Thursday, February 17, 2011

Take Me Home Country Roads

It's things like this that make me want to move back to North Carolina.

Sarah, if you're out there reading, you heard it straight from me... I do miss North Carolina, baby.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Total Repost

This article appeared in MAGNET Magazine, and I think it pretty much sums it all up. Love me some Paul Westerberg. 
Rewind 16 years. I’m nearing the end of my 20s, newly married to Emily Hawk, still passionate about music, movies and books. There are bills to pay and responsibilities to own up to. As this is the ‘80s, it doesn’t take a genius to move up the ladder. If you can fill up a suit, you can get promoted. That is, if you conform and buy into the whole mousse-and-Vuarnet trip. I like to work, but I can’t conform. So there I am, the general manager of a chain of major appliance stores, working 60-some hours a week. What I want, more than anything, is to be someone else. Remember the cover of Pleased To Meet Me, with the Rolex-and-diamond-horseshoe-ring hand shaking the hand with the frayed sleeve? Mine is the arm on the right and the left.
In that job, I have to be in my office by 7 a.m. I park my Ford pickup outside the building at 6:45, my Windsor knot strangling my throbbing neck, and turn up the v of my tape deck. “Bastards Of Young” comes forward at full volume, the bass vibrating the windows of the truck. That raging, volcanic music somehow gives me the courage to face another day. At work, “Unsatisfied” is constantly running through my head; Westerberg’s howl is my own. In the evenings, Emily and I talk, party and listen to music. Nights with Green On Red, the Dream Syndicate, X, Minor Threat and the Pogues, but always it comes back to the Mats. “Little Mascara” is Emily’s favorite song. I’m into “Left Of The Dial” and “Sixteen Blue.” There are tunes like “Favorite Thing,” “Hold My Life” and “Alex Chilton” for driving, “Here Comes A Regular” for drinking, “Kiss Me On The Bus” for love. The music of the Mats sounds like chaos, but to me it sounds like peace.
OK, here’s another middle-aged guy, getting stupid. Maybe. With rock ‘n’ roll you never know if it was really that transcendent or if it just seems that way in the golden glow of the rearview. Nostalgia clouds your judgment and often makes you unwilling to enjoy the new. “The Strokes are OK, but I’ve got the New York Dolls on Mercury vinyl, and anyway, when I want to hear the Ramones I put on Rocket To Russia.” Etc. But trust me, the Replacements really were that great.
Fast-forward 16 years. I’m in Paris, ending a two-month book tour. Friday night, my final commitment done, I return to my hotel room to relax. I open the balcony doors to get a view of the street, pour a double Four Roses neat, slip Westerberg’s Stereo into my Walkman, put my feet up on the coffee table and touch fire to a Marlboro Red. It’s the most memorable moment of my trip. Listening to “We May Be The Ones,” I’m moved like it’s 1986. And then, a few days later, I’m back in the States, hugging my daughter Rosa, rubbing her back, as “No Place For You” fills the room. Thinking that this music is just as powerful, and yeah, important, as it ever was.
—George Pelecanos

Braid Your Hair, Take a Bath

Yeah, or just go see Braids open for Baths and you'll probably have a better time because that's what I did on Friday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel and it was awesome. Well... mostly. The crowd was decidedly young - which apparently I should have expected because Baths is a youngster too... don't be fooled by his tall, dark-haired, doe-eyed self (complete with Hipster-chic black glasses, oh yes), the kid is a 21 year-old LA native with nothing but creative time to kill. Which is a good thing, because his music is excellent.

A sexy blend of experimental, piano-infused, slide guitar-sounding mixes that make you want to simultaneously close your eyes and sway, dance a little, have another whiskey drink, and/or make out to.

No wonder the X-marked kids were doing almost all of the above for most of the show. I can't say I didn't enjoy a little making out later, but pu-lease.... in the middle of the floor of sold out show? I can be a real bitch if I want to, and red pants make me sassy... I may have thrown a few verbal punches mid-set.

Anyhoo... that being said, Baths made the madness worth it, and the opening band Braids totally met my expectations and then some. Despite the fact that the lead singer lost her voice just after the first song ("Lemonade") the four-top continued to trek through like real winners. She got my seal of approval for managing to still sound good (despite stopping several times for an apology to the crowd). This little Montreal set were a nice opening act, really calm and heart-warming. More on the range of "close your eyes and sway" then "fuck your boyfriend in public", though that didn't seem to stop the couple in front of me. Le sigh.  

Despite all that nonsense - you should check them out. Even The Washington Post enjoyed the show... and duly noted the flagrant group of DC's fledglings. As I prepare to turn 30 this year, I can only assume my annoyance of these show-goers will grow exponentially. Oh well, I'll keep trying to enjoy the music and forgo the hatred.

How un-Hipster of me.