So much has happened since I last posted some news, so this will be a longer update. I’ve been away for almost two weeks. My grandmother died and I flew back home to Indiana. When I got back, I went to all of the festivities for my friends Scott and Jane’s wedding. It was a beautifully informal outdoor event, very laid back and perfect weather. We all sent them off at a Sunday brunch and then I went to NC for a week for work.
I did manage to see The Faint play at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC, which ended up being a treat. I have been slightly disappointed by their latest, Danse Macabre, after being impressed by the previous, Blank Wave Arcade. The band was amazing when they kept the crunchy synths and rocking beats, less interesting when they tried to play more straight rock songs.
I got to visit the home of our distributors, Redye, who are in nearby Graham, NC. It’s always nice to put faces to names. Represses of Ester Drang’s Goldenwest and Denison Witmer’s The ’80s ep are nearly complete and will be in stores very shortly, for those who have noticed these missing. Also, Huntington’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Habits for the New Wave has been re-pressed and sent out to stores. It has an updated color scheme, less pink, more black. I think it is an improvement.
Updated versions of The Trouble with Sweeney’s Dear Life will be ready in a week or so and will have a blue/grey color scheme, rather than the previous pink/green retro ’80s preppy throwback look that, while ironically cool, wasn’t necessarily the best choice in colorings schemes in these ought years.
My friend managed to score some tickets to the sold out Belle & Sebastian show last night (she was my hero for that) so I landed at the airport at 7 and made it to the show by 8. I missed a little of The Aisler’s Set, one of my favorite pop bands with releases on Slumberland and now Suicide Squeeze, but was impressed by the songs even from the nose bleed seats. Belle & Sebastian were quite good, a little sloppier than the records but more entertaining. Stuart came out on stage in boxing trunks as the band played the theme to Rocky. Philadelphia loved this and it went a little of the way to make up for B&S cancellation of their previous show in ’98 or ’99. I remember waiting in the hall for about 2 hours until they cancelled it. It left a bad, anti-B&S taste in my mouth for quite a while. In any case, seeing them improved my relationship with the band’s songs. In the middle, they gave out a big box of t-shirts and some buttons to try and soothe the wounds. There’s something to be said about classiness like that.
After the show, a bunch of us went to see Spiderman in a trashy West Phila theatre that I had vowed to never go to again. It was okay, since there were a lot of us. The movie was enjoyable for a midnight movie, not as great as some of the reviews I’d read suggested, but better than a lot of current movies. Willem Dafoe is one of the best psychotic villains ever.
So I guess that sums up a lot of what I’ve been up to. I will be visiting Denison and Edan Cohen (producer of the recent Songs:Ohia record) in the studio later today to hear some of the close-to-finished songs from Philadelphia Songs. Sunday and Monday, I will be catching Damien Jurado with Pedro the Lion and T.W. Walsh in NYC and Philadelphia. Johnathon Ford (Unwed Sailor, Circle of Birds) is playing in the Jurado and Pedro bands, so that’s really exciting and T.W. Walsh will be doing a one-sided LP at some point in the one-sided series. The Six Parts Seven have also committed to a one-sided LP that will be recorded later in the summer and released in Winter 2003 or so.
By the way, Burnt Toast Vinyl will be re-releasing Don Peris’ Ten Silver Slide Trombones to stores on 2 July. Look for that at a store near you, especially members of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores. As always, this is available from the btv on-line store. The Trouble with Sweeney : Plays Karen and others cdep will be distributed to stores through Burnt Toast Vinyl and Basement Life Records in June, so look for that in stores, as well. It should be available on-line later this weekend or on Monday. Don’t forget to see Joey on his massive coast-to-coast tour. Dates are listed in the touring section here and on The Trouble With Sweeney website.
much love,

Denison and I were all decked out for the Philadelphia City Paper Music Awards. Unfortunately, he didn’t win, but we still had a lot of fun being there.
I got some super swank screen printed posters for Ester Drang to use for their late Spring and Summer dates. Look for the band and the posters to roll into your town. Hopefully we’ll have some touring details soon.
I’m listening to a lot of Denison’s March tour recordings today. The plan is to select the best recordings and have Douglas Witmer compile the songs and do some artwork for a special cd that will be available only at live shows, not even through the on-line store. Hopefully this should come together for a late June/early July release. Denison’s River Bends album will soon be re-issued through btv. Our friend Andy is working on the design; he’s the mastermind behind the current website and a few of the btv releases.
Mirah : Advisory Committee (K Recs) is blowing me away by its brilliance. Think Cat Power, but with a more intimate and experimental approach.

Tonight is the night for the Philadelphia City Paper Music Awards. Denison and I will be in attendance in our formal attire to find out how he fares for his nomination as Best Folk Performer/Group. If we finish in time, I might take life into my own hands and check out the Locust who are playing at the First Unitarian Church tonight.
Circle of Birds artwork is underway. Oakland artist Jamie Hunt will be doing drawings for the release, his work was featured in Little Engines #2 (an excellent magazine that I highly recommend). Final mixing will happen after Johnathon, Casey, and Dave are all back from the Pedro the Lion/Damien Jurado/T.W. Walsh tour.

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