New Jamz, New Year

Happy New Year to ya'!

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty fired up about 2009. Despite all the horrible stories you hear on the network news, I'm relentlessly optimistic about the upcoming year. I hope you are too, but if your outlook is slightly more grim than mine there is no better escapism than music. I say keep the positive vibes flowing by taking a look and listen at some new music. Is it possible to listen at music? I don't know, but here's what we've listened to since the last time:

Kuroma - Paris
Cinemechanica - Rivals
Heartless Bastards - All This Time and Stairs and Elevators
Deerhoof - Green Cosmos, Reveille and Milk Man
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell and Show Your Bones
Deerhunter - Weird Era Cont.
TV On the Radio - Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
Ween - Live in Chicago
Sleepy Horses - The Golden Light EP
Russian Spy Camera - Mutiny In The Kitchen With Knives
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Elf Power - Back to the Web
Battles - EP C
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Outkast - Stankonia
MEW - And The Glass Handed Kites
Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime
UGK - Underground Kingz
Peter, Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
Black Lips - Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo
A Tribe Called Quest - The Low End Theory
Jethro Tull - Extended Versions
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions
Arizona - Fameseeker and the Mono, The Sun and the Room EP
and most importantly,
Slaughter - Stick It To Ya'
Space Jam - Music From and Inspired By The Motion Picture

A handful of live comedy discs:
Mitch Hedberg - Do You Believe In Gosh?
Patton Oswalt - Werewolves and Lollipops, Feeling Kinda' Patton
Jim Gaffigan - Beyond The Pale
Todd Barry - From Heaven
Michael Ian Black - I Am A Wonderful Man

A few bits of vinyl:
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes, Sun Giant EP
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - Damn The Torpedos
Fonzi Thornton - Pumpin'
Blue Swede - Hooked On A Feelin'
Lionel Hampton - Soft Vibes Soaring Strings
Ashley Tappen - Plays A Hammond Organ Tribute to Ken Griffin
Bettye Lavette - Tell Me A Lie
Frankie Miller - Dancing In The Rain
Skip Castro - Fast Break
Loverboy - Loverboy
Pat Boone - The Favorite Hymns of Pat Boone
Patrick Juvet - Got A Feeling
Hooters - Nervous Night
Jacki Sorenson - Jackie Sorenson's Aerobic Dancing Encore
(The VHS tape cover picture is all I could find...)
John Davidson - Touch Me
Outlaws - Playin' To Win
Thumbs McDuff and The Boston Baked Beans - The Not-So-Gay 90's
Children of the King - Singin A Song: A Sing-Along for Kids-By Kids
(I really wish I could find this artwork because I'm pretty sure that the cover and group name is the inspiration for Children of the Corn. Sorry it's just too old.)
Firefall - Break of Dawn
Kim Carnes - Voyeur
Brown Bannister - Talk To One Another
Glen Campbell - Bloodline
Mike Douglas - My Kind of Christmas
The Watkinses - Introducing The Watkinses
(I'm pretty sure this is Johnny 5's family band from when he was a youngster before he joined Dead Confederate. Once again, the artwork is impossible to find.)
Marching Band '88 - Exciting New Music

Most of these were Christmas gifts, especially the vinyl. Thanks a ton to Vaughan, Brantley, Mary Katherine, my bro John, my bro Andy, J.J. and others for a great Christmas. J.J. feel free to chime in with anything I missed.

Select a few to seek out and listen to if you please, but be warned: most of that vinyl came from J.J. and is some silly shit. There's some really funny stuff in there that's hard to find. Be sure to check out the links for either a local band/friends of ours, or the funniest album artwork/band name you've ever seen. But as always, there's some good and bad. I wish everyone the best in the year 2009 and I sincerely thank everyone for reading and supporting our bands and Athens music.

Flagpole Writer's 2008 Picks and Reader's Survey

Hey everybody, check out the Flagpole's year-end lists for best local albums of 2008 as chosen by the writers, best musical moments of the year and best local albums according to the readers, and a few other lists here, here and here.

In the "Best Local Albums" category, it's no surprise that Dead Confederate sits atop the list with Wrecking Ball. Also making the list are The Whigs with Mission Control at six and Twin Tigers' Curious Faces/Violet Future at number seven. Some other pals got honorable mention, but take the time read the whole page because it also has a comprehensive list of pretty much every local release of the year, give or take a few. That should help you round out your collection...

