Friday, May 29, 2009

Very Dynamic: Static Radio NJ in FL, MS, AR & mp3's

The scene in NJ is popping with some clueless MSM press and heavy hitters like Thursday still making the rounds and more recently The Gaslight Anthem. Static Radio NJ wear their Jersey roots on their sleeves in a good way reveling in some straight-up punk madness with some rowdy vocals and the musical intensity to match. Their latest album, An Evening of Bad Decisions is out now on vinyl from Black Numbers and is worth the pick-up at the next show. Also showing up with them is No Harm Done. Here's some mp3's, southern tour dates, and in the best punk rock way possible, a grainy video.

MP3: "Green Hoody" by Static Radio NJ

MP3: "Places" by Static Radio NJ

MAY 29 - Tallahassee, FL @ Castlemania
MAY 30 - Fulton, MS @ Carries Coffee House
MAY 31 - Mountain Home, AR @ The Brick Yard

Static Radio - At Springs Theater
More after the jump...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Manchester Orchestra has been playing for awhile, is back again

I posted this last month, but here they come again. Don't really have anything new to say. I edited their April dates out.

Manchester Orchestra was kind of taking off when I was in Atlanta a few years ago. Though I haven’t heard the whole new album, Mean Everything to Nothing, this one has a fuller sound, like Andy Hull is finally letting everyone participate. I’ll admit, I wasn’t always high on these guys, but they’ve come along nicely and it’s true that Hull has immense talent as a lyricist and guitar player. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for him, he started this stuff back in high school going straight to indie rock and sideswiping any punk rock diversions. So, Hull and the rest of his Manchester Orchestra are able to grab youth and maturity at the same time–this fluctuates bounces between a couple of southern-fried riffs, to a bit of alt-country, but isn’t afraid of embracing some of the more modern rock tendencies of shouted intensity. And they do all of that in one song: “I’ve Got Friends.” Less brooding, more cavorting, what’s left is Kings of Leon with cajones and something that modern rock (!) fans can enjoy rather than another dose of adult-alternative.

Here are their southern tour dates w/ FUN (former member of Anathallo) and Atlanta’s Winston Audio with a link to the “I’ve Got Friends” vid.

May 29 2009 8:00P Spanish Moon Baton Rouge, Louisiana
May 30 2009 8:00P Proud Larry’s Oxford, Mississippi
May 31 2009 8:00P Bottle Tree Birmingham, Alabama
Jun 2 2009 8:00P State Theatre St. Petersburg, Florida
Jun 3 2009 8:00P The Social Orlando, Florida
Jun 4 2009 8:00P The Social Orlando, Florida

(sorry about the old navy ad) More after the jump...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smokin' Hot: Hot Pipes in Nashville, Chattanooga & Lexington this wknd

Nashville's Hotpipes venture out to Tennessee and KY for a nice jaunt and to play some shows, too. Think irresistible keys and electronic effects with classic pop and a tiny southern drawl for effect. Not Kings of Leon, but Birds of Avalon. More excitable than typical indie pop and better than most hard rock drivel. Cheer for "The Future is Where We Belong" for its rollicking chorus and the nastier "Future Bolt." Vid of "The Future is Where We Belong" after the dates.

May 28 Chattanooga JJ's Bohemia w/ Coral Castles & Prabir & The Substitutes
May 29 Nashville The Basement w/ Coral Castles & Prabir & The Substitutes
May 30 Lexington, KY Al's Bar w/ Prabir & the Substitutes

Hotpipes - The Future Is Where We Belong @ The End 9/11/08
More after the jump...

Lit Randomness: A graphic novel about media (?), John Sayles, Pasha Malla & FreeDarko

Lit randomness is something we try to do every Mon and Wed. Except this past Mon.

Media person does a graphic novel about media: From NY Observer.
Brooke Gladstone of NPR's On the Media writes a graphic novel about the influence of media along with artist Josh Neufeld (who has a great upcoming book about Hurricane Katrina. See that here).

Former National Book Award nominee can't sell his book--the story of John Sayles: From LA Times' Jacket Copy.

Review of Hella Nation:
At Pop Matters.

Pasha Malla and kids in fiction:
At Maud Newton.
Malla's latest is
The Withdrawal Method and here's a segue to the next item--Malla recently wrote this at FreeDarko...

