Saturday, August 30

The scene at the 2008 Dragon*Con parade

Rather than fight the football crowds in Athens today, I rambled over to Atlanta for the annual parade of Dragon*Con attendees and guests. I still haven't attended that convention, but this was a chance to check out the fans in costume strutting their stuff. My favorite moment was probably when the legion of Firefly fans, the Browncoats, marched by singing "Hero of Canton" from one of that show's memorable episodes. Needless to say, there was a lot of eye candy:

Adam West. Superstar.

Captain Marvel, X-23, Captain America, Hawkgirl, Lois Lane, Hellboy

Green Lantern Corps

Frank Miller's 300

Firefly fans love Jayne Cobb (and his hat)

Alien nation

Who you gonna call?

They hope you will enjoy the show

The love bug

Still can't aim for shit

Porkins loves you!

Dragon*Con continues in downtown Atlanta through Monday.

Friday, August 29

Friday Night Fights: Ladies Night!!!

There's a lot of chatter today about women in politics, making it all the more appropriate that Bahlactus has declared it Ladies Night. One of the most ass-kicking females in the Marvel Universe is Agent 13, Sharon Carter, agent of SHIELD and main squeeze of Captain America. She certainly doesn't take any crap from Baron Zemo's minions, even when incognito:

Is that so?

Agent 13 lays the smack down in Captain America #100 (April 1968), written by Stan "The Man" Lee and drawn by Jack "King" Kirby.

Jack Kirby would have been 91 yesterday.

Monday, August 25

C&T exclusive: A chat with Silver Jews' David Berman

As noted here before, David Berman and his Silver Jews will appear at Atlanta's Variety Playhouse on September 13 as part of their fall tour. With that date approaching, Drag City was kind enough to allow C&T contributor Tiffani Harcrow to chat with Mr. Berman:

With the release of the Silvers Jews’ Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea in June, music blogs and publications from every corner of the interweb have seen a dramatic rise in pithy expressions and droll insight as David Berman makes the publicity circuit and firmly cements his place as the interviewer’s most sought-after Jew. From Parisian Gallagher revivalism to horrifying yuletide fantasies, David Berman talks about the new album, the new tour, and the dangers of sight-seeing in Ireland.

TH: You've stated several times in interviews that Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is your best album. Do you think that fans and critics have agreed with you? And what makes this album so different from earlier records?

DB: No!

I must have fallen into that REM mirror world where you completely lose perspective on your own work, except I don’t have Q magazine to hide the truth for me.

People might prefer the other records, but those records prefer this record, in the sense that they wanted to be like this record. Which might mean that preferring the first records requires misunderstanding them.

TH: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is full of obscure references from Theodore Roosevelt speeches to Emily Dickinson poems. Do such diverse allusions slowly coalesce from things you're reading at the time, or is there a more premeditated writing process?

DB: There is always a period of time where the songs are on “simmer” maybe for a period of weeks. When you’re moving around, driving, walking, talking, or reading, you keep it out in front of you, so you’re kind of auditioning the flot[s]am and jetsom passing before your pattern recognition screen.

TH: Given the arc between the more desolate first half of Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea and the more optimistic end, "Open Field" is a perfect transition or negotiation between the two sides. Were any other cover songs considered for this album?

DB: No, it was the only contestant. It seems to function as a nature preserve in the middle of the record. A wild place for all the song’s squirrels to disappear into.

TH: Has your approach to writing changed since your bout with drug abuse and depression?

DB: Mostly it’s not enough to draw the connection between getting stuff done and feeling good. People see that, know that, and still can’t get stuff done. Can’t act. Can’t decide.

Nowadays, I refuse to ignore the conditions for my own survival. For a young person, trying is a choice. When you’re depressed or addicted, trying is a choice impossible to make. Now I’ve taken the choice away from myself. I’ve removed the adolescent option.

Nihilism seems impossibly quaint to me now.

TH: In "Suffering Jukebox" you describe a machine "all filled up with what other people mean. And they never seem to turn you up loud, gotta lotta chatterboxes in this crowd," which reminds me of an old Pitchfork interview in which you mention your strict avoidance of Silver Jews' criticism. How has your relationship with criticism changed since you began touring and facing potential critics in person?

DB: In person I haven’t had a bad experience.

Technically I don’t read the reviews, but a few get through. The most galling ones turn my mind into a theatre for the showing of violent fantasies. When it’s on it’s open 24 hours a day, including, or should I say especially, Christmas.

