Category Archives: joe pug

Favorite Albums of 2012: Non-locals Edition

Drive-By Truckers, 11/03/08
1. Patterson Hood – Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance
This is the first Patterson Hood solo record I’ve loved front to back, heck this is the first time I’ve loved all the songs Patterson wrote on any record, including Drive-By Truckers records. There’s always one song that needles me or runs 3 verses too long. But not here. Perfectly restrained and amazingly lovely. And just darn close to perfect. Stand out track: “Better Than The Truth” which works as a kind of sequel to the DBT song “A World of Hurt”.

Murder By Death, Ottobar, 11/08/08
2. Murder by Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Here’s how much I love this record: Murder by Death aren’t coming to the Triangle in support of this album, so in February a friend and I are going to Wilmington then Charleston to see them play on back to back nights. Super happy this bad signed to Bloodshot this year, and this record is a great way to kickoff their growth on that label, as lush and beautiful and creepy and rich and surprising as ever. Stand out track: “Hard World”

Shovels & Rope, Slim's, Hopscotch Hangover, Raleigh NC, 09/09/12
3. Shovels & Rope – O’ Be Joyful
Infectious and fantastic. I was in Columbia SC over Thanksgiving (where I grew up) and went to the record store (as you do) and was so happy to see Papa Jazz pushing this record onto everyone who came looking for the Lumineers record or the Mumford & Sons record. Really great to see them supporting SC artists. And it’s a really great record (which helps). Delightful, joyous, with just enough Southern Gothic undercurrent to keep it from being sticky sweet. Stand out track: “Keeper” listen and try not to smile.

4. The Whigs – Enjoy the Company
This is the surprise record of the year for me. I liked but didn’t love their earlier records. They were for me a band that would have been perfect as a touring open, solid but not exceedingly memorable. Enjoy the Company though is a leap forward for them. Swampy garage rock with just enough variety between songs to keep the record moving at a great pace. Their songs just all click here. Stand out track: “Staying Alive” – “So tell me a story & repeat it. You’re never that angry if you’re mad.”

5. Heartless Bastards – Arrow
My favorite Heartless Bastards record and a real return to form for them. (I’m also a complete sucker for bands that release alt takes digitally in addition to the download code.) Driving guitars, amazing vocals and a really great tension between the two. This is a record I forgot about a couple of times during the year (came out in February), and every time I pulled the record back out, I got lost in it again. Stand out track: “Skin and Bone”

Damien Jurado, Berkeley, Hopscotch, Raleigh NC, 09/07/12
6. Damien Jurado – Maraqopa
Most beautiful album of the year. And the really amazing thing about these songs to me is that they are equally beautiful in the densely layered album version and the stripped down version I saw live at Hopscotch. This is a record for laying on the floor in front of the record player with the volume turned way up.

Lee Baines III & The Glory Fires, Nightlight, Chapel Hill NC, 04/28/11
7. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – There Is a Bomb in Gilead
This isn’t a Dexateens record, but it is a mighty mighty fine, hard driving southern rock record. I grew up listening to alot of southern rock both good and awful, and it is so rare to hear a good example today (bad examples aplenty though). Like all great music of its genre, sounds best on a road trip with sunshine and open highway. Stand out track: “The Red, Red Dirt of Home”

Centro-matic, Rock & Roll Hotel, 11/19/08
8. Will Johnson – Scorpion
I love all Will Johnson records and bands. Dual Hawks is somewhere on my top 20 records of all time. So just about any new Will Johnson record is likely to make its way onto a top 10 list of mine. As usual with his solo records, this is Johnson’s song writing stripped down to its most sparse and heartbreaking. The lyrics and the tension is the deliberate pace of the record will haunt you. Stand out track: “Scorpion”

9. Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be a Stranger
Sometimes it is just about the right record releasing at the right time of year. The perfect record for the first gray days of fall, released on one of the few weeks we’ve had this year with gray days of fall. Small, quiet, heartbreaking, & beautiful songs. Stand out track: “The Bill is Due” – “Parties and punchlines makes a life easy to forget, but you can’t rise to the light when you’re full of regret. Don’t become a ghost when your time is through. The world gives you away, and the bill is due”

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 06/04/12
10. Joe Pug – The Great Despiser
It can’t and shouldn’t be all depressing music (though this list has its fair share). Even when the subjects of the songs turn dark, which happens, the songs are always filled with such such a pure and firm belief in grace and second chance and hope that I find myself crying while smiling along. The Tex Thomas cover “Deep Dark Wells” that closes the album is the best summary of the point Pug’s songs make at every turn: “As long as you’re not finished, you can start all over again”

Favorite Shows of the year tomorrow.


