Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where Did Your Long Hair Go?

I spend an exorbitant (borderline unhealthy) amount of time at home on the internet reading about bands and labels. Most of these bands and labels fall into the category of bands and labels that inspire one to care deeply about them, if one inclined to care about them at all. These bands and labels are highly saturated with releases that inspire people to spend considerable amounts of time actively seeking them out. If one of these people is not actively seeking out a particular release from a particular band, it is still pretty likely that those bands, and those labels are on some sort of list (mental or physical) that is always with these people.

I also spend an exorbitant (borderline unhealthy) amount of time at record stores. I sort through seemingly endless boxes of 7 inches. Every so often a situation like the on that follows (and when it does it's fucking awesome) will occur. I think to myself, "Hey cool, there is a band called The Caroline Know." I turn the album over and notice that the 7" in question was released by The Bus Stop Label. I then think to myself, "Oh, I've actually been looking for this record." I'd read about the Caroline Know in the past, but they were filed away in a dark corner of my mind with other bands that I'd read about once and assumed that I'd never owned recorded music from.

There are two very important facets of this story. The Bus Stop Label is an "Iowa City bred, Milwaukee based," indiepop label that is often referred to as the "American Sarah." And "Caroline No," is my favorite Beach Boys song.

As it turns out, The Caroline Know are perhaps a bit of an American Orange Juice, if you're thinking about Orange Juice songs like "(To Put It In a) Nutshell," and "Consolation Prize." There is also, not surprisingly, a similarity to Sebadoh as Jason Lowenstein was a regular contributor, and Eric Gaffney was an occasional contributor. References to other bands aside though, The Caroline Know's "Nail," is the sort of 7 inch that can occupy one's record player for extraordinary lenghts of time despite the many other records resting along side, waiting for their turn. One will probably lift the needle ever so gently, again and again certain that after this one last listen, one will move on to the next record. Though once one has listened to the 7 inch an appropriate number of times, there will probably be a few days of listening to Pet Sounds involved...

Also while I'm kind of on the subject, can we put a mandatory hold on recording artists covering "God Only Knows?" This could comfortably last anywhere from 20 years to forever. There are plenty of other great Beach Boys songs that can be covered ("Caroline No" actually being one of them,) it's just that "God Only Knows," is actually a perfect pop song. Am I completely out of line to suggest that it could be left alone for awhile?

Listening Too Long To One Song: The Bridal Shop "Violation"

So my pal** Matthew over at Skatterbrain recently posted about the fact that he was busy, tired, didn't have much time to write, and/or feel much like writing even when there was time. Which is exactly what's been going on with me lately, and for the handful of you who like to check these musings on a regular basis I do apologize. I'll get back to posting soon, I promise.

One thing that did manage to find it's way onto Skatterbrain recently was an announcement of the arrival of a new 7" from Swedish indiepop band The Bridal Shop, and the additional information that the A-side of that single "Violation" was streaming on their Myspace page, and that it was maybe the best thing this band had ever recorded. It took at the most 45 seconds of listening to the song to have me pulling up the Cloudberry Records page for more information. I don't believe that the track had even finished once through as I received a confirmation email from Paypal alerting me to the fact that my payment was initiated. The song is that good. It really is everything that a good indiepop dance track should be from the echo-y, atmospheric sound that kicks into a blast of drum machine and synths at the beginning, to the distant Morrisey-esque vocals, to the dramatic center where everything becomes almost still, to the part where it all kicks back in at full blast to level off neatly albeit abruptly at the end. Kind of like the soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist about dance clubs that don't exist where you perpetually expect to see someone grab their secret crush and kiss them in a highly dramatic fashion as a vivid technicolor light show explodes behind them. Yes, the track is that good. If you click here, the song should be the first thing that you hear. I highly recommend picking up the 7" from the afore mentioned Cloudberry page as well though. The B-side "Coming Real" is also exquisite.

~squaregirl marion

** I use the term pal despite the fact that this is not only someone who I've never met, and for whatever reason have never even posted a comment on his blog. I also use the term pal because he appears to like all of the same things that I do in terms of music, he's just WAY better about finding it than I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This is Just a Modern Rock Post...

So, by the time that you are all reading this at your office desks on Wednesday morning the whole "What did everyone do this weekend?" question might seem beside the point. However, I don't care! I would still like to know.