TH: In a recent Slant interview you mentioned feeling a bit wary of performing "San Francisco B.C." in Paris given the song's multiple French phrases. I was at that show, and I remember thinking how strange it was to hear lines like "I'm drunk on a couch in Nashville, in a duplex near the reservoir" while in a crowd of Parisians so far removed from that type of background. Given the centrality of your lyrics to Silver Jews' music, is it difficult to perform where a barrier to language, if not experience, exists?

DB: I haven’t had that problem. I just assume that the audience at a show like that is weighted towards the section of the population that is interested in a variety of the products of the English language arts. Both of our Paris shows have been in 100 degree plus temperature rooms. I find this funny because where do you want to look more smooth and cool and in control than Paris? Instead you get to look like an audience volunteer from a Gallagher show at the Hartford Civic Center. Completely soaked.

TH: Has performing live changed the way you approach song writing? The inclusion of the guitar chords with Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea seems like an additional way to connect with audiences.

DB: Yes. These were the first songs written in that knowledge. I think there is a connection between writing these songs with an audience in mind, and the attempted handoff of the songs to the audience in the form of the chords and lyrics.

TH: What is your favorite song to perform live?

DB: "Tennessee" is fun. We didn’t play that on the last tour.

TH: Whenever I go into a record store, the Silver Jews' discography is typically represented in its near entirety while other bands have one or two vinyl releases to their respective sections. And owning a Silver Jews album on vinyl just seems to make sense— the purchase of a new record should be an event, not an afterthought on iTunes. Has the switch to digital dilettantism affected the way you view your music or fans?

DB: A year ago I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the record before that day that all music ever made is on your cellphone.

Records and CD’s are slowly turning into corpses, the music is leaving its body behind.

Over the last coupla [years], I think Drag City has probably lost 30% of its physical sales, all of which is not made up by digital sales.

TH: Taking inspiration from "Candy Jail" and the lines "I came all the way to see your grave. To see your life as writ in paraphrase," what short paraphrase would you write for your own life at this moment?


Greetings Future Graveyard Enthusiast

I was Once Like You.

TH: What is your most recent injury?

DB: I broke a bone in the palm of the right hand, under that pad at the base of the thumb [while] on tour in Ireland. Cause: a stumble in the dark on rotting Dundalk wharf...

The Silver Jews will be playing with Monotonix at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta on September 13. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea is now available from Drag City.

Sunday, August 24

In the funnybooks: 'The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite'

While browsing at Borders today, I took a few minutes to thumb through the new Tori Amos-inspired comic anthology Comic Book Tattoo (mostly to see the Dean Trippe/Jason Horn story). What I saw looked nice, but my general ignorance regarding Amos led to disinterest. On the shelf near it, however, was the trade paperback of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá's The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite. I've heard many good things about that series in the past year, so I bought it along with a copy of Masters of American Comics. After reading The Umbrella Academy from cover to cover today, I have to admit that I'm on board.

For those puzzled by why I would "admit" such a thing, I should point out that series writer Gerard Way is the frontman for emo band My Chemical Romance. As will surprise few of you, I despise that band. Their music, contrived style, marketing gimmicks, the whole package. When it was announced that Dark Horse would publish a comic written by the vocalist for My Chemical Romance, I assumed it would be a cheap ploy to empty the wallets of awkward teenagers. Dark Horse would cash in on Way's popularity and pray that the kiddies would also try out their awesome books like Hellboy or The Goon. As much as I liked Gabriel Bá on Matt Fraction's Casanova, I was sure he was just on the book for a paycheck. Dark Horse editor Scott Allie reveals in the book's Afterword that I was not alone in my initial skepticism:
In a lot of interviews around the release of this book, I copped to being initially skeptical of doing a book with a rock star. I talked about that because I knew other people would be skeptical of this guy from My Chemical Romance coming into comics, and I wanted to disarm that notion, because by the time the book was being promoted, I loved the damn thing.
I was surprised when the positive reviews for Way's book piled up, and impressed when I got the first issue on Free Comic Book Day (thanks to Junkman's Daughter's Brother in Athens). As I am wont to do, I decided to wait for the paperback collection. It was released in July, but just found its way into my paws.