Free Darko gets another book deal:
At Freedarko.
Don't usually post "news," but that's awesome for those guys. And for full disclosure, I've written there before. But I would still love them anyway, promise.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

review: mewithoutyou--"It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright"

For Philly's mewithoutyou, this is their Deja Entendu or OK Computer moment. Not that this record is necessarily on those same levels, but it does the same for mewithoutyou that those records did for Brand New and Radiohead. It puts them in a different conversation beyond their screamo/emo/post-punk categorizations. Unfortunately, that conversation has not been had yet. A quick survey of the online world, and not too many "indie rock" sites associated their name with mewithoutyou (here's a notable exception). Which is unfortunate. It's not a case of mewithoutyou's past Christian affiliations--surely the 50 states guy and his "kitty with breathing problems" label along with the tree-singing guy (who produced the album) have solved some of those prejudices. It's a different landscape than ten years ago. The greater problem is still the large disparity between bands that decide to associate themselves with a youth-oriented, teen appealing demographic when they are in fact, teens or young adults rather than to the grad, post-grad, post-post grad crowd. No doubt that Aaron Weiss was a screamer and a yeller and quickly got grouped in with the screamo/post-rock crowds and tours. The only difficulty is that anyone who actually listened to mewithoutyou or attended a show knows that something was off, that what they were doing appealed and subverted the average crowd goer, but still maintained enough melody and power to get lost in the mosh pit and then everyone forgot what great poetics Weiss was spilling out. The right ears just were not listening.

Hints of nature and the slower tempo have always been present ("Orange Spider, Orange Leaf" anyone?) but what emerges here is more of their spiritual diversity with the band chanting and embracing some Sufi phrases, references to M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen along with Biblical fables. The opener "Every Thought a Thought of You" has this carousel melody accentuated by an organ, but it's still apparent Aaron has an excellent sense for melodic choruses and lines that stake their place in memories. All this wraps up with some Arabic spoken word (I think) then touts off the nice horn solo. The theme of nature is set early, then expounded with the mythic "The Fox, the Crow and the Cookie" which is their best pop song but also their most obvious departure from the past. There is no physically-crazy Aaron, only lyrically-crazy Aaron. Now his odd chant-rapping has merged into even odder crinkle-speak, like a piece of foil being slowly unwrapped. That is a definite drawback, as one comment I've heard compares him to Kermit the Frog. Any fans looking for their former thrash-and-burn tempo will not find it on this album. Though "Timothy Hay" might lend itself to subtle fist-pumping and fill the same need, but in a different way. "Cattail Down" gives license for a kick-and-snap dancehall groove that the morose indie kids never knew they had as they sing "You're everyone else, you're everyone else, you're everyone else" repeatedly.

I've met Aaron twice, and had one good long conversation with him for an article and I casually mentioned to him a few years ago that they fit in with the experimental folk crowd--like a Devendra Banhart. At the time, I meant thematically, but with this album mewithoutyou squeezes right in there with similar contemporaries like Anathallo or even Jose Gonzalez. Though this album will be jarring to recent fans, long-time followers have aged enough to understand the changes made here, and should have seen them coming all along.

Here's a good interview at Busted Halo for those interested in Aaron Weiss's spiritual upbringing. More after the jump...

Monday, May 25, 2009

first-person: WE FEST Sunday-Ponchos from Peru and Pink Kodiak

Ponchos from Peru

Late, late had to fill up the ice trays before I went, and now it's past 5. Tired and spent look at The Soapbox. The toll of too many zinesters and indie rockers and general mayhem starters for too many days. One place can only handle so many squelching amps, spotty beards and faux-ironic comments before collapsing on its own weight. Paid my dollar, hit the zine table. Only one real zine, but are $5 Hot and Ready Pizza coupons sardonic satire? Behind the bar is a member of the aforementioned spotty-beard group, a holdover, a refugee, a new recruit for behind the bar, who knows? "Newcastle." Left a fifty cent tip--more than 10 percent.

Sound, sound from a MOOG-MIDI-MYSTERY Machine. White vest, white pants like a highschooler lost on his way to prom, Pink Kodiak via Savannah. Beard more than spotty, not quite full. "We" this and "we" that, though only one. A misunderstanding of pronouns or so the show goes. Thumped bass strings to more than nothing--but only background beats, blips, flips and flops for those that don't understand the blood, sweat and carpal tunnel into figuring those electro-blobs out. A song about Alec Baldwin. A song about bringing sexy back. Some hope, some dreams in the boppin' electronic histrionics. But not much given by the crowd to solidify those hopes and dreams either. "Dancers? Anyone to dance?" he asks. No dancers could be found, only sullen couch sitters.

Pink Kodiak

Scramble, scramble between sets. Scramble, scramble on the iPod with words like "iolite" and "foin." The uploading, the downloading. On-stage, off-stage, upstairs to see documentaries. No documentaries. More couches prepared for a possible documentary. A documentary of arranged couches. No zines. No nothing.

Scramble, scramble find a seat as bleached-blonde friends come in and spill beer on the pool table felt. Grimace, grimace and guffaw like that has never happened before.
More "hi's" and "hello's," the crowd becomes recognizable and sizable, and people willingly stand near the front. Wilmington's own Ponchos from Peru. Unrecognizable from the last time. Shedded a keyboardist and with her, most of their folk-ish melodic rock. Now go for uber-concentrated quick math rock power trio. A song about corn-syrup. A song about the USSR. An occasional horn, an occasional straight punk song. This is what WE Fest is for: exploration for us and them.
Adam of Ponchos from Peru More after the jump...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

$1/day: WE FEST in Wilmington, NC

Uh, faithful readers, this will be the last post until the jump to the new website. Check back on Tues. the 26th for that special awesomeness.