I was personally quite impressed with the set that A Sunny Day in Glasgow put on at Pehrspace on Saturday night. It was completely different from the last time I saw them live, and even more completely different from their recorded sound. It was loud, it was kind of raw, and it was more than kind of great. We had a more than kind of great dance party afterwards as well. It was actually one of the most fun Saturday nights that I have experienced in a long while despite the fact that it made work the next day ever so slightly painful. No matter, it's something that I would repeat every weekend if given the chance. Which I *ahem* luckily enough do have the chance to do next weekend. We'll be spinning records at Pehrspace again, this time in between sets from Mad Gregs, One Trick Pony, and The Slow Demise. Naturally we would love to see you there...

I took a spontaneous trip to San Luis Obispo this week so I imagine that most of my days for the rest of the week will be spent walking around, and spending an unhealthy amount of time in record stores, and an unhealthy (but necessary) amount of time in a car. I would like to spend my extra days off writing though, so hopefully there will be some of that as well...

~sqg marion

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Watching the Tide Roll Away

Every time I find myself at a really great show where there are about seven people in attendance, and most of them work with the venue, or were in other bands playing that night; I get a little sad. Why aren't more people getting to see this, I wonder, why, why!?!

If you missed Over the Atlantic at Pehrspace on Tuesday night, and it was a bit of a last minute announcement, you do have one more chance to catch them this week on Friday night at Echo Curio. The sound that I heard from them was a bit more outwardly rocking than I was expecting which I have to say was quite enjoyable. They employed the loud shimmering guitar sound that I love more than most any other guitar sound, the vocals were low and slightly distorted, and the drums were tight. It all added up to something extraordinarily effective that found me involuntarily trying to keep the rhythm with my foot, and this was achieved with them having just arrived from New Zealand earlier that day, and having just purchased and/or borrowed every instrument that they were using. It was also, I believe, the bass player's first official show with the band. Therefore, Friday's show promises to be even better than that one. Here are a few more details:

"Over the Atlantic (Carpark Records) are playing a one-off show in LA this coming weekend. From New Zealand, this is Over the Atlantic's second trip to LA, and the first trip to feature a full live band. Their last visit was with Beach House to support the release of their debut album "Junica". On this tour they are releasing a special tour only EP featuring 5 songs never before released in the US including 2 tracks from their forthcoming second album.

They are playing at Echo Curio on Friday with the wonderful Don Cavalli (Everloving Records - France) and locals Deepakalypse and Team Scrub."

They've also been kind enough to send me an MP3 from their forthcoming full length Dimensions which is available for you to download here.

It's also worth noting that Don Cavalli really is wonderful, and I'm sure well worth making a point to see live. His new record Cryland has been in my car's CD player since Monday afternoon, and it's an unnervingly perfect blend of blues, zydeco, a little soul, and even a slight hint of reggae that. If it wasn't executed SO lovingly, and SO well it might even make you a bit uncomfortable to know that the songs were the creation of a white French man. The songs are executed that well though, and the result is honestly nothing short of amazing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

She'll Let Them Know When it's Punk Enough...

With the Scene booking less shows these days we've decided that it will be nice time for us to take a little break from doing the regular club night thing. We had an AMAZING run during the time that we were there, and there are not enough ways in the world to say THANK YOU to everyone who played, and/or attended one of our shows there. We adore all of you tremendously.

But that doesn't mean we are packing up our turntables, and riding of into the proverbial (or literal) sunset. In addition to maintaining this thing here that you are currently reading; we will still be booking and presenting the odd show here or there (or Pehrspace,) and we will be DJ-ing for other peoples shows with what looks to be ever increasing frequency. That starts this Saturday when we DJ, um, Pehrspace for State Bird, No Little Kindness, and A Sunny Day in Glasgow. We've got the first night of the Mezzanine Owls Spaceland residency on May 5th, and a Classical Geek Theater presented show at The Scene on May 9th. We're kind of addicted to the whole playing records and watching people dance thing so if you need someone to DJ a show that you've got coming up, chances are we're just the girls you've been looking for. Visit us here if you would like to contact us!

Also, I believe that I've made reference once or twice in the past to the fact that I've been putting together some sets for the Dubstream. I am still a bit humbled by the fact that I get to be a part of something as exciting as Dublab so I still find it a bit hard to believe that I have an official show there. However, I have an official show there. You can now look forward to many more bouts of shameless self promotion when there is a new installment of "Not Quite Punk," in the Dubstream. As you've probably come to expect from me by now, "Not Quite Punk" will tend to translate into "mostly twee." Naturually indiepop makes up the bulk of what I tend to play, but there is simply too much good music out there to limit ones self to one genre, therefore "Not Quite Punk" will also tend to translate into "not quite anything." Oh, and it's a line from a Tullycraft song because there are so few things that I enjoy more in life than finding fun new ways to reference Tullycraft. Squaregirl Kristen has something in the works over there as well so we will DEFINITELY keep you posted as that comes together.

I think that covers just about everything for the time being. Of course if there are any new developments, you will be the first to know. We'll see you around town!

~sqg marion

Rock and Roll has Lost it's Teeth

The Teeth are still a bit of a mystery to me. I still don't know much about them. I only discovered them about a year ago via Dr. Dog and their Park the Van label. I caught the video for "So Long", and I thought it was perfect. I also watched the "Yellow" video, and i couldn't get how something so simple could be so good. And I really only delved into their material three months ago, at the behest of my boyfriend. After merely sampling their latest release, last year's "You're My Lover Now" online, I was prompted to immediately purchase it. Yes, I said PURCHASE it. I bought the MP3 version and loaded it onto a disk, along with the session they recorded at the Daytrotter studio, and that became my new soundtrack. Anyone who got into my car heard some Teeth. If I talked about music, I talked about the Teeth. And thusly, I fell in love with my new favorite band.

So, what I know of this band is information that I've gathered from many different sources and pieced together into a hazy picture. That picture became crystal clear when I finally witnessed their live performance at this year's SXSW. And so soon after, it was abruptly cracked by a rumor of a breakup, and now, with the confirmation of that rumor, shattered.

I consider myself so lucky to have watched them live, even if only once. On the Thursday of this past South By Southwest, I was able to catch a backyard show featuring the Teeth, Sunset, and The Physics of Meaning at Big Orange Transducers, the temporary Daytrotter studio in Austin. What a show! The Teeth's live act was everything I hoped it would be. Those boys threw their entire being into that performance. It was all movement and sweat and energy. I felt like everything else had stopped. It was just me and the music. Magical. I thought about that line from The Henry Clay People's "Rock and Roll Has Lost Its Teeth", and I thought, "Thank all that is holy for this band. This is punk rock. This is Rock and Roll," I thought. "This is it."

They were punk rock.

On Thursday, April 3rd, Peter MoDavis of The Teeth wrote a letter to us all regarding the demise of the band, a letter that I read with some difficulty. Like many others, I too had heard the rumors of a break up right after I got back from Austin, but I couldn't believe it. So, I waited. And now, it is the end.

I decided to tell the Teeth how I really felt, with a MySpace comment on their page:

I don't think I've ever cried over a band before, but today, realizing how much you've meant to me, I cried. I heard a rumor 2 weeks ago, but I didn't believe it. I didn't want to believe that something this beautiful could no longer be experienced.

The show that you played with [The Physics of Meaning and Sunset] at Big Orange in Austin was the highlight of my time in Texas, and The Christmas City EP has been in my CD player incessantly since I received it as a Valentine's Day gift. And I never tire of watching the "So Long" video. It's amazing. And so are the Daytrotter Sessions.

I have told so many people about The Teeth. This music is exciting, and it makes me happy to be alive. And I wanted to share that with everyone.

Thank you all, I will miss you, we will miss you.

~sqg rachel

Bite into these:

My favorite Teeth video for "So Long":

You can also listen to the Teeth's Daytrotter session here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Said Hey Kids (Hey Kids!) - A Couple of Tuesday Night Options

Of course Radio Free Silver Lake's Let's Independent should always be your default on the third Tuesday of the month. Tonight, of course, looks to be no exception to the "Joe Fielder always puts together fantastic line-ups worth driving to Hollywood for," rule. I've heard nothing but really nice things about The Minor Cannon, and have been trying to catch a show from them for a while. I've heard absolutely nothing about Luke Top, or (((eagle winged palace))). Joe's seal of approval surely makes them worth a listen though.

