The Music Journal: Entry #10


Brendan Benson

Lots of cool stuff is happening here at the end of the year. This month alone, my band The Dead Girls has two amazing gigs—one we already played, which was this last Saturday opening for Brendan Benson at the Bottleneck. Here’s a video of us from that show performing “Don’t Change” by INXS.

the Dead Girls – “Don’t Change” (INXS cover) from Nick Spacek on Vimeo.

It turns out that was Brendan’s birthday, too. Who knew he was a fellow Scorpio? That show was so much fun. It was one of those situations where we were all guessing there were not going to be that many people in attendance for our set, at least. We were supposed to go on promptly at 9pm, and that’s pretty early for a Saturday night, post-game Lawrence crowd. But we didn’t really care—we were all just excited to have received the opportunity to open for one of our favorite songwriters of the last decade. His set was really amazing. It was the third time I had seen him, and definitely the best of those three. The four-piece set up he had really suited his songs well, and they were an extremely tight unit, to boot. His new album is probably my least favorite of all of his albums, but it still has a few real good jams on it.  Listen to one of my faves right here.   Benson is still alive and kicking, though apparently last time he was in Lawrence he sold out the bottleneck. There were less than 200 there this time. I guess that’s the difference a few years and a bad economy make. We didn’t get paid for playing, but we had some friends help sell merch, so we didn’t walk away empty-handed or nothin’. The other sweet show is Friday at the Granada with the Republic Tigers. That should also be quite cool.

Matador Records

Jagjaguwar Records

Musically, I’m trying to be more open minded all the time. I’m trying not to let hype or shit-talk steer me away from listening to something for myself. I really needed to buy some records today. I don’t know why—I guess probably because I haven’t gone to a record store in awhile, and there is definitely something comforting (if not futile and abyss-like) about them. But I went to the new Love Garden today, and it was exactly what I needed. I was only there for about 20 or 25 minutes, which for me is a considerably short trip to the record store. I did find a couple things I had wanted to hear, and though I am a little more conservative about what I buy these days, I had not been able to preview these records previously and just decided to buy them anyway. They were Women’s s/t release from last year and Kurt Vile’s “Childish Prodigy” from this year. So far, I really like what I have heard from Kurt Vile. I can definitely see how he fits into that whole freak-folk thing that’s going on right now, and a lot of that stuff usually kinda bores me. Vile’s stuff has a creepy, dusty kind of vibe, but still has a penchant for pop hooks. I’ll have to listen to it a little more to decide on it for sure, but so far, so good on the Vile. As far as the Women record goes, I have listened to side one, and the only song that really caught my ear was the last track. Everything else just seemed noisy and indulgent. A lot of people seem to be doing stuff like that these days. (For instance, Wavves. Except for an extra “v”, I can’t see how anything can be gained from their debut album, “Wavvves”.) I guess Chad VanGaalen produced it, and though I don’t really know much about him, I did listen to his album Soft Airplane last year a little. It had its moments, and for the most part was not necessarily noisy, but it had its indulgences too. That’s just the thing these days—even the Lips finally TOTALLY bought into their own shit with Embryonic. It’s a great record, and just like almost every Lips record, it sets a pace and sticks with it.

We’re also starting to work on all the promotional stuff for our album, which is FINALLY coming out in January. These projects take a lot out of me, but I love doing them. The satisfaction of seeing everything completed is pretty sweet—that is, if everything is satisfactory. I remember how pissed we all were when we got the Hair Trigger EPs and realized they were duplicates and not replicates. Note to bands—if you want CD replication, MAKE SURE it’s CD replication, not CD duplication. There is a difference! Anyway, it’s always good to know what you are getting, and first, you have to be smart enough to figure that out. It’s a process.

Available from Now Spinning Records 1/19/10

Considering the musical climate right now, I would say the record has a pretty decent chance of doing well. It sounds really good and has a lot of good songs on it, and the album art is fucking badass. We have a label helping us out, but they are basically friends who care about the band and want to help us out, which is truly amazing and I could never thank them enough. But that’s the thing—the fact that it’s a good record, or that we have a label, absolutely does not matter in the music world anymore. Magic is not made by labels these days, and it seems the music itself is even less important than ever. The magic is made by the bands themselves, bands that work really hard to promote themselves in their town and over the web. Touring still helps to gain notoriety and chops, but let’s face it—the music industry is not really the music industry we have come to know and love/hate anymore. It has kind of become a branch of the blogging/YouTube industry. It seems like bands that can utilize tools like these become more successful in this day and age.

True Panther Sounds

Case in point: the band Girls. How did you first hear about Girls? I bet you don’t even know, probably because you glanced at some internet article that mentioned them. It was like this in-passing thing that stuck because it just happened to seem really cool. For how much hype Album has received, it would be extremely disappointing if it were no good. Thankfully, that’s not the case. It’s one of those amateurish, lo-fi wonders—plenty there to scoff at or criticize, but why bother when it’s all so damn fun? This was the perfect record to have for the great summer wind-down. The transition from summer to fall this year called for some sort of appropriate mix of fuck-you and heartache, and Album was just the thing. It’s not very often the album you really need to hear is simply called Album…chew on that for a bit.

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One Response to “The Music Journal: Entry #10”

  1. Jess Says:

    Would IIIIIIIII like this Kurt Vile guy? Since I like guys with creepy voices?

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