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***September Thirtieth Two Thousand and Ten***

    

It's that time of the month again...stoned ferret party time!!!  And once again I'm getting my monthly update done at
the very last minute.  You'd think you'd outgrow this procrastinating shit as you got older, but...nope.




Another Death Valley photo.  Not a very good one really, but I wanted to post it anyways.  I recently purchased a
negative scanner thatrecieved good reviews...hoping to go back and scan some old negatives for lost gems.

In a completely unreleated note, my friend Nate of U.S. Christmas did an interview (the talk is heavy on music gear)
at this here website.  Dude/dudette used one of my photos in the article without asking, but it's no big whoop really. 
Do yourself a favor and go buy their new record "Run Thich in the Night", it's fantastic.

I wrote a shitload of reviews below, mostly recapping the three day Hopscotch festival that happened earlier in the
month.  My guarantee to all readers: there will be spelling and gramatical errors in nearly every paragraph, or your
money back!

Also, a couple of photo journal entries featuring photos of relatively uninteresting things with occasionally witty
comments.


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Hopscotch Music Festival - Day One
with Lucero, Best Coast, Cults, Old Bricks and No Tomorrow
Downtown Raleigh (Multiple Venues)
9/9/2010

The First night of the new, highly anticipated music festival known as Hopscotch.  I got out in the streets nice and early
to get my wristband (which I put on too tight and drove me nearly insane) and promptly went on the hunt for some music. 
My first destination was the Busy Bee to see Old Bricks, but en route I heard some music coming out of Slims so I went
in to see what was happening.  Turns out it was a band called No Tomorrow, an outfit hailing from Wilmington that
sounded like The Cro-Mags or NYC hardcore crossed with metal.  It was fun enough for a few songs, a decent un-
planned diversion en route to other endeavors. 

And that other endeavor was literally right next door at the Busy Bee.  One of the best parts of this festival is how walk-
able the whole thing is.  Old Bricks were still setting up when I walked in, so I entertained myself watching Mr. Retire-
ment, Brett Farve, play some football on the bar TV.  I'm pretty sure he retired and unretired three times in the five
minutes I was watching.  Then the band played, and they were very entertaining as always.  It was the newish four man
version of the band which I've seen once before but forgot or got too lazy to write about.  Interestingly enough (or at least
interesting to me), doubling the number of members in the band included adding the singer from Motor Skills, another
band that somewhat recently doubled in size.  They've still got a sort of  Animal Collective/Dodos vibe, lots of reverb
and up to three members drumming at once, though if you added up all the drums on stage it would probably equal one
kit.  I dig their sound and their songs and performance is getting stronger and stronger each time I see them.  Outside
of the vapid blondes standing next to me talking about "fucking some bitch up", it was very enjoyable. 

I staggered down the hill and lined up to get into Tir Na Nog...it wasn't much of a line mind you, and I was in the club after
about five minutes.  It was packed.  Even the far side of the bar away from the stage was full of people.  Cults had just
started their set...I found a spot in the back of the crowd and watched the band churn out their pop ditties while throngs
of kids waved their glow stick-clad arms in the air.  The singer for Cults was delightfully cute, and had a voice that
matched her looks.  I'm usually not one for cutesy pop music, but I've certainly heard worse than these guys.  There is
something very Euro about their sound, which can obviously be good or bad...and honestly I'm not sure which end of the
spectrum Cults falls in.  It's going to take further listening to get to the bottom of this one. 

Between bands I managed to weasel my way up into the middle of the crowd.  Best Coast got their gear set up pretty
quickly, but due to festival rules had to wait a while before they could play.  So I just stood there, eavesdropped on inane
conversations, and sweated.  A lot.  Did I mention it was packed?  These guys were one of the top buzz bands of the
festival, and once they started playing it was obvious why...so catchy, so infectious.  I've been loving this band and their
songs for a few months now, and was worried seeing the band live they wouldn't live up to the high standard I had set in
my convoluted brain - but they were just as adorable and enjoyable on this evening as any recorded output.  I'd guess
they played nearly all of their songs, including "When I'm With You" and all the other ones I wanted to hear whose names
escape me.  One of the best shows of the festival.

