Friday, August 31


Even at a Cubs game, I can't escape musicians. Can you guess who performed the national anthem on Thursday? Here's one heck of a hint...

Another version by the same gents:

Umphrey's McGee - Star-Spangled Banner [live 5-19-2006]

By the way, Giordano's just pwns Gino's East. For real.

Thursday, August 30

Off to Chicago...

I'm headed to Chicago for the weekend, so posts from me will be scarce through Labor Day. Going to see my Cubbies take on a couple of foes from their division (Brewers and Astros), and I expect the hours at Wrigley Field will do me some good. Haven't been since April! A couple tunes in honor of my trip...

Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
Jonathan Coulton - Skymall
Steve Goodman - Go Cubs Go

Might post pics, might not. Have a good weekend!

The Pipettes to tour in fall, hit Atlanta 10/16

Holy crap! It's about darn time...

Those British lovelies in retro girl group The Pipettes have finally booked a decent tour of North America, and they're coming to Atlanta's Vinyl on October 16. Apparently their debut album, We are the Pipettes, will finally see U.S. release on October 2. The tour:

10/02 Park West, Chicago, IL
10/03 Magic Stick, Detroit, MI
10/04 Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH
10/05 Opera House, Toronto, Ontario
10/06 Petit Campus, Montreal, Quebec
10/08 Fillmore @ Irving Plaza, New York, NY
10/09 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
10/10 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
10/11 First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
10/13 TBA, Pittsburgh, PA
10/15 Exit/In, Nashville, TN
10/16 Vinyl, Atlanta, GA
10/17 Workplay Theater, Birmingham, AL
10/18 The Parish @ The House of Blues, New Orleans, LA
10/19 The Parish, Austin, TX
10/20 TBA, San Antonio, TX
10/21 Cambridge Room @ House of Blues, Dallas, TX
10/23 Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO
10/25 Avalon, Los Angeles, CA
10/29 Bimbo's 365 Club, San Francisco, CA
10/31 Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR
11/01 Crocodile Café, Seattle, WA
11/02 TBA, Vancouver, British Columbia
12/09 Studio Coast (British Anthems), Tokyo, Japan
12/11 Liquid Room, Tokyo, Japan
12/12 Diamond Hall, Nagoya, Japan
12/13 Club Quattro, Osaka, Japan

More than a year after they took the blogs by storm, it'll be great to see Becki, Gwenno, and Rosay do their thing in person.

The Pipettes - Your Kisses are Wasted on Me
The Pipettes - Why Did You Stay [live]

Thanks to Pitchfork for the news.

Wednesday, August 29

Spoon at Variety Playhouse, October 25

This date is not listed on the band's Myspace, but according to the Variety Playhouse the gents in Spoon will return to Atlanta on October 25. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is their current release, and I feel no need to add to the miles of copy praising its merits. It's damn good, and their live show usually is as well.

Spoon - The Underdog
Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
Spoon - The Way We Get By

See their website for more words.

Update: Looks like this isn't happening, and the band is playing the Echo Project festival instead on October 12-14 sometime.

Midlake in Atlanta, September 4

Next Tuesday, just as you're recovering from Labor Day, Texas indie dudes Midlake will be at The EARL in East Atlanta with Dawn Landes supporting. That same day they release their new EP, Oak and Julian, featuring a handful of alternate takes and rare songs.

Midlake - Roscoe
Midlake - Roscoe (Beyond the Wizard's Sleeve Remix)
Midlake - Balloon Maker
Dawn Landes - Bodyguard
Dawn Landes - Young Folks [Peter, Bjorn, and John cover]

The complete tour schedule for Midlake:

9/03 Beta Bar, Tallahassee, FL
9/04 The EARL, Atlanta, GA
9/05 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
9/06 Black Cat, Washington, DC
9/07 TLA, Philadelphia, PA
9/08 Webster Hall, New York, NY
9/09 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
9/11 Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
9/12 The Metro, Chicago, IL
9/16 ACL, Austin, TX
9/20 Numbers, Houston, TX
9/21 Dan's Silverleaf, Denton, TX
9/22 Wall of Sound Fest, Ft. Worth, TX
9/24 Rhythm Room, Phoenix, AZ
9/25 Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA
9/26 Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA
9/27 GAMH, San Francisco, CA
9/28 Humboldt State Univ., Arcata, CA
9/29 Doug Fir, Portland, OR
9/30 Croc Cafe, Seattle, WA
10/2 Bluebird Theatre, Denver, CO
10/3 Jackpot, Lawrence, KS

For more Midlake 411, see their website.

Monday, August 27

Brooke Waggoner - "Hush If You Must"

In a world where St. Vincent, Regina Spektor, and Jesca Hoop are widely embraced, it seems there ought to be mad love for Nashville's Brooke Waggoner. She's at times playful and heartfelt, and her piano-based pop has the Music City crowd raving. It doesn't hurt that she wears many hats as performer, composer, arranger, and producer.

Waggoner's current EP is titled Fresh Pair of Eyes and is available online or via iTunes. It has received rave reviews from local press, with the the Nashville Rage gushing " may be her chops that propel this six-song EP and provide it with many of its ear-catching moments -- ornate, swooping strings (arranged by Waggoner) and meticulous piano runs -- but what's really impressive about Waggoner's work is its untrained beauty, which is often lacking in many other classically trained singer-songwriters..." A taste of the EP:

Brooke Waggoner - Hush If You Must

Wagonner has just announced the dates of her fall tour, during which she'll visit a healthy portion of the U.S. including (drumroll.....) Athens and Atlanta.

