Sunday, May 30, 2010

Robbie Fulks & Nora O'Connor - So Much Wine(The Handsome Family cover)

I went to see Robbie Fulks and Nora O'Connor last Monday, and it was beautiful, and funny, and incredible. I highly recommend that you check out one of his shows at the Hideout in the weeks to come. This is a cover of a Handsome Family song and it is so beautiful.

MDF Day 1

This is going to be brief, I am exhausted and mostly just killing time until my co-travelers wake up. I really really want to shower, and one of them is sleeping next to the bathroom. Such are the sacrifices we've made.

Day One:
The Communion opened, and played a tremendous set. One of their guitarists recently passed, and the emotion(not to be crass) was palpable.
Putrescence was unremarkable, though their singer was entertaining.
Defeatist were furious. Their sound mix was muddy, which was upsetting, but not deal-breaking.
Tombs was solid, but didn't impress me overly. I don't care for them on record, so perhaps that was a large factor in my enjoyment.
Nazxul was quite enjoyable, playing a blistering set of symphonic black metal that suffered from some sound problems, but overcame it with rage and theatrics. The sound resolved as the set when on, and near the end, they were unfuckablewith.
Jesus Crost was tremendous. They are a two person grind band from the Netherlands, and they are incredible. They had an absolutely huge sound for only two people, and they were very very tight. They also had huge infectious smiles in their faces, and at one point, the drummer used his sticks to make an inverted cross. I really enjoyed this.
Malignancy was fun, but played on the worst stage. The side stage is at the top of a hill, and has shitty sound. The singer's stage banter was great.
I caught a little bit of Watain, but it was so crowded I couldn't see a thing. What I heard wasn't that impressive.
Gorguts was mighty, and crushed any of my doubts. Colin looked like he was having the most fun ever.
Gride was fun enough, but a hard transition after the technicality of Gorguts.
Coffins was too crowded to see anything, and the music didn't grab me, though I do enjoy them on record. We jetted after a couple songs and then went back to crash. Exhausting day.

Brief Portal Review(apologies to Alan Moore)

Portal closed tonight's day of metal, and I am almost without words to describe their set. Their performance was a singular event, one for which I have few reference points.

Part of my issue with most death metal is the weirdly strict adherence to a certain set of rules. Something about mid-to-fast-paced anti-Christianity screeds leaves me cold, and odes to slicing open a woman's womb leave me colder(Not in an awesome way, but in a bored way).

Portal invokes none of these cliches. They are the first death metal band I've seen live and left feeling unsettled and shaken, bordering on legitimately scared. Their show felt like the kind of thing you'd walk away from, with a new understanding of some kind of Ur-langauge, and a new willingness to examine the way human beings are put together(with a knife). The wall of noise is unrelenting, and the faceless beings creating it inspire no sympathy, no sense of humanity. At times The Conductor's eyes appeared to shimmer in the light, but this was merely the stage lights reflecting off his Black Bishop's hat. These were not humans, but instruments of beings beyond mortal ken. Raising the horns seems pointless in the face of all this bleakness, Satan a humanistic conceit of a self-absorbed society. Instead, I raised my hand, palm-upward, fingers curled like the tentacles of the Great Old Ones, in praise of their eventual reclamation of our spoiled world. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maryland Deathfest 2010 is very fucking nigh.

Our City is Burning is currently reporting from Baltimore, MD. My comrades in metal(Andrew, Ryan, and Idol Threat) are currently at the pre-fest, which I decided to not attend in favor of saving my stamina, and my ears. Instead, I am sitting here, drinking the fanciest of root beers, listening to early Alkaline Trio, and playing GTA: Chinatown Wars. Our City is Burning fucking loves GTA: Chinatown Wars. Our City is Burning is also digging this gnarly thunderstorm.

Let's talk about the fest.

Tomorrow is honestly a pretty light day. I'm excited for Malignancy, Nazxul, Watain, Trap Them, Gorguts, and Coffins. I'm a little worried about the black metal bands since both Mayhem and Absu lacked the proper punch(sound and ambiance wise) playing outside last year, and both Nazxul and Watain will be performing on outside stages. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, however, so perhaps nature will accent the rage and provide the proper backdrop. The rain will probably also wash away the pig's blood.

Saturday is filled with bands I am either ambivalent towards, or don't particularly like. I am excited to finally see Melechesh, and the Chasm. Asphyx should be a highlight as well. I'm not familiar with Autopsy or Repulsion but hopefully they will overcome the whole "not being bands really" business. Everyone is my group is really excited for Portal, but I honestly feel pretty hit or miss with them. Impetuous Ritual(Portal side-project) is fucking great, but the main band is something can only get into sometimes. I imagine the costumes will be worth the price of admission.

Sunday is really the day I'm most excited about, and the day I will probably spend the most money. Gorod, Gridlink, Krallice, Black Breath, Eyehategod, Nirvania2002, Converge, and From Ashes Rises should all be tremendous. I've been waiting literally years to see Eyehategod, and my excitement level could not be higher.

I am excited for the whole shebang, but I do think I was more excited last year. I was coming off a six month show drought, and was listening to a lot more metal back then. Currently, I am listening to pretty much only the new Robyn album, and I just found out she's playing the first day of Pitchfork. Apparently I am going to Pitchfork? I guess seeing El-P and Robyn is worth $40. Mergh.

Anyway. Deathfest. I'll be trying to write thoughts up, but I make no promises. I get pretty fucking overwhelmed pretty quick. I'm hoping for some new shirts, some new vinyl, some new tapes, and some awesome fucking memories. I am excited.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Janelle Monae - Tightrope(Live on Letterman)

Label this under "Things Our City is Burning" slept on. It took repeated insistence from Pop Candy Arcade and a very good friend of mine to finally give Janelle Monae a chance, and they were right, I should have gone to see her at Schuba's, and I should have been listening to her for months. I was a hater for no real good reason, and I was dreadfully wrong. Her debut album "The ArchAndroid" is tremendous fun, skipping from genre to genre gleefully, and gracefully. This video is her performing the lead single from that album on the Letterman Show, and it is tremendous.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Isis Broke Up

Seven years too late, amirite?

Because I could give some fucks about this news, here's John Darnielle at his ranting prophet best, covering Furniture Huschle's "Terror Song". I remember when this used to be a live staple for the Mountain Goats, and here's a particularly great version.

The Mountain Goats - Terror Song(Furniture Huschle cover)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer in the City

Chicago rules in the summer, and Chicago rules in the summer because of street festivals.  Last year I saw Justin Townes Earle, William Elliot Whitmore, and Rock Plaza Central(twice!) for $5 a pop.  Let's take a look at what you can look forward to this summer. More exciting shit is sure to be announced.

Do-Division Street Fest(June 5th - 6th)
Not a whole lot here to be excited about. The Good Life might be worth seeing if you're a big Tim Kasher fan.

Metronome Celebration(June 12th - 13th)
Sunday is the day to go to this sucker. The Arrivals, Pegboy, and Deals Gone Bad? Sounds like a plan, man. Also, akron/family should be intriguing.

Taste of Randolph Fest(June 18th - June 20th)
Fuck yes. Superchunk, Lucero, Mucca Pazza, The Waco Brothers, what the fuck else do you need? Goddamn, I'm excited for this weekend.

West Fest Chicago(July 10th - 11th)
Bloodiest and Fucked Up both are playing this bad boy, which means this'll be loud as fuck. I'm excited to finally get a chance to see both these bands. I expect great things.

A lot of the street fests haven't announced their musical acts yet, but honestly, I can't imagine a more exciting show than Superchunk. Pretty stoked for that.

a song for dio

Last night, The Mountain Goats played a solo set at the American Theater Company in Chicago, and I was luckily able to attend. It was a tremendous show. Robbie Fulks opened, and he was funny, and amazingly talented on guitar. He's currently playing every Monday at the Hideout, and I think you all should go. His soloing reminded me of Leo Kottke, and his songs were bitter, and biting, and raucous country tunes. John from the Mountain Goats came on afterwards, and proceeded to play pretty much every song I wanted to hear. He played two songs from the new album, and everything else was from "The Sunset Tree" and before. I've embedded two songs from the recording I made last night. I apologize for the sub-par quality, I used a tiny mp3 player's microphone. It really was a one-of-a-kind show.

Set-list(stolen from therainechild over at the Mountain Goats forums):

I've Got the Sex
Have To Explode
Alpha Incipiens
From TG&Y
The Boys are Back in Town
Grendel's Mother
Matthew 25:21
Love, Love, Love
Going to Georgia
Dance Music
Part of "World's Greatest"
Going to Maine
Color in Your Cheeks
Alpha Negative
Tulsa Imperative (A close friend requested this, and I am beyond glad he played it.)
Up the Wolves
Against Pollution
The Sign
This Year

New Song
John 4:16
Cubs in Five
Rainbow in the Dark(in memory of Ronnie James Dio)
Golden Boy
Twin Human Highway Flares
Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton

The Mountain Goats - From TG&Y(live)

The Mountain Goats - Rainbow in the Dark(Dio cover)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Life's a never ending wheel

thank you. requiescat in pace.

It's no better to be safe than sorry

A-Ha just played their last Chicago show ever on Thursday. "Take on Me" is still a fantastic song. Cap'n Jazz will be playing reunion shows in Chicago July 17 and 18.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Women's Basketball - An Octopus, But Like, An Octopus With Massive Wings And Junk

Somewhere between Atom and his Package and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone is Women's Basketball. This is low-fi pop music with rambling lyrics about going on facebook drunk, or calling people you date because there's no-one else to hang out with.

That's all you get. I'm going to go play SWAT 4 and listen to the new Robyn album.

Go here to download.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Best Thing I've Heard All Year

Yeah. I hope the rest of the cd is this much fun.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

These are truly the last days

Metal Haven is still not closed, but their Farewell show was last night. I stopped by their premises on Friday, and picked up Malignancy's "Inhuman Grotesqueries" and Withered "Folie Circulaire" on vinyl for about $18. I've briefly listened to the Withered, and I love it, but mostly I just want to listen to songs that sound like this:

Forest City Lovers are a band from Canada, and I have been in love with them for over two years. They provided the soundtrack to many a walk in Alaska. Something about their wistful and pleasant indie-folk just fit perfectly with that small town, with wanderings through the forests, to coffee at the bagel shop. They are working on a new album, and you can check out a song from it here: