True Womanhood

My favorite band in DC right now is True Womanhood. Though they only settled into a lineup this year, they've made pretty serious waves in a short amount of time. They've been name-dropped by Thurston Moore, depicted in a show writeup on Pitchfork, and have been playing 3+ DC shows a month, all of which are reasonably well-attended.

Because of some "no wave" associations and the aforementioned Thurston Moore name drop, everybody and their mother seems to want to compare them to Sonic Youth. This comparison is okay; you can certainly hear some Sonic Youth influences on certain songs, and they have a female bassist, but that's about the extent of it. I also hear substantial amounts of shoegaze and dream-pop influences in what they are doing, but ultimately, their sound is uniquely their own.

They are a captivating live band, although not in the traditional sense. Less jumping around and sweet-talking the crowd, more strange instruments and weird noises soaked in heavy reverb. I've seen them about three times now, and I've always enjoyed it. I was originally going to chop up their WMUC set from a few weeks ago for this post, but since a) the sound quality is subpar, and b) I have realized that I am never going to do that, here are a couple sweet videos recorded by All Our Noise instead.

AON Sessions: True Womanhood, "Rubber Buoys" from All Our Noise on Vimeo.

AON Sessions: True Womanhood, "Shadow People" from All Our Noise on Vimeo.


My First DMCA Notice (Hooray!)

I got a DMCA notice for the Don McLean post. While I'm pretty sure live, unreleased material is somewhere between fair game and a legal gray area, I have no interest in fighting this, and Blogger has deleted the post, so that's where this will have to end. Sorry.

Friends, Rocking

I went to see a bunch of DC bands I know at DC9 last night. The highlight of the evening definitely came at the end of The Spiritual Machine's set, when members of Ra Ra Rasputin and Exactly joined them for a cover of "Crosseyed and Painless". The audio's not perfect, but this should give you some idea. Courtesy Make Some Noise.

The Spiritual Machine, Ra Ra Rasputin and Friends - Crosseyed and Painless (live at DC9) from Jason Mogavero on Vimeo.


I Post More On Hiatus Than Not, Apparently

Greatest cover ever. Buy it here or here or here.


Song for Today


Now back to your regularly scheduled hiatus.


Hiatus, the Sequel

Sorry y'all. Posting is going to be occasional (not that it wasn't already) until Christmas, maybe until January. The current format simply isn't something I can keep up with, and while I know what I want to do for a revised format, I'm not going to have the money to do what I want to do until then. Stay tuned...



I actually have a new post written, and ideas for several more, but I have to chop up a half hour mp3 into individual songs, and I haven't had time to do it yet. I'm on my way back, I swear.

Update: So, this isn't going all that well. I have had no time to chop up those mp3s and I can't find the CD I want to rip other mp3s off of... Sooner or later, it will happen, though.



More real posts soon I promise, but this should brighten up your day. Dr. Dog in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, PA, playing a free show for about a thousand people:

HT: Philebrity.


My Bad

So, I've been pretty terrible about posting lately. If you know me well enough that this is any consolation, it's mostly because I've been having a really great time enjoying the DC summer at my current house and playing with bands.

Anyway, mea culpa aside, this is going to be a bit of a lame post, in that it doesn't have any downloadable content. I have mentioned Damien Jurado on this blog before, but not since I went to see him last month. First of all, he's well worth seeing, an excellent performer, albeit with a less-than-commanding stage presence. Secondly, here's a couple of good performance from Fuel TV of new songs. Enjoy.

Damien Jurado on Fuel TV



I have indirectly mentioned Robert Fripp on this blog before, in the context of the ever-excellent King Crimson (see here). However, I have never really posted on the man himself, which is a mistake I seek to correct with this post.

Fripp founded King Crimson in the late 1960s, and their debut In the Court of the Crimson King is arguably the best of the first generation of prog records. It's best known for "21st Century Schizoid Man", with its almost Sabbath-y riffing, but there's a lot more to it than that.

Fripp went on to restructure King Crimson many more times, my favorite being the longest lived lineup of Fripp on guitar, Adrian Belew on guitar and vocals, Tony Levin on Chapman Stick, and Bill Bruford on drums. That is the lineup you see in the video in the aforementioned previous post.

However, Fripp has done a lot more than that. He founded a guitar school, invented a tuning, and started a label, among other things. He was also an early rock experimenter with tape loops and developed a system he called Frippertronics. Very ambient, textural stuff that I enjoy a great deal. Appended to this post is a Frippertronics performance from a 1993 show at Allentown's Red Door Cafe (which I wasn't even aware hosted music, and I grew up half an hour from there. Go figure.) Enjoy.

