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Archives for 06/11/2006 - 06/17/2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dave Segal Needs Digital Music, Stat.

posted by on June 17 at 11:17 AM

Hey, wait a minute. Quoth Segal in a recent Line Out post:

…in a few years I may be ready to get an iPod…

Huh? Dave Segal, lifelong musoholic and enthusiastic promoter of all things techno, owns no digital music device? Well now I’m curious. What’s it gonna take to turn this:

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…into this?

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Brooks & Dunn, for the Rest of Time

posted by on June 16 at 6:56 PM

Denver, CO “ Larimer Lounge

We played with The Duke Spirit - english rock action delivery. Singer Liela, she = part Debbie Harry, Bjork, & Axl Rose. Real real good. Look out. They came over from England to tour with Snow Patrol, but the tour was cancelled. Apparently all the guys in Snow Patrol got sick. Before that, Duke Spirit had their gear stolen in Portland at The Doug Fir Lounge. They left their van in a secured parking garage one night and it got broken into. The attendant assured them it was safe. An inside job.

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Photo:Marlon Schaeffer

And so The Duke Spirit fall into an all too long and growing list of bands who have had their gear ripped off “ Film School, Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel, The Decemberists.

I guess the people who steal gear from bands don’t realize that when they die, John Bonham, Tupac Shakur, & Sid Vicious will be waiting to make them slide down a waterfall of greased razors into a pool of lemon juice. Then, Mama Cass will make them eat 20 chum covered Big Macs and get into a shark tank with a hammer head, where their legs will be eaten quickly. Then Kurt Cobain will lift them out by robotic arm and drop them into a gigantic toaster. And lastly, when they are pleading for death - sliced, eaten, and burnt, Jim Morrison will make them watch a bass fishing show for the rest of time, with music by Brooks & Dunn. Sisyphus had it easy.

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The Duke Spirit played Coachella and The Carson Daly Show in a couple days, so all is not bad.

Trent - out.

Head Like a Kite

Want to Play Decibel (or Possibly Shape Its Lineup)?

posted by on June 16 at 3:58 PM

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The Mole

The third annual Decibel festival happens Sept 14-17. If you’re a producer who thinks he/she should be playing this electronic-music shindig or if you have suggestions for the selection committee (mine would be, to start with: the Mole, I.A. Bericochea, Frank Bretschneider, and NSI), go here and say your piece.

Get Bent

posted by on June 16 at 3:05 PM

Tonight the Bend-It Festival kicks off its 2006 weekend with a free show in the parking lot next to Lifelong Aids Alliance at 1002 E Seneca. Last year’s show included a blazing hot set by The Gossip, and while tonight’s opening party lacks that level of star power it should still be a blast. Festivities start at 6pm with food and on-site styling courtesy of VAIN, and bands go on at 7.

Plus it’s FREE!

Tonight’s bands include:

Doomhawk
Mondo Trasho
Branda
Little Party and the Bad Business
Bobcats

Little Party & The Big Business are one of my favorite local underage bands right now. Fans of the sadly euthanized Dalmatians should enjoy their no-chops approach to F-U-N: drum machine breaks your face, keyboards dance on the pieces.

Budd and Guthrie’s Melodic Meshes

posted by on June 16 at 10:12 AM

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Like many of us youngins who live our teens through the very tail end of the “80s, I first heard the name Harold Budd attached to another three: Raymonde, Guthrie and Fraser (the Cocteau Twins). As a teenager obsessed with everything shoegazing, ethereal and gothic, I came across their 1986 collaborative work The Moon and the Melodies as I backtracked my way through the 4AD catalog. Although, it wasn’t quite a huge stylistic departure from the shimmering, “precious” qualities of the Cocteau Twins Victorialand or Treasure, Budd’s spacious pianos and synths did manage to align the group’s thick and treated sound with a much more minimalist aesthetic.

An already accomplished ambient/avant-garde composer, Budd not only found a new audience through his work with the Cocteau Twins, he also established a lasting relationship with Twin’s guitarist Robin Guthrie.

After hearing Guthrie and Budd’s recent collaboration on the soundtrack to Gregg Araki’s film Mysterious Skin (winner of the ‘05 SIFF Golden Space Needle Award), SIFF artistic director Carl Spence conceived Melodic Meshes “ a live performance piece by Guthrie and Budd set to a collection of short, avant-garde and surreal films. Spence explains that the overall theme of the program is to look at how music and film intersect and collide and to bring divergent audiences together.

Reid O’Beirne, founder of Emerald Reels, curated the film showcase, which features Maya Deren’s classic dreamscape Meshes of the Afternoon, Bruce Baillie’s frantic meditations on Castro Street, as well as J.S. Watson, Jr. & Melville Webber’s unique interpretation of Fall of the House of Ushers. Check out Emerald Reels for a full list of the films.

With Guthrie residing in Paris and Budd in LA, it’s rare for the two to actually perform live together. Specifically commissioned for SIFF, it’s safe to say that tomorrow’s performance of Melodic Meshes will be a once in a lifetime event. Catch it tomorrow, June 17 at 7:00pm. You can visit the SIFF site for more details and ticket info.
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Dig Through Laurent Garnier’s Crates

posted by on June 16 at 10:09 AM

One of the better-kept secrets on the Net is Pedro’s Broadcasting Basement, a continuous stream of tracks from the record collection of Laurent Garnier, the Best DJ In The World According To Me. It’s unmixed and pretty random — think 12-minute Afrofunk jams, followed by Inner City’s Good Life, followed by some DJ Shadow — but it beats the hell out of most proper radio stations.

