Thursday, January 31

It's Alex Ross's world, and we just live in it

If you could be anybody today, I bet it wouldn't be Rudy Giuliani or John Edwards. A much better candidate would be superstar comics artist Alex Ross. By some odd confluence of events, Ross's redesigns of Captain America, Spider-Man, and a plethora of Golden Age characters all hit stands today.

The debut of the Ross-designed Cap was accompanied by a new man in the uniform -- you may have seen something about this in the mainstream press. Captain America #34 sees Cap's former sidekick Bucky Barnes wearing the flag, which I hope isn't a spoiler to anybody who cares by now. A terrific issue, by the way -- more great work by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Steve Epting. My favorite series continues to impress, and there's an "oh sh*t!" ending that I don't want to ruin for other readers.

From Captain America #34

A comic with which Ross is more closely associated is the new Project Superpowers from Dynamite Entertainment. It sees him, like Alan Moore before him, rescuing a number of Golden Age figures from public domain and enlisting them once again as heroes. Issue #0 was released today, setting the stage for the mini-series to come. Fighting Yank narrates the beginning of the tale, explaining the heroes' World War II history and how all but he and Green Lama fell into limbo. The issue itself was heavy on chatting and posing, but set the stage as well as explaining how the lost heroes will return and what threats they'll face. Between this and The Twelve, I should get my fill of long-neglected characters.

The Black Terror, The Scarab, Fighting Yank, The Flame, Green Lama

While I knew in advance about the contributions of Alex Ross to the new Captain America and Project Superpowers comics, another of his designs showed up where I didn't expect it. I picked up What If? Spider-Man Versus Wolverine because I like co-author Jeff Parker, and was surprised at the direction it took. Events in the issue lead to Spidey and Wolvie teaming up as a mercenary black ops unit (!), which was pretty entertaining. I'm sure it'll turn off those folks who think heroes shouldn't kill, blah blah blah, but I'm not bothered. An unexpected turn was when Spider-Man changed uniforms off-panel, turning up in an outfit I believe was originally designed by Alex Ross (but not used) for the Spidey movies. Sure didn't see that coming...

A nice week of comics, and that's without mentioning the three Avengers titles. Now, just hours until the Lost season premiere. Sweeet.

Wednesday, January 30

Video: The Whigs on Letterman

If you missed Athens locals The Whigs playing "Right Hand on My Heart" on The Late Show with David Letterman, you're in luck. YouTube loves you.

Power trio indeed. I posted this song a couple days ago.

Hat tip to The Futurist.

Tuesday, January 29

R.E.M. announce North American tour, Atlanta date 6/21

The Athens Banner-Herald is reporting that R.E.M. have announced tour dates for the summer, with Modest Mouse and The National as the openers. Uh... wow. The dates are as follows:

5/23: Vancouver - Deer Lake Park
5/29: Los Angeles - Hollywood Bowl
5/31: Berkeley - The Greek Theatre
6/03: Denver - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
6/06: Chicago - United Center
6/08: Toronto - Molson Amphitheatre
6/10: Raleigh - Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
6/11: Washington, D.C. - Merriweather Post Pavilion
6/13: Boston - Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts
6/14: Long Island - Jones Beach Theater
6/18: Philadelphia - Mann Center for the Performing Arts
6/19: New York City - TBA
6/21: Atlanta - Lakewood Amphitheatre

R.E.M.'s new album, Accelerate, is due on April 1.

R.E.M. - Superman [from Life's Rich Pageant]

No word yet on who opens when, and I'm not even sure which I'd prefer. Billboard says that both The National and Modest Mouse are opening the entire tour. Whew!

Ben Grimm hates emo

Before he was the head of X-Factor Investigations, young Jamie Madrox was just another whiney emo wanker. Ben Grimm, the Ever Lovin' Blue-Eyed Thing, just ain't having it.

That hip Bright Eyes reference is pretty impressive given the February 1975 cover date.

Bright Eyes - We are Nowhere and It's Now
Bright Eyes - Haligh, Haligh, A Lie, Haligh

Jamie Madrox gets lost on the way to Hot Topic in Fantastic Four Annual #4, written by Len Wein and Chris Claremont with pencils by John Buscema, reprinted in the Giant-Size Marvel trade paperback.

Monday, January 28

The Whigs on Letterman tonight

Athens' own The Whigs released their new album, Mission Control, last week to much rejoicing. Tonight they appear on The Late Show with David Letterman, which airs at 11:30 EST.

