Matt visits New Orleans

I flew to New Orleans yesterday. Widespread Panic is having their annual Halloween show tonight (and an additional one tomorrow) and the mgmt all came down to join the fun.

We landed and found ourselves in the middle of downtown by about 3pm CT. After checking-in and establishing an internet connection (for my own mental survival) at the ol' Iberville Suites, my boss and I went down to Acme Seafood to catch a much-needed meal. What was only going to be an easy shrimp po' boy and a beer turned into two pitchers of the local Abita brew, hushpuppies, po' boys, and six of the biggest half-shell oysters I have ever seen. Stuffed and quite nearly defeated, we left Acme a bit sluggish (and a good bit buzzed) and returned to the hotel

After we got back to the hotel, I went to my room, caught a movie on HBO and napped until dinner time. When I awoke I was still full from Acme Seafood and looking for something to do. The original plan was to head over to Jackson Square and see Vic Chesnutt and Elf Power play at One Eyed Jack's. Mulling it over, we come to the conclusion that we can catch both when they play Athens in February. As an alternative, the band's tour manager calls and has some extra tickets to offer us to the Rose Hill Drive show at the House of Blues. So, of course, we go.

When I first heard of Rose Hill Drive, I only heard their name. I thought they MUST be an emo band or perhaps something like Good Charlotte. I'm not at all knocking that type of music, it just is not my personal cup o' tea. However, I did remember seeing them on Conan months back, but I couldn't recall their sound. So I did what any logical person does these days and typed "" into the computer and voila: "Sneak Out". They sounded like a nice mix of Stone Temple Pilots and Queens of the Stone Age--thus me being a diehard STP fan and my boss being all about QOTSA, off we went.

The crowd was pretty good--became bigger as the night went on, and these guys didn't disappoint. However, I was a little bummed that we missed the opening act: Colour Revolt (I've heard good things). Back to RHD, they lived up to the one song we heard online and also busted out a pretty decent version of Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun". The bass player has quite a set of pipes on him, and both he (and I think his brother) and the guitar player were well schooled on their crafts.

Afterwards, we went over to a bar called "Alibi" to catch up with some of the road crew as well as meet some new faces that would also be joining the festivities this weekend. One in particular was a NOLA local who has never seen Panic before, tonight being his first show. I always get excited when I meet someone who is about to go see the band for the first time. "You will not be disappointed" is what I kept reassuring him. I don't know if he believed me, but I'm looking forward to hearing about his reaction this evening.

The bar was a simple space, but the ceased to stop playing Panic on the stereo the whole time we were there--which was really weird and ironic. I'm not one of those people who listens to only Panic leading up to a show. In fact, I'm the complete opposite: I listen to anything but. It ruins the performance for me if I do.

I was up at 8am this morning to catch and early-bird breakfast in the lobby and the complimentary USA Today. I've got to catch up on a little work and make sure all my ducks are in a row for the show tonight, and hopefully catch a nap before I head to the venue at 2. But I wanted to type a good bit about my trip.

I'll be back with more later.

*Rose Hill Drive and Colour Revolt will perform at the Melting Point in Athens next week on Thursday Nov. 6th. You should go.

This Is What You Should Be Doing On Halloween

Go see Deerhoof on Halloween night at the 40 Watt with Flying and Experimental Dental School. I'm not going to fluff this post up with a bunch of flowery descriptive language or praise, but I will tell you that I was lucky enough to catch them the last time they played the 40 Watt as the Popfest headliner and I instantly bought 4 of their albums. I am unfortuantely unfamiliar with their latest effort Offend Maggie, but it seems you can hear it in it's entirety on their myspace page. Click their name up there to hear it. Also take a look at their official website which allows you to ask the band random questions. Some of the Q & A's are pretty funny. They are really an indescribable band, but here's the video for a song called The Perfect Me to help things along:

The music video is funny and shows off how quirky they are, but live their music is going to absolutely twist you into knots. I couldn't find any live videos that had decent sound quality though. But a truly incredible group. Plus everybody will be dressed like weirdos on Halloween so thats cool too. You can buy tickets from the club's link below. See you there.

Friday, October 31:
Deerhoof, Experimental Dental School, Flying. 40 Watt. 9 p.m. $10 (advance).

Crystal Antlers on Pitchfork TV's "Don't Look Down"

If you haven't seen this yet, check out Crystal Antlers performing Until The Sun Dies Part 2 on Pitchfork TV's Don't Look Down installment. Basically they play on a New York City rooftop to no one but the skyline stretched out before them. Pretty cool stuff. I almost soiled myself at about 3/4 of the way through the video lead singer Johnny Bell goes out and teeter-totters on the ledge of the skyscraper.

Go tonight if you can:

Monotonix, Crystal Antlers, Dark Meat, One Man Machine. Georgia Theatre. 9:30 p.m. $8.

A note from the editor's desk:

After I put this post up I found this flyer:

So it looks like there will be an after party kicking of at 2 a.m. at The Secret Squirrel with Crystal Antlers, Aunt Dracula (from Philly) and some secret guests. Sweet meat!

