Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Post-tour Listening Pile

been going through cds i accumulated on tour, trying to absorb. we were lucky enough to hit some great record store towns on this run -- Chicago (Dusty Groove), Columbus (Used Kids) -- and actually had time to shop which is rare in itself:

Lou Rawls - I Can't Make it Alone: The Axelrod Years i have fond memories of Lou's silky Gamble & Huff hits like "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" and performances on the Mike Douglas show when i was a kid, but this era (and the "Live!" record) is a bit more raw & harder-hitting, with cool arrangements and Lou's voice is great in any setting. Amazing version of Donovan's "Season of the Witch".
Tom Waits - Orphans box been waiting for this one and it doesn't disappoint...the "Bawlers" disc i assumed would be my favorite (the ballads) but "Brawlers" is great too, more diverse than i thought it'd be and i didn't get to "Bastards" yet.
Corrina Repp - The Absent and the Distant Corrina opened the show in Greensboro (along with Norfolk & Western, who's new record is great too) and i was unfamiliar prior to that, but the live set was really present yet sparse, and the album is the same -- pretty and even haunting in places but deadpan where it needs to be.
Bjork - the music from Drawing Restraint 9 i'd pretty much buy anything bjork made (except possibly the endless stream of re-packaged singles & eps) because it's bound to be at least interesting and usually much more than that. i have yet to see Drawing Restraint 9 but the making-of doc "No Restraint" is awesome. this ranges from minimal electronics to the orchestral to overdriven a cappella wildness, i'm digging it.
Crime and the City Solution - Paradise Discotheque the 1986 12" for "Kentucky Click"/"Adventure" is one of my favorite post-Birthday Party singles of all time, it's massive and the Room of Lights album is great too. i was never familiar with this record from '89 but found a used cd & am hearing it for the first time. seems pretty cool if less dynamic than those older records.

Monday, November 27, 2006


back in the world! after finishing up the tour, family thanksgiving trip to PA, etc. the last show of the tour was a soaking night in Greensboro and appropriately ill-attended but a few brave souls showed up and were treated to great sets from Corrina Repp and Norfolk and Western. i can't find our setlist at the moment but maybe someone out there on the web has it...

Dave from Norfolk blogged here about the show at the Flying Anvil, which is a great, if huge (for greensboro, anyway) club that apparently is headed for obsolescense unfortunately as of the end of the year.

don't think i ever linked to this thoughtful Be Still Please review by Jessica Hopper in the Chicago Reader:

Gentle Into That Good Night

also, nice mentions of tour and album at Headphone Junkie, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, the arcane model (mentions the fainter at the Schuba's show!), and this boy is exhausted which has pics from Pittsburgh.

in the wake of the Daily Show 10 F*cking Years Show the Village Voice has a review including some kind words for the Superchunk set...

and you may know by now but if not there's a VIDEO for Song for a Clock! small vid mention also here on the Filter site...

it's remarkably hard, incidentally, to find a still from the video to one of my favorite Queen songs ("I Want to Break Free").

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Belly Dancing Anyone?

last night in lexington we played at a place called Mecca, located on the humorously named Chair Street. we arrived for load-in during a yoga class (it's a huge multi-use facility, belly dancing seems to be one of the main draws) that lasted until 8:30 so we went off and watched some basketball at a fake pub. came back to a nice crowd and good opening acts -- Jason Zavala and the High Water Marks -- in the large chilly space.

