Tuesday, December 28, 2010

favorite records of the year

this is by no means a best of. there was too much that i didn't listen to that i wish i had. with that in mind, these were my favorite records of 2010.

1. titus andronicus - the monitor
2. ceremony - rohnert park review here
3. big kids - hoop dreams review here
4. paul baribeau - unbearable review here
5. radars to the sky - supra/infra review here
6. nana grizol - ruth
7. cold war kids - behave yourself e.p.
8. the deadly syndrome - nolans volans
9. the splinters - kick review here
10. the henry clay people - somewhere on the golden coast review here

honorable mentions:
i thought the moses campbell album was great. i loved the tiny lungs e.p's. the joyce manor/summer vacation split was awesome. and joyce manor's constant headache was incredible.

fuck me:
i still need to buy no age's and abe vigoda's new albums. if i had listened to them i'm sure they would have made my top ten. i also didn't listen to the new wavves, best coast, arcade fire, le switch and nails albums - i'm sure i would have loved them all. i'll get to it.

here's a list of 2008.
here's a list of 2009.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

top shows of 2010

here's a list of the best sets of music i've seen this year.

1. hello shark @ the carpentry, berkeley ca. review here
2. ceremony @ chain reaction., anaheim ca. review here.
3. big freida @ fyf fest, los angeles, ca review here.
4. the mayyors @ the new parish, oakland, ca review here.
5. 7 seconds @ 924 gilman st. berkeley ca. review here.
6. ty segall @ the hangart, tucson, az.
7. big kids @ the yellow room, oakland, ca. review here.
8. the bananas @ the new parish, oakland, ca review here.
9. the mountain goats @ fyf fest, los angeles, ca review here.
10. titus andronicus @ fyf fest, los angeles, ca review here.

honorable mentions:
cold war kids @ uc berkeley. review here
the thermals @ uc berkeley. review here.
the henry clay people @ the fillmore, san fran, ca review here.

radars to the sky - supra infra

radars to the sky debut album supra/infra is one of the years best. it will undoubtably be one of the most unappreciated. it will go unnoticed by most. this album sounds like the neglected lovechild of achers of loaf and the arcade fire - if that said love child found out he was the seed of billy corgan circa siamese dream. this album once again proves why l.a. unlike anywhere else is the best place to live for new music. the album's 50 minutes which is long but worth the time - good for road trips and rainy days. full of horns, keys, and banjo, radars keep the rock in indie rock. andrew spitser's vocal delivery give the band its character. 'sergeant' is my jam.

Monday, December 20, 2010

your heart breaks, dave end, pablo das, & kimya dawson @ 924 gilman st. 12/19/10

i returned to 924 gilman st. a second night in a row. on sundays, gilman has matinee shows that start at 5 which is really nice because they're over by 10. i was just going to go for kimya's set, but i wasn't really doing anything, and figured i might as well see some of the opening bands, and i'm glad i did because this was not simply a series of people performing a set of their own songs. no it was infact a show where everyone played on everyone else's songs and people danced on stage and wore costumes and entertained. it was perfect.

i showed up in the middle of your heart breaks set. all the fold out chairs were set up, and the couches were closer to the stage, and people were sitting on the floor. i think the best way to describe the show is by calling it a queercore show. your heart break played acoustic/electric songs with a loop pedal, and a drum machine. clyde took also took us to outer space and back. it was really great. i recommend checking out their music. of course kimya and others were brought up on stage to help sing and dance. it was really nice. the show felt like a real community of friends that i wanted to be apart of. i wish more shows were like this.

