Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Big News

Well, kids... it's been a hell of a ride. I just wanted to take a moment to say goodbye, as I will be passing on the blog to a new master- John McElhenny, of Austin. (Yeah, Austin! The real deal!)  I'll let him introduce himself in a new post, but for now I'll just ask that you give him a laurel, and hearty greeting!

Thanks to Goldie, and my fellow bloggers, and all the artists and PR peeps who have made it such a great run for me. Goodbye for now, but I'm sure I'll be seeing you around... so get cracking, and send John your submissions!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Help local webseries "INFINITE ISSUES" with their kickstarter

Friend of the blog Brynn has advised us of a local webseries she's involved in, Infinite Issues. They're having a kickstarter with just a couple days left to go, and you should help out! It looks smart and funny.

Check the kickstarter out here, and send 'em a buck!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beck, Brubeck, and Bach: Portland Cello Project at the Aladdin Theatre May 4, 2013

Crappy Indie Music tends to get a little experimental with blog post format, so I've decided to publish a chat about the Portland Cello Project show I attended with my friend Steven on May 4th. (This is my second Portland Cello Project review—here is the first.)

Why a chat? Well, as it turns out I've been feeling guilty about the tardiness of this review, but life has been happening with a vengeance these days. I think I enjoyed the show more than the previous Portland Cello Project show I attended (mostly because I was a Radiohead newbie). I found the show a little unbalanced—this evening was chiefly about the "Beck Song Reader," a series of pieces that Beck decided he would release only as sheet music.

Portland Cello Project was joined on many songs by young musicians from the School of Rock.

Here we go!

