Here we go, the 800th attempt to make this a weekly thing again....
I've been meaning to post this album since I started writing this column, but I guess other things have gotten in the way. I suppose that the stars are all aligned to do it now; not only has this record been played about a million times at my house over the last month or so, but Metallica is in town tonight and I can't listen to this album without thinking of them, as their 1987 cover version of 'The Wait' was my introduction to Killing Joke's music.
Aside from Metallica, the list of artists that have cited Killing Joke as an influence is loaded with some pretty big names: Steve Albini, Nirvana, Ministry, Godflesh, Faith No More, Tool, and many others. I think that there is something to be said about a group that can have an effect on so many people in so many different ways; some of these groups sound nothing like them while others have made careers out of mimicking Killing Joke's style.
KJ's appeal to the relative masses is apparent from the first synth notes on this record. The opening track, 'Requiem,' is just fucking infectious, and it keeps going from there. The only real drawback for me is the fact that the track 'Bloodsport' sounds as though it could be the soundtrack for the movie of the same name that came out 8 years after this album. No matter how hard I try, I just can't dig slap bass and goofy synth hits. A small complaint though, as I still never skip this song, I just grin and bear it.
By the way, I switched compression formats to winRAR. Let me know if there are problems, I really don't know much about computers and I can switch back.
Of course, the reality is that Chopper is really a pathetic and rather small golden retriever that starts playfully digging a hole when he chases Wil Wheaton's "Gordie" out of the junkyard. When he finally looks back to see what has caused this collective terror amongst his friends, he soberly asks, "That's Chopper?"
In fact, Chopper was played by a dog who, in reality, is named, "Popeye," and also starred in "The War Of The Roses" as "Benny," and in "Out Of Bounds" as "Barney The Dog." Names and characters surely more fitting to represent the actor-pup's gentle nature.
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead might be the poster act for what I refer to as "Chopper Bands." They've got real tough names, dark album artwork, a really fierce reputation, and yet, as soon as I saw them finish a set with a childish tantrum towards their own equipment* at a sold out performance opening for Blonde Redhead years ago, I muttered under my breath, "That's Chopper?"
In fact, it is AYWKUBTTOD's equipment that has the most to fear when they step on-stage, and I find their instrument smashing act to be simultaneously redundant, and somehow also the most interesting thing about them. It was definitely the best sound that came from the stage during their performance.
I could not believe that I was supposed to tremble before this occasionally de-tuned emo-rock that at its best sounded like a lukewarm, mid-tempo Sonic Youth jam, with melodramatic, "whiny guy in a black t-shirt" vocals over it.
The artwork on their albums has gotten increasingly and ridiculously ornate to the point that it now makes the group's visual representation something of a goth doily. So there you have it. A Hot Topic Doily that should have "Benny," "Popeye," or "Barney The Dog" crocheted into the fabric. That's Trail Of Dead for me.
Metallica (American Airlines Center) I love when bands are so huge they don't have opening acts. Seriously, I think it's great. Probably the most comparably large show I ever attended was Pink Floyd in eighth grade; and I didn't have to put up with Blind Melon or Crash Test Dummies opening, or any of the similarly terrible radio rock going on at that time.
I'm not a Metallica fan other than perhaps kind of liking the ultra-dry production technique on their first record, and they have decent taste in cover songs. After that, they aren't that interesting, save for the giant cartoon they became of course, and they have done well to exploit that through more than one documentary showcasing their behavior.
To be fair, when I saw "Some Kind Of Monster," I actually cringed a couple of times when I found myself relating to a couple of particularly bad episodes which were the result of James Hetfield's attitude problems. If you spent seventy something dollars to see this, I doubt you'll be disappointed and that's probably the best thing I can say about Metallica at The AAC.
90's Night With Yeah Def (Hailey's) Anonymous says... 4:15 pm: "Aw, dude, how can you trash Trail of Dead and Metallica and then put the link for Disco Disqo and 90's Night? Fucking lame, man. That's why this blog sux. Whatever. You guys always talk about dance music/noise/metal/punk/wimpy indie shit/hyped up bullshit/jorts/skinny jeans/v neck shirts/alan palomo/your stupid friend's bands/etc." Rock on, Scene-agers. I do it for you.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's self titled debut full length kind of snuck up on me when it was released at the beginning of this year. For a good few years before it, I had been re-discovering bands like Orange Juice, The Pastels, The Vaselines, Teenage Fanclub and Shop Assistants (along with a lot of other C86 stuff), and it was quite thrilling to me on a personal level to hear an indie pop record like Pains' debut-- one that certainly looked backwards while somehow managing to sound fresh and exciting, almost like rebellion against a lot of the sounds coming out of the world of "indie rock" over the past few years. It was difficult to tell whether I derived my enjoyment of this record from fetishizing the past or because it seemed like a very bold break from the present, but it has become one of my favorite straight-up rock records of the year either way.
