Friday, September 26, 2008

REMtrospective, 12: New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 8:37 PM

Title: New Adventures in Hi-Fi

Released on: Sept. 9, 1996

Favorite tracks: “The Wake-Up Bomb,” “Undertow,” “E-Bow the Letter,” “Leave”

In 1997, about a year after New Adventures in Hi-Fi came out, my wife and I bought the house in which we still live. For the previous five years, we’d lived in a place with a dishwasher but no washer/dryer. Our new house had a washer/dryer, but no dishwasher -- which, as far as I’m concerned, counts as an upgrade. For a couple of years we washed dishes by hand. I’d usually do it after dark while playing CDs, preferably ones with good “night music,” like Rain Dogs by Tom Waits, Stay Sick! by The Cramps, Kiko by Los Lobos and especially New Adventures in Hi-Fi by R.E.M. (Incidentally, I think Automatic for the People is also very much a “night music” album.)

Something about the repetitive action of scrubbing and drying the dishes and listening to the rolling, cascading melodies of the album – most especially three-song sequence of “Undertow,” “E-Bow The Letter” and “Leave” – would put me in something close to a trance-state. Many of the songs on New Adventures have striking powers of accumulation: they build and build and CREST, and then build and build and build and CREST HIGHER. I find myself more prone to “get lost” in New Adventures than any other REM album. I can’t say whether it’s “better” than Murmur or Document, but it’s the one that interests me the most. You can keep diving into it without striking bottom.

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CL's recommended shows for Fri., Sept. 26

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 6:09 PM

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This is perhaps one of the most best Friday's this city has seen in a long time, and if you're looking to go out and see some shows tonight, you're in luck, but you're going to have to make some executive decisions.

First and foremost there is the screening of Michael Tully and Matthew Robison's documentary film, Silver Jew showing over at Eyedrum.

Robison, who is also involved with the Atlanta rock doc., We Fun (currently in production) will be in attendance. $5. 9 p.m. (doors) Film starts at 10 p.m. Money from door sales goes to B Jay Womack who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. 404-522-0655.

Over at Lenny's Intelligence, Gentleman Jesse, Vera Fang and HOWLIES are playing a FREE show over at Lenny's. Intelligence is at the forefront of the new no-wave junk-rock art clatter that so dominates the cutting edge of abrasive post-punk in 2008. The group's sound is brash, damaged, alien and filled with angst and hooks. Local power-pop ambassador Gentleman Jesse brings things back to a more earthbound pop sound with a triumphant return to the stage. Vera Fang and Howlies open. 9 p.m. 404-577-7721.

Stereolab photo by Sabrina Tabuchi
  • Stereolab photo by Sabrina Tabuchi

The Variety Playhouse plays host to Stereolab's stop in support of Chemical Chords, the group's best album in years. Stereolab's penchant for crafting droning rhythms, Moog jams and space-age bachelor-pad music set a precedent for experimental sounds in the '90s. With Chemical Chords (their 4AD debut), the pop explorers churn out their catchiest songs this side of the millennium. Recent material such as "Pop Molecule," "Cellulose Sunshine" and "Daisy Click Clack" channel the "groop's" cosmic music into digestible bursts of short pop songs. Tonight, expect nothing less than a headlong trip into melancholia and '60s psych pop, sans kitsch. Atlas Sound (aka Deerhunter's Bradford Cox) also performs. Herb and Jason Harris of the Selmanaires open. $20-$22.50. 8:30 p.m. , 1099 Euclid Ave. 404-524-7354.

There's a Hank Williams Sr. tribute show at The Star Bar, featuring Slim Chance, Dave Weil (Blacktop Rockets), Caroline Engel, Phil Anderson, Bill Fleming, Danny Pope, Craig Rafuse, Ted Weldon and several others (and just so you know, this is a non-smoking event). $10. 9 p.m. 404-681-5740.

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Best local country music act: Anna Kramer

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 3:54 PM

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Local fixture ANNA KRAMER has secretly dominated Atlanta’s country, folk and under-ground rock scenes for the last decade via her various solo and band efforts. With her current trio, the Lost Cause, featuring Shannon Mulvaney (upright bass) and Adam Renshaw (drums), she has perfected a body of songs that captures the true spirit of an urbane Southern troubadour. There’s more dang than twang on her 2008 release, The Rustic Contemporary Sounds of Anna Kramer and the Lost Cause (International Hits). And you can’t call it alt-country without giving equal props to the palette of ’70s Brit invasion and ’90s indie rock that gives just as much kick to her strut. — Chad Radford

Click here to view CL’s complete 2008 Best of Atlanta/After Dark critics’ and readers’ picks.

Photo by Joeff Davis

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Best mainstream rock act reunion: The Black Crowes

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 3:46 PM

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After Kate Hudson stopped being Chris Robinson’s real-life Penny Lane, Robinson retreated to the place he felt most comfortable: THE BLACK CROWES. The band’s comeback album, Warpaint, got an unexpected PR push earlier this year when Maxim magazine was put in the embarrassing position of admitting it had panned the new record without having heard it. Turns out they should have listened. Warpaint proved to be the band’s most successful album in more than a decade, and it was followed by a tour on which the Crowes reclaimed their elevated position in America’s rock ‘n’ roll hierarchy. Rock on. — Scott Freeman

Click here to view CL's complete 2008 Best of Atlanta/After Dark critics’ and readers' picks.