set up on the floor and played the following:

sour shores
angels of sleep
sweetness and light
you blanks
oh come down
drill me
like a pearl
skinny glasses girl
white wave
san andreas
noisy night

through with people
i wanna know girls

the drive through west virginia today was beautiful but by the time we arrived here in greensboro the rains had come and it's pretty nasty outside, hope some folks brave the weather for the show tonight, we're excited to be playing with Norfok and Western! last night of the tour...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Buckeye mania

we rolled into columbus today to yards and sidewalks strewn with party waste -- we could have built the buckeyes a new stadium out of Solo cups -- and went straight to the venerable Used Kids Records for a quick in-store. Margaret and I played it acoustic & did Hurricane Warning (hadn't played it in awhile, kinda flubbed the beginning), Center of the World, Sweetness and Light, You Blanks, Skinny Glasses Girl, and I Wanna Know Girls. pretty fun though some dude was talking and laughing loudly with a pal through the whole thing. he appeared at our show later to talk on his phone loudly by the side of the stage, keep his beer on my amp, and generally make a nuisance of himself. still, neither he nor a subpar PA situation could dampen the spirits of a surprisingly rowdy sunday night columbus crowd at the show, great people running the joint, rock and roll:

Hey Salty
Sour Shores
A Cunning Latch
You Blanks
Sweetness and Light
You Know Where to Find Me
Through With People
Arthur Dove
Like A Pearl
Naked Pilseners
I Wanna Know Girls

Autumn Got Dark
Tree Killer
San Andreas
Noisy Night

walked out at the end of the night into the first snowfall of the year (for me anyway)...

Mecca in Lexington tomorrow night...Monday in Lex, could be dodgy! who knows, see you there.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Looking Ahead

driving out of chicago today on the skyway, it's bright and cold, whitecaps on the lake (city lives up to its nickname), and sun is reflecting off these massive tarpaulins stretched over giant mounds of something off the side of the highway in the industrial areas once you leave the city. dialed up Cecil Taylor's album "Looking Ahead" on the ipod as i originally bought the record at the Chicago Jazz Record Mart in 91 or 92, one of the first Superchunk tours, on the recommendation of Peter Margasak and my jazz listening took a severe left turn at that point. what a great record, it's cecil taylor so yeah there's some spikiness, but the tone is warm at the same time and there's some real lyricism and moments of beauty that i think people don't associate with Taylor. it's not the mountains of sound that would come later, but it's still pretty radical in its context and also inviting. there was some jazz happening last night in town i would like to have seen -- a Peter Brotzmann group featuring occasional Portastatic member Jeb Bishop -- but couldn't catch their set and play ours so, next time.

on to columbus, where there will be trash in the streets for sure after last night's football game....

Schuba dooby doo

great crowd in chicago tonight, in a great room (schuba's). someone fainted during the first song THAT'S HOW AWESOME IT WAS:

skinny glasses girl
sour shores
through with people
you blanks
sweetness and light
full of stars
a cunning latch
drill me
like a pearl
arthur dove
san andreas
i wanna know girls

bye bye pride
autumn got dark
white wave

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Portastatic at the Warhol

what a great place to play! surrounded by insane art, i think every town should have a cloud room. nice little theater in the museum, seated crowd but still plenty vocal, and one of the more surreal percussion performances ever. karl hendricks and family in the house, plus rachel blumberg joined us on "sweetness and light"...good times:

getting saved
sour shores
through with people
naked pilseners
sweetness and light
oh come down
drill me
arthur dove
cheers and applause
white wave
san andreas
noisy night

bye bye pride
hey salty

see you in the windy city!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

beep beep beep

thanks to everyone who showed up (and stayed) at Sonar in in Baltimore tonight, the pollard cancellation didn't seem to dampen spirits and we were glad to have a show to play:

smothered in hugs
sour shores
angels of sleep
through with people
you blanks
sweetness and light
you know where to find me
drill me
autumn got dark
like a pearl
naked pilseners
san andreas
i wanna know girls

bye bye pride
tree killer
a cunning latch

night off for porta tomorrow night for the daily show / superchunk throw-down in nyc, then we're back at it in Pittsburgh friday at the warhol museum....

