Friday, December 5, 2008

Win Free Tickets to the Can Can CD Release this Saturday

Hey Atlanta folk! We've posted a ticket giveaway on Paste:Local Atlanta for this Saturday's Can Can CD release at the Drunken Unicorn with Trial By Fire, The Swear and Tenth to the Moon, and no one has jumped at it yet. That mean's a pair of FREE tickets is still floating around out there, waiting to be snatched up.

Someone snatch please? Go here to enter. I mean, I'll be there...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marnie Stern, Okkervil River and Pontiak...gasping for air

So it certainly has been a struggle keeping everything straight this past couple of months. Can barely keep my head above water. Lemme tell you, Paste:Local Atlanta has me running in circles most of the time. (SO YOU SHOULD PROBABLY READ IT EVERY DAY AND LEAVE COMMENTS.) I don't even get much time to listen and digest new music.

A couple of new things I've stumbled upon, despite the fact that I basically live in a cave (and by "a cave," I mean "stressed out alone in my living room"...pity the lonely freelancer):

1. Marnie Stern, who rocks. I mean really rocks. I don't have the album, but I will most certainly be buying it or stealing it from Geoff soon. Have a listen to the song that converted me.

Transformer - Marnie Stern

2. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
I got a record player! And this was my third vinyl purchase! I just got into their previous record, The Stage Names, a couple of months back, and while their specific sound aesthetic doesn't speak to me automatically, Will Sheff's lyricism is truly second-to-none. He paints poetic pictures-- I love it. The new album hasn't totally sunken in for me, but I'm spinning it on the turntable over and over...maybe I'll wear out my first record!

Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River

3. Pontiak played at one of Have You Heard's Monday night shows at 97 Estoria about a month back, and their set was so compelling that I bought their CD. Have a listen!

3. White Hands - Pontiak

Enjoy, and reciprocate. Needs the new musics! (And all these press release emails are starting to hurt my head.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Great Schlep

Got Jewish grandparents in Florida? Join The Great Schlep! It's your patriotic duty!

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Two videos courtesy of Stephen and the Paste A/V crew:

Throw Me The Statue - "Conquering Kids" warmup in the Paste stairwell (by itself, this time)

Dan Deacon warming up the crowd at Corndogorama. I was there, and it really was this awesome.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Paste:Local Atlanta is giving away tickets to see The Bridges

Hey y'all, anyone really like The Bridges? Go to Paste:Local Atlanta and email in to win the contest, then! Winner gets to see them this Saturday at The Loft. (They'll also get a free copy of the band's latest album, and a free, signed Paste with their singer on the cover.) Woot.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

FOAVOD: Throw Me The Statue - "Conquering Kids" live in the Paste studio

So I've been waiting months for this video to show up.

TMTS played live at Paste when I was an intern, and it definitely turned me on to the band, who have become one of my recent favorites. (Pick up Moonbeams if you haven't yet.) The newest edition of Paste Vision (the mag's occasional video podcast) finally includes part of that live performance....months and months later. Strangely enough, the actual studio performance isn't what you see here. What we get instead is the band warming up in the stairwell at the back of the building. I think the footage from the studio didn't turn out because there were simply too many people in that small room, and because it was the a/v crew's first experience with a new box of wireless mics...don't think it was much of a success. Certainly was entertaining to witness, though.

After they played for us, we went and saw them at the Unicorn. You know, with audible vocals.

If the studio bit isn't worth watching, though, this certainly is! Check out Paste Vision 5; the Throw Me The Statue bit's right in the middle. You can't miss it.

(Cough, read Paste:Local, cough.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Dangerous hair swoops, Constellations and Christians (of a sort): August's Southeast Performer arrived weeks ago!

The distribution problems made it a couple of weeks late, sure, but I'm even later, here telling you about August's SEP in the first week of September. Bear with me though, because it's a lovely issue, and you can probably still pick it up all over town.

I got to interview and write about indie electro DJ Dylan Eiland, a.k.a Le Castle Vania. Check it out! (It's my second cover story! Yay!)

Le Castle Vania

The Two-sided Mind of a Single-minded DJ

The Promoter and the Artist

The semi-circular stairs descending to the doorway of Atlanta’s Drunken Unicorn should be groaning, they bear the weight of so many. People squish through the open portal and past the bouncers, a bottleneck of 18-and-up partygoers all bright-eyed and just a little bit manic, eager to be inside where the mob ebbs and flows like waves and the air thickens with body heat...[Read more]

The rest of the issue is a little Atlanta-centric (which of course I love), featuring Noot d' Noot and spotlighting Connor Christian and The Constellations (as well as non-Atlanta artist Todd Simpson). How can you blame us? The city has just too much going on...Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2008

More excuses...

So Paste:Local Atlanta's looking pretty sweet, y'all. I don't seem to have much creative juice left for anything else though, and every time I approach this here FOA to write something, I seem to be without words.

This week P:L A has a live review of that Gnarls Barkley/Janelle Monae show at the Variety a little while back, a preview of the Decatur Book Festival this weekend, a review of the reMIXT opening at Mint Gallery from last weekend, a review of Y O U and the Modern Skirts at Star Bar from last Thursday, the weekly Informer:Atlanta of course (full Atlanta event listings every Tuesday - send tips and calendars to !) and finally, a writeup of the local shorts program at last weekends Atlanta Underground Film Festival.

And that was just this week! Seriously, I can't believe how good it's all looking (regardless of how stressed-out I get), so please please go read every day and tell all your friends!

Coming up:
Catching Up With... Noot d' Noot
Live Review: The Features, The Redcoats @ The Earl 8/30/08
Reviews of the Decatur Book Festival, The Grant Park Summer Shade Festival and Dragon*Con

...stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Yo, check out the new weekly music and events calendar at Paste:Local Atlanta! Look for it every Tuesday!