The Whigs - Right Hand on My Heart
The Whigs - Like a Vibration

You can stream Mission Control over at Rhapsody.

Also appearing will be The Invisible Woman herself, Jessica Alba.

Now we are two

It's January 28 again. What does that mean? It's C&T's second blogiversary!

As the blog is now officially in the "terrible twos," we're sure to get in all kinds of trouble.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 27

The Black Lips at the library

The Black Lips last week at Georgia State University's library plaza, courtesy of GSU's Digital Arts Entertainment Lab:

Black Lips - Stranger
Black Lips - Not a Problem

Ain't no Black Lips show like an Atlanta Black Lips show.

Destroyer coming to The EARL, April 28

He's been making waves lately with his new Hello, Blue Roses project, but it looks like Dan Bejar is going back to his roots for a spring tour. I have decidedly mixed feelings about Destroyer and Dan Bejar's stage presence, but find myself glad to see he's coming back to Atlanta. Destroyer will be at The EARL on April 28. No word yet on nationwide dates.

Destroyer - European Oils
Destroyer - Sublimation Hour

Tickets are available from Ticket Alternative.

Update, 1/30: Pitchfork now has dates for the full North American tour.

Andrew Bird 5-17-2003 @ 40 Watt, Athens, GA

"My name is Andrew Bird.... 's Bowl of Fire."

Before he became an indie superstar of sorts, Andrew Bird ventured through Athens in May 2003. That night he played a set opening for Vic Chesnutt that included several songs that later appeared on The Mysterious Production of Eggs. A kind soul has made the set available from the Live Music Archive, and it's a nice peek at what Bird was up to at the time. It's a pretty nice audience recording, and a great document of a rising artist.

Andrew Bird
May 17, 2003
40 Watt Club, Athens, GA

01. First Song
02. Capital I
03. Action/Adventure
04. Why?
05. Lull
06. Gotholympians
07. Happy Day
08. Master Fade
09. Skin Is, My
10. (Tables & Chairs)
11. Weather Systems

Note the early version of "Tables & Chairs," and that "Capital I" later became Armchair Apocrypha standout "Imitosis." For more on Andrew Bird, see his site.

Least surprising caption of the day

No way, MSNBC! Really?!

The troops liked seeing Scarlett Johansson?

Well, that's just shocking. [probably NSFW]

Bonus mp3: The Teenagers - Starlett Johansson [at Zshare]

Friday, January 25

Friday Night Fights: Knockout!!!

While Ram may have been kind of a tool, you ought not mess with Computer Fist. His digital digits make fists of fury:

From James Kochalka's Super F*ckers #1, which is pretty much what the Legion of Super-Heroes would be like if they were all assholes.

Bahlactus brings the pain.

Bonus mp3: James Kochalka Superstar - Superf*ckers Theme Song

Atlanta comics enthusiasts note that Todd McFarlane will be signing autographs at CNN Center on Saturday and Sunday (1/26 and 1/27) from 2-5pm. He'll actually be there promoting McFarlane Toys, but I'll be there with a copy of All-Star Squadron #47. Thanks to Devlin for digging that out of the back issues at Bizarro Wuxtry!

Thursday, January 24

Separated at birth?


Ron Perlman as "Vincent" in TV's Beauty and the Beast

Joe Madureira's Ultimate Sabretooth from Ultimates 3 #2

At least one of them has discovered conditioner.

Bonus mp3: Clem Snide - Long Lost Twin [live 10-25-2003]

Lee Bob Watson - "Let the Hate In (I Won't)"

I gave some love to California folk-popster Lee Bob Watson back in June, but I've never gotten around to sharing the song that initially won me over. "Let the Hate In (I Won't)" appears on the excellent Grass Roots Recording Co. Family Album and it's five solid minutes of foot-tapping, head-nodding excellence.

Lee Bob Watson - Let the Hate In (I Won't)

Watson has since released his current album, Aficionado, which has been praised by the big boys over at My Old Kentucky Blog and An Aquarium Drunkard. Definitely recommended by yours truly as well.

Taters of the Lost Ark

Coming in May from Hasbro, the Tater of the Lost Ark:

Seriously, I'm pretty sure people only have kids so they can buy stuff like this. So awesome.

Hat tip to Newsarama.

Wednesday, January 23

Jason Choi - "Leave the Night Behind"

Florida's Jason Choi has a new album, Leave the Night Behind, due on February 11. A couple songs from the release are now floating around for mass consumption, and I'm particularly fond of the title track. It's a melodic, understated song featuring guest vocals from Sarah Carter. If it's any indication, I'm looking forward to hearing the album in full.

