Wednesday, January 30, 2008

CMJ New Music Report 1/28

The new issue of CMJ has come! Always exciting for a dorky music director. This issue is all about the top records of 2007.I made it in with my personal top 10:

1. Against Me! - New Wave (I mean really, are you surprised?)
2. Chuck Ragan - Feast or Famine (Chuck yeah!!!!!)
3. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky (I freaking have one of the song titles tattooed on me.)
4. Weakerthans - Reunion Tour (Who's pumped about the show on March 30??)
5. Two Gallants - Two Gallants (Yes, I am from the city where they got beat up.)
6. Tegan and Sara - The Con (Not Tegan and Stupid as music staffer Birdwell calls them.)
7. Okkervil River - The Stage Names (ATX representin', yo!)
8. Bella - No One Will No (I saw them at CMJ Marathon. I danced.)
9. White Stripes - Icky Thump (Because you can't be a pimp and a prostitute.)
10. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible. (Yeah.)

I forgot about the Snake the Cross the Crown though...and apparently the PSA Homeless Youth of America that Canada from Pirate! included in his list.

Against Me! and the night that changed my life

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, on a night unlike any other...

...Okay, maybe it was last March in Austin during the South by Southwest music festival, I was convinced by a hoard of random guys to stay to see Against Me! at the Sire records showcase.

I mean, when a dude with a large red beard tells you that staying to see this band will change you life, you know something is up.

So I stayed. I danced the night away, tried to sing along when I could..and hey, it really was nothing short of magical.

Not even a year later, Against Me! is my favorite band. Yes, right up there with my beloved Wilco. I've seen them 5 times this year in five different cities (Austin, Houston, Atlanta, Athens and Birmingham).

So a few weeks ago, I decided it was a fantastic idea to drive to Athens so that I could go to the Harvest of Hope benefit concert that Against Me! was playing at the 40 Watt. Probably not the best idea in the world, but it worked out.

I talked to the guys for Harvest of Hope for a long time, and that foundation is fantastic. Unlike other benefit shows, these guys are out in the crowd and hanging out. You actually feel like you are at something that matters.

I got to hang out with JJ, one of the promoters we work with at the station before I went to the show...which was completely amazing and where I got kicked so hard in the face I forgot who I was for a second. It was also my first time to hear "Those Anarcho Punx Are Mysterious" live.

After driving through a freaking blizzard in Atlanta (ok, myabe I am exaggerating a little), I made it to Birmingham to interview Tom Gabel. I got some dirty looks from Foo Fighters fans as the manager led me into the backstage at the BJCC.

It sounds a lot cooler that it was, and that's why it was so awesome. While I guess technically it was an interview, it honestly was just two kids hanging out and talking about music. We still kept talking even after my questions. Gabel's a smart guy; he's honest, and he's also truly passionate about what he does. While New Wave is apparently a disappointment to some of the older fans (it was #1 on my Top 10 Records of 2007), it's hard to imagine why. The album is solid, the lyrics are meaningful, and the band is really excited about it..and I definitely trust these guys more than the other clowns that are out in the mainstream right now.

Moral of the story? Trust random dudes with red beards.