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before the enthusiasm subsides...

I'm a bad blogger, but Hannah and I put together a damn good show!

The 8/1 show was one of those great ones where we walk in and see a crowd of a dozen or so people ready to sing because the birthday girl wanted to rock with KU. Happy Birthday Emily! We had a bunch more new familiar faces, Steve & Amanda, David, Kevin & Shane from Nomad, Marcus & Jamie, Haylee, Esme and the Girls Rock Camp crew... good times. Luke G and Brian, the guitarist in our band, were the only people who were regulars before we moved to Nomad last year, and it was a full house.

There were actually two birthday parties there for us, and the second was for Jeff and Amy, Kathleen and all his friends who requested a bunch of great punk songs a few months ago. I was getting worried that nobody was going to show up to sing Crass and Cock Sparrer, but those two finally had their debuts. The only negative thing all night was my butchering Enon's "Conjugate The Verbs." Next time I'll pick something where I can still hit the notes. The show ended on a crazy high note, pictured above. Haylee sang "Waiting Room" and was immediately mobbed onstage as the group sing-along ensued.

Next show on 9/5 at Nomad. Sing it LOUD!

Anniversaries - 5 for us, 1 for Nomad

The next show - March 7 @ Nomad - will be a big one for us, a full five years after our first public show. That happened just down the road at the Carousel Lounge, under the watchful eye of their big papier-mache pink elephant. After standing outside and passing out flyers after the Spoon show at The Mercury Lounge and Guided By Voices at La Zona Rosa during the previous week, we got a grand total of nobody who we didn't already know to come out! We still had fun, of course, even though at that time we only had 70 songs on the list. We're up to 427 officially now, and I plan to get us close to 440 by the anniversary show. We've got a ton of requests ready to go, but feel free to add your suggestions to the queue!

We're also going to do SXKU V this year on Sunday, March 22, at our fifth venue! This time it'll be our homebase at Nomad, so join us to wallow in the rock and roll one final night after a solid week of debauchery.

I'm not going to do a full recap, but the last show was a lot of fun, got some good requests and we got a babysitter so Hannah could host again! We both realized again that a lot of the new "regulars" are really great singers, and she hadn't seen some of them before. In particular, JenBrown wowed the crowd again with "Gloria," Rachel did a great job with Metric's "IOU," Pete was on fire with a bunch of songs, Amanda sang "Gates Of Steel" and "Holiday In Cambodia" and Robert rocked a bunch of great songs: solos on "Queen Bitch" and "Common People," duet with Hannah on "Lazy Line Painter Jane" and a duet with RachelC on "Fairytale Of New York." I loved seeing Gerard sing "Too Many Creeps" again, and Chris burst onto our stage for the first time with "Girl Anachronism." Lauren sang "Bad Reputation," which was kind of fitting because that was Hannah's first punk karaoke song up in Minneapolis, and she sang it with her mom, who was in the crowd, visiting from Phoenix. We even got Miguel up on stage, joining Kevin on "Head On" and solo on "Hang On To Your Ego."

Keep the requests coming and we'll see you March 7th at Nomad for our 5-year Anniversary!

The Grand Out-Of-Doors!

Yes, our first outside show at Nomad! We've done a few outside shows before, at Creekside and Red Scoot Inn among others I might have forgotten, but this was the first time in quite a while. Six weeks since our last show and I really missed the KU!

Hannah stayed home with Sylvan this time, but my friend Ray was there early to provide a badly needed power strip (like, a serial electrical outlet) and most of my friends in Coma In Algiers were there as well to provide some badly-needed singers early on in the show. Ray sang The Fall's version of Victoria and his friend "Dexter" sang Psycho Killer to get the party hoppin'. The CIA crew (there is now a finger sign, so I think we can call them a crew) led off kinda mellow with Jenny singing Built To Spill's You Were Right, Madison taking Belle & Sebastian's The State I Am In and Kyle bringing the Velvet Underground's Who Loves The Sun. New guy David also started chill with The Passenger by Iggy Pop, but Pete (the vegan) was around to bring the volume up with Fugazi's Smallpox Champion and things stayed a little louder through the rest of the night. I fought with volume the whole night, trying to make it loud enough to rock but not so loud that the Nomad's neighbors would call the cops. I've seen cops just waiting for drunks outside Nomad before, so I know they wouldn't hesitate to answer a noise complaint, but I guess I did a good enough job because the show went all the way up until 2.

