I love this song.  

Magazine - A Song from Under the Floorboards.  Had never really taken much note of this band until Morrissey
covered this I need to hear more of their catalog.  

Thirty First Two Thousand and Fifteen***

I hate the winter too, my dude.



A trip to the pet store.  Cary, NC.

Morning sun.  Cary, NC.  

Downtown from the top of a condo building.  Raleigh, NC.  


Random Pictures

I got a really old roll of film developed recently...they were taken with one of those shitty toy fisheye cameras during
our drive across the country when moving from California to North Carolina.  The photos are pretty terrible, but are still
interesting to me, a reminder of an awesome road trip once upon a time.  

Bryce Canyon National Park.  

Capital Reef National Park.  

Death Valley National Park.  

Zion National Park.  


Best movies of 2015!!!

There was no absolute favorite film or even couple of films this year for me; additionally, I've only seen a few of the
Oscar crowd, since they dump them all at once at the end of the year.  So this is what I've got...

The top 8 films of 2014 (in alphabetical order):
Blue Ruin

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
Jodorowsky's Dune
Only Lovers Left Alive

The Raid 2
The Wind Rises

The top 8 honorable mentions of 2014 (in alphabetical order):
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Finding Vivian Maier
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
Gone Girl
The Lego Movie
The Unknown Known

And here are five films from other years that really bent my whistle:
Battle Wizard (1977)
The Hunt (2013)
Short Term 12 (2013)
Tim's Vermeer (2013)
The Yellow Sea (2010)



Lots of great skate videos to be watched...
 - Brandon Westgate "Zoo England."  Any Westgate part is a must watch...the ender is one of the most insane things
    I've ever seen.  It makes literally no sense.  
 - Mike Carroll "Lost B-Sides."  Random collected Carroll's entirely possible I've posted this before, but you
   can't watch too much of him.  
 - Koichiro Uehara "Osaka Nights."  This guy combines the inventive goofiness of other Japanese skateboarders
   with speed and finesse.  Highly approved, instantly a favorite new guy*.
   * I'm so out of the loop a new guy to me can be around for a while before I "discover" them.  
 - Michael Mackrodt "Fishing Line Paris." I only knew this guy from some pretty basic (but enjoyable) footage from
   various skate travelog docs (think Europe's version of Kenny Reed), but the dude is rad.  Lots of rugged but really
   interesting spots.

One entry in the photo journal this month, some band snaps (The Clean, Boogarins, and Spider Bags).  

A few music reviews - FKA Twigs, Jeff the Brotherhood, Morrissey, and a couple of others.  


Parquet Courts
with Priests and Whatever Brains

To be perfectly honest, I was mainly at this show for openers Whatever Brains.  Sure, I've seen them probably two
dozen times at least, but any chance I get to soak in their insanity I try my best to jump on it.  And luckily I jumped on
this one early, because this show sold out a while ago.  What can I say about a WB show that I haven't said so many
times before?  It was awesome, as always.  There was multiple uses of whistles from multiple band members.   LOTS
of roto tom drum action.  Even though they just had a release party a couple of months ago for their new record, they've
already released a cd-r of nearly 80 minutes of new material - from a sheer quantity standpoint, they're turning into the
Guided by Voices of noisy punk or whatever the hell category you might try to put them in (they don't seem to fit any-
where, so you probably shouldn't bother). 

I had gotten the value of my ticket from that performance, so anything else good from tonight was gravy.  I knew abso-
lutely nothing about Priests other than a couple of friends had spoken highly of them, so I was going in completely
blind.  This is my very rudimentary take on the band - a four piece from DC; all women except for the guitar player;
music is bass heavy, almost verging on funky, but still more-or-less punk; guitar was as likely to be adding texture and
noise to the songs as playing chords or rhythm; the singer was very engaging, partially for her performance (lots of
stalking around the stage and dramatic flair), and partially for her outfit (tight dress that you'd expect to see at a night-
club rather than on a stage, plus giant stiletto heels).  If I had to make a comparison, I'd go with Sonic Youth meets
the Slits, but would to hear some of their recordings to further flesh out this vibe I got.  I quite enjoyed their set, and
would definitely see them again.  Luckily, they seem to play down here fairly often. 