Our own Frank Phosphate was lucky enough to speak with Pains lead singer and primary songwriter Kip Berman after their performance in Fort Worth last week about his band, the history of indie pop, and the inspiration behind their music. Here are the results (SR):
So this is your first major tour, right? How is it going so far?
This is our first full US tour. This is our 17th show, I counted them before the tape started rolling so I didn't just know them off the top of my head. It's been great because this is the first time we have gotten to go to alot of places that we have never been before, especially in the south and south west. It' really been an experience, driving through New Meixco and seeing the Lights of (couldn't understand). Getting an idea of the hugeness of Texas when we have entered Texas and we still had nine hours to get into the middle of it. You don't see that in other states.
What has the response been in these other places?
its been great and it's really heartening to know that there are people out there who have been hearing our record in places really far away from where we are from. Coming from New York it's really easy to get trapped in a bubble, but to get to go to places like Salt Lake City and have kids that are really psyched about the music, it's great to see that response in people who aren't our friends back home. It's a really cool feeling, and definitely one that we don't take for granted.
How did you hook up with Slumberland records? What was the transition like from doing the CD-R with Cloudberry to the full length with Slumberland?
It was really natural but almost kind of accidental, but also an ideal fit for the kind of music we play. Slumberland was a label we grew up listening to. It was one of the big independent pop labels, it was important to us. There were other ones like K, March records for awhile, Merge and Magic Marker. There are alot of great American independent record labels but Slumberland was one that really combined sense of straight up pop music with the noiser elements. Bands like The Ailsers Set, Rocketship, Stereloab, The Lilly's and obviously Black Tamborine. The guy that runs it was in Black Tamborine. It was a label that historically meant alot to us as nerdy kids who liked records more than we should have for our social lives. It was a dream come true. The other cool thing about the label was it wasn't just for nostalgia sake, they were releasing albums from a lot of bands that we admire now like Crystal Stilts and Cause Commotion, and they are continuing their seven inch series searching for the now, like they did one recently with Sunny Day in Glasgow. We played with them a couple times in NY and Philly and they are really nice people. Long story short i was ordering a BT vinyl reissue from them and sort of struck up a conversation, I dont know if he got a lot of requests for that at the time. Peggy had recommended them and I had never heard them before. I must have let on in a very subtle way that I play music in a band, so I just sent him some demos and he was really supportive. When another band he was putting out called the Lodger was playing in NY he asked us to open. He ended up coming out all the way from Oakland for that show which was amazing. I dont if he was overly intoxicated or what but he was really enthused about the show. I guess the really important thing about that show is it was the first show we played with Kirk as our drummer, before then we had been using a drum machine. Beside his role in indie pop history he just knows alot music. We went over to his house after the last tour and he has everything! I think I am pretty nedry about music, but he is knowledgeable in ways far beyond me. He said if we ever got our record together that he would love to put it out. We didnt immediately put it out, we took some time to record it. it was definitely a dream come true to have a record on Slumberland.
And what a great way to get there, very organic.
I want to make clear that at the time, and up until last february, we had been a band for a couple of years but no one outside of this sort of fetish indie pop community were interested in what we are doing, which was fine because that is the way of things with indie pop music. 12 people will care about your band and those people will care alot. but it is not somehting that has been historically appreciated. It has a small but very devoted group. Of all the great indie pop bands that were influential for us, none of them really reached beyond that core. I mean Belle and Sebastian obviously got bigger but even they are not that big.
There is no Radiohead of indie pop.
Yeah exactly. you would think like Rocket Ship would have been big. I guess Velocity Girl had a song on the Clueless soundtrack and they were on Sub Pop which is sorta the biggest indie pop got in the 90s. Aisler Set were pretty well accepted. Hefner were big in England. There isnt alot of precendent for indie pop getting any bigger than basement shows.
What is it about indie pop that inspires such a rabid fan base? Looking at feedback fans have for you, its always a "this band is my life" mentality. Like you were saying, there is this inclination for a certain sub set of music fans.