Drummers, Drummers, Drummers

posted by on June 16 at 10:00 AM

When I was a teenager, I used to have a New Year’s Eve tradition with my other music nerd friends that involved compiling lists of our favorite musicians, broken down by role (i.e. best vocalist, bass player, guitarist and so forth). I recently found some of these old lists and aside from some glaring embarrassments (“Geoff Tate: best vocals!” Egads!), I was surprised by how many favorites remained steadfast (I still think Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris is a phenomenal bass player). The category with the most consistency was definitely drummers. There are some obvious stalwarts, such as dear Bonzo here:

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And of course, beloved Mr. Moon:

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Then there’s the man responsible for Blondie’s in-the-pocket backbeats:

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As I got older, I discovered new percussionists to lavish praise upon, most notably Fugazi’s Brendan Canty and Unwound’s Sara Lund. Which drummers are you currently most impressed with?

Tips for Minimizing Your Band’s Suckiness

posted by on June 16 at 8:45 AM

Over in the I, Anonymous forum, a thoughtful citizen has posted a list of tips to help local bands from sucking. It’s not really right for I, Anonymous (the writer neither calls for anyone’s execution nor confesses to any crimes) and some of the tips are specious (done right, onstage banter is an art, and “fashion is for models”? Tell it to the New York Dolls, or Flavor Flav). Still the list’s worth sharing here in Line Out. Enjoy, discuss, improve…

The worst band in Seattle is subject to personal taste so I won’t sling any mud by naming names.

I will say that the worst bands are those that take themselves way too serious. This is rock and roll, so let’s have a good time and leave the posturing for the mirror.

Other pet peeves: Looking bored on stage/standing perfectly still. You are there to entertain not to bore the audience to death. If you stand onstage looking like you are painfully pushing out a constipated cheeseburger you ate three days ago then how do you think the audience feels? Have some fun, it will transfer to the audience and maybe, just maybe they will move a little (highly unlikely in Seattle).

If I go to a show and no one on stage sweats I want my money back. You get 30 minutes up there, rock the fuck out, make a fool of yourself and most importantly sweat your balls off. It feels good to walk off stage knowing you just laid it out there and have nothing left.

Too much fucking tuning! Guitarists/Bassists listen up! A tuning pedal costs maybe $60 used and trust me it will save us all from hearing you tune your guitar for 5 minutes between each song.

Talking between songs. Is this a Q&A session? Get back to playing music. Please, do not tell jokes. You are not a comedian and even worse, not funny. That nervous laughter you hear? It’s the audience dying a little inside.

Hecklers? Best way to shut a heckler up is to not allow them to be heard. You have the mic and a giant PA behind you, not too mention drums, bass, guitar etc. Drown those fuckers out.

Fashion is for models. Leave your little sisters pants and eye make up at home. You don’t have to dress like a homeless junkie, but let’s leave the ironic hipster outfits to the coke heads at the CHA CHA.

Broke a string? Ruh-roh. How about having a back up guitar ready to roll? Nothing kills the momentum of a set like having to sit and wait for 10 minutes while your guitarist changes a broken string.

Have fun, be safe and by all means rock the fuck out you posers.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

The New Facets of Eluvium

posted by on June 15 at 10:07 PM

There is more Eluvium to be unearthed. I recently wrote of Eluvium’s graceful drones after seeing Matthew Cooper’s performance at Neumo’s, but last night I was handed his new 4-track EP, When I Live by The Garden and The Sea (Temporary Residence Ltd.).

The new EP is something of an extension of his previous Talk Amongst The Trees, with similarly whirling guitars, subtle bells ringing endlessly into permeating echo effects and organ-like synths that course methodically in broad aurora-like strokes, diffusing only to appear again in another aural hue and location.

There is a greater impression of nature from this release. The first track features insistent piano chords, like spades being driven into hard-packed soil, engulfed in guitar feedback. And maybe it’s also the spacious synth. It reminds me of the Enoesque original soundtrack from “Never Cry Wolf.” Forgive me if I go off on my favorite childhood film, but there’s a scene at the end, after the main character has survived remote Alaskan seasons living the life of a pack of wolves he was sent to study and he’s walking across the tundra, touched by the cruel irreconcilability between being rooted in the wild and being of an exploitive modern mankind. He’s lost his sense of belonging to society and its superficial survival tactics. Eluvium’s music resonates heavily with that sense of retreat and of belongingness to something other.

And that brings me to a very strange, if not insane film sample on the second track. It’s a frenetic monologue from the 1989 comedy-horror, “The “Burbs,” in which Tom Hanks screams in his trademark yowl: “We’re the lunatics. Us. It’s not them. It’s us.” Oblique social commentary? I’m not sold on the sample—I find Hanks’ voice very grating, but it’s just as well, because it’s quickly enveloped by the chillingly subdued screeching of guitars and quiet synth.

