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News

New song available for free download!

Hello friends,

It has finally turned into summer here in San Francisco, just as the rest of the country is crisping up. No more sweaters in August for us.

New news is afoot.

We have posted a new free download for our Single “Go Dancing” which appears on our forthcoming album, Broken Bow. Get it before the kids next door!

The full album will be out November 23. Just in time for your Thanksgiving playlist. We are super excited about this. It’s been a long time coming, and was the product of many many long distance commutes. The massively talented Jason Quever (Papercuts) recorded it, and we think it sounds great. We’ll be doing a pre-order next month, complete with a free gift for the first orders.

Also, we’ll be playing some shows on the West Coast late fall with some awesome bands. Look for updates here.

Confirmed:
10/27 The Rickshaw Stop (SF) with Allo Darlin
11/11 The Sunset Tavern (Seattle) with Pomegranates
11/14 Mississippi Studios (Portland) with Candy Claws
11/18 El Rio (SF) CD Release Party with Writer

Thanks as always for listening. We hope that fall brings everything you want.

The Last Word

8/28/10 – San Francisco, CA

A parting interview with my bandmates:

What was your favorite non-playing moment of the tour?
YOSHI: Family time in Omaha and Coopersburg. I found some peace in those two places.
NICK: Omaha, for sure.
NATHAN: Trying new foods (18 yrs of vegetarianism down the drain with a steak, ribs, and a bacon chicken sandwich)

What was your favorite moment on stage?
YOSHI: Playing “Cover Rights” , our last song of the tour in Denver.
And wanting to play it again the next day. Not wanting the tour to end because we are at the height of our performing power.
NICK: The World Cup Fever request in Boston.
NATHAN: The perfect lighting at Bruar Falls Read more

No Nickels Back

8/27/10 – Elko, NV

We think it’s an awesome idea to stay at a casino. We are wrong. Except for the cover band playing Nickelback.

Fin

8/26/10 – Denver, CO

We make the epic drive to Denver for our final show. At some point, I realize, holy shit, we’re going to make it through this.

We permit ourselves several dawdling stops, including Gothenburg, Nebraska, where we all buy souvenirs at an old Pony Express station. Last summer, we played Gothenburg Sweden, and now we realize that this town was actually founded by Swedes, in honor of their hometown.

We’ve grown a little quieter around each other, realizing our separation is imminent. Real life means lots of comforts, but it also means contemplating things we’ve shoved into the dark corners of our minds for the last three weeks. Money, work, dishes, taxes–the list is endless.

The folks in Denver are just lovely. The final band, Hindershot (containing two ex-Nebraskans!), is having so much fun onstage I swear we could all leave and they’d just keep playing. It’s a rare quality in a band. I suppose it helps that the music is great.

My battered keyboard stand, which was being held together by a wedged-in Allen wrench, gets abandoned at a dumpster. It is our final farewell. It feels like a viking funeral, watching that spindly thing recede as we drive away.

The Good Life

8/25/10 – Omaha, NE

I go for a run in the neighborhood and then meet my mom on the trail. As we’re walking home, we pass a bootmaker called Dehner boots. I’ve had my eye on this company for years, but never realized their factory was blocks from my mom’s house.

We walk into the office and an older gentleman dressed like one of the British Raj greets us. He suggests that he take my measurements just in case I decide to order boots someday. One of his associates interrupts us, saying that the gentleman needs to get going for his cardiologist appt. The man waves him off keeps measuring, then offers us a tour of the factory. Behind the scenes, ten people are hand-sewing custom boots. It smells wonderfully like leather. I spot a mirrored plaque that reads, “Kissing a man without a mustache is like eating an egg without salt.” Of course, the courtly proprietor has a white mustache.

Nathan and Yoshi and I hit some thrift stores and my favorite, Second Chance Antiques, then we all convene at Ted and Wally’s ice cream parlor for a malted. Malts are hard to come by in some regions of the US, which is a crying shame.

That afternoon, Mom makes us a Nebraska feast–cucumber salad, slaw, baked beans, barbeque ribs, and peach pie. My dad brings some good tequila. We go to the venue stuffed. And a little tequila-d, to boot.

The Waiting Room is by far the nicest club we’ve been in on this tour. The bartender turns out to be a friend of mine from junior high. All our friends and family come out and we have a great show.

My mom stays til the last second. Who knew she was built for this life?

Zombification

8/24/10 – Ames, IA

After a totally humane drive, we arrive in Ames, Iowa. I confess I love how Iowa looks. Rolling hills, cute farmhouses. It’s one of my favorite states. Nick’s special friend Sara is along for the ride, and it’s sort of embarrassing for someone else to see how far we’ve devolved. We cackle maniacally at the stupidest things. It’s like a loony bin on four wheels.

The tour is nearing its end, and we’ve had an inversion of our expectations. We’ve showered every day–which is inconceivable. However, we’ve slept less than we thought humanly possible. Every day is a Sophie’s choice between sleep and “doing something”–breakfast, thrifting, hanging out, reading, whatever. If we sleep as much as we need, we have no life whatsoever outside of the car. If we don’t sleep enough, we get to seize the day, for at least an hour that is–but we seize the day as zombies.

I want to make everyone eat a Maid-Rite, a special strain of burger endemic to Iowa. (Nathan is still being virtuous about his meat consumption, but I think I can corrupt him). I use my phone to locate a Maid-Rite and walk us there. But the storefront is now a dodgy-looking tapas place. I grab a strapping Iowan boy on the street and ask where Maid Rite has moved to. He laughs and says it’s been closed for years.

I expect Christopher Lloyd to screech up in a smoking DeLorean at any second.

