Sunday, April 26, 2009

I really really hate the Holland Tunnel

45 minutes of not moving. This sucks.

-- Posted from the road

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Hot Topic

I haven't been in a Hot Topic since I was 17, and here we are in a HT promoting our show in Williamsport tonight. It's actually pretty cool. They have a Little Mermaid shirt that I want to buy. We're meeting a bunch of nice folks and selling tickets to the show. Plus it's the most beautiful day any of us can remember, and that certainly helps. Now to the show!

-- Posted from the road

Monday, April 20, 2009

Two Conferences in Two Days

It was another full States weekend -- Dewey Beach Pop Fest in Dewey Beach, DE on Friday night and the Launch Music Conference in Lancaster, PA on Saturday. Dewey is always great -- we started going to the Dewey festivals in 2007, and Vikki, who runs them all, is always super nice and always runs a really tight ship. I don't think we've ever been to a festival with better sound, too. Including SXSW. (Most of it, anyway.) We played a late set of almost all new stuff right out there on the beachfront stage at the Rusty Rudder, then packed it in at the hotel -- after stopping at the good old Golden Arches on the way back.

In the morning, we consumed large quantities of IHOP pancakes and eggs and, properly fueled, headed north towards Lancaster, PA. Unlike most of our drives, it turns out that there aren't any major highways between Dewey Beach and Lancaster, so we spent most of the drive on the back roads, driving a lot more slowly than we're used to. (Probably a good thing.) About 10 miles from Lancaster, we had our first Amish sighting: a family in a horse-drawn carriage going the other way on Route 30. I should add that the entire countryside around Lancaster smells sweetly of manure, or probably more accurately, of farming. It's actually quite moving for a bunch of city kids to drive through what I consider to be the "real" America -- the parts of the country where people still work the land with their hands. New York is amazing, but it's also a city run by the "high" human arts: finance, fashion, entertainment. Going to the farmers market or growing a little plot of flowers on your roof is about as close as we get to the land.

Anyway, I don't mean to wax philosophical; it's not like I want to *be* a farmer. It's just that lately I've been thinking a lot about the industries that built this country. Farming, manufacturing, steel, many of those industries are wasting away, if not already dead and gone.

We made it to Lancaster, in any case, checked in to the conference hotel, ate some free pizza and drank some free beer at the Launch party, hung out with the Jeffs from Black Lodge PR (who were also involved in organizing the conference), and then loaded in our gear to the Village, where we would be playing later that night:

After load-in, Pete and I went upstairs to nap (aka watch several episodes of House on TV). Beer and pizza in the afternoon will really do you in sometimes. We roused ourselves around 8 to go check out some of the bands, and then it was time to play. We switched up the set a little bit to accommodate some loud requests for "Be Good Tonight," which was actually a lot of fun to play after playing many shows of just new stuff, as we've been doing lately.

After loading out, we got ourselves involved in a videotape interview with some of the Launch promo folks. I hope they got even a little bit of usable footage out of it. Our attitude towards interviews (at least the ones we do after shows) is basically, Hey, we're going to have fun, so the interviewer better be good at extracting information from us, otherwise there's gonna be a whole lot of footage of us laughing and not a lot of usable stuff otherwise. I think we did ok. Then: we watched Armed Forces at the Chameleon Club. Then: bed. Then: waking up to Pete's amazing snoring. Then: waking up to Joe's amazingly loud 5:45am alarm. (Why? Why? Why?) Then: coffee, and the drive home.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Wrens @ Bell House, 4/10/09

I first heard The Wrens back in the fall of 2003, when a friend turned me on to The Meadowlands, which apparently took the band 4 or 5 years to record and release. (I, and everyone else who follows the band, is still waiting for the follow-up.) The record was, and still is, kind of amazing. It feels homemade, both over- and under-produced at the same time. The songs themselves are about failure, resignation, and a life you could've had, but, because of the choices you've made, don't. You have to admire these guys. They still have day jobs. They're 10 years older than most everyone else playing in the scene or even listening to their music. And supposedly, they're writing another record. I hope to god they finish.

Anyway, I went out to the Bell House with some friends on Friday night, mostly to drink, since I didn't get tickets to see the show. About 5 songs from the end, the bouncers started letting folks from the bar in to the main room, which was a really lucky coincidence, so I got to catch the end of the set. "Happy," "Faster Gun," "This is Not What You Had Planned," and of course, "She Sends Kisses." Reminded me of that first show I saw at T. T. The Bears in Cambridge back in the spring of 2004. It was a nice bookend, in a way. Five years ago I was about to graduate from college and move to New York to be in a rock band. So much has changed, but seeing these Wrens play with the same who-knows-where-they-get-it intensity that they did back then reminds me that not everything has changed. And I guess that's not all bad.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Nuclear Forest

Hey! Our dear friend Morgan (who has done our last two cover designs and a number of awesome pictures) has a shirt in competition at If she gets enough votes for her awesome design, Nuclear Forest, they'll print it, and millions of people will buy it. Please HELP HER OUT by CLICKING ON THIS LINK and voting for her shirt!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

