Saturday, December 26, 2009

Vic Chesnutt, 1964-2009

Terribly sad news on Christmas that Vic Chesnutt has died at 45. He leaves a unique and compelling body of work both solo albums and collaborations with others including our friends Lambchop. His album with Elf Power, Dark Developments, is one of my favorite things by both artists. Thinking today about everyone who knew Chesnutt and his music.

Kristin Hersh has set up a website where people can donate money to help Vic's family with expenses.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Favorites of 2009!

more than 10 of course, and all Merge titles excluded as usual because that wouldn't be fair to the rest...

XX Merge marathon!
touring & eating in Japan
Bill CallahanI Wish We Were An Eagle
Dirty ProjectorsBitte Orca
PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Amadou & MariamWelcome To Mali
Jim O’RourkeThe Visitor
Yo La TengoPopular Songs
Cass McCombsCatacombs
St Vincent - Actor
Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t
Monsters of FolkMonsters of Folk
Mountain GoatsThe Life of the World To Come
WilcoWilco (the Album)
Leonard Cohen live at Coachella and in Durham, NC
Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall
Open Strings: Early Virtuoso Recordings, by Various LP Box Set
Yeah Yeah YeahsIt’s Blitz!
Camera ObscuraMy Maudlin Career
ObitsI Blame You
AC NewmanGet Guilty
Akron Family - Set Em Wild, Set Em Free
Reigning Sound - Love and Curses

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Make It Sound In Tune

new 7-song Portastatic digital EP of Merge covers is now available to the public! all proceeds going to SCORE! charities....details and EP for purchase HERE....

also nice Amazon rating of Our Noise -- in the Top 10 Entertainment Books of 2009....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Action

back from an awesome trip to Japan; great crowds, great shows, great hosts -- special thanks to Hideki and Tak at Contrarede as well as Andy and Aya at our label P-Vine. had a great view of Mt Fuji on the way back to Tokyo from Nagoya and did some serious eating post-tour in Tokyo as well as catching a Jim O'Rourke gig with Akira Sakata at the legendary Pit-Inn. sad to miss a couple Yo La Tengo shows in Tokyo while we were there but as i say we had some eating to do.

Score! subscribers have by now received the latest Portastatic EP, a digital-only release of 7 covers of songs from the Merge catalog. the EP will soon be available for purchase by non-subscribers at the Merge site, with all proceeds going to the SCORE! charities. artists covered on the EP are Matt Suggs, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, Spent, Lambchop, Destroyer and The Renderers. there were more i wanted to record but ran out of time...

also on the Portastatic / SCORE! front, the latest and last round of curated CDs in the series have gone out and the curators for the last two excellent volumes are Mindy Kaling and Andrea Zittel. on the Andrea Zittel CD there's a really cool film she made called "House After Ten Years of Living" (after the Eames's film about their own house) and i recorded the score for it, so if you're a subscriber you'll see that soon as well.

also briefly back to Japan, we covered a Telekinesis song called "Tokyo" and Michael Benjamin Lerner has a link to the vid up on his site

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nagoya Rock City

people here in Japan seem generally down on Nagoya, but i like it. great udon with miso for lunch, and great show for our last of the tour. set list, i think i'm forgetting a song though and can't figure out which it is:

Late Century Dream
Animated Airplanes Over Germany
Learned To Surf
Hello Hawk
Punch Me Harder
Kicked In
The Question Is How Fast
Package Thief
Crossed Wires
I Guess I Remembered it Wrong
Detroit Has A Skyline
Throwing Things

Driveway To Driveway
Slack Motherfucker
Precision Auto

encore #2
Hyper Enough

had another great post-show meal and almost hit the local "American folk song bar" called Blond on Blonde but were too beat. next time!
now back to Tokyo for some non-rock fun.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kyoto and Osaka Wild Styles

no time to blog what with all the rocking and eating and train-taking over here, i'm a few days behind.... we played Kyoto on Thursday in a tiny underground place called Metro, completely unrelated i can tell you to the Chicago venue of the same name...reminded us of some of the sweatier clubs we played in Brazil. crowd took a few songs to warm up, as did we, but then got moving and was great. i don't remember the setlist anymore from this night but i know that we played "100,000 Fireflies" in the encore. speaking of encores, in Tokyo we realized that "Hyper Enough" seems to be everyone's favorite song here, so it is an encore staple now. what's funny is they cheer the loudest during the song not when the chorus comes around but when the guitar hook happens.

also in Kyoto -- the best sushi ever. it's Kyoto-style, which is an ancient version different than the modern "Tokyo-style". see picture above of one of the best things i've ever eaten -- Saba (Mackeral) sushi, Kyoto style with Kombu seaweed wrapped around the outside. you unpeel it and eat the seaweed later. incredible.

