Friday, October 31, 2008

Tomorrow Last Day to Vote Early in NC!

so we're having a concert!

NOTE that while some counties have extended early voting until 5 PM tomorrow, at the Morehead Planetarium site tomorrow the polls will NOT be open late and will close at 1 PM!!

so to entertain you early risers we'll be having this little concert tomorrow morning adjacent to the polling place:

The dBs
Bill Bragg
Superchunk (acoustic)
Ivan Rosebud
I Was Totally Destroying It
Greg Humphreys
Regina Hexaphone

yes, i'll be playing first around 9 AM! i hope it's above freezing.
looks to be a beautiful day though so come on out even if you've already voted.
if you haven't, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Asheville for Obama

GREAT show at the Grey Eagle in Asheville last night. the club was cool enough to host this NC Rocks for Obama show on late notice, and with the help of the Obama campaign and Harvest Records in Asheville everyone got the word out, gave away a bunch of tickets and we had a big crowd for some free rock and roll on a Tuesday night...everyone played great sets and the Reigning Sound (pictured, via my phone) tore it up as a trio to end the night, including playing a bunch of awesome new songs.

Portastatic set: You Angel You / Autumn Got Dark / Noisy Night / Don't Become the Thing You Hated / Dancing in the Dark / San Andreas / I Wanna Know Girls

Saturday should be a blast in Chapel Hill so get ready to get up early, vote, and rock -- and we can now announce that we will be graced by a short set that day from BILLY BRAGG! very exciting.

there's no "one shining moment" in this process -- if NC goes blue it will be by increments of a few hundred votes here and there, so get out there and if you've already voted, start getting others to the polls!

Monday, October 27, 2008

CMJ wrap-up

The weekend started for me Thursday in Brooklyn at a decidedly non-CMJ event at BAM, a performance of Steve Reich's music accompanied by dance choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, and it was amazing. Lots of running, endless spinning, visual phasing effects, marimbas, drums, and some dancing. I'm not going to try to describe a dance performance beyond that because it would be silly, but i loved it.

Friday night's Portastatic show was at a bizarre "space" sponsored by Red Bull, CMJ, Paste Magazine, KCRW, and probably the US Army for all i know. but it was surprisingly intimate and fun -- i think with a rock band it would have been a nightmare, but solo acoustic it was kind of cool. This may or not be the right order of the set:

You Angel You (Bob Dylan)
You Know Where to Find Me
Dancing in the Dark (Springsteen)
Autumn Got Dark
Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) (Edison Lighthouse)
Isn't That The Way
I Wanna Know Girls

Saturday night was the Merge show at Mercury Lounge, one of the best Merge nights we can remember. everyone played great, sound was good, crowd was rocking. The Portastatic lineup for this show included Ivan Rosebud and Margaret White, we had no rehearsals with the three of us so on some levels we were making it up as we went...

Spying on the Spys
When Love Breaks Down (Prefab Sprout)
Angels of Sleep
Your Own Cloud
Cunning Latch
Sweetness and Light
Noisy Night
I Wanna Know Girls

i even got to play guitar on one of my favorite Rosebuds songs, "Drunkard's Worst Nightmare," so it was a really good night.

ok on to the Grey Eagle in Asheville tomorrow night for the first of two Obama shows!
tickets (FREE!) can now be picked up at Harvest Records in Asheville.

photo credit: johnny leather

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CMJ Whereabouts, NC Rocks for Obama again!

CMJ gets rolling yesterday in NYC and Portastatic will be making a few appearances this weekend:
Friday 12.30-2 PM Other Music, i'll be DJ'ing
Friday 9 PM solo Portastatic set at Red Bull Space (40 Thompson St)
Saturday 10 PM Portastatic live at the Merge show, Mercury Lounge

then next week we get back to work to bring home NC for Barack Obama, with TWO shows aimed at getting out the early vote!

