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***July Thirty First Two Thousand and Twelve***


My birthday was this month.  Here is a photo from the celebration.  I am now officially a year older than last year. 


The photos of the month...

Burt, couch surfing.  Cary, NC.

Laura of Superchunk at the Cat's Cradle.  Carrboro, NC.

Mouse, chilling.  Cary, NC.


Exxxtreme lynxz:

Only one photo link this time around but it's one of my favorites in a while...a collection of pictures from psychiatric
hospitals taken in Serbia and the surrounding environs in the late nineties.  What were probably run down institutions
to start with were made much worse with the wars being waged in the area. 

Skate video of the month: Fourstar released a tour video for their antics in Florida called 4 Live Crew.  As always,
any video from the Girl camp is high quality.  Lots of Mike Carroll footage which is a big plus. 

I went triple entry deep on the photo journal page - band pics, dog walks and mini-state fairs.  

Music reviews this month - Sigur Ros, Paint Fumes, La Sera, OFF, Dana Buoy
and more.  Not an especially prolific


The Clean
with Times New Viking
Local 506

I was excited to see The Clean again - a number of years ago I saw them as the first act on a super bill with Yo La
Tengo and Modest Mouse, and they might have been the best band of the night.  I clearly wasn't alone as the show
was well attended by both young fans and old folks alike.  I can't claim to be any sort of super fan - going in I claimed
that as long as they played "Tally Ho" (one of my all-time favorite songs by any band ever), I was going to go home a
very happy man.  After the show, even if they hadn't played it I still would have been plenty pleased with the perform-
ance.  Luckily, that gem of a track got the live treatment as well.  Then again, do they ever not play their signature track? 
I really have no idea, but somehow doubt it. 

A combination of wanting to be up front to take photos of the Clean and a recommendation from my friend John led to
getting to the 506 in time to see openers Times New Viking.  I basically knew nothing about them other than Merge
put out a record of theirs, which I had not heard.  Turns out they are a spunky, poppy lo-fi punk band with a singing
drummer and one of the most attractive keyboard players I've ever seen.  It was kinda hard not to stare at her for most
of the show, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't alone.  As an added bonus, I greatly enjoyed their music - it reminded me a little
bit of the Thermals crossed with Guided by Voices, two great tastes that taste great together.  I'd gladly go see these
guys again, as an opener or a headliner. 


Pop. 1280
The Pinhook

It appeared to me that Pop. 1280 was one of the new underground buzz bands, putting out a record on the oft talked
about Sacred Bones label and getting a lot of high visibility press.  I decided to go check them out more or less on a
whim, but also because I really dig seeing shows at the Pinhook, and was shocked at how few people were there.  I
feel like I'm always late on the intake on the new hot shit music, could it be I was ahead of the trends? 

Anyways, the band was kind of a trip - they sounded like Shellac, Ministry and US Maple got greased up, stuffed in a
sack and shaken.  Dark, industrial, aggressive, and pretty enjoyable.  The drummer had a sheet of tin roofing set up
on a keyboard stand and banged on it extensively.  The singer, who was front man only, was tall and lanky with tight
clothes and an angular haircut, looking kinda like a rock star caricature and a bad ass at the same time.  I'm not en-
tirely sure I loved them, but they were definitely interesting enough that I bought their record and want to give it a nice
solid listen. 


Hiss Golden Messenger
with William Tyler
The Pinhook

I have seen William Tyler play many times - with Lambchop, with KORT, and even with Superdrag on a tour a good
decade or so ago - but this was my first time finally seeing him do his solo thing.  Instrumental guitar music isn't usually
my bag, but I found it quite enjoyable.  More knowledgeable folks than myself have mentioned musicians like Jack
Rose, Bert Jansch, and John Fahey in comparison, and I'll just have to take their word for it.  What I do know is Tyler is
a hell of a guitar player, using a crazy configuration of pedals to layer different guitar lines on top of each other and pro-
viding a damn robust sound for just one dude playing six strings. 

The Court and Spark released one of my all-time favorite alt-country records, "Bless You."  They were from SF and
gathered a bot of attention at the same time I was living out there, and I was lucky enough to see them play a couple of
times.  I mention this because the frontman of that band was MC Taylor, who started going by Michael Taylor and
moved to North Carolina probably around the same time I decided to move back.  But instead of taking my route of
playing a lot of shitty basketball and getting fat, he started performing solo under the name Hiss Golden Messenger
Probably a better use of one's time, honestly. 

