very important tweet. preach KT
PSA for all my fellow fans and the musicians we love.
very important tweet. preach KT
PSA for all my fellow fans and the musicians we love.
Another goddamn masterpiece.
2014: Summer Progress Report
Lol I was going to do a lot of these and I did three and stopped. I was thinking of a good excuse to write about this song today, though, and realized there’s still two more weeks of summer so pls bear with.
This song is a Fucking Jam and became part of a canon of a specific kind of Mark Kozelek song for me this summer: the 8+ minute MK tune to listen to during the hottest part of the afternoon fighting crowds on campus during lunch break, or on the way to the subway. The canon is filled out by "Duk Koo Kim," "Cruiser," “Between Days” and the jam version of "Carry Me Ohio."
Benji didn’t really click with me until I saw Sun Kil Moon with my dad and my friend miles-imgs in July. They played the bulk of the record and I was pretty rapt and following along with the lyrics and occasionally <sincere>tearing up<\sincere> at the experience (which was heightened by the presence of my dad, who instilled me with a love of music and one of my lifelong best friends.) I listened to it twice the next day during a rainy bus ride to Richmond, VA to see my sister’s band and hang out with Andrew.
Of all the anecdotes related in this song and over the whole record, the one that I hang on the most is the one where Mark goes to see Ivo Watts-Russell in the New Mexico desert to thank him face to face for taking a chance on him 25 or so years ago. It’s so goddamn tender and sincere, and also serves to set the record straight (many people are under the impression that Red House Painters left 4AD because Mark and Ivo fell out, which has never been true.)
I already did this music tag some months ago, but since I was tagged yesterday by the lovely “staybehindtheyellowline”, I’ll do it again! I should say that there is a lot of music that I listen to often but that I don’t have on my iPod (blame it on Spoify) while there is quite a lot of music that I have on my iPod that I never ever listen to.
Rules: YOU CAN tell a lot about someone by the music they listen to. Hit shuffle on your iPod / iPhone / iTunes /Media player and write down the first 10 songs. then pass this onto 10 peopl
- "I Think I Need a New Heart" - The Magnetic Fields
- "Red Flag Diver" - Aimee Mann
- "Hardcore Composeer" - Gang Starr
- "Ultrakos" - Ceo
- "Black" - Pearl Jam
- "To Bring You My Love" - PJ Harvey
- "Dead of Winter" - Eels
- "Help Me Marry" - Liz Phair
- "Wilco (The Song)" - Wilco
- "We End Up Together" - The New Pornographers
Kind of disappointed with how this list turned out! No Latin music and no Taylor Swift! This doesn’t represent my music taste a lot!
I tag: my friend Bautista (although I know he hates these things), littlepapercone, joshwinters, wolfpartyjoe , therockandrollyears, themediabrew, the—reluctant—optimist, onett199x, stupidthreats, and let the 10th person be anyone who wants to do it.
It’s my first day of school in four years. Getting tagged in this makes me feel like I was at least not last picked for gym class wiffleball or something. But I can’t decide what to shuffle. I lost the vast music library I had been collecting since teenhood on peer to peer networks when my laptop was stolen a few summers ago. Right after that, Spotify hit our shores and I don’t really have a library so much as pay to access one. My Spotify “Starred” playlist doesn’t feel totally honest considering I’ve listened to every song on it at least once and “liked” them to revisit later. There will be no new discoveries of stuff previously unheard like in andrewtsks' But it's still pretty vast and a few years old at this point so maybe there'll be some curveballs. Let's check it out.
1. Archers Of Loaf - “Fabricoh” Appropriate, because I was listening to All Our Nation’s Airport a bunch last week and haven’t revisited Vee Vee in awhile. This song bangs. Anguish anthem.
2. Insides - “Skindivers” Insides was a 4AD (or maybe Guernica) band in the early/mid-90s. I read Facing The Other Way this winter and made it a point to check out everything I hadn’t heard before that was mentioned in the book, like Insides. Gorgeous track, probably slots nicely alongside a lot of the “weirdness” in pop music that’s been discussed lately. But it feels weird to listen to on a hot August afternoon.
3. Lil B - “Gon’ Be Okay” Holy shit, I needed this today. This samples the theme from Spirited Away. Kind of a perfect “embarking on a new chapter” song.
4. Life Without Buildings - “Sorrow” One of my favorite songs of all time and, unlike the Insides track, the exact thing I want to hear at the end of summer. The clean, mathy guitar work in Life Without Buildings and American Football are August Melancholy canon. “The many ways. The many w-w-ways.”