9/7 Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
9/8 The Bread & Bagel, Bowling Green, KY
9/15 Exit/In, Nashville, TN
10/3 The Canal Room, NY, NY
10/6 The End, Nashville, TN
10/9 World Grotto, Knoxville, TN
10/10 The Roaming Gnome, Sevierville, TN
10/11 Olde Ale House, Auburn, AL
10/12 Flying Monkey Arts, Huntsville, AL
10/13 P&H Cafe, Memphis, TN
10/14 Soundpony Lounge, Tulsa, OK
10/15 Converence, Oklahoma City, OK
10/16 Doublewide Bar, Dallas, TX
10/17 Arlene's Grocery, NY, NY
10/18 3 Kings, Denver, CO
10/20 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT
10/21 XOXO, Reno, Nevada
10/22 The Maltese, Chico, CA
10/23 Stork Club, Oakland, CA
10/25 Tonic Lounge, Portland, OR
10/26 The Blue Pepper, Salem, OR
10/27 The Gadfly, La Grande, OR
10/28 High Dive, Seattle, WA
10/29 Luckeys Bar, Eugene, OR
10/30 Veni Vidi Vidi, Fresno, CA
11/2 Muddy Waters, Santa Barbara, CA
11/3 Zia Records, Las Vegas, NV
11/5 Casa Blanca Lounge, Phoenix, AZ
11/7 Broncos, Fort Worth, TX
11/8 TBA, New Orleans, LA
11/9 The Handlebar, Greenville, SC
11/10 Rhinos, Columbus, GA
11/14 Head on the Door, Montgomery, AL
11/15 The Mission Live, Augusta, GA
11/16 The 40 Watt, Athens, GA
11/17 Lenny's, Atlanta, GA

11/24 Schuba's, Chicago, IL

You can check out an NPR piece on Waggoner from December 2006, or visit her Myspace for more info. There's also a nice interview with her at Listen! Nashville.

Sunday, August 26

Regina Spektor - "On the Radio"

I've been spending a lot of time working at Hot Corner Coffee the past few weeks, and I have to give the staff there props (do people still say that?) for their excellent music selection. One song I hear in there once in a while is Regina Spektor's "On the Radio," and it makes me smile every time. I could care less if it appeared in an episode of Grey's Anatomy.

Regina Spektor - On the Radio

For some reason, the opening piano part totally reminds me of Blackstreet's "No Diggity." I'm old.

As for Regina Spektor... she'll be at The Tabernacle in Atlanta on November 15. Tix are available now. The full run of Regina Spektor tour dates is available on her Myspace.

The Last Town Chorus

On September 8-9, Atlanta and Athens will be graced with a total of four appearances by Brooklyn's The Last Town Chorus -- two Borders in-stores and two sets opening for Mark Olson from The Jayhawks. I've had their Wire Waltz in regular rotation since it came into my possession. Led by auburn-haired lap steel heroine Megan Hickey, they have the following on the agenda:

8/26 Phoenix, Toronto, Ontario (w/ Camera Obscura)
8/30 Bowery Ballroom, NY, NY (w/ Mark Olson)
8/31 Higher Ground, Burlington, VT (w/ Mark Olson)
9/01 Iron Horse Music Hall, Northampton, MA (w/ Mark Olson)
9/02 Paradise Lounge, Boston, MA (w/ Mark Olson)
9/04 World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA (w/ Mark Olson)
9/06 Borders (18th & L), Washington, DC (2:30 in-store)
9/06 IOTA, Arlington, VA/Washington, DC (w/ Mark Olson)
9/07 Borders, Chapel Hill, NC (6pm in-store)
9/07 Hideaway BBQ, Raleigh, NC (w/ Mark Olson)
9/08 Borders, Athens, GA (2pm in-store)
9/08 Melting Point, Athens, GA (w/ Mark Olson)
9/09 Borders, Atlanta (Buckhead), GA (3pm in-store)
9/09 Smith's Olde Bar, Atlanta, GA (w/ Mark Olson)
9/25 Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, MN (w/ The Weakerthans)
9/26 Bottleneck, Lawrence, KS (w/ The Weakerthans)
9/27 The Marquis Theatre, Denver, CO (w/ The Weakerthans)
9/28 Launchpad, Albuquerque, New Mexico (w/ The Weakerthans)
9/29 The Clubhouse, Tempe, AZ (w/ The Weakerthans)
9/30 Borders-Gaslamp district, San Diego, CA (3pm in-store)
9/30 Casbah, San Diego, CA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/1 Borders-Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA (7:30pm in-store)
10/2 El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/3 Slim's, San Francisco, CA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/4 Hawthorne Theater, Portland, OR (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/5 Neumo's, Seattle, WA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/6 Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/7 Sugar Nightclub, Victoria, BC (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/9 MacEwan Hall Ballroom, Calgary, Alberta (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/10 Myer Horowitz Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/12 The Distrikt, Regina, Saskatchewan (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/24 Borders-downtown, Ann Arbor, MI (12:30pm in-store)
10/24 Magic Stick, Detroit, MI (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/25 Metro, Chicago, IL (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/26 Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/27 Borders-east side, Pittsburgh, PA (2pm in-store)
10/27 Mr. Smalls Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/28 9:30 Club, Washington, DC (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/29 Trocadero Theatre, Philadelphia, PA (w/ The Weakerthans)
10/30 Webster Hall, NY, NY (w/ The Weakerthans)
11/1 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA (w/ The Weakerthans)

Holy crap. I hope they have an AAA membership and healthy supplies of deodorant and toothpaste.

