The "Land of a 1,000 Isthmuses" edition:
We had our first two Midwestern Bloodshot Beer-B-Qs in Madison and Milwaukee this past weekend, and they were a rousing success! Thanks to the fine folks at the High Noon Saloon in Madison and The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis for hosting us.
Look at all the fun you missed!
- The folks at Yeah Right attended the High Noon show and had this to say: "It was a great late afternoon/early evening of music, and an incredible value -five CDs purchased, four live bands, and three microbrews for a total of $42. That won't even buy you a hoodie at a Katy Perry show."
- Rock of Arts was on hand in Madison and got some video footage of Justin Townes Earle, Ha Ha Tonka and Deadstring Brothers.
- Wanna pretend it's the weekend again? Just load Justin Townes Earle's entire High Noon set onto your iPod -- download the entire set here.
- Randy from Yard Dog—who's traveling with us to the shows with his miniature gallery of art by Bloodshot artists Exene Cervenka, Jon Langford, Rico Bell and Ben Weaver—also captured these shots from the Minneapolis show.
Now, don't pout if you feel left out -- there's still plenty of time to attend a Bloodshot Beer-B-Q of your own! We've got Boston THIS WEEK (buy tix here), then Philly, Chicago (reserve tix here), New York and Austin! Read all about it!
Bloodshot Digest: The "Short and Sweet" Edition
• My Old Kentucky Blog gives Charlie Pickett some love calling Bar Band Americanus one of "4 You Mighta Missed" -- hey, better late than never! You can read MOKB's review here. The cool blog Lost Forest After Dark also discussed Charlie's ouevre recently, and some of the commenters share early Charlie/Eggs memories and stories ...
• Ha Ha Tonka recorded a live session with Palestra, and they just posted three videos from the session for yr lunch break entertainment: "Hold My Feet To The Fire," "Walking on the Devils Backbone" and "So Quiet, They're Loud".
• SCOTT RECOMMENDS: In light of the the forthcoming celebratory events and contingent art shows, we thought it’d be timely to spotlight the fact that some in the Bloodshot family are purveyors and creators of more than merely timeless music: some create fine art as well. We invite you to visit them on-line, to revel in their visual musings, and to appreciate the breadth of their creativity and vision. If you've already completed collecting these artists' discography, consider supporting them with purchasing art!
Bloodshot Digest: The "Moving Pictures" Edition
- Bobby Bare Jr and some friends (namely, Bobby Senior, Jon Langford, Sally Timms and Will Oldham) celebrated one of Chicago's sons, Shel Silverstein. The celebration, aptly called A SHEL-ebration, had the motley crew of musicians showcasing Shel's songs (few people know Shel was the songwriter of "A Boy Named Sue") in Millennium Park. Earlier in the day, Bobby was on WBEZ's 848 to talk about his releationship with Shel as a kid, and as a young songwriter -- you can listen to it here.
Also of note (and mentioned before in these pages), Bobby and his dad executive produced a tribute to Shel Silverstein that will be released later this year on Sugar Hill/Vanguard and features performances by: Emmylou Harris, Black Keys, George Jones & Ray Price, Allison Krauss, Band of Horses, Dr. Dog, Andrew Bird, Kris Kristofferson (backed by members of the Silver Jews) and My Morning Jacket.
- Ha Ha Tonka stopped by the Hear Ya studios and recorded a few songs from the new album -- listen to the session (and check out some video) here.
- The Blacks (who will be reuniting for our 15th anniversary show in Chicago later this summer) are featured in the indie film LEFTY, which has its Chicago premiere at the Gene Siskel Film Center on July 24 (add'l showings will be on July 28 and July 30, too). Support local cinema!
- More film news! IT MIGHT GET LOUD, a documentary on the electric guitar -- as told from the points of view of The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White -- will be released in theaters next month. While the subject matter itself may get a few of you into the theater, we hear that Jack White waxes about one of his guitar heroes during the doc -- Dex Romweber.
- And since Rob's been recommending food, I'll recommend a short film: TREEVENGE (Warning: Language, gore). I saw it before the amazing Nazi Zombie horror flick, Dead Snow, at the Sundance Film Festival earier this year, and it was easily one of the festival highlights. Seems others agree, too -- TREEVENGE has been touring the festival circuit, gathering accolades and fans. So, take 15 minutes and watch TREEVENGE, okay?
Bloodshot Digest: The "Goodbye, MJ" Edition
- We celebrated the Fourth of July weekend in Pittsburgh, where we threw the FIRST of our 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Qs at The Smiling Moose. Didn't spend your holiday in the Rust Belt? No problem, you can check out pictures from the event here and here, or you can check to see if a Bloodshot Beer-B-Q is coming to a city near you.