I'm personally a bit torn now. As much as I would like to honor my monthly appointment at Boardner's, the line- up at Pehrspace does look mighty intriguing. Every unabashedly hyper power pop track that I heard from Georgie James has made their full length Places from last year the album that I most regret having missed in it's entirety. Perhaps if you missed it too, we can all play catch up by picking up a copy tonight. The night has also gotten even more intriguing due to the last minute addition of New Zealand based Over the Atlantic. They released a lovely album in 2006 called Junica that not nearly enough people heard. Squaregirl Kristen saw them open for Beach House that same year with the boy that introduced us. That boy maintains that Over the Atlantic are even better live than on the record.

Um, two shows in one night anyone?

~sqg marion

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sleeps on Water, Walks on Ice

Good morning. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. Most of mine was spent working, and trying to catch up with a few records that I hadn't yet been able to spend enough time with. I was able to make it out to Part Time Punks for the first time in several month last night; therefore rendering me exhausted enough to almost mispell the word Spoon on Morning Becomes Eclectic's playlist... in two different ways! A little exhaustion is completely worth having a new local band to adore. WEAVE! fell onto my radar on Saturday night when I saw a Part Time Punks bulliten that described them in this way, "Female group chants backed by minimal tribal post-punk thump. Brings to mind Y Pants & The Raincoats . . . which is very, very good." Yes, it is very very good, and very, very accurate. Another friend brought up the fact that they reminded him of early B-52s which didn't come across to me last night, but kind of makes sense now that I think about it. They are also a bit similar in nature to my South by Southwest 2008 highlight Finally Punk except from what I saw none of the vocalists in WEAVE! played an insrument, and no one in the band played a saxophone.

You could see them this Saturday at the Tiny Creatures Gallery, and if it were any other day I would whole heartedly advocate that you do just that. HOWEVER, A Sunny Day in Glasgow are playing at Pehrspace this Saturday, and I have to advocate much more strongly that you go to this show. If for nothing else than the fact that you have another chance to see WEAVE! a few weeks later (on May 13 to be specific) at the Smell. We have no idea when A Sunny Day in Glasgow will be able to grace us with their presecnce again, but it will likely not be anytime to soon. You might also remember that A Sunny Day in Glasgow's first full length Scribble Mural Comic Journal was my favorite record of 2007. This will be my second time seeing their live show, and based on what I saw from them last time, the sound translates beautifully from record to stage, every intricate layer and distorted effect that interweave to fill every square inch of the songs that they inhabit sounds just as impressive in a live context. In fact, live, the intricacies are able to spill out and fill every square inch of the ROOM that they inhabit. Oh, and we will be spining some records in between sets from the bands who also include State Bird, and No Little Kindness who both promise to be fantasic. We'll also be joined by the staggeringly great DJ Ale (Dublab, Languis.) His sets will likely be good enough to make us question our life choices. So come out and play with us; dance, drink (if you forget to bring your beverage of choice we might even be persuaded to give you a free beer while supplies last,) and well, be merry. We'll see you on Saturday!

~sqg marion

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Wednesday Night: Squaregirls Divide And Conquer!

Yes it's true. This Wednesday April 9th Squaregirl Awesome (Kristen) will hold down the fort for our last official night at the Scene Bar in Glendale. She is taking requests for her DJ set, and when she is not behind the DJ booth making you smile or shattering your dreams she'll be out in the crowd watching the bands that we have lined up. It promises to be an outstanding night of music from local rock bands:

The Scene has been great to us, and we're sad to not have a regular home there anymore. However, both venue and Squaregirls are moving in different directions. Please stop by, and help celebrate close our night in style. You can email us at squaregirls@gmail.com to RSVP for the $3 discount list.

Meanwhile, I will be taking on DJ duties at the Echo alongside the incomparable Kevin Bronson. The night will feature music from these fantastic local bands:

As much as it pains me to miss the majority of our night at the Scene, this show just sounded too great to pass up. Such is the nature of the truly great L.A. music scene. For you, we advocate stopping by both shows, and sleeping when you're dead.

We'll see you tomorrow night!

~sqg marion

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Simple Things Never Keep

Sometimes you just have those afternoons/ evenings where every attempt that you make to finally get some rest is destroyed by various neighbors taste in music ranging from questionable (a radio station programed to think that it is o.k. to follow the Gin Blossoms with the Rolling Stones) to just flat out mean (a mix c.d. whose listener found necessary to play skipping back and forth between a Korn song, an Offspring song, and some other terrible single from a band that has hopefully faded far into obscurity.) Once it seemed that the worst was over, and I should maybe take advantage of the moment by falling asleep, the Mariachi pop hits began to mix with whatever new post trance dance music the hipsters are listening to these days to form probably the most awkward unintentional mash-up ever. Then you say to yourself, "Fuck it, I guess I'm going to Pehrspace after all."