dave end played second. he came up in a dress he made. this picture doesn't do it justice at all, but it was really awesome. he performed f.a.g.g.o.t. the musical, which was funny and sad and honest and great all at the same time. dave is a true performer and entertainer. he played acoustic guitar, accordion, and keyboard with a drumtrack. his set was really great, and he too had everyone come up for different songs.
pablo das played acoustic guitar and a little ukulele. when he played guitar it was usually really fast folk/punk stuff. i really liked his songs. the were really honest. they were about his mom dying. him coming out of the closet, and writing letters to his brother, sister and father letting them no. they were about never talking to his father again after he found out. they were about drinking, and being sober for seven years. pablo thanked us for listening and told us that playing these songs is really healing for him. 'big mama' aka kimya was requested to come on stage and sing a song with him that was really good.
kimya dawson played some songs i recognized and some songs i didn't. she had people up on stage for almost every other song. the highlight of the night for me was when she played a song called walk like thunder and aesop rock came up and rapped over it. it was the coolest thing ever. kimya said they are going to record an album together, which i'm sure will be amazing. one of the songs that she brought pablo up for was about gobbling farts, which was pretty funny. then pablo ended the show with his rendition of 'all that jazz.' everyone stood in all of gilman stood up and started and dancing and singing to 'all that jazz,' it was pretty awesome. then kimya said the show over and that she wanted everyone to get into a big circle and hold and hands and sing. at this point i had been there for about five hours, and decided it was a good time to leave, but i had a blast. it was a really really perfect show. i loved everything about it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

big kids @ gilman st. 12/18/10

i went to go see big kids at gilman st. last night, i was pretty tired so i only wound up staying for them. they played on the stage, and i kind of wished they had played on floor. they opened with '3,000 hi-fives' before they had technical difficulties. jason's amp broke which was a bummer. they borrowed a head from someone, and then played a new song which sounded really good. i couldn't hear the drummer's vocals at all so when they played 'our team' it was almost instrumental. their set was pretty short, but it was still a lot of fun. i'm looking forward to their tour with algernon cadwallader where big kids should have their split 7"s with koalacaust.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

royal monsters, street eaters, jason white, judgement day & andrew jackson jihad @ 924 gilman st. 12/12/10

there was a matinee show at gilman today. royal monsters played first. they were on tour with andrew jackson jihad from arizona. they were cool and sounded really good. they had three guitar players. solid hardcore with long instrumental parts. they were really well practiced. their stops and starts were pretty solid.
street eaters played second. they are a drum and bass duo. they were really fun to watch. they played pop punk and handed out lyrics sheets for everyone before they started which was pretty funny. i really like them, and would totally recommend checking them out.
as soon as jason white started playing about six or seven middle aged women rushed to the front of the stage and started dancing for them. it was honestly the funniest thing i have ever seen. musically they were really solid rock 'n' roll. i would have loved them if i hadn't been laughing at their demographic the whole time.
judgement day played fourth. they were the best band of the night. they really stole the show. they were a three piece that played cello, violin and drums. their drummer had a double bass pedal. i guess they are traditionally a metal band, but have recently gone acoustic. it was amazing. at one point in their set they said the next song is a cover and if anyone can guess what video game it's from we'll give you a free e.p. pretty much as soon as it started my friend manny screamed PUNCH OUT, and sure enough he got a free e.p. it was one of the funniest things i've ever witnessed.
andrew jackson jihad played the hits. they did not disappoint. i really miss them. i wish i could see them more. they opened with truckers are the blood and then went into brave as a noun, survival song, bad bad things, before taking a breather. they played a lot of 'people' and a lot of 'can't maintain'. they ended with a neil young cover. all in all it was a pretty amazing set.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

calculator - these roots grow deep

calculator is a five piece emo/screamo/hardcore (i'm not sure what to call it- you be the judge) band from southern california. this is their first full length which is comprised of a few different recording sessions. the vinyl's got twelve songs on it. it comes with a poster and 16 page booklet complete with lyrics sheet and band pictures. it also comes with a cd with 17 songs on it. that's five bonus songs folks! parts of the album are super instrumental. parts of the album have full gang vocals. other parts are thrashy, and still other parts are super poppy. bottom of the line it's d.i.y. and it's awesome. it transcends genres and builds upon all of their influences. there's a donnie darko sample on the song 'paradise' which i like. the albums closer 'memorial' is my favorite. i need to see them live so i can sing along, "explosions in the sky/i don't want to go back to 1945/without it i wouldn't be alive." released on melotov records and limited to 250. pick one up here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday, November 5, 2010

big kids - hoop dreams

big kids' debut full length, hoop dreams, is one of the best albums of the year. hailing from oakland, california this band has a guaranteed place in my top ten if not top five favorite albums of the year. i immediately fell in love with this band upon first listen. there is something very positive about their sound that i don't know how to describe. before i got the album i just listened to the three songs they have on their myspace on repeat for weeks. lyrically this album is very hopeful. in 'parents are still a handful' jason sings "this time we'll do it right," with a constant look to the future without ignoring the present. the back and forth between both vocalists is perfect - i love it. my only complaint with the album is that it's too short. it's only eight songs long, one of which is instrumental. but because it's so short i just keep listening to it on repeat. it's by far the best debut i've heard from any band in recent memory; a perfect introduction. it's currently out of print on cassette from mountain man records which is a bummer because the packaging alone on the release is worth it. this label is currently one of my favorites, and lucky for you i think they're repressing it. they're also releasing a split 7" between big kids and koalacaust which should be awesome. the vinyl version of hoop dreams can be purchased from top shelf records.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

crystal antlers - summer solstice

the new crystal antlers song sounds awesome. i love the new direction. they are one of my favorite local bands (one of the few that made not feel so embarrassed about being from orange county), and i have been following them for what seems like forever now after seeing them play with bronco tatonka at the santa fe cafe years ago, i wound up buying their first 7". their newest 7" was the first record i ever reviewed for this site, and i'm really stoked that they're still making music. got this email from them today seeing that i'm on their mailing list. here is what it said:

Hey there friends,

It's been a while since we've last reached out. We went to Mexico early in the year and spent a little over a month in a barn writing new songs for our second record. When we got back we decided to premiere 3 of those songs with Room 205, our friends practice space hosted by Incase.

Take a minute and check it out the first of them here:


This song is titled Summer Solstice. The songs Knee Deep and Seance will be posted to the site on Nov. 8th and Nov. 15th.

We're currently mixing the record and making some decisions on how best to release it. Sadly, Touch and Go Records, our brief home, has shut it's doors for good and will not be involved this time around.

Hope you like the song and make sure to check back on the site or follow us on twitter to catch the other two when the premiere.

Twitter: @crystalantlers
www.crystalantlers.com (new site coming December 2010)
our email: crystalantlers@gmail.com

Thank you to Michael Videothing for the visuals and to you for listening/watching.


Friday, October 29, 2010

the dig and the henry clay people @ bottom of the hill 10.28.10

i missed most of the dig's set arguing about why 'the monitor' is the best album of 2010. i'm pretty sure i won the argument. however, i did catch their last two songs where they were joined onstage by joey, eric, and andy of the henry clay people. one of the songs was a neil young cover, and the other was an original. they both sounded great. the henry clay people didn't go on until after 11 seeing that this was their first headlining tour. i had to catch the bart though, so i didn't get to watch their whole set but what i saw made me very homesick. they opened with 'end of an empire' before going straight into 'nobody taught us to quit.' they then played 'rock in roll lost its teeth' which i had requested earlier in the night because for some reason its been stuck in my head and i've been singing it for the last two weeks. after that they played 'slow burn' which is hands down the best song on their latest album. at this point i told them i had to catch the bus and could only listen to one more song. i asked them if they could play 'andy sings' or 'can't hardly wait.' joey asked the audience if they wanted a shitty old song or replacements song, but they went with 'andy sings.' i guess they don't really play it anymore. as i was leaving they were about to start 'saturday night.' i am sure the rest of their set went as well as what i got to see. even though i only watched five songs, they reaffirmed its status as my favorite band.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

graf orlock, ghostlimb, godstomper, violent ruler, no statik and what we do is secret @ 924 gilman st. 10.22.10

