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Archives for 06/18/2006 - 06/24/2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Clowns Are Not Scary

posted by on June 24 at 7:53 PM

See? Not Scary.

Sorry, kids, but the “Scary Clown” is dead. You can find him in the meme graveyard right next to Astronaut, Pirate, Mexican Wrestler, and Ninja.

Not everyone seems to have gotten the message, though, as evidenced by the line of suburban teens in clown makeup outside El Corazon. For some reason, tonight’s show by Twiztid, some Insane Clown Posse spin-off, didn’t make it in to The Stranger Suggests (hey, it’s a busy weekend) but that doesn’t seem to have hurt their draw.

See? Not scary.

So what is it about the “Scary Clown” that strikes such a chord with the kids? I guess I can understand liking rap-metal if you’re young, white, male, privileged, pissed off, and not very smart. But why clowns? Is the clown makeup the “real you” that nobody else understands, that your parents and your principal can’t handle because it’s too “twiztid” for them? And why would already acne-laden, dateless teens want to fuck up their complexions more by applying face paint before they go rock out and sweat a whole bunch?

If you wanna see something really scary, watch Capturing The Friedmans. The clown in that movie is downright terrifying.

Brother to Brother

posted by on June 24 at 4:49 PM

Not that it matters or anything, but is Alexander O’Neal gay? The possibility never occurred to me until I watched, a few minutes ago, the 1987 video for his hit “If You Were Here Tonight.”

Come to think of it, his two biggest hits were not very kind to women. In “Fake,” he and his (male) friends (“hey fellas, we’re going to talk about a woman who is fake/fellas, can I get you to put your hands together for that”) denounce a woman for lacking real substance; and in “Criticize,” he tells a woman to basically shut her mouth and leave him and his (male) friends alone. I’ll still love Alex if he is gay and all, but why did it take me 20 years to see the signs?


Friday, June 23, 2006

MOG: Why?

posted by on June 23 at 3:33 PM

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Because you’re such a god-blessed music nerd, you need to become a member of MOG and let the world see your record collection, plus you need to see other music nerds’ collections, discuss their merits, share your knowledge, and, and, never go outside again. Yeah.

The MOG mission statement:

Creating a MOG lets you share your musical side like nothing else. Our “MOG-O-MATIC” application creates a basic MOG page for you, so your friends can see your music collection and the artists, albums and songs you actually listen to. As you collect and listen to music, MOG-O-MATIC keeps score for the world to see. Customizing and making your page an extension of your musical soul is made easy. And soon, you will even be able to add MOG to your blog or MySpace page. Just register for MOG, then download MOG-O-MATIC and get your page up and running. Then explore what some other moggers are into. MOG is FREE.

I’m debating whether to join. How about you?

The Best Thing About Peaches’ New Album

posted by on June 23 at 1:18 PM

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“¦is its title: Impeach My Bush. (It has more oomph if you’ve seen the Peachy one in her shocking-pink hot pants.)

Coming out July 11 on XL, Impeach My Bush is an improvement over the Canadian vocalist/producer’s dire last full-length, Fatherfucker, but that’s not saying much. Her debut disc, The Teaches of Peaches, remains the raunchy rabble-rouser’s peak.

In theory, I wholly support what Peaches (AKA Merrill Nisker) is doing: spitting double-entendre-laden lyrics that would make Howard Stern blush over aggressive, gritty electro beats and throwing reverse-sexist-pig sentiments right back into said swines’ snouts. On disc, however, her XXX taunts and cum-hither overtures hit with a dull thud, as she repeats them ad infinitum until they lose their sting. Further, the music’s not interesting enough to overcome these strategic flaws, often succumbing to LCD rhythms and guitar riffs to bludgeon home Peaches’ already blatantly lewd lyrics. Impeach My Bush shows a bit more subtlety sonically, but as titles like “Fuck or Kill,”¯ “Tent in Your Pants,”¯ and “Slippery Dick”¯ prove, Ms. Nisker is still prone to verbal infelicities.

Peaches plays August 9 at the Showbox with”¦ Eagles of Death Metal. Start scheming now to weasel your way backstage.

Seattle Represent!

posted by on June 23 at 1:01 PM

I still have yet to write any sort of summary of my Sonar experience (in short, it was incredible), but here are two Seattle-related sights from my trip to Barcelona:

The Gossip plays Barcelona
In Barcelona, the postering is all very clean and organized. I don’t mind the Seattle postering style, but there are poles in Barcelona that seem to exist for only that purpose. The pole size (3ft. diameter) lends itself to huge posters (2’ x 3’), so it’s pretty easy to find out about the bigger happenings. Considering the size of the venues you need to have posters that size to pull in the necessary numbers. As for this poster, if you look at tonight’s date, you’ll see that locals (to us) The Gossip are playing tonight (considering the time zone difference, it’s more in a few hours).