I arrived at the venue still tired, and in a terrible mood to find Languis in full ambient, experimental mode. Turns out that after all of the assaults my ears had endured throughout the afternoon, this was EXACTLY what I needed to clear my mind. Alejandro Cohen was on stage alone alternating between manipulating the keyboards (when I walked in he was applying masking tape to certain keys to make prolonged notes,) and likely improvised freakouts on the drum pads that were set up the stage. They expanded to a two piece to take on the Jesus & Mary Chain's "You Trip Me Up." To my mind Cohen sounded a bit more like Stephen Pastel than either of the Brothers Reid which if you've looked at this site even once or twice in the past you can probably guess I had no objection to. New songs were played, and styles were changed, and technical difficulties were had. That is of no matter though, Languis are one of few bands that can make technical difficulties work, if not even seem intentional. Full drums were added about half way through their cover of the Field Mice's "Sensitive." Kind of strange to hear drums added to a Field Mice song, but goddamn they sounded great.

Tuscon's Mad River Glenn were up next. If was smart, ultra high energy, pop flavored indie rock played by a bunch of guys who are all really good at their instruments. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Spider Problem were up next. I was terribly excited about this fact as I've been trying to catch them for a while, and wasn't even aware that they were playing that night. If it hasn't previously been a goal of yours to see this band, make it so immediately. Lead singer Shayne Eastin is one of the more dynamic performers I've seen in a while. She struts around the stage in torn fishnets, often falls to the ground writhing, and more often makes her way into the crowd to grab most of the men in attendence and make them (if they're being honest with themselves) slightly uncomfortable in the cool way. It's a type of performance that I secretly (well not so secretly anymore) wish that I could pull off, but never will. That being said, I'm content to watch others pull it off, and quietly write about it later. The music was all high energy rock; well executed, and constantly moving in interesting directions. It's also worth noting that they closed the show with a Prodigy cover (don't ask me which song) it took me about a minute and a half to realize that it was a Prodigy cover, and I probably wouldn't have realized it all had it not been announced as a cover.

Speaking of high energy rock; well executed, and always moving in interesting directions. Actually Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout take their music far past the most interesting directions you would automatically imagine. Turns out they were most certainly my mystery band from Mess With Texas during South by Southwest (I had already mostly put that together,) and it turns out that Pehrspace is a MUCH better environment to see them in. They are all exceptional musicians, and do a very high energy psychedelic/metal/even somewhat soul tinged experimental rock show. Where before I thought it was veering in the direction of performance art (Mr. Free wears face paint, and never wastes much time stripping down to a g string,) but the musicianship is just way to tight for it to be anything other than flat out good rock & roll.

After Pehrspace most of us in the crowd made our way to Mr. Free's converted into a make shift travel venue school bus to watch the majority of the line up do it all over again. Other that the part where a wasted idiot came stumbling off of the bus, and decided to make his play for the "Worst Human Being Ever" title by punching a GIRL the show was just as great on the bus, and I was pretty impressed with the sound. Sadly the drunk loser in question made his escape into the near by park, and was not dealt with properly. I guess we all have to hope for some serious Karmic retribution in this case. Jax has some killer photos of Spider Problem's show on the bus, and more choice words about dudes who think that it's o.k. to hit girls. Check it out here.


So what did everyone else get up to this weekend?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Said Hey Kids (Hey Kids!) - 4/4 - 4/6

If you're looking for something to do this weekend that involves standing around and listening to music, might I make a few suggestions?

Squaregirls' long time loves Princeton open for The Ruby Suns, and Le Loup. I've not listened too much to either headlining band, but I've read good accounts of their tour so far. The Ruby Suns seem particularly intriguing as they seem to be influenced in almost equal measures by African music, and the Beach Boys. This show is taking place at the Echo on Saturday April 5th.

Then on Sunday April 6th, this is happening:

Much mention has been made here about how much we adore Le Switch so I won't go on about it any more. I will say that they are a band that you should see live as often as you can. We also happen to be DJ- ing this event, so please drop by and say hello.

Oh, and Languis are at Pehrspace on Friday April 4th. Another band that you should see live as often as you can, only Languis provides you with slightly fewer opportunities.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

South By Southwest Re- cap (Squaregirl Marion's Version) Part Two

When last I spoke of South By Southwest I was voicing my sort of frustration with Mancurian band The Answering Machine. I'm still trying to sort out exactly how I felt about them, but over all it was... sigh.