Robert Fripp - Frippertronics (live 9/2/93)


A Funny Thing Happened Thursday Night

So I tried out the open mic at Dahlak, an Eritrean restaurant on U St here in DC, on Thursday. Pretty good open mic, incidentally; a surprising amount of talent relative to the size of the venue. Anyway, toward the end of the night, the host coerces Jesse Elliott of These United States into playing a short set. He is joined by Randy Scopes, formerly of Washington Social Club, drumming along on a guitar case. I wish I could say I had a picture, but I cameraphoned it and am, at the moment, without a way of transferring said photo to my computer. I'm going to go ahead and leach KEXP for an mp3 here...

These United States - First Sight

See also: These United States, Daytrotter Session.


Hey Bo Diddley




Back soon


New Format: All Tom Rush, All the Time

Not really though. I've been pretty busy, but I am trying to force posts to the extent possible anyway. This one again has no mp3s, I promise more will come. I previously posted on Tom Rush here, but this is a more extensive examination of his covers via YouTube videos.

First up: "Urge for Going," a Joni Mitchell cover. Much as I love Joni, this version is really the ultimate, as far as I'm concerned. I've always felt that her version has a little too much pep for what is a deeply sad and dark song. The appended version is from a live performance in Massachusetts last fall.

Next: a much younger, hippier Rush, from the Festival Express DVD, doing "Child's Song", written by Canadian songwriter Murray McLaughlin. Also excellent.

Finally, Tom Rush, Emmylou Harris and David Bromberg covering Townes Van Zandt's classic "Pancho and Lefty" from a show in 1983.


A Musical History Lesson

About spirituals, slave songs, and the pentatonic scale. (HT: Andrew Sullivan)


I Heard It Was You

The Soft Drugs are pretty awesome, although it occurs to me that somehow they never got their own post. Lost in the shuffle I guess. They were mentioned in my previous post about their founder and leader, one TW Walsh, (himself a former member of Pedro the Lion and a Truckstop/My Pal God solo artist). Their In Moderation EP is available under a Creative Commons license on their website. Evidently an album is coming forthwith, which I am pretty excited for. See this studio video:

This is more of an FYI post than an "MP3 is attached" post, since Mr. Walsh has done us all the great and gracious favor of posting and hosting the band's recent set on Boston's WMBR, the MIT campus station. Well worth a listen. Go here to check it out.


You Keep on Waking Me

So I realize this bumps the proportion of Bazan-related posts on the front page up to a semi-excessive level, but I would be remiss if I did not point you to YouTube user brianjbean's impressive collection of early Pedro the Lion-related videos. Here's an excellent example (and something of a live rarity): "Almost There" from the Whole EP, performed solo with drum machine. (No screaming, but still a great version, and with an early draft of the lyrics).


In Lincoln Park, the Dark was Turning

Phil Ochs was a brilliant American folk songwriter. At his best, he was every bit the lyricist Dylan or Cohen was, and that is no exaggeration. Ochs came up in the Greenwich Village scene with Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, and all the others. His first big break was 1963's Newport Folk Festival. He went on to release three records on Elektra in the mid-sixties, including the three classic war protests "Talking Vietnam Blues", "Draft Dodger Rag", and "I Ain't Marching Anymore".

He then moved to A&M, where he released four albums that were frankly kind of terrible. There are some great songs on them, but are filled with some horrifically gaudy post-Sgt. Pepper "pop" arrangements that have not aged well. Seek out the original version of "Crucifixion" if you want a good sense of what I'm referring to. (Incidentally, it's one of the best songs ever written, I think, lyrically. Here is a partial clip:

Attempts at mainstreaming his sound on A&M didn't work, unfortunately, and Ochs eventually succumbed to addiction and depression and killed himself in 1976. Music is worse for it.

One great posthumous release is Rhino's There and Now, recorded in Vancouver in 1969. The following track, "William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park and Escapes Unscathed" originally appeared on Rehearsals for Retirement, Ochs's second-to-last release, as a piano track. The live version is a medley with "Where Were You in Chicago?".

Phil Ochs - Where Were You in Chicago?/William Butler Yeats Visits Lincoln Park and Escapes Unscathed


Hilarity Ensues

I've been holding onto this one for a long time. Really I have. Perhaps the single funniest, and simultaneously the single saddest, track I can even think of. I first heard this as a freshman in college some five years ago, and I have always known it would find its way into a blog post some rainy day. Well, ladies and gentlemen, today is that day.

I give you the Macho Man Randy Savage's anti-Hulk Hogan battle rap, "Be a Man." This would have been alarming if it had been released when Hogan and Savage were at their peaks when I was young, but note the 2003 release date. And the lyrics speak for themselves. Wow. Snap into a Slim Jim:

Macho Man Randy Savage - "Be a Man"


April (The Album)

Exciting news: the new Sun Kil Moon record is streaming through tomorrow on the band's Myspace. It's very, very good. A personal favorite is "Lucky Man", but it's all pretty good. Touring now, see the official site for more details.


What a Cruel God We've Got

I have made no secret on this site in the past of my love for David Bazan and his various projects. By my count, I have seen various configurations of he and Pedro the Lion more times than any other artist (5, I think). Needless to say, I'm a fan.