Check out the year-end reader's survey to read some comments about what the citizens thought were the "Best Musical Moments of 2008". Comments from the Athens townfolk mentioned great shows from Bambara, Dead Confederate, Gift Horse, Pegasuses-XL, Kuroma and a lot of other bands from the list over there <---.

December 29, 2008-January 4, 2009

Monday, December 29:
The Dumps, Pride Parade, Garbage Island, Rock Star Canyon.
40 Watt. 8:30 p.m. $5.

Tuesday, December 30:
40 Watt. 9 p.m. $15 advance.

The Whigs, Band Of Horses.
Variety Playhouse (ATL) 9 p.m. $25.

Black Lips.
Club 529 (ATL) 10 p.m. FREE.
(Is this right? This was listed last week too...)

Wednesday, Demeber 31, 2008:
Of Montreal, Brave New Citizen.
40 Watt. SOLD OUT.

Five Eight, Vigilantes Of Love, Young Antiques.
Tasty World. 10 p.m.

The Whigs, Band Of Horses.
Variety Playhouse (ATL) 10 p.m. $30.
(Marc Mauldin, lighting director for Dead Confederate, is doing lights for The Whigs tonight so you know that's going to look bad ass...)

Modern Skirts, Cracker.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta (ATL) $8:30 p.m. $129.
($129? Apparently you have to get a room for the night to see this show...)

The N.E.C., Gringo Starr, Abby Go Go, Anna Kramer.
Star Bar (ATL) 9 p.m.

Thursday, January 1, 2009:
Dexter Romwebber Duo.
Tasty World. 10 p.m. $5.

Friday, January 2:
Hope For Agoldensummer.
Flicker. 9 p.m. $5.

Saturday, January 3:
Divided Like A Saint's, Byron House, Small Pox, Halves and Thirds, Pretzel Logic. Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery (ATL) 9 p.m. $6.

Top Five Music Videos of 2008

Merry Christmas!

Isn't the internet great? When the people largely responsible for creating the music video concept and broadcasting it worldwide decided to "stop being polite and start getting real" the music video had to go somewhere, and here it is.

As my Christmas gift to you here's my top 5 music videos of the year, in reverse order.

Number 5 was created by Atlanta artist/musician Adam Bruneau for the Deerhunter song Microcastle. This is simple and beautiful, please enjoy:

#5 Deerhunter, Microcastle

The last time I saw The Buddy System live it was a while ago and they were plagued by a variety of technical issues. I think they were opening for A.Armada at the 40 Watt for the Anam Cara release party. The Buddy System rely very heavily on the visual components of their show, and that night they were having some problems with it. But when stuff like that happens to a band you just have to overlook it and give them the benefit of the doubt. Their last song, Return to Horse Mountain, rectified any set problems they had:

#4 The Buddy System, Return To Horse Mountain

On November 20th Radiohead released the video for the song Weird Fishes, created by fan/artist Tobias Stretch. It's easy to gush about Radiohead, but it's amazing that a band as big and as unbelievably grand as they are can still be as fan-oriented as they have been with In Rainbows. They really just defined how you are supposed to release an album and stay ahead of industry curves and such. Tobias Stretch was one of the 4 winners of the Aniboom Animated Music Video Contest, and the animation is pretty out of sight and creepy. The videos from the other 3 winners are great too. Most important band you can hear and see live right now? I think so. It's hard to argue against it. Nightmares ahead:

#3 Radiohead, Weird Fishes

This video for Toe Jam by The BPA featuring David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal could possibly be one of the most memorable music videos of all time. The BPA (Brighton Port Authority) is Norman Cook, better known as Fatboy Slim (who always has great videos). Directed by Keith Schofield at Streetgang Films:

#2 The BPA featuring David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal, Toe Jam

And last but most certainly not least, you can always count on Björk for great videos too. Here's the beautiful video for Wanderlust, created by Encyclopedia Pictura and choreographed by Chris Elam. My video of the year was much-hyped and I think it showed up big time:

#1 Björk, Wanderlust

Countdown to Christmas Eve

Well, we made it! The last Christmas shopping day of the year is here, and this is your last chance to give the gift of music. We hope everyone has a great holiday. 

Z is for: Zapp & Roger, All The Greatest Hits (Warner Brothers UK, 1993)

Since J.J. has given Zapp some recent love I figured I would too. Nothing says Christmas like the heart-warming story of Zapp and the five Troutman brothers. 