- The fabulous indie radio station WOXY hosted Ha Ha Tonka a couple weeks back for one of its Lounge Act sessions. You can now download the session, which features and interview with the boys and live versions of new songs, here.
- Justin Townes Earle's been about to every corner of the US touring the past few months, but if by chance you haven't gotten a chance to see him live yet, this new Paste Magazine video session may tide you over.
- And finally, we've got new items in our Bloodshot Bazaar! It's summertime, and that means packing up the cheese and crackers to sit on a lawn and see The Doobie Brothers play Ravinia Fest! We've got a couple of stylish ways to keep your picnicking needs cool this summer, with our Bloodshot Six Pack Cooler and 15 Year Anniversary Beer Coolies.
The "Happy Birthday America" edition, wherein we celebrate the brash de-shackling from our colonial overlords by sitting by the kiddie pool, one hand in the beer cooler, the other holding a lit match to a fuse to blow shit up. Independence Day, indeed.
- Read Bloodshot Rob rant about the term "alt-country" in the Pittsburgh Tribune as they hype the first of the 15 Year Anniversary festivals.
- Dex Romweber portrait in a North Carolina pizza parlor. Yeah, you read that right. How cool is that? The only portraits in pizza joints we have here in Chicago are of Capone or Ditka. Read about it here.
- The Boston Phoenix has done their annual 50 Best New Bands in 50 States feature here. Other than being a quality read, it also named Ha Ha Tonka as the representative from Missouri. We hope they do well in the swim suit competition (ladies, stop your swooning). Check up on YOUR home state, too.
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Having spent a great deal of time as a teen pyromaniac, I mean, connoisseur of aerial star spangles, I feel fortunate to be so close to the off ramp fireworks superstores of Indiana, just over the border. Now, mind you, I do not condone the launching of 500 gram Supercakes, that have 156 red, white and blue comets shot in rapid fire that burst in waves at the finale, or the SKY THUNDER with its gigantic bursts of alternating green and silver, red and silver and yellow and silver, or the Victory Shot that kicks up a sparkling gold brocade that ends with a volley of loud explosions, but they sure beat the hell out of sparklers and snakes.
Enjoy and be safe.
Your weekly or semi-weekly peek into the swirling vortex of weirdness that is life in the Bloodshot Lane. So, stop tweeting about the King of Pop for a few minutes, relax (the boss ain't watching) and catch up. All items guaranteed to be Sequined Glove Free.
- Wayne Hancock on Sirius/XM. The Train is performing and being interviewd on the fancy satellite radio. Show will on Tues June 30th @ 9pm eastern and Thursday July 2nd at 11pm eastern time. Outlaw Country on Sirius 63 and XM channel 12.
- Justin Townes Earle's new, arty and beautiful video of "Midnight at the Movies" is up on Vimeo and YouTube. Have a gander. It's keen, as the kids say (or said).
- What music do musicians listen to? This age-old question was posited to Ha Ha Tonka's Luke Long at SXSW this year and our friends at Rhapsody. Check out the answer here. Personally, I do not think his answer could be more wrong. It's a BAD album. I'll take it up with him later.
- While the blogosphere has its up sides, one glaring downside is the crappy writing. "Reviews" of records that are more half-cocked diary entries like "oh dude, i was up all night doing Jager bombs and watching The Wire on Hulu and was, like, no way was I up for listening to this band" that have precious little to do with the music. Thus, we are pleased when lengthy, well-crafted critiques come across our desks, like this one from Cheeky Chicago regarding Ha Ha Tonka's new one. Read it, but beware, you may gain some actual insight on the music.
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Nhu Lan Bakery. Everyone's got that place (or, pity if you don't) in their 'hood that is just so good, so cheap, so GO TO, that you kinda take it for granted and, POOF, one day you are reminded, scolded almost, to NOT take if for granted. Today, I atone for this and sing its praises. Proving that not all colonialism was bad (ok, settle down, it's a joke), this Vietnamese sammich shop on Lawrence Ave in Chicago combines the fish sauce of the east with the crusty baguettes of ol' France. They are cheap, very tasty, very filling. The owners are super nice, the coffee nerve-endingly strong. The flat screen TV over the drink cooler (lemon grass soda, anyone?) alternates between CNN and Asian Lingerie shows. Some swear by the pate and head cheese sammiches, but they're a little rich for me. I go for the BBQ pork. Lots of cilantro, daikon radish and hot peppers. Check it out, but don't neglect your own GO TO spot in your hood in the process. Never forget those.