A thread on the pedrothelion.org forums reminded me of a Pedro the Lion rarity of sorts, that being what is technically the last Pedro the Lion song ever recorded, the electric guitar version of "The Devil is Beating His Wife", which became "Cold Beer and Cigarettes" on the Fewer Moving Parts EP (which was recently re-released on Barsuk). In some ways, I like it better than the EP version. For your listening pleasure, here it is:

Pedro the Lion - The Devil is Beating His Wife (electric version)

Bazan is also on tour right now, with three shows coming up next month opening for another one of my favorite musicians, Mark Kozelek. Dates are available on either of the artists' websites.


You've Got the Perfect Disguise and You're Looking Okay

As far as a lot of people are concerned, The Moon and Antarctica is the ultimate in Modest Mouse. I'm not entirely sure I agree (I'm a Lonesome Crowded West man myself), but there's no denying that it's a great record. It's mighty hard to argue with a song like "The Stars are Projectors." But that's not what that post is about, mostly because I can't find a version of it I feel comfortable posting.

However, I do have a pretty clean version of one of the record's other great songs, the opener, "3rd Planet". This was done for KVRX, the student station at UT-Austin. One time I went scavenging in their archives and found all sorts of great stuff; this MM set was one of the highlights. Can't quite figure the date, but I would guess 2000-ish. It's not quite on par with the album version but it's a) legal and b) still pretty good. You should buy the album anyway. Enjoy.

Modest Mouse - 3rd Planet (live on KVRX)


And Now That I'm in Your Shadow

I have heard good things about Damien Jurado for a long time, but for some reason, I never really made much of an effort to check out his music until recently. I had no idea what I was missing. Simply put, Jurado is a great songwriter with a unique voice and a range of stylistic abilities. Probably my favorite record of his of the ones I've heard to date is 2006's And Now That I'm in Your Shadow, available on Secretly Canadian.

The record is mostly acoustic, with singer-songwriter, folk, and traces of country influences. Here is the title track, a slow, brooding number of the sort that regular readers of this blog will know I tend to favor.

Damien Jurado - And Now That I'm in Your Shadow

Jurado was just on tour in Europe, and has no further dates scheduled for the time being. I'm hoping for some east coast dates at some point, as I'd like to check out his live show myself.


YouTube Roundup II

This was supposed to be a regular feature, but then I got lazy.

First up, King Crimson circa 1982 on The Old Grey Whistle Test:

Next, the ever-awesome Ted Leo rocking an acoustic "Me and Mia", which is a fantastic song even stripped to its barest elements:

And, much like last time, a video shot live at the Current, which is even better than the one I posted last time around. Low, performing "Murderer". The live version is much better than the studio version (and I like the studio version).


I Know There's Pain Inside that Truth

From about 13-17 years old, Our Lady Peace were one of my favorite bands. Those of you only familiar with their output over the last five plus years might wonder why I wouldn't keep that to myself. However, prior to guitarist Mike Turner's departure during the recording of Bob Rock-produced pop atrocity Gravity, they were one of the most innovative bands in mainstream rock.

Consider "Clumsy", their first single to receive significant US radio play, (at least as best as I can remember). Stylistically, it's not that far removed from a lot of post-grunge pop-rock. However, it certainly has some weird touches. The spooky piano intro and somewhat violent lyrics, for instance. And it's a great, great song.

Or consider "Happiness is Not a Fish that You Can Catch", their followup, when they really came into their own. The nearly atonal guitar solo on "One Many Army", the pop breakout hit "Is Anybody Home?" (strangely enough), drumming by late jazz legend Elvin Jones on "Stealing Babies." Great songs, all.

In fact, they were good up through Gravity. Even that had some good songs, despite the lame Bob "Black Album" Rock (over)production. But that was certainly the beginning of the end.

Anyway, here is a drastically different alternate live take on "Julia", from their first record, Naveed. I've had this for years, and I don't think it's super well circulated, but it's definitely worth a listen.

Our Lady Peace - Naveed (alternate live version)


We Tried to Reach Beyond the Emptiness, but Neither One Knew How

Here's a little seasonal depression / New Years-related music for you. Somehow I totally missed this, but the great songwriter Dan Fogelberg died a couple weeks back of prostate cancer. My father is a big fan of Fogelberg's work, so I first heard his music when I was very young. He is best known for the classic "Same Old Lang Syne," which it turns out was about 99% a true story. It's a song about two former lovers who meet in a grocery store and remember what they loved about one another, basically. It's an incredibly powerful song, partly because of its melody, which is based on Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

Here are a couple good versions of it I yanked from YouTube. This first one is a fairly recent solo performance. He takes some liberties with the melody in the chorus that I can't say I love in this one, but it has the advantage of being played on a real piano.

The second one is older, from 1991. It's a little truer to the album version, but is played on a cheesy electric piano that I can't say I'm a big fan of.