I've been watching a
ton of Folkstreams
documentaries lately. You could seriously waste days on that
site. The best
I've seen recently is "Afro-American
Work Songs in a Texas Prison", made by Pete Seeger and his
family. I own a
number of prison work songs collections, but having the images to go
with it make it extra special.
instagr.am - a great, free iPhone
photo app. I've been playing with it a lot. I've gotten
some surprisingly good photos
from it, and plan on posting some of my favorites. I really like
this one the best of my recent shots:
WNC Farmer's Market. The "lomo" filter plus the hand written
signs gives it a bit of a depression-era feel.
Also put up a couple
of photo journal entries. Poorly written show reviews and awesome
I've never done a comedy review before - I'm shitty enough at music
reviews, and I'm not sure what to say other than he
was funny. So that's the review: the comedian Todd
Barry was funny. Really, really funny. The old
lady and I used to
go see a lot of stand-up when we lived in California, but very few good
comedians perform around here. I'd never seen
Todd Barry, but he always gets named dropped as a favorite from comics
I love (Patton Oswalt I know has mentioned
him numerous times), so it was worth checking out. Mark it down
as money and time well spent. About two-thirds of
his material was typical prepared stand-up fare, and the rest of the
time he spent riffing on the leftover band set list
from the night before and making jokes about the fact that RDU has a
direct flight to London. That might not sound
good on paper, but it worked.
And let it be known that seeing comedy in a rock club is superior to
comedy clubs it can't even be quantified. I've
seen a number of comedy acts in rock clubs, and it's always so much
more fun and laid back. No drink minimums,
no cocktail waitresses, no horse shit. I know Paul (one of the
main King's dudes) told me he's going to try and get
more comedy, and hopefully he pulls it off, because I like
laughing. Except that my face always hurts afterwords, but
I guess it's worth it.
found online, not from me creeping on Todd in a convenience store)
Gentleman Jesse & His Men with The Barreracudas &
Last Year's Men Kings
Sometimes I just don't know what the fuck is wrong with
people...someone awesome like Gentleman Jesse comes to
town for the first time (not the first time in the Triangle, just the
first time in Raleigh), and hardly anyone shows up to see
it. Not that that deterred him or any of the other bands from
putting on fantastic shows.
I got there just as Last Year's Men started their
set. Folks (or at least Grayson from the Independent) have been
opining how fantastic their new record is, so I was glad to finally
check them out. Sadly, we don't really have any sort
of power pop scene locally (which might partially explain the turnout),
but these Chapel Hillians did their best to fit in.
They play a more prototypical "jangle pop" style as has been popular in
the area for as long as I can remember, and
combine it with the pop-punk catchiness of Superchunk and smidge of the
Replacements more "together" moments
(think "Alex Chilton" and "Can't Hardly Wait" Replacements, not "Takin'
a Ride" or "Hootenanny" era stuff). These
guys would have been huge in 1995, but it remains to be seen if the
kids these days will take to their sound. Certainly
it pleases me, but I'm old and not exactly the target
The Barreracudas had
the middle slot, a power-pop group made up of all the "Men" that
otherwise make up
Gentleman Jesse's band. It was definitely decent music, typical
of the Atlanta pop scene, but nothing groundbreaking.
I honestly don't have a lot to say about them other than I'd like to
hear their record, and maybe knowing their songs
would up the excitement level for me. Still, a run-of-the-mill
power-pop band is better than most any other type of band.
I've reviewed Gentleman Jesse & His Men a
couple of times on here, but words just never do this band
They've written and recorded some of the best pop hooks of the last
decade, and while the attendance shows it's fallen
mostly on deaf ears I'm listening and watching hard enough for ten
men. All of the power pop touchstones are there
that have been mentioned a thousand times - The Nerves, The Records,
Shoes, The Real Kids, etc. I was chatting
with Paul (one of the dude's who runs Kings) and he threw out a
comparison that had never occurred to me but is def-
initely fitting - Nervous Eaters. No matter the comparisons, they
rocked my ass off like they always do, and the sparse
crowd really seemed to enjoy it. I even got a chance to chat with
Jesse after the show, not something I typically do -
he's a super nice guy. I asked if there was a second full-length
in the works, but it sounds like instead they have a ton
of seven inches and tracks on compilations coming out over the next
year, which will hopefully all get complied into one
release at the end of the deluge. No matter how it's released,
more amazing pop songs make the world a better place.
At this point in my life, a Built to Spill show is like your
favorite well worn t-shirt - it might not be new or shiny, but it feels
so good, so comfortable, so enjoyable. I've seen them perform
live dozens of times, and while some outings are better
than others, not a single one of those times have been anything less
than really damn good.
