Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kat Corbett on "The Wall" and Dating

Kat Corbett is a DJ-extraordinaire at KROQ, a big-time radio station over in Los Angeles. She does a great "Locals Only" hour on Sundays, 9 pm (PST)/Midnight (EST) as well that highlights many of the cool stuff coming out of that neck of the woods. She's provided yours truly with more than one new favorite band.

Kat writes a reoccuring piece over at Web in Front, and the most recent one was this utterly fab rumination on dating and meeting "The Wall" (your date's wall of music that is). I've long held that "The Wall" never lies in terms of dating compatibility. I once was out with a guy and when I asked "So what do you listen to?" I was really saddened to hear, "Whatever's on the radio," because in DC that definitely meant a station that spins the Blink 182, not Pavement. While he was a nice guy, in further conversation it became apparent he was willing to just go along with life as it came to him, not vice versa. To me, keeping up, even just a little, with music that's off the beaten path, speaks to something a little deeper in a personality, and that's the proactive desire to see what else is out there beyond what's just in front of your face, to take a chance, to explore. It doesn't have to define you-I mean, I'm a music nerd from way back, it's a way of life for me and I freely admit that. But it is possible to keep the willingness to go out and try new things, to walk outside the lines of typical adult life, to not desire to be 80 before you even turn 40. And usually if you're keen to keeping an ear open, you're also keen to checking out other nifty things of culture that you can't find in a cul-de-sac. This all may sound harsh. But "The Wall" has proved to be a pretty accurate litmus test for me more times than not as to whether one has retained a passion for something other than the mundane rigors of life. And without passion, what else is there?

“The truth was that these things matter, and it’s no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently.”

- Nick Hornby

There are many different types of walls; brick, wood, cement, high and low. Prison walls keep dangerous criminals away from our civil society. Monolithic piles of concrete and stone separates countries all over the world and we occasionally build emotional walls to keep others out of our heads and hearts. The main function of a wall is to keep unsavory characters from “getting in” and invading our space. There is one wall, however, that was built for the sole purpose of letting everyone in—the cd wall. No matter how big or small yours may be, the wall is there to tell the world who you are. It gages your level of cool or uncool, your understanding of love and heartbreak. Your ability to rock and how hard you rock is measured and your most awesome guilty pleasures stand proudly beside iconic music heroes. Unfortunately, the wall is becoming an endangered species and this has put me in a slight state of panic.

Upon entering someone’s home for the first time we are drawn like a magnet to the cd rack, bookshelf and dvd shelf. If looks are the cover of the book we are judged by our collections reveal the pages inside. Is he a metal head? Indie rocker? A Yanni fan? From the musical selections we can then make a few leaps as to this persons non-musical likes and dislikes—not very scientific, I know. Recently, I entered the living room of one particular man and searched for his wall. I waited anxiously hoping that I would find Springsteen, Bowie and The Who and prayed that Creed or Sublime or I don’t know, John Tesh wasn’t waiting by Party Rock Volume 3. The four walls of his living room were nice, the d├ęcor exceptional and the fireplace was kickass but there was no wall. No colorful spines peaking out at me. No slivers of plastic with a rainbow of fonts and label logos standing at attention waiting for me to reach in and say, “Hello familiar friends.” His house was a bit large leading me to believe that he had an office or possibly a “music room” where his cd’s were on display in a golden case. A giant bookshelf took up one entire side of the living room and I was thankful that a) he was a reader and b) that he had a healthy mix of fiction, historical books, sports and a few biographies. I thought great, any guy who has Fitzgerald, Sedaris, and Jon Stewart’s America: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction must be OK but where was his music? I mean even psychos and bores read Nabokov and Vonnegut. Knowing what kind of sounds moved this man would fill in many details about who he was in general. Yes, of course he could like great music and still be a psycho—please just play along. Where was it I wondered? Roger Daltrey’s voice jostled my eardrums. “Who are you? Who, who, who, who. WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?”