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Best local lyricist: Killer Mike

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 1:02 PM

Killer Mike in Kirkwood
  • Killer Mike in Kirkwood

KILLER MIKE is a rapper with an agenda, and usually those make for the most focused MCs. In Mike’s case, it makes him one of the best – both in Atlanta and beyond. Representing for the working class, his latest release, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind II, is a precise continuation of the street knowledge he branded on the first installment. Songs such as “Good Bye (City of Dope),” “Pressure” (featuring Ice Cube) and “God in the Building” elevate his standing in hip-hop’s lyrical hierarchy. Killer Kill from Adamsville (as he’s affectionately known) has the storytelling, nonirritating braggadocio and metaphors to make even the most noted lyricist brush up his pen game. — Jacinta Howard

To view the complete 2008 Best of Atlanta/After Dark critics' and readers picks, click here.

Photo by Maurice Garland

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Best local instrumentalist who deserted Atlanta: Adron

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 9:52 PM

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Editor's Note: Pick up Creative Loafing's 2008 Best of Atlanta issue this week to get hip to the city's best in music and nightlife. There was too much good stuff to print in the After Dark section, so we'll be posting some of the critics' picks here on Crib Notes for your viewing pleasure. Stay tuned.

ADRON is a young, self-taught maestro with a nylon-stringed guitar. Her self-titled debut CD on New Street Records is a gorgeous reminder why it’s a shame that she up and left her old stomping grounds in late 2007 for the mean streets of Brooklyn. But her time away has served her well. Over the last year, her balance of quietude and quasi-Brazilian folk strumming has matured to a level that is far beyond her years. It’s due, no doubt, to her throwing herself into the mix of New York’s thriving musical environment.

To view the complete 2008 Best of Atlanta/After Dark critics' and readers picks, click here.

Photo by Perry Julien

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Listen: Cheech and Chong talk prison, politics and marijuana potency

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 8:42 PM

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This week's issue of Creative Loafing features my story on Cheech & Chong's Light Up America reunion tour.

I spoke with the comedians/marijuana icons separately last month, and you can hear my interviews in their entirety below.

Tommy Chong, who called me about 20 minutes late ("stoner time" of course), talks in greater detail about his prison sentence, while Cheech Marin discusses a wide variety of subjects, including Chicano art, how politics drove his partner to prison, and why it made sense (and dollars) for Cheech & Chong to bury the hatchet.

Click here to listen to Tommy Chong's full interview.

Click here to listen to Cheech Marin's full interview.

To read the feature story, click here.

Photo by Dan Dion

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Fringe Factory: Spanish invasion Saturday at Highland Inn

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 7:34 PM

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It's that time once again. This Saturday night the much lauded Fringe Factory returns for one more go-around.

This weekend the regular hostesses / DJs Suzy Q and Vikki V present a night of music that is both inspired by and paying homage to the Spanish and Latin American influences that have colored garage rock, punk and psychedelic culture since the 1960s.

DJ Sergio Bastida comes all the way from Granada, Spain by way of a temporary stay in Wilmington, DE to spin records at this weekend's Fringe Factory festivities.

Also, local gringo act, El Cobra Negro perform a set of surf rock riffage that's tempered with Bossa nova beats.

More details will be announced as they develop.

Cost is $5 before 10 p.m. and $7 after. Or it's $5 if you come dressed in vintage or "vintage-inspired" attire.

Doors open at 9 p.m. For more information look online The Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge, located at 644 N. Highland Ave. 404-874-5756.

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Pitchfork blesses Gentleman Jesse with an 8.1

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 1:58 PM

This morning Pitchfork posted a long overdue review of Gentleman Jesse's debut album on DoucheMaster Records (whom, by the way received a CL Best Of award this week for critic's pick for best local record label).

Unlike the pukey face review that Vice gave him this month, Pitchfork likes Gentleman Jesse so much that they bestowed upon him an empowering 8.1 rating.

Read the review here.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Silver Jew doc. / B Jay Womack benefit at Eyedrum Friday

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 2:43 PM

This Friday night (Sept. 26th) Eyedrum hosts the Atlanta premiere of Michael Tully and Matthew Robison’s (We Fun: ATL Inside Out) documentary film Silver Jew. The film follows Silver Jews main man David Berman on a spiritual quest to the Western Wall (A.K.A. the Wailing Wall) in the Old City of Jerusalem to embrace his Jewish roots … And play a few shows. Doors at Eyedrum open at 9 p.m. and the film starts at 10 p.m. Admission is $5.

Proceeds from door sales are being donated to B Jay Womack (a.k.a. Bobby Ubangi) of local bands the Gaye Blades and the Soft Spots, who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Chad Radford: How did you you come to be involved with making Silver Jew?

Matthew Robison: David and I met in a club where I was playing, and he humbly introduced himself and his (then) girlfriend Cassie. I had read one of his poems in Mean Magazine, but didn’t know much about Silver Jews. I always understood him as an artist, but admittedly never played his records over and over. I do know most of them very well, and for a few months put together a band to be called Walnut Falcons to play Silver Jews covers. So I like the songs very much. The attachment to the music increased when I used some studio tracks in the doc and began to associate them with the work.

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