Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Untitled Interview #23 - SXSW Edition: Starring James Baluyut (+/-)

I've been listening the hell out of +/- (plus/minus)'s super awesome album Xs on Your Eyes lately. The little Brooklyn trio you see pictured to the left gave us all a wonderful gift with that there record, let me tell you. It's most frequently powerful, driven indiepop (at times reminiscent of one of my all-time faves, the oh-so-amazing Nada Surf), with dashes of drone and smidges of twiddled knobs ("Snowblind," for instance). In other words, it's delightful, fantastic, and really darned good, and you know what's coming out of my mouth next. Go out and get your little mitts on it, immediately if not sooner.

In any event, +/- is another one of those bands that makes me really, really glad to be going to SXSW this year. I somehow get the feeling that this is a band that can really deliver live. The lovely James Baluyut offered up some answers to my questions, check 'em out. Here's hoping I haven't jinxed them into leaving their laptop behind. And have you bought the album yet? Snap to it, my darlings.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
James Baluyut: Plane.

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
JB: Ooh that question is bad luck. Last time we played Boston, we left our laptop in the elevator of our practice space.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
JB: 1 showcase - parties TBD

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
JB: Three way tie - The Wrens (debuting new material), Violens (haven't seen them yet), Still Flyin' (seen them a bunch, but can never get enough).

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
JB: Eat Mexican food that doesn't suck and isn't overpriced.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
JB: I think it was Lollapalooza in 1995 - Versus was doing the 2nd stage and I was along for the ride. Just being able to see Sonic Youth every day was incredible. Eating lunch with Elastica wasn't too bad either.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?
JB: Getting to see your friends from around the country.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Quote of the Day: #1

ack in college, I went through this phase where I was really, really into quotes. I would pore through books and magazines and surf the 'net for hours upon hours, simply looking for witty or meaningful quotes which I would compile into various notebooks for future reference.

Having recently moved into a (much) smaller apartment than the one I first lived in when I first came down to Richmond, I have found it necessary to shed much of the stuff that used to inhabit the cavernous spaces of my old loft, so as to not overwhelm my cozy Museum District pad (and to attempt to pare down the amount of shit I've been stockpiling). Last night, while pawing through a drawer, I happened across a couple of my old quote notebooks. I felt comfortable getting rid of them, but decided that some of those quotes were too good to simply forget about. And so, friends, enter Quote of the Day.

It might not happen everyday. But hence, I'm gonna share some of the better quotes that I found over the years of quote-collecting, especially since most of them ended up involving musicians (or Oscar Wilde, but let's face it, he was pretty rock&roll).

And so, drumroll please. The first quote in this new series comes to us courtesy of one of rockdom's greatest axemen, a man who casts a mighty big shadow on all guitar players who come after him. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pete Townshend:

"I smash guitars because I like them."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Untitled Interview #22 - SXSW Edition: Starring Duquette Johnston

I've been a fan of Mr. Duquette Johnston for quite some time now, thanks to the wonderful world of Myspace. Part of it could be traced back to my soft spot for anything Alabama, but probably my affection for Duquette's music most likely stems from the fact that it's just flat-out good. He's got rugged, rootsy, bluesy, gritty things going on in his music all at once, a mix that appeals to me to no end (i.e. you might hear dashes of Ryan Adams hither, Neil Young thither, etc.). His solo debut , Etowah, is a great listen (especially that darned fantastic "Oh 19"), and you'll almost certainly want to get your hands on it at some point.

For the lucky ducks among us who are traveling to Austin next month, Duquette will be among the assembled musicians. Obviously, I had to interview Duquette. See his thoughts on the festival below, and definitely give him a listen. You'll be glad you did.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Duquette Johnston: By a pack mule because there is no budget for gasoline.

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
DJ: Everything.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
DJ: Two, Wednesday night and a Birmingham day party on Saturday.

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
DJ: Delta Spirit and Daniel Johnston.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
DJ: Find my hotel.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
DJ: The Greatful Dead circuit seemed like a festival when I was much younger.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?
DJ: All the Music.

[Photo by Morgan Jones Johnston]

Top 25 Albums

My friend Tim recently posted one of those notes on Facebook, you know, the ones everyone seems to post every single day (somehow almost always involving music). His note was entitled simply "25 Albums," and in the note was a list of, you guessed it, 25 records, and the following instructions:

"Take no more than 15 minutes to record your top 25 albums. Implicit to this exercise is the notion that you will pick the albums that come to mind first, thus the albums that have been the most formative for you for various reasons. This is NOT a list for critical thought. Just do it!!!!!!!!!!"