I’m ashamed to admit it but I asked for a tour specifically to catch a glimpse of the wall in another part of the house. I scanned his office and caught a peak of his bedroom, nice bed, but no wall. There was a guestroom and even a darkroom but still no wall. After twenty minutes I couldn’t take it anymore and I asked him where it was. “Oh, they were taking up too much space so I dumped them in my Itunes and brought them to Amoeba,” he said. Everything in my head turned to static. Unaware of my near brush with a hysterical dizzy spell he offered up his iPod. As I clutched his whole world in my tiny hand I whispered to myself, “Please be good, please.” A couple of clicks in my heart rate returned to normal. Dylan, The Smiths, The Replacements, Otis Redding, Jeff Buckley passed by the clicking bar. Petty, The Stones, Pavement, Silversun Pickups and oh crap, wow, there was a lot of classical which made me panic because I’m not so up on my Mozart but I knew then that I would let him get past 2nd base.

The wall is important because certain cd’s say certain things and the lack of certain cd’s also says something. I’m not stating that we are solely defined by our music as we are complex creatures, but our taste in music is a big part of who we are. Any girl who cruises a guys wall and finds the Pet Shop Boys is going to pause for a moment and then quickly look for Erasure and the soundtrack to Cabaret—if found, your man might need to figure some stuff out. Guys, you know if you see Celine Dion you will ask her if she has any cats (and how many) and then search for a scary stuffed animal collection.

I brought up the missing wall to one of my best friends who is a totally music head—the kind that knows the original versions of label pressings and who would trade pot for rare 7 inches from Norway. To my absolute horror he told me that he had gotten rid of his wall a month ago. My jaw fell on my feet. “But…but…but!” I had no come back. I’ve known this guy for years and now he was a stranger to me. He has been living a secret life—a cd free life and I had no idea. He got rid of his vinyl as well saying it took up too much space. I felt betrayed, cheated on. If he was living in New York in a tiny apartment where space is a scarce I might get it, but he doesn’t and I don’t.

The wall is your lover, therapist and a musical Rorschach test. No matter how small or large it may be, your wall holds your heart, political views, sense of adventure and taste, or lack there of, within the thin plastic trays that occupy the space. If you are a die-hard Republican and spot a Dixie Chicks cd on your new hottie’s wall, that has to throw up some red flags. No matter how hot that Michael W. Smith fan is, you the Atheist can surely see trouble ahead through the spine of Worship and Worship Again. Of course I’m making broad strokes here and somewhere there is a hippy/punk rock couple making it work who will prove me wrong but in general I believe these ideas to be true within the context of sustainable relationships. I’m not suggesting that liking the same music guarantees living happily ever after but it’s a good start. Also understand that I do not want to be with someone exactly like me as it is our differences that make us interesting, but like-minded people are friends and lovers for a reason. We want to enjoy things together. We want to be able to discuss things passionately and break them down to the tiniest detail and wait for that euphoric feeling that comes when the person across from us says, “Yes, exactly!” You are correct Mr. Hornby. These things do matter. We make up our minds about people by their taste in music, books and movies and we do this in just a few seconds by cruising their wall.

I had a friend create a hypothetical wall and I wrote down the first thing that came to mind as she rattled off random band names.

Phish – fucksake, runaway!
Johnny Cash & George Jones – awesome
Jeff Buckley – you are so getting lucky tonight
Sublime – I’m out the door
Jimmy Buffet – please kill me…and your parrot head
Radiohead - you are a winner
Grateful Dead - absolutely not
Kanye – meh, you’ve lost me, better have Public Enemy and Run DMC in there
Miles Davis - you are way smarter than me but I’m staying
Kiss – not my thing but I’m OK with it
Afghan Whigs - one of my fav’s
Barry Manilow – um, what?
Bon Jovi - you better be from Jersey but I will admit I have seen them in concert
Elvis Costello - swoon
Chris Gaines - Garth Brooks alter ego? Wtf?
Van Halen - better be DLR Van Halen and not Sammy or Gary - Van Halen
Limpbizkit – Not if you were the last man on earth. How did you get me in your house?
Led Zeppelin - yes
Aerosmith - no
Pixies - hallelujah
Sugar Ray - you can explain that it’s your exes but why would I want to sleep with someone who slept with someone who liked Sugar Ray?

