What's More Unbelievable?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Gamera and Mothra v. The Greatest of All Time

Last Show! Last Setlist! Last Chance to Pogo to the greatest hits of the 90s and 00s!

Sonic Youth - Silver Rocket
Polvo - Time Isn't On My Own Side
Built To Spill - Car
Guided By Voices - Echos Myron

The Pixies - U-Mass
Pavement - Unfair
Superchunk - Seed Toss
Fugazi - Repeater

Archers of Loaf - Underdogs of Nipomo
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
The White Stripes - Hypnotize
Les Savy Fav - Wake Up!

Pinback - Prog
The Exploding Hearts - Throwaway Style
Broken Social Scene - Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries
TV On The Radio - Staring at the Sun

Animal Collective - Grass
Ween - The Mollusk
The Magnetic Fields - You and Me and the Moon
The Shins - Know Your Onion!
Ratatat - Bustelo

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - I Am Goodbye
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Yo La Tengo - Stockholm Syndrome
Bedhead - Crushing

M. Ward - Here Comes the Sun Again
Iron & Wine - Carousel
The Mountain Goats - Weekend in Western Illinois
Andrew Bird - The Privateers

New Pornographers - Streets of Fire
Mogwai - New Paths To Helicon Pt II
Arcade Fire - Old Flame
The Wrens - This Is Not What You Had Planned

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In Dreams I Melt With You

Wilco - Hell Is Chrome
Arcade Fire - Black Mirror
Islands - Humans

Vladimir Ussachevsky - Wireless Fantasy
The Dukes of Stratosphear - My Love Explodes
Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk at Cubist Castle
The Monkees - Daily Nightly
Idyll Swords - Escutcheon Ascent/Biza's Theme

Brian Eno - Alternative 3
My Bloody Valentine - I Only Said
Mogwai - Sine Wave
Les Savy Fav - Brace Yourself

Black Sabbath - A Bit of Finger
Nico - Lawns of Dawns
Liars - Be Quiet Mt. Heart Attack
Sonic Youth - In the Kingdom # 19

Grandaddy - Underneath the Weeping Willow
Bedhead - Bedside Table
Will Oldham - Apocolypse, No!
Animal Collective - In the Flowers

Ween - Captain
Windy & Carl - Traveling
Burial - In McDonalds
Andrew Bird - Unfolding Fans
M83 - Midnight Souls Still Remain

Sigur Ros - Meo Blodnasir
The Flaming Lips - Christmas at the Zoo
The Microphones - I Want Wind To Blow
The Stranglers - Golden Brown

Gastr Del Sol - Rebecca Sylvester
Edsel - The Good Celeste
Holger Czukay - Boat-Woman-Song
Godspeed You Black Emperor -

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh! Delmarva, Here I Come! Right Back Where I Started From

In a little less than a week, Hott Mama, The Pow!erbot Team and I will be heading south on a journey through the Mid-Atlantic states and I'm horribly excited. Partially for the destinations along the way and certainly for the people we'll be visiting but I'm also frothing at the mouth to get hours upon hours of uninterrupted music listening. I love road trips and I love them most for their soundtracks. For me, the journey is an end in itself. I took a nearly cross country road trip with Listmaker years ago and we barely left the car because the point of the trip was to be inside with the stereo blasting mix tape after mix tape. I'm giddy just thinking about the upcoming trip and wonder if it's too early to start putting together the pile of cds that will carry us towards the Mason-Dixon line.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Embracing the Inner Beast

Years ago, indie popstress Mary Timony entered a magical chrysalis and came out on the other side forever changed. Early in her musical career she championed self empowerment and feminism through occasionally oblique yet always fascinating lyrics. After 1995's beloved The Dirt of Luck, dragons and faeries began to creep into her work little by little and critics started to wonder where this mystical obsession came from and why was she delving into the world of storybooks and fantasy. I can only assume that Ms. Timony had a choice at this point - give up the childish visions or dive in headfirst. Just looking at the song titles of her next full length album, The Magic City, shows she chose the latter. "Medieval People," "Lady of the Fire," and "Lullaby of the Moths" are the work of someone who took an infatuation and exploded it into a defining characteristic.