WE Fest is the lil ol' music fest that could down in Wilmington, North Carolina held at the Soapbox LaundroLounge. It started as a zine exchange gathering several years ago and then meshed into a music smorgasbord of muck of grime (not only the music genre). It's four days every Memorial Day wknd and each day is $1. Holy moley! The price is intentionally low for the opportunity to discover new bands. I heard some rumblings that the management was handed over to some locals who just gave spots to a whole bunch of local bands rather than extending their reach far out, so I don't think the talent is as great this year. In my few years going (not everyday), I've seen some good bands like Happy Birthday Amy! and I Was Totally Destroying It and The Never among others who were so awesome, I think they're playing again and are the pick for the whole weekend--THAT IS REVEALED AT THE END OF THE POST!!!! (OH MAN!!! YOU'RE LUCKY DAY!)

Here are some of my selections for the wknd. For the full sked, check it at the WE FEST site.

Thurs., May 20
(Bands & Art from 3pm to 1am)

8pm: Hand Grenade (Myrtle Beach)--Fast and spunky punk
12am: Some Ambulance (Myrtle Beach)--Folk beats and brass w/ a vague maritime feel and random bouts of chanting
1am: LA Tool & Die (Charlotte)--Sarcastic electronic rock. Think Helvetica font and bright colors.

Fri. May 21
(Bands & Art from 3pm to 1am)

River City Ransom
(Raleigh)--Laid-back post-punk (insert more hyphens here)
5pm Pistolero (Atlanta)--Rock grunge groove in a more typical song structure
9pm Dylan Gilbert (Charlotte)--Experimental, knob-twisting singer/songwriter like Bright Eyes when he was not enthralled with money
10pm Marionette (Richmond)--Quiet shoe-gaze trance inducing electronic rock
12am The Dry Heathens (Durham) Dirty distorted punk
1am Onward, Soldiers (Wilmington, NC)--Brooding Americana

Saturday, May 23
(Bands at 3pm)

10pm The Paper Jets (New Jersey and Minn)--Americana rock w/ harmonies
11pm Puritan Rodeo (Chapell Hill)--Honest straight-up country
1am Olivia and the Housemates (Washington, DC)--60's-lite pop w/ an excellent vocalist

Sunday, May 24
(Bands start at 3pm)

3pm Gray Young (Raleigh)--Instrumental rock
5pm Pink Kodiak (Savannah, GA)--Progressive melodic electronica
6pm Ponchos from Peru (Wilmington)--Understated creative folk rock
12am Western Civ (Chapel Hill)--Spacey alt-rock

Monday, May 25
(Bands start at 6pm)

8pm Hearts by Darts (Baltimore) Good rock w/ Feist-y vocals

***10pm Terminal Reynaldo (Jersey City, Jersey)***

Pretty sure I saw these guys last year (that's breaking a cardinal WE-fest rule), but holy cow, go see them. Some moody electronica rock, like a slowed down, more intricate version of what Titus Andronicus has been doing lately. Some nice chord changes, some unexpected upticks and beatdowns. They know the right moments to bleep and blip. Definitely the pick of the whole freakin' weekend*** More after the jump...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rising Tide: Tides of Man Florida dates (and a new label deal)

Florida band Tides of Man are taking their punk-metal amalgamate to Rise Records. They're shooting for an August release of their debut Empire Theory . Before hitting up the midwest and the big time (that's a spurious relationship), they're playing a few last shows in the Sunshine State. Their sound is fairly typical for the Rise Records sound and Tides of Man will fit snug like bedbugs under your pillow. Florida dates and a vid of "Create" after the jump:

May 21 ORLANDO AKA Lounge (w/ Contest of Arms)
May 23 PEMBROKE PINES The Talent Farm (w/ The Rise of Science)
May 27 YBOR CITY New World Brewery (w/Lorien & Farewell Flight)
May 29 ST. PETE State Theatre (w/ Oceana CD Release)
More after the jump...

lit randomness: hobart, christopher miller, china underground & more

We try to do Lit Randomness every Mon. and Wed. Persistence in randomly set dates is a virtue!

Games Issue: At Hobart.
If you haven't checked out the bonus material for Hobart's Game Issue, it's a damn-fine treat, perhaps a blessing that's not in disguise, but right there out in the open. Pieces on Ninja Hunter, Magic the Gathering and less nerdy stuff too, if that's stuff is nerdy. Hobart is awesome as always.

Fav. fiction about authors, by an author (Christopher Miller) who has a fictional book (Cardboard Universe) coming out about an author: At Conversational Reading.

China Underground Intro by Zachary Mexico: At Pop Matters.
Looks promising. Soon to be out from Pop Matters/Soft Skull

Bookshop conversation about Word in Brooklyn:
At Bookslut Blog.

More after the jump...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It only takes a spark: DFW's The Burning Hotels

I'm sure the phrase "burning hotels" has been a temptation for the band on their long east coast road trip, but Ft. Worth's The Burning Hotels are swinging one more time through the south before crossing state lines back home. Their upbeat rock-dance mix mines similar ground to The Killers and Placebo with a dash of moroseness similar to Lovedrug. What it is though is very tight, very likable, and from all accounts across the great state of Texas, a very excellent live show. The Eight Five Mirrors EP is available at their MySpace and on iTunes.
Tour dates below w/ a vid of the band after the jump:

May 19 2009 9:00P Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina
May 20 2009 10:00P The Double Door Inn Charlotte, North Carolina
May 21 2009 10:00P The Mercy Lounge Nashville, Tennessee
May 22 2009 12:00P Whaleapalooza at the Squid & Whale Pub Eureka Springs, Arkansas
May 23 2009 10:00P Vino’s Little Rock, Arkansas
May 24 2009 8:00P The Moon Bar w/ the Orbans Fort Worth, Texas
More after the jump...

Monday, May 18, 2009

lit randomness: eggers, punk fiction intro, greg ames, poets' beards and more

We try to do Lit Randomness every Mon and Wed.

Dave Eggers, of McSweeney's notoriety, and his brother Toph (yeah, that brother from that book) do their first interview together to promote their new book on Cold Fusion: At Paste. BTW, help save Paste.

Intro by Johnny Marr to new punk fiction anthology:
At 3am.

Interview w/ Greg Ames, author of Buffalo Lockjaw: At Maud Newton.

All-time 10 ten best and worst mothers in comics: From Newsrama (h/t Fangirls Attack)

Poets ranked by beard weight: At Journey Round My Skull (h/t Bookslut blog)

The Millions' Staff must-have subscrip list: At The Millions.

More after the jump...

review: Akron/Family-Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free

Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
Dead Oceans, 2009

Have had my hands on this one for a couple of weeks, but I needed some time with it. Unlike some more esteemed critics, I don't know this band. I've since read that they've presented a few killer shows, come out with a few awesome albums. But if there was a band that the term "freak-folk" was created for, it's these guys. Once the hottest thing in Brooklyn was starry garage rock, now it's some folksy-get back to basics-off the grid mess. Now, I don't really know what the "freak-folk" tag means, but on the opener "Everyone Is Guilty" it means combining some of the more traditionally organic instruments into some raucous explosions and funk jams. On "Creatures," it means quiet electronics and gentle bass beats. Something like "Many Ghosts" finds a happy medium between these two, both in instrumentation and pace with some angelic harp harmonies for good measure. The album rides back and forth between those two speeds--15mph and maybe 45 mph. This isn't some full-on Avett Brothers folk-punk, but there are some admirable guitar jams ("MBF") moody atmospherics and quirky brass, and sometimes all appear at once such as on "Sun Will Shine."
But the heavy hitter and the one most passed around for good reason is "River." It has an accessible melody and mines ground that favs of mine Anathallo and The Decembrists have already explored. Akron/Family splinters in many directions, but somehow reels it in by having the similar ideas for each song. The only difference may come in choosing a piano or a violin to play the same part. Those decisions are crucial and Akron/Family is still navigating it. Hence, the term "experimental."
More after the jump...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

missed it the first time: Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveler

An occasional series to review books that are several years old and Deckfight has never read before

To describe Italo Calvino’s classic If on a winter’s night a traveler as difficult is the same as saying that dog barks or babies cry. It's that obvious and sometimes the difficulty of it is that annoying. To approach the book without that mindset will cause all to fail. It demands patience, it demands long attention. In some ways it may be the best literary theory book ever written (not the ‘theory’ word), because of his knack for illustrating tough concepts into imaginable situations. That he does all of this with the second-person (choose-your-own-adventure style) is both confounding and genius. He challenges the notion of reading, the concept of books, and the idea of authors and readers at every turn while somehow also concluding it.
The conceit is that Calvino writes ten different beginnings to story, each with a portion of a title that then makes a longer sentence. The plot is that a character named “you,” indicated as the reader is on a quest to find and connect these stories together, each time running into a new story and more difficulty. Along the way, you meet several different readers and people who each approach books and the concept of books differently. There is the person who derives meaning from books by the frequency of how many times a certain word is used. There is the sculptor who uses books as his material. There are the scholars who argue constantly over proper translations. Like the best soapbox prophet, he is still somewhat of a pariah. Unfortunately all of his ideas presented here still seem new and fresh even though it’s thirty years old. The literary world still hasn’t caught up with him. Calvino manipulates, warns and challenges us without few ever fully engaging him. He is either one of the best ever or the craziest ever. Or both. More after the jump...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pitchfork Digest: 5/11-5/15

Selection from this wk's reviews at Pitchfork.

