Wednesday, May 28

New Avett Brothers - "Murder in the City"

When we last checked in with The Avett Brothers, they were rockin' the Variety Playhouse and showing why they're a humdinger of a live band. Now they have a new EP, The Second Gleam, due July 22. That release will feature a half-dozen new tracks, and they've just made one of them available for download. "Murder in the City"is a stark and ominous tune, and showcases the family dynamic shared by the band's frontmen.

The Avett Brothers - Murder in the City

The Second Gleam will be released by Ramseur Records.

Thanks to Luis for the track!

Larry Norman - 'Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology'

I am, without a doubt, far removed from the audience for Christian rock. As close as I get to that genre is probably Johnny Cash's various gospel tunes. Given that context, I was pretty skeptical when the new Larry Norman anthology arrived in the mail. The man is called the "father of Christian rock," after all. I'll admit it was a pleasant surprise.

Rather than put the CD aside, I gave it a listen. Norman was obviously a talented man. The music on Rebel Poet, Jukebox Balladeer: The Anthology recalls a number of sounds from the 1960s and 1970s, rooted in the same ground as acts like Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, and (of course) Bob Dylan. Where sacred references pop up, they're usually incidental rather than overbearing. There's more swagger in Norman's music than I expected, and I truly wish that Christian rock had retained this direction as it developed in later decades. I won't claim everyone should run out and buy this anthology, but it's certainly worth a listen.

Larry Norman - Without Love, You Ain't Nothing (Righteous Rocker)

Larry Norman passed away in February 2008 and a documentary on his life is currently in production.

Tuesday, May 27

The wisdom of Ignatius J. Reilly: From Boethius to Batman

I mentioned recently that I just read John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces for the first time. It's a wonderful novel, and made me laugh out loud more than once. One particularly absurd passage really stuck with me, as anti-hero Ignatius J. Reilly tries to set his acquaintance Dorian Greene on the right path. How? By reading Roman philosophy and comics, of course:

From A Confederacy of Dunces, Chapter 10:

“I suspect that beneath your offensively and vulgarly effeminate facade there may be a soul of sorts. Have you read widely in Boethius?”

“Who? Oh, heavens no. I never even read newspapers.”

“Then you must begin a reading program immediately so that you may understand the crises of our age,” Ignatius said solemnly. “Begin with the late Romans, including Boethius, of course. Then you should dip rather extensively into early Medieval. You may skip the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. That is mostly dangerous propaganda. Now that I think of it, you had better skip the Romantics and the Victorians, too. For the contemporary period, you should study some selected comic books.”

“You’re fantastic.”

“I recommend Batman especially, for he tends to transcend the abysmal society in which he’s found himself. His morality is rather rigid, also. I rather respect Batman.”

From Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns

Ignatius may be an ass... but he could have a point.

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down support Rilo Kiley, headline at The EARL 6/19

Fresh off a series of European and festival dates, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down begin a North American tour tomorrow night supporting Rilo Kiley. I've voiced my enthusiasm for Thao Nguyen and her band here before, so I'm even more excited for what follows the tour as an opener -- a couple of headlining shows including The EARL in Atlanta on June 19 (with Liz Durrett opening!).

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Beat (Health, Life, and Fire)
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - Bag of Hammers
Liz Durrett - The Mezzanine

The complete set of tour dates:

Rilo Kiley with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

5/28 Phoenix Theatre, Toronto, Ontario
5/30 The Palladium, Worcester, MA
5/31 Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI
6/01 Calvin Theater, Northhampton, MA
6/02 Terminal 5, New York, NY
6/03 Terminal 5, New York, NY
6/05 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
6/06 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
6/07 Ram’s Head Live, Baltimore, MD
6/08 Toad’s Place of Richmond, Richmond, VA
6/10 The NorVa, Norfolk, VA
6/11 The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
6/12 The Music Farm, Charleston, SC
6/15 Palladium Ballroom, Dallas, TX
6/16 Stubb’s Bar-B-Q, Austin, TX

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down

6/19 The EARL, Atlanta, GA
6/20 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC

See their Myspace or official site for more info and tunes.