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite is, frankly, pretty darn good. It's the story of several "gifted" children with special abilities taken in by a benefactor, inventor Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who provides the children care and training so they can one day save the world. One communes with the dead, another is a time traveler, yet another grows into a powerful space traveler with a gorilla body (as yet unexplained), and so on. While the basic concept lends itself to X-Men comparisons, The Umbrella Academy is more inventive and quirky than any recent X-books other than perhaps Peter David's X-Factor (pre-Messiah Complex) or the classic Peter Milligan/Mike Allred run on X-Force/X-Statix.

Way and Bá give us a peek at the Umbrella Academy as youngsters in the wonderfully titled chapter "The Day the Eiffel Tower Went Berserk," but the book tends to focus on them as adults. After being estranged for years, the crew are reunited at the funeral of a prominent character -- and then all Hell breaks loose. Aided by a talking chimp, a living mannequin, and a savvy detective, the Umbrella Academy take on personal conflicts, killer robots, a twisted orchestra, and one of their own to fend off the end of the world. There are twists in the tale I'll refrain from spoiling for the sake of future readers, but it's a pretty fun ride.

Though the pacing did feel a bit rushed in places, Way should be commended for accomplishing more character development in six issues than many veteran writers manage in twice that -- I was genuinely sad when a character is killed in the fifth chapter. Although some elements of the story aren't terribly original, those that are make the book worth reading. Bá's stylish art brings the surreal imagery to life, and it would be criminal to ignore the exceptional coloring work by Dave Stewart. It's little wonder The Umbrella Academy has won over so many skeptics and critics, and I'm certainly on board for the forthcoming second volume. The first issue of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas hits comic shops in November. You win, Gerard Way, but I'm still not going to listen to your band.

The trade paperback of The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite also includes an introduction by Grant Morrison, covers by James Jean, character sketches by Way and Bá, and the short Umbrella Academy stories released before the six-issue series.

Tuesday, August 19

Fat Planet audio at Flat Response

Lance has posted audio of the August 15 Fat Planet set on his site, Flat Response. He promises more Popfest audio to come, so check in there regularly. The show info:

Fat Planet
Athens Popfest
Little Kings Shuffle Club, Athens, GA

Source: Microtech Gefell M300’s > Lunatec V3 (opti-mod) > Nomad JB3 >
Firewire > CoolEdit Pro > CDWave > Flac16

1. (intro/banter)
2. Skyway
3. Jumping Fences
4. (Warm Milk and Chocolate story)
5. Warm Milk and Chocolate
6. Mercury Mother
7. Opera House
8. A Sunshine Fix
9. California Demise
10. The Gypsum Oilfield Fire
11. NYC-25 (aborted)
12. Monsters
13. The Rainbow

Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo, Marbles, Ulysses, Thee American Revolution)
Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control, Sunshine Fix, Apples in Stereo)
Will Cullen Hart (Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System)
Peter Ehrchick (Pipes You See Pipes You Don’t, Olivia Tremor Control)
Charlie Johnston (63 Crayons, Circulatory System)

Monday, August 18

Comics creators at Decatur Book Festival, August 30-31

The Decatur Book Festival takes place from August 29-31 in Decatur, Georgia, and will feature a number of prominent indie comics creators. Here's the rundown:

Hope Larson, Gray Horses, Chiggers
Saturday, 2:15-2:45, The Escape

Andy Runton, Owly
Sun., 2:00-2:30, Children's

Rich Tommaso, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow
Sat., 2:15-2:45, The Escape; Sun., 5:00-5:45, Library

Ben Towle, Midnight Sun
Sun., 5:00-5:45, Library

Robert Venditti, The Surrogates
Sunday, 5:00-5:45, Library

For the full list of authors and schedule, see the event's website. Thanks to Hillary for the tip!

Update: Jared too!

Saturday, August 16

Fat Planet reunion at Athens Popfest, August 15

One of the more unique events of this year's Athens Popfest has been the reunion of former Ruston, Louisiana, high school band Fat Planet. Why the special occasion? It's not every teen band whose members go on to establish Elephant 6.