I'd planned on ending my evening at the Berkeley Cafe with a Future Islands dance party, but the line to get in stretched
around the block prompting me to utter "fuck that" and take my ass over to the Lincoln Theatre to see a little Lucero
Of course, Lucero tops my "love the band, hate the fans" list - generally a loud, rude group of inebriated boobs who take
the band's drunken lovability and go way over the top, usually irritating the shit out of me.  But for whatever reason, the
crowd was mostly subdued this evening, which meant you could actually watch and hear the band perform their heart-
land country rock stylings.  It was my first time seeing them with a horn section, which seemed really out of place but
after getting used to it I decided I liked what it added to the live sound.  They mixed up their set list with a lot of songs
from their most recent record "1372 Overton Park" (which I honestly haven't listened to very much) and older material
(which I knew well and clearly delighted the crowd).  I watched a large portion of their set before my old man tiredness
set in and I called it a night.  A great start to Hopscotch to be sure, and I was looking forward to the next couple of days
of rockin' out.


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Hopscotch Music Festival - Day Two
with Harlem, The Golden Boys, Kingsbury Manx and Americans in France
Downtown Raleigh (Multiple Venues)
9/10/2010

Not feeling the day parties, what with having to work my job and all, I rolled into downtown for this second night of Hop-
scotch festivities in time to buy some cheap shirts at the Kung Fu pop-up store and then made my way to the Busy Bee
to check out Americans in France.  I'd heard good things about these guys (and gal) and had been meaning to see
them play live, so why not now?  At their best they reminded me of a combo of The Fall and Pavement circa "Westing
(By Musket and Sextant)", two great things of which to remind me, or anyone for that matter.  As I've never seen
Americans in France before I can't speak to the frequency of the act, but they had an older black dude (who I'm pretty
sure I've seen a bunch of times hanging around Slims) play some extra drums on a couple of their songs.  He could
play a little bit so it wasn't a complete goof, but it was a bit odd.  Sometimes a little odd makes the night better, and this
was a great start.

It was just down the hill from there and into Tir Na Nog for some Kingsbury Manx, who'd just started their set.  I hadn't
seen the Manx play in years, probably not since Kenneth left the band, though I had continued to listen to their recorded
output.  They were just as great as I remembered, still very mid-era Pink Floyd crossed with Yo La Tengo and just a
dash of Kiwi popness.  The crowd was light when I first got there but by the end of their set the Nog was mostly full...not
the kind of sardine can full it was the night before for Best Coast, but pretty well filled in.  Their set was mostly a cross
section of their last couple of records, but the band delighted me to no end when they pulled out my very favorite song
of theirs, "Pageant Square" towards the end of the set.  If I had to zero in on what my single favorite moment of the entire
festival was, this might have been it...certainly top three, I love that song that much. 

I went back up the hill to Slims to get in and find a decent spot for Harlem...I was quite a bit early, but Slims is tiny and
I didn't want to miss out on seeing them.  It was already insanely packed and swelteringly hot when I got there, and
though I didn't have to wait to get in I'm pretty sure there was a wait soon after I entered.  Harlem's record "Hippies" is
one of my top five favorite records of the year, perfect from start to finish. 

But I'm getting ahead of myself, as the band before them, The Golden Boys, hadn't even started their set when I got
there.  Luckily, they kicked nearly as much ass as Harlem.  They had a real nice classic party garage sound, like a
modern version of the Sonics, with just a hint of soulful R&B mixed in to their sound.  Let it be said that the keyboard
player had a ridiculous mustache, something I felt like folks should know.  These Austin kids really brought a lot of life
and energy to the gig, and I feel certain that there would have been a tons of dancing from the crowd if they weren't
packed together like sardines.  As it was, vigorous head nodding is about all that was possible.  That, and flash backs
to dry humping in high school cause it was nuts to butts in there. 

