Sunday, December 25, 2005

If you missed the Kings Christmas party on Thursday, here's a really dark movie of the sumo wrestling that took place.
(video removed)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Red Alert posted my System of a Down review.

And Tiny Mix Tapes posted my Top 25.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This weekend at Bickett:

Alphas Wear Grey play suttle and hypnotic electronic compositions. I've heard people compare them to Fourtet. I've seen them twice and would gladly go see them again. You should see them at least one time, so you can say "yeah, i saw them when...." trust me, you won't regret it.

The Title Ceremony are some young bucks from the port city (that's wilmington, folks). They recorded their first full length (available at in their living room! i personally think they accomplished quite a feat and am absolutely excited that they're coming to raleigh. for fans of godspeed! you black emperor (sp?), mogwai, or any ambiently melodic and loud instrumental band.

Black Socks (the I.N.'s experiment) is playing between the two wonderful bands. come out and see what the deal-y is. it'll be easy on your finances and you may find yourself privy to the location of a hotel party after the show.

Where: Bickett Gallery
When: Saturday, December 17th, 10pm start time.
Why: Because it's going to be the shit. period.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Tiny Mix Tapes Top 25

Here's what I sent to them:

A note about my Top 25: I live in Raleigh, N.C., which is home to a large number of great bands. I wrestled with whether or not to put some of these bands on my Top 25 list because I knew many of them would be unknown outside of my area. Ultimately I decided I had to because these bands made up a good deal of my listening this year. Plus, if anyone sees this list and decides to check them out, it will be worth it.

I can't write more than two 200-word blurbs for the year end issue. If possible, i would like for one of them to be The Mars Volta's Frances the Mute.

25. The Mars Volta - Scabdates
24. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
23. Devendra Banhardt - Cripple Crow
22. Sigur Ros - Takk
21. Jaga Jazzist - What We Must
20. The Greatest Hits - The Greatest Hits
19. Lady Sovereign - Vertically Challenged
18. Little Brother - The Minstrel Show
17. The Cherry Valence - TCV3
16. Hot Hot Heat - Elevator
15. DMBQ - Essential Sounds from the Far East
14. The Decemberists - Picaresque
13. Drunk Horse - In Tongues
12. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl
11. Sean Paul - The Trinity
10. Lightning Bolt - Hypermagic Mountain
09. Tiger Bear Wolf - Tiger Bear Wolf
08. The Black Taj - The Black Taj (I'm interested in writing about this one)
07. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - Naturally
06. M.I.A. - Arular
05. Various Artists - The Bloc Party Remixed
04. The Rosebuds - Birds Make Good Neighbors
03. Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock (I'm interested in writing about this one)
02. The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (I'm REALLY interested in writing about this one)
01. The Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

I'd also like to add a big thanks to Shannon, whose own Top 25 (and more) list was a real inspiration for me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Tres Chicas and Mary Johnson to play IPAS benefit

This is from a friend of mine who works at IPAS:

We’re having our annual Rock for Reproductive Rights benefit on next Saturday, Dec. 17, at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The acts will the Tres Chicas (who will be performing some cuts from their upcoming Yep Roc record) and Mary Johnson.
Here's the full System of a Down review

System of a Down

Listening to "Hypnotize," the second half of System of a Down's two-CD juggernaut, I just couldn't stop thinking about Mary-Kate and Ashley. They're a package deal, right? But does anyone really pay attention to Ashley? Sure, Ashley is the one who's got it together. She goes to class, she works hard, she doesn't get into gossip rag slapdowns with the likes of Paris Hilton, and she apparently eats food on a regular basis. And let's just say it: In the traditional sense, she's hotter (and before anyone gets all huffy about my metaphor here, every single one of you out there would totally do them both). But Mary-Kate, with her bag-lady ensembles, her bulimia, her disdain for studies and predilection for Greek playboys, is the one we can't get enough of.

The point of all this nonsense is that "Hypnotize" is a fine enough CD. You'd totally do it if such a thing were possible. But "Mesmerize" is the harder, and harder-hitting of the two. Of course, neither can really compare to the band's earlier output, mostly because guitarist Daron Malakian is not not only writing most of the lyrics, he's also singing on all the songs. That's a mistake because his themes are mostly of the "duh!" variety (war = bad; Hollywood is full of drug-addled fakes), and his voice just doesn't have the power of the foghorn-voiced Serj Tankian, who has been relegated mostly to second-fiddle. The one thing "Hypnotize" has that its more attractive sister CD doesn't is a DVD featuring an enhanced stereo version of the CD (which really didn't sound that much better), a couple of videos ("BYOB" and "Question!" from "Mesmerize"), and a short documentary on the making of both CDs. This last feature is worth nearly the price of the CD on it's own, simply to watch Malakian explaining during the recording of a song that he wants all the cabinets pointed at a wall of acoustic guitars without strings on them because when he plays at Guitar Center he likes the way the sound bounces off the guitars on the wall.
More Snatches of Pink photos

Check out John's Flickr set. He's got some photos of the Snatches of Pink show about a month ago at Slim's.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thanks to Brenda, I'm discovering new blogs all the time now. She just let me know that one of my 75 or Less co-writers, Kyle, has a blog. Check it out.

Also, 75 or Less has published my review of Scabdates. Check out the comments on this review. They're pretty funny.

This isn't my full review of System of a Down's latest CD, "Hypnotize." That will come after I view the accompanying DVD and do a better comparison with it's sister CD, "Mesmerize," which was released earlier this year. So far, "Hypnotize" seems a bit bland in comparison. It's just not as hard-hitting musically or politically. One new development is that guitarist Daron Malakian is singing a lot more (he actually sang a good bit on "Mesmerize" too). He's not a bad singer -- in fact, in many ways he's technically a better singer than Serj Tankian, but Serj has the more distinctive (some would say irritating) voice. I think it's a mistake for them to push that to the back burner.

I think I've overwhelmed myself again. I'm going to be writing for Tiny Mix Tapes! and already I've got an assignment that's throwing me a bit: compile a list of the best 25 albums of the year. I don't even have to write about them, just compile them. This is where my longstanding habit of getting an album and playing it to death become s a handicap. I haven't listened to the quantity of albums I should have, but the ones I've heard I know inside and out. I've got a good solid list of about 15 going with The Mars Volta's "Frances the Mute" and Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" leading the pack. I've been listening to some reggaeton this year too, so I don't know how they'll feel about me throwing some of that on my list.

In general, I'm going to be writing interviews for TMT, though I also have an assignment to go to Dunn, N.C., and see if I can find some local folks who remember anything about Link Wray. In addition, I'm writing for The Red Alert and 75 or Less. I've been trying for years to be a music writer on a national scale, and now that it looks like it's happening, I'm not sure I can handle it.

The big fly in the ointment, as my mom would say, is that my dog, Mr. C., has a torn ligament in his knee and needs surgery. I put it off for a couple of weeks: He's a big dog, he's 10 years old and he has epilepsy -- all factors that made a lot of people say, "Karen, do you really want to invest that amount of money (about $1,200) in an elderly dog?" Well, the answer is yes, because I can't stand to see him limping around, and it's not getting any better. Before this, he was still very active. It's going to take a lot of work on my part to get him back into shape afterward, but I think he's worth it.

OH! and how could I forget? Check out Planet Brenda, another local blogger who loves The Mars Volta too! I swear, we TMV fans are like some sort of secret society or something. We need to come up with a secret handshake in order to recognize each other.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Yngwie: The agony and the ecstacy.

