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Showing posts from February, 2013

We Were Here

About a month ago, I had the pleasure to sit down and talk with Jeff Ryan. Jeff has played with a ton of great artists over the years, like Sarah Jaffe, St. Vincent, Crushed Stars, and Pleasant Grove. Since he has a solo project called Myopic and has a new record called We Were Here , I figured I should interview him.

This Couch is Long & Full of Friendship

When I covered an Appleseed Cast show in a living room a few weeks ago, little did I know what I stumbled upon. Denton has been a town that's hosted many house shows over the years. Back in the mid-90s, the famed Bonnie Brae house had bands like Braid and At the Drive-In long before they gained prominence in people's minds. With the house dubbed Macaroni Island hosting some great shows lately, I've been able to experience a modern take on this house show tradition. I've seen house shows before, but not like the ones I've seen at this place. Two weeks ago, I saw a free show with a whopping five-band bill. Two of the bands were from out of town and the other three were from Denton. All of the bands were great, especially the out-of-towners Secret Plot to Destroy the Entire Universe and Tiny Moving Parts. This was music that came straight from the heart; not from a desire to become famous, wear eyeliner, and date supermodels. But this kind of spazzy, cathartic po

My (last) First Show

This week marks the final edition of My First Show. After two years, it's been put in the attic. For this one, Matt Pond and I had an early morning interview (for a musician's schedule), but I think we had a good chat. I've always enjoyed talking to people about how they got into music. I will continue to do so, because I think it's a fascinating point of discussion. We all start somewhere, and usually it's embarrassing to look at now. But I'm all about embracing your beginnings. As for what I'll be doing next on a regular basis for the Observer , I have some really great interviews in the can. Hopefully I will make some good stories out of them, and I will try to post my full Q&As with them here on this blog as a bonus.

Frustration can be gorgeous

Writing the third book has been slow, to put it nicely. I now understand why people write and write and never seem to finish a novel. But since I've made my writing of this book a public announcement, I have no choice but to climb that proverbial mountain. I know I'll be happy when I get to the top of it, and I blog to chart my progress. What's helped me get back into the swing of things is having a working title. And it's a title I almost used for my first book: Forever Got Shorter . The title wasn't exactly right for my first book and certainly not for my second one, but this third one fits the title perfectly. I'm not trying to write a downer of a book here. Instead, I'm trying to capture how three different people try to accept adulthood. That's a topic I know plenty about, so I feel comfortable and confident in writing about it. The phrase "forever got shorter" is a line from About Last Night , a movie I still haven't seen. But I k


I turned 34 today. Thought I'd share some life lessons that I've learned along the way. -No matter how hard you try, you can't fight adulthood. -We all want to love and be loved. The harder one tries to fight that notion, the harder that person's life is. -Hipsters live in the now and don't often think about the past. Historians try to live in the now by comparing it with the past. -The wrong person dissuades you from fulfilling your potential. The right one encourages you no matter what. -You don't have to be friends with everybody, but try to be as friendly as you can. -Don't wait until someone's funeral to say how much that person means to you. -One of the best icebreakers in a conversation is saying, "Hi." -Like Mr. T says, if you can believe it, you can be it. -Life is what happens when you're not on social media. -If you're going through hell, just keep on going.

My First Show + notes

This week's edition is with Blair Shehan from the Jealous Sound. A few notes about this interview: -I saw the Jealous Sound live before I was familiar with their music, or even a fan. I was aware of Knapsack, but I didn't know much of their material. A band I briefly played with in college worshiped Knapsack, and to this day, I still see at least one of the members of my old band at Jealous Sound shows. -The first time I saw the Jealous Sound was at the Gypsy Tea Room. Spitalfield frontman Mark Rose introduced me to Adam Wade at that show, and Adam was tremendously excited about my book project. Just the thought that someone still cared about Jawbox meant the world to him. Eventually I interviewed him and he helped me set up interviews with William Goldsmith and Jeremy Enigk. -The second time I saw the Jealous Sound, they opened for Sunny Day Real Estate. I finally got to meet William Goldsmith and Nate Mendel. Both were very gracious and friendly to me. The thing with N

My first show

This week's edition is with Dylan Silvers and Ryan Hartsell from These Machines Are Winning. I've known Dylan since college, back when he was in a band called Post from Vermont. I've stayed in touch and seen all of his bands since then. So this interview was a natural thing to happen. I'm definitely excited for what he has in store with this project.

Middle States

I had the pleasure of seeing the Appleseed Cast in a living room last night. Much like how David Bazan did a recent tour, there were no tickets at the door. Everything was done in advance over PayPal, e-mail, and .pdfs. This was my fourth time to see the band, but my first time to review them. And I took pics, including the set list.

Our First Taste of Escape

A few days ago, while digging through Count Your Lucky Stars' artist page, I came across a band I hadn't thought about since college: Penfold . Thinking this was a different Penfold than the one I knew in college, I was happy to see that it was the same band. I thought about why I had slept on this band for all the years. Then it hit me: over-saturation. Working in college radio between 1999 and 2002, I saw firsthand bands like the Promise Ring and the Get Up Kids gain much more exposure, beyond the regular crowd that would see them in basements, garages, or living rooms. This was post- Very Emergency and post- Something to Write Home About , and people who didn't care for emo were listening to these bands. As a result, the mailrooms at college radio stations across the country received a lot of records that came with some nice pushes via a handful of publicists. With bands like Sinclaire, Filmmaker, and Chore, I was designated as the Guy Who Liked Emo by my fellow co-w