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***December Thirty First Two Thousand and Eleven***

    

Somebody knows the true meaning of Christmas...formal dances with manger-born Jews. 



Brad from Megafaun sent me this photo of his cute new hound, dressed nattily in a fancy sweater.  This
hound is judging you, so tread lightly. 

I'd hoped to put up my year end lists with this entry, but I'm lagging...look for them in a week or so if you care. 


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The instagr.am photos of the month...


Passing train.  Durham, NC. 


Mouse, bath time.  Cary, NC.


Burt in the afternoon sun.  Cary, NC. 


Roadside flora.  Westbound I-40, NC.


Catawba Greenway.  Marion, NC. 


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Zoinks, it's loinks!

Nothing rings in the christmas season like a little Ram Jam.  Greatest band name ever?  Probably. 

This is part one of the documentary on Flying Nun records - you can follow the links on the side to watch the whole
thing.  I haven't even watched this yet (it's on my to-do list), but so long as The Clean's "Tally Ho" is featured and dis-
cussed it will be worth a viewing. 

As they do every year, Thrasher has been putting up webisodes of their King of the Road contest, which are always
fun to watch. 

At the review site - The Fall, Mastodon, Crooked Fingers, Future Islands, Bare Wires, among others. 

Also a handful of photo journal entries - some photos of our Thanksgiving trip to DC, and some tardy snaps from a
beach trip.


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Kumail Nanjiani
Local 506
12/23/2011

I love comedy shows.  And even better than comedy shows are comedy shows in rock clubs.  The tickets are usually
much more affordable, no silly drink minimums and a very low-key atmosphere.  As long as the jokes are funny, a faux
brick wall and cocktail waitresses aren't really a necessary part of me laughing. 

Sadly we don't get many good comedy shows around here, so I was stoked when I saw Kumail Nanjiani announced
at the Local 506 just before Christmas.  I thought it odd that a Pakistani born, LA based comedian would be performing
in a rock club in a college town over Christmas break just before the holiday, until he started talking about his wife who
was raised in Winston-Salem.  I was a little worried attendance might be low, with all the kids back home, but the room
was full and happy to be hearing the funny. 

I'm not entirely sure how to review a live comedy show, but the end result was Kumail is funny as shit - we laughed our
asses off.  And I knew this going in, having seen him on a couple of specials (not to mention the terrible-but-awesome
"Franklin & Bash", where he plays a neurotic assistant), but no matter how much you see of someone on TV, nothing
beats laughing in person.  Kumail's comedy is very story/anecdote based, seemingly taken from his actual life but
probably/certainly embellished for maximum laffs.  Hopefully he makes his way back here again - it would appear that
forced holiday visits to the in-laws pays off for comedy fans in these parts. 


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Beirut
Cat's Cradle
12/8/2011

It's getting harder and harder to get myself to go to shows in Chapel Hill...my laziness has grown to epic levels (this
laziness also seemed to rear up right around the same time Kings re-opened and good shows started happening
again in Raleigh).  Unless I've purchased a ticket I just can't get motivated to drive out there, and there are even times
when that isn't enough.  I really REALLY wasn't feeling like driving out there this evening, but the ticket wasn't cheap
and the newest Beirut album "The Rip Tide" is one of my very favorite releases of the year.  So like Willie Nelson,
I was on the road again. 

The apprehension is always with the getting up and going, and never with the actually show.  The show was, predict-
ably, fantastic.  I saw Beirut once many years ago, early in their career, and it was fine - but night and day with how pol-
ished they sound now.  There were times when the horn section sounded so good I was transported back to 1975 when
I saw Chicago for the first time.  Then I remember I wasn't born yet in 1975, and this was all some crazy hallucination,
probably stemming from eating that out-of-date ham.  And then I wished I really was watching Chicago, but I wasn't. 
Beirut makes a pretty good consolation prize though.  The band had strung up some large red & white carnival lights
all around the stage, giving the club a festive atmosphere, helped by a pretty active crowd that was maybe only 75%
douchebags.  It was a great set, with a number of older songs interspersed with nearly all of the new record, and it was
clear I wasn't the only one gaga for the latest release.  The highlight was the live rendition of "Santa Fe", probably one
of my top three favorite songs of the year.  Bottom line - I'm really glad I left the house. 


