Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Karen, plus cool show this Saturday

Here's a repost from the folks in I Was Totally Destroying It (above). They're playing a benefit show this Saturday for a friend who inspired one of their songs. Here's what they sent out earlier today on Myspace: Merry Christmas Eve, y'all- We need all the support we can get at this one, so please join us at the benefit this Saturday for our friend Conrad Zaborowski. If you've heard our album you've heard the track "Conrad"- this was written late this past spring, right after Conrad was in a terrible car accident, sending him into a coma for months. Conrad is now awake and doing astonishingly well, but he and his family have massive medical bills that will continue to pile up over the years to come. Please come out and by doing so you will be donating to this good cause. We play first, early, so be there at 8, this will be a quick show- watch the 3 great bands and head out on the town and enjoy the end of the year with your friends... SATURDAY DECEMBER 29 -Ships -Will Donegan & The Apologies -I Was Totally Destroying It @Cat's Cradle 300 E Main St Carrboro, NC 8pm. $6/$8. All Ages.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Check out Polynya

NOW LISTENING TO: The self-titled debut by Polynya, a new pop/electronic band from Chapel Hill that includes, among other folks, local artist/musician and Girls Rock Camp founder Amelia Burch. Very sweet girl/boy vocals and happy pop guitar riffs turn unexpectedly tough and ominous. I don't see any shows listed on their Web site, but I'm looking forward to seeing them when they do play again.

Suburban Sweethearts last night at Slim's

Suburban Sweethearts lived up to my expectations last night with a short, but raw, set that included a few covers, including one by Bob Seger. Joe told me the name of the Seger tune, but since I know almost nothing about Seger, I don't remember which one it was. Since I had to work at an ungodly hour this morning, I didn't stick around for The Loners. Here's the video of Suburban Sweethearts. I started off on the stairs at Slim's, but too many people kept walking in front of me. I went downstairs and tried to stand behind the band, but from that angle I could only see Lucius' back, so I moved again to right in front of Joe. (see more photos).

Suburban Sweethearts from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My top CDs for the year

I know everyone in the world has already released their top lists, but I generally like to wait just in case something comes out in December that wows me. OK, that's not true; I'm just lazy. Here's my list, with a few short notes on each. 1. Band of Horses -- Cease to Begin. No other CD affected me like this one this year. I absolutely love Ben Bridwell's voice. 2. Dungen -- Tito Bitar. I love the flute that comes in and calms everything down after the guitar freakout -- and that's just in the first song. 3. Midnight Movies -- Lion the Girl. Dark and psychedelic. Imagine if the Velvets were based in Los Angeles rather than New York, and hung out with the Manson Family rather than Andy Warhol. 4. Golden Dogs -- Big Eye Little Eye. Perfect, winsome pop. Check out "Construction Worker." 5. M.I.A. -- Kala. If for no other reason than the Clash sample, and suddenly controversial gunshots on "Paper Planes." 6. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings -- 100 Days, 100 Nights. I truly couldn't care less about Amy Crackhouse, but I'm glad her success is shining a spotlight on this truly deserving singer and her fabulous backing band. 7. The Lonely H -- Hair. Queen-inspired classic rock from a bunch of Seattle area teenagers. Imagine what they'll be capable of by the time they they turn 30. 8. Art Brut -- It's a Bit Complicated. Witty Britpop that, for my money, were even better than Hold Steady on this year's tour. 9. Justin Townes Earle -- Yuma. The son of Steve Earle, and named after Townes Van Zandt, Justin has a lot to live up to. Based on this CD, I think he'll do just fine for himself. 10. Pontiak -- Sun on Sun. Swampy, angry blues rock. A nice follow-up to their excellent "Valley of Cats."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Suburban Sweethearts with The Loners tomorrow night!

I don't need to tell you about The Loners, who just might be the most beloved band in Raleigh (and deservedly so), who will be at Slim's tomorrow night. But you most likely don't know about the opening band, Suburban Sweethearts, a new band with Joe Yerry from The Bleeding Hearts, Lucius from The Greatest Hits and Sir Arthur & His Royal Knights, and Erik Sugg (Dragstrip Syndicate), who, I have repeatedly said, is one of the best guitarists in this area. Erik knows raw, MC5-style rock, and Joe Y himself described this band to me as "Hellacopters-meets-MC5", so you should make a point not to miss it. I will be there, despite the fact that I have to work the following morning at 4:30 a.m.

