Tuesday, August 29

For those who have been asking...

No, I haven't fallen off the planet. I just haven't been able to justify taking time to mess with the blog lately. I see I'm about 400 e-mails behind, and I'm not eager to get into those now either. If I haven't responded to you, it's nothing personal. I'm working on getting some other folks to contribute here, at least until the spring. Until then I should be working on my dissertation and trying to secure a job.

No music plans on my agenda right now other than Sufjan at the Fox. I appreciate the offers and show announcements that come my way, but don't be surprised if you don't see me out in town much right now. Hope everyone is doing well, and good luck to the students out there with the new academic year!

Further updates will probably come when the new contributors come on board.

Saturday, August 12

Cassavetes in search of new member(s)

Atlanta band Cassavetes is looking for a new member. I've featured the band here before, and the locals may have already seen them live in ATL. They've been playing as a quartet, but recently a member of the band, Tyler Woodstrom, has had to part with Cassavetes due to moving out of town for school. As Tyler played keys, guitar, and trumpet the band is apparently considering taking on more than one new member to make up for his departure.

I've described their sound as sort of Constantines-meets-Wilco, and they seem to agree. They've just released a new album, Funny Story, and have a good deal of original material. In fact, I don't think I've seen them play a cover yet live. In addition, I can add that they seem to be really good guys. Here are a couple tracks from Funny Story:

Cassavetes - My Heart Your Beat
Cassavetes - An Ancient Mistake

For more on the band, see their official site or their MySpace page. Interested parties can contact them via MySpace.

The band has also posted an ad for the position(s) on Craigslist, through which you can contact the band directly.

Friday, August 11

How to be an expert (by Stephen Colbert)

Funny feature on Wired's website right now featuring Stephen Colbert. In fact, it's both entertaining and practical. Stephen reveals how to be an expert on anything. Here are a few of the highlights:

SPEAK FROM THE BALLS, NOT FROM THE DIAPHRAGM. In the expert game, you’ve got to have sack. That means speaking with confidence. In America, you’ve got to steer clear of nuance and ambivalence – and don’t even contemplate doubt.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THINGS UP. Never fear being exposed as a fraud. Experts make things up all the time. They’re qualified to.

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF TO CURRENT KNOWLEDGE. If you worry too much about being up-to-date, you miss out on vast territories of obsolete knowledge just waiting to be reclaimed. Think of leech-craft and all the lonely experts in the use of the little creatures, which are now experiencing a renaissance in health care.

GET AN HONORARY PHD. They work wonders. I have a doctorate in fine arts from Knox College in Illinois. All I did was give a speech, and now everybody has to call me Dr. Colbert.

For the complete list, see the feature itself. Study hard, and maybe one day you'll get to spout off on cable news too. I expect a shout-out.

Bonus mp3:

Glen Phillips - Political Science [Randy Newman cover; live 3-23-2002]

The full Glen show is available in .shn format at archive.org.

Thursday, August 10

Devotchka - "Venus in Furs"

Simply adoring DeVotchKa this week. Both their contributions to the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack and their Curse Your Little Heart EP are the bee's knees. Here's a track from the latter:

DeVotchKa - Venus in Furs

More info on MySpace.

Change of pace

Alright, y'all... time for a change of pace here. I'm swamped with dissertation and job market stuff for the next while. Therefore, I'd like try a new format for the time being. All posts until further notice will be short and snappy. Don't expect in-depth reviews or commentary. Most of my writing and work time is going to have to be spent on academic pursuits. I hope the other grad students out there can feel my pain. I'll still try to provide interesting content.

Cool? Cool. Thanks for checking in. I heart you guys.

- R

P.S. - Took the time to watch A Streetcar Named Desire this week and was thoroughly underwhelmed. Am I missing something?

Monday, August 7

Busy, busy, busy

No time for a real post today, and will probably have to slow my overall pace for the time being. Busy, busy, busy.

Honeydogs - Busy Man (live 1-3-1997) [via archive.org]

Have a great Monday!

