Saturday, January 31, 2009

I done wrote about Modern Skirts, The Selmanaires and Bon Iver

Some of my writing appeared around the internets this past week, and I thought you lovely FOA readers might be interested.

First, I reviewed the Modern Skirts' new record All Of Us In Our Night for Leila over at Atlanta Music Guide. AMG is a site I didn't know much about until Leila took the reigns, but now I see that it's got some great content! Be sure to check it out regularly!

Here be the review:

Modern Skirts - All Of Us In Our Night

Athens, Ga.’s Modern Skirts will never not make pop music, no matter how hard they try. Their sophomore full-length, entitled All Of Us In Our Night, is just that — albeit an exercise in pop with a good bit of the experimental and the weird seeped in. The piano-driven, shimmering tunes found on the band’s 2005 debut Catalogue of Generous Men have given way to bizarre harmonic choices and sudden key shifts on this self-released follow-up. The whole record — intentionally, according to the band — sounds considerably further off-kilter, deliberately moving away from the easy-to-listen-to, easy-to-hum numbers on Catalogue...[Read more]

Also for AMG, this week I talked to the illustrious Tommy Chung of ATL's The Selmanaires about the direction the band's been going of late. Here's that:

Q&A with The Selmanaires’ Tommy Chung

With two full-length records and a handful of 7-inch singles under their collective belts,The Selmanaires just keep on churning out great Atlanta music. In the wake of the release of their second LP last year, the foursome is undergoing a bit of a re-thinking before heading into more shows (the first of which is this Saturday, January 31 at The EARL with The Features and Carnivore) and new releases for the coming year. We snagged bassist Tommy Chung at work to talk about the band’s new direction, their side projects and what exactly “celestial primitive” means. ...[Read more]

And finally, my review of Bon Iver's Blood Bank EP showed up on the other day. Have a look:

Bon Iver
Blood Bank EP


Winter songwriter leaves seasonal trappings behind

"Blood Bank" is, well, electric. Meaning that the opening track of Bon Iver's EP of the same name isn't, you know, acoustic. While usually an unremarkable descriptor for rock music, here it marks a notable departure for a songwriter whose sophomore release just can't be listened to without comparison to its predecessor, For Emma, Forever Ago. The song is a narrative: it speaks in Justin Vernon's usual nostalgic language, this time of first meetings and of identity reduced to the contents of plastic bags... [Read more]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

R.I.P. the way we used to go see The Avett Brothers

Photo taken by me at the Georgia Theatre in October.

Not to be a Negative Nancy or anything, but man, I hate it when a favorite band signs to a major label. :(

See below:



(dateline - New York – January 20, 2009; source: Columbia Records) – North Carolina based rock band The Avett Brothers have been tapped to support Dave Matthews Band on select dates this coming Spring. The Avett Brothers join the tour from April 22, in Raleigh, NC through May 6, in Phoenix, AZ (see below for full tour itinerary). The Avett Brothers have built up an impressive and loyal fan base with constant touring. This prolific band are renowned for their high energy live shows and incredible mix of eclectic musical styles. Last year alone The Avett Brothers played upwards of 150 shows, including notable appearances at Bonnaroo and MerleFest. On July 26, 2008 The Avett Brothers played to an impressive, sold-out, crowd of over 7,000 people at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, NC. 2008 culminated with 5 sold out holiday shows in Asheville and Charlotte, NC.

The Avett Brothers will be featured on the March/April cover of American Songwriter magazine talking for the first time about their upcoming release. The band has been working with Grammy winning producer Rick Rubin on the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2007 album Emotionalism. The Rubin produced album is expected to hit stores in Summer of ’09.

In late 2008, The Avett Brothers released The Second Gleam EP, which debuted at #82 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart. The EP garnered the band even more acclaim from such influential media as NPR and USA Today. The NY Daily News declared the EP to have “melodies as pure and pretty as a crystalline stream.”

The Avett Brothers on Tour (*not a Dave Matthews Band show)

April 22 Raleigh, NC Time Warner Pavillion at Walnut Creek
April 24 Charlotte, NC Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
*April 26 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 28 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
April 29 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park
May 1 The Woodlands, TX The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
May 2 Dallas, TX Center
May 5 Albuquerque, NM Journal Pavillion
May 6 Phoenix, AZ Cricket Wireless Pavillion

I'd be THRILLED to be wrong about this, but I'd bet a lot of money that the next album won't be the same...

Monday, January 19, 2009

FOA Linkage Wednesday, er, Monday

Whelp, seems fitting that the first time reviving an old FOA feature I'd do it kinda wrong. No worries!

Wasn't going to bother, but I was messing around on McSweeney's (which is awesome, if you never go) and I found this in the "Lists" section:

Radiohead at the
Culinary Institute.


