Friday, October 31

Bruce Springsteen - "A Night with the Jersey Devil"

Bruce Springsteen is in the holiday spirit today, and has passed on a little treat via his website.

To the delight of ghouls everywhere, The Boss has provided a free download of blues tune "A Night with the Jersey Devil." Here in the South we're more familiar with Boo Hags, but I get the sentiment.

Bruce Springsteen - A Night with the Jersey Devil

I guess that explains where the hockey team gets its name, eh?

Halloween with Marvel Zombies!

With Halloween here, you can bet we'll see plenty of vampires, pirates, hippies, witches, and way too many incarnations of The Joker. I imagine there will also be a healthy number of zombies and superheroes. What about, then, zombie superheroes? Marvel has you covered.

From Marvel Zombies #1 by Robert Kirkman and Sean Phillips:

Note to Zombie Colonel America: Don't attack the Master of Magnetism with a metal shield.

Marvel Zombies #1 is reprinted in Marvel Zombies Volume 1 (2006). Happy Halloween!

Bonus mp3: Evangelicals - Halloween Song

New Casper & the Cookies - "You Love Me"

Casper & the Cookies

Athens-based Casper & the Cookies recently completed their forthcoming album, Modern Silence, right here in Classic City. It will be the follow-up to their excellent 2006 record The Optimist's Club, and they've promised a whopping 16 tracks of pop goodness.

Throughout October the band have shared exclusive tracks with a few of my favorite music blogs, and I hope you have checked them out:

@ Three Imaginary Girls - "Little King"

@ Optical Atlas - "Sunshine Girl"

@ You Ain't No Picasso - "Song Across the Sea"

Today I'm pleased to present a Halloween treat -- the fourth and final exclusive track from Modern Silence. Titled "You Love Me," the song shows off the chops we've come to expect from Casper and company, and you even get to hear some raving from Kay's bad self. Good stuff.

Casper & the Cookies - "You Love Me"

Modern Silence is due in early 2009, and I can't wait to hear the whole kit and kaboodle.

Thanks to the band for providing the track!

Thursday, October 30

C&T ticket giveaway: Brooke Waggoner at Vinyl, 11/6

I noted yesterday that Brooke Waggoner is coming back to Georgia, and now Rival Entertainment has provided a pair of tickets to her November 6 show at Atlanta's Vinyl for a C&T reader. I've said repeatedly how much I adore this Nashville artist, and I hope y'all dig her too. Brooke is on tour supporting her new release, Heal for the Honey.

Brooke Waggoner - Live for the Sounds

If you would like the tickets to Brooke's Atlanta show on November 6, write me with "BW Tix" in the subject line. I'll pick a random winner on Tuesday, Novemeber 4. Good luck!

Athens folks note that she'll be at Tasty World (corner of Broad & Jackson) on Monday, November 3.

C&T CD giveaway: Cars Can Be Blue - 'Doubly Unbeatable'

C&T's buddies at Happy Happy Birthday To Me have been kind enough to provide a copy of the new album from Cars Can Be Blue, Doubly Unbeatable, for a lucky reader. Nate and Becky released their newest album earlier this year, and it's another dose of their fun and sometimes perverse pop. Hooray for fun music!

Cars Can Be Blue - Sun Blows Up

If you would like to win it, send me an email with "CCBB CD" in the subject line. I'll pick a random winner on Wednesday, November 5. Doubly Unbeatable is available from HHBTM.

CCBB on tour:

10/31 Chum’s (Brandeis University), Waltham, MA
11/01 The Monkey Bar, Winooski, VT
(w/The Smittens!!!, The Besties!!!, James Kolchaka!!!)
11/02 TBA, between Brattleboro, VT and Baltimore
11/03 The Hexagon, Baltimore, MD
11/04 INVITE THEM TO ELECTION PARTY!!! (b/w Baltimore, Richmond)
11/05 The Triple, Richmond, VA
11/06 Rapture, Charlottesville, VA
11/07 Apple Alley, West Asheville, NC
11/08 Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
11/09 TBA, Columbia, SC
11/10 The Tin Roof, Charleston, SC
11/11 TBA, SC
11/12 Vito’s, Valdosta, GA
11/13 Eclipse, Jacksonville, FL
11/14 Vagabond’s, Miami, FL
11/15 Dada, DelRay Beach, FL
11/16 Stardust Video, Orlando, FL (w/ Marc with a C)

Holy cow -- that show on Saturday looks amazing. Smittens, Besties, and... James Kochalka!?!

Cabbage Patch politics and my absolute terror

Over on ebay, one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids representing Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, and Sarah Palin are being auctioned to benefit Toys for Tots.

