Start the week off right with the newest member of the Polyvinyl family!
Matt and I saw Casiokids play at Schubas in Chicago back in August and during dinner they spent a lot of time raving about how much they loved of Montreal (who they toured Europe with earlier in 2009).
of Montreal had equally nice things to say about them and judging from Casiokids’ live show — which featured animal costumes and crowd members dancing all around me — the two have a lot more in common than just a mutual admiration.
Today started off innocently enough — packed some mailorder, shipped some Home Acres pre-orders, answered some e-mails. And then it happened. Danielle got locked in the bathroom!
We heard her jiggling the knob for a couple minutes before Adam (not knowing how long she’d be in there) finally slid some Airheads under the door and Matt came out of his office to pry the door open with a screwdriver.
Danielle’s a big R. Kelly fan, so we’ve already discussed writing and filming the “crappy” parody: Trapped in the Bathroom. Look for video of chapters 1-15 to be up for download in our E-Store…err…never.
Now that the Winter Olympics are underway, Adam’s feeling a little competitive. Case in point: he decided today that he wants to hold a Polyvinyl push-up contest on April 1st. (Apparently the date is so far off because he needs to spend some quality time with the Perfect Pushup he bought awhile back.)
Anyone in the office can participate — provided they want to fork over the $1 entry fee. If Adam’s trying to raise funds to pay back the three bucks he owes me, I think his plan is going to backfire. We just held a prelim and I’m feeling pretty good after beating him without breaking a sweat.
In fact, I’m trying to think of more events to add to the competition. Who can dejewlcase a 30 count box of CDs the fastest? A t-shirt folding race? The possibilities are endless…
When it came time to print the covers for their debut full-length, Frankie Welfare Boy Age Five, the boys in Braid were a little hard-up for money. So they went to Goodwill, bought all the gatefold LPs they could find, painted over the covers and had them re-screenprinted.
The inside artwork was still the same as the original album, though, so Matt’s copy of the first pressing is actually Led Zeppelin’s IV in disguise!
To celebrate Frankie's 15th anniversary, we decided to give it a bit of an upgrade from these humble beginnings — having John Golden completely re-master the record and re-issuing it along with The Age of Octeen, Movie Music Vol. 1, Movie Music Vol. 2 and I’m Afraid of Everything (all of which had fallen out of print for years).
Adam worked hard over the past year to organize this whole project, but Bob Nanna and Todd Bell also put in their fair share of labor — writing updated liner notes, searching for rare photographs and listening to test pressings.
I guess I had it easy, only having to create the pre-order pages.
Danielle just booked our flight to Austin for SXSW next month! This will be my first year in attendance and I’m definitely looking forward to spending four days in the Texas sun instead of the dreary, below-freezing weather in Champaign.
I’ll have my laptop and our photographer extraordinare Andy will be bringing his Canon 40D, so look forward to plenty of first-hand coverage from the festival.
And the best part is, since Danielle wanted to get tickets on an airline that doesn’t charge extra baggage fees, we’ll literally be flying south by Southwest. (Ok, maybe that’s not as cool as it sounded in my head.)
The Best Part Of Waking Up, Is Kinsella In Your Cup
In honor of the Don’t Mind Control Variety Show Release Party, Intelligentsia Coffee created a special Joan of Arc blend!
Ever since we got our shipment, Danielle’s been starting off every day with a cup and she’s never been more productive (although she has developed an irresistible urge to play Boo Human on the stereo every couple hours).
The brew is now up for sale in our E-Store — so if your mornings have been a little lacking lately, rinse out your favorite coffee mug and get a 16 oz. bag of Joan of Arc’s “Afternoons Mourning Blend” (Dick Cheney and Mark Twain not included).
To celebrate of Montreal’s short winter tour, I put together a discography sale on our website that will be running until the end of the trek (February 6th).
Aside from a new package deal that includes 11 of Montreal albums for only $70, everything in the Skeletal Lamping collection is on sale for the first time ever!
When Susan Sarandon heard the news, she was so excited that she ran on stage at the band’s New York City show last night and put a ruler to some hogs. And no, that’s not a euphemism. (But I wish it was.)
The Great Cover Up is a long running Champaign tradition in which local bands get into character and perform an entire set as another band, with the proceeds going to a different charity every year.
From the Polyvinyl family, Braid (INXS, The Smiths, R.E.M.) and The Red Hot Valentines (Green Day, Nickelback) have both participated in the past, while Erin, Tristan and Brett took to the stage multiple times with their pre-Headlights band Absinthe Blind.
In 2007, our publicist Seth performed a set as Headlights with his old band Watery Domestic, and in 2008, our European liaison Mark and his band JigGsaw rocked out as Rancid.
Although none of our bands took part this time around, on Sunday former part-time staffer Eric paid homage to Green Day with his band, PopGun5.
A few months ago, an ordering error left us scrambling to find room for 20 humongous rolls of bubble wrap. Although the bundles were great for anyone who wanted to lie down and sneak a nap in the back room, we finally sent them back yesterday.
Here’s Adam and Megan on their way down to the truck after filling up the elevator:
What isn’t pictured are the 3,000 LP mailers that were delivered on the same truck and subsequently had to be brought upstairs. Although they definitely don’t make for a very comfortable sleeping surface, I guess business-wise they’re a little more useful.
Just when Adam and I were finally beginning to dig ourselves out from beneath the pile of orders we’ve been buried under since getting back from holiday break, a big storm came along and forced me to dig my car out of several inches of snow this morning.
And to make Seth and Andy jealous out in sunny San Francisco, here’s the view from my drive to work:
Last March my roommate wrote a column/review for our college newspaper about Jimmy Fallon’s first week behind the late night desk, so I watched his show for five days straight.
Since then, I haven’t had a reason to tune in again…until now!
Japandroids is making its television debut tonight, so I’ll be doing everything I can to stay awake past midnight (even though we’re currently in the midst of grueling all-day office inventory and I’ve been stuck in the unventilated deep overstock room for most of the morning — but more on that later).
For those of you who have already seen the band in concert, you’re gonna want to tune in too because I guarantee you’ve never heard this song live before.
I just found out yesterday that Headlights will be supporting Dave Bazan on his upcoming spring tour!
I’ve seen Headlights play in a lot of different Champaign-Urbana venues and have also caught Dave Bazan in concert a couple of times (once solo and once with a full band) — so I know from experience that this combo is definitely going to be one to catch if they come through your neck of the woods.
On a cool side note, both bands are managed by our good friends at Undertow (which has headquarters right here in Champaign). In fact, Adam K. used to work at Polyvinyl before joining Undertow so he stops by pretty frequently to raid our stash of Headlights stickers and posters — and to remind Adam A. who is more worthy of their name.
Andy just added all the dates to the tours section of our website, so check them out here.
This month I was handed (one of) the reins to the Polyvinyl Twitter account.
I’ll be chiming in several times a week to let you know about new E-store items and special deals, while Andy will still be keeping you updated on everything happening with our bands — videos, interviews, new music and more.
Judging from my past track record on this blog, I think my biggest problem is going to be keeping my posts under 140 characters…
I can’t believe it’s December already — the past couple weeks have been a blur of packing orders, listening to test pressings (Aloha Home Acres, Japandroids No Singles, Volcano, I’m Still Excited!!) and other odds and ends around the office.
I even wrote up a press release for the Joan of Arc Don’t Mind Control Variety Show happening next month at the Empty Bottle in Chicago.
But today I’m only focusing on mailorder to make sure everybody gets their packages before Christmas.
Luckily, unlike when I used to work at Bergner’s and they would only play Christmas music from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s, I’ve got a soundtrack of ’80s Power Ballads to get me through the day.
I’ve blogged before (here and here) about our involvement with Kickstarter and today the website’s “Project of the Day" features our very own Asobi Seksu!
The NY-based band was offered the opportunity to tour the UK with White Lies later this month and into December. Of course, Yuki and James (Asobi’s core members) are doing the tour more for the exposure than any sort of financial gain. In fact, they stand to lose a lot of money from their trip overseas.
Which is why they’re asking for your help. In return for pledges, Asobi Seksu is offering a lot of great rewards — including Rewolf download codes, signed posters and records, liner notes shout outs and unique handscreened t-shirts.
Matt (PV’s co-owner) rolls into the office at least two or three times a month wearing his and Adam tells me we’ll be getting them for the E-store within a couple weeks.
One of my personal favorite musicians — Mark Hoppus (blink-182, +44) — now has a weekly feature on Spin.com called Hopp on Pop (apparently someone over there’s been reading a little too much Dr. Suess) where he highlights his favorite up-and-coming band.
