Thursday, February 28, 2008

Envy and exhaustion

Man, do I wish I was going to SXSW. Sigh.

I, sadly, am not one of the lucky ones.

Apparently, I'll be at Langerado instead, which will be great of course. No complaints here. Esp. excited about The Avetts, The National, Vampire Weekend, and many more.

Apologies this post isn't meatier. I'm tired.

Saw O'Brother, Bear Colony, and Look Mexico at The Earl last night. Was very impressed with Bear Colony. Much better than expected. Am reviewing for SEP, so look for it in...April, I think?

This is unrelated:

Do you like Animal Collective? What about Panda Bear? Why? Which is better? Consider this an official FOA survey.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Monday

Post-Paste Oscar Party, today's lookin' a little frenzied. By way of apology for not yet reviewing those HHBTM records I've been meaning to (I've been listening! I just haven't had time to write about them competently yet.), here is a page of links to stuff! Our Awesome List of Lists (Speaks for itself. Who doesn't like lists?)

What I spent way too long working on this morning: The Hold Steady - "Record 4 in the can"

Have You Heard's new episode, featuring an interview and in-studio performances with Atlanta's own Trances Arc, as well as a review of (gasp!) Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago (the release of which I celebrated last week).

And speaking of For Emma, the review I got to write of it for Stomp and Stammer showed up on their website the other day! This is the first piece I've gotten to write for them, and I'm pretty chuffed about it. It's a privilege to review something when all I have are positive things to say. I worked really hard on this one....

Proper reviews of Keith John Adams (see below), Eux Autres and Bearsuit to come, as well as Dust Congress, most likely.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Big Trouble in Little Five Points - Tonight!

I'll be there reviewing. Come on out to the Star Bar for a free show! (Tonight's lineup is two parts rock, one part soul/hip-hop/cool.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

FOAVOD - Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

I confess I ripped this straight from the Video of the Day blog on the Paste website. But it's adorable and ends with him deliberately eating a heart-shaped cookie.

"Oh Paris!"

You can download his EP, A Brush With Velvet, for free from his website.

If there is a second video today I feel everyone should watch, it's this one:
Feist - "I Feel It All"

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"For Emma, Forever Ago" Day

(Photo above of Justin Vernon by Sarah Cass. Courtesy of Jagjaguwar.)

Me: Do you know what today is?


You: Tuesday?

Me: Right, but what else?

You: February 19th, 2008.

Me: Which means what?

You:'s the 22nd anniversary of the launch of the Mir space station by the Soviet Union?

Me: Well...yeah...but that's not what I'm getting at.

You: What are you getting at, then?

Me: Today is For Emma, Forever Ago Day! And most certainly worth celebrating.

That's right! At long last, Jagjaguwar released Bon Iver's stunning debut LP today. He released it himself in 2007, then signed with Jagjaguwar after it inspired a round of rapt attention and critical acclaim. I discovered it last month when a friend gave it to me. You can preview it on Virb (or download "Skinny Love" courtesy of Jagjaguwar), but that's just ridiculous, as I can vouch more wholeheartedly for this record than I've ever vouched for anything. Really. It's that good. You will like it. I'll probably stop by Criminal Records on my way home and pick up a physical copy (to replace my CD-R), if for no other reason than to support this artist and the label that's supporting him. Besides, his tour isn't taking him here (much to my distress), so I won't be able to buy tickets and throw money at Vernon and his band that way.

I've reviewed it for a publication (which will show March 1st-ish, I think) so I won't give away everything I think about it here. I will say, though, that he uses phrasing, dynamics, and textures better than I've ever heard. It's just a gorgeous and impactful record from beginning to end. Notes hang in the air, fizzling naturally like fireworks followed by silence. Heavy silence. Meaningful silence.

But when he's not silent, he's singing. He sings of love wasted when people fail, of omens (a black crow sits across from him, dangling his keys, even faking a toss), of what might've been lost. He's so angry sometimes, but he communicates it with such hope, such beauty. The album is mostly him, with some parts added after he emerged from his winter recording seclusion. There are tracks so minimalistic the only percussion is him tapping on his acoustic guitar, and some so grandiose it seems that not an extra iota of sound could be crammed in between the clattering percussion and wailing brass and Vernon's voice as he harmonizes with himself.

