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The Way Carbon Leaf Sees It On My Coffee

It’s no secret that I like the coffee and sink an inordinate amount of cash into the Starbucks near work. As I was finishing off my usual (a double tall latte - in case anyone’s buying), I noticed that the quote on the cup was from Carbon Leaf’s Barry Privett. I slid down the sleeve and read it - something about pain and adulthood. Intrigued, I decided to go to the section of Starbuck’s website that deals with the quotes on their cups - The Way I See It.

I guess Privett is on the cup since Carbon Leaf is in rotation on Starbuck’s XM Channel. The featured authors and contributors pages on Starbucks site contain mostly folks in literature rather than rock. You can read up on a couple of the authors if you feel inclinded. Most interestingly, people actually leave comments on the quotes and even leave their own quotes for consideration. Yep, people read something on the side of a coffee cup that urges them to respond. Of course, what’s sillier than going to Starbucks to comment on their coffee cups? Blogging about their coffee cups? Busted!

Southern Lord In The New York Times

Heavy Doom Metal label Southern Lord was featured in the New York Times this Sunday. For music that generally thought of as dark and inacessible, it’s some pretty good press coverage in a major media outlet. While not for everyone, Southern Lord is certainly putting out some of the most original music out there today. I have to admit that I’ve been captivated by Sunn 0)))’s and Boris’s latest releases. Nothing makes me happier after a long day at work then wave after wave of guitar distortion.

Art Brut Makes Me Want to Rock Out

After weighing our options between Essex Green at the Black Cat and Art Brut at the Satellite Ballroom, Michael and I headed up to Charlottesville to see Art Brut. He took a little convincing - a video of Bang Bang Rock and Roll didn’t appeal to him. However, after reading numerous positive live reviews, I became convinced that Art Brut was the act to see. I so like it when I turn out to be right.

Forgetting how short the drive is between Richmond and Charlottesville, Michael and I got there way too early. We hit the corner, settling in at Michael’s Bistro and Taphouse. We got generally ignored by the waitstaff, but managed to get a couple of beers and a hummus platter. Oh, how the waitpersons of Richmond have spoiled me!

We got to the Satellite ballroom in time to catch the start of Robocop Kraus. These German punkers pounded out some good old style punk-wave with the lead singer working hard to win over the small audience. I don’t ask too much more of an opening band than to play with heart and warm up the crowd. Robocop Kraus delivered on that mission and had a few good songs to boot. Eddie Argos and a couple of other members of Art Brut watched Robocop Kraus play; given that they’ve been playing together on most of Art Brut’s tour of the US, that’s a high compliment in itself. In fact, Argos seemed pretty comfortable with the small crowd, even hanging out in the alley next to the club for a smoke.

I’m not sure I can add much to others’ reviews of Art Brut. They’re louder and saucier live. The band, particulary the drummer, play like they’re on fire. Eddie Argos manages to be non-chalant and a showman at the same time, singing slightly hunched over the mike in his hand, then leaping around the stage then into the crowd. Argos even managed some rock kicks of nearly Pollardian proportions. Poppier songs from the record, like Moving to L.A. and My Little Brother, took on a punk rock stomp while the rocking tracks were turned up all the way to 11. The new songs sound good, but the ones from Bang Bang, Rock ‘N Roll remain classic. I guess the only thing I’d add is that Art Brut still gave their all for the small C’ville crowd. If the band wasn’t going full tilt, then folks in New York will need helmets for their Bowery Ballroom shows.

WRIR Fundraiser

The thank you cards from my birthday have been sent. My cars been inspected. I’ve been to the dentist and the doctor in the last month. Now, to complicate things further, WRIR is holding its third fundraiser. I’m taking a breather from last year when I managed two days as well as doing my show and updating the website. This year, I’m poking around the website, covering the phones on Sunday and spinning on Saturday. No taking days off of work so I can…work.

This year’s fundraiser does have some particularly colorful t-shirts. Other than that, I’ve been locked up in the west end, programming in Microsoft Word and some modeling tools. But the little station seems to be plugging along its manner.

volcano!