On April 25, 1999, Larry Troutman shot his younger brother and band leader Roger (pictured) 4 times in an alley behind their Dayton, Ohio studio, killing him because of a money dispute. Then he shot and killed himself. Merry Christmas!

With Kanye using the auto-tuner/Vocoder/talk-box thingie on every track now, everyone thinks he's a dance pioneer or something. But not so fast. Lowrider-driving Cholos and I know that Zapp did it first and better. 

Dig on Computer Love, which is on this greatest hits along with More Bounce To The Ounce and Dance Floor:

Personally, If I'm gonna listen to someone sing through and auto-tuner I prefer Velveteen Pink, who absolutely nailed it in a funky ass set a couple of weeks ago at 283 Bar.

Merry Christmas errbody! If you need some more gift ideas, recap the entire Countdown To Christmas Eve by clicking on the label down below titled "Countdown To Christmas Eve." Thanks for reading.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

Y is for: Yanni, Keys To Imagination (Private Music, 1986)

Doesn't your ex-best friend's Dad love Yanni? I thought so. Get them his second release in hopes that Yanni possesses the keys to unlock his imagination with atmospheric 80's soundscapes like Forgotten Yesterdays, Forbidden Dreams, Keys To Imagination and Port Of Mystery.

Hopefully the Dali-esque surrealist album cover will aid the music in cracking the egg that is the moon of the listener's mind and allow the water of the imagination to spring forth, flowing freely into a mountain lake.

Once again, you've just gotta see and hear. Here's Nostalgia (also off of this album) Live at the Acropolis. If this doesn't make you nostalgic, then you need to check your pulse:

Beautiful tune, beautiful hair, beautiful mustache. I love the guy. I really do. I celebrate the man's entire catalogue. I still cut out newspaper headlines about him and put them on my fridge.

December 22-28

For the life of me I can't find any decent shows going on in Athens (or anywhere else) this week. Maybe something will pop up later in the week when my calendar sources reveal some information. Stay posted, but more than likely this will be it since it's Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23:
Dead Confederate, Gift Horse.  Sky City (AUGUSTA, GA)  9 p.m.  $8 adv.  $10 @ door.

Black Lips.  Club 529 (ATL)  10 p.m.  FREE.
Not listed but a little bird told me...good luck finding this place, for they have no website...and it's a free Black Lips show in Atlanta so good luck getting near it...

Thursday, December 25:
Merry Christmas, sucka.

That's it? Man, this place is dead anyway...

Countdown to Christmas Eve

X is for: Xena: Warrior Princes, The Bitter Suite: A Musical Odyssey Original Television Soundtrack (Varese Sarabande, 1998)

Us true fans of Xena: Warrior Princess will recognize this as episode 12 in season 3 of the series, and as a rare musical episode of the finely crafted television program. This episode has all the elements that make you love Xena. Nothing says Christmas like action, drama, evil half-demons, revenge, a very strong lesbian subtext, gratuitous nudity, the land of Illusia, and of course singing.

True die-hard fans like me were blown away to hear the characters of the show sing, and sing well. The music was done by Emmy Award winning composer Joseph LoDuca. These song titles are classic: The Sweat Hut/Slapped Out Of It, Gab Is Stabbed, Hearts Are Hurting (Parts 1 and 2), and of course The Love Of Your Love.   

I can talk all day, but sometimes you just gotta see. Here's The Love Of Your Love. Singing starts at 1:40, best of luck:

This Christmas, delight the Xena: Warrior Princess fan in your life by getting them this hot collector's item. 

Damn, X was hard.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

W is for: Weird Al Yankovic, Straight Outta Lynwood (Volcano, 2006)

I figured if Straight Outta Compton was going to make the countdown, Straight Outta Lynwood would get on as well. Whether you love or hate Al's parody versions of popular songs, you can't deny his place in pop culture history. Personally, I think he does the world of music a favor by covering satirical versions of songs that usually aren't very good but still somehow find their way into millions of sets of eager ears.

His fame has out lived alot of acts that he has parodied. Now-a-days you've pretty much hit it big time if Weird Al does a take on one of your songs, or at least that's what Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl said after seeing his video for Smells Like Nirvana.

And anyone who may feel bad for the artists he makes fun of, be reminded that he usually asks their permission to parody them and pays them royalties even though sometimes he does not legally have to do so.