Tim's list bounced all over the place, ranging from the Byrds to Camera Obscura to Fugazi. Inspired by Tim's endeavor, I decided I'd do my own list. I haven't posted it to Facebook, figuring it was more appropriate to put here. When I was done with my list, the overwhelming realization I came to was pretty entertaining. I'm fairly certain you'll pick up on it.

In no particular order, here are my top 25 albums, as per the criteria given above:

*The Verve - The Verve EP
*The Verve - A Storm in Heaven
*The Verve - A Northern Soul
*Supergrass - I Should Coco
*The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
*Radiohead - The Bends
*Primal Scream - Screamadelica
*Joy Division - Closer
*Oasis - Definitely Maybe
*The Black Angels - Passover
*Spiritualized - Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space
*The Rolling Stones - Beggar's Banquet
*Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - BRMC
*The Dandy Warhols - Come Down
*Tschaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite
*Cat Stevens - Tea for the Tillerman
*My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
*Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic
*Depeche Mode - Violator
*Iggy Pop - Lust for Life
*Pulp - Different Class
*Jeff Buckley - Grace
*Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
*Nada Surf - Let Go
*The National - Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers

So, friends, do you see the overall theme of the above records?

Another interesting thing to think about is how different this list would have been ten years ago. Certainly, some of the same albums would have been included, but I can bet you ten years ago at least a quarter of my top 25 would have been Beatles albums. It just goes to show how one's tastes can change.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Live Review: Black Keys @ Rams Head Live!, February 4

OK, so I'm a bit behind on a couple of show reviews that I'm giving you out of order anyway, but what can you do? My erstwhile partner has been trying to show me how to do more behind-the-scenes work here at the site, and let's just say, it's been slow going. Let's see how this one goes, eh?

So the Black Keys blew through Baltimore earlier this month, playing Rams Head Live! I had never been to the venue before, though I have been to the much smaller Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis. Gotta say, I wasn't super impressed with the digs. While there's a great deal of space, it seemed particularly poorly set up to me. The sound board is set up damn near dead center of the lower level, eating up a boatload of space where people assumedly would otherwise, you know, actually groove out to the show. The upper levels weren't much better, allowing for those right up against the railing to see the show, but nobody else. Now I'm about 6' 2", so it was no biggie for me, but my under five foot bride had a bit more of an issue. Granted, they have TV screens all over the place, but if I wanted to watch them on TV, I'd buy their live DVD .

Now, having seen Dan and Patrick about a dozen times, I refuse to believe they are capable of a "bad" show, but I have to admit, this was one of the weaker times I had seen them. While they tore through their set with the usual blistering abandon, the balls against the wall attitude one comes to expect from a Keys show seemed to be lacking. I dunno, it seemed like Carney only wanted to hurt his drumkit, not beat the snot out of it like usual.

On an up note, this leg of the tour has freaking tee shirts WITH A GIANT TURTLE ON IT!!!! If that's not worth the price of admission, well, you're just greedy.

And now for some additional BK audio pleasure for you:

mp3: Stack Shot Billy (live at (9:30 Club, 5-13-08)

[Photo by Chris Daly]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Whither Festivus: Coachella 2009

As you might be aware, I went out to the devastatingly hot California desert last April for my first Coachella. It was good, sweaty (emphasis on the sweat) fun. This year, I've opted to head to Austin for my springtime festival, but I thought I ought to weigh in with my two cents on the festival lineup, both as it compares with last year and the huge lineup I'll be pondering over for weeks to come for the week at SXSW.

On Friday, the bands I would definitely try to take on the heat for are without question the Black Keys, Silversun Pickups, Morrissey, Crystal Castles, the Presets, the Airborne Toxic Event, White Lies, and most of all the divine, legendary, genius of Leonard Cohen. Of all the bands scheduled to play over the whole weekend, he's probably the artist I will shed a tear for missing this year. I'd love to see Cohen live, but the middle of the California desert isn't my ideal choice of location. Come back east, please, Mr. Cohen. I'm fairly non-plussed with the rest of Friday.

Saturday recommendations are as follows: TV On the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, MSTRKRFT, Henry Rollins, Hercules & Love Affair, Glasvegas, Dr. Dog, Liars, Blitzen Trapper, Ida Maria, and Cloud Cult. Amy Winehouse is hit or miss, evidently, and that's if she a) even shows up, and b) shows up before 4 in the morning, or c) even leaves St. Lucia to get to the US in the first place.

On the final day of Coachella, here's what I'd be pencilling in on my dancecard, and advise all you Coachella-goers to do the same. Go see the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Horrors, Fucked Up, Okkervil River, the Kills, Lykke Li, Public Enemy, X, Peter, Bjorn & John, Paul Weller, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Bloody Valentine, and the Cure. I'll gloat for just a second about seeing My Bloody Valentine at the much, much smaller All Tomorrow's Parties last September, but I'm sure the desert clime will be just as fantastic a place to see them as was New York State.

All in all, not a bad festival weekend, but apart from Leonard Cohen I'm not particularly wowed. I think last year was a stronger lineup overall, but there are definitely some worthy bands on the bill this year. If you're headed to the desert, have a great time, remember to bring sunscreen and drink more water than you think possible. Trust me. And don't use the portapotties. The trailer restrooms are worth the wait.

The Untitled Interview #21 - SXSW Edition: Starring Christian Rudder (Bishop Allen)

I'll go ahead and just get this out of the way immediately: Bishop Allen makes music that makes me want to pinch their cheeks, buy them cocktails, and give them bear hugs. In other words, it's delightful, adorable, and charming. I once went through a period of several weeks where on many, many occasions I would listen to the Bishop Allen song "Rain" on repeat for hours and hours and hours, just because it's simply, wonderfully splendid and makes me happy.

Also, their newest long player offering (make sure to get your copy March 10th, friends) is entitled GRRR..., which also endears them to me more than I can say. I mean, it would probably be hard for them to be any more likable. End of story. And finally, finally, finally, I'll get to see them live, down at that little party in Austin next month, SXSW.

I managed to track down a Bishop for some question answering, please see below for the wisdom of Mr. Christian Rudder. For all of you bands that aren't on the SXSW bill, take heart, you might wanna think about heading down there anyway.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Christian Rudder: We're driving in our van; we just got it. It's a great time to shop for a car.

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
CR: Razors.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
CR: I think we're playing the Dead Oceans showcase and the Hot Freaks party.

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
CR: There's a great band from San Diego called The Wild Goose Chase that we played with a couple times when we were out on the West Coast, and they blew everyone away. They're easily my favorite band right now and I think they're playing 3 or 4 times.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
CR: Going to El Chile, getting a michelada.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
CR: We came in 2004, as, well, outsider artists, since we didn't get in that year. We handed out demos on the street while other bands played. Our only other appearance was more official, in 2006.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?
CR: Seeing our other friends in other bands.

mp3: Rain (courtesy the official Bishop Allen site)

[Photo by Maryanne Ventrice]

LP Lust: Budget-Bustin' Edition

I've come to the conclusion that the notion of putting myself on a limited budget for records is nothing more than one of those ideas that are good in theory, but just never seem to work out in real life (as I'm sure you've already figured out, since I'm posting about buying more records). My resolution to not spend more then $10 on records until I return from Austin next month lasted all of four days, which is four days longer than most of you probably would have guessed.

This latest batch of vinyl was had in three sessions; the first a small group from Plan 9 a couple days ago, next from a thrifting expedition earlier today, and the last pillaged from my friend Brett's collection (cheers, Brett). Here's my latest loot:

*Headlights - Kill Them with Kindness

*Billy Bragg - Talking with the Taxman about Poetry

*Gang of Four - Solid Gold

*Jeff Beck - Truth

*Crosby, Still, Nash & Young - So Far

*The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem - Irish Songs of Rebellion

*The Ramsey Lewis Trio - The In Crowd

*Doc Watson - Elementary Doctor Watson!

*Tschaikovsky - Pathetique (Vienna Tonkunstler Symphony Orchestra)

*Tom Jones - Live in Las Vegas

*Doc Severinsen - Fever!

*David Carroll & His Orchestra - Percussion Parisienne

*The Village Stompers - Washington Square

*The Strokes - Is This It?

*Lou Reed - New York Superstar

*Neil Young - After the Goldrush

Does anyone know of a Vinyl Anonymous group I could maybe join?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Live Review: The So So Glos @ The Czar, February 18

A funny thing happened to me this week. I kinda sorta fell in smit with a little rock band from the north called the So So Glos. It wasn't anything I had planned, you see. In fact, it came totally out of the blue. I had merely been drafted to check them out, and instead I found myself not-so-gradually turning from casual observer into a fan. And now, well, pardon my pun, but I'm basking in a serious Glo.

After their in-store at Plan 9 earlier in the evening, I headed over to the Czar (in the space where the Nancy Raygun once resided) to check out what these four Brooklyn guys could do in a full set in a room tailor-made for noise (and my, did they make some noise. My ears were ringing all of yesterday thanks to them.).

True, they're young, but they sure don't play like it. The Glos have, somewhere along the way, picked up some serious rawk skills, not to mention an endearing collective stage presence. The foursome attacked their guitars with joyous aplomb, ripping ferocious chord after ferocious chord, plucking at the bass with gleeful disdain, and beating the hell out of the skins as if all possessed by some rock'n'roll demon, but always with smiles plastered across their faces. I found their songs to be extremely catchy, tuneful, and sparkling with promise. The set flew by, as song after song was played with copious amounts of energy and intensity. Who doesn't love a band that's obviously having a great time? It was positively infectious. The night was, dare I say, a rollicking good time. As I looked around the Czar at all the smiling faces (those of the crowd AND the band), I felt pretty darned glad to be a part of the show.

The So So Glos are in the midst of a pretty extensive tour right now, so if you find yourself in the path of said tour, I'd strongly advise you to go check 'em out. Chances are good you'll end up converted.

The Untitled Interview #20: Starring Justin Jones

I remember it oh so well. One day in April, a couple of years ago, I was talking with my friend Joel (an excellent photographer with rather good taste in music), and he said to me "come see Justin Jones play tonight". He didn't tell me much more than that, but I trusted him not to steer me wrong, and so out I went. And my darlings, needless to say, I've been a fan of Mr. Jones ever since.

Justin Jones, whether onstage with the Driving Rain or strumming away solo on his guitar, has something special. His voice is pure and clear, the type of voice many a singer-songwriter would kill for. His songs are absolutely lacking in pretense, instead carrying a torch for honesty and emotion. It's no mystery about his influences, and he certainly does people like Townes Van Zandt and the Band proud.

For those of us in the DC metro and greater Richmond area, Justin will be performing nearby this weekend. Catch him Saturday 2/21 at Iota, and Sunday 2/22 at the Cary St. Cafe here in Richmond. But first, read below to see what makes Mr. Jones tick (he and I even have a favorite album in common, shouldn't be too hard to figure out which one).

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Justin Jones: I'm good.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
JJ: "Hey Here's Franklin", some childrens show theme on Noggin tv my girl likes.

LET: Playing music is
JJ: healing, magical, painful, annoying, my life.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
JJ: CCR Greatest Hits.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
JJ: Stones.

LET: What're your top 5 albums (of ever, of this week, of this minute)?
JJ: Paul Simon - Graceland, Fleet Foxes, Blind Melon, RS - Exile on Main St, The Essential George Jones.

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
JJ: "American Pop", if you havent seen it, you need to. Amazing. It's a cartoon.

LET: What city or venue would you most like to play?
JJ: Not sure on this, maybe MSG?

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
JJ: What day is it?

LET: What's the best and worst thing about being a musician?
JJ: Best is it's the most fun job I know of, worst is it pays shit.

LET: Apart from you and your band, which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
JJ: Delta Spirit, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, War On Drugs, Revival, John Bustine, Pawnshop goes on and on, there are many I admire.

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
JJ: Coffee.

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
JJ: was....Town and Campus, Harrisonburg, VA. RIP.

LET: How old were you when you wrote your first song? And what is your favorite of the songs you've written?
JJ: 14, it was called Lucy about my dog, it was sorta sad. I usually prefer my newest song.

LET: If, in about fifteen years, Stella came to you and said she wanted to be in a band, would you encourage her?
JJ: If she has talent, yes. I want her to pursue any dream she wants.

LET: What's your take on the DC music scene these days? Good, bad, or indifferent?
JJ: Pretty cool.

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on, and where were you going?
JJ: 9 hours I guess, I dont remember, I got very drunk. London.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
JJ: Neat.

LET: Best song ever written?
JJ: "Amazing Grace".

