Why you gonna pray and pray? You're gonna go to hell anyway!
Just got back from taking the dog for a walk. His name is Chuck. I'm pretty sure I've told you before about our friend Chuck, aka Chet, aka Chet Boom. Well, his girlfriend, who I told you about because she sort of randomly ended up working merch for Black Mountain, already has the same first name as Mrs. Des Noise. So confusion reigns.

We got the dog about three weeks ago now, and he's the first dog I've ever had, because I'm allergic, but he's a labradoodle (unfortunate name for a poodle-labrador mix), so he doesn't bother me. Contrary to popular belief, it's not that he doesn't shed-- oh man, he does-- but I guess it's true what they say about the dander or whatever, because so far I've been feeling fine. Mrs. Des Noise used to work at a kennel, and she had a co-worker who is now a dog trainer, and the dog trainer knew Chuck, and it turned out Chuck needed a home, which was a special case because it's hard to find hypoallergenic dogs in shelters or whatever, so we met Chuck's previous owners, they were looking for the right people to come along, we were waiting for the right dog to come along, and it just so happened Chuck was the right dog for us. I know this is supposed to be a music blog, so I'm sorry to go on and on about a dog, but that's really the main thing that I've been talking about/obsessing over lately.

My buddy Tom Breihan, who I should probably call instead of just name-dropping him in my blog, but he's probably still at work right now anyway, writes sometimes about listening to music while he's taking his dog for a walk, like how there's certain music like Rick Ross or whatever that he can't play around his daughter, so he listens to it when walking the dog, and I'm excited (amped, son!) to understand that feeling. We don't have a daughter, obviously, so it's not like there's music I can't play around the house, but for some reason I haven't been able to let myself play that new Taylor Swift album yet on the speakers; I've mostly listened to it while I've been cleaning house, though, not walking the dog. For the first couple of weeks with Chuck, I was new to dog-walking and I was nervous about cars and I was kind of letting him run fast into the wind when there were no cars, so I wasn't really able to hear much music on walks, anyway, but I did try to listen to albums I was reviewing and stuff. Today I listened to that Cults EP and the new Fresh & Onlys album, which on Friday night at the Lift after they switched over from Dustin's Van Morrison playlist to John from the Autumn Project's playlist, we thought was the Kinks for one song, because "Summer of Love" sounds so much like that one Kinks song. Mainly so far the thing I notice about taking dogs for walks is (a) I'm actually taking walks, which I always mean to do but then think "Oh, I should be working on something" and then wasting those 10 minutes I could've been walking by playing around on Tumblr or whatever and (b) I'm talking to a lot more people during the day now, which is a good thing in all sorts of ways, whether just getting to know the neighbors better or getting a smile out of random strangers because I'm being pulled along by this 70-plus-pound puppy and (c) dude it's Iowa and it's November 8 and the high was like 70 degrees. Well anyway I used to listen to the Rick Ross album when I used to run (it was a short-lived enthusiasm), but when it gets cold I think it could be fun to listen to while I'm taking Chuck for a walk.

In non-dog-news, there's actually been a whole lot of music-related and other fun stuff going on around here. Saturday was epic. It was Chet Boom's birthday weekend. We had a bunch of people over to watch the Iowa-Indiana game, which was too close, but Indiana is a much better team than their losing streak against Big 10 teams would suggest-- lots of close losses-- and play with Chuck (the dog Chuck, aka Chuckles, aka Charles, aka CB2) and watch Northwestern lose a heartbreaker to Penn State for Joe Paterno's 400th win (COME TO PENN STATE) and watch Iowa State lose a heartbreaker to Nebraska on a lousy pass on an overtime fake field goal in the final game of those two teams' century-plus-old series and teach our friends how to play Northwestern college pastime "caps" and watch Chuck (the dog) steal the remnants of a loaf of bread and think up great ideas for bars (the Fireplace!) and reality TV shows ("Ref Camp"-- Ben has an additional suggestion) and listen to Lil Wayne and Smith Westerns and Deerhunter. So then we headed to El Bait Shop for dinner and ordered Shane a garlic burger before he got there because he had to skate home first and drop off his laptop, and he got there right about when his garlic burger did, which was awesome, and then we headed over to Vaudeville Mews for the first of two bills Chuck (the person, Chet Boom) had talked about wanting to see that night, and I wanted to see, too.

