Friday, December 31, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Behold! My favorite records of 2010

I won't waste your time with a whole long "Whoo, boy - what a year, right?" intro paragraph. But would you like to know what records I liked best in 2010? Yes? Ok, here goes...

1. Rae Spoon - Love Is A Hunter
It never occurred to me in a million years that an unsolicited promo from a PR company would make it to my year end list, let alone be my favorite album. But that’s exactly what happened here. If you haven’t heard this, please go check him out. And don’t get all caught up on the gender business. Just accept he’s my man of the year.

2. The Thermals - Personal Life
I’ve heard from a lot of Thermals fans that they feel lukewarm about this record. “It’s not bad, it just isn’t The Body, The Blood, The Machine...” Nope. But why would you want them to make that record again? I do not know! Here’s one thing I do know: If for instance, the record Personal Life mirrored your personal life completely this year, it would also be one of your favorite records of 2010. So there.

3. Perfume Genius - Learning
Simple, haunting, addictive. Remember how, still to this day, people go insane for Neutral Milk Hotel? This record has that same kind of mysterious, off kilter, highly personal allure, but more stripped down - mostly just piano and vocals. Yes I did just compare this kid to Jeff Mangum. Yes I am serious.

4. Beach House - Teen Dream
There’s nothing I can really say that has not been said about this record. Yes. It really is that good. So many records were over-hyped this year (shut up, Sleigh Bells), but Beach House deserves every positive word said or written about them. This is one of the few records of 2010 that is destined to become a classic.

5. The National - High Violet
I still don’t understand how this band got so huge. Maybe I underestimate people? But I can’t complain because they are amazing and in a perfect world, when people hear amazing music they say, “Wow, this is amazing, I like it.” But that hardly ever happens. Because this isn’t a perfect world. And people are very complicated creatures. The National is very good at reminding me of this.

6. The Divine Comedy - Bang Goes The Knighthood
I have loved Neil Hannon for years. Since 1997 or so in fact. I thought ours was a love affair that could and never would end. But in 2006, after never letting me down, he managed to release a record that I felt lukewarm about. Obviously this caused me to reevaluate our whole relationship. We took a break. I saw other people. I tried to forget. Then, all these years later, he releases Bang Goes the Knighthood. And it’s “I want to have Neil Hannon’s babies” all over again.

7. Copper Thieves - II
If you can make me like something this much that sounds like it could be played on the classic rock station, you’re obviously impressive. The key is the blend of Tony Rochon’s perfect 70’s rock style, John Nelson’s 90’s indie sensibilities and Christian Doble’s insane ear for melody. The record just came out this past weekend and I can’t stop listening to it. Next thing you know I’ll be buying Thin Lizzy reissues and getting a WCSX tattoo (please do not let me ever get a WCSX tattoo).

8. Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP / Valusia EP
Zola Jesus is so tiny. Her voice is so not. Usually, because one of my favorite things is to impose stringent and unbreakable rules on myself, I do not allow EPs on my year end list. But I have to make an exception here, because holy shit. And I figure two EPs in one year an album makes, right? If you think Disintegration is the best album ever, but prefer Siouxsie Sioux to Robert Smith, you basically have no choice but to fall in love with Zola Jesus.

9. Damien Jurado - Saint Bartlett
I don’t think Damien Jurado has ever managed to put out even a mediocre record, but now he’s finally managed to release a near perfect one. Saint Bartlett exemplifies everything that is awesome about Mr. Jurado. He played at the Magic Stick with Shearwater recently, and it was just him and his guitar. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.

10. Superchunk - Majesty Shredding
I’ll admit I’m still high from seeing Superchunk play the Magic Stick recently - nothing could have prepared me for them opening the show with the Magnetic Fields’ “100,000 Fireflies.” I was very close to peeing my pants. Especially since I refuse to pee at the Magic Stick under virtually any circumstances. Majesty Shredding is just as great as anything they've ever done.

11. The Juliets - The Juliets
When this record came out earlier this year, it reminded me so much of what I loved about Neil Hannon. The whole record is smart, melodic chamber pop without even a second of filler. Perfect sounds in our own back yard! I love Detroit.

12. Child Bite -
The Living Breathing Organ Summer
I suspect listening to The Living Breathing Organ Summer is a lot like taking a peek directly into Shawn Knight’s brain. Which makes me think it’s similar to how my brain operates when I’ve had a lot of cough medicine before bed. Except way more musically gifted and unhinged.

