Gainsville punk residents Against Me! recently dropped a special release for all of their fans. The band once again reunited with the independent punk record label Fat Wreck Chords to put out The Original Cowboy, an eight song, never before heard demo album. Available on CD and LP, this release gives the fans a pre-game, a younger Against Me! attempt, something as an enthusiast I was happy they chose to share.
Recorded in summer of 2003, these demos are what was to become the band’s second full length release and the Fat Wreck Chords debut titled As The Eternal Cowboy. The demo was actually recorded for the producers of the album just to make sure they were familiar with the songs as Against Me! was looking to make an all analog recording. Since the band was to record at a different studio (Memphis’ Ardent Studios) they wanted to have something to help keep what they were looking to create on their final version.
Minus the track “Sink, Florida, Sink” all of the other songs from As The Eternal Cowboy appear on the demo release but not in the same order. The combined opening track “A Brief Yet Triumphant Introduction / Cliché Guevarra” even if not fully produced carries enough energy to get you past that grainy sound. It’s interesting to hear these first takes on songs that later turned into a must have album for many punk rockers out there.
“Mutiny On The Electronic Bay” actually sounded better than the studio mastered version as did “T.S.R.” Perhaps it was the lack of overdubbing or just the pure integrity of the track making it that much more enjoyable.
The beginning of “Cavalier Eternal” cracked me up with the comedic prelude to the song with the boys of Against Me! goofing around briefly just as it appears on the mastered release. The sincere acoustic demo of the song, to me, should have been just put in with the final release. It sounded a lot better under-processed than that of which appears on As The Eternal Cowboy.
Closing the demo is another combined track “You Look Like I Need A Drink / Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists” a track guaranteed to get all the diehard Against Me! disciples to go insane upon hearing it regardless of the take. After hearing this song, and album for that matter, I wondered why the band even bothered to travel to Memphis in the first place.
The demos may very well just be a money maker for Against Me! and Fat Wreck Chords but honestly, who cares? It was a good listen and I am happy to add it to my Against Me! collection. Tom Gabel actually had this to say about the demos, “Recorded and mixed in only a couple of hours, The Original Cowboy was only meant to be a trial run, but, listening to it today, there’s a part of me that feels foolish for ever recording these songs a second time.” I could not agree anymore Mr. Gabel. These demos sound better than most fully mastered stuff out there.
Before I even start this review you all should know that this band hit me hard in the ears with something good. Ever since my introduction I have been a fan and I really like to support these girls hense all of the posts in recent months.
I guess that is one of the cool things about having your own blog, freedom to do what you want. Well what I want is to help out three ladies from the Nashville area be heard. I know they should have no problem doing so but it does not hurt to help.
Next week Those Darlins return to Cleveland on July 14th and you can bet your grits I will be there. Do yourself a favor and get up to the Beachland Tavern to check out this great up and coming band. I would not talk about them so much if I did not think they were all that.
So what that said, here is the review of the debut release by Those Darlins:
Tennessee’s best kept little secret no longer remains hidden as Those Darlins have released their debut self titled album on their very own label Oh Wow Dang! Records. Kelly Darlin, Nikki Darlin, and Jessie Darlin who make up Those Darlins do their own thing their own way. The result is a band that spills out some great tunes combining pop with rock, punk, and country.
Hailing from Murfreesboro, TN the musically inclined trio of women have already made their way around the US playing shows small and large. With their constant touring with acts such as Dan Auerbach, The Features, and even playing a stage at this year’s Bonnaroo, the girls have finally released their debut album for all to hear.
Having already been a huge fan, I was excited for their music to spread to a larger audience. I think it will not be too difficult for that to happen thanks to this release.
So what is it about this band that has more or less turned me into an obsessed fan? The girls mix the perfect blend of garage rock, punk, and even some country rock style all into a sound I just can not get enough of. They have enough sass to knock your grandpa to the floor, the looks that guarantee instant crushes, the smiles of angels, and can party down like no other. I’m pretty sure they can all kick your ass too with out any help.