Some classic tracks on this album: White & Nerdy (based on Chamillionaire's Ridin; became Weird Al's highest chart-topper ever, even higher than Eat It and all the other food tunes), Pancreas (a style parody of Brian Wilson's Smile), Canadian Idiot (based on Green Day's American Idiot), another horrible polka medley of a bunch of popular tunes, and Close But No Cigar (based on Cake's Short Skirt/Long Jacket; animated video illustrated by Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi). Unfortunately he had to leave off You're Pitiful (based on James Blunt's You're Beautiful) due to the fact that Blunt's label got worried that it could accidentally show the world how, well, pitiful he is. Rightfully so. Don't worry, you can still get it for free.

You could really get this album for any music lover who has a sense of humor and doesn't take themselves too seriously. It should provide at least 30 minutes of laughter on the first go round.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

V is for: Various Artists, Yule Be Miserable (Verve, 2006)

Holidays are a double-edged sword. For some people, Christmas is a great opportunity to get together with friends/family and roast chestnuts over the open fire blah blah blah... For others, it's the most depressing time of the year because they have no one to give presents to nor anyone to give presents to them blah blah blah... Some people are just scrooges. 

If the album cover picture of a wasted, passed out Santa (with ciggy still lit) doesn't give it away, this disc is intended for the latter two varieties of people--those who perhaps don't enjoy this time of year as much as say, Buddy the Elf.   

Let's put it this way: The notoriously depressed, cynical and neurotic basket case Harvey Pekar wrote the liner notes to this album. He's awesome, by the way. This is really a pretty good album though, with some old school swing and blues tracks from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, B.B. King, Billie Holiday, and Count Basie. I like Christmas just fine, but the same old rehashed versions of the same old rehashed versions of Christmas standards really start to wear on me around this part of December. This is a welcome, refreshing respite. For the most part, it sounds like a big ol' glass o' whiskey in a smoke filled bar. Not exactly standard Christmas fare.

Surely you've got to know somebody who would benefit from receiving this album for Christmas. Let me guess how the "gift exchange" would sound:
YOU: "Hey, I got you a little something just to let you know I was thinking of you.  Merry Christmas!"
THEM: "Piss off."
YOU: "Alrighty then."
But, that's what the holidays are all about. 

Thanks to my friend Art Ordoqui for reading the blog and suggesting this album. Art is the program director for the HandsOn Northeast Georgia and Community Connection 211 nonprofit organizations, so I think it's fair to assume that he knows a thing or two about helping out the downtrodden and needy Athenians during the holidays (and year-round for that matter). Click the links to volunteer for something, including a day of service in honor of R.E.M. and all of the great things they have done for Athens. Also make sure you check out the HandsOn blog to see what's new with them.     

Countdown to Christmas Eve

Well, draggin' me arse a little bit today. Sorry kiddies, life got in the way. I hope everybody made it through work okay with out having the following reading material:

U is for: UB40, Labour of Love (A&M, 1983)

There are some really great names on the list of this band's personnel: Earl Falconer on bass, Mickey Virtue on keys, Astro (born Terence Wilson) doing the toasting, and Maxi Priest singing lead. Unfortunately, all of these cool individuals names could not help them come up with a better band name (UB40 stands for Unemployment Benefit, Form 40). I don't put much stock in good or bad band names, but that sucks.

Once again, like another "reggae" group on the countdown, they come from the genre's heartland (this time it's Birmingham, UK though). They figured out a simple formula: A song you like + cheap, cheap "reggae" = $$$$$$. They made some serious scrilla by taking songs from other people and covering them in a watered down "reggae" form that appealed to people for a few ticks. World's most successful cover band? You decide. 

I think it's hilarious that a band that had three cover songs reach the #1 spot on the charts (and countless others that sucked) was somehow able to sue Paris Hilton for stealing their stuff. Do you think that her song Stars Are Blind steals from one of the few songs that UB40 actually wrote, Kingston Town? Once again, you decide:

They sound pretty similar, but more importantly, who cares? I guess anyone who further bankrupts Paris Hilton is cool with me. 

But anyhow, I'm rambling. I say get this album for anyone you may know who has a really cool name like your cousin Teddy Stryker, that guy at work named Bobby "The Jackal" Salome, and that girl you knew in high school named Ella Awesomeface. 

I just REALLY like this song

I'm not a huge Of Montreal fan. And unfortunately, there is no part of me that wants to go back and explore their catalog--at all. The one full album I have is Satanic Panic in the Attic. And it's cool, but nothing I'm wild about.

Maybe I'm being a lazy ass in not delving deeper into this band. But then again, maybe this band and I are just not meant to be. Either way, without a doubt, this is and will forever be one of my all time favorite songs. After some wiki-based research (my favorite kind of research), I've found it to be off of their second release The Bedside Drama: A Petite Tragedy. It is basically Kevin Barnes and a guitar. It is so damn beautiful and catchy. One of those rare songs that does not get old no matter how many times you play it.

If You Feel You Must Go, Don't Go!

All respect to this band, Kevin and crew have definitely earned their present notoriety. And their efforts in continuing to expand their sonic-realm are very admirable.

My Favorite Girlfriends of 2008

And when I say girlfriends, I mean albums.

Sometimes I take a break from my steady diet of the Gap Band, Zapp, and Kool and the Gang to give some new music a listen. Here's some of the lovely ladies that caught my eye this year. I'm sure that I am leaving a bunch out of the list, and I attribute that to a lack of fruit in my diet.

Dead Confederate Wrecking Ball
Dark, kinda redneck-y, Southern Gothic, wailing, yearning rock and roll brimming with trouble just beneath the surface. I see a new rock sub-genre. Dark-neck, anyone? This would still be one of my favorites of the year even if I wasn't long-time friends with these nice fellows. A perfect album for sitting down and bonding with your great-grandfather over some snuff or chaw.

Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
I'm a sucker for great harmonies mixed with beards, Bonnaroo-styled knit caps, and a lot of candles. Earnest and intimate.

Harvey Milk Life...The Best Game In Town
Big drums, big cymbals, big amps, loud de-tuned fucking riffs, and Creston Spiers' distinctive vocal stylings make me happy. Very, very good.

Kings of Leon Only by the Night
These guys continue to explore and diversify their sound with each album. Not content with sticking to the same old two-step southern-Strokes-ish boot kickin' dust-ups and screwing hot model chicks in Europe all of the time, Kings of Leon continue to mature into memorable songwriters with a knack for catchy hooks.

Dillinger Escape Plan Ire Works
Released in late 2007, I had to include this one. This is one of my favorite bands of all time ever since I saw them open for Mr. Bungle at the old Cotton Club in Atlanta. Live, it's like watching a car crash inside of a fireball inside of a tornado filled with cottonmouth rattlers for an hour. You can't take your eyes away. Bodies flying everywhere. Their former drummer, Chris Pennie, is one of my favorites. Their new drummer Gil Sharone stepped in without missing a beat and just killed it. This album furthers their genre-bending, sharp, precise, powerful attack to places yet to be traveled.

My Morning Jacket Evil Urges
I'm an admitted late-comer to My Morning Jacket. My bad, dude! I thought Z was catchy as hell and then I delved into their back catalog. I eagerly anticipated this release and was pleased with the results. Their songs have a way of connecting with me down to the core, mining up emotions, whether they be bittersweet, reflective, down, or celebratory. I know in 30 years when I hear "Touch Me I'm Going to Scream," "Thank You Too!," "Sec Walkin," and "Librarian," they will bring me right back to this time in my life. Plus, we've all got those evil urges, baby.

Of Montreal Skeletal Lamping
Inventive harmonies, melodies, and arrangements. Psychedelic, schizophrenic, shy and cocky all at the same time. Instrumentally fantastic. Oh, and it's funky as hell and you can dance to it. Kevin Barnes just don't give a fuck. I don't know if all men share some of the same worries, fears, and insecurities that Barnes bravely sings of. But know I do.

T.V. On The Radio Dear Science
Another terrific live band whose albums continue to impress me. I'm a drummer at heart and I'm thrilled with their creative and tasteful mixture of live drumming, programmed beats, loops, bleeps, bloops, leeps?? and ambient hand claps. Kyp and Tunde sing soulfully and confidently, and the gang vocals are reminiscent of some long-ago congregation singing a familiar hymnal. Drone-y and syncopated all at once, TVOTR melds many distinct styles and elements into a one successful mixture.

Deerhoof Offend Maggie
Man, oh man!! Daddy likey. Greg Saunier is a drumming powerhouse. He flows freely between Elvin Jones and Tony Williams-like blazing free-jazz chops, funk and drum & bass backbeat, and pushing and pulling the beat to the band's liking. Awesome guitar lines and inventive chording. Mix in a lot of whimsy and musical playfulness, and you get maybe a small idea of Deerhoof. I cannot do them justice. Buy all of their albums!

