August 3, 2007

Juliana on Same Title Different Story

Chris has been running a site called Same Title Different Story for a while now. The mix of styles and stories has been pretty cool to listen to. For his third story, "Electric Current", he asked Juliana to contribute a story. After a little talk about what the title meant and what her story could be, Juliana wrote a second Super Cat adventure. I helped her clean up her sentences a little bit (basic stuff, not content) and we recorded the story on my macbook.

Check out her story and let me know what you think! Same Title Different Story

March 12, 2006

new pornographers and belle & sebastian @ the riverside, milwaukee 2006-03-11

Tracey, Bill, some friends and I went to see New Pornographers and Belle & Sebastian @ the Riverside Theatre here in milwaukee last night. inkdroid had warned me to look out for a hipster black hole at the event, but we escaped the singularity with our souls intact.

I expected the show to be good, but i wasn't sure what kind of show Belle & Sebastian would put on. I figured that we would all be happily lulled to sleep by a quiet performance.

New Pornographers opened up, but their energy was pretty hard to top. I would not have wanted to follow them. They played like the Pixies: "Hello, we are the New Pornographers and we have never been to Milwaukee before. This song is called blah blah blah". There were almost no breaks between the incredibly energetic songs. Because Belle & Sebastian's gear was already set up, the New Pornographers were all in a single line across the stage, with the drummer center stage. He was great and looked like a giant sleepy man imitating tommy lee. The whole band was really tight and whoever the female vocalist/keyboardist was, she was great.

The only thing that bugged me about their set was the fact that the sound was mixed incredibly flat and muddy. Aside from the drums, very little was distinguishable. I worried that during Belle & Sebastian we wouldn't be able to hear anything, a fear that turned out to be unfounded.

Belle & Sebastian took the stage and the sound was fantastic. The set was quieter than the New Pornographers, but you could hear every scrape of the strings, every vocal fluctuation, every gentle drum or cymbal hit. Stuart played the rock star a bit and started off by shaking everyone's hands at the foot of the stage, but it was all tongue-in-cheek. He was a great performer and the frequent instrument and position changes were eased by his chatter.

They opened with a track from their new album, The Life Pursuit, but played mainly older material, which was fabulous. I have listened to some of those tracks for years and to hear them in a crystal clear theatre was excellent. My only real complaint is that there were not more numbers featuring Sarah's amazing voice. If she would have sung "Is it Wicked Not to Care?" i would still be bouncing around with a giant lazy smile on my face next week. UPDATE: since i only listen to this music and don't religiously follow their lives, i didn't realize until tonight that Sarah was not the original female singer. Even Bill, who was much less interested in Belle & Sebastian than New Pornographers, was bopping along throughout most of the set.

The performance really transformed many of the songs for me. The records are such small, quiet, beautiful things. Seeing the whole stage production with the lights, the smoke and (most importantly) a big, full band sound was really impressive.

The show was great and as a first concert as Milwaukee residents, Tracey and I were both pretty happy.

Some link love from around the web:

February 3, 2006

Andrew Bird @ The Miramar in Milwaukee

Andrew Bird
Originally uploaded by plural.

Billy, Heather, Nate and I went to see Andrew Bird last night at the Mirarmar in Milwaukee.

I can't tell you how excited I am that i can get home from a show in 10 minutes. :D

This photo is from my Treo, but Stephanie Anne on flickr has a much prettier set of photos from the show.

I was impressed by how much music 2 people could make. Andrew Bird and Martin Dosh both used repeater pedals and samplers live, as extensions of their instruments, to flesh out "the band." I know that is not a novel technique, but it was the first time that I had seen it live.

I bought my first Andrew Bird album because Chris Ware had drawn the cover. What random luck!

July 21, 2005

Talking Heads on Vinyl

I am currently listening to "Talking Heads 77" on my new turntable. I am just getting back into playing records (mainly because we have a couple crates of good records, but also because I want juliana to be able to impress the kids at school with her knowledge of "old tech"). Since i didn't want to spend a ton, i picked up a Denon DP-29F. Mixed reviews on Amazon, but it has a built-in preamp, so i can plug it in anywhere, which is nice.