Their Appalachian sounds seems to clash with a punk attitude as well as female strong ideals. This mix becomes smashed into a fine sounding bar-rock jam fom three good looking gals who drink their whiskey from the bottle. Think Wanda Jackson and Patsy Cline meet Joan Jett with even a taste of some Kathleen Hanna.
The classic covers of the Carter Family’s “Who’s That Knocking At My Window?” as well as “Cannonball Blues” proved Those Darlins have a rendering for the country genre but when you move throughout the album you can clearly hear that their musical roots are not just from Nashville
Opening track “Red Light Love” does not even suggest they are a country act as they play a more bar-rock song. What I like about this one so much is I can actually feel them smiling as they sing this fun song.
“Wild One” is more or less the girls’ anthem/reminder of being wild and crazy. This song is Wanda Jackson with punk rock authority and provides a fair warning to all the folk out there that have a more than a musical liken for Those Darlins. This was the first song I had heard from the band and was the reason became so fond of them.
“The Whole Damn Thing”, to me, was the funniest song on the album as the girls sing about getting hammered and eating an entire chicken. To make things even more amusing the song continues with the consumed chicken being forgotten about.
Almost reminding me of something Johnny Cash might have written during his raging days was “Glass To You”, a drunken slur of a track. I almost felt bad for the girls in this painful song as they declare they are having “whiskey blues” and have “been drunk since half past noon” because of their man. Having more than one vocalist sing throughout just keeps it unhappy.
“Snaggle Tooth Mama” is a boot-stomping country jam with some fun intermitting guitar and bar room piano playing that by the end of the track will have you singing along. “222” is a tough track about all about boys, parties, and fun. Coincidentally one of the studios that the girls recorded at was in NYC at Jeff Curtin’s basement studio called 222. Jeff Curtin also took on the drumming duties for most of the tracks on this album.
“DUI Or Die” was more of a tale of an alcohol infused evening out all ending with sirens and jail bars as well as blaming to booze. “Drunk driving, I’m guilty, and I’m blaming the booze” pretty much summed up the song in a comical way also giving hint to all the ladies who want to avoid DUIs but going home with someone and letting them drive.
Even though some of the songs suggest a country rock like style, they add much more rock and roll and punk rock finesse giving for a fiercer sound. Having the girls split up vocal duties just keeps their songs that much more interesting. Their debut album is an instant classic to my ears and I am sure it will be for many as all of the songs are very catchy, musically and lyrically. This is not a band you will forget about after just one album. These girls are going places.
Seeing them live is a whole experience in its own. Big crowds or small crowds these girls play their hearts out, drink the big boy drinks, and will force you to have a good time. When they take the stage one might think they do not have the capabilities that make up what Those Darlins are all about – loud music and good times. The moment the guitars are strummed and the vocals start it’s clear that something fun is about to happen.
Friday night in downtown Akron was one of those nights to remember for many thanks to The Avett Brothers. It was one of those nights that anyone who came to the show will think of for years to come with help from their amazing performance. Intimate at times as well as a full on rock show, everyone who had a ticket to that show left satisfied.
North Carolinian brothers Scott and Seth Avett once used to fill the quaint Kent Stage in Kent, OH but thanks to their success as a folk rock band they needed a bigger place to play. With help from the Kent Stage crew the boys left that smaller stage for the classy Akron Civic Theatre, a stage I think suited them perfectly.
Having no idea that there was even an opening act, I was thrilled when the curator of the Kent Stage announced that Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers were taking the stage. Having just recently been introduced to the country rock act I found myself even more excited to be at the show.
Samantha Crain and crew took the stage and received a warm welcome just after eight o’clock. After a few songs in it was clear that the crowd had accepted them into their ears, thanks to her unique singing style and country rock, and were cheering loudly after each song.
During one moment after a song Samantha Crain stated she missed a note and declared “everyone hits a wrong note” and continued on how she is hard on herself for doing so even though she knows it happens. The crowd all seemed to agree with what she said and not once did I hear any wrong notes played. Then again I only had heard a couple of songs prior to seeing her set live.
Samantha Crain admitted it was only the second show her and the band had played with The Avett Brothers and thanked them for the opportunity to share the stage. Admitting she came from a small town in Oklahoma she basically confessed to living the dream. Seeing her jump around excitedly on stage as she strummed her acoustic guitar just proved how excited she was to be up on that stage.
Shortly before the Avett’s took the stage, die-hard fans started screaming out “Happy Birthday Scott!” Clearly many of the fans knew that one of the members was celebrating their birthday in Akron that night.
With the curtains still drawn The Avett brothers along with Bob Crawford started their set off with “PGFA”. Everyone in the house went wild upon hearing the music begin and once the curtains were opened it was clear to everyone how great this band truly is. With an array of instruments behind the trio everyone’s attention was focused on the amazing folk-rock playing from the banjo, the stand up bass, and acoustic guitar as well as dual signing that had just begun. To add to the stage’s appeal there was a giant backdrop of a ship that resembled Scott Avett’s art.
While standing in literally the middle of the venue I felt that I had the best place to hangout at for the night while taking in all that The Avett Brothers dished out. Their songs, as my friend Seth said it best, gave me that feeling that many in the past had to have felt when the Beatles first started playing their music live. I was heavily sucked into each song they played and had a smile on my face that lasted pretty much until I got home that night and finally fell asleep.
Throughout the set Joe Kwon would join the trio and add cello to some of the songs. The brothers would share singing duties and seemed to swap out guitars during every song and at times even during some of the songs. It was really interesting to see Seth Avett swap guitars and narrowly miss continuing the song but he is a pro at what he does and there were no interruptions.
Playing through songs such as “Please Pardon Yourself”, “Die Die Die”, and “It Goes On & On” The Avett Brothers sounded as amazing as I thought they would. I missed many the opportunity to see this band live in the past and regretted it each time. Finally though I found myself at one of their live shows feeling privileged to be in their presence.
In between songs fans were screaming out requests to the stage in hopes that their favorite song would be performed spur of the moment but The Avett Brothers thanked them for their requests and continued on. Seeing them smile up on stage as they performed just proved how great of a time they were having as well. At one time a fan screamed that she loved them and Seth Avett responded “we love you too.” The band even played a new song from their upcoming album to be released in September.
That one new song the band played just made my night. It was titled “I & Love & You” off of their upcoming late summer release I & Love & You. With Scott Avett taking the drumming duties as well as signing out the I and love and you with his hand as the crowd sang along I found myself getting chills. It was a great feeling and a great love song.
After the band played “Skin & Bones” they exited the stage. Fans screamed and applauded the amazing performance while at the same time were still hungry for more. Luckily the Avett’s were not quite done yet and returned to the stage moments later with a couple of extra helpers, Kent’s very own folk star Jessica Lea Mayfield and her bearded brother David. It was the perfect end to an amazing evening.
The Avett Brother’s live show turned me into a bigger fan than I already was. I really think the live experience just intensified their talent. While leaving the historic Akron Civic Theatre I heard no complaints at all and everyone was just in a great mood. I do not think I have ever attended a show quite like the one I did on that warm Friday night. I can not wait till the next time these boys come back to a city near me. I know I will be there in a heartbeat.
The Avett Brothers Setlist (as taken from the band’s web forum):
Please Pardon Yourself
Die Die Die
Down With The Glistening Shine
Gift For Melody Ann
Song Of The Dying Sailor
It Goes On & On
I & Love & You
At The Beach
Murder In The City
Talk Of Indolence
Skin & Bones
Encore (with Jessica Lea & David Mayfield)
Will You Return
Editors Note – Sorry for the delay, Bonnaroo took a lot out of me and after the long drive home I went to see Rancid/Rise Against at the Tower City Amphitheater with very little sleep.
The final day of Bonnaroo came and went faster than any of the other days and before I knew it I was headed for the first real meal in four days thanks to the Cracker Barrel in Murfreesboro, TN. The Southern Belle served catfish was an absolute delight and the three of us relaxed and talked about the whole weekend and unexpected events.