Cooper will have a new full-length release coming out in spring of 2007. It’s said to be “a new phase.” Everything to date has been a diamond in the rough, so I’m excited to see how the new album refines, if not totally redefines Eluvium’s priceless carbon beauty.

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Breaking News: Changes in Neumo’s Ownership

posted by on June 15 at 4:15 PM

I just received word that Neumo’s booking agent (and Sealed With a Kiss promoter) Jason Lajeunesse, Chop Suey booking agent Steven Severin, and Neumo’s bar manager Mike Meckling have bought co-owner Marcus Charles out of his share of the Capitol Hill music venue. I’ll post more details as they become available; look for a full report in next week’s Rocka Rolla column.

Too Tough to Die

posted by on June 15 at 3:16 PM

Marky Ramone, drummer for the Ramones, has come to the Northwest for two shows this week. He performs tonight at Studio Seven, and tomorrow night at Hell’s Kitchen in Tacoma. The deal is, he’s going to perform 30 Ramones’ songs with local outfit the Jet City Fix filling in as his band.

Now uh… I love the Ramones. I’m not a fanatic by any means, the band did much of their greatest work before I was born, after all. But still. This feels weird to me. Really weird.

What are your thoughts? Is anyone planning on going to either show? Why or why not?

How Do You Feel About beatport.com?

posted by on June 15 at 2:53 PM

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Beatport Digital Download Network is becoming one of the most popular retail sites for digital sales of electronic music. Its owner Tom Hoch [left in the photo] recently appeared on a panel at Mutek titled “Records” Dead?” He had some interesting stats to pass along about who shops at Beatport: 95 percent of the customers are DJs and 98 percent are male.

I’ve never bought anything from Beatport, but it does seem like a very cool resource and many of the world’s top DJs score their goods from it. My questions for you: what do you think of Beatport’s selection and navigability, and do you enjoy shopping there? Benefits? Flaws? Spill your guts.

Personally, I find the track samples to be too much of a tease, but I understand the need to keep them brief. Who knows, in a few years I may be ready to get an iPod (or whatever replaces it as the portable player), and if I do, I’ll probably be using a cyber shop like Beatport to help fill it up.

UPDATE: I just received this press release. (Beatport has a publicist now? That surely is a true indicator of success.)

With the latest version 3.0 expected to launch this Summer, expect more user friendly additions to the site, that enhance the site’s capabilities to make it even easier for the beat shopper to get more out of their experience.

Their latest tool, the weekly Beatport Podcast, presents to the mainstream and dance audiences the newest releases available at Beatport in a sharply presented mix put together by Beatport. This is an enhanced podcast, allowing listeners to hear a track they must have, click and buy it right from the podcast redirecting them to Beatport’s shop “ giving the advantage to listeners to hear it in the mix and purchase it to then play it at their gig that night.


Face the Music

posted by on June 15 at 12:14 PM

This year’s SIFF has boasted a pretty killer soundtrack with films featuring the music of Devo, the Pixies, the Police, Leonard Cohen, Harry Nilsson, Sigur Rós, and Bjork. Tonight at Neumo’s, local bands celebrate the remarkable collection by playing some of their favorite tunes featured in the film festival. Those on board include Sean Nelson & His Mortal Enemies, Carrie Akre with Dave Dederer of the Presidents of the USA, the Girls, “Awesome,” the Pale Pacific, Razrez, Go Like Hell, Key Note Speaker, Mountain Con, and Trespassers William. So if it’s a rock show you want, I can’t think of a better way to spend this Thursday night.

Tickets cost $6 and doors open at 8 pm.

More from Barcelona: Ame & Rolando

posted by on June 15 at 5:17 AM

Someone please book Ame for Seattle (or Portland, I’ll roadtrip it). I don’t care if it’s Decibel, Perfect Hit, the Wooden Octopus Skull Festival, or someone who just wants DJs playing in their backyard, you book Ame, and I will be there.

Arriving to the venue around 2am, Ame was already on stage entertaining a packed dancefloor. He shifted subtly between house and techno (micro & minimal if you really want the details), but it wasn’t so much about genre as creating a mood, riding the intersections in some musical Venn diagram. There were clicks, beeps, and other little details to keep your chin-stroking attention, but more than enough thump to keep the dancefloor going. While a couple of mixes were less than flawless, the set was impressive, and just what one would expect after the album.

Rolando closed out the night with (*gasp*) a set of Detroit techno. Taking over from Ame, he took a half hour to pick up the tempo and intensity, increasing it once again about an hour into his set. His set included “all the hits” from Underground Resistance alongside some other Detroit classics. I also realized that Kerri Chandler’s “Bar a Thym” is the official track that anyone can play, fitting into this set as well as it has in many others. I’ve heard that track everywhere, and if it weren’t so good I’d long since have grown annoyed by it. The crowd never thinned as the night went along (no crowd-stasis here), giving constant praise through the set’s closing track, Rolando’s (as Aztec Mystic) own “Jaguar.”

Time for Sonar. And Stewart Walker later tonight.

For the Noise-Heads

posted by on June 15 at 5:07 AM

I went to a couple of events for the Wooden Octopus Skull Festival last year, and enjoyed myself far more than I thought I would. I couldn’t describe most of what I was hearing, and often couldn’t tell if I even liked it, but it was something different, and that alone was worth the price of admission. It doesn’t look like this info has been posted yet about this year’s edition, so here goes the confirmed lineup. Most of these names aren’t familiar to me, but I’m excited about the event all the same.