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ready To Roll

looking forward to seeing peeps at Sonar in Baltimore, Charm City tonight...loading some new acquisitions into the ipod for the trip:

Joanna Newsom - Ys (ok i had this ILLEGALLY AGAINST THE LAW already but had to buy it, it's great)
Eccentric Soul - Mighty Mike Lenaburg (they used my quote on the sticker, i hope i like it!)
Sonny Clark - Sonny Clark Trio
Neil Young - Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970 (listened to this yesterday AWESOME)
Pavement - Wowee Zowee reissue
Karen Dalton - In My Own Time (i didn't believe the hype but now that i've heard it i do...)
Ann Peebles - Original Funk Soul Sister (this rules)

btw, Wilbur is back in the band on this tour, so get your heckles ready...

Baltimore UPDATE

Bob Pollard has unfortunately cancelled his set in Baltimore tonight, which sucks, but PORTASTATIC WILL STILL BE PERFORMING LIVE, IN CONCERT!

playing also will be Harm City's finest -- THE ORANGES BAND!

all this will still be taking place at Sonar, and will cost $5.



Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tanned Tin and Off We Go Again

had a lovely weekend in Spain...lovely and exhausting, every night the bands were playing til dawn in this beautiful old theater in Castellon. for example, portastatic was scheduled to go on at the civilized hour of 1.50 AM, but we went on at 3, which meant that our night was running more on time than the night before. there were two bands after us! amazingly, people were still in their seats til the bitter end, and the Magik Markers, who went on after us around 4 AM managed to completely destroy the place with just the two of them raising a racket up there, highly entertaining. also saw great sets from Dave Grubbs (who played most of last year's awesome A Guess at The Riddle album plus a bunch of instrumental stuff), Okkervill River, who i'd never seen before and were a nice full-band change from the festival's solo/duo heavy lineup, and His Name Is Alive who i'd barely even ever heard before and were charming. M.Ward kicked ass the night before all by his lonesome, and i got to play "lead guitar" on Right in the Head, which is still running through MY head. the crowd was quiet when they needed to be and loud and appreciative the rest of the time, including one guy who would at any given moment stand up and yell "BRAVO!" at the slightest provocation...great fans over there.

grubbs pre-show shredding:

magic markers in high heels:

our early morning set was something like this...:
center of the world (on piano, need a little more practice with that one!), angels of sleep, sour shores, a cunning latch, noisy night, you know where to find me, white wave, san andreas, i wanna know girls...there was one more but i can't remember!

there's a video HERE of us from the festival...

and we're off again tomorrow for some US dates, starting with grandpa punk (bob pollard) in baltimore...see you soon in charm city, pittsburgh, chicago, columbus, lexington, or greensboro!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nueva Entrada

according to the browser on the PC here at the hotel in Spain (wi-fi in the rooms 22 euros per night!? the internet is valuable but not THAT valuable) this is a nueva entrada in my blog.

i apologize for never even summarizing our great CMJ experience (3 shows in 2 days, 2 of them highly enjoyable - thanks sound fix records! nice place there) but then i got caught up in packing for this trip and obsessing about elections. speaking of which, COULD TUESDAY HAVE GONE MUCH BETTER FOR THE US OF A? I DON´T THINK SO. tammy duckworth and a couple other hopefulls excepted, it´s been an exhilarating 48 hours on that front, way to go people.

on the rock front, i´m thoroughly jetlagged and ready to recover for tomorrow night´s mward set and then the portastatic set on sunday night, all here in castellon spain at the Tanned Tin Festival. we already visited the coolest bar in Castellon - Casa Verde - and had some good fried fish, but tomorrow i´ll be able to think straighter i hope.

ok hasta mañana

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


we used to vote at the planetarium which was kind of cool, if we had voted early we still would have i think. instead voted this AM at a big UNC administration building, in the rain. not many people there -- i was expecting lines -- but it was just after most people would have gone to work so maybe that's why. when we fed our big paper ballots into the box my wife asked about the paper trail. the poll worker said "it's in there" pointing at the ballot box machine. i said "you mean it's not shredding them when we put them in? it sounds like it!" he looked a little scared, maybe just scared that someone could be so stupid, though he soon grasped that i was thankfully joking. the poll workers were great and extolling aloud the virtues of every voter excercising their patriotic duty etc... it makes you feel good, even though there are no tight races in our area.

i just hope it's not raining like this in VA, MO, MD, PA, TN, MT, NJ, or anywhere else where things are tight...

