Friday, November 11, 2011

Album Review: "All That The Rain Promises" by Bombadil

All That the Rain Promises by Bombadil was released on
November 8, 2011 by Ramseur Records
If you've been with Myxem for a while, you may remember our coverage of the third day of the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC. We talked at length about Bombadil, a Durham-based band that we caught a glimpse of between sets from the Flaming Lips and Lost in the Trees. It takes a very special performance to stand out between two musical powerhouses such as those, but when the dust cleared and the copious glitter from the Flaming Lips show finally washed out of my hair, the memory of Bombadil's set at Fletcher Opera Hall still burned clearly in my mind. They completely took me by surprise with a display of sheer, raw talent that had me listening to their back-catalog (specifically 2009's epic Tarpits and Canyonlands) and nothing else for about a solid month.

Now, a full two months later, Bombadil has released their third album, All That the Rain Promises. I've been excited about this one for quite some time and can say with complete honesty that I am nowhere near disappointed. All of the key elements that drew me to Bombadil in the first place are present in full force; the album opens with "I Will Wait", an emotional dirge reminiscent of traditional Southern hymnals, before going into the elegant guitar work and slow build that comprise "The Pony Express." From there, we are treated to another admirable collection of tunes steeped in the band's quirky sort of charm, with the composition of each one managing to outshine its predecessor at first listen. Lyrically, the band doesn't stray too far from the eloquent pseudo-folk storytelling we've come to expect from them (with the notable exception of "A Question" which reads like a playground love-note), and I quite frankly have no problem with that. There are certainly attempts to get more ambitious vocally, such as the penultimate ballad "Short Side of the Wall", but for the most part Bombadil stick to what they know, and they seem it know it damn well.

After a brief hiatus brought on by vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Michalak's health issues, Bombadil has come roaring back into the North Carolina music scene, and with All That the Rain Promises, they have shown that they are anything but rusty. The album is a complete and seemingly effortless return to form that is impossible not to enjoy. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be waiting patiently to hear what this incredibly talented group comes out with next.

Rating: 9.4/10
Standout Tracks: "The Pony Express", "One Whole Year", "Laundromat"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Van Music: Brian Warren of Weatherbox

Click above to listen on Spotify.
We at the Myxem staff are always interested to hear what other people are listening to; it's the easiest way to discover new music. We're especially curious to find out what tunes some of our favorite musicians enjoy when they're not out making their own. The life of a touring musician often consists of countless hours spent in the van, driving from city to city, so when we sat down with Brian Warren of Weatherbox, of course we had to ask what he's been jamming out to on the open road. Check out the first playlist in a series we're calling "Van Music" to hear some selections from the artists that keep Weatherbox company on tour, including The Locust, Michael Nyman, R. Kelly, Fugazi and more. Click the banner above to start listening!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Conversation With Brian Warren of Weatherbox

Weatherbox Live at the Tipsy Teapot in Greenville, NC
Photo by Terry McElhennon

Last week, I ventured to Greenville, NC to see a show I'd been excited about for quite some time; San Diegan (is that a real adjective?) hard rockers Weatherbox would be gracing the stage at one of my favorite Greenville spots, the Tipsy Teapot. Hot on the heels of the release of their newest EP Follow the Rattle of the Afghan Guitar (check out Grant's review if you haven't already), the band have been touring relentlessly, bringing Long Island's Sainthood Reps along for the ride. Both bands brought plenty of energy to spare and their heavy, high-octane performance blew plenty of minds that night (and probably a few eardrums as well). Weatherbox played through an excellent blend of old and new material that kept every head in the room banging right until they closed with "Trippin' The Life Fantastic", one of my personal favorites. After the incredible performance, I had the esteemed pleasure of sitting down with frontman Brian Warren to talk about his music, touring, conflict in the Middle East, and R. Kelly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Decemberists - Long Live The King

Long Live The King was released
Nov 1, 2011 on Capitol Records.
The Decemberists are one of the Northwest's indie-rock success stories, though not to the degree or with the expeditiousness of Death Cab for Cutie. Unlike their contemporary, The Decemberists have managed to make an entire career's worth of work that finds itself unflinchingly literate, overwhelmingly emotional, and, ultimately, infinitely re-listenable. That all combines to make the release of "Long Live The King" a somewhat bittersweet EP. Capping off the band's nine year career thusfar before a multi-year hiatus and coming on the heels of the band's most commercially successful album, "The King is Dead," the EP stands as a testament to the creative consciousness of the band.

Composed of castaways and cut-outs from "The King is Dead," the EP keeps with the Americana-tinged direction the band found itself heading in. While I will say it was somewhat disheartening at first, to see The Decemberists move from their Victorian dramatics to the traditional American sound of their previous album, I see it now less as a departure and more of an evolution. If they have actually evolved into a more perfect version of themselves, then the six tracks offered on "Long Live the King" are the bones of the ground sloths.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Myxem Live | Driftwood

Driftwood are (l to r) Jon Doll, Claire Byrne,
Joe Kollar and Dan Forsyth.
For the very first installment of our Myxem Live series, wherein we capture intimate performances of artists on the rise, we present to you, live from their campsite at Shakori Hills, Driftwood. My (mostly) misguided allegiance to all things Binghamton, NY gave the rest of the camp cause to hesitate when I mentioned the band, but these natives of the frozen north continually amazed us all weekend with their high energy Americana.

Whether they were busting out songs from their upcoming album or, as in the video, redesigning a Kris Kristofferson classic, the band's astonishing energy was enough to move even the heaviest of feet and, as we saw time and time again that weekend, get people moving. Combining elements of bluegrass with every imaginable element of Americana, the band resides comfortably where overwhelming talent meets affable stage presence. You can see what I'm talking about for yourself, as Driftwood is currently on tour throughout the northeast, supporting their soon to be released new album.

Watch the band perform live from Shakori Hills after the jump.

Tonight: Beavis and Butt-head Return

Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-hea
Tonight, a challenger returns to take a swipe at FX's Thursday comedy domination. The inept, undereducated Beavis and Butt-head, after being off the air for more than a decade, return tonight to MTV. From the information available, it seems that this is not cheap gimmickry; the "reboot" phenomenon can't touch something as classic as Beavis and Butt-head. No, this is genuine hilarity, with Mike Judge as creative and hilarious as he was for the first run of the series, as well as his other projects, Office Space, King of the Hill, and Extract (among others).