OK, since I'm not an Yngwieologist, I really can't give you a lot of juicy details about what I saw last nightat the Lincoln Theatre. I can say this: When he was soloing alone (which was a good bit of the time), it was the loudest damn thing I've ever heard in my life -- and not in a good way. I, Karen A. Mann, actually went and bought earplugs about halfway through. I can also say this: What he was doing, with all the self-indulgent wanking and indiscriminant effects, really reminded me a lot of what one of my idols, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, is always trying to do. My Volta buds will kill me for admitting that.

Anyway, when he first came on, after an hour and a half wait following the opening band, it really was pretty exciting. The man can play more notes in two seconds than I can play in an entire year. And he slings a really valuable guitar around his neck, flips it in the air, and tosses it backward over his head in a way that keeps you mesmerized. Kind of like how you have to watch trapeze artists because you just know one of them is going to fall and get killed. Danny characterized it as like a trainwreck that you just can't stop watching.

But by the end of the evening, even the hard-core Yngwie fans I know who had seen him many times and were dying to see him again, were yawning. The guy can play zillions of notes, but playing a song seems to be beyond his capabilities. Still, it was a good birthday present. I wish Jessica could have been there so she could see how much of a rip-off Andy Sartori is. But I wish we could both see Ritchie Blackmore so we could see how much of a rip-off Yngwie is.

Also, please excuse the phone photo. I really didn't believe I'd be allowed to bring my camera into the show, but it turns out quite a few people had them, so maybe some photos will show up somewhere else.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Not much to say about last night. After a work-related function, I ended up at Dive Bar, where I saw two college rock bands, The Know and Big City Reverie. The Know was more glam, while Big City Reverie was more jangly, with some really good vocal harmonies.

Afterward, I ended up at the great Cover-up, where I caught the last band, "The-52s."
Bart made an awesome Fred Schneider.

Check out the photos from Saturday night.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I didn't spend much time at the Cover-up last night. But I will say the first band -- a bunch of folks I really don't know doing TV theme song covers (including "Family Ties" and "Law and Order"), was probably the most original thing I've ever seen at a cover-up.

Here's a little movie of them doing "Duck Tails" and the theme song of some Japanese show.

TV Theme Show band from the Great Cover-Up from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Knowledge is For Fools played second as The Ramones. I got a shot of their singer, Andy (a.k.a. James At-15) breathing fire, which isn't a Ramones thing, but really made for a great shot.

I didn't know the third band, and I'm not that familiar with the band they were doing (The Smoking Popes), so I ended up going home.

Here are some photos from last night.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

If you've read this blog you know I've been raving lately about The Greatest Hits, a band that really has improved dramatically since the first time I saw them years ago. Back then they had potential, with classic pop guitar melodies, roughed up with sludgy fuzz, and heartfelt lyrics spat out by the gravel-voiced Jeramy Lowe. Now their musical chops have caught up to their ideas. Not only do they put on a good show, they've made a really tight CD. Each of the CD's seven songs is well-crafted with the jangly "For My Health" and winsome, Superchunk-ish "Out of Touch" being the stand-outs. You can hear "Out of Touch" for yourself on the band's Myspace page.
Celtic Frost coming to Jaxx!! Tickets go on sale today for Celtic Frost, who are playing for two nights at Jaxx in Virginia on Sept. 12 and 13, 2006. I'm going to get two tickets (Jessica, I assume you'll want the second one). While researching this, I also found out that Tom G. Warrior has a blog. So, now I have to tell you the one and only funny Celtic Frost story I have. Back in the late '80s, when I was a student at ECU, my roommate, Christine, worked at a gyro place/bar called Omar's. Omar and his brother, Ali, were from Morocco. Anyway, this was in the days before CD players (hard for some of you whippersnappers to imagine, I know), so Omar had a turntable, and patrons could bring in whatever records they wanted to play. Well, someone had brought in, and left, a copy of Celtic Frost's infamous "Cold Lake," the album that saw them trying to abandon their death metal roots for a more glam sound and image. Just take a look at this image of the back cover:Not only is bass player Curt Victor Bryant wearing suspenders, his acid-washed pants are unbuttoned. Yes. That's Tom G. Warrior in the satin shirt and big hair. At that point I had heard of, but never heard Celtic Frost. So, while hanging out in Omar's one day, I tried to put it on the turntable. Omar flipped out. (Insert thick Moroccan accent here) "You cannot put that on the turntable," he hollared. "But I want to know what it sounds like," I said. "You want to know what it sound like???" he asked. "It sound like THAT!" He pointed squarely at Bryant's dick. And he was right, too. But I'm still going to see them at Jaxx.
The Coverup, and Rock the Triangle

I don't know what the hell is up with the Rock the Triangle myspace group. It's completely messed up, and won't let me edit. I'll resist the urge to say something snarky about myspace (but you guys can go right ahead). I've actually been in contact with someone there, and if you look, it's actually messed up in a different way now, which I guess means someone is actually doing something to it. I guess that's good.

Anyway, tonight is night one of the coverup at Kings. I'll be out there with the camera. I'll probably be there on Friday, too. Saturday I'll be at Dive Bar checking out Big City Reverie. I don't know much about them, but a friend of mine recommends them highly, so I'm going to check it out.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'll be guest DJing this Sunday at the latest Carolina Rollergirls bout. I've only got 45 minutes, and I haven't totally narrowed down my set list, but here are a few things I'm thinking of playing

Girlschool, "C'Mon Let's Go"
The Damned, "New Rose"
Bad Checks, "Graveyard Tramp"
Gang of Four, "At Home He's a Tourist"
Thin Lizzy, "Waiting for an Alibi"
Gluecifer, "Ducktail Heat"
AC/DC, "Let There Be Rock"
Judas Priest, "Exciter"
Slayer, "Read Between the Lies"
The Jesus Lizard, "Nub"
Valient Thorr, "We Believe in Science"
Alice Cooper, "Muscle of Love"
Carcass, "Corporeal Jigsore Quandary"
Foghat, "Honey Hush"
The Police, "Demolition Man"
At the Drive-In, "Chanbara"
M.I.A., "Bucky Done Gone"
Paris, "Break the Grip of Shame"

Can't wait to see you guys there!
Metal Matinee in Durham

From the Viva La Venus folks:

Saturday, Dec. 3 @ 4:20 PM
@ 305 South - Durham, NC
ALL AGES!!! $3.00
With H.O.W. and The Athenian Mercury.

This one's for the kids! James & Michelle at 305 South are trying to
get this Saturday afternoon Metal Matinee started as an all ages event
for the kids to be able to come out and rock with the best of 'em.
Featuring popular local bands as well as high-school aged bands, it's
an opportunity for the under-21 set to see shows they might not
otherwise be able to check out at bars. We think this is a GREAT
idea, but it needs support... so PLEASE, if you can, come out to this
event and show the love. Tell your friends, tell your kids, tell your
friends' kids and get your butt out there to make it a SUCCESS. If
folks don't come to the shows, it won't last! 305 South is located at
305 South Dillard Street in downtown Durham. For more information,
visit .

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A short review of the new Black Taj CD.

Black Taj
Self-titled (Amish Records)

Yes, it's true that Black Taj guitarist/singer Dave Brylawski and bass player Steve Popson used to be in Polvo. But if you pick up this CD expecting to hear something similar to that band's distorted guitars and Eastern-inspired melodies, you're likely to be disappointed. Certainly there are similarities, especially on the songs "Back to the Bridges" and "Octastone," but if this cd sounds like anything, it's a lot of old classic rock especially Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers, Black Sabbath and ZZ Top.

