Saturday, June 27

Saturday afternoon at AthFest

Wandered down to AthFest today to see Venice is Sinking and Liz Durrett play enjoyable sets. A few sights from the afternoon:

More pics from AthFest are on my Flickr. Tonight I'll be at the Kindercore showcase at Athens Cine.

Sunday, June 21

Nerd + Sense of Entitlement = Ugh

Note written by a "fan" on table of writer Brian Michael Bendis (New Avengers, Dark Avengers, Secret Warriors, Alias, Ultimate Spider-Man, Powers, etc.) at HeroesCon on June 19, 2009, after learning that Bendis would appear only after an upcoming panel discussion. Classy, no?

My other pics from HeroesCon, mostly of creators, are at Flickr.

Wednesday, June 17

St. Vincent plays "Now, Now" and "Marrow" at 40 Watt

Courtesy of YouTube user NathanKerce, here are two video's from St. Vincent's June 13 performance at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia:

St. Vincent - "Now, Now"

St. Vincent - "Marrow"

Hat tip to

Saturday, June 13

Nick Fury Masterworks Volume 2 coming from Marvel: Steranko!

Word in today via Collected Comics Library that most of Jim Steranko's gorgeous and imaginative run of Nick Fury spy stories from 1967-68 are being collected in the forthcoming Marvel Masterworks: Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Volume 2 due in December. I'm excited to have the stories in this format. They're going to look so damn great (click to enlarge):

More preview pages are now available.

For those looking for a cheaper option, the bulk of these stories are also collected in the Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. trade paperback.

Recent videos from GSU's DAEL/indieATL: Robyn Hitchcock, Today the Moon Tomorrow the Sun, BabyShakes, The Coathangers

The Digital Arts Entertainment Lab at Georgia State University does a lot to archive and promote the local music scene by inviting Georgia bands (and the occasional out-of-towners) in for live performances and sharing them online. Recently they have also established a new identity as indieATL, with a video podcast featuring their videos. If you prefer, you can also subscribe to their YouTube channel.

A sample of what they have posted in the last month or so:

Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 - "What You Is"

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun - "Like It or Not"

BabyShakes - "Just Another Day"

The Coathangers - "Stop Stomp Stompin'"

Friday, June 12

C&T ticket giveaway: Andrew Bird & Calexico at Cobb Energy Centre, June 15

One of my favorite musicians, Andrew Bird, will be at the Cobb Energy Centre north of Atlanta on Monday night. He'll be supporting his current release Noble Beast and sharing the stage with veteran act Calexico.

Thanks to Bird's PR folks, I have a pair of tickets to the show available for a C&T reader. Just e-mail me with "Bird tix" in the subject line and I will pick a winner at random on Sunday night. Good luck, and I hope to see you there!

Andrew Bird - Oh No
Calexico - Cruel

Remaining Andrew Bird tour dates:

Jun 15 - Cobb Energy PAC - Atlanta, GA
Jun 18 - Radio City Music Hall - New York, NY
Jun 19 - Bank of America Pavilion - Boston, MA
Jul 10 - Greek Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
Jul 11 - Greek Theatre - Berkeley, CA
Jul 13 - Red Butte Garden - Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 14 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
Jul 16 - Britt Pavilion - Jacksonville, OR
Jul 17 - Marymoor Amphitheatre - Redmond, WA
Jul 18 - McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater - Troutdale, OR
Jul 19 - McMenamins Edgefield Amphitheater - Troutdale, OR
Jul 26 - Squaw Velley Ski Resort - Olympic Valley, CA
Aug 7 - Lollapalooza - Grant Park - Chicago, IL
Aug 8 - Lollapalooza - Grant Park - Chicago, IL
Aug 9 - Lollapalooza - Grant Park - Chicago, IL
Oct 2 - Austin City Limits Festival - Austin, TX
Oct 3 - Austin City Limits Festival - Austin, TX
Oct 4 - Austin City Limits Festival - Austin, TX

Thursday, June 11

Sgt. Rock by Brian Bolland

Sgt. Rock by artist Brian Bolland, first published in 1994's Sgt. Rock Special #2.

Athens/Atlanta album reviews: Casper & the Cookies, Marshmallow Coast, Pistolero, The Preakness, Allison Weiss

As I get caught up on some albums and acts neglected here I've been busy, I thought it perfectly appropriate to review several acts by Athens and Atlanta bands here at once. I went to the CD release party for a couple of these albums last month, and they've all made me further appreciate my home region.

Casper & the Cookies - Modern Silence [buy]

Modern Silence is the first record from Casper & company since The Optimist's Club in 2006, and it's a subtle but marked departure from its predecessor. It retains the great hooks and wit of the band's earlier work, but there is a greater emphasis on rock anthems and departures into power-pop ballads than I recall in earlier Casper records (in memory, anyhow). Modern Silence is, overall, pretty damn enjoyable.