From my reactions to the above, do you and I make a good match? Lets face it, if I see your wall packed with Grateful Dead and Phish cd’s we are not going to get on OK. Maybe we can be friends but I just don’t get any of that. Why are the songs so long? What the hell is twirling? Hacky sack, tie dyed clothing and why are you selling sandwiches out of the trunk of your car? No, you and I are not compatible, so says your wall. I need three chords, short fast songs. I need The Ramones.

I took a quickie survey of men and women I know and asked them what cd’s would be deal breakers if discovered on a wall. Most of the men cited Celine Dion and The Indigo Girls. Of course there are other factors as my friend responded, “Hmm……is she rockin’ good lookin’? How drunk am I? Cuz let’s face it, if you’re a dude and you’ve made it to the living room, you’ll Karaoke the theme song to Friends if it means sleeping over.” The women chose Creed, Nickelback and Limpbizkit as deal breakers. There were others but those got the most mentions. That got me thinking about going outside of my circle with the same question. I’m sure those aforementioned hated bands would be “must haves” for others in order to make a person appear attractive. All of those bands are still selling cd’s and tickets to shows proving there are people who love them. I think someone should invent a dating service based solely around the wall.

Along with our passions, the wall reveals other personality clues—guilty pleasures. A friend of mine is a tatted up hard rockin’ bass player and I was surprised to find an enormous Barbara Streisand collection on her wall. “I like to bring the thunder when I play but no one can touch Barbara,” she said. It made me love her even more, my friend not Barbara. The point is that we would have never had that conversation if she didn’t have a wall. I could have gone my entire life not knowing that about her but the wall was there offering up information without asking. Then I got to thinking, what if you are sans wall and owner of a tiny iPod Shuffle used only for gym workouts? Surely not all of your music will fit on that sucker which means that I would have to sit down at your computer to view your catalogue to get the full picture of who you are and that seems a bit awkward. In addition, when I am cruising your wall, I can see within one second that you have more than one cd from a particular artist. Clicking through your iPod, I have to take more time and click a submenu to see if you really do like Springsteen or if you are one of those who bought Born in the USA mostly because of the “Dancing in the Dark” video. There is a big difference. No Nebraska and Born to Run in the submenu? You haven’t loaded it onto your iPod yet? I wouldn’t know that unless I asked and I’ve already made up my mind about you. Insane? Perhaps. True? Yes, and we all do it.

I’m all for technology making life easier, faster and less cluttered but I am mourning the loss of the wall. The ritual of discovering who you are by the glorious spines that line your home is a pleasure I fear I will soon have to do with out. The wall is more than an extension of ourselves—it is who we are—a less intrusive diary of sorts. So, when I walk into your house just save me the pain of searching, hand me your iPod and Kindle and give me a few minutes before you crack open that bottle of wine because I might not be staying.

News: Matador Reissues Delayed by Lost Album Masters

...or to put it another way, "How much does that totally suck?"

One of the largest US indie labels has postponed reissuing albums by Mogwai, Yo La Tengo and Cat Power after losing the master tapes when a pressing plant went bust.

Vinyl masters of albums by Mogwai and Yo La Tengo were among those lost when an American pressing plant went bankrupt in 2006, Matador Records has admitted. Records, vinyl lacquers, sleeve films and the masters themselves were binned when 33 1/3 went out of business, making it much harder to reissue albums like Mogwai's Happy Songs for Happy People, Yo La Tengo's Painful and Cat Power's The Covers Record on vinyl.

"Nothing was recovered from 33 1/3," Matador's director of production, Jesper Eklow, told Comcast News this week. "We lost everything. The doors were locked due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy."