Informer:Atlanta 8/19/08

Think of it as a replacement for our old FOA show docket feature...

Lackthereof - "Fake Empire" (The National cover)

My head just a-splode.

I bought this record today (Your Anchor by Lackthereof), and I really like it. I didn't look at the track listing before I popped it in, though, so when this song (the album's final track) came on, I nearly wet myself.

Fake Empire [National cover] - Lackthereof (Menomenas Danny Seim)

The original, for anyone who's forgotten:

Fake Empire - The National

You'll remember
my adoration for both the original album and the song itself.

Lackthereof is Danny Seim from excellent NW band Menomena. This is suddenly a lovely afternoon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Paste:Local Atlanta!!

Apologies for the long silence, y'all. I've been...well..."busy" is an understatement.

Here's why:

Paste:Local Atlanta.

If I haven't gushed at you already about this, Paste:Local is's new blog initiative, applying the mag's eye for "signs of life in music, film and culture" to the ATL's local scene. I've got the privilege of editing our city's pilot edition of P:L, and as of Monday, it's launched! It's got a LOT of kinks that need workin' out, so don't hike up your expectations too high, but it's already looking meaty and awesome, if not yet gorgeous. (Picture above is from intro post. It's Ben from Judi Chicago. Taken by the ever-talented Jason Reed.)

Have a look!!!!!:

And then let me know what you think. Bloggers, spread the word! I'm looking for contributors...and some of you have already received some sidebar lovin' (this department will also look better soon).

If FOA gets kind of sad and lonely in the future, it's because P:L's growing and thriving! No tears!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Black Kids - Partie Traumatic

I reviewed the brand-spankin'-new Black Kids record for Yessir!

Blog band delivers with danceable first LP

Childlike call-and-response vocals, ecstatic, shiny dance-floor sensibilities and enough hooks to reel in an entire sea of club-going teenagers buoy this debut full-length release from Jacksonville, Fla. quintet Black Kids. The band hits hard with the follow up to its 2007 demo EP Wizard of Ahhhs, which previously released four of the tracks on this new LP. Black Kids first experienced a massive hype wave last year in the U.K., then eventually in the States, despite having no proper record and being largely unable to afford any real promotion. Having finally nailed down solid support and with settling levels of backlash, Partie Traumatic makes good on the band's early promise with dance-pop anthems like "I've Underestimated My Charm (Again)" and the standout "I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance." [Read more...]

The LP releases today on Columbia, and can be found here. I wouldn't be talking about it if it wasn't a ton of fun.

Call it a silly love, but here's a video of my favorite track, "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You":

Lest we forget.

Friday, July 18, 2008

HearYa's Top 25 Mullets in Rock History

"Duran Duran is 80% mullet. What’s the other 20%? I’ll leave that to you."

PLEASE look at the rest of it. Seriously.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

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

Haha, whoa.

I particularly enjoy the part where Zooey throws that ax and chops off her own head four times. And when M. gets carried away by the blue cartoon ghosts. I would also please like every item of clothing in this video. K, thanks.

She & Him play the Variety July 29th.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dark Meats, Hotel Lights and Broken Letters: July's Southeast Performer arrives!

Drumroll please!

It' very first cover story EVER!

This month's SEP's quite the milestone for your favorite writer's tiny career! I had the privilege of doing a piece on one of the most hectic bands I've ever witnessed. Athens' Dark Meat is just...a walking disaster that somehow manages to function to the enjoyment of lots and lots of devoted fans. If you've never seen 'em live, you just don't understand. The first time I saw them, I got pegged in the forehead with one of those little bouncy balls you get from grocery store vending machines...twice! It's a true testament to just how many bands per capita there really are in Athens, Ga. Behold:

Anyway here's the story:

Dark Meat
The Most Organized Chaos You Ever Heard

Ben Clack’s oversized eyeglasses reflect the light from the street as he sips his Schlitz at a table in the empty theater. The Dark Meat bassist gestures at the chaos outside. It’s unexpectedly the day of the spring football scrimmage in Athens, Ga., and inebriated (or at least enthusiastic) college kids clad all in red stumble by on the sidewalk. Clack and frontman Jim McHugh glance up disinterestedly from time to time, but turn rather soberly away from the window. They’re here to talk about their own brand of chaos, an infamous shape-shifting musical collective that is a completely different variety of social experiment and one of Vice Records’ newest signees. It’s a project that’s taken them on the road over and over again, wreaking havoc in clubs around the country and on the eardrums of their lucky listeners; they’ve started fires in venue corners and butted heads with bouncers, all while performing delicately-named songs like “Well Fuck You Then” and “Assholes Of Eyeballs.” Even if one considers the numbers by themselves, forgetting about the spectacularly schizophrenic live shows and broad-scope recordings, Dark Meat is a force to be contended with. The band contains at least 12 members at all times - sometimes many more, almost all of whom are in other Athens musical groups - and commitment seems the only way to keep an operation like this running. Luckily, Dark Meat has got plenty of it. [Read more...]

Mike from Deadly Designs took a bunch of the live shots, which are pretty damn cool. (I don't know why the photo credit says "Mick." Sorry, Mike.) Check him out for other awesome Athens band photography.

This month's Performer also has a feature on Atlanta rapper Quanstar, as well as spotlights on Bombadil, Hotel Lights and The Broken Letters. As always there's a slew of live reviews
and recorded reviews for you to devour as you will. If you're in a band, you'd do well to read all the stuff in the advice section about touring and gear and what not. Enjoy!

[M4A] Dark Meat - "Freedom Ritual" (sorry about format...too lazy to convert...)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FOAVOD: Lazer/Wulf - "Lagarto" live at Corndogorama

Kickass video via Ohmpark, who likewise kicks ass. Davy's got videos of tons and tons of the acts from this past weekend's festival (including the sweatiest ball of awesomeness Dan Deacon, the catastrophic Gringo Star set, Snowden's bucking and kicking, and many more) here, here, here, here, here, here and here. He's also got general blog coverage of the whole event. The thoroughness award goes to Ohmpark!