The big rock of "Little Lady Larva" and the slinky bass-driven "Nagoya" are particular favorites, and I can vouch that they translate very well in a live setting. "Keep Talking" strikes me as a track that would fit quite well in the score of a Broadway show about romancing an alien (I smell Tonys!), and the tropical flair of "Chocolate Cake and Coffee" nicely accentuates the album's later half. The album's most fascinating track may be one that doesn't even feature the band itself -- closer "I Am Gone" includes contributions from dozens of musicians (including Sam Grindstaff, Mary O. Harrison, Fishboy, Keith John Adams, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, Hannah Jones, Bryan Poole, Robert Schneider, Jason Jones, Leslie Dallion Superstar, Bill Doss, and more) that fills a full 15+ minutes. Such a track could easily go off the rails, but Jason NeSmith's production keeps it tight and pretty much amazing.

Casper & the Cookies - Pete Ehrchik Bicentennial Service Area
Casper & the Cookies - Little King
Casper & the Cookies - You Love Me

Marshmallow Coast - Phreak Phantasy [buy]

While seeing him live the past couple of years, I have been able to see Andy Gonzalez play with different lineups and names, with the result of that progression being a return to his original moniker and a unique Marshmallow Coast record. Andy has moved increasingly toward electronic sounds and gadgets in his music, and the lyrics on Phreak Phantasy are decidedly R-rated. He acknowledges this in the liner notes, explaining that the record tries to explore a "broad set of feelings" that could be felt by someone else if not himself. The sometimes naughty lyrics are interesting juxtaposed against the latter-era McCartney sound in many of the songs. The album also features guest appearances by Jesse Flavin, Heather McIntosh, Will Hart, and Sara Kirkpatrick (with the latter the only mainstay in Andy's live band, though I'm told it now includes Jim Hicks as well).

As for the songs, there are a number of standouts among the nine tracks. "Please Don't" and "Lonely Days" are great pop tunes, with the guitar parts in the latter impossible to resist. "Millionaire" is weird but hypnotic, and "Nasty Dream" is entertaining -- I was relieved to see, however, that the lyrics mention a "deep ass hole to China" rather than, well... you can figure it out. "Sara's Song" is lovely, and title track "Phreak Phantasy" features some "4 track madness" from Elephant 6 luminary Will Hart, and celebrates "24 hours of only booze and weed" so adamantly that I wonder if it was written with a Phish parking lot in mind. Phreak Phantasy is a fun record, and one that has certainly grown on me with repeated listens.

Marshallow Coast - Please Don't

Pistolero - Warface [buy]

The latest release from Atlanta band Pistolero, Warface, is more ambitious and accomplished than their previous output, visiting several genres and styles over the course of its 13 tracks. Although the band's earlier EPs were nothing to sneeze at, the full-length format gives them room to move. Along the way they meander between garage rock, country, and Modern Lovers-style punk, and are largely successful along the way. Pistolero also use the longer format to feature quite a bit of interesting instrumentation -- "Sniviling Little Git" features not only the aforemention Modern Lovers flair, but also strings that give it an atmospheric quality it might have lacked without them. The country-tinged "Spreadsheets" and "King of Atlanta" feature harmonica and banjo, respectively.

My favorite tracks on the album are probably those in which Pistolero invoke their British Invasion influences -- "Yellow House" and "Postcard from the Apocalypse" remind me of mod acts from years ago, and "Sunburn" is decidedly psychedelic. The band also does straightforward rock the right way; I can imagine much dancing and throwing of beer during the raging "Picture Perfect." I don't love every track on Warface, but it's a quality record from a local act that deserves far more attention.

Pistolero - Yellow House

The Preakness - A Class Act in a Bad Situation [buy]

Longtime readers of C&T probably know that Atlanta trio The Preakness have been among my favorite Georgia bands since I first saw them at The EARL. I eagerly snapped up their demos and earlier vinyl EP, and have been looking forward to this first full-length record for ages. From the opening moments of "Wax On" with Tracy Clark on melodica, I absolutely adore it.

The 13 tracks on A Class Act in a Bad Situation are wonderful, jangly indie rock well-informed by frontman/guitarist Brandon Arnold's fondness for Lou Barlow, Bill Callahan, and the like. The songs are engaging and intelligent, and the dual vocals by Arnold and Clark provide welcome and warm texture to the tracks. The Preakness are equally adept at both pretty, low-key moments and guitar freakouts, and the studio environment has allowed them to incorporate some complimentary bells and whistles not present in the live show. I remain quite fond of favorites "Frog Logic," "I Thought I Was in Control," and "Air Traffic," and new (to me) songs "The Spoke" and "Before You Fell" are fine additions to the band's catalog. I am also pleased and surprised that (smog) cover "A Hit" made the record, as I have always enjoyed it in their live show. I hope more people pick this up and see what the band is about. A Class Act in a Bad Situation would be a fine introduction.

The Preakness - Frog Logic
The Preakness - What They're Saying
The Preakness - This Drive

Allison Weiss - & the Way She Likes It [buy]

After being in Athens for a couple years, it's hard to imagine living where Allison Weiss isn't ubiquitous. Around here her name peppers the various sites where stickers or gig posters show up, and college kids wear her T-shirts on the UGA campus. Despite her young age this is the fifth release for Weiss, though it is the first featuring a full band. After listening to this EP, it's evident why Weiss has an audience.

The songs on this EP are very much radio-ready. The tracks here don't break new ground in pop music, but they fit very well within its established boundaries. These are well-written songs with memorable melodies, great hooks, and plenty of lovelorn lyrics for any fan of the genre. I wouldn't be surprised to hear "I'm Ready" or "I Don't Want to Be Here" on FM radio one day, and not just at the left of the dial. Highly recommended for fans of girl-with-guitar pop.

Allison Weiss - I'm Ready

Wednesday, June 10

Escalation: L.A. Tool & Die releases video with final warning for Casper & the Cookies

Man, this stuff is getting heated. First there was L.A. Tool & Die's initial warning to the Cookies, then the latter's response. Now, things are getting nasty (and there are unicorns involved!).

Cat Power plays The EARL in Atlanta on July 12

Cat Power - "Lived in Bars"

A special treat for the Atlanta crowd, as The EARL has just announced that Cat Power will play at its multi-day anniversary event on July 12. She'll be backed by The Dirty Delta Blues.

The EARL has more info. Tickets are available this Friday. I highly recommend advance tix -- this will sell out promptly. Tix are $23 in advance, or $25 day of show if any remain.

Casper & the Cookies respond

On Monday, Casper & the Cookies received an ominous warning. Today, they respond:

Watch your back, L.A. Tool & Die. These Cookies burn you.

Monday, June 8

A warning to Casper & the Cookies...

From Charlotte's L.A. Tool & Die to Athens' own Casper & the Cookies:

It's on.

Sunday, June 7

Les Meilleures Aventures des Super-Héros: En Français

You know what's cooler than the Marvel heroes returning home from the Secret Wars? Doing so in French.

From Marvel reprints in Les Meilleures Aventures des Super-Héros, published by Les Editions Heritage Inc. (1984).

Friday, June 5

Ladies and gentlemen, the 45th President of the United States

Inspired mostly by Kevin Church's frequent references to them, I recently picked up a variety of reprints of old Star Trek comics. I had no idea, however, that I would be learning the future history of my country.

In Gold Key's Star Trek #9 (February 1971), the crew check out planet Gamma Alpha V, where they meet an assortment of historical figures. Among them is the man bound to succeed Barack Obama in the White House, President Anton York:

I don't know much about Mr. York, but he appears to enjoy mountain biking (just like George Dubya). The picture above suggests that he also enjoys walking around in his pajamas and a cape, which will apparently be presidential apparel by 2017. Godspeed, Mr. President.

Star Trek #9 by Len Wein and Alberto Giolitti is reprinted in Star Trek: The Key Collection Volume 2.

Thursday, June 4

Follow C&T on Twitter

I've had a few inquiries lately about the lack of recent posts on C&T. As happens occasionally, I had to back off the site for a bit due to personal and professional commitments. While those have been the main causes, another culprit is the emergence of Twitter. Even while things slowed here, I have continued to post and converse via the C&T Twitter. Check that out if you want to see what doesn't make the main site.

I will be posting more on C&T again moving forward, including updates soon on upcoming events and what I've been doing lately. You've been warned.

Braves and Cubs tonight at The Ted, with Carlos Zambrano starting for my boys. I'll be the dude in Section 406 gnashing his teeth.

Judi Chicago this weekend in Athens, Atlanta

Word in from Atlanta's kinetic Judi Chicago (via Twitter) that they will be in both Athens and Atlanta this weekend making the kiddos dance. The deets:

Fri, June 5 -- Go Bar, Athens
Sat, June 6 -- Artlantis Fest ATL, corner of Prince & Highland (6pm)

So you can dance at home:

Judi Chicago - Technicolor Silver Chrome and Chicken Bone
Judi Chicago - Bullet
Judi Chicago - Mad Ape
Judi Chicago - Burger Joy

RIP David Carradine, 1936-2009

Sad news in this morning, with reports that actor David Carradine has died at age 72. Details are still coming, but apparently (per the Associated Press) Mr. Carradine died of suicide in a Bangkok hotel room in the past couple days.

I was most familiar with his roles in Kung Fu and its spinoffs, Death Race 2000, and his turn as the title character in Tarantino's Kill Bill saga. His filmography is much more extensive than those productions, however, and his presence will surely be missed by many fans of film and television.

For more on Carradine's passing, see Google News.