13. Bars Of Gold - Of Gold
I saw Bars Of Gold for the first time at Blowout at Small’s this past March, and their performance immediately brought to mind Jesus Lizard meets Fugazi. And that’s saying something. Also, “Heaven’s Got A Heater” is one of my favorite song titles ever.

14. Yeasayer -
Odd Blood
This is another record I don’t think I have to say a lot about. Other than apparently hipsters get it right sometimes. Totally managed to take the uncool sounds of the 80’s that I unabashedly loved anyway and make me unabashedly love them all over again.

15. Twin Shadow -
Despite my being fed up with “twin” bands (which includes both bands with the word “twin” in their name along with Tegan and fucking Sara), this record is too good to be denied. I can’t help but wonder if George Lewis Jr. listens to a strict diet of Morrissey, Xiu Xiu and OMD. If so, it’s working for him.

16. Robyn - Body Talk
I don’t know that the whole Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 and “oh, here’s like the partial combo of both of those and it’s just called Body Talk” deal was necessary (I do not like confusion!) but there is no denying the catchiness of these songs. It also helps that my nephew loves to shake it to Robyn.

17. Shearwater -
The Golden Archipelago
If Talk Talk had an ornithology bend to it. When I was living in Charlotte, NC I drove myself to see them play even though I was in the middle of passing a kidney stone and had no business leaving the house, let alone to go see a concert. It was totally worth it. Jonathan Meiburg’s voice makes me swoon.

18. Male Bonding -
Nothing Hurts
Considering how much punk rock I listened to this year, I’m somewhat surprised there’s not a few more noisy selections on my list. But these guys love Mudhoney, and they met while working at the same record store in London, so they’re obvious shoe-ins for my heart.

19. Stornoway -
Beachcomber's Windowsill
People have been going gay for this Mumford & Sons band this year, but those guys don’t hold a candle to Stornoway. Plus they have a song called ‘Zorbing.” Which is like, when you roll around in a ball for fun. Take that, stupid Mumford & Sons.

20. Tim Kasher -
The Game Of Monogamy
Tim Kasher is disillusioned with the modern relationship paradigm and he’s made a record about it! This record will be the perfect soundtrack to when you get around to tackling Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom over the holiday break.

There you have it! As I have done since I think 2002, I will be making a mix CD with one song from each one of these records... And you can have a copy if you want. Just be patient with me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"We're so brave, we're so brave, we're so brave..."

If you haven't seen the Metro Times Music Blahg interview I did with Copper Thieves, may I suggest you take time to read it? They're having a record release show tomorrow night at that narrow-yet-rad venue in Hamtramck. That would be the Belmont. The new record is awesome. For real. Hope to see you there...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wonder Twins: Winter Fling... A Craft Thing @ AJ's Music Cafe 12/11/10

Today's Metro Times includes another installment of the Wonder Twins - this time we went to Winter Fling... A Craft Thing where we looked at crafty wares, bought some cool locally made gifts and for the first time "interviewed" some folks for the column. I feel it necessary to put that word in quotes since D'Anne possesses no journalistic integrity. Just kidding. (No I'm not.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby Jesus has a Santa suit

This event looks pretty rad. I've never gone and I'm thinking about changing that this year. But either way, if you're trying to show some out of town guests how rad Detroit is for music, you could do a lot worse than take them to the Magic Stick this Thursday. Like, for instance, you could punch them in the face and hand them a Kid Rock CD. Look at the pretty poster before you weigh those two options:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The God Jesus made it snow today because...

... Suburban Sprawl's 2010 Holiday Sampler is now up on the world wide web! Each year I say, "I hate Christmas music." Then I listen to this and think, "I forgot how much I love Christmas music." It's a holiday treasure trove of Detroit indie goodness. Go listen.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Grenada Forever

New Grenada, one of my favorite indie rock bands not just in Detroit but ever, is playing their final show at PJ's Lager House tonight. Yes, I'm sad (final show and all), but mostly excited. Any good therapist will tell you that closure is a good thing, but it’s not something one typically gets with a band. This show is going to be the ultimate in musical closure - jam packed with the kind of special guests and surprises the world hasn't seen since The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. All the past members of the band including all one million drummers will take the stage at some point this evening. AND, so you can take home and cherish the memories - the first 100 people will get one of these:

The DVD is called New Grenada Forever. It's a documentary about the band. The DVD also has a bunch of live footage and stuff. It also comes with a CD of rarities- songs the band did for comps, 7"s, covers, etc. Hell yes. It may or may not also feature this very author making a total fool of herself for the love of John Nelson and New Grenada. You'll have to watch it yourself to find out.