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Future Islands
with Ed Schrader's Music Beat
Cat's Cradle
11/27/2011

I spent the entire Thanksgiving break in Washington DC looking at museums and such, so the prospect of driving out
to Carrboro for a show wasn't very appealing...but the ticket was bought and having seen this line-up a few times now,
I knew it would be a good time, tiredness aside. 

I could hear Ed Schrader's Music Beat hammering out their primitive rock from where I parked behind Carrburritos -
one of the benefits of the (usually open) side door at the Cradle.  Luckily I was able to see most of their set, as they are
one of my favorite live bands going these days.  I've tried and failed to describe their music in the past - the best way
I can put it is the songs and sound are simple but not simplistic, if you catch my drift.  Drums, bass and barked vocals,
all done in a very straight-forward manner...the sorts of tracks most people could probably play, but couldn't ever think
of.  It's like the musical equivalent of a lot of modern art or something...you might think "my kid can paint that", but they
didn't.  Give it a shot on your own, I bet it doesn't carry the power an emotion of Ed Schrader's Music Beat. 

I was at the back of the crowd at the end of the Future Islands set, buying an Ed Schrader t-shirt when I overheard a
couple of super young sorority-looking girls say "Oh. My. God. I just danced on stage with my future husband!!!"  It's
weird seeing a demographic I would assume otherwise were Justin Bieber fans wig out over this band.  This certainly
wasn't the case when I was their age (or even a year ago at actual Future Islands shows).  Maybe the next generation
isn't doomed after all.  Then again, (a different) one of these young, hot, vapid girls (that all look like they are cloned
from an iPhone commercial) asked me if I was "the band's photographer", so maybe they aren't doomed, but they
sure seem to be stupid.   

All that silliness aside, Future Islands put on a tremendous show, as per usual.  I don't think they know any other way to
be.  Their live act is as it always is, regardless of the size of the stage - Sam paces around like a caged wolverine per-
forming a one man play, and the rest of the band holds down the backbone in a very stone faced manner.  I'm pretty
sure they played all of "In Evening Air", most of the new record "On The Water", and plenty of old songs to boot.  It was
a nice, long gig, the band feeding strongly off of the nearly sold out crowd at their first headlining Cradle show - not only
were the kids dancing, but they were screaming and yelling like it was...a Justin Bieber concert.  And then there was
that one older woman who kept stroking Sam's leg, which hit firmly in the category of "creepy but funny".  I love weirdos. 
And Future Islands.  I'm so glad they play here as often as they do.


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"I'm happy that Waffle House was okay with me coming here to talk to y'all about my day-to-day. And, y'all, that's pretty
much, in a shell what it's like to manage a Waffle House. Ma'am, I don't know what else you want me to say to them.
And I'm also gonna need to know where your commode's at."


M83 - New Map.  I didn't even bother uploading "Midnight City" cause everyone has that memorized at this point. 
Such a great fuckin' record though. 
Bonus: Steve McQueen
Bonus: This Bright Flash

Girls - Honey Bunny.  One of the best songs of the year...the rerst of the album doesn't quite live up to this track,
but it's good. 
Bonus: Just A Song

Magnolia Electric Co - Northstar Blues.  Jason Molina is so criminally underrated it's not even funny.  He's going to
constantly be name-checked as an all-time great songwriter at some point...hopefully sooner rather than later. 
Bonus: The Dark Don't Hide It

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information.  This was a good thrift store find. 

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Baltimore.  A couple of epic jams from Malkmus.  I used to be non-plussed
about his solo work, but I'm feelin' it lately. 
Bonus: Real Emotional Trash

The Minus 5 - Cigarettes Coffee And Booze.  Minus 5 records always sound more like a mixtape than a cohesive
band.  These are the best two tracks from "The Gun Album". 
Bonus: With A Gun

Three Mile Pilot - Planets.  I was so ecstatic that these guys put out a new record last year.  One of my all-time fav-
orite bands. 
Bonus: Same Mistake

Blag'ard - Babushka.  Highly underrated local duo, born from the ashes of the great Capsize 7. 





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