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***August Thirty First Two Thousand and Eleven***

The heat of summer got your down?  Yeah, me too.  That, and a bunch of chickens. 

This just in: more broccoli is needed.  Please contact your senator or pastor.


The photos of the month...

Burt, free of leash in our newly fenced in backyard.  Cary, NC.

Loose feather.  Cary, NC.


A smattering of links...

"Arrested Development" cast and sets made out of legos.  These need to be released as official sets, I'd buy
them in a heartbeat. 

See a mariachi band serenade a beluga's even more goddamn cute than you'd think it is.  The whale is
dancing up a storm. 

Skate video of the month - a short Volcom flick mostly Dennis Busenitz, one of the most enjoyable skaters to
watch in the entire world. 

Some search phrases that have led people here in the past month:

ferret wristband
pop nozzle crystal fountains
heavy metal dog (which leads to picture of a cat)
movie with a house above the sea (which leads to a picture of a horse headed person holding a cat)

See a few photo journal entries at the link above, including my recent trip to SF. 

Finally, lots of music reviews over at the other site - Flaming Lips, Rosebuds, Beirut, Richard Buckner, The Sea &
Cake, and more. 


The Charming Youngsters
with Goodbye, Titan
Tir Na Nog

There were a bunch of good things happening this night, so I took it upon myself to go to the free one.  The was another
installment of Local Beers, Local Bands, a Thursday night mainstay that gets me off the couch more often than not. 

I was going to the show specifically to finally see the Charming Youngsters, but I got there in time to see the second
band as well.  I didn't know dick about them, or even their name until they stated it later in their set.  They were a local
instrumental outfit called Goodbye, Titan.  I guess the local is implied right?  The band walked a fine line between the
indie and metal versions of heavy post rock.  The comparison touchstones are obvious - Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky,
Mono, Pelican, etc.  Look, there is only so far you can go in this genre, so really it comes down to quality, not originality -
and these guys absolutely destroyed it.  Whatever it is.  I was floored with how talented they were, and was mesmerized
by the group from the start of their set until the last note. 

After many failed attempts, I would finally see the Charming Youngsters.  It seemed like they were always playing on
a night I had a ticket for another show or I was on the other end of the country or god knows what reason, but now it
would finally happen, barring some manner of natural disaster.  I already knew this from hearing their online recordings,
but they play a whimsical sort of pop, the sort of pop made popular over the last decade and a half by Elephant 6 col-
lective and their like-minded ilk.  The really reminded me a ton of some San Francisco bands I used to see all the time
when I lived there, Shimmer Kids Underpop Association (which became Society of Rockets) and Cubby Creatures. 
The five-piece hybrid Greenville/Raleigh band knows their way around a pop hook, and we're all better off for it.  They
also have a nice male/female vocal interplay that reminds me a bit of Papas Fritas, and goddamn do I love that first
self-titled Papas Fritas album.  And for the record I'm guessing this entire band was in elementary school when that
record came out.  Everyone should go buy that record, and the Charming Youngsters cassette, and hell if you happen
across some Shimmer Kids that would suit you nice too.  Whimsical pop!


Death Cab For Cutie
Koka Booth Amphitheatre

I don't go to giant concerts often, but when I do I like to make sure it's on a super hot night when I can sweat myself silly
like a wrestler trying to cut weight.  The wife wanted to go see Death Cab For Cutie, and I like them well enough so why
not?  I mean, other than the price and the temperature and pretty much everything about seeing shows in a venue this
size.  Let's start with parking - we got there right when the show started and had to park in this far satellite lot.  I timed the
walk from there to the venue, and it took almost twenty minutes at a brisk pace to get there.  Not that I mind walking as a
general rule, but that is just silly.  Then you plop down in the chairs you carried in, a good 150 to 200 yards from the stage,
and then squint at the band trying to make out what is going on.  On the plus side, I got to eat a frozen lemonade and
some popcorn while listening to live music, not something that happens at regular shows. 