"Everything" makes a substantial loss. Matador is one of the largest American indie labels, representing everyone from Belle and Sebastian to Interpol. The label lost "pretty much everything up to May 2006," Eklow confirmed, delaying planned reissues by Pavement, the New Pornographers and many more.

While worldwide CD sales tumble, vinyl has seen a resurgence, particularly among fans who buy reissues. Records may make up less than 1% of album sales worldwide, but US vinyl sales were up 89% in 2008, making them that rare and valuable thing: a slice of the music industry that is still seeing growth.

Labels like Matador have therefore rushed to reissue popular albums on high-quality vinyl, so the 33 1/3 bankruptcy is a major setback. "Some titles prove difficult to reissue unless we go back and basically remaster the albums from scratch," Eklow said. "It's a slow, expensive and quite an annoying process."

While Pavement, Belle and Sebastian and Interpol reissues are promised "soon", others – particularly early records by Yo La Tengo and Mogwai – are much further off.

"There shouldn't really be any titles that we couldn't ever bring back," Eglo said, "but the question of course would be if it's worth spending a lot of money on remastering and reprinting components we already should have on hand on certain titles. The money lost on the 33 1/3 adventure is quite substantial." (Source)

(Thanks to Mouse for the lead)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Patterson Hood to Release "Murdering Oscar" in June

Patterson Hood will release Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) on June 23, 2009 on Ruth St. Records. The second solo record from the leader of the Drive-By Truckers has been 15 years in the making. The album was produced by Hood and long-time DBT producer David Barbe (Sugar). Most of his DBT band mates join him on the album as well as Don Chambers, Will Johnson and Scott Danbom from Centro-matic/South San Gabriel. This is also the first time Hood's father David Hood, famed Muscle Shoals bass player, joins him on a record.

The album was recorded at Chase Park Transduction Studios in Athens, GA and will also be released on 180 gram vinyl. The vinyl release will include three exclusive bonus tracks. An a cappella version of "Range War" will also be available exclusively with iTunes. "Pollyanna" and "Pride of the Yankees" are available to preview on his Myspace page.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Songs, Sun, and Lone Star Beer: SXSW 2009, Day 3

Intro, Day 1, Day 2 (day), Day 2 (night)

1. The Wrens
When I saw The Wrens were playing this year's SX, one of my travelmates knew of them so I asked him to describe their music. His exact words were “awesome and awesome-est.” Said travelmate and I don’t always agree on what constitutes “awesome” music (our common ground is Springsteen and Westerberg), so I wasn't sure what I'd find upon arriving to their noon set at the Hot Freaks day party this third day.

What I found was complete and utter awesome and awesome-est. Squared. To infinity.

Sometimes, hearing enough music that is just ok-not mind-blowing, not life-changing, but palpable-enough of that and you start to think "ok" is enough. You forget what it was like to hear music so good it scrambles your brains and all you do is grin like an idiot.

Go see The Wrens live and you'll recall all of this soon enough. What a glorious full-on aural assault of melodious noise.

(See more photos from the set here)

Give a Listen: Everyone Choose Sides-The Wrens

What could follow up such a thing? I needed some time to breathe so had a few beers then set out to catch my first SX music panel. Along the way, I caught two minutes of Bishop Allen...

and Viva Voce...
(See more photos from the set here)

2. Music Panel: The Sound and the Fury
SX has a ton of panels on all sorts of things music-related. But I thought "Sound and the Fury" looked pretty interesting if only for the roster (see below). Where else would you see Sylvain Sylvain, Matthew Caws, and Jonathan Poneman (one of the founders of the Sub Pop label) in the same place?

Like the variety of perspectives Faulkner offered in his classic novel, artists' views of the music biz are filtered through their particular experiences. Without denying the difficulties facing the recorded music market, and the economy as a whole, there are opportunities for intrepid musicians to find fans and make a career out of their creativity. The artists and execs on this panel bring unique histories to their current work, and they'll share their thoughts about furthering their goals in this challenging era. But maybe we'll leave Faulkner's themes of incest and despair out of this panel.

