I got life pretty much the way I want it.
It's been a longer while than usual since I saw a show around here. But I did see one in NYC last weekend, when my wife and I made a quick trip back to visit some of our favorite people and places; I wrote about that gig here. It was this teenage band from Copenhagen called Iceage, who churn up a wiry, abrasive squall that works just about perfectly on their short 'n' sweet debut. I was possibly going to see them play in Denmark but my passport had expired. Then I was talking about seeing them in Brooklyn but realized it was sold out and I didn't want to over-schedule our trip. When I got the chance to review the show professionally, I figured I must be fated to see this band somehow, right? Anyway, expect to hear their name again.

I did miss a really promising show back in Des Moines, though. Locals Wolves in the Attic were playing the release party for the cassette reissue of Electronic Hearts, their 2009 debut album. The original release (on Iowa City label Mission Freak) came in cut-out copies of old books; the new tape, from Vaudeville Mews booker Ladd Askland's new Red Nude Tapes label, not only nicely suits the band's mixtape-friendly noise pop, it's also lighter to carry around. (I also missed Waxeater, with Police Teeth, the Seed of Something, and Pocket Aristotle.)

But there are still a lot of upcoming live shows worth noting here, including the Des Moines Arts Festival (the Smitheereens, the Envy Corps), the 80/35 Music Festival (among my personal faves are Titus Andronicus, Okkervil River, and Jessica Lea Mayfield), Bright Eyes (who never plays Des Moines), the Strange Boys, Orgone, Colourmusic, Too Short, Snoop Dogg, Explosions in the Sky, Nashville Pussy, Blink-182 with My Chemical Romance, Ames "gypsy punk" band Mumford's album release party (also the debut of vinyl-only label Maximum Ames), and the return doubleheader of local indie kids the Poison Control Center.

What am I missing? Any shows worth driving to in other towns?



Shane thinks Love Songs for Lonely Monsters are sweet.
Jonathan Richman was punctual. We arrived at the Orpheum Stage Door in Madison, Wisconsin, just a few minutes after the show's 8 p.m. start time, and the former Modern Lovers frontman-- the guy lots of people seem most likely to recognize if I say, "He was the singing guitar player in There's Something About Mary"-- and his longtime drummer Tommy Larkins were already well into a song about a painter, or the joy of music, or how the very ways we seek to criticize art/music/life and put it into words and lists and numbers tend to miss what makes art/music/life most wonderful in the first place.