Monday, April 26, 2010

delay delay delay.

alright so i keep forgetting to blog. or maybe i'm too lazy. or both. maybe i'm too lazy to even forget to blog. maybe i just don't blog. maybe there's no explaining it. i give up.

last entry we were in denton, right? right. we played a show in dallas on the 22nd. it was in a venue called the loft. they had like 50,000 rooms and they were all pretty darn big. vinnie paul's band was playing downstairs when we were. pretty funny. the show went pretty well. the room was full of friends from denton and it was a good vibe. lesley's mum lisa made an appearance and she rules. legit southern babe. after the show we had some ihop (we were a little delirious, i think we freaked out the staff) then went back to lesley/courtnie's for a little bit of hang/party before a little bit of sleep. we woke up and drove to little rock, arkansas for the next show, our first with frightened rabbit. they finally escaped the lava-y clutches of that volcano.

they're super nice guys. joe, jord and i had a delicious meal in the restaurant part of the venue we played (the rev room) with an excellent wine. SPLENDID. we had a few sound issues which made the show a bit tricky but eh. after that we drove to memphis through a pretty incredible storm. sheets and sheets and sheets of rain. it was like driving in the ocean. there was amazing lightening all around. i put on some cult of luna and treated it like a big exciting fireworks display. i was really hoping for a tornado and kept watching the skyline but no dice. we did our usual sneak-all-of-us-into-one-hotel-room trick and got a bit of rest.

woke up too early and started our drive to atlanta, georgia. real nice drive, probably my favourite so far. we stopped off in birmingham, alabama to have lunch with don (one of the managers at TAO, our management company) at a sweet mexican joint. it rules. i got a gnarly taco salad. after that we trekked on to atlanta. after load in i scoped out the place. it was called the masquerade. pretty intense. like a castle but turned into a venue with 3 main indoor rooms and apparently this outdoor venue that has a 6,000 person capacity. crazy. in one of the indoor rooms (called 'purgatory') there were these 3 spooky statue figure kinda things on one of the balconies. looked like something out of from dusk till dawn or dracula or something. real spooky. that show went alright too, the sound was a little better. cool to have don and jason in the crowd (jason works for TAO too). the load out after the show was tricky cause it was bucketing down but we managed it somehow.

we drove back to birmingham with a short stop over to a waffle house/wendy's for some late munchies. the storm was raging on the way back too but we managed to miss the worst of it. apparently a tornado hit pretty heavily in mississippi and like 10 people were killed. nasty. we got back to don's house which is memorabilia everywhere and one of the best music collections i think i've ever seen. music heaven. eventually got to bed at i have no idea what time. i'm sleeping in his home theatre which is in his basement. no windows and no clocks. it's like i exist outside time and space down there. woke up real late and went for a bit of a drive later on with don and his wife through birmingham. picked up some groceries and went home for dinner. elaine (don's wife) cooked up some black beans and rice and we had some roasted peppers and bbq chicken and SO much amazing food. we were officially spoilt. some decent wine too, and these chocolate chip it was like heaven after touring food hell. tour diet is like a punishment. i saw rohin tonight at this thai restaurant we went to and he looked like a new man after decent food and sleep. the effect was almost shocking.

that night we watched nirvana live at reading and man...what a concert. kicks you in the face. really punchy and full recording and really good performance. legit. stayed up late and watched glory with joe and jord (not great...some good scenes but i'm surprised at how strong of a rep it has) and then dazed & confused with jord. stayed up for a while trying to find all the theme time radio hour episodes on but could only find a bunch of season 1. hard to find, those shows. sleep then woke up, hung out for a bit. didn't do much. some table tennis with joe. eventually we went out for a drive around birmingham with don. he showed us a lot of civil rights landmarks; birmingham was kind of the epicentre for a lot of civil rights stuff in the 60's. i've seen a lot of photos from that time, was interesting to see some of the real locations. after that we headed to a thai restaurant which was legit. now we're back at the house. joe and i finished watching the jackal and now we're working our way through the pacific getting up to date.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

offsite blog entry.

i did a blog about coachella for home & hosed on the triple j website. enjoy.

since coachella, however, we've played another show with beach house in tempe, AZ. the short run of shows we were supposed to be doing with frightened rabbit are probably picking up after a dallas show we're doing without them tomorrow night but we're still waiting to see. we're in denton at the moment. back in trusty denton. this town is great and we love everyone in it.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

oh gosh.

WARNING: this entry is long.

i'm dreadfully behind. sorry everyone. part III coming later.

alright so we left denton on the 12th. we travelled to flagstaff which is in arizona.

it snowed a bit which was sweet. the next day we woke up and went to the grand canyon and it rules awfully hard. on the way we found a smaller canyon which was pretty epic and awesome, and not a lot of fences.

in that second photo, where jord is sitting...very, very high up. and he's sitting right on the edge. it's a drop straight to the bottom from there. i got serious vertigo up there. also we found some snow.

after that we went on to the canyon. it was big.

this is me at the canyon. it was really, really big. looks a bit like a painted backdrop actually. sigh. after that we got some postcards. then we headed into a town to get some lunch. taco bell.


this was a taco bell attached to a kfc. UNEXPLAINED. i mean, why would you combine the two? this was disturbing. like it really got to me. a CHICKEN store...and a TACO store. why were they not just single stores? anyway.

you can see here that no one is attending the counter. why is this? it was like this for about 2 minutes or so after we walked in. fast food people should be all over you like a bad stink asking "WOULD YOU LIKE TO ORDER" almost before you've walked in the door or even had a chance to decide you're hungry and going to eat their fast food. the lady who eventually served us was nice, at least. the food took a little while to come out. i ordered the...uh..."stufd burrito"? in beef. i think.

this was the view once i sat down. pretty boring, you will agree. step it up, taco bell. my burrito looked like this:

fairly well wrapped. the rolling was firm and comfortable to grip. soft to the touch, but not floppy. just as a good burrito should be. after a bite or two, the taco took on this shape:

there was rice, guacamole, sour cream, salsa and beans. every good burrito should contain at least this. accept nothing less.


we headed on. eventually wound up in bakersfield, CA. i walked to a barnes & noble and bought a book which is a bunch of directors talking about their first films. pretty cool, i've devoured about 280 pages in the last 2 days. it's that good. solid sleep, woke up, free breakfast (including waffles, thanks hotel). we set out to get to davis, CA. we got a bit lost but wound up at the venue for the night, freeborn hall (at UC davis). the show was with passion pit and mayer hawthorne & the county. we loaded in and soundchecked after mayer.

the show went pretty sweet. mayer and the dudes were really nice and passion pit were too. i love it when good bands are good dudes. ultimate win. after the show we headed off to turlock, CA (somewhere in CA...) to sleep. i slept on the floor cause there wasn't enough beds. so did bree and mark. what a time to be alive. bailed in the morning after some FROSTED FLAKES and headed to pomona, CA to the fox theatre for the show with pavement. this incredible.

watching pavement soundcheck was most excellent. such a legit band. i ran off to find a lady who i was told bore the name of "maria": she had the keys to the projection booth which i noticed sitting up in the dark upper balcony of the theatre. once i found this lady (who happened to be incredibly nice and awesome) she showed me around. and boy, what a sight...

i bet you're looking at it and thinking "eh, that ain't much of a sight" but to someone like me...hoo boy. not quite the mother-lode but still very impressive. the further 35mm projector is going to be junked because it sucks but the foreground one is still in impressive nick; they're keeping it for history's sake but getting 2 new/refurbished 35mm projectors donated from a heritage society. they've got an original follow-spot in there and a slide projector...both from the 1930s. quite amazing.

they showed the wizard of oz not long ago and admission was $1. $1! for the new print from the restored negative! amazing. i wish i could have gone, apparently it was a full house. kids were loving it, adults were loving it. everyone. LOVING IT.


the fox theatre, as maria informed me, was opened in around 1931. it was originally owned by fox studios (which joined with 20th century in 1935 to become what we know today as 20th century fox) hence the name. it seats around 675 on the balcony and i'd estimate around 1200-1300 on the floor (the seats were taken out, this is just my guess). the belltower:

originally used to store the air conditioning for the entire theatre. it would intake air through the roof and using tunnels/pipes it'd feed it throughout the building to cool paying clientel. it is now used as a storage space. here's an inside view:

the balcony area was originally just a roof but more recent owners decided to turn it into an ourdoor area. it rules a lot. all the interior detail is original with a few exceptions. unfortunately a club owner who hosted a bunch of raves in the place decided to paint the entire interior black which must have looked hideous so a new paint job was in order when the theatre was being properly restored. it also originally had a pipe organ to accompany silent films (by 1931 they were still doing the rounds despite talkies coming into vogue around 1927) exhibited there. the pipes remain but the organs...gone. sadly. the carpet is replica of the original.

they've recently got a nice digital projector in there (i'm not a fan but this one was pretty legit) accompanied with a semi-new surround sound system which was most excellent. go dolby.

a beautiful theatre. it's a pleasure/honour to play here and i can't wait to come through here again and see a film.


we headed out to get some dinner and i snapped a nice photo of the sun setting behind the main facade of the theatre.

and a nice one of bree and jord standing in front of the sign (the sign is still surreal):

we had some solid dinner then headed back to the fox and played. it went surprisingly well. i met a tech fellow named tim who works for the mars volta who looked EXACTLY like andy serkis. quite remarkable. maybe i should get a photo before we bail. i forgot to mention the band room was upstairs which made for a fun walk each time to get our stuff but looked pretty nice out once the sun went down.

we're driving somewhere tonight to sleep. next couple of days is a show with beach house, coachella, frightened rabbit tour...going to be intense. will hopefully be more dilligent with blog entries. and entires to my tumblr of film stills. and part III my favourite songs. phew.


Friday, April 9, 2010

favourite songs ever pt. II.


the dillinger escape plan - the mullet burden. off under the running board, 1998.

the dillinger escape plan redefine the term acquired taste. if you listen to their songs just once you'll get the impression that the songwriting is amateur and there's no order to it all. at first glance it's just chaos, mindless noise. invest a bit more time and you'll keep discovering layers of rhythms, melodies (i use that term loosely), meters and everything running every which way at all times...but all perfectly wrangled into this monsterous sound. with NIN breaking up recently i'd say dillinger have just grabbed the baton as the most forward thinking "heavy" band in the world still active. big words but they're true.

ennio morricone - once upon a time in the west. off once upon a time in the west (soundtrack), 1972. later released on the legendary italian westerns: the film composers series vol. 2, 1990.

i can't remember when i first heard morricone's music. it's quite possibly when i first saw "the thing" which would have been about 10 years ago. while the score for that film doesn't rank in his ULTIMATE BEST EVER it's still sick and an example of morricone not restricting himself to the kinds of films he scores. this song is the main theme for once upon a time in the west, sergio leone's 1968 masterpiece and it really gives you an idea of the scope of the film. the female vocal kind of sneaks in there but becomes the best thing about it, swelling with the orchestra and reminding you why you love morricone: he rules, that's why.

blind willie johnson - dark was the night, cold was the ground. off about 5 million cheap store gospel compilations. likely recorded in 1927.

i do believe i first heard this song in around 2005. far too late into my life, to be sure. blind willie johnson, in my opinion, has the rare distinction of being the most badarse blind musician ever. i rank him higher than ray charles and stevie wonder. BLASPHEMY? definitely not. dude used a KNIFE for slide. well, was rumoured to. but that's a cool rumour, right? he has a scant 30 recordings to his name which makes his music all the more treasured, and his guitar playing is revered as some of the best slide guitar there is or ever was. this song was selected for the voyager golden record to be shot into space. hopefully somewhere in the universe there's some 100 headed green alien dude who breathes pure fire that's listening to this song and crying.

hank williams - why don't you love me? released as a single with a house without love as the b-side, 1950.

hank williams. what can really be said about him? a lot. but i won't say that much. if you don't like country, hank can be the one to turn you around. most recommend johnny cash as a starting point because of his crossover appeal (and basically universal acceptance) however i'd probably point to hank first. his music carries a more simplistic approach that's disarming at first but have a go at reading his lyrics with dry eyes. it's interesting to read them as opposed to hearing them sung because of the music they're set against. it's almost like they don't suit but at the same time you can't imagine anything suiting more. screw emo bands, hank's lyrics are some of the most heartwrenching written by human hands. he could out-drink keith richards by a country mile. he had a rough life and died at 29 but had produced a startling amount of music by then. we're lucky to have it.

hank williams - i'll never get out of this world alive. released as a single in 1952 then posthumously on honky tonkin', 1954.

another one of hank's songs where the title betrays the musical mood of the song, it was meant to be taken in an ironic fashion but anyone who knew anything about williams' life could easily take a more chilling perspective. in a real sting of irony it was also the last song hank ever released.

hot rod circuit - safely. off sorry about tomorrow, 2002.

a friend from a while back burnt me a bunch of hot rod circuit albums in around 2003. this was the one i gravtiated towards the most and remains that way (with the exception of some tracks off the underground is a dying breed, 2007). this song in particular i think is the strongest on the album with unassuming verses leading into a killer chorus. a good slice of early 2000's vagrant brand emo-rock.

keith green - because of you [live]. originally recorded in 1978, later released on the live experience, 2008.

keith green was a bit of an anomaly in his day. as a christian singer/songwriter he didn't fit easily into the christian music machine mould of the era he was active in (70's and early 80's) instead opting to do things like record full albums then after morgaging he and his wife's home to fund the recording, offer them completely free of charge (or at a price determined by the purchaser) as well as refusing to charge for concerts at which atendees sometimes numbered in the tens of thousands. these tactics are employed today in the digital age when there's less at stake but keith did it because he felt it was wrong to do anything other than give all of his music away. with moves like that it's hard to deny his heart was in the right place, especially listening to a live recording like this where it sounds like he's floating off his seat with excitement and enthusiasm for the song and its' message. unable to contain himself he litters the performance with comments and impulsive noises between lines, often running out of breath but not caring in the slightest. around the 1:54 mark he throws in an impressive piano roll just for the hell of it and you can picture him pulling a ray charles-esque laughter-head-throw-back after it. whether you agreed with his beliefs (i happen to) or not, you can't deny keith was a legit performer.

keith green - your love broke through. off for him who has ears to hear, 1977.

christian or otherwise, keith's 1977 debut album is a pretty strong start to a songwriting career. although he only got 5 years or so of a recording career in before his death in 1982 he put those years to good use and this song is a prime example of his songwriting abilities early on. he even managed to rub off on bob dylan a bit when the two became friends in the late 70's as evidenced by the musical direction of dylan's gospel albums (which often divide fans and critics). ace troubleshooter do a killer cover of this song i've never managed to find. well worth it if you can get your hands on it.

levon helm - growin' trade. off electric dirt, 2009.

for the uninitiated, levon helm played drums and frequently performed lead vocals in a band who were called the band. besides a number of albums under their own name they backed bob dylan on a number of his recordings in the 60's and 70's as well as a number of tours and live recordings in the same period before breaking up in 1976. put simply, they were sick. levon's solo career began not long after the end of the band's with his first "solo" album coming in 1977 with many more following. after suffering from throat cancer in the late 1990's it was questionable whether he'd ever sing again but his voice broke through in 2004 and while a shadow of its' former self it's become something unique and very distinctive already. this song is simple and a good introduction to helm. try not to whistle along.

the mars volta - the day of the baphomets. off amputechture, 2006.

the volta hold a special place in my heart. they're not one of my favourite bands really but i watch them closely because they're always going in a few different directions at any given time, sometimes with varied results. after holding the first two albums in high esteem amputechture came as a bit of a rude shock to me. it felt like a randomly strung together collection of songs compared to the other albums which felt more...cohesive. it took a lot of listens to begin to really appreciate the structure and now it's just about my favourite album of theirs. this song is a favourite because it has just about everything i love about the mars volta contained within the one tune. being on the BDO tour with them earlier this year was incredibly exciting and getting to see them perform multiple times within the space of a week or so was the best. THE best.

mastodon - the last baron. off crack the skye, 2009.

for mastodon fans this may seem like a weird choice. i tend to really massively dig entire mastodon albums as opposed to songs but with crack the skye, i didn't dig all the songs. seeing them live earlier this year (like 5 times BOOYAH) when they performed the entirity of the album from start to finish helped me to make more sense of the songs i didn't really enjoy on the album, but it's still not their most solid release in my eyes. anyway, this track is the last one and it goes for about 13 minutes. without hearing it you might assume it would get boring but it really doesn't. also there's a sick guitar solo at the end. nooge.

mastodon - crystal skull. off blood mountain, 2006.

i remember my pal ben and i used to laugh about how much blood mountain rules. even friends of mine that don't like metal kind of dig it. this song just kills, really. it has a sick solo toward the end and what has to be one of the greatest "metal claw" inducing moments in musical history around the 2:00 mark when scott kelly (of neurosis) decided to put his bit in. if you like heavy music you will like this track. if you don't there's something legit wrong with you and you should really get that checked out.

mewithoutYou - silencer. off [A --> B] life, 2002.

easily the best lyricist you've never heard about. mewithoutYou as a band are incredible but you should really google "mewithoutYou lyrics" and have a read. this album is rough-as-nails compared to their later more elaborately orchestrated efforts but it's just as good if not better. essentially this is a breakup album but to call it that is to reduce the impact (you'll know what i mean if you read the lyrics). it's a bold statement but if there's anyone around for bob dylan to pass the mantle to lyrically it's probably aaron weiss. did i mention the lyrics rule?

mewithoutYou - seven sisters. off catch for us the foxes, 2004.

catch for us the foxes is an unskippable album, as far as i'm concerned. i actually downloaded it initally because i had no idea where to buy it (i was 15, give me a break) and actually didn't get this particular tune in that version. when i wound up buying the album it was an awesome shock to discover this song right in the middle of the tracklisting. the album was mixed by brad wood who helps then inject just the right amount of reverb to turn this album into a world all its' own. the guitars float around you and everything sits where it should...but sometimes not...which also rules. the lyrics as usual are incredible.

mewithoutYou - carousels. off catch for us the foxes, 2004.

not sure what else to say about mewithoutYou really. you just need to hear them. now. my favourite line in this song is "if there was no way into God, i would never have laid in this grave of a body for so long". perfect.

miles davis - ah-leu-cha. off 'round about midnight, 1957.

i had this album on a cd-r for ages that i copied off ANOTHER cd-r from my dad's friends house around 2001. i never knew what the album actually was until about 5 years later, all that i knew was that it was miles davis and i loved it. i still love it and this song for me is the highlight. it drives forward so strongly with the opposing horn lines and philly joe jones' impeccable drumming dancing all over the place. hard bop at its' finest.

part III'sacomin.

favourite songs ever pt. I.

so i was sitting around bored and thought it might be fun to come up with a list of my favourite songs. these are just songs i own, there's others that i don't that i'm probably forgetting. but that's cool. they're in rough alphabetical order. it's long (60 songs or so) so i've split it into 4 parts.

here's pt. I.

aphex twin - avril 14th. off drukqs - disc 1, 2001.

i first heard aphex twin when i saw the windowlicker music video on rage. must have been 10 years ago. richard d. james has always struck me as the genius type, probably because he's a genius. this is a simple track off drukqs, probably the simplest but i also find it to be the best. it's not flashy or particularly complicated. just nice. the lonely island sampled it for "iran so far away" which unfortunately missed being on incredibad because despite richard being cool with it, warp wanted a ridiculous amount of money. shame.

the appleseed cast - steps and numbers. off low level owl - vol. 1, 2001.

the appleseed cast are one of my very favourite bands there is. they manage to portray such subtle beauty through so little. they started out as a rough-as-nails emo band in the late 90's and flourished into a particularly beautiful post-rock machine. this track shows off what's best about them: intricate rhythms, twinkling guitars and shovel-loads of ambience, especially in the closing half.

the appleseed cast - rooms & gardens. off low level owl - vol. 2, 2001.

this is one of those songs i'll put on repeat to fall to sleep to. the dynamics almost distract me some nights but i'm never annoyed about that. it puts me in a different place. i find this release (together with vol. 1) to be the best thing they've done to date. that's not to say their other releases are particularly bad, it just means this one rules super, super hard.

the appleseed cast - song 3. off peregrine, 2006.

whenever people ask me if i have a song i don't think i'll ever wear out, this is my immediate answer. though i've only been listening to it for 4 years, i've probably listened to it hundreds if not thousands of times - and i'm not exaggerating. i fell asleep to it on repeat for about 2 years. sick.

bob dylan - lay down your weary tune. outtake/b-side from the times they are a-changin, 1964. later released on biograph, 1985.

i'm sure everyone's got a song they love where they knew they loved it about 30 seconds into their first listen. i don't know if this is a strongly revered track among dylan fans but it ought to be. the lyrics betray how young dylan was at the time and still shock me with how strong and clear the imagery is.

bob dylan & the band - most likely you'll go your way (and i'll go mine) [live]. off before the flood, 1974. later released on biograph, 1985.

one of the best live albums available, hands down. not even open for discussion. kicking off with this number, bob & the band set a high standard that the rest of the songs have no difficulty matching or even besting. the only difference between these versions is the biograph version trims off the first half-minute or so of crowd noise.

bob dylan - sad eyed lady of the lowlands. off blonde on blonde, 1966.

even though this song is 11 minutes and 20 seconds long, it holds your attention the entire time. put simply, bob dylan rules. hard.

colleen - everything lay still. off the golden morning breaks, 2005.

my pal/bandmate joe introduced me to colleen after he got this around the time it was released. he told me it wasn't really music, more just an album of textures. he was right on the money, but that said the textures are very musical and beautiful. if you're every having trouble sleeping, put this on. it'll put you right out.

converge - heaven in her arms. off jane doe, 2001.

another one of my favourite bands. no one does visceral, ugly, raw, honest brutality like converge. this album is often passed around as their best and while i'm in two minds, this track and another i'm about to mention really make the album's disgustingly awesome head stick up above the crowd.

converge - thaw. off jane doe, 2001.

now that i think about it, i remember the first time i heard converge. i used to post on the P.O.D. boards a lot (yeah, i know) and someone posted a link to the downpour video. it was embedded into the artwork for unloved and weeded out on a webpage and besides the video, the artwork stayed with me. after not thinking about it for a while i saw a poster for unloved and weeded out in missing link (flinders long ago). picked up jane doe not long after this and basically lost my mind.

converge - in her blood. off you fail me, 2004.

this along with jane doe is in a dead tie for my favourite album of theirs. you fail me injects a solid chunk of groove into their sound that was missing before, the production is a bit clearer (but still with that beautiful tape sound) and the writing is more precise. i challenge you not to nod your head along to this song; not only in approval of the total kickarseness of it but also with how solid the groove is. yes, this track has a pocket, and it's deep.

creedence clearwater revival - born on the bayou. off bayou county, 1969.

i bought creedence solely because the dude (if you don't know who the dude is, get out) loved them to death. i wasn't disappointed at all. with the exception of some of their later albums, CCR didn't really release a weak album. that rules.

dirty three - some things i just don't want to know. off whatever you love, you are, 2000.

my dad used to let my sister and i listen to JJJ most of the time when we were in the car with him. he lived on the other side of melbourne so we were in the car often, not that i'm complaining. it introduced me to buttloads of music. i remember hearing "some summers they drop like flies" and making my dad buy me this album. i was 13 at the time and it was a complete musical revelation to me...i couldn't believe music this emotional existed. i was always into film soundtracks and it was like a blues band playing beautiful soundtrack/orchestral music in their own way...but totally different. they're one of those bands where you either love them to death or you don't know who they are. i don't know a lot of people on the fence. there isn't a band who does what dirty three do anywhere near as well as dirty three do it. there just isn't.

dirty three - ends of the earth. off ocean songs, 1998.

if you like putting on music to escape, especially in a scenic location, you'll find no better album to accompany you than this. my friend joel once sent me a picture message of a beach in perth saying something along the lines of "this and dirty three in my headphones." he didn't have to say anything else.

ed harcourt - until tomorrow then. off the beautiful lie, 2006.

ed harcourt's an interesting one. he often gets written off for faux-sentimentality but i find his tracks pretty damn honest. this one in particular is hard to argue with. he's got a hell of a set of pipes (sonic honey would be a good way of putting it) and instrumental talent to boot. the music has a real depression-era otherworldliness to it. i love that.

part II tomorrow. hopefully.