Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I like it when you (boom boom)

Ryan Allen, guitarist from Thunderbirds are Now! is a married homeowner. We used to play with TAN a bunch, but it's been about 3 years. We played together last night in Pontiac, MI (with the always-excellent Enon) and it was fun to play catch up. Nothing seems to have changed in our department in 3 years. Meanwhile, they're off getting married and buying real estate.

We're starting to settle into the tour on today, day 5. We started with two college shows in the Minneapolis area, the kind where you play on campus somewhere bands probably shouldn't be playing. Made our way over to DeKalb, IL to play a decent show at the House Cafe and catch up with our friend Bojan and 75% of the band formerly known as Troubled Hubble. Today we drive south to Columbus, OH to play with Ra Ra Riot and Little Ones. So stoked.

Last night, the bar below the venue had a very metal-looking dude serving drinks. He was about six-foot-four and probably 250 pounds, with the Scott Ian from Anthrax braided beard thing. He was blasting his music really loudly and he had that intense metalhead face on as he would headbang and look over to his friend at the bar as they mouthed the lyrics together, as metalheads seem to do. The strange part was that the music they were actually rocking out to was all modern emo: Paramore, Brand New, My Chemical Romance, etc. I'm not dogging those bands or the bartender, it just really weirded me out at 1 am last night that the visual wasn't matching the audio.

ALSO, we're currently being haunted by new-ish Metallica songs on alternative rock radio. Not the totally new, undeniably bad St. Anger stuff, but the Load and Re-Load stuff from before people could actually admit that Metallica was starting to suck. Give me fuel, give me fire. Give me that which I desire. Ooooph.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Second verse, same as the first.

Our washing machine is completely adequate, but our dryer totally sucks. It usually takes at least two rounds to get anything actually dry, and in the past few months it started doing that bouncing around thing that I thought only happened on television. When it does this, the heat vent hose gets disconnected, threatening to overheat the dryer. We remedied this partially by duct-taping the hose to the dryer and weighing it down with a box of Dancing Feet March to War CDs from when we tried to start a record label in 2004. Even so, it's hellishly loud and 15 feet away from my computer.

Why am I talking about this? Because I have a metric fuck-ton of laundry to do before we leave for tour tomorrow and I'm sure the other dudes do too. This sentences me to a few hours of miserable dryer noises today. Right now I'm cherishing the relative silence; all I can hear is my own typing and Phil Collins' Greatest Hits playing from my iTunes.

This tour snuck up on me, which tours tend to do. It should be a good one, I don't think there are any shows that have potential to totally suck. There's the aforementioned shows with Ra Ra Riot and Tera Melos that we're thrilled about. We also landed a last minute show with Enon and Thunderbirds are Now in Detroit! Here is the list of dates:

04/25 - Minneapolis, MN @ University of Minnesota (w/ One For the Team, Poison Control Center)
04/26 - Northfield, MN @ St. Olaf University (w/ One For the Team)
04/27 - DeKalb, IL @ The House Cafe (w/ Kid You'll Move Mountains, Picture Books)
04/28 - Detroit, MI @ The Pike Room (w/ Enon, Thunderbirds are Now!)
04/29 - Columbus, OH @ The Basement (w/ Ra Ra Riot, Little Ones)
05/01 - Toronto, ON @ Ukula - OVER THE TOP FEST (w/ The D'Ubervilles, Oh No Forest Fires)
05/02 - (EARLIER SHOW) Hamilton, ON @ The Casbah (w/ An Albatross)
05/02 - (LATER SHOW) Guelph, ON @ The Shadow
05/03 - Brampton, ON @ Bramalea United Church (w/ Oh No Forest Fires)
05/04 - Barrie, OH @ Foundation (w/ Oh No Forest Fires)
05/05 - Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio (w/ Tera Melos, Anamanaguchi)
05/06 - Portsmouth, NH @ The Red Door (w/ Tiny Whales)
05/07 - Boston, MA @ O'Briens (w/ Tiny Whales)
05/08 - Manhattan, NY @ Piano's (w/ These Bones)
05/09 - Brooklyn, NY @ Lost and Found (w/ Get Him Eat Him)

The only things we have to figure out are these:

-We are playing May 9 in New York and then driving back home. Griffin has to fly home for his sister's graduation, so the rest of us are taking the van home. Mapquest approximates it at 15 hours and 20 minutes, but I think we can make it in 15 hours and 18 minutes.

-We have April 30 off. We're in Columbus, OH on the 29th and Toronto on May 1. What should we do on the 30th?!

Also, I didn't know that Phil Collins covered "Can't Hurry Love". This sketches me out a little bit. I'm watching you, Mr. Gated-reverb........

Friday, April 18, 2008

"It's all been a pack of lies" du duh, du duh, du duh, du duh, duh duh.

It's 11 am and I can hear the coffee grinder demolishing whole beans directly above me, a definite indicator that Aaron is awake. We are having practice in an hour, just to preemptively make sure we haven't forgotten how to play our songs at our show in Chicago tomorrow. We rarely practice when we're not writing, and usually just do one or two before we leave for a tour. When you spend weeks playing the same songs, the desire to drill them in your basement vanishes.

Soulseek is weird sometimes. You can find the entire discography of every Pitchfork buzz band plus b-sides and remixes, but type in "Invisible Touch" by Genesis and the screen goes blank.

I've had 4 people in 2 days talk to me and say "dude, I checked out Ra Ra Riot and they're awesome." I'm a one man hype machine. Oh yeah.

What should we listen to on the way up to and back from Chicago?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We've got amnesia for the slightest problems.

Apparently last night, our bros Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin stayed over at our house and I didn't even know! How does something like that get past me?

We leave for our tour in less than 2 weeks and I'm getting more excited about it. I know I keep gushing about Ra Ra Riot in this blog, but I just can't stop listening to their demo. The RAC Remix of "Each Year" is my most played song on iTunes, and when their album comes out (hopefully) this year it has a good chance of becoming my record of the year. So far the only contenders are Pattern is Movement and Black Mountain. Vampire Weekend is up there, but will likely be knocked out come December.

It occurred to me yesterday that we're getting close to the end of the 2000's, meaning that we're about a year and a half away from the most ridiculous onslaught of "best of this decade" lists ever known to man. Get ready, "Kid A"!

My plan for today: substitute guitar lesson teaching for a friend that's going to the Cardinals game. I've been warned that I may have to teach "Iron Man" upwards of 4 times today. Bring it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

All roads lead to Thriller.

I started using Last.fm as of yesterday. It's pretty fascinating so far, to be able to type in an artist and see what comes up as a "similar artist." Of course, the first thing i did was type So Many Dynamos into the search bar and luckily I like all the bands that it came up with! Lots of contemporaries like Cinemechanica and Enon, and lots of older 90's emo stuff like Cap'n Jazz and Piebald. Rad.

Our recent tour was great but plagued with a lack of internet access, which directly relates to the lack of blog entries through its duration. It feels like everything that we could say about the tour would be redundant: "we're having an awesome time!" "we just played a really fun house show!" "South By Southwest is crazy!" blah blah blah. I will say it's getting easier and easier to go on tour, and morale has been staying high. I think tour morale is directly related to food intake, and we've been eating wellllll.

I put Michael Jackson into Last.fm and "It's Not Right But It's Okay" by Whitney Houston came up. This song destroys! I never noticed it's built around a thumb piano sample. I have a soft spot for thumb pianos.

So what's new? As far as our record goes, we're going to mix our last track on May 8 and 9 in New York with Sir Alex Newport. After that, it's SERIOUSLY done, even though I've claimed it's done a million times before on this blog. We just have to name it and come up with artwork! Anybody who's ever made a record knows how painless THAT is.

Last.fm has now auto-suggested "Cream" by Prince. I really really want to like Prince but it's just never clicked for me. I always get sick of the snare drum sound and the lyrics always seem, well, gross. What am I missing here?

We're doing another tour in a few weeks, which is creeping up. We were offered to play the Over The Top Fest in Toronto, ON so we booked a tour around it. Luckily, we're playing with every band I nerded out about after SXSW (except the Weakerthans). We're playing with Ra Ra Riot, Tera Melos, and Meneguar. How sweet is that!?

No I'm on "Past-Time Paradise" by Stevie Wonder. It's so hard to listen to this song in context since it was sampled into "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio, and I essentially grew up with that song. It's always difficult to separate the original song of the previous generation of music listeners from the bastardized sampled song from my generation.

That reminds me: We played in Iowa City last week. The sound-guy showed up 40 minutes late for our soundcheck, then told us just to backline our amps instead. Then he put on the edited Walmart version of the second Coolio record over the PA very loudly and disappeared for an hour. He also wore a tuxedo shirt. I think he might qualify as being advanced.

What?! Instrumental music from the score to the VH-1 original movie "The Jacksons"? Seriously? That's it, I'm typing Cinemechanica into here. "The Peter Criss Jazz" by Don Caballero. That's better.

That's all for now. Now read this.