A good part of that has to do with the band's second guitarist, Grant Tennille, who seems to like to riff a lot more than Brylawski, yet fits perfectly with Brylawski's more exotic style.

But that's not to say Black Taj is simply a classic rock band. They're more deep cuts classic, like something that might have gotten played on an FM station in the early '70s when no one cared how long the songs were because there were no commercials to play. A perfect example is "Beyonder," which starts off slow with reverbed guitars and vocals, then builds up to a chugging, multi-layered guitar groove, cut with some serious John Bonham-like snare-drum fills.
Happy Birthday to me! My friend Laura came down from New York to spend Thanksgiving (and my birthday) with me and my family at the beach. We basically did nothing but eat, crochet and watch TV for two solid days, so when we got back to Raleigh on Saturday night, we were ready to go out and actually do something. We picked up Jessica and went to Zely and Ritz, a tapas place on Glenwood, where we had roast quail in cranberry sauce, polenta with truffle oil, rack of lamb, mushrooms, roasted winter squash, creme brulee and a whole lot of wine. I'd never been there before, and I'd never had anything with truffles in it before. I definitely recommend both. I was ready to go back home and go to bed after all that, but we couldn't miss Black Taj at Kings, so we headed downtown and hung out at Poole's before the show. Jessica had forgotten to paint her nails, so she did that while one of the bartenders took our picture. The picture above shows me doing a wonder twins power move with the other bartender, whose birthday is today. Unfortunately my batteries ran out in my camera, so I only got a few pics of TV Knife (below), who really do sound a good bit like Randy Newman (but in a good way -- normally I can't stand Randy Newman) and Hall and Oates. I kept hearing bits and pieces of The Band in there too. I didn't get anything of Birds of Avalon, which really sucks because they put on a great show, and I would have loved to have gotten a movie of it. I was so addled I didn't even get a copy of the Birds of Avalon CD, which was on sale for $5 (though I did get the Black Taj CD, and will finally sit my lazy butt down to review it -- along with The Greatest Hits and Viva La Venus -- tonight). But thanks goodness for Raymond, who gave me a couple of AA batteries (Thanks Raymond!), so I was able to take some photos of Black Taj (Dave Brylawski is pictured above) and make a little movie of them. I love their music (reminds me of a cross between The Allman Brothers and Black Sabbath; my ex said they sounded like AC/DC with more complicated bass), but I must say, they don't have the most exciting stage show in the world. They definitely concentrate on the music itself. Or maybe I'm wrong about that. Check out the movie and tell me what you think.

Black Taj from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Black Taj performing "Red Jr." Flickr set of Black Taj, TV Knife and us hanging out before the show

Monday, November 21, 2005

Link Wray info from The News & Observer
And, finally, the best info of all I've found on Link Wray, including photos and video clips from his last gig, is here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A little more info on Link Wray:

Blog post with some mp3s

Link's myspace page with some mp3s

English translation of a Danish obit.

Technorati search for Link Wray

A Flickr set


My review of The Mars Volta's "Scabdates"

The Mars Volta

I could sit here and write the most detailed review of this CD ever, with discussions about the chaotic soundscapes that bookend the CD, the new "songs," which are essentially extended jams with a little form to them, and even the fact that the liner notes list 21 people in this ever-growing band. Apparently they decided to include all their roadies and techs in the credits as well, which is sure nice on their part, but a bit confusing for the rest of us.

But the fact is, this CD can be broken down thusly: If you worship the group's guitarist/band leader, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, if you hang on vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala's every utterance, and if you think of their marathon jam session concerts as transcendent experiences, you're going to love the hell out of this CD. I would tell you to go buy it now, but you've probably already downloaded it from Soulseek.

There's plenty of spacy, effects-laden noodling, and unlike at many of the band's live performances, you can actually hear and appreciate the contributions of the other band members, notably keyboard player Isaiah Ikey Owens. Also showcased nicely is Bixler-Zavala's well-known penchant for improvising stream-of-consciousness lyrics about lust and loss while the band jams away behind him.

Unlike the band's 2003 live EP, which was a straight-up live version of studio tracks from that year's "De-Loused in the Comatorium," "Scabdates" is essentially an aural collage of stuff you might hear at a Mars Volta concert, along with stuff you might hear if you're traveling with or hanging out backstage with the band (crying babies, voices in Spanish and English, salsa music, individual instruments).

But if you've long ago written off Rodriguez-Lopez and the band as a bunch of pretentious faux-prog wankers who are trying too hard to be artsy, well, you'll probably actually like this CD too because those soundscapes along with some of the extended noodling will give you ample evidence to make your case.
Another sad passing: Link Wray Via Jessica and Greg. I was at that same Cradle show. He was from North Carolina, btw. Will post more info when it becomes available. sad. i got to see Link Wray several years ago at the cradle, it blew my mind and also made me laugh. His wife (or girlfriend) would intermittenly groom his hair while he played. Odd think is, after reading below, I did a search on google news, nothing. Even on Wikipedia, it just says death date "November 2005" If anyone has any info, please post and/or send it my way... off to rock'n'roll myself, rest in peace link. ----------------- Bulletin Message ----------------- From: ggory Date: Nov 19, 2005 9:30 PM R.I.P. - Link Wray It appears as though rockabilly/surf guitar legend Link Wray has passed away. I'm reposting this from Jason's RESTRICTED page ... The American media is so fucktarded you can't find a story on Link Wray's passing even if you use Google! Rest in peace, Link. Rock music would be ball-less if it were not for you. Check out for a bit of history on this rock 'n' roll legend.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I love discovering new things, especially when I discover them accidentally. Last night I went to Dive Bar in Raleigh (which used to be Mary Lou's) and saw Viva La Venus, which is one of those bands I've heard about for a long time, but never actually seen. It goes without saying that I love female rock bands, but I was surprised to find out how awesome these girls (and guy) really are (they covered both Berlin and Salt 'n' Pepa!). And I was pretty surprised to find out how big Dive Bar really is inside. Here's the Viva La Venus Flickr stream.

Viva la Venus from Mann's World on Vimeo.

And here's the movie (not one of my better ones, but you get an idea of what they're like).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Snatches of Pink, Nov. 17 at Slim's Last night was my first time seeing Snatches of Pink in many years (I'm old enough to remember the Sara Romweber/Andy McMillan days). As always, singer/guitarist Michael Rank (that's his feet, above) has an all-star band backing him up, including John Howie (Two Dollar Pistols, Finger) on drums, Marc Smith of Patty Hurst Shifter on guitar and Nikos Chremos of Allnight in his first show with the band. Nikos was my boss at News & Novels in Greensboro during my grad school days, so for the longest time I just thought of him as a bookstore guy -- until I saw Allnight and realized he is a PHENOMENAL bass player. Anyway, Snatches, just like in the old days, put on a great show of raw, Stones-y rawk. Slim's, as far as the attitude of the place, seemed perfect for them. But, damn that place is small. The next time they play the Cradle I just might have to make a road trip, even though I HATE driving on I-40 at night. Here are some pictures

Snatches of Pink from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Also, I wanted to note that a couple of weeks ago, Miss Tori alerted me that Tiny Mix Tapes was looking for writers. Last night I got an e-mail back from them, so it looks like I'll be doing some band interviews for them!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Omar's new CD, and Triangle bloggers

I'm going to give up on sleep. And that's probably a good thing. I finally got up at 3:15 a.m. to find an e-mail from one of my most devoted Mars Volta buds with a link to download Omar's new CD, which, as far as I know, is so far only available via import or at the shows in Europe. I'm still hoping to get a copy from my Italian pal David, but for right now, I'm enjoying listening to what I can get.