With all that snarkiness aside, Death Cab sounded pretty good.  I'm kinda impressed that even though they've grad-
uated to such large stages, they've remained the same four-piece they've always been.  They weren't a particularly
exciting live band when I saw them over a decade ago, and they still aren't.  But I don't think most folks are going to see
Death Can and expecting a Lady Gaga type of performance.  They played songs from their entire catalog, even playing
a few older tracks like "President of What?" from their first album and "Title Track" and "Company Calls" from the
second record, easily my two favorite releases of theirs, as well as a lot of songs from their next couple of releases.  I
suppose that is one big difference (usually) between the arena shows and smaller club shows...when a band is touring
clubs after releasing a new album, they usually play a ton of songs off of it, often barely giving the back catalog it's due. 
But when you hit this level of stardom, you give the fans what they want, and that means playing lots of older songs.  so
for any negative nancyin' i do about this giant gigs, that is definitely a plus. 

Also, I would quickly note that Scotland's Frightened Rabbit opened the show and what I saw of them, only two or
three songs, sounded great.  They clearly fit in well with their countrymen like The Twilight Sad and Camera Obscura
and the like.  Really need to make a point of seeing them if they roll through the Cradle on a headlining gig. 

(Photo found online...I wish there were some bumper car tracks around here to take photos at!)


Ed Schrader's Music Beat
with Fossil Eyes and Gross Ghost

this shindig  was the official "after party" of the big Bon Iver & Rosebuds show happening down the street at the amphi-
theater.  Now i'm not sure what an after party really is or what sort of elaborate bidding process is involved in becoming
the official one, but it basically boiled down to a free show with some good bands and a bunch of random people
hanging out hoping there might be an appearance by Bon Iver (there wasn't). 

I specifically left the house on this hot-as-shit night to see Baltimore's own Ed Schrader's Music Beat.  I saw this duo
open for Future Islands a few months back, and they completely blew me away.  Who knows how to describe them -
protopunk noise rock maybe.  Ed plays a floor tom and sings while Devlin plays bass and sings a little back-up.  Their
songs are simple and to-the-point and damn catchy, songs like "I Can't Stop Eating Sugar" and "Rats" and "Gas
Station Attendant", all super short bursts of manic rock that leave me mesmerized.  They are very much a "love them or
hate them" band, and I couldn't be any more firmly entrenched in the "love them" camp.  Hell, I'm ready to start a fan
club devoted to them. 

That was the meat of the evening, but let us talk briefly about the two pieces of bread holding that in.  I got into Kings
about halfway through Fossil Eyes set, another act from Bodymore, Murderland.  When I first walked in they had sort
of a jangly psychedelic lo-fi pop thing going on, which was fine but nothing spectacular.  But then for their last couple of
songs they really cranked up the guitar in a very Velvet Underground/Sonic Youth way, and I was really feeling the shit
out of that material.  Will be curious to see which direction the band heads in, but there are definitely the building blocks
of something good here. 

The other side of the bun were the evening's closers, local lads Gross Ghost.  I'd actually never seen them before -
I feel like they've been on a number of bills I've attended, but for reasons that are beyond me I never actually saw the
band perform.  Singer Mike Dillon is no stranger to hooks, and the Gross Ghost material has plenty of that.  It's no
secret I absolutely love his other band Motor Skills, and I'm dying for them to put out a record, but these guys ain't a
bad appetizer to tide me over.  I'm kinda hard pressed to think of what exactly they remind me of - upbeat poppy punk
songs with a lot more emphasis on the pop, and the occasional garage rock moments.  Hell, they even had one song
where it was just Dillon and a dude on violin.  I was definitely glad to finally see the group play, but I'd be lying if I didn't
admit it just made me wish Motor skills were also performing that night. 


with Flow Child

Because of all the Deja Mi fest nonsense that was going on this weekend, this show got pushed up in the night and
ended up being one of the rare early gigs that I've grown to love so much.  Go see some great live music and get home
by 11?  Yes please!