I've seen this place in dreams.
The bill at the Mews was the Chain Gang of 1974, Candy Claws (above), the Autumn Project, and Love Songs for Lonely Monsters. Those last two are local bands and I am friendly with people in them. Love Songs went first-- they were playing only their second show with new frontwoman Amy, and I thought the new lineup was starting to coalesce nicely-- gaining confidence each show. Beer will be gargled onto the audience, Karen O-style, in no time. The Autumn Project play an awesome set of towering, cathartic instrumental rock a la Mogwai every night they're onstage, and it's always thrilling to see them do their thing-- this time I forgot my earplugs and thought I'd use the trick Patrick from the Poison Control Center taught me of putting strips of napkins in my ears, but I stupidly used multiple pieces of napkin because the first piece in each ear didn't feel like enough, so after the set I had to run home to get out the last bit, which was kind of embarrassing (Mrs. Des Noise reminds you not to put things inside your ears). I've been a big fan of Candy Claws even though I missed their set at the Mews this summer the Monday night after the Pitchfork festival-- I only didn't go because I knew it'd be slow and I'd be exhausted, unlike the previous year, when Japandroids played and I was sure their energy level would be enough to keep me going-- and they were still pretty solid but sure enough they aren't exactly a riveting live show. I guess the screen projection of various creepy/psychedelic images behind them was a new addition, and after watching football all day I obviously wasn't in some sort of sylvan hippie place mentally, and you could tell they'd put some thought into their stage setup, like having the drums in front and the lead singer in the back, and all wearing matching headbands, but there's just something about all the guys on stage having to wear headphones to keep up with the click track or whatever that sucks some of the joy out of it for me, because there's no interaction and in this case the music (they played it as basically three suites of songs-- I remember the lead guy joking, "This is our second song," at one point like halfway into their set) just wasn't entertaining enough to make up for the lack of connection. Will, who is one of Shane's roommates, said he talked to the guys from the next band, the Chain Gang of 1974, and they said the Candy Claws dudes all cram into a Prius for their tours, which sounds uncomfortable. I would've liked to have seen the Chain Gang of 1974, whose Wikipedia page will no doubt soon be tagged as "promotional," but there was another band I'd been wanting to see more.

That was the Coathangers (top of the post), a riot-grrlish punk band from Atlanta. I first heard them when I got one of the songs from their first album on a split 7" with fellow ATLiens Deerhunter, the Selmanaires, and Carbonas, and I eventually reviewed their second album, Scramble, for Pitchfork, probably underrating it. You can read more about why I like them in that review, but basically, they're badasses, and they come up with catchy, shouty, interestingly screechy songs about actual memorable things: a noisy upstairs neighbor (uhh, post-dog especially, that's probably us... except the song in question specifically refers to "crackheads"), "Gettin' Mad and Pumpin' Iron", "Tonya Harding". They were playing someplace I'd never seen a show before, which is the Underground, in the Des Moines neighborhood rebranded a few years ago as the East Village. I don't know how many people it holds, but it's basically just a bar, although I think they do have DJ nights-- the most interesting things about it are that yes, it is downstairs and also there is a really cool, elegant mural on one of the walls that predates the bar so I'm glad they left it in. I wasn't able to round up all the troops in time to get to the Underground by 11:30, which was when Ladd said the Coathangers were set to play-- apologies to Shane, the Boyers, Tracy, Penny, Brett P., Eric, Trent, Brian, Will, and the rest of the gang, at least some of who stayed to see Chain Gang of 1974 and apparently had an awesome time-- but those of us who were round-up-able made our way across the river and got into the Underground just in time. The Coathangers introduced themselves by some other name, the Bloodshots or something like that, but I forgot to write it down. There was a tiny but enthusiastic crowd up in front, and Mrs. Des Noise made fun of me a little bit afterward because I was probably the most enthusiastic one, requesting "Stop Stomp Stompin'" and "Nestle in My Boobies" so they would know somebody in Des Moines listens to their songs (I didn't exactly feel cool about shouting out "Nestle in My Boobies" at an all-female band-- I definitely can't pull that off-- so I just shouted out "Nestle"... uh, in case you were wondering, but then I could say the same about anything in these posts, couldn't I?). A couple of the singers came into the crowd at a couple of points. The show was a success; we bought a T-shirt and a couple of 7"s (I like how one of the new songs incorporates a little Joy Division quote). We didn't get there in time for Des Noise fave Coyote Slingshot but I saw Dom and said hello and-- I hope!-- apologized for not getting there in time for Des Noise fave Coyote Slingshot. Chet Boom and Girl Who Has the Same Name as Mrs. Des Noise were understandably tired after a long day of football and, in Chet Boom's case, getting up at 5:15 a.m. for work, so they didn't make it until the end, but we were joined by Ladd and Mackenzie, who hadn't been hanging out all day watching football so they still had plenty of energy, leading us to Blazing Saddles and then to the Continental to watch the time change before walking back downtown with Ben, who had parked by our house. Dog aside, it's crazy how our lives still haven't changed that much in the past eight or so years. Is that chillwave?

The time on my Apple changed itself. The time on my Compaq didn't. Both computers still barely do what they're supposed to do. You win this round, Jobs.