Asheville, NC
10/28 @ The Grey Eagle
Bands start at 8pm

The Reigning Sound
Tift Merritt
Chris Stamey (dBs)
Greg Humphreys (Hobex)
Electric Owls (ex Comas)

Pick them up when you vote this week outside UNC-Asheville's Zeis Hall, which is by the Quad at 1 University Heights. Tickets will be handed out beginning at 10 am on Thursday, October 23rd, and will remain there during voting hours until they are all given away - from 10-6, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday.

*** AND ***

Chapel Hill, NC
11/1 @ Graham Terrace at UNC
(Adjacent to the Morehead Planetarium Early Voting Site)
9 AM until 1 PM
Enjoy Coffee, Doughnuts and Rock while you vote!

The dBs
Superchunk (acoustic)
Ivan Rosebud
I Was Totally Destroying It
Greg Humphreys
Regina Hexaphone

Check for updates and information.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Turn NC Blue for Obama!

our family voted this morning (the pollworkers authorized our 5-yr old daughter to be an 'assistant voter'...but no fraud was perpetrated!), and if you haven't yet this year you may find it more emotional than you'd think. if you're voting in NC (other states may have a similar ballot, i'm not sure) be aware that you need to select the Pres separately than the straight ticket if you're voting a straight ticket. then you have to turn the ballot over to vote for the judges....over at the great BlueNC site they're calling it the "Obama Straight Flip" and there's a helpful vid...

we voted at Morehead Planetarium and the pollworkers pointed all this stuff out when we got our ballots, but in some precincts i suspect they may not have time or inclination to do so, so make sure you vote everywhere you need to!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Meymandi "Rock"

Portastatic opened for the Magnetic Fields Saturday night at the symphony space over in Raleigh at Meymandi Concert Hall. that room sounds sweet, even with us playing, and the Magnetic Fields were funny and great, i hadn't seen them in years and their song selection was all over the place in a good way. midway through their set there was a complete power outtage in the building with only the "EXIT" signs remaining lit at the ironically (as someone pointed out in the audience during the show) named Progress Energy Performing Arts Center. all you could hear for a minute was Sam's cello, but then the lights and PA came back on and all was well.

we played this show as a duo with just myself and Ivan from the Rosebuds on keys and's the set:

You Know Where to Find Me
Drill Me
Your Own Cloud
Angels of Sleep
Sweetness & Light (feat. Sam and Claudia of the Fields on percussion)
Dancing in the Dark
San Andreas
Noisy Night

Friday, October 17, 2008

Levi Stubbs, RIP

Levi Stubbs, the lead voice of the Four Tops died at home in Detroit today. Stubbs was technically a baritone but it seems that their arrangements always had him singing slightly out of his range for an extra sense of desperation...The Four Tops had a ton of hits for Motown in the 60's and 70's, some of which were truly heavy -- "Standing in the Shadow of Love" comes to mind -- and their version of "Walk Away Renee" is incredible.

here's the obit from the LA Times and Pitchfork has an obit with video clips as well...

and then there's this song from Billy Bragg, one of his best...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama Sweeps

from watching "Joe the Plumber" in the original interview, the guy seems like a Republican plant...anyone else suspicious?

McCain had a good line tonight about "if you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run 4 years ago," but that was about all he had going for him other than a progressively distracting arsenal of tics, eye-rolls, extreme eyebrow gymnastics, grimacing, teeth-grinding, and guttural sighs.

the most alarming moment i think was during the discussion of abortion rights, when Obama brought up the "health of the mother" exception, and McCain reacted as though Obama had just announced that, if elected, Bill Ayers would be his Surgeon General...we had to rewind the thing to watch how annoyed and dismissive McCain was at the mention of this subject, and it showed quite unflatteringly and viscerally what a callous asshole John McCain can be.

Obama passed on commenting on Palin, and as usual was his unflappable self.

Early voting starts tomorrow in NC!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Portastatic Coming Up

Portastatic in its various forms will be quite active in the coming weeks....Ivan Howard of the Rosebuds will be joining me this Saturday in Raleigh at the fancy joint, we practiced today and it seems like our set is going to be pretty fancy as well!

