Thursday, September 30, 2010

Magic Central: Breathe Owl Breathe

My current amorous buzz for Autumn, an annual affliction for me, is facilitated wonderfully by Breathe Owl Breathe.

Playful and poetic, "...remember when this magic was magical?..." combining a spacey-jazz thing with a fractured folk thing and having it come out as something combining the dashing surrealist blend of pop sensibilities peppered by, perhaps the sparser, less noisy, ("Autumn-Sweater"-flavored) Yo La Tengo jaunts or the plaintive, yes quirky, pop-leaning endearment of a Jonathan Richman.

They combine the familiar with the transcendent, -we're pleasingly waltzed by the girl-group/50's-pop style drum punch of "Icy Cave Dancers" with its warm fuzzy vocal duet and it's unabashed pop ballad refrain: "ooh-wooh" cooing down over a purring organ - yet later on "Lake Light" we're detached into a meditative meandering, lilted only but the rich tones of guitar, piano and vocals that waft across the sparse structure filling it with vivid imagery of the oncoming winter months.

Breathe Owl Breathe - Lake Light from Miscellany on Vimeo.

For just three (Micah Middaugh's honeyed baritone and prickled guitar work, Andrea Moreno-Beals' soft airy voice with cello/banjo accompaniment, Trevor Hobbs' effective, accommodating percussion) they fill up the sound, yes, but bring in such a refreshing array of flavors and styles: with vibes, to organ, to--yes--banjo, to those dizzying harmonies ("Swimming" feels transcribed straight from the watery wisha-wisha-wisha of a thick-layered dream drummed right out of your wonder-loving mind's tingly synapses) it inevitably teases up the old cliche of each-song-sounding-different... having it's own character. True songwriters, these ones be...

More Info -
+ Their Site


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Walkmen - Lisbon (10-10 - Magic Stick)

There are numerous moments on Lisbon where it's simply vocals and guitar...or vocals and brass, vocals and drums...a detached choppy drum and a lilting guitar, just enough to coax you along. It's as though, via a peak and valley sort of structuring, the Walkmen have managed to capture that gravitating grab of "Hey!...listen!" that seems to bring a laser focus from the listener to any speaker's forthcoming exclamation, thus bringing any potentially distracting over-dressing so indicative of some brands of NY-arty-rock down to a sensible simmer.

The bobbing, strutty step of the sparse kit and the wafting surfy serenade of the guitars on "All My Great Designs" almost paints the humble image of some ignored-yet-still-grooving jazz trio shunted to the corner of a candle-lit club.

But then they get you - everything cuts away and the group harmonizes in this haunting sort of back alley Beach Boys manner and a beauteous lull settles over the listener. This has been what the band has been building to over their 10-year-career, that idyllic sonic swoon that they could wrap upon the listener; where once you thought you were on some calypso-cracked surf-toned shuffle of an artsy-indie-flavored creep pop trip, they sweeten the pop with some nuanced effect, be it their disarming harmonies, the sunny brass bolstering or a slip-sliding drum-fill before it kicks into high gear.

It's what had always set them apart from the gaping groany guitar rock of Interpol or the tumbling CBGB-glorified whirl and wail of the Strokes. The sparser the composition, the more invigorating your crescendos - and, as they've done before on tracks like "the Rat," the mesmeric, crashing crescendos (see much of "Angels Surf City") reward the patience of a groove plodding listener.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Worry About Words Later: Interview with Michael Gira of Swans (10/4 - Crofoot)

“This is not a reunion band going out to play their old record or something; I’m interested in making things happen.” Swans’ guitarist/singer Michael Gira has been making music for 30-some years, as a solo artist and also under the Angels of Light moniker.

Having “reactivated” his preeminent project, Swans, last January, he continues to seek sonic transcendence through persistent shifts in style. He’s not one to look back, he’s not “a journalist or historian,” looking to reestablish a Swans narrative, whatever-that-may-be based upon fans both passionate and casual and their perception of the NY-based group’s work in the realms of dark, raucous post-punk rock and a visceral, frightening ambience.

“…fighting expectations” was what originally wore the musician/writer/artist into “retiring” the seminal NY-no-wave era project, (started in 1982 alongside others as Sonic Youth) back in 1997. This month heralds, not a return, as Gira would clarify, but, merely, a new Swans album, with My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope to the Sky (out on Young God Records, -which was also founded by Gira in 1990.).

