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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Friday, September 09, 2005


It's painful when a four-day work week ends up feeling twice as long. Even more painful when Friday finally arrives... and you've been scheduled to work a 'special' shift on Saturday starting at 6AM. Ouch. So while everyone else is all smiles and ready for the weekend, I'm grumpy 'cuz mine feels so far away.

If you were paying attention, you may remember I said I was gonna be on vacation in picturesque Newport, Rhode Island last week. Alas, it was not to be. The closer our departure date got, the worse the forecast became... days of threatening thunderstorms and oppressive humidity would not have made for a very beach-worthy week, a time we wanted to spend outside wandering the coastline, relaxing outdoors, and soaking in some much needed daytime sun.

So we bagged it. Because we could. The bed & breakfast we were going to stay at let us postpone to a later date, and there was plenty for me to do at work anyways. Unfortunately for me, because it was so last minute, my brain was all too ready for the break... so struggling through was that much tougher. Was worn out thanks to the lingering cold-flu-mutated-into-a-sinus-infection thing, glad that at least I wasn't sick during a vacation.

So I'm back to full health, all medded up, but certainly not fully rested. I'm gonna need some time away from this place. And soon.

But enough complaining and aimless wishing, lemme just get to some linkage...

As a longtime Idaho fan, it goes without saying that I'm very glad to discover a new album about to arrive. It's called 'The Lone Gunman', and it's out on October 3rd... in Sweden. Or October 4th... in France. How about the U.S.? We'll have to wait until October 25th, when it'll be co-released by Idaho-guy Jeff Martin's own label and Retrophonic.

These sound samples at Dotshop sound fantastic. Check out the Talitres label site for a full tracklisting. According to Martin, at 17 tracks it's the longest Idaho record yet. Aces.

A new Idaho track called 'Live Today' also appears on the Something Must Break compilation, which coincidentally gets released on this very day. Order it here for just $7 plus shipping. For a sample of Idaho's contribution, head here. It's worth noting that a song called 'Live Today Again' will appear on the upcoming full-length, so we'll see if it's a reworked or extended version of the compilation track.

You'll be able to hear even more Martin-composed music this fall, although you'll have to watch some untested television to do it. He's scoring a new NBC drama called Inconceivable, which stars Angie Harmon and Ming-Na. It's set in a fertility clinic, and debuts on Sept. 23rd. This marks his second bit of TV work in as many seasons, following last years short-lived ABC series The Days.

Also in the works: A new Pedro The Lion album. After the (very slight) disappointment of their last disc, I'm really looking forward to the next one, especially after listening to the electric and acoustic demos of the new song 'The Devil Is Beating His Wife' over at their page on Purevolume. Nice to hear that their work on electronic side-project Headphones might result in some tasteful keyboard use, and I'm loving TW Walsh's backing vocals on that track.

P.T.L. is also auctioning off a package full of stuff, which includes items some TW solo stuff and some Headphones merch. All the proceeds from this collection of CDs, LPs, Singles, Posters, Shirts, and rare promotional items will go to hurricane relief. Go here for the ebay auction. Bidding is currently at $355, and there's five days to go.

Walter Schreifels' Walking Concert has redesigned and relaunched their website.

Thanks to The Great Leap Forward, I learned that there's a blog for the 33 1/3 series of album-centric books published by Continuum. Of special interest is this post that lists the complete numerical order of the series, including news on what's in the works. So far I've only read Joe Pernice's Meat is Murder contribution and Chris Ott's Unknown Pleasures book, but I'm really hankering to check out the Murmur, OK Computer, and Velvet Underground editions. There's a ton I'm interested in on the upcoming list, too, like London Calling, Doolittle, Paul's Boutique, Stone Roses, Daydream Nation, and Bee Thousand. What I've been most excited for, though, is the book covering My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, and I was worried it had been cancelled until I saw the footnote that says 'And floating in the ether, as ever, is Loveless, by Mike McGonigal'. Let's hope that sucker stops floating and hits the ground at some point.

Another cool, although slightly frustrating, list, is this one that shows the books that might have been, but were aborted for various reasons. Fleetwood Mac's Tusk by The Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merrit?! Dylan's The Basement Tapes by Galaxie 500's Damon Krukowski?! If only.