-Moderator: Karen Glauber Pres, Hits Magazine
-Lynn Barstow, Program Dir, Emmis Austin Radio/KGSR/KROX
-Matthew Caws, Nada Surf
-Karen Glauber, Pres, Hits Magazine
-Matthew Hales, Aqualung
-Mikel Jollett, The Airborne Toxic Event
-Jordan Kurland, Owner, Zeitgeist Artist Management LTD
-Anya Marina, Performer, Anya Marina
-Jonathan Poneman, Sub Pop Records
-Sylvain Sylvain, New York Dolls

(More photos from the panel discussion here)

There were some pretty funny quotes. Sylvain Sylvain on being a cult artist: "You get laid a lot." He also talked about taking a job as a cabbie in the lean years so he could make music on the side. "I got robbed three times, once by a woman." And Matthew Caws: "We'd rather play a packed closet than a half-empty living room." (Gotta love Matthew Caws.)

3. The Henry Clay People
Playing the last of their 98786876 shows at this year's SX at Red Eyed Fly, the HCP boys were ready to cut loose.

HCP are consistent in putting on a great musical performance, even a few drinks in (well here, it was more "a lot of drinks in"). The obvious closeness of the band collectively, and of the brothers Siara as family, make for an entertaining stage show; that friendliness amongst them exudes into the audience when they play. Combine that with their excellent musicial abilities and damn catchy songs, and you've got a great can't-miss band. I see great things on the horizon for HCP.

And I couldn't get a proper shot of drummer Mike Hopkins the whole show, so he was nice enough to pose for me after. I've always said I'm too east coast to live on the west coast, but damn, if all the boys are as handsome as Hopkins, I may just have to reconsider...

(More photos from the show here)

Give a Listen: You Can Be Timeless-The Henry Clay People

After HCP, I caught up with the travelmates at the SPIN day party at Stubbs for a few minutes of Glasvegas. "Daddy's Gone" is a lovely, rather hymn-like song that really does hold up live...

Give a Listen: Daddy_s_Gone-Glasvegas

And then I headed over to Maggie Maes for the only performance at SX of The Takeover UK, who were headlining the Sonicbirds party. Out of Pittsburgh, PA, Takeover's excellent take on powerful indie Brit-pop is worth a listen (debut is called Running with the Wasters). Their energetic live show should not be missed.

My travelmate John did a great writeup on the show here

(See more photos from the set here)

Give a Listen: Ah La La-The Takeover UK

Friday, April 24, 2009

Songs, Sun, and Lone Star Beer: SXSW 2009, Day 2 PM

Start with Day 2 Day Parties

I had exactly 12 seconds to hit my room, clear the day's photos off the camera, and run back across to the faaar west side of town. Night Two in Austin was going to start with a one-two shot of Silver Lake, CA.

1. Eulogies
Eulogies was a band I'd heard a ton of good things about from reviewers outta Silver Lake. Makes sense as the reviewers I know gotta thing for fuzzy shoegazey stuff with chimey guitars (but who doesn't right?)

The band was playing upstairs on The Ranch's semi-enclosed deck. On the second song of the set, all their mikes suddenly went out. But it didn't frazzle these guys, they merely continued playing, finishing the song as an instrumental. Says a lot about a band that can seamlessly do that without missing a beat.

They had some rather unique things about them. One was their drummer's playing style. He didn't play a typical 1, 2, 3 beat, it was more....scattered. But it made the songs way more interesting and made you pay attention. The second was the ingenuity of using a Fosters beer can filled with...something (pebbles maybe?)..that they used as a maraca. Gotta love a band that jams econo. The third was the happy realization that this is a band of brainy types-how many bands do you know that would freely use the word "sycophant" in a rock song?

