giveaway: 33 1/3’s ‘fear of music’ by jonathan lethem

promo photos: slingshot cash

For reasons that don’t need exploring at this junction, I have ended up with two, TWO!, copies of the latest release from the 33 1/3 series, Jonathan Lethem’s book on Talking Heads’ Fear Of Music. I do not need two copies of this book, because I only need to read and write about one, so I am giving the other one away.

How do you enter to win? Just leave a comment with your greatest musical fear between now and Friday, 7/13, at noon, and I’ll random number generate a winner. It may take me a month to mail it to you, but I will, eventually!

As for me, my greatest musical fear is Thom Yorke; for some unknown reason his voice gives me the absolute screaming creeps, like goosebumps and hairs on my arms standing up and complete freak-out. I don’t know. But it means I can’t listen to Radiohead.

Now you: your biggest musical fear. Go!

kinda brilliant. kinda dumb.

kinda brilliant. kinda dumb.

I lived in Minnesota for four years and never saw the Replacements. This, of course, is because I lived in Minnesota a good ten years after they split up, but still. That’s really sad, for me, and that’s part of why I’m so psyched to see Color Me Obsessed, because it’s that little bit of vicarious thrill from people who did see them.

I’ve been postering and postcarding and stickering like a crazy person for this screening, but I’ve got two stickers (above) and a poster left, and I’m going to give those goodies away to you guys. Tell me about a band you love that you never got to see live — (I never saw R.E.M. either, and we cannot even talk about that) — answer what has become my new favorite interview closer:

If you had a time machine, and you could use it to go back in time and see one show, what show would you see?

(The Last Waltz for me.) Leave your answer in the comments by 5:30PM EST tomorrow, 1/12 — ie when I leave the house to meet Gorman for dinner before the screening! — and on Friday evening I’ll random-number to pick a winner. If you’re in NC, I’ll hand deliver; if you’re outside NC, I’ll mail it.

And remember: the Nightlight is screening Color Me Obsessed tomorrow, 1/12, at 8:30pm. Doors at 8, $6, and a Q&A with director Gorman Bechard after. Be there, or … miss something awesome. Be there and see a great movie. Be there and buy me a beer because I’m broke!

(If you missed it, my short interview with Gorman was posted earlier this week, and it’s here.)

the mantras @ the blind tiger


the mantras @ the blind tiger, originally uploaded by minervacat.

We went out to see the Mantras last night because Keith, their frontman, and Brian, their bassist, are friends of the New Familiars, and we’ve seen Keith play with those guys in Greensboro at least a couple of time. It was — an interesting night. The Mantras, made up of two guitarists, two drummers, and Brian, play a summer-feeling jam-band style that’s somewhere between Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and early live Phish, which is not my go-to genre but the Mantras are good and there’s a lot to enjoy in what they do.

It just also turns out that what plagued me during my time with The Ex still plagues me — I get bored listening to jam bands. I stand there after 40 minutes and think, stop noodling around and play me a song, which is always unfair to the band in question. They are playing me a song! I just have a really short attention span.

So! We stayed for about half their set; I suspect that I would have a lot more patience for that style and that crowd in the summer, when it’s warm and drinking beer doesn’t feel like freezing my insides out. I’m definitely going to see them again, because I wasn’t disappointed (I know, canonically, that Keith enjoys noodling around on his guitar; he does it when he plays with the New Familiars). Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I was really in the mood for last night.

It was, as often is in Greensboro, a random crowd full of hippies and hipsters and punks and metalheads, and the people watching alone was worth the eight bucks. “Because Greensboro” is a valid answer to “why [fill in random occurence here]?” as often as “because Chapel Hill” is.

Long story short: a talented band playing a show that I was in the wrong headspace to engage with. I’ll see them again. I’d like to shoot them again, for sure.

I really want to see Django Haskins and Austin Lucas tonight, but I would rather chew my own arm off than spend the evening of the Carolina/Duke game in a Durham bar, so instead we’re going to go see Alice In Wonderland. I do love Tim Burton, as we all know.

