Thursday, January 31, 2008

Friendly Foes/Kiddo


I've really enjoyed the music of Cleveland/Detroit based power pop band Kiddo. And I have heard about the Friendly Foes. But I only recently put the two together.
I remember seeing this article in Pitchfork earlier this month, But I'll be damned if I didn't recognize Kiddo bassist Lizzie Whitmann standing there to the lower left.
So get to know Detroit's newest band
Friendly Foes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Midwest alerts!

• The Hollywood Reporter reviews an upcoming movie focusing on Midwestern teens. It's based in Warsaw, Indiana and followed your typical high school student cliche archetypes on film for 10 months. Read the article at this link.
• New York comic book artist and "anti-folk" folk artist Jeffrey Lewis get some coverage in the Loyola University paper, The Phoenix. I like the artical because it's titled Folk Rock is Dead.
• The Wisconsin State Journal wonders if the school's Union is ready for punk rock? I guess they'll find out after the show.

Chichester spring tour

• PWAH favorite, Columbus Ohio's Happy Chichester is going on tour:
Upcoming Shows
Feb 22 2008 10:00P
Dick’s Den Columbus, Ohio
Mar 6 2008 9:00P
Canal Street Tavern Dayton, Ohio
Mar 7 2008 9:30P
Rumba Cafe Columbus, Ohio
Mar 29 2008 8:00P
Private Function Cincinnati, Ohio
Apr 1 2008 8:00P
Orange Peel Asheville, North Carolina
Apr 2 2008 8:00P
Variety Playhouse Atlanta, Georgia
Apr 4 2008 8:00P
Emos for SXSW Austin, Texas
Apr 5 2008 8:00P
Palladium Loft Dallas, Texas
Apr 7 2008 8:00P
The Clubhouse Tempe, Arizona
Apr 8 2008 8:00P
Casbah San Diego, California
Apr 9 2008 8:00P
Henry Fonda Theater Los Angeles, California
Apr 10 2008 8:00P
The Independent San Francisco, California
Apr 11 2008 8:00P
Hawthorne Theater Portland, Oregon
Apr 12 2008 8:00P
Chop Suey Seattle, Washington
Apr 14 2008 8:00P
Urban Lounge Salt Lake City, Utah
Apr 15 2008 8:00P
Cervantes Masterpiece Denver, Colorado
Apr 16 2008 8:00P
Record Bar Kansas City, Missouri
Apr 17 2008 8:00P
First Avenue__ VERIFY Minneapolis, Minnesota
Apr 18 2008 8:00P
Abbey Pub Chicago, Illinois
May 1 2008 9:00P
9:30 Club District of Columbia, Washington DC
May 2 2008 9:00P
Bowery Ballroom New York, New York
May 3 2008 9:00P
Paradise Boston, Massachusetts

This "shit" is jumping around, ain't it?

I love how this article links "shitgaze" as an end result of growing up in "shitholes" like the Midwest.
That said, a piece by NME marks your first international lumped recognition of what we affectionately call shitpop/shit-fi/Midwest Noise/etc...
Highlighted are several Midwest bands, making a "sound" that I have been trying to document on this site, in the overall Midwestern grand scheme of things, for the past year.
It's written by Ben Swank of Vice and it mentions of Times New Viking, Pink Reason, TV Ghost and Psychedelic Horseshit...
HERE

Midwest alerts!


Courtesy of the Google alert system:
• Here's an interview with Patrick Wolf/J Geils Band front man about his heyday and second home of Detroit. Some tid bits about his memories of The Stooges, etc. He will be performing there in early February.
Read that article HERE.

• I totally just found this site called Iowa Underground that reports on the state's indie scene. I honestly know nothing about Iowa yet, so this is a bit of a breakthrough. Hopefully they update that thing a lot. Check out that site HERE.

• Writer Chris Deville, of the Columbus Alive, reported today that Audio Eagle recently signed a a new band .

Powers on the trail


Here's an interview from New City Chicago with regional pianist sensation Dave Powers. I've heard some of his old school style playing and it's really great. I didn't know he did so many other styles. Read the full article/interview HERE.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chicago's Top 45


Here's an interesting list of influential musicians that got their start in Chicago's music scene. There are plenty in there I had no idea about. But it doesn't mean I'm going to start writing about Kanye West...
Read the whole article, HERE.

Media losses

Is it just me, or does anyone else notice that the media seems to be trying to steer the primaries toward Obama? Let me know how you see it, because I'm noticing some questionable trends.
I guess it's no big deal, because I honestly don't care if Obama or Clinton ultimately becomes president - as long as it's a democrat.
But the media just seems to be ruining it.
Even Yahoo news, which normally seems pretty unbiased about what they post, keeps linking to all these stories about people supporting Obama. Kennedy (check). Some Kansas Governor (check). Not one article about support for Clinton at all, aside from when she "cried."
Which is another point that is pissing me off. These writers are taking minuscule moments throughout these primaries and are making mountains out of them. Clinton and Obama aren't debating they're "flinging insults at one another!!" Or, Clinton didn't become emotional, she "erupts!!" and "cries!!"
Perfect example, is this this piece of shit article.
We've had to put up with eight years of a bullshit government. Along the way, we have dealt with some of the most shoddy journalism in history. And the moment we're on the verge of some real change, these same fucking journalists still haven't learned a goddam thing. They are determined to make the democratic front runners look like idiots stumbling their way to Washington. Just report on the news. Stop trying to create it. No wonder more people watch Jon Stewart.
If you want to sway some ideas, do it in a fucking column.
If this keeps up, we're going to be welcoming in President McCain soon enough.
Looking further into the news coverage, you can find many other articles telling the whole story. Like, for example, how Kennedy's said if Hillary wins the primaries he will support her. In other words, he doesn't care. He just wants a democrat. Plus, there has been no mention of how the folks running California are supporting Clinton, not Obama.
Eh, I need more coffee.

Midwest Round Up!

• Cincinnati/New York band The National are gonna get a bigger exposure to America, with an upcoming tour with mega bands REM and Modest Mouse. Here are the tour dates:
REM, The National & Modest Mouse - 2008 Tour Dates
May 23 - Vancouver, BC - Deer Lake Park
May 29 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
May 31 - San Francisco, CA - Greek Theatre
June 03 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 06 - Chicago, IL - United Center
June 08 - Toronto, ON - Molson Amphitheatre
June 10 - Raleigh, NC - Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
June 11 - Columbia, MD - Merriweather Post Pavilion
June 13 - Boston, MA - Tweeter Center
June 14 - Long Island, NY - Jones Beach
June 18 - Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center
June 21 - Atlanta, GA - Lakewood Amphitheatre

• Former Stylus writer Kevin Elliott, and World of Wumme writer, takes a moment to discuss his brother's band Times New Viking. He admits it's hard to remain journalistically removed when you have DNA ties, but the man is proud of his brother!
Elliott also drops a little link to your own beloved PWAH.
• The Wheel Still in Spin site has updated with numerous Cincinnati band related reviews. I also noticed that he discussed a new Spectacular Fantastic CD that I hadn't heard about yet. Singer/songwriter Mike Detmer has the spirit of rock and roll in him and has taken it upon himself to record and distribute his music for free. Click on the link to the lower right to read reviews on that band, plus a bit on The Seedy Seeds, Pearlene, 500 Miles to Memphis, and more.
• PWAH favorites, Columbus rock/hip hop group The Lab Rats have officially broken up. Two equally talented guys, so I imagine they will be back out there making music soon.
• WOXY has a new Local Lixx session up for download.
• You GOTTA check out another OSU Lantern article on how the Columbus music scene is "out of tune." The comments are priceless, because this article is the type of shit that pisses musicians off big time. I have been specifically looking into every city's music scene in the entire Midwest over the past year. Not only isn't Columbus "out of tune," but other than Chicago, you're not going to find a more diverse scene than Columbus - even if the bands never leave town...

Phil Ochs in Columbus


The legend that is the Columbus, Oh. Larry's Bar/ Phil Ochs/Bob Dylan link has been passed around for decades in Columbus. Did Dylan live above Larry's? Was he just visiting Ochs? Did Ochs live over Larry's? Where did I put my bong?
Today OSU Lantern writer John Cropper touches on this story in a recent column, which he then relates to his life.