[Photo by Joel Didriksen]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

LP Lust: President's Day Edition

Hey kids, check this out. Sunday afternoon I went back to Plan 9, and guess what happened? No, I wasn't attacked by a swarm of honey bees. If you guessed that I bought more records, you'd be correct.

My dear friend Laura twisted my arm (ow, it still hurts) into joining her for a little pre-movie shopping at our favorite Richmond record store, and despite going (further) overboard on Saturday, I agreed. The problem with this in general is that my willpower pretty much sucks. Put me in a room with cheap vinyl and I will never, ever leave this room empty-handed.

So what did I purchase on the day before President's Day, you wonder? Ponder no more, friends. Here's what ended up coming home with me:

*John Cale - Honi Soit

*Roger Daltrey - Ride a Rock Horse

*The New Colony Six - Revelations

*Sound Team - Work EP

*The Dave Clark Five - Glad All Over

*The Supremes - I Hear a Symphony

*Todd Rundgren - Runt: The Ballad of Todd Rundgren

I am now officially on a strict, record-buying budget. I must be stopped.

Time to Give: Dark Was the Night

Time for your good cause of the day, kiddos. Those fine folks at the Red Hot Organization are at it again in their on-going cause to raise money and awareness for worldwide HIV/AIDS through popular culture. You may recall some of their earlier compliation discs, including Red, Hot and Blue and No Alternative.

2009 marks the group's 20th anniversary and to celebrate, we have their latest, Dark Was the Night .

We've got 31 tracks here from some of indie music's finest, including:


1 Knotty Pine – Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
2 Cello Song (Nick Drake) – The Books featuring Jose Gonzalez
3 Train Song (Vashti Bunyan recorded, written by Alasdair Clayre) – Feist + Ben Gibbard
4 Brackett, WI – Bon Iver
5 Deep Blue Sea – Grizzly Bear
6 So Far Around the Bend – The National (arrangement by Nico Muhly)
7 Tightrope – Yeasayer
8 Feeling Good (popularized by Nina Simone) – My Brightest Diamond
9 Dark Was the Night (Blind Willie Johnson) – Kronos Quartet
10 I Was Young When I Left Home (Bob Dylan) – Antony + Bryce Dessner
11 Big Red Machine – Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
12 Sleepless – The Decemberists
13 Stolen Houses (Die) – Iron and Wine
14 Service Bell – Grizzly Bear + Feist
15 You Are The Blood – Sufjan Stevens


1 Well-Alright – Spoon
2 Lenin – Arcade Fire
3 Mimizan – Beirut
4 El Caporal – My Morning Jacket
5 Inspiration Information (Shuggie Otis) – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
6 With A Girl Like You (The Troggs) – Dave Sitek
7 Blood Pt 2 (based on original song “You are the Blood” by the Castanets) – Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
8 Hey, Snow White (Destroyer) – The New Pornographers
9 Gentle Hour (Snapper) – Yo La Tengo
10 Another Saturday (traditional song) – Stuart Murdoch
11 Happiness – Riceboy Sleeps
12 Amazing Grace (traditional song) – Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
13 The Giant Of Illinois (Handsome Family) – Andrew Bird
14 Lua – Conor Oberst + Gillian Welch
15 When the Road Runs Out – Blonde Redhead + Devastations
16 Love vs. Porn – Kevin Drew

Now, we all understand that times are tight, but that's not any reason to avoid this worthy cause. Just to see what you might otherwise be missing, here's a little taste for your earbuds.

mp3: Knotty Pine (Dirty Projectors & David Byrne)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Untitled Interview #19 - SXSW Edition: Starring Allison Apperson (Hot Lava)

All the bands I've been posting about in relation to SXSW are bands that I love. That much is pretty clear. But this band, friends, this band I not only love, but have something in common with. That thing is Richmond. I had been hearing for weeks that Hot Lava would be at SXSW, but until I saw their name posted on the official, ever-growing list of bands, I didn't want to believe it. But the rumors are true, and Hot Lava will be repping Richmond something fierce down there in Austin.

If you're not familiar with Hot Lava, please rectify that as soon as possible. My fellow River City residents make sweet'n'sour, poppy dance nuggets of awesome, and they are sure to get those industry types dancing up a sweat next month. Having seen them live, I can vouch for their abilities to make the people dance. So if you're heading to SXSW, make sure to pencil Hot Lava in on your schedule. And without further ado, the musings of Allison Lava.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Allison Apperson: We're going with a friend in his Ford Explorer (Exploader), the ol' band van would never make it out there, but hopefully this one will. We're playing shows on the way down so it'll be a couple day trek.