When Tracey and I brought out the records we found that we had a bunch of Talking Heads ("Talking Heads 77", "Remain In Light", "Fear of Music", "Naked" and "True Stories"), some Leadbelly, a bunch of Opera and Classical stuff, some old Disney and kid storybook stuff and even Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush", which is one of my favorites.

The turntable, receiver and speakers are currently on the futon in the basement, which is less than ideal, but it is a start until we find a good place for this gear.

As if I needed more music to listen to!

June 18, 2005

doughty on letterman

Bill pinged me over IM on tuesday to let me know that Mike Doughty was going to be on David Letterman that night. I was busy, but i told the tivo to snag it for me so i could watch it later. Tonight i watched it and converted it to a quicktime file so all could see!


Download the video via BitTorrent and while you are at it buy "Haughty Melodic" at (if you haven't already).

I still remember the first time I heard Soul Coughing. We knew that they were opening for They Might Be Giants at the Barrymore in Madison, so we went out and bought Ruby Vroom (i think tracey was the first to get it, or possibly the only one to get it at that time). They were one of the best opening bands i have seen and quickly became a favorite.

I just picked up "Haughty Melodic" this afternoon and it is nice. I have heard some of that material live or on the previous EPs and i feel like his recorded band is not quite the right fit for his material. Not bad by any means, but kinda plain. I will be giving it a couple more listens this weekend and we'll see how it turns out.

Random Doughty/Soul Coughing stuff:

  • I was apparently very excited that they used the phrase "the 5% nation of nipple clamps" in a song. So excited that i bugged my friends about it during the show, as if that phrase was the best thing about the show.
  • Doughty wrote his song for the McSweeny's book AFTER getting the comic from Chris Ware. I know because i asked him at Martyr's. He seemed to think it was a stupid thing to ask.
  • I think doughty's songs for other albums are kinda lame and extreeeeeeeeeeemely literal. See the McSweeny's song and his contribution to the "Future Soundtrack of America." When i heard that song live, i told Tracey that i thought it should be used for a commercial. Well, it kinda was!
  • I drunkenly told Doughty's one time keyboard player, "The Doveman" Thomas Bartlett (read his blog here)that there was an awesome place called Tommy Bartlett's robot world in Wisconsin. Which i thought was cool because that is his name.

May 7, 2005

wilco @ the vic

chad and i saw wilco at the VIC last night. The show was pretty great and the crowd was good. The biggest surprise for me was how great Nels Cline was. One of my favorite albums is the Nels Cline/Thurston Moore collaboration, "Pillow Wand" - an ambient, noisy composition. Last night, Cline played perfectly as part of the band. It never sounded like anything but Wilco. From the fiery solos on "A Ghost is Born", to the country slide guitar of some of the older Wilco tracks, Cline always had that wilco sound. I am totally blown away by his versatility.

Chad just sent me the set list that he found somewhere last night. This list is missing the 3rd encore, but that was only one song, i believe. If i find it, I will post it here...

Vic Theatre Chicago, IL 5/6/05

Main Set

  1. Late Greats
  2. Handshake Drugs
  3. Hell Is Chrome
  4. Company in my Back
  5. I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
  7. Muzzle of Bees
  8. A Shot in the Arm
  9. How to Fight Loneliness
  10. Hummingbird
  11. Jesus, etc.
  12. I'm The Man Who Loves You (with horns)
  13. Misunderstood (with horns)
  14. Theologians
  15. Poor Places
  16. Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Encore 1

  1. Ashes of American Flags
  2. Heavy Metal Drummer
  3. Monday (with horns)
  4. Outtasite (Outta Mind)
  5. I'm A Wheel
  6. Kicking Television

Encore 2

  1. Just A Kid (with The Blisters)
  2. Airline to Heaven
  3. Say You Miss Me
  4. Hesitating Beauty
  5. Kingpin

January 24, 2005

Rock for the Hungry, Milwaukee WI

Juliana and I are participating in a benefit show that Greg Stefke of Chariots Race has put together for the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee.

