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***June Thirtieth Two Thousand and Sixteen***

America: love it, leave it, or get weird with it.



Important reading.  Cary, NC.  

Freeway life.  Near Morganton, NC.  

Happy sausage.  Cary, NC.  

Making hay.  Marion, NC.  

Kudzu godzilla.  Marion, NC.  

Phallic skyline.  Raleigh, NC.  



I have no idea who Eniz Fazliov is, but this part from the "Where We Come From" video is pure gold.  Dude goes
fast, big, and has great trick and spot selection.  The song as great as well.  Just skip the first two minutes unless you
like footage of pointless partying.  

Almost as good as new part from Grant Taylor is a ten minute compilation of some of his best footage over the years,
courtesy of Thrasher Magazine.  

Michael Mackrodt is back with yet another of his skating/tourism videos, this one called "Fishing Lines Tunisia."  
This one is a little heavier on the skating than the tourism, but still great.  Dude has some crazy quick feet.  

One large photo journal entry from our April trip to the Outer Banks.  Do with that what you will.  

Here are my show reviews: I didn't go to any damn shows last month.  Lazy, old, all of the above.  


"My lord! You're a tripod. What you been feeding that thing, eh? It looks like a baby's arm holding an apple. Good thing
is, if you ever get tired, you can use it as a kickstand!"

Allo Darlin' - History Lessons.  As always, this band is chock full of twee pop wonderfulness.  
We Come from the Same Place

American Aquarium - Man I'm Supposed To Be.  Local lads done's not often I think a band gets better as
they age, I almost always prefer the early work...but their latest record is the best of the bunch.
Southern Sadness

Billy Bragg And Wilco - Chain of Broken Hearts.  As you can see, I had a bit of difficulty narrowing down a couple
of favorites from the third volume of Woody Guthrie tunes that these two acts have recorded together.  
Give Me a Nail
Listening to the Wind That Blows
My Thirty Thousand
When the Roses Bloom Again

J Mascis - Every Morning.  New(ish) J Mascis sounds like older J Mascis sounds like what J Mascis should always
sound like.  

The Records - Hearts in Her Eyes.  I've long maintained that "Rumor Sets the Woods Alight" is one of the top five
power pop songs of all time, but the whole damn album it comes from, "Crashes," is damn near perfect.  
Man with a Girl Proof Heart
Rumor Sets the Woods Alight
Same Mistakes

***June Second Two
Thousand and Sixteen***


I didn't quite get this update done in time for the end of May.  It's not like I had a holiday weekend to work on it or some
such shit.  Please enjoy this delectable seafood platter as an apology.  


Instant Grams:

Wound up dog, curious baby.  Cary, NC.  

Plymouth Belvedere.  Raleigh, NC.  

Willie Nelson tour buses, Koka Booth.  Cary, NC.  



Despite their love of subpar filming equipment and cheeseball synth pop, Pyramid Country continue to kill it with
every video they release - their latest offering Distant Mind Terrain is no different.  

Boulevard Skateboards, on top of the world right now, released a new video called Quinto full of mostly Brazilians
and a few stragglers from other countries just killing every spot they happen upon.  Carlos Iqui had the best (and last)
part, unsurprisingly, but the real treat was Danny Cerezini, who I've never really cared about, having probably the sec-
ond best.  

Dos photo journal entries - one is the total set of Moogfest photos (see reviews below); the other is some snaps of
old houses and old friends seen on a weekend trip to South Carolina.   


Moogfest - Day 1
Featuring Gary Numan, Zombi, and Silver Apples

The first day of the first Durham edition of Moogfest...this is a way easier commute than the Asheville edition!  Despite
it being the type of festival where you bounce around from venue to venue, tonight was going to be very easy for me -
I was starting at Motorco and not leaving until it was time to walk to the car.  Not only that, this was my most anticipated
line-up of the whole event. 

First up for me was Silver Apples, aka Simeon.  When a band is just one man do you refer to it as a he or a they? 
Regardless, I saw him nearly twenty years ago (with a drummer that time) opening for Polvo at the Cat's Cradle, and
he was already an old dude then...I mention this not to mock him, but purely out of adoration.  The man turns 78 this
year and is just as lively, vibrant, and impressive as anyone else at Moogfest, of any age.  This man is nearly as old
as my grandma, and here he is on stage tweaking the shit out of his homemade synth (called the Simeon, for the
record), making music that formed the backbone of what krautrock and electronic music would come to be.  In my
opinion, there aren't many artists as important as Silver Apples in this realm - this band should be the Wikipedia entry
when you look up the phrase "ahead of their time."  Oh, did I mention his performance was un-fucking-believably
good?  The kind of good where it might end up being my favorite show of the entire year, or at a minimum top three. 
He played songs across his entire catalog as well as a few new ones, ending with an epic version of his classic
"Oscillations."  As much gushing as I have done here, it still doesn't encapsulate how happy this show made me. 