it was nice to go back to gilman. my friend manny and i took the bus there. again, the public transportation in the bay area is my favorite thing about living up here. the show was supposed to start at 7:30 and we showed up a little after 8, and there were only like three people there so i didn't think the turn out was going to be too good, but i guess everyone knows to show up late because it didn't actually start unitl about 8:30. what we do is secret played first. they were okay, nothing about them really stood out. but they have potential. unfortunately no germs covers.
no statik played second. they were a female fronted hardcore band. they rocked a lot. their lead singer was very confrontational and was in the crowd the whole time(no one was safe). they were cool, i can't find a myspace for them though, but they're worth checking out if your research skills are better than mine.
the third band that played was called violent ruler. they got added to the show last minute. the lead singer said he was high on mushrooms. the guitar player had some technical difficulties to begin with, but managed to fix whatever was wrong by the second song. the other guitar player shredded though, so i would see them again.
godstomper was pretty funny. first of all their name is really brutal. second of all, before they played their drummer came out and perfectly sang luther vandross's 'always and forever'.
they were really awesome though. they are just two brother who thrash. it's drums and bass and sounded really cool. they talked too much between songs though which was kind of annoying.
i've only seen ghostlimb maybe one other time, but they really really good. the guitar player said they haven't played gliman in three years but that it was good to be back. he had problems with his guitar at first but once he got it started they jammed. this kid with a dead kennedy's shirt on was heckling the band the whole time. saying things like, "is this what all l.a bands are like." "oh my god cutest band in l.a." and finally the bass player was like i'm from san mateo. and the kid was like "san mateo sucks." and this went on the whole show. by ten minutes into their set everyone hated this kid, and the guitar player was like "ya know, he's alright. he's a little rough around the edges, but high school can do wonders for kids." the kid was like "what's the name of your band." the guitar player said, "we're the dead kennedy's but with a different singer." one dude that was standing behind the amps got so frustrated with the kid he just threw his water bottle at him. it was sadly funny. i thought the back and forth banter was hilarious. but because i was so entertained by that i didn't pay too much attention to ghostlimb's set. however, the do fucking rock and i wish i was more familiar with their recorded music.
graf orlock is one of my favorite hardcore bands. i remember when i first started going to hardcore shows, i hated most of them because i could never tell what the singer was saying and therefore was always somewhat bored, and unimpressed. but graf orlock changed that for me. from then on out i needed more from hardcore. or maybe i just loved the novelty, i'm not sure. either way, they fucking kill it. cinema grind at it's finest. "captives of the thuggee" was my favorite song last night. i love this band, and anyone who hasn't seen them live needs too.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

the lovely bad things - shark week

out of the ashes of curmudgeon comes the lovely bad things with their debut full length, shark week. the album begins with a moody instrumental intro before kicking it into high gear with "my kin." lead singer camron ward's vocals are super grungy painting a picture of 90's seattle teenagers dressed in flannel. bass player lauren curtis' ooh's become an instrument of their own, almost defining the sound of the album as well as the band - they're haunting and i like them. the catchiest song on the album which rounds out the A side is "cult life" which gets stuck in my head for days at a time. i can't help but sing along with, "there’s nothing like losing out so long/to the bad things, to the bad things i’ve done wrong/i’m leaving this place it’s not for me/please tell me, please tell me who are we?" On the B side 'surfing on skulls' has a really rock 'n' roll feel to it, making it really stand out. however, it's 'big sur' that has the catchiest guitar line on the whole album. not to mention lauren's vocals towards the end of the song almost remind me of bjork which rocks. tim hatch sings on the albums closing track showcasing the bands diversity. available on cassette tape from ultra vivid recordings, i think the label has one left so hop on it because they're hand numbered and limited to 50 and trust me you want one! for fans of the pixies, this is a great introduction to a promising young band. the artwork is by drummer brayden ward and is totally rad.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

joyce manor/summer vacation split 7"

muy autentico records just put out a split 7" by two of my favorite bands. joyce manor picks up where constant headache left off with holiday heart, a minute long pop punk slam dunk. in a change of pace, the bass player, matt, takes lead vocals on my elise. i really like this song a lot - especially the guitar solo at the end. they finish their side with dfhp? barry's vocals are super catchy: "can you climb on the roof/can you yell at the sky/can you see in the dark/can you stay up all night." summer vacation kick off their side with super orgy, a poppy jam filled with na-na-na's. i really like the dual vocals on don't panic, but summer vacations best song on this release is definitely the closer the many faces of mental chillness when mark sings, "you're a blessing/you're a curse/i hope we never marry/ i hope we never see each other again." barry did the artwork which looks great. these are limited to 300: 150 black/150 opaque yellow. i have the yellow vinyl it looks rad. grab these before they're gone!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yi, Hard Girls, Big Kids @ The Yellow Room 10.02.10

so last may when the carpentry stopped having house shows in berkeley, i was super disapointed. that is, until last night when i went to the yellow room in oakland. it easily has one of the coolest most comfortable vibes out of any house show i've ever been to.

