Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Al Green, Bob Mould, Erik Cole -- all the greats

Al Green still has it, and he couldn't give it away! The Reverend lived up to all my expectations and then some seeing him last week at Memorial Hall on the UNC Campus, he had a big band (not sure what some of them were doing), two slightly disinterested dancers that appeared in new togs every few songs, his daughter on backup vocals, and a table-full of roses that were distributed to the ladies, the ladies. As Al himself pointed out during the show, listing off a few of the hits that he WASN'T going to play -- Call Me, Take Me To The River, etc -- he could be singing 'til next week if he sang everything we wanted to hear, but the hits were out in full force, as was some old-school showmanship and a side of corn. Mainly however, there was The Voice, and i was pleasantly surprised to find that it's still there in all its range and power. Loved it. Here's a review of the show from Creative Loafing.

then Sunday hockey returned to NC with the first Hurricanes preseason game, vs the Caps, and we brought our 4-yr old daughter to her first hockey game (since she was an infant)...i think she thinks sports names are interchangeable (on the way over she called it baseball, basketball AND football) but seems to get the general idea and while the horn that blows when the 'Canes score is too loud she was chanting "let's go 'Canes" at the right times with no cue and the match itself was a good one, the 'Canes winning in OT on an Erik Cole goal, his second of the game. hopefully a good portent for the season to come...

Monday i went up to DC for the latest iteration of the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit, they do great things for artists and make sense of confusing issues related to digital music, intellectual property rights, etc... i was on a "State of the Union" panel with David Bither of Nonesuch, attorney Rosemary Carroll, Zomba co-founder Ralph Simon, and Bob Mould. sitting next to Mould was pretty surreal, and i didn't even bother to get into what a huge Husker Du fan i was -- i probably don't need to since the first Superchunk record rips them off so hard. maybe he never heard it! anyway those panels are always more fun than i think they're going to be. i think what we arrived at by the end is that good music is good and that fans of it will buy it. Also, that i hate ringtones and can't believe that they have something to do with my job.

in rotation since i've been back:
Orchestra Baobab "A Night at Club Baobab"
Bishop Allen "& The Broken String"
Sparks self-titled & "Angst In My Pants"
The Blue Nile "Hats" and "A Walk Across the Rooftops"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Easy Listening

recently acquired and spending a lot of time in rotation:

Dirty Projectors - Rise Above after seeing them in Minneapolis last Feb where they played a couple songs from this remake-of-Black-Flag-but-just-the-lyrics album, i knew this would be stunning and it is. crazy is also what it is, just listen to it, there's no point in me trying to describe it. how does he sing while playing those guitar lines? how do the girls sing what they're singing while he's singing? it all works.

Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War not captivating me as immediately as Set Yourself On Fire did, it's just a bit slicker and paler, but it's growing on me quickly. the guitars are dialed back so there are fewer approaching Pale Saints-style shredding moments and more borderline-early-Cardigans moments (not that that's a bad thing), but many of the melodies are indelible and there's some kind of emotional story that comes through the slickness. perhaps it's 80's nostalgia on my part, but perhaps they're just really good at what they do...take me to the riot! i say feyly.

Jesu - Conquerer i thought this would be metal, but it's more shoegazer-y, i'm still adjusting to the prettiness of it.

Charles Mingus - Mingus Plays Piano i always loved the COVER of this record but never owned the thing, and now i'm wondering why i waited so long, it's beautiful. nice review over at All About Jazz

Mu-Ziq - Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique
the original alias of Mike Paradinas has reverted here, in a good way, away from the intense harsh nastiness of Bilious Clouds and into a more lo-fi world of woozy humanized synth melodies and songs, ableit with distorto rhythm tracks intact. supposedly a break-up album, but you'd never know that just from listening. Royal Astronomy may still be the peak but after i'd given up on another Mu-Ziq album this is a nice surprise.

Bruce Springsteen - Magic ugh i still can't believe it's called Magic, but this record is really good with great moments, including the previously mentioned Stephin Merritt-channeling "Girls In Their Summer Clothes," and it's getting better with each listen. bring on the tour!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Boss is Back

the new Springsteen album leaked last week and you know i found a way to hear it. the record is really good, but the two most surprising developments are:

1) someone could make a really good album called "Magic"

2) track 6 SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE THE MAGNETIC FIELDS. i'm not kidding, and it's a great song. it's called "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" and it's stuck in my head, just like a Stephin Merritt song would be.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Local Music

sweaty times at the Local 506 last night, here was our set...

Autumn Got Dark
Silver Screw
Through With People
Sweetness and Light
noisy night
White Wave
Running Water
I Wanna Know Girls

our last show for awhile, glad we got to play with Oakley Hall, who were great as usual.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Portastatic This Weekend...

will be playing live at the Local 506 in Chapel Hill this Saturday night, Sept 8. i thought we were done for the season, but got asked to play with fellow Merge artists and awesome live group Oakley Hall and couldn't say no. we're in the middle, the first band being Rat Jackson, and i think the whole show starts at 9.30...we'll be in 4-piece rock band mode and will miss our friend Margaret, who'll be sawing on her fiddle elsewhere this weekend. see you Saturday night!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Clearing Off the Turntable

hardly ever get to listen to my vinyl these days because there's always 4 tall piles of cds and dvds on top of the turntable -- it's too convenient to not stack them up there -- but i cleared them off at the end of last week in order to get some vinyl going on the music hall i got a couple years back. part of this is inspired by the new heavy vinyl we're doing on Merge releases, but more to relieve the guilt i feel for neglecting my record collection. i have some (though not most) of these on CD, too, but once you get going with the records it's hard to stop. because records sound good when you listen to them:

The Chills - Submarine Bells and Brave Words both getting some spins
Andrew Hill - Invitation, a pretty rocking 70's trio disc on Steeplechase
Joe Simon - Drowning In A Sea of Love, a Gamble and Huff production from 1972
Chet Baker - Let's Get Lost, the soundtrack from the Bruce Weber film
Isley Brothers - Brother, Brother, this on the tour Superchunk did on the way back from Cali after recording On the Mouth. so weird that i can remember certain stores where i got certain records, even if the records in question i maybe listen to once a year (or less).
Big Star - Radio City
Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle - One From the Heart soundtrack...also the 7" Anti did of "Lie To Me"
Miles Davis - 'Round About Midnight with the terrible Columbia cover w/ the blue border around the edge, i love that record. also Miles Davis Volume 2, which i got at the old location of the awesome Jazz Record Mart in Chicago.

gonna try to keep it cleared off as long as i can stay in the hang of getting up from whatever i'm doing (eg watching the US Open into the wee hours) to turn the records over...