HI. As per usual, I’m late (sad trombone, WOOPS, etc), but so many cool things happened in 2011, I had to relive through blogging and share with you guys. Thank you to every band I saw, every album I purchased, and every friend who picked me up or met me at a show. These are the best times and the worst times, but nonetheless, they are the times I so graciously share with YOU. xo
1. Shannon & the Clams, Hunx & His Punx, and Davila 666 at Cake Shop, NYC. Having released three of the year’s best albums, these three bands bunched together on a bill was a serious no brainer. I shook and danced and pranced around the living room while getting ready for this one, and my pre-party steez translated perfectly to the dance floor. It wasn’t too far into the night that I was forcing tiny bottles of champagne on everyone I met.
2. Listening to mid 90’s alternahits and painting nails in the parking lot of the Motel 6, Memphis. This year’s Gonerfest was my first, so natch, there will be at least three, probably more, Memphis occurrences on this list. I hope the people that were there for this special moment in time might be reading this and understand how important it was for me. Just a few dumb kids, laying on a truck stop blanket, chainsmoking, one trying to explain to another the video for Toni Braxton’s “You’re Making Me High” all the while trying to make friends with everyone who walked past us because we knew we were all there for the same reason.
3. The Byrds. I know, I know. They’re great. I realized their greatness when I purchased an old copy of Sweetheart of the Rodeo many years ago. I always heard “Turn! Turn! Turn!” on the radio, and I didn’t change the station. Davie is a diehard Byrds fanatic, and I always appreciated this about her. The quirkiness of her not mentioning a single word of Gram Parsons when talking about this band and actually getting a little worked up when that was all someone could cite is something that always made me want to know more — because I knew there was way more. Maybe some of you know. Not going to waste my time here because it’s the Byrds and you might (should) (probably) already adore this band, but three important words: “Eight Miles High.”
4. Dirtnap Records showcase, SXSW. Holy shit. I knew what I was getting into with this lineup, but I didn’t quite realize exactly how perfect something mixed into the shitshow that is SXSW could get. This was my first time seeing most of these bands, but I’d been sweating it since it was announced. Mind Spiders with their double drummer setup, White Wires (who, if you know either of us or have read anything on this blog, YOU KNOW) showing off for what seemed like a room full of their best friends, River City Tanlines and the unfuckwithable Alicja Trout, the always-on Bad Sports, High Tension Wires (whose “Hallowed Ground” is one of my favorite songs of the year), Something Fierce, Steve Adamyk Band, and Mean Jeans. This was my final show of the SXSW experience, and I left a sweaty drunk happy mess, and I’d have it no other way.
5. Quintron & Miss Pussycat puppet show at the Etsy party, SXSW. I’m a native New Orleanian, and it had been quite a few years since I’d been at Mardi Gras. In order to fill the void of missing my favorite holiday for five years straight, I spent the week and a half prior to SXSW in New Orleans. I properly met Q & P back in 2004 when I lived around the corner from them and brought them a chocolate Drum Buddy I’d made because I was bored and had access to things you use to make a chocolate Drum Buddy, but I’d been a fan long before that. When their regular puppeteer couldn’t make the trek to Austin, Panacea asked if I could fill in. Huge, huge duh. So I got a crash course in puppeteering and helped them out with that. I might’ve messed up a couple of times — I was so nervous, I’m not sure — but just being stuck back behind that giant blue creature and seeing Miss P & Quintron in their total element made me so happy. They are both such great people & are truly wizards who create their own world and with no pretention, open the door for you to join. Also, take note: Miss Pussycat is rilly rilly THEE best dancer. (Also also but not as important: this is the night i discovered tortilla chips shaped liked Texas.)
6. DJing the Wrong Words pizza party at Bruar Falls. Don’t get me wrong - the show itself was killer. We’d been jamming up their record on Trouble in Mind for a couple of months, so when we heard they were coming over our way from SF, we wanted a little piece of that. After the bands finished, though, instead of scrambling for friends and the next point of interest, people actually stuck around! Davie and I played our usual mess of powerpop & punk & Eddie Murphy, then Layla from Wrong Words hops behind the booth and asks to look our records then eventually just jumps on and starts spinning records from our bags. It was pretty awesome to admire a band’s music so much, and then someone from said band takes interest in your own tastes! Also, Ajax from Wrong Words said he wasn’t a Replacements fan, but when I played “I Will Dare”, he was so into it!
7. Trailer Space Records, Austin, TX. Our official home-away-from-hotel at last year’s SXSW. We drank beer in the abandoned (??) yard across the way; we laughed with old friends and made a shit-ton of new friends; we saw Audacity, Peach Kelli Pop, Personal & the Pizzas, and bunch of others but mostly we were just stoked to find our little place in the big clusterfuck that is Austin during SXSW. Bless you, Trailer Space Records. Not sure if there is a god, but if there is, you are doing his work.
8. Evan Dando performing It’s a Shame About Ray, Bowery Ballroom, NYC. It’s happening again at the Knitting Factory in a week or so because obvs Danders got bills to pay*, so despite what you’ve heard, if these songs shaped a time or a moment for you, I’d highly recommend seeing how they’ve held up. I mean, whatever, I thought it was cool despite the sausageness of the whole thing (dude in balcony screaming at opening band to show their tits? i mean, rilly dood?).
*drugs to snort
9. Graffitting every bathroom in Brooklyn with the teachings of the Drugs Dragons. I wonder if anyone who saw “I HATE RAT PEOPLE” actually knew the song it was referencing. Perhaps the person who crossed out ‘hate’ and wrote ‘love’?
10. Luke from the White Wires performing Huey Lewis’ “The Power of Love”, Sing Sing Karaoke, NYC. There’s something about the way Luke’s hair actually reminds me of Michael J. Fox’s that made this make the list.