I'm not much of a Modest Mouse fan. While I appreciate their music, I'm not at all into Isaac Brock's voice. Just not my cuppa, unfortunately. So the completely bizarre news that Red House Painters & Sun Kil Moon main-man Mark Kozelek is releasing an entire album of Modest Mouse covers is actually pretty intriguing to me. While I'm sure the arrangements will be majorly mutated, I know for sure I'm gonna like Koz's voice over 'em more than Brock's. So even though I'd much rather see a whole new album of Kozelek originals, I'll gladly take this little detour with him.

New Stereolab! Always a good thing. Their three brand new singles (with two new tracks on each) are officially released on Monday, and you'll be able to get all six songs as digital downloads. But for those, like me, who actually need something to hold in your hand, you can now order them from the UK thanks to the wonderful (and wonderfully run) Alma Road Mail Order. Here's some direct links:
  • Interlock b/w Visionary Road Maps
  • Kybernetika Babicka Pt. 1 b/w Kyberniticka Babicka Pt. 2
  • Plastic Mile b/w I Was A Sunny Rainphase

  • Streamy goodness: You can now stream the entirety of The Sixth Great Lake's wonderful Sunday Bridge record, which was released earlier this year on vinyl. They're still looking for someone to put it out on cd, but in the meantime, stream away thanks to Apollo Audio. And tell your label-owning friends they've got some signing to do.

    So, um, what the hell is the point of a Cars reunion when Ric Ocasek says 'hell no!', and Ben Orr is, um, dead? Answer: None. None point.

    Run away, Mr. Rundgren, run away.

    Too Much Rock added a full-on review to the photos and video of their recent Smog / Feathers / Charlene posting. Yeah, ok, I'm sure I looked a little 'stiff' at the keyboard. I would have been much more relaxed if I actually, uh, played keyboards. That'd definitely help. Gimme time, gimme time.

    I felt like Ferris Bueller up there... 'Never had one lesson!'.

    Speaking of Charlene, don't look for me behind the drums at the next show, when they'll be opening for John Vanderslice up at Dartmouth College next Friday. Scheduling conflicts are sadly keeping me away. I will, however, be playing with The Broken River Prophet a week later, when they hit the Mirror Image Film Festival in Pawtucket, RI on Sept. 23rd.

    For those in the Boston area, do yourself a favor and go check out The BRP tonight, Friday the 9th, at PA's Lounge in Somerville. I'm not just saying that because I'm one of their rotating players... I'm a genuine fan and I'll be there right in front (despite my having to get up tomorrow morning at 5am... ugh). They're playing first at 9:30, before Polaris Mine and Nice & Easy, so arrive early.

    Speaking of Boston-area show reviews, I'm constantly in awe of my friend and neighbor Steve, who sees more local shows than anyone I know who's not a bartender or soundperson, and writes up a review every time. Seriously, he goes out every other night. I have no idea where he gets his energy, but just reading his write-ups makes me tired.

    A new Boston-area podcast: MAhysteria, hosted by husband-and-wife team of Paul and Janine.

    Another podcast for ya: Twilight Singers bassist Scott Ford interviews fellow Twilighter (and former Afghan Whigs frontman) Greg Dulli about his just released album Amber Headlights, going track by track for stories behind the songs. I picked the disc up on Tuesday, and it's completely rocking me.

    If, like me, you're a fan of George RR Martin's brilliant A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, and are eagerly awaiting the November arrival of the fourth book, A Feast For Crows, you might want to check out The Quest of Thrones. It's a little online quest/game/scavenger hunt that starts soon and runs for five weeks. Sign-ups end a week from today, and prizes will be awarded when it's done. Sounds like a cool enough (and geeky enough) way to kill some online time while we wait for the next book.

    Another book to look forward to: Author and comic writer Greg Rucka has finished his second Queen & Country novel, titled Private Wars, and it'll be out on October 25th. I loved the first one, A Gentleman's Game (which itself sprung from the excellent Q&C comic series), so I'm hoping the second is just as solid.

    The fall TV season is upon us, so here's a list of debut dates so you don't miss anything.