We had a lot of returning singers this night, a lot of them singing new songs! Pete (the vegan) tried his hand at Love Will Tear Us Apart and started to keep a lot of the people at the private birthday party inside out on the patio. Adam sang Archers Of Loaf's Harnessed In Slums as classic as ever, but then branched out to Alone Again Or by Love later on with fantastic results! Nicole & Ann from Veronica's house parties showed up and sang throughout the night, from Liz Phair to Sonic Youth to backing up Jenny on Prayer To God. John G tried his hand at Constructive Summer and rocked it with Skipper on backup, while Skipper & John's wife Emily sang Rilo Kiley for the first time. Skipper also got everybody involved with Common People before his crew had to take off. I don't remember when I saw Eric & Ashley before, but they were great to hear back on the mic with Eric singing Chips Ahoy! and Country House, and Ashley getting in Gigantic and Debaser to sate her Pixies lust before they had to take off. Jo H sang her excellent renditions of Cat Power and Sleater-Kinney while Gerard debuted Suspect Device and finished off the night with XTC and The Jim Carroll Band. Esme got her Teenage Kicks with some friends, and Elana brought a friend to back her up on Parentheses by The Blow. Ish from Coma sang for the first time too, the song that he requested: Final Solution by Pere Ubu. That's a fucking rad song.

Lots of brand new singers too! Besides "Dexter," Madison and Jenny, Kyle really distinguished himself with four songs, including Take The Skinheads Bowling, Sweet Jane and a rendition of Joey Ramone's Wonderful World in the style of Louis Armstrong. Completely new guy Mike was awesome, singing Head On, Punk Rock Girl and Worked Up So Sexual, and other completely new guy David was equally amazing with I Am A Scientist in addition to Iggy Pop. Hillary crooned the T. Rex and then Joan Jett, and a guy named Chris brought the rock with GBV's I Am A Tree, It's Gonna Be A Long Night by Ween and joined in a bunch of other people's tracks. Will was surprised that Motor Away was still available, and he took full advantage. Laurie gave us the opportunity to show off the Muppet footage in Don't Worry About The Government, and Alison got in a fine version of Ziggy Stardust. Melissa got there late but impressed in a duet of We're Desperate with Gerard and solo on Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out. Elana's friends Jennifer and Daniel were even later, but I got them in with Daniel singing Hope by The Descendents and Jennifer singing (by my request) Voxtrot's Mothers Sisters Daughters & Wives. Tracy was another new singer who brought the party with Joy Division's Transmission and then Gone Daddy Gone.

A good solid night, but I think I like it better inside. We'll have the stage back from now on, every First Saturday at the Nomad Bar. See you February 7th!

Five years

Hannah and I started putting the KU together before we even moved to Austin in 2003, knowing we were going to be separated from Ian Rans' Punk Karaoke [RIP] in Minneapolis. We debuted our first few videos at a New Year's party with some friends, then spent most of 2004 obsessed with making videos, booking and promoting shows and figuring out all of the stuff that went into it. You can see a lot of photos on our website from that first year. One plan we had, but never followed through on, was to get in touch with people from most of the bands on our list and tell them about it. Over the years, we've talked to a few: Rick Valentin and Rose Marshack of Poster Children, Ian MacKaye of Fugazi, Bobby Weaver of The pAper chAse and Gerard Cosloy of Matador and Homestead records (partially responsible for about 1/3 of our list). Gerard has sung at our shows before, and Billy Milano of M.O.D. and S.O.D. did grace us with "Rock Lobster" at Headhunters a couple years back, but last night was the first time we've had somebody on our list sing their own song at a KU show.

Britt Daniel of Spoon sang "Anything You Want," which was one of those songs we had ready to go at our New Year's party at the end of 2003. It was definitely a thrill, and it was fun to chat briefly about how the way Spoon's songs are produced consistently gives us the best karaoke mixes of any band on our list. Later in the show, Michael McCarthy, a.k.a. Wizard, the man who may be responsible for the way those records are mixed, sang "Motor Away" with Erin of Team Fabrication/Elfgirl Designs.