Robert Schneider, Will Cullen Hart, Pete Ehrchick, Bill Doss

Fat Planet members Robert Schneider (Apples in Stereo, Marbles, Ulysses, Thee American Revolution) and Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control, Sunshine Fix, Apples in Stereo) hit the stage at Little Kings accompanied by Will Cullen Hart (Olivia Tremor Control, Circulatory System), Peter Ehrchick (Pipes You See Pipes You Don't, Olivia Tremor Control) and Charlie Johnston (63 Crayons, Circulatory System). The first Fat Planet show in two decades was attended by many of the band's friends and families, and had the unpolished feel of a house show. Doss, Hart, and Schneider shared acoustic guitars and worked their way through both a couple Fat Planet tunes and some of their own material.

Bill Doss

Each performer handled vocals on songs he wrote, and the set included Schneider's "Rainbow," Hart's "Monsters," and a couple of Doss songs that escape me. One of the Fat Planet songs that the gents performed was "Warm Milk and Chocolate," a song that Schneider wrote at 16. It's a fun pop song that Schneider introduced with a story about how his little brother destroyed the original tape years before and Hart later spliced it back together.

Robert Schneider's "Warm Milk and Chocolate" story

Fat Planet - "Warm Milk and Chocolate"

The set was pretty sloppy in places, but still a special thing to see. C&T buddy Lance taped the full show, so hopefully audio will be available in the near future.

Athens! Popfest! Photos!

More than two days into Athens Popfest, PJ and I have finally gotten around to sharing some photos. Our pictures from the first two three days (minus the Cubs game, I'm sorry to say) are now available at the C&T Flickr photostream.

Roky Erickson

Dark Meat

Herb Harris and Tommy Chung of The Selmanaires

Judi Chicago

The pictures on the account are a mixture of mine and PJ's. Images from Friday will come soon are up now.

Panda Riot - "Paper Planes" (MIA) at Athens Popfest

Chicago's Panda Riot have been known to cover MIA's "Paper Planes" on occasion, and they did so on Thursday at Popfest. Luckily, PJ from The Yellow Stereo was there to capture the performance:

An earlier performance on WOXY, live in the Queen City:

Panda Riot - Paper Planes (live) [at zSHARE]

More Popfest coverage to follow...

Update 8/18: I've moved the track to zSHARE due to high demand. Follow the link there to download.

Friday, August 15

The Buddy System east coast dates, Georgia shows

I ran into Ryan from Athens ani-band The Buddy System at Popfest, and he told me about several fantastic shows at which they'll appear in the next month. An east coast tour starts next week, and it will be followed by Athens shows with the likes of Pylon (!!!), Ham1, Folklore, Iron Hero, and others. Their live show is a visual treat -- fun music backing great animation by a couple of band members.

The Buddy System - "Clap Paws"

I'll be seeing them again in about 9 hours...

The tour dates:

8/15 40 Watt, Athens, GA (Athens Popfest)
8/19 The Spazzatorium, Greenville, NC (w/ Reverse X-Rays)
8/20 The Water Heater, Roanoke, VA (w/ Sad Cobras)
8/21 Rumors, Richmond, Va (w/ Sad Cobras, Hot Lava, Visitations)
8/22 Rehab, NY, NY ( w/ Ruby Isle, Shock Cinema)
8/23 Rooftop in Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY (w/ Videohippos, Ruby Isle)
8/24 Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY (w/ Ruby Isle + Last Year’s Model)
8/25 Baltimore, MD *TBA*
8/26 2412 Cypress, Columbia, SC
8/27 Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA (w/ The Matt Kurz One, Ham1, Future Ape Tapes, Folklore)
9/04 The Melting Point, Athens, GA (w/ Pylon!)
9/05 The 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA (w/ A. Armada and Iron Hero)

Their Myspace has more info.

Free Deerhunter in ATL tonight

A tip for the Atlanta crowd-- Deerhunter is playing a free show tonight at Vacation Gallery and Boutique (674A North Highland, next to San Francisco Coffee). It's scheduled to start at 7pm, so get there early. See the Deerhunter blog for confirmation.

Thanks to Kristen S. for the info!

Thursday, August 14

Noot d' Noot, Judi Chicago at Lenny's this Saturday

A brief interlude from Popfest shenanigans to note a show in Atlanta this weekend...

Fresh off their great performance last night, Judi Chicago will play with Noot d' Noot this Saturday night at Lenny's Bar. This is actually the final show of their "Worming the Starhole" residency this summer, during which the two bands have shared the bill. I'm assured this last event will be a special one, and here's the rundown:

Judi Chicago and Noot D' Noot presents
Worming the Starhole 4: the final summer party
Starring Judi Chicago, Noot D' Noot & our special guests:
The Chief Acid Officer (with a live set of blistering acid house and electro squelch)
DJ DVA (of Beachtitti Fame) playing music to soundtrack your fun.

