We are still alive, we assure you.

So, a year on from the last post:

- Andy has moved to San Francisco
- we are, remotely, working on a batch of new songs
- we will be playing shows in Durham in May, Chicago in June
- we have been in talks to record the new stuff, and how to do so
- 2/3 of us will be performing in a Silkworm tribute band this June.

So, a year on and, yeah, five updates. Busy, been real busy. We swear.

Points of Interest

Just a few bullet points:
- Andy is moving to Washington, DC, the nation’s capital, to work on something at somewhere. We’re fairly convinced his new home will be a warehouse-style motorcycle shop straight out of ’80s, from which he and his wife can fight crime. And he can park his Ducati in the den. This might a fantasy of mine, though, and not actually what he and his wife are doing. We’ll see.
- That said, we’re still going to be practicing/playing shows, but out of the gate we’ll need a little bit of time to figure out schedules and whatnot. Hopefully this will give us time for the Durham police to solve the next point:
-Alot of stuff was stolen from our space, right at the end of March, in the middle of the night, guy took three trips[!]. It was mostly the equipment of our good friend, Dave Heller. It was alot of gear, a ridiculous amount of gear. If you’ve ever seen our space, it is a shell of it’s former self. A complete list is available here: Stolen Gear Alert!
- We played the PRFBBQNYC while stuff got stolen. Funny how things work out. So much fun, balanced out by such douchebaggery. Regardless, PRFBBQs are life changing. In-between the shows, we found time to watch Robocop.

Chaz, Andy, Tandy.

Friends

<--you can skip this stuff if you just want the executive summary-->

Sometimes the idea of a thing can grow, quietly, without you even noticing as it happens. It can slide into the crevices left behind as you struggle to rearrange your picture of the world, which you’re doing because sometimes that picture has gotten burned into the screen and behind that image the world is actually changing, much to your mildly indignant shock. I mean, the nerve of the world. So this idea, let’s say it’s the knowledge that you have to write an email about a show, has been sneaking around getting bigger, all wrapping its tentacles around your insecurities, and eventually you sort of just close the door that leads into that room [this is normal, right, to have rooms in your brain?] and do your best to ignore the weird noises coming from in there, because back when you had the idea in the first place it was maybe manageable, but now, christ, what a mess that room is, the hell with it.

We are playing tomorrow as part of Chaz’s Bull City Records’ Five Year Anniversary, at Fullsteam Brewery, and this will probably be our last show around here for awhile. Andy has gotten a pretty awesome job at a think tank in DC, and he and Elizabeth and Jackson the Béarnaise Mountain Dog [saucy Jack!] will be moving up there in April. It’s probably not a permanent move, but of course this will entail a slightly longer commute to the Old Oxford Ample Storage. We have some tentative plans for how it’s all going to work, but yes. So it means very little, really, to the casual passerby, but it’s basically become a whole thing in my head, writing this email, and I struggled with even mentioning it, because, hell, it’ll probably end up we play some weird show in Raleigh or something next month, and then it’s all hey you said the last show was the last show, and even that show’s not the last one, because really, we’ll be practicing and all and eventually booking shows once schedules get settled, DC isn’t that far away, we’re playing in Brooklyn in March, it’s not that difficult to work these things out, but anyway, it seems worth mentioning, that if you want to see us play in the near future and live here, you should come out tomorrow. We’re going to have Dave Cantwell play with us again, and that, well, that is just pure joy. Sorry to get all Tandy* on you there.

In a hilarious bit of good timing, this move coincides with our starting to get distribution of LP1 in Japan of all places, so, if you live there, um, we’ll send an email soon with details about that? This assumes I can figure out how to send the damn things to Japan, which remains to be seen.

It’s more important, though, now I’ve apparently dealt with my GD personal problems, to tell you that our lives as a band have, pretty much from his arrival in town, been linked in a wonderful way with the presence of both Chaz Martenstein and his record store. We played terrifyingly hot and structurally dubious shows in the empty space across the hall from his place on Perry st, merged an EP release with his first anniversary, and have generally had the quality of our lives improved in concrete and intangible ways by his generosity with his time and effort, his indefatigable devotion to the music community of Durham and the triangle, his enthusiasm for and broad yet deep knowledge of music as an art form and cultural signifier, and the immediately apparent positive energy that inhabits that beard, toboggan, and sweatshirt. Also, Rothko. I mean, come on. Shop dog!

So when I start using phrases like cultural signifier it’s past time to stop. Sorry. I was an anthropology major. Thanks for reading.

Currently the greatest song in the world is We Slept In Rented Rooms by Juno.

=Evan + MPLSTV

Here’s the long-overdue summary:

BULL CITY RECORDS’ FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY!

Saturday, February 26 2010, 7:00PM

Fullsteam Brewery, Durham NC

Brad & Phil Cook
Midtown Dickens
Des Ark [solo]
Maple Stave
Cantwell, Gomez, and Jordan
Last Year’s Men

*AKA Realistic, AKA real, as in “to get real [with someone].” We are working to make this a thing people say. It’s not going well!

LP1, etc.

These words on this page will not do any justice.

I wanted to say things at the show, heartfelt things, expressing how much all this has meant to me, but, alas, I was a tad overwhelmed by the whole affair. The support and kind words that we have received, the honest analysis, down to even passing interest that we have gotten in response to this album means so much to me and to us. It was something we worked very hard on, something we poured ourselves into, something that was the culmination of several years’ worth of rather trying experiences (good and bad) and significant change (good and bad). It would have been fine if anyone just said said, ‘eh, it’s good,’ but that’s not what’s happened. It feels like, for the first time, we’ve managed to set the bar for ourselves.