Download it from a post on this Web site.

A note about the Gene Loves Jezebel show from Badger (it's in the comments in the previous post):

"By the way, Raleigh Underground is the name for the goth nights held at Legends. The concert is still being held in the same place. I know several people who've been confused by the name change."

I'll try to spread the word.

Finally, the real reason I finally got up at this awful hour was to write a short recap about the Triangle Bloggers Bash, which took place at the American Tobacco Historic District last night in Durham. Anton Zuiker, one of the prime organizers, wrote his own recap here.

Tonight was great because I finally got to put a couple of faces with names, including Tony from Half-life and Times, and Martin Johnson, who writes music articles for The N&O, but also maintains a blog for the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at UNC. He filled me in on the fact that Local 506 is doing a podcast, which I will have to check out. He and Anne Bramley of talked to me a bit about podcasting, which I've wanted to start doing for a while now. When I figure out a way to eliminate sleep entirely, maybe I'll get around to doing that.

I also got to meet David Warner, who does a podcast, which, in his words, showcases "the best chillout, trip hop and downtemp music on the Internet." I also met the folks from, and upon browsing their site, found out that one of my favorite interviewees ever, Jim Space (a.k.a. Jim S. Pace, a.k.a. E.T. Rock) has a book out called "My Grandmoter was from Wales." Does anyone know if Jim is still doing E.T. Rock on public access? I just don't even watch TV at all anymore unless I'm at work (where I actually have to watch TV). is apparently starting something called the Blooker prize, which is supposedly a prize where lulu will publish the best book based on a blog. I tried to engage one of the judges, Paul Jones, in a dialog about my idea, which would, of course, be my Rock 'n' Roll Dreamland blog. A couple of problems there: Since I'm apparently in the minority of having weird rock dreams, there's not a whole lot of content there. And I just checked it and realized I made a post there about the Soul Food Potluck, which was intended for this blog. I need to pay better attention to that thing. I wanted to call it Nocturnal Transmission and expand to weird dreams of all types, but that name is taken, so I guess I'm out of luck. Paul, being a judge, didn't want to hear about it, so I guess I've got an opportunity to polish it up and really do something.

OK, I've been listening to this Omar CD while writing this post, and I have to say it's really, really damn good. Better than Scabdates (full review to follow at a later date), which is simultaneously brilliant and completely crappy. Download it.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Pitchfork's "Worst Covers of All Time," is a hilarious talker -- most especially because one of my favorite bands of all time, The Mars Volta, is on the list right above Nantucket, which, of course, is the N.C. band my friends and I first worshipped back in the early '80s.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Gene Loves Jezebel has moved

(Originally This was going to be at Legends
Eccentrik Productions & Raleigh Underground Presents


On Monday, November 28th, 2005

330 West Hargett Street Raleigh, NC


Admission: 18+
$10 Advance, $12 day of Show

Doors Open at 9:30pm
Performance Starts at 11:00pm

For more information:

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ross is oggcasting.

I've yet to check it out, but according to his site, Triangle Rock, Ross Grady is oggcasting his weekly music show on WXDU. I haven't done anything with the whole pod/ogg casting thing yet, but plan to very soon. In the meantime, you should check it out and tell me how it is.

Hey, The Red Alert ran my review of Lightning Bolt's Hypermagic Mountain.
Check it out.

The Greatest Hits with Dirty Johnny and the Make Believes, Friday, Nov. 11, at Slim's in Raleigh.

Last night I saw The Greatest Hits again. I love their ragged pop harmonies more and more each time I see them. I'm listening to their new CD now, and will give a better review once I've got a better handle on it.

They opened for Athens, Ohio, band Dirty Johnny and the Make Believes, who put on a pretty crazy show that culminated in Johnny himself and the guitar player crashed out on the floor in front of the stage. I spent all night trying to figure out who that guitar player looked like. This morning while going through the photos I realized he is a dead ringer for Robbie Robertson, circa "Songs from Big Pink."

I'm sorry I'm not feeling very descriptive today. I'm kind of tired after going out three nights in a row, and I plan to just stay at home and do nothing tonight (or maybe I'll actually review the Greatest Hits and Black Taj CDs for you). For right now I'll let the pictures and movie do the talking.

I am excited about two things:

I finally got Quicktime Pro, which allows me to compress my little movies so that they're easier for you to download. This one, of the first two songs from The Greatest Hits' set last night, is in .mp4 format. Let me know if it's easier, harder or whatever.

(video removed)

Also, I'm going to actually start putting all my photos up on my flickr account and post the streams here.

Here's the photo set.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Swampstock '05

A whole bunch of death metal bands in an all-day festival in Benson. $5. BYOB. Need I say more?

Read the thread on N.C. Scene
A couple of quick notes about Caspian Sea Monsters/Dude Garden. This was only the second time I've seen Caspian Sea Monsters, but it seems like they got a LOT heavier. I've been enjoying listening to Jessica's Dude Garden CD. I'm glad I finally got to see them live.

But the things that excited me most are this: The Girlschool CDs and buttons that Andy made me, and Joust! my latest band idea, in which Steve P., Jeff, Mike T. and Steve B. have agreed to participate. Ten guitars, one bass player and one tambourine player. It'll be like an aural kick to the throat.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dexter Romweber and the New Romans

I got a blast from the past last night at Kings. Local legend Dexter Romweber, whom I first saw live more than 20 years ago, was playing with his new band, which includes a variety of folks, including Anthony from Lud, Crowmeat Bob and Chuck Garrison on percussion (even though I've seen the drummer around for years, I still don't know his name -- or maybe I do and just can't remember it; I couldn't remember Anthony's name last night either, even though he's one of my myspace pals).

I also saw Clif Mann, who gave me a CDR of an old Chew Toy show from 1991 or '92. I may put one or two songs on the myspace page.

The first time I saw Flat Duo Jets was at the New Deli when I was a freshman at ECU back in 1985. Afterward, there was a party at Bubba Grant's house, where Dexter played a whole 'nother set, solo, in the kitchen -- one of the most raucous performances I've ever seen by anyone anywhere. If anyone knows where Bubba is these days, please e-mail me or forward him my e-mail (

Last night's show, unfortunately, was sparsely attended. I'm not sure if it just wasn't well-promoted, or if people really just don't like to go out on a Wednesday night. Actually, I know that's not true, because after the show we went to the Jackpot, and there were quite a few folks there. For the vast majority of you who missed it, here are some photos and a movie. As per usual, it takes several minutes to download. (there may be a second one later.)

(Videos removed)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

DMBQ van accident

I just found out that the members of DMBQ, who put on a great show last Saturday at Kings, were in a van accident, and that the drummer died. Here's the latest cobbled together from myspace bulletins:

Todd P:
It is with a lot of grief and weariness that I announce that tonite's DMBQ and friends show @ Club Exit has been cancelled following a tragic car accident today.

DMBQ's van rolled from I-95 in Delaware en route from Baltimore to Brooklyn this afternoon. All members of the band have been hospitalized, as well as Michelle Cable from Panache Magazine and booking, who has been managing their tour.

Mana "China" Nishiura did not survive the accident. China was DMBQ's drummer, as well as the drummer in Shonen Knife. China will be missed.