yi played first. they're from oakland, and sounded like really good hard rock 'n' roll. i couldn't hear the vocals very much, but it didn't seem to matter because they jammed so hard. the bass player plays without a pick which was cool. their guitar player is a rock star. he's the kid on the first day of kindergarten when you're looking around trying to decide who your friends are going to be for the next twelve years, and you see him and immediately know he's the coolest kid in class. i really like this band and would definitely see them again.
I have been wanting to see hard girls for about six months now, and was really glad to see that they were playing a house show with big kids. i've been looking forward to this show for a few weeks, and it was the reason i left hardly strictly bluegrass early, and the reason i passed on listening to the arcade fire on the hill at school. lets just say i made the right choice.

before their set the guys in hard girls were all joking around, and having fun. the drummer has a petrie tatoo from the land before time on his arm. it made me laugh really hard. hard girls is putting out a 7" on asian man records soon. i think this band is going to get pretty big. all their songs were awesome. they opened with 'quinceanera' which is my favorite song. both the guitar player and the bass player sing. the dual vocals are great. their set jammed. one of favorite new bands.
i have been listening to the songs on big kids' myspace religiously for the past few weeks. i was super excited to see them play. they definitely delivered, and didn't disappoint at all. they opened with '48th street' and then went into 'parents are still a handful.' all the songs were good. i don't know if you can tell by the picture but the drummer sings too, which was really cool. 'our team' was stuck in my head the rest of the night, and 'get motion!' was perfect. their sound has such a positive feeling to it. i haven't had an immediate love for a band like this in a long time. they are definitely my favorite band in the bay area.

this show reminded me of what it would have been like to see alkaline trio and against me! at an early house show before they both blew up. it was really something special. it made me feel lucky just to be there. the yellow room is perfect. i hope they have more shows here.

conor oberst @ hardly strictly bluegrass 10.02.10

this weekend was the tenth anniversary of the hardly strictly bluegrass festival. it's a completely free festival in golden gate park. people bring blankets and picnic, and just drink all day. it's one of the best free festivals i've ever been to. the stage that conor obest was playing on, was pretty deep into the park though, and it took about two hours on public transportation from berkeley to get there, but it was completely worth it. i couldn't really see him from where we were standing so we just found a comfortable spot, and sat down. i guess the felice brothers were his backing band, and they were really good. most of the songs he played were from cassadaga, and i'm wide awake it's morning. four winds sounded really good, so was train under water. there were a handful of songs i didn't recognize. i'm not sure if they were monsters of folk songs. i'm not too familiar with that album, and i don't think he played any mystic valley band song . . . so maybe they were new bright eyes songs? he ended the set perfectly with method acting and then poison oak. i've only seen bright eyes once, and last time i wanted them to play method acting really really bad, but they didn't so it was awesome to hear live. poison oak was stuck in my head for the entire trip home. i really love that song.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

tiny lungs - (II)

within months of recording their first e.p., tiny lungs returned with their second five song e.p. appropriately titled 'II' just in time for their full u.s. tour with jason clackley. picking up immediately where the self titled left off, the band starts off with "dead wives"which has one of the catchiest guitar lines i've heard in a while. upon first listen, you can already tell the songwriting is improving. the second song, "randsom st." ends with justin screaming out, "all we are is what we have," and one can't help but sing along. though my favorite line comes from "appropriately jeaslous" where justin sings, "you cover all the silent ways we speak/i'm aging like your fashion magazines." this e.p. is a quicker listen coming in at a little over eleven minutes, but it's just as good if not better than the self titled. do you self a favor and check this out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tiny Lungs - (s/t)

justin conway who has played in the starburst crystal ensemble, and merry christmas finally took it upon himself to front a band, and the world is a better place for it. tiny lungs, his newest project, reminds me of hot water music, and cursive. they have also drawn comparisons to superchunk. it's loud, raw and distorted. it's everything indie-rock should be with a very punk edge.

their debut 5 song self titled e.p. was released by mountain man records and is limited to 100.
the e.p. comes in at 17 minutes starting with it cop heart, the catchiest song on the album. all of the guitar parts are memorable, and i find myself humming them constantly. in all voices persistent, the line, "it's okay to hate summer, sometimes" sticks out in my head. i keep singing it to myself. the e.p. ends with apologies to liberty hill, which is the longest track on the album, highlighting the distorted guitar work that makes tiny lungs one of the most promising new bands to come out in recent memory. but songs aside, the most memorable thing about this band is justin's voice; it's a haunting whining scream - it's beautiful. grab these before they're gone, you'll regret not having one - trust me.