Flow Child opened the show.  I had no idea who this was.  Turns out it was a young, blond haired lad with a wispy mus-
tache and a t-shirt at least three sizes too big for him.  He was set up in the front of the stage with a heap of synths and
keyboards and pedals and god knows what else all piled on top of one another.  When he started out it was sort of an
abstract/ambient/electro-noise thing, the sort of thing I tend to tune out on...not terrible, just not for me.   But then the
songs would eventually form into what most would recognize as a typical tune structure, and he would sing over them with
a very Animal Collective-like vocal style.  The end result was actually quite interesting and enjoyable and I totally would
have bought his CD if I hadn't earmarked every cent of cash I had for the new Moonface record.  I look forward to hearing
his recorded output though. 

I love pretty much everything Spencer Krug touches, but I didn't even know who or what Moonface was until a couple of
weeks before this show.  Apparently when the dude was holed up in his house suffering through a Canuck winter he de-
cided to make a record full of synths and organs and marimbas and electronic drums and, well, nothing organic other
than his voice.  And it's that easily identifiable voice that makes you feel right at home - the music might be slightly
different but this is still Spencer Krug, so folks who dig Wolf Parade or Sunset Rubdown already have a leg up on this. 
Live, Krug was posted up behind a bank of keyboards and effects and had some dude there helping out on drum pads
and other stuff that I couldn't identify.  They turned out all the lights, turned on a desk light shaped like a globe, and pro-
jected on the back wall some weird looking dude making with the weird dancing.  And it fucking rocked...or at least
rocked as much as anything can really rock when it's being entirely played on organ and electro-drums.  It was a very
sparse crowd, but I gotta think everyone there was digging it as much as I was - I really couldn't have been any more
impressed.  And not just with the songs, but with Krug's musicianship as well...I'm not one to typically dwell on such
things, but he was absolutely shredding multiple keyboards at once while singing.  I was mesmerized by all aspects of
this outing, and hopefully the low numbers don't keep him from coming back again. 


Fucked Up
with JEFF the Brotherhood

Fucked Up singer Pink Eyes is a pretty fat dude.  Not huge, not what I'd call obese, but he's definitely big.  And god-
dammit, he fuckin' owns it.  As a large lad myself, it does me proud seeing him flaunt and strut and put on a hell of a
show with his shirt off and the crowd adoring him.  "Hell of a show" doesn't even do it justice...he's like a caged panther,
pacing and staring and then attacking the crowd with great ferocity.  I don't typically get overly excited over Fucked Up's
brand of melodic hardcore, but when you can pair it with a great stage show and extremely enthusiastic fans, well, the
whole scene is a real joy for my eyes.  I perched myself over to the side so I could enjoy the melee without being in the
middle of it, and so I could take some mediocre photos without getting my costly camera covered in sweat and beer,
but Kings is so small and intimate that you still feel like you are a part of things.  Even not really knowing their music I
had a great time, and will definitely see them next time they come around.

To be perfectly honest my main motivation for going to this show were openers JEFF the Brotherhood, and then I
went and drag-assed my way getting to the club and missed a chunk of their set.  Big time bummer, but at least they'll
be around again for Hopscotch this fall.  I've listened to their fuzzed-out garage-punk on record for a little bit now, but it
wasn't until seeing them live that I saw the Mudhoney connection in their sound.  Maybe more like Mudhoney's feisty,
rebellious teenage sons, but still.  I really, really dug what I got to see of them - maybe not as exciting to watch perform
as Fucked Up, but playing music I am way more into. 


The Reigning Sound
The Grey Eagle

Weird Asheville hippies.  Not the sort of thing you expect to see at a Reigning Sound show, but when the gig is a
benefit for some sort of feed-the-poor or save-the-orphans sort of endeavor (I forget exactly what the cause was), then
all of the sudden the patchouli crowd is out in droves.  Maybe not the best setting to see one of my favorite bands (and
moreover to introduce some of my friends to their music), but fuck it, they put on a great show no matter how much
weird spinny dancing was going on.  They played a nice, long set, with highlights including "Stormy Weather", "Stop
& Think It Over", "West Texas Sound", "Reptile Style", and "Drowning".  There were some actual Reigning Sound
fans there, piled up in front of the stage, but we were definitely outnumbered.  Lesson learned: be careful going to
benefit shows in Asheville, or you might become ensconced in hippies.  Not that that would have deterred me with
this band, but with someone I'm not quite as excited about...


with Mount Moriah
Motorco Music Hall

The Bowerbirds got the lucky break of being selected to open for the Arcade Fire up in Charlottesville, which resulted in
us local folks getting a great Sunday night show in Durham at the Motorco. 