Indie pop generally appeals to people like myself who maybe don't have alot of social skills or a lot of friends. Not like total losers, but people who are a little disconnected from whats going on with the cool kids in school.
Spend alot of time reading books.
It's easy to fetishsixe these things "oh Im so persecuted for my inellect" but I think of myself as a pretty normal person. I only had a couple friends but were really intense friends. I think this music for whatever reason speaks to people who are slightly... the underdogs. Maybe mainstream doesnt encompass their world view. But there is this music that connects people and their worldviews. Peggy has a lot of stories of being pen pals with people and making mixtapes. Now technology has changed and things move alot faster. Indie pop has always appealed to the fringes of society. Not in the "I'm going to shoot this place up" way, not a crazy loner, just kids that maybe dont totally fit, and this music kind of gives them hope and a sense of belonging. I always based my idenity growing up on the type of music I liked. That was always a part of who I was. Not saying that is the only way to define yourself. I love this music so much and I wanted to know other people that did too. That to me was the ideal "what if there was a girl who liked indie pop bands as much I do." That is obviously far fetched and didnt exist, but it was the ulitmate fantasy. Meeting people who liked the same music you do. I know that it is easy to see that as shallow or superficial because there are cool people who like other stuff. And there are a lot of lame people that like the same people you do and you wouldnt be friends otherwise. I don't know what it is that spawns this fandom, but I'm glad it exists. It's nice to have people to geek out with. Talking about shows we saw, it's a wonderful community and I am glad to be a part of it.
Has being a player in that world changed your outlook in any way? The way you perceive it? Do you enjoy it the same as you did before?
To be quite honest I haven't socially progressed since high school. I'm not sure if other people do, but I still feel very much the same now. People ask me what my other hobbies are besides playing in Pains. "I like playing this music and I guess maybe video games?" It's always hard to think of other intrest in life, I know that sounds kinda boring and one dimensional. I just think music is great thing.
No I see where you are coming from.
No it's bad. maybe other people are like "I really like cooking" "I have been taking Tango lessons" not me. I like to listen to loud wussy music and hang out with my friends who are also in my band. If they ever kick me out of the band...
What are you going to do?
I don't know, I don't have any other skills. I'm not even sure if this is a skill yet.
I'd say it's a little more than a skill. How are the song writing duties handled? What is the creation process like for you?
The thing that I want to make clear is the songs are as good as they are because everyone contributes. They would not be good songs if I just wrote them in my bedroom with the one drumbeat on the drum machine I knew how to play and played bass horribly and my one note on the keyboard. Even though that is probablly how most of them sound. The chords and prgoressions are what I write. When the song becomes developed and fully realized as a Pain's song it is because Kurt's drum ideas are there and Alex with his bass and Peggy with the keyboard. I kinda do the Skeleton I guess. The thing I care the most about are the lyrics. I have never been the type of person to say "Hey guys what should I rhyme with fucking right...fucking tight?" Everyone does their part. And the quality of the demos on my computer at home can attest to that.
This new Pains EP just came out. How did that come about so soon after the album was released and how do you see it difer from the album?
Well we finished the album last summer, it was all mixed and done and I had it on my ipod. i could listen to it if I wanted to, I could play it for my mom. then it ended up that it was going to be like 6 months before it would get released. So we had a bit of down time. We couldn't tour because we didnt really have anything to tour behind. We did get to go on a support tour for the Wedding Present. It was areally big deal last december and a really cool experince. I guess in that time we continued writing songs. they were songs that we played live in our sets we just didnt have them recorded. They were either written after the album or during and we just didnt feel like they fit. In fact I was kind of paranoid that the album was going to fail, and that september I started writting the next album. I was like "oh if this album doesnt turn out good, if everyone hates it" then I wanted to have an album to release right after it. Kind of like a make up album. So I started writing songs pretty feverishly. Im really excited about these songs, even though people did end up liking the album, that was pretty cool. What were the chances? People would like indie-pop? It was one of those things where I though my children might see it, and I dont even have children.