The set list was pretty typical of BtS, spanning their catalog nicely
but never hanging out to long on any one album...
though if they wanted to play "Perfect from Now On" in it's entirety it
would hurt my feelings - as it was, they only played
"Untrustable" from that release. They really hit "There's Nothing
Wrong with Love" pretty heavy though - "In the Morning",
"Twin Falls", "Car", heck probably half of that record made the
list. Of course it's not a Built to Spill show without some
cover songs, and this time it was the Grateful Dead's "Ripple" that got
One part of the show that stood out from the typical Built to Spill
live experience was the first encore - it was just Doug
and his guitar, and he played a couple of the bluesy acoustic songs
from his solo album "Now You Know" - "Dream" and
"Offer". I saw him play solo live once before, when he toured
alone just after this record came out. It was a real treat to
see him play these songs again, and made me hope another solo album was
in the works because that record is fan-
tastic. After these couple of songs the rest of the band came
back onstage and they wrapped up the show, with the
ender being a drawn out sixteen minute version of "Broken
Chairs". Many a guitargasm was had.
Also of note: the crowd was annoying and stupid as they always are,
continuing my consecutive streak of every Built to
Spill show being populated with complete boobs. And not the good
kind of boobs either. Well, maybe a couple of the
good kind of boobs, but not enough of those and too many of the other.
(Photo found online) <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Gayngs The Cat's Cradle
It seemed like a nice night for a little dance music, so it was off to
see the hipster superstar band, Gayngs. They
weren't originally scheduled to play Chapel Hill, but they moved their
Virginia show down here to give the locals a
little taste of their semi-homegrown talent. Sure, the band is
technically from Wisconsin or Minnesota or one of those
Midwestern cheese-making states, but a bunch of our local kids also
participate in this orgy of musical mayhem -
including Ivan from the Rosebuds, the bulk of Megafaun, and a chunk of
Bon Iver (who once took up residence here).
So really, it only made sense that they would make a show happen
here. Who gives a holy hell about Virginia any-
ways...well, except lovers obviously. Virginia is for lovers,
Pointless gibberish aside, it was a great show. There were a
bazillion people on stage with a few folks coming and
going, but never less than ten members and a high of twelve or
so. They seemed to play pretty much the entire
"Relayted" album - standout tracks included "The Walker", "The Last
Prom on Earth" and "Faded High", where they
incorporated Cameron Mesirow of the opening act Glasser to perform the
female vocal portions of the song. They
also played "Cry", the 10cc cover from the record, as well as a couple
of other covers of two of my all-time favorite
songs - "By Your Side", Originally by Sade and also performed by the
band at Daytrotter (download the Daytrotter
and also "Eye in the Sky" by Alan Parsons Project, which can be heard
done acoustically by the band
in this video. As a side
note, I'll spare you the long winded story of how much the cover of the
Alan Parsons Project
album "Pyramid" freaked me out as a kid, and this is noteworthy because
my parents played it ALL THE TIME so it
was always sitting out next to the record player creeping my out just
as bad as those clown cartoons from the picture
dictionary I also had around the same time. I couldn't even sleep
in the same room as that picture dictionary.
Anyways, it was a good fun show, and I even got the wife to go with me
so I wasn't that creepy guy standing by myself
for a change. It probably also helped that I wasn't furiously
masturbating and crying like I usually do at these sort of
to see exotic Vietnam... the crown jewel of Southeast Asia. I wanted to
meet interesting and stimulating
people of an ancient culture... and kill them. I wanted to be the first
kid on my block to get a confirmed kill!
Sort of Invisible "Audio EP" So this guy Dan, who is the brother of Chris, who was the
drummer in a couple of my friend Conan's bands (Replicator and Mount
Vicious), sent me some songs to listen to. Also my best friend's
sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard
from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw
Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night, but that fact
is not germane to this conversation. I don't get too many random
"submissions" from folks, but I'm always happy to hear
new music. And I was very happy to hear Sort of Invisible.
These are timeless pop songs, songs that sound like they
could have been recorded four weeks or forty years ago. And did I
mention the songs are catchy as shit? Which is an
expression that doesn't make much sense but I say it all the
time. Fans of Elephant 6 groups like Summer Hymns or
Apples in Stereo or Of Montreal (before they decided to become a dance
band and write songs for fake Australian
steakhouses) would be well served to check these songs out. Lisa
Lisa & the Cult Jam Deadbeat It Kills Me Don't Say Goodbye
Other musics not sent to me but enjoyed nonetheless:
Les Savy Fav - Appetites.
You kinda figure at some point the level of awesomeness with each Les
Savy Fav album
will drop off, but it didn't happen with their newest release "Root for
Ruin". It's goddamn fantastic.
Neko Case - People
Got A Lotta Nerve. A hot redhead with a great voice
that writes interesting songs...it's almost
unfair that one person could have all that.
Tornado Loves You.
Plastic Bertrand - Le
Petit Tortillard. I know I posted some other Plastic
Bertrand songs and some of these might
have been in there. Whatever, awesome is still awesome the second
La La La Lee.
Roky Erickson - Clear
Night For Love. I go through phases of listening to a
lot of Roky. Lately has been one of
Your Fingers Applauding The Play.
Swan Lake - A
Hand At Dusk. Second Swan Lake record not as good as
the first, but still a couple of decent tracks.
On Your Skin.