She & Him release tour dates; Atlanta on July 29

Although I've not been bowled over by their televised appearances, I'm enthused to note that She & Him will be at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on July 29. M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel have released a very enjoyable record in Volume One, and hopefully time and experience will result in a live show to match.

She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

She & Him on tour:

6/11 NPR World Cafe Session, PA (Air date)
7/23 Opera House, Toronto, Ontario
7/24 Academy of Music, Northampton, MA
7/25 Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA
7/26 Terminal 5, New York, NY
7/28 Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC
7/29 Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
7/30 Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
7/31 Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
8/02 Newport Folk Fest, Newport, RI
8/05 Park West, Chicago, IL
8/07 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
8/08 Barrymore, Madison, WI
8/10 V Fest, Baltimore, MD

To hear more from She & Him, visit their Myspace.

The Minutemen from 'Watchmen': Comparing Snyder and Gibbons

Alan Moore's Watchmen is probably my favorite graphic novel, and it's been nice to see much of Zack Snyder's work on the forthcoming film adaptation. Today the big reveal is a still picture of the Minutemen characters from the book. They were heroes of the 1940s in the Watchmen universe, and immediate predecessors to its main characters. The cool thing about today's reveal is its fidelity to the graphic novel, including the garish and ridiculous costumes of the Minutemen.

Released today via Ain't It Cool News, from Watchmen (2009):

(left to right) Silhouette, Mothman, Dollar Bill, Nite Owl I,
Captain Metropolis, The Comedian, Silk Spectre I, Hooded Justice

From the original art by Dave Gibbons:

From Watchmen #1

From Watchmen #2

It's not an exact match, but it's pretty darn close. The film release will be accompanied by a direct-to-DVD launch of the animated "Tales of the Black Freighter," a moody pirate story read by a character within the Watchmen story. The film and DVD are currently set for a March 2009 release.

New Black Kids video - "Hurricane Jane"

That bunch of Florida indie rockers, Black Kids, has just released a video for their "Hurricane Jane," and it's online for all to see. Apparently Reggie has taken to wearing a cape.

The "Hurricane Jane" single will be released in the UK on June 23.

Corndogorama 2008 lineup announced

The string of local festival announcements continues, as Atlanta's Corndogorama has released its lineup.

Corndogorama will run from June 26-29 at Lenny's in Atlanta. Highlights (as far as I'm concerned) include Attractive Eighties Women and Thee Crucials on Thursday, Magnapop and Noot d'Noot on Friday, The Preakness, Howlies, and Anna Kramer on Saturday, and both Cinemechanica and Maserati on Sunday. The full lineup is online.

Thanks to OhmPark for the heads up!

Sunday, May 25

Sun, fun, Steve, and Sharon

Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time for a little trip to beach. Some folks, however, find trouble even when enjoying some fun in the sun. Steve Rogers (Captain America) and his ladyfriend Sharon Carter (Agent 13), for example, wind up busting heads even on a leisurely stroll.

Steve and Sharon do some beach blanket boxing in Captain America #154 (October 1972), written by Steve Englehart and illustrated by Sal Buscema.

Bonus mp3: The Shi-Tones - Ocean Beach [live 6-23-2004]

Revisiting Athens Popfest 2007 (through live recordings!)

With Athens Popfest 2008 around the corner, old school C&T buddy Lance thought it might be time to share some of his Popfest 2007 recordings. Lance drops the caveat that these aren't all spectacular, but I'm excited that they'll circulate. Note the inclusion of the Black Kids set from Little Kings, which served as the band's big introduction to the wider world.