Friday started a bit late for me. Once I finally made it in to town I set about trying to figure out how to make my way to the Happy Happy Birthday to Me day party taking place in some remote location that seemed not terribly accessible to someone who didn't the bus system in Austin, at all. I resolved myself to spending the majority of the morning at CVS, and trying to sort out plans with a local friend for later that afternoon. I then resolved myself to checking out Frightened Rabbit for the second time during my trip, and drinking the ever popular $2 Dewars and Ginger much earlier in the day than anyone should probably be drinking Dewars and anything. Such is the spirit of South by Southwest though. And I should never use the phrase "resolve myself" to describe seeing Frightened Rabbit.

Frightened Rabbit are a band that I'd wanted to see since I read the way that my friend, and most trusted musical advisor, Eric J. Lawrence described them in his SXSW write up for KCRW last year. Fittingly they were the first band that I saw when I arrived in Austin, but I only caught the last three songs. On Friday I was in place for a full set. They were probably the best rock band that I saw during my trip. All of their songs have an unmatchable live energy. In fact there were a few songs, "Be Less Rude" is a perfect example, that I almost didn't recognize in the live setting as they were louder, more confident, and rocked much harder than they did on Frightened Rabbit's debut album The Greys. A few songs seemed to suggest that they are heading in a more epic direction, like friends and label mates The Twilight Sad. Both bands have enough other interesting elements, and well written lyrics to pull off that level of epicness so it was actually sort of pleasant to see them try those things. One of the songs may have even been a Twilight Sad cover, or perhaps an allusion. If my memory serves me correctly though, The Twilight Sad's drummer doesn't have any songs where he plays harmonica, and drums AT THE SAME TIME. Frightened Rabbit's drummer does that, and it may be on of the most impressive things that I have ever seen.

After Frightened Rabbit I decided to go in search of food, instead I found myself walking past Club Deville, and noticing that there was clearly something soulful going on inside. I also noticed that they had free beer, so I decided that food could wait for the moment. I walked in, and was able to catch almost all of Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears it was classic sounding blues/ soul with a six piece backing band, and a lead singer who was a natural entertainer. He covered Wilson Pickett's "Toe Hold," and ended his final song with a James Brown- esque "Please, please, please..." break down. Elsewhere his song lyrics reflected modern versions of the classic "I wronged my woman, and ended up locked out with all of my stuff on the lawn type stories." I can't think of many better ways to enjoy a warm afternoon outside in Austin, Texas.

Once the set was finished my need for food took over, and I decided to make my way over to where I was meeting up with my friend, and grab a slice of pizza on en route.

We headed way off the beaten path in attempt to check out a band called Toddle who were described to me as a sort of Japanese version of Superchunk with a female lead singer, perhaps one of the most promising descriptions of a band that I heard during my entire trip. However, by the time we made it to the venue where they were supposed to play it had been put on hold due to the fact that there was no set occupancy. This meant that even though there were only twenty or so people there, it could be seen as a fire hazard. Once we had the story, we decided to see what was going on over at the Happy Happy Birthday to Me party. Oh the sheer joy of finally having a car.

The Besties were on when we walked in. More free beer was consumed, and we were both seriously into the Besties high energy, double keyboard/guitar/drums/harmonies. The next performance of the afternoon came from multi- instrumentalist Karl Blau is always charming. While nothing can really top the first time you see his one man show that involves a number of different mics each set to give his voice several unique effects, and switching from various guitars (bass and otherwise;) seeing him playing in a garage added a certain new level of charm to the equation.

