Fall music roundup

In Music on November 8, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Surfer Blood + The Drums
September 20 — Common Grounds
What could be a better answer to a “lets-just-be-friends” talk than a room full of sweaty boys and their songs? I don’t know because it was really just the right thing to do.

An earlier post pretty much covered it all. But what a wonderful way to start off the season.

Washed Out + Yeasayer
October 4 — State Theatre
After a long two-hour drive and a minor incident at McDonald’s, the atmospheric cloud of Washed Out’s no-fi beats reached out and drew us inside State Theatre. We said our hellos and swayed in a content little clump for the remaining two songs.

While I’m used to waiting an eternity (or long enough to cause lower back pain) for the next band to set up at this venue, it was pleasantly surprising that Yeasayer managed to get all of their shit on stage pretty fast. And then it started and just didn’t stop. The specific, intertwined vocals create a wall-to-wall experience of soul-searching sound. The bass player Ira Wolf Tuton goes from traditional bass lines to higher octave notes effortlessly with a little help from his pedals. And when you’re with musicians who are blown away, it tends to validate the whole experience of a humble, easy-to-please listener.

FAIL: Quiet Hooves + Prince Rama
I don’t remember — Spin Cycle
Claire’s step-brother Aaron is in a “little” band called Quiet Hooves. Member Mercer West said he came up with the band name just because he thought it sounded cool. Needless to say I was excited about seeing a band that features 13 members.

Claire and I wined and dined Aaron and sometimes Patrick at The (good ole) Top. But the fried pickles were salty, the entire dinner was late, I didn’t get bacon and Aaron didn’t get mayo. Shit.

I did however get a migraine and Claire got more homework.

Some Quiet Hooves members had a semi-fail themselves after getting bounced from the Prince Rama show at Common Grounds (after all, who can fit more than a few on the list). But the important thing is that Spin Cycle was more than accommodating for a late night show.

On my way to class the next morning, I did however get a chance to catch a peek of the whitest Javier Morales ever snoozing on our couch.

Next time.

October 14 — 1982
The jist: young kids piling in to a little venue for a heartwarming performance. Lovely. And digging the boys in the band with suspenders. Nice job.


FAIL: iPod>CD player>Radio
Before my drive, I buy some music online. I attempt to put this music on my iPod, but it freezes. Don’t worry, I tell myself. Let’s do this the old-fashioned way and burn a CD for the car CD player. But it just couldn’t be that simple. For when I attempted to eject the current CD that had been playing fine previously, the device just gargled on its metallic contents and refused. After using a pencil to dig it out, I inserted the new CD just in case it was a momentary issue. Nope. Nothing.

Thus I was banished to the land of the radio. Scanning through the channels of the Gainesville area I was accosted by Pink and her ilk. With lyrics something like “don’t get fancy, just get dancey,” I was forced to turn off the music.

But my car makes this really annoying whistling sound at around 75 mph, so I had to keep trying.

Jam of the day: “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith. (I didn’t embed the official video because I don’t like the CGI so much with the paint, but the dancing is still pretty fun. Also, I don’t know how Willow Smith isn’t of Pink’s ilk, but she isn’t. )

Favorite stations of the day: 80s classics somewhere around Ocala and of course 101.5 as I hit Tampa AND other classics from the 50s to the 70s. “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl) by Looking Glass” never gets old.

October 15 — State Theatre
While I don’t think anyone would argue that Matt & Kim are overflowing with prodigal talent and music prowess, what they lack in technical skill, they sure do make up with energy. And a great light display.

Normally the artists are smushed to the back and sides of the stage to accommodate loads of equipment, but Matt & Kim remain efficient with one drum kit and one keyboard packed way up front and center. The neon lights pulsated with Lego-like symmetry and geometry while either member of the band took turns standing all over their equipment.

Kim looks almost manic as she beats away on her drums like one of those never-tiring symbol monkeys. But once she gets on the mic you can tell she just loves, loves, loves what shes doing and our concerns about excessive drug use faded.

Within a couple songs, the crowd surfing began and it was as if there was a cannon in the crowd shooting high schoolers on the stage in rapid succession. The first girl looked embarrassed. The tenth girl started dancing behind the band and resisted the bouncers’ efforts at removing her which actually got her a little roughed up.

Nevertheless, the energy was positive throughout and Matt & Kim played on and through, finishing on the high note of “Daylight.”

October 17 — Crowbar
One adjective best describes Caribou and that word is “Canadian.”

Stereotype? Yes. Accurate? I think so.

Clean cut. Sincere. Artistic in a way that reminds me of abstract moose and pines tries.

I have “The Milk of Human Kindness” (how Candianly titled!) album but haven’t been able to get into it on my own. Whether it’s because of my shitty, hand-me-down headphones or the fact that ambient music needs to have more ambiance than a 2003 Nissan Sentra or a newsroom last remodeled in 1995, I don’t know that I would have considered myself a fan before.

But seeing them live made the difference. For some reason, I still can’t listen to them on my iPod. But the show was entirely worth it the whole time.

I’m thinking of upgrading to the latest “Swim.” The crowd demanded the song “Sun” from the 2010 album and I could understand why.

The Ex-Boogeymen
October 31 — Loosey’s
A ladybug, an owl and a lumberjack all walk into a bar. But on different days. What do they share in common besides a woodland environment? These have all been my Halloween costume over the past few years.

The lumberjack was fun, but looking back, I don’t think even Halloween is a reason for someone over the age of seven to dress up as a woodland creature.

This year I had an epiphany: blood. For some reason, my costumes have never involved an excessive amount of blood. I had a little the year I was a vampire at age 13, but never really got down with the gore. This, I realized, was a huge mistake.

Target really didn’t have a good blood selection. The temporary Halloween store did. They had everything from capsules to gallons of blood. But the item that caught my eye was the gel.

Gel blood is perfection. When combined with a webbed plastic sponge, the contusions, cuts and scrapes take me right back to my childhood (not with an abusive father, more like an abusive bike or environment in general).

ANYWAY, I had to put on my blood gel and go out on the town so we headed to Market Street Pub which is now Loosey’s.

The creepy zombie male nurse there in competition for the blood award turned out to be the singer of The Ex-Boogeymen. Considering I don’t really consider myself a punk rock fan, The Ex-Boogeymen were pretty awesome. My fave was “Fuck the Sun” as that is how I feel most of the year living in Florida. And there was crowd surfing and moshing. Hockey players, tall girls in pumpkin dresses and the male nurse’s female counter part all got in there and it was great.

La Roux
November 4 — The Ritz
The female Rick Astley aka “The Ginger Unicorn” aka Elly Jackson took the stage in a metallic, gold, leopard, shoulder-padded and epauletted jacket.

Amanda and I took our places left of the sound booth but still on the “upstairs” portion of the platform.

Plenty of space and a great view: check. Drummer who does what I’ll call the air worm while pounding away on his little electronic pads: check. Girl who smashes her face against the metal railing while headbanging by herself: also a check. Security guard less than a foot away who doesn’t notice this: double check.

La Roux’s poppy yet lyrically melancholy hits pulsated over the crowd as the art deco paneled screen a la Beetlejuice glowed a warm orange and alternated between construction site and palm tree silhouettes.

Though I was later informed she only played five songs, neither of us really noticed.

What we did notice was that her high-register album is a strain on her voice. “Bulletproof,” if I remember right, was sung primarily by the audience. The backing track was ever-present. This doesn’t bother me as much, because if you are not going to have back-up singers, there needs to be some way to achieve the harmonies on the album. That being said, her next album should be in Rick Astley’s register and the transformation will be complete!


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