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
AA: A toothbrush, its' gross but it's true. Don't talk to me if we meet in Texas, seriously.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
AA: We're playing the Bar/None records show case and then a couple of parties. One of the parties is with some old buddies from Richmond so we're all looking forward to that.

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
AA: I'd like to see Mirah, Superdrag, and Yellowfever. My love is divided between those three. The list blows my mind, I'm sure I missed some good stuff as I was browsing through it.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
AA: Well, it'll be St. Patty's day by the time we arrive so I imagine we'll do something festive. We will probably need a nap first to fully appreciate Austin, we get grumpy when not well rested.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
AA: I went to the Warped Tour to see the Impossibles when I was just a baby. Everything else about that day made me want to barf though.

LET: Favorite thing about festivals?
AA: Being in the back of a large crowd, people watching is really good.

The Untitled Interview #18 - SXSW Edition: Starring Dave Thorpe (Pete and the Pirates)

Many of you already know how I feel about impish Reading quintet Pete and the Pirates. For those of you that don't, I'll give it to you straight. I love them madly, a la Morrison. I love them like crazy. I love them seven ways to Sunday (and every day inbetween). There is something so endearing, so lovable about their punchy, saucy songs and crisp, angular guitars. Their music is a potent mix of youthful exuberance and sly cheek, and in my humble opinion, their debut album from last year was simply charming. After hearing some new tunes on the radio of late, I'm seriously excited to see what these Pirates have been getting up to.

And, as luck would have it, we'll all be at SXSW together. O, happy day. Pirate Dave (AKA Dave Thorpe, purveyor of guitar sass) kindly answered my SXSW warm-up questions, so check those out below. Evidently, the band is going to be just a wee bit busy during the course of their stay in Austin.

It might help if you were to listen to the Pirates whilst reading, for the total Pete & the Pirates experience. Just a suggestion.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Dave Thorpe: Plane.

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
DT: My camera.

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
DT: 7 or 8 I think?

LET: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
DT: Micachu and No Age.

LET: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
DT: Depending on the time of day, either some breakfast at the Mexican restaurant with the seats out the back through the kitchen, or have a couple o' beers at the martini bar with the wood decking outside.

LET: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
DT: I think the first festival we played at was one called Tapestry Goes West in South Wales. It was held in a country park in the shadows of a giant powerstation, there was an english medieval theme, we ate hog roast, drank mead and watched jousting, and saw Country Teasers and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

LP Lust: Valentine's Day Edition

Seeing as I'm sans Valentine this year, I decided to spend part of this Valentine's Day not with a box of chocolates watching weepy chick flicks (though I did watch some second season Dallas and Office Space later on), but with some of my new loves, downstairs in the basement of Plan 9 in Carytown. I had decided it was time for my bi-weekly visit to pillage the used vinyl (limits must be set), and in the spirit of passionately hating Valentine's Day (worthless Hallmark holiday that it is), I spent some major cash (well, as far as used records go).

And now, dearest darlings, I present to you the list of my new amors, that are now making sweet music with my other albums. Big sloppy kisses to all of you.

*Count Basie - Evergreens

*The Stanky Brown Group - If the Lights Don't Get You, the Helots Will

*Aztec Camera - Love

*Lynn Anderson - Stay There 'Til I Get There

*The Allman Brothers - Win, Lose or Draw

*Gerard Lenorman - Gerard Lenorman

*The Seekers - Georgy Girl

*Rod Stewart - Sing it Again, Rod

*Paul Revere & the Raiders - Goin' to Memphis

*Peter & Gordon - True Love Ways

*Graham Nash/David Crosby - Graham Nash/David Crosby

*Neon - The Cyrkle

*Joni Mitchell - Ladies of the Canyon

*The Charlie Daniels Band - Nightrider

*Chad & Jeremy - I Don't Want to Lose You Baby

*Wayne Berry - Home at Last

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Untitled Interview #17 - SXSW Edition: Starring Kip Berman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)

I promised you SXSW goodies, my darlings, and here's the first of many. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart have been blowing up like a beautiful, colorful, confetti-filled bomb these days (example: I have heard them on my radio station of choice for just about two months straight), and I am beyond excited that they'll be at SXSW this year. Their delectable noise makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and I highly recommend that you listen to them (now! Go buy their CD now now now!). Or, go see them on tour, as they are currently roaming around unfettered across the roadways of America.

