Sometimes I blog?

May 13, 2014 in Miscellany

loop

Hello and welcome to effort number (?) of my attempts to actually use this blog for something. Pictured above is Robert Hampson of the legendary Loop, who played a very loud set at the Middle East Downstairs last month. It was one of ~50 shows I’ve shot and attended in first four and half months of this very strange 2014.

From a photography perspective, 2014 has ruled. I’ve shot The Knife, Arctic Monkeys, Slint, St. Vincent, Danny Brown, a lot of prog-metal, a No Age show in a Starbucks and an A$AP Ferg set wherein the Trap Lord dumped a bottle of water on my gear (during “Dump Dump,” no less). I finally saw Malkmus play “Summer Babe,” I watched Mac DeMarco climb around the Middle East hanging from pipes and met one of my musical heroes. There was also a 2 Chainz show that I was quite proud of nagging enough Def Jam reps to get approved for. At some point I reached the conclusion that I’d be sort of a miserable person if I wasn’t dedicating this much time and energy to live music and photography.

I also had a longterm relationship end in a spectacularly awful fashion this year and have barely written anything in the past three months. As summer approaches and I make efforts to reboot several aspects of my life, it seems like as good a time as any to reboot this half of my website as well. I’m aiming for something more informal where I toss half-constructed ideas, random concert stories/show reviews and the occasional critical piece. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll have some coverage of White Hills and Television from this week to knock this self-indulgent post off the top of the page soon.

Ch-ch-ch-changes

December 30, 2012 in Miscellany

As you can likely tell, Everybody Talking at the Same Time is (technically) no more. In conjunction with setting up a new photography portfolio site, I decided to come up with a name that’s a bit catchier and less clunky. Thus, Noise Floor was born. With 2013 rapidly approaching, a facelift for the site seemed in order anyway. Nothing major will be changing. I’m even keeping the old URL so I can cling to my beloved Tom Waits reference a little longer.

Be on the lookout for a properly explained top albums of the year list in the next few days, and stay tuned for plenty more photos, show reviews, think pieces, lists and whatever else I come up with in the new year. Everybody Talking had a solid run in 2012, and I can only hope that 2013 brings even bigger and better things. Thanks for reading/looking/caring.

The exciting world of social networking

June 24, 2012 in Miscellany

Everybody Talking has finally jumped on the bandwagon and gotten itself a Facebook page! Like us and get show reviews, photos and commentary delivered straight to your news feed. While you’re at it, why not follow me on Twitter? I’m funny sometimes!

Enough shameless self promotion. Reviews for Sandro Perri/Destroyer and Built to Spill shows at the Paradise last week are forthcoming. Stay tuned!

“How far does your road go? Oh no, you don’t know.”

June 20, 2012 in Miscellany, News

Hey everyone. As you might have noticed, Everybody Talking has been rather sporadically updated in the past few months with pretty much nothing but show reviews. I’ll attribute this partially to my own laziness, but also to an unexpectedly high volume of non-music things happening in my life. Regardless, starting today I’ll be returning to more regular updates with news and editorial-type things. Show reviews for a ton of exciting things will continue through the summer, as well as festival coverage! In July I’ll be at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival as well as the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, reporting back with photos, reviews and whatever else is interesting enough to print.

For today though, some thoughts on a fascinating new Modest Mouse documentary from Pitchfork.tv and that NPR intern everyone is so angry at. Read the rest of this entry →

Record Store Day 2012: The Aftermath

April 23, 2012 in Miscellany

So, this year’s annual Record Store Day has come and gone, and what have we learned? For one thing, record collectors (and reseller scumbags) are taking this event more and more seriously with each passing year. My store of choice was the original Newbury Street location of Newbury Comics, where people had apparently begun lining up at midnight for a 10am start. When the doors finally opened, something resembling a stampede took place as the crowd poured into the store and immediately realized they weren’t actually sure where their personal treasure was to be found. In what was either a stroke of genius preventing a riot taking place around a single rack or a malevolent plot to drive music geeks desperately seeking that new St. Vincent 7″ insane, the Newbury employees had spread out the RSD exclusives throughout the store. It was a stroke of luck to stumble across what you were looking for without having to shove through/crawl under a wall of people or yell for someone to hand you something you couldn’t reach and hope they complied. In short, it was probably the most chaotic record buying experience of my life. Read the rest of this entry →