Columbus folk hero
By: John Cropper

When it comes to memorable moments in rock 'n' roll history, the 1965 Newport Folk Festival in Newport, R.I., ranks high on the minds of most music historians. It was there that a beloved Bob Dylan spurned his most faithful folk following by plugging in for the first time, creating the chasm between the "old Dylan" and the new one that ultimately defined his career.
And it was there, too, that a 25-year-old Phil Ochs watched quietly from the crowd. Ochs, once a friend and contemporary of Dylan, had twice before played the festival in 1963 and 1964 to riotous reactions from thousands of fans in attendance. But 1965 was Dylan's year, so Ochs took a backseat to the burgeoning, young singer.
What's interesting is not that Ochs didn't play the '65 festival, or even why he didn't (rumors say he and Dylan had a falling out in their East Village scene in New York), but the similarity between the two. Both men were raised in the Midwest, and both chose to forego education for music; while Dylan spent a year at the University of Minnesota, Ochs attended our very own Ohio State University for four years.
It was just recently that I discovered Ochs' connection to Columbus. For almost five years I've listened to his anthemic protest songs, completely naive to the eerie connection I share with the mostly unknown folk singer.
During a freshman year break from school, Ochs realized he wanted to pursue a career in writing. This epiphany, coupled with his love for politics, naturally lead him to enroll in the (then) heralded OSU School of Journalism when he returned to Columbus in 1959.
Save for about 50 years, Ochs' decision to pursue journalism mirrors mine almost verbatim.
But it gets better.
As an outspoken critic of American government, Ochs channeled his protests through newspaper articles and printed those opinions in the school paper. That's right. Ochs, a contemporary of Dylan, John Lennon, Joan Baez and Woody Guthrie, is an alumnus of The Lantern.
Michael Schumacher, Ochs' chief biographer, wrote that "Phil continued into his senior year at OSU but after getting passed over for the position of editor-in-chief of The Lantern, he dropped out with less than a quarter before graduation." Schumacher goes on to write that Ochs, clearly upset at the paper, decided to move to New York City in 1961 to pursue music.
It would be strange enough to know that Ochs and I shared the same campus and newsroom, but it gets better yet.
Indeed, it was here that Ochs perfected his Woody Guthrie-inspired protest songs, and the stage of the historic Larry's Bar at 2040 N. High St. was his first gig. Jon Paoletti, Larry's son and the current owner of the bar, said he remembers Ochs playing there.
When I learned that last revelation of Ochs' Columbus roots, I nearly fell out of my chair.
As it turns out, music, journalism, this paper and Larry's - probably four of the things I care most about in this city - were all cherished by Ochs as well.
Tragically, Ochs hanged himself in his New York apartment in 1976. He was 35. And almost equally tragic is the fact that, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ochs' most critical acclaim came post-humously. Even still, most people don't recognize his name, let alone his music.
Ochs was also an avid reader and a fan of Victor Hugo. The French writer once said "music expresses that which cannot be said on which it is impossible to be silent."
Looking back now, it's fairly obvious why Ochs lived and eventually died by those words.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Buddha Boy's update


Back by popular demand, I decided to check into our old pal Buddha Boy, or Ram Bahadur Bomjon.
For you newcomers, read the history of him.
Honestly, it's pretty hard to update on our buddy BB. Let's face it, when you have a monk buried in a pit, planning to meditate for the next several years, there is not much to say other than "Still meditating."
Since we last spoke of Buddha Boy, the police were investigating him, scientists were trying to find out if he was a fraud and so he climbed into a pit and began meditating in the middle of the forest.
I discovered the police finally froze the bank accounts, made up of money his followers had donated to his cause. He doesn't use the money, and asked whoever did to use it for a good cause.
The police also went to check out little Bomjon at his pit:
March 26, 2007: Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Post Nijgadh found Bomjon inside a bunker-like square ditch of seven feet. A police team, under the command of Yadav, had gone to the place after word of Bomjon being on underground meditation spread in the area. “His face was clean and hair was combed well,” Yadav said. According to him, “the bunker” has been cemented from all sides with roof of tiles. Indra Lama, a local, who has been deployed as caretaker for him since he began meditation, said the “bunker” was prepared as per Bomjon’s order. “After granting audience a week ago, he expressed his desire to meditate inside the ground; so we built it,” he said.

But the biggest news on Bomjon is that he emerged from his meditation pit and gave a sermon to his followers. His message was peace and he said the only way for the world to attain it is through Dharma - or religious practice.
On August 2, 2007 Bomjon addressed a crowd in the Hallori jungle, Bara district of southern Nepal.
The Namo Buddha Tapoban Committee, a committee that looks after the "modern Buddha", assembled the meeting. The notice about the first ever preaching by the boy was broadcast in a local FM radio station and the committee also invited people by phone. Around three thousand people gathered to listen to Ram Bahadur Bomjom. A video has also surfaced of the event.
Here is the translated speech:
Murder, violence, greed, anger and temptation has made the human world a desperate place. A terrible storm has descended upon the human world, and this is carrying the world towards destruction. There is only one way to save the world and that is through ‘dharma” (religious practice.) When one doesn’t walk the righteous path of religious practice, this desperate world will surely be destroyed. Therefore, follow the path of religion and spread this message to your fellows. Never put obstacles, anger and disbelief in the way of my meditation’s mission. I am only showing you the way; you must seek it on your own. What I will be, what I will do, the coming days will reveal. Human salvation, the salvation of all living beings, and peace in the world are my goal and my path. “Namo Buddha sangaya, Namo Buddha sangaya, namo sangaya.” I am contemplating on the release of this chaotic world from the ocean of emotion, on our detachment from anger and temptation, without straying from the path for even a moment, I am renouncing my own attachment to my life and my home forever, I am working to save all living beings. But in this undisciplined world, my life’s practice is reduced to mere entertainment. The practice and devotion of many Buddhas is directed at the world’s betterment and happiness. It is essential but very difficult to understand that practice and devotion. But though it is easy to lead this ignorant existence, human beings don’t understand that one day we must leave this uncertain world and go with the Lord of Death. Our long attachments with friends and family will dissolve into nothingness. We have to leave behind the wealth and property we have accumulated. What’s the use of my happiness, when those who have loved me from the beginning, my mother, father, brothers, relatives are all unhappy. Therefore, to rescue all sentient beings, I have to be Buddha-mind, and emerge from my underground cave to do “vajra” meditation. To do this I have to realize the right path and knowledge, so do not disturb my practice. My practice detaches me from my body, my soul and this existence. In this situation there will be 72 goddess Kalis. Different gods will be present, along with the sounds of thunder and of “tangur ,” and all the celestial gods and goddesses will be doing “puja” (worship.) So until I have sent a message, do not come here, and please explain this to others. Spread religious knowledge and religious messages throughout the world. Spread the message of world peace to all. Seek a righteous path and wisdom will be yours.

Friday, January 25, 2008

CMJ/Shazam


Cincinnati's Foxy Shazam got some recent CMJ press for it's recent Knitting Factory show:

Channeling Queen, Andrew WK, and a host of others, Foxy Shazam broke onto the Knitting Factory’s Tap Bar last night. While still on the downlow, there was a certain sense of excitement in the room last night that hints Foxy Shazam might be huge soon. Every song seemed to burst from the short stage with the band’s wild presence. The 25-minute set culminated with the lead singer hanging upside-down from the ceiling. Yeah, it was that kind of show.

The band's CD is out and they're on tour across the US.
Are they really that good? Some folks in Cincy think so, and some others don't think so.
I personally think the music is really interesting and wild sounding. Plenty of dramatic, over the top, piano and high vocals. But the songs all kinda seem the same - which speaks to my ambivalence toward bands that come up with a "sound" and then write 11 other songs to mimic that.

Festival 71

I was glad to see that I Rock Cleveland did something on the Festival 71 thing, hosted by our northern neighbors by the lake. I hoped to do something, but I didn't have the time.
All you could hope to know: right here.