To start things off he chose two more of my personal favorite musicians — the dudes in Japandroids. Click here to read what he had to say.
It’s both a trick and a treat — a beautiful song for listening to on a fall day, but also a little deceptive since it has nothing to do with the holiday it’s named after. In fact, Alternative Press just called out “Halloween” on its list of “10 Essential Massively Misleading Song Titles.”
As if I wasn’t already bummed enough that I had to miss what was apparently an insane CMJ showcase (including Owen performing as Oasis — what?? — and our publicist Seth crowd surfing — double what??) Andy finally recovered enough from the night to send me these stellar pictures he shot. Take a look!
Seth and Andy are flying cross-country tomorrow morning for the Polyvinyl CMJ Showcase in NYC. I know Andy is stoked to see Cale Parks and all our other great bands playing the festival, including James Husband, Headlights, Owen (featuring Mike playing an electric guitar while backed by a full band) and Japandroids.
If you’re going to be in the city that never sleeps this weekend, be sure to stop by the Bell House in Brooklyn on Friday. Get there early because doors open at 6 and stay late for a DJ set by Asobi Seksu after the concert.
My whole family’s from the borough, but I can’t go so say “Hi” to my grandparents for me!
Drove up to Chicago this weekend to watch Japandroids play the second of two headlining shows there. It’s been a long time since I watched a concert at 3 in the afternoon, but Schubas was packed and even though the band had just played to a sold out crowd a mere 15 hours before, the music sounded great.
Afterwards, my girlfriend and I headed about a mile down the road to Reckless Records, where I picked up a few CDs from Lifetime, Hot Water Music and Seaweed.
I was also hoping to stop at the used bookstore we parked next to (because of its awesome window sign), but sadly it was closed by the time we got back to the car after eating.
I first heard of The Ivoryton Piano Factory (Justin Veatch) when Owen (Mike Kinsella) posted a cover of the song ‘ESRT Page 14’ on his Myspace page. I am a huge fan of Owen and I really enjoyed that cover, so I went to the Myspace page for The Ivoryton Piano Factory. I enjoyed the songs posted there, but I was sad to learn that Justin had passed away.
The album ‘Permagrin: The Music of Justin Veatch by The Ivoryton Piano Factory and Friends’ collects the completed Ivoryton Piano Factory songs along with covers of these same songs by a wide-range of artists. The proceeds from the album go to the Justin Veatch Fund, started by Justin’s father to provide scholarships to college-bound students pursuing music education. Here is the tracklisting of the album:
01. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - ESRT Page 14 02. Owen - ESRT Page 14 03. Hard Calibers - ESRT Page 14 04. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - Clean 05. Vinicius Cantuaria - Clean (Translated to Onda Pura) 06. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - Can’t Afford the Color 07. Moving Mountains - Can’t Afford the Color 08. The Bensen-Scott Big Band - Can’t Afford the Color 09. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - Jersey City Homecoming 10. Stay Home - Jersey City Homecoming 11. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - Broken Angel 12. Caterpillars - Whispering Spirits 13. The Ivoryton Piano Factory - Whispering Spirits 14. Anthony Melillo - Justin’s Song
Here are the highlights in my opinion: * ESRT Page 14 - This is probably my favorite song by The Ivoryton Piano Factory. It is a simple song that keeps building and building. It really gets stuck in my head. The Owen and Hard Calibers covers of this song are really good. * Whispering Spirits - This song is a close second to ESRT Page 14 in my opinion. It is a slow song, but still catchy. The Caterpillars cover is also good. * Clean - This is another good song by The Ivoryton Piano Factory. It is more upbeat than Justin’s other songs. * Can’t Afford The Color - This piano-driven song really gets into a groove. The original version and the Moving Mountains cover are both good. * Jersey City Homecoming - This may be the one song on the album where I like the cover version better than the original. The cover by Stay Home is significantly slower, which I like, but both versions are good.
Overall, I’m really enjoying the compilation. It is surprisingly cohesive with such a wide array of artists involved, but I suppose that is because all of the songs (except the last one) were written by Justin Veatch. I would really recommend checking it out for the music, but it’s also nice that it goes to a good cause. Justin’s family and friends should be very proud of his music and their effort to have it heard.