Often, my excitement for bands that follow an epic performance are unfairly lowered, like a come down after some
particularly potent drugs or a damn good milkshake.  It's not the band's fault, just human nature...or at least my personal
human nature.  Coming into the festival, Zombi was probably the group I was most excited about - and the thing is,
they were totally rad.  A duo from Pittsburgh, their recordings might have you believe they're just a laptop performance
(a pretty common sight at Moogfest) - but it was a real, live band up on that stage.  One cat played bass and had a
whole shitload of synths, sometimes played separately and occasionally at the same time; the other dude handled the
drums, and also seemed to have some sort of synth action, electronic drums, and/or triggers he was working with. 
They sounded good, and I enjoyed myself, but I'm pretty sure I would have liked it a lot more if it hadn't immediately
followed something so mind-blowing.  I'd be stoked to go see Zombi again though. 

The final act I would see this evening was Gary Numan.  He was holding a three day residency, performing a diff-
erent album each night  - tonight it was his solo debut, "Replicas."  Much to my dismay none of the nights were focus-
ing on the Tubeway Army record...not that I thought they would, but a man has to have dreams.    I had already been
standing in the same spot for three hours, sweaty and uncomfortable, and Numan had the temerity to take the stage
at least forty minutes late.  When he did finally show up, at least he and the rest of the band sounded great.  I probably
don't need to tell you anything about the set list - feel free to look up the track listing to "Replicas" if you're curious.  A
long delay like this one would have been much easier to accept if it happened at one of his next two shows, which
are at the seated venue Carolina Theater.  Good god, I'm getting old.  I only made it through about two-thirds of his
set before my legs finally waved the white flag, and it was time to go.  Luckily, there would be more opportunities to
see Numan the next two days...


Moogfest - Day 2
Featuring Grimes, Denzel Curry, and Gary Numan
Downtown Durham

My good man Brian came in from Wilmington for the next two nights of Moogfest.  I typically go to shows solo, so it
was a nice change of pace to have one of my best friends there for the old man version of rocking and/or rolling. 

We decided to start our night with Grimes.  To be honest, neither one of us knew a thing about her (I actually wasn't
even sure if it was a her or a them going into the show), and I mostly went in with an open mind...a mind that closed
fairly fast, to be honest.  We lasted two songs, but I was over it halfway through the first.  All of the music appeared to
be pre-recorded, and when I say all of the music I'm even including the vocals.  She might have sang along during parts
of the song, but there were multiple times (just in the brief time we were there) that the mic was a good two feet from
her face but the vocals were still perfect.  It was basically a dance & lip sync performance, which I suppose I might
have come around to accepting if I actually liked how it sounded.  I was certainly in the minority in this opinion though -
the place was packed and the crowd was eating it up.  I guess I can't always be hip to what the kids like...

We walked next door to Motorco to see what was happening there - I knew it would be hip hop, but I didn't know any-
thing about the artist performing - Denzel Curry.  Turns out it was a young dude out of Miami with great dreads who
bounced around the stage like he was on a cocktail of Red Bull and cocaine.  I've never been that great at describing
rappers, but the dude had an aggressive, fast style - a style I greatly prefer compared to the stoned mushmouths that
seem to get so much of the shine these days.  The music was often some sort of swirly, spacey electropop backed by
heavy beats...that's probably a terrible description, but it's what my dumb brain heard.  We took in about a half-dozen
tracks before moving on, he gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me. 

We headed to the Carolina Theatre from there for Gary Numan, but got there early enough to see some of the "band"
before him, Grouper.  And by "band" I mean a woman sitting on the stage, surrounded by electronics, playing music
that sounded exactly like one of those CDs of rain forest noises some folks use to go to sleep.  It was, well...there it
was. It was a thing.  I was mostly confused, and sleepy.

Finally though, Gary Numan. I liked being up front at Motorco the night before, but I think this theatre was a better
setting for him. It certainly was more conducive to his crazy light show; it also didn't hurt he spent the night playing his
classic album "The Pleasure Principle" in full. We were in the middle of the second deck, and the sound was much
better than the night before, which is probably to be expected given both the better acoustics and a better location in
the venue.  Let it also be stated that no matter how many times you've heard "Cars," seeing it performed live is one of
life's great treats.  The night might have started off comically bad, but this more than made up for it.