The darling Kip Berman, or "hey you, singing with a guitar in your hands", was game for some answering of questions, the answers to which you'll find below. Seems I'm not the only one stoked to see Ringo Deathstarr.

Les Enfants Terribles: How are you getting to SXSW: plane, train, or automobile?
Kip Berman: Van-tastic Voyage!

LET: Inevitably, you will forget to pack:
KB: Hmm... if I knew this ahead of time, that would be pretty helpful

LET: How many showcases/parties will you be playing?
Well, we have our Slumberland + Cake Shop showcase on Friday night, which will be loads of fun (Crystal Stilts, caUSE co-MOTION, Airwaves and even more that I haven't heard about yet... Plus there seems like there are loads of (hopefully) fun parties.

Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Austin?
I think we're gonna go see Manhattan Love Suicides and Ringo Deathstarr on Tuesday night. After 14 hours drive from Atlanta, that will be a welcome blast of awesome.

What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
A hardcore Festival in Wilkes-Barre, PA. Braid, Piebald, Get Up Kids, Sarge, Atom and His Package were all awesome-- I think Coalesce, You and I and some more loud stuff too.

Favorite thing about festivals?
Infinite bands to see + hearing new stuff!

Singles Club: MF Doom

Clearly, we're not huge hip hop heads here at LET. Alliterations aside, I firmly believe rap hit its high water mark in the early to mid-90s and hasn't been particularly entertaining/engaging since. Of course, there are still a handful of players in the game worth listening to and almost all of them are MF Doom. His style is unique, a mush-mouthed thing of brilliance. Then there's the lyrical content, which revolves heavily around comic book and cartoon characters, and let's be honest, who doesn't love that?

Now, if you're familiar at all w/ the Masked Villian's latest exploits, you've probably been wondering what the hell is going through his metal head lately. With the exception of some guest tracks, he really hasn't done much since the DangerDoom collaboration. And who knows what was going on with that whole "Fake Doom" concert series last year. Leaving all that behind us, it appears that Viktor Vaughn is finally going to drop his next one, Born Like This, sometime in the spring. For your listening pleasure, here's the latest track he's released on MySpace and elsewhere 'round the webospheres.

As a side note, I just figured out that MF Doom is, in fact, none other than Zev Luv X from the incomparable Gas Face by 3rd Bass. I've loved Doom for years and Gas Face for even longer. To find out it's the same cat on each kind of blew me away, thus bringing us back to footwear. So I've got that going for me.

mp3: Ballskin

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Whither Festivus - SXSW 2009

It is the Mother of all (American) music festivals. It is so big that it now encompasses not only music, but film and other good things as well. It is two weeks of non-stop networking and entertainment and debauchery. It is South by Southwest (known to all as SXSW), and the best part about the 2009 installment, in my humble opinion, is that I am going.

I won't post the lineup here, simply because it's already over 1,000 bands (with more to come, undoubtedly). You can see the lineup

What I will do is give you an idea of the bands I'm pretty much drooling over getting to see live (schedule permitting, of course). I'll do this in alphabetical order. Here is but a sampling of the bands on the "Megan is stoked to see" list: The Airborne Toxic Event, Annuals, Beach House, the Black Angels, Black Lips, the Blue Aeroplanes, Camera Obscura, Crystal Stilts, Cut Off Your Hands, Dead Confederate, Department of Eagles, Explosions in the Sky, Hopewell, Human Highway, I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, the Japanese Motors, Duquette Johnston, Cotton Jones, King Khan & the Shrines, Ladyhawke, the Life & Times, Ida Maria, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Passion Pit, Pete & the Pirates, +/-, Pretty & Nice, Primal Scream, Ringo Deathstarr, Royal Bangs, School of Seven Bells, Scram C Baby, the Seedy Seeds, Takka Takka, These United States, Violens, Viva Voce, and Women. And that's just the preliminary, not-at-all researched list.

It's going to be insanity, and I can't wait. Stay tuned for special SXSW treats.