"Go Fuck Yourself San Diego"

And by "San Diego" I mean Athens, Georgia.

It's not that I hate the town of Athens as much as it is that I hate you.

And by "you" I mean the latest round of people who have apparently taken it upon themselves to try to run a band out of this town. This band is called Blue Flashing Light and they play a sort of melodramatic catchy power pop that is apparently unwelcome here. Due to a recent bad review and some legal woes, the blog world has lit up this week with uninformed psycho-babble denouncing this band's music and basically telling them they are scum. Now this is a touchy write-up for me, I'll be the first one to admit that I have a sincere personal connection with a few of the guys in this band and Rebel Forces contributor J.J. is the drummer and one of my closest friends. He also has some of the thickest skin of any musician I have ever encountered. Much thicker than mine. My intent here is not to embarrass him or their band or even stick up for my buddies, but something must be said about a bunch of people spouting off ignorant horseshit when they don't even know their own minds. Who better to speak up against this sort of behavior than one of my personal heroes and the guy who started the indy zine Chunklet, Henry H. Owings.

But first for a frame of reference, lets examine some of the eloquent prose that has been scripted:

A. With regard to the recent legal troubles (which is really none of our fucking business) a member of the band was charged with criminal trespassing a few weeks ago. That's called a mistake. No one was hurt or even threatened but the self-righteous public masses have called this person a "rapist" and a "sexual predator" declaring that "he needs to go to jail for a long time in order to behave" (all direct quotes from a really shitty Athens blog). Nothing more or less happened here, I am not withholding any information from you in order to make his situation look better. The people who said this stuff did not know something that you don't. They have probably never been to jail and do not know dick about real life. Yeah I know, life's not fair but does this seem fair to you? If it does, cool go fly a kite. And don't ever talk to me again. Because calling someone a rapist in public and print format when they are not a rapist is respectively called slander & libel and it's illegal, and that's why it is posted under bitch ass anonymity on message boards that about 30 Athenians read. That's about 25 more Athenians than there are reading this blog but that's how it goes.

B. They are being judged by their looks and being told that they are "emotionally scripted". Their band is intent upon achieving some level of commercial success. Allow me to make this point as crystal fucking clear as I can possibly make it:


I'm going to let you in on a little secret: my band wants to succeed too! If I or most other Athens musicians told you that we did not want to be in the biggest bands in the world then feel free to kick us square in our balls. If you think for one second that Blue Flashing Light's music is any more scripted to fit the tastes of the consuming masses than any other Athens bands that I have ever heard (and that is a shit load) then you are simply mistaken and your pre-conceived notions of how you think this great big merry-go-round works are way off base. I don't know how else to say that. In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with  creating art for art's sake but there is also nothing wrong with art for someone's sake. The only thing that is wrong is people who think they can judge art in the first place. Trust me, you and I are not qualified. There ain't a soul in town making art for art's sake as far as I can tell.

I challenge anyone who disagrees with this point to comment and name an Athens band (mine included) that you think is not guilty of fitting a mold and I will gladly reference bands that they are stealing from. I love a lot of bands that fit a stereotype or script their shit around a niche scene. You do too. You may or may not be aware of that.

C. I saw where a guy said that "...they simply do not sound like an Athens band. They are from Ohio and they should return there."

I challenge anyone to define this for me. Go on, define an Athens band. Is it geographical? What, you went to high school at Clarke Central or Cedar Shoals? Or is it audible? You sound like basement experimental rock with horns? Southern rock with a grunge garage punch? 17 piece LSD ensemble? Drony dark shit with way too much reverb? Screamy math rock in weird time signatures? Instrumental epic shoegazer shit? Folksy bells, xylophones & chicks playing a singing saw? Melodramatic pop love songs with catchy & corny at times hooks? Strange half-naked men on a horse? These all reference a specific band in Athens, by the way.

Now back to Henry. I can't speak for him of course, nor can I speak for Blue Flashing Light. But I can lift Mr. Owing's direct quotes that kind of explain why he does what he does:

"The underground community is so self-righteous, I'm happy to keel-haul all
of them. There are no sacred cows -- I'll slaughter them and drink their blood."


"There's this really tired, entirely uncreative, bullshit artist old-school guard in town who do little more than amuse me."

sound familiar?

And as for our precious FLAGPOLE:

"The straw that broke the camel's back was when I wrote a 3,000-word story on the Olivia Tremor Control, and it was cut to 300 words. I thought, 'Fuck this, if I'm going to go to this effort and not get paid, I'm going to do it for my own edification."

Henry would make fun of me for that if he even gave a shit at all (he doesn't) but in truth that would be a sincere honor. Like he says, "We're like the Friar's Club roasts; we only make fun of those we love."