TNV: With Diamond-like Precision

Some more TNV stuff before their CD release.
I just noticed Columbus music site Donewaiting (see link to the right) chimed in with a nice chunky interview with Times New Viking by writer Wes Flexner.
What I like about recent TNV articles and reviews is that the band has been able to combine it's music with its message, all in one punch. When you discuss their production methods, it forces you discuss why they did it, which then forces you to talk about their point as artists.
Often I am upset because musicians make albums full of music that never get attention from local media. If they are given attention it is usually a fluff piece to tell people the CD is out and where the release show's gonna be.
I think in this day and age things move fast, musicians need to be more aware of what point they are trying to make. They also need to understand that their message needs to be put in the forefront, if they want it to be mentioned. Make it totally obvious if you have to. You are Dick Cheney and your CD is the War on Terror. Your message needs to be on repeat, or it will fall to the wayside of writerly convenience.
Here is the link to read the article and hear some MP3s
Or, here is the full text:
Times New Viking just dropped Rip It Off on Matador Records and they have a release party at the Wexner Center tonight. The show will be opened by The Feelers (Hi Gay Aleks) and The Ponys. Playing at the Wexner is an almost impossible feat for a Columbus band. But they aren’t just any Columbus band. They made a disobediently loud, fuzzy, lo-fi pop album that in many ways captures the spirit of the times. The band’s drummer and sometimey vox, Adam Elliot bartends at Bourbon Street here in Columbus where I get drunk during the bar’s weekly Hip Hop Night, So What Wednesdays, and discuss the things that are pertinent to the leaders of the Vanguard.
In this interview, Adam and I talk about his philosophy of Romantic Nihilism, Art, Matador, Columbus, politics, and a song about a not so romantic nihilist.
Wes Flexner: So lets get it poppin. What is Romantic Nihilism?
Adam Elliot: It’s a philosophy pretty much that has been developing. It’s a stupid coined term. But I think it does exist amongst 20 somethings or whatever. The concept of nihilism has existed in popular culture. The concept of free will. Where people don’t really have choice in their lives. They just accept it. Why? It’s just the way it is. Romantic Nihilism is me finding a way to connect to the world around me. If I see shootings in Sudan. An earthquake in the Philippines. Someone gets shot at Weber Market. I am equally connected to all those things. I am equally disconnected from all three of those things at the same time.
It’s kinda like I am in love with the new Britney Spears song for all the same things that play into as I am in love with the Velvet Underground. It’s accepting everything in world for what it is. And looking into it a little more for what is.
WF: How is this nihilist?
AE: Nihilism is the belief that I don’t really believe in anything. It’s based on the philosophy that there is no meaning in anything. The Nietzsche-postmodern concept of everything has been done before. Nihilism lets me lump it in and say I don’t believe in anything.
WF: Then you add Romance to this?
AE: It doesn’t work.
WF: So it’s not a technical philosophy. It’s more of a device for comprehension of the state of things.
AE: It’s not a technical philosophy. It’s an idea that does exist in the post-modern landscape. The idea of nothing being romantic doesn’t exist physically but it can exist in philosophy. But philosophy never exists in reality. There is no way of really fundamentally saying this philosophy does exist. Other than when people talk about it.
WF: How do you apply this to making music?
AE: Lyrically it’s the easiest way. It’s like Crass. To me they were first Romantic Nihilists. The idea that we really have no hope. People are seeing that there shouldn’t be hope. But we still have hope. The songs are kind of anthems. We kind of see songs as anthems, I think. We still fit a lot of words in. Most of the times we are just using words we use all the time, anyway. We have a lot of repeat words or whatever.
I think the romance kinda comes in, just in how everything falls into place. The words. The titles. The subtleties. The way music sounds. The way we produce product. There are millions of bands turning out product. We actually produce product.
WF: By product do you mean concept?
AE: We are a product. When you add up all the interviews. All the language that we use. The way every little subtlety exists. It does become product.
WF: Are you comfortable with referring to your art as product?
AE: In the end it is product. If it’s commercial then it is product. Some people are tentative to say it’s product. Not us. The number one thing about this band being collaborative is that it is a product.
WF: You’re for that?
AE: All for it.
WF: Ok. But one of the great appeals of your band is that in a time when indie rock is on a publicist/booking agent/distributor driven machine, Times New Viking took a more DIY approach. From booking your own shows, to the lo-fi sound, to hand making your own art. Obviously you are in this machine now with Matador.
AE: It’s a crazy machine. It’s still product. I am proud it’s product. We are tapping into the field of product. But we still have control over it. It’s an idea. When you choose between two records at the store you are choosing a product. When you see us live, it’s not a product. If you come to my house to see a fine-art collage I made then it’s not product. But when I put it in a gallery and hang up flyers then it’s product.
We are selling ideas.
WF: You were telling me about ideas you had post-music? How you would like to have the ability to start a non-profit to nurture art education?
AE: At a young age you could nurture kids creative ideas. Show them some form of learning outside books and taking tests. They would be excited about learning. It teaches them how to be free thinkers. It would be good for our society to have generations of people that can think for themselves. If you deny that of a kid then his first take on art is gonna put him off. Then art is going to remain in some gallery in some fucking neighborhood that no one ever goes to. I hate the art world.
WF: Why do you hate the art world?
AE: It’s so bourgeois. I love the Dadaist. They try to be anti-gallery. The Fine art world is the same thing as kids born with money, getting Ivy League educations and getting jobs. It’s the same bullshit concept. It’s already a place that’s considered being elite. What 150 people come to see your art in a month? Rock N Roll you can get 300 people every night. Different people.
WF: Same thing about galleries could be said for some DIY music venues, though.
AE: There are spaces that are all right. I am not saying fuck all artspaces. Those are centers for creativity. It’s not about profit. Most art galleries are about profit. I have ideas that were presented to galleries and I have been told they are good ideas. But said gallery couldn’t do it because it wouldn’t make money. Nothing worse than a gallery saying they like your work but can’t put it up because they can’t make money.
WF: That’s funny in Columbus, Ohio cause Rebecca Ibel is the only gallery that makes money. The rest of them don’t. Why would they even purp. Sounds like some of these galleries are just out of touch.
AE: We go to CCAD right. We would have to be Sixty years old until one of my prints shows up in the Wexner Center. But we’re playing a concert there. We’re in the Wexner Center. It’s crazy how much easier it is to get music to the world. The attitude towards music is more approachable. But even in college I decided I didn’t want to do fine arts. I would rather have a print in a Magazine. I would rather my art be on someone’s coffee table than some gallery.
WF: How does this effect the idea of product for your band?
AE: I like the product of our band that its not limited. As much backing or whatever. It’s available to anyone. There is no way we are trying to be exclusive. The Matador thing. You might go to Best Buy. I want kids who the only place they can shop is Best Buy to be able to buy good music.
WF: You were telling me last night that the kinda kids you want to reach are the ones just trying to figure things out.
AE: If a 14 year-old equated Times New Viking and the Velvet Underground. That would be amazing. Time doesn’t exist.
WF: When you were 14, what were bands like that for you?
AE: At 14? Guided By Voices. The band that was really amazing for me was Faust. Faust tapes (German Krautrock band). I got the Velvet Underground box set when I was 13. It blew my mind. My dad had BMG. I was like I want that. I like art. I knew about Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol did the cover. I didn’t automatically get it. But I wanted to. I was smart enough to realize I was gonna get it later. My Bloody Valentine I tried to get into when I was 14. I did not get into Loveless until last year.
WF: So 14 Years olds are the ideal market for this record?
AE: Ideally that would be awesome. But really the market I want to like it are kids my age. I think we have something that I hope they recognize. You make this art. You think you are molding it out of the world around you. You are putting out a product. No one gets it. That would totally alienate myself. That would make me stop doing it. I like the idea of doing something because I think people are gonna understand. We are not trying to make art so weird that no one gets it.
WF: So with the idea of accessible pop. I have to ask you the low-fi question.
AE: We just record it and that’s how it comes out. And that’s how it sounds. In a way the process is anti-. But we don’t have computers. We are not the computer type band. I went to school to learn how to make Intaglio-prints. Fucking old, archaic, dead product. No one makes Itaglio-prints for their original purpose. We never recorded our songs to hear a professional band. We record our songs to document the afternoon we were there. To document the song. The lo-fi works because we have shitty-ass equipment. We have shitty mics. We don’t go out an buy better mics. Cause we have mics. Why would we buy more mics?
WF: So you go on tour for year. And you make as much money as a schoolteacher from touring. Would you buy some new mics?
AE: I would buy some new mics. First off, when we are recording, we are trying to please ourselves. We are trying to have fun. I like how it sounds. It’s anti-pro tools. You listen to 1000 songs, even though they are different types of music. They are produced the same way. Our song out of nowhere sounds two-times louder. There are different ways to record. I don’t understand why it’s a bigger statement than that. The only reason people question it is because we are getting press. But there is more lo-fi music out there. There is an entire scene of people that record worse than us. We are one out of a million that is being talked about. Especially in Columbus it doesn’t make sense. People on message boards say, ‘oh this sucks’. Like I was telling you the other day, No Age sounds like that. No one is talking about No Age on the local Columbus boards. Those guys that hate us, they aren’t commenting on No Age. We aren’t forcing ourselves in those guys’ lives. Basically its because we are from the same town.
Some guy asked us today, ‘how do you handle the buzz you are getting?’ We were like A) We don’t believe the buzz exists. B) Don’t worry about it too much because we have enough local drama that we don’t worry about it nationally.
WF: Is Columbus a pretty humbling place to be?
AE: It’s normal. That’s what I like about it. I think life is humbling. When I go to New York, and see people doing music, I understand why people live there. I know I don’t want to live there. It’s not bad. I will tell you. Humbling is driving across the country in a 94 Astro-Van to playing for 40 kids in Missoula, Montana. That’s awesome. Driving that far is a struggle. But I get to see America. I feel like I am in Easy Rider. Even though there is only 40 kids. Those 40 kids are awesome. The fact they came to see us play, and have fun with us, is amazing.
After that, the level of surprise isn’t gonna change. We could play Bonnoroo, and that would be cool but we wouldn’t be blown away. The first time we drove across the country and people knew who we were. That blew us away.
WF: Earlier before the interview, we were talking about complacency. Do you think this country needs a great depression or a draft to wake people up?
AE: President Bush has done enough as a warmonger. I don’t understand why 50 year old’s aren’t protesting. How did that guy get to two terms? The fact you can’t answer that is the reason we don’t have protests.
Political though. Protests. It would not change George Bush if hundreds of million of people protested against the war. Right? He knows he has a 32 percent approval rate. He knows. America should’ve maybe protested him being elected. It’s a little late.
WF: John Kerry.
AE: Why didn’t John Kerry say he was against the war the whole time? Because even Republicans who have kids in the Military are for no war. Their kids are in the military to protect America. Not on some, whatever war you want to throw me out on. Lot of recruits. They have no other options. They are definitely not joining it to just fight any war.
I am a pacifist. I am against war and all that. But I understand people wanting to have a standing military. I understand people wanting to fight for this country. But you don’t need to vote for the evil dude whose family made money off the Nazi Party. It’s not gonna work out.
WF: It goes back to the lack of options. There is this book that rappers love called The 48 Laws of Power. Law 31 is control the options. They control the choice. So there is no choice. No choice breeds nihilism. So I am gonna loop on back to Romantic Nihilism here. You have a song on the album called “DROP OUT“?
AE: That’s the most Romantic Nihilist song. The title. It’s not so much about needing to drop out. It is that we have dropped out. It’s written in a way about two people that have dropped out. Those words. The way we wrote that song. That’s my favorite song.
WF: You know with “Let Your Hair Grow Long” on the other jawn, and the peace signs. You guys got me thinking about Timothy Leary, dropping out.
AE: By dropping out now, you are actually getting in there. I am talking about dropping out of the subculture that exists now. Drop of your normalcy. Stop driving your car all the fucking time. Stop paying your credit card debt.
America is so numb. And people have dropped out. You choose to dropout in a certain way, its gonna make me pay more attention to the politicians. I want to fight for someone that’s gonna give me free health care so I won’t have to pay 100 bucks a month in case I get sick.
WF: Here is my curiosity about Romantic Nihilism. And I think you answered it for me. When people are dropping out, they need to be more strategic with the dropout or Nihilism. Not be dropouts. Everyone has dropped out already.
AE: Yeah, by dropping out, I don’t mean smoke weed and play Wii all the time. And don’t pay attention to anything else. It’s more like wake-up. The concept of saying dropout is a coined pop culture phrase. That’s why it’s all in capitals
That song is about, ‘I woke up. I have a lot stuff to do but I slept in.’ The chorus is “(S)he Got up. (S)he Got on. (S)he got off.” She (Beth Murphy) says he.
WF: When a girl’s saying that it’s like that. Its like a dude comes and fucks somebody.
AE: And he takes off and doesn’t care. That’s what it is. ‘Wake up. I got what I wanted and now I am leaving’.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Midwest Round Up!