When I saw his invention, it almost melted my mind.
Another thing I wanted to write a blog post about is the sort of sad paradox that stuff you write on the internet is in some ways fleeting-- people may only read it the day it comes out-- but in other ways it will be there forever, you know? The blogger Pitchfork Reviews Reviews wrote eloquently not long ago about Oh No Oh My, who played at Vaudeville Mews last Wednesday. He talked about how they were a "blog band" and he has great memories of seeing them once with like 10 other people, and how now it's sad that they're sort of forgotten but they meant something to him, even if they're a dozen pages back on a blog or something-- they've been written about but people aren't reading it anymore, and their lack of follow-through seems to have dimmed Pitchfork Reviews Reviews' fandom somewhat, but it can't take away the little place in his heart he has for them. Oh No Oh My were playing at Vaudeville Mews with Parlours, a really polished and promising local band from the Aqui Estamos label (Canby, Cashes Rivers)-- I think it may have only been their second show, but they were already super tight, so I guess if anything I'd love to see them open it up and really take it to the next level, which I imagine only comes with time. Next up was Pomegranates (above), who share a label with PCC and just scored a glowing review in SPIN. Definitely a young band, but I liked their set: sort of an upbeat synthy psych pop thing, a whole bunch of different elements in motion, including three-part harmonies. Then there was Oh No Oh My, and the crowd was a little sparser, so here they were a few years after Pitchfork Reviews Reviews saw them and there were still literally 10 or fewer people in the audience, and they were playing the sort of straight-ahead power-pop that old dudes sometimes play, and they weren't bad or anything, but looking at them and thinking about their trajectory and not not enjoying their songs but not loving them either was just too much for me 'n' Ladd so we left and talked to John and Jess from the Autumn Project, who told me about Deerhunter's great live show in Minneapolis and reminded me to listen to the Fresh & Onlys and he was right.

I guess there's an internet story to the band I saw a few nights before Oh No Oh My, too. Joan of Arc are a long-running band from Chicago, and Pitchfork used to kind of feud with them in a way that it would be hard to feud with a band nowadays, because the fishbowl is just so much bigger and eventually it'd start to seem mean or career-killing. Maybe it already did seem that way, but I mostly remember reviews by guys like Brent DiCrescenzo just being really funny. Eventually they did an album called Presents: Guitar Duets, and I was the guy who reviewed it, and basically it was just 10 guys breaking off into pairs and noodling on guitar with each other in a way I found totally boring, so I wrote the kind of concept review we used to do occasionally back then, in this case imagining that I was doing duets with a bunch of once/current Pitchfork reviewers the way Joan of Arc were doing duets with once/current Joan of Arc members, and it probably doesn't even make sense now, and I started the review like this: "Yup, another record by perennial Chicago snob-rock pissing alley Tim Kinsella(s) and his rotating cast of enablers." And that's in a fan's signature now on a Joan of Arc message board. Love Songs for Lonely Monsters were playing their first show with Amy that night, which was a good time but at first I wasn't convinced by the change in singers (the second show totally convinced me!), and then Joan of Arc came on, and I don't know what I expected, but it was sooooo close to what I might've liked in 2002 except not close enough, these big rambling emo songs but I just couldn't get into them, and the Love of Everything's Bobby Burg is in the band so when I walked past the stage to get to the bathroom I called out to him, "Bobby Burg!" I like the Love of Everything.

So also there's this Des Moines and central Iowa podcast that my pals Ryan and Andy do, and it's called We Hate Music, and they let me be a guest on Sunday. And Pitchfork Reviews Reviews is apparently working on a no-for-real movie, which is just about the most awesome news I could've read this afternoon short of finding another Lil Wayne or Deerhunter album in my inbox.

OK I have to go walk the dog now.


  1. Don't forget to get those napkins wet with saliva before putting in ears :)

  2. Everything is coming together. I saw Love of Everything a long time ago at the Mews and I thought I had seen Bobby Burg when I rolled into Omaha's Slowdown to see Joan of Arc (a band I think I should really be into, but agreed, I keep losing my interest). Bumbling around with my camera, I asked the bands if they minded me shooting some video. Bobby was super interested and we chatted music and movies as I tried to recall why he seemed familiar. Their set was good in terms of playing tight math rock between ebbing emo verses and more verses. It was uneasy but you couldn't tell from Bobby Burg's face, a seemingly giddy enthusiasm. I would ride along to the songs, getting into Tim Kinsella's emo chopped songs, and jumping on Burg's chugging basslines, and then losing interest and playing with my ipod or camera and coming back to some cool groove. Repeat. Repeat. Somehow I ended up in the back buying too much vinyl. That night in a fit of insomnia I edited together the random shots into some assembly of a video:


    Watch it all, especially the last shot of Burg's infectious smile bobbing along to a oddtimed breakdown.

  3. Ha, too funny! Yeah, around the 3:26 mark Burg looks really into it.

    God the Slowdown is such a great venue.

    See ya soon man.