I would like to shake Justin Vernon's hand. But if I can't, I'll go buy his record. And so should you.

I'm on the Daily Swarm!

Yo! A web item I wrote for Paste today got linked on The Daily Swarm! It's like I'm a real reporter or something! (Thanks to Sara for the story tip...)

Rufus Wainwright plans Blackoutsabbath for June 21


(TheLeila would be so proud!)

This is almost as cool as that time Largehearted Boy put my Chris Walla piece in their "Shorties" section.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Man Man + Yeasayer = So excited

I've talked about Yeasayer before, but in case you didn't believe me about the awesomeness and the stage mannerisms, check this out:

They were on Conan on Friday, performing "2080" from last year's All Hour Cymbals.

I've been increasingly more interested since I saw them live, and also since a song of theirs came on my clock radio Friday morning. It's not that weird, as I've got my alarm set to WRAS...songs I like come on all the time in the morning. What I did find strange, though, was that the song started at basically the exact second my eyes opened. And that it was called "Sunrise." Come to think of it, waking up to this every day wouldn't suck...

These guys have have thrown up a new video (thanks for the heads-up, Sara!), which you can watch and read all about on Drowned In Sound. And what's more, they're about to go on tour with MAN MAN. (Ack, so happy I can't breathe...neither could Austin, by the looks of that news item...) Even better, when aforementioned tour takes place they'll be stopping at Lenny's. Here. A five minute walk from my apartment. (It's too much! Think of all the flailing!)

For a taste of the glory expected this April from Man Man (through their pals at Anti-), check out the video thang Pitchfork did on them last year:

A live rendition of probably my favorite Man Man song, "Van Helsing Boom Box":

And for the record, Rabbit Habits sounds really good (consider that the FOA stamp of approval, or whatever). It really does. Sigh. Such talent! So many squeaky toys!

Friday, February 15, 2008

A letter/shameless plug/invitation

Fellow Atlanta music-liking types!

So I know anyone with any judgment is probably going to see Janelle Monae tomorrow night (or employing themselves in some other, more productive way), but if you're not....and you'd rather go with YOURS TRULY to hear my friend's crazy/ridiculously talented metal/experimental/instrumental band headline the Drunken Unicorn for the first time, you are more than welcome! And really, hasn't it been a little too long since your eardrums were assaulted? Aren't they getting complacent and bored? Shouldn't Pepto Bismol and silly string be thrown around stages a little more often?

Well. Notwithstanding your answers to all those questions...

Here be details:

Gravel Undertone
Lazer/Wulf (hooray!)
(in that order.)

@ The Drunken Unicorn (Gravel Undertone goes on at 9:45)
Shouldn't cost much. I'll buy ya a beer.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Still doing that hiccup thing you do when you've been laughing really hard and you're not quite done yet, but you're sort of starting to stop laughing, but you can't...

Courtesy of the Action-Squad:

And, of course, my very favorite:

More here.

Thanks, Palmer!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Radiohead Radiohead Radiohead

So I got to do a seriously awesome news item for Paste today. Radiohead is coming to Atlanta May 8! Ticket presale starts tomorrow! My god!

How much does it cost, I wonder?

Not the point. Too good to care about money.

Also taking up my time:

Sasquatch! announces dates, expands to three days

Hilary Swank, Mira Nair team up for Amelia Earhart biopic

Fans petition Led Zeppelin for world tour

Tapes 'N Tapes tours 'n tours

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Smurf music": yet another tribute to Neutral Milk Hotel

No, I haven't shut up about it just yet. Sorry.

The music media's still celebrating the tenth anniversary of Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (as well they should...), and today Pitchfork put up this interview. When I first saw it, I thought for a second that it was a recent interview with Jeff Mangum and nearly fell out of my chair. It's not. It's from '97. But it's still interesting! The best part is toward the end (and please read the rest as well. Click on link above.), when the writer reprints a fax of Mangum's interview responses he found from a decade ago. Mangum didn't reproduce the questions when he responded, though, so they're answers without questions.
Here they are:

"Answers Without Questions: Jeff Mangum Interviewed via Fax Machine
by Mike McGonigal

The other week I found these sheets where Jeff Mangum had typed up a bunch of questions to answers that I'd sent to him. Number 45 is likely, "What's the last lie you told?," a question I asked a lot of people around that time. The faxed interview appears to date from in between the release of Avery and the recording for Aeroplane. He didn't answer all of the questions.
1. 25

2. My earliest memory is of going to the potty all by myself for the first time while my parents were out to dinner. I remember the difficulty I had of knowing whether or not I was doing it right and of wiping my ass a hundred times to make sure something awful didn't happen. Later that evening, I remember telling my mother of what I had done and she placed her hand on my head and told me how proud she was of her little boy.

