Mike Doughty's Band at the Beaumont Club, 26 March 08

Jill and I walked into the Beaumont to the strains of lumberjacks playing free jazz.

(No joke.)

The exercise was probably another case of Mike Doughty’s band opening for itself (his drummer and bassist are also in official tour openers The Panderers). We hung out in the back and read The Bridge’s interview with The Elders from the pamphlet handed to us at the door.

The Panderers are the first act signed to Doughty’s micro-label Snack Bar, which makes a lot of sense. Like Mike they play repetitive harmonic progressions with quirky vocal rhythms. Unlike Mike, they are more bluesy / rock and roll, and they are not entirely awesome.

Jill commented that the crowd was pretty diverse, and not at all dominated by hipsters. Mike’s post-Soul Coughing music doesn’t seem to be that cool; too AAA for the tastemakers. I don’t imagine that liking MD adds an ounce of indie cred in the Pfork circles.

After snagging the next-to-last Boulevard Wheats in the house (they didn’t have any Lunar), we moved to a perfect spot on the floor and skittishly prepared for haughty melodies and golden deliciousness.

We would be satisfied.

From the opening beat and hits of “I Just Want The Girl In The Blue Dress To Keep On Dancing,” Mike and the band shuffled old and new songs together with banter, broken sustain pedals, songs written by four-year-olds, fake last songs, and listening to people yell requests until someone called for the next song on the setlist. The sound was clear and warm, and had good grip. “Apparently, transcendence looks a little like going to a rock concert,” Jill said.

Mike played the cool, confident professional to his band’s looser, more DIY vibe; there was a halo of giddy guilt glowing over Pete, John, and Scrap, like they’d snuck into a higher-profile gig than they thought they deserved and were getting away with it. The subtle partition had the effect of turning Mike into a sort of subversive crooner, infiltrating a world of NPR-approved indie pop with deconstructed tunes, freely associative poems, and a band that seemed almost punk in this context.

I loved it. Thanks for a great night of music, Mike & band.

This morning (Thursday, as I write) I woke up with “Long Black American Car” in my head. Those are the best shows; the ones that are still echoing through you the morning after.

“Aimless sister, you’re surrounded
Angel-faced and I’m astounded

“Easy, cowboy, what’s the rush now?
She may cleave me like a snowplow
How sweet you are, how sweet you are

“In your long, black American car
And you know just where to find me
If I don’t know who you are
You will remind me

“You will remind me”

Mike’s lyrical fractured-ness is perfect. It’s pretty impossible to hear straight-up love, or story, or issue, or party songs in this day and age of ironic distance and history-worship/vandalization; rather than succumbing to skepticism as an end in itself, he comes at his subjects sideways, in zigs and zags, and takes me somewhere I need to go by a route that I can fully dig with integrity.

The KC Star’s review here | Mike Doughty’s band live from this tour (March 18) here

Site Requirements and the Weekend

In order to display mrfuriousrecords.com correctly, you’ll need to have Firefox or update to Internet Explorer 7.  I’m still planning to update some of the deeper content soon.

dollarcd.com is apparently defunct, and that was my plan for the howie-comp.  I’m pondering backup plans.

Around the web, NPR is streaming some great stuff from this week’s SXSW conference.

I picked up tickets to shows in the next couple weeks by Mike Doughty and SPOON.

The longer I’ve thought about pay-what-you-want, the less I like it.  I’ve been thinking about doing some merch via CafePress.  Then I discovered they do CDs, too.

50 Bears are meeting with a potential singer on Tuesday.

And 5*Joel is unexpectedly back in KC for the mid- to long-term.  I haven’t seen him yet, but will soon.

New Site, Saturday Update

I think the new site looks good enough to launch, so here it is for good.  Leave a comment or email mr (at) mrfuriousrecords.com if you encounter technical/aesthetic difficulties.

Since this took all morning, I don’t know how the rest of the day is going to play out.  I’d like to finish & sign off on my mastering for Pat Bradley’s record, and I’m kind of itching to lay decent scratch vocal tracks on the “There is Something and not nothing” material and burn discs for Matt and I to listen to.  We’ll see about that.

Site Update

I will be starting to fool around with a new theme, starting tonight.  The site may look different from moment to moment as you click around, but all the music should remain accessible.  -h

New 50B Jams, Vinyl, and a Project Update

Last weekend I cut a new practice tape with Fifty Bears in a Fight, and the results are up on our myspace, including new songs and better versions of old ones.  We’re still looking for a singer/howler/yeller/wailer.

I spent an hour yesterday at Half-Price Books, burning time between work and play, and picked up all this outstanding vinyl for $10:

  • Prince, Purple Rain
  • Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago at Carnegie Hall (Sides V-VIII)
  • Led Zeppelin, III
  • Pretenders, Pretenders
  • Pat Benatar, Crimes of Passion (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot”)
  • Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA
  • Neil Young, Harvest and Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
  • Billy Joel, The Stranger

Jill, Tim and I watched a documentary on U2’s The Joshua Tree that was pretty great.  It was cool to hear Daniel Lanios talking about how different songs were recorded, tracks they didn’t use, etc.  Flood is a giant music nerd (= awesome) and it’s still my pie-in-the-sky dream to have him produce a record of mine.  I think the doc came out a couple years ago, though the album reissue is just a couple months old.  It left me wanting more, and wanting to get the record out and listen to it, which is probably the point.  I was amazed to see footage from the Zoo TV tour of the band playing these passionate, heart-on-sleeve, rural-America inspired tunes; I didn’t know they were still playing a lot of that stuff on the Zoo tour.

The Sleepover – I finished mastering the first EP for Cory’s new band this week.  We’re going to put one track on Furious Instance, and the rest will be available via the band.

The Combine – Nick tells me they’re about done writing the new tracks that we’re going to bundle with a few from their album for a MFR EP release.  Super-looking-forward to that.

Pat Bradley – I’m listening to and tweaking a second master version, anticipating a MFR release in a few weeks.

There is Something and not nothing – I’ve finished all bass, keys, and guitars for Sally Ride’s fourth.  (It’s fourth in my mind even though it will probably come out before Boots.)  So when I get my voice back I’ll start singing, and Matt will come play drums soon.  I gave him a disc with three songs on it that had rough vocals and drum loops, and I think he was pretty surprised even though he’s heard the demos.

Howie comp – I think I’ve got a tracklist nailed down, I haven’t decided on a title, and I’ve been too sick to even think about recording an acoustic “Major & Minor.”

MFR – Once Pat Bradley is out, I’m going to spend some time working on new images for the site and possibly a whole new WordPress theme.  -h