Due to a friend turning 40 and my cat getting lost for three days and my overwhelming sense of laziness, I kinda got behind on this month's pointless entry. The whole mess couple have been avoided if everyone just got drunk in a sink like this cat.
Although I've still not seen the full-length video, Thrasher has been posting "raw" videos for each rider from "Propeller," the new Vans video. They've all been great but so far Tony Trujillo aka TNT has had my favorite.
For my favorite part by someone I had never heard of, I give you Trevor Morgan. He does an excellent job of mixing goofy tricks with gnar ones, and the Budos Band The sole non-skate link this month - color footage of Berlin taken just a couple of months after the end of WWII. Pretty fascinating to get such a clear look at the aftermath of years of war. One photo
journal jam, some band photos to no one's surprise.
I've not spent nearly enough time seeing Flesh Wounds
live, for reasons that are entirely not clear to me. They put on a
great live show and I'm way into their brand of punk rock, and
yet...this is only the second time I've seen them play. To no surprise
they were fantastic, burning through a dozen or so songs in probably not
much longer than twenty minutes, barely stopping to catch their
breath. It's unclear how much the mostly middle-aged crowd was feeling
their youthful exuberance, but I was certainly up front and way into
it. I've really gotta make an effort to see them more often.
For the second time this year I would get to see Mac McCaughan
play a solo set apart from my beloved Superchunk; for the first time
this year, I would be able to see his set in it's entirety since I
didn't show up late like a damn fool. His performance was really three
sub-sets, with Flesh Wounds (or as he referred to them "the
Non-Believers") acting as his backing band at the beginning and the end,
and Mac all by himself for a little while in the middle. The full band
por- tions were made up mostly of songs from his new solo album "Non
Believers" and at least one Portastatic track - it was all quite
enjoyable, but since I've not really digested this solo material yet I
wasn't quite as invested as I usually am at a show by Mac or any of his
bands. But that middle portion where he was all by himself - yep, all
Superchunk, and real goddamn exciting as always. Some highlights
included "Detroit Has a Skyline," "Driveway to Driveway," "Iron On," and
"Watery Hands." Of course he didn't play even close to everything I
wanted to hear with such a small portion of his set dedicated to the
Chunk, but it was a nice selection and a fun night.
Lightning Bolt might have been the headliners, but make no mistake Whatever Brains
were the main draw on this night. Sure, I've seen them dozens of
times, but word on the street (aka my friend John who is friends with
the band) is this was going to be their final show. Upon hearing this
news a different friend asked me "what are you going to do for fun now?"
- the only answer is there will be no more fun ever again. Now, this
word of the end of WB comes from a reliable source, but the band hasn't
explicitly said anything about it themselves, and they are planning on
re- cording a new record, so who knows what happens at this point. I
certainly wasn't going to take a chance of missing the gig if it did end
up being their last performance, and worst case scenario is they keep
playing but I just saw another show by them, something I've never had a
problem with. Anyways, yadda yadda yadda, it was a great show with lots
of whistles and rototoms and dual drumming and Rich making crazy faces
while he plays guitar, just as we've come to expect from these guys. I
think I was sorta expecting one of their more "weird" shows since it was
supposed to be the last one, but it was a pretty straight-forward
effort. No complaints outta this guy though.
I saw Lightning Bolt
a few times back in my San Francisco days - they played all the time
for a non-local band, or maybe they just never stopped touring so it
felt that way. They were always a fun show, even if every gig pretty
much felt (and sounded) the same. After a number of years out of the
loop, I stuck around after Whatever Brains to see what has changed for
them - apparently, the big difference now is they play on stage in stead
of the floor. But they're still a two piece, still play brutal barely
melodic noise rock, still with the singing drummer wearing a creepy mask
with the mic attached to it, and still attracting a mosh heavy crowd of
bearded dudes. And still fun too, to be fair, though after five or six
songs I felt like I'd had enough of it all and headed home.