10. Since 1983

11. Since 1989

14. My oldest living relative is Jefferson P. King who is 86 years old and lives in an extremely small Texas town with a player piano and an assortment of animals that are no longer living and most mornings when I would visit, I'd hear him in the other room talking to old photographs of the only girl he ever loved and who he married in the early 1930s. She passed away two years ago in a hospital in Dallas saying she was the descendant of an old world ruler of the planets and told the nurses not to fool around with her or she'd put a hex on them all. She was a sweet woman with a strong belief in angels and I'm sure she's on a cloud or in a baby carriage waiting for my grandfather to show up on the side that she now exists in.

16. For some reason my father seems to like the noise the best. He says it sounds like Buddhist monks chanting which I don't particularly understand, but I'm happy he doesn't hate it. It's a little embarrassing because my father is sending CDs to my aunts and uncles and I'm hoping they don't read the lyric sheet and get creeped.

22. The basketball game where you punch your opponent.

24. Chicago

25. I was a telemarketer in Denver spending most of my time with my phone disconnected or hanging around in the bathroom pretending to have had an upset stomach. Eventually I was physically thrown out of the place by my boss who didn't appreciate my appearance and for some reason seemed to think I was a drug addict.

27. That song by Faust about the banana.

28. I prefer for people to make up their own meanings to my songs and apply them to their life and relate to them the way that they choose.

31. I have pretty specific visions for the next two "pop" oriented albums, and then I'd like to just set up a little musical workshop somewhere and record whatever comes to mind. I'm also working on an organ-oriented album about a horse's life and his interaction with the other animals on the farm and in the end he gets sent to the glue factory and ascends to heaven. This particular one won't end up under the Neutral Milk Hotel name since it's a little ridiculous and some of it sounds like Smurf music.

32. We will soon be getting a little group together with Scott playing the guitar and hopefully baritone if we can dig one up and Julian playing his little French accordion, banjo, and air organ and Jeremy on the drums. We'll be traveling to Arizona soon to practice and we're hoping to come up with something we all like enough to take on the road.

33. The cover is an old photograph from 1910-- and unfortunately I don't think the photographer's name is known although I am researching it-- and the back cover is from the late 1800s.

45. I told my grandfather that his driving wasn't scaring me."

Three unrelated but enjoyable things:

1. Reggie Youngblood of Black Kids answers a ridiculous question for The Guardian

2. I'm not sure I ever posted this when it surfaced in the fall, but it's funny.

3. Grizzly Bear's MySpace. Enjoyable because in the spot where you can put forth a motto or favorite quote or album release or whatever (ex. "Because I said so..."), Grizzly Bear has simply declared "Yay!"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ode to an Athens Visit

Cars pass on Broad Street, glinting blindingly in the almost-too-beautiful-to-bear afternoon light. I guess it's just coincidence that makes today so gorgeous. Athens doesn't always glitter like this, a fact of which I'm well aware after living here for a full four years. I'd forgotten how romantic coffee shops across from campus make me feel. All seems right with the world when your view encompasses fellow lap-toppers, wooden tables and chairs, coffee cups, local artwork, table umbrellas, a busy street and an expansive green lawn. Not to mention a city trash can bearing an oh-so-familiar Elevado sticker. I wonder how many adhesive logos those guys manufactured, because they've certainly done an excellent job of slapping one on just about every flat surface in Athens or Atlanta. Kind of admirable, really. (They do run a promo company, so gung-ho marketing is to be expected, I guess...)

So. I wandered into the 40 Watt last night during my brief visit, despite intentions to the contrary. After a week of feeling under the weather, and desiring nothing more than to converse quietly with friends behind a beer, the idea of a Dark Meat Face/Off wasn't all that appealing...but as it turns out, it was, you So we went. The theme for the night was "duets." One member of Dark Meat would pair with one member of another local/regional band and play what may have been improvised or just covers. It was definitely entertaining, if for nothing other than the top-notch people-watching (Athens' special brand of hipsters, short shorts, etc...), but the noise level and semi-rehearsed material made my poor head hurt. Still, it was lovely to be inside the 40 Watt again. It really is a fantastic rock club.