Simply put, if you don't like their music or any music you are not supposed to listen to it. It was obviously not intended for you. That does not give you a license to lie about people and try to destroy them. When someone commits a crime our judicial system handles it. Not anyone else. I think this comment from "Al Gore" on their last record review says it all:

"This is just a generally lousy and meandering review clearly written by
someone with very strong pre-conceived negative notions of her subject.
Basically, I'm saying that it's impossible for Blue Flashing Light to even get a
good review here because the whole TOWN seems to have the same notions about
the band and it's members. I guess that comes with putting yourself on stage - and
it's a risk you run by doing so. But if everyone in town already knows what they
are going to think of the album, why even run a review in Flagpole? I guess so
they could set a record for number of comments on the webpage (I say that as an
avid Flagpole reader. It's not slam, just an observation that a lot of their
record reviews drip with pointless condescension). Bad (as in not favorable)
reviews are not a bad thing - often, they're the most informative and
entertaining - but reviews written with an agenda that consists only of slamming
the band aren't even worth reading. Again, not defending the band, cause I
haven't even heard the EP - there just isn't much "critical writing" going on in

Don't get me wrong, the weekly free rag is somewhat informative. It's not their fault that I detest the entire idea of record reviews in the first place. It is against everything I stand for. But I think the above comment is generally pretty true about most record reviews. I think there is absolutely no right way to write one. And for all of the townie-bitching that has gone on lately they sure have gotten everyone's attention. They have gotten by far more local press than any other band in town. But this is a huge dramatic unfolding for the people who hate them most. Funny isn't it?

So anyhow to J.J. and the guys in Blue Flashing Light I know I should probably take the high road on this one and just let it go but unfortunately this is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with everything that is wrong around here. I apologize, like I said my intent was not even really to defend you guys by further dragging this out, but to just try to make a few people realize that nobody really seems to know what they are talking about around here while claiming to be very well informed. And my blood is absolutely boiling. I don't profess to know the inner-workings of the music industry but I know really ignorant people when I see them. Having gotten possibly the worst review in the history of music reviews, I can also relate to Blue Flashing Light.

I can say that you guys have earned mountains of respect in my book for not going on a city-wide spree. No one can ever tell you that you are not paying your dues. You're all extremely nice guys and you don't deserve what is happening here. After this blows over people won't even remember why they said your name in the first place, they'll just remember your name. God people are so damn stupid. Henry Owings has made a career out of making fun of these morons and selling it back to the same morons he loathes. If, as the famous Chunklet bumper sticker suggests, it's true that "No one cares about your crappy band" then why would people ever think that someone cares about your opinion of the crappy band?

I can say that as musicians it is our responsibility to simply create the music and then what happens next is completely out of our control. But I am human being and what I see here is very deeply personally troubling. It doesn't really matter if you get bad reviews or not, but it does matter to me when people attempt to trounce and crucify a group of completely innocent and genuine people. It is most certainly okay for people not to like what they do not like, but this has gone above and beyond. But you can't put too much stock in other people's opinions because they are exactly like assholes:  everybody's got one.      

Anybody who reads and wants to refute anything I said here feel free to comment. Don't just troll and just say some dumb shit, and you better post your name. My name is Mike and I will defend what I believe with unyielding stamina. But be warned I have not even begun to unload what I have to say about your stupid ass.

October 27-November 2

Monday, October 27:
Mouser, Muchas Gracias, Ebu Gogo, Double Dagger. Go Bar. 10 p.m. FREE!

Tuesday, October 28:
Bambara, His Mischief, Hot Pink Money Shot, Nero and The Burning Violins. Caledonia. 10 p.m. $6 (21+), $8 (18+).

George W. Bush Cover Band. Live in the Lobby on WUOG 90.5 fm @ 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 29:
Monotonix, Crystal Antlers, Dark Meat, One Man Machine. Georgia Theatre. 9:30 p.m. $8.

Pride Parade, Desert Cult Ritual. Little Kings. WUOG Birth-O-Ween. 9 p.m. FREE!
Desert Cult Ritual features members of Chrissakes and Complete Adventurer.

Thursday, October 30:
We Versus the Shark, Pegasuses-XL, Sirhan Sirhan, Prize Country. Caledonia. Doors at 10 p.m. $6 (21+). $8 (18-20).

Matthew Sweet. Variety Playhouse. (ATL) 8 p.m. $20.

Friday, October 31:
Deerhoof, Experimental Dental School, Flying. 40 Watt. 9 p.m. $10 (advance).

Pastor of Muppets, Zombie Puppet Show. Farm 255. 10 p.m. FREE!
Metallica cover band, Zombie Puppets. (state the obvious)

Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. Georgia Theatre. 10 p.m. $10.
Another cover band--playing the entire album.

Music Hates You, Holy Liars. Tasty World. 8 p.m. $7 (21+). $10 (18+).
Boobutante Ball #8.

Pylon, Deerhunter, Jay Reatard, Times New Viking. Variety Playhouse. (ATL) 8 p.m. $16-$18.


Saturday, November 1:
Space Rock Con. Tasty World. $10. 12 noon–12 midnight.
Annual concert for "fans of Space Rock". There are a ton of bands so click the link for more info.

Constellations, Kuroma, Ponderosa, The Empties, Part Bear, Death on Wheels, Shovels & Rope, The Weeks. Star Bar. (ATL) Starts at 2 p.m. $5.
Day of the Dead show. Don't get mugged or get your shit stolen. The unfortunate kid from Gentlemen Jesse and His Men got mugged outside of there not too long ago and our unfortunate drummer had some very old and cool drums and cymbals stolen from there during the Atlantis Music Conference. Big trouble in Little Five Points...