The Cold Wave opens the show and Ryan Allen will be spinning records. I'd like to put in a request for "Shrine" by the Dambuilders now, please.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maybe we're just tired of this vanilla existence

So Tim Kasher is playing the Blind Pig on Sunday, and I want to go despite the fact I hate the Blind Pig, and I didn't even know who Tim Kasher was until this past Saturday when my girlfriend played me his band The Good Life's record Album of the Year. This is also when I was informed that he is "the guy from Cursive." Now, I cannot for the life of me remember why, but years ago I decided I didn't like Cursive. Now after hearing The Good Life and Tim Kasher's brutally amazing new solo record The Game Of Monogamy, I think it is safe to say I potentially made a rush to judgment and have no choice but to launch a reinvestigation into this Cursive business. Sorry, Cursive. Sometimes I can be a bit impulsive.

In the meantime, I will keep listening to
The Game Of Monogamy on repeat, and possibly going to Ann Arbor to hang out late on a Sunday night with college kids who have no idea how much Mr. Kasher's new record is literally telling the story of their future. Also, if you and your spouse are anything like the couple in this video, please kill yourselves:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You said it's my fault - I still don't believe you

SO excited to see Shearwater and Damien Jurado tonight at the Magic Stick. Both have released amazingly good new records this year, with Jurado's Saint Bartlett already a shoe-in for my best of 2010 list. I saw Shearwater by myself when I was living in Charlotte, NC. I was dealing with a painful and stubborn kidney stone, was heavily medicated and had no business driving myself anywhere, let alone to a show. It was totally worth it. I've wanted to see Damien Jurado for years. So this bill is pretty perfect. Check out Jurado's creepie video for "Arkansas" and then go to the show because how can you resist?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tracing lines and breaking spines

Hey, are you like, "to hell with those flavor-of-the-month bands, I want to get totally into a band that hasn't put out a record since 2008 OR updated their Facebook page since then!" That is what I thought! I suggest checking out The D'Ubervilles in that case. Their lead singer John O'Regan just put out a record under the name Diamond Rings - and I admit it was the album cover that got my attention:
Hello glammy gay boy, what's up, right? Reviews of the record led me to the D'Ubervilles, and as much as I like O'Regan's Diamond Rings business, I'm kind of smitten with what I've heard so far from the dude's full band. Check out "The Receiver" via their out-of-date Facespace page. It reminds me a lot of the National meets a way-less-douche-like Interpol. Thank god I'm not already WAY behind on all these 2010 releases therefore giving me the luxury of spending time on something from 2008 (aka "olden times"). Oh, wait...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This is exactly how I dance in the lesbian bar...

Oh, Jonathan Richman, how I love you...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

You won't be here tomorrow

And in case anybody was wondering, yes I am still listening to the Perfume Genius record on repeat.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take two, same loot; make something so new

Single Barrel Detroit's got a brand new installment up featuring Child Bite at the Theatre Bizarre grounds. They contacted me about tagging along and writing some stuff about it - an offer I gladly accepted. I escaped the whole "city of Detroit causes Theatre Bizarre to be cancelled/moved" drama this year by virtue of not attending. By the feedback I've seen and heard so far, the last-minute-move-to-the-Filmore seems like it was pretty successful. I am glad to hear it, though it's hard to imagine this, seeing as the best part about the event is the location itself. It would be like if the Renaissance Festival were moved from the grounds in Holly to the Rock Financial Showplace. Yes, you could have the event there, but it's just wrong. At any rate, I hope that the Theatre Bizarre people start wrangling with the city of Detroit now so that everything is in proper order for next year.

Here's a video from the Single Barrel Detroit show - check out the link above for two more videos and my little write up. And if you have not heard it yet, make sure you check out Child Bite's new record
The Living Breathing Organ Summer - one of the best of 2010.

Paws Perilous from SINGLE . BARREL . DETROIT on Vimeo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October spawned a monster

While a great deal of you will be doing something Halloween related this weekend such as traipsing around Theatre Bizarre or eating free Mexican zombie burritos at the Magic Stick, I will be in Mount Clemens. Why? Because of this: The Smiths United are a Smiths/Morrissey tribute band. And I've always wanted to see a Smiths/Morrissey tribute band. The closest I've ever come is seeing Prussia as the Smiths at the first Crofoot Creepy Cheapy Halloween show. And they were fantastic - they even did "Cemetry Gates." I don't even know if this Smiths United business will be any good. But I have to go. Why "Detroit's Premier Smiths/Morrissey Tribute Show" is having their first ever gig in Mount Clemens is still a mystery to me, but considering I'm likely to make a total fool of myself at this show, I guess I'm not terribly sad it is in a city far away that I would never otherwise go to. Because then there will be no proof.

