take your time (coming home)

[photo from Atlanta Music Guide]

As I reflect on the past year, and the risks and initiative I’ve taken in different areas of my life, I realize that I’m so much happier now because of the things I’ve done for myself. 2010 was a transformative year for me, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m on my way home instead of in the midst of a transition. This is why the fun. album Aim and Ignite has stuck with me. It begins with an anxiety attack and resolves with newfound love and a sense of a completed journey. It’s not too far off from what the past couple of years were like for me.

I’d seen The Format countless times when they were around, and would always make my best attempt to catch them when they came down south. When they broke up, I was distraught. But I’ve come to recognize fun. as an extension of that band, with Aim and Ignite being pretty much the same as what The Format would have produced on a third LP. With Jack Antonoff (Steel Train, who I’d seen with The Format several times and have grown to love) and Andrew Dost (ex-Anathallo) behind Nate’s fantastic voice and words, I also think they have the potential to be better than The Format, particularly if the effort is more collaborative. We’ll see how a second album will come out (and here’s hoping their new labelmates on Fueled by Ramen don’t have too great of an influence), but I have high hopes. Just listen to Steel Train’s new one or Anathallo’s Floating World to hear why.

fun. played their first Atlanta show with Jack Antonoff last weekend at The Loft (they’d previously come to the Drunken Unicorn sans Jack), and played every song from Aim and Ignite, “Dog Problems,” a Rolling Stones cover, and an impromptu “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Not only was I excited to have them at what’s now my favorite ATL venue, but I’m also excited to report that they are at least as good as The Format was in a live setting. Although, there was nothing as cool as seeing a young Nate completely shocked and happy the first time they headlined in Atlanta.

I leave you with another Queen cover they played on their recent headlining tour:

MP3: fun. – “Radio Ga Ga”

and when we break, we’ll wait for our miracle

What could motivate me to write something in this space, given that I haven’t posted a thing since August? How about…Jeff Mangum played a show in Brooklyn last night, and you can download some decent quality recordings from it here.

This is following his last performance from May, which the romantic in me wants to believe had some connection with the blooming of a relationship, at that exact time, spurred by In the Aeroplane Over the Sea back in his old stomping grounds of Athens. I mean, the guy reappears for a legit show for the first time in nearly a decade, and I’m supposed to believe it’s all a coincidence?

I don’t know what it would take to get Jeff to come back to Athens, or if there’s even any hope for anything else beyond this. Like almost anyone whose work extends into the realm of God and the supernatural–too good for this world–he’s probably happier living privately. Either way, it’s doubtful that he’d ever top In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which I think has had a bigger influence on the indie music scene of the past decade than nearly everything else. (Arcade Fire just got a Grammy nod…Win Butler, I hope you thank Jeff Mangum for that one.) The music Jeff has made is the closest thing to a religious experience that one can have between a pair of headphones. I can only assume that seeing him live is like dying and coming back.

Enjoy this live video from his NYC performance at the benefit for his friend Chris Knox…the quality is not so good, so it’s a bit of a tease, but somehow, that makes it even better. Not all things are meant to be documented; something tells me Jeff Mangum prefers to remain a mystery and a memory.

what might have been lost

Bon Iver played their last show for a while back in October of last year. Who knows when we’ll get another LP, or what it will sound like without having been written in a cabin in the woods, but either way, Justin Vernon is brilliant and this recording proves it. I should note that this was originally posted as a podcast by Radio Milwaukee here, but I took the liberty of splitting it up into individual tracks and tagging them. Enjoy.

Some might say Bon Iver is an odd choice for summer music, but try cranking up the AC on a lazy Sunday morning and cuddling up in bed with your coffee. It works.

Bon Iver Live at Riverside Theater – Milwaukee, WI – 10/11/09

Download ZIP Archive

1. Flume
2. Lump Sum
3. Creature Fear
4. Brackett, WI
5. Beach Baby
6. Skinny Love
7. Blood Bank
8. Re: Stacks
9. Your Love
10. The Wolves (Act I and II)
11. Babys
12. For Emma

and I love waking up to your laugh

I think I promised more live Format a while back. So, here you go…better late than never.

This is a pretty good soundboard from a homecoming show while they were touring in support of Interventions + Lullabies. There are some rarities in this set, so it’s kind of special. Definitely one of my favorite bootlegs of theirs, even if Nate’s voice is a little rough and he screws up a few lyrics.