Swans - 'Eden Prison' by theQuietus

“For me, which shouldn’t matter to any audience member—because it’s not about me, it’s about the music, but,…for me, personally, it was a major kind of challenge and personal upheaval to reinvigorate Swans. It was a monkey I thought I’d killed. But, really, I had to confront my demon brother, and embrace him. What I’m doing, and what I’m wrestling with, with this whole concept, has given me a new sense of purpose. I love it. Experiencing these overwhelming sounds again is just tremendous. To me, it’s like a religious experience. But, I don’t mean to be lofty about it. It feels like it’s really transcendent to me, when I’m in the midst of it, and…I think we’re all that way.”

Swans are known for devastating, battering-ram crescendos, soul-shaking cacophony and a hauntingly beautiful balance of an aural chaos upon an arresting rhythm and veiled melodies. Gira said that the band (including original members Norman Westberg along other long-time Gira-collaborators Phil Puleo, Chris Pravdica, Christopher Hahn, Thor Harris) have been rehearsing all month, galvanizing eight songs (four new, four older) into fifteen minute “tremendous” “marathon(s)” “…like going to a sweat-lodge on LSD.”

Info: Young God Records

Gira said he was worked through considerable writer’s block with these latest songs. He originally thought they would wind up continuing his gothic folk project, Angels of Light, but he found that prospect “underwhelming.” “I’d been harboring this notion of making this louder, eruptive music again. And I thought: Well, why don’t I just make a Swans record?” After that, he gathered his cohorts into a factory space to then explore and sculpt each piece through exhaustive rehearsals lasting 12 hours each.

“I don’t just record a band and make them sound like they did in the room,” Gira said, “that’s the starting point. Then, as a kind of producer, or whatever the hell I am, I think about how to build it up sonically, and make light and shade and dynamics and drama and just really make it go for the money shot and we just keep working on that.”

From a band known for its instrumental might, to dabbling in spoken word and then making intimate, minimalist, vocal-informed folk music, Gira spoke about the “constant tension” between words and music. “(Words) inform the sound.” He reiterated the personal challenge of finding the right words for these latest soundscapes. Starting out, again, with Swans, Gira said, feels comparable to when he first started Angels of Light, ten years ago. “Sort of like a new challenge, a new risk. I like it when things are just on the edge of falling apart. When you’re not certain where you are and you have to really fight to make something out of that. It’s really intimidating to do this, for me, personally, again—not that it matters, it shouldn’t, but, that’s the kind of thing that keeps me interested in working.”

“I want to make something happen,” he reaffirms, “I want to make…experience.”

The Swans are on an ambitious tour that will stretch the next year and a half. Gira said he’s looking forward to the next album. “I want to make the songs more purely, first, and foremost, involved in the sonics of it and worry about the words later.”

Info: Swans

Playing - The Crofoot - 1 S. Saginaw, Pontiac - 10/4 -

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ZombieBall - at Savoy - Ypsi - 10/9

Sometimes I can't contain my macabre/spook -penchants either....sheesh, even my house is already 23% decorated for the forthcoming horror-spurring holiday... which is why I nod to the 2nd Annual Zombie-Ball getting things started, comparatively early, for the season.
If you're already jonsesin to cover yourself in blood not-yet-two-weeks into the month, you can come revel with fellow un-dead partyers at the Savoy, in Ypsilanti -

Which, between the gruesome sight of suburbanites, day-jobbers and weirdo artists strolling around with blank expressions that seem to say "...bbbrrraaaaaaaiiinnnzzz...." - you can also see/hear live musical performances from dead-dolled up local artists -
Gothic bluegrass rockers - Black Jake & the Carnies - with that spaced-out noisy surf-punk style characteristic of Mazinga - and the always irreverent hip-hop hullabaloo of Downtown Brown - all of it dashed nicely with the entertaining and delectably gory Ded Dave Show.
$3 if you're in costume - $5 if you're too lazy

More info

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Beehive - Dark Red

More singles from Detroit artists are pouring out of the Beehive -

We've got a 7" sized, A-side/B-side affair, from a DC-favorite, Dark Red, and their loop-laced, fuzz roared shoegaze with tight punching grooves - "She Likes Stars" being a welcomed staple of the duo's dreamy n dizzying live sets. Droney, dancey, trippy...rock!