Isis, Wavering Radiant

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Vs. Children

Mark Kozelek, Lost Verses Live

Meanderthals, Desire Lines

DD/MM/YYYY, Black Square

A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Délivrance

Dananananaykroyd, Hey Everyone!

More after the jump...

Those Ataris? For real?

Glancing through my local event listings and noticed that the Ataris (yes, the boys of freakin' summer) are still playing shows, still going on tour, with...wait for it...a new album this summer. Who likes The Ataris anymore? Aren't they stuck in the dreaded no man's land? The mainstream doesn't know they exist anymore after their flavor of the week status has ended, yet they're original fans remember the betrayal. No place for the Ataris to go. Maybe they should bank on whole new level of nostalgia and call themselves The N64s.

Tour dates (in case you're interested) and the "Boys of Summer" vid for (old time's sake) after the jump.

More after the jump...

Shoot the Mountain releases new EP

What's up with mountains? Here's the second mountain group this week: Indie Brit-pop group Shoot the Mountain releases a new self-titled EP this weekend with a show at the Basement in Nashville. The Protomen and Totally Snake. Shoot the Mountain is part surf-groove, part tangled classic rock, part dance band, part high-pitched harmonies. The show is with The Protomen and Totally Snake. Shoot the Mountain's whole EP can be streamed here at Bandcamp.
More after the jump...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wide awake: Mountain Asleep brings off-kilter punk, link to album download

Off-time signature extreme math rock punk Louisville band Mountain Asleep rocks it like old-school Rites of Spring. There is no slowing down, only more vocals and songs like charred fingers in a garbage disposal. Raw rock to the infinite degree.

Best yet, their album Hello, Anxious can be downloaded free here. An old vid of their song "Hello, Anxious" is after the jump.

May 15 2009 8:00P
The Stomping Grounds w/ Algernon Cadwallader Lancaster, Pennsylvania
May 16 2009 8:00P
Charm City Artspace w/ Algernon Cadwallader Baltimore, Maryland
May 17 2009 8:00P
The Bike Lot w/Antlers and Algernon Cadwallader Richmond
May 18 2009 8:00P
The Kansas House Arlington, Virginia

**I think they had some Carolina shows in here...somebody give them the hook-up**

May 21 2009 8:00P
Dishaus Knoxville, Tennessee
May 22 2009 8:00P
Skull Alley w/Coliseum (100th show!!!!) Louisville, Kentucky

More after the jump...

more lit randomness: Meno and Wareham at LargeHearted

Largehearted does a series on "Booknotes" where an author talks about what they were listening to. Always good.

Wareham "Black Postcards"
Meno "The Great Perhaps" More after the jump...

Lit Randomness: Clowes, Vestal McIntyre, new ed. of 'my name is mud'

Clowes sneak-peek (from last wk): At The New Yorker (h/t graphic novel the graphic novel reporter is telling me about articles in The New Yorker...strange times)

Interv. w/ Vestal McIntyre, author of Lake Overturn: At IdentityTheory

The Guys Lit Book Fair for Boys: at Guys Lit Wire. (I got this from somewhere and now I forgot...I'm sorry).

New writing from My Name is Mud (a good edition).

More after the jump...

a declaration, a rant: Newspapers have had the longest wake ever

The other night I watched the movie The Paper for the first time. It's by Ron Howard, so there is some sap squeezed from the tree as the lead character played Michael Keaton fights for truth in a world only concerned with bottom lines and he makes his child's birth despite his wife's doubts about his priorities. I'm not as concerned about the narrative tension as the moment in time. It's 1994. Only a couple of people in the movie have cellphones. Layout is done on the computer, but there is no Internet. And in a moment of pure nostalgia from the 2009 vantage point, Glenn Close, playing a harried newspaper exec, exclaims--"I only have 350 (reporters) when the Daily News has 700!" Oh, the tragedy. 15 years later and a staff of 350 is the luxury and 50 (or less) is the norm for standard newsroom procedure.

What I'm writing has been written a million times before but only by other newspaper people--the newspaper is dying and they've had the longest wake ever. Except no one cares. Their death has been extended and exaggerated by worried columnists who'll freak if their stuff isn't printed on paper but instead read by thousands more on a computer screen. Jack Shafer in a Slate piece yesterday writes about the New York strike in the 60s and uncovers that while newspapers were desired, other media stepped into the void. We've already seen that happen, especially as newspapers missed their cultural moment to adapt and survive. More after the jump...
More after the jump...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thaw out w/ The Thermals: in DC, Chapel Hill, Charleston & more

Haven't heard The Thermals new one, Now We Can See out on Kill Rock Stars, but I always enjoy their albums. They only seem to care about their excellent form of punk rock and don't care if the indie kids or the punk kids like them, but only if their music is thought inducing and artistically freakin' amazing. If social critique and punk rock still go together, then The Thermals are churning it out more than any screamo band would ever attempt. But according to the Kill Rock Stars write-up, maybe they've moved past all of that this time. But no matter. The Thermals have this feel that no matter what they do, how big they get, they seem authentic. Summer is a great time for The Thermals--their whole sound exclaims "action" and "dance" and "possibly mosh" rather than the sit-still modus operandi of the long harsh winters. Catch them as they swing down South, w/ a vid from SXSW after the jump.