And in conclusion, today’s Daytrotter session is Megafaun, and you should all go download it.

TRKfest 2009


TRKfest 2009, originally uploaded by minervacat.

There’s a move in music blogging toward blogs producing unqiue and exclusive content, be it audio or video, and I totally dig it. Today, a list of some of the best of the best:

  • La Blogotheque’s Take Away Shows. Along with the Black Cab Sessions, the granddaddies of weird single-recording amazing music performances.
  • Daytrotter Sessions. The granddaddy of audio recordings of this style; Daytrotter has been at it for years and years and still consistently execute some of the most interesting, intimate live/studio recordings, from a huge range of bands.
  • HearYa. Out of, I think, Chicago, live sessions both audio and video, focusing heavily on the Americana-leaning indie scene.
  • Harvey’s Kitchen by MonkeyWhale Productions. In my back yard, out of Greensboro! Recordings in, you guessed it, Harvey’s kitchen. My favorite is this one of Holy Ghost Tent Revival. They’re also responsible for the DotMatrix Project, which is a supremely interesting fusion of music, photography, videography, and music production.

This was inspired by Baeble Music, who emailed me about their excellent Langhorne Slim session; I’m looking forward to seeing what other neat stuff they produce in their Guest Apartment series.

scotland yard gospel choir — … and the horse you rode in on

The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir — … And The Horse You Rode In On.  My friend Amy turned me on to these guys a few years back — at least before the Franklin Street Schoolkids closed, because The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir was the last CD I bought at Schoolkids — and they record on the default record label of my soul, Bloodshot Records; Bloodshot re-released their self-titled in 2007, and two weeks ago released SYCG’s sophomore effort.  The first album is full of sweetly poppy lo-fi songs about incredibly horrifying and depressing subjects, and aside from improved production, this album is the same: cheerfully and insistently jangly indie pop backed by lush strings and shimmering brass licks, overscored by Elia and Mary’s voices.  Elia Einhorn sings lines like oh, my life is so fucked up and she kicked the shit out of my heart with the sort of intense sincerity usually reserved for declarations of true love, and lines like hope is still on your side as though the world is ending, and it’s that dichotomy, the sound versus the subject, that really grabs me in their music.

[The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir — “Stop!”]  4MB, .mp3.

SYCG had a horrific van wreck last week; Bloodshot is still fundraising to replace their gear and their van, as well as helping with medical expenses, and you can read more about that here. Their October tour dates are on hold for the time being.

Elsewhere: the Avett Brothers dropped their major label debut I & Love & You today, played the title track on Letterman last night, and got a love letter from Paste. Tomorrow’s the last day you can get a free record from Suburban Home Records in celebration of their 14th anniversary and you should get on that shit because they’re awesome. And check out some tips for better night photography with a point and click.

MP3s are for sampling purposes only; if you enjoy what you hear, please support the artists by purchasing their music. Files are available for a limited time only. If you represent an artist or a label and would prefer that I remove a link to an mp3, please email me at asdonkar at gmail dot com and I will immediately remove the file.

tim barry @ the local 506


tim barry @ the local 506, originally uploaded by minervacat.

I’m off tonight to see John Grisham and Kathy Reichs at the North Carolina Literary festival, a ticket I have courtesy of t., but if you’re just sitting your ass at home, you should go over to Suburban Home Records and get yourself a free album to celebrate their 14th anniversary. I can personally vouch for anything Two Cow Garage has done and particularly their Speaking In Cursive, for anything Austin Lucas or Tim Barry has recorded, for Limbeck in general though not the self-titled in specific, for the new Cory Branan/Jon Snodgrass split, and for the idea of Drag the River although occasionally I’m fuzzy on specifics there.

Look, it’s a free legal album. Suburban Home is awesome. Go get that shit. Then buy some stuff from them later.

(Also awesome: yesterday’s The Duke & the King Daytrotter session.)