Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunny Day Real Estate in ATL

Last night I was lucky enough to see the reunited original lineup of Sunny Day Real Estate play at Center Stage in Atlanta. This tour was announced several months ago, and at the time, I was very excited and had planned to buy tickets the minute they went on sale. Things didn't work out as planned, because the onsale date was in the middle of my move to Birmingham. The move caused me to forget all about the tour until a few days ago. The show was sold out, but my friend Brian and I were able to score two tickets via Craigslist at a slightly over face value price. My money is very tight right now, but this was something I could justify spending for. The show was every bit worth the money and the CL hassle. The band played as if they had never broken up or even stopped practicing. I don't think there was one note missed all night. It was seriously incredible. Here are some pictures along with the full set list:

SDRE, Center Stage in Atlanta, GA 10/3/09:

1. Friday
2. Seven
3. Shadows
4. Song About An Angel
5. Grendel
6. Guitar and Video Games
7. Iscarabaid
8. Theo B
9. (New Song)
10. 5/4
11. Sometimes

12. In Circles
13. 48
14. J'Nuh

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Search presses on...

- The Alabama Crimson Tide are now 4-0 after a victory against Arkansas yesterday. I attended the game with my dad, and we had a great time watching the Tide roll. We have been playing well so far. Greg McElroy continues to be impressive and play like a true leader. Our running game was consistently shut down yesterday, which is a huge worry, but we were able to make up for it with strong defense and some huge, varied plays on the offensive side. I hate that we will potentially lose Hightower for quite some time, as he is an integral part of the team. There are some true tests coming up against Kentucky and Ole Miss on the road, followed by what will be a more than interesting homecoming game in Tuscaloosa against Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks. I am excited about the upcoming weeks, but I am preparing for at least one nailbiter out of the three, and I think every other Bama fan should do the same.

Bama vs. Florida International pregame:

Bama vs. North Texas:

My favorite images from the season so far (via RBR):

- In relation to my last blog post: The NY Times has a great piece up on the last days of Jim Carroll. If you're interested, check it out here.

- In relation to my well being: The job search in Birmingham has been difficult so far. My plan this week is to try and meet with one or more temp agencies. Hopefully I can do a better job of balancing temp work and my career search than I did over the past couple of years.

- In relation to writing: I need to do more of it. Lots more.

Playlist as of late:
Polar Bear Club - "Chasing Hamburg"
The Smiths - All
Morrissey - "Southpaw Grammar" and "Maladjusted" Remasters
The Jesus & Mary Chain - "Complete Peel Sessions"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jim Carroll: 1950-2009

"I just want to be pure..."

After reading the unfortunate news of Jim Carroll's passing a couple of days ago, I started to think about my love for his book "The Basketball Diaries." I had no knowledge of Carroll's work before the aforementioned book was adapted for film in 1995, featuring soon to be megastar Leonardo DiCaprio playing the role of Carroll. I was 13 years old when the film reached the rental stores, and couldn't have been more intrigued by the scenario: a kid my age playing sports, going wild on the streets of New York, getting into all kinds of mischief, trying drugs, sleeping with girls, and keeping a journal recounting all of it. It was a glimpse into a world that was completely alien to me, complete with a soundtrack that featured Pearl Jam and Soundgarden.

I watched the film quite a few times, but my interest in it waned after I finally bought a copy of the book. It was so much more vivid than the film, and I was completely blown away by Carroll's straight-to-the-point style of writing. I felt as if I were reading letters sent to me by a friend who wanted me to know all of the exciting details he could never share with his parents and family. By the end of the book, I was concerned for that friend's well being; fearing that he would soon get into a brawl too violent to recover from, or take more drugs than he could handle, too young to learn any sort of lesson from his experiences. Thankfully, I was learning lessons from every page of Carroll's book. Learning of Kurt Cobain's drug abuse and eventual suicide (about a year, give or take, before the BD film was released) at my young age was a mortal wound to any later curiosity I'd have about drugs, but looking back, there's no denying that "The Basketball Diaries" served as a nail in its coffin. Many have and probably will continue to argue that works of this nature, be they music, literature, or film encourage young people to mimic the activities depicted in them. I'll continue to argue for the contrary. This book was a vital influence on what I consider to be some of the most positive decisions I have ever made...more so than any D.A.R.E. program lecture or "Just Say No!" button ever could have.