And I think it's gonna be a long, long time

I think I have a chemical imbalance that affects the way my unconscious processes music. Or something. Because I always, always, always have a completely random song playing in my head. For example, here's the last 12 hours of my life, as heard through my subconscious jukebox:

11:46pm: That weird and creepy carnival theme that accompanies carousels and clowns
8:33am: "Little Lover's So Polite," Silversun Pickups
10:15am: "Ride of the Valkyries," Richard Wagner
10:40am: "Let it Snow," traditional (note: it's snowing outside. On April 8.)
11:24am: "Rocketman," David Bowie

Other than "Let it Snow," which accompanied a freak hour-long snowstorm that just flitted past my window here in midtown, I have no idea where any of this stuff comes from. I mean, I haven't even heard "Rocketman" for at least a year. Frankly, the percentage of time that I spend with random Christmas carols stuck in my head is just frightening. And it's April.

It occurs to me that maybe I should be paranoid about anxiety of influence issues. Maybe every song I ever wrote is really just someone else's song playing quietly in the background.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Listen to me right now

Listen to me right now. Who ever thought it would be a good idea to leak the Wolverine movie to the Internet needs to be shot. I hope it was this guy:

because then I would feel like “ok maybe he poor bastard thinks everyone will finally get to hear the story of his life and he just couldn’t wait.” But if one more of my friends calls me acting like they just hacked the matrix and tries to tell me plot details of a movie that I have successfully avoided knowing too much about (except that I own the Origins series and I already know everything about it), I’m just gonna shit.

Ok. That aside. We just got back from a few shows over the last few weeks including our third trip to SXSW in beautiful 88 degree Austin, Texas.

On the way down we stopped in Nashville to play a show with our friends Luna Halo and to listen to the final mixes of our new record with Grainger, our producer, before it was sent off to mastering. I know this is my band's album, but it’s pretty badass. Also, I couldn’t wait for it to come out, so I leaked the whole thing on the internet. Go look for it.

After saying our goodbyes to States home base #2, we headed to Mobile, Alabama for a show and for the first windows-down driving experience of the year.

The show (at the Alabama Music Box) went really well, and we got to hang out with some longtime fans that had never had a chance to see us play. The staff at the Music Box were awesome and offered us the opportunity to drink for free if we came back the next night for St. Patrick’s day. Unfortunately, Chris is the only one who went to Harvard so that makes us 2/3 a band full of dummies. Meaning, we skipped out on free drinks and left the next morning for New Orleans…

…and checked in to our amazing hotel: a beautiful one star rat-infested death camp. Maybe he felt we needed to be humbled. And who am I to argue with the man? He’s got red hair. When we got to our room, we were quickly alerted to the fact that a trans-gender (don’t ask me how I came to discover that) couple were screaming at each other at the top of their lungs in one room next door (apparently someone named Albert “fucked up” bad). And what was going on in the other next-door room? Ohhhhh, that’s a conversation over a lot of drinks.

Anyway, Chris bet me five bucks that I couldn’t get our money back (I did) and we hauled ass to another hotel across town.

New Orleans is awesome. It really is. I’ll go so far as to say that it’s the New York of the South. Because it’s goddamn expensive and crazy people go by unnoticed.

Fun Fact #1: The people of New Orleans throw parades for any reason they can find.
Fun Fact #2: One of these parades was held because the Coca Cola company decided to do away with New Coke and switch back to Old Coke. I’m not kidding.
Fun Fact #3: A Po’ Boy at Mothers restaurant is apparently not for poor people because I spent like fifteen bucks on the damn thing. But it was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

More on the rest of the tour later…


Jury duty

So I got called for jury duty. I'm a first timer. It was exactly what I was expecting: a DMV experience where everyone's a lot nicer because no one wants to get to the front of this line. Well, somehow, I managed to be one of the 100 people (out of like a thousand all crammed into this huge room in the Supreme Court building in Brooklyn) who were called in to maybe, potentially get screened for a case. And then, out of the 20 people in my room, I manage to be one of the 10 who actually get questioned. And then, despite my best attempts to be difficult and argumentative with the lawyers (more on them soon), I got picked to serve in a trial.

Which, actually, I'm ok with. I'm more than a bit curious to see how a tort case goes down. (It's something about a car crash. I'm probably not supposed to talk about it.) But something I'm not excited about is listening to these lawyers talk for 3 days straight. They can't get enough of themselves. It makes me think that all the really bad speech and debaters from high school went on to be personal injury lawyers. Trust me, I would know. I was a speech and debater. (Moment of silence for ex-nerds everywhere....and, break.)

Anyway, all of this brings me to 12 Angry Men. Which, I can already tell, is not at all like how my trial is going to be. But hot damn that's a good movie. Henry Fonda was my personal hero for at least a week after seeing that one. So I will leave you with this solemn duty: go watch 12 Angry Men because then you will understand how awesome justice really is. And how sweet white pants are.