May 13 2009 8:00P Black Cat (All Ages) Washington DC, Washington DC
May 14 2009 8:00P Local 506 (18+) Chapel Hill, North Carolina
May 15 2009 8:00P The Pourhouse (21+) Charleston, South Carolina
May 16 2009 8:00P Masquerade (All Ages) Atlanta, Georgia
May 18 2009 8:00P Bottle Tree (18+) Birmingham, Alabama
May 19 2009 8:00P Hi Tone Cafe (All Ages) Memphis, Tennessee
May 20 2009 8:00P Revolution Music Room (All Ages) Little Rock, Arkansas

More after the jump...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gather to see The Magik Markers

The Magik Markers focus on rock, literally. The cover of their new album, Balf Quarry (out on Drag City) refers to a rock quarry outside of Hartford, CT. But based on your pretentious definition, songs like "Don't Talk In Your Sleep" may be more melancholic shoegaze fuss, while something like "Jerks" is amped-up passionate spazz punk with the fuzz up to eleven. And sometimes, they go on and on in their rock with a great spoken word rant on "The Lighter Side...of Hippies." Balf Quarry is my first intro to the duo of Elisa Ambrogio and Pete Nolan, and I like it. It's not really down for those want a boring old rock show, but only for people who DIG new ROCK. Yeah, capitals for hidden messages are awesome, because then they're not hidden, THEY'RE RIGHT THERE in the open. Because ROCK makes the earth able to be lived on. OR SOMETHING. And The Magik Markers make good rock.
And right now The Magik Markers are on tour w/ Ghost. These fine cities are near me in heart and spirit:

May 11 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506
(w/ Ghost)

May 12 Asheville, NC Grey Eagle Tavern & Music
(w/ Ghost)

May 13 Athens, GA Tasty World
(w/ Ghost)

May 14 Birmingham, AL Bottletree
(w/ Ghost)

This video is one somebody made up to go along with the song "Taste" off a previous Magik Markers album. But it's freakin' awesome, with a crazy off-road race. After the jump.
More after the jump...

Lit randomness: Ben Greenman and Rhett Miller, Baum on Twitter, Jimmy Chen and small presses

Lit Randomness is something we try to do every Mon and Wed. Always looking for links to interviews, stories and other etcetera.

Ben Greenman author of the new Please Step Back and Rhett Miller: At Largehearted.
Curiously, just found out about Greenman's work, and here's his funny reading tour rider over at McSweeneys.

Dan Baum, Twitter and the New Yorker: At his Twitter and American Prospect (h/t Media Bistro). Interview w/ Baum: At Baby Got Books.

Jimmy Chen and small presses: At Dogplotz. His new one of fiction is Typewriter at Magic Helicopter Press.
Been reading a lot over here, where Chen apparently contributes some stuff as well. UPDATE: And it's Jimmy Chen wk (or it was) at this website that looks like this one. Wordpress Doppelganger.

More after the jump...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Such Great Heights: Red Collar in Charlotte, Chapel Hill, DC, Richmond

Everyone screams "Fugazi" at Durham's Red Collar, but there's more nuance to this band than a classic punk rock comparison. Between the dynamic interplay between Jason Kutchma and Mike Jackson there is a penchant for the dramatic, for the grand. Passionate live shows made even better by their blistering and exciting brand of punk and contemplative, motivating anthems about life, work and music. So if you ever say "Fugazi" at them, the guys and gal of Red Collar might take it another way than in a musical comparison. They will take it as an order, as a command to reach for the musical heavens for the greatest realms of musical integrity and ideals. Somehow, they have a unique gift for understanding common life experiences and elevating them to the most hopeful heights. For any doubters, listen to the live version of "The Commuter" at their MySpace and listen to Kutchma give an impassioned speech about a radio station. Was that really off-the-cuff? If so, he could sell squirrel meat to Ruth's Chris. Their new disc is called Pilgrim and can be ordered from their website.

Do not miss if you need inspiration and a good time at a show. They're coming closer to home in North Carolina, so the shows are sure to be doubly-inspired. Vid of "Pilgrim" after the jump:

Fri May 08 09 9:00 PM Snug Harbor, , Charlotte, NC
W/ Prabir and the Substitutes & the lights fluorescent

Sat May 09 09 9:00 PM Local 506, 506 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC, 27516, US
W/ Death to the Details and The Lights Fluorescent

Tue May 12 09 7:00 PM The Camel, 1621 W Broad St, Richmond, VA

Wed May 13 09 7:30 PM The Velvet Lounge, 915 U St NW, Washington, DC
W/ noon30, Wicked Hemlocks, Triathletes, Spiral Beach

Thu May 14 09 9:00 PM The Outback Lodge, 917 Preston Ave, Charlottsville, VA

Fri May 15 09 7:00 PM The Calvert House, 6211 Baltimore Avenue (US 1), Riverdale, MD,
W/ Escape Artist + Lonely are the Brave

More after the jump...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's nice or never: Pretty & Nice on tour w/ mp3

"Tora Tora Tora" by Pretty & Nice. From Hardly Art.