The lead singer's voice was a cool delicate fake out. It's one of those great voices that goes along and kind of lulls you into a state of calm. And then he lets loose, throwing melodious rocks in that pool of calm, and you think "WHAT the hell was that wonderful thing??" They did a song that was possibly called "I Won't Lie" like this, and was just tremendous...truly goosebump inspiring.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

My only wish? That the band had moved around a little more (I know shoegazey music is a bit on the maudlin side and somewhat mopey, but movement in a live band is what separates live from Memorex you know?). And better lighting (with the sun slowly making its decent on that side of town, many of the photos look like the band was playing under large boom lights). Hopefully both things will be different when they play with Great Northern and The Dears at the Black Cat on May 7.

Give a Listen: If I Knew You-Eulogies

I had to leave before Eulogies finished their set to cover the great number of blocks for my 8 pm slot back on the east side of town. But, as it was on the way, I also planned to catch the first few songs of The Airborne Toxic Event's set at the Austin Convention Center's "Bat Bar." Upon arrival though, I realized that was going to be impossible as the line for Airborne's venue was enormous. But it was still great to see. Airborne went from playing the tiny Cedar Street Courtyard, a place the size of a bowling alley lane at last year's SX, to a huge room like the Bat Bar in 12 months...pretty commendable. I texted Airborne's drummer, Daren Taylor, and said, "Wow the line out here is huge!! What a difference a year makes eh? Go you!"

2. Castledoor
I moved on to continue my "taste of Silver Lake" with Castledoor, a band that played a lot with Airborne early on. Another band of many (six in this case), they had two keyboardists, three guitarists, and a drummer.

They were also, by far, the most colorful band I would see all weekend. No somber hipster-black for these kids...

Their music reflected that celebratory spirit too. I'm not saying the lyrics were all shiny happy people-esque, but more that introspective lyrics were paired with harmonic music that moved, jumped, and swayed.

The lead singer's mannerisms and soaring ring of a voice put me in mind of Bono (which I found positive cause I like Bono). And yes, while Bono can be over the top, he always achieves what a good frontman is supposed to do: connect to his audience. Castledoor's frontman had that same talent, perfectly bonding and whipping up his crowd to level 5 of adoration.

There was only a handful of people at the Independent, and while some bands might have phoned it in with that small a crowd, Castledoor wasn't having that. Clearly this is that sort of band who plays their hearts out for a crowd of two just as much as they would for a crowd of 2,000. Those Silver Lake kids, they don't mess around.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

Give a Listen:: Skipping Stepping Stones-Castledoor

3. One Day International
I took my first pedi-cab trip (cool but bumpy) from Castledoor's set to the band I had high on my list for seeing at SX, One Day International.

Another group of multiples (5...what was it with many-membered bands this year?), they hail from Dublin, Ireland.

I pretty much cringed when I saw they were playing The Rio venue, a Mexican restaurant with god-awful lighting and mediocre sound. But I found that if anyone can handle such a place, it was a band like ODI.

Their members have been musicians for some time before coming together about a year ago, hailing from backgrounds that include classical and jazz styles, and the theater. All of these aspects fittingly find their way into ODI songs.

Influenced by musicians like Nick Cave and Tom Waits, The Band, and Sigur Ros, ODI weaves intricate and lush melodies into songs that sit on that interesting border between indie rock and the jazz/folk/classical tangents. There is a loveliness and depth in their music, one that's as warm and inviting as a favorite childhood memory.

The band practically lives the songs onstage. The lead singer sways like a metronome as he sings, eyes closed, most of the time...

...with the bassist, keyboardist, and drummer nodding along in time. The cellist is a lithe female, but you'd never know it. She rocks the cello and makes it keen, and holds the cello while beating the bejesus out of a drum at the same time. (Turns out she's a stunt car driver in Europe too!)

All in all, I think they won over more than one person with this SX performance. Here's hoping they make it back to this side of the pond again soon.

ODI was gracious enough to give me a few minutes of their time before their set to talk about their band and favorite Irish writers, and we'll be posting that here shortly.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

Give a Listen: Little Death-One Day International

As always at SXSW, when planning out your viewing schedule location is an important consideration. If you're at x location and y venue is 10 blocks away, you're going to miss quite a bit of a set just getting to y. Then, probably, quite a bit of your z choice if you have to walk 10 blocks back. (Though Austin is pretty flush with pedi-cabs during SX, which is really neat.)