PsychForm and Enterruption & the Electric Heavyland Present:
the Wooden Octopus Skull Experimental Musick Pfestival
Thur Sept 7 - Sun Sept 10 2006 Seattle WA
ALL AGES!

hosted by Consolidated Works

Thursday Sept 7:
WOSpF presents the New Japanese Music Festival:
Acid Mother’s Temple SWR (tsuyama/yoshida/kawabata)
Ruins Alone (yoshida)
Akaten (tsuyama/yoshida)
Zubi Zuva X (tsuyama/yoshida/kawabata)
Zoffy (tsuyama/kawabata)
Seikazoku (tsuyama/yoshida/kawabata)
Shrinp Wark (yoshida/kawabata)
(tsuyama atsushi/yoshida tatsuya/kawabata makoto)

Friday Sept 8:
Ladies Night aka Girls RULE!, Boys Drool :
16 Bitch Pile-Up (total spazz attack)
M.V.Carbon (from Metalux)
Leticia Castaneda (experimental composition manipulations)
Dialing In (prepared piano/tape decay drones)
Friends Forever (3 girls, a van, fireworks and more)
Midmight (from Hans Grusel’s Krankenkabinet)
Tovah Olson (from Dead Machines and Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice)
Replicock (Angie from Sharkiface/Tarantism, Rock’n’Roll Jackie of Smegma)

Saturday Sept 9:
Chrystal Belle Scrodd (Diana Rogerson and Steven Stapleton aka Nurse With Wound, 1st ever performance in 21 years!!)
Amber Asylum (surrealist orchestral metal)
Irr.App.(ext.) (DADA)
Waldteufel (German ritual folk from Markus Wolff of Crash Worship ADRV)
Soriah (ritual folk and throat singing)

Sunday Sept 10:
Wolf Eyes (the dudes of US noise)
Double Leopards (comfortable darkness)
Dead Machines (dead machines)
D.Yellow Swans (unruly, always moving)
Hive Mind (“cosmic tales of bass heavy sheets of molten alien sound cut with x-ray pirate eyes”)
Cherry Point (the bloody horror of it all)

Films all weekend by Sublime Frequencies and the JiRCS


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Quoth the Raven Nevermore

posted by on June 14 at 6:55 PM

“Villains!” I shrieked, “Dissemble no more. I admit the deed — tear up the planks! Here, here! — It is the beating of his hideous heart.” E. A. Poe - Tell Tale Heart

Charlottesville, VA. - Star Hill

Van ears sift - Wolf Eyes, Rachel’s, and Matmos - The Civil War.

In 1826, Edgar Allan Poe attended The University of Virginia. Poe’s room, number 13 on the West Range, is maintained by the Raven Society as a shrine to its former occupant. A glass door allows people to look inside and supposedly see the sparse furnishings as they were when Poe was there. Well, Poe had to leave the University of Virginia because he couldn’t afford it. The University didn’t want him. Now, the room where he lived is sanctified and on display. Now, they claim him and name things after him. Where was all their support and reverence for him back in the day? Seems like a crock to me.

The University of Virginia turned Poe away, and he went on to become one of the greatest writers of all time. How you like him now?

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Poe writes:

Ye who read are still among the living; but I who write shall have long since gone my way into the region of shadows. For indeed strange things shall happen, and secret things be known, and many centuries shall pass away, ere these memorials be seen of those who find much to ponder upon in the characters here graven with a stylus of iron.

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That night I dreamt Poe was wounded during the Civil War at the Battle of Bull Run. I sat by his hospital bed. A musket ball had ripped through Poe’s leg. In the cramped sweated room were 12 other dying men. Gnats lapped wounds unswatted. Pre-anesthesia. A nurse put a piece of leather in Poe’s mouth and pled with him to bight down. A doctor sawed off his leg. Poe shrieked in shock. Signature gangrene shriek. Moonshine didn’t dull. A bead of sweat lingered off the sweet nurse’s arm and dropped directly into Poe’s blankened eye, blurring the sight of his own bone. Her voice coated him. And for that moment, Poe felt nothing at all.

Trent - out.

Head Like a Kite

Photo’s: Dan Tyler.

Eye Button: Yoshimi Designs

Musket rifles: Adam Dieter

Magda’s New Mix

posted by on June 14 at 5:11 PM

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My favorite female techno DJ right now is Magda (Magdalena Chojnacka), who is part of the minimalist supergroup Run Stop Restore with Marc Houle and Troy Pierce, as well as a crucial figure in Richie Hawtin’s M-nus Records empire. She has a new mix titled She’s a Dancing Machine due out August 8, and it looks like a tasty smorgasbord of minimal techno with contributions from the genre’s most trustworthy talents. You may notice the frequent appearance of Seattle producer Bruno Pronsato (AKA Steven Ford); he has become one of Magda’s favorite track makers. (Note that “My Little Pony” is actually by Caro; looks like Magda included the Bruno remix of it.)

Press release after the jump.

Continue reading "Magda's New Mix" »

For My Sistahs

posted by on June 14 at 5:01 PM

Is it true that Robert DeNiro has a thing for sisters? If that’s the case, then the mystery is removed from the reason why he is producing a biopic of the rapper Missy Elliott.
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Blogging from Barcelona: Sonar Festival

posted by on June 14 at 4:26 PM

So I’m sitting in my apartment here in Barcelona, just getting ready to head out for the evening’s festivities. My laptop shows that it’s about 4:30pm as I type this, but here it’s 1:30am, and it’s just now time to get ready. Clubs run on a different schedule here, and since it gives you time for a disco nap, I can’t complain.

I’m here for the next few days to attend my first Sonar festival. The lineup is completely ridiculous, but I’m probably most excited about Jeff Mills, who I’ve never seen live, and .tape., since I have the feeling they don’t get to the US often. There’s also DJ Shadow, who will be showing off his new hyphy incarnation, and Tiga, who I’ve been excited about seeing ever since his remix of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” (better than the original, IMHO, plus the video had puppets!).

Thus far the adventures have included a lot of getting acclimated to the environment and not much in the way of music. A few nights ago my travel companions and I made our way to a club on the way home, which was only of interest since it was free. It was worth free, but not much more. Eurodance at its finest, with a crowd that averaged much younger than ourselves. We managed to stick around for an hour or so before needing to make an exit in the name of quality once a bastardized version of “Tainted Love” started.

More posts as “borrowed” Internet allows. Now it’s off to see the great double-bill of Âme and Rolando (a.k.a. the Aztec Mystic).

Wakefields’ CD release party tomorrow night!

posted by on June 14 at 2:44 PM

I don’t know why the Wakefields didn’t tell me about their CD release party until a few days ago. Maybe they didn’t want me to publicize it. Well, too bad! This fine Emerald City honky-tonk act is having a FREE release party for their long-overdue official full-length CD, this Thursday evening, June 15, at the Little Red Hen over in Green Lake. Also on the bill are the Memphis Radio Kings. Both bands have been loved-up in “Border Radio” (here and here), and you should take advantage of this chance to enjoy ‘em together on the same bill… even if those darned Wakefields didn’t let me know about it in time to spotlight the show in this week’s paper. Phooey on you—or is my support something you’re ashamed of?

Gyrgy Ligeti’s 100 Metronomes video

posted by on June 14 at 12:11 PM

If you’re a lover of classical music, you’ve probably been pouring one out for Gyrgy Ligeti, who passed away on Monday. I’m currently in sackcloth—but not for long. I’ve recently been cheered by this little gem being passed around the blgôsphère (that’s the blog world of arts and culture critics)—Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique for 100 Metronomes (don’t mind the German/French-language intro).

Ugh. Really? Real. Ly? What I love so much about how this piece works out is that it moves from a state of stillness and equanimity to one of interlocking chaos and then back to its original state. And it is especially precious that all of this is set in motion by a single, simple creative act (unseen) and brought again to the eschaton of samehood by a simple and pervasive natural act (also unseen). How joyful those final moments of silent beating before the last metronome capitulates!

From the Wikipedia article on the piece:

The piece requires two “performers”, and all of their efforts take place without the audience present. Each of the hundred metronomes is set up on the performance platform, and they are all then wound to their maximum extent and set to different speeds. Once they are all fully wound they are all started as simultaneously as possible. The performers then leave. The audience is then admitted, and take their places while the metronomes are all ticking. As the metronomes winds down one after another and stop, periodicity become noticeable in the sound, and individual metronomes can be more clearly made out. The piece typically ends with just one metronome ticking alone for a few beats.

Man, oh man, the internet is always serving! And if you’ve not had your fill, here’s the score. Score!

Today in Music News

posted by on June 14 at 11:53 AM

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Slayer: Preparing to break their five year silence. That’s their characteristically life-affirming art work above.

Rolling Stone Ron Wood: Heading back to rehab, again.

Queer dance music artist Aviance: Attacked viciously by bigots in the East Village.

Prince: Recognized as a visionary artist.

I-Pod laborers: Working under slave-like conditions?

News of the “indie-rock revolution”: Making it into a Congressional newspaper, thanks to Jenny Toomey.

Ladders And Oscillators

posted by on June 14 at 11:25 AM

Last night’s edition of Oscillate (every Tuesday @ the Baltic Room) was one of their best in a while.

Patrick (aka Electrosect), the man behind Oscillate, takes some serious risks booking touring electronic artists. Seattle doesn’t seem to sustain the same appetite for electronic/dance music as neighboring Portland or Vancouver, B.C. (Decibel Fest being the exception). The crowd wasn’t huge last night, but it was certainly enthusiastic.

Solvent went on second (I thought he’d be headlining) and brought it: sweeping analog synths, airtight beats, live vocoder-ed vocals. But something was missing…

A couple songs into the set, Patrick and AC Lewis of Sun Tzu Sound brought a huge ladder out to the dance floor. I was thinking they were about to pull some Tim Harrington shit, but in fact AC just needed to scale the wall spider-man style to turn on the subs. Ah, that’s what was missing! The bass hit and within two beats the dance floor went off, a true testament to the power of the kick drum.

Solvent played his ostensible hits: “Think Like Us”, “My Radio” (the high point of his set-that song makes me giddy), and his remix of Adult.’s “Don’t You Stop” featuring disembodied vocals form Nicola Kuperas. It was a great set.