Michelle Cable is conscious following surgery for a head injury. The other members of DMBQ are stable but sedated and are expected to recover.

That's all the information I have.

None of the bands tonite nor I felt up to a rock show following the news.

We are tentatively planning to continue with tomorrow's show @ Kingsland Tavern as a benefit to cover DMBQ's travel and medical expenses. If the bands and I decide we can't go through with the show, I'll send out a cancellation.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Amazingly, I'm feeling pretty good this morning, following last night's costume revelry at Kings. Actually, my arms are so sore I can hardly move, but I think that has more to do mowing the grass yesterday for the first time in six weeks than it does with anything that happened at the show. Japanese band DMBQ and Raleigh's The Greatest Hits played. I have to say, I don't think any band in this area has grown on me as much as The Greatest Hits. I really didn't like them at first, but they've become one of my favorites. DMBQ was ear-splitting psychedelic metal. The guitar player secured a place in my heart by playing with a violin bow. As for our costumes, jessica went as the typical '70s tough girl stoner chick who always sat in the back of the class and played with her roach clips. We decided her name was Tonya. I had made a vow that I wasn't going to dress up, but while we were out at American Way, I found a hideous pair of leopard print cotton spandex pant and realized that all I had to do was dig out my old Krokus T-shirt to have the perfect costume. We listened to Def Leppard on the way over to Steve and Jeff's house and decided my name was going to be Lady Strange. I'd like to thank the rockabilly dude who took our picture while we shopped for beer and snacks at the Kangaroo.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The new CD by Black Taj, featuring Steve and Dave from Polvo, is out now. I'll give a review once I get my hands on it.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Spinns have a new album!

They're one of my favorite local bands. Check their new stuff on myspace, then go buy their CD.

A review of Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock"

It can't be easy to distinguish yourself in a family full of musical visionaries, but Bob Marley's youngest, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, sure is giving it a good try. After winning the Grammy for 2002's Halfway Tree, and after penning one of the most explosive reggae hits of the summer, the menacing anti-violence anthem "Welcome to Jamrock," Marley returns with an album that lives up to the single's promise.

The album erupts right off the bat with "Confrontation," which builds from spoken word dialog by Bunny Wailer (along with recordings from Haile Selassie and Marcus Garvey) into a pounding indictment of war in general, and the war in Iraq in particular. Other stand outs include "Pimpa's Paradise" (with Black Thought and Stephen Marley), a cautionary tale about a casualty of hip-hop's bump-and-grind video culture; "All Night," in which Marley sings about trying to keep up with his insatiable lady over a loping Skatalites sample; and "For the Babies," an Asian-influenced anti-abortion song that takes men to task for abandoning their pregnant girlfriends.

Marley gets quite a bit of help from friends and relatives, including his late father, on several of the tracks. Bunny Wailer, Nas, Black Thought, Bounty Killer, Eek-A-Mouse and even Bobby Brown put in appearances. Marley's brother, Stephen, co-wrote and performs on many of the songs. And at least two songs include "interpolations" or samples of work by Bob Marley himself. But while Marley isn't shy about celebrating (or cribbing from) his father's legacy, the end product is his alone.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sanctuary Records closing

Here's an e-mail my friend Dave Rogers sent out. Dave is a great guy, and any band out there would be lucky to have him on the road with them.



Hello everybody, if you haven't already heard the news Sanctuary Records is closing their Raleigh NC location. That means as of Friday 10/14 me and many of my co-workers here will be out of a job. That's right - to all the bands and managers that wanted to put me on the road - I'm now available! At the very least you'll find me in the photo pit. Anyway, I do want to stay in touch with many of you and as I begin my search for the next gig keep me in mind. My contact info is below. Cheers!
>Dave Rogers

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Red Alert ran my review of The Rosebuds!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Finally, the Valient Thorr movie.

Beware, it takes a long time to download.

Valient Thorr from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Harvey Danger's downloading experiment.

The band Harvey Danger is offering its new CD available for download absolutely free. On the band's Web site, they discuss their reason's for doing this (quote: "Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as “illegal” file sharing can be a friend to the independent musician, we have decided to embrace the indisputable fact of music in the 21st century, put our money where our mouth is, and make our record, Little By Little…, available for download via Bittorrent, and at our website."), and they include links to bitTorrent and direct download. The band requests that, if listeners like it, they should send a small donation to the band, or go out and buy the physical copy.

I'm interested to see how this comes out for the band. It's already gotten them one new listener: Even though I don't know much about them, I'm going to go ahead and download it simply because there's no risk involved. If I don't like it, I haven't wasted any cash on it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Beenie Man!
Lots of good shows comming up in the next few months. Here's a list of some I am either definitely going to, or seriously considering going to: Oct. 7: GANG OF FOUR at Cat's Cradle Oct 9: KINGS OF LEON at Cat's Cradle Oct 15: DEVENDRA BANHART at Cat's Cradle OR Oct. 15: BARRISTER'S BALL with COREY PARKER BAND at Kings (If Devendra is an earlier show, I will go to both of these. If not, I will just go to the Barrister's Ball.) Oct 22: THE ROSEBUDS at Cat's Cradle Oct 31: URGE OVERKILL at Cat's Cradle Nov 2: MATISYAHU at Cat's Cradle Nov 3: BEENIE MAN at Lincoln Theatre Nov 14: LCD SOUNDSYSTEM at Cat's Cradle ****Nov 26: BIRDS OF AVALON and BLACK TAJ at Kings**** (This will be the night after my birthday, and my friend Laura will be in town, so everyone should come out to help us celebrate with two of the best bands in the Triangle.) Nov 28: GENE LOVES JEZEBEL at Legends
I hate spammers.

This blog has been relatively free of them until recently. This morning I had to go through and delete about eight messages -- seven of which were the same exact thing but with different user names. So, I appologize in advance for any spam that may show up here. I'm removing it as soon as I see it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Here are some awesome pics from last night's Valeint Thorr show/video premiere at Kings. Also, I just wanted to note that the beginning of Damian Marley's "Confrontation," with its atonal chanting, military drumming and violin samples, could easily fit in a black metal song.

OK, here are the pics.

Valient Thorr from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Quickie stuff:

I'm doing some writing for these guys now. Very cool site.

These folks are putting on a cool goth/punk art and music festival all day tomorrow at The Pour House.

And the same people who are putting on the festival have told me that they're booking Gene Loves Jezebel on Nov. 28 at Legends in Raleigh.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Just a quick note to say that I really love the new Rosebuds CD, "Birds make Good Neighbors," especially the winsome sing-along "Shake Our Tree." I've been in a bad mood all weekend, and that song is the only thing that's been able to shake me out of it.

Check them out on Myspace too.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

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Chrome Plated Apostles
Twelve Bars
Demonbeach Records

The first few seconds of The Chrome Plates Apostles CD might lead you to believe you've accidentally put on a blues record. There's lots of slide guitar, harmonica and fiendish howling from frontman Hunter "Crash" Landen. And just in cased you missed the fact that these guys are treading on the bluesier side of rock, the second song is called "Blues." But despite their overt blues influences, this is basically a rock band at heart, a sleazy, grimy rock band whose music would fit perfectly on the jukebox of the most broken-down strip club you can think of. You know, the type of place that's in a trailer in the middle of nowhere with a big flashing "TRUCKERS WELCOME" sign out front. That's meant to be a compliment, by the way.