Cabbage Patch Obama and Cabbage Patch McCain

Personally, I fear these creepy dolls will take a hatchet and scalpel to more than just the federal budget. I blame Chucky. At least the Sarah Palin one has rockin' cankles.

Doctor Doom: Sad, sad socialist

With all the sound and fury about socialism these days, it's worth noting that America actually handed the Presidency to a European socialist back in the 1980s. His name? Victor von Doom.

Here's hoping the next president also has Namor the Sub-Mariner as his chief of staff.

Doom pimps out the Oval Office in The Avengers: Emperor Doom by David Michelinie and Bob Hall (1987).

Tuesday, October 28

Yep Roc Records $5 backstock sale

Hey bargain hunters -- Yep Roc Records is having a sale through November 7, with much of their back catalog priced at just $5. The albums include those by such artists as Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys, Bob Mould, The Fleshtones, The Forty-Fives, The Go-Betweens, The Gourds, Marah, The Minus 5, Paul Weller, Robyn Hitchcock, The Sadies, Sloan, Southern Culture on the Skids, and others. Lots of good stuff to choose from.

Check out the full list.

Brooke Waggoner on tour, in Athens 11/3 and Atlanta 11/6

Nashville songstress (and C&T fave) Brooke Waggoner is currently on tour, and she'll be gracing Georgians with her presence early next month. Brooke brings her beautiful voice to Tasty World in Athens on November 3, and will appear at Vinyl in Atlanta on November 6. She released her current album, Heal for the Honey, back in September.

Brooke Waggoner - Live for the Sounds

Brooke Waggoner on tour:

10/29 The Social, Orlando, FL
10/30 House Show @ Studio 212, Birmingham, AL
11/01 Spanish Moon, Baton Rouge, LA
11/03 Tasty World, Athens, GA
11/06 Vinyl, Atlanta, GA
11/07 Club Downunder, Tallahassee, FL
11/08 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
11/09 Talking Head Club, Baltimore, MD
11/10 Southpaw, Brooklyn, NY
11/11 Cafe 939 at Berklee, Boston, MA
11/12 Garfield Artworks, Pittsburgh, PA
11/13 Knickerbocker Theatre, Holland, MI
11/14 The Mercy House, Anderson, IN
11/15 Beat Kitchen, Chicago, IL
11/16 Shank Hall, Milwaukee, WI
12/06 Union University, Jackson, TN

Her earlier EP, Fresh Pair of Eyes, is available as a free download.

Monday, October 27

An observation while watching 'Heroes' tonight

A note to my fellow Heroes viewers...

I know they have been trying to make resident geek Mohinder edgy this season, but something about it just doesn't work for me. Personally, when I look at this guy....

.... I just think he should be hanging out with these guys:

And that is not edgy. Now... couples skate!

I am so, so sorry.

Loch Lomond debut "Blue Lead Fences" video

I have meant to post about Portland's Loch Lomond for quite a while, and today I have good reason. The band has just released a visually gorgeous video for "Blue Lead Fences" from their forthcoming (as yet untitled) album. The track is lovely as well, reminiscent of Beirut but rooted in the Portland's indie folk aesthetic.

Loch Lomond begin a string of east and west coast dates supporting The Decemberists on November 5.

Bonus mp3: Loch Lomond - Carl Sagan

Vancougar at The EARL in Atlanta tonight, October 27

Photo by Ryan Walter Wagner

The ladies in Canadian quartet Vancougar will appear at The EARL in Atlanta tonight with locals Thee Crucials and The Long Shadows. Vancougar are a fun and spunky bunch, and I expect they'll put on a spirited show. If you're in Atlanta and like straight-ahead retro pop, you might head to East Atlanta tonight. Those openers are pretty good too.

Vancougar - Obvious

The current album from Vancougar, Canadian Tuxedo, is available now.

The Color Wheels - "Green Means Go"

New York's The Color Wheels are new to me, but have quickly piqued my interest. They're the husband and wife duo of Jon (guitar, vocals) and Psalm (drums) Sebastian, and they play a really fetching brand of jangle-pop. Their self-titled album is now available from Viper Bite Records, and you can stream the record from their website. I'm really digging the free mp3 of "Green Means Go," and you might too.

The Color Wheels - Green Means Go

The band has a number of tour dates listed on their Myspace, all up in New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

New video from The Whigs - "Like a Vibration"

Athens band The Whigs have released a new video for their "Like a Vibration" from Mission Control. Check it:

The Whigs will also appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live this Wednesday. It seems like there's an Athens band on TV weekly these days, and I'm fine with that.