Videos from Christmas at the Cradle

On Wednesday I got out to Carrboro to see the Trekky Records extravaganza at Cat's Cradle. I got to see at least one band for the first time (I Was Totally Destroying It), and got video of a couple others for the first time. But because it was a big show with lots of bands, I missed more than I saw. I was told by one woman I met that Sweater Weather was the best band on the bill. I haven't seen them yet, but will now make an effort to do so.

I Was Totally Destroying It from Mann's World on Vimeo.

When I got there, I Was Totally Destroying It (video and photo above) was already playing a spot-on cover of U2's New Year's Day. Seriously, as I was walking up to the club, I actually thought the club was just playing that song in between bands. Since everyone was supposed to play holiday themed music, I don't think I got a very accurate sense of what they're like. I will say that they're tight, they obviously have a thing for Telecaster Deluxe guitars and they had a rabid fan-base.

The Moaners from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Since it was a few days ago, my memory is a little faulty, and I can't remember if the Moaners or Midtown Dickens were next. Regardless, above is a video from The Moaners, who always impress me.

Midtown Dickens from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Midtown Dickens (above), is one of those bands that spends about 60 percent of the time blowing me away, and 40 percent of the time getting on my last nerve. They're very child-like, and seem to have an acute sense of wonder and joy with music and being on stage. The problem is that they're just not very proficient musicians. Maybe they think spending more time with their instruments will dampen that joy. I think it will only heighten it.

Portastatic from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Finally, Mac McCaughan performed solo as Portastatic. Unfortunately my memory ran out right in the middle of his lovely solo! And because my memory ran out, I didn't get video of the Annuals' amazing full-chorus version of "Christmastime is Here" from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Following up on Flat Duo Jets

Since I blogged about "Athens, Inside/Out", here's a clip Jessica forwarded of Flat Duo Jets on The Cutting Edge from February 1985.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Massive show tonight at the Cradle

I considered doing a blog post about all the Christmas songs I hate, but the thing is, I hate just about all of them (With "Little St. Nick", "Santa Baby" and "Jingle Bell Rock" being the top three). I have a feeling all those songs will be much better sung by the Trekky Yuletide Orchestra, which is playing tonight's Christmas at the Cradle show in Chapel Hill. If that doesn't excite you, check out the list of supporting artists. More info here. Portastatic Annuals Ivan Rosebud (of The Rosebuds) The Moaners Midtown Dickens I Was Totally Destroying It Schooner Hammer No More the Fingers Robo Sapien Sweater Weather Doors open at 7:30, and all proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Go see Chatham County Line tomorrow night

I've been listening to an advance of Chatham County Line's upcoming CD, and absolutely love it. They'll be at the Pour House tomorrow, so you should go see them, and hope they play some of their new stuff. In other news, Jeff Carroll writes to say that 96 Rock's "Locals Only" show will play Holly Raleigh Christmas Vol. II in its entirety this Sunday night at 10 p.m. If you haven't had a chance to hear the CD yet, this is a great opportunity. Finally, last night I watched "Athens, Inside/Out" for the first time in nearly 20 years, and boy, did it bring back some memories. Mostly I was just proud, just as I was back then, that the best band in the movie was actually from North Carolina. Fast forward to 3:52 for the Flat Duo Jets part.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The T's, Birds of Avalon and Grass Widow

Last night I went down to the Downtown Events Center, which used to be Raleigh Music Hall, and several other clubs, to see Birds of Avalon, Grass Widow and The T's. I'm not sure what's up with that place these days. I really don't know if it's an actual club, or if it's just available for rentals. It seems like I always hear about shows happening there AFTER they happen. The T's played a new song, which I got on video. I know everyone is tired of hearing me praise them, but I am really looking forward to their upcoming CD. Here's the video.