Whether they're coming to your city or not, it's worth checking out some material from Wire Waltz. Much of it is moody and haunting, with the Village Voice describing them as "audio narcotics." I can see why.

The Last Town Chorus - Wintering in Brooklyn
The Last Town Chorus - Modern Love [David Bowie cover]

For more information, see their official site.

Johnny Cash - The Great Lost Performance

I haven't had much time lately to write about my mail, but tonight while working I managed to listen to one of my new records. The Great Lost Performance is a live recording that captures Johnny Cash shortly before the team-up with Rick Rubin that would endear him to flannel-clad kids with Doc Martens and unkempt hair. This 1990 performance from New Jersey is intimate and nostalgic, full of traditionals, gospel tunes, and gems from Cash's catalog. Even though it might not live up to the ridiculous standards promised by the album's name, it's a fine release.

Cash's signature voice booms throughout the performance, which includes anecdotes between songs that no doubt charmed and entertained the live audience. Classics like "Hey Porter" and "Tennessee Flat Top Box" are among my favorites here, along with the always great "Jackson" with June Carter Cash trading verses with her husband. Her story following that song about Johnny's recovery from a broken jaw might even be the best unexpected moment on the release. The album also boasts a pair of rare Cash gospel tracks, "A Wonderful Time Up There" and "What Is Man," to excite the completists. Classics like "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "Walk the Line" also make an appearance. Perhaps not an essential purchase, but sure to be a hit with fans of The Man in Black.

Johnny Cash - Hey Porter
Johnny Cash - Jackson [with June Carter Cash]

For more on Johnny Cash, visit his official site.

Saturday, August 25

Morrissey coming to The Tabernacle, November 4

Well, look who is coming back to Atlanta....

Morrissey returns to ATL just a few months after his recent show at Chastain. One can presume that chatting and Cheez-Its won't be so prominent at The Tabernacle on November 4.

You can see dates for the full tour on his website. Morrissey tracks are available via The Hype Machine.

The Coathangers at Criminal Records, Sept. 4

Atlanta's ladies of leisure, The Coathangers, will play a free in-store show (with PBR!) at Criminal Records on Tuesday, September 4.

The show will be to celebrate the release of their first album, which has been highly anticipated locally. It will be available from Rob's House Records, home to many great Atlanta bands.

The Coathangers - Shut the Fuck Up
The Coathangers - Don't Touch My Shit

They're not subtle or musical virtuosos, but they're cute and they rock. That works.

Friday, August 24

Flight of the Conchords - "Business Time"

Has there ever been a less sexy song about getting it on?

Flight of the Conchords - Business Time

Well, I'm sure there has. But probably not many as hilarious.

Flight of the Conchords have a new EP available for $4.50 from Sub Pop.

Ryan Adams pre-sale for Atlanta 10/14 available

Thanks once again to Ryan for the 411.

Presale tix for Ryan Adams at Atlanta's Fox Theater on October 14 are available, and according to his site the password is 'ROSE.' They're available to the general public on Saturday morning (8/25) at 10am.

Ryan Adams - Arkham Asylum [live 7-21-2007]

I can't believe I have a pic of him wearing a Batman shirt and a song named for where they lock up The Dark Knight's baddies. Niiiice.

Thursday, August 23

Polishing a turd, with gusto

So, The Decemberists announced a really cool tour today in which they'll play multiple nights in several cities. Some shows will be designated to showcase their longer, prog-style material while others will showcase their shorter, poppier stuff. It's not coming near Atlanta/Athens though, so whatever.

In addition, they announced the release of a new EP and I'm surprisingly not looking forward to it at all. Their Perfect Crime #2 EP will feature several remixes (bleh) of my least favorite song in their catalog, "The Perfect Crime #2" from The Crane Wife. As you can probably tell, I'm underwhelmed. I thought that I might be jumping the gun with the negativity, but now that I've heard the first track released to the public I'm even less enthused. Here 'tis:

The Decemberists - The Perfect Crime #2 (Junior Boys remix) [at YouSendIt]

The track will be up for seven days. At least the cover art for the EP is nifty. Maybe it'll be better than I expect. I sure hope so.

Wednesday, August 22

Baseball, infanticide, pop songs, and Judge Landis

As I write this, the Texas Rangers are leading the Baltimore Orioles 30-3 in the 9th inning. Holy crap. UPDATE: It's over.

Of all the individuals who have served on the federal judiciary, none had as cool a job after leaving the bench as Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Sure, former federal judges have been presidents, senators, or members of the cabinet. Landis, however, resigned his judgeship in 1922 to begin a 20+ year stint as the first commissioner of baseball. He is widely credited with saving the game after the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The Chicago judge banned eight White Sox players from the game after they threw the World Series. Among them was "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, the team's star and still considered one of baseball's great talents.

As folk/rock artist Jonathan Coulton sees it, Landis banning Jackson was just the tip of the iceberg. Although the historical record is relatively silent on the point, it seems Landis was virtually The Punisher while Jackson either ate babies or cut some pop songs a while back. Or both. Scandalous indeed.

Jonathan Coulton - Kenesaw Mountain Landis

That may be a better piece of fiction than Field of Dreams. For more on Jonathan Coulton check out his website.