Landen and guitarist Clif Mann (no relation to yours truly) are veterans of one of the best bands to emerge from the Triangle area, the full-throttle Bad Checks, known for pounding rock songs about graveyard tramps, jail and jailbait. Mann handled bass duties in that band while his brother, Robin, played guita. Switching to guitar, Mann and bass player Greg Adams did time together in Chapel Hill's Pipe, one of the most aggressive punk rock bands ever to emerge from that town. Chrome Plated Apostles seems to capture the best of both bands - Bad Checks' ominous sleaze and Pipe's ferocity - while avoiding being a carbon copy of either.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Blowfly for President

Blowfly at Kings last night.

Not much to say here. He was rude, crude and nasty. He invited me, and all the other ladies in the audience, to ride on the Bootybus, and he said something really nasty to me, which I didn't catch, but did get on video. After I watch it, I'll decide whether to put it up.

Openers Pro L had a cool G. Love vibe.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Here's Coleen's review of the Mars Volta show Saturday in Philly. I've heard reports of a video from that show. I'll post more when I know something.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Coleen loves John Frusciante even more than I love The Mars Volta. Here's her very thorough take on seeing RHCP at Amsterjam. I hope she treats us to an equally thorough review of the Mars Volta show she's seeing this week.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Jessica and I got back this morning from seeing The Mars Volta open for System of A Down at Hampton Coliseum in Virginia. The concert was truly exceptional, with the band playing better, and Omar and Cedric showing much more energy than they did when I saw them in Atlanta in April. Unfortunately the set wasn't as long (only an hour as compared to two and a half hours on their headlining tour), and I wasn't as close to the stage I was before. But I didn't get kicked in the head again, I met a lot of cool people and I think I've converted Jessica, who only went to placate me, into a true fan.

Hampton is about a three hour drive north from Raleigh, so we left Sunday afternoon.
Hampton is also the coliseum where I saw my second-ever concert, Van Halen on the Women and Children First tour in 1980, so the place has special meaning for me (I also saw U2 there in 1985). As I've said before, going to big concerts, especially to shows that are out-of-town, is always a lot of fun for me because that's how I first experienced rock 'n' roll. I just love the excitement of getting up on the day of the show, driving to an unfamiliar town, staying in a cheap motel, seeing the tour buses parked at the venue and thousands of people SCREAMING as the lights go down. Jessica says she prefers club shows, and club shows do have their charm, but big concerts like this one always make me feel like I'm 13 again.

Donovan, Rachel and Rachel's 16-year-old brother, Iggy, were going to meet us at the Comfort Inn (which smelled strangely like beer throughout), and I had vague plans for a meet-up with Phelpsdigi from The Comatorium. Unfortunately, I didn't count on the others eating before they arrived, so the meet-up didn't happen. In fact, my only dinner was a pack of Nabs and a Yuengling hastily downed as we walked to the coliseum. Emboldened by Jessica, who is brave enough to do just about anything, I decided slip my digital camera (which has video with sound mode) under my shirt and sneak it in. I figured the security guards would only pat down my waist and legs, but I was petrified that they'd have metal detectors, in which case I stood a good chance of losing an expensive camera. As it turned out, there were no metal detectors. The guard rummaged around in my purse and then asked if I had a camera in there. Well, I didn't have a camera in there, so I wasn't lying when I told her no.

Donovan, Rachel and Iggy had general admission tickets, so they went onto the floor to try and get near the front. The seats I ordered during the pre-sale turned out to not be as good as I thought, but I was able to sneak over a couple of sections and get down beside the rail on the left (Omar's side). I ended up sitting next to a guy from Charlottesville named Greg, who generously gave me a CD by his band, The Lazy Lane. He was hoping to give it to Omar, but since it didn't look like that was going to happen, I was the next best thing. Together we ended up laughing ourselves silly over Bad Acid Trip, which musically was pretty generic Korn-style metal, but visually was entertaining, with a front man who crawled all over the stage and at one point simulated fellatio with a doll.

The Mars Volta came on promptly at 7:45 with their usual intro, the theme song to "Fistfull of Dollars." I've been reading that audiences at other shows on this tour haven't been very receptive to their spacy jams, which really don't seem to have much in common with System of a Down's political aggro-metal. That wasn't the case at Hampton, because the crowd clearly loved them. Actually, the crowd seemed to like Bad Acid Trip too, so maybe it was just a jolly crowd. Omar, wearing his famous suit (though, thankfully, with a new shirt), was in top form, playing with real passion and dancing like he was posessed by some voodoo salsa god. The only flaw was that he was way too loud, as was bass player Juan Alderete. Cedric was a little more subdued, though he did get in a few mic-stand tosses and lots of slinky salsa moves of his own. I didn't hear much of his vocals during Drunkship of Lanterns improv, because they seemed to be really distorted, and Omar was soloing wildly over everything. Omar and Cedric have said that the live improvs are their way of communicating with each other. Well, Omar must have had a lot to say last night, and he was very happy and excited to be saying it.

I was able to get quite a few photos, but, as you can tell from the ones on this page, they are pretty blurry. The one thing I really hate about digital cameras is the split-second auto-focus. I know some cameras allow you to switch them to manual. Mine apparently doesn't. I've had so-so luck using the camera at club shows, and that's when I'm standing right by the band, and I'm not trying to be discreet for fear of a security guard catching me. I also managed to get two very rough Quicktime movies, one of L'Via (entire song) and one of part of Drunkship. Unfortunately the camera ran out of memory right before the improv. Because they're so big (L'Via is 355 MB and Drunkship is 82.3 MB), I didn't put them on my server, but instead put them on Soulseek. If you want to know my username, please e-mail me. But be warned: They're not good quality, and they are huge.

After Mars Volta, I met up with Jessica, who was absolutely ecstatic, much to my relief. I had been afraid she really wouldn't like them, but now I think she's been converted. She even sent me a text message during their set which said, "like Zep," which is the highest compliment in her lexicon. I bought a new T-shirt, The red one with the German lettering, then we hung out with Donovan, Rachel and Iggy, who apparently were able to see pretty well on the floor. Actually, Rachel, who is very small, got out of the pit when she felt herself being swept off her feet.

We went back in and watched part of System. I like them, and I love the new album, "Mesmerize," but live they didn't do anything for me. In fact, after Mars Volta's visual and musical overload, System was downright boring. Daron tried a few Angus Young-like moves, but Serj just paced the stage. It was his birthday (Daron led the crowd for "Happy Birthday") so I supposed he could do whatever he wanted. But I will say he was not a very engaging front man.

About halfway through System's set, I went back outside to find the gang. As it turns out, they'd been watching Mars Volta's roadies load all their equipment into their trucks. From the second floor balcony that surrounds the coliseum, they had a great view into the backstage enclave. I walked over with Iggy to have a look, and saw that the band was now milling around back there. Omar was happily chatting away with a couple of folks, Marcel was talking on a cell phone, and Ikey, Paul and Adrian were kind of walking around.

As Omar walked underneath us to go inside, Iggy called out to him, and he looked up, smiled and waved at us. I decided to take a picture, but did so without a flash because I really didn't want to draw more attention to myself. I've heard too many weird stories of people following them around in stores and generally acting like fools around them, and I had sworn that if I ever got around them, I wouldn't do that. But truthfully, I felt weird taking the picture. It just felt a bit intrusive. After a while, the whole scenario began to make me feel like I was watching animals in a zoo, and I suddenly didn't envy them their fame.