More on that in a moment. First I should note that I was able to review the final day for BlogCritics.Org:
I kept my reviews on BlogCritics pretty simple mostly focusing on the music aspect and seem to be getting some interesting comments stating I am a “newb” and so on. I did not want to go into detail about Bonnaroo on those reviews because the read would be way too long. It was a music review, not a Bonnaroo journal. After reading them I think I could have done better but what I was trying to do was review each day nightly and sometimes I was up till 5am while doing so. It is what it is…
Thankfully I have this site to blabber on about everything else…read on in a moment for a Bonnaroo wrap-up.
The final day at Bonnaroo was short and quick mostly because I had to cart an ill fated Matt from one hotel to another. The poor kid woke up feeling like hell and asked me how I felt about staying another night at the hotel. I was honest with him and told him I preferred not to backtrack so I found a hotel in Murfreesboro, a city about a half hour North of Manchester. We all drove to the new hotel and dropped Matt and our stuff off. It was bittersweet to see the room number was 420.
By the time we dropped sickly off and got back to Bonnaroo it was going on 2pm. Luckily day four doesn’t get hopping until about that time.
To sum up day 4 at Bonnaroo I will say it was the perfect way to end the four day festival. I saw a great performance by Jessica Lee Mayfield, a Kent, OH artist. I saw Andrew Bird for a quick moment before heading over to see Merle Haggard take the stage. I can not even tell you how awesome it was to be in the crowd as the legendary country artist played.
Coheed & Cambira threw on a killer performance full of interesting covers and a 10+ minute drum solo during their closing song “The Final Cut”. I sang at the top of my lungs throughout all of their songs and enjoyed every minute of it. I am thrilled that they were on the Bonnaroo bill.
Coheed & Cambria Setlist @ Bonnaroo:
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood & Burial)
Apollo I: The Writing Writer
No World For Tomorrow
Gravemakers & Gunslingers
Can’t Find My Way Home (Blind Faith cover) / Under The Milky Way (The Church cover)
A Favor House Atlantic
Blood Red Summer
Red Rain (Peter Gabriel cover)
The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut
The last show of the festival for Adam and I would be the amazing performance by Coheed & Cambira. I opted to skip out on Phish and yes I am kicking myself for missing it as I heard it was an amazing close to the festival with Bruce Springsteen joining the jam rockers on stage for a couple of songs.
Oh well… I am just not a Phish fan and preferred to get on my way. Adam and I drove back to Murfreesboro and were looking for somewhere to grab a real meal when suddenly Matt texted Adam asking us if we had eaten yet, good timing. We picked up Mr. Sniffles and went to Cracker Barrel and pretty much took turns summing up the weekend.
It was a good time had by all.
Bonnaroo Wrap-Up Pissed Off Edition:
If I has to sum up the weekend with five words it would be: “Bro toss me the frisbee”
The three of us had a blast driving from Ohio, pit-stopping in Nashville, and of course kicking it at Bonnaroo. Granted Matt only made it to two of the four days, the three of us have enough musical memories to last a lifetime.
Let’s discuss some shall we?
First there is the good folk at Thirty Tigers who invited us to stop at their office and hang out for a moment. I can not even tell you how nice Katie and John are. We even met the owner later on Thursday, sadly I can not remember his name. Anyways, if you are a folk/country/rock music lover do youself a favor and check out their site and sample some of the bands on their label and thank me later.
Our hotel was in Kimball, TN. I thought it was not going to be terribly far away but I was a little off on distance. The room was booked as it was the cheapest in the area as the surrounding communities tent to hike up their prices of the nightly rates for those who refuse to camp. Extra money or not I am glad we got a hotel because there is no way this guy could camp at Bonnaroo. No showers, no AC, no way.
Let us not forget about Matt who wanted to skip out the first day of Bonnaroo to just relax at the hotel. I was ok with his decision. During breakfast I joked that the B-52’s were playing in Chattanooga, TN and I almost regret that…haha. Matt was dead serious when he asked me to drive him to Chattanooga and leave him there for the day so he could see the B-52’s play on the river. I was not exactly happy to drive out of my way but he does love that band and I know he had a blast there so I am glad I could help a friend out. Spite my little disagreement with a local officer we were able to pick up Matt up late night and get the hell out of there and back to the hotel for some sleep. He wrote a little blog about his solo experience.