Friday, October 15, 2010

"We need a black pope and she better be a woman"

A list of those who know better than to fuck with
Robyn and/or Snoop Dogg:

The French

The Vatican

The Russians




The Prince of Darkness

The whole industry

A list of those who should know better than to fuck with Robyn and/or Snoop Dogg:


Please make a note of it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

120 Minutes Weekend

Do you remember 120 Minutes on MTV? Specifically the very early 90's when dreamy Brit Dave Kendall was the host? It was on really late on Sunday nights, and I would either stay up and watch or set the good ol' VCR to record it. It really shaped my musical tastes in a way that is still evident to this day. That's why I'm dubbing this weekend 120 Minutes Weekend!

Friday night at the Magic Stick, former Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli is playing a solo show. The videos for "Turn On The Water" and "Conjure Me" - both tracks from Congregation (still my favorite Afghan Whigs record, sorry Gentlemen fans) were 120 Minute staples. Whether he plays AW songs or not, I don't care - I'm just excited to finally get a chance to see him live.

Saturday night Helmet is playing at Small's. Their video for "In The Meantime" was one of my favorites in heavy rotation on 120 Minutes. Because of that video, I bought their record Meantime and played it incessantly. Though I am aware that they have records other than Meantime, that's the only one I really know well. I expect my ears and my nostalgia to be pummeled plenty.

Now if only we could get
Kitchens Of Distinction and the Boo Radleys to reform and play Detroit in a single weekend... Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wonder Twins: Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine at Small's

Today's brand new Metro Times tree pulp pamphlet spectacular features yet another (embarrassing at best) Wonder Twins exclusive super scoop. This time around we went to Small's aka the den of punk rockian sin to see the immortal Jello Biafra - still in full brazen force after all these years. It was D'Anne's first punk show. I have a weird feeling it won't be her last. She left with a Buzzcocks patch safety pinned directly through her back. Oi! Oi! Oi!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's not WKRP, but it's still pretty rad

Local boys Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. just did a pretty sweet in studio set at KEXP in Seattle... Check out this link for way more video.

Friday, October 8, 2010

You are hot, hot, hot, hot, hot

I'm very excited about this new Blue Water White Death album. Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart and Shearwater's Jonathan Meiburg are two of my favorite, favorite, favorites. The fact that they're combining forces is totally what I would make them do if they were on my indie rock fantasy team. You know, like fantasy baseball. Even though I have no idea how fantasy baseball works really.

The video they've just released for the song "Grunt Tube" is Jamie Stewart's creation - not surprisingly, it is a little creepy and features what are probably some grainy close up sexy time shots - I'll leave that for the avid porn watchers to figure out for sure. Stewart says the video features, among other things, "Taping quotes from books about the CIA’s involvement in Afghanistan, gay life in Japan, and early, early 4AD records." Anybody who knows me can already attest to the fact that those are the only three things I care about. Triple win!

Though I don't know if Blue Water White Death will be touring, Mr. Meiburg WILL be in town pretty soon with Shearwater. They'll be playing the Magic Stick on November 14 with Damien Jurado. I've seen Shearwater once before and they were tremendous. So go to that.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

So tonight at the Magic Stick, this is happening. You should go. It will be rad. Also, this Shawn Knight designed poster is awesome.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Zola Jesus for President. No wait - Zola Jesus for JESUS.

This past Wednesday, Zola Jesus made her first Detroit appearance in a performance at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. Her set started a little after midnight, and was relatively brief. Brief but amazing. Which was a huge saving grace since everything leading up to her set was hardly passable, let alone amazing.

Zola Jesus, for those who don't know, is tiny. Very tiny. She is also apparently 21 years old or so. For a voice like that to come out of a girl of that stature and age is astounding to me. She had a band with her - three guys on synths/keyboards and a drummer. Think The Cure circa Disintegration with a powerhouse female vocalist with the commanding presence of somebody much larger. Wow.

Now, I don't want to be one of those "I hate the CAID" people. I don't hate it, and the institution itself is not my main gripe here. But I can't help but question why, somebody who's as critically acclaimed and talented as Zola Jesus has to make her Detroit debut here as opposed to someplace you know, way better. Like virtually all other music venues in the city. Especially since this show was presented by the Crofoot. Which, last time I checked, had several ROOMS worth of way better music venues, all of which have better sound and lighting than the CAID. I mean, maybe there was some discussion and Zola Jesus personally said, "I refuse to play anywhere but the most obscure of art galleries that also double as music venues - preferably ones with questionable security and a history of runs ins with the police." It's possible, right?