The one song that stands out is "Higher than the Stars," its what I thought would be track one of the next album. We started plaing it live and we really like it. It's different from the album, I think people, rightfully so, heard a lot of fuzz pop on the album. Ideally a Pains of Being Pure at Heart song is a pop song, it doesnt have to be alot of fuzz or be a certain length. We just want it to be a good pop song. So its kind of an example of writing a Pains song that probablly didnt sound a lot like what people thought of as a Pains songs up to that point. I think even more so with "Falling Over." It rips off a band...I don't know how to say this. There are bands that we love that we dont sound anything like. I love Orange Juice and The Wake, alot of those Scotish bands of that era, Aztec Camera. Those are bands that are influential to us, but you wouldn't know it from listening to our album. We like a lot of stuff from the same zip code.
I always see the Smiths refrenced to your music, but I have always seen a closer connection with a band like Orange Juice, as far as the pop sensibilities.
Yeah! When people say the Smiths its like...
It's the easiest thing to say , it's what people know.
Oh an indie band that has over the top lyrics, it's very flattering to be compared to them. We arent even 1/8th as cool as the Smiths. I think people that are more aware of the music we like would see more of the Orange Juice than Morrisey. We would happy to be half as good as either of those bands.
Burst | Zoroaster | Four Days To Burn (The Lounge): This is Burst's farewell tour, thus bringing the constantly evolving Swedish outfit's sixteen-year history to a close. The group has gotten further and further away from their hardcore roots, and into increasingly "melodic/progressive" territory, to the dismay of some fans. If there's one thing I know about farewell tours however, it's that groups often dust off their earlier material since there is most likely less pressure to "push the new record" and other notions that are unfortunately not antiquated, though really should be.
Atlanta's Zoroaster caught my attention by including a soft, piano-driven section of their track "Spirit Molecule" (from "Voice Of Saturn," their most recent release), that actually worked and didn't sound forced. Stylistic deviation of this sort is sometimes a really sketchy prospect in the hands of some metal acts, but they pulled it off. They might have the most enjoyable set at The Lounge tonight.
Generationals (Hailey's) SHOW IS NOT TONIGHT Not only are bands recycling every forgettable little fad of mediocre songwriting from the past four decades, but you have to give them credit for having the guts to step into a studio and say, "Yeah, you know that Escape Club sound? Let's cut off a little slice of that shit for our new record." GO FOR IT. UPDATE: THIS SHOW IS NOT HAPPENING, DESPITE WHAT HAILEY'S WEBSITE SAID EARLIER TODAY.
MON:Burst/Zoroaster/Four Days To Burn (The Lounge) TUE: Secret Machines/And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Ume (Granada) TUE: Metallica (American Airlines Center) WED: The Get Up Kids/Youth Group/Pretty And Nice (Granada Theater) THU: Pretty Little Flower/Akkolyte/Enemies Of Inertia/Releaser (Phoenix Project) FRI: Theater Fire/Mimicking Birds/RTB2 (City Tavern) FRI: Spires (1919 Hemphill) SAT: Intelligence/Fungi Girls/Video/PVC Street Gang (The Handsome Kitten) SAT: Blue Jungle/True Widow/Eyes, Wings, And Many Other Things(Amsterdam Bar)
ADD: SAT: En Vogue/Mad Skills/DJ Klipse (State Fair Of Texas) SUN: Eek-A-Mouse/Grimy Styles (Boiler Room)
There's a band playing this weekend at 1919 called "Cruddy," and that's what this list is: cruddy. Sorry, everyone. Everything went wrong today and I only got to describe the Boy Tap set. There's something kind of amazing about that. See you next week. -Defensive Listening FRIDAY
Billingham's Defense System One Year Anniversary Party with BDS | Ocelot | Boytap | Sydney Confirm | Richard Blake | Select | Big J | Schwa | Yeah Def (Fallout Lounge) Show starts at 5:30 PM and there will be barbecue for early attendees. I saw Boytap recently and was impressed by the cohesiveness of the show despite the fact that the group admitted to not having played together much previously. Their set consisted mostly of party music fair that didn't take itself too seriously; synth pop with outrageous vocal antics, but backed by an extremely capable backing band including members of The Frenz as well as Heaven Is A Hotel for that particular show. Happy Anniversary to BDS, and thanks to Schwa for always playing "Optimo."
Curated by John Pomara. Seems that Cora Cohen is probably the highlight here. Johnny Robertson wins this year's award for most annoying web portfolio gallery ever, but his paintings are pretty. But my favorite here is easily Jennie Ottinger (so amazing: this, this, and this, plus the featured image above). Here is an interview with Ms. Ottinger. And there's much more good stuff here.