Sunday, October 26

Arizona on tour, play Athens, Atlanta on November 16-17

Arizona released their new album, Glowing Bird, on October 14 and they're currently on tour to support it. That tour brings them to Georgia next month, when they'll play at Farm 255 in Athens (11/16) and The EARL in Atlanta (11/17). In Athens they will share the stage with the country-tinged shoegaze act Sleepy Horses, and in Atlanta they will open for Portland's Horse Feathers.

Arizona - Colors
Sleepy Horses - Lubbock Love Song
Horse Feathers - Curs in the Woods

The first single from Arizona's Glowing Bird is "Colors," for which the band has released a shiny new video.

Arizona on tour:

10/26 High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI
10/28 High Dive, Champaign, IL
10/29 The Metro, Chicago, IL
10/31 Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
11/01 Mr. Smalls Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
11/06 The M Room, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11/07 Cake Shop (NYC CD Release Party), New York, NY
11/08 Vassar College @ The Ferry House, Poughkeepsie, NY
11/09 The State Theatre, State College, PA
11/11 El Rancho Grande, Baltimore, MD
11/12 The Red and The Black, Washington DC
11/13 House Rock Show, Richmond, VA
11/14 School Kids (afternoon in-store), Raleigh, NC
11/14 Slim’s, Raleigh, NC
11/15 The Cave. Chapel Hill, NC
11/16 Farm 255 (free show), Athens, GA
11/17 The EARL, Atlanta, GA
11/21 The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
11/22 Mr. Smalls Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, October 25

Jack Kirby's Captain America remix

These days, artists and illustrators like Dean Trippe, Ming Doyle, Daniel Krall, Joe Quinones, and Joel Carroll regularly contribute revamped superhero designs to Project Rooftop. Tonight I stumbled onto something related I had completely forgotten about. One of their predecessors in the remix field was none other than Jack "The King" Kirby, who apparently redesigned the costume of one Captain America (whom Kirby co-created with Joe Simon in 1941) for some unknown purpose. From Captain America Collector's Preview #1 (March 1995), with thanks to comics historian Greg Theakston:

Given that nobody seems to know what prompted the art above or when it was created, I suppose we may never find out. Personally, I think it looks a little too close to MLJ/Archie Comics hero The Shield for comfort. Still, cool to see what might have been.

New 'Watchmen' trailer in HD

New footage from the Watchmen film has been circulating since it aired during some lame awards show, and now it's available in HD. There's a lot here we've seen before (you know, before The Dark Knight) and quite a bit that's new.

If you haven't read Watchmen, I can't recommend it enough.

Bump of the knuckles to Kevin Huxford.

Elvis Costello - "Whole Wide World" (Wreckless Eric cover)

This may be irrefutable evidence that I'm a complete wuss, but I'm gonna go there anyway. One of my favorite recent moments in film was the charming scene in Stranger Than Fiction (2006) when awkward IRS auditor Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) plays Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World" in the loft of his crush Ana Pascal (Maggie Gyllenhaal). It still makes me smile, and it had the added bonus of stoking my interest in Wreckless Eric's catalog.

Now, reader Jon W. has been kind enough to send along a live cover of the song by none other than Elvis Costello & The Attractions from back in 1977. It's pretty loyal to the original, but is distinctly Elvis. I'm afraid this may be on 'repeat' all weekend.

Elvis Costello & The Attractions - Whole Wide World [Wreckless Eric cover; 10-22-1977]

Thanks Jon!

Saturday Looks Good To Me - "Meet Me By The Water"

Michigan's Saturday Looks Good To Me have been kickin' out the jams for nearly a decade. Today I was reminded how much I enjoy them, as I happened to hear their "Meet Me By The Water" on streaming radio. The song comes from their 2003 release All Your Summer Songs, and still sounds great with its classic pop vibe and horns.

Saturday Looks Good To Me - Meet Me By The Water

For what it's worth, this was my soundtrack while the Georgia Bulldogs and LSU Tigers were beating the hell out of each other on TV. A bit unconventional, but it works for me.

Friday, October 24

Benefit show in Atlanta tonight, October 24, with Herb and Jason Harris of The Selmanaires, others

Late notice, but a great event tonight...

I'm on the way out the door to see W here in Athens, but there's an event worth hitting at the Highland Inn Lounge in Atlanta (644 N. Highland Ave. (between North Ave. and Ponce) ) tonight, Friday, October 24. Here are the details:

Fundraiser to benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation at the Highland Inn Lounge. Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. All proceeds from the event will go towards funding research and giving hope to patients. Just $5 at the door to hear entertainment by:

Harris Twins (of The Selmanaires)
Sleep Therapy
Night Moves Gold
DJ Tim Lawrence throughout evening

The evening includes a silent art auction and raffle with prizes from Cafe di Sol, Young Blood, Adult Swim, the Local, GA Aquarium, BTB fitness, Videodrome and more.

