Tuesday, July 19, 2011

TALLC PRESENTS: Andrew Cedermark, Dustin Wong, Family Trees and Zombie Orgy @ Shea Stadium 7/23/2011

Hey gang! Remember back, oh, about two months ago, when I was telling you about this awesome concert with Diarrhea Planet, Liquor Store, and Battle Ave? And about how it was the first of an ongoing series of concerts presented by Titus Andronicus (LLC) at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn? And how it was part of our efforts to show respect to the musicians that we so admire? Sure, you remember. It was an awesome time for everyone. Best of all, it was punctual.

Anyway, here it is, two months later, and it is time for the next installment of "TALLC PRESENTS" at Shea Stadium! It's going down this Saturday, July 23rd, and this time, it is a summit of guitar geniuses unseen since the original G3.

The guitar virtuosity of ANDREW CEDERMARK has captured my imagination and my admiration for more than a decade now, and with the release of last year's Moon Deluxe (still available from the good folks at Underwater Peoples), many more have come to see the writing on the wall. With angelic beauty and visceral terror emanating forth in equal measure from his Jazzmaster, and the hearty support of his band of cohorts BUFFALO WILD WING, Cedermark is a true juggernaut. Below, find Andrew and BWW performing "Ad Infinitum" at Random Row Books, in Thomas Jefferson's old stomping grounds of Charlottesville, VA, the town this modern master calls home.

There are not many guitar slingers who would be up to the challenge of sharing a stage with such a titan of the instrument, but then again, Baltimore, MD's champion DUSTIN WONG need shrink from no challenge, or challenger. He has been melting faces around the globe since first coming to prominence with seminal '00s spazz rockers Ponytail. Since that outfit's untimely demise, Dustin has been performing loop-based music under his own name and releasing albums such as last year's lovely and immersive Infinite Love. His ever-wandering, dare I say, picaresque guitar leads grab hold of you tightly and take you for a wild ride, as he constructs massive sonic sculptures so dense you get lost in them. In listening to Dustin build his loops, one almost gets the feeling of being guided through a dense and mysterious wilderness by some sort of benevolent shredding Pan-type creature or something. Sounds crazy, I know, but this guy really has to be seen to be believed. Check out this video, and you will see, sort of, what I mean. This is Dustin performing at the Silent Barn (more on them later) back in May.

[I couldn't resist posting this video of Dustin performing in front of projections of Mario Kart 64, considering Andrew C. and myself used to always love playing that game back in the day in our buddy Doug's basement. Man, those were the days.]

When this show was first being conceived, way way back, Andrew Cedermark's right hand man (whether that hand is plucking a bass or tickling the key of a synthesizer) Jacob told me that they were down with a band from Brooklyn called FAMILY TREES. That cosign was all it took to get me psyched to see them play at this show. I can't claim to be any kind of expert on this band, but it seems like they should please fans of the hazy, mellow side of modern garage rock. Watch the video for the song "No One Will Ever Know" to learn more.

FAMILY TREES no one will ever know from amanda finn on Vimeo.

Finally, a special reunion of the band that lit up the Ithaca, NY punk scene with its unique blend of the jubilant and the grotesque, ZOMBIE ORGY. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear such classics as "EYES (They're Eating Your Eyes)" and "Teenage Zombie Love" in the [rotting] flesh. The video for "Coffee >> God" should illuminate things even further, should you have the daring to look below.

All this for the low, low price of seven dollars! I think you'll agree that you won't find a better offering on Saturday night anywhere in the greater Metropolitan area. It all kicks off at 9 PM at Shea Stadium, located at 20 Meadow Street, near the Grand Street L train. RSVP at this convenient Facebook invite!

So, just to recap:

9 PM! $7!

All right, that sounds great. See you there!

Yr friend,

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tour photo dump

Hey gang. Our tour with Okkervil River wound down about a week ago, and I am now feeling suitably decompressed as to share with you some media that will enhance yr understanding of what it was like. Firstly, here is a video of us in Toronto doing our thing - this should be a reasonable enough representation of what our performances were like on this tour. This video was taken from the blog of one Chris Eclectic, who has got some more videos and nice pictures and a summary of the concert and all that.

Yep, that's us, all right. Below, you'll find a video of OR's mouthpiece Will Sheff performing "A Stone" from that perennial '00s classic Black Sheep Boy. Man, I'll tell ya - back in the day, that record was my jam. Freshman year of college, I was as big an OR fan as you'd be likely to find. In fact, most of the good ideas on that old Airing of Grievances album were lifted straight from BSB - listen to our song "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ" and you might see what I mean. "To Old Friends and New" is another OR-influenced song from that era (even if it was released on an album later). Damn, if only that confused little man could see me now. Anyway, here's Will singing "A Stone" in Seattle. A full-band performance might be a little more representative, but this clip has got good audio and video quality for ya.

Of course, I have to also give mad props to Julianna Barwick, the supernaturally gifted singer who rounded out the bill for a little while. I've been enjoying her great record The Magic Place since we've been home - highly recommended for the next time you want to space out and float off into supreme relaxation. Also, you might not necessarily guess from her music, but she is a wonderfully light-hearted and affable pal who is great to goof around with when off the clock. Sounds like a winning combination to me! Here she is doing her thing at the beautiful Bluebird Theater in Denver (big shouts to my cousin Janelle who came out to this show - hey Janelle!).

If you seek to be still further illuminated, this time with words, head on over to Amy's blog, where indie rock's pluckiest journalistic investigator took the time to interview Okkervil River's primo guitar slinger, one Lauren Gurgiolo, as well as Iowa rock heroes the Poison Control Center, with whom we played a few dates on our way home. Neat! Informative!

So here's something crazy. I had a camera with me on this tour, for the first time (OK, I had a camera on the last tour we did, but I abandoned it in Milwaukee - some employee of the Riverside Theater is making some good-ass home movies). Now, I am no great photographer, but the machine did allow me to capture some magic moments. Let's start with funny t-shirts. One kid was wearing a shirt of a "Communist Party" - tee hee. Here it is.


Then this other time, this kid was wearing a t-shirt with our guy Abe Lincoln fighting a gang of tough looking bears. No sweat for Abe, who, as a young man, won the trust of the people of New Salem, IL with his supreme wrestling skills. Doubt not the gangly rail splitter, for he was strong as an ox.


That is tight. Then there was this other kid in Minneapolis who made this funny t-shirt, which tried to bridge the cultural divide between our latest hit single and the latest rap music phenomenon to sweep America. I respect this guy's ingenuity, even though I am no fan of blindly hateful music. We DO need to escape from that bullshit, know what I'm saying? Here's the cool shirt.


There is little in the world I love more than walking into some Titus Andronicus concert and seeing a homemade TA shirt. What a great way to show love! Never fails to warm my heart. Hey! Next time you come see us play, why not wear a homemade t-shirt? That's fun, and it sticks in the craw of the evil t-shirt industry. Also, I'd like to go on the record and say that wearing a Titus t-shirt to one of our shows is definitely NOT a lame or stupid thing to do - we welcome "that guy" with open arms. Homemade, or bought from us, whatever! Let the colors fly! Show us, by yr shirt choice, that you are ready to get down!

On our Photobucket page, you can see full body shots of the guys who modeled these shirts. Handsome boys!! Loving it!!!

Now, where my dogs at? First, here is an awesome painting that now hangs on the wall of my old friend Lucie's house in Seattle - apparently, this masterpiece was found face down in the street! No respect! Thank heavens a goodly art patron happened upon it at the right time. I mean, look at this thing - it's great!


Then there was this one other time, when we were at a coffee shop or something (I do believe it was in Omaha, Nebraska), when tied up outside there was this dog. Look into the eyes! They're two different colors, baby!! Big props to this dog for being a most excellent and cooperative model - my furry friend allowed me to take lots of good shots with the wild eyes staring right into my camera, and indeed, into my soul.


Later on, we were graciously invited to spend the night at the home of Lauren Gurgiolo's parents in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth region. Great folks, remarkably generous and inviting - no suprise that young Lauren is such a pleasure to be around. Anyway, they had some dogs too, including this little rascal, who also had those crazy eyes! This pooch wasn't as much of a photo shoot pro as his Nebraska counterpart, but it's all good. Man, I love dogs. Great animals!


Here's yr boy stunting on a dinosaur, at the great rest stop in Little America, WY.


Here I am again, doing it big on a pink elephant. I forget where this was.


Later on in the tour, after these pictures were taken, I came upon a pink dinosaur near the club we were playing - I think this may have been in Arizona? Who knows. Anyway, I said, "Man, if I get a picture with that, it'll be the perfect thing to complete my series with the other dinosaur and the pink elephant! YES!" Then I forgot about it, or did some other shit, and soon, it was too dark to take a picture. Oh well!

One of the ways in which Okkervil River showed us kindness and respect was by letting us sometimes spend the night in their hotel room. You see, fancy bands like OR often spend the night tearing up the highway in their tour bus, so the hotel rooms they might get to shower, or to let the bus driver sleep, or whatever, would otherwise end up going to waste after the show. Naturally, we in Titus Andronicus were always most grateful to make sure each bed was full of happy, sleepy bodies. Thanks, OR! One night in Boise, I observed that there was some other kind of weird mirror by the more traditional mirror, and so I set it up to take this crazy photo - does this freak you out at all?


Lastly, here is a "class picture" taken on Future Islands' last night with the tour, when we were partying big time outside of Minneapolis. These guys sure are great - can't wait to kick it with them again at the Hopscotch Festival in their native North Carolina! Look at us having fun:


By the way, second from the left in the back row is our main man Joel, brother to FI singer Sam and the man to talk to if you want to get one of their hot-ass t-shirts. Getting to know him, and taste the sweet fruit of his friendship, was an unexpected treat. Even less expected - my man can straight up RAP. Check out the music he makes under the name Plucky Walker.

All right, well, that's probably enough for now. I'll be back on here soon, maybe with some videos for y'all! That'll be fun, yeah? Great. See ya then!

Yr friend,