Ben Harper Atlanta 11/2 pre-sale

I'm pretty sure the last time I saw Ben Harper was on the HORDE tour in 1998 with Blues Traveler, James, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Barenaked Ladies. Hard to believe that was nearly a decade ago. I can't say I've listened to the man a lot since those days, but Harper fans will be excited to know he's coming to the Fox Theater in Atlanta on November 2. Pre-sale starts tomorrow (Thurs., 8/23) via Ticketbastard, and the password is 'Windstorm.' Regular tix go on sale Saturday, August 25.

Because I don't have his material with me here at the office, here's a cover by Harper courtesy of

Ben Harper - Sexual Healing [live; Marvin Gaye]

For more on the band, check the official site.

Monday, August 20

Just dropped in

As will surprise few of you, I'm among the devoted masses who worship at the altar of The Big Lebowski. Among the multitude of things to love about the film is its soundtrack -- even if The Dude does hate the fucking Eagles, man. That film was my first exposure to "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was In)," a song penned to reflect the experience of using LSD and featuring Kenny Rogers on vocals. Awesome, no? The song's appearance in The Dude's dream sequence is tops:

You can imagine my sheer delight the first time I realized that Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings had covered the song, releasing it as a 7" via Daptone Records. Deeeelicious.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was in)

Really, I just wanted an excuse to share this song. It makes me shake my hindquarters in public places.

The next release from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights, is due October 2.

Saturday, August 18

Superhero karaoke

Given Meat Loaf's affiliation with the Marvel heroes, it's little wonder guys in the funnybooks have some love for classic rock. Actually, do the Village People count as classic rock? I'm pretty sure they play 'em on the same damn station, anyway.

From Fantastic Four #538...

Yikes. Although it would be amusing to see The Thing dressed up as the biker. Wouldn't "Macho Man" have been more appropriate?

From the Deadpool GLI Summer Fun Spectacular...

No surprise that Deadpool is into Styx. He's out of his mind.

In the spirit of classic rock karaoke, here are tracks from a few musical heroes getting in on the fun.

Of Montreal - Don't Stop Believin' [Journey; live 4-9-2007 w/ Jason NeSmith on vocals]
Jon Auer - Is She Really Going Out With Him? [Joe Jackson; live 6-30-2000]
Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper [Wham!; live 12-1-2006]
Mountain Goats - The Boys are Back in Town [Thin Lizzy; live 9-30-2004]

Almost makes me miss DaveFM. Almost.

Other Sound Music Festival, Sept. 6-9 in Atlanta

From September 6-9, the Other Sound Music Festival will take over four of Atlanta's key indie rock venues one at a time. This is the third annual installment of the festival, which features bands from several Atlanta-based record labels.

This year's headliners include All Night Drug Prowling Wolves, Moresight, Luigi, and Untied States. In addition to those Atlanta bands there will be numerous supporting acts on the bill. Here is the full lineup for each night, with audio samples when available:

Thursday, 9/6 @ Drunken Unicorn
9:30 Envie, 10:15 Mary O. Harrison, 11:00 Pistolero, 12:00 Moresight

Pistolero - The Kissing Bandit

Friday, 9/7 @ The EARL
Main stage:
8:45 PM Fernandina, 9:40 Citified, , 11:00 The Press, 12:20 All Night Drug Prowling Wolves
Side stage:
10:20 The Yum Yum Tree, 11:40 Lay Down Mains

All Night Drug Prowling Wolves - I Cannot Say
The Yum Yum Tree - Tetherball

Saturday, 9/8 @ Lenny's
Main stage:
8:35 Silent Kids, 9:45 Jupiter Watts, 11:00 One Hand Loves the Other, 12:30 Luigi
Side stage:
8 PM No Disassemble, 9:10 Novelift, 10:20 The Orphins, 11:45 Club Awesome

Luigi - Mariposa
Silent Kids - Drift into the Summer

Sunday, 9/9 @ 11:11 Teahouse
7 PM Jeff Evans, 7:45 Batata Doce, 8:30 Tenth to the Moon, 9:30 Untied States

For more info, additional audio, or a chance to win a four-day pass, check out the festival's Myspace page.

Friday, August 17

Amy Sedaris at Wordsmiths Books, Sept. 28

Author, actress, and comedian Amy Sedaris will be at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, Georgia, on September 28. Here's the 411 courtesy of the store:

Friday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. SHARP. Seating is limited. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. No tickets will be distributed before doors open. Call 404-378-7166 for information.

Sedaris will be there to promote her books I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, a humorous how-to guide to entertaining, and Wigfield, her tale of a bizarre town co-authored with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello.

To help those party planners out there, here are a couple excerpts from the audiobook of I Like You:

Amy Sedaris - Planning a Party
Amy Sedaris - Grieving

Audio Samples courtesy of

For a bit of Amy's hilarity, here's a clip of her on The Late Show in June 2006.

Wednesday, August 15

C&T on Blog Fresh Radio

I took part in this week's edition of Blog Fresh Radio, contributing a track from New York trio Beat the Devil. They were featured here a couple months ago, so if you were reading back in June you've already seen how much I like these guys. Can't wait for more news regarding their forthcoming full-length release.

Beat the Devil - Shine in Exile
Beat the Devil - Plea Bargain

Their Myspace has more audible goodies.

You can head to the Blog Fresh Radio to hear the full show, including tracks from Arizona, Vampire Weekend, Eskimo & Sons, and No Age along with the Blog Fresh Chart.