The sweetness/eloquence award goes to The Pop Filter.

The force-to-be-reckoned-with award goes to Have You Heard. More live sessions from these fellows soon...

The too-overwhelmed-to-blog-frequently award goes to me. I win.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

So. Tired.

Corndogorama. Exhausting. Good coverage from friends here.

That's all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Corndogorama cometh!

I can't say it better than Rebecca Bowen, so let me point you toward's article about this weekend's CORNDOGORAMA at Lenny's:

Dan Deacon to headline Corndogorama's meaty lineup

With its built-in wooden stick for convenient one-handed transport, and soft, delicious casing that prevents the traumatic puncture wounds often inflicted by skewered meats or vegetables, the corn dog (its origins as debated as those of man himself) was obviously conceived supernaturally for the purpose of consumption amidst throngs of schoolchildren, circus-goers and, finally, Atlanta indie rockers. [Read more...]

It's here. It's good. It's this weekend. Foods on sticks and music for everyone! All should come out and help support local music, as well as say hello to your beloved(!) journalistic entities like Southeast Performer Magazine's lovely troupe of editors, writers and interns, and of course my boys over at Have You Heard....I'll be the one wearing a silly grin (either sleepy or too excited) under the Performer tent for much of the weekend if you're lookin'.

Highlights for me include the Friday night lineup of Judi Chicago, Noot d'Noot and Dan Deacon and a Sunday afternoon onslaught from Lazer/Wulf. Can't wait. Full lineup available at!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paste Band of the Week: Bowerbirds

Back from AthFest and attempting to re-organize. Phew. Pictures soon.

In the meantime, something fun!

When I awoke today, my very first Band of the Week piece greeted me from the Paste site. It's about N.C.'s staggeringly awesome trio Bowerbirds, in the wake of last week's reissue of their 2007 record Hymns For A Dark Horse on Dead Oceans. They're organic, sincere and wonderful musicians. I highly recommend them. And if you've got a moment read about 'em:

Paste: Band of the Week: Bowerbirds

Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Fun Fact: Guitarist/vocalist Phil Moore and multi-instrumentalist Beth Tacular have spent the last year building an eco-friendly house all by themselves to replace their AirStream trailer.
Why They’re Worth Watching: Moore, Tacular and multi-instrumentalist Mark Paulson create truly organic folk songs, full of haunting melodies and honest lyrics without layers of production.
For Fans Of: Phosphorescent, The Avett Brothers, The Mountain Goats, Bon Iver

People stare as Phil Moore, Beth Tacular and Mark Paulson stroll around a candy store in New York. Paulson’s tapping and thudding in rhythm on a bass drum he has strapped to him, Tacular is squeezing her accordion while she harmonizes sweetly and Moore is playing his acoustic guitar and singing about things like bur oaks and talons as he wanders. He turns to the side so he doesn’t whack the guitar’s neck on the corn-syrup-laden shelving. [Read more...]

[MP3] Bowerbirds - "Bur Oak"

Friday, June 20, 2008

Catching Up With... The Avett Brothers

This, my friends, is the best assignment I've ever had.

As you all well know, The Avett Brothers are one of my very favorite bands, live, recorded and otherwise (what's "otherwise"??). When I was told there was an interview opportunity with Scott, all the questions swirling around in my head, that I'd been formulating for months like I do with any truly fascinating band, immediately lined up, numbered, ordered and regimented. They stood at the ready, and a week later, by phone, I was allowed to ask them. Though over the past year I've had the chance to talk to a couple of other people who probably enjoy equal levels of fame and success, of any of them The Avett Brothers' music affects me by far the most personally. I was, therefore, seriously nervous upon dialing the phone number I was given at the appointed time. Scott was sincere and disarming, though, and did his best to answer questions I can only assume he's been asked before. I did my best to make it interesting, to delve deeper than the surface logistical and "personality-revealing" questions ("What's your favorite TV show?", etc). He indicated that my queries about the songwriting process and honesty in music were the type he prefers to answer, that a lot of interviewers never get there. Which made me feel good, even if it's not totally the case. I wanted so badly to know about the autobiographical nature of their songs, about the contradictory truths they espouse with such passion, because of the people I've encountered in my own life that seem to behave the same way.

After some serious editing, we're left with this piece, which arrived on the Paste site today. I hope you enjoy!

Catching Up With... The Avett Brothers

They’re traveling troubadours of the inner workings of the heart and head, these men in their stage suits wielding banjos with the force of weapons. They communicate all the gray areas and intricacies thereof through simple sonic textures; bluegrass strings join keys, kick drums, sweet crooning and guttural screams. Multi-instrumentalists Seth and Scott Avett, bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon traverse the country, ministering to ever-growing audiences from their book of unabashed balladry, hollerin’ all the way. They are rough around the edges of a center so baldly honest that even their ample facial hair begins to seem unlikely.

If theirs is a formula not many have used before, The Avett Brothers are testing it well now, gradually accumulating legions of loyal fans and releasing five full-length studio records in as many years. As the band prepared to depart Ann Arbor, Mich. for Grand Rapids in May, Paste caught up with Scott to talk about creative consistency, time spent on the road and achieving the unexpected. They’re in the midst of yet another of their incessant tours, hopping from venue to venue, from one frantic crowd to the next.

This particular journey leads the group to a discographical destination as well as a physical one. On July 22, the Avetts will release The Second Gleam via longtime label Ramseur Records. It’s the aptly-named sequel to their only previous EP, 2006’s The Gleam, and it’s a pit stop on the road to their next full-length record, which they’ve slated to record later this year with a release in 2009.