The headliners were Parquet Courts, but I was already waning to be honest.  I don't have the youthful exuberance
that most of the crowd seemed to have, but I stuck out at least half of their set.  They're one of those bands that I enjoy
when I randomly hear them, but I never actively seek their material out.  Their records are pretty straight forward
garage pop, or at least what I've heard, but their live show had an injection of, I don't know, Pavement-style slack or
something of that nature.  I think I actually enjoyed the live renditions more than their recordings to be honest, there
was an extra bit of life to them.  I'd see these guys again, though probably not after standing around at the club for
three hours.  The slow down in live music attendance on my part in the winter really takes the life out of my show legs!


Ex Hex
with Birds of Avalon

Almost two months after seeing them for the first time, here I was at Kings to watch Ex Hex again.  The first time I saw
them was so great, it wasn't particularly hard to talk myself into making the effort to show up at Kings.  Since they only
have one album, the set list this time was pretty damn similar to what I saw at the Pinhook, the band as tight as ever
while performing their upbeat, snarling garage-ish pop.  The only real difference was the cover songs - last time we
only got the Kids' "All Kindsa Girls," while this time not only did we get that gem, but also Johnny Thunders' "You Can't
Put Your Arms Around a Memory" and Sweet's "Fox on the Run."  The last one especially got me (and clearly much of
the crowd) excited.  It was a great time, and if they come back in another two months chances are I'll be there again.

As great as Ex Hex was, I was possibly more excited for openers Birds of Avalon.  Despite being local (so local a
couple of the band members are actually part-owners of Kings), they don't play a ton - but every time I see them, I love
them more than the previous gig.  They were playing with the drummer of Valient Thorr as a fill-in, but the band sounded
as stellar as ever.  Where you might have once made classic rock references to their performances, these days they
are fully ensconced in the Can/Neu! bubble of sound. Most of what they played this night was from their new EP out on
Third Uncle records, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes their ears full of goodness. 


"If you wanna smear mud on your ass, smear mud on your ass - just be honest about it. Look, Gene, I've never told
anyone this before, but I can suck my own dick, and I do it a lot. "

All classic shit this time.  Just because.  

Belle & Sebastian
All from the album "Dear Catastrophe Waitress."  It was when their sound shifted, and while I wasn't enamored with
it to start, I love it now.
If She Wants Me
I'm a Cuckoo
Piazza, New York Catcher
Step Into My Office, Baby

Frank Black
Both from the album "Teenager of the Year."  I listened to this one obsessively on cassette driving around in my 1987
Mazda 323 all through highschool.  The production is a little wonky but it still stands up.  

All from the compilation "Incesticide."  It's kinda easy to overlook or be turned off on listening to these guys because so
much smoke gets blown up their ass, but at the end of the day they still wrote some great damn songs (or in the case
of "Son of a Gun," have great taste in covers).  
Son of a Gun (Vaselines cover)

Yo La Tengo
All from the album "I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One," which is perfect from start to finish.  Picking out which songs
to post is the hardest part.    
Autumn Sweater
Center of Gravity
Moby Octopad

Fifth Two Thousand and Fifteen***

The new year is upon us!  Time for resolutions - first up, have the entire family wear more cat tights.



Fresh snow.  Beech Mountain, NC.  

One watches me, the other watches her.  Cary, NC.

Burt impersonates the Beatles.  Cary, NC.  

Chicken party.  Wilmington, NC.  

Foggy Highway 54.  Near Siler City, NC.  


Best Shows of 2014!
It was a good year.  Lots of festivals.  I spent a ton of money on live music.  It was worth it.  

Kraftwerk at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium - 4/25/2014
My favorite show by a landslide.  I've seldom been so delighted in all my life.