I am a witch - Helium

Neko Case has done the same with her newest LP Middle Cyclone. On this amazing album, Neko fully explores her dual loves of nature and animals. Again, you need look no further than the song titles to discover that she has chosen to almost singlemindedly follow her personal muse. "Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth" isn't her song but it as much of a thesis statement as anything else uttered on this album. She spells it out even more explicitly in "People Got a Lotta Nerve" where she plainly states that wild animals will eat you without a second thought and we humans are foolish for hoping or expecting anything different. Whereas Mary Timony uses fairy tales as a safe haven from the ugliness of modern life, Neko Case's songs are more like the Grimm Brothers' cautionary tales. Civilization has its many positives and negatives, it's true, but there's nothing quite as unpredictable or terrifying or beautiful as the natural world.

People Got A Lotta Nerve - Neko Case

In honor of Neko Case and poetry month, here's a wonderful poem by the fantastic and brutal Anne Sexton:


Oh you brown bacon machine,
how sweet you lie,
gaining a pound and a half a day,
you rolled-up pair of socks,
you dog's nightmare,
your snout pushed in
but leaking out the ears,
your eyes as soft as eggs,
hog, big as a cannon,
how sweet you lie.

I lie in my bed at night
in the closet of my mind
and count hogs in a pen,
brown, spotted, white, pink, black,
moving on the shuttle toward death
just as my mind moves over
for its own little death.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Follow Your Dreams. Go To School Naked

Roy Orbison - In Dreams 
The Everly Brothers - Sweet Dreams
Cher - Dream Baby
Stevie Wonder - Never Had a Dream Come True

Beck - Girl Dreams
Pavement - Passat Dream
Built to Spill - Made-Up Dreams

Dead Milkmen - Dean's Dream
T Rex - Dreamy Lady
The Magnetic Fields - Too Drunk to Dream
Olivia Tremor Control - Define a Transparent Dream
Guided By Voices - Ghosts of a Different Dream

Superchunk - Good Dreams
Pixies - Bird Dream of Olympus Mons
Weezer - Only in Dreams

Belle & Sebastian - You Made Me Forgot My Dreams
Tom Waits - Innocent When You Dream (78)
M Ward - Bad Dreams
Leo Kottke - All I Have To Do Is Dream

The Walkmen - Thinking of a Dream I Had
Will Oldham - Dreaming My Dreams With You
Wilco - Dreamer in My Dreams

Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Dream
The Apples in Stereo - The Silvery Light of a Dream (Parts I and II)
Dog Faced Hermans - Dream Forever

Broken Social Scene - Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
Neko Case - Dreaming Man
TV On The Radio - Dreams

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Fish of Cheese With the Head of Walt Whitman

April is poetry month and I wanted to kick it off with some brilliant, inspired lyrics proving that the musicians and songwriters and the true poets of our golden age. I didn't have anything set to post today but then I was playing Rock band 2 with Hott Mama (and killing it if I can be honest for a moment) when who should appear like a beacon on a foggy night? Dave Mustaine, a man sadly passed over year after year for Poet Laureate. Was he born in Canada or something for I can think of no other reason he has yet to receive this highest honor that all little heshers aspire to.

"Peace Sells" came blasting out of the teevee and we fumbled our way through it as best we could. I had never heard the song as I had vowed to never listen to Megadeth ever again after their ubiquitous mind-bender of a hit "Sweating Bullets" kept showing up on MTV back in the early 90s. I refused to give them any love even though they have some of the best album titles of all time such as Killing is My Business...And Business is Good! and So Far, So Good...So What? They tried to recapture this glory with 2007's United Abominations but without an ellipsis I just can't bring myself to care.

Well the song itself was pretty terrible, as I assumed it would be, but the lyrics were a sheer joy to hear. While I fake-drummed away and Hott Mama caterwauled along with Mr. Mustaine, I realised that Steve Albini is indie rock's Dave Mustaine. Here's the proof that they may have been separated at birth. 1. Both have odd, growly, speak-sing vocal styles. 2. They're both crotchety contrarians who always seem to be harshly judging all humankind, including their faithful audience members. 3. They both somehow come off as joyless and smirking at the same time.

Here's a sample of Dave Mustaine's brilliance when it comes to putting pen to paper followed by some audio samples of these long lost twins.