Paste: The Second Gleam comes out in July. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing and recording process of it and what your listeners can expect?
Scott Avett: Well, the basis of the thing is in the beginning. The first Gleam that we made kind of sprung from the recording of “Famous Flower of Manhattan” from Four Thieves [Gone], where we were going to make the recording and we knew it had to be a one-take sort of thing. We knew it had to be Seth and I just sitting down, two chairs, two guitars, two microphones, and it had to be done all at once. We would just go in and every day we would just try it once or twice, or at least until we got warm, which might take two or three times. And if it didn’t happen, you’d say “Okay, let’s just try again tomorrow. It’s just got to be right.” And we did that for six or seven days until we got it, and we really enjoyed the process of the quiet and calm feeling of it. So we said, you pick three songs, I’ll pick three that I’ve been writing on my own, and let’s just make a record and we’ll base it on this theme of this song that was called “Sanguine.” It was speaking of “the gleam,” meaning the outer skirts of light of what we do as a primary operation. Not the leftovers, but the outer skirts of the light of it. So it had a good theme to it and it felt good to record. So we did the first one. And on the second one, we started recording it last April and sat on it, and thought it over and added songs, and then after we just completed a number of demos, into the 30 realm, we added two or three more songs to it, edited down some and added newer songs. It sticks somewhat to the theme and to the order of quietness and calmness and just Seth and I basically partnering in the recording and the writing. The songs aren’t quite as individually written as the first one was. There’s input from each other more so on this one than there was on the first. [Read more...]

[MP3] The Avett Brothers - "Paranoia In B-flat Major"

Monday, June 16, 2008

P4K interviews the Black Lips

Good reading.

Pitchfork: How would you describe the band in five words or less?

Jared: The happy clown that cries.

I get so proud of Atlanta bands....

FOAVOD: Bon Iver - Take-Away Shows!!!!!!!!!!

No words, except maybe "SHEEEEP!"


Watch this:

Then go here, watch the other two videos and read about it all in broken English. They seem to promise more are forthcoming. I think I'll be spending the days surrounding my birthday in August trying to drive to Tennessee to see this band play. They keep skipping Georgia on their U.S. tours. It's the only thing I could possibly say about Bon Iver that even approaches negative. These videos only prove my point. Can't wait.

When I saw that they had been posted, I actually vocalized something. By myself in my living room. I'm not sure if it was a scream or a gasp or what...kind of embarrassed about it now...but maybe that communicates my feelings better than any words ever could.

Shutting up now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Live Review: Man Man / Yeasayer (Lenny's Bar 5/3/08)

(Photo credit)

I wrote this review for Stomp and Stammer's website. You can read more "Tales From The Moshpit" here.

Copy-pasting action:

If for nothing other than a sociological study on facial hair patterns in young adults, the Man Man and Yeasayer show at Lenny's would have been worth attending.

That being said, I'm glad this wasn't the first time I'd seen Yeasayer. The sound engineering this particular night did them no favors, mixing all the punch right out of Chris Keating's vocals — pretty much the whole draw of the band for me. Without it, their creations spiral downward toward — what did Jeff call their album? — "Airy, mystical shit that sounds like somebody got a ahold of a bunch of peyote and somebody's Johnny Clegg records." Well sure, Jeff, to me it gets that way if the sound in the club's bad. I really like 2007's All Hour Cymbals, even if it's a little far down the blissed-out spectrum for my usual tastes. You might feel the same, but once you see them live, you'll fall in love like I did. Keyword in that last sentence: "see." At the Lenny's show, I only heard them, and it just wasn't the same. I could digress at this point into an argument against Lenny's ever hosting acts that draw a crowd that large. The stage is too low to allow anyone under 6' a view of the action. (Not to mention their one-stall bathroom situation on a night when the crowd's at capacity...bad news.) Ordinarily, I love the way Keating convulses when he sings, as if the music may actually be killing him, gnawing out his internal organs, but he doesn't care — he'll fight through the pain to bring you, dear listener, the tune that may save your life instead. He sings like a musical martyr. I know that at another venue, Yeasayer both looks and sounds more compelling; all I experienced at this show was the shoulders of those next to me, the varying haircut profiles of the people in front, and lots and lots of projection screen psychedelia and bass. So. Much. Bass. The logistics of showgoing were so poor that night that I even danced to my favorite Yeasayer song, "Sunrise," with 12 of my closest friends in line for the ladies' room. Questionable venue choice to host two such high-profile and visually-stunning acts.

Yeasayer probably shared a good portion of the blame for the bar being so packed, but my instincts tell me it was mostly Man Man's fault. These men's popularity is, to me, unsurprising and incredibly well deserved. I can think of no music less pretty — or more beautiful. Lead-fellow Honus Honus (a.k.a. Ryan Kattner) writes the smartest music I ever hear, lyrically and melodically; it's technically worlds and worlds superior to what mostly passes as pop nowadays. The set for the night featured heaping helpings of material from their new Anti- Records debut, Rabbit Habits, like the frantic "Ballad of Butter Beans," the syncopated and moaning "Big Trouble" and the just-plain-effing-brilliant "Harpoon Fever (Queequeg's Playhouse)." Yes, that's a Moby-Dick reference. They sampled bits off their earlier releases as well, most memorably the slower and more nostalgic "Van Helsing Boombox" from 2006's Six Demon Bag as the final song in their much-cheered-for encore. The song features saloon piano, whistling and one of my favorite opening lines in all of music; "Only time will tell if I'll allow the scenery around to eat me alive," Honus croons gratingly over Pow Pow's gentle rim-tapping. While you're wondering what he might mean by that, the other boys are all busy. Honus climbs and kicks, playing his keys, but the others switch instruments. Guitar, bass, all kinds of brass and saxophone, and even more keys are represented (not to mention the occasional slide whistle). Pow Pow plays his drum kit side-by-side with Honus in front, the upright pole of his high hat sporting an impaled plastic rabbit and some feathers. The all-white all the guys wear contrasts with their unruly hair and sweaty skin streaked with face paint. Sometimes Honus plays a bowl of water as a percussion instrument. Tell me you wouldn't love to stare at all this forever if given the opportunity. I certainly wanted to, and was grumpy at being denied the vantage point, but as I've seen them play before, and Man Man makes me dance like a maniac, all was not lost. You don't even need eyes to appreciate something so viscerally compelling.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

At Mount Zoomer, the forthcoming full-length from indie rockers Wolf Parade, will release June 17th on Sub Pop. I've been intrigued by this band for a minute now, and I still can't get "Call It A Ritual" out of my head. Accordingly, I wrote a review of it for this month's issue of Stomp and Stammer. The 'zine also boasts a cover on Mudhoney, my one-sentence sum-up of Man Man's Rabbit Habits and loads of other reviews and whatnot. Recommended reading!