In 22 minutes this evening, "Werewolves of Highland" and "Crying" will air. "Werewolves of Highland," according to available information, will be our intrepid duo's lambasting of the Twilight saga and its unreasonable effect on pop-culture at large. The latter episode, "Crying," finds Beavis unable to live down a few tears he shed during a viewing of The Bachelor. Be sure to watch! Thurs 10/27 @ 10pm on MTV. Videos after the jump.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fitz & the Tantrums, Walk the Moon at Cat's Cradle

Fitz and the Tantrums (top) and Walk the Moon (bottom)
will be at Chapel Hill, NC's Cat's Cradle.
Click above for ticket information.
Walk the Moon have been perennial favorites on Myxem since the self-release of their infectious electro-pop masterpiece I Want! I Want!. At Bonnaroo, I made it a special point to catch their high energy set. Any chance to see them live, from heretofore, is a chance I will gladly accept. So when you combine Walk the Moon with soul/indie pop powerhouse Fitz and The Tantrums, you have a set made of solid gold. On November 4th, that's exactly what's happening: Fitz and The Tantrums w/Walk the Moon at the legendary Chapel Hill, NC haunt Cat's Cradle.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 - Retrospective (Part Two)

The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, held twice annually in idyllic Silk Hope, North Carolina, attracted major national acts, including Donna the Buffalo, legendary banjoist Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, NY natives Driftwood, Toubab Krewe, Thousands of One and many, many more. While we attempted to make an itinerary, there were too many equally wonderful listening options at any given time to resign ourselves to a schedule. What follows is a day-by-day breakdown of what we saw throughout the weekend. Too large for a single post, this is our account of the last two days of the four day festival.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coming Soon: Dignan Releases Three-Song Sampler of New Album on Bandcamp

Cover art for Dignan's 2011 Tour EP.
Click the image to stream on Bandcamp
Hot off the heels of their stellar 2009 debut "Cheaters & Thieves", Texan chamber rockers Dignan have made three songs from their upcoming new release available on their Bandcamp page for what they describe as a "very limited time." You can stream them for free with the option of a $3.00 download if you'd like to take them on the go.  The songs will be taken down on October 31st, so be sure to act quickly to hear this amazing preview of an album that I have been very excited about for quite some time.

The band is also selling a limited number of physical copies of the sampler, which they refer to as their 2011 Tour EP, on their current tour which will conclude at the Texas Music Theatre in San Marcos, TX on 11/9. Dignan have garnered a lot of attention since their debut album, with critics swooning for their moody, atmospheric anthems and harmonious choral vocals that blend perfectly into truly awe-inspiring (and surprisingly anthemic) compositions highlighted by poetically introspective lyrics. With this new batch of songs, Dignan has shown that they are not slowing down any time soon. and they should be on everyone's radar for 2012.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New on Spotify: "TKOL RMX 1234567" by Radiohead

Radiohead's TKOL RMX 1234567 was released
Sept. 16th, 2011 on XL Records/Ticker Tape Ltd.
Click above to listen on Spotify.
Back in February, the English legends of modern rock known as Radiohead graced us with their latest album, The King of Limbs. It was a decidedly strange album, rooted in the early-2000s glitchy electro sounds that defined the band's fourth album, Kid A, with clear inspiration taken from today's contemporary electronic music scene. While definitely a strange record, and not as immediately enjoyable as some of Radiohead's previous work, the album managed to make at least an honorable mention on all three members of the Myxem staff's "Best of..." lists for the first half of 2011.

Now, about 8 months after the release of the original album, we are graced with TKOL RMX 1234567. As the name implies, the album is a compilation of remixes from The King of Limbs' tracks, helmed by some of today's most talented independent electronic musicians. Caribou provides us with a sparse re-arrangement of the original album's poppiest track, "Little By Little", while SBTRKT and Jacques Greene give us two very different versions of lead single "Lotus Flower." Jamie xx also contributes one of five different versions of album opener "Bloom", while Altrice gets a little more adventurouse by expertly combining elements from each track on the album into one gorgeous mashup entitled "TKOL."

Originally released on seven separate vinyl singles (hence the numbers in the name) released from July to October, the album is now available for streaming on Spotify. Click the image above to check it out; you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 - Retrospective (Part One)

The Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, held twice annually in idyllic Silk Hope, North Carolina, attracted major national acts, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, legendary banjoist Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, up-and-comer Brett Dennen, Dirty Bourbon River Show, The Emmit-Nershi Band and many, many more. While we attempted to make an itinerary, there were too many equally wonderful listening options at any given time to resign ourselves to a schedule. What follows is a day-by-day breakdown of what we saw throughout the weekend. Too large for a single post, this is our account of the first two days of the four day festival.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"The Year of Hibernation" by Youth Lagoon

The Year of Hibernation by Youth Lagoon was
released on September 27, 2011 on Fat Possum Records
Youth Lagoon is the brainchild of twenty-two year old Trevor Powers from Boise, Idaho.  Though he may be young, his music contains a depth and maturity far beyond his years.  Though the music is filled with dreamy, poppy sounds that are saturated in reverb, there's much more than what's on the surface with The Year of Hibernation.  The album chronicles Trevor Powers' past and present, coating the album with a feeling of instant nostalgia, but containing enough personality of it's own to allow you to truly immerse yourself in these songs.

Sigur Rós Post Screening Dates And Pre-Orders For New Live Documentary "Inni"

Sigur Rós in 2008.
Image courtesy of Radio Helsinki.
After a hiatus that seemed like it would go on forever and an impressive solo effort from frontman Jónsi, it looked like we wouldn't be hearing a whole lot from Icelandic post-rock legends Sigur Rós. It was a sad situation, to be sure; I've been a fan of the ethereal, almost supernatural sounds they produce for quite some time. However, back in August, they release a short, ambiguous, black-and-white trailer for something called "INNI" and left absolutely no information as to what it might be, leaving fans to what and wonder just what the hell was going on.

Well, the wait is over. The band has since announced that "INNI" will be a live album/concert film bundle showcasing footage from their two-night stand at the Alexandra Palace in London back in November of 2008. The 75-minute documentary is directed by Vincent Morisset, who also helmed Arcade Fire's spectacular "Miroir Noir", and comes with a 2-CD live album from the same performance. The bundles will be released on November 7th in Europe and 15th in the USA and are currently available for pre-order on the band's website.

Watch the trailer after the jump...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Comics: DC's Vertigo Imprint to Publish Millennium Trilogy

DC Comics' adult-oriented imprint, Vertigo comics, has recently announced they have secured the worldwide rights to a graphic novel adaptation of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. The books The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest have sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide and have spawned three Swedish film adaptations and are currently in process of being adapted for American cinemas.