Ryan Anderson - 2007-08-10, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

Black Kids - 2007-08-11, Little Kings
Download Link:

Darren Hanlon - 2007-08-10, Little Kings
Download Link:

Marbles - 2007-08-10, Little Kings
Download Link:

Laminated Cat - 2007-08-10, Little Kings
Download Link:

New Sound of Numbers [now Sound Houses] - 2007-08-10, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

Pipes You See Pipes You Don't - 2007-08-10, Little Kings
Download Link:

Red Pony Clock - 2007-08-11, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

Update: A few more...

Velcro Stars - 2007-08-09, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

Daniel Johnston - 2007-08-11, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

How I Became The Bomb
- 2007-08-09, 40 Watt Club
Download Link:

Thanks again to Lance for providing all these recordings! Sounds like there are more to come...

Atlanta ticket giveaway: The Preakness, The Yum Yum Tree, Citified at Star Bar, May 30

This Friday, May 30, a trio of fine indie bands take the stage at Atlanta's Star Bar in Little Five Points. Citified (Greensboro, NC) will be in town from North Carolina and play with The Preakness (Atlanta) and The Yum Yum Tree (Atlanta), making this one heck of a bill. All have been featured here before, so I'll spare you the wordy description. I'll sure as heck try to be there.

The Preakness - I Thought I Was in Control
Citified - Read Like a Number

I have a pair of tickets to this show available to give away. If you'd like them, please e-mail me (see top of sidebar) with "Preakness tix" in the subject line by Thursday, May 29, at 12pm. I'll contact the winner that afternoon. Good luck!

Friday, May 23

Athens Popfest lineup announced!

According to the official site of Athens Popfest (and Gordon!), that annual festival of pop, twee, and other good things will announce its lineup on Friday, May 23. The fact that I'm pissed about Lost not being on tonight tells me it's Thursday, so Friday is just hours away.

Keep an eyes on the news section of the Popfest site for further info. I'll update when the lineup is available.

UPDATE: It's up! Holy cow...

5Th Annual Athens PopFest Artist Lineup

Roky Erickson & The Explosives, The Music Tapes, Elf Power, Dark Meat, Boyracer, The Apes, Bunnygrunt, Thee American Revolution, Circulatory System, My Teenage Stride, The Faintest Ideas, We Versus the Shark, Casper & the Cookies, Cryptacize, Ruby Isle, The Great Lakes, Fishboy, Cars Can Be Blue, Love Letter Band, Andy From Denver, The Buddy System, The Smittens, Big Fresh, Supercluster, The Coathangers, The Selmanaires, Spring Tigers, Dead Confederate, Violet Vector & the Lovely Lovelies, Velcro Stars, Red Pony Clock, Big Fresh, the Lolligags, Secret History, Judi Chicago, Hot Pants Romance, Nana Grizol, The Sterns, Thrushes, Laminated Cat, Fat Planet, The Ocelots, The Besties, Twin Tigers, The Afternoon Naps, Boy Genius, the Hotwalls, Amo Joy!, Oh Sanders, That's My Daughter, Little Birds, A Faulty Chromosome, Panda Riot, Patience Please, Railcars, Tendaberry, One Happy Island, The Hat Company, The Young Untold, Bad Animal, Oh Fortuna, Good Graces, Night Driving in Small Towns, Umbrella Tree, Noisycrane, Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars, Allison Weiss, Whistling School for Boys

It's August 12-16.

I'm, like, drooling on my desk...

Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey, Jr., on American Idol

I've never seen American Idol, and don't want to, but I have to give them credit for a stunt this week. They got the cast of Tropic Thunder, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey, Jr., to act as The Pips to vintage footage of Gladys Knight. It's even better if you imagine them as Nacho Libre, Derek Zoolander, and Iron Man:

Thanks to Wendi for the tip!

Thursday, May 22

Daniel Johnston to tour, play ATL on 6/26

A somewhat surprising bit of news, as Brooklyn Vegan has a slate of tour dates for Daniel Johnston. Among them is Atlanta's Variety Playhouse on June 26. Johnston was terrific in his appearance last year at Athens Popfest, and it will be a treat to see him again. Probably no Casper & the Cookies as his backup band this time, unfortunately.