    Fall also heralds the arrival of two major geek-out events: The Wizard World Boston comic convention from Sept. 20th to Oct. 2nd, and the huge Star Wars exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science starting on October 27th.

    Now, my days of comic convention attendance are far behind me, but there are a few creator-types at the WWB that tempt me to wander by. I'm a big admirer of artists John Cassaday, David Mack, and Tim Sale, so it'd be kinda cool to see 'em. Now, I must admit, the Buffy fan in me does have a slight urge to gaze upon Robia 'Jenny Calendar' LaMorte and Eliza 'Faith' Dushku... but I don't think I'm quite that geeky. (and besides, we already met Faith, so, um, yeah). Ok, so maybe I am geeky enough.

    And even though the bungled prequels have all but extinguished my Star Wars love, I'll still end up checking out the Museum of Science exhibit... for the same reason I was compelled to watch Episode III... the 12 year old simply cannot resist. The pre-adolescent programming is too damn strong. Tickets are on sale now.

    As you can probably see in one of my flickr photos up there on the right, Amie and I got to see sketch-comedy goofball Michael Showalter do a little Q&A after a screening of his new film The Baxter. The film was pretty good, and although it's got a much different tone from his sketch comedy stuff on Stella & The State, it's well worth seeing if you're a fan of slightly-skewed romantic comedy.

    A 'baxter' is defined in the movie as 'the other guy', the neglected schlub always loses out in every love story to the romantic lead. Y'know, that guy who gets left at the altar, like pipe-smoking Carl Smith in The Graduate. Showalter wrote and directed the film, and also plays the titular Baxter, Eliot. The rest of the cast is full of familiar faces like the 40 Year-Old Virgin's hilarious Elizabeth Banks, always-good Peter Dinklage, fellow Stella-men David Wain & Michael Ian Black, a break-dancing Justin Theroux (playing nemesis 'Bradley'), and the damn funny Paul Rudd. The standout, though? Michelle Williams plays just about the cutest love interest I've seen in years. Seriously, I never thought she was exactly unattractive on Dawson's Creek (although she did stand in the shadow of Kate Cruise), but I challenge you to see this film and not be complete smitten with the character of Cecil Mills. Talk about crush-worthy. Yow.

    I recorded and transcribed the post-screening Q&A with Showalter, but sharing it here is a tricky thing... I've taken out the parts that directly relate to the plot of the movie (for those who are planning on seeing it when it arrives in your town), and I've left in all the aborted sentences and 'like' droppings that pepper the answers. It's hard to capture the intention of the spoken word, especially Showalter's sarcasm and general light-heartedness. Try to keep it in mind when reading along. Oh, and by the way, admission to this screening was totally free, so maybe that's why some of the questions ended up being so, um, how do I put this mildly?... retarded.
    MS: Hi everyone, I�m Michael Showalter (much clapping). I wrote, and directed, and starred in the movie that you are now watching the credits of. Thank you for coming, and if you want to leave, please feel free... I won�t take it personally. But you are gonna miss some very illuminating conversation points by me... (laughs)

    Oh, hi Matt!... I see Matt. My friend Matt Kahn who did the Baxter website is here, he�s a Boston guy.

    Anyway, I�m here to answer any questions that you guys might have, if you want to ask any questions... we can talk about The Baxter, we can talk about Stella (claps). I thought that based on the applause that David Wain got (during the credits), that there are probably some Stella fans in the audience. Because I don�t think you were applauding for Haviland Morris (laughs), although for the young men in the audience, you might recognize her as the blonde babe from Sixteen Candles.

    Girl in the audience shouts: Gremlins 2!

    MS: ... and Gremlins 2. I prefer Sixteen Candles, you like Gremlins 2... that�s why I�m the filmmaker. At least say Gremlins 1 if you�re going to say anything about Gremlins. Anyway, I see a question right there...

    (meanwhile, as he�s talking, another post-film scene is showing after the credits, but the sound of the film has already been turned off)

    MS: Oh, this is a great�re going to have to pay money to see it. (laughs)

    Q: Did you have Michael Ian Black in mind for that role (of Ed) from the beginning?

    MS: Kinds, yeah. I mean, I have this great group of friends, these funny guys that I work with, and I knew that I wanted to put all of them in the movie in one way or another. I kind of had always thought of Michael Black as the Ed character.