...which you can listen to here - and, watch a live rendition of---here.
Stay tuned for more singles, including the latest-latest: an EP from Eric Villa.

Mustache Bash - 10-9 - Elbow Room - Ypsi

I figured I'd mention this now... in case I caught anyone at a post shave, or mustachio-in-absentia... thus that from here on out you can start growing out your face fuzz in time for the 2nd Annual Mustache Bash - at the Elbow Room, Saturday, Oct 9th.

Well, actually, the folks throwing this facial-hair-fest will offer 'faux staches' for self-application, to join in on the nights festivities.

Included in said-festivities - live performances
60 Second Crush

Collateral Damage

Mound Road Engine

Spy Radio

... get in the spirit...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beehive's Back - a new single each week; Aran Ruth flies on silver wings

Beehive Recording Co. was started up around 2007 by a well-known contributor to the noisy art of Detroit, Steve Nawara. Nawara is the illustrious guitarist and shreddy-solo-magic-maker for a handful of Detroit rock institutions, from the Detroit Cobras, to Conspiracy of Owls, to his own brainchild, Magic Shop. With Beehive, Nawara established an online label+store+network, with intent to release singles for free downloads of songs from various Detroit artists.
The heartfelt goal was to raise the flag of SE-MI with its constant unfurling of free songs to the world via the ubiquitous intraplanetary breeze-ways of the internet. One needs to sign up though (here) and become a Beehive member before you can start loading these onto your i-gadgetry, pods, pads or laptop hooey. This free song-service is dependent on the goodwill of donors, as any newly singed-up member can read the scrolling list of thank-yous and, perhaps, even click the donation button after a few listens.

Included in your hive-listening experience are three songs from Aran Ruth's latest digital EP. Always a captivating listen, Ruth's ghostly-folk sweeps are truly a haunting beauty - the breathy cascade of her voice matches that of the jangly acoustic guitars, but the fringes are rumbled with the distant thunder of feedback groans and modulated synth's space-swirling accoutrments.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

DIY - + Cass Collective 34

DIY PICS - (with videos on the way)





















And then....on Sunday - at Cass Cafe

Robin Goodfellow video coming soon!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fetishizing Archetypes (Part 2 of 3 - in a series of rants reflecting on killing one's idols)

Read Part One: Perfect Sounds Forever

Of Montreal - 9/20 - Royal Oak Music Theatre - with Janelle Monae


I thought my questions were sturdy. But soon, I stammered.

Why does Kevin Barnes make me nervous? Because I put so much effort into letting myself know as much as possible about him. His oeuvre, his prolific output, his visionary operatic albums, his evolving sensibility. When you spend weeks on end, scattered across your youth, spinning the same records from the same artists then you’re certainly going to know why you like them so much – and in Barnes’, and his band, Of Montreal’s, case, it’s my personal appreciation for their delicate balance of the psychedelic and the psychotic. What started as a pastoral British-invasion-culling vaudevillian quirk-pop has cycled through a range of different sounds and settings, from the mind-splintering multifarious madness of a Zappa or Beefheart spooked-out nursery rhyme, to a simple and sunny Davies’s styled shuffling folk rock ballad, and onto the latest realm, of that last 5-ish years, that being the dance-floor eying, bass-bulged libidinous fare of beat-heavy struts and coy cut ups…still dressed with his literate lyrics and head-spinning metaphors.

<Of Montreal - news music videos etc>

See, I could go all day. And it’s that I allow my mind to almost fester in this esteem that I when I do interview him I wind up being the 7th grade braces-grinning zit face attempting to ask the cheerleading president of the student body out to the pizzeria after school.

Here’s my latest interview, from a wee bit back, where we discuss Of Montreal’s latest False Priest – and then – a link to a review.

The interview was…on Barnes’ part, splendid…he was open, reflective and patient, even though he sounded tired, while, on my part, …eh, I thought I could’ve held it together more. But that’s one nuance to the music-journo day job – you wind up talking to your heroes.

If it isn’t Barnes then maybe it’s Wayne Coyne or it’s Britt Daniel or it’s Stephen Malkmus or it’s freakin’ Morrissey. Insert your idol and follow the scenario of you talking to them and it’s likely that maybe your hand shakes a bit or your throat gets dry.

Are we worshippers? Are we just grateful that they put this music into the world? Or have we unknowingly drunk a Dixie cup of kool-aid at some point?

They’re just people. We tell ourselves. But that becomes surprisingly easy to forget when the phone starts ringing or they unplug from the stage and carry their instrument right by you.

Perhaps we should separate the human from the music. But is that so easy? It is their mind, after all, their heart, that were the engines of creation for the treasures we endlessly spin.

“Hi, yes, how are you? I just wanted to thank you for creating my own personal soundtrack, for my life and all…like, I remember this one time…”

I don’t know why it is; why it could be so hard to meet your musical messiahs, whoever they be, without it feeling like the first date from hell, where you fish for something to talk about that could possibly interest their luminous mind…

Idolization can make them seem non-human. As though there’s no way they even live on the same Earth. We all need to relax. Need to be more perceptive. And, also, I need to stop and realize that the age of going ga-ga over a singer/musician/or-ostensible “rock star” is at a weird point… With an expanded underground for all genres, from hip/hop to indie, the blogosphere has shone the star-boring spotlight upon many a bedroom composer and other-wise-small-town-nobody. But we never see “the next Bob Dylan” or “the next Rolling Stones” truly equate the magnitude of those they would resurrect. Whereas some may feel we’ve sufficiently killed the “rock star,” the mainstream has stayed sufficiently bloated in its ballyhooing worship.

Still, for me, there are some artists you can bring up that will jolt considerable nostalgia/admiration pangs through my very being – and Barnes tends to be one – so I can’t help playing upon his latest album’s title, False Priest. Whereas Barnes’ title is more psychological in nature (a self-imposed inner leash-puller that lays unreasonable limits) I would say that, in my reflecting upon Idols, do we not risk making them into veritable false priests, these mystical artist types who, with their bewitching song and soothing sounds, seem to carry The Word.

When and how does music become a religion?


In any case, before I give myself a headache – make sure to catch Of Montreal, Monday, 9/20 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre.

more info


Breakfast with FAWN - with a side of 7" - (both free) - 10/3 - Steak Hut

free breakfast? AND free music??

File this under:

How about a delicious and healthy way to release your latest record? Detorit's FAWN have sufficiently tackled the sometimes headscratching-exasperation of 'what to do' or 'how to do it' when it comes time to release new music into this internet-world.

This quartet have recently wrapped recording their thickly guitar-coated, tight n' punching, harmony heavy indie-pop onto a 45, a 7"A-side/B-side "thing" with an "Identiglyph" on the first side...a "series of tones...converted to a single unbroken groove of varying depth," transferred to a vinyl "disk that can easily be read by a common phonograph."
FAWN's contribution is the dreamy, sun-ray soaked rock duet featured at their live shows through this, their first full year of existence, that being "Hip Parade." Side A, meanwhile, is an entry from Brand Labs, the company releasing the record.

To give you a taste, here's an MP3 single of one of FAWN's bouyant-to-cascading rock ballad, "Hip Parade" (listen below) -

You can get a free copy of FAWN's 7" when you show up to Detroit's Steak Hut (our town's oldest diner, 1551 W. Lafayette) on Sunday, October 3rd. At said occasion, you can enjoy a free breakfast, just for showing up, then take in a post-sausage-and-eggs listening of a live performance from the thoughtful FAWNers.

Their pairing with an intriguing and inventive new marketing company out of Rochester called Brand Labs - more info here where they research and apply the use of "Audiosynch Identiglyph" as well as streamline certain forms of e-commerce.
So it's fitting, considering all this creativity surrounding the release of said-7", that the title of the vinyl be:

Greetings from the World Wide Web.

To a.) enjoy FAWN b.) learn more about Brand Labs, and, c.) experiment with the Goertzel algorithm!, ...come to breakfast! And pick up a copy! And a plate.

Listen: FAWN - "Hip Parade"

FAWN - Hip Parade by user4841122

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Favorite (Growlers - 10/6 - Bakery)

The Growlers - A sublime psychedelic, country-tinged rock rabbling that's been brewing out in Costa Mesa CA for the last 5 years - here's a video

Plus their Daytrotter sessions + they've got a new EP out this month!