At Mount Zoomer:

This Montreal side-project-happy crew's second LP sounds like a buffet tastes. It starts fresh and new and delicious. "Soldier's Gun" whets the appetite as the leadoff track, the first sweet synthesizer notes and mellow vocals launching square into poppy, post new wave territory. We are suddenly awash in a bright, pointillist guitar-punctuated waltz with warbling harmonies from singer Dan Boeckner, whose voice and delivery style remind more than a little of VHS or Beta frontman Craig Pfunder. He wails about chemicals and radio wires, beginning the album's consistent exploration of disillusionment and the darker sides of modern life.... [Read more]

[MP3] Wolf Parade - "Language City"

Sunday, June 8, 2008

FOAVOD: James Houston - "Big Ideas (Don't Get Any)"

This one's been all over the blogs, so many of you have probably seen it already. If you haven't though, check this out. It's by far my favorite version of Radiohead's "Nude."

Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fat Possums, Weasley Twins and Complex Wooden Hearts: June's Southeast Performer arrives!

Greetings on this stifling June 2nd, southeasterly musical folk! June's issue of Southeast Performer Magazine has hit the web, if not yet your free news stands, and this one's looking pretty...uh...pretty.

What I mean by that, is it features excellent Mississippi rockers Colour Revolt on the cover (see above), with a fantastic article by Paste's Caren Kelleher. I'd just like to know where they found all these bathtubs...

I'm most thrilled about my second feature for SEP, appearing in the form of Gred and Forge from Asheville, N.C. Not only did I get to write about this friendly musician, but I got to write an interest piece about Wizard Rock, music inspired by the Harry Potter series. Dorky, nerdy and utterly, utterly fantastic assignment.

The issue's got lovely spotlights on Atlanta's Pink Police, North Carolina's Airspace and Florida's Tres Bien.

As always there are fantastic live reviews and record reviews (including mine of Josh Preston's Complex Wooden Heart EP). This month's tour stop takes us to Chattanooga, and there's even a tour diary from Athens' We Vs. The Shark.

Enjoy, y'all!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Anticipation, Trepidation and Coldplay

I haven't heard the new Coldplay record, and I'll admit right now that I'd really like to. Sure, I've been disillusioned with their work in the past. I loved A Rush of Blood to the Head, and was living in Italy for a summer when X&Y released. I walked to the only record store I knew about and bought it for almost 18 euro, which is quite a bit to pay for an album that I ultimately denounced as trite...or if not trite, then trying absolutely too hard to do what people would expect and being almost embarrassingly strident in the process. Which isn't to say that I didn't listen to it over and over and over again on all my train rides across the Italian peninsula. It became the soundtrack to my hostel rooms, the theme behind my travel journaling, the tunes in my head as I traversed cobblestone roads. It was addictive not just because of my musical starvation at the time. I had objections, but I still....I don't know...liked it. I'm a sucker for epic.

Perhaps our journalistic self-consciousness is defeating us in the case of Coldplay, and that's why I enjoyed this review at Because I'm this curious about Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends, I've been reading all the reviews of it that come out. This can be a dangerous practice, and I'll be the first to tell you that even though I regularly write them, record reviews should be taken, absolutely 100% of the time, with a sizable grain of salt. This one expresses the same trepidation I feel on approaching a Coldplay LP. But it comes to the same bashful conclusion I came to with X&Y, that I arrive at with any album that probably won't enjoy the type of unashamed, all-out, under the radar praise that on-the-rise, independent artists can expect. It concludes that though the record comes late-ish in the band's career, though they're so universally loved that they're almost universally resented, though we probably would rather not like Coldplay albums at all so as to preserve any hipster cred we may have ever possessed, bands like Coldplay didn't acquire international stardom and (at least originally) respect by totally sucking. It's written considering the self-referencing Coldplay seems doomed to participate in. Here's the second paragraph:

There are those of us still anxious about Parachutes, because it presented a Coldplay that we could listen to. This band (that Coldplay) was, above all, beyond listenable and frequently good, a band we could knowingly hum because we personally knew bands exactly like it, and has sort of re-emerged despite the history. This is Coldplay re-becoming Coldplay, in lieu of a Coldplay that never was. This Coldplay un-congealing themselves from the giggles and pain of half a decade’s worth of P. Diddy, Cat Deeley, and a slew of other execrable copycats trying to play at the song this band never made. So, in effect, this is Coldplay being completely unoriginal, relishing that impropriety and just taking off with their high art/low art salad days. This isn’t a new “sound,” because Brian Eno isn’t a new “radical.” This isn’t a new “band,” because, like we all know, Coldplay don’t exist. Or, if this were a sound, it would be the sound of four people trying to high-five Win Butler at once. And if it were a band, I guess that band would be Coldplay.

Then he says he kind of liked it.

I don't know where I'm going with this, except that I've been thinking a lot recently about the self-conscious side effects of being any kind of critic, and how it was an occupational (and I use the word "occupational" quite loosely) slot I ended up in obliquely, accidentally. Because art has so much intrinsic value. Because no matter the result, someone worked so hard to produce this, this collection of songs, this, at its best, reflection of self. For what? To be judged? I think not.

Sorry. I digress.

So I haven't heard Viva La Vida yet. The side effect of no longer being the daily underling at any magazine (though I still contribute) is that I'm not within arm's reach of all the music my heart desires anymore. Sigh.

Here's what I have heard from the new album:

[MP3] Coldplay - "Violet Hill"

I'd be interested to hear your opinions.

FOAVOD: Throw Me The Statue - "Lolita"

Yay Throw Me The Statue!

These fellows were uber-friendly and personable when they came to record at the Paste offices and play at the Drunken Unicorn a couple months ago. Their current record, Moonbeams, out on Secretly Canadian, has been in heavy rotation in my house for a good minute now. Maybe it gets a touch long-winded (it's basically a full hour long and lacks variety toward the end), but there are several truly standout tracks like the opener "Young Sensualists," "Conquering Kids" and "About To Walk." They combine fun pop sensibilities with just staggering use of SAT-caliber vocabulary words and solid musicianship. And they're creative. They bring quite the array of instruments to any recording session, let me tell you.

This is one of my favorite songs of the year. (And, admittedly, it's one of my ringtones...uh...I'm still cool, right?)

One more time:
[MP3] courtesy of Secretly Canadian: Throw Me The Statue - "Lolita"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"I've kind of ran out of goals"

While not job searching, lately I've been transcribing. My head is filled with the words of the Bowerbirds' Phil Moore and The Avett Brothers' Scott Avett. My own questions practically ring in my ears. I've been doing this so often, I've almost grown used to the way my voice sounds on digital recordings. They both speak of greater truths, of the way their music resonates in their own heads, and what it can reveal. That's why I enjoyed reading this interview so much (in spite of all its typos and poor copy-editing...): Interview: Bon Iver

Granted, I would've read it anyway. It's about one of my very very favorite musicians. But I found the questions were well-thought-out, and that Justin Vernon just seems unimaginably down-to-earth for someone who makes such beautiful songs. I was particularly excited by his mention of his interest in scoring movies.

Says Vernon: 'I was very sad and very lonely and now my family's doing really well and I'm in love. What happens now? I've done things that I've never dreamt of doing and I've kind of ran out of goals. So I'm kind of super happy, waiting for some shoe to drop. Whether it's the cover of Rolling Stone or just like peter off and work in a field for the rest of my life or just die. I'm that on the crest of everyday, it's like, "Wow, this is amazing. I'm happy everyday."'

I have a very different kind of interview ahead of me in about 45 minutes. The job kind (soul-sucking as it may be...) Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Linkage Wednesday, re: Tom Waits, DCFC, The National, etc.

FOA Linkage Wednesday returns! Get excited, 'cause here we go....

First, I have have have to point you towards this NPR piece: Tom Waits Interviews Tom Waits

It begins with this utterly fantastic introduction (by Tom Waits about Tom Waits):
"I must admit, before meeting Tom, I had heard so many rumors and so much gossip that I was afraid. Frankly, his gambling debts, his animal magnetism, coupled with his disregard for the feelings of others... His elaborate gun collection, his mad shopping sprees, the face lifts, the ski trips, the drug busts and the hundreds of rooms in his home. The tax shelters, the public urination...I was nervous to meet the real man himself. Baggage and all. But I found him to be gentle, intelligent, open, bright, helpful, humorous, brave, audacious, loquacious, clean, and reverent. A Boy Scout, really (and a giant of a man). Join me now for a rare glimpse into the heart of Tom Waits. Remove your shoes and no smoking, please."

I also particularly enjoyed this question and answer:
"Q: What's hard for you?
A: Mostly I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane. Math is hard. Reading a map. Following orders. Carpentry. Electronics. Plumbing. Remembering things correctly. Straight lines. Sheet rock. Finding a safety pin. Patience with others. Ordering in Chinese. Stereo instructions in German."

Oh, and this one :
"Q: What is a gentleman?
A: A man who can play the accordion, but doesn't."

What's he mean by that?! I like the accordion...

There's also a lot of really self-indulgent discussion about record collections, his ears and squid. Recommended reading, for sure.

Next up, we've got this post from the very talented Nikki. She points us toward this Stereogum thing, in which Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie summarizes his feelings on Gossip Girl and one of his band's songs appearing on it the previous evening. Sheer brilliance.

"I keep hearing about this Gossip Girl. There's this one picture of her with her and her hot friends, spread out like margarine all over a Lincoln Town Car. Are they going to dinner? What's on the stereo while they drive? Is it our band? What world could I possibly be living in?"

The post is part of yesterday's "all Death Cab all the time," feature at Stereogum. The regular bloggers relinquished control and let members of DCFC do all the content all day. Risky? Yeah. Hilarious? Also yeah. Other good ones to read are:
New Hold Steady - Sequestered In Memphis by Chris Walla
The Roger Walters Quandary Or, Will The Last One Leaving Battersea Please Turn Out The Lights? by Ben Gibbard

Having dealt with blogging and online news posting extensively myself, I think it's great the way their content's still tailored to the usual Stereogum formatting...

Caren at Paste has created indie e-cards. For serious. They're incredible.

Grumpy Pitchfork says this about The National's A Skin, A Night and The Virginia EP. Incidentally, I disagree wholeheartedly with almost every sentence in this review. Mr. Klein misses the point entirely. Anyone who finds A Skin, A Night underwhelming and unnecessary is un-fascinated with songwriting and most likely has no soul. But I don't have any feelings about it.

In contrast, here's how I feel about The National.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Live Review: Black Lips (40 Watt 3/28/08)

Hey, remember when the Black Lips played at the 40 Watt at the end of March?..... What's that you say? ...That was almost two months ago? ...Wait, what's your point?