    Q: So what was that scene we just missed?

    MS: In that scene, the Bradley character tells my Baxter friends what the meaning of life is. (laughs)

    Q: First of all, congratulations, great movie (MS: thank you). I�m going to cheat and ask two questions. One, did Stella get picked up for a second season (by Comedy Central)?

    MS: Dunno. We feel good, though. But it never hurts to write fan mail to Comedy Central or whatever, but we feel good.

    Q: And secondly, what�s going on with The State? Will we ever see that DVD?

    MS: So neither question had anything to do with The Baxter. (laughs) You had two questions and neither one of them had anything to do with The Baxter. That�s impressive. But you did start by saying congratulations... anyway, I don�t know anything about The State DVD. All of us in The State are constantly asked that question, and we don�t know. It�s just in red tape over at MTV, and someone somewhere one day will release the DVD, but I don�t know more than that.

    Q: Are you or were you a Baxter? And is that the inspiration?

    MS: Um, not really. I�ve certainly, y�know, been dumped. Whatever. Who hasn�t? Really, my inspiration is romantic comedies, my inspiration for this movie is my love of the genre, of the romantic comedy. I really just wanted to make a movie where I took this character that I�ve enjoyed over the years... y�know, any movie you can think of that has a love story in it, even if it�s a drama, has a Baxter in it. Y�know, there�s always that guy, and you�re just like �oh my god, he�s so wrong for her.� And I just always got a huge kick out of that character, so I just tried to imagine a romantic comedy from that guy�s point of view.

    I�m a huge ladies man. (laughs)

    Q: Did you actually make up this whole term, or was it really your grandmother?

    MS: I made it up.

    (someone shouts out something that sounds like �do you have a grandmother?�)

    MS: Do I have a grandmother? (laughs) No, no, I was immaculately conceived.

    No, um, I made it up, but feel free to use it now that it�s out there.

    Q: You�re probably so used to collaborating with people, so was it scary to do this on your own, without being a member of the State, having the whole thing on your shoulders?

    MS: Yes, it is scary... it was a lot of work, and a lot of pressure, I guess. The hardest part for me was writing it, truthfully. It�s the first thing I�d written by myself, and didn�t know what was going to come out, and if I was up to it, and you never know. But I definitely wanted to do something kind of by myself, I guess. Y�know, I�m getting up there in years, and it was about time for me to break out. But I like the idea of doing the Stella thing, and then doing something by myself, and whatever else comes along...

    Q: I noticed that you used Chumley�s (in Brooklyn) as one of the locations, and it really is a gem... how did you come to find that place?

    MS: Ummm... well... I�d eaten there many times, and I asked them if I could shoot in their restaurant.

    Q: Obviously no one here knows the place...

    MS: Right, because they don�t care... (laughs)

    Q: Well, how did you originally find it besides just eating there?

    MS: Come talk to me after... I�ll tell you all about it. (laughs) No, really, it�s a cool place to eat, it�s not really a dive...

    Q: But you can�t find it unless you know where it is...

    MS: ... unless you have Zagats. (laughs)

    Alright, who�s next (pointing to another guy)... I like to call on guy-girl-guy-girl, so next time it�s girl...

    Q: (a mumbled and over-long question that gets clarified when...)

    MS: He asked me basically �what was hard about making this movie�, right? (laughs)

    Y�know, I�ve done sketch comedy for a very long time, so I know how to write, like, a 3-page long skit. And Wet Hot American Summer is essentially a 2-hour long 3-page long skit, y�know and so you can fast forward from one skit to the next. And this (The Baxter) is really, as you guys saw, it�s a movie. It�s a real movie with characters, and a story, and everything kinda fits together. That was really my challenge, was to make something that fit together... being funny was not my main purpose in this film. What I was really trying to do was make a movie that fit together and felt rich as a story, and characters. That was something that was hard to do, that was something that I had to sort of teach myself how to do it, and it was frustrating, because sometimes the words don�t come. But after awhile I feel like I kinda... I was ultimately happy with my end product. But I�d say writing it was probably the biggest challenge.