Filastine Rocks it in Barcelona's La Makabra
Dave’s already said plenty about Infernal Noise Brigade founder and !Tchkung! rhythm-sectioner Filastine here, so I won’t repeat that. I met him before his set prior to dj /rupture, and he’s an incredibly nice guy along with being a very engaging performer (and very mobile for a guy with a broken leg). This picture is from that performance, not held in a club but in a space known as La Makabra. It’s an autonomous community that’s brokered a deal with the police for their own independence, so it exists on the edges of anarchy in a more gritty part of Barcelona. In short, it was the perfect space for the evening’s mix of reggae, grime, ragga jungle, and other urban beats. I’ve got video I’ll post once it’s uploaded somewhere.

The Ark on gay adoption

posted by on June 23 at 9:40 AM

If you enjoyed our fearless leader Dan Savage’s piece on the peril and pitfalls of gay adoption in this week’s pullout, I would like to direct you to my interview this week with Swedish glam-rock outfit The Ark. Alas, it runs in another publication, but said periodical is edited by former Stranger music editor Jennifer Maerz (who I saw last week in SF, and she sends her love and good wishes), so I don’t feel guilty linking to it.

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As you’ll read, when gay adoption was a big issue in Sweden a few years back, The Ark recorded “Father To A Son” to get out the message that legislating who or what constituted a family was not okay with them. (Lead singer Ola Salo is openly bisexual, and in a relationship with a man.) Would that a big American artist would do the same for the US queer community. Or am I missing a landmark protest song somewhere? If so, please post an appropriate comment and “school” me.

Do Girls Like Dancehall?

posted by on June 23 at 9:28 AM

As I listen to Aaron Spectre’s Life We Promote, a devastating and relentless mash of ragga-jungle, dubstep and all things fast and dirty and vaguely Jamaican-influenced, I’m reminded of a pattern I’ve noticed among the women in my life. None of them like dancehall, in any of its forms. Specifically, they don’t like the vocals. Something about the pitch, intonation and repetition seems to rub them the wrong way. They may dig on hip hop and drum and bass, but once anything vaguely “ragga” comes into frame they screw up their faces and politely ask me to put on something else.

What’s the deal? I’m sure it’s not universal — many a female has been known to hit up Bashment and so on — but in my experience the ragga-preciation gene seems to live somewhere on the Y chromosome. Granted, the vocals can often be violent and misogynistic, but they’re also mostly incomprehensible unless you’re familiar with the patois, and a lot of hip hop has the same literary and cultural bent anyway. I wonder if there are subtle gender differences in our auditory cortices that make the rough, nasal and octave-jumping delivery of ragga-type vocals sound as unpleasant to the female ear as pitiful, warbly singer/songwriter-type noises do to many males?


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sold Out!

posted by on June 22 at 3:22 PM

All of the tickets for Mass Line’s launch party (Blue Scholars, Common Market, Abyssinian Creole) at the Showbox have been sold.
CommonMarket.jpg This image, by Bootsy Holler, captures Common Market, which is rapper RA Scion and beat builder Sabzi. Seattle’s post-Mix-A-Lot underground scene has had several significant moments, but the present one, which is organized around by the Mass Line label, is certainly the biggest. Not many, if any, local hiphop acts have sold out the Show Box. It’s only a matter of time before this scene goes supernova.

Decibel Lineup Update

posted by on June 22 at 3:07 PM

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Green Velvet

Following up from my last post about it, here’s the latest update on Decibel’s lineup, now with helpful artist URLs.

Green Velvet (Chicago) http://www.green-velvet.com
Alex Smoke (U.K.) http://www.somarecords.com/artists/alexsmoke
Dexter (Netherlands) http://www.klakson.nl
Bola (U.K.) http://www.skam.co.uk
Thomas Fehlmann: Dub Set (Germany) http://www.flowing.de
The Dead Texan (Belgium) http://brainwashed.com/sotl/deadtexan
Fax (Mexico) http://www.faxmusik.com
Telefon Tel Aviv (Chicago) http://www.telefontelaviv.com
Apparat (Germany) http://www.apparat.net
Taylor Deupree (New York) http://www.12k.com/taylor/bio.html
Funckarma (Netherlands) http://www.funckarma.com
Richard Chartier (Washington D.C.) http://www.3particles.com
Subtle (San Francisco) http://www.subtle6.com
Andreas Tilliander (Sweden) http://www.repeatle.com
Jeremy Ellis (Detroit) http://www.ubiquityrecords.com/jeremy_ellis.html
Mokira (Sweden) http://www.repeatle.com
Claude Vonstroke (San Francisco) http://www.dirtybirdrecords.com
Panoptica (Mexico) http://www.noarte.com
Kate Simko (Chicago) http://www.katesimko.com
Jacob London (Seattle) http://www.jacoblondon.com
Brett Johnson (U.S.) http://www.robot-karate.com
Latinsizer (Mexico) http://www.milrecords.com
Tim Xavier (New York) http://www.timxavier.com
Soultek (Chicago) http://www.force-tracks.net
Plankton Man (Los Angeles) http://www.planktonman.com
Lusine (Seattle) http://www.lusineweb.com
Davide Squillace (Spain) http://www.sketchrecs.com
Jerry Abstract (Seattle) http://www.fixelplix.com
Son Of Rose (Seattle) http://www.sonofrose.net
DJ Camea (New York) http://www.djcamea.com
Nordic Soul (Seattle) http://www.dbfestival.com
Jon McMillion (Seattle) http://www.orac.vu
Yann Novak (Seattle) http://www.yannnovak.com
Randy Jones (Seattle) http://www.orac.vu
SunTzu Sound (Seattle) http://www.suntzusound.com

One new facet of this year’s festival (happening Sept 14-17) is DB Optical. Here’s the press release copy:

Optical will showcase VJs, digital and physical art, film, and other image-driven creative works. The music events throughout the weekend will contain heavy visual counterparts culminating in a day-long multimedia fusion at the Broadway Performance Hall on Sunday, September 17.

Twiddle My Knobs

posted by on June 22 at 2:27 PM

Alright kids, time to tackle producers in the same tradition as we’ve done with drummers and bass players in earlier Line Out posts. However, this time I’d like to open the forum to those that we love and those we revile.

For example, you have to recognize the contributions of the bearded one, both as a visionary and revivalist. Let’s hope he maintains his resuscitation success rate when he finishes up recording with Metallica this year:

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Conversely, I blame this man for ruining Metallica in the first place, along with countless other hard rock bands. He dumbs the sound down on every level—put the drums in a wind tunnel, strips the texture from guitar sounds, and does an overall bang-up job of neutering a band’s spirits. Not that you can’t blame Metallica for some of their own demise, but there’s no arguing that Bob Rock is very, very bad man (Boooooo! Hisssss!):

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Now forget (if you can) about his disturbing court appearances and remember that this man has a production technique permanently associated with his name for a reason. Mr. Wall of Sound gave us plenty to be grateful for:

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Of course, we can’t forget Mr. Cranky and Caustic. Aside from Nirvana, PJ Harvey, and his own projects Big Black and Rapeman, Steve Albini is the man responsible for bringing the gorgeous clatter of the Ex to my attention, something I’ll always appreciate:

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Your turn, share your love and hate, dear readers.

James Lavelle or UNKLE?

posted by on June 22 at 11:11 AM

Let’s discuss tonight’s James Lavelle show at Chop Suey shall we?

Back in the day, James Lavelle teamed up with DJ Shadow for the UNKLE collaboration, with the name being synonymous with a particular heavy-hitting, expansive sound. It was all very MoWax, and generally pretty good. They owned my attention for a few years, and MoWax is revered as far as dead labels go. There was something good, then it wasn’t there anymore as Lavelle and Shadow went their separate ways. Fair enough.

Then a few years ago Lavelle started to tour, but not so much as UNKLE, but under his own name. He was putting out mix CDs for Global Underground, which I imagine did well enough, but they weren’t exactly my thing, and I was fine with that. So when Lavelle would come through town, I’d write it off largely as something I didn’t need to check out (and I haven’t). Now there’s a newish UNKLE album (haven’t heard it, the time and place doesn’t really exist for me anymore, plus no Shadow), and Lavelle is touring, the poster mentioning his UNKLE past.

So here’s the dilemma, which hit a local email list months ago: Is this a James Lavelle show or an UNKLE show? With opener Krnl.Panic I lean toward the latter, but I’m just not sure. Has anyone heard word from the Interweb regarding what to expect at this show tonight? I’m not looking to drop my loot on something I’m not interested in.

(Pirates + singing) - operetta = “Rogue’s Gallery”

posted by on June 22 at 8:56 AM

Movie star Johnny Depp has brought me so much joy over the years, I can’t even start listing examples without tearing up. And cult rocker Gavin Friday is my all-time musical icon, pure and simple. So the notion of Johnny being responsible for Gavin - plus Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, Van Dyke Parks, Lou Reed, Mary Margaret O’Hara, Lucinda Williams, and dozens more cool people - recording a double-CD of friggin’ sea chanties? Well, I’m flipping out with spasms of joy. Seriously, it looks like a cannonball hit my office, I was so happy to read that Gavin had recorded the raunchy “Baltimore Whores” for this soon-to-be-released collection… produced by eccentric genius Hal Willner.

