Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Never Invite a Vampire into Your Home

The Onion's AV Club recently posted a worthy list of songs about vampires. I thought of this one, simply entitled Vampire, which was written and performed by Bap Kennedy, an Irishman and a friend of Steve Earle. "If you don't have peace of mind, you don't have anything," Mr. Kennedy opines. Not sure what that has to do with vampires, but it's good advice all the same.

One of my favorite music blogs at any time of year is Armagideon Time. Andrew kicks his blog into high gear during the month of October, posting stories and songs and comics every day as he counts down to the coming of Halloween. Stop by and say boo!

A friend of mine (and a formative influence on my cinematic tastes) has a film blog called Beyond the Ranges. I strongly recommend that you read the weekly meditations on obscure cinema written by the knowledgeable (yet mysterious!) Herr Grigorss.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Swerve the Swervants

I fulfilled a long-held desire by attending the Gogol Bordello concert in Atlanta, and I would recommend their live show to anyone. Even if you are not familiar with their songs, the musicians and dancers create a carnivalesque spectacle onstage, and they encourage the crowd to shout and stomp along. It was like standing in front of a parade.

Eugene Hutz suggested that those of us who didn't know the words could simply shout "taranta, taranta" during "every fccking song". "Start Wearing Purple" seemed to be the crowd favorite, perhaps because it was featured (along with Hutz himself) in the film Everything Is Illuminated. The show ended with an epic and exultant version of "Baro Foro".

I decided against driving down to the Fest, mainly because the Figgs and the Marked Men played at the same time (in two different venues). I do wish I could have seen Baroness at the Fest. Baroness is a metal band from Savannah; they have a modern sound, without the cookie monster vocals, but they occasionally harken back to the Southern boogie bands that had twin-guitar and triple-guitar lineups. Check out the guitar leads that start around the 2:15 mark of The Birthing. If you like it, pick up The Red Album, the new debut album by Baroness. Check out the beautiful album cover art at the band's myspace. More art by Baroness frontman John Dyer Baizley is on display here. Some of the art he's done for Baroness and other bands can be purchased on t-shirts here.

Awesome news: Swervedriver will reunite and tour next year! Dates and venues TBA. Coincidentally, the blog Wilfully Obscure recently posted a bevy of Swervedriver rarities. Sweet!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's a Radio Wave

It looks like this will be the year that I finally lose my influence over my son's musical taste. I used to be able to nudge him toward bands like Super Furry Animals, They Might Be Giants, and Green Day. He even got into some "old school" stuff like Queen, Motorhead, and the Cure.

But he will turn 12 soon, and lately his taste runs toward My Chemical Romance, the Used, and something called the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Part of me wants to try to assert my influence and make him a mix cd or something. But another part of me says to let go.

Readers, you are my last bastion of taste-making. (My six year old's ears are still influenced by things he sees on TV, like Kids Bop and the Backyardigans.) Twenty years ago, I made mixtapes for my brother and our friends to expose them to my favorite songs. Today, my blog is read by some of the same folks I once made mixtapes for, as well as a few new friends.

If you ever trusted my taste in music, heed me now when I say that "Radio Wave" by the band Oranger is the best thing I've heard in months. "Radio Wave" and "Crones" come from Oranger's last album, New Comes and Goes (2005). AllMusic says that Oranger was initially one of the low-fi bands who arose in the wake of Pavement, but Oranger gradually shed the static and became more of an alt-pop band (like Creeper Lagoon, and Pavement themselves). "Radio Wave" would have been all over my mixtapes. "Crones" is more low-key, but memorable in its own way. Buy some Oranger at eMusic.

Oranger: Radio Wave
Oranger: Crones

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Gift of Sound and Vision

In these days of ubiquitous auto-tuning, it is refreshing to listen to the untrained and undoctored human voice. Lately I've been listening to the Marine Girls and the Young Marble Giants. YMG songwriter Stuart Moxham once said of his bandmate, Alison Statton, "She's not a singer. She's a person who sings." Mr. Moxham produced Lazy Ways, the second (and final) album by the Marine Girls. There is a new Stuart Moxham album, Huddle House, available on eMusic. The Marine Girls' albums are also available there, as well as a live set from YMG.

On the subject of untrained voices, I've also been listening to the Germs. You've heard of the new album where all the songs are based on Black Flag lyrics? Someone should do the same with the Germs. Darby's lyrics are fascinating, but you'd never know it by listening to him snarl and slur them. "Let me touch the tips of inculcated desire, and brush the fettered veil away, shut down in the depths I lay."

I like to read the magazine TapeOp, but its interviews with music producers and engineers make me realize that there are people who, like supertasters, can discern the most subtle differences between sounds produced by different instruments, microphones, or speakers. There are also people in the music industry who are gifted with a type of synesthesia, in the sense that they can perceive sounds as shapes, and the spatial relationship between sounds. To me, those people are a different breed, fortunate enough to appreciate music in ways that I can only imagine. On the other hand, if I were sensitive to errors in pitch and production, I might not be able to enjoy groups like YMG and the Marine Girls.

Young Marble Giants: Wurlitzer Jukebox
Marine Girls: Tutti Lo Sanno
Marine Girls: Lazy Ways

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Summer's Over, Here Comes the Weather

A welcome wave of cooler weather has arrived, and I've opened all the screen doors in my submarine. I received an anonymous request to repost one of my favorite songs, and nothing could be more appropriate to listen to at this time of year than Halloween by the late great Athens band the Method Actors. Rumor has it that the music they once waxed will someday be digitized by the label Happy Happy Birthday to Me.

There was welcome news in my inbox from Pylon, another classic band from the Classic City whose first album is being released on CD next week. In celebration of same, the band is playing three shows in November: NYC (11/7), Chapel Hill (11/5), and the good ole ATL: Thursday, November 1st with the Selmanaires at the EARL.

Sometimes it's nice to stay in bed and be a sleepyhead.
Pylon: No Clocks

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Fest for the Rest of Us

I'm thinking about making the drive from Atlanta to Gainesville, FL for the Fest 6. Over 180 punk and metal bands from all over the map will converge upon Gainesville from October 26 to October 28 for three days and nights of club gigs and house parties. Music lovers can attend all three days for just $50.

Georgia bands venturing to the Fest this year include Savannah metal mavens Baroness; Athenian math-rockers We Versus the Shark; and one man band Matt Kurz.

The big draws for the Fest this year include reunion shows by Naked Raygun, Seaweed, and Small Brown Bike. These festivals seem to be a trend these days: Raygun is also playing Chicago's RiotFest in November (with SLF and 7Seconds); the Marked Men are at GonerFest this month; and the Figgs will hit Moonfest the same weekend as the Gainesville thing.

My goal is to see the Figgs, the Marked Men, the Riverboat Gamblers, the Ergs, the Methadones, and the High Tension Wires (who are essentially the Marked Men plus the singer from the Riverboat Gamblers). I've waited years for the Figgs to come back to Atlanta or Athens. Since they don't seem to be touring, I guess it's my turn to make a road trip.

Figgs: She's Fine
Marked Men: Fix My Brain
High Tension Wires: I Heart MAO Inhibitors