- - - -

"Everything in Its Mise en Place"

"Fritter, Happier"

"All I Knead"


"My Waffle-Iron Lung"

"High and Dry Rub"

"Knives Out"

"Caramel Police"

"Black Star Anise"

"Weird Fishes"


- - - -

Oh, come on, it's funny. 'Specially "Crepe" ("Creep") and "Weird Fishes" ("Weird Fishes"). I occasionally kill time with these lists, my other favorites of which are this one or this one. I couldn't really tell you why...

Also on McSweeney's today is a piece called "A Literary Critic Reviews My Résumé." by Ken Woodyard which, if you (like your favorite struggling freelancers) have recently made a résumé or enjoy literary analysis at all, is a riot. Here's the best paragraph:

Those of you familiar with Woodyard's earlier work will recognize the same cumbersome language, creative punctuation, and limited vocabulary that defined the first decade of his career. But there is a new, almost desperate tone to this piece that makes it not only unpalatable but borderline irresponsible. I could be mistaken, but it appears Mr. Woodyard is entreating the reader to not only read his work but to also provide him with a steady flow of cash for the foreseeable future. If this is truly his intent, then Résumé is nothing more than an undignified abuse of authorial power, and I, for one, take personal offense to it.

Finished my review of the Bon Iver Blood Bank EP this morning for

Look for it to show up on the site in a couple days. The EP releases tomorrow, but the whole thing is currently streaming on the band's MySpace. I'd be particularly interested to hear everyone's opinion on the EP's final track, "Woods," and their use of a vocoder (or Auto-tune?) on it.

Listen to "Blood Bank," courtesy of Jagjaguwar.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

FOA's Favorite Music of 2008

Ok y'all. In the grand tradition of bloggers everywhere, halfway through Jan. 2009 I here present Fear of Arthropods' favorite albums released in 2008. A couple of the records included are re-issues of previous releases (self-released or independently released), and therefore questionably valid. Problem is, they're some of my favorites. Let's just gloss that over, shall we? In some semblance of the order I mean them to be in, and without any pesky pictures:

FOA's Favorite Albums of 2008:

1. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (reissue)
(Really, I've talked about this band enough on this site to last a lifetime. It's beautiful, and they have a followup four-song EP called Blood Bank that releases on Jan. 20.)

2. Women - Women
(This was one of the most startlingly compelling records I heard this year. Difficult at first listen, I wasn't sure if I liked it yet, but was positive that I needed to keep on trying it. After the 10th or 15th spin, I was sure that it was one of the most creative, well-paced releases I'd heard in a very, very long time. Fuzzed-out, pop-influenced songs intersperse with ambient tracks creating almost a visible topography each listen. Though "Black Rice" has enjoyed more attention and radio play, "Shaking Hand" is, I think, song of the year.)

[MP3] Women - "Shaking Hand"

3. Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse (reissue)
(Love this band, as previously mentioned.)

4. The Music Tapes - Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes
(Julian Koster and his Music Tapes have put forth a symphony of singing saws, banjos, toy pianos and other gloriousness. After seeing him play the Paste studio on his caroling tour, as well as seeing all the hilarious goodies that come with the vinyl purchase of the record, my loyalty was eternally his.)

5. Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
(More haunting goodness from the Grizzly Bear member and his college roommate.)

6. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins
(It's pretty difficult to sound happy and nostalgic at the same time, but Will Sheff manages it somehow.)

7. AU - Verbs
(SO. COOL. Coming to Atlanta Feb. 2. The record is like a carnival for the ears.)

8. Man Man - Rabbit Habbits

9. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
(I know it's not as good as 69 Love Songs, but I still enjoyed the hell out of it.)

10. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
('80s ambiance at its best.)

11. Throw Me The Statue - Moonbeams
(Again, have already gushed too much.)

12. Wolf Parade - At Mt. Zoomer
(I reviewed this album back in June.)

13. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
(Comedic. Genius.)

Albums that are probably awesome, but haven't yet found their way into heavy enough rotation for me to pass judgment:

Deerhunter - Microcastle
(Very pleased with what I've heard. Makes me proud that Atlanta is exporting this music.)

Beach House - Devotion
(This band is hypnotic, but I don't know this new record much.)

The Dodos - Visitor
(Infectious! Need to get!)

Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
(What I have heard is gorgeous.)

Albums that I fully expected to love, that I wish for the life of me that I loved, but that, sadly, just don't stand up to scrutiny:

Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
(I cannot express how disappointed I am that I don't like this album. Let me rephrase: I hate it. In my mind (and I know there are scores of those who disagree), it's self-indulgent to the nth degree. Weird for the sake of being weird, rather than creative for the purpose of expressing something. Masturbatory (almost literally). And I'm a huge fan of theirs, so it pains me to say so.

Tapes 'n Tapes - Walk It Off
(Pales in comparison to their debut, which I love.)

TV on the Radio - Dear Science
(It was the song "Shout Me Out" that did it. Really boring, predictable songwriting from a band that previously was nothing if not avant-garde.)

Well, there you have it. FEEDBACK!!!!!!

Patience, young ones...

FOA is soon to return. Hold tight.

Postcard courtesy of PostSecret.