Rachel and Jessica came over to where we were as Juan and Cedric walked out. Rachel, who only went to the show to chaparone her brother, asked who Cedric was, and I told her. Suddenly Rachel called out, "hey Cedric!" as I turned away, mortified.

"Great show," she called out, adding "have a nice evening!" He turned and waved at us and Rachel curtsied for him. I bet he doesn't get curtsied at very often.

Jessica and Rachel kept trying to get me to go down there. They kept pointing at a girl wearing silver hot pants who was letting Paul sign an autograph on her back, and telling me if she could do it then so could I. But as I said, I didn't want to be the weird fan making a fool of herself, and I felt like I was already treading dangerously close to that line, so I decided we should go back to the hotel.

Back at the Comfort Inn we drank more beer, watched the videos on my camera and made an incredible racket that I'm sure had our neighbors quite peeved. I talked to Iggy, who is a left-handed guitarist, about music and his guitar, which is a beautiful 1980 tobacco-burst Les Paul Custom. I get bored with small children, but kids who are in their early and mid teens are awesome. I used to want to be a seventh-grade English teacher, and sometimes I wish I'd stayed on that path. I had a great time talking to him, probably because the whole concert experience had me feeling like a teenager myself.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A review of Drunk Horse's "In Tongues" (Tee Pee Records)

I know Jessica will disagree with me on this:

Have you ever been attracted to someone simply because they remind you of someone else? Maybe they give you the same intense gaze as your former lover, or maybe the sound of their voice brings back a moment from years ago. Perhaps it’s a certain something that only the beer goggles will bring into proper focus.

That’s the feeling I get when I listen to Drunk Horse’s latest CD. There’s a whole lot here that reminds me of some of my past musical loves, notably Blue Oyster Cult, ZZ Top and Foghat, with a little Thin Lizzy thrown in for good measure.

The rhythm section is tight, and singer/guitarist Eli Eckert’s voice has plenty of swagger and attitude. Eckert also has a flair for writing hook-filled riffs (as well as a propensity for using them over and over again), and guest Josh Smith of The Fucking Champs provides the right touch of guitar-god theatrics on “Grinding Teeth.”

But despite a few brilliant riffs, there really isn’t a whole lot here that hasn’t been done elsewhere. Even the CD’s best song, the epic instrumental “Skydog,” lifts passages nearly wholesale from King Crimson’s “Red.”

If you ever spent time doing bong hits and listening to “On Your Feet or On Your Knees” through your Koss headphones, this CD is going to sound awfully familiar to you. In fact, if you’ve recently spent time listening to Queens of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu or just about any other band mining the ‘70s stoner rock quarry, it will sound familiar to you too. But familiarity alone isn’t enough to hold my interest for very long.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The new Cherry Valence CD As much as I’ve always loved seeing The Cherry Valence live, their records didn’t quite capture their raw intensity. Now the band has a new line-up, a new CD and, in many ways, an entirely new sound. Guitarist Cheetie Kumar and bass player Paul Siler have departed to form a fine new band, the Alice Cooper-ish Birds of Avalon. Gone with them is the previous line-up’s pounding rawness. In their place are guitarist Erik Sugg (Dragstrip Syndicate) and bass player Charles Story (The Weather), and with them comes a more relaxed, refined and bluesier sound. And with that new sound comes the best album the band has ever released. The CD’s opening track, “Sunglasses and Headlights” has all the hallmarks of a ‘70s rock anthem (blistering guitar riffs, driving bass, fist-pumping chorus), as does the closing track, “Caves of Steel.” In between you can hear a variety of ‘70s rock influences, from James Gang to Led Zeppelin to (surprisingly) Steely Dan. Vocalist/drummer Nick Whitley sounds so much like Donald Fagan on “Stayin’ Out All Night” that I actually thought the song was a cover. The band goes acoustic and slightly folksy for “333” and the opening parts of “Trees.” They even throw in a couple of drum solos (thankfully, short ones) for “Low Class Warrior,” the song that sounds the most like Cherry Valence or yore. Whitley and the band’s other vocalist/drummer, Brian Quast, are both at their best vocally. Sugg complements guitarist Jamie Williams perfectly, and Story provides a solid backbeat. True, this CD is not as raw and unpredictable as what folks may expect from the Cherry Valence, but it’s solid in a way this band has never been before.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bob Moog, whose importance to music can hardly be summed up here, is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor and blogging about his experiences. Go HERE to send him your good wishes.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Check out this past weekend's movies from Kings. WARNING: These are all Quicktime movies, so they are HUGE. It will take you several minutes to download them, but they are worth it -- especially the Cherry Valence videos.

Black Taj from Mann's World on Vimeo.

the Dynamite Brothers from Mann's World on Vimeo.

the Cherry Valence - "Sunglasses and Headlights" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

(Erik from The Cherry Valence)

Sorry this is so brief -- I've been stressed like crazy over nothing in particular and just haven't had time to write. Cherry Valence put on an amazing show last night at Kings, and I managed to get a few good photos. It was proof that the garage show where I saw them about a month ago was an aberation. The band isn't as raw now that Erik and Charles are in the band, but it still has the old Cherry Valence energy. There's definitely more of a bluesy, boogie feel. I've been listening to the new CD all day, and so far I'm very impressed. I also managed to get a few good movies, which I'll upload on Monday.

(Nick from The Cherry Valence)

Also on the bill last night were The Dynamite Brothers, who I love more and more each time I see them, and Black Taj (featuring Steve Popson and Dave Brylawski from Polvo) who sound like a cross between Black Sabbath and The Allman Brothers.

(Dynamite Brothers)

(Black Taj)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I have to hand it to R. Kelly. I finally saw chapters 1-5 of "The Closet" last night, and the damn thing had both me and Danny TRANSFIXED. If you haven't heard about it, it's basically a soap opera set to a slow jam. R. Kelly wakes up in a strange bed and things go downhill from there. I correctly guessed that the cop was going to be the one his wife was sleeping around with, but I'm not sure how her brother is going to come into play. I think it's going to end up with him in jail somehow (that shot into the ceiling is going to come back and haunt him). Somehow, though, it reminds me of the Taster's Choice commercials from a few years back. And without the video, the song wouldn't be half as compelling. After R. Kelly, the less-than-subtle Ying Yang Twins' "Wait" came on, and despite my best efforts it got stuck in my head. I downloaded it this morning, but could only find the nasty version, which, as is often the case, wasn't nearly as entertaining as the clean version. Danny and I spent the holiday weekend at Atlantic Beach, where Appetite for Destruction was playing at a local dive called Playtime. I'd never seen them, but heard from everyone around here that they were a pretty dead-on tribute to Guns 'n' Roses. I've never seen Guns 'n' Roses, and Appetite is the only G'n'R tribute I've ever seen, so I can't compare them to anything else. They sounded and looked pretty accurate as far as I can tell. They are also blessed with a front man who sounds close to Axl Rose, and looks exactly like him (same build, same coloring, same facial features). I have to say, the evening was a real adventure. There was a fight in front of the stage (actually, I don't know if it was one big fight or a couple of little ones), a guy and his girlfriend tried to buy Danny a beer and got mad when he wouldn't accept, and a different guy grabbed me -- as I was walking with Danny -- and told me he loved me. Finally, an insanely drunk woman from Kinston, who had just had breast augmentation surgery and kept flashing her new goods at the band, latched on to Danny's friend. We ended up having to give her a ride home, at which point she told us she was about to pass out, and therefore there would be "no sexin' tonight." It's a good thing she was riding with a reputable crew. Some folks would have seen that as an invitation. Finally, a note about all the cool things happening this weekend at Kings. I missed Bettie Serveert last night (I've never been a huge fan of them), but I plan to go to most of these other shows/events: Wednesday, July 6: Dead Meadow Thursday, July 7: Gong Show! Friday, July 8: Cherry Valence CD-release party with The Dynamite Brothers and Black Taj -- This is definitely the show of the week, with three of the absolute best bands currently active in this area. Go see it! Saturday, July 9: Throwback night with Haulin' Oats, a tribute to you know who. Cool upcoming show alerts: Tuesday, July 26: Drunk Horse Friday, July 29: Widow with THOR

Friday, July 01, 2005

Valient Thorr

According to the liner notes on Valient Thorr's latest CD, Total Universe Man, "Rock 'n' roll can very well save your soul, and therein lies the key: If you believe in it, you can make it happen. Let us know if we can help."