• I noticed that the World of Wumme site has had a lot of updates recently, sort of looking back on 2007 and the rise of Columbus, Ohio's lo-fi shenanigans.
• Check out info on the 2008 MusicNOW festival in Cincinnati courtesy of Each Note Secure.
• Here's a column in the Cincinnati University's The News Record newspaper, all about how the city's music/arts scene is thriving and needs to be unified to give the city an identity. Read the article HERE. This is good news to see a university newspaper talking about the local music scene. Normally they totally ignore it, like at Ohio State University.
• Speaking of which, here's an article from the Athens Music Network about how the Ohio University newspaper just gave the proverbial eff you to local music. Read that article HERE.
• Check out my Brooklyn Vegan link to the right, because they gave some love to Chicago's Coltrane Motion (which is playing in NYC with Cool Kids).
• Greg Kot has a nice article about Pittsburgh's Girl Talk. Read that HERE.
• Pat Radio has a new podcast up, where he speaks with Wexner Center folks about the upcoming Times New Viking show. Check that out HERE.

Quick Midwest Alert!
• Actor Jeff Daniels (a Michigan native and also a part time musician) recently made some news in the Daily Texan for a new performance tour and his work promoting Midwestern arts on the stage. Read the article HERE.
Excerpt: "I moved back to Michigan. Kathleen and I, we had a kid and we were going to have more and we just wanted to raise the kids back home, not in Hollywood. I bought a building and just said I want to do new plays about the Midwest, Midwestern writers, Midwestern actors, directors, designers and see if I can't make Circle Rep here in Michigan. And I'm happy to say, 16 years later, that there's an audience for that. When you hold up a mirror to them, not what New York tells you is the theater you need to be doing but write about them and you hold up a mirror to them and they recognize those characters and stories and places you're talking about, they turn out in droves."

Here you go, suckers

False statements preceded war
By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.
The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."
The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel did not comment on the merits of the study Tuesday night but reiterated the administration's position that the world community viewed Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, as a threat.
"The actions taken in 2003 were based on the collective judgment of intelligence agencies around the world," Stanzel said.
The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."
Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.
Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.
The center said the study was based on a database created with public statements over the two years beginning on Sept. 11, 2001, and information from more than 25 government reports, books, articles, speeches and interviews.
"The cumulative effect of these false statements — amplified by thousands of news stories and broadcasts — was massive, with the media coverage creating an almost impenetrable din for several critical months in the run-up to war," the study concluded.
"Some journalists — indeed, even some entire news organizations — have since acknowledged that their coverage during those prewar months was far too deferential and uncritical. These mea culpas notwithstanding, much of the wall-to-wall media coverage provided additional, 'independent' validation of the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq," it said.

Ohio rebirth continues...

Check out this interesting article in the Cleveland Free Times, which went out today. It's nice to see some newspapers finally giving some credibility to the current Ohio lo-fi rebirth.

Addicted To Noise
Ohio-based Underground Acts Square Off At The First Annual Festival 71
By Steve Newton


TIMES NEW VIKING - The band's gotten national attention.
It was 1975 and Cleveland's proto-punk scene was beginning to dissolve. With Rocket From the Tombs' perpetually wasted guitarist Peter Laughner aiming to perfect "Sally Can't Dance"-styled self-obliteration, the Electric Eels terrorizing club owners by way of onstage lawnmower antics, and promising stoner-synth retailers Pi Corp failing to release a proper album, the future of drug-addled Ohio basement gunk seemed bleak.
Luckily, a similar blend of "shit-fi" (as Times New Viking's Jared Phillips calls it) started cropping up in Columbus that year with Raven's Back to Ohio Blues LP and Mike Rep & the Quotas' bleated "Mama Was a Schitzo, Daddy Was a Vegetable Man" 7-inch. The pride of Columbus biker guff, Raven's sole release was a crudely produced acid-blues paean to shooting smack, dirty sex and riding Harleys, with the topic of "getting high" being the main lyrical focus in every song.
In contrast, Mike Rep's earliest singles were inept bedroom snot blowouts evocative of a garage-y pre-Ramones, only recorded with moldering equipment and fueled on more brain-death fumes than all four bruddas and the entire Carbona factory combined. Despite the private-press obscurity of these releases, it's evident in both aesthetic and attitude that the works of Raven and Rep would profoundly influence the underground Columbus sound for the next 30 years.
"I think a lot of bands are still finding influence from the last generation of no-fi Columbus underground rock bands," says Mark Van Fleet of Sword Heaven, which joins Times New Viking, Homostupids, Pink Reason, the Deathers, the Black Swans, Brian Straw, Unholy Two, Necropolis and Sun God at the first annual Festival 71. "If you say "Midwest record nerd/Columbus trash rock,' people kind of have an idea of whom you're referring to."
For maintaining a fecund music scene full of eclectic collaborations and show billings, Columbus takes a less solipsistic approach to networking than most other cities. Instead of retiring, grizzled punk luminaries and tastemakers such as Ron House (Great Plains, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments), Tommy Jay (Ego Summit), Nudge Squidfish and Mike Rep continue to live in the area, recording racket for small-time labels like Columbus Discount Records, and using their iconic stature to assist up-and-coming bands.
"When you go out of town, it blows you away how some people hold the figureheads of the Columbus music scene in such regard," says Psychedelic Horseshit's Matt Whitehurst. "Some people think Jim Shepard was God and that Mike Rep is a wizard, and for all I know, it's probably true."
With Times New Viking, Rep was partly responsible for rekindling national interest in Columbus. An ardent supporter of TNV's cacophonous art-school slop, Rep introduced the band to indie mogul Tom Lax, a propitious event that rejuvenated the groundbreaking yet largely inactive Siltbreeze label, which also released stunning full-lengths by Columbus outfits Pink Reason and Psychedelic Horseshit last year. When Times New Viking signed to Matador Records in late 2006, the buzz encircling the city began peaking like it was 1995 all over again, when Warner Bros. was adding inaccessible local noise/punk bands like Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Jim Shepard's V3 and Gaunt to its roster.
"There might be a bit more recognition in the next year or so nationally that there's good music being made in Columbus," says Van Fleet. "I think this has to do with local bands who are releasing music on larger labels and also that quite a few bands are touring regularly and doing national tours. When people do that, it puts a spotlight on where they are from more than anything else."
Van Fleet feels that with the spotlight on Columbus, patronage from national fringe acts has significantly increased. "There are definitely more venues for it now, and 10 times as many out-of-town weirdo bands want to come and play shows here than during the first five years I lived in Columbus," he says.
A healthy assortment of DIY venues, multimedia art spaces (Skylab) and avant-garde dive bars (Café Bourbon Street) have facilitated the scene, and according to Pink Reason drummer Ryan Jewell, Columbus holds the best network of venues outside of anywhere he's been. "There's almost always a stage, PA, basement, street, gallery, living room open where you can play with people who want to check it out," says Jewell.
Comparatively, Cleveland has the same affinity for cracked noise and abrasive shit-rock, with locals such as Tusco Terror and Homostupids often earning the same level of national recognition as the Columbus groups. Yet the lack of stable underground venues and the scene's overall musical disjointedness (which is often intriguing, since few bands in Cleveland actually sound the same) is preventing its fruition.
"It's understandable," says John Elliot of local psych-droners Emeralds. "The productivity and community here are similar, but our city is broke; it lacks the money Ohio State brings into Columbus. Most of us here live on the couch circuit and jam more out of boredom."
In spite of all this, Elliot and others, including renowned writers Julian Cope, Thurston Moore and Byron Coley, insinuate that both private and larger label releases from Ohio's current experimental scene are as exciting and downright exotic as anything from the "proto" heyday of the '70s, and it's only getting better.
"Every kid grows up thinking their hometown sucks, until they build record collections and realize they were wrong," says Elliot. "Eventually everyone comes out of Ohio acting like a maniac."
Let's just hope these maniacs won't pick up and move to New York.
Festival 71: 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com. Tickets: $5 advance, $7 day of show

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Times New Viking get ripped



Columbus, Ohio's Times New Viking continues its ascent into indie rock national attention with some rave reviews of the new release "Rip it Off."
I guess I do have some taste in music, first Southeast Engine links with Misra, then Times New Viking links with Matador.
Plus, Pitchfork Media DOES know Ohio exists: Review Here
Some other people chime in too: Spin, Discollective, Dusted, Columbus Dispatch interview, Tiny Mix Tapes, Stomp and Stammer, Treblezine, Billboard, Sound Opinions (discussion), New York Sun... Ah jeez, there are like a million of these. You get the idea...

Monday, January 21, 2008

THE BEST OF PWAH


It took a lot of time today, but I have finally compiled the list of interviews, special features, city sounds and more into a bunch of quick links that I have titled "The Best of..."
I was pretty surprised at how much stuff there was.
So if you're bored anytime soon, feel free to browse around and check out what People with Animal Heads has been up to the past year.
This site still hovers well below the eyes of most people in this region, which is actually how I prefer it. But there is a shit load of information in those links that could benefit working bands and music fans alike.
Read those city sound links with a grain of salt, though. They are painfully out of date, so I may try to update those when I get the chance.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tourism?

Here is an odd and kinda random Chicago tourism article I saw on CMJ:

Sufjan Drove to Chicago, You Can Too
The largest and greatest of all Midwestern cities has inspired everyone from Sufjan Stevens to Bob Fosse. Chicago gives us deep dish pizza, the country’s best improv comedy, and everyone’s favorite alt-country band, Wilco. For New Yorkers and Californians alike, the “Windy City” just might be the best reason to forsake the coasts, if only for a few days.
Visitors to Chicago will revel in the myriad shopping options in the city’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Boutiques on North Damen Avenue are chock full of clothing and furniture designed by an impressive array of local artisans, while thrifty fashionistas should look to Una Mae’s Freak Boutique for top-notch vintage. Around the corner you’ll find Reckless Records, a haven for new and used music. Head over to Hot Doug’s, once you work up an appetite, for some high-class hot dogs and fries cooked in duck fat. After sunset, the venerable Double Door will satisfy all your live-music needs, with bands like The Dirtbombs, New York Dolls, and Electric Six scheduled to perform in the months to come.
For more information, check out CMJ’s Downtown Diversions, an insider’s guide to cities around the US.
>>>Judy Berman


The most interesting part to me was the section dedicated to Chicago Local bands. They include Wilco, 1900s, Speck Mountain, Cracklin Moth, The Changes, Cool Kids, and Five Foot Nine.

An Outsiders Guide to the Midwest Music Scene
A discussion with No Age



If there is one band that emerged shiny by the end of 2007, it was California's No Age.
I think those of us in Ohio discovered them through our love of locals Times New Viking - because the bands share an affinity for fuzzed out indie pop.
I discovered the band early on last year, completely by accident. Maybe it was through Myspace. But I can't find the first time I linked to them, or I would put that here.
Anyway, my facination with discussing Midwest Music with those far removed from the scene continues. I was especially interested in speaking with these guys because I knew that they grew up in small towns in California.
Thanks to No Age for writing back (many bands have not) and furthering this new feature.
It's also fascinating to me how people from the east and west coasts end up being fans of Midwestern bands that most of us the the Midwest have never heard of. I'm learning a lot from these interviews.
It looks like the band is about to embark on a lengthy US tour with Liars - the only Midwest stop looks to be in Iowa and Chicago.

People with Animal Heads: What are some Midwest bands you recommend people get to know signed or unsigned - assuming you know some?
Randy Randall: Yeah, we both really like a lot of Midwestern bands. I don't know how many people know about Rac-ooons (editors note: can't find them anywhere on-line) but the are awesome, they are from Iowa. Some of our favorite midwesten bands would be US Maple for me and I know Dean is a huge Necros fan.
Dean Spunt: Husker du, the Replacements, Articles of faith, Necros, die kreutzen, Charles Bronson, Electric Eels... all these bands are broken up, but amazing. It makes sense that some of the best bands would come from the Midwest. It is cold and harsh and hard to get out of, that kind of treatment screams good art.
PWAH: Where did you guys grow up? How do you think that has defined your personality or the music you make?
RR: We are both from small southern California suburbs. I grew up near Pomona and Dean grew up in Santa Clarita. I think it affects our music because we were part of a weird community of kids in our isolated little suburbs. So we were into music that we liked and didn't really know what was cool with the rest of the kids in the bigger cities and we are so old that the internet didn't really have the impact and accessibility to cooler music. So we went to small independent record stores and listened to college radio and wrote away to PO boxes for zines and stickers. We were both really into skateboarding growing up and we still are today. I think being a skateboarder from a small town really teaches you to be resourceful and make the most of what you have and we continue to benefit from learning those lessons.

Daytrotter the modern day Bill Graham?


Check out this fascinating article from Iowa's Quad-City Times. It's about how the folks behind Daytrotter are like the modern age Bill Graham, promoting shows and creating their own phenomenon. The studio's entire recording catalog was recently purchased to form Wolfgang's Vault. I implore you to check out the comments section. It'll give you a feel of what it must be like to be an indie rock music mogul in a state chock full of rednecks.
Read the full article: HERE.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rampant attention

Here's a nice article courtesy of the Dayton City Paper on PWAH-favorite Cincinnati band Lions Rampant for their recent gig there.
I like that, a paper doing a show about an out of town regional band, in order to promote their show in town.
You would think that's not so revolutionary, but you'd be surprised. It rarely happens.
For the most part, a great unsigned out of town band will come to your town and you'd never know it.
Honestly, it's because most music critics don't know about good out of town bands, they only know about great bands in their own town.
Great out of town bands only luck out when they do a show with one of those great local bands the writers normally cover. So I'd say it's a 90 percent chance of being ignored.

Midwest alerts!


• Do you Akron folk miss The Lime Spider? Well, I learned Cleveland Magazine reported that The Lime Spider is being reopened as The Lockview. They're 86'ing the live music and debuting a menu centered around gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
• Take a moment to learn about the Columbus, Ohio musical institution known as Willie Phoenix.The dude has been playing rock and roll music there for decades and he's not slowing down. Read the article featured in OSU's The Lantern.
• The Chicago Tribune recently put out it's Mid west Travel Guide. That could be pretty interesting. There are a couple Ohio spots listed.
• Here's an article from the Denver Post about a "criminally neglected" musician from the 1980s Midwest scene.
• A Madison, Wisconsin site delves into an article about "three of the best bands the Midwest has to offer: The Box Social, Quinn Scharber and the..., and White Light Riot." Read the whole story.
• Regional writer Alan Sculley interviews The Walkmen for a Wisconsin newspaper at at this link. The Brooklyn band is set to tour through the Midwest over the next few weeks.
• This Iowa newspaper reports about the Vanaver Caravan "Pastures of Plenty" Woody Guthrie tribute show being held in Burlington, Iowa next week.
• Kansas City just got some attention: A three-page spread in the recent AAA Midwest Traveler Magazine. It highlights things to do and it's arts scene.

Soft City Jukebox


Simply put: I think that Soft City Lights is an exceptional new indie music web-site. The work and care Kevin Bayer has put into it should be recognized.
I promised to keep updating my readers whenever he updates and he recently posted some video of the great Washington D.C. based band Jukebox the Ghost, which he shot at the WOXY studios.
That would be a perfect match, Soft City Lights doing video shoots of the WOXY performances.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

An Outsiders Guide to the Midwest Music Scene
A discussion with music critic Noah Klein

Last month, I posted about former Michigan band Awesome Color making waves after moving to New York. I made a joke about how no one who lives in LA or NY was actually born there.
But the guy who wrote the article, music critic Noah Klein, found the post and remarked that he was actually born in LA and now lives in NY.
Around the same time I was wondering how the rest of the US perceives the Midwest music scenes.
He was gracious enough to allow me to pick his brain a bit to see what someone completely removed from the Midwest Music Scene thought.
This led to a whole new section of PWAH: "An Outsiders Guide to the Midwest Music Scene."
Our short discussion sparked a desire for me to ask as many people as I could, like the discussion I already posted with Chicago's 1900s.

People with Animal Heads: I'm actually really curious about a guy from NY/LA and what his perception might be about Midwestern music. Would you be interested in telling me any Midwestern bands that you enjoy off the top of your head? From your standpoint, especially as someone who writes about music, have you heard any discussions about Midwestern music going on via either of the coasts? It's fascinating to me, because I know a lot of people in Ohio have opinions about Brooklyn bands and the scene going on over there, for example.
I also know some people in LA who think the Midwest consists of Bob Pollard and that's about it. Maybe Wilco.
Noah Klein: Well, living in L.A. I was always pretty fascinated with the Brooklyn and Austin scenes, off the top of my head those would have to be my favorites. As far as the midwestern scene, I'm not entirely sure of where that would be, many of the people that I've met disagree on where that seems to be.
Within Ohio, I've enjoyed the music that has come out of Akron, some of it I've found repetitive of other contemporary bands but it still has a great sound.
There are a lot of bands that I write about, which I'm surprised come out of the midwest, just because since I was young I've thought of that region having a more laid back and subtle sound. Now living in Manhattan I'm extremely into the Brooklyn scene just because there are so many incredible bands that live right in my backyard. Living in the East as well, the cities are so accessible by short bus and train rides that I've really dug into the Baltimore, Philly and Chicago club scenes. I'm sorry I'm not more help on the midwestern scene, it's not quite the area that I know the most about.
PWAH: That's sort of why I started this site, to get to know it more. I was interested on what your opinion might be, having been totally removed from the Midwest. I think what I've learned over the past year of doing this, is that the majority of "new sounds" coming out these days may come from Brooklyn, but a lot of those musicians started out in the Midwest. You have The National, for instance, who are from Cincinnati.
It's really fascinating to me now, as I look at individual band members of current indie bands accomplishing anything and where they started out.
NK:Well first hearing that Pitchfork was based in Chicago, it came as a bit of surprise and slowly I began to notice the scene that it's beginning the really develop there. Brooklyn's Fiery Furnaces are originally from the surroung Chicago area, The Sea and Cake and Andrew Bird who really hit it big this year. Then of course there are Tortoise and The Smashing Pumpkins although that was quite some time ago. Drag City and Thrill Jockey are also located in Chicago, two labels that we've heard quite a bit from in 2007. Chicago's club scene is also starting to take off and DJs The Hood Internet really made that a big deal this year.
Offhand I can't think of groups from Indiana, although I do remember seeing that location on quite a few MySpace pages. In 2006 I was heavily into the Kansas scene listening to bands like White Whale, The Appleseed Cast, Minus Story and The New Amsterdams. But yeah, these bands have to move out either East or West if they want to begin a serious career and places like Brooklyn and Downtown LA or Silverlake are like musician havens- cheap enough to afford by a great place. I'm definitely beginning to keep more of an eye out for great midwestern bands, those scenes' time will come soon enough.

Midwest Round Up!


• The recent edition of The Big Takeover Magazine, has numerous reviews of Midwestern bands. Pick it up at Barnes and Nobles, or your other choice of magazine place.
• SXSW: I saw that Indiana's Standard Recording will be having a SXSW showcase, with PWAH favorites Arrah and the Ferns, Ever Thus the Deadbeats and more.
Columbus. Ohio's Columbus Discount Recording (CDR) will also have a showcase at the festival. There may be more Midwest labels doing these, so I'll keep checking...
• Misra band Southeast Engine (Athens, OH.) are embarking on a tour of the South.
Check out the tour dates/stops at their myspace page.
• Pittsburgh band Shade recently reported that their song "Wide Eyed" from the excellent 'Arms Raised On Rooftops' LP will be released on a "nugazer" compilation in Australia titled "Take Me On The Wildest Spree" released on Rubber Records and EMI - release date set for February 2008. Some other bands on the compilation CD include Ceremony, Highspire, Echodrone, Airiel, Soundpool, Malory, etc....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Proper Nouns join All Hail Records


I've liked to watch the progress of upstart Columbus label All Hail Records. They moved fast, signed some great bands no one else snatched up yet and are still moving forward.
Today the label announced they just signed Columbus group The Proper Nouns - a band which I have enjoyed for a while now. They play a very unique form of 60's flavored indie pop, but are set apart by singer Matt Ogborn's mysterious vocal style. Click on their link and give a listen to songs featured on the upcoming All Hail release "A Million Hurtful Things".
Columbus Discount Records has given Ohio some much needed attention in the past, mostly based on the new lo-fi movement.
Oddly enough, The Proper Nouns used to be on Columbus Discount. They released the excellent "Birds and Butterflies" CD a year or so ago. I think. But when CDR is so focused on lo-fi noise rock, then I can imagine that when you make a wonderful indie pop album it could get lost in the shuffle.
Here's the rest of the information from the mouths of All Hail Records:
We have just signed Columbus' The Proper Nouns. You can check them out at www.myspace.com/thepropernouns
Some of their new tunes are posted already. Their new CD progresses away from the punk sound of their first two CDs. "A Million Hurtful Things" is much more of a pure pop album than the others.
A big CD release party is already being planned for March/April. Look for The Proper Nouns playing through Ohio and the surrounding states with label-mates Paper Airplane and Take no Damage.
Their CD "A Million Hurtful Things" (which is a lyric from Tender Artillery) will be released in late March or early April.
Here's the tracklist:
The Hateful Throng
Tender Artillery*
The Lesser Stars*
Conditions Are Worse
Turnabout Gone
Doom & Gloom
The Attending Village Officers
The Floor*
Petrochemicals*
Early Man*
The Parasites Have Won
That Sentence Should Say, She Should Put It Away
1976

(* Songs featured on their Myspace site)

Bush shits diamonds


Remember when I said that Bush is just planning on spending the next year traveling abroad so he can avoid us Americans and be treated like the king he thinks he is?
Well, now I can say "I told you so...," to you idiots that voted for him. Thanks again for the past two terms of horseshit we've had to deal with because of you.
Check out this article in the Washington Post: HERE. Be sure to check out the reader's comments. They are priceless.
Or, um, just read it here:
Bush Gets a Taste of the Sheik's Life
By Michael Abramowitz

When President Bush showed up Sunday to meet United Arab Emirates President Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, he was presented with the biggest bling Secret Service agents said they had ever seen: a giant necklace set with hundreds of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, holding a medallion that included a hand-painted enamel American flag.
It was just one example of the kind of lavish wealth on display as Bush makes his way through Persian Gulf countries bursting with oil money.
The president and his party stayed here Sunday night at the Emirates Palace, a giant Taj Mahal-like hotel that cost more than $3 billion to build. The hotel has a nearly mile-long private beach with sand imported from Algeria. The interior hallways are lined with gold and marble.
But before he went to bed, Bush helicoptered to the desert encampment of the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa's younger brother. There he dined under tents on lamb, veal and chicken, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed showed Bush the falcons with which he hunts on his property, according to White House press secretary Dana Perino. She likened the atmosphere to the kind of relaxed feeling at a neighborhood barbecue back home.
Perino said the president had "a really nice time."
Bush is not done with Middle Eastern royal hospitality: On Monday, he will fly to Riyadh for two days of bonding time with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who famously distrusts telephones and prefers to practice his diplomacy in person. Bush will have dinner Monday with the king at his palace in Riyadh, where the main reception area includes a giant plexiglass fish tank that is 30 by 12 by 15 feet , according to the White House.
On Tuesday, Bush will travel to the Al Janadriyah Farm, the country retreat where the king maintains a stable of some 150 thoroughbred stallions. The dining room has a giant U-shaped table with capacity to seat up to 300 guests.
Perhaps the biggest question facing the two leaders is not how they will cope with Iran or the Middle East peace process but how the two will manage to stay alert when they meet: Bush is an early bird, while Abdullah is a night owl known to greet visiting dignitaries at very late hours.
At a background briefing yesterday, an unnamed senior official broke into laughter when told that reporters seemed to have a wager about how long the meetings might last.
"You know, this is a matter of great sensitivity, and I don't really want to be wading in," he replied. "But if someone wants to offer me 10 percent on the side, I could see what I could do."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Midwest alerts

I'm continued to be fascinated with these Midwest Music google alerts. I've also been discovering all of these other Midwest music sites. The only problem is that they don't really focus on their own towns, in favor of doing reviews of national bands. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I'm trying to learn about the Midwest Music scene, not Radiohead.
Here are a few I found recently:
- Life in the Great Midwest
- Remember the Midwest
- Range Life Music

• Most hilarious thing I found yet, was this article explaining how the Midwest has the most binge drinkers.

• Did you know that the 12th Annual Elvis Impersonators Competition took place in Central Illinois this month? Well, it did.

• This actor/musician moved from LA to Columbus, Indiana. Aren't we lucky?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rock Pot Luck

Remember the Columbus Rock Pot Luck show that got canceled due to the heavy snow and winds? Well, it's going on this Saturday at the Milo Arts building on the east side. So be sure to go, if you're in Columbus.

A little help from my friends...


Quick, head on over to My Old Kentucky Blog to hear about the Chris Schlarb CD Twilight and Ghost Stories, which he made with dozens upon dozens of other musicians. I was happy to see among them Sufjan Stevens on some piano, as well as Columbus staple Parker Paul. In fact, Schlarb did an interview with Paul and it's included there as well. I think it's the only one I have seen yet. I will read that right now.

Gutter Twins

I'm not so sure yet that I like what the Gutter Twins are doing musically, but it's cool to see these two dudes making music together.
Check out critic Mike Breen's recent post on it HERE. He's got some music links as well.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Midwest alerts

I decided to broaden my scope of knowledge and enact a Google alert on the topic "Midwest Music," along numerous other topics. Aside from flooding my email a bit, I've found a lot of interesting stuff. I've also noticed that most of it pertains to Minnesota.
Honestly I don't really consider Minnesota to be Midwest. I think of them more as North. As I have said before, they have accents. Midwest people don't have accents, aside from how Michigan and northern Ohio people have shrill voices and people from Kentucky sound like, um, people from Kentucky. Ok, I'm wrong. We sometimes have horrible accents. Especially if you're a redneck.
But Minnesota people definitely consider themselves to be Midwest. Maybe I'll give them a chance and start covering their scene a bit.
Some recent things I learned from the alerts:
• A real interesting band called Abner Trio who are actually from Indianapolis. Sort of a mix between Sonic Youth with more time changes and spoken word rock. Pretty unique and powerful-sounding stuff. I bet they'd be great live. The band is playing in Louisville tonight (Thursday) with that scene's Lucky Pineapple.
• That historic rumor that Paul McCartney died in the 1960s really took off because of people in the Midwest. Indeed, we are nuts.
... it was two years later, in the American midwest, that the rumor really took hold. Researcher Andru Reeve has traced this midwest origin of the rumor to a song titled “Saint Paul” that received heavy airplay in the midwest in May 1969. The song, penned by Detroit-based Terry Knight, spoke of Paul being in heaven. Knight might have been speaking metaphorically about the imminent breakup of the Beatles, but the lyrics must have suggested the idea of McCartney’s death to some fans. Whatever the case, the idea was planted, and the rumor began to spread around college campuses.
• Sufjan Stevens talked a lot in an interview for a paper in Melbourne Australia, mentioning growing up in the Midwest. In a way, he's doing what this site is trying to do. He has documented music pertaining to Michigan and Illinois so far. Although, I still think if you've heard one SS song, then you've heard them all. Even if they are good songs.
• A meeting is coming up for the Midwest Dairy Association in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
• Midwest Christian Outreach reports that Chicago-based Christian nut job Bill Gothard blames a recent murderous spell by a Denver man to be caused by Rock and Roll music.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Granted...

I suppose after giving so much shit to Pitchfork Media the other day, I must link to them actually writing about an Ohio band.
UPDATE: I've changed my mind. Let's face it, the dudes work in Chicago and they still don't give a fuck about the Midwest. That's like being from Cleveland and not liking pork … or something like that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ken Blackwell's Legacy
and how the Republicans keep dragging their feet on democracy

I mentioned the whole Diebold electronic voting machine VS. going back to paper ballots discussions going on right now in Ohio. But the New York Times recently gave some coverage to the topic, as a national issue.
For those worried we might go through another election with untrustworthy voting methods, please take the time to get informed on the issue. I have included more info on the Everest Report, which declared last month that the machines could be hacked.
Sure, Republicans would say that it would take a mass, highly organized, plan on some Mission Impossible scale, to hack into the vote system. I can already tell you that is what they are saying, and Brunner is obviously nuts or something and trying to make money for some stock she obviously must have in optical scanners. Fuck that.
But the Everest Report also showed that people can eff up the system with something simple as a magnet or personal digital assistant device. Not only that, but the report was only the last stop of reports. Meaning that whether you believe it or not, there have been similar reports conducted across the United States, from Pennsylvania to California, which have determined the same goddam thing: The Diebold voting machines are shady and were shady back in 2004.
Has everyone forgotten about Kenneth Blackwell? That fucker is the only reason why Brunner is doing this. It was her TOP CAMPAIGN PROMISE and YOU ELECTED HER TO RESTORE TRUST.
There is a pretty good reason why Rolling Stone would run an article titled Was the 2004 election stolen?.
These are our NATIONAL elections we're talking about. The next president of the United States. Trusting this system is of utmost importance to the entire concept of democracy. Read more HERE.
Then click on this link below to sign a petition asking local, state, and federal officials to require paper ballots for our votes:

http://pol.moveon.org/paper2008/.

Thanks

Local Lixx back for 2008


Joe, from Each Note Secure (see links), is back in 2008 with WOXY's Local Lixx regional music radio show.
Read more here...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Get re-acquainted with Daytrotter


In case you haven't been following the Midwest's esteemed Daytrotter Studio, the little den of love has featured many many excellent bands lately. Check it out in our links list to the right.
We're talking sessions with Rogue Wave, Richard Swift, Ra Ra Riot, Art Brut, The Black Swans, Blitzen Trapper, etc. etc.
I don't know about you, but I know what I'll be listening to all day.
Thank me later.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Midwestern Roundup!

• I just noticed how Columbus Alive writer Chris DeVille swung a little swipe at Pitchfork Media in his column (find that to the right) for ignoring Ohio bands. I appreciated that swipe, because seriously, Pitchfork not only ignores Ohio bands, they ignore MOST bands currently making any waves in the Midwest. The site has been nice enough to mention The Black Swans and Times New Viking in the past. I think before that, they did a bit on Cleveland's Exit Stencil singer-songwriter Blake Miller.
I guess when all you really want to talk about is Brooklyn trends, Pitchfork, then you don't need the rest of the country?
But we get plenty lately about some Sheffield, England band, and Antony (of "and the Johnsons") designing a god. damn. dress.
Oh yeah, and more mutherfucking stuff about Radiohead.
Thanks for nothing.
• I just decided to lift this from a My Old Kentucky Blog post, because it said what I was planning to say: Senator Barack Obama of Illinois took his first serious steps towards White House domination yesterday. He rolled to victory in Iowa on the backs of a record turnout of voters. "We are choosing hope over fear," Obama told supporters after his victory. Obama is rolling on a campaign built on the idea of much needed change and putting the power back in the hands of the American people. John Edwards finished second and Hillary Clinton third.
• In other political news, I noticed Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is caving in a bit when it comes to the effort to replace Ohio's easily-hacked electronic Diebold voting machines, back to paper ballots. At first all I heard about was the upheaval of her and Strickland planning on cleaning house.
But then I heard yesterday that they are just trying to allow paper ballots "so people can choose to use them" if they want.
That's just weak. If you think they need to be replaced, and they most definitely do, then just order them to be replaced.
I just hope their overall plans are completed in time.
I swear, if the presidential winner comes in as "George W. Bush" and the fucker isn't even allowed to run, then we'll finally be able to prove something is afoot. No?
But this picture is pretty awesome to me, courtesy of Brad Blog:










• Check out old school Columbus site Cringe for the BMW commercial, long-timers the Detroit/Columbus band The Tough and the Lovely were picked to do. Take that money and run! I like that. See that HERE.
• Columbus site Donewaiting (see link to the right), has gone hog-crazy posting its annual updates on SXSW. Bands a plenty being announced...

Site updates

I tried a little something with the header last night. I think the picture is way too big right now, but it sure makes me laugh.
I'll have to shrink that down a bit tonight when I get the time.
-Chris

Thursday, January 3, 2008

An Outsiders Guide to the Midwest Music Scene:
A discussion with Chicago's 1900s


One of the great bands to emerge nationally from the Midwest in 2007 was the Chicago-based group the 1900s on Parasol Records. They made many a Top 10 list.
So who better to comment on how the Midwest Music Scene is perceived than a band out there right now, hitting American roadways and getting a perspective first-hand.
I recently heard back from 1900s Edward Anderson on the aspects of being Midwestern and how outsiders may view the current Midwestern Music Scene.

PWAH: What are some Chicago bands you recommend people get to know signed or unsigned?

Edward Anderson: Palliard, Ice Cream Floats, Brighton MA, Devin Davis, Office, The M's, The Changes, Strange Young Lovers, David Vandervelde, Wilco... among many others.

PWAH: As you guys go around on your travels, how do you think people perceive music that comes from the Midwest? I think most people are unaware that a vast majority of famous bands and musicians may have moved to NY or LA, but started in the Midwest. The National comes to mind.

EA: This makes me think of OK GO, who are pretty much like an LA band now, though I remember them being huge here in Chicago a few years back. It seemed like they were always ready to catch the first bus out of the Midwest; like that was their intention all along – whereas most of the musicians I know in Chicago aren’t planning on going anywhere. Because of this, we’ve been able to dig in our heels and support each other and create a little scene for ourselves. The hope is that by having and nurturing this scene, people around the world will become more aware of the really diverse and special music coming from Chicago and the Midwest in general. Last year was our fist experience at SXSW, and it definitely seemed like there was loads of buzz for Chicago bands – but I’m not sure if people were able to piece them all together. Hopefully this year we can all go and kick more ass and really open people’s eyes.
But to answer the question, I have a feeling people still perceive Chicago from the last time it was on the music map – when Tortoise and Sea & Cake..etc we’re putting out these cool records that heavily featured rhythm, melody and experimentation – all things that the new school hold high – but I wonder if people still think “post-rock” when my favorite stuff is all pop these days. I guess I would say Wilco, Summer Teeth-on, would embody that new aesthetic on the biggest scale, like our big daddy.

PWAH: How do you think being Midwestern has contributed to your outlook on life or the music you make?

EA: Hard working, hard drinking. Keep your head down to count the gum on the sidewalk, meet your friends at the bar, watch your breath when it snows, get wasted and talk about how to record hand-claps, click-tracks, late night jams and cigarettes. Big hugs for big shoulders, big water, boulevards and big food.