Next week, we'll be coming at you from the first of our 15th Anniversary Beer-B-Q's in Pittsburgh. Got any suggestions for excellent breakfast places?
As we in Chicago continue to build our Ark and sweep the rising tide of frogs out the front door, we bid you WELCOME to the Friday digest. Lots of fun things to look at and read about, so QUIT WORKING for a second.
- Ha Ha Tonka had a high-quality live shoot at the fabulous Off Broadway in St Louis on May 6th as part of the Born Small Town Tour kick-off party. Take a peep.
- Here's a fantastic piece on Scott H. Biram from the Austin Decider, it's got an interview and embedded links to videos and live performances. Read about his whiskey benders and all the metal in his legs.
- Tired of rooting around the Interweb for all those CLASSIC Robbie Fulks songs? Our buddies (and fans) over at Glorious Noise put together a sampler to make life easier and boost your productivity. So, here's a BRAINLESS way to get a whole mess of Fulks tunes in one spot. Then you'll want more, and you'll want to legally support one of the best songwriters and performers to ever call Chicago home.
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: The movie Up! Look, I hate popular culture more than any of you, so when something makes billions of dollars at the box office, i can usually safely assume it's pureed mush for the masses, but this is art. If you are not weepy and amazed at the depth of feeling and the economy of story telling in the first 10 minute segment, you have a heart of tar. AND i haven't gut laughed that often at a movie in months. AND it's in 3D. See it. Check your hipper-than-thou baggage at the door and soak in a great movie.
Ok, back to filling sandbags.
Bloodshot Digest: New release edition!
- Ha Ha Tonka released their newest longplayer, Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South, on Tuesday! The boys had a whirlwind day on Monday in Chicago, as they appeared live on WGN, appeared on-air at Q101, and then played to a sold-out crowd at Schubas. Catch the band on tour all this summer!
- Rhett Miller guest edited Magnet Magazine last week, but had all his friends do his dirty work. Jon Langford submitted a list of some of his favorite things, including Walter Salas-Humara's adorable dog paintings. Hey, my birthday is coming up real soon -- who wants to get me one of Walter's dogs as a present? Pretty please?
- Finally, is with a stunned and heavy heart that we report on the passing of stalwart Chicago soundman Gary Rogers. An interesting cast of characters populates the local music scene, and I’m confident that other area musicians will agree with me when I say that Gary was one of the most original, sincere, and nicest of the bunch. He loved his work, and we always shared a story and a laugh (and usually a Guinness) whenever he manned the knobs for my band. At our most recent show, at the Bottom Lounge, I joked one on one with him from the stage, and I’m grateful we recorded that night’s performance, and hence that exchange, so that I can always remember him laughing. He was an authentically good person, he was good at his job, and he will be missed. The Bottom lounge will host a benefit for his family on Tuesday 6/30. - Scott Schaefer, Bloodshot Records
- Here's an entertaining read by the ever-entertaining Jon Langford; he tells the folks at Pitchfork about the most influential albums during different times of his life.
- WORLD PREMIERE VIDEO! As of midnight last night, Amazon.com is airing EXCLUSIVELY (through June 19th) the new video for Justin Townes Earle's title track Midnight at the Movies. Check it out, it's rather fancy pants.
- With the imminent release of Ha Ha Tonka's new album, the band wanted to share a video of the "Making Of..." Get the inside skinny! See all the drugs and dancing girls that went into its production! Is that a donkey in the studio? We can't be sure! Oh, the depravity! (We kid, they are very nice and polite.)
- Dex Romweber Duo+Jack White+vinyl= Yeah, baby! Perhaps you remember a few weeks back we told about Dex Superfan Jack White recording a single with the DRD. Well, the fruits of that labor have arrived, and it didn't take no stinkin' nine months either. The 7" single is our busy little hive, awaiting your fevered order!
- The first of our 15th anniversary Beer-B-Qs, featuring FREE ADMISSION, FREE food, beer specials galore and lots and lots of music has been confirmed in PITTSBURGH on July 4th. Lots more to come!!
- Rob's Recommendation of the Week: Rob has no recommendation this week. The unparalleled lousy weather in Chicago, persistent overcast, 20 degrees below normal temperatures, insidious chilly lake breeze---all this as we are purportedly heralding the arrival of summer, has put him in a fouler than usual mood. Thus, no recommendation. He is sitting in his basement with a wool blanket over his head cursing the buckled jet stream and will not come outside again until he can do so without needing some sort of rain gear or heavy jacket. So, nyaah.