One listen to the CD will tell you they aren't kidding around. They believe in rock; hairy, sweaty, sex-charged rock with a pounding backbeat, screaming dual guitar leads and a hilarious, over-the-top frontman who hollers and yelps like a tent revival preacher. They claim they're from Venus (though they now apparently reside in Greenville, N.C.), and they all have goofy names, including singer "Valient Himself," who spends a lot of time yelping about "the future."

But where these guys are really from is the past, specifically the wood-panelled rec basement room where a whole other generation searched for rock 'n' roll salvation between the grooves of records by Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Alice Cooper, Heart, Thin Lizzy and Black Oak Arkansas. Valeint Himself's crazed, quasi-spiritual ramblings bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Jim Dandy Mangum.

You won't find a whole lot that's new on this CD, and you won't find much that Gluecifer didn't do on their last good CD, 1999's Tender is the Savage. But of the current crop of bands mining this particular '70s rock vein, Valeint Thorr is the most entertaining.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

An update on the Nike/Dischord image debate. Apparently Nike has pulled the ad and issued an appology:

Nike Pulls Major Threat Ad, Issues Apology

As an aside, I'd like to note how much I like Blogger's new image upload tool. I may never need photobucket again -- though I still want to check out Flickr.
I also like what Ross White has to say about Nike's co-opting an iconic Minor Threat image for a new campaign.

Lately I've been listening to the new Valient Thorr, which completely rocks. Danny doesn't think it's anything special, but I do have to thank him for identifiying an Iron Maiden riff I'd completely overlooked on the second song, "Showdown."

Some articles of note:

First, on the Supreme Court's Grokster decision:
San Francisco Chronicle: Grokster decision has industry listening


A weird article a co-worker sent me. He seemed to think these would be perfect for me:

MSNBC: Dance into the night with wireless headphones; Glastonbury festivalgoers get down at 'silent disco'

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I'm still recovering from seeing Judas Priest Sunday night at the Nissan Pavillion, which is somewhere out in the middle of nowhere in northern Virginia. It's not that Jess and I really whooped it up, but driving four hours one day and back home the next really takes a lot out of an old lady. This was the third time I've seen them: The first was at Greensboro Colliseum on the Screaming for Vengeance tour in 1983, and the second was last year at Ozzfest (before which I had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Halford for the N&O). The Nissan Pavillion was depressingly empty; the lawn and maybe a third of the seats were empty. It's the first show I've EVER attended where there was a line at the men's room but not at the ladies', which just goes to show how few women were there. But the band still put on a good show, reaffirming my opinion that Halford is one of the greatest frontmen in rock, and certainly the greatest frontman in metal. Other notable occurances during the trip: Jess and I discovered the magical kim chee diet, and we took our pictures in front of the big skate that Erik Sugg has on his Myspace page. After we got back to Raleigh, I stopped by Blue Flame to get a price estimate on a tattoo. Tattoo artist Christy Alexander said she could do it right then, so I figured what the hell. Here are two pics, one of the tat and one of Christy at work.   If you don't know what the design is, you obviously never owned any 45 rpm records. I decided on that design, which, admittedly, a million other people have, because 1. music is my life and 2. it's very similar to a triskelion, which is the symbol of my ancestral homeland, the Isle of Man
Manx triskelion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Success! I am now finally listening to that damn show via foobar. Thanks to Badger and Grady for the help.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More bit torrent news

I have to thank Grady and Badger for giving me more info on dealing with bit torrent and .flac files. So far nothing is working. In fact, I'm now getting a message that my files are corrupt, and since i bought an new computer over the weekend, I'm going to just start the whole process over again. But it's funny that the N&O's Paul Gilster had an article on bit torrent in yesterday's edition.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Bringerer CD-release party.

This is from my friend and former band-mate Amy Wilkinson. If you're in Chapel Hill tomorrow night, check it out.

hello dear ones,
You are invited to come out on this Saturday night, June 11, to the Wetlands (that's above Hell the bar) to celebrate the release of the first Bringerer CD. Please come on out! it will be fun and you can get a Bringerer CD, which is really a work of art, recorded by Chuck Johnson at Cirrus Oxide and hand printed by Ron Liberti.
hope to see you there,
soonly soonly all to truly,
 After waiting outside Kings for about 30 minutes last night, I was able to get inside to see Melt Banana. Here's a blurry pic. 20 second movie will come later. I missed Kolyma, but saw part of Vaz and even bought one of their CDs. While I was waiting outside, I spoke to Badger, who said he would send me some info on playing .flac files on Windows. This is in reference to my continued frustration at not being able to hear the bootleg of the Mars Volta Atlanta show. It took me 3 days to download it (really), and now I can't play it -- even in Winamp. The whole experience has just strengthened my opinion that bit torrent sucks. EDIT: Here's the link to the Melt Banana movie. BE WARNED: I uploaded it as a Quicktime movie so it takes a loooooooooong time to download. In fact, it takes longer to download than it does to watch it -- it's only 20 seconds long.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Finally, here's The Cherry Valence video from Ryan Pound's party. It's really dark -- only half a song too. You'll need to size your browser down to get a better look at it.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day! Thanks to my incredible powers of procrastination, I will be doing some actual work today (with a break for kickball if the weather holds). But I wanted to give a quick update on the bands I saw Saturday night.

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We began the evening at a party at Ryan Pound's house. Apparently it was an all-day cook-out type affair, but we got there late in the evening. Caspian Sea Monsters (Brian Sliwa's band) were playing when we got there. Unfortunately my memory of the evening is a little fuzzy, but I remember they ended the set with Brian (who had been playing guitar) and the bass player both playing bass on "Heart Full of Soul."

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Next up was The Cherry Valence, just back from their tour of Spain. It was the first time I've seen them since Erik and Charles joined the band, and since the sound was so bad I'm going to reserve judgement for now. I don't know what was going on, but the only way to hear anything but a high-pitched squall was to go inside the house. Danny said it sounded like the PA was broken. All I know is that it sounded wrong -- not bad, because this is an awesome band -- but just wrong. Of all the movies I made of bands during the night, the Cherry Valence one came out the best, so I'll post that soon.

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The cops showed up promptly at 11 p.m., so we headed down to Kings, where We Vs. The Shark, an woman-fronted Athens band with a bit of a Bloc Party sound, was already playing. I bought their CD, but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. But Danny and I agreed they were the best band we saw all evening. They have my undying admiration for covering Groove is in the Heart.

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The final band of the evening was Strange, with Dave Mueller on guitar and vocals and Linc from The White Octave on bass. They reminded me a lot of The Bolshoi and Gene Loves Jezebel.