We had a bunch of other new singers, who may or may not be rock stars. Melissa got started early with Clinic, then stuck around for the Violent Femmes and a great take on Belle & Sebastian's "Your Cover's Blown." Sean was there early too, singing two Descendents songs plus Dead Kennedys and Pixies by the end of the night. Mike B. got to dance, dance, dance to the radio, and Steve only got in one song before he was dragged away by "viciously lame friends" who remain unknown to me, but he kicked ass on Screeching Weasel's "Cool Kids." I don't think JenBrown had been to KU before, but she needs to come back after completely ruling on "Gloria" and "Deceptacon." Rimas was there early and I'm not sure he was there for the KU, but he did one of the better takes on the VU's "Rock & Roll" that I've heard...seriously, YOU try vocalizing whatever Lou Reed hollers at the end of that song. Elvis Costello got more love than he's had from our crowds in awhile, with Pam & Suzanne pulling out "Angels Wanna Wear My Red Shoes" and Tara singing "Watching The Detectives." Allison rocked Material Issue and Julianna blasted out "Ring Of Fire." Julia and Sarah graduated yesterday, and celebrated with Modest Mouse and Rilo Kiley, respectively. James Z. picked a pleaser with "Teenage Kicks," and Greg & Luke let loose a heartfelt version of "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea." Catie came all the way from the Bay Area and got in some Talking Heads and Buzzcocks, and Mike sang Bauhaus' version of "Ziggy Stardust" before closing out the night yelling "TV Party" with me. He also made the perfectly sensible request for some Zappa, which I'll get to work on.

The veteran KU singers were out in full force: AdamRx showed off for his date with "I Am A Scientist" and a fantastic take on Archers Of Loaf's "Harnessed In Slums." Rosa-Maria got to debut J Church's "My Favourite Place" and later sang "Big Brown Eyes" with ChiChi...again, thanks for letting us use your speakers all these times, ChiChi! Jess Rice debuted Rilo Kiley's "Portions For Foxes" (yes, this was sung twice, but that's an exception) and later treated the room to her specialty: "Art Star" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I have to turn the mic off when she screams, but even the people in the back needed earplugs. Zack put the Spud in "Beautiful World," and Bobb X was a juggernaut, casting a spell with "The Funeral" by Band Of Horses and the penultimate "I See A Darkness," in addition to rocking out "Head On" by The Jesus & Mary Chain. In addition to her duet with the Wizard, Erin went solo on The Detroit Cobras' "Bad Girl," then accompanied John G on "Song Against Sex" and Jess on "Debaser." Terri returned after a couple months away with "Femme Fatale." Neither of these guys did anything but duet, but ChiChi and John G's take on TMBG's "Dr. Worm" was great. You need to stay out later guys! Bill F hasn't been to one of our shows for a hell of a long time, but it was great to see him sing "Gates Of Steel." Albert rocked the Descendents' "Hope" before Sean could do it, Ted favored us with the quickly-becoming-customary "Emily Kane" and Robert laid on "Summer Babe." Carlos sang "Virginia Plain," and I think he has the third-loudest voice I've heard on our microphones. Finally, Lilia and Siobhan snuck in at the end of the night with excellent versions of Sleater-Kinney's "Words + Guitar" and a debut of Metric's "I.O.U."

I'm sure I won't always recap so extensively, but it was a really fun night and I kind of just realized we've really been doing this for five years. Longer than high school or college, longer than I've had any job in my life. (The KU is not a job.) Thanks for all the great times, see you back at Nomad on January 10, 2009!
Saturday, December 6
Karaoke Underground
Nomad Bar
1213 Corona Dr (a few blocks north of Carousel Lounge, off Cameron Rd)
starts at 10, free

It's been a busy month at KUHQ, with a great show at Mohawk for Fabrication 6 and a surprise birthday party bookending the holiday week. Somehow managed to squeeze in the time to add these requested songs:

Cansei de Ser Sexy - Let's Make Love And Listen Death From Above
Descendents - Hope
Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism
The Hold Steady - Certain Songs
J Church - My Favourite Place
Metric - I.O.U.
Jay Reatard - Always Wanting More
Rilo Kiley - Portions For Foxes

Other than The Hold Steady and Descendents, those are all new artists to our list, thanks for the requests! Many more on the way in the new year.

btw, the surprise birthday party was an absolute blast. i witnessed the ultimate rendition of Le Tigre's Deceptacon, a roomful of girls hopping up and down and getting every inflection perfectly right. they also sang Parentheses by The Blow (world premiere!) and we finished off the night with a VU singalong to ALL their songs on our list.