The T's from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Next up were Grass Widow, who, I believe, were playing their second show. I didn't like them at first, but during their set their fuzzy, jangly blues rock actually really grew on me. I didn't get much of them because the batteries in my camera were exhausted. One of my New Year's resolutions will be to adequately charge my batteries before heading to a show. I didn't stick around for all of Birds of Avalon, but what I heard sounded awesome as per usual, and I really liked their winter wonderland set. Finally, I'd like to say thanks to DJ Castro for playing several of my all-time favorite songs in between sets, including Johnny the Fox and Saturday Night Special.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Happy birthday to Michael Pilmer

Michael, known for being the co-editor of Jimmy'z Dumbshit, as well as such musical projects as Krapper Keeper and Silica Gel, held his birthday party at Slim's last night. For those of you who don't know Michael, that last sentence, as ridiculous as it may read, is absolutely correct. Anyway, DJ Roxxi Dott provided a disconcerting mash-up of such Pilmer favorites as Blondie, Carcass and Cheap Trick, while local black metal-bluegrass-karaoke outfit The Morbid Ramblers, did their thing. This was after the vibrator door prize giveaway.

Morbid Ramblers from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The T's and Birds of Avalon tomorrow night!

Please pass this show info along. As y'all know, The T's are my favorite local band, so if you've never checked them out, you owe it to yourself to do so. Birds of Avalon are among my favorites too, so this is going to be a killer show. From what I've heard, its some sort of Camel promotion, so if you smoke, you might get some free cigs out of it too! Only $3! What a deal!

Here's the original message:

Hi Folks...

Well, its not a "Kings Show" but thats okay I guess... The Birds of Avalon will be playing a Christmas party at the Downtown Events Center tomorrow night -- Sat. the 15th.. We will do our best to cheer the place up a bit and make it a good time for everybody!.

The T's and Grass Widow are also playing and DJ Castro is providing some supreme jams between bands... The Cost is $3 ..

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately. The holidays always end up being busier than I'd like. I was in New York last weekend, and have had a crazy work schedule this week, but I'm planning to see the T's and Birds of Avalon this Saturday at Downtown Events Center. While I was in New York, my old co-worker Barry Summerlin told me about this series of youtube videos where some guy in Finland makes fun of various guitar greats by replacing the soundtrack of concert videos with bad guitar playing. So far I've watched Eddie Van Halen, Carlos Santana, and Jake E. Lee. I think Jake E. Lee was my favorite mainly for Ozzy's crazy clapping. Here's the guy's channel. Also, let me say that if the rumors about Led Zeppelin playing Bonnaroo prove to be true, I'll be the first one there.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Weekend wrap up

First, I want to thank Jeff Carroll for passing along a copy of this year's Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas. If you haven't checked it out, it's a collection of local musicians covering Christmas tunes, and it's available at store's throughout town. Proceeds will benefit the Community Music School, so check it out. Last night I went out without my camera, and you know what that means: I saw something I wish I could have documented. Asheville one-man-band Shake It Like A Caveman was at Sadlack's, playing a selection of blues tunes, including some by R.L. Burnside. I think the best thing about his set-up was the sawed-off phone handset he used for a microphone, which unfortunately didn't want to stay properly duck-taped to the mic stand. After Sad's I headed out to rural Garner to catch Joe Swank and the Zen Pirates at the White Oak Grill, a cinder-block establishment with a hand-lettered sign and a distinctive "someone's going to get hit over the head with a pool stick tonight" vibe. Apparently the folks at Budweiser had sprung for some nice banners advertising the show. However, they mis-identified the band as the VEN Pirates. Anyway, the band sounded good, everyone was cool and no fights broke out (at least not while I was there). I didn't eat, but I hear that the onion rings and meat-lovers pizza were both quite tasty. Thanks to Alex, who bought me a White Oak Grill beer cozy with the slogan, "Where good friends & cold beer meet at!!!"

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cartridge Family at Sadlack's

Last night I braved the cold, and Tony's dancing, to go see the Cartridge Family at Sadlack's. Check out the video below of "Party at My House" and "So Much," the first two songs from their new CD.

Cartridge Family from Mann's World on Vimeo.

The big event of the evening (no offense to the band) was that someone was giving away cans of Sparks. I'm not sure if it was Sadlack's proper doing the giveaway or if it was just a random box someone found. As one of the few people who absolutely loves Sparks, I hope this becomes a trend.