Oh, Kat Gardner. So hard to make a decision about that. Almost as titillating (artistically, of course) as my favorite North Texas artist Haylee Ryan Yale. A quick look at Jonathan Kimbrell's site makes you realize he's the "mid-century ideology & imagery", which I guess leaves Kat Gardner with "modern chaos".
Some of this glass looks really amazing, like this (Mark Abildgaard) and this (Anna Booth) and this (Steve & Claudia Beckwith) and this (Steven Anderson). They've got an all day event going on Saturday at their Addison location (Southeast corner of Belt Line and the Tollway).
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart | Depreciation Guild | Cymbals Eat Guitars (Lola's) My life revolves around pop music, always has, probably always will. Especially pop that I will not so simply refer to as "independently produced forward thing pop," instead of that dreaded "indie-pop" term that we like to throw around so much. This pop music beast shows it self to me in varying, spectrum-bending ways. On one end we have pop deconstructionists like Ariel Pink who strips away all of the sheen brought on by timely studio tricks, leaving the listener with hooks at their most frail, sleazy, and challenging.
Then we have the Max Tundra's, whose job it is to turn the pop song upside down, filter it through his post modern hyper digital perspective, leaving us with an equally challenging and yet totally different piece of Pop Art brilliance.
So we are left with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the New York-based band whose self-titled release has not left my record player for more than a 24 hour period since it's release in February. Critics love to tie their influences to the whipping post; Ghosts of "Ecstasy and Wine"- era My Bloody Valentine, everything C86 and (gasp!) even The Smiths can be heard throughout their music. I will not deny, they do wear said influences on their sleeves, but come on, that stuff was 20+ years ago. Countless bands have attempted to recreate said sound, just like any other genre, since The Smiths broke up. Very few have done it with favorable results. These New Yorkers know how to write great songs, and know which medium to deliver them through. Three chords may be enough to make up a pop song, but it takes those chords coupled with heart to make it great. Luckily and ironically, Pains have that in spades. Whereas Ariel Pink is too simple for some and Max too out there, Pains' Achilles' heel is that they relish in the sound that means a lot to a certain set of music listeners. I for one, thank them for that.
The recently released "Higher Than the Stars" EP is an obvious extension of their debut. The fuzz has been cleaned up on a couple tracks, letting those glorious hooks and even the vocals shine though. Saint Etienne, another band unwilling to compromise their pop vision in lieu of records sales, offer a pleasant re-mix as well. Wisely chosen. Can't wait to pick up the vinyl so it can rest at its new home atop my stereo. If this kind of music gives you a huge boner like it does me, might I suggest that you also check out the criminally overlooked Bubblegum Lemonade debut, "Doubleplusgood," released last year. Another amazing record. Let's hope that we are on the precipice of an independently produced forward thing pop revival.-(FP)
Chris Clavin | Imperial Can | Gerd | Genius Party | Star Commander (1919 Hemphill) Look, there might be some people at this show awkwardly looking at the ground and unable to make eye contact because they thoroughly fucking enjoyed themselves at a certain big event last night. It's okay to have a good time, okay? Life is so full of pain, take happiness anyway you can.-(DL)
Experimental Dental School | El Paso Hot Button | History At Our Disposal (The Lounge) Wish I had more time to talk about Experimental Dental School's genuinely interesting music; ambitiously stuttered rhythms with smooth yet quirky vocalizing over it and somehow created by a mere duo, but it's worth checking out at The Lounge tonight. -(DL)
The Polyphonic Spree | DJ Lord (The Palladium) FREE SHOW FOR 21 AND UP/SPONSORED BY SOCO | THAT'S SOUTHERN COMFORT FOR ALL OF YOU UNDERAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT REAL "WHISKEY FLAVORED" LIQUOR IS ALL ABOUT. ON THEIR WEBSITE THEY HAVE INSTRUCTIONS SHOWING YOU HOW TO PUT A HOT DOG IN A CROISSANT BEFORE YOU MICROWAVE IT. CHECK IT THE FUCK OUT. SEE YOU TONIGHT.-(DL)
I don't how easy it will be to show a film at The Cavern, but they will attempt it at Top Notch tonight along with a bike ride. From Sober:
This is a special edition of Top Notch.
Sixty 4 Art Collective and myself will be hosting a bike ride that will start at Mockingbird Station @ 8pm. The ride will end at The Cavern @ 10pm, where we will be screening the brand new "Fixed City" film for the first time in the US!
Stick around for Top Notch! I have the homie Dayta from Houston rocking with me.