9:17 PM Heather Andrews: hello!
9:17 PM Steven: yay
9:17 PM Heather Andrews: Hey, thanks for going with me to the Portland Cello Project show. When was that, like a month ago?
9:18 PM Steven: uhm
9:18 PM Steven: lemme check my calendar
9:22 PM Heather Andrews: I found the email! It was May 5th. Not quiiiiite a month ago yet.
9:22 PM Heather Andrews: Did you like the show?
9:27 PM Steven: the 5th or the 4th?
9:27 PM Heather Andrews: The fourth. As in, May the Fourth be with you!
9:27 PM Heather Andrews: Oh yeah, that's the day we went to Things From From Outer Space in Milwaukie.
9:28 PM Heather Andrews: Point is though, did you like the show?
9:28 PM Steven: it was fun
9:28 PM Steven: I thought the two lead cellists on the right were very skilled
9:28 PM Steven: and there was one other cellist who seemed to be the 'rhythm' section, keeping the beat very well
9:29 PM Steven: Clackamas County has decided it won't renew its contract with Portland sex offender treatment clinic
9:30 PM Steven: Clackamas County has decided it won't renew its contract with Portland sex offender treatment clinic |
9:30 PM Heather Andrews: You know I'm publishing this chat, right?
9:30 PM Heather Andrews: Did you know Zoe Keating was at Portland Cello Project's first rehearsal? That's what Wikipedia says. And if it's on Wikipedia...
9:31 PM Heather Andrews: I was trying to find their names so I could illuminate the minds that will be reading this
9:32 PM Heather Andrews: So, all the Beck songs they did were from his non-recorded Beck Song Reader. What did you think of that choice?
9:33 PM Heather Andrews: Oh look, as it turns out he has finally performed some of it himself:
9:33 PM Steven:
9:34 PM Heather Andrews: Nice cover design
9:34 PM Steven: As a musician, performing a piece you've never heard performed is a challenge
9:35 PM Steven: the thing about Beck is that his regular stuff is very not my thing, but he can play
9:36 PM Steven: I wouldn't mind having a copy of it
9:36 PM Steven: I'd make Jamie work though one of the songs with me
9:38 PM Heather Andrews: That would be cool, if you like it.
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: Once, my violin teacher brought a Beatles songbook, and it was her idea of "having fun" during my lesson but at the time I only knew a couple of Beatles songs and they weren't the ones she wanted to play...
9:39 PM Steven: I've discovered that with the right interpretation a song can be good or bad
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: So it's probably better if you bring it to her than the other way around
9:39 PM Heather Andrews: To me, those songs sounded unmistakably Beck like his Mutations album, but I don't actually care for the Mutations album very much.
9:39 PM Steven: I already 'discovered' something that she really latched on to
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: And the thing about Portland Cello Project is that I think their most successful pieces are the things that everybody knows already: "pops" tunes
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: Like the one they call "Ninjas in Paris"
9:40 PM Heather Andrews: or when they played "Take Five" (which was one of only two Brubeck pieces in the performance)
9:41 PM Steven: weren't there three?
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: Beck definitely got top billing
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: I only remembered two
9:41 PM Heather Andrews: "Take Five" and..."Blue Rondo a la Turk?"
9:41 PM Steven: ok hmm
9:42 PM Heather Andrews: Oh that's super weird
9:43 PM Heather Andrews: I thought I wrote a review after the first Portland Cello Project show, and I'm not finding it to link to it. I wonder if Jess took it down...
9:45 PM Steven: I-5 bridge collapses over Skagit River, no fatalities reported | Seattle
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: : (
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: Well : ) for the no fatalities
9:46 PM Steven:  witnesses reported seeing a semitruck with an oversized load crossing the bridge and striking a girder before the bridge collapsed.
9:46 PM Heather Andrews: D'OH
9:47 PM Heather Andrews: Funny thing, I have crossed over many of those lesser I-5 bridges and thought, "what if this gave way right now?"
9:47 PM Heather Andrews: Glad I didn't find out
9:49 PM Heather Andrews: So tell me more about what you thought about the show
9:51 PM Heather Andrews: What did you think about the School of Rock kids?
9:51 PM Steven: mixed
9:52 PM Heather Andrews: Why?
9:53 PM Steven: I get the impression that there's a bit of Rebecca Black in the program
9:53 PM Steven: you know about how she got her video made,?
9:54 PM Heather Andrews: Her parents bought it?
9:54 PM Heather Andrews: For her bat mitzvah or something?
9:54 PM Steven: pretty much. You're familiar with vanity presses, right?
9:55 PM Heather Andrews *nonchalantly puts a sheet over her eighteen boxes of "Why I Love the Monkees So Very Much" by Heather Andrews*
9:55 PM Heather Andrews: Nooooooo
9:55 PM Heather Andrews: : )
9:55 PM Steven: Her mother paid $4,000 to have the single and an accompanying music video put out as a vanity label[3] through the record labelARK Music Factory.[4
9:56 PM Heather Andrews: So how do you figure that applies? Oh wait, maybe I don't want to publish that on the internets. Maybe I will not use your last name so all the West Hills parents won't come storming your door...
9:57 PM Steven: Well I wonder how many of the kids in School of Rock really have talent vs. parents just indulging them
9:57 PM Heather Andrews: Fair enough, although arguably you could say that persistence is the key to success, over talent.
9:58 PM Steven: sure
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: If you have talent you may not work as hard
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: And being young, they're just getting their sea legs
9:58 PM Steven: also, the fact that we have a for-pay privatized music school instead of art and music programs in public schools
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: Well yes
9:58 PM Heather Andrews: As an alumna of that system myself, I can still say it is valuable to people in their post-musician world
9:59 PM Steven: yeah there should be art and music in schools
9:59 PM Steven: I got my first exposure to music in elementary school
10:00 PM Steven: I'm being cynical again, aren't I?
10:00 PM Heather Andrews: I was thinking that : )
10:01 PM Heather Andrews: I spoiled your mind by talking too much about depressing news earlier
10:03 PM Steven: oh I wish they'd had more instrumentalist featured
10:04 PM Heather Andrews: Like, the trumpet player?
10:04 PM Steven: the one singer was good but I barely heard the piano or guitar
10:04 PM Heather Andrews: I liked the "Old Shanghai" song. Another Beck Song Reader song...
10:05 PM Steven: What was the audience participation one?
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: Ooooh, I don't even know
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: That's the thing about Portland Cello Project—I feel like I'm never cool enough to know most of the songs they play that everyone else seems to know.
10:07 PM Steven: Do We? We Do
10:07 PM Heather Andrews: Ah yes
10:08 PM Steven: they also played "Last Night You Were a Dream" and "Why Did You Make Me Care?"
10:09 PM Heather Andrews: I'm just lucky (is lucky the right word?) that I now know the "N-words in Paris" song, because that always gets a rise out of people. And you also said you were listening for Parisian references or ninja leitmotifs after they called it "Ninjas in Paris."
10:09 PM Steven: and maybe more
10:10 PM Heather Andrews: Definitely more. I think the show was really about the Beck Song Reader. Which, as it turns out, Portland Cello Project has released as an album, has made YouTube videos about, etc.
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: The Song Reader website is pretty cool
10:11 PM Steven: Yeah I thought it might be something from swing or gypsy jazz of the 30s
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: Very web-savvy
10:11 PM Steven: yeah
10:11 PM Heather Andrews: You're playing it on your computer right now.
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Not the N-words song
10:12 PM Steven: no
10:12 PM Steven: I thought Ninjas in Paris was going to be an eastern influenced 30s jazz mashup
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Yeah, so you really have to know the source material
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: to be in on the joke
10:12 PM Heather Andrews: Do you have anything more to say about the show we saw? Would you go to a Portland Cello Project show again?
10:13 PM Steven: I recognized the "Brought to you by the number 5" set
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Well, that was because it was "Take Five!"
10:13 PM Steven: I would, but I'd like to see them doing their pop covers more
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Who doesn't recognize "Take Five!?!?"
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Me too!
10:13 PM Steven: well that wasn't the only one
10:13 PM Heather Andrews: Moar pop covers!
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: They should do more Monkees songs.
10:14 PM Steven: seemed like there was a 3rd song in the 5/4 set
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: Hawaii Five-O? Oh wait, no. You're listening to the Mission Impossible theme now.
10:14 PM Steven: let's find a better version
10:14 PM Heather Andrews: You know what, I didn't even connect that
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: I just thought "the next piece is brought to you by the number five" was just their way of saying that "Take Five" was next. Didn't even realize/notice/whatever the piece(s) after that...probably because I didn't know them.
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: :\
10:15 PM Heather Andrews: Is it safe to say that we went to a hipster concert?
10:16 PM Heather Andrews: Are you about to blow up my house? Because you're playing "Mission Impossible" a lot.
10:19 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, so now for the record, Steven and I are now discussing out loud (as we are sitting across the table from each other) how apparently, I really missed a big inside joke in the show...
10:20 PM Heather Andrews: They apparently took "Take Five" and interspersed the theme from "Mission Impossible" because they're both in 5/4 time, and I totally missed that...?
10:20 PM Steven: 'For all intensive purpose'
[Ed. note: I have just asked Steven out loud, "what? where did I say that?"]
10:21 PM Steven: you didn't say it
10:21 PM Steven: I just stumbled across it looking for something else
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I don't understand
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I am very confused
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: Aaaaaand
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: tired!
10:21 PM Heather Andrews: I think I should wrap up this riveting interview : )
10:22 PM Steven: the writer meant "for all intents and purposes"
10:22 PM Steven: another piece of music in 5/4
10:22 PM Heather Andrews: (He has now moved on to playing...another piece in 5/4. But he won't say what. I think it may be part of a Star Wars score. Sounds John Williams-ish to me.)
10:22 PM Steven: Oh, very good
10:23 Heather Andrews: Yay!
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: Net score for the whole night for me: ONE!
10:23 PM Steven: Now you know that John Williams ripped off Holst
10:23 PM Steven: Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: Ahhh
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: I think I've heard part of that...once
10:23 PM Heather Andrews: I must be the most horrible reviewer evar
10:24 PM Steven: it's perfectly understandable that you'd think it was from Star Wars
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: Let's talk about Hedda Gabler! Or the homosexual undertones of Tennessee Williams! : )
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: The Planets is much more riveting than the Beck Song Reader.
10:24 PM Heather Andrews: OH, I SAID IT
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: Sorry, Beck. Although maybe it's because Xenu really wrote that piece
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: Those pieces
10:25 PM Heather Andrews: That's not in 5/4
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: (I was hearing a YouTube commercial)
10:26 PM Steven: yes a McDonald's commercial
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: THAT is Star Wars now, yes?
10:26 PM Steven: yep
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: Or just more things John Williams ripped off?
10:26 PM Heather Andrews: Oh good, at least he's ripping off himself
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, I'm going to end this chat now
10:27 PM Steven: =(
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: Unless you have something more, hugely insightful, you'd like to say about the concert?
10:27 PM Heather Andrews: "I liked the person I went with" maybe?
10:28 PM Steven: I liked getting free admission =)
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Or at least "the chocolate I bought in the lobby was good?"
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Would you go to a Portland Cello Project show again?
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: Oh, I knew that piece
10:28 PM Heather Andrews: What it was about to go into
10:28 PM Steven: yes if I knew they were going to pay more of their pop interpretations
10:29 PM Steven: I am a big fan of out-of-genre covers
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Yes
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Like Oedipus Tex
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: ?
10:29 PM Steven: well there are bad things
10:29 PM Heather Andrews: Oh no, what is this?
10:30 PM Heather Andrews: Bad things, like me trying to cover Led Zepplin?
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: Zeppelin
10:31 PM Steven: ready for this?
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: (I had to Google that to spell it correctly.)
10:31 PM Heather Andrews: Is this the Lady Zeppelins?
10:32 PM Steven: George Mason U marching band covering Rage Against the Machine
10:32 PM Heather Andrews: Ahhh
10:32 PM Steven: Killing in the Name of/Bulls on Parade medley
10:32 PM Heather Andrews: I've never heard them so again, it's lost
10:33 PM Steven:
10:33 PM Heather Andrews: But if there was a Rage Against the Machine cover of....Idiot Wind by Bob Dylan? That might work
10:35 PM Heather Andrews: Okay, bye! Thanks for the chat. : )
10:35 PM Steven: =)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Big Deal- "JUNE GLOOM"

Someone broke into my car recently- smashed the window, stole my Nook, a case full of art supplies, some notebooks... and they went the extra mile by ejecting the CD that was in the player and stealing it too.

That CD was the forthcoming release by dream-pop duo Big Deal, and I am super pissed.

Seems like this UK duo is quietly building steam. A lot of people are excited for this record, and I can see why. The band sounds much larger than just two people, with nice lush sound. Casual listeners will be forgiven comparison to The Xx, but Big Deal's close harmonies are much easier on the ears- this is music to make out to on a porch, or crank on a midnight drive up the coast, not plot a murder or a seduction.

At the moment I only see UK dates on their tour schedule, so check them out if you are on that side of the pond. June Gloom comes out June 4th, and you should definitely pick this one up. Just don't smash someone's window to get it.

Listen to first single "Dream Machine" and see for yourself. Get ready to have an awesome summer!
Photo courtesy Big Deal's Facebook.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Technicolors- "Listener" Album and Show Review

Can I just state right off that I question the wisdom of building the Doug Fir as a music venue? I've been trying to figure out what exactly it is that bugs me- the space is cool, but acoustically... it's a concrete bunker.

Regardless, I had a good time the other night seeing The Technicolors.

Opening band was a weird trio called Banned Books. At first I was thinking they were going to be winking hipster nonsense, but they were actually pretty endearing. Banned Books trod the weird-yet-exacting path of  intense psych rock that Zappa started- and while they certainly had a few self-indulgent messes- it's forgivable. Everyone goes there. So long as you don't turn into Primus, you're fine. Check out Banned Books here.

Following up on that was Fictionist, and I have to say- they almost scuttled the evening. There is a single cardinal sin for being an opening band- don't be boring. You can be bad- people expect it, and will forget it. You can play too long- also par for the course. You can even upstage the headliner. Just... don't be boring. Fictionist is an odd example of the whole being worse than the sum of its parts- each member certainly seemed more than competent at their instruments, but what came from all that was pretty much a terrible combination of Toad The Wet Sprocket and Audioslave. With even more vapid lyrics. I was bored to tears by this band, and by the time they left the stage, I was almost ready to call it a night.

Luckily, The Technicolors did not disappoint. When they were first brought to my attention, they were described as a spin on desert rock, and I was expecting some greasy stoner noise (which I love). I was pleasantly surprised to find The Technicolors much slicker and poppier. The obvious comparison is to Oasis, and they certainly seem to take some of the best parts of the Gallagher boys' famous project and mate it with a QOTSA or Clutch type stoner blues, and just a smidge of mod attitude.

Listener is one of the most well-balanced albums I've heard in a long time, and has a certain British charm that makes it hard for me to believe the lads are from Arizona. Their live sound was certainly beefed up, tight thick grooves that managed to overcome the harsh angles of the Doug Fir, but still showcasing the cool variety of their songs. Listener also closes with... wait for it... a low rock cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game". And you know I love me some Chris Isaak.

Ultimate verdict- Listener is a must buy, and you should definitely catch The Technicolors when they come back around. Hopefully they leave snoozefest Fictionist at home next time.

Image courtesy The Technicolors' instagram.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Technicolors play Doug Fir 5/15

 Here's a good show to check out- The Technicolors have a nice blend between takes-itself-seriously-britpop and desert stoner rock. I know, right?

Anyway, I'll be there tomorrow night. If you see a guy who is too old to make it onto the PDXPop compilation album, come say hi! The Technicolors are supported by Fictionist, and there will be an album and show review to follow.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Goodness! (There are a lot of taco trucks in Seattle)

Sorry for the angle Andy - Had to stay outside the gate with my kid!

No less than three times did Andy Lum's poor cymbal try to escape off the edge of the stage from the relentless beating it received at the recent My Goodness outdoor show in Seattle at Volunteer Park on May 4th.

Despite some significant technical issues (what monitors?), Joel Schneider and Andy Lum dished out plenty of their kind of bluesy punk rock to a local crowd of several hundred sun-drenched and beer and taco-fueled onlookers.

Relying on a solid framework of well practiced songs off their self-titled debut album, they wove in several new songs off their upcoming album. The pair have recently been in the studio recording and their recent shows have given them the opportunity to test out new tunes on thier dedicated group of fans - and judging the crowd's response at this show - on a whole new group of fans.

My Goodness has been on a steady climb out of the Seattle post grunge music scene since they formed. They developed a fairly widespread group of fans quickly (basically everyone who heard them), but last year's departure of original drummer Ethan Jacobsen left some suprised and wondering the future of the band. However Andy Lum has stomped on in and firmly established himself as an incredibly talented and energetic musician who has given the band new breath before they had exhaled, propelling them even higher.

Imagine Keith Moon sitting in for John Bonham.

Joel has a knack for pulling the heavy hitters out of Seattle.

Andy definitely brings a new element to the band, as evidenced by the duo's recent re-imagining and re-recording of two songs off the band's debut album, "Cold Feet Killer" and "I've Got a Notion", now available for download on iTunes. There is more ground covered than your typical freshman to sophmore growth. Joel has added to his original overdriven riffs - but not overwhelmingly. It seems just right.

My Goodness has become known as a band whose live show is not to be missed. Quiet and soft-spoken until that first chord, then they demand attention, thier volume far beyond thier numbers. They drawn people in with a driving rhythm then step back - just enough - before hitting you hard with everything they have. Many bands are loud, few can be delicate when they need to be, My Goodness does, and leaves just enough room to keep Joel's lyrics from getting lost in the mix. And Saturday's open air venue proved they don't need to be in a small room to do it.

