Sunday, December 21

C&T's favorite albums of 2008

With 2008 nearly behind us, it's time to share my favorite records of the year. My picks are heavy on pop, rock, and swagger, and don't include many of the usual suspects. They are, however, a little heavy on Georgia bands. No apologies for that -- would you expect anything less from C&T?

1. Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, The Amorphous Strums - Dark Developments [buy]

I like both Vic and Elf Power, but this collaboration grabbed me and didn't let go. It's charming, funny, and a little dark -- I can't get enough. I'm eager for their Athens show in February.

Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, and The Amorphous Strums - Teddy Bear

2. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping [buy]

I'm a total sucker for Of Montreal since they went all I Am the World Trade Center and Kevin turned into a sex god. Hissing Fauna topped this list last year, and Skeletal Lamping approaches those heights. Not quite as accessible as its predecessor, this record again sees the band offer something personal, rowdy, and bound to make the kids dance.

Of Montreal - Id Engager [courtesy Pitchfork]

3. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today [buy]

As one might expect of a Byrne/Eno collaboration, this record drips with coolness. More on the pop end of the spectrum than their other recent work together, which might explain why I like it so damn much.

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Strange Overtones [at]

4. The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride [buy]

I'm a sucker for John Darnielle when he's at the top of his game, and that's the case on Heretic Pride. Wit, cynicism, and monsters all in one package.

The Mountain Goats - Sax Rohmer #1

5. Tilly & the Wall - O [buy]

An expected highlight for me, O was one of my summer staples and remains a favorite. The songs are bratty, fun, and full of enthusiasm in a way matched by few albums in 2008. This record fueled many miles of summer running in '08.

Tilly & the Wall - Pot Kettle Black
Tilly & the Wall - Cacophony

6. Gentlemen Jesse and His Men - Gentlemen Jesse and His Men [buy]

Jesse Smith and company have rocked the Atlanta scene for a while, but this full-length debut exceeded any expectations I had. It's a kickass power pop album, and it was great to see the band recognized by the likes of Pitchfork. World domination to follow.

Gentlemen Jesse and His Men - You Don't Have To (If You Don't Want To)

7. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All [buy]

A release from early in the year that never lost its spark, Thao's We Brave Bee Stings and All is clever, lovely, and beautifully melds a variety of influences. This is what should be on the radio, and not just at the far left of the dial.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down -Beat (Health, Life, and Fire)

8. R.E.M. - Accelerate [buy]

Athens stalwarts/pioneers/patrons/gods R.E.M. were determined to showcase their rock side on Accelerate, and pulled it off in spades. This one grew on me more than any other record in 2008, and it's fitting that it came out in the same year 1983's Murmur was reissued. Twenty-five years later these guys still have it.

R.E.M. - Supernatural Superserious [at]

9. Adron - Adron [buy]

I saw Adron live long before hearing this record, but had no idea it would be this good. The songs on her self-titled release are warm and breezy, properly evoking the Brazilian influences evident in her songwriting and style. This one deserves a much wider audience, something Adron should have available since her move from Atlanta to New York.

Adron - Airplanes

10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! [buy]

Does anybody bring more badass swagger to rock than Nick Cave? This record doesn't equal last year's Grinderman LP for rock excess, but it's an LP that hipsters and truckers could bond over without a bit of irony. Well, maybe a little.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! [courtesy of]

Those were my favorites of the year. Now, bring on 2009!

Friday, December 19

Of Montreal on Letterman last night (video)

I noted yesterday that local act Of Montreal would be on David Letterman's show last night. Now, there's video evidence.

Thanks to PJ for the pointer!

Thursday, December 18

Morrissey coming to Variety Playhouse in ATL, March 7

After recent shows at Chastain and the Tabernacle, Morrissey is returning to ATL for a smaller gig at the Variety Playhouse on March 7. There's a catch, though -- tickets will cost you $50 plus relevant charges. I'm sure it'll still sell out, so get tix early if you're interested.

Tickets go on sale to the general public Friday morning at 10 AM via Ticketmaster.

Of Montreal on Letterman tonight, Thursday 12/18

Dave with Skeletal Lamping

Athens' own Of Montreal will be on Late Night with David Letterman tonight, December 18.

Polyvinyl reports that the band will be allowed to use some of the theatrical elements of their stage show. Entire nation dancing and snogging to follow.

'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' trailer online

A bootleg of the trailer for May's X-Men Origins: Wolverine has been making the rounds, but now the official version is up and streaming.

I'm cautiously optimistic at this point, but interested to see how Gambit, Emma Frost, The Blob, and a few other characters will enter the mix. There's also a brief glimpse of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, which could be fun if he pulls it off.

Hat tip to

Sunday, December 14

Princeton at the 40 Watt, December 13

I took a break from writing last night to catch Princeton's set at the 40 Watt in Athens. It was my first time seeing them live, and I really enjoyed it. They were funny and energetic, and got the crowd dancing more than once. They were also joined on stage for a song by two members of Ra Ra Riot, who I didn't stick around to see.

Princeton's tour with Ra Ra Riot and So Many Dynamos continues tonight at The Grey Eagle in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.

Friday, December 12

The Decemberists reveal 'Hazards of Love' tracklist

Colin Meloy, photo by The Falconer

One of my favorite bands, The Decemberists, today revealed the tracklist for their forthcoming Hazards of Love LP. Could any other band get away with this?

1. Prelude
2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
3. A Bower Scene
4. Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
6. The Queen's Approach
7. Isn't it a Lovely Night?
8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
9. An Interlude
10. The Rake's Song
11. The Abduction of Margaret
12. The Queen's Rebuke / The Crossing
13. Annan Water
14. Margaret in Captivity
15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (Reprise)
17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

Hazards of Love is due for release on March 24.

Thursday, December 11

Hope for Agoldensummer and Madeline at 40 Watt on Friday night, December 12

Hope for Agoldensummer

Madeline Adams

On Friday night, December 12, some of Athens' best and brightest female musicians will share the stage at the 40 Watt. It's a benefit for Athens FAQ Awareness and the terrific Hope for Agoldensummer will headline. C&T fave Madeline Adams opens the show, and I imagine Madeline will have plenty of new material given the forthcoming release of White Flag in February. Also on the bill are DJ Mahogany and Selector AZ-IZ.

Hope for Agoldensummer - Hearts in Jars
Madeline - I Left the Light On [live 2-3-2007 at 40 Watt]

I imagine it may turn into a victory celebration as well as an awareness event, as the Athens FAQ appears to have achieved its goal of thwarting a local biodefense lab just last week.

Princeton in Athens on Saturday, December 13

Since appearing on the scene in 2006, California's Princeton have been among my favorite indie pop acts. Unfortunately, their far-flung location has prevented me from seeing them in a live setting. This weekend that changes as the band's tour with Ra Ra Riot brings them to the 40 Watt in Athens.

Princeton - The Waves

They're supporting their current Bloomsbury EP, now available for purchase. Princeton plays first on Saturday, followed by So Many Dynamos and Ra Ra Riot.

Remaining Princeton dates:

12/11 9:30 Listening Room, Louisville, KY
12/12 Exit/In, Nashville, TN
12/13 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA
12/14 Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC
12/16 The Otto Bar, Baltimore, MD
12/27 Spaceland (holiday show), Los Angeles, CA

All but 12/27 are with Ra Ra Riot.

Hand.Craft.It Festival this Saturday in Madison, Georgia

A word from C&T buddy Ryan from Homestar Runner regarding the Hand.Craft.It Festival this weekend in lovely Madison, Georgia:

There is a great winter event happening Saturday, December 13 called Hand.Craft.It: an artist exhibition, handmade market & music festival. The one-day event celebrates all things 'DIY' and features live bands, a contemporary indie-craft exhibition, and a handmade artist market at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center.

National indie-folk acts the Bowerbirds and Ola Podrida will be playing their first Georgia shows and Athens' own Hope for Agoldensummer will be opening this special event. The music festival takes place in the Cultural Center's beautiful historic theatre built in 1895. The theatre features its original wooden ceiling, stage, and seats as well as an amazing chandelier and offers great acoustics for this intimate concert. REM's award winning video for "Losing My Religion" and Of Montreal's video for "Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse" were filmed on the same stage the bands will be playing. The schedule:

Bowerbirds - 7:30 PM
Ola Podrida - 5:00 PM
Hope for Agoldensummer - 3:00 PM

Bowerbirds - In Our Talons
Ola Podrida - Instead [courtesy SXSW]
Hope for Agoldensummer - Malt Liquor

The music festival tickets are $10 and available through the Cultural Center box office at 706.342.4743 and online. The concert is general admission and open to all ages with the opening bands starting at 3:00 PM and Bowerbirds playing at 7:30 PM.

There will also be over 60 vendors selling their handmade goods in the artist market, so this is a wonderful opportunity for you to 'buy handmade' and find some incredible holiday gifts this year. The handmade market is FREE and open to the public.

Hand.Craft.It is an excellent opportunity for people of all ages to check out some fantastic live bands and feel good about buying handmade items from local artists!!!! Don't miss out!

For more INFO & directions visit:

Hand.Craft.It Festival
Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
434 South Main Street
Madison, GA 30650

Two Sheds Music holiday 2-for-1 sale

Atlanta's Two Sheds Music is having a sale to end the year, during which you can get a free CD for each one you order. They're home to a number of great bands from the area including Silent Kids, Mary O. Harrison, Jupiter Watts, and Ultrababyfat. They also have a quality back catalog with many regional bands from years past. It's a good chance to catch up on their 2008 releases or others you may have missed.

Silent Kids - Stars and Rust
Silent Kids - Neptunist's Revente (Requiem for Alexander Von Humboldt)
Silent Kids - Engine of a Lifetime
Silent Kids - Miami
Mary O. Harrison - Way of Walking
Mary O. Harrison - Supper Song
Mary O. Harrison - Better Day
Ultrababyfat - The Courtship of Eddie's Father
Ultrababyfat - Cool Shoes

The sale runs through December 31. At checkout, enter the name of the free CD you want in the "Special Instructions" field.

Wednesday, December 10

Secret Invasion: Dark Swipe

Well, I'll be darned. While reading Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 today, I couldn't get over Namor's new look. His new awful, awful look. I realized after looking closer than he looked liked Robert De Niro. Shortly thereafter, I hit up Google Image Search. A query for "Deniro head" revealed that I was more right than I imagined.

Namor by Alex Maleev from SI: Dark Reign #1 and Robert De Niro

That's a swipe, right? The jacket, the chair, the angle of the head, the ears.... looks like it to me. The odd part is that De Niro's hair looks more like Namor's should. Maybe somebody got him some clippers for Fishmukkah or whatever they celebrate in Atlantis.

Tuesday, December 9

Antony and the Johnsons in Atlanta on February 8

Marie B. has brought to my attention that Antony and the Johnsons will be in Atlanta on February 8, when they will play the Variety Playhouse with an opener TBA. OK Productions confirms the show.

Antony and the Johnsons - Fistful of Love

The show is not yet listed on the VP's website, but tix should be available soon. Thanks, Marie!

Monday, December 8

C&T ticket giveaway: The Features and Wax Fang in Atlanta 12/12 and Athens 12/13

The Features

Wax Fang

This weekend The Features and Wax Fang will be in Georgia, and I have three pairs of tickets to give away for each show. The bands will share the stage at the Star Bar in Atlanta on Friday, December 12, and at Tasty World in Athens on Saturday, December 13. Both should be big indie rock shows and lots of fun.

The Features - Me & the Skirts
The Features - Leave It All Behind
Wax Fang - Sweet Bloody Murder [courtesy SXSW]

If you would like tickets to either night, e-mail me with "ATL 12/12" or "ATH 12/13" in the subject line as appropriate. I'll pick the winners at random on Thursday night. Good luck!

Sunday, December 7

Silent 'Star Wars'


Hat tip to Jim McCann via Twitter.

Saturday, December 6

Flaming Lips' 'Christmas on Mars' at Athens Cine this week

Gordon passes along word that the Flaming Lips movie Christmas On Mars is playing in Athens this week at Cine. It started last night, and runs through Thursday.

Showtimes, December 5-11:

Saturday 12/6: 3:00p | 5:00p | 11:15p
Sunday 12/7: 3:00p | 5:00p
Monday-Thursday 12/8-12/11: 7:00p | 9:00p

See the Athens Cine website for more information.