Daniel Johnston - Casper

Daniel Johnston on tour:

6/20 Warsaw, Brooklyn, NY
6/21 TBA, New York, NY
6/22 Popped Festival Philadelphia, PA
6/24 The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
6/25 Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN
6/26 Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
7/18 Sticky Fingers Stockholm, Sweden
7/19 Berns Gothenburg, Sweden
7/20 Rockefellar Oslo, Norway
7/23 The Old Fruit Market Glasgow, UK
7/24 New Century House Manchester, UK
7/25 Indig02 London, UK
7/27 Whelans Dublin, Ireland
7/28 Whelans Dublin, Ireland

Not sure when tix go on sale for Atlanta, as the show isn't on the VP website yet.

Debut from Adron due on New Street Records, July 1

The torrent of top-notch debuts continues with the forthcoming by Brooklyn-via-Atlanta songstress Adron. I've known Adron's Adrienne McCann for some time, but only by happenstance learned of her musical acumen. I saw her open for The Selmanaires and Anna Kramer last May, and have been eagerly awaiting her recorded output since. Occasional updates from The Selmanaires' bassist Tommy Chung (who guests on the record) only left me more excited. Her self-titled debut is due July 1 from Atlanta's New Street Records, and I can't praise it enough.

The 20-year old Adron's debut reveals a wealth of talent and a proper digestion of her many influences. It's in the singer-songwriter tradition to be sure, but she draws heavily on Brazilian and psychedelic music as well. McCann's voice is lovely and engaging, whether on upbeat tracks or breathy songs like the darling "Walking Home." Her guitar skills are evident on several songs, foremost among them "Never Leave My Room Again," as is her unique ability to inject clicks and throat noises (for lack of a better term) into her songs. The only real criticism I can muster is that a couple songs could be a minute shorter -- hardly a damning comment. If this record gains the proper audience, I could easily see McCann earning a large fanbase. Highly recommended.

Adron - Airplanes
Adron - Stringsong

Adron plays tomorrow, May 23, at The Five Spot in Atlanta.

Nana Grizol - 'Love It Love It'

Athens band Nana Grizol has been getting attention here for about a year, and a large amount of that time was spent wondering when their record would drop. It finally came May 13 on Orange Twin.

Thankfully, Love It Love It satisfies. Theo Hilton and crew have given us a rousing, energetic, and enjoyable debut. Much of the material is upbeat but not frenetic, polished but not pretentious. The album features a fleshed out band and fuller sound than their earlier demos would suggest. Horns and percussion complement the guitar/bass/drums, and it's obvious that Hilton is a skilled pop songwriter.

Nana Grizol - Circles 'Round the Moon
Nana Grizol - Voices Echo Down thee Halls [courtesy SXSW]

It would still be reasonable to describe their aesthetic as sort of punk-meets-Neutral Milk, but Love It Love It also invokes early Bright Eyes to a surprising degree. I had really never noticed much similarity between Hilton and Oberst, but there are moments (e.g., "Less Than the Air") here when I think the two could be swapped. Overall, it's a damn fine debut and one that I hope gets a lot of attention.

Nana Grizol on tour:

5/22 TBA, Providence, RI
5/24 The Fort, Brooklyn, NY
5/25 Cake Shop, Manhattan, NY
5/26 TBA, Philadelphia, PA
5/27 The Frisby House, Baltimore, MD
5/28 Rumors , Richmond, VA
5/29 The Bobby Fisher Memorial Building, Washington, DC
5/30 Slim’s, Raleigh, NC
5/31 WonderRoots Art Space, Atlanta, GA

Love It Love It is available now.

Back to business; Cap, Thor, Runaways movie news

I'm back from Missouri, so the pace should pick up here at C&T. Over the past week I've mostly learned that (1) St. Louis is still lovely this time of year, (2) John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces lives up to the hype, and (3) the debut record from The Modern Lovers is awesome.

The big news in my world this morning is another update from Marvel Studios.

Captain America and Thor

After some prodding in an interview, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that the Captain America movie will be set in WWII, and the Thor flick will take place primarily in Asgard. Both revelations have me quite excited. A Cap flick in the style of Saving Private Ryan? Sign me up. Feige also confirmed that Cap's shield shows up in Iron Man... I suppose we'll find out later what that means.

Elsewhere, the Hollywood Reporter notes that Marvel's Runaways franchise is in the early stages of film development. The movie will be written by Runaways creator Brian K. Vaughan (also writer/co-producer of Lost) -- and that is wonderful news. Runaways is a newer Marvel property, and features a group of teenagers (and a dinosaur!) who learn that their parents are supervillains. Vaughan wrote the first three volumes of the series to critical acclaim, and it has since been written by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly creator Joss Whedon. Runaways generally ignores the cliches of the superhero genre, and I could see it becoming a sort of Goonies for the current generation. I'll certainly be watching its development with interest.

I'll try to play catch-up in the next few days, but the spring Georgia weather is calling my name...

Tuesday, May 13

Around the horn

From Triple-A Baseball Heroes #1 (2007)

Still excited about the Radiohead show at Lakewood? Dave's pics are online.

Captain America-related Easter eggs have been sighted both in Iron Man and in The Incredible Hulk.

Songs: Illinois notes that Athens-based indie pop label Asaurus Records is shutting down. Funny, as Mike from HHBTM and I were recently discussing their slower pace.

Virginia's Valiant Death Records has also thrown in the towel.

Southern Shelter has audio of Deerhunter's September 19, 2007, show from the 40 Watt.

Project Rooftop has announced the winners of their Iron Man design contest.

Nashville's De Novo Dahl covered the "Speed Racer" theme, and You Ain't No Picasso has the audio.

Be Your Own Pet, also from Nashville, have joined the WARPED tour and now have two upcoming Atlanta shows.

A drunken Darth Vader fan will not serve time for attacking elders of the Church of Jedi. The end is nigh.

Mary O. Harrison CD release Friday, May 16

Things are temporarily back to normal at C&T HQ. Graduation and Mothers' Day craziness are behind me, and I'll wrap up my grading this afternoon. I'll be in St. Louis this weekend, at which time updates will slow down again. Now, on to musical matters...

This Friday night Atlanta's Mary O. Harrison releases her debut album, Factory of Days. Mary O. is a talented pop/folk songtress, and I've long enjoyed her live shows. Her stock in trade is lush pop with great hooks, whether sweet or sentimental. The CD release party is at The EARL on Friday, May 16. Magnapop plays last.

A few samples, all from Factory of Days:

Mary O. Harrison - Way of Walking
Mary O. Harrison - Supper Song
Mary O. Harrison - Better Day

Factory of Days will be released by Two Sheds Music, and I'm eager to hear it.

Saturday, May 10

Stereolab to tour, Atlanta 9/26 and Athens 9/27

As I've discussed here before, I'm a latecomer to Stereolab. After listening to them in the past year, I'm pleased to see they have both a new record and upcoming tour dates. Even better? Those dates include September 26 in Atlanta and September 27 in Athens. Niiiiice.

The new album, Chemical Chords, will be released August 19 on 4AD. The first single is "Three Women," a fine pop ditty though its lyrics are in French. I don't speak French, so I'll let someone else decipher what it's actually about. Sure sounds pleasant.

Stereolab - Three Women

The fall dates supporing Chemical Chords:

06-15 Athens, Greece - Synch Festival
07-19 Tonsberg, Norway - Slottsfjell Festival
09-20 Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar
09-21 Pomona, CA - Glass House
09-24 Austin, TX - La Zona Rosa
09-26 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
09-27 Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club
09-29 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
09-30 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
10-01 Philadelphia, PA - Trocadero
10-02 New York, NY - Irving Plaza
10-03 New York, NY - Irving Plaza
10-04 New York, NY - Irving Plaza
10-06 Boston, MA - Paradise
10-07 Montreal, Quebec - Club Soda
10-08 Toronto, Ontario - Phoenix Concert Theatre
10-09 Detroit, MI - The Crofoot
10-10 Chicago, IL - Vic Theatre
10-12 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
10-14 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre
10-17 Seattle, WA - Showbox
10-18 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
10-19 Vancouver, British Columbia - Commodore Ballroom
10-21 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
10-22 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
10-23 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theatre
10-24 Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern

Thanks to Pitchfork for the tip.