The graphic novel adaptations will be released yearly starting in 2012 and will be presented in double sets. In keeping with Vertigo's cutting edge marriage of print and digital, the trilogy will be available in both formats.

“The intricate characters and stories Larsson created in the Millennium Trilogy are a perfect match for the graphic novel format, where we can bring Lisbeth Salander to life in entirely new, visually compelling ways,” stated Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment.

"The Season" by All Get Out

The Season was released by All Get Out on
Favorite Gentlemen Records on September 20, 2011
All Get Out's first full-length record, The Season is a true chronicle of the band's experiences on the road throughout the past few years.  Touring non-stop for almost 4 years now, the band has been running themselves up and down the country and giving their all for every single show.  All Get Out is a special kind of band whose lyrics travel to a place that many seem afraid to, they delve deep into the heart and mind of vocalist Nathan Hussey and it's hard to not feel some sort of connection with their music.  The Season is littered with lyrics that can make your heart jump straight out of your chest and syncopate with these songs and stories that have been laid out for the listeners.  This indie-rock quartet based out of Charleston, SC is signed to Manchester Orchestra's Favorite Gentlemen Records, so naturally comparisons to Manchester will come and go but this band is much more than a shadow of their label-heads, they're an entity of their own who have evolved into a gritty, grungy, no holds barred powerhouse of emotions and feelings that range from religion, love, death, and addiction.  The Season is a comprehensive portrait of this band that has been ever-evolving since they began their marathon of a tour life and it's a truly satisfying one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

William Shatner - "Seeking Major Tom"

William Shatner's Seeking Major Tom was
released Oct. 11th, 2011 on Cleopatra Records
William Shatner returns this week with a double cd of his trademark spoke-sung tunes. This time, it's a covers album full of space-themed songs. There are a few decidedly-not-space-themed songs, including a cover of U2's "In A Little While," Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" and a cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." Of course, several Major Tom songs make the cut, from Bowie's own "Space Oddity" to Peter Schiller's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" to K.I.A.'s "Mrs. Major Tom." The truly impressive part is the caliber of the musicians he's managed to gather around himself for this album, including Ritchie Blackmore, Zakk Wylde, Nick Valensi (of the Strokes), Sheryl Crowe, Bootsy Collins, Peter Frampton and actually many more.

The thing that put me off about this album is, being a covers disc, it puts William Shatner back into his campy, silly hat. It finds him back on the pony that knows only one trick. Sing speaking Elton John's "Rocketman" again is a huge step backwards for what was looking like a promising late-blooming recording career. His last effort, Has Been, was actually one of my favorite albums of 2004. With help from Ben Folds and guest spots from both Joe Jackson and Brad Paisley (the only radio country artist that I have respect for), Shatner managed to craft Has Been into an excellent, sometimes intensely personal album that looked inside Shatner the celebrity and found Shatner the man. He dealt with his impending mortality, his relationship with his estranged daughter, and more. Compared to that, this album is a tired retread of something that wasn't very amusing to begin with.

That's not to say I dislike this album, but knowing what Shatner's capable of, this album falls flat. From the very moment I heard that he'd be releasing an album this year, I'd been waiting with bated breath. "How can he top Has Been?" His response, a double cd collection of novelty covers, may not've been the answer I was looking for, but William Shatner permanently has my respect and I'll be damned if I'm not going to listen to the whole album. A couple of times.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Arrested Development Confirms Movie, "Mini-Season"

The Bluth family will return in a 9-10 episode mini-season
before their feature film debut.
Click above for the full article on NYT.com
Finally: some news worth reporting. After years of pre-production, followed by years of no-production and various confirmations and swift denials, it finally came directly from the horse's mouth that Arrested Development will indeed be made into a film. The exciting bonus, that I certainly didn't expect, was the announcement of a 9-10 episode "mini-season" that will catch up with the Bluths some years after the events depicted in the Emmy-award winning series.

At an event held at the New Yorker Festival, Mitchell Hurwitz (the show's creator) said, "I have been working on the screenplay for a long time and found that as time went by, there was so much more to the story. In fact, where everyone’s been for five years became a big part of the story. So in working on the screenplay, I found even if I just gave five minutes per character to that back story, we were halfway through the movie before the characters got together," speaking of the future Arrested Development film. He later went on to say that, "We’re basically hoping to do nine or 10 episodes, with almost one character per episode [as a lead up to the film]," and all social networks were bombarded with the palable excitement of the program's dedicated fanbase.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Daily Show - Stewart and O'Reilly Square Off

Bill O'Reilly made his 8th appearance on
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night.
On a promotional tour for his new book, "Killing Lincoln," Bill O'Reilly paid a visit to The Daily Show to square off with Jon Stewart. The televised portion was a back-and-forth about taxes where, after the conversation comes full circle, the two find an agreement in principle. "I don't mind paying 40% [in taxes]," O'Reilly said, "but first, they're going to have to stop wasting the money." After, O'Reilly moved to muffin talk, a story highlighting governmental waste. Par for the course, the debate raged on past the 30 minute run time of the program, and the second portion of the interview was put up on the internet.

The internet is where the conversation turned feisty, with both parties showing their teeth and planting their feet firmly on their platforms. There was a point, however,  when O'Reilly conceded that Wall Street was desperately in need of both blame and regulation even going so far as to agree he's a "democrat" on the matter. When O'Reilly raged about oppressive tax rates, Stewart began to discuss the economic inequality in America. This prompted O'Reilly to sarcastically say, "Shoot them." Stewart, as on point as ever, retorted, "I'm not saying we should shoot them, but we shouldn't act like returning to the tax rate of the 90s is class warfare on par with Lenin and Marx!"


Watch the videos after the jump.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 - The Undercard

With over 60 bands attending the four-day festival and acts ranging from Noot d'Noot to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to Hammer No More the Fingers, Shakori Hills has more than enough variety to please every taste. We're going to be taking the next few days to introduce you to some of the acts we're most excited about. Today's list features some of the bands from the undercard that deserve your attention at the festival.


 Dirty Bourbon River Show
 WEBSITE | FACEBOOK
Friday, Cabaret Tent: 12:45am

Combining Americana, roots, jazz-tinged blues and gypsy style, Dirty Bourbon River Show continues the tradition of great New Orleans music (with a bit of  NOLA's flair for spectacle). Pegging themselves as "an interactive multi-genre variety hour-style band," listening to their recorded material does not do justice to the bombastic stage presence, energetic performance and all-around impressive musicianship the band has to offer. I managed to meet the members at a show they played with Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and I can say that they are also nice guys, as if you needed more of a reason to go see their show. This is one that I know for sure I will not, under any circumstances, be missing. DBRS is gearing up for an album release November 11th, 2011, and is touring strong to support it. After Shakori Hills, they are heading to Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia. You can listen to their first three albums, as well as a preview of their upcoming album The Old-Timey AfroPop Jibberish Junction, on their Bandcamp.

