Once introduced as a hippie journalist who believes a dance party can solve any problem. Reporting from Pakistan, Mississippi, Arkansas and Standing Rock. Mostly at VICE. Feminist. Travel notes & photography from Iceland, Mexico, Italy & around. Sometimes talking about music & stuff that would interest Gen-X -cusp- millennials.

Memphis music and Mack City

There's an entertainment district in Memphis called The New Mack City. You'll know you're there when everything around you is yellow and green. (It's a bit like Oz, y'all).

We stumbled upon a Mouserocket show at Black Lodge Video in Memphis's midtown. It was actually a DVD release party for Mike McCarthy's 2009 film, Cigarette Girl. (From what I gather, smokers must live in the ghetto, a scantily-clad, leggy lass deals cigs to addicts-in-hiding, who still live in the fancy part of town and there's lots of Tarantino-style action.)

Mouserocket, currently one of my favorite bands, is a decade-old collab between garage-punker Alicja Trout, Big Ass Truck's Robby Grant (who freakin' shreds on guitar), drummer Robert Barnet (also of Big Ass Truck), a bass player (the world-wide-web says Hemant Gupta?) and Jonathan Kirkscey, the Memphis Symphony Orchestra cellist who did the music for Cigarette Girl and Black Snake Moan.

Hanna Star also played a set. She's Mike McCarthy's 15-year-old daughter, who has pink hair and braces, a pretty, shivery voice, puberty-meets-nursery rhyme lyrics and sparse but catchy guitar bits. (We saw the stripped down version, just Hanna and a guitar. It was less poppy and frankly, more interesting, than what you'll find online.)

And before Black Lodge, Pat Sansone (of Wilco by way of Mississippi) played with Jody Stephens (drummer and last surviving member of Big Star) and Lesa Aldridge (Chilton's muse and sometimes member of Big Star) and a rotating collective of other folks that we didn't recognize. It was a free show in Overland Park, and the sound was fantastic. They went through all of Third and a lot of stuff off Big Star. They also played several Chris Bell songs, bringing out Richard Rosebrough, the original drummer for "I Am the Cosmos." The finale? "The Letter" by the Boxtops. Pretty perfect, right?

Here's what Mack City looks like: