CSTBracket 2018: 11 Years Of Never Figuring It Out

Posted in Basketball, College Spurts, Gambling, Sad Toilets at 12:16 am by

The best players from the first NCAA Tournament I was extravagantly wrong about as a CSTB contributor are mostly out of the NBA. In 2007, the year of the first CSTBracket, Florida won its second consecutive NCAA Tournament title, and only Corey Brewer, who is still implausibly doing his lanky and effortful thing with the Oklahoma City Thunder—and quite well, at that—and Al Horford have played in a NBA game this year. I am compelled to note here that Marreese Speights (above) is apparently still active with the Orlando Magic, although I defy anyone reading this to produce any proof of this. Marreese Speights, who played in that game mostly to foul a temporarily immortal Greg Oden, is now 30 years old.

Anyway, this is how it goes. Mike Conley Jr. will play in one next year, and there is a universe in which both Greg Oden and Joakim Noah will somehow play in one again, although that universe is a kinder and more pleasant one than this one. In this universe, 2007 was a long time ago. There was the looming Kevin Durant/Greg Oden question in the next NBA Draft. The broader culture had not yet capitulated on everything that we ever held dear in favor of a rancid carnival of pure animus. I don’t think Instagram was a thing yet. It sucked, mostly, but we did not yet know how good we had it.

Anyway, it is 2018. I would love to tell you otherwise, but the facts are what they are. And the fact of the matter is this—you, if you are at all like me, have not gotten any better at predicting what unconscionably uncompensated teenagers will do under pressure, on television, in March. I have always sucked at this and I always will.

I sucked at it, like sucked out loud and stank on ice, when I put up the first CSTBracket post in 2007. I am just as bad at it now as I was then, if not worse. At this point in my life and this shared journey, it is not not about getting it right. It is not about getting it slightly more right right. It is, I think, about the ritual of getting it wrong. That is the thing that has endured and will endure, whatever comes. These players will get it wrong, because they are human and young and scared and unfinished; we will get it wrong in attempting to essay how that all will go because all of that is impossible to predict. That is the game. That is the point. That’s what’s fun about it. It’s all we’ve ever really had. Click here to get wrong again; I don’t think there’s a password, but if there is one it’s “cstb” without the quotes. Go forth. Be wrong. There is no other way to be.


If You Happen To Find Yourself In The Alleged Live Music Capital Of The World This Mid-March (2018 Edition)

Posted in 12XU, Austin, Internal Affairs, Rock Und Roll, South By Suck Off at 12:26 pm by

Once upon a time, cantstopthebleeding.com was one of the nation’s top sports blogeterria (blogoterrarium? blogtoxcity?) destinations, appealing to the friendless and socially challenged and/or persons hungry for LOTS & LOTS RECRIMINATIONS. As the nu media wars wore down, the site retreated into near dormancy, maintained by an automated system devised by the same brilliant minds behind Do512 the Atari Jaguar

I’m not sure how familiar you are with the phenomena of “artifical intelligence”, but about 10 years ago the cyborg in question began organizing an annual free show in the middle of March at a respected Red River venue. From day one the event was sponsor free and impervious to the crony-heavy network of booking agents, garbage labels and the like. In short, it made no sense whatsoever but since the bill is always super hot and there’s no cover, hardly anyone complains.

So what happens when one of the region’s most self-important “underground” labels joins forces with a near-dormant sports blog to present an evening of free music in the middle of a trade-fair clusterfuck? If you’ve been paying attention for the last decade, you already know the answer to that question : sick lineup + lower percentage of jagbaggery than you’ll encounter in the rest of the neighborhood (until Sunday, anyway). Action starts early, no smurf by smurfette credentials required (free counseling for anyone with a Burgermania wristband, however).

9pm – TV’s Daniel
9:50pm – Tom Carter
10:30pm – Borzoi
1:10 : Bodega
midnight : Xetas
12:50 – Obnox


History’s Most Questionable eBay Auctions, Pt. XXXI

Posted in consumer affairs, record collector disease at 1:55 pm by

1)Designed to fit standardized bath tubs
2)Prevent water from splashing out of the shower stall
3)Environmentally friendly
4)Soft and comfortable handing feeling
5)Machine wash cold. Do not bleach or tumble dry
6)Fitted with C-shaped curtain hooks
7)Has 12 holes to which rings attach
8)Measures approximately  60″(w) x 72″(h)  66″(w) x 72″(h)


The Year In Prerecorded (And Live) Entertainment : CSTB’s Best Of 2017 (In Non-Slideshow Form)

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 1:39 pm by

(Editor’s Note : A panel of exactly one brilliant person was convened to compile the list shown below ; perhaps CSTB’s former contributors have some opinions on these matters, but frankly, they can continue spending their afternoons slaving for the oligarchs (until I need their help with something, anyway). Perhaps one of the fledgling outlets they’re writing for is eager to publish an essay about which public apologies aren’t sufficiently apologetic (and who’d have thought Vince Coleman’s would come off relatively well, in retrospect?)