Mount Moriah opened the gig, and to be honest, them getting added to the bill is what put it over the top that I'd drive to
Durham on a Sunday night (Sunday night is by far my laziest point durning the entire week).  It's gotten to the point that I
make every effort to see every show this band plays.  Their set consisted of all the typical songs they usually play, that
being most of their album. as well as one new song which seemed to be called "Connecticut to Carolina" and really re-
minded me a lot of Jackson Browne.  The band seemed a little "looser" than usual, subtly messing with the tempos and
delivery of the lyrics.  I have no idea if anyone else noticed this, but I've listened to their album so much and have seen
them so many times that it stuck in my ear.  Worth noting is this show continues my trend of seeing them with a different
drummer every single time - for this gig, it was Megafaun brother and member of nearly every local band in the land in-
cluding the Bowerbirds, Dan Westerlund.  How he can remember all the parts to all the songs of all the bands he is in is
completely beyond me. 

Despite having listened to the Bowerbirds for years, and even knowing them a little bit, I'd never seen a proper concert
by them.  I saw a stripped down/acoustic version of the band a few years back at some sort of political fundraiser that
started (for reasons I never understood) fairly early on a Saturday morning...I think it was 2008.  Billy Bragg was there. 
So now I was finally seeing them up on a stage with a full band and no Billy Bragg standing off to the side distracting me. 
And I'm kinda kicking myself for having waited this long - they're a great live act, very lively for such a folky group, total pro
performers and musicians as well.  Sure, there were plenty of legitimate reasons for missing their shows over the years,
other plans or out of town, but I'm sure there were at least a couple of times I couldn't pry myself off of the couch.  Such is
life, so be it, and all of that shit.  They played a lot of songs off of their first record (which I've listened to a ton), a lot off of
their second record (which I've only listened to a little bit), and even some new tracks - all of it sounded great, not a dud
in the bunch.  And the crowd ate it up like a fat man with a complimentary buffet coupon at Golden Corral. 

It was a great evening of music at Motorco.  Incidentally, this was my first trip there, and it's a great club to see a show
in.  Add on top of that there always seems to be food trucks parked just outside of the club, and that makes me one
happy man. 


"They're the biggest fuck giraffes in the dum dum salad."

Capsize 7 - Generator.  One of the "lost" bands from the Chapel Hill indie-stravaganza of the nineties...turns out they
had an unreleased album that finally got to see light of day.  No surprise, it's great. 
Bonus: Start Or Lose

Golden Smog - Radio King
I think I overlooked this band when I first learned about them well over a decade ago
because there was a Soul Asylum and I was a petty kid.  Plus the Wilco and Jayhawks connections more than out-
weighs any possible negatives. 
She Don't Have To See You

M83 - God of Thunder.  In honor of the impending new M83 album and the fact that I'm going to get to see them live
soon, here are some songs not on that album and that probably won't get played live. 

Look At Me

Mojave 3 - All Your Tears.  From "Out of Tune", not my favorite album by them, but it's not like they've ever released
a bad record. 
Bonus: Some Kinda Angel

Schooner - Maybe We Lose in the End.  I'm not sure my love of this song can even be measured on any sort of
human scale.  Best thing Schooner has ever done. 

The Love Language - Heart to Tell.  It kinda took me a while to warm up to the Love Language, but their second
record really hooked me.  This is two songs from that record and one from the debut, cause I burned both records onto
one long-ass CD. 

This Blood Is Our Own

U.S. Christmas - Fonta Flora (Demo Version).  Nate from USX gave me some weird compilation they had a song
on...musically it was all over the map.  These were the two best songs on it. 
Ahleuchatistas - Do What


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