May 4th marked the third annual taco Truck Challenge (and 5k run?) hosted by Seattle radio station 107.7 The End. Yes, there is an annual taco truck challenge. And there were lots of taco trucks there. But I endured a three hour drive with a nine year old for one purpose - and it wasn't tacos.

My Goodness didn't disappoint, only left me yearning for their next full length album release, which I am assured is coming! In the meantime I am held over by their re-releases, a very rough bootleg of the first performance featuring Andy at the Bunk Bar in Portland, and several brilliant music videos available on YouTube directed by the wonderfully talented Jon Meyer.

Recent performances at SXSW and having their music featured on tv shows like Shameless and NCIS: LA, surely indicate their increasing foothold on a national level (International? Rumors of a European engagement are circulating). They are definitely a band to watch.

Better Call Your Mother, these guys are here to stay.

We left Seattle fully saited - and it wasn't just all the tacos.

My Goodness at:

Saturday, April 20, 2013

WE DESERVE BETTER, Part 2- Justice

Sonic experimentation means never having to say "Sorry, my music sounds like shit."
Unlike a lot of other music bloggers, I am not constantly on the prowl for the latest and greatest. I don't have internet alerts set up to constantly be feeding me new releases. So that means that a lot of times I miss out on big releases, because I spend most of my attention on indie and small label submissions. What that also means is that one of you bums forgot to tell me that Justice released a new album over a fucking year ago.

Yeah, I know that's not really your fault. And actually, I'm glad nobody told me. If I'd been aware of the album before it's release, I would have been all psyched about it, and then really really disappointed. Crushed, even.

As it stands, feeling slightly sheepish about coming so late to the party, I am only mostly really disappointed.

Justice's debut (cross) was one of the best albums I've ever heard. Point blank. It was inventive, intense, and made me proud to be an Ableton Live user. More than just a dance record, or a pop record, or an exercise in DJ skills, it was bricolage at its best, and completely slammin'. As Rob Beschizza argues in his important xenocritical essay "Mixtape of the Lost Decade," Justice seems to occupy an important niche in a musical and aesthetic otherwhen between the 70s and 80s, taking the best from both.

It seems likely then that any followup to such a great album would be a disappointment- sophomore slump or no. With Audio, Video, Disco, though Justice seems to have just completely gone off the rails. The music itself isn't so bad, and represents a sort of intentional excursion into their prog side. I found myself fondly reminded of Goblin. But that's not the problem. The problem is the production values. They aren't there.

Mind you, (cross) wasn't Gaucho, by any means. It was full of multilayered slap bass samples, tortured synths, and the most egregiously pumping sidechain compression I've ever heard... but it sounds great. There are portions of it that are intentionally harsh- but artistically so. It may be cliche to say so, but even the best recordings I could find of Disco sounded like they were mastered on the mythical Fisher-Price. It's hard to listen to- and it's especially hard to want to listen to again. Part of me wonders if the whole thing isn't a joke. It's not Axe Hero, though, just washed out and feeble.

I still hold out hope, though. Some really excellent covers of songs from Audio, Video, Disco are out there, and that leads me to believe that judging by the music, Justice haven't completely lost their minds, just perhaps indulged their love of audio experimentation a bit too much. Everyone- ahem- cross their fingers that it's just sophomore slump, and please... if you hear about a new Justice album- let me know.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Architects + Heroes "Sampler, Volume 2"

You know I would never steer you wrong. DJ Stephen R- friend of the blog- just had a baby, so let's celebrate by listening to his new epic comp:


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Guest post- "David Bowie: Should He Have Bothered?"

Hey everyone, enjoy this post from guest blogger Brynn Alexander:

When I heard that living music legend David Bowie was coming out of retirement (or whatever it was) to release his first studio album in a decade, I have to admit, my first question was not "when?" but "why?" Yes, I know, he was the bomb back in the day, and talent like that never goes stale and blah blah blah, but... there are lots of iconic musicians that keep plodding on past their prime, doing nothing but making fans wish they'd quit while they were ahead. There's nothing like watching someone who once was great, releasing horrible album after horrible album, trying to make us like them again. It's just so desperate. And when the preview video came out for the single "Where Are We Now?", I wasn't nearly as impressed as all the hardcore fans were in the YouTube comments. Sure, it was a skillfully crafted song, but in the end it was basically just a slightly sad, nostalgic ballad. Yawn. I wasn't looking forward to hearing the rest of the songs. So imagine my delighted surprise when the album, The Next Day, was finally released, and I discovered that for some reason, the worst song in the collection was chosen to be the lead single. The rest of the album is miles better than "Where Are We Now?", and from the first beats of the opening title track, I knew that yes, there was some point to Bowie going back into the studio to make this album. This is more than just the ramblings of an aging glam popper; it's a set of songs worthy of sitting on the same shelf alongside Bowie's best vintage works. He's vibrant, he's energetic, but best of all, he's proven that he's still relevant. This is an album that's not just for the older crowd; I can totally see how a new generation of music lovers (though perhaps not the Bieber-adoring tweens) could easily get drawn into Bowie's spell. In fact, a young friend of mine mentioned The Next Day to me recently, asking if I'd heard it yet. I had no idea she even liked Bowie, and it turns out she didn't - he only ended up on her radar because of this latest release. Bowie has a strong promotional team, and so far they've made all the right moves - keeping the album secret until very late in the game, releasing the first single on YouTube, and so forth. With a bit of creative social media promo, this could turn into the surprise hit of the year. The songs are definitely there, and if you dismissed New Bowie after "Where Are We Now?", I urge you to give him a second chance and try out some of the other songs on the album. You won't be disappointed.


Friday, April 12, 2013

HAXAN live film score at Hollywood Theater 4/14

Inline image 5
Holy shit. You have no idea how psyched I am about this.  The Hollywood is always having awesome events like these- films with live scores, etc. This show is firmly in the mold of what Glass/Kronos did for Dracula: an original music score for an old movie that didn't have one originally. The film in question is HÄXAN, a 1922 Swedish picture based in part on the infamous Malleus Maleficarum. In case you're not up on your 15th century texts, the double-M is a book about witches and how to murder them. Not as titillating as you might think- there's a lot of dry theological musing, but it remains an important snapshot of late-Medieval/Renaissance folk beliefs. And contrary to its reputation among neo-Pagans, the Malleus did not send bajillions of innocent womyn to their deaths- it was denounced by the church as heresy, and even the Inquisition warned against it. Which is kind of like having the Ku Klux Klan tell you you're too racist.

So it sounds like this is going to be an awesome event- with not one but two steampunk-ish bands playing a live score. I'll be there with fellow blogger Lee- expect a review in the near future.

Details from the press release:

On April 14th, the recently revived Organ Grinders series welcomes Boston bands Jaggery and Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys.

Jaggery’s sound moves from haunting lullabies to intricately-woven, mixed-meter rants to catharsis-inducing, barn-burning mini-epics ~ oftentimes within the same song.  The Boston-based five piece establish themselves in a league of their own with a genre-defying style ~ blending elements of darkwave, jazz, classical, ethereal avant-rock, and chamber art-pop.
Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys are the spinners of a charming, demented fairy tale that gathers new characters all the time. The results have been described as a “Dada-esque circus carnival run amuck,” by Boston Survival Guide. Whether live or in album form, Walter Sickert & the Army of Broken Toys will transport you to a realm where imagination rules, and sound is alive.  You may not sleep tight, but your dreams will be like none you've ever experienced.

In a special one-time performance, the Hollywood Theatre is transformed back to its vaudeville days of bowler bedecked musicians and big screen spectacles. This show also marks the final spring show of The Organ Grinders series.
Organ Grinders: HÄXAN
April 14th - 8pm
Hollywood Theatre - $12
Tickets available at and the Hollywood Theatre box office



Saturday, April 6, 2013

Outer Space Heaters ROCK Slabtown, April 9th.

I've buzzed about the Outer Space Heaters here before, but I definitely wanted to share this gig with you kids. One of the reasons is that if you go the OSH Facebook page, like 'em, and share the gig, they will send you a free copy of their debut EP and a fresh new bonus track.

Get on it!  I'll keep this update short and sweet, but I'm telling you... get yourself to Slabtown on Tuesday night. Outer Space Heaters are playing with King Ghidora and Queen Chief.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

THE BEST ALBUMS YOU'VE NEVER HEARD: Freemasonry "Sparrin' With The Varmint"

I'm hoping to avoid too much of a nostalgia trap by not picking albums for this series that are important to the same time of my life. Or something.  There will be some overlap, of course, but I want to make an effort not to dump my long-ago tastes on you.

I think when most people are asked to name a band from Georgia, they would immediately pick REM, and that would be fine. We all know that there is more to a state- or city or country, even- than just the most tallest poppy. Apparently there was a quite a thriving post-hardcore scene in Atlanta in the early-mid 90s, stretching into BFE and onward by way of North Carolina and thereabouts. I can't help but feel that perhaps this was an outgrowth of the DC stuff of just a couple years earlier- but I am not an expert on that by any means.

What I am an expert on is an album by the most successful band of that scene- Freemasonry. It was the third CD I ever bought, the summer after I graduated high school. (Negatron and Katy Lied were first and second, if you must know) I was browsing a record shop on Hawthorne- name I can't recall- and stumbled on a CD that caught my eye.

Now, I am a sucker for that Cherenkov radiation color scheme, and when I was 17 I thought it was THE BOMB. Looking back, I think the cover is okay but definitely dated. The fonts and the visual pun- it makes it seem less of a real band's album art than something from a CD duplicator's sales brochure. With song titles like "Templar Fighting Monk"(another instant appeal to me) and an engraving of Simon de Montfort in the liner notes, I would guess that the Freemasonry boys might have had a certain old-school aesthetic in mind, but their label probably boned them on that.

Taking it home, of course I was in fact blown away. This is the post-hardcore that with a few more years, a touch of autism, and marginally less weed would become math-rock. I listened to the hell out of that CD that summer, and in fact listened to it so much that in a couple years it had been rendered unplayable.  I despaired of finding it again- this was 1997 or so, and there wasn't much in the way of Amazon or eBay... at least for me. I don't think I even had a computer yet.  But then I had a stroke of luck in a Mexican 99 cent store.. yes, a brand spankin' new copy of Sparrin' With The Varmint.  This second copy became an integral part of my writing soundtrack at the time. It ended up languishing in a CD wallet for a bit, getting taken out every so often when I needed awesome driving music.

For the past year or so I thought I had lost it, and when I did find it recently found it was, yes, scratched all to hell and gone and unplayable. It's easy enough to find on eBay now, despite rumors of the label having destroyed all remaining copies. My guess is that "destroy" is a euphemism for them being sold off to a liquidator, if my 99-cent find is any indication. Luckily for us... the internet exists, and you can freely download the album from a number of sources. Actually, I think you should do that.

What to expect? I've never really been able to describe Freemasonry to people, and more often than not just dig out my CD and play it. I've found some blog posts by afficionados of that Atlanta post-hardcore scene, and a lot of their opinions seem to be somewhat negative- not of the band, but of this specific album. Most claims are that it is too sterile, vocals aren't strong enough, and mixed funny.

I agree with the substance of these opinions but not the conclusion. I had just joined my first real band when this album was released, and we were on the raw sound bandwagon, which I think kept us from really shining. I see a degree of similarity between us and Freemasonry. A number of the fans of the scene maintain that the raw live sound of Freemasonry was the best way to experience them, and that Sparrin' is too long of a time to spend with the band's fury. I do somewhat agree with that- it's hard to maintain your focus on the second half of the album, for whatever reason. But we are in the age of the Feuilleton, and there's a little thing called "shuffle" that takes care of that problem nicely.  The mixing I can forgive.  I like a lot of separation anyway, and as far as the lead singer's vocals- their placement seems just right. This is definitely a stoner's album, and to have the lyrics just on the verge of ambient is just right.

Where does that leave us with this album that you've never heard? It's totally rockin'. A great driving album. Conversation piece. Slice of regional music history. Download it and see for yourself- you won't regret it.

Oh- and one more thing. I'm sure that in my ignorance of the GA scene and the post-hardcore of the 90s, I'm sure I have missed crucial details or misrepresented something. If you know about these things and stumble on this article- feel free to chime in. I'd love to corrected!


Monday, April 1, 2013


Somehow I totally forgot to plug this, and I can't even believe it.  My friend and editor Garrett Cook recently took the helm of a UK literary journal, Imperial Youth Review. I was tapped to face off with co-editor Chris Kelso in a "good reviewer/evil reviewer" series of columns. You can guess by history here at CIMTB which side of the equation I was on.

You can buy the print edition of issue 1 here, and it features my first column "Florence and The Machine Are Objectively Bad." There's lots of other great content too. Here's a sample:

What’s the verdict, then?  I am a proponent of liking what you like, and not being ashamed of it.  Discovering that I was able to enjoy things without irony, without them being a guilty pleasure, is one of the formative experiences in my life as both artist and critic.  So how can that jibe with the vitriol I’ve been slinging so far?  Well, hey... you can listen to Florence and the Machine if you like them.

You’ll just be dead fucking wrong.

Also, check out the Imperial Youth Review blog. In a moment of inspired insanity Garrett has allowed me to embark on a strange musico-literary project, a dark thing that perhaps should not have been, a little thing I like to call "Every Steely Dan Song Ever." I'm going through every Steely Dan song in order and writing microfiction inspired by the tunes. It's fucking weird, if I do say so myself.

Check it out, everybody... you'll love it!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Video from The Knife!!!

Thanks again to Mute PR for sending all this great stuff our way.


Friday, March 29, 2013

BAT COUNTRY!!!!!!! Twinkle twinkle Killer Kane edition

Sorry again for the radio silence.  To be honest, I was having a bit of a crisis in wondering whether to keep the blog running.  I suppose that is natural- I am a busy boy, after all.  But after talking with a couple of new friends I realize that Portland itself seems to be going through a weird musical slump.  So thanks to all you enthusiastic music submitters- I'm sorry I can't get to you all!  What really changed my mind was being asked to record a gear demo for Malekko Heavy Industry, who you may remember from the first Gear Review podcast.  I spent a fun afternoon touring their plant, meeting the staff, and playing in a guitar pedal wonderland.  We're lucky to have such a cool boutique pedal manufacturer here in Portland- but more on that later.  Now, SOME VIDEOS!!!!

It was a really beautiful day here in PDX, so I think this video is what we needed.

The song is a little busy, but I like it.

Why are the good band names taken? If you're going to work it, work it.

 There are always fads in female vocals...
And I'm glad to hear someone who doesn't follow that, and just sounds good and themselves.

 Goldie, this one's for you.
I'm all for ironic metal covers, but Andrew WK? Isn't it a little early for that?

 Sweden.. FUCK YEAH
This one tricked me. I was expecting some Joy Divisiony stuff at first, but I think you indie kids will like it. 

Wait... why is awesome doom metal band Ghost now called Ghost BC? (Video NSFW)
Changes like that never bode well. Think of what happened to Green Jello.

 Man, it's awesome band name day, isn't it?
Hmm, tricked. The beginning had me hoping for some sort of awesome black metal, but nope...

 Light Parades?
More like... um, damn. I had something for this. Nevermind.

 Dammit, James Franco! Your shitty band has now ruined Kenneth Anger! Stick with acting!
And I thought youtube still censored the breasticles...

Okay, now I'm pissed
Let's watch Stacy Keach finally have enough and beat the shit out of Richard Lynch.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Public Recognition

Public recognition. It doesn't happen much to writers, unless you're Stephen King, but it
happened to me recently, and it was because of this blog.

I was trudging home with some groceries when I heard a voice behind me calling my name. I
turned and beheld an attractive young woman approaching me. "Are you Lee Widener?" she asked.
Resisting the urge to reply "Who wants to know?" I instead opted for the simple, tentative,
"Uh, yes..."

"I'm Jennifer," she said, offering her hand. I shook it. "I'm your neighbor. I recognised your
picture from the Crappy Indie Music Blog."

This was surprising to me. I'd only written two articles for the blog, and only because
blogmaster Jess Gulbranson wouldn't take no for an answer. It was unfathomable to me that
anyone would have read those articles, and that they would then connect a photo online with
their next door neighbor.

"Do you still write for the blog?"

I didn't really know if I did or not, so I offered a non-committal "I wrote a couple articles
for them."

"I'm in this band, Denim Wedding," Jennifer continued. "We just finished this CD. I'd like to
give it to you." She handed me a CDR.

Still dumbfounded by this chance encounter, I promised to give the CD a listen and write
something if I liked it.

Not knowing what to expect, I slipped the CD into my laptop and sat back to listen. What I
heard transported me back thirty-five years ago, when I lived in the college town of Eugene,
Oregon. One of my first girlfriends, Marj, played percussion in a number of small folkish
bands that performed in coffee shops and organic restaurants. The music was always based
around acoustic guitar and full of lyrics about hope and dreams.

Denim Wedding makes that kind of music. Their name is spot on- this is the music you'd expect to hear at a wedding where everyone wears denim. It's languid, heartfelt, sincere music about love. dreaming, adventure. Sometimes Jennifer sings. Sometimes Brian sings. Sometimes they both sing, and they're tastefully accompanied by just the right compliment of side musicians. It's never too showy, and it's never too spare. They've honed their sound into a perfect balance.

The CD I was given, titled Fancy Diving, is well produced. The sound is clear and rich, the lyrics are front and center, because above all, that's what Denim Wedding is about. It's a good CD for a lazy afternoon when it's too rainy to go out, or a cool night on the beach, or anytime you feel like spending a few minutes with good tunes from good friends.

You can check out Denim Wedding at:

Denim Wedding Website

Fancy Diving is only $5.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Playlist!

This was totally not my idea, especially since my wife and I just found out there's a significant risk of our unborn babe having Down Syndrome, and for a romantic Valentine date, I get to take her in for amniocentesis.  If you're not familiar with that particular festive occurrence, they stick a honkin' big needle into the poor expectant mom's uterus and try not to poke the baby in the leg.  Eek!

Anyway, I don't mean to bring anybody down, just saying that neither of us are really in the romantic mood at the moment.  Our love is not flashy, it's quiet and solid and fierce, and I love her.  Soooo.... in the spirit of sharing that, I'm compiling a Valentine's Day playlist including some fresh new indie music from around the world.  Get ready!

Sweet memes are made of these.

J.P. Rose- "Princess" and "If You Ask Me"

If you can get past the slightly creepy stalker vibe of his picture (just messing with you, J.P... your other pictures are fine!) what we find here are some very sweet straight-up electropop songs.  I'll be looking into J.P.'s stuff a little closer for the next BAT COUNTRY.

Don't look behind you.

Shannon Whitworth- "You Are In Love"

Yes you are!  I'm sort of getting a Suzi Quatro vibe from this.  Or have the pills started to take effect? Anyway, I like it.  Hope you do.

Now that's what I call odalisque!

Suzi Quatro- "If You Can't Give Me Love"

Shit, why not?

Aww, they really do love each other.

Glowing Screens- "Alien Lover"

I'm a sucker for husband-wife musical teams!  You know I am!  They don't even have to be all sweet and gushy, either.  To me, a married couple who can make weird jokes about alien sex are just as romantic and beautiful as anything.

Guess who.

Charlotte & Magon- "The Mining"

Speaking of creator couples!  Charlotte & Magon's newest, Life Factory, is out.  I'll be doing a more thorough review coming soon, as well a Q&A with Magon.  And of course, I always recommend stuff off their last album, which was possible the sexiest and most romantic album I've ever heard.

That little censor bar over Delia Derbyshire's face can't fool the massive boner I have for her.

Harshist- "Threads"

Remember, not everyone's sweety likes sweet things.  Some sweeties like noise rock.  So consider this track from Harshist's latest, featuring longtime friend of the blog and my hero, Travis Wiggins, something of a... palate cleanser before we move on to more of the romantical stuff.

"Look busy."

Fou De Toi- "Pick Up Your Phone"

If you and your special person like Tom Petty and/or sappy guitar rock, then it's a Swedish love-fest right now!

Quick, sneak past while he is asleep!

The Police- "J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toil"

Gratuitous French hath summoned the dread specter of Sting!  You knew he would show up eventually!!!

Photo credit: Heather Palecek, wherever you are!

Boxed Wine- "Cheap, Fun"

I think a wise man once said "If your daddy's rich, take her out for a meal.  If your daddy's poor, just do what you feel."  So true- V-Day doesn't have to be about diamonds and shit, it can be about getting drunk and dancing to indie rock.  Or getting a medical procedure.

That's it for a little Valentine's day fun- thanks to all our readers.  You're beautiful.  Also, my wife, who is even more beautiful.  I love you, Kayla!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


EDITOR'S NOTE: This first installment of WE DESERVE BETTER, a series about recent releases that haven't knocked our socks off, is courtesy of guest blogger Emily Popek. Thanks, E!

I’m going to be totally honest here - I kind of like No Doubt. I was in denial about it for a long time, pretending like I actually hated them. Their breakout single, “Just a Girl,” was pretty damned annoying, and don’t even get me started on “Spiderwebs.”

But somewhere along the line, they wormed their way into my consciousness. I grudgingly enjoyed Gwen Stifani’s vocals on the Dr. Dre-produced Eve single “Let Me Blow Your Mind.” And when 2001’s Rock Steady came out, I just plain liked it. With its playful, dancehall-inspired beats, it was fun, catchy and just different enough from the rest of the pop landscape that it actually seemed creative.

For 2012’s Push and Shove, the one-time ska band is sticking with the formulas that have brought it such success up until now: dancehall- and ska-tinged pop tunes; harder-driving “rock” songs tinged with electro; and the occasional ballad that allows Stefani to swan around in a music video looking like a starlet.

But there’s a problem...

...and its name is Santigold. In the intervening 10 years between Rock Steady and Push and Shove, she moved in and started doing what No Doubt does, only better and fresher and newer.

Push and Shove opens with the track “Settle Down,” which is so Santigold-like at the outset that the casual listener could be forgiven for thinking it is her - right up until Gwen Stefani says she’s “hella positive” about something or other, and breaks into a whiny chorus reminding us that, as Madonna and Paula Abdul proved, you don’t need range to be a pop star.

“Looking Hot” is like a repackage of Rock Steady’s “Hella Good,” without the catchy hook. And it’s downhill from there.

In a way, it’s not really fair. No Doubt were technically there first, signing to Interscope when Santigold was still 10 years away from starting her music career. But when her eponymous album came out in 2008, Santi managed to make blending ska, 80s pop and dance music sound totally original, as though No Doubt had never existed.

If there is a standout track here, it’s “Settle Down,” and that’s only because it sounds so different from the rest of the bland pop offerings dished up on Push and Shove. Overall, this is an album without a reason to exist - and one that fails to stand up, not only to the competition, but to the band’s own back catalogue.


Monday, February 4, 2013

BAT COUNTRY!!!! Tweed Jacket Edition

Daddy Lion is a friend of the blog. They make nice music.

Check out their newest album!

Callow are working on something very interesting here.

We should keep an eye on them.

"You cannot be serious!"

Stay in school, kids.
And don't do drugs.

The National Rifle combine two things that I love: creepy critters,

The National Rifle - Coke Beat (Official Video) from The National RIfle on Vimeo.

and more creepy critters.

We're pretty psychedelic today.

Thanks, Fonda!

Monday, January 28, 2013

THE KNIFE and Junip, News from Mute

A couple things from the fine folks at Mute.  I think you're going to like this.

First off... Jose Gonzalez.  Everybody likes Jose Gonzalez.  Some have described him as a "buttercup of joy."  Others (myself, if you must know) have declared that "he could crap in my hat and still get a good review".  This is strong praise from cynical, jaded me.  His most recent project is a little group called Junip, and their debut album Fields was a sublime masterpiece.  I've always felt that Gonzalez's work with Zero 7 was some of their (and his) finest work.  Junip seems to be, if not a direct extension of that, then certainly a spiritual successor.  Big deal, right?  Well, Junip has announced a new album coming soon, and have released their first single, "Line of Fire".  Listen to it here.

What else can I tempt you with?

How about a new The Knife album.

Yeah, you heard me.  It's been a long time coming, but the Gothenburg duo have finally announced their new release, Shaking The Habitual.  Sure, they've been busy in the meantime, but I think the world was ready.  To celebrate this, they've released their first single "Full of Fire" along with a short film (what we in the biz used to call a 'music video') by filmmaker Marit Ostberg.  Ostberg had this to say:

The film ‘Full Of Fire’ started to grow as an embryo in the song´s lines ‘Who looks after my story’. Who takes care of our stories when the big history, written by straight rich white men, erase the complexity of human´s lives, desires and conditions? The film ‘Full Of Fire’ consists of a network of fates, fears, cravings, longings, losses, and promises. Fates that at first sight seem isolated from each other, but if we pay attention, we can see that everything essentially moves into each other. Our lives are intertwined and our eyes on each other, our sounds and smells, mean something. Our actions create reality, we create each other. We are never faceless, not even in the most grey anonymous streets of the city. We will never stop being responsible, being extensions, of one another. We will never stop longing for each other, and for something else.”

Well, yeah!  The ol' net of dharma is pretty hardcore.  Shaking The Habitual comes out April 9th, but you can preorder now from itunes or the Rabid Records store.  That's a ways off, but I'll remind you.  Anyway, enough of my rambling.  Check out the new video, which if I say so has a very Swedish style, and would I be remiss in my criticism if I didn't notice a hint of homage to Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising?  See for yourself:

Full Of Fire from The Knife on Vimeo.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I'm an idiot.  For some reason I kept referring to Jose Gonzalez as Jose Rodriguez.  This is what I get for having too many tabs open.  Thanks WG!

Monday, January 21, 2013

AIDS Awareness Benefit February 1st w/ Fatha Green and Alexis Whitney

This just came in under the transom, and it's a small world here in Portland, because like a week ago I was bugging Fatha Green personally to do some musical collaboration.  Anyway, here at CIMTB we support benefits for good causes, and this is a great one!