They're coming to the Bakery - on October 6th - 4303 W. Vernor - w/ Zoos of Berlin and Cap'n Jerry & the Mermaids

Friday, September 17, 2010

Glasser - Rings - + Touring

Glasser is an echoey, swirling display of orchestral electronica - made beautiful by the silvery sweeping vocals (dizzyingly layered) of composer (and sole member) Cameron Mesirow but able made a bit kaledioscoped and faintly cracked by a fine sense for the experimental. The deeper you get into this album it's like you're willingly forging forth into ever darkening woods - it coaxes you in with the plaintive, pop-ish xylophone-tumbled ballad "Home" (listen below) but starts adding in ever more haunting sonic sensibilities of yawning synths, clattering pot-n-pan marches and primal, quirked chanting. Mesmeric, sparse, melodic - it always manages to set a dreamy, shoulder-shimmying groove.

Sept 29 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
Sept 30 Chicago, IL @ Metro
Oct 2 Boston, MA @ Paradise
Oct 3 New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Oct 4 Brooklyn, NY @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Witness a birth... inside a record store...

As of yet-still-mysterious new project featuring Detroit regulars:

Ryan Allen//Monday Busque//John Nelson//Sean Sommer

Follow these shirts, arms and instruments to Hybrid Moments

In fact, noted record store above^ will have shows every night this weekend.

Here for more info.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Superchunk - "Digging for Something"

Superchunk News -

Majesty Shredding just came out via Merge.

Now, via Videogum - they've got a video!

More stuff here.

Prussia, Dear-Blessed-Prussia...refines their Poor English, pushes selves, pushes each other, pushes pop

Wake up in the back of a van on a sweaty August morning at a fly flanked Texas gas station and its bound to get a band bonding. It’s embellishing to tie the Detroit quintet Prussia’s recent buckling-down for their latest album and their newest songs’ intricate layers and honeyed harmonies back to the inevitable parking-lot pass outs and couch surfing endured on the raod – but, still, when they returned from this six-week self booked cross country tour last fall, suffice it to say: they went to work.


“After spooning with these guys in a van,” bassist Andrew Remdenok gazes around the front porch where singer Ryan Spencer and his brother Drew sit beside him, “I was ready to get as far away as possible.” Okay, so, first they took a quick break from each other and decompressed from the tour that supported 2009’s Blessed Be EP. But guitarist/organist Brenton Bober had been home (school/family) that time continuing to write songs and the band’s longtime friend (former guitarist of IL-based Ohtis) Adam Pressley joined soon after their return, and, “Ryan never stops writing,” Drew nods, “and Brenton was ready to go.”

“Let’s do it right,” Remdenok echoed their sentiments before starting work on what would become this seasons’s Poor English LP, “let’s make the album that everybody wants.” Remdenok, who’d recorded and mixed Prussia’s Blessed Be and 2007’s Dear Emily LP, nodded that “our albums didn’t sound like our live show,” which, as Drew put forward was caused by irregular schedules.

Prussia from Mostly Midwest on Vimeo.

Ryan puts it blunt, “We wanted to make something really good. Before we were just having a lot of fun making music, but, when we put this down we wanted to make something that you could listen to a long time from now and be like: whoa, holy shit, how did we do that?”

“We wanted to try to write in a new style,” adds Drew, “we even talked about having no drums on this and just have African percussive instruments.”

“…broke a lot of bongos,” Ryan nods.

“We were all involved (this time),” Remdenok said. “(Other albums) had been: people being together at separate times, recording, then combining the results.” He later uses the word “experiments,” to describe those past recordings but not “this one…” which rendered “a nice balance” stylistically of past albums, in terms of sound and feel: a noisy pop classicism melded into experimental indie rock and dashes of rhythm focused, dubby, tribal spook folk. More than before, Poor English sounds forceful, with a tightly woven ensemble air, thickly layered with harmonies and gracefully jitter-stepped with intricate song structure’s multiple change ups.

Pressley said English, for Prussia, was “a big reinvention.” What started as a winter’s retreat to “get the album sounding like our live shows,” (under the boardwork of engineer Miko Mader) lead to “an entirely new Prussia altogether.”

They also made a summer Disco mix-tape on the fly. Dig?

Prussia - "Annie" by user4841122

Songwriter Josh Epstein (Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr / The Silent Years) aided in some production and arrangement, while the band continued to “push ourselves,” as Drew put it, not playing as many live shows and specifically setting to not be easily satisfied. “Before it’d seemed people sorta liked what we were doing so let’s kinda just get stuff out there if we’re happy with it.” But not this time. “We just wanted to make it the best we could.”

Which sounds dangerous: ...considering this band had already curried considerable favor based on the live show’s powerful presentation and the quirky panache of their minimalist, clackety grooved soul pop.

It makes it all the more promising that they’ve now managed to capture that vigor —the blazing guitars, high howling Rastafarian-doo-wop-murder-ballad blend of vocals and arresting rhythms punch and slide via some twisty tropicalia trip— onto a recording bolstered with professional equipment and a separate party at the boards.

“Yeah…” Remdenok smirks, “no RadioShack mics on this album.”

“I don't think it should be TOO hard to translate these songs live,” Pressley said. “We initially wanted this album to sound like we sound live. Still, there was a lot of extra production done in the studio that might be tricky. I'm not too worried about it, though.”

When asked to describe the current state of Prussia’s sound, as evolved through the English sessions, Pressley: “It's nearly impossible for me to describe any band I like, let alone my own band, but I'll try. Dynamic, eclectic pop rock. ? Sorry, I'm no good at that.”

In the meantime, while piecing together this increasingly collaborative recording, they paired off in twos and threes and flexed a more electronic-leaning penchant – with Pressley’s demoed beats facilitating verdant dance groove ground for Ryan to rap and balladeer upon, forming what would become an album’s worth, a mix-tape worth, of “disco” songs: including electro-heavy demos from Bober and collaborations between Drew and Remdenok as well.

Poor English was mastered last month. From here on out, they’ll scour for interested labels – which, like their staid approach to the record, they’re in no hurry – it may linger towards the end of the year. But “there will be singles. Maybe a a-side-b-side type deal,” Remdenok assures.

They’ll tour in February, starting the year fresh. But before then, they’ll wind down 2009 with choice shows, some big, some casual. Remdenok says: “We’re goin as fast as we can, but we wanna do it right.”

Mansion pic by Megan Schram

Live stuff: mike milo

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things on My Mind - (in run-up to DIY) - (Thee Oh Sees)

Listening to: Isosceles Mountain - "Sanscarpious" - good post-post-rock! Grizzled, growlin' guitars, sparse, beautiful/dirgey daydreams with plenty of strdent scrapes and flexed, locked-in percussion.

Speaking of dreamy - Wallflower Mourner by Pewter Cub - said-local indie rock trio just released an album - more info here. Or watch a rendition here.

On Thursday at the Magic Stick - the illustrious High Strung will open for a DC favorite, Thee Oh Sees. This should make for a nice mix of thinking man's shredded and stately rambunctious rock, thinking-ladies'-too! Thee Oh Sees are a remarkable band by various accounts, not just their valiant and diligent DIY work ethic, their industrious output, but also their unique blend of spacey-spooky blues and tumbled out garage rock.

Take a watch:

and read an awesome review here, via Tiny Mix Tapes, of their latest, Warm Slime.

And...before DIY Street Fair dominates focus - please consider a swing down to the Lager House for the majesty-that-is: Red Iron Orchestra. Listen: "Dead Lakes"

More info

Also stirring my mind: this handy music-networking site - more locals should jump on.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Once You Kill Your Idols, Where Do You Bury The Body? Part 1 (of 3)

Pavement: Perfect Sound(z) Forever?

Feeling crummy and left out.

There’s a Pavement party coming and I've hesitated while reaching for my invitation.

The Internet has made deities of them. Now, my love, my true love, is reduced to just another cliché. This has happened to the band, the band, my band, the band I listened (and still, as a mean average, listen) to more than any other band, the band that got me through lonely blasé nights in Ypsilanti and ballyhooed buffoonery nights in East Lansing, the band that got me to bond with people and got me to get over heartbreak, the band that didn’t go so far as to change my life so much as they merely made the only music I could listen to for what seemed like forever and still spin it back around again.

The five musicians that made up this ever-extolled band have reunited. Just like the Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, Rage Against The Machine, Slint, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots and whoever else… (Read an entertaining list from Paste). Indeed, second only, perhaps, to the extremely implausible Smiths’ getting-back-together, Pavement was seen as that always-hoped-for yet barely-ever-hinted at wet dream scenario, ever since they left us lingering on at the end of the century, via a Brixton Academy show in London and their apparent swan song Terror Twilight.

Now they’re back. And…I’m worried that I’ve been slowly falling out of love with them.

I got into Pavement in the year 2000. So they’ve been dead all this while that I’ve been worshipping them, it feels very devout in a demented sort of way – the clichéd snapshot of college kid shuffling past quads in his converse with a walkman’s headphones playing all the old favorites: from Box Elder to Date with Ikea, Perfume V to Carrot Ropes

Now the ghost will have form.

The humans will be back, postulating from the alter I’ve been so dutifully dressing with odes via mix tape insertions or song quotations or album-and-EP-and re-issue purchases.

Now it gets into sacrilegious sweeps hinting at resurrection stuff – but why walk on eggshells…when that’s what this, this, this muuuuuusic can feel like to so many of us… be it from the Smiths or from the Replacements or from the fucking Eagles…or for me, from Pavement.

When you are lost in a fervor over it, when it brings you peace, when it feels like its guiding you, what is it, if not a religious experience? If the makers of that music break up and then get back together, then it’s not so terrible an embellishment to use a word like resurrection for the initial zing of hope and excitement and relief it brings to the most devoted and enamored fans. Your sonic savior is back.

Mine is back. I could go see it. Hear it. Touch it. But when I read screed after shambled blog-scrolled screed sniping and snarking on Pavement being these infallible pillars propped up by the Pitchfork music snobbery movement – then it makes the last decade of my piously poured hours of listening and pondering and reflecting and listening and discussing and sharing and listening listening listening…feel…hollow.

Like I was a plot-point, a second banana, a fall-guy. A guy who thought he got it, but is now to suffer constant reminder that he was only getting it alongside a bunch of other people who were apparently also ‘getting it’ and thus belittles you in some way…belittles your coolness maybe…because you could just as easily be a poser. Because we've decayed past a crowd of people clamoring for the Beatles and commiserating together with candles at the death of John Lennon with the shared shedding of tears; you got the feeling that they all got it. Whereas, I pause at saying, "oh, yeah, Pavement's my favorite band..." to anyone and risk them rolling eyes, "OH, great, you too, huh?"

But, what, what the hell, where did all that come from? All this that makes me feel itchy to still say out loud that, oh yes, Pavement is the one for me.

When I started getting into music it always seemed like the big ones, the big early indie 90’s ones, were the Sebadohs, the Guided By Voices, and whatever Calvin Johnston or Jim O’Rourke or Jon Spencer was doing, and of course there was Pixies worship and there was still lingering ga-ga of a post Daydream Nation world. Pavement was in there. Pavement was always in there, as an equal. But now, their name comes up, and you’d think they were the only thing going… A flash of the badge for instant cred. Something sort of close to seeing ubiquitous college kids wearing Che Guevara shirts ($14.99 on sale).

But see… that’s it… I can’t stop. I can’t let Paste or any blog stop me.

Love never dies. That very specific subtle-to-exuberant fervor you kindle for that one band.

Once you’ve seen the light, it never leaves you. I see it still in the eyes of my Pavement friends and hear the giddy crackle at the back of their throats when they talk about going to see them live.

Maybe I'm half-consoling myself because I won’t be seeing them when they play live at Chicago. Why?

I started this essay convinced that I was going to go off on a tangent about Killing your Idols… But that’s a hard thing to do. It’s cold. It cuts. It’s a resolute turning away from the warmth and nostalgia of your youth, the memories of being so moved by music. And it requires the moxy and the defiance to question your savior.

You can kill your idols in the classic sense…that being the No-Wave reaction against 70’s soft-rock, glam pop and masturbatory arena rock, cuz who was really saved by any of that?, but its harder when you can still reconcile the quality, beauty and relevancy of the music. Which, I can still do with Pavement.

But I’ll have to do it with headphones this week…

The reunion tour:




Broomfield, CO

1st Bank Center



Kansas City, MO

Uptown Theater



St. Paul, MN

Roy Wilkins Auditorium



Chicago, IL

Millenium Park



Milwaukee, WI

Pabst Theater



Columbus, OH

LV Pavillion



Philadelphia, PA

Mann Center for the Performing Arts



Boston, MA

Agganis Arena



Brooklyn, NY

Williamsburg Waterfront



New York, NY

Rumsey Playfield/Central Park



New York, NY

Rumsey Playfield/Central Park



New York, NY

Rumsey Playfield/Central Park



New York, NY

Rumsey Playfield/Central Park



Columbia, MD

Merriweather Post Pavillion - Virgin Free Fest



Atlanta, GA

The Tabernacle



Austin, TX

Stubb's Waller Creek



Los Angeles, CA

Hollywood Bowl w/No Age, Sonic Youth