Friday, September 17, 2010

big freedia @ music fest northwest video

big freedia played in a strip club in portland, oregon. into the woods caught it on video. enjoy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pelican Vision - Demo 2010

i had the pleasure of playing a show with jake brown/pelican vision a little over a month ago. two weeks ago he gave me a three song cd-r with his band name written on it in black sharpie. i've listened to it everyday since i got it. it really is that good. in the first song 'parables' jake sings, "if you have a question then i probably don't have an answer/if you have all the answers then i probably won't even bother" before belching "these details are driving me insane." this is the best song on the demo, and an all around quality folk song. the second song 'life long road' has some extremely catchy electric guitar lines, and hooks you in with harmonica that stays in your head for days. the third and final song 'death march' has a little bit of a surf vibe, which i really like. all around this is a pretty amazing introduction to a band that showcases a lot of potential.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

summer vacation - songs about betrayal

summer vacation spew out their fourth demo titled songs about betrayal. a six song cassette tape recorded on their drummer, aaron's ,8-track, this release exemplifies their truly diy approach to music. the first song 'da guardians' is about being taken away to outer space in hopes of meeting more people like yourself. compelete with poppy-harmonic 'oohs' and 'aahs' this gets stuck in your head fast. the second song and title track is the standout on the tape. mark and sean singing over each other competing to scream their song about betrayal respectively. the flip side is just as catchy and includes a pretty awesome misfits cover of 'hybrid moments.' a great release from one of the best up and coming southern california bands around right now. i'm not sure how many of these were pressed, but you can contact them on their myspace.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

FYF Fest 9.04.10

each and every year without fail, friend and show promoter, sean carlson, boasts that this will be the best day of summer; and it was.

my only complaints with the festival, were that you couldn't bring water inside, and they sold it for four dollars inside the gates. there was only one water fountain in the whole park, and the line was soo long it was never worth the wait. besides that it was organized perfectly, and i only had one scheduling conflict (i would have loved to see off!).

there were three stages. the sequoia stage featured the majority of the punk/hardcore bands. the redwood stage which i only caught a few acts on, and the oak stage which included most of the bands i wanted to see.

we got there in time to catch the last two songs of abe vigoda's set. both of the songs were new, and they were both excellent. the first song i saw, dane ditched the drumset for a drum machine, which was different, but it worked well for them.

we then scoped out the venders booths, and headed over to the sequoia stage to watch the blow. i didn't know anything about the blow and officially don't care to. it was just a girl singing into a microphone with pre-recorded tracks from a laptop. not for me.

after that i sat on this knowl and listened to vetiver's set which sounded really great. i wish i listened to them more.

back at the sequoia stage i watched a few songs of screaming females. they are awesome. definitely a band i will be seeing again. i can only imagine how their sound will translate to a small rock club where i'm sure it is much preferred.

ceremony was on next, and i was curious to see how they would translate to a festival environment. they absolutely killed it. ross was climbing up the rafters jumping off amps, and literally going nuts. they have easily become my favorite live band of the year.

best coast was next on the oak stage. this was the first time i saw her. she sounded great. i really like what she does, and would definitely see her again.

i left best coast's set a little early to go sit in the shade and listen to a.a. bondy who played on redwood stage. i really wish i knew his songs well enough to sing along because he was pretty perfect and i would have loved to have been able to enjoy it that much more. he's definitely one of those dudes on my list of bands to see, so it was nice to be able to check him off. his songs are really pretty i loved his set.

after a.a. bondy, we headed back to the oak stage to see titus andronicus. they were definitely one of the bands that i was most excited to see. they exceeded all of my expectations and were absolutely incredible. with three guitar players, bass, and drums their sound was huge. two of the guitar players also played keyboards and violins too which was awesome. screaming, "you will always be a loser," with all my friends was definitely one of the days highlights for me.

