Best Music of 2019!

My Top 12 Records of 2019!

Yeah yeah, I'm about a month late.  Does it really matter?  No, no it doesn't.  These are sort of in order, but think of them more as tiers rather than strictly numerically in order. I included a few random MP3s for some of the albums listed here. 

Tier 1 King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Infest The Rats’ Nest (Flightless)
 - The best metal record of the year wasn't made by a metal band.  

Organ Farmer

Gino And The Goons - Rip It Up (Slovenly)
 - Sometimes you just need a hot shot of simple, catchy punk rock.
Outta Control

Apex Manor - Heartbreak City (Merge)
 - This was my slow burner of the took a few listens, but what a fine damn collection of adult pop.
Where My Mind Goes

Tier 2 The Twilight Sad - It Won/t Be Like This All The Time (Rock Action)
 - Is this their best record, or is it just the record I needed to hear at this point in my life?  I dunno.

Fontaines D.C. - Dogrel (Partisan)
 - Seeing them open for Idles convinced me to…

Cat’s Cradle 50th Anniversary (Night 4) at the Cat’s Cradle - 1/4/2020

Cat’s Cradle 50th Anniversary - Night 4
With Ben Davis & The Jetts, Superchunk, Lud, Zen Frisbee, and Bandway
Cat’s Cradle

I went to my first show at the old Cat’s Cradle on Franklin Street, which at that time was across the street from the former location of Time Out…that’s where we’re at now with Chapel Hill, any possible location description will involve a lot of long defunct businesses, because no one knows what any of the current businesses are.  Some friends and I piled into a barely running early eighties Volvo and drove down from the mountains to see Fugazi and Shudder To Think in the spring of 1992 (I think), my first ever “real” rock n’ roll club show, and what a goddamn great one it was.  I had no idea at the time the Cradle had been around at least 22 years before that, albeit in multiple locations.  This pillar of the community has been in its current spot in Carrboro for a quarter century now, but in my dumb brain I still sometimes think of it as the “new lo…

The White Octave / Sorry About Dresden / The Popes at the Cat's Cradle - 1/5/2020

The White Octave

Sorry About Dresden

Sorry About Dresden had many guest singers, including Tim Kasher of Cursive.

The Popes

One of the Popes many guest singers, whose name escapes me. 

Upcoming Shows!

Crap I'm going to, thinking about going to, or recommend going to...

Saturday, January 11th 2020
Cold Cream / Patois Counselors at the Local 506

Sunday, January 19th 2020
Loamlands at the Pinhook

Thursday, January 23rd 2020
Ron Funches at Goodnights (through the 25th)

Saturday, January 25th 2020
Spider Bags at the Pinhook

FEBRUARY 2020Saturday, February 1st 2020
Jawbox / Hammered Hulls at the Cat's Cradle

Saturday, February 15th 2020
Lower Dens at Kings

Monday, February 17th 2020
Kyle Kinane at the Cat's Cradle

Tuesday, February 18th 2020
The Mattson 2 at the Cat's Cradle Back Room

Friday, February 21st 2020
Archers Of Loaf at the Cat's Cradle

Sunday, February 23rd 2020
Sloan at the Cat's Cradle Back Room

MARCH 2020Wednesday, March 11th 2020
Destroyer at the Cat's Cradle

Saturday, March 21st 2020
Best Coast at the Cat's Cradle

Tuesday, March 24th 2020
Mdou Moctar at the Pinhook

APRIL 2020Friday April 10th 2020
Archers Of Loaf at the Grey Eagle (weekend of rock Ashevill…

Press Club - Wasted Energy (Hassle, 2019)

Press Club
Wasted Energy

Rating: 7 western dynamite monkeys out of 10

My biggest surprise with Press Club is that neither of their full-lengths have been released by a label in the US.  I find it really hard to believe this band wouldn’t do well here…then again, I’ve never been accused of having my finger on the pulse of what is popular and hip.  Selfishly, I just want to be able to purchase both of their releases without paying the stupid import prices, but I really do think there would be an audience for these kids in the States.  Much like their debut “Late Teens,” the songs on “Wasted Energy” are upbeat & incredibly catchy; and in this superficial world, let’s not pretend that having an attractive blonde singer is anything but an asset.  If you’re familiar with the Scottish band PAWS, Press Club reminds me a lot of an Australian version of that group*; if you’re not familiar with PAWS, think poppy nineties indie punk along the lines of Jawbreaker, with a dash of emo ang…

November 2019 movie update

In my attempt to slowly transition my old website content into posts on this here blog, let this be known as my monthly movie update.  Last year in 2018 I tried (and succeeded!) at watching at least one movie every day of the year.  This year I had no such goals in the beginning, but I was still keeping track of what I watched.  At some point around late spring/early summer I realized I had watched more movies than days had passed so far in 2019, and decided to go ahead and make an effort at the goal again (spoiler alert: I was yet again successful).  A couple of noteworthy (lenient) rules I follow: If I've seen the movie before it still counts, and if it's a doc or comedy special greater than an hour it counts.

For November 2019, I watched 32 total films, which put me at +2 for the month and +8 for the year.  Even with an impending week-long vacation, I felt pretty confident in achieving my goal.  

Best of the month: Parasite (2019) & Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Worst of the month:

Superchunk at Motorco - 11/2/2019


I’ve seen Superchunk many, many, many times.  I’ve even seen the typical acoustic Superchunk set (where it’s just Mac and Jim) quite a bit.  But this was the first time seeing the entire band put on an acoustic performance – in addition to Mac and Jim, Wurster was on the drums of course, frequently playing with brushes and/or those weird bundled together sticks that probably have a name that I’m too lazy to research; tour ringer Jason Narducy was on the bass, WHICH WAS NOT ACOUSTIC AT ALL THIS WHOLE THING IS A SHAM; and as an added bonus for this short tour only, Matt Douglas on keys, extra percussion, and most importantly, sax.  Based on the crowd reaction every time Matt busted out a solo on his shiny horn, I don’t think anyone would argue if he was added to the line-up full-time…though he’s in so many bands already I doubt that is a real possibility.  He does add a nice extra dimension to their sound though, and I’m into it.

The whole point of this gig …

Russian Circles / Windhand at Motorco - 11/1/2019

Russian Circles
With Windhand

Sweet Bill’s balls it had been ages since I last attended a good metal show, and this Russian Circles performance definitely delivered respite from this affliction.  I can typically depend on Hopscotch to deliver a couple of decent metal acts, but even they failed me in that regard this year.  This Russian Circles gig was terrible photographically speaking – zero house lights, completely backlit, and not quite strobed, but close…glad I don’t have to do this picture taking thing for a living!  Holy shit did they sound good though, as if the stage lighting has no bearing on rock n’ roll – heavy and pummeling but somehow not overly loud, which is no small feat given the mountain of amps on stage.  Perhaps it’s Motorco that deserves the tip of the cap in this department rather than the band, but either way the mix was fabulous.  I’m shit with song titles under typical circumstances, but for an instrumental band…forget it.  What I can definit…

Built To Spill / Prism Bitch / Love As Laughter at the Cats Cradle - 10/6/2019

Built To Spill
With Prism Bitch & Love As Laughter
Cats Cradle

I love that the Cat’s Cradle almost always starts their shows right on time these days, but of course there are exceptions where you’re running late but still hoping to see the first band, and crossing your fingers that the club is operating on rock n’ roll time this evening.  Alas, punctuality was the victor on this evening, and I managed to only catch the last three or four songs from Love As Laughter.  This was a bummer because I’ve long been a fan of this elusive band for two decades now; I think the last time I saw them live was in the early 2000s, (probably) at Bottom Of The Hill in San Francisco.  Given it’s been eleven years since their last full length, I assumed they had quietly faded into the sunset, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them listed as a part of this line-up.  Hot gear talk: frontman Sam Jayne played two guitars the entire time I was there: a Jackson that would make a 1987 hair meta…

ZZ Top / Cheap Trick / Frankie And The Witch Fingers at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre - 10/5/2019

ZZ Top
With Cheap Trick & Frankie And The Witch Fingers
Walnut Creek Amphitheatre

I’ve lived in the Triangle for almost half of my life, but this was my first foray to the gigantic shed known as the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre (or as the corporate overlords would prefer you call it, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, but ain’t nobody got time for all that).  It's rare there is a band playing at a venue this size that I give a shit about, and even if there is, the prices are completely bonkers ($17 for a beer!!!).  Hey, at least parking was free!  As is almost always the case, if I’m in a place like this, I’m there with my mom & Bryan; they chose the Raleigh concert over their closer option of Charlotte as Cheap Trick wasn't opening in the Queen City.

Before the big bands though, let me briefly mention the first act, Frankie And The Witch Fingers.  To be perfectly honest I was in no hurry to get to Walnut Creek in time to see them based solely off of t…