5. Swervedriver - “Deep Seat” I feel like this is “Dreams Burn Down“‘s angry younger brother or something. I love the affected snarl of Adam Franklin’s vocals in this band.
6. Future Islands - “Inch Of Dust” This is from when I was trying to play catch-up following the infamous performance. These guys have been a fixture of the borderlands between punk and ambitious 80s pop since before that was even a thing and I’m ashamed I never once checked them out despite them reliably playing here at least once a year.
7. Guided By Voices - “Bulldog Skin” I remember you could download the video for this song off their site in the pre-YouTube era and it got a lot of play in my house. This is one of those straightforward kickass rock songs that make you wonder why Robert Pollard is not a household name. Like despite all the weird ass beauty and unintentional genius that exists in his catalog, I feel like his talent shines through on songs like this and “Glad Girls” unadulterated.
8. Kiss It Goodbye - “Hellraiser” Checked them out because they were namechecked in the old End Of A Year bio as the reason they put out a record on Revelation. If you are a fan of fringier, weirdo hardcore (that doesn’t cross into “mysterious guy” territory) EOAYSDF are a pretty good “recommendations engine” for stuff in that lane. I find this heavy as fuck but obviously really smart, and the singer kind of reminds me of Mark Arm. I wonder what andrewtsks thinks of this band.
9. Taylor Swift - “White Horse” This feels appropriate as the penultimate track on this shuffle jaunt. That’s usually where I put the mellow acoustic song on mixes past. If you hate “Shake It Off” (I’m currently indifferent) this should serve as a reminder of Taylor Swift’s songwriting talent, especially her ability to write a catchy ballad that doesn’t hang around too long. I love the way she says “This is a big world/That was a small town.” Also if Juana didn’t get a Taylor Swift song I guess it means something that I did?
10. Miracle Legion - “Storyteller” Another one of my August go-to’s. There’s a humid quality to the production of Miracle Legion’s stuff and Mark Mulcahy’s vocals and stories pretty much define melancholy for me, whether here or with Polaris or on Fresh Air last year. “You try to think of brand new ways to stay apart because you think it’s all for the best.” Fuuuuuuuckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk summer’s over fuuuuckkkkkkk.
I don’t think I can manage to tag ten people in this. But ancientmystery, funkyassdicegame, dentalhospital, kaceydilla, itsredrover, dontneedadrum, locationiseverything and raptoravatar should do this if they feel like it. A+ way to spend 35 minutes, thanks Juana.
The inaugural TWOB Fest this weekend will raise money for an all-ages DIY show space in Philly, to open this fall.
My first piece for WXPN’s The Key is on this weekend’s TWOB Fest, which should be a lot of fun. Check it out!
Going to be controversial but realistic here and say this is a waste of effort and money. There’s a lot of cheerful rah-rahing about the importance of spaces in this article that I just think ignores a lot of stuff in plain view: we have an incredible environment for DIY shows presently, operating a business (especially music-related) in this city is a nightmare and there is a lack of any firm detail about the goal. For one thing, there is no lack of legal all ages spaces here. I can name The Fire, The Barbary, the First Unitarian Church, LAVA, and PhilaMOCA off the top of my head. Barring LAVA and maybe the FUC, music functions as a loss-leader for those places, which I guess is what the organizers of TWOB actually take exception with. The biggest threat to live music in general here was the Promoter Bill which was struck down pretty handily.
In their words, the aim is to “create something sustainable.” I think if you’re being honest with yourself, what exists in Philadelphia right now is quite sustainable. Yes, the bulk of DIY spaces operate illegally, but there has never been a crackdown on those shows like there was in Boston a few years ago. Excepting the Terrordome, I can’t think of any basement venue that has had to quit because of police attention in the 7 or so years I’ve been going to shows here. If I remember correctly the Terrordome had gotten a bit too much attention from the press which led to the crackdown there. The last few times I’ve read the alt-weeklies, Golden Tea House shows were listed so I’m not sure how much of a real concern that kind of attention is anymore. GTH is mentioned in this post as doing 15-20 shows a month which I think is what Terrordome was doing at their height, which clearly illustrates the principle that when one place shuts down it won’t be long before something else takes its place. If (god forbid) GTH ever got busted, no doubt something would materialize to fill the void.
There is almost a tiered/farm-league system between venues and promoters here. Illegal venues take up the bottom, pairing up small-to-medium touring acts and upstart-to-established local bands. As artists grow in popularity its not uncommon to see them move through venues like a system: first tour at a house show, year later sees them headline the Fire or the Barbary, few months later sees them opening or co-headlining the Church, and then maybe Union Transfer after album two. Perfect Pussy is a recent example — their first shows here were in a basement somewhere, then Golden Tea House. They’re about to headline the First Unitarian Church for the second time next week. Promoters play a role here that’s probably akin to talent scouts. The Guild, R5 and the Kat Kat folks all book at a mix of illegal and legal venues (R5 obviously less so.) I know the Guild and R5 have teamed up on shows before.