Friday, August 4

Sports & Music at SI.com

Over at the website of CNN/Sports Illustrated, they have a feature today on sports and music. Among the features is a list of the 10 Greatest Sports Songs. They specified that their picks had to be good for listening either at the ballgame/arena/track/stadium or away, which they used to justify the exclusion of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" altogether (bastards!). Here are their picks:

10. Stephen Foster - "My Old Kentucky Home" (1953)
09. Alan Courtney and Ben Homer - "Joltin' Joe Dimaggio" (1941)
08. Bruce Springsteen - "Glory Days" (1984)
07. John Fogerty - "Centerfield" (1985)
06. Leo Arnaud - "Bugler's Dream" (aka "Olympic Fanfare") (1958)
05. Joe Raposo - "Winners" (1973)
04. Bill Conti - "Gonna Fly Now" (Rocky theme) (1976)
03. Freeman "Brother Bones" Davis - "Sweet Georgia Brown" (1925)
02. Lavallee/Routhier (French), Weir (English) - "Oh, Canada" (1880/1908)
01. Freddie Mercury - "We Are the Champions" (1977)

Well, at least they left off "YMCA" and anything by Pink or the Black-Eyed Peas. No "Eye of the Tiger"? Or "Rock and Roll, Pt. 2"? Hmm. Then again, maybe they decided to exclude sex offenders from the list.

Personally, as a Cubs fan, I've gotta go with this one:

Steve Goodman - A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request

Even if you don't root for the Baby Bears from the North Side, it's a really clever little tune. And it'll help you relate to our misery. Sigh.

They also have features on underplayed songs (including Primus and The Kinks), odd albums by sports stars (Shaq Fu, anyone?), and a photo gallery of athletes who have dabbled in music.

Also, I now want this:

You show that tooth decay who's boss, champ.

New EARL show announcements (ATL)


09.02 Sound Team
09.21 Peelander-Z/Supersystem
09.24 French Kicks
10.02 Ratatat
10.11 Damien Jurado
10.21 Portastatic
11.01 The Slackers
11.18 Hidden Cameras
11.22 Jamie Lidell

As always, tix available at the EARL website. Click on the monkey.

Of this bunch I'm most excited about French Kicks and Jamie Lidell. Those should be killer.

Swim Party - Sewing and Blood EP

There must be some very good things going on in San Diego right now. You should all know about Kite Flying Society by now, and I've also been impressed by what I've heard of San Diego artists Lindsey Yung and Bushwalla. Yet another rising San Diego band I've been able to check out (despite my east coast base) is an impressive quartet known as Swim Party.

Swim Party was kind enough to send me their current EP, and though it's only 5 tracks long it definitely leaves me wanting to hear more. I'm particularly struck by the diversity of the tracks -- I can certainly appreciate a band that sounds like pacific northwest indie rock one track and some sort of post-punk/pop hybrid the next.

I'm not sure who plays what in the band, but it's worth noting that among their primary instruments is a violin. It may not sound that significant, but it adds a really unique element to their sound, particularly when they wander into math-rock territory. Can you tell I like this EP? Check out a few tracks for yourself:

Swim Party - Twenty-Five
Swim Party - Sunlight & Sprawl
Swim Party - Simplest Ways

I'm told the EP's are only $5, and you can get one by contacting the band via their MySpace page or official site. If I didn't already have one, I'd definitely order one right now. Especially since I've seen in person how cool they are. The packaging for the EP is hand-made and obviously took some TLC.

Whatever it is that's going on in San Diego, keep it up. I'll be looking forward to the Swim Party full-length whenever it emerges.

By the way, while you're at it... both Swim Party and Kite Flying Society are nominated for San Diego Music Awards. If you wanna lend 'em some support, you can go here to vote.

Thursday, August 3

Francine - Airshow

After listening to a few not-so-good and marginal promo CD's this week, it was a pleasure to finally get to the current release from Francine. Titled Airshow, the album was released back in June and has already gotten a good bit of blog attention. I have, however, ignored the buzz since I wanted to listen to the album without any particular expectations.

Hailing from Cambridge, Mass., Francine is a pop quintet that seems to be that rare act who could appeal to both indie nerds and commercial radio. It's accessible, but still smart and edgy. To my ears their sound is something akin to that of Elliot Smith, Grandaddy, or Death Cab, although they're not shy about injecting some digital effects into their pop. I understand that their past efforts have been more in the power pop mold, but I see little evidence of that here; the tracks on Airshow are generally more introspective and low-key in tone.

Here are a few tracks from the album to check out:

Francine - Daysucker
Francine - Here Comes
Francine - Zeros and Ones

They have a few more songs available on their official site and their MySpace page. The record can be purchased from Q Division Records for $10. You can also get if for $5 if you sign up for their mailing list via their MySpace. That's pretty nifty, I'd say.

This weekend in Atlanta - Parker benefit, GaryFest, etc.

If you're looking for something to do this weekend in Atlanta, I suggest checking out what's going down at Star Bar. On Friday night they're hosting a benefit for an Atlantan in need, and on Saturday they're hosting a bunch of local bands at GaryFest.