Our show reminds me of the shows I went to growing up. All ages, in whatever space we could find. (For example, a very early Pavement show while the leadership of the Fraternal Order of Eagles stood around with their fingers in their ears.) But in many ways, those are the best sorts of shows. Everyone is there to see the music. Not to get drunk or pick up girls or whatever.

The show end early enough that we decide to drive to Omaha, where we each will have our own room. Everyone except me–I’ll be shacking up with my mom.

Mom wakes up at 2 AM when we arrive, and stays up til 4 with us. She is officially on Rock Time.

Hold My Life

8/24/10 – Minneapolis

Yoshi and I rise early to go walk around Oak Park and look at Frank Lloyd Wright houses. It’s cool to imagine the furious neighbors a century ago, complaining about the eyesore going up next to their houses.

Our objective is to get to Ames, Iowa, one of the shortest drives we’ve had on the entire tour. This means we actually get to hang out in Minneapolis. I use Chowhound to find a great breakfast place. There is a counter that runs the length of the room, and people are standing around waiting for a spot. It’s daunting for a moment, but we tough it out, and it’s so, so worth it–this breakfast is one of my favorite moments of the tour. The Replacements blare over the stereo, the chef is screaming at everyone in a familial way, the food is perfectly Americana. We linger for a while afterwards and have the waitress take our photo so we can remember this moment of total grungy bliss.

Before our long drive, we go hang out on the Macalester campus, Nick’s alma mater. The boys lay down in the sunny grass and I go for a walk. I end up in Whole Foods, having a long discussion with an employee about the vilification of kombucha. She blames Lindsay Lohan.

The Long and Windy Road

8/23/10 – Chicago

Another very long drive. We are bagging states like NBA players are bagging girls.

Chicago marks a major reunion for us. We are staying with Merch Man Mike, whom our devoted readers might recognize from our ’06 tour blog. We’ve invoked Mike’s name, his jokes, his stories many a time on this trip, and boy does he seem happy to see us.

He and his lady Annie have set out hors d’oeuvres and wine for us. They are nothing if not classy. Mike is like a brother to me and I keep looking around his apartment and saying, “You’re a grown up!”

At the show, i get to see my dear friends Tim and Vic.

We have a good show. The whole thing is very civilized.

Back at Mike’s I can tell he never wants us to leave. At least until tomorrow.

Trees Lounge

8/22/10 – Columbus

The compound’s patriarch shoos us out the door by noon, insisting we’re going to be late for our gig. At one point he yells, “Get OUT of here! GET IN THE CAR!” It’s nice to have that pressure be external for once. We’ve been carrying it around ourselves for over two weeks. Someone is always drill-sergeanting, and someone is always dawdling. But the duties seem to rotate among us; no one ever gets too calcified in his or her role.

The drive hurts. I mean really hurts. Our R&R seems to have backfired, sending our battered bodies into full-on “what-the-fuck?!?” mode.

We’re playing a club called the Treehouse. And the Treehouse actually has a tree in it. A giant tree strung with Christmas lights. It smells damp and rainy, but it has a fantastic jukebox. We put in a long queue, including plenty of GBV, in honor of their home state. Within two minutes of our arrival, Tommy, the doorman, tells us an amazing story about being arrested at Disneyland–he was handcuffed and put into a rowboat and forcibly rowed off of Tom Sawyer’s island in front of all the gawking children. Oh, and he watched Tinkerbell fall to her death. The guy spent a lot of time at Disneyland. Obviously, we bro-down with him all night.

Our crowd is small but attentive. As we’re loading, a Bulgarian music aficionado named Boris tears up the alley in his car, nearly running over Yoshi’s drums. He hits the brakes, spitting gravel everywhere. He leaps out of his car, inquires about merch, and peels some cash from his fat wallet, purchasing our entire discography.

People, we have ourselves a patron.

Digressions

8/21/10 – Philadelphia, PA

We wake at a super-secret compound near Bethlehem, PA. The secrets of this super secret compound must remain secretive. But Dear Reader, let me tell you–there is scintillating conversation, there is delicious food, there is laundry, there is a room for each of us, there is a pool. Our spirits are put right. We sleep, we feast, we wander, we swim, we sleep some more, we read the internets, we write the emails, we read the books, we sleep. Oh, and we also film a video for “You’re Alight.”

And then we drive to Philly. Last time out, Philly was our favorite show. A man on the street called our merch man Mike “Rocky”. We inadvertently ate racist cheesesteaks. We danced on tables to the soulful strains of The Boss.

We arrive at North Star Bar and realize we’re not on the show posters. This presents an interesting opportunity for anonymity. We could get up there and play Dokken covers, and perhaps no one would bat an eye.

But then we realize that there are some people there to see us. So we become ourselves and play our hearts out.

The stage is very high, dizzyingly so, and I keep picturing myself falling off of it. It’s an irrational fear, sort of like whenever i walk through a shoplifting detector at a store and expect that it will go off. That somehow I’ve gone crazy, stolen a bunch of merchandise and then had an amnesia attack and so when I’m wrestled to the ground and caught with thousands of dollars of merchandise, I’ll be as surprised as anyone.

Yeah, anyway, I don’t fall off the stage and neither does anyone else.

Afterwards, we hang out and eat the most brilliant snack ever–funnel cake fries. (It’s crushing to see an ad for them at Burger King on the PA Turnpike the next day). Nathan is drinking mezcal, and with each shot, he keeps telling me how he won’t be hung over because it’s such a pure drink. He is cracking us all up, as usual.

We return to the compounds and sleep in our own rooms, a luxury that almost makes me lonely. We’ve melded into a single organism and now I feel like I’m missing three limbs.