Jason Choi - Leave the Night Behind

For more on Choi, see his Myspace.

The Terrordactyls - "Devices" (with Kimya Dawson)

I've come to really enjoy Kimya Dawson's charming anti-folk, and have been pleased to see her enjoy a spat of attention thanks to the Juno soundtrack. I was also happy to listen through the current self-titled release from The Terrordactyls and notice that Dawson took a turn on guest vocals. Kimya and kazoos in the same track? Winner!

The Terrordactyls - Devices [with Kimya Dawson]

The album as a whole is alternately bittersweet and quirky, like some odd amalgam of The Unicorns and Bright Eyes -- fun, to be sure. You can stream the entire record online.

Bonus mp3: The Terrodactyls - Fall

Tuesday, January 22

C&T on Blog Fresh Radio

I'm featured on Blog Fresh Radio this week, and they let me talk a bit about Nashville's fantabulous Brooke Waggoner. She's been featured multiple times here, and now Brooke is on BFR alongside British Sea Power, The Dodos, Cassette Kids, School of Language, Magnetic Fields, and The Low Miffs. The show also features Matthew from Song, By Toad, so you know it has to be good.

Brooke Waggoner - Hush If You Must
Brooke Waggoner - Wonder-Dummied

Download her Fresh Pair of Eyes EP from her website.

Heath Ledger, 1979-2008

Found dead this afternoon in a New York apartment. Rest in peace, Heath.

Monday, January 21

Stream new albums from The Selmanaires, Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause!!!

The terrific new albums from both The Selmanaires and Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause are due out on Tuesday, and now you can hear them in advance. The blog for their label, Atlanta-based International Hits, is streaming both albums -- GO LISTEN NOW!

Both have been dominating my stereo lately, and if you're a long-time reader you know I'm excited. Buy the goodness from International Hits.

The Selmanaires - Reason and Chance
Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause - When You See Him

I hope to write proper reviews soon, but I have some professional commitments to tackle first. Atlanta locals note that both bands will play at Criminal Records on Tuesday to celebrate the new records, and the proper release show is at The EARL on Saturday, January 26. I'll be there with bells on.

Captain America vs. Video Professor

You know that Video Professor guy who has all those late night commercials? He'd love to teach you computers. Really though, you don't need all that (even if his assistant is kinda cute). All you need is one readable copy of Captain America #313, written by Mark Gruenwald and penciled by Paul Neary, from January 1986. The asterisks know all.

Remember when everybody who had a computer looked like that? Those weren't the days.

Later, Ram went on to invent LOLLERSKATES. Hacker!

Bonus mp3: YACHT - I Love a Computer

Thursday, January 17

Meet the Beetles

From this week's awesome Booster Gold #6, in which three generations of the Blue Beetle team up with Booster to rescue a fallen comrade:

Booster Gold, Blue Beetle I, Blue Beetle III, future Blue Beetle

Not exactly subtle, huh?

Bonus mp3: Velvetones - Beetle Walk

The Spider-Marriage and the AP

Scanning the news today, I see the #2 most e-mailed story on is an AP article on the possibility of Spider-Man and Mary Jane having their marriage destroyed. Uh, it already happened in the the much-hated "One More Day" story arc that concluded on December 28. Last year. Three issues ago.

From Spider-Man #545

In other news, President Lincoln has been shot.

Bonus mp3: Luke Tan - Mary Jane

Wednesday, January 16

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Glue Girls"

Welcome news in from Pitchfork, who report that Springfield, Missouri, indie popsters Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have a new album titled Pershing due on April 8. Their debut, Broom, was a lo-fi gem. I'm hoping for more of the same on their first record for Polyvinyl. The first single certainly demonstrates more production than their self-released material, reminding me quite a bit of Rogue Wave's recent work.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Glue Girls [from Pershing]

For more on the band, see their official site or Myspace. Several midwestern dates are available at Pitchfork, and they'll be at SXSW on March 14.

Bonus mp3: SSLYBY - Oregon Girl [from Broom]

Monday, January 14

Rob Sheffield 'Love is a Mix Tape' reading 1/23 at Wordsmiths Books, Decatur

Tim from Baby Got Books brings you a message about a special event...

Many thanks to Rich for inviting me over to file a guest post. I'm the editor of an Atlanta-based group book blog called Baby Got Books. We're excited to be kicking off what we hope will become THE reading series where all the cool kids will meet. These will not be your Aunt Sally's book readings. Oh, no. Our very first reading is next week, Weds., January 23, and will feature Rolling Stone editor and writer Rob Sheffield reading from his non-fiction book, Love is a Mix Tape.