As far as the release, to show up last night, to get to watch our friends in Lurch and Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan throw down the gauntlet…there have been a number of shows I’ve been more nervous than usual to play, but last night stood toe to toe with the PRF BBQ. Why we actively seek to play shows with bands that blow us out of the water, I can’t really say, other than there is a certain brotherly awe in watching your friends go up and play with such intensity that you rethink whether or not you even know how to play your instrument. When we saw Lurch play a few weeks back (their first show), I looked at Andy and said something to the effect of, ‘we’ve made a terrible mistake,’ they were more on the mark at show one than we are at most shows 100+. And Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan, we’ll never top Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan, so we’ll just keep stealing bits and pieces, ‘borrowing’ if you will.

There are too many specifics to thank, and I’ve already forgotten enough in mentioning the two bands who were kindly enough to join us last eve, so I’ll stop here. Tuesday, we go back to business as usual.

Thank you to you and you and you.

LP ONE

Planes n' Philippes n' Skeletons n' Stuff
So, today, the album comes out. It took some time.

To buy: LP1: Like Rain Freezing and Thawing Between Bricks, Year After Year This House Will Come Down

Thank you.
Tonight: Pinhook, Durham NC
Maple Stave, Cantwell, Gomez, and Jordan, Lurch

And, finally, some kind words from Evan:
“Friends:

You have ideas, about how things might go.

You do your best, making the wrong decisions sometimes, making the right ones likely more often, occasionally not knowing which it was until long after. You gather the people close to you who are of like mind, who can offer counsel, ground you, stop you short sometimes when you least expect it with a joke, with the right words, with a well-timed shit-talking. You pull them as close as you can, you make room in what is an increasingly crowded life. Some of them, you spend hours with them in metal boxes in the dead of summer, be it a deafening storage space or a cramped minivan, moving through late humid nights and flat midwestern states. You find yourself with these same at dawn in front of the same dead van at an Indiana rest stop, questioning all of your decisions, awaiting rescue in the form of a flatbed tow truck which will only leave you at a dead mall and a garage and hundreds of dollars poorer, but absolutely certain of the fact that you are among family, here, stranded but not alone.

With these few among your beautiful family you spend these long nights. In the tin box surrounded by other boxes filled with what people have decided they have no room for, in the van, in strange houses full of knives, on rooftops surrounded by gunfire, in bars long before the regulars arrive, in the cheapest motels watching Sportscenter. You communicate your fears, your losses, your triumphs, your love, with some instruments anyone can buy.

Anyone can buy these things. They can communicate with them.

But you talk to each other, for hours on end. You make some songs, and you record them. You play them as well as you can, and you have very talented friends help you in the endeavor. You make a record, literally, a document. These are the things that happen to you, and you put them down. They are often strange, and not what you might have thought would happen. You had ideas, maybe plans. You feel sometimes you are not living up to these plans.

But:

“Which is nonsense, for whatever you live is Life. That is something to remember when you meet the old classmate who says, “Well now, on our last expedition up the Congo-” or the one who says, “Gee, I got the sweetest little wife and three of the swellest kids ever-” You must remember it when you sit in hotel lobbies or lean over bars to talk to the bartender or walk down a dark street at night, in early March, and stare into a lighted window. And remember little Susie has adenoids and the bread is probably burned, and turn up the street, for the time has come to hand me down that walking cane, for I got to catch that midnight train, for all my sin is taken away. For whatever you live is life.”

I have been trying desperately to not finish All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren for months. I am going to be sad when it is over, and at the same time cannot wait to read it again.

We have made a record, an LP this time, nine songs. We are playing a release show Saturday October 16th at Pinhook in Durham with our friends Cantwell, Gomez, and Jordan and Lurch. This lineup, it is almost embarrassing in its amazingness. We are honored to have these friends along for this. And because he is more outstanding than most humans could hope to be, Dave Cantwell will be playing a couple of songs with us, having put up with our nonsense at practice and made our songs better than we thought they could be.

If you’ve read this far, you know that this thing is important to me, and I can’t really add any more, and the maudlin:information ratio has gotten way out of balance as it is. It would be great to see you.

Currently the greatest song in the world is Bonne Chance, Asshole, by Des Ark. Bias does not apply here, as I am referencing the version on the new record, which if you don’t have it well you are living without something that is absolutely incredible, and I am sorry that you have to wait until it comes out. Seriously, I have listened to this song about 75 times in the last four days and I cannot stop.

=Evan + MPLSTV”

Upcoming Shows

Saturday, September 4: Wilmington NC, Reggie’s 42nd st Tavern, with BLACKS and Mr. Stonecipher.
Saturday, September 11: Raleigh NC, Hopscotch Music FestivalRaleigh Times, 2:00pm. With Red Collar, Des Ark, more.
Thursday, September 23: Boone NC, Black Cat Burrito, with Clover Buds
Friday, September 24: Louisville KY, TBA.
Saturday, September 25: Chicago IL, Quenchers, with Nonagon and Mayor For Life.
Sunday, September 26: Madison WI, The Frequency, with United Sons of Toil, The Suit, more.
Monday, September 27: Milwaukee WI, TBA.
Tuesday, September 28: Bloomington IN, The Bishop, with SLUTBANGER
Wednesday, September 29: Pittsburgh PA [help?]
Thursday, September 30: New Brunswick NJ, Little Richard’s.
Friday, October 1: Brooklyn NY, The Charleston, with Risk/Reward.
Saturday, October 2: Philadelphia PA [help?]
Saturday, October 16: Durham NC, Pinhook, LP1 RELEASE SHOW, with CantwellGomezandJordan and Lurch