Pfork blog

This last weekend, Matt Wisecarver and I were fortunate enough to visit Chicago for the Pitckfork Music Fest. It was also our first time visiting Chicago, so we got a lot of awesome stuff under our belts.
Before I get to the bands/festival, here are some quick highlights:
  • Ate pizza for pretty much every meal.
  • Drank roughly 4 troughs of Goose Island Beer, a brew out of Chicago but available in the Midwest.
  • Stayed with my old friend Katie, who studies eyeballs but is very nice regardless. She was an excellent host.
  • Visited Reckless Records, Intelligensia Coffee, and Nookie’s Diner.
  • Saw two crazy boys jumping speed-bumps on a yellow moped, holding each other and giggling.
  • Experienced Wrigleyville game-day madness (didn’t go to the game, though).
  • Paid $10.95 for a pack of cloves.
  • Visited a mega-bar called The Sheffield, and met crazy weirdos.
  • Visited a comfy, worn-in dive bar called Nisei Lounge and did a Jager-Bomb with the bartender.
  • Hung out with Doane pals Julia Worth and Brandon Anderson.
  • Was spied on by window-men.
  • Visited the lake, played the “t-shirt” game.
Now, a rundown of my Pitchfork Music Fest experience:
First of all, it was a very well-run event. There were no fights, riots, altercations, or anything. Everyone there seemed to be pretty cool, although some d-bags were throwing cardboard show-flyers into the air, which is cool if you’re 10, but I digress. The water was cheap (1 dollar), the food and the beer was reasonably priced (4 dollars for a microbrew and about 5 dollars for a meal), and they had various activities like basketball and beanbags to keep people busy, plus mist-spraying cool-down tents. And now for some comments on the bands.
Day ONE:
Grizzly Bear- Seemed like they’d be awesome to listen to while relaxing or on a road trip or something, but didn’t own the audience like a band should at a huge outdoor festival. They were ambient and had weird arrangements, and I guess I just wanted to be smacked in the face with music. I think the goal for any festival playing band is blow the audience’s minds. But they sounded pretty cool.
Battles- I had high expectations for this instrumentalish experimental dance-rock band, but again, I was kind of let down. I mean, their stuff sounded pretty cool, and I’m sure I would have loved it if I saw it in a small club, but during some of their set, they just sounded so SMALL. And kind of unorganized. They were at their best when the drummer was going nuts.
Iron and Wine- I had hardly heard any of their stuff, but they had plenty of people onstage doing stuff to really round out the sound, and they were excellent, beautiful, and totally captivating, besides some crackling on the vocals during part of the set. Folk music rules. I heard some Calypso in there, too.
Mastodon- Holy Shit. METAL! They owned. They were awesome/aggressive/terrifying. They played my favorites. There was even a mosh-pit (!!![???]). They put on a SHOW, and had a gigantic “Blood Mountain” banner behind them. Yikes! I wish I could pull off that kind of facial hair.
Clipse- The highlight of Day 1. The hip-hop duo just came on and made the crowd GET DOWN! Their skills were awesome, the beats were sick, and they were very gracious, especially when expressing their gratitude towards the Pitchfork community for giving them so much love and support. Hip-hop shows are hard to top, and these dudes just came out and went NUTS!
Cat Power- I thought I might be more pumped on this motherfolker, but for whatever reason, I was a lot less interested than I thought I’d be. Probably because I was buzzed, tired, and dehydrated.
We didn’t stay for Yoko Ono, although I guess she brought out Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth. I just don’t know ANY of her songs. Plus, we wanted to beat the crowd on the train. She’s 74!!!!!!! DANG!
My second day of Pitchfork was just as cool as the first. I think I heard some more cool bands, anyway.
Menomena- I caught about 3 of their songs, and they were awesome, but I can’t remember what exactly they sounded like. Visit their myspace!
Junior Boys- Cool awesome dance music with rock vocals. Totally fun to listen to. The program likened them to Justin Timberlake beats, and I wouldn’t say that, but they ruled either way.
Jamie Lidell- this was one of the highlights of the festival. Lidell, from the UK somewhere, is this guy who writes and records the backing tracks for his music. Then, when he plays live, he’s by himself, and he sings along, and these songs are SOUL SONGS. And he totally captivates the crowd. Like Sam Cooke or some shit. Other times, he’ll just play some grooves on his turntables, but it’s all very fun to listen to. He had a terrific voice, and he looked like a “homeless bloke” (his words). He was wearding this weird shitty leopard pring shirt and he had all sorts of paper or something streaming from his head.
Stephen Malkmus (from Pavement and The Jicks)- It was mostly just Stephen, although he was periodically accompanied by a drummer friend during the set. He played some gnarly classics including “Spit On A Stranger” from Terror Twilight. Which was beautiful. The only bummer is that, because he was so quiet compared to the rest of the bands, you could REALLY heard Of Montreal sound-checking at the other stage I mean, it was necessary, but I couldn’t help feel that Of Montreal were being rude. But…
Of Montreal- ROCKED! I just started listening to these guys a few months ago, and they are awesome fun psychadelic pop music from Athens, GA (and yeah, they are connected to Elephant 6/Neutral Milk Hotel/Elf Power/etc.). They are weird and profound and sexy, and put on one of the WEIRDEST live shows I’ve ever seen. Lobter-handed debutantes (sp?), golden-jumpsuited women painting themselves, dudes in fencing outfits, an alien pretending to sing, and the lead singer, Kevin Barnes (who swears he’s straight) looking pretty in red eye shadow, a black corset, a black biker hat, black leather panties with a zipper in the front, and a black garter belt. Yuck! And, BOING!
New Pornographers- Sounded cool but I was too busy drinking and chatting to really pay a ton of attention. I was tired.
De La Soul- Okay, so they sounded the best out of every single band there the whole weekend. They were awesome, energetic, funny, and they sounded HUGE AND AWESOME. Unfortunately, we were exhausted again, and we left during their set. It was a necessary evil, as we also had to beat the MASSIVE CROWD to the train station. I mean, it would have been nasty. I hope I get to see them again when I’m not totally burned out.
Cory Alan

Bigtime MFR Happenings

So, Howie (with contributions from friends) started Mr. Furious Records to write, record, and post our music all for free, with no advertisements or profit or anything.  Ironically, both of our for-profit bands (weird!) are playing a show together tomorrow night (Saturday, August 12th, at the Chatterbox in Lincoln.  All ages, 4 bones, 5:30 pm is when it starts). 

Maybe “for profit” is the wrong phrase to use.  Maybe I mean, “we try to break even on the money we spend on making CDs and stuff.”  Although money can be a hassle, if it’s low on your priority list, it’s not too bad.  It is kind of neat to have an actual pressed CD to hand out, although I think even MFR is going to press some in the future MAYBE for free give-away or maybe we give it away if you make a donation to sick penguins, like with the old Shacker/howie&scott CDs. 

You can read about our CD release show here.

Unfortunately, I don’t think they mentioned FIVE STAR CRUSH, FAMOUS CELEBRITIES!  And they called Jesse “Jeffe Hodges.”  Which I happen to think is awesome.

Look for a Furious Instance track on MFR from R,CC!’s record, She Beeps.  And it’s not one you’ve heard before, I bet!  Or maybe, it is!

Have a good Friday!  Hope to see you tomorrow!



Thursday right before Friday

It’s been a super long time since I wrote one of these bad boys, and whenever that happens I have a million little things that I want to write about, but I’ll see how cohesive I can make this nasty little elf-of-a-blog-post.

The first thing I wanted to briefly comment on was the Echoes mention on Pitchfork.  At first, I was the most stoked because “HOLY SH*T THAT’S HOWIE THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT ON PITCHFORK I BET WE GET GOOGLED!”  And then, I felt the most stoked because of a pride I collectively had for Mr Furious and its mission, because, “Hey! Someone else cares besides us!”  But then, I became finally stoked (and the most stoked) on a part of it I didn’t really see at first, but Howie’s mention of “ripples” in the news update reminded me of it: this mention affirms our interconnectedness quite a bit.  To me, Pitchfork is such a staple in the realm if indie-stardom that seeing a Mr. Furious artist’s name in it just seems unreal; My senior-high class photo might as well be painted on the moon.  But if I can see a mention of Echoes in something on Pitchfork, it’s super-cool proof that the things we think are really far away are actually very close to us, and in fact, we are one in the same. 


This weekend is going to be sickalicious, because I’m heading off to the Bay-Area for sister’s graduation and also garlic appreciation weekend with some friends who live there MIKE AND SHANNON w00t!  Because of that, I am forced to miss out on a HUGE AWESOME CONCERT this weekend in Omaha.  At first it might seem like I’m talking about the FREE Bright Eyes Concert this Saturday, the 17th at Memorial Park, but I’m actually talking about Ladyfinger (new Saddle Creek band, they are metal, they rule) and Ideal Cleaners (That’s not the fact of the matter) at the 49er in Omaha on the same night. 

I can’t see this show, but Matt Wisecarver is doing sound for this show, so eff him for being so attractive and talented!

I just realize that Wisecarver is almost like a weird celebrity ghost on this website, since he was in the Remnants, he recorded some stuff on MFR, and he has an album named after him.

Anyway, the level of connectedness within the MFR community and the level of connectedness (I could use “connection” but guess what? no!) between MFR and the outside world is really showing itself these days.  Just so cool to know that we’re not in a bubble!

Speaking of weird connectedness, one final thing:

Robot, Creep Closer!, Honorable Mention, and 10 O’Clock Scholars at Knickerbocker’s tonight at 9:30!  BE THERE OR BE SOMEWHERE ELSE! 

Oooooh, and R,CC!/5*C in NE on August 12th at the C-Box!  Early show!  More later!

San Francisco, Here I Come!




Download all via .zip from

1- Someone’s at my door / The eye of the needle
2- Separation is ok / A wind I can lean into
3- A wind I can lean into II / Requiem
4- Song for a motherless child
5- Where I’m calling from / Candles
6- My blood, my bones
7- The horror! Oh the horror!
8- Faked enthusiasm / I don’t feel so well
9- Heard you were sick
10- Dog sitting
11- I am young…
12- …and I am naive / This is where we die

Hot Pot of Coffee!!!

My blogs always seem to be a bunch of crud smooshed together in the semblance of some sort of bigger, more important crud. With that in mind, I’m totally going to make this blog about a theoretical mix CD of MFR songs, and there’s going to be ten songs on the sucker. This is off the top of my head, because if it weren’t, it would take me forever to think of what I’d pick and why. Without further ado, here:

1. Bike, “He Came to Steal Your Children”
2. Sally Ride, “Headbone”
3. D-Rockets, “International Sign for Goodbye”
4. Echoes, “I Don’t Even Know how Right This Sounds”
5. Shacker, “Prove It”
6. Bike, “Eye of the Needle”
7. Echoes, “Open Columns”
8. Beach-Puppy, “Nature vs. Nurture”
9. Shacker, “Fully Okay”
10. Sally Ride, “The Last Song”

Wow, that was tough! And let me make it clear that it does not include awesome furious instances like “Lunch by Yourself” or 12-O’Clock Fence, or the X-Mas EP, or any of that. And also, pretend that there are two secret hidden tracks right before track 1 and after track 10, and those tracks are “As Seen from Side A” and “As Seen from Side B.” Because it would freak people out and really show them what MFR is all about (freaking people out).

Anyway, I’m all sweaty. Who else has a possible MFR mix CD? The only rules are, there has to be 10 songs, they have to be off of official MFR releases (or not; it’s just that too many options freaks ME out), and the track order is of the utmost importance. LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS!

Later, when I think of more crud to say, guess who’s gonna leave a comment explaining that crud? Exactly. My Dad.

The Secret to my Success!

Ever since I’ve been playing live music, I’ve have many different experiences as far as how the show’s been received. I’m sure Howie or Tucci or Nate or Derek or any other MFR artist can tell you the same thing.

Sometimes, there are b-loads of people at shows, and they’re loving it; other times, there are just a few people, most of which are friends who are being supportive.

You’d think that the correlation would run something like this: the better the songs/performance are, the more people show up, and the more people enjoy it. Conversely, if the songs aren’t that great and the performance is sloppy, you’d expect to see a small crowd. But these factors almost have nothing to do with how well a local band draws a crowd.

The key rests almost solely on these factors:

1. The age of your target audience.
2. How upbeat/dance-able your music is, and
3. How many friends you have.

First, let me talk about the target audience. Most music fans would agree that the majority of people who go to shows are usually under the age of 21 (described in this blog as “kids”), because it’s probably the most fun thing they can do on a given Friday or Saturday night. People who are older usually default to bars without live music, because they are old enough to drink, and because they’d rather not pay a cover to have a band drown them out when they’re trying to spit sloppy game.

That being said, the younger kids (remember, under 21) seem to like the rock music. Most show-goers in any city are kids, and most of those kids would rather listen to punk/rock/metal/etc. than folk/classic rock/jam bands/etc. If you’re playing indie-rock or folk rock, chances are your target audience is 21+, but remember, they don’t like going to shows as much as your 16-year-old sister.

Secondly, your music. Even if you have an all-ages show for the kids to come to, you HAVE to make sure you’re fun. It’s okay if the vocals suck, and it’s all right if the musicianship is a little off, but if you can get people in front of the stage, jumping up and down, singing along, and wiggling, then you’ve got them hooked. We all dance to rap songs that we know are stupid. BUT WE’RE DANCING, RIGHT!?

Third: a friend once told me that the most popular type of rock in any local scene is “friend rock.” This, of course, means that your audience will almost solely consist of friends and acquaintences of the band. If you have a lot of friends and you tell them about the show, they’ll probably show up even if you’re terrible, because they’re your friends, and they’re supportive. BUT! If you’ve got all the ingredients down (you do it for the kids, you have fun music, AND you have a decent amount of friends), your friends will show up, tell their friends, and sooner or later, you’ll be playing the Qwest Center (which is huge) with Green Day (who I like and am not making fun of).

Anyway, it’s a strange phenomenon. If you like playing shows for playing show’s sake, it might not matter. But it just reaffirms something that seemed obvious at first but got lost at some point: people want shows to be FUN, and while many can have great fun at a 21+ folk show, EVERYONE can have fun at an all-ages punk-rock show.