Peace Sells:
What do you mean, "I don't believe in God"?
I talk to him every day.
What do you mean, "I don't support your system"?
I go to court when I have to.
What do you mean, "I can't get to work on time"?
I got nothing better to do
And, what do you mean, "I don't pay my bills"?
Why do you think I'm broke? Huh?

Peace Sells - Megadeth

My Black Ass - Shellac

Monday, March 30, 2009

Adventures in Crowd Management

Can you tell if you would like a stranger simply from the way they act at a concert? I am here to state most certainly that you can. The guy who pogoed wildly and then burped in my face at an Archers of Loaf show years ago? I'd probably not want to go for a beer with him. The total creep who wandered the grounds of Fort Reno handing out flyers shirtless with his pants far too low and far too close to the the no-no zone? I most likely would not want to share a slice of cheesecake with him? And the two starched shirts chatting during songs, clapping loudly and arrhythmically and shouting out "Screen Door!" over and over and over again at the Jeff Tweedy solo show this past weekend? I wouldn't stop if I saw them crossing the street.

Friday night Jimbama, Mothra and Quinnothra ventured into Northampton for a solo acoustic concert from Mr. Wilco and I've never in my life seen a crowd so rowdy at a semi-quiet show. The only time I can remember a more insane crowd was at a Servotron show in Baltimore but there the band was actively heckling the crowd and badmouthing the city, basically guaranteeing angry verbal assaults from drunken jackals. This show started awfully quiet with about 6 or so songs in a row with no banter, just focusing on the tunes. It didn't matter, the goofballs filling the audience wanted blood and were going to scream their lungs out whether Jeff talked to them or not. Imagine the softest moment in a beautiful song and imagine the rapt attention you would hope for from a large audience. Then imagine that lovely scene split in half by the shrillest "Whooooo!" you could imagine. Isn't this kind of behavior outlawed in a concert going rule book somewhere? Didn't R.E.M. address this kind of nonsense years ago?

Well Mr. Tweedy is a total pro and eventually started talking to the audience, filling in the second half of what had been, up until then, an awkward one way conversation. One by one he politely eviscerated those who needed it most. I was so impressed by the way he would cut off the assholes at the knees but in the kindest way so that they wouldn't go home, hating the front man they once loved. After one fellow loudly mumbled something about how Jeff Tweedy's father should hang out with his, Mr. Tweedy responded, "Do you have a mouthful of sandwich? Are they serving hoagies here?" During a brief tuning break, the crowd's setlist suggestions grew increasingly louder and more insistent. As 50 or so song titles flew through the air with abandon, he shook his head and remarked "these are the good parts." He also mentioned his fear that if he didn't put an end to the barrage of requests quickly, within 5 minutes the savages would rush the stage and spill out onto the street, tipping over his bus and setting it on fire. There are superfans and then there are those in attendance Friday night who made Jeff Tweedy fear for his safety.

I was in such a good mood and the comebacks were so lovely that I didn't mind the chaos and actually revelled in it. He handled it all so well and was such a great showman that it never felt uncomfortable and never seemed like the inmates had taken over the asylum. The concert itself was amazing, building slowly and featuring songs from all parts of his career including his side projects. The first encore is almost always a gimme but the second encore always feels special. On this evening he came back for a third encore, performing "Dreamer in My Dreams" and "Acuff Rose" at the front of the stage without a microphone. The yahoos still didn't shut up, even for this part, but they couldn't ruin what a perfect end to a bizarre and amazing evening. Check out a fan video of the finale below after the setlist.

1. Spiders (Kidsmoke) 2. I'm Always in Love 3. Remember the Mountain Bed 4. Bob Dylan's 49th Beard 5. Jesus, etc. 6. One By One 7. Everlasting 8. New song 9. Someday, Some Morning, Sometime 10. The Ruling Class 11. Wait Up for Me 12. Muzzle of Bees 13. In a Future Age 14. Forget the Flowers 15. California Stars

1st Encore
16. Shot in the Arm 17. Via Chicago 18. Fake Plastic Trees

2nd Encore
19. Wilco (the song) 20. Heavy Metal Drummer 21. Casino Queen 22. I'm the Man Who Loves You

3rd Encore
23. Dreamer in My Dreams 24. Acuff Rose