Moogfest - Day 3
Featuring Mac McCaughan, The Body, Quintron and Miss Pussycat, and Sunn O))
Downtown Durham

On the plus side, today's shows started early; the negative is there was no way in hell we were lasting until the end of
the night.  We made our way to a small spot right next to the Carolina Theatre called the Durham Arts Council PSI
Theatre just before 4 PM to see Mac McCaughan.  I've seen him somewhere in the range of five million times be-
tween all of his projects (Superchunk, Portastatic, solo, etc), but this was the first time I would witness a performance
of this fashion - Mac tweaking a bank of synths and keyboards, a dude with a clipboard standing behind him in a
judgemental manner, and some modern dancers doing their modern dance thing.  The music was all instrumental and
started a little slow, but I was feeling it for the bulk of the set.  Like any other time I've ever seen anything of this nature,
I didn't have a goddamn clue what was going on, but I suppose it was interesting enough to watch for a little while.  I'm
still unclear if the clipboard guy was a part of the performance, or actually doing something. 

We walked over to the Pinhook from there, the first time the festival had led me to my favorite Durham venue.  Metal
duo the Body were next up, a band I have wanted to see live for a little while but, you know, laziness.  I'd be lying if I
said I was super familiar with their work, but I'd only heard good things about them from my "metal friends."  A quick
scan of the crowd confirmed they were definitely the act to see this weekend if you had a neck tattoo - my bare throat
firmly placed me in the minority, or so it felt.  It wasn't the most dynamic live performance I've seen, and I couldn't much
tell one song from the next, but I still liked it.  I was expecting a more metal sound, but they were more sludgy and heavy,
not that unlike Big Business to be honest.  They actually use guitar versus Jared's bass in Big Business, but it was an
extremely low tuned guitar, perhaps even baritone.  I also found it interesting that the drummer didn't use a real bass
drum, but rather a pedal that seemed to trigger a distorted, electronic bass drum; which seemed to have some com-
plications, and might have led to them playing such a short set (probably in the range of 20 minutes).      

Next up at the Pinhook was Quintron and Miss Pussycat, yet another band I've meant to see forever but have
always put off...I was really able to knock some things off my "to do list" this night!  There was a pack of really annoy-
ing Quintron superfans surrounding me, but after seeing the duo's performance it was easy to see how someone
could end up like that - they were goddamn amazing, easily one of my favorite performances of the fest.  The show
started with a ten minute puppet show, and really well done one at that - I'm no puppet aficionado and/or expert, but
the puppets seemed be very well made and the short skit was quite entertaining.  After that was the music - I'm not
sure a genre exists in which one could properly file I'm giving them their own genre called "swamp
boogie."  Lots of organ and synths, a smattering of drums and cymbals, and a slide guitar, all of which Quintron plays
at the same time like a demented one man band.  Some of the music was pre-recorded, but he was definitely doing
the bulk of the work.  Miss Pussycat offered some flavor in the form of vocals and percussion (aka them gourd-like
shaker things that probably have an actual name that I don't know), but Quintron is mostly running the show.  Although
I didn't really know any of the songs, I was way into it from start to finish, and you can be sure I'll be purchasing some
of his recordings in the very near future. 

After stuffing ourselves with amazing pizza from Pompieri and a little record shopping at Carolina Soul, we ended our
night at the large stage next to Motorco.  Turns out they were holding a smoke machine demonstration...also, I think
Sunn O))) was performing somewhere behind all that smoke and you could even occasionally see them.  On the one
hand, I sorta get the concept of enjoying the music and not worrying about actually watching the band...on the other
hand, if watching them wasn't important why are they all dressed in their fancy demonic monk robes?  Much like when
I saw them at Hopscotch a couple of years ago, I'm not entirely sure what to say about the live Sunn O))) experience. 
They weren't as loud as last time, I'm guessing largely due to being outdoors.  It was just as smoky as last time, but
the machines had to work extra hard - there were probably three on each side of the stage, plus some blowing be-
hind the band.  The audience was about half-ecstatic and half-bewildered at what they were seeing, which I suspect
is the norm for their performances (at least at festivals where you get a lot randoms just there to see what the fuss is
about).  I still don't understand what they are doing or why they are doing it, but I like it nonetheless...which further
confuses me because I'm not even sure why I like it.  Even with earplugs and even with it outdoors, it was still god-
damn loud - the vibrations are what you feel the most.  That was as good a note to end Moogfest on as any...not
sure Sunn O))) is really followable, whether you liked them or not.