From the press release:

A^6 (African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance), Is putting together a community awareness benefit Friday, February 1, 2013 form 6-9pm @ Maranatha Church in NE Portland off 12th and Skidmore.

This is a free, open to the public, community event. 


Friday, February 1, 2013
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Maranatha Church Fellowship Hall
4222 NE 12th Ave
Portland Oregon
Free HIV Testing
Free Food
Games and Activities for the whole family
Entertainment including:
Fatha Green...
Alexis Whitney

Event supported by the African American AIDS Awareness Action Alliance (A6) and the Portland Chapter of the LINKS, Inc

And check out Fatha Green for a taste of the music that will be at this event:


Friday, January 18, 2013

Crappy Indie Contest: Remix David Bowie's New Album Cover

Let's get this straight- I fucking love David Bowie. I have always loved David Bowie.  Not always actively, at first, but yes.  I remember being like 7 years old and watching a laser light show set to Space Oddity with my ultra cool dad (who turned me on to some of the best music I've ever listened to). I didn't start actively listening to Bowie until high school, and only really got into him when Outside came out.  That dark cyberpunk masterpiece was the soundtrack to me striking out with amazing college girls, and those events would later be novelized.  Outside is pretty edgy and not on a lot of Bowie fan's lists, but it is seriously underrated.  Later I'd get into Ziggy-era bowie, then shitty 80s Bowie, and Berlin-era Bowie... you get the picture.  Hell, it was just earlier this year that I actually really listened to The Man Who Sold The World, and was completely blown away.  It may be my favorite album now, and I was kind of pissed that nobody had told me Bowie was Black Sabbath for a brief period of time.  It's a tribute to the strength of the corpus that a person can continually be amazed and surprised by new offerings from an established artist's back catalogue, even in this day and age of "download whole discography in 10 minutes."

And it's not just me.  I won't speak about Bowie's appeal to the rest of the world, because in many ways that's like saying "in many portions of the world people get wet when it's raining". However, I will speak about my daughter Amelia.  Facebook friends and longtime readers of CIMTB may remember her as the coolest fucking person to have ever walked the face of the earth.  She just turned 4.  She loves David Bowie.  Yes, it started with his performance in Labyrinth, but she has gone on to appreciate his music for its own sake.  Bowie was also her gateway to Iggy Pop- his collaboration with Death In Vegas being one of her favorite videos. And now she's loving some Alice Cooper... I guess it's all about showmanship for her.  But then again, what are we talking about?  Highly jaded music critics and their wonderful small children can both appreciate the same artist... the wonderful David Bowie.

Of course, sometimes it seems like David Bowie can do anything, but as we all just found out one thing he can't do is stay retired.  His new single was just released, including a terrifying video about which the less said the better.  Not just a single, though- be still my beating heart- a new album, The Next Day, due out for release March 13th.

But there's a problem.

An album has to have a cover, right? And Bowie's have been some of the most iconic.  Sure, he's had some stinkers- what the fuck is up with Lodger?- but overall there's evidence of a strong visual aesthetic.  So for this first album in a decade, what does an elder Bowie do?

...the fuck?

So let me get this straight.  He took the awesome cover of Heroes, and had some motherfucker MS Paint a white box and the title of the album over it?  Wha?  Art designer Jonathan Barnbrook, please fucking explain yourself:

"The “Heroes” cover obscured by the white square is about the spirit of great pop or rock music which is ‘of the moment’, forgetting or obliterating the past."

Okay, sure. We didn't ask you to time travel to 1973 and snort whatever that white powder was on James Osterberg's leg, we just wanted you to actually make an album cover, not some sort of half-assed philosophical statement. You can read the whole interview by clicking the link in the quote, not that I would recommend it.

Look, I'm as much on minimalism and iconoclasm as the next guy.  Maybe more.  Actually, a lot more.  But this just reeks of a joke.  I don't even want to think about the possibility that it's serious.

Anyway, down to the meat of things.  I think that you- dear faithful reader- could create a better album cover for The Next Day than Mr. Fancy Pants Art Designer up there, and that's exactly what I want you to do.  Here, I'll start.

There, see, isn't that better?  Well, not better exactly, but it's certainly not any worse, and that's the point.  Here's your assignment- take the cover image from Heroes, use your crudest tools, and make a better cover. Now, I wouldn't expect you guys to do this for free- send 'em in, I'll feature the best ones on a future post, and the winner of my choosing will receive a CD and shirt from new friend of the blog, SKULK THE HULKING.  Get to work!  Send entries to !


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Manhattan Murder Mystery tonight and tomorrow!

So it's part of being a blog editor- and a grownup- that you have to realize that your personal tastes are not for everyone.  Take LA band Manhattan Murder Mystery- I really hate their music.  It's not that they're that bad, I just don't like their music.  But....their keyboardist, who reached out to CIMTB, was very earnest and polite, and as you know that goes a long way. Also, I just felt like a lot of people out there would like their music.

So... 3M (hello trademark infringement!) is playing 9 PM tonight at Slabtown, with Shitty Weekend, Juicy Karcuss, and Mythological Horses.  They're also playing tomorrow night at the Kenton Club, lineup to be announced.

Sorry for the short notice, but I was knocked out of commission by that norovirus that all the kids are getting.  Look, I know you guys want to be cool like your friends and indie music blog editors, but- DON'T CATCH IT.

Anyway, go see Manhattan Murder Mystery and enjoy your weekend!


Monday, January 7, 2013

Clyde Curley "RAGGEDY MAN" reading 1/10

Clyde Curley is not only my former English teacher- he's now a first-time novelist. This is pretty exciting stuff, and not just because I have a connection with him.  Raggedy Man is set in Portland, and without any of that foofoo Grimm shenanigans.  You  know I love it when novels are set in Portland- two of mine sure are!

Clyde is also a veteran Portland musician.  If you've had any exposure to the ceili/contradance/Irish folk music scene in Portland over the past few decades, then you've probably seen Clyde's beatifically bearded mug reelin' out with his bad self on mandolin, guitar, violin, or otherwise.

I hope to be doing an interview with him on Friday for the podcast- I'll be asking about the book, his music, and all of that.  Thursday, though, you should swing by O'Connor's Vault (next to Annie Bloom's Books) in Multnomah Village.  There will be readings from the book, music, and I hear tell they serve some good food and drink.

Raggedy Man reading with Clyde Curley

7 p.m., Thursday, January 10, 2013
O’Connor’s Vault
7850 SW Capitol Highway, Portland, Oregon 97219
Located in Portland’s Multnomah Village, next to Annie Bloom’s Books