It all starts at 8pm, so please spread the word to folks who may be interested.

Free download of Man Plus, 'The Hungarian Suicide Songbook'

The nice folks at Three Imaginary Girls have been kind enough to note that Seattle band Man Plus are offering their current album as a free download. They are new to me, but I figured they were worth a chance given the gratis offering. Man Plus's The Hungarian Suicide Songbook is loaded with electronic and indie goodness, although it does venture a little more into typical indie rock aesthetics than usually excites me.

Man Plus - My Kind of People

The Atlanta crowd might place their sound somewhere between Snowden and Judi Chicago, for what it's worth. Lots of highlights here, and I definitely recommend grabbing The Hungarian Suicide Songbook via the free download.

Kenosha Kid plays Radiohead this Sunday in Athens

This Sunday night in Athens, local jazz/indie act Kenosha Kid, led by guitarist Dan Nettles, have something cool lined up. They'll take the stage that night at Kingpin's Bowl and Brew (2451 Jefferson Road, Athens) from 9-11pm for "Kenosha Kid Performing the Music of Radiohead." So... indie-fused jazz covers of Radiohead at a bowling alley. It would be like The Dude's surreal dream if he were a Gen X/Y burnout instead of a Baby Boomer burnout.

No word whether the venue is affiliated with a certain Marvel villain. I hope so.

Thursday, October 23

Never thought I'd see the day: Andy, Opie, Richie, and The Fonz endorse Barack Obama

Whatever your political preferences, this is a hoot. Ron Howard has reunited with both Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler to endorse Barack Obama in the guise of their classic characters Andy Taylor, Opie Taylor, Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, and Richie Cunningham. The Andy Griffith Show has always been a personal fave, and Happy Days isn't so bad either.

Nice to see Henry Winkler resurrect The Fonz again after his classic PSA.

Via Occasional Superheroine.

'Lost' Season 5 trailer hits the web

Well, look what Matt found...

It's the trailer for Season 5 of Lost! Some nice hints there of things to come, and I'm ready for the show to come back. Once Lost is back alongside Heroes and Fringe, I will actually have a decent TV schedule again. Add some Battlestar Galactica in January, and I'm set.

Wednesday, October 22

Ryan Adams skewered for Atlanta performance

I consider myself a very casual fan of Ryan Adams, and certainly not a rabid one. As such, I chose to see Magnetic Fields last Friday rather than attend the Adams show at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. It seems a good thing I did, as Adams reportedly walked off stage after 45 minutes after complaining of illness, only to be serenaded with boos. Some reports from the scene have not been kind.

From AMG's Atlanta Music Blog:
The Cardinals gig featuring Ryan Adams didn't last quite as long as most people would have expected on Friday night! The band were playing at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Duluth. The band took the stage around 8:45pm, but left less than an hour later after Adams lost his voice. It had apparently been getting steadily worse throughout the night, but in typical Adam's fashion, the gig ended abruptly leaving the crowd bewildered and looking for refunds.

From Creative Loafing's Crib Notes:
So either he’s an asshole or an artist. The girl sitting next to me called him a “bitch.” As in, “we paid, I’m enjoying the show, now don’t stop entertaining us because of your so-called problems you whiney little bitch.” I tend to be an Adams apologist and say he can’t help himself. The price of enjoying his art is that we’re going to get nights like last Friday.

I tend to think he should have had the band jam and spare his voice, or have offered at least an apologetic explanation, but I wasn't at the show. Were any of you there? Any thoughts on the matter?

Update: Ryan has posted an apology.

Tuesday, October 21

Oh No Oh My - "Be a Star"

Oh No Oh My are back with a new EP, Dmitrij Dmitrij, and they have sent along the first track freely available for public consumption. "Be a Star" is a bit heavier than what we've heard from these gents, but retains the clever pop flair that defined their earlier releases. I haven't heard the whole EP yet, but now I'll be sure to seek it out.

Oh No Oh My - Be a Star

Dmitrij Dmitrij is now available from iTunes and Amazon. They'll be touring Europe from late October through November.

Bandstand Busking with Of Montreal

The gang from Bandstand Busking recently got to record Athens' own Of Montreal playing in bandstands around London, and have been kind enough to share the fruits of their labors.

"Id Engager"

"An Eluardian Instance"

"Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse"

Of Montreal plays the Tabernacle in Atlanta on November 8.