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“I slowly became fascinated by the idea of a contemporary reinterpretation of the sea chantey,”¯ explains Gore Verbinski, director of the hotly-anticipated Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. “I imagined the artists that I listen to and respect doing their take on this age-old music: the song of the sea.”¯ Hey, it beats imagining what kind of bubble gum they might chew if cast back to sea-faring days. So amidst all the inevitable tie-in promotions—the McDonalds happy meals, the sunscreen, the facial hair cornrow kits—here is a promo of note: the compilation Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chantys will be in stores on August 22, via the brilliant folks at ANTI- Records.

For the complete list of song titles, artists, and more details, straight from the mouths of real LA flacks, set course for the digital waters just beyond the cut:

Continue reading "(Pirates + singing) - operetta = "Rogue's Gallery"" »

Seductive Sounds

posted by on June 22 at 8:55 AM

Came across this while listening to audio samples from each of the 801 12” singles released this week. (More on that later, when the experiment is complete.) It is, apparently, the ultimate sex track. Use the intro to fire up some scented candles and lead your partner to the boudoir, then dim the lights and throw down.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Observations on Viewing The Last Waltz 28 Years After the Fact

posted by on June 21 at 4:49 PM

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The Last Waltz is Martin Scorsese’s 1978 documentary about the Band’s final live performance as a quintet 30 years ago. It captures the Canadian-American roots-rock legends playing with a constellation of talented pals (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond [?!], and others) at San Francisco’s Winterland. For some inexcusable reason, I am only just now watching this justifiably revered classic. Here are some thoughts about it.
* Levon Helm is a true badass, keeping funky time on the drums while shouting soulfully into the mic. Eat his dust, Phil Collins.
* The Band bassist Rick Danko is dorky as hell onstage and probably shouldn’t be allowed near a microphone. But dude probably got more ‘tang than anybody in the group.
* The Band guitarist Robbie Robertson, according to Stranger freelancer Angela Garbes (who graciously let me view this flick on her TV), looks like Valerie Bertinelli. She nevertheless finds Robertson “hot.”¯
* Van Morrison quite possibly was inebriated during this show, as his clumsy kicks and general flailing around the stage seem to indicate. And who told him it was a good idea to don a glittery codpiece? Ah, we’ll always have Astral Weeks.
* Joni Mitchell is a luminous talent—and she has the smallest nose I’ve ever seen.
* It was cruel for Scorsese to fade out “Chest Fever”¯ (my favorite Band song) after 30 seconds and cut to a backstage interview.
* Muddy Waters and the Band did a stirring rendition of “I’m a Man,”¯ even though Muddy clearly was past his prime. And I just realized how funny it is that Muddy feels compelled to spell out M-A(child)-N in this song—as if otherwise we wouldn’t grasp the concept that he is indeed in possession of a Y chromosome.
* The Band bowed out at the right time—still near the peak of their powers. I only own Music from Big Pink and The Band, but after seeing this film, I will seek out more of their releases. They combined deft, versatile instrumental skills with amazing inter-band chemistry, deep songwriting chops, and soul to burn.
* The Band keyboardist Richard Manuel possessed a look of crazed intensity. Gazing at him in The Last Waltz, you could sense ex-post facto why he’d hanged himself.

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Richard Manuel

Fingerprints

posted by on June 21 at 4:41 PM

Number one thought when having to travel to SoCal- “Get in and get out.”¯ I hate LA. But in my lifelong struggle to find some good in all that’s shite, I finally discovered Fingerprints! The Long Beach record store has supplied its natives with some pretty rad, cutting edge music for over a decade now. And to my surprise, upon walking in, guess who I found behind the counter”¦ Elvin Estela. That’s right”¦ Nobody- the scruffy, Ubiquity/PlugResearch psych-head and occasional Dntel and Prefuse collaborator. I guess everyone’s gotta work. Their online presence is pretty all encompassing”¦ Check it out

An Oldie, But Goodie

posted by on June 21 at 4:04 PM

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If Line Out allowed us to flag posts as “Trash” as we do on the Slog, this weblog of groupie exploits would definitely qualify. I can’t remember how I came across this in the past (perhaps it was when I was writing this article), but I stumbled upon it again last night and thought I should share with the rest of the class. Among the fascinating factoids to be had: Tom Araya from Slayer is uncircumsized; the dude from Extreme is “so small if somebody saw you sucking his dick it would look like you were smoking a joint;” Zach de la Rocha is “obsessed with playing with girls’ hair;” and Robin Zander is “comprable to Tommy Lee.” Enjoy.

The Most Punk Rock Song on Earth

posted by on June 21 at 3:14 PM

Say what you will about the Arcade Fire (“Pitchfork made me do it!”), but I sorta love ‘em. And by “them,” I mean their song “Rebellion (Lies),” as I can’t say I’ve heard any other song of theirs. But “Rebellion”… Oh, it’s fucking brilliant. It’s also the most punk rock song on the face of the Earth.

Sure, there have been a number of tunes to bravely call out a number of things that deserve a good tounge lashing—George W., war, cheating significant others… But what does Arcade Fire take to task? Sleeping. That’s right, they call bullshit on sleeping. Check out the lyrics:

Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is. Sleeping is giving in, so lift those heavy eyelids.

People say that you’ll die
faster than without water.
But we know it’s just a lie,
scare your son, scare your daughter.

People say that your dreams
are the only things that save ya.
Come on baby in our dreams,
we can live our misbehavior.

Every time you close your eyes
Lies, Lies!

People try and hide the night
underneath the covers.
People try and hide the light
underneath the covers.

Come on hide your lovers
underneath the covers,
come on hide your lovers
underneath the covers.

Hidin’ from your brothers
underneath the covers,
come on hide your lovers
underneath the covers.

People say that you’ll die
faster than without water,
but we know it’s just a lie,
scare your son, scare your daughter,

Scare your son, scare your daughter.

Now here’s the sun, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the moon, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the sun, it’s alright! (Lies!)
Now here’s the moon it’s alright (Lies!)

But every time you close your eyes. (Lies!)

That’s fucking awesome! I totally agree, I hate sleeping too! I really do! I hate dreaming, I hate dreams, it’s all just so stupid and I wish our lame human bodies didn’t “need” it for survival. And it’s about time someone said so! So thank you, Arcade Fire, thank you.

Listen to “Rebellion (Lies)” here.

Radio 4: Soggy and Bland. Frites: Crispy and Delicious!

posted by on June 21 at 12:16 PM

It’s like that. Radio 4 were some limp, cold-ass shit last night. No wonder Neumos was so cavernously empty, maybe everyone else caught these guys opening that Gang Of Four show that I missed.

I didn’t want to be too quick to give The DFA all the credit for these guys ever having an interesting song, but that seems to have been the case. Without James Murphy’s athletic percussion and Tim Goldsworthy’s reliably funky production, these guys were just a mediocre rock band (with the only exception being their multi-percussionist Bez-type guy, he was great). Even “Dance To The Underground” felt rushed and awkward, and not just because of the absurdity of trying to “electrify” only a dozen or so people in Neumos’ huge, empty showroom. No, the problem was that the song was being played by a rock band as a rock song and it simply failed in that context; that track exists to be played for a dance floor on a soundsystem and it just shouldn’t exist otherwise.

(I can’t help but think that there must’ve been a moment when Mr. Murphy was turning the knobs for these guys when he realized he didn’t need to work with other bands’ vocal hooks, that he could just make his own and it would be far more interesting.)

Frites, however, make the best french fries I’ve ever had, hands down. Try the poblano ranch or the adobo mayo. No show at Neumos will ever be a total disappointment as long as they have Anthony’s deep-friers on their side.

This Week in Music News

posted by on June 21 at 11:10 AM

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Bonnaroo: A roaring success.

Top of the Pops: Cancelled after 42 years on the air. Remember the Nirvana performance? Priceless.

The Replacements: Reissued and revered.

Guns n’ Roses: Pelted with pee!

Gene Simmons: In possession of very few friends. Gee, I wonder why.

Rufus Wainwright: So very, very gay.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Internet Killed The TV On The Radio Star

posted by on June 20 at 7:45 PM

If you’re like me you have a good internet connection, read the news on Pitchfork, and download the occasional MP3.

So you’ve probably also been listening to the new TV On The Radio record, Return To Cookie Mountain (apparently, not a working title) for the last few months and wondering, like me, why the hell it has yet to be released. The record, or at least the version of it that’s been leaked via file sharing networks, is their best work yet. It is simply a masterpiece.

I guess what this has me wondering is: what does it even mean to “release” an “album” these days? Does it occur when the music becomes publicly available or when the music is manufactured as a physical product? Does it undermine an artist or a label’s intent (or bottom line) when leaks occur? When a record is leaked so widely for so long and with such publicity what does it mean when the actual record comes out? Does anyone care?

Listen to it any way you can, but do support the band when the thing finally comes out and when they come through town again.

I Just Heard Keane for the First Time

posted by on June 20 at 5:30 PM

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And I have an uncontrollable urge to grind them into fertilizer (assuming they’re biodegradable; I have my doubts). I gave a listen to Keane’s new disc, Under the Iron Sea, this afternoon. I must say, I cannot fathom the popularity of these annoyingly bland (yet bombastic), faux-profound U2/Coldplay biters. Keane are yet one more egregious example of what I call the New Wave of Vanilla (Snow Patrol, Doves, Travis, South, half of Astralwerks’ roster, etc.), whose members seem hell-bent on bleeding all excitement from rock. Well done, lads.

One Keane member said in the press sheet, “We wrote Under the Iron Sea because we needed a record that was going to make us feel alive again.”¯ If I should be unfortunate enough to encounter you, Keane, you will know once more what it’s like to feel unalive.

Capitol Hill Block Party: Site for Your Eyes

posted by on June 20 at 2:23 PM

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photo: Common Market & Blue Scholars

In anticipation of the Capitol Hill Block Party (July 28-29), The Stranger has put up a site that serves as a clearinghouse for schedules, music samples by acts on the bill, news updates linked from Line Out, vendor info, and other useful functions to help you prepare and stoke your enthusiasm for this always-stimulating summer shindig.

Surprise! Enjoyable opening band!

posted by on June 20 at 2:20 PM

Every KEXP savvy kid in Seattle must have been at the Crocodile Cafe to see Tapes n’ Tapes last night becase the place was packed! The room was stuffed most enjoyable to its overheating brim. This show is notable because it was the first show I have seen in, oh, forever to be blessed with opening acts that didn’t make me wish I’d missed the bus to the venue. Tapes n’ Tapes was fun (plus they’re from Minnesota, so what’s not to love?) and their second opener the Figurines was fast, loud and catchy, but I was really impressed by the very-bottom-of-the-lineup-first -opener Cold War Kids.

Bands these days are all so damn cool, their stage presence is blase and apathetic. Cold War Kids were not cool. The two guitarists shook, lunged and spastically flung themselves around the stage, drenched in sweat and crashing into eachother like they were rocking out in their parents garage. They didn’t have any annoying refined, self-concious image and man, did they have sound: Gritty folk-twinged lyrics, headbang-worthy guitar and a mean maraca. The crowd ATE. IT. UP.

Anyone who can get hipsters to do more than bob their heads is a solid band in my book.

Plus, after the concert there were a couple homeless guys soliciting for money with ironic signs (“Gigalo fo Hire”)… they must have known something cool was going on.

Anyway, Cold War Kids claim they’re coming back through Seattle in a few weeks (though their website doesn’t say where) so try to catch them then.

That Good Ol’ Ectoplasmic Campfire Music

posted by on June 20 at 12:36 PM

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Brightblack Morning Light’s self-titled album comes out today on Matador. I’ve a feeling this release will be overlooked, and that would be a tragedy, so I’m bringing it to your attention here. (Note: BML are touring America, but they’re skipping Seattle. Boo. However, if you’re feeling ambitious and affluent, you can catch them opening for Os Mutantes July 24 at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.)

I’ve never done heroin, but Brightblack Morning Light’s music makes me imagine what being on H must feel like: a woozy, opiated brain-haze; a weightless, carefree, amorphous drift; a honey-blooded slumber. These Cali by way of Alabama and Kentucky dudes and dudettes have tapped into the same spooky yet blissed-out vein (sorry) that Spiritualized did on the immortal “Shine a Light”¯ and that Dr. John nailed on much of Gris-Gris (get this now; thank me later).

The pace on Brightblack Morning Light is as laggard as that of a post-office employee’s movements, but the minimalist wah-wah guitar, spectral Rhodes, fuzzy bass tones, gloriously extended cymbal splashes, soothing wind chimes, and Nathan Shineywater’s Jason Pierce-like soul moan all coalesce into some of the best late-night come-down songs I’ve ever heard (and I’ve heard a lot). This 53-minute disc is the best aural tension-disperser I’ve experienced in a long while. I suggest you curl up with it ASAP.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin!

posted by on June 20 at 11:20 AM

Go to this show tonight at the Croc!

SOUND TEAM, SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN
(Crocodile) Yes, the band’s name is Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Get over it. I hate when rock writers drone on about a strange band name while ignoring the music. See, I’ve wasted too many words already! SSLYBY’s new album, Broom, is a quaint pop record heavy on the melodies and free of ego and attitude. It’s slightly coy, endearingly geeky… basically, it sounds like what having a crush feels like—a little nervous, a little giddy, and ultimately really happy. Sound Team from Austin, Texas, are a nice match. Their rock isn’t quite as gentle as SSLYBY’s; it’s more about dance parties with Moog, piano, keyboard—all sorts of happy noise. MEGAN SELING

You can hear “House Fire,” from SSLYBY’s new album Broom, here.

The digital 12-inch: Now or later?

posted by on June 20 at 9:03 AM

In my morning mail comes an annoucement from a PR firm that tomorrow, eMusic will be making “Gets Mine,” the new 12-inch single from Stone’s Throw artist Oh No available as a free download. “This is the first in a series Stones Throw tracks that will be offered exclusively through eMusic, and very likely a bellwether for the DJ community,” writes the enthusiastic publicist.

Now, I love Stone’s Throw, what with Peanut Butter Wolf at the helm, and chief groove archeologist Egon by his side. But I have my reservations about the significance of such an event. First of all, iTunes has been making 12-inch singles from the BMG archives, with a variety of remixes new and old, availabe for several months. I’ll grant you Taylor Dayne is not as cool as Oh No (the Pointer Sisters are another matter entirely), but Lord knows, remixes aplenty are out there in the ether.

More importantly: If most download services make the music available via mp3 and other lo-fi formats, how useful is this stuff to club DJs? It’s one thing to play a mp3 file in an intimate bar setting, but on a bumping system in a big room? They usually sound like shit.

Do other DJs feel the same way? If you’re going to be “spinning” (or, more importantly, mixing) a 12-inch remix track, can you live with it in mp3 format, or would you rather have the option of downloading it as a time-consuming but better sounding WAV file? If you do the latter, are you just gonna burn it to CD and then delete the file or move it to a portable storage device ASAP? Is the use of mp3 files as a promotional tool for club DJs really that big an advancement, or would you rather still be serviced with white label vinyl and promo CDs for a while longer, until the audio quality on portable music media improves? Do laptop mixing tools allow you to bump up fidelity of these sort of files, thus rendering my question silly? (I admit, I don’t laptop or iPod DJ - never have, and probably won’t for a while - so I’m not tech-savvy about certain applications for DJs.) Discuss.


Monday, June 19, 2006

John Zorn? I’m there.

posted by on June 19 at 7:21 PM

What I don’t know about jazz could fill The Stranger music section from now until the end of time. But I must say, I let out a loud “oh my God” of joy when I read the press release with the Earshot Jazz line-up for this fall, and saw that one of the shows features John Zorn’s Hemophiliac ensemble, which includes Ikue Mori (D.N.A. fans, can I get a “hell yeah!”?) and Mike “I was in a pop band but I’m also insane-in-the-good-way” Patton.

John Zorn + Ikue Mori + Mike Patton = I’m so there.

The Earshot press release in its entirety follows. Mea culpa if this is old news… I’ve been trapped in California wine country DJ-ing a wedding the last few days and am still getting back up to speed.

Continue reading "John Zorn? I'm there." »

Santa Claus Tressel ““ Mickey Reds

posted by on June 19 at 7:00 PM

West Chester, PA ““ Rex’s

Enter Santa Claus Tressel, patron mascot saint of The Tressels band. We walk in Rex’s to set up and there’s a beat up plastic Santa Claus lawn ornament on stage wearing a Spider Man mask.

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I move to investigate further and am met by Mickey Reds. Mickey, plays tambourine and shaker in The Tressels. He tells me to, “Man up, and do a shot.”¯ During The Tressels’ set, when there was not a beer in Mickey’s non shaker hand, there was a smoke. He brought it, hard, Ozzfest style.

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Santa Claus Tressel was kicked, ashed on, and stepped on. But he remained - solid and stoic, with Christmas cheer. The women like Santa Claus Tressel. He commands respect, while at the same time, his gaze is tender and loving, in an inanimate kind of way. Mickey drank 9 beers and absolutely killed it on shakers and smokes.

Trent - out.

Head Like a Kite

The Other Half of the Rhythm Section

posted by on June 19 at 5:02 PM

Continuing the thread of this post from last week, I present the question to you, dear Line Out reader: Who are the best bass players working today? Or your favorites from the past? Note: All references to Flea will be swiftly deleted. Just kidding….sorta.

I will always hold Steve Harris in high regard. Even if you don’t have an affinity for vintage British metal, one listen to Iron Maiden’s “Running Free” should convince you of his worth:

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Naturally, in that same league, I must include former Metallica bassist Cliff Burton. R.I.P.

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Bernard Georges (middle, below) formerly of Throwing Muses and currently of 50 Ft Wave is a prime example of minimalist, tasteful players who speak volumes with their subtle approach:

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And on the opposite end of the spectrum, we have No Means No’s Rob Wright and Minuteman Mike Watt , both revered for their dexterous, markedly more aggressive approach to the low end of the spectrum.

Aside from the admirable fact that she and bandmate/husband Rick Valentin run one the oldest operating podcasts on the net, I’ve always thought that Poster Children bassist Rose Marshack was a delightful spazz and an absolutely unimpeachable bassist.

This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg; tell us who do you dig and why.

“Bitch I Look Good”¯

posted by on June 19 at 3:51 PM

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Praised by Larry Mizell Jr. in The Stranger, DJ Bles One (AKA Mash Hall) has bestowed upon us “Bitch I Look Good,”¯ which is track of the week, and my anthem until further notice—not so much for the lyrics, which are somewhat dubious—but for the music, which is fraught with seductive suspense and features one of the most reliable, head-nodding beats ever. Note amazing Les Maledictus Sound sample. Who? Exactly. Note hilarious Anchorman sample. Note that Bles One—who’s kind of a big deal—will be opening for Prince Paul June 24 at Chop Suey [see our feature on Paul this Wednesday].

[Sic]

posted by on June 19 at 9:46 AM

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This may be the music-journalism gaffe of the year:

Bathroom stall police be warned: Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines,” while billed as an anti-cocaine rap track, has actually endured over the years as a pro-snoot anthem of sorts for those who like to ride the white horse well into the night. Anyhoo, the seminal rapper’s upcoming appearance at Last Supper Club is rivaled in weirdness only by Too Short’s recent gig at Chop Suey, so don’t miss this. Last Supper Club, 10 p.m.

An Open Letter from the TR-909

posted by on June 19 at 8:44 AM

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Dear Techno,

I’m starting to worry that you might never come back to me. At first, I tolerated you running around with those trashy new software synths or re-living your electro past with that bitchy ex of yours. I figured it was just a phase. But this is getting ridiculous. You may brag to your friends about me, but be honest with yourself: it’s been years since you’ve even touched my power button, much less caressed all my knobs and worked me like you used to.

There was a time when you’d go on and on about all the great noises I made for you — my sexy tom toms and open hi-hats, my sultry claps and snares, that kick drum I do that could hit you in just the right spot all night long. But now you think my midrange is too thick, my treble too tinny. You’d rather automate dozens of functions on those tramps on your laptop then the handful I can offer you.

Sure, I can see the appeal. That software is trim and efficient and it does exactly what you want it to do. It’s flexible and up for anything, I’m just solid and consistent. I can only give you eleven sounds, but it’ll give you anything you want and never complain. I demand work and careful attention, and they’re happy to let you play with their presets all night. And I’m too flabby to do the “minimal” thing that’s so popular these days — but maybe that crowd you run with now can’t remember what it was like to spend a whole night with me.

I might not understand why you’ve left me like this, but I am willing to forgive and forget if you’d just come back to me. I’ll be waiting here, as always, in the corner of your studio.

Yours eternally,
The Roland TR-909 Rhythm Composer


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Preparing For Take Off

posted by on June 18 at 11:34 PM

This is it for me. I’m off to an internship that bars all fraternizing with The Stranger. I now write my last Line Out post for the duration with a heavy tympanic membrane, closing with a relatively new release that I deem significant.

Son of RoseTop Flight

Laptop composer Kamran Sadeghi’s newest release, Top Flight, appeared in Data Breaker here, but I’d like to put in a word, because Son of Rose creates some of my most beloved local music.

Sadeghi’s self-titled debut made him something of a Seattle monarch of minimalist electronic music, but minimal doesn’t seem like an appropriate description. At first listen, the components of his sound may seem delicate and sparse—arranged from the confines of a computer, but don’t be deceived. All command of faculties is soon lost to the music’s omniscient effect.

I loved the first album, but I’m finding myself more attuned to Top Flight, which sounds far more conceptual than the former. It’s like an algorithmic allegory of flight.

It seems strange that something so futuristic could provoke nostalgia, but I lived on or around air-force bases from the time I was born until I was 12, and during that whole period I was immersed in the hum of jet engines. There are aeronautic nuances captured on Top Flight that pretty much take me back to suspension in amniotic fluid.

Audio-aerodynamics are patterned throughout, like the hiss of rocket propulsion, the hypnotic revolutions of propellers, hollow metallic sounds, like pinging and riveting upon fuselages and other emanations from the gaping maws of airplane hangars. The evolution is full-spectrum, spanning from tremulous insectiform winging and the ephemeral whirring of cicadas to deep-space, nebular permutations and otherworldly hovering and pulsing.

All of these tones and textures are deftly synthesized and set on a trajectory toward the end track, “Sudden Departures,”¯ the live, 25-minute odyssey that was Son of Rose’s 2005 Decibel Festival performance. Listen to it, and understand why Sadeghi has such a devoted local following.

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The Meditative Grandeur of Budd/Guthrie

posted by on June 18 at 12:18 PM

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Minimalist keyboardist/composer Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie played last night along with screenings of Maya Deren’s Meshes of an Afternoon and other non-linear short films that appeared to be completed before the psychedelic era to a rapt audience at the Egyptian.

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While Budd/Guthrie’s music definitely achieved a spacious, vaporous, beauty and dewy pathos (the phrase “diaphanous ambience”¯ kept popping into my head), it lacked significant variation from piece to piece. The players seemed not to be accompanying the images on screen so much as locking into each other’s headspaces and trading impressionistic dapples (Budd) and reflective spangles (Guthrie). Neither instrumentalist stretched beyond his well-known stylistic tics (as lovely as they are), resulting in music of a meditative grandeur that ultimately left this listener mildly underwhelmed.