Moogfest - Day 4
Featuring Weather Warlock and D-Town Brass
Geer Street Garden

But wait, there's more!  Moogfest was supposed to be over, but we got word that there would be a sunrise show
featuring Weather Warlock and D-Town Brass.  Who is Weather Warlock?  It's Quintron of Quintron and Miss
Pussycat playing his homemade synthesizer that changes it's sound based on the weather...sun versus overcast,
rain versus shine, windy versus still...they all result in different sounds apparently due to the synth being wired to what
is basically a weather station.  We got up at five in the morning and drove back over to Durham, because why the hell
not?  How often do you get to see a musical performance at sunrise?  You can always take a nap later.  We got there
right as the show started, Quintron and his crazy contraption on one side of the patio at Geer Street Garden, all of
D-Town Brass on the other side, and a handful of bleary-eyed observers scattered around, coffee in hand.  To be per-
fectly honest I was prepared for a skronky free-form mess, but this shit was well organized - clearly some plans had
been made beforehand.  It started out intentionally a little lol6ose, and then about a third of the way into the thirty minute
set/single song, the drums kicked in and it turned into this unbelievably great blend of jazz and krautrock like I've never
heard before.  I was mesmerized the entire time, and I really hope someone got a good audio recording and it sees
the light of day in the near future.  I don't think it would be a stretch to say this was my second favorite performance of
the whole event, and what a note to end on. 


Record Store Day 2016
with Eric Bachmann, Skylar Gudasz, and the Charming Youngsters
Schoolkids Durham & Bull City Records

There wasn't a single record on the list of exclusive "Record Store Day" releases that I really gave a shit about...It's
highly likely the day has jumped the proverbial shark.  I mean, I still went out to a few stores and bought some records,
but nothing "special" to this day.  Despite a lack of interest in the physical component behind the "holiday," I was totally
down for the parties that the various record stores were having to celebrate all of their extra sales. 

I started off at Schoolkids in Durham.  I hadn't been to the store since it became Schoolkids - it's a nice spot even if
their used selection is a bit lacking.  I was primarily there to see Eric Bachmann, especially since I missed him the
last time he was in town this past winter...having a new kid leads to a lot of sickness, which then leads to missed per-
formances.  He was set up outside the store in the open patio area, a perfect setting on such a gorgeous day.  As you
might expect for a gig happening in the middle of the day in a place as busy as Brightleaf Square, lots of randoms and
families and random families wandering around, which always leads to kids standing directly in front of the band totally
mesmerized.  Basically, a short version of me I guess.  Eric performed with two other musicians plus two female back-
up singers, one of which was local Skylar Gudasz, who would be performing after him.  Outside of a couple of tracks it
was all songs from his latest self-titled solo record, not the first under his own name but the the first since he officially
retired the Crooked Fingers moniker.  It was great from start to finish, and the back-up singers really adding a great
extra dimension you usually don't get with Bachmann's songs (the very same sentiment is true of that new self-titled

After Bachmann, Skylar Gudasz performed a few songs from her excellent new record "Oleander." My friend Yan,
who has played with everyone from the Rosebuds to Mount Moriah to Bowerbirds to probably every other band in the
Triangle, was performing with her and it was great to catch up with him.  I love her songs but the real draw is her voice -
to say it is heavenly is an understatement.  She reminds me a lot of Karen Carpenter, and I mean that in the best way
possible.  I only had time for a few tracks, but I left certain I would be seeing her perform again in the near future. 

I cruised across town to Bull City Records to briefly partake in their Record Store Day festivities as well.  Aside from
buying more records, as one does, I was there to see a little bit from
the Charming Youngsters - or rather, half of
the Charming Youngsters, thy rhythm section were clearly otherwise engaged.  It had been a little bit since the last
time I saw them play, but their ramshackle pop songs sounded as good as ever.  Unlike at Schoolkids, they were play-
ing in the store, and it made for nice accompaniment while I dug around in the vinyl, or at least the vinyl I could get to as
there were quite a few people piled into the tiny store.  It was a day well spent, and money well spent too.


"I needed to think about last night. So I galloped into a wooded glen, and after punch-dancing out my rage and suffering
an extremely long and very painful fall, I realized what has to be done."

Airstrip - Magician's Assistant.  Another local band that showed a ton of promise and then disappeared as fast as
they first appeared.  That seems to happen a lot around here.  
Pleasure Center

Alvvays - Atop A Cake.  I never paid much attention to these kids until I saw them open for Belle & Sebastian - turns
out they are a damn good pop band.  
Next of Kin
Party Police

David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights - A Break In The Weather.  Anything related to the Clean is a-ok with me.  
Diamond Mine

Kurt Vile - Pretty Pimpin.  Probably Vile's best song.  Actually, definitely Vile's best song.    
Life Like This

Lydia Loveless - Head.  Saw her at Hopscotch last year and was impressed, which led to getting her record "Some-
where Else" - possibly my favorite record of the first half of the year, and I don't even care if it's a couple of years old.  
Really Wanna See You Again
Wine Lips

Ron Funches - Black Tuba Players.  Not music!  Ron Funches is one of the best comedians working right now.  
Ignorant Rap Music

The Rosebuds - In My Teeth.  My good man Brian laid the Fleetwood Mac-esque solo down on this track, oh man
it rules so goddamn hard.  
Sand + Silence


Archive -
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