7 seconds played on the sequoia stage. kevin mentioned the fact that he is still rocking at 49 years old (30 years with the band). he said he hoped to still be doing it for 15 to 20 more years and i really hope he does because he is one of the most positive people in music. i love and respect this band so much. they still have so much energy and are always a guaranteed good time.

unbroken played next. they were really solid. i was really into their set, and am super appreciate of the fact that they played the festival and i got to see them. they were a real treat.

after their set i was walking to the oak stage to go see ted leo, but was mesmerized by dead man's bones on the redwood stage. i couldn't help but stop and watch. they had a full children's choir. these were some really pretty songs. i would definitely like to see a proper show, and listen to some recorded material, because they were quite frankly the nicest surprise at the festival for me.

after a few songs we did trek over to ted leo who rocked. real straight forward rock 'n' roll. one of those bands that i've never really gotten into their recorded material, but have always wanted to. they sounded great live, and would be way into seeing them again.

after ted leo played, the mountain goats took the stage. i was definitely the most excited to see them. they played all the hits (probably five songs off of the sunset tree). it was cool to hear him talk up sleep, and appropriately after doing so they played "the best ever death metal band out of denton," which was a highlight for me. they ended the set with "this year" and "california song." a pretty perfect set.

sleep played next. they played for an hour. and it was epic. enough said.

i told my friends that there was nothing that could really top sleep, but there was one thing that could follow it, and it was big freedia. the queen diva from new orleans was easily the best way to end the festival. i don't know if i've ever had so much fun in a fifteen minute set of music before.

on the walk out to our car the mormons were playing outside the festival gates, and we walked with them for a few blocks. i have wanted to see them for a long time, and i can't think of a nicer cherry on top of a perfect day.

if i had to pick favorite performances

1. titus andronicus
2. ceremony
3. big freedia
4. the mountain goats
5. sleep

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

society verse by ross farrar

bridge 9 records put out a book by ross farrar, lead singer of ceremony, called society verse. the book is comprised of lyrics from ceremony songs re-organized with punctuation and put into stanza's. for a majority of the songs there are explanations for the lyrics as farrar explains what he was thinking at the time he wrote them. my favorite of which is his explanation for 'throwing bricks' where he explains the fight he got into that enabled him to write that song. also included in the book is 'into the wayside part iv,' a short story he wrote about growing up in rohnert park. all the photographs in the book are in black and white, and were taken by farrar. in my opinion the photographs and the short story are worth the price of the book alone. society verse is an extremely enjoyable read for anyone, whether or not they are ceremony fans.

Monday, August 23, 2010

ceremony, punch, nails and cardboard funeral @ gilman 8.22.10

gilman has easily become my favorite venue. the history has a lot to do with it, but mostly it's the little things like how they still sell copies of maximum rock n roll, or how hardcore kids and punk kids hang out together, or the black on white pictures on the wall when you first walk in. i guess when you add up all these little things, it makes every show there seem special.

cardboard funeral played first. maybe i'm wrong because i don't really know anything about them, but i feel like they are a pretty new band. their sound wasn't bad, but they just weren't for me. they didn't stop in between any songs, which i liked. but because of that they played a really short set.

nails fucking rocks. todd jones is a pretty amazing frontman considering he does what he does while shredding on guitar. this is my third time seeing them this year, and they get better every time. during their set todd said something to the effect that, "we have a new album out. you can pick it up in the back if you liked what you heard, and if not we only have two more songs. . . nobody in this band is cool. nobody in this room is cool. if you don't like something than you don't like something and that's it. don't be pretentious." i always like to hear what people have to say. i'm really rooting for this band. they're fucking great.

punch played third. this was my first time seeing them. there has been a lot of hype on this band at least among my friends, so i was pretty excited to see them. needless to say, they lived up to the hype. the lead singer, meghan, broke her ankle so she was in a huge cast and on crutches. i imagine that had she not been in crutches, her stage presence would have been incredible because despite the fact that she could not move on stage she was still really good. the fact that she is beautiful doesn't hurt either.

seeing ceremony at 924 gilman st. is a must. last time i saw them, i swore that there front man was the best i've ever seen in a hardcore/punk band. i stand by that. they opened with "the doldrums" which i thought was cool because it's a not a punk or hardcore song, but they still play it with the same aesthetic. the lead singer was on the floor just running into people for it. when the song was over they went right into "sick," and there was no going back for the rest of the set. it was loud rambunctious hardcore. meghan from punch sang lead vocals on a song which was cool. screaming, "i've got a lot of problems/i'm a fucked up kid" with a room full of people has been my favorite part of their set both times. all in all, a pretty perfect show.