Monotonix | Harlem | Uptown Bums (Rubber Gloves) Monotonix are worth the slightly higher ticket price tonight, and you should really see them before they are forced to play a lame venue due to their ever increasing profile. I think it's really cool that Drag City put their record out, and I certainly didn't see that one coming. The Chicago-based label has definitely kept things interesting even if I don't always understand their actions. I recently overpaid for a publication they put out simply because they had an article on Del Shannon mixed in with all of the weirdo folk articles. -(DL)
Hey everyone, the folks at Spune were nice enough to hook us up with a pair of tickets to tonight'sPains of Being Pure at Heart performance at Lola's in Fort Worth. If you'd like to win them, just email email@example.com 1pm today. Please include your full name in the body and make "Pains of Being Pure at Heart" the subject. We'll choose a winner at random. Good luck!
Hey best friends, it's been a little while. How are you? Some of you might have noticed that I haven't been doing a lot of writing around here lately, and I wanted to let you know why. A couple weeks ago, I moved from Dallas to a temporarily undisclosed city far away from Texas, and I've had to take some time to get settled into a new apartment, a new job, and essentially a new life all together, and I simply haven't had the time to contribute much to this blog. Sorry about that.
But before I left, myself, DL and the other WSJR contributors spent some time discussing what would be done once I departed. After pondering many different options, we decided that instead of throwing a goodbye party and calling it quits, we would try something completely new with the website, not only to keep things exciting for us, but also to provide something more entertaining for all of you.
Over the past few months, we've been making friends in a small handful of exciting cities around the country, and we've decided to join forces with some new people and expand the scope of this website to include coverage of the music scenes in at least three new cities, including the one I'm currently living in, as well as to provide a more national focus on music we're (and hopefully you're) interested in from all over the country. We'll still continue to provide the same kind of substantive coverage of DFW and Denton music that you've seen here for the past (gulp) three and a half years, and I'll still be contributing to the site fairly frequently, along with DL and a group of smart new local writers to whom you've recently been introduced. So in short, we won't be sacrificing any local coverage as part of this transition, but simply adding to what we already do, and hopefully helping to raise the profile of local DFW/Denton bands in several new cities with thriving music scenes.
I don't want to give too much away right now because we'll have a more formal announcement for you in the next few weeks explaining which cities we'll be covering and how we're going to do it, but for now, let me just tell you that I'm very excited about our plans, and I think most of you will be very pleased with the way things go around here over the next few months.
Anyway, thanks to all of you for making this summer the most highly trafficked season in the history of this website, and I hope you all will stick around to see what we're going to do from here on out. And oh yeah, one more thing-- by popular demand, It Lists will now appear in the morning or early afternoon each day in order to give you more time to see which shows are the easiest to make fun of. Here's today's list:
Ra Ra Riot | Maps & Atlases | Princeton (The Granada) As I was reading a couple things about Ra Ra Riot last night, I noticed that they had recorded a session for Daytrotter back in 2007, and this seemed like an important thing to mention because Daytrotter is an important thing, right? The weird part was that as I sat and thought about it, I realized that I didn't even really know what the hell Daytrotter actually was. Criminal for a blogger, right? I mean, Gorilla vs Bear and Pitchfork and Stereogum and all those places talk about it all the time, and I know its a pretty big deal in the world of "Indie Rock" and all that, but I've just never taken the time to really look at it since it always seems to feature like a recording of St. Vincent playing a cover of an Irish drinking song or some garbage. Actually, I don't even know if St. Vincent has ever recorded with Daytrotter, its just a figure of speech.
I guess the point in bringing all this up is to demonstrate my feelings of detachment from the kind of music Ra Ra Riot makes. This is Indie Rock with a capital "I," and although most of it is pleasant enough, all of it feels like its just kinda sitting there, waiting for its chance to start being played over the loudspeakers at Banana Republic instead of Urban Outfitters because those are the people who still actually buy CDs, right? Influences seem to range from Interpol to Coldplay to Arcade Fire, with nods to Elliot Smith and 90's Brit Pop and Post-Punk, and I wasn't kidding when I said it's pleasant enough because it is. But much like Daytrotter, I kinda know what its like and I don't have a problem with it, but I also know that I don't have to pay it all that much attention in order to conclude that I don't really give a shit.