The whole glorious cabaret will kick off at 10pm.

Have you heard these guys?

Judi Chicago - Burger Joy
Noot d' Noot - Neighborhood Clucker

Should be all kinds of fun.

Back, and to the left

The first full day of Athens Popfest is on the books, but I'm too tired to write much now. It's 4AM, after all. After watching the Cubs beat the Braves this afternoon, we made it back to Athens for the evening slate at Little Kings. I'll briefly note that Supercluster and Nana Grizol were quite good, and the trio of Atlanta bands (The Coathangers, Judi Chicago, The Selmanaires) were a lot of fun. Judi Chicago in particular was terrific -- they also seem to have dominated my selection of pictures from the night. I guess that's what happens when a band is entertaining, energetic, and wears nifty outfits.

Judi Chicago - Mad Ape

More to come later. I taped everything this evening and we took about 200 pictures, but I need sleep.


Two posts of note at the Paste blog, as (1) a reader tours cool record stores including Atlanta's Criminal Records and Nashville's Grimey's and (2) Paste reveals the crazy packaging for Of Montreal's Skeletal Lamping. Thanks to Roger for the tip!

Monday, August 11

The week ahead: Athens Popfest (and the Cubs!)

Busy week ahead as my Chicago Cubs are in Atlanta from Tuesday through Thursday, while Athens Popfest runs from Tuesday until Saturday. I'll be at Turner Field on Tuesday and running around Popfest the rest of the week. If all goes as planned I'll upload pictures as the week/end progresses, though I'm sure they won't measure up to Mike's output.

I'll be running around with PJ from The Yellow Stereo, so expect coverage on both ends. I'm sure Sloan, Gordon, HHBTM Mike, and Casper will be around, and I believe Jeff from Optical Atlas will be too.

The Athens Popfest schedule:

Tuesday, August 12
8:00 PM - Fish Schticks
8:35 PM - Bob Hay & the Jolly Beggars
9:10 PM - Allison Weiss
9:45 PM - Titans of Filth

Wednesday, August 13
Little Kings
2:00 PM - Boy Genius
2:35 PM - the Hotwalls
3:15 PM - Amo Joy!
4:00 PM - Afternoon Naps
4:45 PM - Nervous Systems
5:30 PM - Oh Sanders
8:00 PM - Supercluster
8:35 PM - Blondie-Grunt
9:10 PM - Nana Grizol
9:45 PM - Hot Pants Romance
10:20 PM - the Coathangers
11:00 PM - Whistling School for Boys
11:30 PM - Judi Chicago
12:00 AM - Spring Tigers
12:35 AM - the Selmanaires
01:15 AM - We Versus the Shark

Thursday, August 14
The 40 Watt Club
8:00 PM - Patience Please
8:30 PM - Velcro Stars
9:00 PM - Bunnygrunt
9:30 PM - Cars Can Be Blue
10:15 PM - Great Lakes
11:00 PM - the Love Letter Band
11:45 PM - Dark Meat
12:30 AM - Roky Erickson & the Explosives

Little Kings
2:00 PM - That’s My Daughter
2:40 PM - Little Birds
3:20 PM - A Faulty Chromosome
4:00 PM - Panda Riot
4:45 PM - Averkiou

Flicker Theater and Bar
6:00 PM - Night Driving in Small Towns
6:45 PM - Good Graces
7:30 PM - Mary O Harrison

8:30 PM - the Ocelots
9:30 PM - Tom Gorrio (Baby Calendar)
10:30 PM - Twin Tigers
11:30 PM - Dead Confederate

Friday, August 15
The 40 Watt Club
8:00 PM - Cryptacize
8:30 PM - Secret History
9:10 PM - the Faintest Ideas
9:50 PM - Ruby Isle
10:30 PM - the Buddy System
11:00 PM - the Lolligags
11:30 PM - Fishboy
12:15 AM - the Apes
01:00 AM - Boyracer

Little Kings
2:00 PM - Railcars
2:40 PM - Tendaberry
3:20 PM - One Happy Island
4:00 PM - Hat Company
4:30 PM - Fat Planet

Flicker Theater and Bar
6:00 PM - Umbrella Tree
6:45 PM - Noisycrane
7:30 PM - Gospel Gossip

7:00 PM - “I Need That Record” screening

8:30 PM - Laminated Cat
9:30 PM - Ham 1
10:30 PM - My Teenage Stride
11:30 PM - A Armada
12:00 AM - DJ Other Voices, Other Rooms

Saturday, August 16
The 40 Watt Club
8:00 PM - the Smittens
8:30 PM - Big Fresh
9:00 PM - Thee American Revolution
9:30 PM - Pipes You See Pipes You Don’t
10:00 PM - Andy from Denver
10:30 PM - Casper & the Cookies
11:00 PM - Circulatory System
12:00 AM - Elf Power
01:00 AM - the Music Tapes

Little Kings
2:00 PM - Lognhalsmottagningen
2:15 PM - Bad Animal
3:00 PM - the Young Untold
3:30 PM - American Cheeseburger

Flicker Theater and Bar
6:00 PM - Oh Fortuna
6:45 PM - Marc with a C
7:30 PM - Hot Lava

4:15 PM - “I Need That Record” screening
7:00 PM - “I Need That Record” screening

8:30 PM - Sgt Dunbar & the Hobo Banned
9:30 PM -The Arcs
10:30 PM - Baak Gwai
11:30 PM - Man Factory
12:00 AM - DJ Other Voices, Other Rooms

Sunday, August 17
4:15 PM -”I Need That Record” screening
7:00 PM -”I Need That Record” screening

Friday, August 8

Friday Night Fights: Ladies Night!!! Round 2

Molly Hayes (aka "Bruiser" aka "Princess Powerful"), pre-teen mutant with superstrength, clearly never learned to respect her elders. What happens when she is confronted by Wolverine, fellow mutant and man ten times her age? Hang time, bub.

Molly sends Logan on a free flight in Runaways Volume 2 #12 (March 2006) by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, reprinted in the excellent Runaways Vol. 2 from Marvel Comics.

For more fightin' females, enter the ring with Bahlactus.

Mishka Shubaly at The EARL on Saturday, Sunday

C&T fave Beat the Devil have broken up, but one member of that band returns to Atlanta this weekend. Mishka Shubaly and his guitar appear at The EARL both Saturday (8/9) and Sunday (8/10). On Saturday night he'll open for comedian Doug Stanhope, and on Sunday morning he'll play the free Dunch afternoon show.

Mishka has been kind enough to send along a demo of the unreleased "Your Stupid Dreams" for C&T's readers to check out, though it can't be downloaded due to label constraints. It's somewhat of a departure from Beat the Devil, more in a punk country mode than his former band.

Mishka Shubaly - "Your Stupid Dreams"

You can order Mishka's current record, How to Make a Bad Situation Worse, from Terra Soul Records. Hear more on Myspace.

Fishboy and Robocop: "NO PILLS!"

Word in from friend of the blog Eric Fishboy regarding his recent appearance in an anti-drug PSA with my man Peter Weller Frank Murphy Robocop. Oh yes:

Man, after watching that I can't imagine you'd need drugs.

Fishboy - Parachute (Using the Ghost of Buddy Holly As A)
Fishboy - Taqueria Girl
Fishboy - Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee

Fishboy will be at Athens Popfest on Friday, August 15.

Ruby Isle - 'Night Shot'

Ruby Isle's Night Shot is due September 18, and after a few listens I can say that it's a very fun and high quality record. The band maintains the electro-pop and dance groove present on their EP to great effect, with plenty of big guitars and fancy production in the mix.

Night Shot also features guest vocalists Amy Dykes (of I Am the World Trade Center) on Peter Gabriel cover "Solsbury Hill" and Tay Zonday (of "Chocolate Rain" fame) on the title track. Neither come off as gimmicks, thankfully, and both fit snugly within the album as a whole. For me the highlight is probably the anthemic "Hey Hey Hey (That Kid's Okay)," which reminds me more than a little of mid-'90s Weezer or Fountains of Wayne. Unexpected and awesome.

Ruby Isle - Hey Hey Hey (That Kid's Okay)
Ruby Isle - Night Shot [with Tay Zonday]

Night Shot also includes the collection of covers that Ruby Isle gradually released in the past year, including songs by The Mountain Goats, Destroyer, Beach House, Stephen Malkmus, and others. While enjoyable, I wouldn't consider them the main selling point here. Night Shot will be released by Kindercore Records.