If you haven't read the book, it tells the story of Sheffield's relationship with a fellow college DJ and music writer, Renee, who would later become his wife. Each chapter begins with a picture of the cassette insert of a different mix tape that the couple made for each other or together. When Renee dies suddenly of a brain aneurysm, the box of tapes provides access to their past and proof that for a time, they were happy. It's powerful, surprisingly witty, brutally raw in places, and beautifully written. If you've ever stayed up way too late with a cassette deck and a stack of vinyl crafting a masterpiece mix tape, you'll instantly relate with Sheffield's story.

After the reading, local band The Swear will take the bookstore stage and play a set. The Swear are "led by the literate swagger" of Elizabeth Elkins -- perfect for a bookish night on the town. This will not be an unplugged acoustic set. The Swear will be bringing the rock. The Swear's debut full length will be released later in 2008.

The Swear - The Sleep Inside

The reading will be held at Wordsmiths Books in Decatur, GA (Google Maps). Wordsmiths is located just off Decatur Square and is one block from the Decatur MARTA station. If you don't have the book yet, be sure to support our favorite indie book store by picking up a copy there. The evening is FREE and FREE drinks will be provided.

If you make it to the reading, be sure to say find me and say hi.

Thanks for having me over, Rich.

Baby Got Books

Lost -- Season 4 sneak peek!

Sooooo excited....

Lost returns with a two-hour episode on Thursday, January 31. If you need to get caught up, there's an eight-minute primer on YouTube.

Thanks to DOSE for the tip!

Big Trouble in Little Five Points, 1/17 at Star Bar (ATL)

This Thursday night at Atlanta's Star Bar, Pop Death Squad and Southeast Performer host Big Trouble in Little Five Points. The featured bands this month include The Lord is My Shotgun (Atlanta), Ghostfinger (Murfreesboro, TN), and The Pendletons (Athens). A nice rockin' lineup, and the price can't be beat -- FREE!

The Lord is My Shotgun - Get Some
Ghostfinger - Hello Movies
The Pendletons - Not Gonna Stop

Pop Death Squad and Southeast Performer host Big Trouble in Little Five Points the third Thursday of every month at Star Bar. Past performers include Black Kids, Judi Chicago, De Novo Dahl, The Hiss, The Judies, and The Lolligags. Bands interested in playing future installments should contact Pop Death Squad via e-mail or Myspace.

'Under the Influence: A Tribute to Stan Lee' in L.A. through 2/1

For readers who may be in the L.A. area, here's something pretty damn cool. Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles is hosting 'Under the Influence: A Tribute to Stan Lee' until February 1, featuring artwork celebrating the famous Marvel Comics creator. It includes some stunning pop art featuring Marvel characters.

"Attack of the Octo-Venom" by Blinky

"I am Iron Man" by Michael "Pooch" Pucciarelli

Is there anything more perfect than Iron Man in a Sabbath T-shirt? To see the rest, check out the exhibit's blog.

Hat tip to Occasional Superheroine.

Sunday, January 13

The Fiddler, original gangsta

Flash #123 was a milestone comic that brought together for the first time two generations of The Flash, the classic Flash of Earth-2 (Jay Garrick) and the second Flash from Earth-1 (Barry Allen). Its publication in 1961 established multiple Earths/universes in DC Comics, a concept that is now employed regularly by various publishers.

In that classic story, the two generations of The Flash fought a trio of villains from the home of the retired Flash from Earth-2. Along with The Shade and Thinker, they battled The Fiddler (Issac Bowin) -- a supervillain armed only with a Stradivarius violin, a suave sense of style, and a bitchin' ride. I guess if the band geeks get to be in ska bands, the orchestra kids can be criminal masterminds. But seriously... Fiddle Car!

Top that, Pimp My Ride

The Flashes can't resist his sweet, sweet music...

Exposition, exposition, exposition

But, alas, foiled again!

Hope it was insured...

Dude beat Johnny Cash and Ray Charles to prison by a good 4-5 years. That's some O.G. stuff right there.

Flash #123, by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, is reprinted in DC's Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told.

Bonus mp3: Tony Ludiker - Say Old Man, Can You Play the Fiddle?

Jonathan Richman to tour, coming to Athens 3/1, Atlanta 3/2

Illustration courtesy of Crawdaddy!