I didn't think it could get any more packed for Harlem, but apparently it did.  I literally could not move - I was pinned
against the wall and contorted into a half turn because of some weird box or footstool on the floor.  I talked to one of the
bartenders and he said that even though it was easily the most people they had ever had in there, they didn't sell much
alcohol because no one could get to the bar.  None of that really mattered though once Harlem started playing incredibly
catchy tunes.  They might get lumped in with the garage rock genre, but this pure pop music through and through, only
the guitars are a little fuzzier than usual.  The crowd went as nuts as they could, bouncing up and down and making the
floor shake with every note, whooping and hollering and if they were like me, singing along and trying to keep the blood
running to their feet because they were standing so awkwardly.  The last time Harlem came through town I was actually
visiting their hometown of Austin; many thanks to the Hopscotch overlords for bringing this amazing band back to the
area at a time when I wasn't wandering the country. 


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Hopscotch Music Festival - Day Three (Day Parties)
with Flute Flies and NAPS
(Outside of) Raleigh Times
9/11/2010

I barely made it to this...having the Flute Flies play at 11 AM the day after late night shenanigans is no recipe for guar-
anteed attendance.  I felt like crap and I don't even drink, so I can only imagine how everyone else there felt.  Things
might have looked grim, but the Flies were putting on a hell of a show on the stage set up in the middle of the blocked
off Hargett Street in front of Raleigh Times.  For those not aware, this local "all star" band is made up of Ivan from the
Rosebuds, Reid from Schooner, Zeno of the Sames, and what appears to be a revolving cast of support players.  The
driving force behind this band was to create some original music for CyTunes to help raise money for brain cancer. 
I saw them their first time playing live and while quite sloppy, it was fun and there were enough catchy hooks there to
draw in fans of the member's main bands.  But this time out they sound like a real band, not just a group of friends
playing music on a lark.  There were a number of really good songs, each lead member taking turns singing lead. 
Yeah, when Ivan sings it still sounds mostly like a Rosebuds song or when Reid sings it sounds mostly like a Schooner
song, but I don't see any problem with that.  The barely there, half comatose hangover victims, random parade of dogs
and dancing children seemed to dig it, and to me that counts as a success.

I decided I'd stick around for one more band before I went home and napped on my couch, mostly because that one
more band was NAPS.  What I find funny, and it's probably only funny to me, is I've played basketball with Dan (aka
D-Mike) for a while now but the first time I saw NAPS play I didn't even recognize him because I'd only ever seen him in
basketball clothes.  My nonsensical rambling aside, I liked them the first time I saw them and this time was no different,
though it was weird seeing them in the middle of the day in daylight.  But I was drinking a fresh squeezed lemonade
while doing it, not something you can always say during a show.  They still remind me a little of early Silver Jews and
something else I can't place my finger on, and maybe I can figure out that something else if I can ever get my hands on
their cassette (yes, cassette, it's what all the cool kids are apparently doing these days).  I tried to pick one up after the
show but they were out, and Dan keeps saying he'll bring one to our weekly basketball games but it hasn't happened
yet.  On a side note, we really need a boombox for our basketball games.

I contemplated sticking around for some more good music, and did see a couple of songs by the Loners who are
always entertaining, but the knowledge that I would be out all night rocking sent these old man bones back home and to
the couch for a little rest and relaxation before the final night of Hopscotch.


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Hopscotch Music Festival - Day Three
with Motor Skills, U.S. Christmas and Weedeater
Downtown Raleigh (Multiple Venues)
9/11/2010

The final night of Hopscotch was here, and for me it was a night of mixed feelings...I was kinda happy it was over be-
cause my old ass was worn out, but sad that such a great three days of music and merriment was ending. 

My first stop of the night was Tir Na Nog for Motor Skills.  This was my second time seeing them as a four piece, and
they cemented my opinion that this is one of the best new (or at least newish) local bands playing these days.  I had pre-
viously noted a comparison to the Notwist, a comparison that still holds for me; but there is some thing else there, some-
thing a little more lighthearted and poppy...and that something is a little bit of Erasure in their sound.  Some may find a
comparison to Erasure to be an insult, but it's certainly not meant to be - those dudes knew their way around a catchy
hook from time to time, a trait I wish more bands had.  As Motor Skills were the first band, I wasn't expecting much of a
crowd, but the Nog really filled up!  Not sure if it was friends or randoms checking out the first band of the night, but I'm
guessing they ended the set with a some new fans. 