Apples in Stereo to tour, hit Atlanta and Athens 9/23-9/25

Robert Schneider was seemingly omnipresent at last weekend's Athens Popfest, and now he'll be returning to Atlanta and Athens next month. The Apples in Stereo begin a tour on August 31 that takes them from Denver through most major markets in the eastern U.S. Among those dates are September 23 in Atlanta, playing a 99X-sponsored Unplugged in the Park event, and a September 25 gig at The Fabulous 40 Watt here in Athens. I caught Marbles and Thee American Revolution at Popfest, so this should complete a Schneider hat trick.

Apples in Stereo - Energy [from New Magnetic Wonder]

The full tour schedule is on the band's Myspace page.

Tuesday, August 14

Checking in with The Selmanaires

I had a chance to get in a little chit-chat with Tommy and Mathis from The Selmanaires yesterday, and there's good news from the Atlanta quartet's camp.

They have completed recording their sophomore album, which will be due in early 2008 on International Hits. As mentioned here a while back, they are also preparing for an extensive tour with Black Lips which now also includes a one-off date in Fargo with Old Time Relijun. They also recently participated in the filming on the Atlanta edition of the "Burn to Shine" series along with Mastodon, Black Lips, Deerhunter, The Coathangers, The Liverhearts, and others. Each band played a set in an abandoned/condemned building before its destruction. That release is due next year, but no date has been set.

The Selmanaires will release a "Just to Get Your Love"/"Verdigris Intrigue" 7" next month featuring two songs from the new album. They were kind enough to leak an advance copy my way, so here is "Verdigris Intrigue" hot off the presses:

The Selmanaires - Verdigris Intrigue [from forthcoming 7"]

The 7" is not yet available for sale, but will be on International Hits.

The Selmanaires play the Star Bar in Atlanta on August 23 with Anna Kramer and Gringo Star before going on tour.

Monday, August 13

The Shins coming to Atlanta Civic Center, October 17

Big thanks to Jeff F. for pointing this out!

The Shins finally return to Atlanta on October 17, when they'll be at the Atlanta Civic Center downtown. It is among a number of upcoming dates, and the full schedule can be found at The Shins are soooo punk. A limited number of pre-sale tickets for Atlanta will be available tomorrow via The Shins website (registration required).

The Shins - Phantom Limb
The Shins - Know Your Onion
The Shins - So Says I

Opening up on the tour will be Shaky Hands and Vetiver, although I haven't been able to figure out who is on which dates. If we got Shaky Hands it would be wonderful. Too bad the Civic Center sucks.

Sunday, August 12

The Popfest and Daniel Johnston

Although many fine artists played Athens Popfest, now that it's over I'm left with the impression that the best was saved for last. Or, at least, the most important. Daniel Johnston closed out the festival on Saturday night (8/11) and delivered a performance that exceeded my expectations.

Johnston began the show with a solo set before being joined on the 40 Watt stage by a guitarist. The audience was largely reverent throughout, with only a few drunken idiots making their presence known. Luckily it was the sort of crowd that asks said idiots to please quiet down and behave, thankyouverymuch. I can't remember such an experience since the Silver Jews tour opener at the same venue 17 months ago.

About halfway through the set Johnston was joined on stage by Casper & the Cookies, who acted as his band for the evening. They played a number of his "hits" including "Casper the Friendly Ghost," "Speeding Motorcycle," "Impossible Love," and "Sorry Entertainer." I didn't keep track of the setlist, but both Sloan from Southern Shelter and my friend Lance were there taping.

Daniel Johnston - Speeding Motorcycle
Daniel Johnston - Sorry Entertainer

For those in Athens, The Devil and Daniel Johnston will be showing all week at Athens Ciné downtown. Showtimes are online.

A huge thanks to the Popfest organizers for all their hard work!

Saturday, August 11

Popfest, exhaustion, and the triumph of Black Kids

How do I spell exhaustion?


Athens Popfest is drawing to a close, with only tonight's performances at 40 Watt to go. How I Became the Bomb and Velcro Stars were quite good on Thursday night, and Friday saw a rare and fun set from Marbles at Little Kings. The lineup at 40 Watt last night was absolutely killer -- highlights for me were Ideal Free Distribution, Thee American Revolution, The Postmarks, Tullycraft, Casper & the Cookies, and Circulatory System. IFD and Thee American Revolution were better than I could have hoped, and seeing Tullycraft play "8 Great Ways" and "Wild Bikini" in person was a treat. What a night...

Velcro Stars - Brand New
How I Became the Bomb - Secret Identity
Ideal Free Distribution - Apples and Oranges
Tullycraft - 8 Great Ways
Tullycraft - Wild Bikini

Today's day shows at Little Kings were highlighted (for me) by a great set from Black Kids, who now have a whole new legion of fans in Athens, GA.

Black Kids are from Jacksonville, Florida, and play an energetic sort of punk-tinged dance rock. Think something like an '80s synth-rock band with occasional doo-wop harmonies and wit to spare. They have their moody moments, but they're too tongue-in-cheek to lump them with the mope-rock crowd. They gave away copies of their EP, so here are a few tracks:

Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You
Black Kids - Hurricane Jane
Black Kids - I Wanna Be Your Limousine

The night ahead includes Fishboy, Bunnygrunt, Cars Can Be Blue, Dark Meat, Elekibass, and Daniel Johnston. Here's hoping I don't pass out before it's all over.

Friday, August 10

Kanye West + Zach G. + Will Oldham = hilarity

Alex showed me this today, so maybe it passed you by too. Looks like it's been floating around for about two weeks. It's a video for Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" notable only because it features only a lip-synching Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham taking part in random farm hilarity. I'm sorry, but Bonnie 'Prince' Billy dancing in short shorts and a fishing hat is just funny.

