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Hey, friends. Been a while. I haven’t been totally remiss in my concert-going activities (just mostly remiss), but I have been 100 percent remiss in posting photos or talking about those shows. I followed The Revival Tour around for a while. [Photos here.] I went to see fIREHOSE and there are some photos but I haven’t done anything with them and am probably not going to because I have way too many Feelings about it. I even went to see the Beach Boys on their 50th anniversary tour, and made the discovery that Brian Wilson looks exactly like my Aunt Millie. There were a lot of excited white people in the Chicago Theatre that night, let me tell you.
This post is not any of those posts! This post is about Wintersleep, who I saw like a month ago. They’re a group of Canadian dudes I have trouble describing with a word other than “huge.” To stand there and listen to them live is to be filled up inside until you burst to pieces (well, that’s how it is if you’re me, anyway), and I never quite hang on to my shit through one of their sets, but in the end it never matters. In the end I sit alone on a curb, a total wreck, and smoke cigarettes until I have the wherewithal to get myself home.
wintersleep @ schubas, 2012-06-11
The draft of this post has been sitting around for a while, but the first version included photos and then a bunch of super emo song lyrics from their 2007 album, Welcome to the Night Sky. Not to put too fine a point on it, I happen to think that is one of the greatest albums ever, full of this burgeoning melancholy violence that hits me where I live.
i used to dream about saving the world / now i just dream about the holidays
i used to write so many songs for my girl / now all i think about is floating away
i think i need a vacation
So I can’t make that post.
I’ve told the story before in this space, about how I went to shows and then I stopped, and then I started again. Now I go to many shows. The band that sealed the deal on starting again is this Canadian “death country” group called Elliott Brood. I don’t know what makes them “death country.” I don’t know why I went to that show. But I know why I keep going to see them, and it’s because there’s something in that melancholy that makes me achingly happy.
elliott brood @ schubas tavern, 2012-02-24
youthful hearts / get stressed along the road / and buried under all they come to know
The last time I posted, it was to share my awesome rock & roll lifestyle report from 2011. I was like, 2012 is going to be even better for live music!
Then I moved.
Favorite albums of 2011. Turns out that I like punk rock, Canadian alt.country, and some other things (though I recognize those other things are not very far from punk rock). I have divided this year’s list up accordingly, mostly because I was not actually capable of listing only five. I was not intending to split the list this way when I started, but it works out nicely. Note that they’re in alphabetical order. Picking five was bad enough without having to rank them, too.
- Fucked Up – David Comes To Life. Hardcore, or maybe post.hardcore I can get behind. It’s a punk rock opera, and yes, the woman gets fridged so David can come to life, but at least she has a name (Veronica)! Regardless, I’m so grateful I saw them a few times this year before they broke up (if indeed they have), and I’m grateful that someone recorded them playing it top-to-bottom in the round, but watching that video makes me regret not putting in more of an effort to go to that show.
- Mischief Brew – The Stone Operation. Best one yet from these anarcho.folk.punks. I’m really bummed I missed them when they came through Chicago.
- Old Man Markley – Guts ‘n’ Teeth. Bluegrass punks. A stranger on a sidewalk in San Diego told me to check them out. He wasn’t wrong; the title track is one of those songs I occasionally just put on repeat for the day.
- Touché Amoré – Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. This record clocks in at a whopping 20.8 minutes, but it blows me away every time I listen to it.
- Wild Flag – Wild Flag. If my house were not full of giant windows and shared walls and close neighbors, I would turn this to 11 and dance around naked. Alas, I have to settle for turning it to 10 and dancing in my pajamas.
- The Cowboy Junkies – Demons. Vic Chesnutt covers. The album so good I cannot bear to listen to it.
- The Deep Dark Woods – The Place We Left Behind. This is the album I listen to when I’m on airplanes, and it’s never a good idea. I keep doing it.
- Elliott BROOD – Days Into Years. Latest offering from the “death-country” three-piece I love beyond the telling of it. They’re touring it now; go see them. Some of my best live concert experiences have been with this band.
- Little Foot Long Foot – Oh, Hell. Some kind of fucked-up, bluesy garage-country album that kicks my ass every time. Also, they have a song called “Neko Case Hate Fucks Kurt Cobain,” and it is really good, okay? Okay.
- One Hundred Dollars – Songs of Man. Something of an update on the Cowboy Junkies, I suppose, with a little more punk rock somewhere in their DNA.
- Dave Hause – Resolutions. If this album had been out in 2007, I’d've listened to it nonstop.
- Hey Rosetta! – Seeds. Canadian garage-rockers with a string section. This is the album for lying in the middle of the living room floor with the lights off and staring at the ceiling in the dark until it moves.
- The Pack A.D. – Unpersons. Sleaze with a swing and lot of garage.punk attitude. This album is good for fucking someone you don’t love on the kitchen floor. Also, doing dishes, as long as you don’t mind someone watching you accidentally grind against the dishwasher.
- Chuck Ragan – Covering Ground. If I were forced to pick a top five total, this would be on it. I fell in love with this record as it was being written and they were testing new songs on a live crowd, and I didn’t buy the damn thing until very late in the year, after I already knew most of it by heart. It didn’t disappoint me.
- Wugazi – 13 Chambers. There’s something really weird and hypnotic and compelling about this, and I actually like it way more than I like either Fugazi or Wu-Tang.
title: Dirty, Drunk, and Punk: The Twisted Story of the Bunchofuckinggoofs
author: Jennifer Morton
other shit: 223 pages. 2011, Insomniac Press
website: Dirty, Drunk and Punk
rating: 4/5 safety pins
I wish this book were bigger. I wish it were longer. Shinier. More expensive. And it cost me a pretty penny to begin with, seeing as how I had to order it from Canada and their dollar is up and shipping is expensive and I think Canada Post has Godot.
