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***July Thirty First Two Thousand and Nineteen***   

I reckon it's about beer thirty!


Instagrams -

Back roads.  Asheboro, NC.  

Becoming grandma.  Cary, NC.  

I think I see my house.  Shenandoah National Park, VA.  


Movies -

Ended up watching 39 movies in 30 days for the month of June, puttin my mid-year check-in at 183 movies over 181
days.  As I stated in January, I had no real intent at going for 365 movies in a year again, but with the big jump I made
this month I could get there anyways even without putting much effort into it.    

Best of the month (new): Toy Story 4 (2019)
Best of the month (previously seen): Tie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and Raising Arizona (1987) (literally
two of my favorite films ever)
Worst of the month: Angel, Angel, Down We Go (1969) (what in the holy fuck was this nonsense?!?)
Well, that was goddamn depressing: Ice On Fire (2019)
The really-stupid-but-still-fun(ny) award of the month: Night School (2018)
You want the ending to be different, but it was probably always gonna go this way: Vanishing Point (1971)
The "The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo" award for most wrecked cop cars: Eat My Dust! (1976)
Who gets air conditioning installed in SF?: Always Be My Maybe (2019) (never mind the idea of a band only
being famous in one neighborhood, that town is way too small for that nonsense)
Hot Take - this movie is boring and all the kids are unlikable: Dead Poets Society (1989)

The rest:
Moana (2016), Arizona (2018), Aquaman (2018), Saint Cloud Hill (2019), Equalizer 2 (2018), Slumber Party Mass-
acre (1982), Girl In The Spider’s Web (2018), Scum (1979), Grey Gardens (1975), Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974),
Providers (2018), Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971), Cold Blue (2018), Darjeeling Limited
(2007), Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016), Wrestle (2018), Mile 22 (2018), Blue Iguana (2018), Serenity (2019),
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1981), Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Action Point (2018), 10 (1979),
Upgrade (2018), All That Jazz (1979), Highwaymen (2019), Qualified (2019), Brainstorm (1983), Robin Hood (2018)


Amyl And The Sniffers
I knew that every member of Amyl And The Sniffers had a mullet – I'd seen photos of the band, and it’s frequently
mentioned anytime someone writes about the Australian quartet (I would obviously never do something like that
though).  What I didn’t realize was how popular the hairstyle had become not just with Australian punks but with every-
one – maybe a third of the crowd at this packed Monday night show were also sporting the Kentucky waterfall so pop-
ular in my youth.  And while men definitely dominated this style, there were plenty of women who also looked like they
were creating a Runaways cover band.  This is also where I should probably point out how young the (all ages) crowd, man.  Everything old is new again, same as it always was.  If the youth want to relive my middle school
years, more power to them - good luck replicating my extensive hair metal t-shirt collection though!  

I should probably talk about the actual performance of Amyl And The Sniffers, given this is at least nominally a live
show review. The band might technically be a four-piece, but singer Amy Taylor dominates the stage to the point
where you pretty much forget there are three other people also performing.  She paced, sneered, and spat the entire
time, like an animal in a too-small cage at a shitty roadside zoo.  The crowd was WOUND UP from the first note they
played – moshing almost non-stop, and there was no shortage of stage diving from men and women (there was a
shitload of women at Kings tonight, a rare sight at a punk concert).  They must have played pretty much every song
from their self-titled debut and a few others on top of that, but I’m still not sure they crossed the 40 minute mark.  Their
pub punk vibe on record comes across much closer to hardcore punk in person, to no surprise – it was raw and a
little sloppy, but no one is looking for precision in a group like this.  I felt real old being up front taking photos, but when
I stepped to the back of the room for the last couple of songs I found the rest of my fellow “senior” attendees enjoying
the performance without having other people’s sweat flung on them…the smarter choice, to be honest.  Still, I’d do it
again, because this is a damn fun band. 


Belle & Sebastian
With Ex Hex
Sprint Pavilion

Have Scottish twee pop, will travel – this time, the trip was roughly four hours north to Charlottesville.  That’s almost
close enough to count as local!  I couldn’t talk the wife into going on the Boaty Weekender (which has a line-up that
feels like I personally picked out nearly every band who is scheduled to perform), so a long weekend in Virginia would
have to be the next best thing.  If I counted correctly this would be my eighth time seeing the band, and fourth time trav-
elling for the concert (SF twice, Berkeley & Raleigh were local; travelled to Montreal, Miami, DC, and now C’ville) –
Chelsea has me eternally beat by one, since we always see them together and she also saw them in Scotland when
she was living in Edinburgh for a summer.  There was a threat of this one getting rained out (or at least being really
miserable) as a crazy lightning storm was happening all around us leading up to the show, but just in the nick of time
the rain stopped and the joy began.  I’m not a churchy type, but if there is a god he undoubtedly loves a good pop
song, and would never derail a Belle & Sebastian performance.

But first: Ex Hex was the opener!  It was a weird to see them in this large amphitheater, but I’m always excited to see
one of my favorite bands of the last few years.  B&S often have forgettable support acts, so getting to see a group I
love this much was especially exciting.  First, the big news: the legendary Michelle Mae has apparently joined Ex Hex
full time.  This is big news for a couple of reasons: it allows Betsy Wright to only play guitar, something she already
does (exceptionally well) in Bat Fangs; also, Mae’s bonafides are solid gold in my book (she’s best known as the
bassist for the Make-Up and a bunch of other Ian Svenonious projects), so I can’t think of a better fit.  It was definitely
weird sitting on my ass watching Ex Hex play, a band whose typical setting is the likes of Kings or Cat’s Cradle Back
Room…but not so weird that I was going to be one of those weird people who insist on standing right next to a per-
fectly functional chair.  Regardless, they sounded great, they played a lot of songs off of their great new record “It’s
Real,” and with Betsy on guitar it felt like we got twice as many guitar solos between her and Mary Timony.  I’m always
ok with that.