My next planned show wasn't for a little while, so I slowly meandered my way there and stopped at a couple of places. 
Caught a couple of songs by the Dynamite Brothers at the Pour House and it confirmed that they are just not the band for
me.  I've seen them before, and while the musicianship of all the members is amongst the best I've ever seen, the songs
just don't grab me.  But they are one of the tightest damn bands I've ever seen.  Made another stop at the newly opened
Capital Club 16 to talk to my friend Layne who manages the place.  Chatted with him for a while - looks like a nice place,
will have to check it out some day. 

Eventually I made it to the Berkeley Cafe, where I would spend the bulk of my evening.  I was immediately greeted by Nate
of U.S. Christmas as he ran up to me, delighted as a child in a candy store, because one of the drummers of the band
playing at the time - In the Year of the Pig - looked Just like Newman from "Seinfeld".  And he did look a whole shitload
like him, but more importantly, he played drums like a deranged octopus (aka Damon Che from Don Caballero).  It was a
sight to behold, not just him but the whole band, flailing away like muppets on some jams that registered right in the middle
between metal and free-form jazz.  I only got to see them for ten minutes or so, but it was definitely interesting music and
something I'm going to seek out in the future.

U.S. Christmas was up next.  I know I've reviewed or talked about these guys a lot lately, but it's because they're a damn
god band.  Also, they finally started playing down here in the Triangle, something that always helps in seeing a band live. 
They seem to get tighter and tighter each time I watch them perform, their "William Faulkner" metal really ringing true in
my ears.  There was a pretty hefty crowd there to see them, and they were seemingly into it.  I didn't poll the folks there or
anything, but there was cheering and all that sort of business.  You know, crowd shit.  Worth mentioning is the sound man
did a really nice job with the mix - Meg's violin can often get lost in the sea of noise this band makes, but tonight she stood
out nicely and really added to the overall feel. 

I had other designs on what to do with the rest of the night, but a knowledge of how hard it would be to get into Dungen
plus Nate's badgering led me to sticking around for my first viewing of the entity known as Weedeater.  He has told me
for ages what a trip they are live and you never know what the front man Dixie might do, and he was not lying.  From what
I gathered it was a fairly subdued show for them, but he was still a very animated singer - constantly gesticulating toward
the crowd, staggering around the stage, drinking enough liquor for ten people, and generally entertaining the shit out of
me.  It was drunken stoner metal at it's finest, and I was glad I stuck around. 

I was going to end the night popping into the Lincoln Theatre to see a little bit of Tortoise, but the place was already full
and I had no designs on waiting in line.  So it was off to my car and back home for me, though en route I came across a
group of young kids holed up in a parking garage stairwell playing sloppy punk rock for a few of their friends.  It wasn't
good, but it was fun, and a reminder of why live music is such an awesome experience and a great thing to have in your
life. 


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Motor Skills
Tir Na Nog
7/3/2010

Made it out to the rare show at Tir Na Nog where I actually had to pay to get in, but that was OK since the bands were
good.  And despite my cheapness, sometimes that's just fine. 

Of particular note was the show opener Motor Skills - I'd seen these guys before as a two piece with electronic pop
act with a portion of their set dedicated to comedy rap songs.  But now they're basically a whole new band, expanded
to four members, with an impressively strong set of songs.  The best (and most boring) comparison I would make
would be to the Notwist, only less German.  There were no funny hip hop songs this time either, though it's unclear if
they are completely removed from their set or just weren't there on this night.  I liked the previous version of this group -
I love the current edition. 

Lonnie Walker also played and I'm feeling too lazy to review them for 684th time, but worth mentioning is this was the
first show back for their organ player after being out sick for an extended period of time.  He really rounds their sound
out and it was a pleasure to hear him playing with the band again.


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"
And in addition to all that other stuff, Kenny Powers still does not like children. Chapter 3, shit to do in Mexico in the
nighttime."


Destroyer - I Want This Cyclops

Harlem - Be Your Baby
Bonus: Faces
Bonus: Friendly Ghost

Hawkwind - Motorhead

Kid Cudi - 50 Ways To Make A Record
Bonus: The Prayer

Midlake - Acts Of Man
Bonus: Rulers, Ruling All Things

Nick Lowe - So It Goes
Bonus: Marie Provost
Bonus: Rollers Show

Nobunny - Mess Me Up
Bonus: I Am A Girlfriend
Bonus: Somewhere New





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