Alright, so it’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. Oops. It’s probably going to be slow for the next month as well while final wedding stuff is coming together. Sorry about that, but I haven’t abandoned this thing, I promise!
Last weekend, I took a trip down to Baltimore for Insubordination Fest. This was my third time at the fest and it was probably the most fun year I’ve attended. There were no venue issues like last year. In fact, the venue, The Ottobar, couldn’t have been better for the weekend. I couldn’t come up with a complaint if I tried.
One of the highlights of the weekend was actually a joke band that was put together solely for the sake of the fest. And amazingly, the songs that were recorded a few days before the fest are actually better than most real bands’ stuff. Their set was a ton of fun.
But, that being said, the hands down best set of the weekend was from The Copyrights. So damn good. If you’re not already listening to this band, you should be.
I got myself into a little trouble with continuous mode on my camera though. I came home with almost 1400 photos from less 36 hours. Insane. I narrowed down to about 200 to edit and I narrowed down further to about 70 to post.
Last Friday, I took a ride up to Brooklyn for the first night of the Don Giovanni Records showcase at Death By Audio. The lineup was The Steinways, The Measure [SA], Black Wine, Full of Fancy, and Big Eyes and except for the disaster that was The Steinways’ set, the show was awesome.
I was able to photograph three of the bands, but of course the lighting was awful and I didn’t bring my flash. I had to bump the ISO all the way up to 3200 to get non-blurry shots, but they turned out to be pretty damn noisy. But since I knew this would be the case going in, I didn’t worry about it too much and just had fun with it.
I ended up having to convert most of the photos to black and white to deal with the different colored lights, but I did decide to keep the color for a few to see what I could salvage.
Honestly, I kind of enjoyed some of the results.
Over the weekend, I went to Insubordination Fest down in Baltimore for the second year in a row. It was a really good time, despite having a cold, but I won’t get into a lot of specifics, just a few highlights, I guess.
The Smoking Popes kind of sucked. I would have been disappointed if I was actually expecting more, but even though I’ve always been a fan, I just haven’t really been that into their reunion. They completely ruined “Pretty Pathetic” and a couple of other songs by dragging them out way too much. It was awful, actually.
But Tenement, Dear Landlord, The Copyrights, The Leftovers, Dead Mechanical, and the Dopamines were all super good. The biggest surprise though was Less Than Jake. We didn’t want to pay for a second night for the hotel room, so our plan was to drive back Saturday night and since LTJ didn’t go on until 12:15, we couldn’t stay for much of their set. We watched about a half hour and watched them rock a bunch of stuff from Losing Streak. This was really great. Hearing them play those songs instantly brought me back ten years. So much fun.
This fest was also my first attempt at any kind of band photography. It was mostly a failure. Out of almost 300 pictures, I only liked a handful of them. The two main issues I had were lighting and getting a good spot. Since I’m a short dude, I pretty much need to be in the front, but I’m past the point in my life where I want to push and squeeze past people to get up front. Being in the front also comes with the risk of your camera getting damaged if the crowd is moving a lot and pushing forward…or if there are a lot of stage divers. Not good. As for the lighting, I felt like the venue that hosted the show has worse lighting to work with than most venues, but it should have been workable. The issue is just that with the low-level of lighting, I really had to crank up the ISO to be able to shoot with a fast enough shutter speed even with my 50mm 1.8 wide open. I ended up with a lot of noise in a lot of pics. But even with the ISO up to 1600, my pictures all came out really dark. I was able to successfully use the flash for some shots, but for many, it killed the entire mood of picture. I don’t want to make excuses for my lack of skill and experience, but I definitely think there was little I could do without a bigger flash that I could aim at the ceiling to bounce the light. Oh well.
Here are the pictures I actually consider “useable.”
This week’s show was my countdown of my top 10 albums of 2009. It was an easy show to do since I picked out everything beforehand. I opened up with a few honorable mentions and then went right into the top 10. I ended with a Thorns Of Life track. I figured that bootleg from 924 Gilman St. was one of my most listened to records in the early part of the year so I should play something from it. The only real difficult part of this year’s countdown was trying to find a clean track from the Dear Landlord album. Everything I wanted to play had profanity in it and I didn’t have time to edit something out. I could have done it on the fly, but I never like leaving it to that. Don’t want to risk getting distracted and missing it.
So here’s the playlist (if you’re reading via Facebook, it’s going to be a jumbled mess since their import sucks. Click to read the original instead.)…
||My Maudlin Career
||Wilco (The Song)
||Wilco (The Album)
|Future Of The Left
||The Hope That House Built
||Travels With Myself And Another
||Creeping Out Sarah
|Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band
|Monsters Of Folk
||Man Named Truth
||Monsters Of Folk
|The Lawrence Arms
||The Slowest Drink In The Saddest Bar On The Snowiest Day In The Greatest City
||Buttsweat And Tears
||Poetry Of The Deed
||Poetry Of The Deed
||This Tornado Loves You
|Thorns Of Life
||I Hate New York
||Live At 924 Gilman St
Source: 90.3 The Core
I’m not going to go into too much detail, but over the weekend, I took a trip down to Baltimore for Insubordination Fest. It’s a pop punk fest that’s been going on for a few years now. Including the pre-show, it was three straight days of pop punk. It was way more awesome than it sounds, I swear.
I think the best band turned out to be The Copyrights, but Cloak/Dagger, House Boat, Lemuria, Dillinger 4, and Dear Landloard were really awesome as well. The Steinways were very good, but a bit messy. It was supposed to be their last show for real this time, so I’m glad that I got to see them since I never had before.
Anyway, I picked up two shirts while I was there…
Here’s what I spent some time listening to last week. As you can see, I’m still all about the Neko Case record and the beautiful weather at the end of the week brought out some Promise Ring for me. I think it was a couple weeks ago, but I got super obsessed with Icky Mettle by Archers Of Loaf so I was also listening to that a lot as well. I think I’ve made a switch on my favorite Archers Of Loaf album now. White Trash Heroes was always my favorite album by them, but I think that was because it was the first thing I ever heard by them. I find that when I get into a band that is already broken up or has a lot of stuff out already, the first thing I hear by them tends to be my favorite and what I compare all their other stuff too.
- Neko Case
- The Lawrence Arms
- Minus The Bear
- The Hold Steady
- The Cars
- Johnny Cash
- The Tattletales
- Archers Of Loaf
- The Promise Ring
- Terminal Reynaldo
- The Loved Ones
- The French Connection
- Drive-By Truckers
Here it is, I finally made it! Unlike the past few years, I’m only doing ten records instead of twenty-five and this Wednesday, December 17, I’ll do a countdown of them on 90.3 The Core at 10pm!
I should say that this isn’t necessarily a list of what I think the best records were, but these are the records I listened to the most and that stuck with me throughout the year. I mistakenly named Murder By Death’s record as an early pick for album of the year way back in February, but it ended up dropping down to fifth.
At any rate, check back soon as I’ll be doing other top 10 lists for 2008!
- Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
- She And Him – Volume One
- The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
- The Steinways – Gorilla Marketing
- Murder By Death – Red Of Tooth And Claw
- The Bridges – Limits Of The Sky
- Mason Proper – Olly Oxen Free
- Tom Gabel – Heart Burns
- Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
- Amanda Palmer – Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Fun show last night. I was really glad to be able to play new stuff by The Hold Steady and The Steinways.
|Hold Steady, The
||Sequestered In Memphis
||It’s A Red Fade That Leaves In A Warm Way
|I See Hawks In L.A.
||In The Garden
||Everything Is Alive
||A Hero’s Welcome
||Life Is Sweet
||You Are Here
||Sell The Stars
||Sell The Stars
|Joan Of Arc
||The Surrender #1
||Oh My Fucking Gosh
|Mates Of State
|Ghost Of The Russian Empire
||The Winter Soldier
|These Modern Socks
||Picking A Lock At The Speed Of Light
|Flight Of The Conchords
||Hiphopopotamus Vs. Rhymenoceros
||Flight Of The Conchords
||The Odd Couple
Source: 90.3 The Core
This record is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been addicted to it all week. I love that this band reminds me of everything that I like about Screeching Weasel while still offering me something different. The songs are catchy and poppy and have very hilarious lyrics.
I love that most of the songs are about all of the girls that the singer wants to have sex with even though he’s dating (or was until recently, from what I’ve heard), the bass player. And she even does backing vocals on a lot of them! This isn’t new for the band, but it’s definitely continued all over the place with lyrics like “In other words I’m jealous of guys who get to have sex with really really really hot girls.” I won’t spoil anymore of them because one of the best things about The Steinways is catching all of these lyrics when you’re listening for the first time. Or better yet, when you’re listening for the fiftieth time and catch a lyric you never noticed before.
I also love that there’s a song about Jessica Hopper that references Challenger and seeing her play bass for them when they went on tour a few years ago. I remember thinking the same things at the time too.
I guarantee these songs to be stuck all up in your head for the better part of a year.
Pick it up!
One of my favorite things in the world is when out of nowhere you get the urge to listen to an album that you haven’t listened to in years. Sometimes it’s a band that you haven’t liked in a long time or even hate now, but that one album was always good to you. Then you take the time to dig it out and you put it on to find out that it withstands the test of time and is still awesome to you.
This just happened to me with the Juliana Theory / Dawson High split. I know I might lose some friends for this, but this album is still great. I don’t think I’ve listened to it since high school, but someone posted the opening lyrics to the album on a message board earlier and I just HAD to listen to this. So I pulled it out and put it on. It was great. From start to finish it was just as good as I remember it being. Understanding This Is A Dream was the only other thing that I liked by them, but I never liked it as much as this split.
I’ve also been into a lot of pop punk lately. Mostly Weston, Screeching Weasel and bands that sound kind of like Screeching Weasel (e.g. The Steinways, The Copyrights, The Tattletales, etc.) All great stuff. While a lot of it is new, it really takes me back to high school when that stuff was the best music on Earth.