Friday, May 9

Let's talk Radiohead, shall we?

As previously noted, I couldn't make it to Radiohead at Lakewood (Atlanta) last night. I'm headed to Charlotte today instead. So, how was the show?

If you hit another show on the tour, feel free to speak up. I'll report back when I get home...

Thursday, May 8

My Morning Jacket announce tour, Atlanta 8/27

As you might be able to tell, I've been busy this week with professional responsibilities. I am taking the day off to see Radiohead in Charlotte tomorrow, but otherwise will have little time for updates until early next week.

Welcome news from the My Morning Jacket camp, as the band has announced summer/fall tour dates. They include August 27 at the fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta. They'll be supporting their Evil Urges due June 10.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

The tour:

8/18 - Kansas City, MO - Uptown Theater
8/19 - Council Bluffs, IA - Stir Cove
8/23 - Dallas, TX - Palladium Ballroom
8/24 - Austin, TX - Stubb's
8/27 - Atlanta, GA - Fox Theater
8/29 - Miami, FL - The Fillmore Miami Beach
8/30 - Orlando, FL - House of Blues
8/31 - Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues
9/02 - Charlottesville, VA - Charlottesville Pavilion
9/03 - Washington, DC - Constitution Hall
9/05 - Philadelphia, PA - Festival Pier at Penn's Landing
9/06 - Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion
9/19 - San Francisco, CA - Greek Theatre
9/21 - Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
9/23 - Phoenix, AZ - Marquee Theatre
9/24 - Las Vegas, NV - The Joint
9/25 - San Diego, CA - SDSU Open Air Theatre
9/27 - Portland, OR - McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater
9/28 - Seattle, WA - McCaw Hall
10/2 - Minneapolis, MN - Orpheum Theatre
10/3 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater
10/4 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore
10/9 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
10/10 - Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre

Now, back to grading exams...

Monday, May 5

Tom Waits returns to Atlanta on July 5

No time for a full post at the moment, but Tom Waits will be at Atlanta's Fox Theater on July 5. If you have details re: on-sale dates, please share in the comments.

See Muzzle of Bees for additional tour dates.

Upcoming from Marvel Studios...

Did you see that Iron Man topped $200 million for its opening weekend? $104 in the U.S. alone? Wow. While those are impressive numbers for any film, I've been really pulling for Iron Man because it is the first movie project developed in-house at Marvel. You remember those Spider-Man, X-Men, Blade, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Punisher, Daredevil, Elektra, and Ghost Rider movies? Some were good, some were awful, but all of them were produced by film studios who licensed Marvel properties. Iron Man and the forthcoming The Incredible Hulk are the first efforts now that Marvel is making their own films. I'd say they hit it out of the park with their debut.

Today Marvel released its first quarter earnings report, and it includes a summary of what Marvel Studios have to come. Yes, this has me smiling from ear to ear.

The Incredible Hulk (June 13, 2008)
Iron Man 2 (April 30, 2010)
Thor (June 4, 2010)
The First Avenger: Captain America (May 6, 2011)
The Avengers (July 2011)
Ant-Man (writer/director engaged)

So should I just get a countdown clock for May 6, 2011, now? I'm thrilled to see that on the schedule.

Punisher: War Zone (December 5, 2008) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (May 1, 2009) are also forthcoming, though they've been helmed by other studios. I'm confident the Wolverine movie will be worth watching, but the last Punisher flick was a disaster.