As my z, aa, bb, and cc locations for the rest of the evening were all in the same area, and z was starting at an odd time of quarter past the hour, I hopped over to Emos for two seconds of one of the current buzz bands, Cut Off Your Hands, knowing I’d probably miss them at the SPIN day party on Friday.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

This band definitely does not have any issues with being “lax.” The lead singer leapt into the crowd to surf atop its hands, and flailed himself around the stage in wild abandon. The way he moved to their power pop from Down Under, I wondered if he actually possessed a spine. (More on their live show in Day 4.)

4. Monte Negro
It turned out that Maggie Maes, the site of my 12:15 AM-1 AM was...running behind schedule-wise. As I said earlier, it's typically a pain but sometimes it allows you to discover a band you didn’t expect to find. This is what I found in the form of a Spainish/English band from LaLa Land (Los Angeles) named Monte Negro. I only saw the last half of their last song so I don’t think I can fairly comment on their sound or songs, but the lead singer was definitely something to see.

He’s one of those that Muzak could be playing in back of him, and with all that energy and passion, you’d still be riveted. By the end, he was wiped out, lying on the stage and panting for breath.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

Give a Listen
: Pena Collective-Monte Negro

5. Val Emmich
Val Emmich is, apparently, the love interest on a tv show called "Ugly Betty." I say "apparently" because I've never it. His SX mp3 was really good, like A- good. And I can see why he's a show's love interest: hipster-boy skinny, great dimples, pretty cute overall. But by this point in the evening, your fair narrator had been standing/walking/race-walking for over 12 hours straight. She had also not eaten all day. Had plenty of water and Lone Star beer, but no food. I don't know about you, but in instances like this, my patience level becomes pretty translucent. So things like standing around for 30 minutes past an appointed start time, waiting for someone to get his butt onstage, made the annoyance scale leap from 2 to 403. And no amount of cute would make up for it. He was going to have to wow me.

I want to say I was bewitched, bothered, and bewildered but....nope.

Ok, part of it was due to sound issues, but honestly? Drying paint moves around more than this guy. The music was reasonably good power pop, much like the single I liked so much. But the combination was not enough to "wow" for me, so I left after a couple of songs.

The man does photograph well though, I will give him that.

(See the rest of the photos from their set here)

Give a Listen: Get On With It-Val Emmich

5 and 6. Kevin Seconds and Peter, Bjorn, and John
I never connected the dots that Kevin Seconds, my 1 am slot, was THE Kevin Seconds, of 7 Seconds

I'd really liked his SX mp3. "Backaches and Bad Dreams" was noted on my list as "an early 60s sound with a Paul McCartney-like voice." So walking in expecting that from a guy who's known for hardcore punk, I was all sorts of confused to find he was playing just an acoustic. In a church, that was a seated venue. Sure it was quiet and really rather lovely, but hearing quiet and lovely while seated and exhausted at 1 AM, I was pretty sure I would be passed out cold by his second song. And Kevin Seconds doesn't look like the type of guy you'd want to piss off.

Give a Listen: Backaches and Bad Dreams: Kevin Seconds

So instead, I went to meet the guys who were ending their evening with those three-non-blondes from Sweden, Peter, Bjorn, and John.

They were good, but Val Emmich was more animated. Based on their dance-floor staples like "Young Folks" and "Nothing to Worry About," I totally expected them to be way more upbeat live. Plus, their guitarist was kinda, well, creepy. Creepy stuff before bed is never a good idea. And then, I hit the proverbial wall.

Give a Listen: Young Folks: Peter, Bjorn, and John

Many beers, no food, and being in constant motion all day had found me. I fell asleep fully clothed and face down on my bed in the hotel that night. SX had caught up with me...for now.

Day 1 review here