I've still been going to shows, I just haven't been finding much I needed blog-length posts to tell you about.
For my random brain spatterings, there's Twitter. To highlight recent articles, blog posts, or songs of interest, there's Tumblr. And then there's all the stuff I've been writing for work, whether as a business journalist or as a reviewer over at Pitchfork.
That doesn't mean there haven't been fun things going in Des Moines-- hopefully you didn't miss 'em-- and that doesn't mean there aren't still fun things coming up!
First, let's look ahead. Turns out my fall concert preview was premature and left out some great shows.
Catchy, clever, slightly yelpy Alabama garage-poppers Thomas Function (above) play tonight at Vaudeville Mews, and I would highly recommend that anyone who isn't seeing Miley Cyrus or Gwar/Lamb of God go check this out. They share a label with So Cow, who released one of my favorite albums of the year, and they should be a great time.
Local piano-pop heroes Christopher the Conquered have a few shows coming up. First is the free CD release party for new album You're Gonna Glow in the Dark, coming Oct. 10 at Ames Progressive with Patrick Tape Fleming, who also recorded the album. Christopher the Conquered come back to the Mews again Oct. 17 with the Atudes, Andrew Fish, and Nuclear Rodeo. They play Scented Vinyl at Mars Cafe on Oct. 26. Then come a couple of Iowa shows outside the Des Moines area before they return to the Mews with Des Noise favorites the Poison Control Center, plus Atudes, New Bodies, Bradley Unit, and Coax from Chuckanut. If you're curious about local music, you should put at least one of these shows on your calendar, because these guys are some of our best and brightest.
On Oct. 13, indie website Daytrotter swoops into Johnston with its Barnstorming Tour. The lineup, featuring up-and-comers Suckers and Paleo, looks pretty good! Here's the info: 6pm -- Johnston, Iowa: BARN SHOW #4: The Simpson Barn, 6169 Northglenn Dr. (Performing -- Dawes, Christopher Denny, Suckers, Snowblink, Paleo)
Also Oct. 13, though, shoegaze pop group Ringo Deathstarr plays Vaudeville Mews. Hmm. I'm also really into their locally based openers, Wolves in the Attic. (Deep Sleep Waltzing opens, too, but I haven't heard that band yet.)
Omaha's Little Brazil hits the Mews on Oct. 18, with Weatherbox, Bright Giant, and the Chatty Cathys. I'm told they've played Des Moines a few times before, so there should be a good crowd for this one. (The doors open at 5 p.m., show starts at 5:30. It's all ages and $7.00.)
Oct. 25, South Dakota folk-poppers We Have Hooks for Hands play the Mews. They're on Minneapolis-based Afternoon Records, same label as the Poison Control Center.
And on Oct. 28, you should go check out... uhm, me. I'm honored and really excited to be a part of a panel being held by the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition at 7 p.m. at the House of Bricks. Jill Haverkamp, marketing and PR co-chair of the DMMC, will be the moderator. For me, it'll finally be a chance to meet Jill, CityView critic Michael Swanger, and Juice/Register critic Joe Lawler for the first time, and to hear some questions from locals who share my interest in music. For you, well, here's the panel description:
What's more, Grant Hart of Husker Du is playing the Mews on Nov. 5, and I hear local band Why Make Clocks' Chuck Hoffman may be opening.
Exploring the best ways to approach reporters and bloggers to get coverage for your band. Panelists will discuss how to stand out amongst the clutter, their process in deciding what to cover, and the ins and outs of being a music journalist in the new music industry. The discussion will also expand upon press kits, biographies, pitch letters, and general media relations techniques.
Also, Old Crow Medicine Show plays Nov. 6 at Hoyt Sherman. I don't know their music very well-- they're a little bit on the jammier side of my tastes-- but a friend burned me some tracks a few years ago, and they should be a good time.
Don't forget the Meat Puppets are coming to the Mews on Nov. 8. Why Make Clocks is definitely opening for that one. Bob Schneider will be there Nov. 10, and Modern Skirts, who put on a good show at 80/35, will be there Nov. 17. Folkie Ellis Paul, whose "Did I Ever Know You" was on a good mix CD I got once in college, comes Dec. 4.
Even further ahead, country-pop darling Taylor Swift will be headlining at Wells Fargo Arena on May 6, 2010.
Another country star, Brad Paisley, comes to Wells Fargo on Jan. 15. If that weren't Mrs. Des Noise's birthday, I might be tempted to see if I could finagle a way to go for opener Miranda Lambert (Justin Moore also opens). But though I may be dumb, I'm not THAT dumb.
Me, I'm roadtripping to Omaha tonight for one of my favorite veteran bands, Yo La Tengo.
In case you missed it, New York magazine had a great profile on the band last month. Mrs. Des Noise and I used one of their songs as our going-down-the-aisle music at our wedding a couple of years ago up at Jester Park; I wrote something about the song for Pitchfork's "Top 500 Tracks of the 2000s" list, which you can read (#182) while listening to the song here.
Last night we went to see Maya Angelou speak at Drake University. She started by singing a snippet of an old spiritual about a "rainbow in the clouds." At first I wasn't sure what was going on, but then she brilliantly incorporated that theme into her entire speech, relating it to events in her life and closing by singing a bit of the song again. She was hilarious and wise, like a grandmother who has seen it all and is going to share some life lessons with you. She could've chosen to speak on some intellectual topic, or to wax political-- her interview in the Des Moines Register defined courage as "defending the defenseless"-- but with her background of accomplishments, she didn't need to. Instead, she shared a message that even the preteen sitting behind us could probably appreciate, about how there can be hope in darkness (a rainbow in the clouds), and how we every one of us can make a profound difference in someone's lives-- even if we don't know it.
I've been to a few other fun music-type things lately, including Christopher at the Conquered at the Mews, Austin May at Scented Vinyl, indie-folk group Menlo and rappers Maxila Blue at the Dogtown Festival (apologies to Beati Paoli-- I didn't mean to miss your set, it's just that dinner took longer than expected), and the Rural Albert Advantage with the Love of Language and Pink Kodiak at the Mews. Oh, and I did some successful record shopping at ZZZ Records, too: Picked up some old Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, Harry Nilsson, Fleetwood Mac, Sylvester, Jan Hammer, Slade, New Order, and George Carlin, along with the new Jim Guthrie LP and a couple of personal favorites I should've already owned on vinyl (Belle and Sebastian's Tigermilk and If You're Feeling Sinister).
Other notable recent musical goings-on:
Sian Alice Group canceled. So did Skee-Lo. No, you can't wish for infinite wishes.
The John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park! I love it. Totally proud to have this in our city.
On a sadder note, longtime local rock'n'roll radio DJ Dic Youngs died at 68. I never heard him, but it sounds like he made a great contribution to music and culture in this city, and he will be missed.
So: What else is coming up? What am I forgetting? I always blank on something.