I wonder about Athens' unique ability to foster this friendly music community. Everyone's interconnected, not unlike they are in any other close-knit environment. The difference, it seems, is to what extent. And with what kind of attitude. Maybe it's just my impression, but it feels like people are a little more open here. You can kind of tell when an Athens band comes and plays in Atlanta...just a bit of a different crowd. More laid-back.

The playlist over the last 20 minutes in Espresso Royale:
1. Regina Spektor - "Fidelity"

2. Third Eye Blind - "I'll Never Let You Go"
3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Is This Love?"

4. Pearl Jam - ...don't remember what song.
5. Some cover of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by a girl.
6. Belle and Sebastian - "Step Into My Office, Baby"
7. Queen - "Fat Bottomed Girls" (seriously!)


Friday, February 8, 2008

In The Aeroplane Over The Sea turns 10

Sweet god, Stereogum. I couldn't have said it better myself. And thanks for saying it.

For someone who discovered Jeff Mangum and Neutral Milk Hotel so recently, he sure has impacted my music tastes hard. It makes my heart want to leap out of my chest when I think of how many others view this album the same way. I don't think I took a breath the whole time I was reading the above article.

Thank you thank you thank you.

FOA...VOD: The Avett Brothers - "Die Die Die"

Been sick. Ugh.

Today's installment of the FOA "..." Video of the Day is The Avett Brothers' video for "Die Die Die" made with archival footage. Random? Yeah. Entertaining? Sure, why not...

If you'd prefer a more traditional visual rendition of this lovely song, try this:

Happy Friday! To Athens tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Alternate identities, day jobs, and the burning of Atlanta - February's SEP Arrives!

Well Southeastern people (and everyone else, for that matter), it's that time again! February's Southeast Performer hit the stands this week. As always, it's got a ton of stuff inside that I'm really excited about.

It breaks down into a couple categories this time.

Category 1 - Stuff I'm excited about that I wrote:

Mostly I'm excited about my spotlight on The Selmanaires finally showing in print. I got to go to the photo shoot (see below), which was seriously entertaining. I never knew how awkward it was to try and look indifferent and cool. Not that these guys need to try very hard to look cool. They sort of are cool. I've never enjoyed interviewing more than I did with them.

I got to write the live review that got picked for Show of the Month for the second time in a row, so that's pretty awesome. It was Stomp and Stammer's 11th birthday party at the Variety Playhouse, aptly entitled "Atlanta's Burning." Performers were The Black Lips, Snowden, Deerhunter, and (of course) The Selmanaires. It was the night I fell in love with The Black Lips, beer, sweat, mustaches and all. Good times.

My record review for the month was of Paleface and Just About to Burn's album A Different Story. I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would.

Category 2 - Stuff I'm excited about that other people wrote:

Mostly, I'm psyched about the cover story on Y O U! Turns out, I got to go this photo shoot as well (see below), and that time I was actually in the picture. All of us held up masks to represent all the characters the guys from Y O U have portrayed through their various musical endeavors. (I'm in the 2nd row.) I'm such a fan of this band.

Next, Leila reviewed The Selmanaires' album, finally. It's here.

I'm also kinda stoked that Athens was the Tourstop this month. Looks like home to me...

Guess that's it.

Speaking of Athens, I ran across this today for the first time in a while. Never really gets old though.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Have You Heard Ep. 10

Have You Heard's tenth episode is up! I helped out again, and will be joining the podcast every two weeks from now on. I also might be blogging a bit for them in the near future, so have a look at their site from time to time!

This week, me and the guys reviewed Xiu Xiu's Women As Lovers and Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut.

I recommended The Avett Brothers' Emotionalism and Adam and Bradley teamed up to recommend Ambulance LTD, LP.

A good time was had by all. Go listen!

Also, if you like The Black Lips and haven't seen this, you should watch it.

Also, there's this, and this.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Selmanaires' Very First Video

Way to go, boys!

The Selmanaires - "Broken Mirrors in the Mud"