At this point a Belle & Sebastian performance is a known entity to me – there’s never anything particularly surprising
about it, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.  It was already known that few days after this concert the band
would be playing “If You’re Feeling Sinister” in its entirety at the Pitchfork Music Festival, and I would have been more
than pleased to have had this evening serve as a dress rehearsal for that coming event.  Alas, that was not to be, but
we did get four songs (“Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying,” “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” “Like Dylan in the
Movies,” and “The Boy Done Wrong Again”) from that acclaimed album so it’s hard to be too upset.  Add to that a
couple of tracks from “Tigermilk” and a few assorted older singles (“Legal Man”!) and more than half of the set was
from the year 2000 or earlier.    That’s not to throw shade at the middle era of their discography or even the new
material (there was one brand new song from an album due in the Fall that sounded great), but those first three rec-
ords are pop perfection.  As nearly always, Stewart invited a chunk of the crowd on stage to dance during “The Boy
With The Arab Strap” – no easy feat as the stage was nearly six feet tall -  and they also ended the night with already
mentioned “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” which is fairly typical.  At this point it doesn’t even matter that I know how
the performance is going to play out like a crusty old roadie – when a band is this good, the joy they bring can be
experienced an infinite number of times.   


Courtney Barnett
North Carolina Museum of Art

Free show alert!  My job is one of the sponsors of the summer concert series held at the NCMA, and because of that
I was able to snag a free ticket to this Courtney Barnett concert.  Truth be told, I likely wouldn’t have gone otherwise,
but now that I’ve seen her I can unequivocally say she’ll be getting my money any other time she wants to roll through
town (unless I can get another free ticket again, obviously…I like free shit).

I got there a few minutes before Courtney started, because good god was it hot and sticky and miserable and I had no
intention of being there any longer than her performance.  I really enjoy the outdoor venue at NCMA for the most part,
but holy fuck did this weather make me long for indoor gigs in air-conditioned rooms.  Even a small breeze would
have made a world of difference, but whatever…we’re all in this together, one big sweaty mess of humanity jockeying
for a good spot while trying our best not to touch each other (I read somewhere that when two sweaty people touch
each other it technically counts as sex, that's science).  I'm pretty sure I lost five pounds in water weight by the end of
the night.  She and her band performed as a three piece, and they made a lot of damn noise for so few people.  Her
rhythm section looked like indie rock male models direct from central casting for a fake TV band, but they were damn
good at their job and sounded great.  In fact, every show I’ve ever seen at the museum has sounded terrific even right
in front of the stage, so kudos to the dude(s) and/or dudette(s) running the board.  This is probably part of the reason
I’m fine going to gigs here even in the middle of our hot-ass summers.  I’m not going to get into the setlist specifics,
but Courtney played nearly 20 songs and hit pretty much all the highlights from “Sometimes I Sit And Think, And
Sometimes I Just Sit” and “Tell Me How You Really Feel.” Also worth noting: she shreds the guitar.  This might seem
obvious, and I’m sure I already knew it on some level, but seeing it in person was a real “whoa” moment…and the
effortlessness with which she did it was the most impressive part.

It was a great damn show, and I'd do it again, even with the heat.   


"Nick, I've tried everything: the embassy, the German government, the consulate. I even talked to the U.N. ambassador.
It's no use, I just can't bring my wife to orgasm."

Archer Prewitt - Judy, Judy.  Hey, it's the dude from the Sea & Cake playing non-Sea & Cake songs that still sound
a lot like the Sea & Cake! I kid because I love.  

Damien Jurado - Allocate.  I've been listening to the everloving shit out of Damien the last six months or so.  Some-
times his sad voice is just what the doctor ordered.
Dear Thomas Wolfe
Percy Faith

Emma Ruth Rundle - Darkhorse.  "On Dark Horses" would have easily been on my best of 2018 list had I heard it
in time.  As it was, another best of 2018 list is the one who hipped it to me in the first place.  

Oneida - All Arounder.  I hope everyone already knows by now that you go see Oneida live any time they play your
town.  Their records are fine, but live it's SOOOO much better.  
People Of The North

The Fire Theft - It's Over.  I kinda dismissed this the first time around because it wasn't Sunny Day Real Estate, but
with time I've come around to it being pretty good (though a little proggy and over-produced at times).
Uncle Mountain

The Jayhawks - Stick In The Mud.  America's roots-rock sweethearts need no dumb words to accompany their
The Man Who Loved Life

The Magnetic Fields - I Don't Believe You.  I've always vastly preferred this band's pre-"69 Love Songs" material,
but there is still plenty of gold to mine from that post material
I Thought You Were My Boyfriend
I Wish I Had An Evil Twin

Yaz - Bad Connection.  It's pretty crazy that Vince Clarke was a key figure in this band, Erasure, and early Depeche
Mode...dude can seriously spin some songwriting gold.  
Only You

Zombi - Pillars of the Dawn.  Zombi sound so much like John Carpenter they should have named themselves Jerry
Toroidal Vortices


Archive -
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