Well, if you're still interested in news that old, I wrote a live review of the show for Stomp and Stammer. It's here. I discuss having the dude behind me pretty much dump his entire can of Spark's in my hair and what it was like to be right in front of the speaker stack Ian St. Pe was climbing. (I did not, however, mention the very dangerous drool situation that particular position implies.)

To more completely illustrate the, uh, spectacle one witnesses at Black Lips shows, let me direct you toward some photos from the very talented Mike White of Deadly Designs. Check his site out, he's a fantastic live photographer. Here are a few he shot that night. The rest can be found here.

Jared sayin' hi to the crowd.

Gratitude from Ian.

Friendliest venue I know.

Some serious Cole.

Mike has 42 devastatingly good shots from this one set alone at Deadly Designs, not to mention the gazillions of other shows he's photographed, so go take a look.

Favorite Black Lips show stories, anyone?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Catching Up With...The National

I love it when big blogs pick up my articles!

The Music Slut likes my work...It won't even be live on the Paste site 'till Monday. They're quite thorough, those music sluts....

It's the interview I did with Aaron Dessner from The National at of my favorite interview moments so far. He was really really thoughtful...good person to talk to.

Also, this is the trailer for their Vincent Moon documentary, A Skin, A Night.. Comes out Tuesday. It's really really good.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An all-call for the anthemic

Everybody remember this little song?

So do I. And I miss it.

I don't mean that I can't just listen to Band of Horses any old time I want. Of course I can. We all can. What I mean is that I haven't encountered anything recently that feels like that did when I first heard it. I want some new anthemic music, songs that are sweeping and epic....or whatever.

I've been listening to a lot of people like Wolf Parade and Josh Preston and Man Man lately. I need to switch gears. Any suggestions?

Utilize comments section!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Headlights - Some Racing, Some Stopping

(Image from the band's MySpace)

Anyone wanna read the review I wrote in Stomp and Stammer of the new-ish Headlights record? Well by god, here it is. I feel a little bad about the bits of negativity I had to throw in there....mostly 'cause the band is really really nice...maybe I'm not cut out for this music criticism junk...Well I'ma keep doing it anyway.

You can buy the record straight from them or at your local independent record store, as it's out everywhere via Polyvinyl.

And hey, if anyone's uber-bored and feels like giving me some criticism on my criticism (the constructive kind, of course!), I'd be completely open to it.

For your listening pleasure:

[MP3] Headlights - "Cherry Tulips"

Monday, May 12, 2008


It's almost sad when a whole show docket is finished. I said it'd be a good month, and it was. In the last week and a half I saw Man Man and Yeasayer (a review of which will show up here in the next week or two), Radiohead and Fishboy, all four of whom are artists I routinely list as my very favorites. So a productive run, all around. But see, now it's over. And the only big show I've got on my plate isn't till July. Sigh.

But the past few days have been top notch! Thursday night found me at one of my least favorite Atlanta-related locales in honor of one of my most favorite England-related musical entities. That's right! I was at Lakewood watchin' the Radioheads. And it was good. We had lawn seats, and never had that felt more perfect. The intermittent rain made me feel like the music was hitting me in tiny drops and soaking in. I have failed you as a press entity in this instance, however, because I can neither offer you a competent set list or any pictures of my own. Instead I'll point you towards other people who can offer these things.

Dearest Creative Loafing has a little review-ish (though I disagree that the band is unremarkable live) and some good photos here. They remind me, first of all, that Thom Yorke rarely has his eyes open (and is sooo adorable when he dances...which he did...several times), and second of all, that Johnny Greenwood is a terrifyingly impressive musician. The highlight of the set for me was his "Faust Arp" duet with Yorke. I had chills. Like this, but with only two electric guitars:

Also, I just about fell over when they played "Talk Show Host." And "15 Step" sounded incredible. So did everything else, come to think of it... Here's fansite's set list from the evening.

Pitchfork's got complete coverage of their stop in Florida a couple of days previous, complete with some great pictures. You can see the coolness of their lights and display setup.

I spent my Friday evening recording with Lazer/Wulf. Does an instrumental (what did we call it?) "prog-metal" band need flute on their record? The answer is yes! (Or at the very least a noncommittal "Sure, I mean...I guess." Insert requisite Jethro Tull quip here.) Seriously though, their forthcoming EP is sounding really good, and I feel lucky to be a part of it. Look for it soooon!

Then Saturday night, I ventured to Caledona for Gordon Lamb's birthday celebration, featuring my fave, Fishboy. Though Eric himself was a bit under the weather (a sad little bottle of chloroseptic spray sat atop his amp during the set), they still sounded great, and completely lived up to the months and months of expectations I'd been attaching to a live performance of theirs. Kudos, guys. I might review this one for S&S too, but I've got quite a bit on my plate at the moment, so maybe not. Besides, there's not too much to say other than that they performed their whole rock opera plus one song. They did it quickly, confidently and seamlessly. And it was awesome. Basically, I was left with nothing to lament except that they don't play around here more often. They'll be back for Athens PopFest in August, and I won't miss it. Here are some crappy pictures from my terrible camera. Look for some good ones from Mike of Deadly Designs soon.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Elves, re-recordings and swim trunks: May's Southeast Performer arrives!

Southeasterly music types! Rejoice! May's Southeast Performer Magazine has hit the stands, and this month it's chock full o' goodness. It begins with a cover by Harold Zimm on Atlanta's own Morning State (who can jump very high).
It's the tale of an album's survival through a label's collapse, and all the good that followed thereafter. Read about it here.

The feature this month is on Athens standby Elf Power and their new album, In A Cave.

I wrote a spotlight on this guy:

His band's called John Barrett's Bass Drum of Death, and he rocks pretty hard. I was not involved with this photo, but man, do I wish I had been!