Pretty & Nice are killing it with snappy whiplash rock-pop somewhere between a melodic Pattern is Movement, Q and Not U and Elvis Costello. Their last album, Get Young features the quality "Tora, Tora, Tora" and "Grab Your Nets." They released it last fall on Hardly Art and are making their way across the southeast as part of the P&N Party Adventure. Dates in St. Pete, Lake Worth, ATL, Charlotte with a vid of "Solar Energy" after the jump.

May 7 2009 9:00P Star Booty Salon St. Petersburg, Florida

May 8 2009 8:00P Propaganda Lake Worth, Florida

May 9 2009 8:00P Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, Georgia

May 10 2009 8:00P Milestone Charlotte, North Carolina

May 11 2009 8:00P New Brookland Columbia, South Carolina

May 12 2009 8:00P Local 506 Chapel Hill, North Carolina

May 13 2009 8:00P Soapbox Laundro Lounge Wilmington, North Carolina

May 14 2009 9:30P Union Hall Brooklyn, New York

May 15 2009 8:00P The M Room Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

May 16 2009 8:00P Rock N Roll Hotel Washington, DC, Washington DC

More after the jump...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Van Ride: Generationals team up w/ Park the Van; Free album stream

[bandcamp album=1209918256 size=grande bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB]

Pay special attention to: "Faces in the Dark" and "When They Fight, They Fight"

This is not an overstatement: Generationals are the best band I've heard today. All humor aside, that Generationals are newly signed to Park the Van Records makes it even sweeter, as that's the home of recent indie buzzmakers like Dr. Dog and The Spinto Band. That good indie rock is coming from New Orleans of all places is kind of surprising--for some reason the town of infinitely good jazz, blues and rap usually has a faulty record with their homegrown alt-rock set. Generationals, formerly of The Eames Era, are an exception to those rules.

But if anybody can find the gems, it's Park the Van. They grew Dr. Dog and Dr. Dog grew them. Not sure if in my time in NOLA pre-flood that my paths crossed with Park the Van, but ever since that time both eyes have to be on every release they put forth. The label moved back to New Orleans in Dec. 2008 after some time in exile in Philly and Generationals is one of the first results of that move back. Generationals have some classy mellow electro-pop with some distance to it--maybe something like Viva Voce, Vampire Weekend or another "V" band that I'm not thinking of right now. Park the Van is releasing their new album Con Law later this summer, but you have the best fortune ever: stream the whole album above and tour dates for Knoxville, Philly, Brooklyn and Chapel Hill are after the jump.
More after the jump...

Lit Randomness: Joe Meno, FC2, David Peak of Ghost Factory, Komunyakaa and Calvino

Totally missed this Joe Meno interview back in Feb. at about his new book, The Great Perhaps, a somewhat anti-war novel with heavy influence from Vonnegut, according to the interview. Anyone who puts out a book with Akashic and Punk Planet will always have a place in my heart. I haven't read Meno's new one yet, but I'm sure it's awesome like blueberry pancakes on a Sunday.

The best: "It’s set in 2004, just in the few weeks before the presidential election, and there are all of these questions about war, and about terrorism. It’s just this really weird, complex moment about people struggling with these big questions. And what seemed to happen was that people were overcome by fear, and resorted to these really simple answers."--Joe Meno. His website is here.

FC2 picked a new winner for its contemporary fiction prize and publication. I recently just checked out Sukenick's 98.6 and thought I didn't quite agree with all going on, liked the intent and FC2. I'm sure Amelia Gray will carry on the tradition of experimental wonderment. (h/t HTML Giant)

Interview with David Peak, editor of Ghost Factory: At Chicago Examiner.

Interview with Yusef Komunyakaa: at KCRW.

Been diving into If on a winter's night a traveler, and here are some new Italo Calvino stories: at Conversational Reading. More after the jump...

mp3: Akron/Family, The Lovetones, Post Honeymoon and Trashed on Fiction

Just got the Akron/Family new one, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free from Dead Oceans and will have a review up soon. Early impressions tend towards an organic Anathallo and quieter Animal Collective. But that's later. At this moment, here's "River" and some other songs follow.
Akron/Family "River"

BTW: Dead Oceans is putting out some killer stuff here lately--the new John Vanderslice, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Phosphorescent, now Akron/ about being on a roll in 2009.