Anyways, that's a really pointless and long-winded introduction to my finally seeing Hiss Golden Messenger playing live. 
It was just one man and some folky, slightly country jams, but man were they powerful.  Haunting really, helped along a
lot by Taylor's stellar voice.  He has always been one of my favorite singers since the Court and Spark days, and
nothing has changed in that regard.  Any of his old C&S fans would be well served in searching out this "new" project
from Taylor - I'm certainly glad I got off my ass and finally got acquainted. 


Archers of Loaf
with Pipe
Haw River Ballroom

At what point do we stop referring to these Archers of Loaf shows as "reunion shows"?  They might not be playing
any new music, but I've seen them at least four times since the reformation and I missed a couple of their gigs.  They've
played locally more often over the past year than pretty much anyone not named Lonnie Walker or Whatever Brains. 
Not that I'm complaining, obviously - they're still one of my very favorite bands ever no matter how you describe the
nature of their current status.  And they still rock just as hard as they did before the break up.  It was a great set - played
most of the "hits" and really hit heavily on "All the Nation's Airports".  They also played the great "White Trash Heroes,"
which they don't play nearly often enough.  Great sound, great effort, great gig.

But here is the downside to the evening - way way WAY too many weekend warriors out trying pack a year's worth of
partying into one night.  Obviously the Archers draw an older crowd, people my age and older, and for the most part
they don't go out like they did fifteen years ago (something I realize at nearly every show I go to when I'm one of the old
creepy men there).  So they get a babysitter, go to a rock show and get so drunk they nearly ruin the event for everyone
standing around them.  Let it be said I hate these people with the fury of a thousand suns.  Especially the drunk brother
and sister who nearly came to blows with the lesbians behind me, all of which were acting like assholes.

An interesting thing happened on this, my 569th viewing of the phenomenon known as Pipe - no one was throwing
beer cans at them!!!  I guess this fancy club doesn't serve any beers in cans, and we were left with an incomplete Pipe
live experience.  Might as well have removed the drums or guitar, it would have been no less unnoticed.  A couple of
folks were throwing pita bread at Ron Liberti, but it's just not quite the same is it?  Unless the band was also perform-
ing in a tub of hummus, then it would be the perfect choice.  Anyways, Pipe played pretty much the same set of songs
they've been playing for years and years now, Liberti delighted & tickled me with his antics, and they continue to hold
the title of "funnest punk band ever". 

As a side note, this was my first time to this venue and it's great - beautiful inside and out.  Too bad they don't have
more shows I'm interested in here, but then again if I had to make that long drive often it would get a little old, even if it
is a pretty nice drive.  And the burger I got at the general store next door was one of the best I've ever had.


"I have an assistant here who thinks it's unnecessary to take names. She'd rather run my office like a delicatessen."

British Sea Power - We Are Sound.  Nothing they've done has topped their debut record, but every album they have
put out since has still had a couple of good tracks. 
Bonus: Who's in Control

Gentleman Jesse - I'm Only Lonely.  One of my favorite bands of the last ten years.  I'm wearing one of their shirts
as I type this.
Bonus: What Did I Do
Bonus: Word Gets Around

Hunx And His Punx - U Don't Like Rock N Roll.  Dumb and catchy.  Sometimes that's all you need. 

Nada Surf - Looking Through.  I feel like we had to wait forever but we finally got a new Nada Surf album, and it was
pretty much as good as I'd hoped.  Definitely one of my favorites of the year. 
Bonus: The Moon Is Calling
Bonus: Waiting for Something

Sharon Van Etten - Ask.  I like Sharon's voice a lot, more than her music really.  But it's getting there. 
Bonus: Serpents

The Shins - Eating Styes from Elephant's Eyes.  I downloaded a bunch of old Shins EPs.  These are some songs
from those.  Much better than that nonsense they're putting out now. 
Bonus: We Built a Raft and Floated
Bonus: When I Goose Step

Wilco - Born Alone.  It took me nearly a year to finally listen to Wilco's last record "The Whole Love," which pretty well
explains my current feelings on this band despite once loving them.  These songs ain't bad though. 

Bonus: I Might


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