As in past years, projects from labels that either pay the CSTB bandwidth bill or directly contribute to the growing neglect of CSTB are ineligible. A version of this list was previously published elsewhere. If you’re seeing it for the second time today, boo fucking hoo – GC)

Weather Weapon – Weather Weapon II (bandcamp)
ISS – Endless Pussyfooting (Erste Theke Tontraeger)

Michael Beach – Gravity / Repulsion (Spectacular Commodity)
Mdou Moctar – Sousoume Tamachek (Sahel Sounds)
Mordecai – Abstract Recipe (Richie)
Contributors – s/t (Monofonus Press)
Heavy Metal – LP 2 – Smash Criticism Smash Optimism Smash Arachnophobia (Static Age)


Heavy Metal – LP 3 – The Nietzschean Supermen Of Dustbin Rock (Harbinger Sound)
David Nance – Negative Boogie (Ba Da Bing)

Headroom – Head In The Clouds (Trouble In Mind)

Fully Glazed – ‘OD Catastrophe’ (The Loki Label)
Institute – Subordination (Sacred Bones)
Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent (Domino)
Sleaford Mods – English Tapas (Rough Trade)
Endless Boogie – Vibe Killer (No Quarter)
US Weekly – s/t (Night Moves)
Various- Tokyo Flashback (Black Editions)
Spectre Folk – Vol. 4 (Vampire Blues)
Impalers – Cellar Dweller (540)
Golden Pelicans – Disciples Of Blood (Goner)
Obnox – Murder Radio (ever/never)


Mazoma – Heavy Death Head (Feeding Tube)
Shit and Shine – Some People Really Know How To Live (Editions Mego)
The Weather Station – s/t (Paradise Of Bachelors)
Ted Leo – The Hanged Man (TL/RX)
Haram – When You Have Won, You Have Lost (La Vida Es Un Mus Discos)
Snakehole – s/t (Wharf Cat)

David Keenan – This Is Memorial Device : An Hallucinated Oral History of the Post-Punk Music Scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and Environs 1978–1986 (Faber & Faber)

live :
Sir Richard Bishop, Tom Carter, Robert Millis, Jad Fair, Hotel Vegas, May
Peter Bröntzmann/Heather Leigh, Issue Project Room, June

Joe McPhee, Tashi Dorji, M. Geddas Gengras, Alphaville, June
Tyvek, Rays, 1-2-3-4-Go, February

Life Stinks, The World, The Nightlight, February
Wire, Baby’s Alright, September
Les Filles de Illighadad , Cafe Oto, April
Consumer Electronics, Barracuda, March
Power Trip, Mohawk, March
David Nance, Beerland, October

Feedtime, Hi-Tone, September


Tommy Keene, 1958-2017

Posted in record collector disease, Rock Und Roll at 4:13 pm by

Tommy Keene was an astonishingly great songwriter, a wildly inventive guitarist in a rock/pop sphere that was often anything but, and a guy who shrugged off myriad showbiz false starts / car crashes and proceeded to make his best records well into his 5th decade as a pro.

Also — a genuinely sweet, super funny, smart fella who had all kinds of time for his friends & nutcase fans alike (and those camps had some overlap). godfuckingdamn the world is way less fun without him. Hugs of the real and we’ll-catch-up-someday variety to everyone who knows what I’m talking about.

I was lucky to enough to see Tommy and his crack ensemble of DC-based players (including Dischord credits-staple Ted Nicely) for the first time at Kenmore Square’s Storyville in 1983, tipped off by an earlier New York Rocker review of his Avenue Records debut 7″, “Back To Zero Now”. He was unfailingly patient with my annoying questions and for that he was rewarded with another 34 + plus years of annoying questions, occasionally punctured with me making a hash of trying to put his records into the hands of people who’d get it. Through his recordings for labels including but not limited to Dolphin, Geffen, Matador and Second Motion, Tommy’s songbook is impossible not to get lost in, and while I mean no disrespect to those who typify his work as power-pop, Tommy’s guitar playing and ability to give even his catchiest songs an undercurrent of melancholy transcended genre. Though his days making cameos in Anthony Michael-Hall star vehicles or playing alongside Paul Westerberg on Letterman were decades in the rear-view mirror, his final 3 studio albums, ‘Laugh In The Dark’ (2015), ‘Behind The Parade’ (2013) and ‘In The Late Bright’ (2011) were his finest work. If you wanna disagree with me, that’s cool, but you’ve got to hear those records first, otherwise your opinion is uninformed and you don’t wanna mope around with uninformed opinions at a time like this.