So I guess the aim is to replace the lower/illegal tier with something legal. Of course I don’t have a problem with the sentiment but I fail to see why it’s necessary when what exists now works and is far beyond what exists in other cities in the Northeast Corridor. I gather a secondary aim of this is to have a dedicated music club that does not have a bar or other commercial element. Again, I have no problem with this sentiment but I feel it ignores the efforts the Barbary and the Fire undertake to host all ages shows. I have booked one show in the city ever, so I’m definitely not an expert. But it was a complete last minute disaster during a blizzard and it was at the Fire. Nick from the Guild basically served as my proxy and it was really easy. I can’t speak for anyone else’s experience, though. I find the Barbary and the Fire kind of admirable because despite Philadelphia’s oft-cited blue liquor laws, both these clubs have made it a point to serve all-ages audiences. I don’t know their motivation for this but it exists and it’s worth noting. The Fire was barred from doing all ages shows three or four years ago because concertgoers had to enter through the bar to get to the stage. Rather than stop doing all ages shows forever, they built a separate entrance for the hall. The Barbary opens for all ages shows and closes their downstairs bar.
From a more crass commercial POV I wonder how the TWOB guys hope to succeed in “making something sustainable.” For one thing, opening any kind of business in this city is a major nightmare. Historically, music venues have been met with opposition from neighborhood groups. If it opens, what’s their “model?” Hoping to make enough money to pay the rent from 15-25 modestly priced shows a week seems tough although I don’t know what the numbers actually look like. Are they looking to set up a non-profit? Or will they be forced to operate the music club alongside another business like a coffee shop or restaurant? I think the money from this fest would be better suited for something like Girls Rock Philly or Rock To The Future or basically anything else you can find here: http://volunteer.phila.gov/
One thing I forget about music, maybe because of age and added stressors/Real Life Bullshit, is that sometimes it functions as magic and teleports your brain to other places. I’ve been working 50-60 hours a week this summer and have been consistently homesick for Chester County.
I bought this record last year on July 4th and drove back roads to the Parkesburg Amtrak stop to pick up Maddie while blaring it. I put it on this morning at work and instantly it’s sunglasses, rolling hills, horse farms and perfect heat in my head.
So I guess this weekend, chill and remember that Music Is Magic and take a mental vacation with one of your all-time faves. Lol. \sincerity
Reblog if Jenny Lewis is super important to uuu
Damn, true, I never even thought about that angle! Probably still holds weight if people want because I think the new one also has an abrupt mix of styles.
I might have a lot more coming about this record later because I am always hammering it into my IRL friends brains that this band is an Actual Phenomenon. But first, some thoughts on that Jim Kerr article I posted a couple days ago, and Merchandise and punk bands and the 80s.
Joyce Manor have been getting a lot of comparisons to the Smiths lately, which I do not think is off-base although it is occasionally a stretch: Never Hungover Again is definitely *not* like a Smiths record, although there are some elements of the sound they’re working with here that are. For example, the clean lead part on this song reminds me so much of the outro of "Reel Around The Fountain." And the lyric “I wish you would have died in high school” is very Morrissey in its bluntness.
Most of you are smarter than me so please let me know if there is a simple word for what I am about to suggest: Where Merchandise are like fully occupying this 80s sound (their visuals, too, to an extent) to the point that one could easily write it off as pastiche or a throwback, Joyce Manor are taking elements from 80s guitar music and doing pretty unique stuff with them, like incorporating them into songs that move as fast as hardcore.
There’s a lot of ways you can make punk music cross over. You can do it in the really well-worn and “safe” way Merchandise has by synth-ing it up and putting on make-up and posing like pop stars (which don’t get me wrong I love and I think it saved them.) Or you can be like Joyce Manor. I know my friends and I have always had a hard time making easy comparisons to their music. Some people think they sounds like Weezer which LOL that’s a compliment? Some people said GBV just because there was some tape-hiss on the second record. No doubt with their higher profile, writers are going to try and roll them into #emorevival. But I don’t think anyone has pinned them down. Although I am trying really hard to push this Hardcore Third Eye Blind idea through. I’m sure there’s some evidence that artists that are hard to figure out at least generate a lot of conversation, no? Four years after their debut I can’t think of another punk band that has been talked about so consistently and in such high regard and through several blogyears worth of different punk hype cycles.