Bad news from PIX; Cassadega

There will not be a Plan-it-x fest this year. PIX is moving, the bands don't want to play shows at bigger venues, etc etc. I'm kind of bummed, but it seems like both the 2006 summer camp version of PIX fest and the earlier school bus tour version were really taxing for everyone.

The good news is, you can pre-order the new Ghost Mice/Andrew Jackson Jihad split for $5. Also this year, new albums from Paul Baribeau (who did Kimya Dawson's latest album art and is generally awesome) and the Door Keys. Obviously, all these new albums would have made for a great PIX-fest.

In other news, I've given Cassadega a few listens and here are my thoughts:

I was talking to someone about Bright Eyes the other night who brought up the usual objection with Conor Oberst's privileged background bringing him early success in life, and despite my history with this band I kind of agreed that it wasn't as if someone somewhere along the way had been like "Conor Oberst, you are an awesome songwriter." After the singles from Digital Ash and especially I'm Wide Awake were released (Lua and Take It Easy), I think everyone was a bit suprised and taken aback. It was clearly Bright Eyes' best work yet, and with the release of Digital Ash with I'm Wide Awake as sort of a concept album, people went nuts.

Cassadega is not nearly as exciting. My first impression was that it sounded like there were a lot of fiddles. My second impression was that it tried too hard to be folk music. These two observations are characteristic of the best songs on the album (and I mean, there are a few good ones). I really like "If the Brakeman Turns My Way" and Four Winds. It's nice to at least hear some optimism on an album that seems so confused about what its message is supposed to be. Overall, I'd say that if you're a fan, you should probably give Cassadega a listen, but if you're not, I wouldn't bother. Start with the last two, work your way backwards, and then maybe try out Cassadega if you want to hear more.

Last thing: today is my blog's 1 year anniversary. I haven't posted nearly as much as I've wanted to, but I think it has been a good year and I've gotten a lot of non-academic writing done, which is refreshing. I'm contemplating starting a separate food-only blog, but that is probably too much work. We'll see what happens.


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