Saturday, December 6, 2008


joel phelps is a dude that makes me feel genuinely starstruck when i see him. and i see him pretty much every day.
joel was in silkworm (which everybody knows is the best band ever) up until their 1994 album libertine, after which he left and started releasing music on his own and with the downer trio.
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his 1999 album blackbird is easily one of the best rock albums of the last 10 years. it's so fucking good. i dream of making an album this raw and awesome. too bad barely anybody has heard it and it's super hard to find.
bla bla bla i love joel phelps.
anyway, i guess he's lived in vancouver for a bunch of years and i guess he lives in my neighborhood, because i see him ALL THE FUCKING TIME. he's always sitting in this place called zigg's 2 blocks from my house drinking beer. every time i walk by i look in the window to see if he's in there and if he is i get all "oh my god, it's joel phelps!" and kinda have to fan myself and walk away quickly before i faint. one time i was in line at the grocery store and he was 2 people in front of me. i almost died!
thing is, he's all weird and shy and i think he wouldn't be stoked if i ever tried to say anything to him like "you are the greatest human being ever and i love you".
he ain't bad looking either...
a girl i know tried talking to him once about how amazing his music is and he got really awkward and kinda couldn't say anything or make eye contact. which is cool. i guess who wouldn't get weird about something like that?
he barely ever plays live, but when he does next you'll be sure to see the members of ladyhawk standing at the very front and alternately screaming, sobbing, tearing at their clothes and scribbling furiously in their journals.


2008 was a real motherfucker.
i mean, not really, but kind of.
our album came out (a full year after it was recorded) and we went on tour. a lot.
we worked really hard this year and all we have to show for it is massive debt (both band and personal), mental instability, shattered relationships and the overall disdain of everyone we work with.
but i'm not bitter.
i'm more like an olive- kind of briny, pickle-ish... but tasty.
if this all sounds super whiny, it is. it's what i do. i whine.
and look, i realize our album is kinda crappy, people have been telling us that from the start, but that's just the way we made it and that's the way we like it. if people don't like it, they should go listen to something better- like bon iver. or bon scott era ac/dc.
as the great robert wyatt once wrote:
"you may notice some technical inadequacies in some of my performances- a hesitant beat here, a dodgy note there- these are of course entirely deliberate and reproduced as evidence of my almost painful sincerity."
totally, dude.

anyway, because it's that time of the year, i thought i'd do a couple year end top ten lists myself. and sticking with the theme of whining, here's:


1. ladyhawke related shit-
yes, we know that there's another ladyhawk(e). no, we don't care. why do you? is this ACTUALLY confusing to people? do we have to change our fucking band name?

2. guys who talk about beards-
this applies to both music writers and guys (and it's ALWAYS guys) on the street or at shows. dudes are always saying shit to me like "hey, sweet beard, man" or they just want to talk about my beard. i NEVER do that to other guys with beards. honestly, what the fuck is up with that? some dudes even want to touch it. music writers always think they're being super clever and use the fucking dumb made up term "beardos" when they talk about us- like weirdos, but with an extra beard reference thrown in all sneaky! GET IT?? why do people always mention the fact that we have facial hair? if i was writing about a band i wouldn't mention the fact that certain members have boobs or perms or whatever. i just really fucking hate shaving.

3. alcohol references (sorry, another one aimed at music writers)-
look, i realize we did this one to ourselves. fully. we deserve it. but it's still annoying to constantly hear yourself refered to as "booze-soaked" when you really don't drink THAT much. i mean, i don't drink that much, the other guys are DRUNKS!

4. stupid, boring interview questions-
i also realize it's lame to complain about doing interviews, like "oooh, poor me, people are interested in what i think about things...", but does anyone honestly care about shit like "where did you get your band name?" or "how did your band start?"? NOBODY cares about that shit! and nobody really cares what i think about things and they shouldn't.

5. sound guys-
hey dude, i think your ponytail's too tight. these guys take their job pretty seriously, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but after hearing the same lecture about stage volume and turning down literally hundreds of times, WE FUCKING GET IT! that doesn't mean we're going to turn down. i'm sure anybody that plays in a guitar-based rock band can feel me on this. i also love it when sound guys "join the band" and feel they can just throw all kinds of shitty digital reverb and delay all over the vocals. it cracks me up every time.

6. being broke-
we make NOOOO money. thing is, i still have to pay rent for all those months i'm away on tour and i can't work when i'm not around, so there's not really any money coming in most of the time. it's also pretty hard to find a job that's cool with you leaving all the time. it's rad to borrow money from your parents when you're 30 because you play in a band and can't buy groceries.

7. drink tickets-
its also lame to complain about getting free drinks, but when you're trying to survive on a $10 per diem, tipping the bartender kind of stings. we usually only get 3 tickets per band member, so it's also pretty difficult to cultivate that "booze-soaked" image we're known for.

8. my amp-
no comment. anybody want to buy an amp?

9. "club night"-
i understand that bars need to make money and that they can make more money if they double book the night, rushing everyone, including the bands, out early so dj's can set up and all new people can come in and get drunk. it makes sense, but fuck off.

10. sketchy promoters trying to rip off bands-
it happens all the time and it sucks.

bla bla bla... god, complain much? yeesh!

here's my top ten albums of 2008 (in no particular order):

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david bowie- young americans
some of this sounds a bit too g.e. smith and the saturday night live band, but the song "win" kills me every time.

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yaz- upstairs at eric's
i've been obsessed with vince clarke all year. he also did all the music on depeche mode's (pre heroin) debut album that's been ruling me as well.

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the grateful dead- s/t
it's no secret that i love the dead. lately i've really been jamming their first album, it makes me want to do a shit-load of speed next time we record.

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laid back- keep smiling
best. album. ever.
best. cover. ever.

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fleetwood mac- tusk
this is what millions of dollars, 2 years of studio time and mountains of cocaine can get you- a sprawling monster double album/difficult artistic statement that alienates almost all of your fans, but actually deeply rules. i've cried listening to this more than once. totally emo.

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no kids- come into my house
nick krgovich is a genius.

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tommy james and the shondells- the best of tommy james and the shondells
come on... crimson and clover? i think we're alone now? forget about it. i just want to make music that sounds like this.

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double negative- the wonderful and frightening world of double negative
the last time we played in chapel hill, these guys were the only people at our show. for some reason they like our band. anyway, after the show one of the dudes gave me a copy of this album and it totally fucking kills.

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crass- stations of the crass
i'll admit, i rarely make it all the way through this album in one go. let's just say it's a little... preachy. but it's got some jams.

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guided by voices- alien lanes
28 short songs that are really more like one long song. this has probably been in my top 10 since it came out.

honerable mention: anything by the dwight twilley band.

hey, wait a minute! only one of those albums came out in 2008! turns out we weren't the only ones releasing crappy albums this year, so was EVERYONE ELSE!
just kidding, there were probably lots of good albums released in 2008, i just have no interest in hearing them. that's just me.

AND there's no better way to celebrate christmas than by listening to grim, satanic black metal! so here's my top 10 all-time favorite black metal albums (also in no particular order)...

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bathory- the return
pretty much the first "actual" black metal album and kind of the best. i listened to this once on a faulty record player that kept slowing down and speeding up and got thoroughly creeped out.

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ulver- nattens madrigal
there's a legend that this was recorded in the forest under the full moon. obviously bullshit. the guitar sound on this album is insane. ulver means wolves in norwegian, pretty badass.

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mayhem- live in leipzig
apparently the only surviving recording of the legendary line-up featuring dead, euronymous and varg vikarnes. if you don't know the dirt on these dudes, look it up. this recording is so shitty, but completely ripping and includes between song banter in "grim" voice.

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emperor- anthems to the welkin at dusk
emperor gets props for being ambitious, even if their "symphonic" elements are just kind of cheesy synth lines. the overall effect is one of swirling, buzzing, chaotic noise, everything is lost in an almost ambient haze. kind of the my bloody valentine of black metal (that's a joke. is it just me or is my bloody valentine the most overly name-checked band EVER? i mean, i love my bloody valentine, EVERYBODY loves my bloody valentine. let's all just shut the fuck up about it!)

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black witchery/conqueror- hellstorm of evil vengeance (split)
i'm not so much into the conqueror stuff (but it's technically more "war metal" anyway), but the black witchery songs are easily the shittiest, fastest, most brutal shit around. nothing but straight blast beats all the way. also, great title, guys.

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xasthur- the funeral of being
this shit is totally emo.

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gorgoroth- under the sign of hell
gorgoroth is ACTUALLY scary. they make most other black metal bands look like bon iver. you should really check out's excellent documentary about gorgoroth's main guy gaahl. totally insane.

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darkthrone- a blaze in the northern sky
this just sounds like a crusty, lo-fi version of shitty early 90's hardcore and it truly doesn't get much better than that.

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burzum- aske e.p.
i can't really look past some of the shittier aspects of varg vikarnes character (murderer, white supremecist..), but nobody has a better black metal howl than him.

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immortal- battles in the north
these guys are kind of like the savage garden of black metal.

p.s. if you ever get bored just youtube "funny metallica moments"... remember when those guys were actually "booze-soaked"?

see you in the new year!
and if not, see you in hell!