Osaka is known for its gluttony and "crazy" crowds at rock shows and we experienced both. the fans at Fandango last night from the minute we said "konban wa" were nuts and it made for a really fun show. they have the monitors strapped to the stage with an elaborate system of trusses for a reason. Osaka set from what i can remember:

Why Do You Have to Put A Date...
Seed Toss
Learned to Surf
Art Class
Let It Go
The Popular Music
For Tension
Late-Century Dream
My Noise
Driveway to Driveway
First Part
Precision Auto

Throwing Things
Like A fool
Cast Iron

on to Nagoya via fast fast train!

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Superchunk In Japan

2nd night of tokyo was upstairs from the first night, in a smaller venue called the O-Nest. the promoter requested a special show, different from the first night. once we cast aside the idea of playing one of our albums all the way through (though we did determine that the only ones which would be possible would be On the Mouth and Tossing Seeds, and even those would require playing songs we'd never played live...) we settled on an "acoustic set" but even that we whittled down to just 5 songs -- in truth we'd rather just play a normal set! but the acoustic portion went down ok i suppose. then the rock, and though the crowd was maybe less off the chain than night previous, still great reception:

Tokyo O-Nest

Throwing Things
Hello Hawk
Seed Toss

My Noise
From the Curve
Question Is How Fast
Crossed Wires
Cast Iron
Late-Century Dream
Tie A Rope
Package Thief

Like A Fool
Hyper Enough

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Superchunk at O-West, Tokyo

Last night was the first show of our Japan tour and the crowd was insane and great. We had typical first night of tour foul-ups that hopefully no one noticed but us, and the show ended up a good one, sold out and sweaty. Excellent crowd participation on handclaps for the entire duration of Tiny Bombs, a first. Another first, covering Telekinesis's perhaps slightly too appropriate song "Tokyo"...

Throwing Things
Learned to Surf
I Guess I Remembered It Wrong
Art Class (Song for Yayoi Kusama)
For Tension
Punch Me Harder
Hello Hawk
Crossed Wires
Tiny Bombs
First Part

Tokyo (Telekinesis)
Cast Iron
Hyper Enough

followed by late-night sushi for some of us...see Jim above showing our friend Hideki the proper way to use chopsticks.
tonight's show at the smaller O-Nest club upstairs will incorporate an acoustic portion of the set at the beginning...we'll see how that goes!

currently listening to Chuck Kaiton call the 'Canes-Devils game, 9.30 in the morning Tokyo time, i love technology. wish i could say the same about the way the defense is playing.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

If You Can't Sleep, Eat

thoroughly jet-lagged, wandering around before anything besides a starbucks is open for food, at 10 AM i was the first person in the Kurage Art Cafe, part of the Tokyo Wonder Site Center for Contemporary Art in Shibuya. I had a recommendation to go to TWS but had no idea where it was, so i was happy to stumble upon it and find that it had a cafe.

miso soup, fried swordfish, eggplant and a softboiled egg with bonito flakes....not what i normally have for breakfast, but delicious and it was followed by ice cream.

first Tokyo show of the tour tonight at O-West!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Mata ne! Superchunk Heads East

Superchunk heads to Japan on Monday for a tour of that fine island nation -- Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya -- our first since 2001, an adventure covered a bit in our Quest for Sleep movie...
Looking forward to the shows, the people, the food...

Meanwhile End-of-Year and End-of-Decade lists abound...i'm not quite there yet but here's a list of some of my favorite Japanese artists...will definitely be rocking some Aki Tsuyuko on the plane trip over there...this list is off the top of my head so i'm sure i'm forgetting some things i love:

Boredoms (plus related such as UFO or Die, OOIOO)
Tujiko Noriko
Aki Tsuyuko
Nobukazu Takemura
Yoshitomo Nara
Yayoi Kusama
On Kawara
Hayao Miyazaki
Taiyo Kimura
Kazuo Ishiguro

also list-related, this person has kindly included Bright Ideas in the top 100 albums of the last decade! nice.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Warner Bros. Brings the Joy

This is an awesome post by Tim Quirk at Rhapsody, describing a recently received royalty statement from Warner Bros. for records released by his former band, Too Much Joy. Who says accounting isn't fun!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Merge It Up

not even Christmas yet but over at Merge we've got 2010 coming at you -- exciting new tracks from Shout Out Louds and Spoon are up this week, previews of great albums to come....and more exciting announcements soon from Merge HQ.


5 straight losses, third straight game blowing a lead (when you're only consolation is that the Caps didn't score 5 goals in the 3rd period, you know things are bad). Ovechkin showed his nasty side with a knee-to-knee hit on Gleason and took himself out of the game. 'Canes still couldn't win. Theodore, who i feel like we generally play well against, made some amazing saves. So did Leighton, but he coupled them with some unbelievably terrible positioning, it's hard to stop the puck when you're guarding your goal from 15 feet to one side of it. depressing and on top of it we lost Corvo with a skate laceration...