Sometimes I spend an entire Saturday writing blog posts, and then I schedule them to be published every few days and feel really on top of my shit, and then I don’t even think about this blog for a month. All my news gets really stale, and then I write an epic post in one go instead of breaking it up and spreading out my amazing content. This is that post! Sort of. In September, I did some more traveling, got some more tattoos, and went to six shows. Short writeups of those shows (Koffin Kats, DOA, Okkervil River, Dave Hause, The House That Gloria Vanderbilt, and Fucked Up) to follow.
koffin kats @ reggie’s, 2011-09-08
Weekly Show Roundup: Gord Downie, Henry Rollins, OFF! (… I guess it was Former Black Flag Frontman Week here in Chicago.)
More random reviews from January-March releases. Canadians this time, genre unspecified. Now that I have learned about the “read more” functionality of this wordpress blog (strangely enough, you click the “read more” button and it inserts a link that says “read more”), I will be using it to say things like this: Below, you will find short reviews of the following bands’ new/upcoming/recent albums: Strippers Union, Cowboy Junkies, Timber Timbre, Jenn Grant, the Rural Alberta Advantage, and Memphis. YES, six reviews, although the Memphis review is inexplicably about the Pet Shop Boys. But whatever, my personal kanban board is going to look so good.
I often say to myself (and to other people) that I want to / need to / am absolutely going to start posting regular show reviews. I mean, I go to a lot of shows! I see small bands that I think other people should love! And then I… don’t. It turns out I have a lot of weird psychological hang-ups.
The main one is: I don’t like to post show reviews without art. I just don’t. I don’t know why, but I think any show review without some kind of art is not very good, and as we all know, I am really invested in complete awesomeness at all times. So my options are to steal someone else’s photos (not going to happen), or take my own photos.
But because I don’t particularly enjoy taking photos during shows, my options there are a bit limited. I went to a show on Thursday (more on that later) and took my camera, thinking I would shoot one song and see how the pictures turned out. One song I can handle, and if by some miracle my photos were good, then everything would be super.
There’s this band I really like, The Rural Alberta Advantage. They’re a Canadian acoustic indie rock trio with one album out, Hometowns, and their second due out shortly. I’ve seen them several times, and they put on a very good show, light-hearted and hard-rocking, and Hometowns was a bit of an underground hit, so the crowd is into it and knows all the words, and generally, it’s a good time.
On twitter this morning, they linked to their video for a new song. I initially embedded it, but it’s at Rolling Stone and there’s an advertisement you can’t pause, so instead here’s the link. Watch it or not; I’ll wait.
Okay, back? Right. So I guess the song is pretty good; I heard them play it last time they came through here, and the studio version holds up. But while watching the video, I mostly wasn’t listening to the song itself; I was reading the subtitles. If you didn’t go watch, let’s review.
The band plays their song. There is a lady watching, and there is a dude watching. There are subtitles showing their thoughts (and keeping you from paying much attention to the song). The dude’s subtitles go something like: “There should be pyrotechnics. Maybe Bald Eagles flying through lightning. But what is this song? I don’t recognize it. Is it new? It’s definitely not on Hometowns. I would know, because I have it memorized. I have the limited edition vinyl, number 221 of 500.” You know, stereotypical fanboy, socially awkward and way too into music. Fine. Yawn, but fine.
The woman’s subtitles go something like: “OMG, Paul looked at me! He’s so hot! I wonder if I should talk to him after the show. I should have dressed sexier. Like a sophisticated airline stewardess. Although Nils is also pretty cute. He’s got that wounded-warrior thing happening. Paul or Nils? Nils or Paul?”
Aaaah, right. Boys like music, and girls like cock. Not once does she say anything about the song, or the performance. And not once does the fanboy drool over the third member of the band, Amy. No offense to Nils or Paul, but Amy is by far the most attractive person in that band.
That’s Nils on the left, Paul on the right, and Amy in the middle. Amy is hardly in the video at all. Because… what, that’s not how bands work? Boys are in bands, and other boys love them platonically and geekily and not at all homoerotically (the number of dudes who I have heard say things like, “man, if they play $some_song live, I’ll cream my jeans!” Gross.), and girls don’t give a shit who you are or what you look like; as long as you are IN A BAND OMG, girls will put out. In the video, the fanboy tries to hit on the girl, but she is totally uninterested, and it’s heavily implied that’s because he’s not in the band. I bet she would totally do him if he were in the band, though. That’s what chicks care about!
But anyway. I get it, I guess. Both of the fans in the video are irritating stereotypes. They’re not necessarily the sort of fans that bands want, and they’re the sort of fans that other fans hate. But they’re boring stereotypes that don’t add anything to the conversation, they’re inaccurate, and watching that video felt like someone slapped me across the face.
As previously mentioned, I go to a lot of shows. I went to one last night. I go to 90 percent of them alone. I stand in front, close to the band. I’ve been two feet away from Nils and Paul (and Amy). Do they think I’m there because I think they’re hot? Because I want to get in their pants? Do they think I know the words to their songs because that will improve my chances? Does everyone else in the crowd look at me and think, “slut,” which is pretty obviously what we’re supposed to think about the girl in the video?
I’m sure some of them do. That’s how the world works. I know that, and I’m used to that. I don’t usually dwell on it, though, or even think about it much (I CAN’T; if I got worked up about every instance of sexism I encountered, I’d be catatonic). But I don’t necessarily expect to have it thrown in my face by a band I love, either. Happy Friday.
I think the only suitable way to end this is with: And also? Fuck you.