Ultimate first world problems…

March 21, 2012 in Miscellany

…I buy depressing records and then it’s far too nice outside for me to listen to them. Recently arrived from eBay are: Tom Waits – Rain Dogs, Neil Young – On the Beach, Leonard Cohen – Songs From a Room and Leonard Cohen – Death of a Ladies Man.

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These are all in somewhat sub-par condition, but then again they were also quite cheap. Rain Dogs is also admittedly not very depressing. Waits does sounds great on vinyl though, in spite of the abundance of surface noise on this particular copy.

On the Beach and early Leonard Cohen are an entirely different story on the ‘depressing music’ front. On the Beach is widely regarded as one of Young’s bleakest records, and rightly so. Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs From a Room and the like are the albums you put on when you’re feeling melancholy at 3am. I may or may not have had experience with this last weekend.

Death of a Ladies Man is actually not early Cohen though. It’s his 1977 Phil Spector-produced ‘baroque pop’ record. It’s also the only one of these albums I haven’t heard before. Needless to say, I’m curious.

I’m still gonna go with 3/4 albums as depressing though. Leonard Cohen has a tendency to spread melancholy wherever he goes, Phil Spector or no Phil Spector.

Vinyl and such – 3/10

March 10, 2012 in Miscellany

It hasn’t been too evident since I’ve started this blog (because I’ve mostly been going broke due to concert tickets), but I’m a huge record nerd. I love vinyl for both its sonic and aesthetic qualities, and I think there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than browsing through a well-stocked record store. Thus, I’m adding a new vinyl category to the site today. This will consist of me documenting/commenting on my vinyl purchases, as well as discussing vinyl news and local record stores. Hopefully a few people will find all of this as interesting as I do.

I took a trip to Warren, Rhode Island today to check out the third and final In Your Ear Records location (the other two being in Boston). Neat little store. There’s a lot of vinyl to browse through, even if there doesn’t appear to be on your first glance through the door. Lots of stuff in bins on floors and underneath other bins, which are sometimes blocked by additional bins. It took some navigating, but I ended up with some nice finds. Left to right, top to bottom: Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Marianne Faithfull – Broken English, Elvis Costello – High Fidelity 12″, Kate Bush – Hounds of Love, Nick Lowe – Pure Pop For Now People (a US repressing of Jesus of Cool), Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man, Atlas Sound – Parallax, Elvis Costello – Armed Forces (UK pressing on Radar with alternate cover):

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I should clarify that Parallax is actually from the Atlas Sound show the other night. More on that when I get around to writing about it, but trust me, it’ll be worth the wait. Great, great show.

As for the records, I’m especially excited with the Leonard Cohen. Discogs tells me it was a steal for $9.99. Spinning that one right now actually. I still think I prefer Cohen when his arrangements are more restrained (his first few records, and his latest), but I’m getting accustomed to his more overstuffed material lately. The songwriting is still phenomenal, even if the production choices are occasionally questionable.

Finding a UK pressing of Armed Forces was a cool surprise. The tracklist is almost identical to the US version, but excludes the closing cover of Nick Lowe’s ‘(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace Love and Understanding.’ Kind of odd, considering Costello’s version is one of his more well-known songs. The main attraction, though (if you’ll forgive the pun), is that bizarre alternate cover featuring a stampeding herd of elephants. I’ve always thought the more colorful cover of the US LP was more fitting for some reason, but this one is pretty cool as well. And I’m enough of an overzealous Costello fan to feel that owning both is wholly necessary.

“Do you guys like krautrock?”

March 8, 2012 in Miscellany

We’re all familiar with that guy who thinks he’s the funniest, hippest hipster in the room by yelling an ironic request for ‘Free Bird’ during a show. Most of us think that guy is an idiot. All musicians think that guy is an idiot. Most will ignore him. Some, like Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, will call him out on it (a pretty hilarious example of this is documented on MM’s live album Baron von Bullshit Rides Again). Then, there’s Deerhunter/Atlas Sound front-man Bradford Cox. Cox was evidently in no mood for joke requests in Minneapolis a few nights ago. Or perhaps this was the ultimate mood for joke requests. He not only called that guy out, but indulged his request for The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ and turned it into an hour-long krautrock jam session featuring both of the show’s opening bands.

This article tells the story in all its glorious detail, but the short version is that Cox looped the song’s bass line, sang and drummed by himself for a few minutes, and eventually invited his opening bands to join him in a performance which involved the whole audience briefly waving folding chairs above their heads, as well as the original request-yeller being called on stage and commanded to strip. The whole thing was bizarre to say the least. But it was also pretty awesome. If there’s a better way to take out frustration on a heckler while simultaneously putting on an unexpected and incredibly entertaining looking show, I can’t come up with it. This is the ultimate response to that idiot. It’s hilarious, it’s ballsy, and it’s about as punk as you can get these days. Neither Deerhunter nor Atlas Sound fall under ‘punk rock’ exactly, but in interviews Cox has always come across as someone thoroughly enamored by the whole idea of being ‘punk.’ As he restates in the interview/diatribe regarding this show that was published on Pitchfork today, he gives no fuck about how people perceive his words or actions. He performs what he damn well pleases, and whoever doesn’t like it can be directed toward the door. That’s the essence of punk as an attitude I think, and it’s an admirable one in an age where an artist’s every move is being recorded by a hundred different iPhones and uploaded to YouTube within the hour.

Personally, I think the performance sounds massively entertaining. I wish I’d seen it myself. Cox seems displeased that it became a news story, but that part of it doesn’t bother me. I’m glad I managed to hear about it. It is disheartening, though, to see that the prevailing attitude towards the whole thing is one of snarky derision rather than amusement or admiration. Some people apparently became uncomfortable as the performance progressed, but no one was forcing them to stay and watch. To hear Cox describe it, most people were enjoying themselves anyway. It’s not even like the attendees had a right to feel ‘ripped-off’ somehow. The ‘Sharona’ endeavor didn’t take place until after a nearly full-length set of Atlas Sound songs. In Cox’s own words, “They got the full fucking set of emotional fucking sincere whiny white people music. And then they got fucking ‘My Sharona’ as interpreted by Faust. It was like a death trance.”

In short, it’s unclear to me what people have to complain about regarding this show. There have been plenty of accusations of pretension, obnoxiousness and even insanity thrown about both implicitly (the news stories) and explicitly (the comments sections to all of those news stories) over the past day. And you know what? They’re all bullshit. I commend Bradford Cox on pulling off something so genuinely unexpected and exciting. I only wish I could’ve witnessed the whole thing firsthand. I’m positive the shaky YouTube footage doesn’t do it justice.

Atlas Sound will be at the Paradise in Boston tonight, so be on the lookout for a review which probably won’t have anything quite so exciting to report.

The weekend so far in music

March 3, 2012 in Miscellany

I’m not feeling like writing anything particularly coherent tonight. On a bit of a Touch and Go Records kick right now. I’m midway through the Don Caballero catalog, and I’ll probably finally get around to listening to my vinyl copy of Shellac’s At Action Park after that. Don Cab is one of those bands that you listen to and either get inspired or totally discouraged by. The pessimistic side of me sees it this way: they are immensely more talented than you will ever be, and their records exist only to prove the kind of crazy shit they can accomplish with guitars, a bass and drums that you would never even dream of. The optimist in me views this ridiculous display of talent in timing, rhythm and precision as a reason to go pick up my guitar and immediately start practicing, with the hope that someday I will be able to match Ian Williams tap for tap. My inner realist then reminds me that I’ve witnessed Ian Williams single-handedly produce music which should have required at least three different people during a Battles show. Manipulating two keyboards, a guitar and a complex looping system simultaneously is likely not something I will ever master. At this point I do my very best to shut down the raging argument between optimism, pessimism and realism and go back to appreciating the fact that Don Caballero was a damn good band. They were not only one of the best and most astoundingly talented math rock bands, but also gave us one of the coolest album covers ever. Additionally, they were really good at song titles: ‘Delivering the Groceries at 138 Beats Per Minute,’ ‘You Drink a Lot of Coffee For a Teenager,’ ‘Details on How to Get ICEMAN on Your License Plate,’ ‘Stupid Puma,’ ‘Let’s Face It Pal, You Didn’t Need That Eye Surgery,’ etc.