Rock for the Hungry

To benefit the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee

Saturday, Feb.12 @ Mad Planet, 533 E Center St, Milwaukee, WI

If anyone has links for the other artists, let me know and I will update this.

Featured Artists: * Carmen Benske * Too Much Metal For One Hand * Andre St. Louis * John-Luke Fredricks * Bruce Pattison * Jason Gessner * Juliana Gessner * Madilyn Larsh

All-ages Show: Door 3:30 / Show 4:00 * 4:00 Mandates * 4:45 Modern Machines * 5:30 The Mustníts * 6:15 Chariots Race * 7:00 Haymarket Riot * 7:45 Call Me Lightning

Drinking Show: Door 9:00 / Show 9:30 * 9:30 Supervillains * 10:15 The Black Hats * 11:00 The Mustníts * 11:45 Davey Von Bohlen (from the Promise Ring) * 12:30 Chariots Race * 1:15 Haymarket Riot

January 5, 2005

early warnings

i don't always get a chance to read the Chicago Reader, as the boxes with them on my way to/from work are often empty before i can snag a new issue. This bums me out because they are a great newspaper, but also because I don't know what is happening in the music world. Thanks to inkdroid, i can add an RSS feed for the Reader's Early Warnings section. Excellent. Thanks, inkdroid!

November 26, 2004

travis morrison videos

i left the sound in these videos either to be a jerk or a purist. it is your call.

Aside from the sound sucking hard, the videos are pretty funny to watch. They certainly can't replace seeing travis act like this on stage, but they are a hoot (even in slow motion!).

So, mute your speakers and enjoy!

Travis Morrison #1 (3MB quicktime video)
Travis Morrison #2 (4MB quicktime video)
Travis Morrison #3 (4MB quicktime video)

November 24, 2004

travis morrison @ the onopa brewery

This is a couple of weeks old, but i did manage to snap a couple of good pics when Bill, Nate and I went to see Travis Morrison play with Greg Steffke's band, Chariots Race at the Onopa Brewery. The show was great. The sound at Onopa was much better than at the Cactus Club (although there was no J. Robbins this night. ). I have a little video clip to post, too, but I need to strip out the sound. My camera records awful sound.
The opportunity to hear Greg's band with better sound was a huge help. They were just in the studio and will have a CD coming out soon.
After Chariots Race, the Firebird Band took the stage, and bored me nearly to tears. Not because the music was bad (it was pretty good), but the stage show was: one guy way too animated for the tempo and one girl and one other guy moving about as fast as the tempo (very slowly). They played the kind of music i like to listen to, but didn't provide a show i wanted to watch.
When Travis and his band took the stage, the crowd gathered around and started moving during the first song. Travis is a crazy animated performer. When he gets going he dances like a Baptist preacher, with the hand shaking and over the top facial expressions. His keyboard player, Kristen Forbes was a good match for him. She kept up a crazed cheerleader routine throughout most of the show. Definitely a good stage performance. This capped the show off nicely and we left in high spirits.
This was a really great night. We ended up very drunk, playing Donkey Konga until the wee hours of the morning, and when I dropped Bill off at work, I picked up my iBook. :)

Continue reading "travis morrison @ the onopa brewery" »

August 11, 2004

me slow, wife fast

Well, i was going to make a post about how cool it was that tom waits gives a big ups to rockford (my home town), but Tracey beat me to it.

As she has said repeatedly over the last couple of months, "I have beaten you to blogging like 20 times."


April 8, 2004

aquacade photos

here are my photo choices from my set from aquacade. Bill shot a few of them, as noted near the image.

Continue reading "aquacade photos" »

March 28, 2004

Aquacade I: followup notes

Here are my rather free-form notes on the presenters at Aquacade I, in (pretty much the order they read and/or rocked.

  • Stephen Elliot label: MacAdam/Cage

    Well, nothing starts a night off like some sexual abuse of minors. Well written and not what I was expecting.

  • Prageeta Sharma label: Fence Books

    I am not sure if you should ever introduce a presenter at a dirty bar with "She is a graduate of Brown and The New School." Hmmm. Not sure if I am supposed to care. I didn't, but that is beside the point. Sharma had a lovely voice and read an interesting poem about men's underwear.

  • White Magic label: Drag City related: Quix*o*tic

    White Magic was introduced by the guy who was M.C. for the event. I think he runs drag city, but I am not sure. My indie rock street cred is as low as it has ever been. He kept making lots of jokes that I must have needed special knowledge to laugh at. And then he introduced White Magic by saying, "They are the toast of New York. You Chicagoans in the crowd should be jealous." Hmm. Sorry. If that is New York's toast, they can keep them. The young singer looked as if she was twelve years old and sang like an adolescent clone of Cat Power's Chan Marshall. The music was good, but each song had the same vocal melody and all of the bad qualities of Chan Marshall's voice. I kept going back and forth on them, but eventually side with "Nah. Not so good." They also played a pretty long set for being in the middle of a bunch of other stuff I wanted to see.

  • Bill Callahan label: Drag City related: (smog)

    I have only seen Callahan play as smog once, but his voice sticks with you. He doesn't look like he would have such a powerful voice. And his words are not strong, in a manly sense, necessarily. The subject from his reading, an in-progress book of imaginary letters to his sister who was away at college, sounded like a collection of ramblings from a supremely indecisive individual, but were read with a straightforwardness that was quite a contrast. Callahan's wit is always very dry, even on his recordings. For a good example, listen to "Dress Sexy At My Funeral."

  • Joe Wenderoth label: Verse Press

    I have received some giggles from friends who were told I went to a poetry reading. I use Joe Wenderoth as a reply. "Oh yeah." I say. "This was a rockin poetry reading. There were lots of swear words AND an orgy with the messiah. Take that." I actually never said that to anyone. I will if the opportunity arises, however. Wenderoth read part of his hysterical Letters to Wendy's and a story about the disciples confronting Jesus about his penis. This question ultimately leads to the revelation that Jesus, in fact, has a vagina. And then they have a messianic gang bang.

  • Harmony Korine related: Gummo, Julien Donkey Boy, Kids

    As a followup to the story about Jesus, Harmony Korine read one piece from his laptop. The story was a disturbing oral history from a hired hand of the Vanderbilt's who was encouraging the young narrator's rape fantasies. Korine barely glanced up from his laptop and has a very quiet voice.

  • David Berman label: Drag City, Open City

    Berman was my main draw to the show, and he didn't disappoint. In addition to a monologue about truth and american presidents (not related) and a real mindbender of a story about an erotic science fiction author getting locked out of the world, he joined Chestnut Station for a rendition of the Silver Jews songs "New Orleans" and "How To Rent A Room." Earlier, I posted my videos of berman from the event. Berman has a great voice and a real slick sense of humour that hinges on a clever turn of phrase as often as it does an apparently ridiculous situation.

  • Chestnut Station label: Drag City

    This band was pretty good, but the M.C. of the even was their vocalist and it was apparent that only 3 people in the crowd had the requisite knowledge to appreciate him fully. Oh well. The bad was really tight and played some good rock. It was a great way to end the set.

I still have some pictures to post, but it is late. So off to bed I go......

March 27, 2004

Aquacade Videos + a quick note

Bill and I checked out Aquacade I Thursday night at the Empty Bottle. We also grabbed a bite @ Bite (ha!), next door. Bite had great food and was super cheap. I had so much pasta I could barely fit a Harp in my belly afterwards. I did, of course. I am tough like that. Pushing forward and all.

Anyway, Aquacade was a poetry/prose reading & rock show organized by the Silver Jews frontman David Berman. I will post more full notes + pics later, but I have put up the videos that Bill and I shot with my digital camera.

(please note: you will need quicktime to view the videos.

  • Part of David Berman's opening monologue:
    small (56k) medium (100k) large (300k)
  • Nearly all of the Silver Jews song "New Orleans," performed with Chestnut Station:
    small (56k) medium (100k) large (300k)
  • Some of the Silver Jews song "How To Rent a Room," performed with Chestnut Station:
    small (56k) medium (100k) large (300k)

September 13, 2003

First iTunes Music Store Purchase

I registered for the iTunes music store to enter their iPod a day drawing, but had no real intention of using it. Then I saw that there was a re-released 2 disc version of Sonicy Youth's Dirty. A couple of quick price checks later and i had purchased it from iTunes.
The files are the protected AAC files, but the sound quality is really nice and pretty much only listen to stuff on my computer or iPod anyway. Even through the stereo, I hook the iPod up to it.
I am worried at how easy it is to buy albums. Then i looked at the prices on some of them. $ for some albums, $13 for others. I thought there was supposed to be a savings. Oh wait. That is for the labels. The artists don't really make any substantial amount from this service, so I guess that is like the status quo.
Anyway, it is a great SY album. ;)

August 21, 2003

sonic youth video

i have finally posted the sonic youth video from the goose island fest. There is no sound because i shot this with my coolpix 990.
There are 4 versions:
320x240 sorenson
320x240 mpeg-4
240x180 sorenson
240x180 mpeg-4

August 16, 2003

goose island festival

Chad and I went to the goose island music festival last night. The concert was held at the A. Finkl & Sons steel factory. Right by the river @ Southport & Clybourn in Chicago. The lineup was Yakuza, the Waco Brothers, Bob Mould, Guided By Voices and Sonic Youth.
Yakuza: dunno. drinking.
Waco Brothers: eh. ok. drinking.
Bob Mould: I don't know of many performers that can hold together an entire show with just themselves on guitar (12 string acoustic, and then an electrict). His voice is amazing. Lots of performers sound like garbage without the studio engineers, but Bob's voice carried across the entire factory, sounding as good, if not better than his albums. I made Chad a Bob Mould fan last night. Oh, and also some drinking.
Guided By Voices: Great music. Robert Pollard is a total cock-rocker, though. I am not up enough on this band to know if he really thinks he is as cool as he wanted to be, or if he is just an asswipe. Some choice lines, "Are you ready to rock and roll?" "We are gonna fight on, right on!" "Maybe if you're lucky I'll take my dick out for you!" The band was really great, musically, but fuck that guy. We spent half of their set in the food tent eating quesadillas from Fronterra grill. And drinking. My flask was drained of all it's beautiful Knob Creek by this point.
Sonic Youth: I have waited 10 years to see them. I am a moron for not doing it sooner, but oh well. These guys are old (except for Jim O'Rourke, but he is knew). Lee Ranaldo has grey/white hair and a craggy face. But unlike when I saw Wire at the Metro a couple of years ago, or when I saw the Stones on HBO, their age does nothing to damper the sound or energy of the music. Songs I only kinda liked from NYC Ghosts & Flowers and Murray Street sounded better than I could have imagined. And some of the older material (Catholic Block from Sister and Expressway to Yr Skull from EVOL) were great as well. The show ended with a 15 minute version of Expressway. I couldn't have asked for a better night. Well, Teenage Riot would have been great, but they did play Skip Tracer and 100%.
Best $25 I have spent in a LOOOOOOOOOONG time. Pictures and a 1 minute video clip of SY to come..........

June 18, 2003

dismemberment plan final tour........

heading to the metro (first time in a looooooooooooong time) with alex (nano) to see the plan tomorrow night. yay me.
Hopefully i will have some pics to put up late tomorrow night or friday.
well, i felt like shit thursday and came home, had a hot shower, some ibuprofen and laid on the couch. alex said the show was amazing. I will try to get some pics.

March 13, 2003

i have a confession to make...

it shames me to say this, but....

Continue reading "i have a confession to make..." »