Cubicle dwellers, beware the words of curse.

Thursday, August 9

Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies

Reporting in from Athens Popfest, where the daytime festivities at Little Kings are over. Of what I saw, the winner of the day was Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies. They got mad blog love about six weeks ago, and I can see why. They're a North Carolina pop outfit with a throwback sound, and I'm looking forward to their forthcoming EP. For now, a sample courtesy of the band:

Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies - Can You Dig It

I also met Robert Schneider (of Apples in Stereo, Marbles, Ulysses, Thee American Revolution, Orchestra Fantastique) and his wife Marci (of Ideal Free Distribution). They were coming out of The Grit when we were going in for lunch. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 8

Van Halen 7-6-1984 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN

Really, isn't this just about the most predictable reunion of the year?

David Lee Roth, the clown prince of '80s rock, is reuniting (again) with Van Halen for a tour this fall. The dates are to be announced next week, but for now here's a live set from the band (arguably) back in their prime. Well, at least at their commercial peak. Good enough.

They're supposedly planning 50 dates. I guess if The Police can tour, they can too. I don't keep up with Van Halen gossip (shock!) but it's hard to believe they can reunite with Diamond Dave but not Michael Anthony. Go figure.

Van Halen
July 6, 1984 - Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, IN

01. Unchained
02. Hot For Teacher
03. On Fire
04. Running With The Devil
05. Little Guitars
06. Cathedral / House Of Pain
07. Jamie's Cryin'
08. I'll Wait
09. Everybody Wants Some
10. Girl Gone Bad
11. 1984
12. Jump
13. Guitar Solo
14. Pretty Woman [Roy Orbison/Bill Dees]
15. Panama
16. You Really Got Me [The Kinks]
17. Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love

The full show is available from Sendspace [102mb].

If you have 4:33 at your disposal, YouTube is hosting VH's video for "Pretty Woman" once banned by Music Television. I understand this was their first video. My guess is that it was forbidden because it features two little people feeling up a drag queen, although it may have been due to its utter stupidity.

Tuesday, August 7

Norfolk & Western/Graves - Fleetwood's Hack

Olympia, Washington, vinyl label People In a Position to Know Recordings has released an interesting new 10" featuring two of Portland's finest. Fleetwood's Hack is a collaboration between Norfolk & Western (minus drummer Rachel Blumberg) and Graves (Greg Olin), on which the two bands cover classics by '50s-'60s doo-wop act The Fleetwoods. Not coincidentally, The Fleetwoods were also from the aforementioned Olympia. Just 490 individually-numbered copies will be released, and I already ordered one of them.

Norfolk & Western/Graves - To Know Her (Is To Love Her)
Norfolk & Western/Graves - Mr. Blue

The project also has a Myspace page on which you can hear more songs.

New Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - "100 Days, 100 Nights"

My goodness, this stuff just floors me. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, those neo-soul/funk heroes, have a new record due on October 2. It's called 100 Days, 100 Nights, and they've just released the title track to the hungry blogging masses. If you loved 2005's Naturally, it sounds like this record is going to be more of the same.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights

They are supposed to announce tour dates in the near future, so here's hoping they hit Georgia for a night or two.

Kindercore Reanimation Celebration, August 18 in Athens

The return of Kindercore seems like an event worthy of celebration, no? Apparently the label thinks so too:

August 18 at Caledonia Lounge in Athens will feature most of the label's current roster (USSR, King of Prussia, Ruby Isle) along with Fabulous Bird (Peter Alvanos, Bill Doss, Ryan Lewis, Dan Geller, Mat Lewis). They'll also be a huge Masters of the Hemisphere tribute band, though just who will appear on stage hasn't been revealed.

King of Prussia - Misadventures of the Campaign Kids
Ruby Isle - Into the Black
Masters of the Hemisphere - Second Hand News [Fleetwood Mac cover; from Kindercore Singles Club 7"]

It's only $5 to get in the door.

Monday, August 6

Spider-Man vs. The Unfortunate Title

From Devil Dinosaur #1, published by Marvel Comics in 1978...

There are so many things wrong with this I don't know where to begin. I do like that the villain nearly drops the F-bomb in the last frame.

Hat tip to Scott Shaw at for digging up this gem.

Packway Handle Band - "Just What I Needed"

I pretty much despise the idea of all those Pickin' On ____ albums that have appeared the past several years. They're rooted in a lame gimmick, and I think the thrill was gone after hearing The Gourds do "Gin and Juice" and Hayseed Dixie do an album of bluegrass AC/DC covers. However, a big smile came to my face when I heard Athens bluegrass champs Packway Handle Band cover The Cars' "Just What I Needed."

Packway Handle Band - Just What I Needed [The Cars; live 12-28-2005]

I guess I'm a sucker for this stuff after all. Might just have to pick up that Pickin' on Creed album. It's only $.20 plus shipping!

Packway Handle Band is on tour out west right now, and the full schedule is on their webpage.

Sunday, August 5

No postage required

More new and/or groovy tunes rescued from my inbox, mailbox, and around the webosphere....