Dodos Visiter
Johnny 5 from Dead Confederate turned me on to these guys. Mostly finger-picked or heavily strummed acoustic guitar and African Ewe-style drumming. The drummer plays on a non-traditional kit standing up without a kick drum. My arms hurt just listening to some of his beats. Pretty melodies and harmonies.

Gift Horse Demo EP
Man, these guys are the biggest assholes in Modern Rock today. Rapes, bullying, theft, drug abuse, degradation, blasphemy, and rape. But I'll be damned if they don't make some great music. Hypnotic and throbbing, with melodies and lyrics floating in and out of a lush thick smoky fog of reverb. If you're looking for Vai or Satriani or any overly-note-filled fusion jam-offs, this is not the band for you. If you're not an asshole, then you'll probably like it.

Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple
Cee-Lo is the shit. He is one of my favorite artists. Danger Mouse is incredible as well, and when they combine forces they make great music. They bring old-school sounds and aesthetic but still break new musical ground at the same time. Shit, you could pair up Cee-Lo with anyone (Reznor, W. A. Yankovic, my roommate Joey's cat, Wendell) and I would like it. At their last Athens show at the 40 Watt when Elf Power opened, Gnarls played a show-stopping rendition of Reckoner by Radiohead. I am in no way insinuating that Thom Yorke has a lack of soul, but Mr. -Lo put some Comeback Sauce all over that song.

The Mars Volta Bedlam in Goliath
What it would sound like Dennis Chambers or Fish Fisher (2 more of my fave drummers) played drums for the Mars Volta, a band I respect for their complexity and style? With their new drummer Thomas Pridgen, now I know, and then some. Shit, dude. Serious chops. Chops McGhee. John Theodore kept Mars Volta in some seriously deep nasty grooves while he held the drum throne. I was bummed when he stopped playing with them. Now with Pridgen, it's all goooood. Track 4, Wax Simulacra, had me going over to my drums to learn some shit.

Whigs Mission Control
Cheers to three local guys who have made good. 2008 was nice for the Whigs. Mission Control finds the group sounding terrific, partly due to the fact that they recorded the album at the legendary Sunset Sound Studios in L.A.. The songs are tight, simple (not in a negative way,) and catchy as hell. Good old-fashioned rock and roll. Always great to see live. And guess what? They're nice!!

Torche Meanderthal
Loud, lumbering, concussive, ass-kicking metal/rock and roll. Oh yeah, and dude sings, too! Steve Brooks expertly lays on the poppy melodies over the loud sludge, for the perfect combination of shampoo and conditioner.

Popo Go
Popo is three very tall brothers: Zeb, Shoaib, and Hassan Malik from Philadelphia. They toured with Dark Meat and spent an extended amount of time in Athens this year.
My co-worker at Taco Stand, Tim Schreiber, recorded this album in his kitchen, super econo. At first I didn't know what to think of it. But thanks to Tim playing the album and rocking out to it EVERY DAY AT WORK FOR A MONTH, it has really grown on me. I hear something new in it every time I listen. Zeb has a cool-ass voice.

I can't wait to see what's in store for us all in 2009!
Hopefully plenty of this:

Countdown to Christmas Eve

T is for:  Travis Tritt, T-R-O-U-B-L-E (Warner Bros., 1992)
Give the lil' country lover on your list this classic from local boy Travis Tritt. Born in Marietta, he went to high school at Sprayberrry (where he perfected the art of mullet-growing), and now resides in Dallas, Georgia (where there is a highway named after him). Hey, I endorse supporting "local" arts...

People write off modern country as mindless garbage that utilizes a cutesy phrase to craft a hooky chorus and sell songs. But I think Tritt was a modern day Nostradamus with this one. A prophetic harbinger of the bad economic times to come, if you will. Warning us regular folk with the songs Lord Have Mercy On The Working Man, Blue Collar Man, Looking Out For Number One, and of course T-R-O-U-B-L-E

If you are one of the "Joe The Plumbers" of the world, ol' double T wants you to know he's got your back. To me, the look on his face on this album cover screams "Hey Randy, you really ought to think about getting me another beer and rolling your 401K on over into an IRA. If you don't it'll be a dad-gummed tax nightmare."   