After that it was off to the Merge Records showcase. The night started with Portastatic which consisted solely of Mac and an acoustic guitar. I heard a few grumblings about this in the crowd, but for me Mac McCaughan is one of very few people that are compelling to listen to and/or watch with an acoustic guitar. His voice still sounds top notch, and his songs are all well written, and well, since I never got to see Superchunk I will take any performance from Mac that I can get. Plus hearing "I Wanna Know Girls" was a highlight of the evening. Wye Oak were next, and I wish that I had more to say about their perfectly pleasant countrydelic tinged, harmony heavy rock other than it was perfectly pleasant. Unfortunately, I don't find it too easy to get into the intricacies of that particular style. The Radar Brothers are a local band that I desperately need to spend more time with, absorbing the lyrical and musical intricacies that I know exist in their songs. So until that happens, once again I'm afraid I'm left with not much to offer on the performance. However, it was very nice to see Aaron Kyle from Le Switch as the new addition to the band. The Shout Out Louds were next and changed the mood in the room with their loud, upbeat, Swedish pop. "Tonight I Have to Leave It" is one of those perfect, radio friendly pop singles that I know I shouldn't fall for, but that I can never resist no matter how many times I hear it. Hearing it in the live setting was nice. They ended their set by covering Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now," somehow that seemed about right for them. She & Him followed. These were among the first shows from the M. Ward/ Zooey Deschanel Project so eveeryone in attendance seemed very eager to watch how it played out. It was quite good actually. It was a highly stylized performance that involved Deschanel taking center stage, and singing lead on all of the songs (she did write the majority of them) M. Ward sat off to the side making beautiful noises on his guitar and providing the occasional backing vocal. The show was set up as a sort of review like something you might have seen on the Grand Ole Opry many years ago. Another friend of mine pointed out that Deschanel's stage presence could stand to improve a bit, but I imagine it will. I've not yet heard the album, but I liked all of the songs that I heard so I'm certainly planning to spend more time with it very soon. We tried to last through Destroyer, but we lost all of our steam a little over half way through. Destroyer's albums are exquisite, but the live shows always seem to fall just short of that. Though I did get to hear one of my favorite tracks from This Night "Hey Snow White" which was pretty neat. We walked out back to the (lovely) car in a daze, and attempted to prepare for the next days festivities.

Listening Too Long To One Song: Another Sunny Day "Anorak City"

So I've been DJ-ing on what is becoming an increasingly regular basis for the online station Dublab. It's a station that you should become immediately familiar with if you are not already, and I feel unbelievably honored to be a part of it in any capacity.

My most recent show for the station was a "Sarah Records Tribute Show" with my pal John Girgus formerly of the band Aberdeen who you may recall were one of the few American bands to ever record for the label. He had actually done one of these a few months back, and asked me if I'd be able to help the next time he did one. I assume that this is due to the fact that most of the DJ-ing I do anywhere turns into a Sarah Records Tribute of sorts.

This has led me to spend a great deal of time in the past week going through my records, and itunes library trying to figure out the best combination of pop songs that were either released by, influenced by, or influenced my favorite label. During this process, I've probably listened to "Anorak City" somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty times. It's not a song that improves drastically with every listen, nor does it become any more meaningful, it's just plain and simply a blast to hear and nod your head along to. Written in response to some people (mostly music critics) using the derogatory term "anorak pop" to describe indiepop based on the fact that, well, a lot of the folks that made and listened to jangly pop songs wore anoraks (parkas) on a highly regular basis; this song was kind of a perfect searing mock 50s dance craze hit to poke (sort of) gentle fun at the types who tend to put somewhat ridiculous labels on things. The fanzine that accompanies the single puts it this way, "It's called "Anorak City" because some people are incredibly stupid." This single also does an excellent job to prove the case that Sarah Records was not all sad boys with guitars and drum machines singing sad songs about some girl that would never love them. However, it should be noted that Another Sunny Day DID also record a song called "I'm in Love With a Girl Who Doesn't Know I Exist." And "Anorak City" makes prominent use of a drum machine. The guitars are nice and fuzzy, and the vocals are only about half as loud as the guitars so they are constantly buried beneath them. In a way, it makes it better though as the picking out the lyrics becomes something of an adventure, and most of the discernable ones are pretty great. "Will you be my anorak baby, no no honey please don't say maybe. Say that you'll forever be mine, and stay til the end of time in Anorak City..." In the fanzine this phrase is isolated like so: "Will you be my anorak, baby?" I would never have thought that something as simple as punctuation could make me smile all week, but here we are. And it still makes me smile.

You can find "Anorak City," on my favorite compilation in recent memory (shockingly) titled CD86. It was released in as a tribute to the 20 year anniversary of NME's (in) famous C86 cassette tape. Instead of focusing solely on bands that made an appearance on the tape, they've wisely included other bands that were associated with the genre like Sarah bands Another Sunny Day, the Sea Urchins, and 14 Iced Bears. It should be easy to track down in any record store, or here. You can also find the track on itunes.

You can simply listen to the song here.