The Postmarks - Dreamer [Astrud Gilberto cover]
Art in Manila - The Abomination [folk/pop/rock]
Ryan Anderson - Hospital Bed [folk pop]
Bon Iver - Skinny Love [damn good folk pop]
Angel and the Love Mongers - The Humanist Queen [pop/rock]
The Cape May - Copper Tied [melodramatic indie]
Bert Susanka - Onward Christian Slater [surf/western rock]
Debbie Harry - Two Times Blue [Blondie!]
Ladyslipper - Chicago [indie rock]
Montag - Best Boy Electric [electro-pop/dance]
Visitations - Television [Athens folk pop]
The Blakes - Pistol Grip [70s-style power pop/rock]

Further suggestions welcome if you've been digging something I need to hear.

The Brunettes to tour, Georgia dates October 9-10

Too-cute-for-words New Zealand popsters The Brunettes are due to release a new record, Structure and Cosmetics, and set out on an extensive world tour. Luckily for north Georgia, it will include two stops here in October. They'll be at The EARL (ATL) on October 9 and Tasty World (Athens) on October 10, as well as Nashville's lovely Mercy Lounge on October 11.

I haven't seen them live since opening for The Shins a while back. I recall hustling back to the merch booth between sets to pick up their material, as it was not yet available in the U.S. Since then they've signed to Sub Pop and any distribution woes are a thing of the past.

The Brunettes - Small Town Crew [from Structure and Cosmetics]

You can pre-order Structure and Cosmetics from Sub Pop.

Saturday, August 4

The Decemberists w/ the ASO 7-13-2007 @ Chastain Park Amph.

First, I need to thank Ben/Sherbz for providing this audio. I haven't gotten around to editing my tape of the show, but he sent me a link to his that I very much appreciate. For those keeping score, he also taped the Sufjan show from the Fox that that was posted here. Good man!

Photo by Ashley Melzer

Among the stops on The Decemberists' recent symphonic tour was a July 13 visit to Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta. It was a unique show, and I'm glad that I attended. Colin Meloy was chatty and in good spirits, and seemed to be amused by the atmosphere at Chastain with seated yuppies watching the band while dining on wine and Triscuits. Personally, I wanted to slug a number of people in my vicinity who chatted throughout the set and only acknowledged the band by occasionally asking each other "Is this still the same song?" Yes, it is. Now shut up.

The symphony added an epic element to the material, and the addition of strings and horns really took a few songs to the next level. If you were reading here back around Bonnaroo then you can probably guess my highlight of the show -- "The Tain" with an orchestra? Oh, sweet Lord...

The Decemberists
with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
July 13, 2007
Chastain Park Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA

...The Crane Wife 1 & 2
The Infanta
We Both Go Down Together
The Bagman's Gambit
The Perfect Crime No. 2 (w/o ASO)
Los Angeles, I'm Yours
The Tain
O Valencia! (w/o ASO)
I Was Meant for the Stage
- encore w/o ASO -
16 Military Wives
Mariner intro > The Mariner's Revenge Song

It sounds like Ben had the same problem I did at the start of "The Crane Wife 1 & 2"... the band came out suddenly and right on time (8pm!), so it seems we both missed the beginning of the song. C'est la vie.

You can download the full show from Sendspace [123 mb].

If you're more the visual type, several videos from the show are on YouTube. There are also photos on the Paste blog taken by Ashley Melzer.

Thanks to Scrivenings for reminding me which songs included the ASO.

Emily Easterly

I don't care what Cartman says. Brooklyn's Emily Easterly is living proof that there's nothing wrong with Gingers.

I'm hesitant to characterize Easterly as a singer-songwriter, although that description would be accurate -- I just don't want to invoke the idea she's some fragile flower strumming an acoustic guitar. Her stuff is lo-fi, raw, and electric. I'm pretty sure there's some sort of mp3 blog drinking game where shots are consumed if a female artist is compared to PJ Harvey or Cat Power, but I'd toss those out as apparent influences. Her Myspace also features a live cover of Neil Young's "Don't Let It Bring You Down" if that provides some hint of her sound.

She has reportedly been in the studio lately, but here are a couple tracks from her 2005 release Seasons Never Change:

Emily Easterly - Slow Motion Blink
Emily Easterly - Miami

(Note that these files aren't streaming properly with the 'play' buttons)

Easterly is in the middle of a Southern tour right now, including a stop in Athens on Monday night. After leaving lovely Asheville she heads back to the northeast.

8/02 Metro Cafe, Savannah, GA
8/04 Churchills Pub, Miami, FL
8/06 Tasty World, Athens, GA
8/07 Town Pump Tavern, Asheville, NC
8/12 The Living Room, New York, NY

You can purchase her music from her official site.

Friday, August 3

birds & wire

Man, do I dig the ampersand.

I don't know what it is lately, but I've come across a good number of excellent female singer-songwriters in the past several months. Another I've not yet mentioned here is Athens' own Lera Lynn, who fronts birds & wire. Their music is folky with clear jazz influences -- it is little surprise that their Myspace features a lovely cover of Nick Drake's "River Man." Lynn and company aren't offering any goods for sale yet, but have released a few unmastered tracks to the world, two of which you can download here.

birds & wire - Oh My
birds & wire - Goin' Gone

Quite promising, and I'm eager to hear more. They have a few upcoming shows, all here in downtown Athens:

8/04 Tasty World, Athens, GA
8/17 Morton Theater, Athens, GA (NPR taping)
9/04 Melting Point, Athens, GA

One of the shows is a five minute walk from my office and other is equidistant from my home, so hopefully I'll see them in the near future. For more info, you can see their Myspace.

The Mendoza Line throw in the towel

Wow, this slipped right by me. Had no idea until Patrick mentioned in the EARL update.