Album Review: "Follow The Rattle of The Afghan Guitar" by Weatherbox

Follow The Rattle of the Afghan Guitar is released
on Youth Conspiracy Records on October 4, 2011
Weatherbox are an ever-evolving band that continue to find their sound with each subsequent.  A band that continually explores the true pallet of their sounds, Weatherbox have toured with bands like Manchester Orchestra, Say Anything, All Get Out, and many other incredible rising acts that explore similar themes and styles.  Weatherbox tends to delve a bit deeper than most though and with much less filtration, Brian Warren shouts out his disbelief in god and the holy books while tripped out and speaking to the devil on "Tripping The Life Fantastic" from the band's first full length, American Art.  Religion, life, death, drugs, they all pop up rather frequently in Weatherbox songs and it's what makes the band so accessible and relatable, but what keeps the fans coming back are their unique song structures.  Songs can go from fuzzed out distortion with frenetic vocal melodies to hushed tones and falsetto refrains at the drop of a dime.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New We Were Promised Jetpacks album streaming at The AV Club

In The Pit Of The Stomach by We Were Promised Jetpacks
will be released on FatCat  Records on October 4, 2011
The Scottish post-punk powerhouse of We Were Promised Jetpacks took my musical world by storm upon the release of their first full length album back in 2009 with These Four Walls, it was a wall of sound that possessed so much emotion and so much integrity that it was hard to deny the excellence of the whole thing.  These Four Walls was my favorite release of 2009, so when the band announced their new album In The Pit Of The Stomach was to be released on October 4, I marked the date for remembrance.  It's kind of a big deal for me.  However thanks to the good folks over at The A.V. Club the wait is now over.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Myxem Picks 'Em - Shakori Hills Fall 2011

Click above to listen to this week's playlist.
With the excitement building (I spent time this weekend getting my camping gear ready) for Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, we dedicate this week's playlist to the incredible artists the organizers have lined up this year. Pulling down large names like Bela Fleck & the Flecktones and Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings speaks to the reputation this festival's been building as an up-and-comer. Never forgetting its roots, situated in the hills outside of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle, they also offer an impressive array of local talent, from The Old Ceremony, Hammer No More The Fingers, and Big Fat Gap. Other bands that piqued our interest include the pyschedelic stylings of Noot d'Noot, the roaring bluegrass of The Emmitt-Nershi Band and Brett Dennen's thoughtful folk-pop.

Click the banner above to listen to this week's playlist, highlighting Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival's lineup!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shakori Hills Fall 2011 - The Local Bands

With over 60 bands attending the four-day festival and acts ranging from Noot d'Noot to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones to Hammer No More the Fingers, Shakori Hills has more than enough variety to please every taste. We're going to be taking the next few days to introduce you to some of the acts we're most excited about. It's starting today with bands from the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle and North Carolina as a whole.


 Mike Quinn and Holy Ghost Tent Revival
 MIKE QUINN: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK
HGTR: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

Thursday, Grove Stage: 12:00am
 
I know what you're thinking: "I love Holy Ghost Tent Revival, but who's Mike Quinn?" And if you're wondering - no, he's not a local. But Holy Ghost Tent Revival certainly are and if they've given their stamp of approval to an artist, there's no doubt you should listen. I have a leg up in the "listening-to-Mike-Quinn" department. After seeing him at the spring iteration of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, I was made a Mike Quinn believer. In fact, I listened to his song "Yonda" over at his bandcamp so many times, I'm pretty sure I was singing it in my sleep. In fact, I challenge you to listen to the song "Magico" and not be compelled to move to the music. So, when you combine the stellar musicianship of Holy Ghost Tent Revival with Mike Quinn's penchant for raucous roots rook, it's an explosion of energy, camaraderie and an unmissable display of talent.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shakori Hills - Itinerary Fall 2011

Sun sets on the Meadow Stage at Shakori Hills.
Image courtesy of Wild Goose Festival.
Back in April, I had the great pleasure of attending the first day of the spring edition of the Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance. I was immediately charmed by the location: Shakori is a peaceful little patch of land nestled in Chatham County, NC that has become a thriving community built on environmentalism, sustainability, and local art and culture. In other words, you couldn't ask for a better place to attend a music festival. It's a utopian vision put into practice, a society of open-minded individuals realizing a dream.

I could go on for pages describing the incredible vibe I felt for one day last spring, but with the fall festival less than two weeks away, it's time to start looking forward to what my next Shakori endeavor has to offer.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Live Review: Fleet Foxes w/ The Walkmen @ Raleigh Amphitheater 9/21

Fleet Foxes (pictured above) performed live at the
Raleigh Amphitheater on September 21st with The Walkmen.
Since the release of their eponymous debut album in 2008, the Seattle-based Fleet Foxes have easily become one of the most talked-about bands in the independent music scene, and with good reason. Their dreamlike folk tunes and intricately crafted vocal harmonies combine for a truly original and inspiring sound which was perfected with the release of their second full length, Helplessness Blues, earlier this year (and each member of the Myxem staff found a place in the top three for it on their "Best of 2011 So Far" lists). This was a show I had been looking forward to for quite some time, and what could have easily gone down as a huge disappointment ended up becoming a pretty memorable experience.

The reason I say this was a potential disappointment was because it rained. I suppose that may be an understatement; the skies opened up and absolutely poured. It was bearable at first. We arrived at the venue in time to get seated before it started sprinkling. The rain remained light but steady until about halfway through the opening act. Maybe I was just impatient due to the inclement weather, but the Walkmen failed to hold my attention. I'd heard great things from friends, but really there wasn't a whole lot that stood out to me. It was some fun, danceable, vaguely garage-y pop rock which might have been enjoyable at a smaller club, but in a rainy amphitheater in the middle of downtown, it really didn't do the trick.