The live reviews section's pretty sweet this month, too. Features Leila's coverage of southeast bands at SXSW, my write up of Look Mexico/Bear Colony/O'Brother, and of course, my boys Lazer/Wulf. Check it out!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Photos: Anna Kramer / Tenement Halls / Jeffrey Butzer (The Earl 5/2/08)

Some nights, the weird just comes out of the woodwork. Last night was one of those nights. It wasn't the full moon, though it was close; no odd astrological forces were at work of which I was aware. Maybe everyone started celebrating Cinco de Mayo just a little early. Either way, East Atlanta and the Earl gave us a night of good music peppered with a healthy dose of the bizarre.

It began before we even got inside. On our way up the street into the venue, we passed Bradford Cox giggling ecstatically on the sidewalk with a friend. Weird thing #1.

We met Jeffrey, who is very nice, before his set began. He started with his solo material, then was joined by his live band, Midwives. The stuff he plays alone or with one other person by way of accompaniment is played on multiple key instruments at the same time. He's like a one-man band with help. A percussionist assists on xylophone while he mans the keyboard, toy piano, melodica, high hat w/ tambourine and kick drum all by himself. It has a creepy film noir circus waltz quality to it, like a stripped down Dresden Dolls, really compelling in a sort of old abandoned porcelain doll kind of way. Nostalgic, like. And totally instrumental. When Midwives joined him, the tone changed completely, morphing into a maybe more straightforward rockabilly idea, stand-up bass and all. Jeffrey switched to guitar. Both incarnations impressed me a lot.

Jeffrey Butzer with Midwives:

The diminutive Jeffrey stood on his stool so he could be eye-to eye with his bassist.

Tenement Halls is the new-ish project of Chris Lopez from the now-defunct Rock*A*Teens. The band plays smart, bouncy pop rock with a penchant for a wall-of-sound aesthetic and adorned with generous helpings of distortion and reverb. I liked them too.

Tenement Halls:

At this point there were a few individual, unrelated and inappropriately drunk people dancing feverishly in the audience. One of them, a short, boundary-less girl kept on violating our personal bubbles, offering my roommate drinks and taking the cigarette out of her friend's hand to smoke it without his permission. Weird thing #2. It wasn't even that late. This one guy toward the front was jerking around to the music with so much determination it seemed his limbs might detach themselves from his body.

Before Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause hit the stage, they entertained us during set change by projecting an old Loony Toons episode on the screen. It was the one where Daffy was "Super Duck," and the Earl had it turned up excruciatingly loud. Weird thing #3. The night was starting to get overwhelming.

I am endlessly impressed with Anna Kramer. Each member of this band effing wails. They play like their very lives depend on it, hopelessly tight, energetic and brilliant. Two thumbs up.

Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause:

Adam Renshaw kills me when he plays drums. His mouth almost never closes, but he doesn't look ridiculous so much as....fucking ecstatic. It's incredible to watch. Shannon Mulvaney kicks around as he plays his bass lines, the ones that never stop moving, his fingers blurring in front of my eyes. (On the band's MySpace page, Shannon's job description is "bass, theatrics, flawless tap dancing." Yes.)

And then there's Anna, who is one of the hardest-rocking female musicians I've ever seen. Endless respect for her.

During this set, however, the weirdness kept right on going. Two or three newcomers to the crowd had obviously been elsewhere "having fun," and one of them proceeded to walk right to the front of the stage and vomit all over the floor and in her own hair, which she kept flinging around. It was disgusting. Weird thing #4. She wouldn't even consent to leave the crowd when her friend tried to pull her out. We relocated. Then, apparently there was a fistfight at the back of the crowd. More alcohol, I imagine. Weird thing #5. We decided to quit while we were ahead and vacated the premises. You woulda done the same.

Outside, some people were getting arrested. Maybe the ones in the fight. Weird thing #6. We pretty much ran away.

[MP3] Anna Kramer & the Lost Cause - "Da Da Rock"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Port O'Brien - All We Could Do Was Sing

How hard does Port O'Brien rock? I had no idea until I heard them in the most recent Paste Culture Club podcast. Then I realized Paste was also streaming the entire album from their website (click on the Paste Station thing, then select "Album Streams"). All We Could Do Was Sing streets May 13th. If I sounded like Port O'Brien, all I'd be able to do is sing, too.

They're touring with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin right now, but sadly not stopping here. Or maybe they already did. Not sure. I always catch on right after someone comes through this town.

Here's that song I like so much, "I Woke Up Today":

Same song, SO much better with this visual (hahahahahahahahahahah):

From the band's MySpace.

Good times.

Hooray Wolf Parade!

You know who rarely steers me wrong? Sub Pop. Hence their spot in the "Crushworthy Record Labels" list (see right). I like a good 75% of what they put out. That's decent. Kinda makes me wish I lived in the Pacific Northwest, being as they're throwing themselves a big 20th birthday party this year, in the form of a music festival that I really wish I could go to.

The most recent audio home run they've battered against my eardrums of late arrives as none other than Montreal's Wolf Parade. That song "Call It A Ritual" is seriously haunting me right now, and I recommend you let it haunt you, too. It's from their forthcoming album, which was originally to be called Kissing The Beehive, but will now be called At Mount Zoomer due to a copyright issue. Which is cool, I guess. Hits June 17th. Rejoice!

This picture's not of Wolf Parade. It's an ad for a Wolf Parade t-shirt. I just think it's hilarious.

Here's an MP3 from their Sub Pop website, being as I'm, uh, not allowed to share the version I've got...or whatever....
[MP3] Wolf Parade - "Call It A Ritual"

Enjoy. The song also holds a spot on the recent Sub Pop sampler, that so many of us received free on Record Store Day.

As if that wasn't enough, they're coming. To Atlanta. In July! (The 28th, to be precise.) Rich tells us all the tour dates, and his readers tell us how to buy tickets. I don't know about y'all, but I'll be there with bells on.