The Lovetones from Dimensions: "Love and Redemption"

Trashed on Fiction
from Words Trails Maps "January"

Post Honeymoon from S/T release: "Nightguard" More after the jump...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More alt-country: American Aquarium

Don't mean for this to turn into an alt-country rant, I'll try and dig up some mellow electro-shoegaze very soon. Despite the obvious name reference, American Aquarium has more of a classic country/honky-tonk feel that makes it hard to believe they played a few dates with Against Me! Fronted by a piano this is a mellow Uncle Tupelo, but some gruffer vocals puts the "alt" and Lucero references in play. No matter, the Raleigh band is playing a ton of shows in Georgia, Florida and even hitting the no man's land of touring groups: Mississippi and Alabama. Video of "Louisiana Beauty Queen" and tour dates after the jump:

More after the jump...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can the Gaslight Anthem bridge worlds? In ATL, Carrboro and Balt.

There's no doubt that indie rock exists in two spheres: that of independent rock of punk and screamo bands on labels like Fat Wreck Chords or Victory and that of "indie rock" stereotyped as pretentious holier-than-thou starving artist types. Is there any room to unite? Can we allow Thursday and The Thermals to exist in the same world? Or Dashboard Confessional and Colin Meloy? Maybe it's not style, but melody versus non-melody. One of my faves in this is The Appleseed Cast. They're on a teeny-bopper punk label for the most part, but play introspective moody math (formerly emo) rock. Please point me to common ground.

Now here comes a fairly new entrant: The Gaslight Anthem. With upbeat, competent and at times even impressive alt-country stylings, Gaslight contains the new fad of Brooklyn's best posers as an upbeat, updated version of The Hold Steady. And Alt-Press covers to boot Williamsburg cred out the door. Good thing they're from Jersey. Their label may or may not help. Side One Dummy contains indie rock fave Gogol Bordello along with other punk bubblegum pop like Broadway Calls.

So can the Gaslight Anthem do it? If not them, hopefully somebody and sometime soon. Vid of "Great Expectations" after the jump.

May 5 2009 ATL, GA @The Masquerade w/Heartless Bastards and Good Old War
May 6 2009 CARRBORO, NC @ Cat’s Cradle w/Pela and Good Old War
May 7 2009 Towson, MD @Recher Theatre w/Pela and Good Old War
More after the jump...

Lit Randomness: Andrei Codrescu, Seth Godin and negative book review

As I try to do every Mon and Wed, here's Lit Randomness. Send links over to deckfight [at]

Interv. w/ Andrei Codrescu: At 3 A.M.
I was introduced and then inundated with Codrescu while living in NOLA...but he still always offers a quality perspective. His new book is The Posthuman Dada Guide.

The best: "You should live in at least seven countries for a minimum of one year in each before you are seventeen, and must speak and write at least five languages in order to be a half-decent poet."--Codrescu

Seth Godin on what authors should do to promote themselves: From Godin's blog (h/t booksquare).
The best: "Far better to obsess about a little subset of the market--that subset that you have permission to talk with, that subset where you have credibility, and most important, that subset where people just can't live without your book."--Seth Godin

Why book critics won't stop: At the WSJ. (h/t book bench)

Finally downloaded Ben Tanzer's new book from CCLAP. It's been out a couple of months, but will review it soon.

More after the jump...

Friday, May 1, 2009

Pitchfork Digest: 4/27-5/1

A selection of reviews from Pitchfork this past wk.


Prefuse 73
Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian

The Breeders
Fate to Fatal

Summer of Hate

Comet Gain
Broken Record Players
More after the jump...

Oh Brother: Jeff The Brotherhood

Nashville and popular blog fav (uh...not this one) JEFF the Brotherhood wrap up their east coast tour before sitting back down at home for a few more dates then launching out again. They've got a slew of new 7" splits and some CD-Rs that may or may not be sold out, but view the MySpace for that. For those inclined to know what the northeast looks like in the spring, here are more of the bro's band blog antics. (band blog antics have been a fav of my as of late.)
Check JEFF for some scuzzy electro-punk akin more to melody than moshing. No word on if JEFF is jazzy or not.

Vid of "I Dream of Jake and Jamin" after the tour dates.

May 1 2009 8:00P bbb complex (bury your bike 2 fest) jacksonville, FL
May 7 2009 8:00P the end (w/ screaming females) nashville
May 14 2009 8:00P mercy lounge (w/ royal bangs) 18+ nashville
May 19 2009 8:00P new french bar (w/ turbo fruits) asheville, NC
May 21 2009 8:00P meat town u.s.a. (w/ turbo fruits) new brunswick, NJ
May 22 2009 8:00P cakeshop (w/turbo fruits) New York, New York
May 23 2009 8:00P don pedros (w/ turbo fruits) Brooklyn, New York
May 24 2009 8:00P the khyber (w/ turbo fruits) philladelphia
May 26 2009 8:00P go bar (w/ turbo fruits) Athens, Georgia
Jul 9 2009 8:00P the end (w/ jay reatard) Nashville, Tennessee


More after the jump...
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