Seeing Those Darlins live made my day. Kelley Darlin giving me a hug after their set was even better. Too bad it was pouring rain, thunder storming, and there were announcements of Tornado watches in the area. Those Darlins had to bail to save their equipment and Adam and I had to save our Matt.
Friday while stuck in a traffic jam on a side road the three of us were quick to see a colossal sized lady selling fruit in once of the random vendors set up on the side of the road. She sat there stuffed in a lawn chair ever so un-ladylike with her chubby legs wide open for the world to see. Poking fun at her with closed car windows did not pay off though…karma is a bitch.
Not even five minutes later we were subject to a random car search courtesy of the local drug task force. As the officer explained how and what they would be doing I am pretty sure that at least 50 pounds of marijuana drove past us. For being a random car search they sure picked the wrong car. We had nothing. Still determined to find a single speck of weed they tore through my CDs looking to see if I hid weed in the CD cases. I honestly wanted to kick all of them in the asses for being so dumb.
Freedom of choice was a good thing too. With such a wide span of performaces Matt did his own thing over the weekend and Adam and I cruised the grounds checking out as many sets as we could. We managed to come across some bands we had never even heard of including Justin Townes Earl (Steve Earl’s son) as well as talk to folk from all over.
I was joking about all the hippies raiding the grounds but to be honest there were music fans of all types filling up the farm. There were indie kids, country kids, punk rockers, douche bags, and even older folk all there to listen to music and for some to get as hammered as possible, slam down drugs, and make failed attempts at picking up members of the opposite sex.
Say what you want about me, I am not one who does drugs. I had my fling with them when I was younger and left it at that. I am not going to judge anyone either for doing them but I was getting a little annoyed at all the wide pupiled, acid dropping, ‘shroom eating, nitrous oxide huffing, ragers bumping into me, asking me where they could score stuff, and even at one time falling on me. That my friends is another reason why I did not camp there, it’s not my style. Sadly one person never made it home from Bonnaroo. It was reported that the Bonnaroo cleanup crew found a 20 year old male deceased in a tent. I am thinking drugs played a part in his death and that my friends is why I do not EFF with that crap.
The entire experience was amazing if not better than when I attended in 2006. Where else could one go to and see that many bands with some major label artists? At no moment the entire weekend was I miserable. I was happy to be a part of the festival and am already planning on next year’s.
All the ladies and their hula hoops were fun to watch. There is something so hypnotizing about a beautiful Bonnaroo lady and her hula hoop. I chatted with a girl before the Beastie Boys performance who was telling me how she made hula hoops and sold them at festivals. That might explain why there was an abundance of hula hoops on the farm. Novel idea if you ask me… In fact I just discovered that I sold my Bonnaroo ticket to a great girl who actually makes and sells hula hoops. Check out her site for more info!
Being a part of 80,000 people is so surreal. You look around and all you see are people who came to the farm the very same reason you did. The only way to really experience Bonnaroo is to be there. I am sure the experience is even more intense when you camp too but again, that is just not me.
The plethora of genres of music kept me going all weekend. Surprisingly I found myself only watching the entire sets of very few artists and instead cutting sets short so that I could see someone else perform.
The weekend was a great success. We made it to and from without any causalities. I did not want to punch anyone in the face, shocking… I am actually considering doing it again next year. I know Matt will be sitting that one out but I am pretty sure Adam is all about coming with.
Now if only I had a hint of what the Bonnaroo 2010 line-up will be??? I am sure it is going to be awesome.
I’ll still hanging in there kids. I will tell you though that I am tired of the patchouli smell that seems to be getting stronger day by day. Seeing dudes in dresses with nappy hair is a novelty for only so long. More on that in a moment.
I stayed up late night to post a hopefully composite music review on Blogcritics.Org:
Mind you I finished writing that around 5am so if it does not make sense my apologies. I think I could have left out my actual travel patterns and all but I wanted to just tell everyone what I saw from my eyes and if that included naming off every stage on the grounds then so be it.
One of the highlights of the day was getting searched by the local Drug Task Force. They said it was a random check and asked me to pull my car over to the side so they could search it. I was threatened if I did not fess up to my weapons and drugs and told if I lied they would throw me in jail.
I laughed the entire time they looked in my car looking for nothing. When they were just about finished one of the elder officers asked to look in my CD cases because, and I quote, “that is where they hide the weed.”
Who in hell would hide weed in a CD case? And why was my car pulled over and searched as at least fifteen stoners drove past me with glazed eyes and smiles that seemed to thank me for letting them in with their eight pound bag of weed without getting caught.
That right there pissed me off. I am drug free and for the time being alcohol free. Why me? Random my ass. I think Tennessee sees Ohio as a drug lord state and thought they hit the big one. Sorry boys, better luck next time.
So after that time delaying stop we made it to the day lot, parked the car, and started our second day.
The second day was actually the first full blown day of the festival with much more folk inside Centeroo. People from all directions were walking to and from checking out everything they possibly could. There was just so much to see and literally not enough time to see it all.
The three of us, yes Matt actually joined us, walked around for a moment and decided on what our plans were for the day. Shockingly Matt wanted a map and shade. He had his own plans for the day and was not too thrilled about many of the afternoon acts and wanted to just hang out. We would not see him until midnight.
I think Matt has something against hardcore hippies. I do too. I have had enough patchouli stink to last me a lifetime. When you are surrounded by a sea of people and that smell seems to get stronger and stronger it just gets plain annoying. I am also tired of hearing “hey bro!” screamed from one stoner to the next.
I have realized that I am getting old. There is no doubt about that. I think I am tired too, this is an angry, grumpy, tired post.
I have nothing against everyone having a good time and popping as many pills as they can fit into the palm of their hands. Let them be free, let them smoke weed, just stay the hell away from me and for the love of god quit asking me if I have have green! I was even asked by some girl “where can I find Molly?” With a confused face I looked at here and asked her what in the hell she was talking about.
She ran away. Ha.
The second day of Bonnaroo not only was the first day of Bonnaroo for Matt but really the start to the festival with more artists playing throughout the day. The rain stayed away and the sun shone making for the perfect festival atmosphere.
One of the surprise acts of the day would have to be the Belleville Outfit. The jazzy cabaret folk act was just the type of band I was looking to discover and made a note to check them out some more once I returned home.
Santigold put on quite the show with their mix of rock and hip hop. Al Green was one of those experiences I am glad I did not pass up. I still can not believe I saw the Rev. Al Green live. I have always been a fan of his older material since I was a kid so seeing him live was pretty damn outstanding.
The Beastie Boys owned the main stage Friday night pushing through a long set full of classic material as well as playing a brand new song with special guest NAS. It was great to see the B-Boys again on the big stage doing their thing. Mix Master Mike also put on quite the show scratching the hell out of vinyl and creating some truly unique sounds.
Justin Townes Earl was another act that I randomly walked up to having no idea what to expect. I was blown away by his indie country mix and complete politeness to all who came to see him. I even went so far as to grabbing one of his Midnight At The Movies LPs after the show.
French act put on one of my favorite sets on Friday with their French indie / electronica / rock display. Having first heard of them on the Lost In Translation soundtrack I did not even realize they were playing Bonnaroo. We all watched the whole set and I know I enjoyed every single song performed.
Public Enemy was another huge highlight of the day. Seeing the twenty-plus year old band take the stage was something I was not sure would ever happen again. They played strong and looked good. The act even busted out their 1988 classic It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back from start to finish. Wow.
I can say that I am ready for today. I got some sleep, ate some delicious Shoney’s and am now ready to tackle day three of the Bonnaroo.
Until then, here are some more photos:
Tonight is going to be a long night mainly because of NIN playing a early morning set from 1am till 3am. That is going to be amazing yet will drain what little energy I will have left in me but I am ok with that.