Friday, December 5

Of Montreal add second 40 Watt show on December 30

Reader Jennifer T. wrote me today asking about tix for Of Montreal's New Year's Eve show at the 40 Watt in Athens. While trying to find the Schoolkids charge-by-phone number, I stumbled across the news that Of Montreal has added a second 40 Watt show on December 30 with The Gerbils opening. Good news!

Of Montreal - Disconnect the Dots

Tickets are available now for $17. Not sure if I'll make it to both nights, but it would be great to see The Gerbils/Of Montreal combo.

Optical Atlas has more dates for December.

Cars Can Be Blue denied entry to UK; limited benefit pressing of debut LP coming

Nearly two weeks ago, Athens band Cars Can Be Blue set out for Europe. The plan was to play a two-week tour in the UK with HHBTM labelmates Hotpants Romance, who are natives of that country. Unfortunately for CCBB's Nate Mitchell and Becky Brooks, things did not go as planned.

A series of snafus with British immigration led to CCBB being denied entry to the UK and sent home. Along the way Nate and Becky faced questioning, detention, panic, and passed along a CCBB shirt to an Iranian cellmate. Nate has written about the whole experience, and you can read it (.pdf) for yourself. An excerpt:

At this point, I was nearing my breaking point. Tired, fatigued, disoriented, separated from my bandmate, I became a bit hysterical. Where was I being taken? “Oakington” and that is basically all the information I was provided.

I had been told I was going to Oxford, but now I was being taken someplace else? What the fuck was going on?

It was difficult to gauge how long the next van ride was, probably another hour and a half or two hours. It all seemed incredible, absolutely incredible. I was being treated like a prisoner, a dangerous terrorist or something equivalent, all because my stupid band had booked some shows in the UK without a work permit?

It's a fascinating cautionary tale for musicians who travel overseas. As Nate notes in his concluding paragraph, "All I can say to those in bands who may be considering overseas touring, make damn sure you have your shit straight before you get on that plane!"

To make up for the financial losses associated with the lost airfare, scrapped UK tour, and legal fees, the band's label is pressing a limited run of 100 copies of CCBB's debut album All the Stuff We Do on vinyl. They promise it will include bonus material such as a silkscreen sleeve and a CDR of the album. It is currently being pressed at the plant, and will ship in January 2009. You can pre-order it now from HHBTM, and pick up their current Doubly Unbeatable while you're at it.

Cars Can Be Blue - Coat Tails [from Doubly Unbeatable]
Cars Can Be Blue - I Used To Think [from All the Stuff We Do]

Upcoming shows:

12/18 Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA (w/ Howlies, Bubbly Mommy Gun, the Fish Schticks)
1/17 Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA (w/ Bunnygrunt, Tunabunny, Grand Prize Winners from Last Year)

Tuesday, December 2

Gray Ghosts - "Like a Pistol"

San Diego's Kite Flying Society were a C&T favorite before disbanding, so when singer Dustin Illingworth sent along a track from his new project I was excited. Dustin is now recording with Gray Ghosts, a six-piece that focuses more on pop, bubblegum, and doo-wop material than the twee favored by KFS. Fans of both bands will notice a lot of familiar faces on their Myspace page. "Like a Pistol" is the first recorded work from Gray Ghosts, and it's a fun little jangle-pop number. I'll be eager to hear the full EP.

Gray Ghosts - Like a Pistol

The debut EP from Gray Ghosts is due for a February 2009 release. Thanks to Dustin for the track!

Monday, December 1

"Galactus" by Michael Lark

Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, sketched by Marvel artist Michael Lark (Daredevil).

More of Lark's work is at Splash Page Art.

Threadless shirt: Funny, mean, or condescending?

I'm gonna go with a little of each. Also, awesome.

Available now from the Threadless holiday sale. Shirts start at $5.

The Rosebuds, The Preakness tonight at The EARL, Atlanta

Our neighbors from the Carolinas, The Rosebuds, are in Atlanta tonight at The EARL. It's the penultimate show on their tour, which concludes Wednesday night in Raleigh. They always play a fun indie pop/rock show, so it should be much fun.

Local C&T fave The Preakness is opening along with Raleigh's The Love Language.

The Rosebuds - Kicks in the Schoolyard
The Rosebuds - You Better Get Ready
The Rosebuds - Get Up Get Out
The Rosebuds - Leaves Do Fall
The Preakness - Demons

The Preakness go on first, and $10 gets you in the door.