But even so - you've got ZOLA JESUS playing your obscure art gallery. So you know, maybe step it up a notch and pull together a killer show. I think this is a reasonable request - not to mention a prudent marketing and financial decision. The caliber of Zola Jesus' performance was so far above and beyond the two other bands on the bill that it seriously felt disrespectful and embarrassing - like Detroit couldn't be bothered to bring out some of (even one of!) its many fucking awesome bands to play this show with her. Instead we got Wire Eyes (aka The Ramshackle Bedroom Folk Sniffles) and Turn To Crime (aka Hey Check Out My New Noise Act Don't You Like Wavves Too?). Oof. The first band was anemic (they announced they all had colds when they started playing but I have a hard time believing they're usually more dynamic) but were at least listenable. The second act was embarrassing. Maybe I'm not cool enough to pretend being terrible is awesome. But give me a break.

And another thing... this is the second Something Cold related event I've attended now. The first one being a show where I was one of maybe three people not in one of the bands playing that night. I like the concept of this, and the guy in charge seems like a really cool dude with a love of music and Detroit and all that is good and fair. That's why I am presenting to you this little pro tip/because I care suggestion: You play/spin really great music. I actually love listening to your selections. But you are playing your shit WAY. TOO. LOUD. When there are four people standing around waiting for a band to start, don't crank it up so that those people can't talk or think. Because that's why they go wait in the other room. I don't think that's what you're looking for - in fact, on your Facespace page it says "Dancing...Dancing...Dancing... Everybody's dancing." No they are not. So you're ruining it for yourself and for all of us. It's a lose-lose! Turn it down!

Next time Zola Jesus comes to town, you need to go. And she needs to play someplace with a kick ass sound system and a working time keeping device. I hope it is sooner rather than later. I'm kind of obsessed now.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wonder Twins: A.R. Rahman's Journey Home World Tour

New Wonder Twins in today's Metro Times. This time we went back to the Pontiac Silverdome for the make-up date of A.R. Rahman's Journey Home World Tour. The original date, back in June was cancelled when the entire stage collapsed. Like, collapsed. Looking at the stage - which you can do by using your eyes and directing them toward the two photos below (taken by Jamie "My Cellular Telephone Is Awesome" Hornsby) - you can imagine, if all of that came crashing down, that it might be a pretty big catastrophe. Thankfully, there were only a few minor injuries. But it was only a couple hours before show time, and virtually everything on the stage was destroyed. Scary. SPOILER ALERT: The stage did not collapse this time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A treasure trove of musical goodness for Morrissey and Smiths fans

I have clearly been ignoring my overflowing Google reader of musical blogs for way too long - because the other day I came across a post from The Vinyl Villain titled "ONE SONG BY THE SMITHS: A Saturday Series (Part 11)." Part 11?! Wait, what? That means there are 10 more of these that I happened to miss? Shame. On. Me.

I'm currently nerding out and catching up. Wow. Each post features alternate versions, videos, live bootlegs... all with with the kind of sincere fan musical analysis and critique that makes me weak in the knees.
Now, I've noticed some of the MP3 links don't work on the actual blog anymore - BUT... they all seem to be working in my Google Reader. So do yourself a favor and add The Vinyl Villain to your reader and get reading/listening.

And when you're done catching up on the Smiths posts, check out his "IT'S FRIDAY, I'M IN LOVE ... WITH MORRISSEY" series which took a look at each Moz single ever released. Good, good stuff.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Charlie Slick - "You've Got the Job" Music Video

Like if Waiting For Guffman and the first two years of MTV made a baby:

The new Charlie Slick record is called Elron Hubbard. But a copy and donate it to your local Scientology reading room...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Listen to your Wii: Take a break. Go outside today.

It's gonna be beautiful. I recommend one or both of these events:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just a child from those ugly new houses

So I went for a bike ride today...

This in and of itself is kind of a big deal. For one, I don't really go for bike rides alone. Additionally, my time spent riding a bike as an adult is pretty slim. This means my bike riding skills are not that awesome. Far from at ease, I spend most of my energy during bike rides fighting off the ever present "I'm totally going to get hit by a car" feeling. And usually my girlfriend is with me. So I have somebody to yell things like, "Is there a car coming?" and "Watch out for cars!" and "Don't let me get hit by a car!" to during the ride.
I'm a carefree spirit.