Former Athens indie act (now of Brooklyn) The Mendoza Line has broken up (or taken indefinite hiatus), apparently as a result of a romantic split between songwriters Shannon McArdle and Timothy Bracy. It looks like they're playing a residency in New York next month and then throwing in the towel. They will obviously no longer be appearing at The EARL on August 5.

The Mendoza Line - Since I Came

Check out their website for more info on the band.

A darn shame. I wish them well in their future pursuits.

Hotpipes - "Song for the Late Riser"

Nashville's Hotpipes have released a new video for their "Song for the Late Riser." The track appears on their current, self-titled release.

mp3: Hotpipes - Song for the Late Riser [live, courtesy of]

You can see their tour schedule on their Myspace, including a Sept. 27 stop at The EARL when they'll play with Moresight.

Thursday, August 2

Stevie Wonder to tour U.S., Atlanta show on Sept. 14

Legendary performer Stevie Wonder has just announced his first tour in more than a decade, and it includes a 9/14 stop at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta. Sweet. I had the pleasure of seeing Stevie perform at a political event a few years ago, but he hasn't toured since before I could drive. Here is the full tour schedule, courtesy of CNNMoney (seriously):

8/23 Humphrey's, San Diego, CA
8/25 Harvey's Lake Tahoe Amphitheature
8/26 Concord Pavillion, Concord, CA
8/28 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA
8/30 Edgefield Amph., Portland, OR
8/31 Chateau Saint Michelle Winery, Woodinville, WA
9/04 Mountain Winery, Saratoga, CA
9/05 Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
9/10 Charter One Pavilion, Chicago, IL
9/12 Meadowbrook, Detroit, MI
9/14 Chastain Park Amph., Atlanta, GA
9/16 Pier Six Pavilion, Baltimore, MD
9/20 B of A Pavilion, Boston, MA

As a tease, here's a taste of live Stevie from more than three decades ago:

Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground [live 7-4-1973]

According to the AJC, tickets for the Atlanta show go on sale August 11.

The Darjeeling Limited

I love the films of Wes Anderson, and I've been looking forward to the forthcoming The Darjeeling Limited for ages. The film enters limited release on September 29. It stars Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman as brothers who travel through India after the death of their father. The cast also includes Natalie Portman and Anjelica Huston, and full details are available at IMDB.

A first peek, courtesy of Fox Searchlight:

Black Lips and Subsonics at Clermont Lounge, August 16

Amy M. mentioned this show in the comments below, but I figure it's worth a post of its own. I mean, the Black Lips and Subsonics playing at Atlanta's most famous seedy strip joint?

The show is brought to you by the folks from Rob's House Records, and I expect it will be nothing short of ridiculous.

Want audio? You got audio:

Black Lips - Oh Katrina
Black Lips - Not a Problem
Cole Alexander [of Black Lips] - Fullmoon
Subsonics - Pretty Broken Thing
Subsonics - Stars

Be still my heart

ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski, June 4, 2007: "The Chicago Cubs are the worst team in baseball. This is an indisputable, irrefutable fact, as obvious as the ivy on the outfield walls or the steel trough urinals in the Wrigley Field men's bathrooms."

Associated Press, August 1, 2007: "Matt Murton raced home on Brett Myers' bases-loaded wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night as the Cubs beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 and took over first place in the NL Central."

I knew there was a reason I wear that damn blue hat everywhere.

Matt Murton, by the way, is from McDonough, Georgia, and played college ball at Georgia Tech. Just to add a little local flavor...

Bonus mp3: Mountain Goats - Cubs in Five [live 2-18-2004 @ The EARL]

Wednesday, August 1

New Black Lips - "Cold Hands"

Atlanta's own Black Lips have a new record due on September 11 called Good Bad Not Evil. The release date is just one day before they start a massive tour with The Selmanaires (!!!) at the 40 Watt here in Athens, with The Coathangers opening up. Vice has been kind enough to send along a sample from GBNE for y'all to check out.

Black Lips - Cold Hands

You can check out the full Black Lips tour schedule on the Vice Records site.

Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators - "If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)"

The soul sounds of Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators have been getting all kinds of love lately, and Light in the Attic Records has just released the first video from their current release Keep Reachin' Up. Here's the video for "If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)" hot off the presses:

Good stuff.

Nicole Willis and the Soul Investigators - If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)

You can order Keep Reachin' Up directly from the label.

Luke Perry. Dylan. Decatur. Movie.

I just had to mention this, because I'm pretty sure it's either awesome or hilarious.

The AJC is reporting that LeAnn Rimes and Luke Perry (!!!) are filming an "off-beat comedy caper" in Decatur, right around the corner from my former home. Apparently they are among the cast of Good Intentions, which also features some dude who was in "Walker, Texas Ranger." I don't know how it will rank among movies filmed in Atlanta but I bet it won't challenge Run Ronnie Run for local flavor. This is almost as cool as when Jared Leto went to Raging Burrito on Decatur Square a couple years ago.

With any luck, a local guy on the hefty side will try to duplicate Peter Griffin's seduction of the 90210 alum:

I never quote Paris Hilton around here, but that's hot.

New songs from Maritime

Maritime are set to release their third album, Heresy and the Hotel Choir, on October 16. These are the first two tracks the Milwaukee popsters have released from that effort, and they hint at a promising full-length to come.

Maritime - Guns of Navarone
Maritime - For Science Fiction

Their Myspace hasn't been updated in ages, but they seem to be keeping up with their official site.

Bonus mp3: Maritime - Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts