Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Letter to Olympia:

Go have your heart broken, be saved, experience joy:
Friday at The Capitol Theater
Saturday LooksGood To Me
Chris Bathgate
Calvin Johnson
The Cave Singers
at the Capitol Theater Backstage
and it's been a long time since the Backstage had a good pop show. GO GO GO

costs? I'm sad, no flyer for me, someone take a picture PLEASE

Fair warning, Fred Thomas does a lovely cover of Belle and Sebastian's "Like Dylan in the Movies". In fact, his Polyvinyl releases achieve that soul sound Stuart Murdock has been trying to find. Now he's giving it up for his own voice, probably no lovely lass on this leg of the tour, which has a kind of awkwardness and joy that makes him so damn charming. And I love his teeth, his teeth are adorable. AHHHHH!!!!! (I went to Chicago to stalk Tullycraft btw, seeing SLGTM was just a really awesome bonus)

I haven't seen The Cave Singers yet, but please let me know how they are live. I'm very much looking forward to seeing them in Philly with Xiu Xiu and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone next month.

Courtney <3's Fred

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tweekends Away-Chicago Style

So I'm safely back from Chicago today and the snow is falling in Philly. A brief recap of this weekend, although you may want to jump to the pertanent sections on
The Apples in Stereo
Saturday Looks Good To Me

I arrived in Chicago on Thursday afternoon and killed several hours at the Mercury Cafe. I had an awesome turkey and avocado sandwich and coffee while I played on the internet til Leigh got home from work.

Now, Leigh and I go WAY BACK to the early days of the damned Belle and Sebastian fan list Sinister. She had organized a picnic in 1998 for the folks on the list to socialize in DC, and that is the event I made my "Fuck Me I'm Twee" shirt for. I'm no longer on the Sinister list.

Friday afternoon I hung out with Leigh's roommate Dan and made rice crispy treats for Tullycraft. I'm on some kind of silly baking for bands kick, probably out of gratefulness that I don't have to promote the shows.

Aren't they fucking cool?

I think they liked them (this girl was awesome too).

The Apples in Stereo had this Drumhead for sale at the merch table with a pricetag of $40. Since it was signed by the Apples and Casper I really wanted it. I tried to buy it and it was not for sale.

Magic Drumhead
The trick was, whoever wanted to buy the Drumhead got it for free. I had Tullycraft sign it too.

Notice the dirty drawing from Corianton in the middle? Thanks Cori. I love you too.

Casper and the Cookies sounded great, but I was stuck in the back of the room and had a lot of catching up to do with my old roommate Jessica.

For the Apples in Stereo Jessica and I headed up to the balcony hoping to have a better view. A better view is debatable, but we did have fun upstairs and there was room to dance.
"Don't forget to send Pavement their royalty check."

Saturday morning I got to partake in a wonderful Chicago tradition, Drunky Brunch at Joey's Brickhouse. I believe it is now $12 All You Can Eat and $1 drinks. This resulted in a dizzying array of Long Island Ice Teas in pretty colors being passed around the table, but not to me. I gave up drinking for Lent and somehow made it through this weekend sober.
IMG_2826.JPG The one thing I REALLY wish I had a photo of, but felt too dorky and all, was Bob Nanna from Braid showing up and talking to his friends at our table. Poor Jess has Braid lyrics tattooed on her arm that just minutes before she was showing the table, but the sleeves went down the minute he walked in the room.

Saturday Saturday night was time for Saturday Looks Good to me. Fred announced that their next album will come out this fall on K Records which makes me very happy. I wasn't sure how many people would come out in the snow but the place was packed. We thought the show was going to start at 8:30 so we got there early, too early, and killed time playing games at the table.

I had seen the "Northwest Experimental Version" of SLTGM last year, so I was completely unprepaired for the full on, bombastic, swinging, soulful full band PLUS Betty Marie Barnes on vocals. IMG_2859.JPG Given our shared history, I think we were both very happy to hear their cover of Belle and Sebastian's "Like Dylan in the Movies". The place was crowded and full of dancing afterwards, so we headed home.

Brunch again on Sunday morning and then on the plane back home.

Confidential to the couple in the front row at Saturday Looks Good To Me: The reason you couldn't figure out what Modest Mouse album that song was on was because it was The Pixies

Friday, February 23, 2007

Hey, I've added an indiepop search engine to the sidebar. You can get the code for if you want to put it somewhere handy, or e-mail me suggestions for other sites to prioritize for the searches.

Also, I'm in Chicago for the weekend. Tomorrow is the Tullycraft/Casper and the Cookies/Apples in Stereo show I've been obsessing over. Saturday we're going to see Saturday Looks Good To me. All and all, a pretty incredible weekend to look forward to.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Should the twee pop article on Wikipedia be merged with the indiepop article?

Radar magazine had a rather disturbing article on "tweemo" fashion in the January/February print edition. I'm not quite sure they get it, or maybe I don't get it. I think the history of twee pop was a reaction against the machismo of punk, and twee as a reaction against the gloom and glamour of emo (which I still want to call neo-emo) is fine. Summing it up with a bit of faux-vintage fashion, Dave Eggers Novels, and Belle and Sebby records? I suppose that's why I don't read magazines too often. But I have to question the tweemo thing for one major reason, how can something like that exist if it's not on Wikipedia or their own website? Does anything exist if it doesn't exist online? Let me get back to that...

Speaking of emo, I found a vintage postcard Ken Shipley gave me in the attic of my parents house. It was part of a framed collage I made including a)a b&w photo of a guitar a boy gave me in college before moving to Memphis and breaking my heart b)a b&w unintentional sillhouette photo of a boy I fell hard for in college before much too much drama to ever be recounted on this blog, or at least I'm waiting til the WTO movie comes out and I can tie it into that c)postcard from random zinester boy about live falling apart whenever you move away d)ruined polaroid I found in the street somewhere e)aformentioned vintage postcard.

So at least I have these postcards and photos. After the transcendent time I had at the Apples in Stereo show I have really been feeling, well, frustrated, that fan mail has become a lost art. I feel really strange mailing letters and presents to bands, I wonder if I'm the only one who still does this. Or if the blog or fansite has become the only appropriate place to express your love? I tried to ask Stephen Merritt about this at the EMP Pop Conference last year but everything he said was drowned out in the Song of the South controversy and I never saw a transcript. But it doesn't matter, does it?

I am glad, with all the crap that is going on my my life right now, which I am going to spare my family the embarassment of having posted to the internet, I have a bunch fo shows to look forward to. First off, Friday, I can't believe Friday is the Tullycraft/Casper/Apples in Stereo. Then Saturday we're going to see Saturday Looks Good to Me, and I'm excited to see how Fred Thomas' new material is working out. He moved to Portland last i heard.

Also, we're getting really really close to announcing the bands for NYC Popfest 2007.

And finally, after I calm down from the Chicago whammy, The Secret History, featuring members of My Favorite will be playing at Cakeshop in NYC on March 2nd. Back to what I said earlier about how does something exist if it doesn't exist on the web, I'm sorry they don't seem to have a MySpace or webpage to share, yet. It will be awesome to hear new songs and see the new band lineup from Mr. Grace. It is also My Teenage Stride's record release party, so I'm expecting some new all around goodness from Jed as well. I will probably babble about both bands much as soon as I stop freaking out about how awesome my Chicago trip is going to be.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

New Love: Apples in Stereo and Kevin Devine

Last summer at the Happy Happy Birthday To Me Athens Popfest I fell in love with the Apples in Stereo. I've noticed my taste in music swaying away from the melancholy to the celabratory. I had listened to Tone Soul Evolution from the library, but it never really caught me like their live show did.

If you have an hour you can watch that set

Which is so strange that some of the most amazing moments of my life are captured online now.

I was even more excited when I saw that Casper and the Cookies were the opening act on this tour. I booked their Olympia show last year and think they are just the sweetest band. They give so much energy into their performances and have such a great ear for pop tunes. So I bought a ticket for Philadelphia.

So this was my first time at the North Star Bar and I pretty much liked it. The stage wasn't too obnoxiously high off the ground and people didn't crowd the stage so there was room to dance. I met some really nice girls and everyone was friendly. The first act, Elevator Falling, was good psychadelic rock pop, but I was really freaked out how much the lead singer looked like my ex. Casper and the Cookies sounded great. They have such a crisp sound where you can hear EVERYTHING, probably due to Jason's extrodinary engineering skills.

But then things got scary between the Casper and Apples sets. The band was taking a really long time to get onstage and it turns out Rob Schnieder had an asthma attack backstage. There was a time when we thought the show was going to be cancelled. It was horrible. John came onstage and explained they were going to come out soon, and they took to the stage around one o'clock.

It was terrific. I love pop bands, but I love bands that can record pop and play LOUD. The Apples in Stereo just have this incredible uplifting energy, something I want to be surrounded by and just drown in as much as possible.

After the show Rob was very nice and hung around talking to the fans and taking pictures with everyone. I felt a bit dorky asking, but then he asked me and I'm not that shy!
Courtney and Rob

Okay, I promise you there will be more obsessing coming up this week, as I've written, Tullycraft were added to the Chicago bill...damn! I LOVE THESE BANDS!!! So that is next Friday at Subterranean, and I am going to see the bands and visit my fabulous friend Leigh.

They were also on Conan this week but NBC had the video pulled from YouTube.

Before I head off to the second part of my Apples adventure, I am going to see Kevin Devine. Kevin Devine is a Brooklyn based singer-songwriter who I can't not compare to a sunny Elliott Smith. But having seen Elliott throughout his career, I am absolutely relieved to hear someone who doesn't seem to carry the same demons with him. He's got three songs up on AOL Spinner Music right now and will be playing at the Unitarian Church in Philly on Wednesday night at 7:30.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

After Yo La Tengo
I will be heading to Sugar Town at Tritone, hosted by the lovely Sara Sherr.

It’s half-off with a Yo La Tengo ticket stub.

$6 21+

9:00 Doors
9:30 Amy Quinn/Citizen Mom reads
9:45 Y-Front
10:00 Jen Hess
11:00 Voodoo Economics
11:30 Fun dance party with DJ’s Julia Factorial, Darshana & Chetena
Jonathan Richman, VIP, and Yo La Tengo

(click photo for more pictures)
IMG_2478.JPG Jonathan Richman at Johnny Brenda's, February 8, 2007
IMG_2531.JPG VIP at the M Room February 9, 2007
Tomorrow night?
Yo La Tengo at the Trocadero
I'm very happy to see my video has remained on the first page of I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass dot com.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Oh dear Jonathan!

(first draft cross posted to the indiepop list)

Highlights from Jonathan Richman's Philly show at Johnny Brenda's February 8 2006:

Opening with Salvador Dali AND later playing Pablo Picasso

If it is possible to have TOO MUCH Jonathan swinging his crotch in your face I got that last night. I also almost got wacked in the head with his guitar when I closed my eyes for a second. I almost got wacked in the head with the guitar when I was paying attention too.

He's all buff with nice arm muscles and didn't use a guitar strap for the entire performance. I can't remember if that is typical, but he was really swinging the guitar last night. Plus I realized Calvin Johnson's most enthusaistic performances are a poor substitute for Jonathan's calesthenics.

Totally weird but I wanted to touch his sneaker for good luck but I didn't. I'm not sure what else to do when someone is THAT CLOSE onstage.

People screaming "Free Mumia" during his Mumia song

Going from "Not So Much To Be Loved, As To Love" (which is a quote from St. Francis's prayer "Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace") to a song whose title I don't know, but it has a bunch of lyrics about how he prayed for love and fell in love because of his prayer, and he even got the jingle bell shaker and blesed the crowd and it was very funny and sweet.

Hearing Springtime in New York and rememembering when he played that on September 11th in Portland and not crying this time.

The spoken word part of "Let Her Go Into The Darkness" performed in French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew

Neal Ramirez didn't have a ticket but someone sold him one and he got in.

People congradulating Herbie on this rockstardom. His band Brown Recluse Sings had a song on Veronica Mars this week.

Meeting house photographer Katie after the show and finding out she shares my love of Tullycraft and Lil Hospital.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I bought a last minute ticket to see Jonathan Richman tomorrow night in Philly.

I was reminded of just how many amazing memories I have of 2006, and they all come in snapshots, ink polaroids if you will....

The last night of Lakefair, sitting on the roof of Lois' shed with my friend Seth and Al Larsen, watching the fireworks and talking about pop music and YouTube.

Al mentioned this video of Jonathan performing in Berkley in 1981

Yes, the movie of my life will be made of rock videos of people you've never heard of but will always remember.
On a slightly related note, I'm going to Chicago to see Apples in Stereo, Casper and the Cookies, and Tullycraft. Because I do stupid stuff like that. Because I really like the way Rob Schnieder carried a notebook around like Harriet the Spy. Because Tullycraft and me is "like having a pet, but I'm not sure who is the pet and who is the owner" (thanks Kardhym!). Because Jason and Kay are the sweetest. I'm so there.