Going for a bike ride alone also means I have to get my bike out of the house (and subsequently back in) by myself. Now, despite the fact that the following will make some post-gender, feminist, egalitarian Queer Studies major somewhere weep (manly?) tears into their copy of
Paradoxes Of Gender, I typically make my girlfriend get my bike out for me. She is demonstrably stronger, so I see absolutely no reason not to use this to my advantage when it comes to transporting cumbersome and heavy objects in and out of the house. I mean, I hold the door. It's not like I'm not doing my part.

But alone, it's harder. The security door is heavy and doesn't stay open by itself, and my bike is heavy and when picked up, prefers to allow its handle bars to sharply jerk to one side, forcing the front wheel sideways - a position that renders my bike stuck in the door. This makes getting my bike out awkward. And of course, the whole time I'm struggling, the neighbor kids are staring at me. So are the people three doors down who spend virtually all waking hours hanging out on their front porch. For some reason, the worst thing I can imagine happening is one of them - be it child or day-drunk adult, offering to assist me. So I wrestle my bike out with as much calm as I can muster. Even when I accidentally pop off one of my handle bar grips when it gets stuck in the door, I just matter-of-factly yank it out like I had expected that to happen. I spend the next minute or so calmly trying to push and hit it back into place like that's just what you do before you go for a bike ride.
Ms. Cool Ride, at your service.

So now that the bike is out of the house, where to? I had no destination in mind so I just start riding. Soon I am in a Detroit neighborhood near Krown Supermarket. This establishment holds the distinction of being the place with, back about a year ago, the lowest special price on Fruity Pebbles I have ever seen. And they weren't even about to expire. I think they were $1.33 a box. That's like 1986 prices!
I still get excited thinking about that.

The neighborhood I ride through is, like a lot of Detroit neighborhoods, a little rough around the edges. Lots of abandoned houses and trash - but also a lot of really well kept, cute houses. I won't give you a full account of my travels - mostly because I couldn't if I wanted to. I did not get lost, and that in and of itself is a big win. I am a person that still has to look at written directions each time I drive to the airport.

I did see this house though, which I think was on the corner of Moran and Lawley:

I decide to take a couple of pictures of it so I can better investigate its origins once I get home. So I stop my bike in front of the house. At this exact moment, a group of people - all wearing regular clothes but with prominently displayed badges hanging around their necks - emerge from the house across the street. They then walk across the street to the house next to this one and started knocking on the door. Being that I'm not especially nosy, nor (I like to think) especially stupid, I thought it probably best to scram before somebody either does or does not answer the door. Not that my pictures would otherwise be awesome, but they were taken in a hurry. You can see the head of the lady in the group in the picture. With my luck, I am now blowing some giant DPD stake out/sting operation by posting this photo.

Thankfully, with a little help from my girlfriend and the best librarian in Austin, Texas, I found out a little more about the house. It is possibly called The Power House. And it is maybe part of some bigger project that may or may not be ongoing? I thought it might have something to do with Design 99, but I also thought those folks had moved on to other projects. So I'll admit, I am still puzzled to an extent. Artists always have confusing web content. But it was a refreshing surprise in a neighborhood that is in very short supply of refreshing surprises. Very cool. Maybe I should do this bike riding thing more often.

Bollywood Rocks

My friend Meghan just posted this to my Facespace page at the exact moment I was about to have a nervous breakdown. This is proof she's a psychic genius best friend.

Maximum Bollywood from Marc Campbell on Vimeo.

Though a long video,the majority of it is worth watching. The first 19 minutes and 39 seconds are fantastic - go ahead and scoff and call it campy, but the enthusiastic appropriation of Western rock n' roll culture is so earnest. After that we jump ahead in time to perhaps the early 90's. Things start to get a little more insipid. But it's worth fast forwarding to 25:08. That's where a little boy winks, and then punches a lady in the face. It's oddly satisfying.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wonder Twins: India Day Celebration at Rock Financial Show Place

New Wonder Twins in today's Metro Times... If you hate Elizabeth Gilbert, you should read it. Actually, if you love Elizabeth Gilbert, you should read it. Because she is terrible. And you're going to have to learn this sooner or later. Might as well be now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I'll be your gay bar. I'll yell it in your ear.