    Q: Why did you choose Brooklyn? (as a location for The Baxter)

    MS: I live in Brooklyn, and I just love it... and I think it�s a romantic city, the architecture... it�s just like a very sweet city, and it�s kind of a second fiddle to Manhattan, as The Baxter is the second fiddle to the leading man. And, um, Woody Allen already shoots in Manhattan...

    Q: Who did the wardrobe, and did Michael Ian Black choose his own clothes? (laughs)

    MS: He did... (laughs) Michael�s idea was that his character wore his wife�s clothing. (laughs) And then the wardrobe was Jill Kliber and Jill Newell, who are both great costume designers in New York. We just tried to have that kind of Frank Capra tweedy... you guys know, you live in Boston, you know what that is...

    Q: What is your favorite Stella sketch?

    MS: My favorite Stella video?

    Q: The videos or the show...

    MS: Let�s see... I don�t wanna spend too much time on this... my favorite one is probably (the Stella episode) �Meeting Girls�, if anyone�s seen that one. In that episode, me and Mike Black get girlfriends, and then David takes the suit off... and he becomes Brian. And we leave the apartment, and we go back and Brian already has two new guy roommates and he�s put the suit up in his closet, and then it sort of becomes a romantic comedy. And Josh Charles is in it, from Dead Poet�s Society, and he�s really funny...

    Q: Was the original title for this �They Came Together�, or is that something different?

    MS: That�s a different movie. It�s been written, but it�s not like in pre-production or anything like that...

    Q: Do you suffer from existential despair?

    MS: I�ll talk to you after ... (laughs)

    Q: Do you enjoy television or films more?

    MS: Well, I�m hooked on American Idol. (laughs & claps) And I also love Rock Star: INXS (more laughs & clapping)...

    But, they�re both good... I mean, film is a looong process. I shot this movie in April of last year, and finished it in basically the winter, almost at the very end of 2004, and I wrote it a year before that. So it�s like, when I wrote this movie I was a different person, almost. It�s such a long process.

    TV is, like... we were writing Stella as we were shooting it. Y�know, we were making that show as we were shooting that show... it�s just a totally different process. They�re both great, they�re both a lot of fun.

    Q: Did you find it hard separating the two things from each other?

    MS: No, because one came after the other, so I wasn�t doing them both at the same time. Ok, two more...

    Q: With the new Stella TV show, are you finding any frustration working with Comedy Central, having to change stuff, bringing stuff to them and having them be, like �you have to change this for tv.�?

    MS: No, actually, no... we �put the dildo to rest�. We �hung the dildo up�, the way hockey players hang up their skates, we hung the dildo on the wall. Y�know, we�re still learning what Stella the tv show is. Comedy Central, and I�m not just saying this, could not be a more supportive place for us, in terms of... they really understand that we are this kind of organic, weird thing, and that their best foot forward is to just kind of support us. So anything that sucks about our show is our fault, and I�m not just saying that.

    Ok, one more question...

    Q: What was the budget for the film?

    MS: That�s such a boring last question. It�s not your fault though. Just over a million dollars was the budget, and we shot it in 20 days. Um, I didn�t mean to insult you... it wasn�t you. Ok another one...

    Q: Is David (Wain) really a ladies man?

    MS: Is David really a ladies man? Yes.

    Q: Because of how out there some of the Stella independent non-Comedy Central sketches are, do you find it hard when you�re pitching stuff, do people shy away from you, or is it like a non-issue?

    MS: You mean pitching stuff where, in Hollywood?

    Q: Yeah, just trying to get a project done, do you find producers sort of half-in/half-out...

    MS: Not at all, not at all. I mean, no, if anything... we haven�t really been... well, I�ve been doing this (making The Baxter), and then we did Stella, so I haven�t been pitching projects, I�ve really been pretty much just working on those two projects for like the last almost three years, so I haven�t tested that, but when I go out there, actually, people in that industry know the Stella videos and really like �em.

    Ok, that�s it... thank you everybody... thank you. Thanks for coming, tell everybody about the movie, opening on September 16th here in Boston...
    Alright, I'm just about outta here... and back again tomorrow morning. Grumble, grumble.

    "I neeeed to sleeeep, whyyy woooon't yooouuu let me..."

    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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