Belle & Sebastian at the Fillmore Miami Beach - 9/28/2014
We flew to Miami for this show.  It was totally worth it.  Closest we've ever been to the band.  

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at PNC Arena - 9/18/2014
I don't go to a lot of "arena rock" shows, but this one was completely worth it.  

Protomartyr / Whatever Brains / Spray Paint at Slims - 4/17/2014
My favorite punk show of the year, even if none of these bands are really punk.  
Bonus points for every other Whatever Brains show I saw this year, there were plenty, and all were great.  

Spider Bags at the Pinhook - 8/8/2014
The release party for their great new album - two sets, both terrific.
Hopscotch 2014
Highlights included: The War on Drugs, The White Octave, St. Vincent

Merge 25
Highlights included: Teenage Fanclub, Destroyer, Wye Oak, Lambchop, Superchunk


Thee Oh Sees

I've never been a super fan of Thee Oh Sees, and haven't even seen them live since I lived in the Bay Area from
where the band once hailed, but for some reason I got all excited for this show.  Sometimes you just need a little rau-
cous garage punk in your life, ya know?  I got to Kings just as Thee Oh Sees were setting up, creating these matching
towers of amps combined with PA speakers and pedals and god knows what else - they were at least eight feet tall
and looked super sketchy.  Dwyer was apparently touring with an all new band, though I couldn't tell you why - I know
he somewhat recently moved to LA, so maybe these were just a couple of local SoCal dudes who learned a few of
the band's songs and were game to drive around the country.  They certainly performed at an adequate enough level
for my tastes, though I did hear a couple of people commenting on how the group was "different," with no indication if
that was a good or bad thing and what exactly the differences were.  Certainly the pack of kids moshing and sloshing
beer all around me didn't seem to mind who was on stage with Dwyer, so why should I? 


Cat's Cradle Back Room

The last time I saw Sloan was probably in the neighborhood of 1997 - I took a girl I had a crush on to see Superdrag
in Winston-Salem, and Sloan was the opener.  I never got anywhere with the girl, but the show was rad and I still think
of it often.  I'm not sure why it took so long to make it to another Sloan show again, god knows I've listened to plenty of
their recordings in that span of time - but the nice intimate setting of the Cat's Cradle Back Room seemed like a gig
not to pass up.  Of course this was also helped by Guided by Voices cancelling their show that was scheduled this
same night in the main room of the Cradle - I already had a ticket to that, but this made for a pretty great back-up plan. 

There was no opener and Sloan played two sets.  In the first, they mimicked their most recent album "Commonwealth"
and each of the four main band members (there was an extra fifth member for the live show playing keys and adding
backing vocals, and fuck him cause he don't get his own set of songs goddammit) performed a mini-set of three or
four songs where each was the front man.  Yes, there was instrument swapping involved, but don't hold that against
them.  The songs in this set were largely from that new record, though not exclusively.  What followed was a fifteen or
twenty minute intermission aka "scheduled time to look at your phone," and then there was a second longer set where
the band played whatever the hell they wanted to in whatever order they wanted to.  I knew some of the songs, didn't
know others, but it was always fun regardless.  I would put the average age of the crowd at somewhere around 37 -
lots of babysitters were getting paid tonight - and I wasn't alone in enjoying some quality Canadian pop music this
Saturday night.  Probably a little too much overly earnest singing along and at least one girl acting out the lyrics with
her hands, but the night was clearly a success regardless. 


Ex Hex
with Speedy Ortiz
The Pinhook

This was the sixth anniversary party for the Pinhook, and the room was packed.  I got in the door just before Speedy
Ortiz started their set, and weaseled my way to the front as I usually do.  The first time I saw these guys and gal was at
this same venue, it was a damn enjoyable show and this time was no different.  Singer Sadie Dupuis wasn't just killing
it on guitar this time, she was wearing this crazy brightly-colored dress with a dog print all over it that had me mesmer-
ized for the entire set.  That combined with the new guitarist's epic afro made the group visually interesting even if you
didn't like their music.  Luckily, their off-kilter indie pop that is clearly inspired by classic icons like Polvo and Sonic
Youth sounds good to these ears, so sign me up for the total package - they're a keeper. 