Ectomorph was kind of a let down after Solvent’s gleeful synth-pop. Their sound was low and muddy, and despite having a live vocalist, they weren’t much fun to watch. Maybe they turned it around just after I left (I noticed they were picking up that SH-101)…

The Mayor Wants Your Opinions on Hiphop

posted by on June 14 at 11:19 AM

That’s right, today Mayor Greg Nickels announced that the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs is accepting nominations for the fifth annual Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Hip Hop. According to the official press release:

“The award acknowledges and honors innovative performance, community service and entrepreneurial achievement by locally based members of the hip-hop community whose work has had significant impact in Seattle. Nominations are open to the public and all are invited to nominate a favorite performer (solo/group), B-boys/B-girls, visual artist, DJ, MC, media/journalist, publication, promoter, record label, Hip Hop Pioneer or Unsung Hero. An independent panel will determine the categories and number of award recipients based on the nominations received.”

Applications are due by Friday Aug 4, and can be found here.

Oh, Man Man!

posted by on June 14 at 11:18 AM

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Philadelphia quintet Man Man play novelty music that’s so old-fashioned it sounds futuristic. Opening for Fiery Furnaces last night at Neumo’s and clad all in white sports attire, these five multi-instrumentalists purveyed an athletic brand of avant-garde circus music that mocks logic and decorum (think Mr. Bungle but with way more facial hair and hyperkinetic stage maneuvers). Unpredictability is Man Man’s métier. They swerve between rambunctious, klezmerized prog-punk and maudlin, beerhall sing-alongs with a WTF? strategy that nonetheless spurs wildly appreciative crowd reactions. Vocals shift from absurdly romantic crooning to electroshock-therapy yowls to robust, barbershop-quartet hamming. On some songs, everyone plays percussion (including pots and xylophones). On others, everyone blows on miniature novelty-shop horns, and it sounds incredibly like Master Musicians of Jajouka at a drunken wedding reception. Definitely an acquired taste, Man Man’s music shows up most indie rock as a pantomime of rote, polite mannerisms eked out by timid conformists. Man Man are wild to be born.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I Like Mike! (Oh, and Stereolab, too)

posted by on June 13 at 6:52 PM

As Rhino continues to repackage the entire WEA catalog as fast as it can (hello, what happened to the expanded B-52’s titles? I want a bigger, better Mesopotamia, and I want it now!), August 22 sees the release of a new Stereolab “best of,” Serene Velocity. A single disc hardly seems sufficient for even a beginner’s guide to Stereolab, but what I’m excited about are the liner notes, penned by former Seattle denizen, occasional Stranger contributor, and YETI editor-in-chief Mike McGonigal! Whoo-hoo! While you’re at it, pre-order a copy of Mike’s forthcoming literary homage to Loveless by My Bloody Valentine (part of the Continuum Books 33 1/3 series, and one allegedly held up by as many setbacks as anything else affiliated with Kevin Shields), in stores Sept. 15, 2006. Also due later this year, In Love With Those Times, an anthology of selections from Mike’s previous fanzine, the notorious Chemical Imbalance.

Press release and track listing for the Stereolab comp is below the cut:

Continue reading "I Like Mike! (Oh, and Stereolab, too)" »

Eagles of Death Metal at Jameson Bartenders’ Ball

posted by on June 13 at 6:05 PM

Last night’s Bartenders’ Ball, the annual promotional party thrown by the Irish whiskey vendor that is fueled by free booze and typically packed with a who’s who of music and bar industry types (notably absent this year), was a big snooze for the most part (girls dancing in cages with the Jameson logo emblazoned across their questionably buoyant boobs? Yawn. People barking their drink orders at the staff AND not tipping? Rude!), but the Eagles of Death Metal absolutely slayed. I’d never had the pleasure of watching them sweat and slice their way through a set of their surgically precise, classic hard rock—and it was far more enjoyable than the open bar and free corn dogs. Kelly O and I were especially intrigued by the band’s bass player, Brian O’Conner, who appears to have the Largest Hands in Rock (though I’m sure former Juno frontman Arlie Carstens could give him a run for the money.

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The Juan Maclean’s Visitations

posted by on June 13 at 5:41 PM

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photo: Tim Soter
Excellent robo-disco unit the Juan Maclean today release a digital-only collection of various artists (including Seattle’s Caro, Booka Shade, Lindstrom & Prins, and Cajmere) remixing “Tito’s Way,” Give Me Every Little Thing,” and “Love Is in the Air,” plus two new tracks (“La Chine” and “Dance Floor Modulator”). Luckily for Luddites like me, DFA Records has sent journalists a two-CD version of Visitations, so I can listen to it as I meander around town with my Walkman. You 21st-century types can access it here. Also, I reiterate: do not miss the Juan Maclean if they come to your town.

More Pitchfork Press

posted by on June 13 at 5:16 PM

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Pitchfork is sure getting alot of recognition these days. What do you think? Snarky snobs or witty wordsmiths? Both?

Viva Vera Update

posted by on June 13 at 3:43 PM

Tonight the Vera Project is throwing a fundraising party at Vain (2018 First Ave). It starts at 7 pm, it’s free, it’s of course all-ages, and it features the talents of Fankick, Rat City Roller Girls, DJ Skeet, and DJ Teenage Rampage. There’s also gonna be guerilla hair by Vain stylists and live art.