Myxflyx: This Week's Best Of Netflix - 09/23

Click above to watch on Netflix.
 Grant's Pick
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
When the vile villain Ivan Ooze is released from the prison where he has languished for millennia, he seeks vengeance against his captor -- the Power Rangers' own mentor, Zordon. The slimy scoundrel also steals the Rangers' power, forcing them to journey to a distant planet to regenerate their powers. But can they return to earth before Ooze turns it into his own personal cesspool?
Do I really need to explain to you why you need to watch this?  It's full of campy Power Rangers goodness that will make for an awesome nostalgia trip if you're an early-twenty something like myself or for a cheesy laugh if you're beyond those days.  Plus you've got to admit seeing the Power Rangers dressed up like ninjas in the middle of the woods doing absurd stunts is pretty hilarious.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preview: Shakori Hills Fall 2011


Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival will be held Oct 6th-9th.
Click above to visit their official site.
Having fully recovered from the breakneck pacing of Hopscotch, we now set our sights on another of the Triangle's (well, just outside the Triangle) hidden gems: The Shakori Hill Grassroots Festival of Music & Dance, Shakori for short. On October 6th, the sleepy rural community of Silk Hope will erupt to vibrant life as folks of all stripes gather together on its beautiful countryside to enjoy a four day music festival.

The last festival, held in April, boasted 50 bands, including jam-band mainstays (and upstate New York natives) Donna the Buffalo, as well as astonishing sets from Arrested Development and Holy Ghost Tent Revival. As vibrant a musical community as the Triangle is, it featured a fair number of local acts, including Birds and Arrows, Mount Moriah and perennial favorites Midtown Dickens (whom I watched in the rain).

This time around, the organizers have gone all-in, so to speak. They've attracted major national acts, including Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, legendary banjoist Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, up-and-comer Brett Dennen, Dirty Bourbon River Show, The Emmit-Nerishi Band and many, many more. Still, they make a fantastic effort to highlight local talent with Hammer No More The Fingers, Dub Addis and Des Ark. With a grand total of over 50 fifty bands lined up and a boatload of daily activities, there is something for everyone to listen to and enjoy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

News - Gibson Guitar's Tennessee Factory Raided

Gibson's Nashville, TN factory was raided by government
officials for violation of the Lacey Act.
The federal government, whose competence has never been questioned and whose approval rating has never been higher, sent armed federal agents into two of Gibson Guitar's Tennessee factories, seizing $1 million dollars in guitars and imported rosewood and ebony. It seems that the iconic instrument manufacturer could be violating the Lacey Act, a nearly 100 year-old law that restricts the importation of  raw materials made of endangered woods, like rosewood and ebony.

The law itself is not a problem, in fact it just makes good sense to ban importation of endangered raw materials. Denis Leary's whale skin hubcaps need not exist in real life. The issue to be taken is with the heavy-handed and melodramatic methods of executing the law, not to mention the ripple effect in the guitar industry. What of independent dealers trading in these Gibson guitars made of ebony and rosewood? The fear, it seems, is a very real one. George Gruhn, a Tennessee dealer in vintage guitars lamented that "there is uncertainty about what the federal government expects" in relation to the Lacey Act. According to local newspapers, the Department of Justice has reached out to Gibson and set a meeting for next week to discuss the raids.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Myxem Picks 'Em - Week of 09/12/11

Beaten and bedraggled by the fantastic weekend in Raleigh, NC at the Hopscotch Music Festival, we finally got around to setting down and assembling a playlist. Needless to say, the playlist focuses heavily on the highlights of the festival including Bombadil, Empress Hotel, Ben Sollee and Shit Horse. The playlist also features some non-festival talent in the way of Warm Ghost's chillwave stylings, new tracks from St. Vincent and Girls, and Fleet Foxes' "Grown Ocean." Click the banner above to listen to the playlist.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Day Three Review

The Myxem crew awoke battered and beaten on Saturday morning; two full days of Hopscotching can really kick your ass. Regardless, this was our big day and we were going to enjoy the hell out of it. I was about thirteen years old when I first heard the Flaming Lips. I was an awkward eighth grader who listened to a lot of classic rock and watched a lot of VH1, where they played a clip of "Do You Realize??" during just about every commercial break. It was this that inspired me to check out the whole album, which led me to the Soft Bulletin, which led to Clouds Taste Metallic, and the rest is history. Today would be my first time ever seeing the Lips live, a moment that my awkward teenage years had been building up to. Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. But, before that glorious moment, there was lot on the agenda: bands to see, day parties to attend, and a whole lot of walking around.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Day Two Review

TOW3RS at The Hive were definitely a
highlight of the Day Party lineup.
Photo courtesy of The Bottom String

After the incredible first day, featuring obvious highlights Empress Hotel and Dinosaur Feathers, we awoke Friday with that festival feeling, the mixture of weariness and palpable excitement. After all, we had lined up a pretty big day and it was by no means disappointing.

Terry and I had been pretty excited about Shit Horse, so our first stop of the day was Odessa Fest at King's Barcade. Their set was all of the incredibly well-done, weird rock we'd come to expect and set the day off on the perfect note. While at Odessa Fest, we also caught Wesley Wolfe's vinyl cutting demonstration, which was definitely a pretty neat spectacle. The singles Wesley cut at the demonstration were later auctioned off.

From Odessa Fest, we headed to The Hive for Diggup Tape's Rooftop. We caught a stellar set from TOW3RS in what was only their second live performance and actually their first with that lineup. They stand-out as a highlight of the day, their preternatural skills in songwriting and musicianship set my expectations for the band high, and I wait with bated breath for their release.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Day One Review

The Love Language played a stellar set at the
Lincoln Theater last night.
I began my endeavor into Hopscotch's first day with high hopes. As I've previously mentioned, the sheer atmosphere of downtown Raleigh during the festival is electrifying. The Myxem staff spent most of the day exploring the downtown area, learning the lay of the land and such. We unfortunately did not get settled in time to attend a day party but were instead indulging ourselves in local cuisine (check out Kyle's review of Beasley's Chicken + Honey, which was stellar) and making a stop into Shopscotch, a "pop-up store" forged by online merch retailer Kung Fu Nation and a handful of local artists to sell their wares to the public. The selection of vinyl records in Shopscotch is definitely worth a look; I'll be going back tomorrow with cash in hand. In addition to new releases, reasonably priced t-shirts, and other assorted swag, the selection boasted a variety of rare and out-of-print records that any collector would drool over. If you have the time, I highly advise taking a second to stop in and see what's for sale.

The Myxem staff began our night at King's Barcade for Brooklyn-based quartet Dinosaur Feathers. In my personal opinion, there could have been no better way to kick off the festivities. The venue was packed to the gills, but the band was sure to bring enough energy to go around. Their infectious breed of intelligent pop-rock kept the crowd moving, and their performance was absolutely flawless. I left King's exhausted from the dancing that I couldn't help but partake in and filled with even higher hopes for what my night would have in store.