While I had actually only heard a song or two by Ex Hex, I had absolutely no doubt coming into this show that I would
love it.  The legendary Mary Timony and friends playing punky power pop - what's not to like?  What I didn't know was
how fun they would be to watch live - for a band with only one record under their belt ("Rips," released this year on
Merge), they seem incredibly comfortable together on stage.  The entire band is all smiles and rock poses and I just
can't imagine anyone seeing Ex Hex perform and not being totally delighted.  They powered through probably every
song they had over the span of 45 minutes max, and then closed out their night with an encore of the Real Kids song
"All Kindsa Girls."  They recently released a recording of this cover as part of Merge's subscription seven inch series,
dig it up if you can - a nice take on a perfect song.  It was a grand ending to a quality night of tunes. 


The Clean
with Boogarins
Cat's Cradle Back Room

I really should have written this before my phone died (or rather, went for a swim) and I lost all my notes.  Yes, even for
these half-assed reviews I write, I take notes.  My memory is shit. 

Opener Boogarins are a band from Brazil according to the internets, but I didn't verify that directly with the band, and
they spoke English to the crowd.  To quote myself from the photo I posted on Instagram: "Very impressive.  Swirly
guitar pop crossed with heavy jams, like if Ty Segall joined the Cocteau Twins."  Can't really argue with my astute
assessment since I'm the one that made it.  I really need to listen to their record though, because I did quite enjoy
their live performance. 

I've seen the Clean a few times and David Kilgour solo a few more times on top of that (including just this past July
at Merge 25), so I can't really say there was anything new or exciting about this performance by the band.  It was still
really, really, really damn enjoyable though, as their gigs always are.  You know what I never get tired of?  Hearing
"Tally Ho" live.  No offense to the rest of their songs, which are quite good, but their live set could just be them playing
"Tally Ho" ten times in a row and I would be a happy man.  Anyways, they were awesome as usual, and the crowd full
of old people (that I felt right at home in) seemed to enjoy themselves. 


One time I accidentally drank an entire bottle of vinegar. I thought it was terrible wine. Once I went out with a guy who
wore 3-D glasses the entire evening. Oh, one time I rode in a sidecar on a guy's motorcycle, and the sidecar detached
and went down a flight of stairs. Another time I went to a really boring movie with a guy and while I was asleep he tried
to pull out one of my teeth. I literally woke up with his hand in my mouth. We went out a couple times after that but then
he got weird."

The entire Morrissey "Boxers" single, because why not.  
01 Boxers
02 Have-A-Go Merchant
03 Whatever Happens, I Love You

Broadcast - Pendulum.  I never listened to these cats much - they're pretty much Stereolab lite - but I dig this song.  

Liars - Mess On a Mission.  From their album "Mess" that came out last year.  I sorta spaced on them for a few years
but I liked this release.  
Bonus: Vox Tuned D.E.D.

Marmoset - Empty Room.  Quirky indie pop.  I own a bunch of their albums and don't really have more to say than
that unfortunately.  

R.E.M. - (Don't Go Back To) Rockville.  More classic REM, I've really been digging these cats again lately after
probably not listening to them since high school.
Bonus: Harborcoat

The Bob Seger System - 2 + 2 = ?.  Classic Seger.  Perfect rock-n-roll.  
Bonus: Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

The Jim Yoshii Pile-Up - Double Negative.  Reminds me so much of my years in San Francisco when I saw JYPU
a number of times.  This album "Homemade Drugs" was one of the first I had on an MP3 player, and it got listened to
a ton.  
Bonus: Middle Harbor Road

The Starlight Mints - Brass Digger.  Catchy-as-hell band from Oklahoma City...their first record "The Dream That
Stuff Was Made Of" was nearly a perfect pop album.  
Bonus: Pages


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