Monday, October 20

James Buchanan never looked so fly

Election fever continues here at C&T. Exciting!

LiveJournal members MZA and Maria Sputnik present amusing portraits of the American presidents, including cameo appearances from Slave Leia and Hello Kitty.

See: Morrissey - "America is Not the World" [at YouTube]

Via Newsarama.

Sunday, October 19

You don't see that every day

The MPAA rating for the 1995 documentary Crumb, a study of the legendary (and sometimes controversial) underground cartoonist Robert Crumb:

I think a similar warning should have preceded Superbad [NSFW!].

Thursday, October 16

Monty Python's Spamalot coming to Atlanta!

Well, this is unexpected and awesome.

Monty Python's Spamalot is coming to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre outside Atlanta from March 17-22. I don't how many of C&T's readers spent their high school days quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but I sure did.

This weekend in Athens: 'Meanwhile, Back at the Super Lair....'

I'm going to see Wicked tonight at the Fabulous Fox in Atlanta, and it looks like I'll hit another bit of theater during the weekend in Athens.

The Town and Gown Players are presenting Meanwhile, Back at the Super Lair this weekend at the Athens Community Theater (115 Grady Ave., off downtown). It will run for this weekend only, from October 17-19. They will have three shows, with performances on Friday (8pm), Saturday (8pm), and Sunday (2pm). The blurb:

And you thought Batman had issues . . . .

What good are superheroes in a city with no crime? Their leader spends most of his time on the psychiatrist’s couch and the other heroes at the Superlair have devolved into mere fussy roommates, squabbling over dishes and fighting over the TV remote. What use, they wonder, is a bachelor’s degree in fighting evildoers? What use is a superhero that is neither super nor heroic? When a real threat finally emerges, can the Super Tribe finally become the heroes they’ve always pretended to be? Find out October 17-19!

I understand it's for mature audiences, so be warned it's probably not for kiddos.

Admission is $5, and no reservations are required.

Wednesday, October 15

New Howlies track - "Chimera"

Atlanta's Howlies will release their debut album, Trippin' with Howlies, in January. These guys have been on a major upswing in the last year, and will soon be in New York for the annual CMJ festivities. To celebrate their forthcoming release they have released a free single from the record. "Chimera" is a rock song with a garage/pop flavor, and has me more than ready for the full record.

Howlies - Chimera

The current EP from Howlies, Sea Level, is available now for just $3.

Howlies on tour:

10/22 New York, NY
10/23 New York, NY
10/28 New Haven, CT
10/29 Boston, MA
10/30 Baltimore, MD
10/31 Greenville, NC
11/01 Greenville, NC
11/02 Raleigh, NC
11/03 Chapel Hill, NC
11/04 Asheville, NC
11/05 Athens, GA
11/07 Atlanta, GA
11/08 Savannah, GA
11/09 Jacksonville, FL
11/10 Orlando, FL
11/11 Tampa, FL
11/12 St. Petersburg, FL
11/13 Gainesville, FL
11/14 Tallahassee, FL
11/15 Destin, FL
11/17 Pensacola, FL
11/18 New Orleans, LA
11/19 Birmingham, AL
11/20 Nashville, TN
11/21 Memphis, TN
11/22 Oxford, MS
11/25 Bloomington, IN
11/26 Terre Haute, IN
11/28 Chicago, IL
11/29 Ann Arbor, MI
12/01 Cleveland, OH
12/03 Columbus, OH
12/04 New York City, NY
12/17 Charlotte, NC
12/18 Athens, GA
12/19 Charleston, SC
12/31 Atlanta, GA

For more information and tour dates, visit their Myspace.

Heads up: "The Renegades" at The EARL in Atlanta tomorrow night

A tip for the Atlanta crowd -- a certain popular local flower-punk band is playing a secret show under the name "The Renegades" on Thursday night at The EARL. Don't say nobody told you.

Also on the bill are other bands affiliated with Atlanta's great Rob's House Records. Ten bucks gets you inside.

A debate for the ages!

No, not tonight's final showdown between McCain and Obama. It's Batman vs. The Penguin.

Oswald Cobblepot has mastered the "guilt by association" technique.

Hat tip to Mark Ambinder.

C&T exclusive: A chat with Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields

As C&T's readers may be aware, Stephin Merritt is bringing his Magnetic Fields to Woodruff Arts Center on Friday night. With all the buzz about the show, I was glad that Cable & Tweed was offered an interview with Mr. Merritt. The duties went to contributor Tiffani Harcrow, who spoke to Merritt last week. The result is transcribed here in all its awkward glory:

Stephin Merritt

When I was asked to do a phone interview with Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt, I thought “Neat! Sure I’ll do it. Sounds fun! No big thang, right?” Then I saw this interview from Good Day Atlanta. Then I discovered that there is a veritable genre of literature devoted to failed Stephin Merritt interviews which left red-faced reporters shamed and dejected. Then I realized that I couldn’t hear much of what he was saying. Then I apparently offended him with my first question.