Hopscotch '11 - In Brief - Day One

We got a late start today. We had planned to be at the Big Boss day party held at Sadlack's Heroes, but as the rumor spread that it'd been closed down due to a noise complaint we decided to sit tight and catch up with a few episodes of Friends. Which was by no stretch of the imagination a waste of time.

By the time we had made it downtown, it was with just enough spare time to be one of the first through the door for Dinosaur Feathers. These boys took King's Barcade through the roof. I cannot possibly think of a better opener for King's incredible line up, and I hazard to say it'd be difficult to name a band I'd rather have seen as my first band of Hopscotch 2011.

We made a mistake and left King's, as they were counting people as they exited and letting the same number of people in, it seemed re-entry was unlikely. We lamented our bad luck, but forged on to Cassis Orange down at The Union (which is kind of a haul from King's). The two and half songs we caught were amazing. There were some technical issues with a sample going awry and it was pretty difficult to see, as The Union does not have a stage.

Hopscotch '11 - Spotify Playlist

For those of you attending Hopscotch 2011 and wondering which bands will be most worth your time or those of you unfamiliar with the roster, check out this Spotify playlist. This is what I've been listening to in preparation for this year's festival, and it's a good portrait of the array of acts that will be rocking Raleigh this weekend. Click the banner above to hear the Spotify playlist.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hopscotch '11 - Smells Like Team Spirit

Raleigh City Plaza, 2010. Photo by Ladye JaneVickers.
2011 will mark my first immersion in the full Hopscotch Music Festival experience. Last year, I was only in town for the last day to see Public Enemy and No Age in City Plaza and attend a fantastic day party for Trekky Records beforehand. Then and there, I swore that nothing would prevent me from enjoying everything the festival's second year would have to offer. And now, here I sit, with a blue wristband on my right arm and an itinerary that's constantly being rewritten.

What won me over so powerfully this time last year was the strange feeling that seemed to dominate downtown Raleigh on that Saturday evening. It was an atmosphere so overwhelmingly infectious that just by walking down the street, you feel included in something bigger than yourself: a horde of enthusiastic spectators, all here because they're excited about independent music. More than that, the event seems like a tribute to Raleigh itself; the fact that a city's community can have the ardent passion required to pull off something of this magnitude speaks volumes about its character.

Hopscotch '11 - Eats - Beasley's Chicken + Honey

Beasley's Chicken + Honey is located at 237 S Wilmington St.
Image from New
Raleigh
If you're wandering around downtown, or even if you've recently been displaced by the unfortunate incident at Sadlack's Heroes (apparently closed after a noise complaint), fear not: right down the road is a great place to weather the storm and get your hands on some fresh brewed tea and some out of this world fried chicken.

This is, hands down, the best fried chicken I've had. Now, I don't consider myself a connoisseur exactly, but I am certainly no stranger to dipping poultry in breading and hot oil. My surprise came as Beasley's Chicken + Honey managed to take that simple concept, douse it with class and upgrade the whole concept to something purposeful and tasteful, a nearly gourmet experience. From the dijon-honey sauce to the amazing (and obviously handmade) biscuits, the chefs combine attention to detail with that feel good down home style and serve it in generous portions. Even the tea is purchased by 1/2qt in re-purposed mason jars.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Netflyxem

Hyperdrive, starring Nick Frost.
Kyle:
Let me preface this whole thing by acknowledging (begrudgingly) that I am a fairly huge Star Trek fan. I have never dressed up and attended a convention, but I own the comic books, biographies (auto and otherwise) of Shatner, Nimoy and Roddenberry as well as the Star Trek encyclopedia and a dozen or more paperbacks churned out in the early 90's. That's part of why I find Hyperdrive so damn enjoyable. It is all of the exciting space-travel adventure re-framed as a goofy British comedy. The hapless Commander Henderson (played with expert skill by none other than Nick Frost) and the sociopathic, sadistic second-in-command York guide a crew of offbeat misfits across the cosmos aboard the HMS Camden Lock, with the intended mission "to protect Britain's interests in a changing galaxy." Both series of the program are available to watch instantly, click the image at left to see more on Netflix.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: "Rise Ye Sunken Ships" by We Are Augustines

We Are Augstines' "Rise Ye Sunken Ships" receives
a physical release August 23rd on Oxcart Records.
Click above to listen (requires Spotify).

Deriving its name from the birth months of members Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson, We Are Augustines have crafted a sonically rich and emotionally dense record for their sophomore effort. We Are Augustines were formed from the ashes of the band Pela, whose album Anytown Graffiti wound up on more than 30 "Best Of" lists back in '07, including Yahoo! and indie mainstays KEXP out of Portland. KEXP even placed it at #112 of the best 903 albums of all time. Two of the primary members of Pela (the Augustines) moved on to form this band after some fairly intense professional and personal struggles, audible now in the straight-forward intensity of We Are Augustines' "Rise Ye Sunken Ships."


This album will grab you, immediately, and not request, but demand your attention. The quick build of "Chapel Song" with its persistent beat and urgent, dysphoric vocals draws you in to the record and to the stories contained within. This song sets the tone of the album in a large way: disquieting, intense, personal, well-orchestrated and executed to perfection. On the flip side of the coin, this song (as the album) languishes lyrically at points, but not to the level that would leave you unable to fall in love with it. In fact, sometimes when the language and rhyming schemes are at their simplest, you are able to hear the core of the song, and find that its simplicity has a positive correlation with its ardor.

Monday, August 22, 2011

From The 'Net: Radiohead Returns to Basement

Radiohead's From The Basement session featuring songs
from King of Limbs was released late last week.
Click the image above to watch.
Late last week, Radiohead's return to Nigel Godrich's famed basement was released on YouTube. The band had visited previously in 2008, for the In Rainbows - From the Basement DVD and television broadcast. Featuring Optimistic, Myxomatosis and ten or so other songs, mostly from In Rainbows were performed as part of the legendary British television program. It was later aired on VH1 here in the United States.

The series features absolutely legendary artists while, as Godrich put it, "[they] are having their moment, to try and get a definitive record of what they’re doing." Featuring Sonic Youth, The White Stripes, Beck, Super Furry Animals, PJ Harvey and (obviously) Radiohead as well as many, many more, the series accomplished Godrich's goal in spades. Now, Radiohead returns to this iconic basement armed with a few additional musicians to perform King of Limbs in a stripped-down and intimate setting. It's almost an hour long, so prepare for that, but if you are even remotely interested in Radiohead, I cannot recommend highly enough that you watch this. Click the image above to watch.