Drive By Truckers, The Hold Steady. Tabernacle. (ATL) 6:30 p.m. $30.

Twin Tigers, Jay Reatard, Carbonas. Lenny's. (ATL) 9 p.m. $10.

Weedeater, Black Cobra, Today is the Day. 9 p.m. $12-$15. The Drunken Unicorn. (ATL)

Minus The Bear, Annuals, Sylvie. Variety Playhouse. (ATL) 10 p.m. $18-$20.


I don't know too much about Los Angeles. I hear good and bad, but neither ever in great detail. One thing about the town I found on my own was Largo, a club in downtown LA that seems quite out of place and almost a transplant from New York or Nashville--in fact you could say it's a spawn of the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and the Blue Note in New York. In Athens, the closest venue to compare would be our Melting Point at the Foundry Park Inn, an amazing venue in its own right.

I've never been to Largo, but have heard countless recordings and many videos. Every Friday one of my musical heroes, Jon Brion, performs there. And he usually pulls out a special guest or two (including regulars such as Fiona Apple and Benmont Tench).

In the past year, a video doc on the venue has been released and is hopping around from select theatre to theatre. Perhaps Cine here in town will be so kind as to grab a copy. I'm headed out to Los Angeles in November to visit a friend, and Largo will definitely be one of the sights I'm looking forward to seeing. To get an idea of what its all about, check out the vids below:

Largo Trailer

Jon Brion

If you can't tell, I'm a big Fiona fan.

More non-embeddable videos here:

New Jamz

Here's the new stuff we got since the last stuff we got:

Creedence Clearwater Revival-Pendulum, Department of Eagles-In Ear Park, Arizona-Glowing Bird, Celebration-The Modern Tribe, The Clash-Live: From Here to Eternity, My Bloody Valentine-rarity mix selections from Geek, Sunny Sundae Smile, This is Your Bloody Valentine CD, and The New Record by My Bloody Valentine, Mudcrutch-Mudcrutch, Mudhoney-Superfuzz Bigmuff disc 2 (Live in Berlin 10/10/88 and Live at KCSB 11/16/88), The Raveonettes-Lust Lust Lust, Torche-Meanderthal, Weedeater-God Luck and Good Speed, Between The Buried and Me/Clutch/Mastodon J.J.'s mix, Brendan Canning-Something For All of Us..., Brian Eno and David Byrne-Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Dead Confederate-Wrecking Ball, Blue Flashing Light-The Mayor of Five Points, Mean Creek-Around the Bend, Motley Crue-Greatest Hits, Thin Lizzy-Dedication (Greatest Hits), Neutral Milk Hotel-On Avery Island, Secret Machines-Secret Machines, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals-Cardinology, Keane-Perfect Symmetry, Kings of Leon-Only By the Night, Of Montreal-Skeletal Lamping, Death Cab for Cutie-Narrow Stairs, Counting Crows-Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings, Gnarls Barkley-The Odd Couple, Widespread Panic-Free Somehow, Jose Gonzalez-In Our Nature, Nada Surf-Lucky, Jack Johnson-Sleep Through the Static, MGMT-Oracular Spectacular, Drive-By Truckers-Brighter Than Creation's Dark.

some vinyl:
The Weight-The Weight Are Men, Pink Mountaintops-Axis Of Evol

and one 8-track:
Simon and Garfunkel-Sounds of Silence

Note, dear valued reader, the broad spectrum of sounds contained within the new jamz: classic rock, metal, hair metal, mainstream stuff, indie swag, softcore, southern rock, jammy jam bands... It ain't all good but come hell or high water we are going to listen.

As usual, only Athens bands get a link. Listen to them. Love them. I'm sorry to my friend Bop, but I am ashamed to say that I have still not gotten Guy Clark's Old No. 1/Texas Cookin' but all in good time sir.

Edd Kalehoff at the MOOG for Schaefer

I checked out a documentary on the late Dr. Robert Moog the other day from the ACC Library and found this little gem of a clip:

Sometimes you just gotta go all random and start posting clips of funny youtube videos. That's what it has come to. Enjoy!

Different Matt, Same Omnichord

The other day Forces contributor Matt brought some musical gear over to my house. Among these items was a Suzuki Omnichord, and it got me thinking about the obscure instrument. While it is fun to tinker around with, you don't see too many people rocking ass on an Omnichord these days with the exception of one Matt Mahaffey. Matt is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee and the name of his solo project is Self. I first saw his band in Augusta in 1995 and have long since considered the dude a God among men and musical genius. Check out his one-man band Omnichord and drums performance of AC/DC's Back in Black live at Spaceland and dig the rest of his albums too. Although Matt is currently out in L.A., (playing bass for Beck, producing a ton of stuff and writing the jingle among other things) he has a show scheduled at Capone's in Johnson City, Tennessee at 8 p.m. November 29th. The show is a tribute to his late brother/former bandmate Mike, who was playing bass for Self the last time I saw them.

