I’m gonna recommend some music

The new Jared Mees & the Grown Children album, Only Good Thoughts Can Stay–is out today. They are a Portland based band that I really love. They’re playing in Los Angeles at The Satellite on May 23rd for free (doors are 8:30). I listened to the whole thing yesterday and it’s fucking awesome. You can purchase it on itunes and also directly from Tender Loving Empire. (10$)

The other album I want to recommend was released last week. I saw the Adams and Eves a few months back at the Park Gallery in San Diego and had been pretty anxious for the release of this new album, Dear Professor and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s up here on Bandcamp (8$) or you can purchase it on vinyl. My favorite track of it is One Thousand and Eleven Miles.

I’m sure everyone has already given this 8in8 album a go, but just in case I thought I’d mention it. It’s Amanda Palmer, Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman & Damian Kulash.

Oh and The Mountain Goats are playing next month in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theatre on June 23rd (all ages, 22$). But also in Costa Mesa at the Detroit Bar June 21st (17.50$ 21+).

the hour of worship

the hour of worship.

‘The Civil War on Drugs’ with the Whitest Kids U’ Know

Last night I went to see the Whitest Kids U’ Know movie, The Civil War on Drugs at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Zack Cregger, Trevor Moore, Sam Brown, Timmy Williams, and Darren Trumeter were all in attendance.

So here’s the deal, every episode of the Whitest Kids show this season contains a fragment of this movie. The way they were able to make the film was to shoot it as half of their show which is why it appears as half their show each week. But, last night we were able to see the movie in its entirety.

Before the film the guys came up to the stage and did a couple skits, Motorcycle Mama and Slow Jerk. Then they screened the movie. This is a period piece comedy. And it’s fucking hilarious. There is so much funny about this movie that I don’t know where to begin, but I’ll try. Trevor and Sam are two friends who go on an adventure/mission to make the ‘weed stuff’ legal. It’s clever, and the audience laughed through the whole fucking thing. You will too.

After the film the troupe gave the audience a ten minute smoke break, and then hit the stage for the Q & A. When someone asked about their writing process (which is what I remember because it’s what I’m most interested in) they said they get together and free write in silence for about ten minutes and then pitch, and sort of work through which ideas are funny, et cetera—and what sticks. They also let us know that even though the show on IFC is ending they will still be coming together and working together as a group, touring and putting out other movie projects together.

Afterwards they hung out outside the theater chatting it up with everyone and stuff. They are pretty nice guys, after all.

Trevor Moore’s Whatever Show (3/27 at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre)

So, I went to see Trevor Moore (Whitest Kids U’Know) out in Hollywood last night. This guy:& so if you don’t know, the theatre doesn’t sell alcohol, so we drank beforehand & hotboxed the car as well, so bare with me as I scramble together the details of the evening. First, the venue is small & intimate, which is awesome. And I was laughing the whole time I was there. There was this weird leaf-blower invention, which required buckets of random shit (cat or dog food, oatmeal, sunny d, chocolate milk, shrimp, and ground beef seem to be the most memorable ingredients). After spraying down two fellows who were representatives of either side of the room during a game of ‘cop or drunks’ a big sloshy puddle of this tantalizing mix lay of the floor for the rest of the show–providing us with the arousing aroma of shrimp and sunny d (mostly).

Sam Brown and Darren Trumeter came out and did a Whitest Kids sketch (slow jerk). Sam slipped into the puddle of floor-soup I think like twice. They announced that the coming season would be their last, but made it sound as if they’d still be working on projects together. Then they played sketches from the new season, which were fucking hilarious. I’m looking forward to April 15th when the new season begins.

There was a couple stand-up comics, and I wish I would have jotted down a couple of their names because the small Asian lady was hilarious and so was the guy with the boot. I’ve done the minimal googling possible and still have not acquired their names. I’ll update this if I ever figure it out.

The whole shebang was a lot of fun. He said they’ll do another one next month. You should go.

Whitest Kids U’Know (live at Flappers comedy club in Burbank)

Last night I headed out to Burbank to Flapper’s Comedy Club. The show was a benefit for the Burbank Animal Shelter. We got to see Whitest Kids U’Know live, minus Timmy. They were awesome. They did the sexy deer sketch, the slow jerk (and he spit on the tips ahaha), the dolphin, the one where Zack complains about his gf, and the one about this tattoo (which it looks like someone on the internet got):

 

It was an awesome night; I’d totally go see them live again.

seeing Bill Maher live

So, a few weeks back I went to see Bill Maher live. I’d never been to a live taping of a show before and I really love Bill Maher, so it sounded like a lot of fun. We drove out to la, pulled into the parking lot, then headed over to the line that was forming in front of the studios for the show. After we got through the first line we were placed in a second line to go through security. Then we queued up on benches outside the studio doors. Bill Maher is shot in the same studio where they used to shoot The Price is Right. I would have got a picture, but they made us check our cell phones at security. When they let us in to be seated we picked seats to the right side, in the middle row. The guy in front of us snuck a joint in in his sock and at some point before things began—stepped outside and smoked said joint.

The writer or stage manager came out and told some jokes and gave us a rundown of things. You are not to make any other noise than clapping, even if the person talking is a republican douche. And yes, there was a ‘clap’ sign to the side of the stage.

When Bill comes out he’s full of jokes, but he never looks at the audience. We don’t exist. He never ever looks at the audience through the whole show. When you watch it later on tv it will look like he’s looking to the sides at the audience after each joke, but he’s really making eye contact with the side cameras. It’s pretty weird. Everything goes down just like you’re watching it on tv, but it’s live. It all feels weird, surreal, scripted.

To be honest I think it’s better from home.

 

The Magical Musical Amanda Palmer or my new bff

Amanda and I are getting halved-heart best friend charm necklaces and weaving each other friendship bracelets with coloured string as I type this.

I was first introduced to Amanda Palmer as the female half of the punk-cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls about seven years ago. It was her voice that intrigued me. The first song I heard was Coin-Operated Boy. Oh, fucking relatable music. A boy I fancied (who at the time I thought fancied me as well, whom I no longer even talk to) sent me a link. After which I got my hands on their albums, The Dresden Dolls & A is for Accident, which was all that was out at the time. I listened to these obsessively, repetitively, and pretty much daily—her lyrics spoke to me in a very real way. My favorite songs were Good Day, The Perfect Fit, Truce—and then Glass Slipper and Thirty Whacks (really glad they’re re-mastering A is for Accident).

At the same point that I was listening to them this excessively curiosity got the better of me and I googled. I wanted to know what they looked like, who they were—where this music that mattered so much to me came from. This is when I really realized my affinity with Amanda Palmer. We’re the same age and we grew up with a lot of the same music, and in the same sub-culture. Like, I think this cover of The Ghost in You is fantastic:

But it’s not just the proximity in age and music that makes me feel connected to her. Even though we grew up on opposite coasts she reminds me of everything I’ve lost, forgotten and loved. She’s someone I would be friends with. Her sense of humor actually reminds me of my best friend from high school who wore ripped up tights and dyed her hair with me. And yes, back when I was deathrock or goth or whatever, I also drew on my eyebrows. We carried lunch boxes as purses, wore striped tights, and had spontaneous picnics with our friends in abandoned places or on street medians. And I, yes shy as hell me, was more outgoing, possibly fearless. I read my poems—which were sometimes over the top, sometimes disgusting, and often silly/funny at coffee shops all over the city. I was even on the cover of the arts & entertainment guide in our local newspaper, The Press Enterprise. I remember a time I went into a bed store and acted out a scene from The Exorcist for christ’s sake. If Amanda and I were friends (and if we grew up in the same place I’m sure we would be) we would have trampled together through fountains on Main street, drinking Strawberry Hill in the bushes before punk shows at Spankey’s Café. But, we didn’t grow up in the same town (I doubt she even knows where the hell Riverside, Ca is) but, I feel a connection. I find myself caring about her, rooting for her, and even proud of her.

So in May of 2008 when The Dresden Dolls played at the Wiltern in Los Angeles I finally got to see them live. After I got off work, Deirdre and I drove in from Buena Park (where we were living at the time) to LA and met up with my friends Tonya and Janine, who were separately and also big fans. Now this was Dee’s first live show, she was 12 at the time (jesus I can’t believe she’s turning 15 in ten days—and all the shows she’s seen since—numerous house shows in Seattle, and over the summer she saw Comadre in San Diego w/my friend Nathan) and Amanda and Brian gave her the most perfect first show any mother could hope for their kid to attend. They played Pink Floyd’s In The Flesh, an assortment of Doll’s songs, The Beastie Boys’ Fight for your Right to Party (which Brian sang and Amanda played the drums on), but the song that really blew me away that night was The Gardener, which you can see a fragment of from that night here:

They were fucking fantastic, I was blown away. Deirdre was blown away. And to add to things they played with Smoosh as their opening band. They are from Seattle (Deirdre’s favorite place in the universe) and they were around her age. Awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to live music for my kid. I’ve never been a fan of big shows, the only big concert I’ve ever been to was Depeche Mode and that was by chance because a friend of mine had an extra ticket. I don’t like the impersonal nature and distance of the big show. The Wiltern is not too big. I saw Nick Cave there a few years earlier. But this show, this Dresden Dolls show—at the time became my favorite live show of my life. I’m not fucking kidding. They were fun, funny, personable, amazing, accessible and just fucking brilliant. Some day I will thank them personally.

This tour was when they just put out No, Virginia. And yes, I had picked up both Virginia albums, my favorite songs included My Alcoholic Friends, First Orgasm, Sing (god I fucking love this song), Night Reconnaissance, The Gardener, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You get it. I love them. I love Amanda.

I’m ashamed to admit that when she also put out her first solo cd, Who Killed Amanda Palmer, I sort of ignored it. What I mean is, it wasn’t the same, and I didn’t really give it a go. I hoped this wasn’t the end of the dolls, but I didn’t know much about them personally and had all my own life-living, and was in the process of moving to Seattle, so it was placed on the back burner of my brain. Sadly it wasn’t until 2010 that the buzz of Evelyn Evelyn pushed me into listening to a few tracks, I immediately fell in love with Ampersand. Then came Astronaut, then Oasis and Runs in the Family. The videos for this disc were incredible. How had I overlooked such a fantastic album? So I picked it up, and then Evelyn Evelyn when it was released. And bought tickets to catch them at the Showbox in Seattle.

Around this same time I had heard of Amanda’s engagement to Neil Gaiman. Whoa. I don’t know these kids personally and I never never follow the love lives of people I don’t know. But, I grew up with Sandman. My kid has grown up reading Neil Gaiman books. Signal to Noise is one of my favorite books of all time. I am very fucking familiar with the art that both these people make. And all I could think is—what a brilliant couple.

So in another May, now two years later, I saw Amanda Palmer perform live once again. This time Deirdre stayed home. Her friend was visiting from California and they wanted to run around Seattle with their friends, and also I don’t think Dee cares for Evelyn Evelyn. She likes Jason, she likes Amanda, but not them as these conjoined twins. But, I do, so I went. I’ve already written about this show before when I wrote about Jason Webley. It was fucking awesome. Amanda even sang a song for the girl who was sitting next to me’s birthday. There was a lot of wind, rain, beer and awesome this evening.

Then later in 2010 The Dresden Dolls announced a reunion tour. By this time I had moved back to California and there were no Ca dates. And my friend Bizz, who I had brought to the Evelyn Evelyn show in Seattle, had never seen the dolls live before, and she needed to. So, I scanned the tour and saw that they were playing in New Orleans, a city I had always wanted to visit, a city Bizz and I had planned to move away to when we turned eighteen, but when she was sixteen she got pregnant and that dream never came to fruition, and then years drifted her and I apart, and then back together (that’s how it is in this town I grew up in). And Jason Webley was opening this show. The decision was easy enough. So in November 2010 we headed to New Orleans. Jason added a show on Thursday night at the Allways Lounge, which is a really amazing place. This show was sort of a celebration of Neil Gaiman’s 50th birthday. At different points during the evening I found myself next to Neil and then Amanda. I didn’t talk to either of them (my thirties have made me shy). But being that close to them two nights in a row I could tell how nice and accessible they both are. I thanked Jason Webley on the way out, and we made our way back to the hotel.

The next night The Dresden Dolls played at Tipitinas in the Garden District. The venue wasn’t as great as the Wiltern (where I was able to sit higher up at a table and see even though I’m short). There was no fucking way for Bizz and me to see. There were some mean girls, and the whole show was watched on a television screen, which I could have done from home. So that sucked, and that’s not their fault. But it wasn’t the same or as good as the show I saw in LA two years previously. What changed? The dynamic between Brian and Amanda seemed, just, different. I mean, they were good, they were really fucking good. And this show was early on their tour, and I’ve watched other shows on this tour online and they were all fantastic. But this show, the one I went to, was like they had not yet warmed back up to each other. Now I don’t know anything about their relationship or history. What I do know is they’ve made some damn good music together.

And then last night I read Neil Gaiman’s article in Spin about The Dresden Dolls, and I thought, yes!—that is the dolls I remember. So when they added the San Diego date I was very tempted to drag Bizz along and go. And Deirdre wanted to go so bad. But a worry hit me that these shows seem to be bigger, more crowded, and not quite the personal shows I really enjoy going to. And I passed because it all would cost too much, and I was worried. But I regret not going. You always regret the things you don’t do, that’s so true. It sounded like these last two Ca shows were pretty amazing. But, I’ve never seen her by herself. And now I’m really craving it.

And then last week she releases this incredible hilarious and clever video for Map of Tasmania. And I love her more than ever.

Today she released Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under, which I bought and downloaded this morning. You choose your price. You can buy it for under a dollar, or whatever you can afford or think it’s worth, here.

I’ve been listening to it all morning. It opens with Makin’ Whoopie, which she’s been playing live a lot lately. Neil Gaiman introduces her, and the whole album is all live. Then there’s Australia, which I really love. Followed by Vegemite (the black death), a playful song about some really nasty brown spread that her husband likes (reminds me of how I feel about mayonnaise). Then comes Map of Tasmania, a fun silly song about pubic hair liberation. In My Mind is a song about who she thought she would be now and features Brian Viglione (I think we all think about this, that weird idealized idea of who you’ll become and then years later you’re still you and then finally you accept yourself). Next is Bad Wine and Lemon Cake, which is a duet (I have a big big love for duets). New Zealand comes next, which is about menstruation, the beauty standard, how pretty it is there—in New Zealand, and other things. Then comes On an Unknown Beach. We’re Happy Little Vegemites is silly Vegemite song sung by the audience. Then there’s Doctor Oz, which might be my favorite song on the album. Formidable Marinade follows. And then the album ends with one of my favorite Nick Cave songs, The Ship Song. I am a fucking huge Nick Cave fan, so naturally I was so very reluctant to listen to a cover of this. No one tops Nick Cave and I was worried a lot, but as usual Amanda Palmer carries the song with her strong beautiful voice and I’m right there, in the song—totally fucking okay with a cover of a Nick Cave song. It would be a wet dream for me if these two could get together for a duet. Seriously. This is a really lovely, fun, funny, clever, awesome album. Thank you again Amanda.