Spread the word and see you tomorrow night!
the ku

Fabrication 6

What a great night! There was no stress whatsoever going in, and nothing but fun during the whole time.

First, I got to hang out with my friend Lucas for the first time in months, since he was overseas shooting a movie. We hung out and watched Til We're Blue Or Destroy (fantastic, especially with horns!) and then he had to leave. I did catch The Laughing before Lucas got there, and they were amazing. Saw them a year or so ago when they were getting panned by the Chronicle (for being too creative and having too much fun?) and liked them then, but they were much much better tonight. Will have to see them again soon.

After the fashion show - which I missed because I was trying to figure out how to get the projection screen hooked up :( - we kicked off the karaoke with a surprise guest: Ben! He used to be a regular back when we were at Trophy's, during the first year of KU, but he's been living in LA for a couple years. It was great to see him and Robert, and they pulled off a fine double-shot of Pulp in the middle of the show. Some great new singers showed up that I hope we see again: Jen and Ian sang punk classics, Steve sang the indie hits and Joey and Jason brought the Brit-Pop finale with Blur. Of course Erin our hostess was up on stage for Okkervil's "Westfall" (joined by John, taking time off spinning outside with Stay Gold DJs) and The Detroit Cobras "Bad Girl." Jess rocked "Art Star" so hard she had to do it twice, the second time with Grant on backup. Skipper rocked The Hold Steady and The New Pornographers, and Joe was great on Where Is My Mind? and Neutral Milk Hotel. I think only one guy was disappointed all night long, he wanted some Sinatra and I had to break it to him that we don't have any of that classy music.

Helluva good night, thanks to Jen and especially Erin for having us at Fabrication 6! Also big thanks to Blue for getting the sound and video set up, everything ran perfectly. We'll be back at Nomad on Saturday, 12/6, hopefully with a few new songs in the mix. til then...
the ku

Fall Extravaganza

Sweet November! Autumn is suddenly upon us with a leaf-rattling breeze and a gentle pffft of cinnamon spice. Why not air out your favorite long-sleeved garments at a Karaoke Underground show sometime soon? Plenty of opportunities coming up:

This Saturday, 11/8, at Nomad. With Election Day behind us, you know there will be something to scream wildly into a microphone about.

Saturday, 11/22, at Mohawk, closing out the night for Fabrication 6. Better save your fanciest sleeves for this one. Or just come naked (less is more) and let the friendly fashionistas dress you to the elevens!

AND we'll be back at Nomad on Saturday, 12/6!

Some more new songs are up our long sleeves... they'll remain surprises until dramatically unveiled. For now, whet your appetite for specifics with our current ginormous songlist, tell all your buddies, and bring the noise.

with amplification,
the ku

this is what lj is for

Doing what I should have been doing the last couple months: Writing down how great a night I had putting on the show!

The most gratifying thing was kind of complicated. We always have a KU queue of roughly 50 songs that have the vocals mixed out and are ready for videos. But Ish from Coma In Algiers mentioned Pere Ubu's "Final Solution" recently and I hadn't even tried to mix the vocals out yet, so I did that yesterday. This morning, still excited about the song, I procrastinated on burning the disc with the 9 new songs I'd already announced and instead made the video for "Final Solution" (and Modest Mouse's "Bankrupt On Selling," which I was obsessed with after This American Life used it in last week's awesome show on the financial catastrophe/bailout/larceny). So, made the video this morning and Gerard, a regular at our Nomad shows with great taste in music, signed up to sing it tonight. Fantastic.

We broke the "once a night" rule for "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" after I sang it early in the night to show off Hannah's amazing video and then a new girl named Jackie wanted to sing it at last call. She did a great job, I think a little better than she might have if I hadn't warned her that the lyrics are all written out in Sharpie on fruit, stickies, bodies and a bunch of other stuff around our friend Luke's old apartment. Both times, the video really had people transfixed. We should YouTube that sucka.

Lindsay and Lisa Marie brought in a bunch of their friends, all of them great singers. One guy sang Happy Mondays! It's been a long time. Darryl sang some great tunes too, and I really wish I could have worked Amanda in for some more songs, because she's easily one of the most talented singers we've had since we've been back.