Myxem Picks 'Em: Week of 08/22/11


This week's Myxem Picks 'Em features another diverse array of the tracks that've been in heavy rotation here at Myxem, from North Carolina's Carolina Chocolate Drops and their homespun bluegrass "Cornbread and Butterbeans" to the glitchy mellow electronica of Baths' "Lovely Bloodflow." Some of the newer tracks include We Are Augustines' "Strange Days" and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's "FFunny FFriends" and "Strangers Are Strange." Click the banner above to listen to this week's playlist, only on Spotify.


Other artists:
The War on Drugs | Radiohead | Nightlands | Generationals | Darwin Deez | The Rosebuds | The Extra Lens | The Rural Alberta Advantage | Wesley Wolfe

Editor's note: The last five tracks, from The Extra Lens to The Rosebuds are Terry's picks for the week. Due to unavoidable technical issues, Kyle had to upload his picks. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Myxem Playlist: Side One, Track One 2006-2011


As Spotify Week continues here at Myxem, the editors put together a special playlist, the first in a series. This playlist focuses on the best album openers of the past five years, in no particular order.  With artists as diverse as LCD Soundsystem and Neil Young, this playlist is a tribute to the rare moment that an album grabs a hold of you from the very start. Click the banner above to see our choices.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Watch The Throne" by Jay-Z & Kanye West

Watch The Throne by Jay-Z & Kanye West
was released on August 8th, 2011
After Kanye West stormed back into the limelight once again back in 2010 by introducing G.O.O.D Fridays to the world and making his Twitter presence do all of his hyping for him, Kanye was bound and determined to reach a level of cultural excellence that many couldn't dream of achieving.  Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was deemed one of the best albums of 2010, receiving a coveted perfect 10 from Pitchfork and being hailed as an instant classic by many, indie mindset and mainstream alike.  All of the Jay-Z/Kanye collaborations in the past have been stellar whether it be production or rapping with one another, but with all of the hype behind Watch The Throne, the two's new collaborative effort, and seeing these two hip-hop titans finally meet for an album, it all just feels incredibly underwhelming.  While the production shines through, to no surprise, the lyrics tend to mostly fall flat with the exception of a few standout tracks.  It feels like Kanye and Jay have fallen into the habit of rapping more about their money and lavish lifestyles than bringing up the emotional grit and intellect that got them to their level in the first place.

The production on this album is stellar, make no mistake.  Kanye is and always has been one of the best in the industry when it comes to producing an album and I see no change in that in the near future.  I'll admit that after hearing the Lex Luger produced "H.A.M" I was hesitant of the "Watch The Throne" project, mainly because it all felt so contrived to hear a Lex Luger beat on a Kanye/Jay album.  It seems like it also led to a downgrading of lyricism for the songs that fell into these categories, actually for most of the album.  Tracks like "Illest Motherfucker Alive" are almost cringe-worthy at times, the opening lines of "I need a slow-motion video right now/'Cause I'm moving in slow-motion" sloppily drawled out by West are off putting.  He then raps off a list of famous Russel's and talks about "zero, zero, zero, zero, a whole lot of 0's".  The whole album isn't this bleak though, so don't count it out from off the gate.  Opening track "No Church In The Wild" features Odd Future sensation Frank Ocean singing the chorus and Jay-Z opening the album by rapping in prime form, standing out with lines like "Jesus was a carpenter/Yeezy made beats" showing the grandiose mindset of this whole project within a line.  Kanye immediately follows Jay-Z by rapping about cocaine, threesomes, and weed.  It's a little offputting to hear the man who once asked if "Anybody makes real shit anymore" but then you get to hear glimpses of the past and shimmers of light shining through with tracks like "New Day", "Murder To Excellence", and "Made In America".

Myxem Picks 'Em - Week of 08/08/2011

As you may recall, a while back we wrote a hands-on report regarding the revolutionary new music streaming service, Spotify. We were immediately enthralled at the program's ease of use and the diverse, comprehensive catalog. But perhaps what we've loved most about Spotify in the time we've used it is its potential for the legal, social sharing of music. From a blogger's perspective, it's like a gift from above; it's a quick and easy way to not only recommend music you've enjoyed, but allow anyone interested to listen to it and see for themselves almost instantly. This is why we've decided to take advantage of this amazing new tool and bring you playlists of our personal recommendations for your enjoyment. Just click the banner above to hear what music we've been enjoying recently.

We are so delighted to be able to enjoy and share Spotify, we're declaring this Spotify week. To kick things off, the Myxem staff has been sitting down listening to some new music that's available in Spotify's library and each of us chose five tracks we thought you should hear in the first playlist in the weekly series "Myxem Picks 'Em."

Artists:  
The Horrors | Wye Oak | Typhoon | Ghostpoet | Dinosaur Feathers | All Tiny Creatures | Parts and LaborArmy Navy | R.E.M. | Active Child | Mystery Jets | Noah and the Whale | Tall Ships | Part Time | Pursesnatchers


Editor's Note: The artist for the track "Cargo Maps" featured in our playlist is mistakenly listed as Harbors in Spotify's library. The song is actually by All Tiny Creatures, and Harbors is the name of their newest album.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Portugal. The Man's Van and Gear Stolen From Lollapalooza

Portugal. The Man had their van, trailer, and gear
stolen after their set at Lollapalooza this weekend
Shortly after their set at Lollapalooza, Portugal. The Man joined the growing group of bands to be involved in what's always a disheartening piece of news to read, after their Lollapalooza set the band's van, trailer, and gear was all stolen from an attended parking lot near festival grounds.  The band dropped the news of their van theft on Twitter, announcing that their Red Ford 350 fifteen passenger van with a black trailer and Alaska plates FJH244 had been stolen with all of their gear in it.  As if that already didn't make you feel bad enough for these guys then they dropped the list of all of the gear that was in the trailer...enough to make a musician weep.  Among the stolen gear was a Gretch White Falcon, Fender Twin Reverb, Epiphone Banjo, Roland Keyboards, Gibson Acoustic, and much more (all of which is listed here, some including serial numbers).