Good ol' Jonathan Richman goes on tour next month, and his travels will bring him to both Atlanta and Athens. Dates from 3/1 to 3/16 feature Vic Chesnutt as the opener, which should make for a good show.

2/25 Da Opolis, Norman, OK
2/29 Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
3/01 40 Watt, Athens, GA
3/02 The EARL, Atlanta, GA
3/04 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
3/05 Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY
3/06 Middle East (upstairs), Cambridge, MA
3/07 Middle East (upstairs), Cambridge, MA
3/08 8x10 Club, Baltimore, MD
3/09 Rockitz, Richmond, VA
3/10 Grog Shop, Cleveland, OH
3/12 Abbey Pub, Chicago, IL
3/13 Orpheum Stage Door, Madison, WI
3/14 Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, MN
3/15 The Waiting Room, Omaha, NE
3/16 Knickerbockers, Lincoln, NE
3/18 Lion's Lair, Denver, CO
3/20 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City, UT

Dates courtesy of High Road Touring. I hope the Kilby Court show means we'll get a gig poster from Leia Bell!

Jonathan Richman - Ice Cream Man [live 7-7-1984]
Jonathan Richman - Stop This Car [live 7-7-1984]

The full July 7, 1984, show from the West Side Club in Lyon, France, is available for download from Funeral Pudding.

Drug Rug hits Atlanta 1/19 with Jupiter Watts, Luigi

I nearly dismissed them based on their name alone, but I've been pleasantly surprised by Boston's Drug Rug. They're a throwback to the psychedelia-flavored pop rock of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which is right up my alley. Might not be breaking a lot of new ground, but there's not necessarily anything wrong with standing on the shoulders of giants.

Drug Rug - Day I Die
Drug Rug - Winter Time

Drug Rug will appear at The EARL in Atlanta on January 19, sharing the stage with local indie acts Jupiter Watts and Luigi. Both are favorites here at C&T, so that's a fine lineup.

Jupiter Watts - Nothing At All
Luigi - Mariposa

For more on Drug Rug, including extensive tour dates, see their Myspace.

Saturday, January 12

Celine Dion is amazing (and batsh*t crazy)

A couple of years ago I was in Las Vegas, and stumbled upon an entire store of Celine Dion merchandise. I presume it was at the casino where her ongoing show was based, though my memory is foggy. Drawn in by morbid curiosity, I had to flee the shop when all the French Canadian diva goodness became too much to handle. I thought it was hilarious, but mostly because her style of music is world's apart from what I find remotely interesting. Tonight, however, I learned a new lesson regarding the top-selling songstress...


Video courtesy Funny or Die.

Friday, January 11

Friday Night Fights: Knockout!!!

You ever hit a burlesque show and have some jerk give you a hard time? The Goon has.

Bad idea, son. Now let the man enjoy the show.

The Goon shows a punk what's up in this week's The Goon #20 by Eric Powell. Atlanta locals note that Powell will be appearing at the Atlanta Comics Expo next month.

For more exciting escapades, enter the realm of Bahlactus.

Bonus mp3: Down with the Woo - Learn to Street Fight

Attractive Eighties Women CD release show, Sat. 1/12 at The EARL

Atlanta's goofball rockers in Attractive Eighties Women have their debut CD due on January 15, and this Saturday night (January 12) they celebrate with a show at The EARL. Everyone in attendance will receive a free copy of the band's new album. Playing under the names of Phoebe Cates, Kelly McGillis, Christie Brinkley, Shelley Long, and Carrie Fisher, the band has been entertaining locals since 2005. The album, Coup D'é Ta-Ta's - Attractive Eighties Women Live, captures them in their element. The tracklist and a couple samples:

1. "We are Attractive Eighties Women"
2. Master Cylinder
3. Gonna Kill Myself (Because of You)
4. They Shoot Hipsters, Don't They?
5. Pandamonium
6. Gonna Throw a Party (When You Die)
7. Titty City
8. Murder Kroger
9. Yeah Yeah Jager
10. "Patrick broke a string"
11. Lightning Bolt
12. "The Best Song We Ever Wrote"
13. Mama, Get a Mammogram
14. She Made My Heart Walk the Plank
15. Mama's on Meth

It's a bunch of songs about drinking, parties, killing baby pandas, and how cancer sucks ass. You get the idea. For more info, see their Myspace.

The openers at the CD release show will be Pistolero and Bases Loaded, the latter being Atlanta's very own all-bass Rollie Fingers tribute band. You've been warned.