Matt was originally a drummer but the guy can literally play any instrument you place at his feet. Proof lies in the album Gizmodgery on which every instrument used is a toy like the See & Say, Fisher-Price My First Piano and the Star Guitar. For now enjoy the ass ripping omnichord:

October 20-26

Monday, October 20:
Music Hates You, Subrig Destroyer, Dictatortots, Service Industry. 40 Watt. 8 p.m. $5 (21+), $7 (18+).
Trina's Birthday Party Throwdown.

Tuesday, October 21:
Iron Hero, The Faint, The Show Is The Rainbow. 40 Watt. 8 p.m. $15 (advance).
$15 in advance? That must be a typo.

Wednesday, October 22:
Rorshak (of Deaf Judges), Alexis Gideon, Shelly Short, Marriage. Go Bar. FREE with donations.

High On Fire, Baroness, Opeth. Center Stage Theatre. (ATL) 8 p.m. $19-$22. Center Stage Theatre.

Thursday, October 23:
Gift Horse, Sleepy Horses, Pride Parade. Caledonia. Doors at 10 p.m. $5 over 21. $7 over 18.

The Balkans, Ominous Castle, Sleeping Friends. Eyedrum Art & Music Factory. (ATL) 9 p.m. $7.

Friday, October 24:
Chunklet presents Torche, Clouds, Coliseum. Caledonia. Doors at 10 p.m. $10 over 21. $12 over 18.
Buy tickets here.

Magnolia Electric Company, Alejandro Escovedo. 40 Watt. 8 p.m. $15.

The DAMN! Show 10 Year Anniversary. Georgia Theatre. $10. 10 p.m.
Buy tickets here.

Saturday, October 25:
Blue Flashing Light, Hayride. Caledonia. Doors at 10 p.m. $5 over 21. $7 over 18.

Weezer. Arena at Gwinnett Center. (ATL) Arena at Gwinnett Center.

TV On the Radio, The Dirtbombs. Tabernacle. (ATL) 7:30 p.m. $23.

More pics from T.T. Mahoney party time

Thanks to Mary Katherine Youngblood for the pics.

You Wanna Get With Maurice?

Thanks to everyone who came to my house last Sunday for our keys player/singer/my roomate Hunter's b-day bash. Special thanks go out to ultimate party band T.T. Mahoney and The Standard 8 for coming over and rocking out our basement in a sailor costume and matching suits. It's taken me a while to post this because I have had a difficult time tracking down some decent photos of the festivities, but luckily J.J. snapped this one on his Blackberry and emailed it to me. Sure was a good time though and suprisingly the show sounded really good even though we crammed the band into a tiny little concrete enclosure. I had more than one person tell me that we must do this again sometime. Look out Secret Squirrel there's a new d.i.y. venue in town. If anybody who was there somehow reads this give me some pictures please.

Hold Your Head Up

As November 4th draws near in this election year, I hereby do solemnly swear that at no point will this blog discuss anything political or even remotely concerning the presidential race.

After this.

I will offer no opinions about anything related to the fiasco, but I will only say that I feel as though there are a large number of Americans who are becoming more and more disenfranchised with the whole bit. (I don't align myself with any political party and I'm not going to try to sway you with anything I'm about to say so you can let your guard down). Now more than ever I feel like I notice how both political parties manipulate and use the public for their own gain and treat industrial quantities of people with little concern save getting a vote. Frankly, it's quite depressing for those of us who are left out of the process and find ourselves far from smitten with either solution on the ticket. If you have fallen in love with one of these dudes on the ballot then it is obvious to you at this point that I am a moron and you are probably much smarter than me. I'm not being a smart ass, I mean that.

Where am I going with this? Not real clear to me either, but I read something by Kurt Vonnegut that made me feel real good. Now you've got to be careful with ol' Kurt. Sometimes his opinions were a little of the Socialist variety. I love America and I love our Constitution. Greatest thing ever written. You should read it. In my opinion, the only thing that is wrong with our government is that we step further and further away from this beautiful document every year, no matter who is in office. That being said, I'm not down with the whole Socialism thing. But read this (I swear it's actually relevant to this blog) and tell me the man wasn't brilliant:

"No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our
government, our corporations, our media, and our religious and charitable
institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful. If I should ever
die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:


Now, during our catastrophically idiotic war in
Vietnam, the music kept getting better and better and better. We lost that war, by the way. Order couldn't be restored in Indochina until the people kicked us
out. That war made billionaires out of millionaires. Today's war is making
trillionaires out of billionaires. Now that's what I call progress.

And how come the people in countries we invade
can't fight like ladies and gentlemen, in uniform and with
tanks and helicopter gunships?

Back to music. It makes practically everybody
fonder of life than he or she would be without it. Even military bands, although
I am a pacifist, always cheer me up. And I really like Strauss and Mozart and
all that, but the priceless gift that African Americans gave the whole world
when they were still in slavery is a gift so great that it is now almost the
only reason many foreigners still like us at least a little bit. That specific
remedy for the worldwide epidemic of depression is a gift called the blues. All
pop music today--jazz, swing, be-bop, Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Stones,
rock-and-roll, hip-hop, and on and on--is derived from the blues.