And even though it’s free, you should most definitely bring your checkbook so you can donate to Vera’s Capital Campaign. They’ve raised over half of the million and a half bucks needed for their new venue, but there’s still a ways to go. And don’t be intimidated by the folks throwing around the big money either. Every little bit helps, from a few bucks to a few hundred.

If you can’t make it out tonight, online donations can be made by visiting www.vivavera.com or you can call 956-VERA for more information.


Monday, June 12, 2006

No Music, pt. 2

posted by on June 12 at 10:38 PM

Turns out that losing control over the music in your life for a week isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Earlier today I pulled down the sun visor of our freshly rented Cadillac and a CDR of DJ Clue’s “Where Ya Hood At? Pt. 1” fell into my lap. Thanks, previous renter!

And now, as I’m Line-Outing poolside and the sun sinks low in the West, I’m getting curious - what’s the best music you’ve ever found? I’m not talking “found” as in your friend turned you on to it, or “found” cruising the reviews over at Pitchfork, but found as in on lying on the street, in the seat next to you on the bus, etc. Tell me about it in comments, please.

Stoked About Fiery Furnaces

posted by on June 12 at 9:51 PM

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Photo: Megan Holmes

We somehow neglected to preview Fiery Furnaces’ June 13 show at Neumo’s in The Stranger’s print edition, so I’m using this space to suggest you hit it, and hit it hard. You may not like Fiery Furnace’s complex, densely layered, baroque pop on disc (I happen to think it often verges on genius), but in live settings siblings Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger and cohorts generate a whirlwind of psychedelic pop/rock action with no respites for applause.

All three times I’ve seen Fiery Furnaces, they’ve boggled my mind with a panoply of bizarre analog-synth eruptions, whimsical, turn on a dime dynamics, intricate yet memorably beautiful melodies, idiosyncratically literate lyrics, and the sort of tight musicianship that suggests insane hours of intense rehearsals (yet it’s probably all improvised).

Fiery Furnaces’ new album, Bitter Tea (Fat Possum), is probably their weirdest yet. My favorite is still the debut, Gallowsbird’s Bark, but Bitter Tea seems like it’ll be a grower (and a better listen while under the influence).

What distinguishes Fiery Furnaces from most of their peers is their deep knowledge of rock/pop history and their willingness to both allude to it and then to subvert it. Neither stodgy homage nor ostentatious freakiness for its own sake, FF’s music strikes a deft balance between tradition and innovation. Rare is the band that can evoke Tin Pan Alley, the Who, Captain Beefheart, and Mort Garson while not obviously aligning themselves with any of them. Go and be dazzled.

Ryoichi Kurokawa at Mutek, next up—Decibel?

posted by on June 12 at 8:57 PM

I wish I could have made it to Mutek, the pinnacle of all electronic music festivals, held this year in Montreal from May 31-June 4. I won’t be missing next year’s, not after my recent exposure to one of Mutek’s highlights—specifically the sonically precipitous heights reached by Ryoichi Kurokawa in his blistering performance June 1 at Ex Centris.

This video of the performance reveals a revolving electro-treatment plant of rapid succession. Liquid glitch pours into heavy static rubble and hard-driving beats. Kurokawa is also an accomplished visual artist, having done visuals for HUMAN AUDIO SPONGE, an audiovisual performance that featured one of my favorite collaborators in electronic music, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Kurokawa’s skill cannot be denied in this video, as the mesmerizing montage of intense color and lightning-speed editing provokes a racing pulse, the flooding of synaptic clefts and a dizzying branch of fresh neural-pathways.

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Decibel Festival director Sean Horton gave the performance highest acclaim.

“[Kurokawa’s set was] by far my favorite performance at Mutek this past year and the best visuals I’ve ever seen in an electronic music set,” wrote Horton.

Parts of the performance really brought to mind the similiarly seismic music of Neina, especially “Melt,” off the album Formed Verse (Mille-Plateaux). The Neina track features the same feeling of polar oscillation punctuated by fault-rupturing beats and magma drifts.

As Segal noted earlier, the Decibel Festival folks are in the process of wooing Kurokawa into signing onto this year’s festival playbill, which will overwhelm Seattle with its huge talent from Sept 14-17. Nothing for sure just yet.

See Dave’s Post here for the tentative line-up.

Another N. American Techno Producer Heads to Berlin

posted by on June 12 at 11:38 AM

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photo by Perkowitz

Elite Seattle techno producer Jeff Samuel will be moving to Berlin in late July, and plans to live there at least six months, and then decide whether to move back to Seattle. Even though Samuel says he hates Berlin, he admits it makes sense to be based there: his fan base is largely European, the labels for which he records are mainly located there, and the cost of living is much cheaper than it is in Seattle (a city Samuel loves for its natural beauty). In Germany and other Euro nations, Samuel plays before large, appreciative crowds and earns much more money per gig than he does from U.S. performances (this is why fellow Seattle techno artist Bruno Pronsato and so many other North American techno DJs and producers set up shop over there).

In other Samuel news, he is remixing “Colours” by up-and-coming Astralwerks act Hot Chip.