So if you know any Tritt fans who are feeling the squeeze of the current economic crunch, get 'em T-R-O-U-B-L-E for Christmas. Don't say he didn't warn ya'.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

S is for: Shaquille O'Neal, Shaq Diesel (Jive, 1993)

Awwww yeah, the debut from Shaq would make a perfect gift for the NBA lover in your life. This was the beginning of Shaq showcasing his talents, and they are many. His portfolio: b-ball, acting (see Blue Chips and especially Steel and Kazaam), television personalityrap superstar, and just all around big-assed man.

This album proved that not only could he shoot it, but he could also pass it and, most importantly, slam it. 

Other highlights: (I Know I Got) Skillz, I'm Outstanding, and my personal jam What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock) featuring those darned Fu-Schnickens.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

R is for: Reggaeton
What is reggaeton? Allow me, you whitebread sucka:
1) Dancehall reggae/Latin hip hop from Panama/Puerto Rico.
2) You've heard it before, whether you know it or not.
3) Specifically, the same club beat used over and over to make a very similar song (a 4/4 kick and, counting 8th notes, snare on the "and" of 3 and the downbeat of 4. And it's always 95 bpm. Or "boom-ch-boom-chick").

A fourth point: Every album cover has a naked Puerto Rican woman on the front. No kidding. Little Puerto Rican kids with awesome mullets are fans too.

Man, It's fascinating that this music has risen to the popularity that it has given the fact that it is subject to such strict limitations. All music has rhythmic characteristics that define it as some genre (country shuffles, the reggae one-drop, club rap beats, odd-time prog...) but the exact same beats per minute? The exact same rhythmic pattern with different words? Fascinating. I'm pretty white and nerdy. As Jim Gaffigan would say, beyond the pale.

In the same sense, I could never explain to a reggaetonian the joys of George Jones' She Thinks I Still Care or The Dillinger Escape Plan's Sunshine The Werewolf for that matter, but isn't that what makes the world go round? Different strokes...
(See Lewis Grizzard's 1983 book, Elvis Is Dead And I Don't Feel So Good Myself).

Knowing you, there's a clubgoer in your life who proudly blasts reggaeton out of the window of their car while next to me at the stoplight. So get 'em some, you honky.
More examples, cracker. WARNING! Scantily clad ladies ahead:

We've come a long way since Gerardo's Rico Suave.

Nor Am I Above Any List Of Any Kind: Mike's Top 20 Albums of 2008

Inspired by Matt, here's my top 20 albums of 2008, in absolutely no particular order. These are albums from bands that make the Rebel Forces list of links and that are actually doing something around here, in my own humble opinion. Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of other good local releases that I did not get my hands on, but here's what I got. Some of these were released in 2007, but they were late in '07 so back off.

Dead Confederate, Wrecking Ball
Released: 9/16/08 on TAO/Razor & Tie
Key Tracks: Wrecking Ball, Start Me Laughing, Yer Circus

The Whigs, Mission Control
Released: 2/5/08 on ATO
Key Tracks: Like A Vibration, Production City, Sleep Sunshine

Kuroma, Paris
Released: 6/1/08
Key Tracks: Alexander Martin, I Was The Rat, Searching For A Sheep
Listen to it here.

Modern Skirts, All Of Us In Our Night
Released: 10/3/08 (Nationwide January 20, 2009)
Key Tracks: Radio Breaks, Soft Pedals, Chanel

Pegasuses-XL, The Antiphon
Released: 2/26/08 on The Ernest Jenning Record Co.
Key Tracks: Marathon Mansion, Atmospheric Skull, Drugs For Change, Intermurals
Keep an eye out for a new one in early '09.

Deaf Judges, All Rise

Released: 9/26/08 on Emerald City Ruins
Key Tracks: Space Cadet Setlist, Nuevo, Short Term Memories


Twin Tigers, Curious Faces Violet Future
Released: 6/10/08
Key Tracks: Golden Days, Watershed, Red Fox Run


Blue Flashing Light, The Mayor of Five Points
Released: 8/18/08
Key Tracks: Tangled Up In You, Cinderella, To My Love Who Disappeared


Cinemechanica, Rivals
Released: 8/19/08 on Hello Sir
Key Tracks: Hero/Protagonist, Rivals, Kurosawa

Sorry for the crappy picture.