A (Prolonged) Toast (Or Several) To Venues That Book The Unbookable

Posted in Rock Und Roll, The World Of Entertainment at 7:20 pm by

(miniature James Arthur’s Manhunt, Buccaneer Lounge, September 2013)

Sunday morning’s fire at Memphis, TN previously-shuttered Buccaneer Lounge — an establishment I only staggered thru a handful of times — resulted in no small outpouring of social media nostalgia. Photos of late nights at the Bucc w/ all measures of killer global talent (at past Goner Fests and otherwise) have popped up throughout the last two days, and they’re all a vivid reminder that some of the most exciting musical moments of our lives take place in cramped conditions, very often without a proper P.A., “stage” lighting (or a stage for that matter) and few of the creature comforts more casual audiences might associate with anything they’d wanna experience. And that’s their loss.

And eventually, ours, too. Because as similar venues bite the dust (fewer via arson, I reckon but maybe for another spectacular stroke of bad luck) we lose something far greater than just another floor / toilet / bar that (hopefully) over-pours. The stuff that ultimately blows minds, changes lives and lays waste to the form book rarely gets started in a C3 or Bowery Presents or Goldenvoice setting (not in recent years for G.V anyway). And the purpose of this post isn’t to trash those companies or the lovely people who toil for them — I’m just saying there’s a lot of amazing stuff doesn’t gonna get off the ground without some version of the Buccaneer because it’s always gonna be the places of that nature that give the newer or more idiosyncratic players a first, second or third chance.

That’s not to say a bar with an air freshener or a well-lit exit sign is the enemy of art or anything of the sort. But much the way Austin’s Trailer Space was mourned (IE. DON’T CALL IT AN INCUBATOR BECAUSE INCUBATORS ARE FOR INFANTS AND YOU REALLY WOULDN’T WANT INFANTS IN ANY OF THESE PLACES), all the real estate angels and nuevo Star Searchers cannot replace one good party. If you’ve got anything like-minded happening in your town, don’t wait until they’re giving away the fixtures to soak up what’s on offer.

Coming November 17 – The Golden Boys ‘ ‘Better Than Good Times’ (12XU 099-1)

Posted in General at 5:39 pm by

(photo by Angela Betancourt)

The Golden Boys – Better Than Good Times (12XU 099-1) preorder from 12XU or Bandcamp

Once upon a time in Spring Branch, TX  five legends went back to the future and formed THE GOLDEN BOYS.  Created after a long drive in a pickup truck with a 12 pack of beer, founding members James Arthur (Fireworks, Necessary Evils, Feast Of Snakes) and Matt Hoopengardner (White Heat) sat on the edge of a cliff staring at the sunset. Soon after, extreme super hobo John Wesley Coleman III rode up on a wild coyote named FIRE DEMON. The group quickly formed a solid nexus and foundation for the Texas psyche blues texas rock texas jam texas pop ETC

After much whiskey on the basement floor, Nay Nay (Kackacka Butt Bomb) and Bryan Schmitz (Manhunt, Feast Of Snakes) appeared in a powdery puff, followed shortly after by the verdant recruit, Philly Pat Troxell (Creepoid, Plaque Marks). After multiple years toiling in obscurity alongside the Spider Bags and Strange Boys, the Golden Boys were saved by international playboy and The Gospel Truth’s founding member, Patrick Travis.

Coming 5 years after the acclaimed, ‘Dirty Fingernails’, this is the band’s 6th album.  No one thought it could be done (and no one cared) until Gerard Cosloy asked, “Hey, are you guys making another record?”, to which The Golden Boys replied, “will you buy us some Texas Chili Parlor?” He said, “yes” (EDITOR’S NOTE : I do not remember this conversation)

Stuart Sikes (Loretta Lynn, Manhunt, A Giant Dog, Grifters) presided over the remarkable recordings.  So here we are, with our newest and our best.  Better than ever. Better than good times.

The Golden Boys are :
Nay Nay Arbeitman
Matt Hoopengardner
Patrick Travis
John Wesley Coleman III
Bryan Schmitz

Recorded and mixed by Stuart Sikes at Iggy’s Putt Putt Palace
Mastered by Matthew Barnhart at Chicago Mastering Service

prior praise for ‘Dirty Fingernails’ :

“a brilliant ability to suss out that ineffable quality that makes no-bullshit rock & roll so fun and so vital, and in the process they hold up garage-this and punk-that for the meaningless terms that they ultimately are.’ – Nate Knabel, Agitreader

“played with a swollen heart and clenched-fist determination…a killer group at the height of their powers.” – Doug Mosurock, Still Single

“anthemic hits that are guaranteed to stick in your head for days..an instant classic.” – Mark Twistworthy, Razorcake

“Punk in spirit, rifling through dirty R&B, outlaw country, and vintage pop, Austin’s the Golden Boys embody every great idiom of rock & roll” – Austin Powell, Austin