As noted previously in this space, Ruby Isle play both Atlanta and Athens (Popfest!) in the near future. Ruby Isle on tour:

8/14 Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, GA
8/15 40 Watt Club for Popfest, Athens, GA
8/16 Pirate’s Cove, Myrtle Beach, SC
8/22 Rehab, NY, NY
8/23 Roof top party, NY, NY
8/24 Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY
8/27 Cactus Club, Milwaukee, WI
8/28 Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
8/29 Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis, MN

At Popfest they share the stage with The Buddy System, The Lolligags, Fishboy, The Apes, and Boyracer. That will be a fun night.

'Heroes' comes to Athens comics shop

Well, this is odd.

Over at EW's Ausiello Files, a reader sent in a perfectly innocent question about the upcoming season of Heroes. I find the answer quite amusing.

Question: What is up with Kristen Bell and Heroes? It’s been ages since we’ve heard anything. -- Steven
She's back on the set shooting her multi-episode arc as we speak! Woo-hoo! In other Heroes news, look for the action (or at least part of the action) to shift to a comic book shop in Athens, Georgia around Episode 11.

Oh, boy. The gents at Bizarro Wuxtry are going to love this news. Replicate this, Heroes.

Thanks to Wendi for the tip!

Thursday, August 7

Deerhunter announce fall tour, play Atlanta on Halloween

They're still not a personal fave, but I thought it best to share Deerhunter's fall tour dates. After they play their shows with Nine Inch Nails, Deerhunter will hit the road with Matador recording artist Times New Viking for a coast-to-coast adventure.

Deerhunter - Wash Off
Times New Viking - We Got Rocket

The dates:

08/06 Buffalo, NY - Big Orbit’s Soundlab
08/07 Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena (w/ NIN)
08/08 Worcester, MA - DCU Center (w/ NIN)
08/09 Lancaster, PA - The Sugar Tank
08/10 Pittsburgh, PA - Garfield Artworks
08/11 Morgantown, WV - 123 Pleasant Street
08/12 Knoxville, TN - Knoxville Civic Coliseum (w/ NIN)
08/13 Duluth, GA - Gwinnett Arena (w/ NIN)
09/02 Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheater (w/ NIN)
09/03 Salt Lake City, UT - E Center (w/ NIN)
09/05 Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena (w/ NIN)
09/06 Inglewood, CA - The Forum (w/ NIN)

With Times New Viking:

10/31 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse
11/01 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
11/02 Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle
11/03 Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
11/04 Washington, DC - Black Cat
11/05 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church
11/06 Princeton, NJ - Terrace F. Club
11/07 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
11/08 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
11/10 Boston, MA - Paradise
11/11 Montreal, Quebec - Theatre Plaza
11/12 Toronto, Ontario - Lee’s Palace
11/13 Pontiac, MI - Crofoot Ballroom
11/14 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop
11/15 Chicago, IL - Metro
11/16 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
11/17 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock Social Club
11/20 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard’s on Richards
11/21 Seattle, WA - Neumos
11/22 Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theater
11/24 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall
11/25 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
11/28 San Diego, CA - Casbah
11/29 Phoenix, AZ - Modified Arts
12/01 Dallas, TX - Palladium Loft
12/02 Austin, TX - Emo’s Alternative Lounge Outside
12/03 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
12/04 Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
12/05 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
12/06 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree

Hat tip to Tiny Mix Tapes.

Wednesday, August 6

Blossom Dearie - 'Once Upon a Summertime'

Going through some records recently, I noticed that 2008 marks an even fifty years since the release of Blossom Dearie's classic 1958 album Once Upon a Summertime. Dearie was one of the great jazz vocalists of yesteryear, and revisiting her material reveals it still resonates.

She's often classified as a bebop vocalist, but Dearie seems masterful no matter the style -- ballads, list songs, whatever. Her distinctive vocals have a sweet quality that may remind modern listeners of Kimya Dawson or Joanna Newsom, though her delivery differs from theirs substantially. She's truly a classic artist that deserves more recognition. If she's new to you, I'd suggest checking out her other early material on Verve along with Once Upon a Summertime.

Blossom Dearie - Moonlight Saving Time
Blossom Dearie - Surrey with the Fringe on Top

Dearie remains hip as ever, and performs regularly. For a more extensive biography, see her Wiki entry.