I've probably mentioned it before, but I've been friends with Nate Hall, the front man of USX
(aka US Christmas) since high school when he wore ridiculous vertical
striped polo shirts and had a bowl haircut. I saw him perform not too
long ago but it had been quite some time since I had seen him with this
particular outfit (he also has another band called Nate Hall and the
Poison Snake, as well as releasing solo records) - USX was the first,
and continues to be my fav- orite of all his different efforts. The band
has had many forms and different members, but the current line-up of
Nate singing and playing guitar, Meg on violin, Josh on bass, and Billy
on drums appears to be the most stable they've ever been, and their most
enjoyable for my money. Their set was a nice mix of songs from across
their spectrum of albums, a concise and powerful 45ish minute set; it
was a stoned, sludgy, slow metal dirge with occasional bursts of power
and aggression. As always, I dug it; nevertheless I still made fun of
Nate after the show, as I've always done, as it shall always be.
This was my first time seeing Knoxville's Generation of Vipers,
even though I've known 2/3rds of the band for quite a while. Josh and
Billy of USX make up the guitar/vocals and drums along with a cat named
Travis on the bass. Unlike USX, GoV is much more straight-forward metal
- heavier, faster, etc - but that's not to say it's generic or rote.
And maybe it's just me, but there is a heavy punk vibe infused into
their songs, though I'd be hard pressed to give an ad- equate answer as to
why I feel that way - just a feeling I guess. I get a similar vibe
from a band like Coliseum, and I think you could make a very light
comparison between them and GoV.
The first band I saw this evening was Sinister Haze,
an almost totally instrumental trio out of Richmond (there was a touch
of vocals on their last song). Knowing very little about metal (I'm
pretty sure you already realized that), I'd say they reminded me a
stoner rock version of Russian Circles or someone of that ilk. The
drummer was absolutely ruth- less
and killed it the entire set. I'd definitely see them again, and
hopefully being only a few hours away will mean that happens sooner rather than later.
Dogs - Stranger Than Me. French rock band from the late seventies that has elements of pub rock and punk and should be much better known. Their first two records never got released in the US. Bonus: Terminal State
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
hadn't been all that excited for a show in a few weeks, so of course
when two good gigs finally rolled around both were on the same night. I
bypassed two of my very favorite locals that I've seen a million times,
Whatever Brains and Pipe, in lieu of checking out a couple of bands I'd
never seen before. It also didn't hurt that this show was in Raleigh
and the other in Chapel Hill...my code of laziness is the one I take the
I was there mainly to see opener Lace Curtains.
The singer is from the excellent Austin band Harlem, which is the whole
reason I knew of them in the first place. Harlem ruled, for the
record. The first Lace Curtain's record "The Garden of Joy and the Well
of Loneliness" was really damn good and even though I hadn't heard
their more recent output, I was sure the show was going to be a keeper.
They started their set off with a couple of songs from that older
record before getting on to newer tracks, so that made me quite happy.
The six-piece band was pretty damn tight, which made for a nice
juxtaposition with the singer who was a bit sloppy off of too much wine,
but in an endear- ing & entertaining sort of way. They're a tough
band to describe musically, sort of an indie-soul-pop with occasional
garage rock tendencies...like a mellower/less schticky Make-Up perhaps.
It was a grand time and I was already pleased with my decision to
attend this gig.
I knew nothing of the next act, Outer Spaces,
but decided to stick around for a couple of songs to see what they were
all about. Good decision by me - I ended up watching the entire set
and loving every second of it! The trio hails from Baltimore, a couple
of dudes manning the drums and keys and a gal with an amazingly
beautiful voice in charge of guitar and vocals. They reminded me a lot
of our very own Mount Moriah, though a little less twangy; perhaps
another comparison would be Young People, a criminally underrated band
in my opinion. I rushed right over to the merch after their set to buy
their record, and will be making every effort to see them again if they
come back to town.
"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+.