I love getting mysterious mail from Canada. This CD showed up in my mailbox, and like everything Canada sends me, I took the time to listen to it (this is in accordance with an international agreement between Michigan and Canada that may or may not exist). It turns out Rae Spoon's Love Is A Hunter is a pleasant but confusing surprise! Pleasant, because a great deal of it is immediately likable, catchy and good! If Tegan and Sara managed to write songs half as catchy and melodic, I may even consider liking them for more than their hair. Confusing because all reference to Rae Spoon in the accompanying press materials use the pronoun "he." My ears and I have had (what I felt was) a reasoned conversation, and yet my ears are not willing to believe this!

Wikipedia, maybe please help us?

Rae Spoon is a Canadian female-to-male transgender folk/indie singer/songwriter from Calgary, Alberta. Spoon's music has been described as "new skool folk" and "cowboy-folk that's armed to the teeth with punk rock attitude."

Ah-ha! That makes sense. Though I am not so sure about those descriptions (to be fair, any description for anything that includes "school" spelled with a "k" should be considered with deep skepticism).
Love Is A Hunter is pretty poppy with lots of well-placed synthy embellishments - good luck hearing "You Can Dance" at a crowded party and not falling in love with the first person you make eye contact with (hint: choose wisely!). "We Can't Be Lovers With These Guns On Each Other" gets points for title alone, but the song is as great as the title. "Love Is A Hunter" has a pretty sweet video - by sweet I mean featuring disturbing cat/fish creatures and an abundance of little legs in bear traps. But you already assumed that I bet:

The point being I highly recommend this? Was that clear?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Music doesn't let you forget

So I just finished reading this book. Here's my Good Reads review. If you're a book nerd, feel free to find me there. I occasionally remember to update it:

Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True StoryKilling Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Our mutual hatred for Eric Clapton, the Doors and Los Angeles allows me to overlook the fact that Chuck Klosterman likes KISS, Rod Stewart and Radiohead.

The part of the book that really surprised me was Klosterman's claim/explanation that Thom Yorke accidentally predicted the events of September 11 with Kid A. Not because I also feel this way about Kid A. I don't even like that record. But he is also the only other person I know of who has a "9/11 record" besides myself.

Mine is Richard Buckner's Impasse. I don't make any claims that Impasse predicted the horror of that day - I could not make this claim since I don't think the record even came out until October 2002. But some of the songs have an eerie "soundtrack for that day" quality to them and I just I cannot unlink that record from those horrors. Particularly the song "I Know What I Knew," a chilling acoustic number that sums up not only everything I love about Richard Buckner, but spills out like the thoughts of a 9/11 survivor/victim/responder/perpetrator:

I know what I knew/But there's some things that you take home with you/Ask me if it's alright/ I can('t) fake it out until I'm fine/Later than I hope I should/I understand it's where I stood

I still feel my stomach sink every time I hear this song.

I used to listen to this record on repeat while pouring over information about 9/11 - from legitimate news reports to total conspiracy theory stuff - until I couldn't tell the difference anymore. It was both overwhelming and comforting and probably much more helpful than anything I would've gotten out of laying on a therapist's couch.
Or the exact reason why I should've been spending some time on a therapist's couch. It's a toss up, really.

Klosterman also hates Los Angeles. The line "I'm shocked by anyone who doesn't consider Los Angeles to be anything less than a bozo-saturated hellhole" made me incredibly happy. Apologies to my sister Christine who currently lives there. Though Christine, I do recommend you read pages 77 - 82 of Killing Yourself To Live.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Antlers have a (Twitter) posse.

So on Tuesday I went to see the National, as did many many other people because the Royal Oak Music Theatre was PACKED. It was a good packed though - a "we love this band" packed, not "we heard some band was playing tonight and we had free tickets and thought this would be a great place to drink and talk really loudly over the music" packed, which is usually how shows there feel, and why I don't generally like going to that venue.

The Antlers opened the show. A lot of people have told me how much I should like this band - none more so than my sister, who is so, so gay for them. She made me listen to their record Hospice back when it first came out, and I concluded that it was boring. She concluded that I was dumb. Fine.

But on Tuesday, I was certainly willing to give the Antlers another try. I mean, some bands just sell it live, you know? Well, I was not sold. In fact, my opinion of them remained unchanged. That is why, to kill time while the Antlers played the same song over and over, I sent out the following tweets:

The Antlers were just as boring live as I expected they might be. Apologies to those who are still having a love affair with 'Hospital.'

Apparently The Antlers record is called 'Hospice' not 'Hospital.' Which makes more sense since that is where people go to die.

Were these particularly nice things to say? Well, no. I will admit this. But it is my opinion, yes? Twitter allows opinions. Constantly.

A person who goes by the twitter name of delilah3310, but lists "Peyton D" as their actual name on their Twitter profile replied to my comments. He/she is from New Jersey. Here are those responses:

@LauraWitkowski So are you!

@LauraWitkowski Actually thought that was Detroit.

This first response is very poignant - the point being that I too am as boring live as one might expect me to be. And in fact, this is a totally correct assessment. Nice work.

The second response is saying that people go to Detroit to die. Burn! Ripping on Detroit is so original. Nothing like kicking a city when they're already foreclosed and riddled with bullets.

But this is where things start to get fun - I looked at this person's Twitter page, and immediately noticed some odd things. For instance - no picture. Okay, that's cool - sometimes it takes a few days to find the perfect taken-in-the-bathroom-mirror-with-my-belt-undone shot. I get that. But the second odd thing is delilah3310 has no followers, and is following nobody. Fine - could be a newish account, that's acceptable.

The third thing though? This delilah3310 has only 7 tweets. And ALL of them, are responding to negative tweets about the Antlers. Here are the 5 besides the two sent to me:

@AndyShore I follow The Antlers, not you. I only follow those who offer at least semii-intelligent discourse, which clearly excludes you.

@AndyShore Your comments about The Antlers clearly show us all what an idiot you are. Please spare us your misguided misery.....thanks.

@boners in regard to your recent idiotic comment about The Antlers.

@Chevron_Hubbard you being bored doesnt translate to 'talentless'.... But it does make you sound pathetic.

@Chevron_Hubbard your jealousy is showing...your music going nowhere? I understand your comment now.

My favorite part, of course, is how it says, "I follow The Antlers, not you." Because no you don't! You don't follow anybody at all! In fact, this whole account seems pretty suspicious - do the Antlers themselves or their PR people have a dummy Twitter account to "combat" negative Antlers comments? Am I crazy for thinking that they do?

Also, follow me on Twitter already.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Son of Zoos

Zoos Of Berlin have a spooky new video for the song "Doctor Vine Passing." It is apparently about the demon dog that David Berkowitz found "so convincing!" Get a life, David.

Zoos Of Berlin - Doctor Vine Passing from Eric Ogden on Vimeo.

Friday, July 30, 2010

This weekend: Readin' sci-fi and grillin' foodz

A good show tonight:

A good show tomorrow:

Attend them both and you will see enough bands to qualify for a yellow belt in Detroit indie rock.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Word of advice: Don't drink the 'BP Blast' at Donovan's Pub

Seriously. When I first ordered the drink last night - mostly out of appreciation for the fact they had a BP related drink special - I feared it might be made out of gasoline and dead shrimp. Although I was a little off, I can report with 100% accuracy that it tastes exactly like drinking out of the Gulf of Mexico. I am pretty sure the recipe calls for tequila, oil, salt and blood. This makes it a perfect drink to throw in Tony Hayward's face should you ever have the chance, but not something to actually ingest. Blech.

The one good thing last night was catching the Claps. Not a hodge-podge of sexy-time disease, but an electro-pop three piece from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They were one of two bands (the other was The Funeral and the Twilight) from "MM" (do people call it that? Probably not. And they probably shouldn't.) playing at Donovan's last night. Here's a video of their musics:

CLAPS- Fold from Toast Ghost on Vimeo.

I have not had a chance to listen to their new EP, but it contains a "Sovietpanda" remix of the above track. That's reason enough to like it, yes? They also had little pins (or badges or buttons - whatever you want to call them) and that made me very happy, since collecting these pins is my newest OCD obsession:

See? My collection is fairly small, but if you don't see your band's pin on here I need it please thank you. It has to be this exact size though, or my life will be ruined. I will trade you for something cool.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wonder Twins: New Grenada @ the Majestic Cafe 7/17/10

Whether you felt a sense of loss or relief at our absence, the Wonder Twins are back in the mix over at the ol' Metro Times. The new issue is out today. In it you'll find our column. Put on your favorite sweat pants and get to reading.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Detroit Bands - you should REALLY consult with me before making these kinds of decisions

So last Saturday was essentially New Grenada's last show, and now Friendly Foes have officially announced their break-up. FML! IRL! The good news is, the Foes are playing a free show at PJ's Lager House tomorrow night. It's one of your last chances to see them, so go do that.

Knowing that the Foes folks all have other cool bands and projects does ease the pain a bit. However, I do believe the folding of the Foes means that a certain Liz Wittman owes me a Lettercamp Erasure cover. Now more than ever.

Speaking of Lettercamp, this Saturday you can hear the whole new record at Atlas Lounge in Hamtramck. That should be fun and may potentially help the grieving process.

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