Oh, and there are Wolverine and Iron Man cartoons coming to Nicktoons in early 2009, as well as direct-to-DVD animated movies Thor: Son of Asgard (late 2009) and Planet Hulk (early 2010). Certainly plenty of product coming, and that's aside from the funnybooks. Not a bad time to be a Marvel zombie.

Thanks to Newsarama for the tip.

Sunday, May 4

Yoshimi, Wolverine, and Mike Maihack

While a number of publishers made bound books available for Free Comic Book Day, South Carolina-based Wide Awake Press went paperless. They're offering their Piltdown anthology as a free .pdf download featuring the work of 16 creators. Its title is derived from the famous Piltdown Man hoax, and each piece features dinosaurs, cavemen, and/or various prehistoric shenanigans. It's available now.

I really enjoyed the submission by Tampa's Mike Maihack and wandered over to his website. I'm glad I did, because he has some real gems to gawk at. The Flaming Lips and Wolverine? This dude is on my wavelength.

"Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots"

"Wolvie Tea Party"

Note the "X"-belt on Mr. Fuzzles. I hope he's not as dangerous as the last mutant teddy bear I featured on C&T.

You can see more of Maihack's illustration and original comics on his website, or stalk him on Myspace.

Obechoir & Madeline - "Taste of Rain"

C&T readers will know that I'm quite fond of Athens artist Madeline Adams. I like her solo material a great deal, and when she has collaborated with artists like Phosphorescent and Nana Grizol the results have also been impressive. Less well known are Madeline's earlier interactions with the Bloomington, Indiana, Basement Pop collective. They rely on a DIY ethic to churn out high quality lo-fi pop, with the whole catalog priced at just $5 per CDR.

Madeline collaborated with Bloomington's Obechoir on two songs that appear on 2007's This is Basement Pop sampler. Here you can check out "Taste of Rain," on which Madeline takes a secondary role. It's a nifty pop song with a nice hook, and it's interesting to hear Madeline on a track somewhat removed from her usual aesthetic.

Obechoir & Madeline - Taste of Rain

You can buy the full compilation from Basement Pop.

Bonus mp3: Madeline - To Hell and Back [w/ Phosphorescent]

The Glands - "I Can See My House From Here"

Browsing YouTube recently, I came across an individual's desperate plea for information regarding the great Athens indie rockers The Glands. Their pair of albums from 1998 and 2000 remain highly regarded, and I'd say the self-titled second album is just fantastic. Despite being nearly a decade old it still sounds fresh and exciting -- as indie rock records go, they don't get much better.

The Glands - I Can See My House From Here [from The Glands]

I believe it's well known that the band's hiatus was the result of problems with their label, but I can't seem to find much relevant information online. Older press reports and interviews indicate that their never-released third album remains in limbo. No telling if it will ever see the light of day, but I know it would make a lot of people very happy. The band's frontman, Ross Shapiro, currently manages Schoolkids Records in Athens.

Saturday, May 3

Russian Red - I Love Your Glasses

While she has been gaining notoriety in Europe, Spain's Russian Red has only recently begun to generate substantial buzz in the U.S. One listen through her current record, I Love Your Glasses, makes it obvious why such attention is merited.

The woman behind Russian Red, Lourdes Hernandez, is a gifted 22-year old with a stellar voice. Comparisons to Regina Spektor, Joanna Newsom, and Feist come to mind, but she apes none of them. The similarities come in her dynamic voice and its occasional quiver, along with an experimental bent that differentiates her from the bulk of folk-tinged female singer-songwriters. Faults can be found in occasional tendencies to emphasize vocal gymnastics over songwriting, and the unfortunate inclusion of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" as the closer. The original is a classic by now, but here it is little more than a campy distraction. Certainly a fine debut, and one likely to bring Hernandez considerable acclaim.

Russian Red - They Don't Believe
Russian Red - Nice Thick Feathers

You can listen to I Love Your Glasses via label Eureka Music.

Friday, May 2

What Netflix tells us about Athens

One of the neat features of Netflix is that it displays not just subscribers' recommendations, but also popular items in their local areas. It's cool, that is, until you see a list that feels like your community is being judged. For example:

Yep, Athens disproportionately rents the least of the Kevin Smith movies, a 2001 release whose primary lasting value is reuniting Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Unfortunately, the latter was cast as "Cocknocker." Sigh.

I will defend to the end, however, the surprising love for The Jerk.

"Johnson, Navin R. Sounds like a typical bastard."

Anybody else dare to look?

Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 3

Before I get to the meat of this post, I just want to point out that the Iron Man flick is just great. After a single viewing, I'd place it with Batman Begins and Spider-Man 2 as the best of the genre. It's funny, smart, and has a ton of great action sequences featuring Stark's suits of armor. I can nitpick some minor points, but it's not worth it. This movie is going to make truckloads of cash for Marvel. Oh, and if you know anything about comics... stay until after the credits!

On to the topic at hand, this Saturday (5/3) is Free Comic Book Day at comics retailers nationwide. All you have to do is show up at a comic shop and grab a pile of comics created especially for the day. There's no catch, and the complete list of free books is online. Be sure to pick up Tiny Titans, Owly, and Marvel Adventures: Iron Man/Hulk/Spider-Man for the little ones in your life. Find participating stores via the FCBD site.

Many comic shops are also hosting signings or events to celebrate the day, and a couple local stores have let me know about their events. Galactic Quest in Lawrenceville, Georgia, will host Salem: Queen of Thorns artist Fred Torres along with an exact replica of the 1966 Batmobile. I suggest it as background for the photos on your Christmas cards.

I may make the drive from Athens to hit the festivities at Criminal Records in Atlanta. They have a full slate of events including signings, lectures, and a sidewalk sale. The schedule, clipped from Criminal's website:

  • 1:00PM -- Andrew Greenberg
    Co-creator of the “Fading Suns” role-playing and computer games and one of the original developers of White Wolf’s “Vampire: The Masquerade” will be talking about "What Makes Good Game Design."
  • 2:00PM -- Craig Ehrlich
    Craig, of the Ehrlich Law Group, will be discussing the recent DC Comics vs. the Siegel Estate Superman decision.
  • 3:00PM -- Wes Eastin
    Writer and producer of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie ("Which is going to rock so damn hard," says James), will be giving a talk on adaptations. Check Scratched Lens for more info about Wes.
  • 1:00PM -- Shannon Hahn
    Owner and creator of the Plushybutt line of plush toys will be talking about her experience starting her own business. Her toys are very cute, handmade, and one of a kind. She also does commissions!
  • 2:00PM -- Robert Venditti
    Writer of the cyberpunk comic, movie adaptation starring Bruce Willis. James says that if you haven't read Surrogates yet, you absolutely need to.
  • 2:30PM -- Joseph D. Carriker, Jr.
    Developer for White Wolf's "Vampire: the Requiem" will be talking about "How to Run a Successful RPG." James and Carol will definitely be paying a lot of attention to this one!
  • 3:30PM -- Mark Stancil
    Owner of Terminus Media will be giving an hour-long presentation entitled "How to Make Your Own Comic Book." James is really looking forward to this one, because who doesn't want to make their own comic?
And last, but certainly not least, our good friend and regular customer, Rich Tommaso, will be here signing comics from 1 to 4PM. Rich is the creator of the comics 8 1/2 Ghosts, Perverso, and Miriam, and the artist on the Eisner Award-nominated original graphic novel, Satchel Paige, which you may remember us raving about earlier this year.

I'm personally most excited by the appearances of Robert Venditti and Rich Tommaso, as The Surrogates and Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow are excellent and have a home on my bookshelf. I understand that Criminal will also have a lot of back issues marked down to 2/$1, but please leave the Captain America for me.

Whether you read comics regularly or would just like to sample what's out there, I hope you stop by a shop tomorrow. Happy reading!