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Meanwhile, Radiohead continue to fill me with indescribable rage by playing awesome shows in Florida, Georgia and Texas while still not announcing any East Coast tour dates. Tonight’s show in Houston saw the tour debut of ‘There Are My Twisted Words,’ one of my favorite recent Radiohead tracks. New song ‘Identikit’ appears to be a staple during these shows, which is good, because it’s wonderful. Thom and Ed have some lovely interweaving vocal melodies. It should be a phenomenal track in its finished studio form.

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I need to give the new Magnetic Fields album another listen, but I’m honestly kind of dreading it. Love at the Bottom of the Sea does deliver on the promise of a return to a synth-based sound, but regrettably does not bring the superior songwriting of earlier Magnetic Fields albums with it. I fear that Merritt may finally have gotten too silly for me. Regardless, though, I’m still looking forward to the band’s appearance at the Berklee Performance Center next month. I’ve been promised a three hour show at which the audience is admonished for clapping, and that is precisely what I will expect.

So, how ’bout that Sleigh Bells backlash?

February 21, 2012 in Miscellany

Reign of Terror, the new record from Brooklyn-based ‘buzz band’ (officially the worst ever descriptor for ‘band Pitchfork likes’) is out today. Pitchfork loves it, because of course they do. Consequence of Sound likes it as well. Reviews elsewhere seem middling but not particularly inflammatory. So far, the critical reaction has been about what I expected. There’s not that much to discuss beyond how this record refines the blown-out insanity of Treats by turning down the volume in a few places and shifting from cheerleading chants to actual lyrics in others. Personally I think it’s pretty solid. It’s fun noise-pop with a slightly more serious edge than the previous album. It’s got a more shoegaze-y feel, and it’s certainly a less grating listen than Treats could be at times.

What really fascinates me about this band, though, is the incomprehensible rage they inspire in certain individuals. I follow New York-based concert archivist Dan Lynch on twitter, and he is apparently one such person. “Anyone who has ever given a positive review to Sleigh Bells is hereby banned from giving any future opinions on music,” reads one particular tweet from this past weekend. Generally I like Lynch, and I think his site is an absolutely fantastic resource for live music. I just fail to understand what exactly about Sleigh Bells inspires hatred of this sort, which I’ve recently seen reflected in various blogs and comments sections. There are hyped up bands that do nothing for me (I still don’t quite get Tune-Yards), but why be so hyperbolic about it? Part of the issue seems to stem from Sleigh Bells’ performance on SNL this weekend, which featured its two primary members plus an additional guitarist performing in front of a literal wall of Marshall stacks. Patrick Stickles (of Titus Andronicus) posted an amusing series of tweets about the consumer’s right to know how many of those amps were actually turned on (‘stack transparency,’ of course). Admittedly, they didn’t sound great on SNL. but who does sound great on SNL? The show is notorious for making 90% of bands, credible or not, sound like garbage. Other than the subpar mixing though, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the performance. Sleigh Bells are a noise-pop band prominently featuring girl-group pop vocals, metal guitar riffs and distorted drum machines. They deliver what they promise. They are not the most talented or important band out there right now, but they also don’t claim to be. I get that they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but nobody’s forcing you to listen to them. It’s not like ‘Born to Lose’ is an inescapable radio smash.

I realize that musical backlash is not a new phenomenon. It just seems like there have been unusually high levels of energy and time poured into the internet hate machine over the past few days. I should probably know well enough by now to expect that when there’s a hyped record on the way. Better start the preparations now for the inevitable shit-storm over the forthcoming Odd Future tape.