No Music

posted by on June 12 at 11:28 AM

Mister Leisure reports from sunny Honolulu, HI, on a trip where he neglected to bring his iPod and is therefore subject to whatever music is (or isn’t) around. Some notes:

1. I am a white-knuckle flier, prone to severe panic attacks in the ten minutes before and after takeoff. As the rickety, 80’s-era plane belched out smoke and tottered down the runway at SFO, I noticed that “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was playing softly on the speakers overhead. I was not soothed.

2. The hotel we’re staying at has no background music. Nothing playing in the lobby. Nothing in the restaurants. Nothing out by the pool. Nothing in the restrooms, even.

3. The hotel is also a popular wedding spot, and we see no less than four brides and their entourages every day. Yet we have not heard a single wedding march or any wedding DJ standards. We’re not sure whether they’re getting hitched out of earshot or just having incredibly creepy silent weddings on the premises.

4. In fact, this hotel has four restaurants and five bars and not a single dancefloor.

5. Across town at the 50th State Fair, a summer carnival that lets you take rides deemed unsafe in the other 49, they haven’t changed the tapes in at least twenty years. We ate funnel cake and watched stoned hesher kids win Def Leppard coke mirrors while listening to Save A Prayer, I’ll Melt With You, I’ll Tumble For Ya, etc. It’s like they’re trapped in a permanent 1982. (cue Twilight Zone theme)

Sonic Youth Listening Party Tomorrow

posted by on June 12 at 10:28 AM

To celebrate the release of Sonic Youth’s 20th (!) album Rather Ripped, Sonic Boom Records is hosting a listening party and everyone is invited. At the Fremont store (3414 Fremont Ave N) they’ll be spinning the new record, offering free pizza and drinks, and giving everyone a chance to win Sonic Youth hoodies and shirts, concert tickets for the June 30th show at the Moore, and the entire Sonic Youth discography. It’s completely free and goes from 6-8 pm tomorrow night.

Call the store at 547-BOOM or visit www.sonicboomrecords.com for more information.

Gyrgy Ligeti (1923-2006)

posted by on June 12 at 8:59 AM

One of the great composers of 20th century music has died. From the unforgettable morass of micro-polyphonic textures of “Atmosphères” (best known from the film “2001” and used without the composer’s knowledge or consent!) to his series of finger-breaking piano studies written in the 1980s and 90s, Gyrgy Ligeti’s music continued to grow, displaying interests in Central African drumming, minimalism, Conlon Nancarrow, and fractals.

Along with Atmosphères, other key works include Lontano, Volumina for organ, Nouvelle Aventures, Ramifications for string orchestra, the opera Le Grand Macabre as well as concertos for piano, violin, and cello. Ligeti’s three books of piano studies rank with Debussy’s Etudes, Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces op. 11, and Nancarrow’s player piano studies as seminal piano music of the 20th century.

I also recommend the lesser-known Apparitions for orchestra. Composed in 1958-9, Apparitions is a kaleidoscopic vortex of erupting cadences, trenchant melodic fragments, and moody colors.

The notice from the AP.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Thank You, E-40!

posted by on June 11 at 1:52 PM

Last night I had the sincere pleasure of witnessing some real, live Ghost Riding The Whip!

The event took place at Broadway & Union last night around 12:45 am. It was everything I could’ve hoped for. Sorry for not having pictures…

Sick of Seattle-Audience Inertia

posted by on June 11 at 1:31 PM

I realize that it was sparse at Neumo’s last night because all hail the Laptop Battle at Chop Suey—how was it, btw?

But I was really irritated last night by the catatonic crowd that congregated for last night’s Truckasaurus show at Neumo’s. I was wondering how it was going to be, because the last time I had seen them at Baltic Room they had played to a packed house and performers huddled together right up against the crowd so everyone was really excited and getting into it. The Truckasaurus guys were still in that same collaborative huddle last night, arms like tentacles cross-hatched over the landscape of electronics, but instead of right in front of me, they were up on that spacious stage, set apart, and there were hardly a couple handfuls of people in the venue. All that space and lack of intimacy seemed to overwhelm the spectacle. But whatever. The show was awesome—it’s the crowd I want to complain about. People were standing around like stone sculpture or garden topiary, barely registering Truckasaurus’ goods. Christ. No one even applauded for the first two songs. I felt bad, because I raised my hands to clap, but because there is still an inkling of self-consciousness left in me, I retreated from my applauding stance when it registered that no one else was going there. I realized that even I was being lame and eventually forced myself to be one of, like, three people to start clapping after the next song. By the end, people were actually moving their bodies and showing more vocal respect, but I was already ticked off because I thought these guys deserved more recognition.

Truckasaurus: You guys kicked ass. On behalf of the entire audience, let me just apologize for our overall complacency and lack of enthusiasm. We sucked.

What is it with Seattle? No one claps if others don’t. No one dances if there isn’t already a grip of people dancing. If there are a few conversations going on in the crowd everyone takes their cue and performances that have been painstakingly prepared for get drowned out with vapid chatter. Sometimes it seems like the majority of Seattle club-goers are all just a bunch of lemmings marching mindlessly to their own demise, all follow and no initiative. I know I’m generalizing, because I’m sure it was crazy at Chop Suey last night, but typically, Seattle audiences are inert and uninteresting.