Carlos had a public Morissey enema, clearing his soul of the darkness of Moz with "Ask" and "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful." That whole idea is chuckle-worthy. Albert and Lana did a fantastic version of "World's A Mess; It's In My Kiss" - even if the pre-Manzarek-solo climax got a little tricky. Ariel was gracious early on but took off before she came up for the third song, "Web In Front." It was surprising to see she and Jo knew each other. Jo rocked it tonight, she's gonna have to get Gabe onstage sometime with her new wifely powers. Adam Rx and Elliot were in fine form too, singin' the classics.

Alyx and ChiChi sang some of their requests, which they've generously added to the KU queue. Joe who requested The Weakerthans brushed off the mild shit I gave him about a Canadian band and rocked that fucker out. Wish he would have stuck around for the Hold Steady song he signed up for. This girl named Jess was awesome, kicked ass cutely on "After Hours" by the VU and then screamed her head off for YYY's "Art Star." John just sang backup a few times, with Emily on "This Year" and with Erin on "Song Against Sex." Erin nailed her request, Detroit Cobras' "Bad Girl," though. Brian showed up long enough to rock the "Smallpox Champion." God, that song is brutal and true. Fugazi just overwhelms me.

Really a ton of new people sang tonight, we're still lucky to get people onstage more than twice. It's a good problem to have, but it doesn't make it less frustrating to see people waiting so long for their turn. Maybe we really are ready to do this more often?

Back at Nomad on 8/16!

Our hot new neighborhood bar, Nomad, asked us out on July 26th, and it was the best KU date we've had in a long long time. Lots of people signed up to sing a huge variety of the songs in our songlist, and the bar was full all night. After we finally had to cut off new singers, one of the bartenders closed out the night with "People Who Died," a hell of a way to end a great show. We're really excited to be back at Nomad this Saturday, August 16th!

There were a ton of great requests, here are some we'll definitely have ready by Saturday:
Belle & Sebastian - Lazy Line Painter Jane
The Blow - Parentheses
The Clash - The Guns of Brixton
Decemberists - 16 Military Wives
Descendents - Clean Sheets
Hot Hot Heat - Bandages
Liz Phair - Fuck And Run
Pretenders - Tattooed Love Boys
X - We're Desperate

Nomad is at 1213 Corona Dr, a few blocks north of Carousel Lounge, off Cameron Rd. They've got a great, well-stocked bar with good beer on tap. Check 'em out: nomadbar.com.

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new shows, new site

hey world, the KU needs a place for blogging. LJ seems lots more fun than that other big social networking and spam-generating site we've been on for years, so hopefully this works out.

Monday Jul 14, 2008 at 9:00 PM
The Parish
214 E. 6th St.

Hey loud singers, July 14th is the Second Monday this month and that puts the KU back onstage at The Parish! Doors open at 9, no cover as always, and we have a bunch of your requests to add to our list. Such as...

7 Seconds - Young Til I Die
Ryan Adams - Magnolia Mountain
Bad Religion - American Jesus
Black Flag - Nervous Breakdown
Fugazi - Suggestion
The Impossibles - Eightball
Jonathan Fire*Eater - Search For Cherry Red
Gary Numan - Bombers
Liz Phair - Flower
The Promise Ring - Picture Postcard
The Replacements - I Will Dare
Youth Brigade - Sound And Fury

Here's a list of all the other songs that haven't been added to the website yet, but that you should put on your rehearsal playlists:

7 Seconds - 99 Red Balloons (by Nina Hagen)
Archers Of Loaf - Web In Front
At The Drive-In - Trans-Atlantic Foe
Band Of Horses - The Funeral
Big Black - The Model (by Kraftwerk)
David Bowie - Queen Bitch
Claw Hammer - Mongoloid (by DEVO)
Dag Nasty - Wig Out At Denko's
Roky Erickson - You Don't Love Me Yet
Evens - All These Governors
Jesus Lizard - Fly On The Wall
Magnetic Fields - You And Me And The Moon
Mountain Goats - This Year
New Pornographers - Letter From An Occupant
Larry Pierce - Good Hard Fuckin'
Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing
Stereolab - The Noise Of Carpet
Stooges - TV Eye
T. Rex - Jeepster
Thermals - A Pillar Of Salt