The Strange Tale of the North Pond Hermit - pretty great (somewhat long) article about a man living in the woods of Maine alone for nearly three decades, living off of goods stolen from local camps & homes and not interacting with a soul the entire time.
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - Hilarious, poorly-made fake scifi medical drama featuring the hilarious Richard Ayoade and
Matt Berry (both also from "The IT Crowd"). Words can't do it's
greatness justice. Link here is to the first episode, but the whole run of six episodes are all on Youtube.
Very interesting article on the Zamrock band Witch, acquaint yourself if you haven't already.
journal entries this round - all of my photos from the Merge 25 shenanigans last month, as well as some snaps from a trip to the beach.
Actually wrote a few music reviews this time: Superchunk, Total Control, Spider Bags, Protomartyr, and the fantas- tic new Pontiak slab.
We braved monsoon-like rains to get to Kings in in effort to roust up some laughs from Kyle Kinane.
Despite having wet pants for the entire show, it was a successful
endeavor. He was working out material for a special he would be
recording in Georgia in a few days, so I guess this was a sneak preview
and/or we were being used as guinea pigs. As an aside, do they actually
test anything on guinea pigs? You'd think how much they get mentioned
in regards to testing that everything runs through them. Anyways,
newsflash: Kyle was friggin' hilarious, and the special is clearly going
to be awesome. I will be more than happy to rehear all of these same
jokes again; especially if he uses his long story about getting a
blowjob from a mentally slow under-aged girl, that shit killed the
I'll generally try to make it to any Spider Bags
show, but this one was special - a release party for their first record
on Merge, "Frozen Letter." Flesh Wounds were doing the exact same
thing in Chapel Hill on this same night - why the two bands didn't
combine their release shows is beyond me and a bummer, because I would
love to have seen both. Spider Bags singer Dan McGee made note that the
only band they could think of to open this show for them was Flesh
Wounds, and since they were clearly busy, the Bags decided to just play
this one by themselves. Since it was only them for the entire night,
they played two different sets. The first set was the new record in
order and in it's entirety, and it was great introduction to their new
material as I hadn't heard "Frozen Letter" previous to the gig. There
was then a 15 to 20 minute break where the crowd and the band both
refueled their Beer cells, and then the Bags launched into their
"greatest hits" aka every song you would ever want to hear them play
from all of their previous recordings. Including the break I think they
played for two and a half hours, and it was a blistering, raucous,
incredibly sweaty affair...seriously, I think it might have been 95
degrees inside of the Pinhook. A sweaty t-shirt is a small price to pay
for a show that good though.
Duke Gardens & The Cat's Cradle 6/25/2014 & 8/2/2014
The chances of getting an unbiased review of the Rosebuds
has never been very high around here - I've known Ivan and Kelly for
many years. Now not only have they added two more friends to their
touring band, Mark Paulson (also of the Bowerbirds) on bass and Rob
Lackey on Drums, but one of my very best friends for a large portion of
my life, Brian Weeks on guitar. We go all the way back to Belk Hall on
the UNCW campus in 1994, moved to San Francisco to- gether in 2000, and
have been annoying each other regularly for twenty years now.
Since I'm too lazy to write two reviews I'm lumping both of
their shows these past couple of months together. The first was at the
Duke Gardens, and sorta seemed to coincide with the Merge 25 festivities
even if the band isn't on the label anymore (I still saw Merge head
honcho Mac at the show, so things must still be copacetic between the
Rosebuds and their former label). It's always a little weird seeing a
band in the daylight, much less in front of bunch of middle aged (or
older) folks spread out on a lawn in camping chairs and sitting on
blankets with picnic spreads of food. The band had a new record coming
out in August called "Sand + Silence," and probably half of the set was
dedicated to premier- ing these new songs to their "hometown" crowd
(neither Ivan or Kelly are actually locals anymore). The rest of the
set was dedicated to highlights from their long career, from "Back to
Boston" to "Woods" to crowd sing-a-long favorite "Nice Fox." There was
also a fun performance of "Get Up Get Out" where Kelly gave shakers and
tambourines and such to a group of little kids dancing in front of the
stage, and they seemed to have a blast. Of course the downside is the
band still had a few more songs to play and the kids never gave the
noise makers back, so the remainder of the set was accompanied by a lot
of arrhythmic percussion coming from the crowd. Maybe best to save the
participation songs for the end...
The Duke Gardens show was a one off, but a little over a month
later they returned to the Triangle as part of their short East Coast
tour, landing at the Cat's Cradle. It was the same group of musicians
and a mostly similar set list, though this gig did focus a little more
heavily on the new record. Also, no children with percussion
instruments playing them haphazardly. The sound was better at this gig,
but that is more of a function of it being inside the Cradle rather
than outside amongst flowers. Most importantly, it was a good time like
Rosebuds shows always are.
was one of the best surprises of last year's Hopscotch - I saw them
randomly at a day party at Slims and was blown away. I think they
rolled back through town another time and I wasn't able to go, so it was
nice to finally catch them again and confirm that my first impression
was not a fluke. The verdict? It was not. The band was ex- tremely
catchy just like last time, comprised of a formula roughly one-third
pop, one-third punk, and the final third nine- ties indie fuzz rock. In
band terms, imagine some sort of combination of Superchunk, the
Thermals, and the Breeders (the Breeders comparison brought to me by my
friend Brian, something I had never thought of but that made perfect
sense as soon as he said it). It was all quite lovely and enjoyable and
I promptly bought both of their records, some- thing I wanted to do at
Hopscotch but passed on because I didn't want to carry the records
around with me the rest of that day.
The opening act was an all-female group of of Massachusetts called Potty Mouth.
They too had a nineties vibe, as so many bands today do - in their
case, more of a Velocity Girl meets Dinosaur Jr thing. People seemingly
have for- gotten all about Velocity Girl, but their first two records
"Copacetic" and "Simpatico" are still great even if the produc- tion on
them is kinda muddy and shitty. Would love to see those two get
remastered and reissued. Anyways, at one point this hot mess of a drunk
girl in the crowd started yelling at the band about how young they
were, which led the bassist to go on a bit of a rant about ageism
combined with sexism in music; and yeah, they looked really young but
why bring it up? What do you stand to gain? Just enjoy the music and
maybe get less drunk next time, hot mess. Pretty much every band seems
young to me these days, and so long as they are enjoyable I could give a
"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."
Say what you will about the cheesiness of Death Cab for Cutie, but they've written some damn catchy songs. Bend To Squares (Studio X Session) Photobooth The New Year (Studio X Session) We Laugh Indoors (New Mix)
Karp - Connect 5. If you haven't seen the Karp documentary yet, make it happen. So ruling. Bonus: Get No Toys (When You Pay the Money)
Pontiak - AASSTTEERR. I just haven't been able to get enough of Pontiak for nearly two years now. Such a rad and dynamic band. Bonus: Wild Knife Night Fight
Redd Kross - One Of The Good Ones. I'm not saying their record from last year is the best, but there were a lot of damn hooks on it. Bonus: Stay Away From Downtown
The Concretes - You Can't Hurry Love. I probably posted this before but it's no less enjoyable now. I just wish I liked their other material even half as much as this song.
The Midwest Beat - Firefly. Some jangly pop kids who are actually from the Midwest and, like so many other bands listed this time, write catchy damn songs. What can I say, I love some pop music. Bonus: Sister Mary Katherine
The Mountain Goats - Cry for Judas. So these songs are from their 2012 album but I just got around to listening to it...hey, it happens. Bonus: Lakeside View Apartments Suite