VOTE! anyone got any good voting stories?

Monday, November 06, 2006

vote vote vote vote VOTE

i am really not prepared for a wednesday morning like the wednesday morning after the elections in 2004, the crushing reality setting in and the desire to go back to sleep for, like, i'm trying desperately not to get hopes up for Tuesday. still, can't stop looking at polls and reading the blogs -- talkingpointsmemo , firedoglake, kos, atrios, et al -- looking for hope and finding it but also the occasional dose of pessimism showing overall Dem leads tightening over the weekend, and reading about the robo-call campaign designed to suppress voting in key's all enough to make you lose your mind, i might need to go see 3 movies tomorrow night instead of freaking out in front of the TV & computer screen all night.

seeing that arrogant fuck Cheney on Stephanopolous yesterday was brutal, too; in essence he was saying "it doesn't matter what you people do at the polls on tuesday, we're going to do what we want regardless, so shove it America."

anyway here's something to lighten the mood -- Cliff Schechter on (ack) Rita Cosby's show on MSNBC destroying some Rebublican clown, saying all the things you'd like to say to someone who could see their way to vote red in this day and age...hilarious:

Cliff Schecter's blog

i wish i could wholeheartedly share Cliff's optimistic predictions on the senate & house gains but i'm living in fear of those kinda predictions...


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rogerio Duprat 1932 - 2006

the man behind the beautiful and insane orchestrations on many of the classic Tropicalia records (the Gal Cost album with "Baby" on it comes to mind) died last week, there was an obituary in the Times here. he made one album under his own name that i was never able to locate on vinyl even in Brazil, and while it was reissued on CD, the copy i have sounds terrible...still, you gotta have it. the guy was a total genius and orchestrated pop music unlike anyone else.

Friday, November 03, 2006

See Em Jay

in the big apple for one night tonight -- some Merge bands are playing at the Knitting Factory as part of the College Music Journal "convention", a veritable melee of industry hijinx and as usual Portastatic is LOOKING TO GET SIGNED THIS YEAR! come on people, this could be the one.

we play at 8:15 at the Knit and the other fine acts sharing the bill are:
The Broken West
White Whale
Richard Buckner

out to brooklyn tomorrow for a set at Sound Fix Records at 3:15 pm....

these shows will be acoustic duo style, let's have a big round of applause for Margaret White!

ok see ya

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No. 1200 for Roddy

i just love an excuse to use that picture...beating the thrashers last night Rod Brind'Amour racked up 4 points in his 1200th career game (bringing his career pt total up to 999!) and i'm hoping that after a slow start the 'canes have righted the ship...last night at least it was mainly due to the efforts of Cam Ward, who stopped 40 shots as carolina was out-shot by a wide margin but still managed to win fairly easily compared to the last two meetings with atlanta, which were quite tight...i turned the game off after brind'amour's empty-netter with a minute and a half left, apparently there were some fisticuffs after that. beginning to wrap my brain around hockey again...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Some Notices & Phoning It In

gonna round up some of the press that Be Still Please has been getting out there in cyberspace:

Tiny Mix Tapes says "oddly familiar yet strikingly different"
Pitchfork says "puttering around"
Dusted uses the words "lacerating" AND "withering" -- ouch! this record is dangerous!
still, All Music Guide acknowledges that it's a "hidden treasure"
and Popmatters, while overstating my age, does note some "fresh delights" therein.

in addition to these and other kind reviews, on the internet you can also go to the Merge Blog for a link to Portastatic live on the radio (WMBR Boston) via the olde fashioned telephone.