Early in my college radio days, I had a serious progressive rock tendency. Even now, there are traces of it in the vinyl section of my record collection - Henry Cow, Camberwell Now, Etron Fou Leloublan and lots of Fred Frith. However as my soujourn in college radio progressed, I discovered that rocking out to rock music was more fun than thinking to rock music. I now realize that part of my education resulted in me being less intellectual but better company at parties.

Based on Pitchfork’s coverage this week and my old prog leanings, I downloaded volcano!’s Beautiful Seizure from iTunes and have completely enjoyed it. It’s not a terribly accessible record - it’s progressive, arty indie rock. However, I’m a sucker for wild stylistic variations as well as the minimalist vibe of the record. volcano! is just three members - guitar, drums and bass/keyboards - and they work the power trio connections breathtakingly. There’s very little overtracking and when there is, it’s because the combination of bass and keyboards is mandatory - essential for the song to work. I can’t find any free tracks, but you can stream Apple or a Gun (my favorite) from the band’s website.

And yes, it would go along nicely with that old Unrest album. That’s two tracks down out of thirty for my show this Saturday.

WRIR’s First Birthday

Feburary 3, WRIR is throwing it’s first birthday party at the Richmond Renaissance Center (the building formerly called the Cornerstone) from 7pm to midnight. Since it’s already First Fridays that night, it’ll be a great place to warm up to some music (about five bands are playing) as well as have a couple of drinks with friends.

Malcolm X Park by Unrest

For some reason, Disko Magic had been stuck in my head for the last few days. I had to dig through the shelf of lps to find it, but I dug up Malcolm X Park and turned the stereo up to a ridiculous volume. I think my favorite way to listen to records is that way - seated on the floor in front of the stereo with the speakers blaring from behind me. I hopped around the record, listening to Christina and Can’t Stand Still. However, I kept dropping the needle at the start of Disko Magic. The growling guitar intro, the white boy funk shouts, the lyric “Dancin’ and drinkin’ is my life” - I just needed those things to soak into my brain. I’m not sure when, but that track will be heard in Richmond. I’m just not certain of the means of transmission.

In the meanwhile, I find I’m spending too much time listening to my old playlists and not grabbing new music. With a gazillion new releases this week, I suspect that will change. But for now, I’m stuck in a strange nostalgia for 2005.

Capital One to lay off 130 IT workers

I sure hope Capital One wasn’t try to spice up the business section on my urging. Livening up the front page of the TD, Capital One is letting go 130 IT workers between now and May. The IT community in Richmond is pretty small - most folks land at CapOne or Circuit City at some point in their careers - many have worked at both.

My best wishes go to them. Hopefully, there’s better opportunities in town for them than working in a news kiosk.

You know you live in a one horse town…

…when the fact that a newstand is opening in the airport makes the front page of the business section.

Okay, admittedly, it’s four kiosks from a chain of airport stores. No, I take that back - it’s still a sign that Richmond is a backwater.

Sad Coming Home from Carytown

I’ve been going to stores in Carytown since I was about 7 or 8. When I was a kid, there was a hobby shop that carried airfix miniatures. In the eighties, I began going to Plan 9. As an adult, Carytown is one of the places I’ve come to love about Richmond - creative and diverse while still feeling like a small town.

I decided to pick up some CDs at Plan 9 and a birthday card for my dad today. As I walked along the north side of the street, I saw flowers and candles spread across the front of World of Mirth in memory of Bryan and Kathryn Harvey and their children. From the other side of the street, I saw a young woman jump out of a car, place something in front of the door and run back into her car in the rain. As I crossed the street, a woman with a blue umbrella was leaving the front of the store, her eyes raised slightly toward the sky so she wouldn’t need to meet my face. More than a dozen bouquets of flowers along with another dozen assorted candles were spread along the wet sidewalk. An employee had put photos of the family on the door to the store. A flyer for a candlelight vigil Tuesday at the Unitarian churd rested on one bouquet. I stood as long as I cared to then walked back in the rain to the car.

I can’t remember ever driving home from Carytown and feeling sad. I suppose today would be the first time.

WRIR has more details on upcoming public vigils and events.