So here is the latest submission to the prodigious cannon of failed Stephin Merritt interviews. At least he likes ABBA.

SM: Hello

TH: Hi, this is Tiffani from Cable & Tweed.

SM: Hi, this is Stephin Merritt.

TH: Excuse me?

SM: Hello, this is Stephin.

TH: Hi, well thanks for taking time to talk with me today.

SM: Thank you for calling.

TH: All right, well, I guess it seems best to start with your most-quoted phrase about Distortion, that you wanted it to “sound more like Jesus and Mary Chain than Jesus and Mary Chain,” and this seems to be a pretty popular musical conceit, at least over the past two years, with a lot of bands like A Place to Bury Strangers and No Age taking on that sound, and I’m just wondering why you think that…

SM: I’m sorry, who taking on that sound?

TH: Um, a lot of kinda Jesus and Mary Chain imitators lately, like A Place to Bury Strangers and No Age, Belong, bands like that…

SM: No Age Blonde?

TH: No Age, and then the next band that I mentioned is Belong…

SM: Oh, um, I’m not familiar with either one.

TH: Well, well, the question is just, why do you think that this sound has taken a hold so strongly again?

SM: Um, well, when I recorded the record, none of that had happened (smug chuckle), so, I was not responding…um, uh, why do I think the sound has become popular? I think it, uh, should have been popular all along. But now that Toys R Us commercials sound like punk rock, say, sound like Shonen Knife, it seems appropriate for pop that isn’t trying to sound actually like a commercial, to be a little, a little more difficult listening than that. But, uh, competing against the toy store commercial has become more difficult, so I think there’s hardly anywhere to go but Jesus and Mary Chain, really.

TH: So, it’s a polar opposite of Toys R Us and Jesus and Mary Chain?

SM: No. Toys R Us commercials sound almost like Jesus and Mary Chain at this point, is what I’m saying.

TH: Oh, I guess I haven’t been up to date.

SM: I’m sorry?

TH: I guess I haven’t been up to date on the commercials.

SM: Ah, ah.

TH: Well, um, given the imitation of Psychocandy, I was wondering if you, um, if it was a conscious decision to mirror a lot of the song titles on this album over classic bands like, “California Girls” is obvious, but then “Xavier Says” reminds me a lot of the Velvet Underground habit of doing the “Lisa Says,” “Stephanie Says,” and then…

SM: Yes, that’s an intentional parallel, yes.

TH: And then uh, “Too Drunk to Dream,” which is, you know, the Dead Kennedy’s “Too Drunk to Fuck…”

SM: Uh, yeah, personally I had forgotten all about the “Too Drunk to Fuck” until people started asking me about it. Uh, you know, “Too Drunk to Fuck” has its charms. Um, that was not intentional theft…It’s always best when your theft is intentional, but there’s been the inevitable unintentional theft, so.

TH: Well, in an old Pitchfork interview you are quoted as saying “There’s a whole kind of melancholy that you can only attain with reverb,” and Distortion has a lot of really funny songs on it, like “The Nun’s Litany,” so is it wrong to apply that standard to this album?

SM: The standard of having a whole, uh, individual kind of melancholy that can only be attained through, through technique?

TH: Right?

SM: I’m sorry, is that, is that what you mean by the standard?

TH: Um, just that, were you trying to, by the heavy use of reverb, were you trying to achieve a kind of melancholy with this album?

SM: Only indirectly. I was trying to imitate the Jesus and Mary Chain, and all the things that they use, their sound to do, happened automatically. I was applying Jesus and Mary Chain production style to a set of songs that had nothing to do with it, mostly. Maybe “Zombie Boy” sounds kind of appropriate, but the rest of them don’t particularly sound appropriate.

TH: So for this album, did you write the lyrics first or the music?

SM: I wrote the music and the lyrics together, but they had nothing to do with the production style. The production style we decided on less than two weeks before we started recording, after all the songs were finished.

TH: (Pained and with resignation) Okay.

TH: So, you know, you were obviously listening to Psychocandy when you recorded this, but do you generally let other albums influence your work so thoroughly?

SM: (Long pause) Um, well, people keep pointing out to me that I’m living in one big Fleetwood Mac Tusk, um, so I guess Tusk has influenced me in the long term, maybe more than any other record. Uh, uh, hmm. Yeah, I wouldn’t be me without Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk or Tom Wait’s Bone Machine. Um, but a lot of music that I’ve incorporated has been singles rather than albums, especially Phil Spector.

TH: Do you let the things that you read, were there any books that were in heavy rotation while you were writing this album?

SM: Uh, I actually wrote the album over a really long time, some of it is fifteen years old. I didn’t sit down to write the album and then look up and have written it.

(Long Pause)

TH: Do you have, so you’re going on tour October 10, do you have any pre-tour routine that you go through?

SM: Um, well, being interviewed is my big tour routine. Being interviewed in every spare moment while I try and finish some recording before I go. So, uh, my mother called yesterday and I told her I’d call her on Friday (chuckles)-- such is my schedule.

TH: Do you bring your dog along with you on tour?

SM: Uh no, not anymore. I just read that Emmylou Harris has a road dog, and I liked the idea that Irving would be a road dog, but, uh, he’s not really well-behaved enough to be bringing around on tour. Ever since he hit puberty.

TH: That might make backstage a little more interesting.

SM: Yes.

TH: Well, you’re currently working on the musical adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

SM: Uh-huh

TH: And how much do these side projects influence your work with the Magnetic Fields?

SM: I don’t think of them as side projects. Um, I’m not sure that I can say how they change my work, (mumbles) Well, I mean I can say that it’s unlikely that there will be a Magnetic Fields song about a child going through a doorway on the next album, because if I have such a song it would be used for Coraline, that kinda thing. It may, it may influence me negatively, I don’t know. Short answer, how would I know?

TH: Well, I think, um, my last question is just going to be, since I’ve heard that you’re a fellow ABBA enthusiast...

SM: Oh yeah

TH: What’s your favorite ABBA song?

SM: Say again?

TH: What’s your favorite ABBA song?

SM: Um, today, I think it would be “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room.”

TH: So it changes on a daily basis?

SM: Oh yeah.

TH: All right…

SM: If you were to ask me what ABBA song I wish I were listening to right now, it would be “Like an Angel Passing Through My Room.”

TH: All right, that was my…

SM: And you?

TH: Mine? Mine’s “Mamma Mia.”

SM: Ah, forever and all time, it doesn’t change?

TH: I think so, runner-up is “S.O.S.”

SM: Uh-huh,

TH: But I’m pretty established in “Mamma Mia.”

SM: Mm-hm. Uh, at what age did you realize they weren’t singing to their mother?

TH: Um, (dog growling on his end of the line.) I would say my consideration of ABBA was pretty superficial until about three years ago.

SM: Oh, I see, um, yeah, I thought until I was twenty-something that they were singing to their mothers, and somehow didn’t realize that it was about a dysfunctional, possibly abusive relationship.

TH: Well, they’re…

SM: (mumbles)…you know, didn’t get along with mother.

TH: Well they’re one of those…

SM: “Like My Mama Said” is actually about that. And they’re on consecutive albums, so I kinda thought that “Mamma Mia” was a sequel to “Like My Mamma Said” (mumbles)….

TH: Well, that uh, was it for my questions, so, uh, thanks for talking to me.

SM: Thank you.

TH: Have a good tour.

SM: See you soon.

TH: Thanks.

SM: Bye-bye.

(Stephin hangs up.)

TH: Ugggghhhhhh.


The Magnetic Fields appear at Atlanta's Woodruff Arts Center on Friday, October 17, and tickets are still available.

Tuesday, October 14

New Of Montreal video - "Id Engager"

Pitchfork has just debuted the video for the first single from Of Montreal's Skeletal Lamping. It's an animated romp about like you'd expect from the Athens pop outfit.

Of Montreal plays The Tabernacle in Atlanta on November 8.

Kindercore Records presidential debate party and live music, Wednesday in Athens

If you're looking for another option in Athens to watch the third and final presidential debate, note that local label Kindercore (along with and Vida Dulce Productions) is hosting a viewing party at Go Bar. The debate will be followed by live music, DJs, and dancing. The details:

When: Wednesday Oct 15, 2008 at 8:00 PM

Where: The GO Bar, 195 Prince Ave, Athens, Georgia, 30601

Come watch the final Obama/McCain debate on the huge projection screen at the GO Bar this Wednesday!

There will be McCain bingo, ObamaRad shirts for sale (all profits go to the Obama campaign!) and as many drinks as your little body can handle!

After the debate there will be dancing with DJ Fluid Karma and live music from The Matt Kurz One, Jordan & Enoch!

Looking forward to it!

Monday, October 13

Michael Uslan, Batman producer and comics historian, speaking at UGA on October 21

Batman and Georgia comics fans take note -- on October 21, the University of Georgia in Athens will host comic book historian and movie guru Michael Uslan. He will be giving a talk titled "From Fan to Filmmaker: The Journey to Bring Batman to the Silver Screen" and will discuss his experience on the six Batman films since 1989. Uslan has received production credit on all six modern Batman films, and was largely responsible for bringing a "dark" version of Batman to theaters.

Along with his Batman film work, Uslan worked on various Swamp Thing projects in the 1980s, several animated series and films, and is currently associated with the ongoing projects The Spirit and Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam. He is also credited with teaching the first accredited college course on comic books (at Indiana University), an accomplishment that garned him much attention in the early 1970s. Uslan has also written a number of comics over the years, primarily for DC, including House of Mystery, The Shadow, and the Elseworlds tale Batman: Detective No. 27.

Uslan's talk will be in the Tate Theater at UGA from 7:30-9:00 on October 21. Admission is free for UGA students and $5 for everyone else.

The Oracle of Bacon: McCain vs. Obama

Policy debates, character attacks, and economic plans aside, there's one aspect of this presidential election that has received far too little attention. Which of the candidates is, in fact, the fewest degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon? Let's check with The Oracle of Bacon for the verdict:

A respectable three degrees of separation for Senator Obama. He could certainly do worse, though it's a bit slight for a guy who can e-mail with Scarlett Johannson. What about the senior senator from Arizona?

Two degrees from Kevin Bacon -- McCain takes this one in a rout by virtue of his cameo in Wedding Crashers. You know what that means? John McCain is only three degrees of separation from giant man-eating sand worms! That's not going to play well in Nevada.

Now, back to work...

Howlies play free show at GSU tomorrow, October 14

If you'll be in downtown Atlanta during the lunch hour on Tuesday, note that Howlies will be playing a free show on the Georgia State University campus. It will be at the student union from 12:00-1:15, and is part of a larger event to highlight green initiatives and alternative energy. Sounds pretty cool.

Howlies - "Aluminum Baseball Bat"

CD giveaway: The Lolligags - 'Out of Perversity Join Hands' EP

Photo by Shane Byrd

I picked up the second EP from The Lolligags, Out of Perversity Join Hands, at Athens Popfest back in August. A couple of weeks ago they made it available for sale online and in local stores. You might recall that The Lolligags are the duo of Dallion Lollihag and RG Lollifag (of Athens and Nashville, respectively), and they play a synth-n-Siouxsie brand of pop that pleasantly took me by surprise last year. I really enjoyed their Wired EP, and Out of Perversity Join Hands is similar to its predecessor while also departing from its relentlessly up-tempo vibe. Out of Perversity Join Hands also includes a pair of remixes by Athens music stalwarts Andy Gonzalez (Andy from Denver, M Coast, Marshmallow Coast) and Dan Geller (Ruby Isle, I Am The World Trade Center), both of which reimagine a track from Wired. A good look at another side of The Lolligags as we anxiously await their first full-length effort.

The Lolligags - Merry Go Round [from Out of Perversity...]

Happy Happy Birthday To Me has handed off one copy of Out of Perversity Join Hands to give away. If you would like to win it, send me an e-mail with "Lolligags CD" in the subject line by noon (Eastern time) on Thursday, October 16. I will pick a random winner that afternoon.

Out of Perversity Join Hands is also available from Pancake Meow for just $5.

Sunday, October 12

Presidential debate viewing party at Athens Cine, Weds. 10/15

On Wednesday night, Barack Obama and John McCain will face off in the third presidential debate. If you're in Athens, you might want to watch it at Athens Cine. The UGA Law Democrats will be showing the debate in that venue's BarCafe & CineLab, which is a pretty nice facility. Seating is limited and the start time is 8:30.

Bonus mp3: Death Cab for Cutie - President of What? [live 2-4-2006]

Jeff Mangum appears at E6 Holiday Surprise Tour in New York; guests on Olivia Tremor Control's "The Opera House"

Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum made a much-rumored appearance at The Knitting Factory in New York City last night, October 11, with the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour. He shared vocal duties on Olivia Tremor Control's "The Opera House," the first track on that band's Music from the Unrealized Film Script: Dusk at Cubist Castle.

Jeff is off on the far right. Thanks to HHBTM for the info!

Update: Tiny Mix Tapes has provided more information.

Friday, October 10

A random hippie's political analysis

Spotted on ABC's Political Radar blog:

Whatever the question, my friends, Hot Tuna is the answer.

Hot Tuna - "Uncle Sam Blues"