Joe Pug, Local 506

Joe Pug is amazing, full stop.

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 06/04/12

I’m so pleased that he comes through town on every tour.

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 06/04/12

It was a delight to hear the new songs, and to hear him with a drummer.

Great kickoff to my birthday week.

Full photo set here

10 Favorite Shows of 2011

If you know me or just see me at shows, you know I’m frequently wandering around, running between two shows, etc. I see alot of shows and the more shows I go to the harder it is for a full show bill to hold me from the first band to the last. These are the ones where I stood up front or was otherwise transfixed by the whole show. My 10 favorite shows of the year.

Joe Pug, Local 506, Chapel Hill NC, 04/11/11
1. Joe Pug w/ Strand of Oaks, Local 506, 4/11 – It’s a very lucky thing that my favorite show of the year (and many others on this list) was also attended by the best taper in the area (Dan Schram) so I have this show on mp3 and can go back and listen again and again. Just a stunningly excellent show. So many of the shows on this list are special shows: album releases, first shows back, etc. The excellence of this show is even more amazing because it wasn’t a “special” show. It was another night on a long tour (for both bands). It’s the kind of show that makes me want to pack a bag and follow a tour around so I can see it every night. Photos here

Des Ark, Nightlight, Chapel Hill NC, 03/10/11
2. Des Ark w/ Pygmy Lush, Bellafea, Nightlight, 3/10 – Des Ark’s CD is on my favorite albums of the year list so it is no surprise to see the local album release show here. Just a show with Des Ark full band likely would have put it on the list, but this was far more. The crowd was wonderful, Pygmy Lush’s set was great, and Bellafea was so fantastic to hear again. I love Mount Moriah, obviously (favorite album of the year, a Mount Moriah show is coming up on this list), but sometimes a Bellafea show is exactly what I need. It was the perfect kickstart to the night. Photos here

The Butchies, Pinhook Outdoor Stage, Durham NC, 09/24/11
3. The Butchies w/ Pink Flag, Pinhook, 9/24 – Everything about this show. The weather was perfect for a huge celebratory show in the parking lot behind Pinhook, and that is exactly what this was. Both bands played fantastic sets to a great hometown crowd. Photos here

Mount Moriah, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 04/15/11
4.Mount Moriah w/ The Moaners & Filthybird, Cat’s Cradle, 4/15 – I feel like I’ve already said enough about how great Mount Moriah’s album is. The CD release show started with the three videos that are included with the album and ended with an all hands on-stage sing along of “Lament.” Start to finish, just a great night. Photos here

Bombadil, Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 11/12/11
5. Bombadil w/ The Future Kings of Nowhere, JKutchma and the 5/5ths, Cat’s Cradle, 11/12 – Three bands I love on the same bill, a CD release show for Bombadil. Before even going to this show, I knew it’d end up on this list. So, for me, it had alot to live up to. And it more than did so. Photos here

Future Kings of Nowhere, Motorco, Durham NC, 05/07/11
6. Future Kings of Nowhere w/ Hammer No More the Fingers & The Wigg Report, Motorco, 5/7 – Photos here

Red Collar, Casbah, Durham NC, 05/28/11
7. Red Collar w/ American Aquarium, Casbah, 5/28 – Photos here

The Moaners, Cave, Chapel Hill NC, 07/29/11
8. The Moaners w/ All Girl Boys Choir, Cave, 7/29 – Photos here

Free Electric State, Pinhook, Durham NC, 11/4/11
9. Pinhook’s 3-year anniversary 3-night concert (Men w/ Tayisha Busey, Crystal Antlers w/ Old Bricks, Free Electric State, Javelin w/ Organos), 11/3-11/5 – Photos here

Shirlette & The Dynamite Brothers, Duke Gardens, Durham NC, 06/29/11
10. Shirlette and the Dynamite Brothers, Duke Gardens, 6/29 – Photos here

Links to all year end coverage:
Year End Concert Stats
Top Ten Albums of 2011
Twenty Favorite Photos of 2011
Great Moments of 2011

Words are just words

I’ve come to test the timber of my heart

Joe Pug, Local 506, 10/09/10, originally uploaded by Ash Crowe.

And I’ve come to be untroubled in my seeking
And I’ve come to see that nothing is for naught
I’ve come to reach out blind
To reach forward and behind
For the more I seek the more I’m sought

-Joe Pug,”Hymn 101″