Chicago's Sung Tongs and Elephant 6 influenced Maps and Atlases open, and they're a bit more interesting.-(SR)
I want to add that Princeton is one of the few bands I've seen recently where I felt that the record sounded better than their live show, which was fine, it just didn't capture some of the little subtleties and influences apparent on the recording that I'm sure they would want to convey through a performance.-(DL)
Social Junk | Mincemeat or Ten Speed | Dick Neff | Guilt Trip | Corporate Park | Joey Lawrence Gets A Coke Problem (House Of Tinnitus) Philadelphia's Social Junk certainly don't make pop music, but they are still probably one of the most accessible bands to have ever set foot in House of Tinnitus, even if you'd never use the word "accessible" to actually describe their music. Confused? Well, this really says more about House of Tinnitus' challenging bills than it does about the band, but its still important to note because it might provide you with just a glimse into Social Junk's sound-- this is found sound happy, largely instrumental psychedelic music that ranges stylistically from peaceful bird chirping and drones to more rhytmic, early industrial influenced experiments with elements of tribal percussion and general abrasion. This is tough, interesting music to be sure, but the group's quiter moments might just be right up the alley of a few people who don't often listen to "harsh noise," for lack of a better term. Social Junk is an excellent group that shouldn't be missed, especially in one of the most intimate and welcoming spots in the area.
Mincemeat or Teenspeed are another fantastic Philadelphia group with an eclectic set of influences ranging from Afro Funk (including Konono No 1) to harsh noise to 8 bit to psychedelic folk, all of which come together incredibly well, surprisingly enough, resulting in one of the more interesting bands I've stumbled across this year. We highly recommend that you show up early to catch them.-(SR)
Nobunny | Video | Hunx And His Punx | War Party (Mable Peabody's) Another show definitely worth checking out in Denton tonight, featuring the masterful pop songwriting of Nobunny, a guy who always backs up his performances with a rotating cast of able musicians, including local Payton Green. Hunx and His Punx includes the kind of great lyrical content that often occurs when punk bands tackle gay themes, and there's no doubt in my mind that Video will put on a flawless show. -(DL)
Creed (Superpages Center) I hate the fact that Creed is such an easy target, a punchline band even for people with poor taste to make fun of. Just remember, Radiohead, The Arcade Fire, and Iron & Wine are like Creed to some people. I don't know who, but I just thought I'd mention it. By the way, Pitchfork covering the "Decade in Indie" is kind of like Sean Hannity reporting on Townhall crashers and shit, isn't it?
Greg Ginn & The Taylor Texas Corrugators | Jambang | Zanzibar Snails (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio) I'm not going to attempt to breakdown Ginn's career by explaining that playing in a Texas-themed jam-band is actually the most unexpected and punk thing that he could have done, but I will say this: Greg Ginn has always done exactly what he wants to do, he always will, and if you think you're that free, you're probably lying to yourself. He pretty much invented hardcore, and decades later, it seems he could care less. Though that may be a depressing thought to some, I've always admired people that could do something completely revolutionary and shrug it off eventually, even if I don't necessarily consider myself a big fan of their current work.
Who could blame someone for shunning something with so much attached cultural hubris? That's a common thread running through the various bios of pioneers in just about every art movement going back to the first time anyone cared to ask. Some people feel that running in place is the most profound statement they can make, and others feel that you must forever radically shape-shift in order to evolve as an artist. For better or worse, Ginn evolved, even while still playing in Black Flag, which has been well-documented. Interestingly, he recently performed with The Dirty Projectors, just another in a long line of artists who have interpreted his work, however this popular, modern, indie rock group somehow managed to be christened with the distinction of winning the fleeting and mysterious stamp-of-approval from the man himself. It's worth mentioning that most people try really hard, create total garbage, and then spend the rest of their lives bragging about the one thing they did that was never good in the first place. You could never accuse Greg Ginn of anything like that.
Telefon Tel Aviv | The Race | Ishi DJ Set (The Cavern) None other than Stoned Ranger(!) told me today that Telefon Tel Aviv's latest analog-only record was pretty good, and I should go back and see if I can notice much of a difference when they changed their approach towards both synth and recording technology. The duo was also involved in some sample work for Berlin/Los Angeles-based electronic software maker, Native Instruments; I'm assuming before the tragic and untimely death of founding member, Charles Cooper.
On a lighter note, I met some employees of Native Instruments in Germany this past summer, and after some extensive discussions regarding their work, came to the conclusion that they are the happiest workers on earth.
Didn't know Ishi had reached "DJ set" status already.
MON:Securicor/Maleveller/Releaser/The Initiative (Phoenix Project) TUE: Gregg Ginn and The Taylor Texas Corrugators/Jambang/Zanzibar Snails (Rubber Gloves) WED: Ra Ra Riot/Maps & Atlases/Princeton (The Granada) WED: Social Junk/Mincemeat or Ten Speed/Dick Neff/Corporate Park (House Of Tinnitus) WED: Nobunny/Video/Hunx And His Punx/War Party (Mable Peabody's) THU: Chris Clavin/Imperial Can/Gerd/Genius Party (1919 Hemphill) THU: Experimental Dental School/El Paso Hot Button/History At Our Disposal (The Lounge) THU: The Polyphonic Spree/DJ Lord (The Palladium) THU: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart/The Depreciation Guild/Cymbals Eat Guitars (Lola's) THU: Monotonix/Harlem/Uptown Bums (Rubber Gloves)FRI: Psychedelic Furs/Happy Mondays (House Of Blues) FRI: Busdriver/Abstract Rude (The Cavern) SAT: Binary Sunrise/Darktown Strutters/Buttercup (City Tavern) SAT: Kylesa/Tombs/Bison BC/Curse The Heavens (Rubber Gloves) SAT:The Theater Fire/Whiskey Folk Ramblers/The Southern Sea (Lola's) SAT: Record Hop/PVC Street Gang/The Cocky Americans/On After Dark (Boiler Room)
SR and DL still won't return our calls so here is me and nite maus's ramshackle list. (We usually just have our PAs return calls for us, but they're on vaca this weekend. DL and I will be back in action on Monday-- SR)
Are the Fungi Girls too young to be playing the music they play? Or perhaps similar musicians are too old to be playing music so youthful? Regardless, you will feel like an old has-been seeing these dudes play, but boy you will have a good time. Remember kids, J&J's closes at 12 so be sure to get there early, as the rest of the bands seem to have the same vibe going on as the Girls. Should be fun. (FP)
Earlier this week I was sitting in a DART station when it hit me that music (and Dallas public transportation) was going straight to hell. Seriously, what a unique epiphany right? I saw a kid, iPod earphones blaring, with a Guitar Hero shirt, crispy-clean just ironed from his mother’s hot stack of laundry.This kid looked happy with himself and his position in life, and I realized…fuck getting a good review on Pitchfork. Just get a song on Guitar Hero and you’ll be eating pretty well for decades.
Anyway, the point is, I bet you 95% of the world’s population doesn’t know anything about Reverend Horton Heat except for “Psychobilly Freakout,” and 99% of those people heard it on Guitar Hero. And I bet you at least 8 of those people will be at this concert, and that there will be general assent when they play that song (fists in air, head nods, interchanged glances). And they probably WILL play that song, as surely as David Byrne played "Burning Down the House" on his last tour.
Motorhead won a Grammy in 2005 for a Metallica cover. Is that an insult or a prize? I’m surprised this show isn’t at House of Blues. As for Lemmy, I’ll skip the meth jokes and say authoritatively that he “defines, eats, breathes, shits and exudes cool. He’s hands-down the motherfucking coolest human being in history.” I have that on good faith.
Also, Dave Mustaine is endlessly entertaining. I think of him any time one of these bands from the 80’s LA scene comes around. Just watch Some Kind of Monster, fast-forward it to any time he talks (and cries) and you’ll have the warm fuzzies for days. I bet he’s sitting at home this very moment thinking about how Motorhead should’ve dedicated that Grammy to him.(NM)
When I was a kid, I thought Ice Ice Baby was the shit . It was a song that went well with my Legends of the Hidden Temple t-shirt and my brick-sized Gameboy. Yet I always thought that I was hearing something that would someday die. I think North Texas this weekend went out of its way to prove that some things last forever.
I’ve heard a rumor that the new Trees is booking just to make money for a while, and after they’ve cashed in they’ll start bringing in bands that are actually worth paying for. I smell deceit. Why is every house show I’ve ever been to better than any lineup they’ve brought so far? Take it from Captain Planet. You don’t need money to succeed, you need “heart!”. (NM)
The debut performance of Vexed UK, a collaboration between local avant-goddess Sarah Alexander and Gutterth hype man Micheal Briggs. Lets hope it is more this and less this. Kaboom! put on one of the best shows around these parts and they have been playing less and less recently so get your ass there. (FP)