From the 'Net: Affirmations of the Mindheart

Mike Leffingwell, currently tenured on both Twitter and working with the Upright Citizen's Brigade, also finds time to create "Affirmations of the Mindheart." As seen at left, they're humorous takes on the idea of inspirational photographs, not unlike the demotivational poster meme. Excluding, of course, the fact that Leffingwell is both intelligent and, on an average day, pretty hilarious. Ranging from simple jokes, as seen on the left, to more adult themed work (think copulation, horses), Leffingwell covers the gamut of humor, but is always guaranteed to make you laugh.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hands-On with Spotify

Although it's still in the very initial stages, the much-lauded Swedish music streaming service Spotify has made its way stateside. Boasting a library of over 15 million songs and freshly inked contracts with every major US label (and a quality selection of indies, as well), it's off to no small start. I got myself an invite to see what all the fuss was about, having heard glorious praises sung by my friends and family in the UK who've had access to it for a few years now. With the blogosphere throwing around powerful terms like "next big thing" and "iTunes killer", all eyes are on Spotify, but does it really live up to the hype?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Within and Without" by Washed Out

Within and Without by Washed Out was released on
July 12, 2011 on Sub Pop
Washed Out's Ernest Green was thrust into indie stardom with his debut effort of Life of Leisure, an EP released in 2009 that picked up a lot of steam thanks to favorable reviews from across the board.  Washed Out jumped right into the top-tier of chillwave musicians like Toro y Moi and Neon Indian and now he's right back at it with an even bigger and more aurally adventurous project, his first full length Within and Without.  Released on Sub Pop, Within and Without shows that Ernest Green continues to grow musically along with the rest of his early front running peers in the chillwave movement.

It's easy to just fall into habit and keep making the same records over and over, especially in a genre as subversive as chillwave where if you're not paying attention to the subtle nuances of the music then one could easily get lost in the sounds and simply dismiss it as 'another generic chillwave song'.  I've heard it before as a complaint and it can be deemed as legitimate amongst the majority of the artists in that genre, there's many who simply believe reverberated vocals and catchy synth lines can equal good and entertaining music, but what truly makes artists like Ernest Green stick out from the crowd are the unique changes to his sounds from Life of Leisure, he's added a plethora of live instruments and has toned down the focus on making catchy and vibrant pop songs in favor of slow-brooding sonic landscapes that can leave the listener floating through this forty-minute album in seemingly no time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Follow Friday: 07/15/2011

 @oldmansearch

A man has told his 81-year old father that Twitter is Google, so this man sets about scouring the internet (somehow) via Twitter, for all sorts of goodies: thin divorcees, gyms with no teenagers indianapolis and a plethora of others, usually about twice a day. Equal parts hilarious and awful, @oldmansearch is definitely something you should be following.


 @robdelaney

As hilarious as he is vulgar, Mr. Delaney has made a name for himself as a stand-up comedian doing national tours, as well as creating a massive twitter presence. He writes, occasionally, for Vice Magazine, Huffington Post, and (depending on how thoroughly you vet your Google searches) plays for the Tampa Bay Stingrays. Terry and I had the opportunity to catch his live show in Chapel Hill and were blown away. I even found some video from the night's performance where he makes mention of an ongoing Twitter feud with the Counting Crows. You can follow him here: @robdelaney.


@RL_Stine

As you can see at the right, he thinks I'm funny. Or rather, that I made him laugh that one time. Regardless, @RL_Stine has a special place in my heart, as I believe he does all of the kids from my generation. I was a hair too old when Harry Potter came out, but I had spent the preceding years as a devout Goosebumps reader. I even got so good at the Choose Your Own, I didn't have to save the page I was on. Now RL (who's About Me: is "My job: to terrify kids") has a twitter, and whether you've got Goosebumps or not, I recommend following.

Hopscotch Announces Day Party Lineup

After announcing an incredible lineup, featuring headliners The Flaming Lips, Guided By Voices performing their final show, Lost in the Trees and about a hundred and fifty other equally remarkable acts (full list here), Raleigh, NC's Hopscotch Music Festival announced their equally incredible day party lineup.

The day partying starts on Thursday with a kickoff party at Sadlack's Heroes featuring Chip Robinson, Olympic Ass Kicking Team and others. On Friday, Tir Na Nog hosts Duo Sets, where performers pair off from Mandolin Orange, Birds and Arrows and others. Kings will also be rocking it on Friday with Transportations, Shit Horse, Americans in France and Wild Wild Geese. The Pour House will be hosting a Three Lobed Recordings party, featuring Year of the Pig, The Moaners and Monsonia.

In Brief: Hamell on Trial's Daytrotter Session

Hamell on Trial
The most aggressive music being played today comes not from the dark speed of Scandinavian Metal nor from the anger and volume of its American counterpart. It comes from a bald man, Ed Hamell, and his acoustic guitar. I've had the opportunity to see him live a handful of times and being eyewitness to a show that combines brutal honesty, subversive humor with heavily-amplified acoustic guitar is truly awe-inspiring. Covering topics as diverse as bumping in to John Lennon and Anne Coulter's pungent nethers, Hamell on Trial is a wrecking-ball with a punk rock attitude, a whip-smart sense of wit and far more intelligent than any one person should be. That's why when it came to my attention he'd recorded a Daytrotter session a few months ago, I waited with bated breath for the day it got posted. Lo and behold, the day is nigh and Hamell on Trial brings a ruckus to Rock Island, Ill. and to your computer. Replete with a couple of unreleased songs, the session also hits highlights, like the aforementioned John Lennon story, "7 Seas," the ode to his guitar (it's a love story), and "Inquiring Minds," dealing with the pains of untoward parental honesty. You can listen here, on Daytrotter's website.

Thursday Night: Louie

Louis CK making his Louis CK face.
Louie, FX, 10:30PM EST
Season 2, Episode 4 "Joan"

Joan Rivers guests stars on the nearly-always-funny Louie. After a hit and miss season, the show was renewed for a second and while the series premiere certainly left a lot to be desired, the other episodes have been hilariously, and brutally, honest. That, I suppose, is the allure of Louie. It's not like a Seinfeld, that makes light of being just-a-guy that does just-a-guy things. Louie is the gritty reboot of the main character-focused sitcom. If The New Adventures of Old Christine had an older, alcoholic brother that'd had a rough time, it would be Louie.

And while that all sounds terrible, there is a refreshing sympathy and occasional empathy that you feel while watching the show. Watching Louie do the things he does and say the things he says is an exercise in pure cathartic delight.

Thursday Night: Wilfred

Jason Gann and Elijah Wood star in Wilfred.
Wilfred, FX 10PM EST
Season 1, Episode 4, "Acceptance"

For the past three episodes, Wilfred has been the most consistently strange show on cable television that manages to retain its wit and also develop characters that a viewer will care about. This episode was the first swing-and-a-miss of the American series. When Ryan and Jenna sign Wilfred up for Daryl's (Ed Helms) doggie day care service, the plan goes horribly awry. It turns out that Daryl had actually been sexually abusing the dogs by dipping his testicles in peanut butter.