Saturday Oct 18
Meymandi Concert Hall
Raleigh, NC
opening for the Magnetic Fields

then next week for those of you in the NYC area CMJ will descend upon your town and we'll be playing a couple times: on the Friday night i'll be playing a Paste Magazine / KCWR sponsored show at something called "Red Bull Space" at 40 Thompson St, i go on at 9 PM. also rocking at Merge's show on Saturday the 25th at the Mercury Lounge...

Friday the 24th at 12.30 PM i'll be DJ'ing at Other Music just after the store opens, but eat lunch before you come because it's dangerous to shop there hungry.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paul "the Krug" Krugman!

that's pronounced "the Kroog" of course, and he's gone and won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences! Nice one!
his undisguised Hillary support in the primaries made me uncomfortable, though not as charmingly uncomfortable as Krugman is when he goes on TV to drop some science.

Monday listening (mine, not Krugman's, but who knows?):

Yura Yura Teikoku - na ma shi bi re na ma me ma i
Jay Reatard - Matador Singles 08
Seam - Are You Driving Me Crazy?
Ornette Coleman Trio - Golden Circle Vol 1
Okkervil River - the Stand-Ins
No Age - Nouns

Friday, October 10, 2008

Register in NC!

if you plan on voting on election day, today is the last day to register to vote in North Carolina.

so get out there and register!

however, if you plan on voting during the "early vote" period which begins next week, you can then register the same day as you vote.

but you can NOT register after today and vote on election day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Cy

this past weekend was an incredibly sad one here in NC and anywhere that Cy Rawls had friends (which was basically all over the place) -- Cy passed away last Thursday at Duke Hospital, having taken a sudden turn for the worst 4 days previous. Since the seizure that first sent Cy to the hospital back in July, followed by the prognosis that the cancer in Cy's brain was terminal and inoperable and the ensuing chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor as much as possible, Cy continued to live as "normally" as he possibly could. If your definition of normal is flying to Louisiana for the night to see Quintron and Miss Pussycat play a show and eat fried pig ears at Cochon.

anyone going to see local bands in the last two months has certainly seen Cy out and about -- at the Superchunk show we did with Rosebuds and Birds of Avalon at the Cradle, he was watching from on top of the PA to the side of the stage, and at the Portastatic show a couple weeks ago he was at the Local 506. Last weekend he sang a couple songs at the Pourhouse in Raleigh at his own benefit concert. just as he was on the basketball court, Cy did not slow down until it was time to stop.

HERE is a mid-game Woody Durham shout-out to uber-Heels fan Cy.

And HERE is the obit in the N&O.

thanks for being you, Cy! we miss you.

Cy Rawls Playlist:

Springsteen - Born in the USA
Fugazi - Repeater
Iron Maiden - Killers
Misfits - Legacy of Brutality (he might actually prefer Danzig but i can't bring myself to put that here)
Black Flag - Everything Went Black
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
The Rosebuds - Make Out
...this could go on forever, Cy loved a lot of music and knew a lot about all of it...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Biden Debates, Palin Recites

wow has there ever been a more irritating politician on the national stage than Sarah Palin? Tina Fey's parody is positively restrained compared to the winking, smirking, "frenetic folksiness" (as Rachel Maddow described it tonight) of Palin. i think she goes to a speech coach to accentuate her grating accent. has she ever not dropped the "g" from the end of a participle? tough to make it through the whole thing but some things were striking:

-- Palin early on asserts that she won't be answering the questions that Ifill was asking if she didn't feel like it
-- puts the economic crisis onto the American people, suggests family belt-tightening
-- lists incorrect facts repeatedly along Republican talking-points lines
-- what is it with Republican wingnuts and the pronunciation of the word nuclear as NUCULAR!!?!?
-- what's an 'energy ticket' ?
-- Palin aligns herself with the popular Dick Cheney
-- at the very end she drifted into this apocalyptic vision of the end times when she will be describing to her grandkids about back when people had their freedoms...

she didn't flake out as she has recently in the Couric and other interviews, but then again she wasn't actually answering the questions as they were asked...and she did nothing to distance her ticket from the W administration's 8 years of failure.

overall Joe Biden came off as a serious person who could seriously be the Vice President (and President if necessary)...Palin, not so much.