A gift to the world? One of the best
rhythm-and-blues combos I ever heard was three guys and a girl from Finland
playing in a club in Krakow, Poland.

The wonderful writer Albert Murray, who is a jazz
historian and a friend of mine among other things, told me that during the era
of slavery in this country--an atrocity from which we can never fully
recover--the suicide rate per capita among slave owners was much higher than
the suicide rate among slaves.

Murray say he thinks this was because slaves had
a way of dealing with depression, which their white owners did not: They could
shoo away Old Man Suicide by playing and singing the blues. He says something
else which sounds right to me. He says the blues can't drive depression clear out
of a house, but he can drive it into the corners of any room where it's being
played. So please remember that."

--Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without A
So that is it. No more political speak to be spoken on this site, so if you feel the need to say your peace please do so by commenting on this post. If you feel down or left out by what is going on in the events leading up to this election just remember that (a) it could be much, much worse, (b) we are still living in the greatest country on the planet even if some of our leaders want to strip us of that title, and (c) there is always music.

And by God please go vote for somebody, but know what you are going to check for every single thing on the ballot. If you don't understand one of the Proposed Constitutional Amendments or don't know who to vote for in the Clarke County Board of Education District 8 or Public Service Commissioner races or something, then leave them blank or you can get a sample Clarke County ballot and do the proper research. Okay, I'm done. I hope everybody has a good weekend.

My iPod's Greatest Hits Vol. I

Here's a mix of songs on my iPod that I can't quit listening to at the moment.

1. Animal Collective-Grass
2. The Beatles-Not Guilty
3. Deerhunter-Nothing Ever Happened
4. Department of Eagles-Teenagers
5. Department of Eagles-Around the Bay
6. Department of Eagles-Herring Bone
7. The Glands-Livin' Was Easy
8. Jon Brion-Revolving Door
9. Jon Brion-Theme
10. Sam Prekop-Dot Eye
11. Self-I Am A Little Explosion
12. Sufjan Stevens-Flint (For the Unemployed and Underpaid)
13. Tom Waits-New Coat of Paint

It's raining like hell here in Athens at the moment so this is what happens. I feel good about that mix though. Nice and neatly alphabetized. See ya'll at the 40 Watt tonight.

This is fun to watch if you have been in a studio for 12 hours

Watch it about 10 times in a row. You'll feel better.

Dead Confederate on Conan O'Brien

Isn't youtube amazing? The fact that this is already linked and available for our viewing pleasure makes me glad I don't pay crappy Charter Communications for cable service anymore. Thanks to the Dorn brothers for posting this one.

NOTE: Johnny 5 is wearing a Dornstar TV t-shirt. Click that link damnit. You will be glad that you checked out their show-it's hilarious. Also much thanks to Jason for wearing a Gift Horse shirt that Lisa and I handmade and gave to him. This just proves how cool these guys are. They are blowing up like crazy right now and they go on national television and look like walking billboards for all of the smaller projects that they like back home. They can never be accused of forgetting where they came from. Not to mention that their new album is the shit. Please go buy Wrecking Ball if you haven't already. It's for your own good. Anyhow, here she blows:

Awesome. Feel proud Athens!

Easier on the Eyes

Had to switch up the official Rebel Forces layout a little bit. I just couldn't read the white on black anymore. It made my eyes feel weird so now we're working with a softer shade. I would hate to give you yet another reason not to read. Anyway I hope you are well.

In an effort to keep this from being a completely pointless post, I would like to share my archive of flyers from previous Gift Horse shows. I may have already posted these at some point but they are very important so you get them again. I actually really do like a few of these and I really hope to see you at a show soon. Come see Gift Horse this Thursday, October 16th at The Drunken Unicorn or the Thursday after that (the 23rd) at Caledonia. See the previous post for more info on the 16th show. Yep, here's the flyers:

<--I think the Balkans did this. Or maybe Kuroma.

Travis did these two sketches.

October 13-19

Tuesday, October 14:
Olympus Mans. Georgia Theatre. 9:30 p.m. $5.

Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band. Variety Playhouse. (ATL) 8 p.m. $22.50-$25.

Wednesday, October 15:
Enoch, Brown Chicken Brown Cow, Distaster. Flicker. 8:30 p.m. $5.
Enoch Bledsoe of Twin Tigers, Ryan Hetrick, and some punk band, respectively.

Dead Confederate, Heartless Bastards. The Five Spot. (ATL) 8:30 p.m. $12.50-$15.

Thursday, October 16:
Gift Horse, Beatrix Kiddo, Johnny Buffalo and the Mutinous Noise. Drunken Unicorn. (ATL) 9 p.m. $8.

Friday, October 17:
Cinemechanica, A.Armada, Bambara, Building the State. 40 Watt. Doors @ 9:00 p.m. $6 over 21. $8 under 21.

Cinemechanica celebrates the release of their new jam Rivals with A.Armada, Building the State and Bambara. Those are some pretty cool laid back type of fellas in that Bambara. I like those guys.

Widespread Panic. Lakewood Amphitheatre. (ATL) 5:30 p.m. $25 - $75. Lakewood Amphitheatre.

The Magnetic Fields. Woodruff Arts Center. (ATL) 8 p.m. $26-$30.

Saturday, October 18
Widespread Panic. Lakewood Amphitheatre. (ATL) 5:30 p.m. $25 - $75. Lakewood Amphitheatre.

Sunday, October 19
Widespread Panic. Tabernacle. (ATL) 7 p.m. $125.
Tunes for Tots benefit.

A Bone to Pick With Everyone

In the last week, I have encountered more negativity with regard to the local music scene (and music in general for that matter) than I have heard in a long time. I have heard shit talk from local musicians, I have read bad reviews in the local publications, I have witnessed bands competing with one another for no reason whatsoever, and of course I've noticed the ever-present internal struggles that plague every band and individual musician. I'm going to try my best not to name any names or cite specific examples in the following rant, but in an effort to make my arguments clear I'm afraid that I'm going to have to call a few people out on this one.

As I have grown as a human being one thing has become evident to me: anything someone does, and I do mean anything, is purely a reflection of their own state of mind and their own image of themselves. This may seem like a relatively simple concept but when you really think about it this statement can be used to explain every human action that you have ever witnessed. It took me about 22 years to figure this out (I'm now 25, by the way) and when I did it blew my fucking head off. I still forget it from time to time, but every time I do I remember that I used to treat people like shit. Why? Because I was sincerely unhappy with myself. Not unhappy. I hated myself. The day that I realized this fact is the day that I officially "grew up." That cliche idea of "growing up" is quantifiable and can be identified as the exact moment in time that you decide that you are an okay dude and it's time to stop treating other people around you like they are just as worthless as you used to think you were. And I'm sincerely sorry to all of those people who got caught up in the train wreck that was my past. I was a bitch.

I say all of this because I had a very short conversation with a local musician tonight that almost made me vomit. This local musician is a very good musician and in one of the best and well known current bands in Athens. Now every time you see this guy he is talking shit about another band. I said whats up to him tonight and that was all the invitation he needed to blast away at a few different musicians. For example, although we were at the Deerhunter/Twin Tigers/Chunklet Anniversary show at the 40 Watt, he proceeded to tell me how bad he hated Deerhunter and that "his camp talks tons of shit about these guys." He also commented that "he is sick of all the fucking reverb instrumental stuff" which is amazing because this dude has seen my band a zillion times and knows that my group soaks everything in tons of reverb. He said that Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox was a dick to him in Europe. And just for good measure he commented that he could have "shit out Deerhunter's stuff in high school." Wow. I smiled, grabbed my girl by the hand and got the fuck out of there, mid-encore.

I realize that it sounds like I am bitching and moaning but this person also runs a local record label and I really do love his bands, so I am not so much crying about it as much as I am saying that as a person with a moderate amount of local influence it would be nice to see a little less bullshit competition.

Regardless, this person is not going to change their ways and if you met him today he would tell you (whether you asked or not) how great he is and how much he loves himself. But truthfully he doesn't. He is scared shitless of someone finding this out so he compensates by putting up a front and doing his best to treat people badly. And it is his right to. I just want people to realize the difference between artists and people who play music. People who simply play music can be superficial and shallow. They have learned to pang out notes on some instrument. They can't see beyond what is directly in front of them. I first encountered this person when I was in music school at Augusta State University. In that case, this person had no idea what being an artist means. They simply looked at a dead white person's music on a sheet of paper and mechanically crapped it out. They are seeking public acknowledgement and a wage, and music is a field that can give you both. So is prostitution.

There are exceptions to every rule, but the person I am speaking of two paragraphs ago is simply a player of music. And a very good one. To me an artist sees a bigger picture: they have a depth that goes beyond the surface of what they are seeing. That's not to say that there is not competition between artists, but it is of a different nature. They do not talk shit about others because they feel a need to prove that they are better than the other. They drive each other with the only worthwhile thing that they were ever born with: their art. They also appreciate other art even if it does not suit their particular tastes or level of technicality. Why? Because it is an art form. This is why art can not be defined. Am I an artist? I don't know or care. Right now I'm trying to get better at making music that I like and that expresses the way I feel. I can only say this: I like a lot of things that I hate. I hope that makes sense.

With regard to the local publications, I have read some Flagpole reviews lately by a guy named Tony Floyd that have really pissed me off. (I say his name only because I'm sure it's a pseudonym). For example, in his last review of the Fleet Foxes show at the Georgia Theatre he managed to find something snide and ignorant to say about Athens even though the sold-out show was absolutely incredible (seriously, listen to Fleet Foxes). It was dumb, but it was something to the effect of there being "enough rich white kids in Athens to fill a room that size." Of course this is absolutely shit journalism but hey it's the Flagpole.

Why is it that critics always seem to be the most critical? Because it is easy. It is hard to say what I loved about the shows that I loved, but I can immediately tell you what is was that I hated about the ones that sucked. When you put the unbelievable feeling of a life-altering show into words it loses its luster. All of it. Look at how easy it is for me to proclaim what is wrong with our music scene. See what I mean?

All I know is it's one thing when you give a national band the finger and say that their show or their latest album was crap. They have major label backing and PR people. They wipe their asses with the Flagpole. But when you have a local Athens band who just took the only $5,000 that they will ever see out of their own pockets, made an album, let it get into the hands of the only writer who will review it only to have it slammed for the sheer humor of it-then you are treading out onto some very dangerous territory. Just because I reference two relatively national acts here doesn't meant that this isn't happening to locals as well. Please God, we already have publications like the Flagpole and Stomp and Stammer who destroy albums because it's funny to them. I'm not saying that every local album should get 5 stars (we have SE Performer for that), but maybe a little more thought should go into things. Let's not perpetuate this shitty attitude by doing it ourselves through word of mouth. Besides, Chunklet is the only one that is worth a damn and legitimately funny anyway, so just read that.

Look, I can go on and on about this, all of this, but there is a simple point and I think I have set it on the tee. WE ARE CHOKING THE LIFE OUT OF THIS PLACE. Day by day. Every little comment, every bad's happening. I think we all need to take a deep breath and digest a little humility. Although there are some really great bands doing some pretty impressive stuff right now we are collectively barely stirring the pot. Let's remember that. You can laugh me off, say I don't know shit if you want. That's fine. You are entitled to your opinion. But I do not want to be able to say I told you so, I don't want to be right on this one. You don't have to make music to think like an artist. Music scenes are fragile. I think they require a vast support network, not just a few flagship acts. Let's provide that support network, not because it is good for anyone in particular but because it is good for all of Athens. The whole scene. We don't need anybody. All we have to do is go to shows and listen to stuff. Musicians: keep writing, don't quit playing and lets keep our mouths shut. DO NOT TALK SHIT. Your art will do all of the work for you. Help me get this blog off the dirt. That's all. Let's chalk all of this recent negativity up to people getting a little too drunk and loose-lipped combined with stress due to the fact that the economy has officially shit the bed. Thank you for reading and happy birthday Hunter.

October 6-12

Monday, October 6:
Modern Skirts. Ashford Manor. 7–9 p.m. $12 (Adults), $5 (Children under 12), FREE! (Children under 6).

The Roots. Tabernacle (ATL) 6:30 p.m. $37.50.

Tuesday, October 7:
Screening of Major Organ & The Adding Machine followed by a performance by The Elephant 6 Orchestra. Cine. Movie showtime @ 9:30 p.m. Music to follow (10:30 p.m. I think). $12 (advance), $15 (day of show).

The long awaited premiere of Major Organ & The Adding Machine, a new film companion to the mysterious Elephant 6 collective album of the same name. Featuring musical and theatrical contributions from Jeff Mangum, Kevin Barnes, William Cullen Hart, Julian Koster, Andrew Reiger, and Dixie Blood Moustache. Followed by a live performance that kicks off the Elephant 6 Orchestra's Holiday Surprise Tour, featuring the musical talent of Julian Koster, Will Hart, Bill Doss, John Fernandes, Nesey Gallons, Laura Carter, Scott Spillane, Robbie Cucchiarro, Theodore Hilton, Andrew Reiger, Eric Harris, Pete Erchick performing the songs of The Music Tapes, The Circulatory System, Scott Spillane, Gerbils, Elf Power, Olivia Tremor Control, Nana Grizol, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't and more.

Cool. This movie was largely created by Rebel Forces contributor J.J.'s roommate, Joey. (Six degrees of Athens separation). Click the links above to view the movie trailer and get some info on the tour, and check the Orange Twin site to get a heads up on all of the many bands mentioned above.

Wednesday, October 8:
Common, N.E.R.D. Tabernacle. (ATL) 8 p.m. $36.50.

Thursday, October 9:
Casper & The Cookies, Dressy Bessy. 40 Watt. 9 p.m. $7-$9.

The Sammies. Vinyl. (ATL) 8 p.m. $5-$8.

Friday, October 10:
Dead Confederate. Live on Late Night with Conan O' Brien. His show comes on NBC at 12:35 a.m. just in case you are a complete dumbass. See here for my thoughts. Also be sure to check out the web's hottest manatee site.
Congrats boys. Give 'em hell.

Deerhunter, Twin Tigers, Brent Weinbach, Gentleman Jesse & His Men. 40 Watt. 9 p.m. $8 advance. $10 day of show.
Night 1 of Chunklet's 15th Anniversary Shindig Extravaganza.

The Empties, Noises-10. Tasty World. 10 p.m.

Dancer Vs. Politician. Kavarna. (ATL) 9 p.m.

Saturday, October 11:
Mastodon, Brian Posehn. 40 Watt. 9 p.m. $20 advance. $22 day of show.
Night 2 of Chunklet's 15th Anniversary Shindig Extravaganza.

Naughty By Nature, Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick. Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center. (ATL) 8 p.m. $37.50-$75.
Freshfest '08! (Crackers, honkys, whitebread suckas need not apply).

Sunday, October 12:
Music Hates You, Armazilla, Bible of the Devil. Drunken Unicorn. (ATL) 8 p.m. $10.