In addition to "The Basketball Diaries", I also read a collection of Carroll's poetry a couple of years later entitled "Fear Of Dreaming." That was all I could get my hands on in those days prior to every book you can imagine being a click away from arriving at your doorstep. Perhaps the only positive thing about the death of such an artist is that his work will hopefully be more widely recognized and available after the fact. I know I've got some catching up to do.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Images from the past few weeks in Birmingham

(they were driving an '84.....sheep dog)

(one of the walls in the hallway)

(kevin eating brownie topped pizza)

Free Chicken Quest:

A time I hope we'll remember:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mineral - The Non-Album Tracks

I have no intentions of turning this into a music uploads blog, but I just put this little compilation together that I feel needs to be shared as much as possible.

Mineral - The Non-Album Tracks

Here is a compilation of Mineral material that is not on either of the full lengths. To my knowledge, all of this material is long out of print.

1. February (From February/M.D. 7")
2. M.D. (Same as track 1)
3. Sadder Star (from The First Crush Compilation)
4. Rubber Legs (from And Don't Forget To Breathe '97 Compilation)
5. Love My Way (Psychedelic Furs Cover, from the "&Serenading 7")
6. Crazy (as written by Willie Nelson, from the split 7" with Jimmy Eat World and Sense Field)

Enjoy. If anyone here knows of any other Mineral recordings please let me know. I'll expand on this if need be.

Information on the band from Wikipedia:

Mineral was a prominent mid-90's indie-rock band originally from Houston, Texas, but soon relocated to Austin following their formation. All four members of Mineral were signed to Interscope Records on individual contracts. Its former members have since moved on to other musical projects including The Gloria Record, Pop Unknown, and Zookeeper.

Mineral's music is characterized by its iterated soft/loud structure, overlaid with melodic, off-key vocals and ethereal guitar-based instrumental bridges. Many of their songs adhere to the formulas and now ubiquitous stylistic conventions associated with "emo" pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate (SDRE). Despite their similarities to SDRE, Mineral emerged at the same time as that group and added their own less intense, more brooding flavor to the then-emerging "Midwest" sound.[citation needed] Mineral's subtle balance between angst-ridden kinetics and wistful underpinnings, in conjunction with their intelligent lyrics, have heavily influenced many bands of the late 1990s and 2000s.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Give me two weeks.

For those who don't know, I'm moving to Hoover, AL (just outside Bham) at the end of July. I turned in my two week notice at work today. My last day should be July 10th, barring any unforseen circumstances. My plan as of now is to use the last 2 weeks of the month to organize my things and move periodically. We'll see how that goes. I am truly going to miss living in Tuscaloosa, but I have passed up too many opportunities in the last few years to let this one go. I am not sure where I'll end up working at this point. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.

Dax Riggs played at Bottletree 6/26/09. The entire set was just his voice and acoustic guitar. I enjoyed the set immensely and thought he did an incredible job of holding the (mostly drunk) crowd's attention without a full band. He played lots of covers, including (but not limited to) The Stones, Scott Walker, The Misfits, and Fred Neil.

The next day, my future roommate and I went to Atlanta to see the Red Sox play the Braves. It was my first live MLB experience and I had a great time. I've always enjoyed the game of baseball (If only I had taken better care of the baseball cards I collected as a kid) and I wish I wouldn't have waited so long to check out a Major League game, but I guess that is what happens when you don't have a team to align yourself with. When it comes to professional sports, I tend to follow single players more than I do the teams themselves. The Sox won 1-0, and it was an exciting game despite the low score. I thought Chipper Jones or David Ortiz might hit some homers, but the pitching was far too strong on both sides. We're already talking about going back to Turner Field in August when the Phillies are in town. Hopefully that will work out.

The Game:

River/Beach weekend coming up....should be epic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Crooked Line

I took a day off work yesterday and went to see Elvis Costello play with his new backing band, The Sugarcanes, at the Ryman in Nashville, TN. This was my 3rd time seeing Elvis live, and just like the previous two shows, it was great. I had an unbelieveable seat (as pictured above) and the sound was perfect, which seems to be the standard for the Ryman. Elvis must be eschewing Rock 'N Roll time these days, because he took the stage at 7:37pm with an advertised start time of 7:30pm. I appreciated the gesture since I always arrive to shows early. The bluegrass/roots style of the new record translated incredibly well in the live setting. The set list was comprised of most of the tracks from Secret, Profane, and Sugarcane, rearranged versions of classics ("Blame It On Cain", "Brilliant Mistake", "Every Day I Write The Book", "Little Palaces", "Indoor Fireworks", "American Without Tears", "Alison", "What's So Funny..."), and covers of "Friend Of The Devil", "Femme Fatale", and "The Race Is On". I certainly never thought I'd hear Grateful Dead, Velvet Underground, and George Jones covers all in one set. The show ran close to three hours, and at the end I still wanted more. The drive back seemed like it would never end. I got in a good 2 and a half hour nap before arriving at work this morning. That kind of drive in one night probably sounds crazy to most people, but great shows are worth the effort.


I've seen several other shows since I last updated, including The Avett Brothers, Wilco, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and Bon Iver. Those were all enjoyable. I also went down to Foley/Gulf Shores to visit The Mann's, which is always a good time. It looks like I'll be back down twice in July. It's good to have things to look forward to. Perhaps the updates will be less sporadic in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Oxford Town

I took another trip to Oxford, MS a couple of weekends ago. Josh and Jess Green accompanied me. The main purpose of the trip was to see Dinosaur Jr. play, but we got into some other things as well. Before we hit the road, we stopped by Oz Music in Tuscaloosa to support Record Store Day. I came away with the Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard Split 7", Tom Waits - Live 7", and Guided By Voices - Hold On Hope 12" EP.

After dropping off our scores at my apartment, we got going.

We stopped in Guin, AL to eat at a restaurant called the Frosty Front. I was starving and didn't look over their menu as well as I should have, which resulted in a quick decision for a mediocre order of chicken fingers. I should have gone for a patty melt or a Cajun chicken sandwich. Maybe I'll end up passing by it another time.

Once in Mississippi, we had to take the dreaded Natchez Trace Parkway. It's scenic, but has a tendency to get me lost. Luckily it did not defeat me....on the way there.

We arrived in Oxford and checked into our hotel room and chilled out for a few minutes while watching Alabama's A-Day broadcast on ESPNU. Ole Miss's scrimmage game was also that day, so this was a good way to avoid the crowded campus until that was over. We then headed out to find William Faulkner's home, aka Rowan Oak. That ended up taking much longer than expected, and we ended up arriving 10 or 15 minutes before they closed. Here are a few photos I snapped quickly while we were there:

(Faulkner's Typewriter)

(Notes for "A Fable" on the walls)

The house and the area surrounding it were really great to see, even while rushed. It looked like the perfect environment for writing. After circling the grounds, we drove over to Faulkner's grave site.

After that, we headed to The Square, and spotted J. Mascis hanging out by the venue.

(Phone booth party)

While shopping at Off Square Books (The used book companion to the mighty Square Books), we discovered that Lou Barlow had done an in store performance there earlier in the day. What a bummer. Had I known about it beforehand, I would have made it a point to be there on time. I tried not to think about it too much, and drowned my sorrows in a couple of bags full of books I didn't need to spend money on.

It was high time for food. We went to the Ajax Diner, which I hadn't given a shot in my two other trips to Oxford.

Cheese fries with brown gravy as an appetizer. It was obviously my kind of place. I had a burger with a side of excellent has brown casserole. We headed back to the hotel to rest a bit after this huge meal, and get ready for the show.

The venue, Proud Larry's, was smaller than I expected. We got a good spot up front and held onto it as best we could. Dead Confederate opened, and they held my attention for about 3 songs. One of the coolest things I spotted while inside Proud Larry's was a poster from a Warren Zevon show there in 1997. It would have been mind blowing to see him in such a small place. Dinosaur Jr. took the stage after a relatively long set change, and sounded great. Lou pointed out that J. normally plays out of three stacks (He was playing out of two and a combo amp at this show), and that when they go to Japan, he plays out of four. It still sounded louder than an average band to me. They played all the "hits", a handful of songs from Beyond, a new song, and encored with "In A Jar" and "Just Like Heaven." I snagged the setlist. Hopefully I can find a cheap frame to put it in.

After the show, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep, and got up relatively early the next morning to check out a bit of Ole Miss's campus and eat before heading back home. We ended up dining at a place called Sugar Brown's Southern Table. It was excellent, and literally every waitress in the place was cute as hell to boot.

(My choice for the day: Biscuits topped with smoked pork, scrambled eggs, and bean/tomato gravy. Very southwestern and very good.)

(Josh had burger topped with BBQ. I somewhat regret not ordering this. I believe Jess had a chicken salad sandwich, which didn't look anywhere near as gluttonous and beautiful as our meals, haha.)

We headed back home after our meal. Of course, the Natchez Trace got the best of me on the way home, and we ended up wasting a few minutes.

(This tower says "Punkin Water")

All in all, it was an awesome trip.