A.Armada, Anam Cara
Released: 12/22/07 on Hello Sir
Key Tracks: The Moon Shifts The Sea The Sea Shapes The Shore The Shore Shakes The Sand The Sand Sinks The Ship, Fall Triumph, Into Days & Nights & Years & Months

This counts. Once again, sorry for the pic.


Bambara, Bambara
Released: 7/6/08 on Emerald Weapon
Key Tracks: Native Tongue, Shake, Snakes In Our Hair


All The Saints, Fire On Corridor X
Re-Released: 5/27/08 on Killer Pimp

Key Tracks: Regal Regalia, Sheffield, Farmacia


Russian Spy Camera, Mutiny in the Kitchen With Knives
Released: 3/2/08
Key Tracks: Pixels In Your Soup, This Town Has Placed A Curse On Me, Hotels, X's Over Eyes
Download it for free. It's legal, I swear.


The N.E.C., Million Minks
Released: 9/10/07
Key Tracks: Only One You Know, Witness, Why Don't You Stay?
This counts too. Keep an eye out, they've got a split out and a new one coming in January '09.


Sleepy Horses, The Golden Light EP
Released: 9/17/08
Key Tracks: Echoes, Sleep, NYC
Download it for free. Also legal, I swear.


Dark Meat, Universal Indians
Re-Released: 4/8/08 on Vice
Key Tracks: Freedom Ritual, Assholes For Eyeballs, Disintegrating Flowers


The George W. Bush Cover Band, Hits From The Oval Ranch
Released: 10/22/08
Key Tracks: Make The Pie Higher, Mission Accomplished, My Base


Olympus Mans, Shelf Life
Released: 12/9/07
Key Tracks: Pictures From The War, I'm In Love With A Comeback, Sucker


Harvey Milk, Life...The Best Game In Town
Released: 6/3/08 on Hydra Head
Key Tracks: Death Goes To The Winner, Motown, Skull Socks & Rope Shoes


Lazer/Wulf, The Void That Isn't
Released: 9/22/08
Key Tracks: Sacrilicious, Lagarto

Phew! That is a fine year for Athens bands. If anyone can think of any good stuff that I left off then please help me out. This is in no way meant to encompass all of the material coming from the Forces. Also I would like to apologize for the formatting of this post. Posting something with this many pictures is alot like trying to transcribe a Bach prelude by ear in real time. So I hope it looks okay on your screen.

December 15-21

Monday, December 15:
Nic Goodson (Sleepy Horses), Ryan Hetrick, Craig Lieske (Garbage Island, Ether Frolic), Chip Mckenzie (Still, Small Voice and the Joyful Noise), Jef Whatley (Still, Small Voice and the Joyful Noise). Flicker. 8:30 p.m. FREE.
Holiday Free-4-All.

Tuesday, December 16:

Wednesday, December 17:
The Dumps, Pride Parade, The Answer. 40 Watt. 8 p.m. $5 (Free with toy!)
40 Watt Christmas Party. Open to the public, free admission with a toy.

Twin Tigers, Grape Soda, Witches. Go Bar. 10 p.m. FREE.

Immuzikation, Ashtray. Caledonia. 10 p.m. $5.

Thursday, December 18:
T.T. Mahoney and the Standard 8, Charlie Brown Christmas Live, Hola Halo. Flicker. 8:30 p.m. $5.
The brilliance of T.T. and the boys on display as they perform Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas live in it's entirity. Get in the holiday spirit!

Friday, December 19:
Sleepy Horses, Brian Connell, Jim Willingham. Flicker. 8:30 p.m. $5.

Saturday, December 20:
Liz Durrett, Ham 1, Jacob Morris, Patrick Carey. Flicker. 6 p.m. $5.

Countdown to Christmas Eve

Q is for: Queensrÿche, Empire (EMI, 1990)

The group that brought you the power ballad Silent Lucidity brings us a salute to the metal umlaut! Some über cool umlaut usage:
Mötley Crüe
Hüsker Dü
Blue Öyster Cult
Häagen-Dazs (delicious, but has no meaning in any European language)
Fahrvergnügen ("driving pleasure" in German)
Spinal Tap (over the n; sorry no keyboard shortcut for consonants)

Picture a couple of these examples without their metal umlauts. They wouldn't be near as tough and mean, would they? So I say purchase this album for anyone who needs to toughen up and quit being so much of a little sissy nancy boy. Nothing will ever be tougher than Silent Lucidity.