LP Lust: Move-in Special Edition

Not only have I been extremely, ridiculously, all-encompassingly preoccupied/stressed/vexed with moving, I've also been acquiring vinyl at an almost superhuman rate over the past couple of weeks. I saved the bulk of my purchasing for after I was good and moved in to my lovely little third floor apartment, but after the move I went a little crazy in the record-buying. It can, of course, be rationalized away, in that for the list of records you'll see below I only spent about $20 in total. And I must say there are few things I enjoy more these days than going home from work and putting on some music on my wonderful record player (thanks to Scott for getting it up and running).

I've found that the Easy Rider soundtrack is great for unpacking (or cleaning).

It began a couple days before the actual move, when I picked up just a few new albums:

*The Ink Spots - At Las Vegas

*Petula Clark - Downtown

*Paul McCartney - McCartney

The Monday after my move, I took the gift certificates that had been burning a serious hole in my wallet and headed to Plan 9, where I procured these:

*The Band - The Last Waltz (three-album edition)

*The Rolling Stones - It's Only Rock'n'Roll

*The Association - Insight Out

*Alice Cooper - Lace and Whiskey

*The Faces - Long Player

*Arlo Guthrie - Hobo's Lullaby

*Ian Hunter - Ian Hunter

*The Kinks - Low Budget

*Dave Mason - It's Like You Never Left

*Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town

*Glen Campbell - Rhinestone Cowboy

*Easy Rider Soundtrack

*The Butterfield Blues Band - The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw

*The Flying Burrito Brothers - Last of the Red Hot Burritos

I then found the following while doing a little late morning thrifting:

*On the Move: Dionne Warwick/Glen Campbell/Burt Bacharach

*Stray Cats - Built for Speed

*Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake (Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra)

*Frank Sinatra - The World We Knew

*Dean Martin - Somewhere There's a Someone

*Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66

*Dean Martin - The Door is Still Open to My Heart

*Music of the World - Austrian Folk Music vol. II

*Scritti Politti - Cupid & Psyche '85

And then, a few days later, I found myself unable to resist these:

*Hank Williams Jr. - Eleven Roses

*Romeo & Juliet Soundtrack (Zeferelli dir.)

*Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection

*Chris Hillman - Slippin' Away

*War - The Music Band

It looks like a lot. It is a lot. But as the Kinks so astutely put it way back when, the girl can't help it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Pencil it In: The Search for the Next Great Metal Band

Lacking a little metal in your life, friends? Missing the sweet sound of painful, screaming guitars and shouty vocals? Me too. That's why I'll be attending the metallically delicious Search for the Next Great Metal Band, taking place Friday, February 20th, at Plan 9 Records in lovely Carytown, Richmond.

At stake is the chance to represent Richmond in Metal Blade Record's nationwide contest to find the Next Big Thing, metal-speaking. Of course, local bragging rights are also up for grabs. And while I'm not normally into the ole metal, I'll be there for damn sure. The three finalists are Inter Arma, Battlemaster, and the Jefferson Plane Crash (who gets my vote for best nomenclature).

Come out and see the panel of celebrity judges (members of Municipal Waste, Darkest Hour, and Alabama Thunderpussy/Parasitic) as they dole judgments onto this trio of superior Richmond metallurgy (thanks for allowing me these metal-themed liberties, y'all).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

We're Throwing a Rock'n'Roll Show!

Yes indeedy, my darlings, the rumors are true! Your favorite DC/Richmond music blog is in fact throwing our first show, together with our dear friend Brett at Fifth Man Promotions. For all of you Richmonders (or surrounding area-ers), come on down to the Camel this Wednesday, February 11, for a simply delightful double bill. Our fearless duo is the Delicious (of Bloomington, IN), and Birdlips (of Charlottesville, VA).

The Delicious, stopping in Richmond whilst in the midst of a national tour, are of the jingle-jangly, pop-tinged rock genus, full of mirth and merriment (and one of my favorite characteristics, a hearty dose of cheekiness). I'm hoping "Accelerated Dickery" will be included on the setlist.

Birdlips, meanwhile, are a duo of the earthier, more pastoral variety. At times reminiscent of the Essex Green and the Rosebuds, Lindsay and Cliff make many beautiful noises together.

We're pretty convinced you'll love both of them. So come on out this Wednesday. A crisp (or somewhat wrinkled) Abe Lincoln gets you and yours in, where you can enjoy some high quality music (and make use of the Camel's bar and yummy menu).

mp3: The Delicious - Suspended in Air

mp3: Birdlips - Some Kind of Death

[Flyer by Laura O'Neill]