The Format Live at Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
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1. I’m Ready, I Am
2. Tie the Rope
3. Wait, Wait, Wait
4. Tune Out
5. Janet
6. Let’s Make This Moment a Crime
7. Sore Thumb
8. At the Wake
9. Movin’ Out (Billy Joel Cover)
10. Even Better Yet
11. Career Day
12. The First Single
13. Faith in Fast Cars
14. On Your Porch
15. One Shot, Two Shots
16. Give it Up

feels like you’ve been asleep for days

In lieu of a podcast once again, here’s a bootleg. This one comes from an obvious favorite of mine, The Format. (I have a few other recordings from them that I’ll be putting up soon too.)

There was an audience recording of this show on the late kickasstunes.net (which is now, sadly, some porn site) which used to have an archive of rarities from The Format, Steel Train, Reubens Accomplice, and all those guys. But this recording is actually from KASC, the AM station at ASU, who broadcast the show live. (So, credit goes to them.) I think it’s better, but you may not. You don’t get the annoying audience chatter, but it does sound fuzzy and noisy as any AM recording would, and it skips a little. So this is not for audiophiles, but if you were a fan of The Format, you will enjoy this pre-Dog Problems acoustic set.

[photo from Phoenix New Times]

The Format Live at Western Tread Show Revue III, Tempe, AZ
Download ZIP Archive

1. I’m Actual
2. Tune Out
3. Give It Up
4. Snails
5. The Compromise
6. On Your Porch
7. The First Single
8. If Work Permits
9. A Save Situation

slow down, we’ve got time left to be lazy

I was lucky to have been on Twitter just in time to catch this and record it. The excellent fun. debut (Nate from The Format, Jack from Steel Train, Andrew from Anathallo) album Aim and Ignite releases tomorrow, and in honor of the release, they played an informal acoustic set this afternoon for JamBase. I’ve uploaded it here, banter and all.

fun. Live on JamBase
Download ZIP Archive

1. Benson Hedges
2. “You Might Want to Pawn This”
3. Walking the Dog
4. “Man Cleavage”
5. All the Pretty Girls
6. “Bigger Than Shark Week”
7. The Gambler
8. “Dan Goldstein”
9. At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)
10. “You Can’t Say 69 For the Number”
11. Take Your Time (Coming Home)

(Sorry about the low bitrate, but it was a webcast, so anything higher would have hardly made a difference, anyway.)

fun. is currently on tour; you can find the dates on their MySpace. I’ll be at the ATL show!

since the beat done gone

So I’ve had a terribly lazy summer. Late nights, late mornings, and the paychecks kept rolling in (how?!). I’ve also had an awfully hard time getting settled in anywhere. I’m hoping that both will change in the next few weeks.

I’d like to take a break from our un-regularly, unscheduled program.

I’ve kind of gotten used to living in the South in recent years. There are two things that will keep me here, if I do keep myself here: the most classic food anywhere, and Athens. What a town. There’s an Athens band I’ve loved for several years now called Modern Skirts, which if you pay attention to the Athens scene at all, you know them. Their most recent album All of Us in Our Night was released nationwide in January. And, wouldn’t you know it, the boys just got done recording another brand new batch of songs in New Orleans.

Before that, though, they recorded this wonderful live session at Ardent Studios in Memphis. This is the best peek you’ll get, right now, at the new stuff. And it’s wonderful; quite possibly the most adventurous songs they’ve done. “DUI” has every member on percussion, and it’s a blast to see live. “Happy 81” is arguably the most catchy song they’ve done. The less recent songs in this set (I can’t call them old just yet) sound better than ever; perhaps better than on the record, really proving the Skirts prowess as a live act. I’ve been going to their shows for years; they’re loads of fun and the coolest guys.

The set is officially up for download in MP3 format at the link above, but there’s one inconvenient thing about it: it’s not exactly iTunes-friendly, as the songs aren’t split up. I’ve gone ahead and split them up for you here; you’ll want to put this on your iPod or burn it, or something. (Needless to say, all credit goes to Modern Skirts/Ardent Studios in Memphis.)

Modern Skirts Live at Ardent Studios, Memphis, TN
Download ZIP Archive

1. Intro
2. DUI
3. Hitler on Wheels
4. Radio Breaks
5. Chanel
6. Bridges and Overpasses
7. Happy 81
8. Eveready
9. Soft Pedals
10. Yugo
11. Like Lunatics