On Friday night a benefit will be held for Justin Parker, a member of Atlanta's indie music scene who recently lost both of his legs in a tragic accident. Here's a summary of the event's background, direct from its MySpace page:

On the evening of Saturday July 9th, a close friend of Parker’s lost control of her truck while re-parking it in the lot fronting Liberty Tattoo on Ponce de Leon. The truck drove through the front window of the tattoo shop, pinning Justin Parker and crushing his legs. He was transported to Grady Hospital where both legs were amputated. Justin is a self-employed carpenter supporting a wife and two small children, and has no health insurance. Parker, 34, is a lifelong Atlanta resident and an enthusiastic participant in Atlanta’s skateboard, dirt bike and alternative music scenes. He was the drummer of Reeb (“beer” spelled backwards), a local punk band. He and his family have a long, costly, and difficult road ahead.

Since the accident, the Atlanta community has rallied around the Parkers. Friends, bands, tattoo shops, motorcycle shops, and other local businesses are helping to raise funds for the family of Justin Parker.

If you'd like to donate to the fund for Justin's family, the info is on the MySpace page linked above.

I don't know a lot about the bands on the bill other than the Selmanaires, but they're obviously a favorite of mine.

The Selmanaires - Selmanaire Rock
The Selmanaires - Images
The Selmanaires - Day Tripper [live 1-7-2006; acoustic; Beatles cover]
The Selmanaires - Psychotic Reaction [live 3-21-2006; Count Five cover]

On Saturday night, the Star Bar hosts GaryFest starting around 6pm. This looks like a good time too:

Here's a track by the Silent Kids, a local C&T fave who are on the bill:

Silent Kids - Engine of a Lifetime

If you find yourself wandering over to The Vortex while you're in Little 5 Points, I suggest having the chili cheeseburger with firehouse chili and tots. Deeeeelicious.

Lots of other good stuff this weekend too -- The Selmanaires at The EARL (Saturday), The Clientele and Snowden at The EARL (Sunday), and Muse at Tabernacle (Sunday).

The Clientele - E.M.P.T.Y.
Snowden - Anti-Anti

I have to admit though, it's gonna be hard to keep me away from Talladega Nights this weekend. Decisions, decisions...


I neglected to mention a couple events on Friday as well:

The Liverhearts and Lylas @ Lenny's
Justin Parker Benefit @ The EARL with Telegram, Creve Coeur, and the Atlanta Rollergirls

Wow. Can't believe those slipped my mind.

As noted in the comments, there are also a couple other good shows on Saturday night:

All the Saints @ Lenny's
The Judies @ Smith's Olde Bar

Wednesday, August 2

Clerks II

Caught Clerks II last night. I'll give it a B+. Anybody else catch it yet?

And here's a song that's related to the movie... sorta.

Raq - Donkey Show

If you've seen it, you'll understand.

Sorry for the brief post -- having a busy day. I'll try to get my review of the Ryan Adams show from Tabernacle up in the near future.

Tuesday, August 1

Happy birthday, Jerry

Today would have been the 64th birthday of Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 - August 9, 1995). He was one of the most prolific and influential guitarists and songwriters of his generation, and he left us far too soon. Whether with his own band, alongside such artists as David Grisman, Bob Dylan, and David Crosby, or playing with the Good Ol' Grateful Dead, Garcia won the hearts and blew the minds of millions during a career spanning more than three decades.

In honor of the man and his music, here are a few live tracks from throughout his career. The JGB songs each feature him leading his own band, while the Grateful Dead tracks are each songs on which Garcia had the lead vocal and contributed some gorgeous guitar work. I won't begin to claim that these are the best or most representative versions of these particular songs, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.

Jerry Garcia Band - Deal (live October 1987; from Pure Jerry 4)
Jerry Garcia Band - Friend of the Devil (live July 1977; from Pure Jerry 1)
Grateful Dead - Bird Song (live 12-11-1988)
Grateful Dead - Sugaree (live 9-9-1972)
Grateful Dead - Dark Star (live 3-26-1968)
Grateful Dead - Loser (live 8-6-1971)

I'll never understand why so many indie/hipster types choose to dismiss anything related to the Dead without giving it a chance. They wrote some beautiful songs, and even if you can't stomach the jamming you should pick up a copy of Garcia (1972). Wow.

Bonus mp3:
Ryan Adams - Bird Song (live 6-16-2005; with Phil Lesh)