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Archives for 09/10/2006 - 09/16/2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thomas Fehlmann, I Dub Thee Godhead

posted by on September 16 at 4:47 PM


Thomas Fehlmann was making great music since before many of you were born. That he’s still making great music is cause for wonder and celebration.

Last night at Broadway Performance Hall, as part of Decibel’s Opening Gala Event, the gaunt Ben Kingsley look-alike began his inspirational set with what sounded like spy-flick soundtrack music dipped in ice-cool dub. He moved into a spectral hiphop track he cut with Michigan’s Dabrye, and every head in the joint started nodding on cue. Fehlmann transitioned into more elegantly funky dub swathed in the richest tonal finery available in the European Union. Later he maneuvered into throbbing, sensual minimal techno. Many in the crowd left their seats and moved in accordance to Fehlmann’s inviting rhythms. Security did not throw them out of the house. Good vibes spread and I temporarily forgot about imminent global catastrophe for a while. Even the fool who shouted “Freebird”¯! near the end couldn’t ruin the mood.

Fehlmann—50ish, balding, bespectacled, rail thin—danced with cat-like grace and stealth throughout his entire awesome set. Ordinarily, a producer grooving to his own music onstage comes off as annoyingly narcissistic. But Fehlmann looked like the most charming, enchanted laptop jockey ever. And he made me ponder this improbability: how did this geeky Swiss native become the reigning master of dub?

Telefon Tel Aviv - Barcode Scans the Canopy

posted by on September 16 at 3:58 PM

Decibel Fest. Hook in. Get down and upload. The mechanical resonance has rendered an image.

Telefon Tel Aviv played Neumo’s last night. My mind reels still. Joshua Eustis and Charlie Cooper evolved their digital schemes. Lap tops directing Ableton like sequencing, delays, filters, Nord keys, and flange to multiple hanging screens showing visual accompaniments and morphing. Stereo panning sprayed the 16th beat glitchings to the sights all over the room.

It was like a gigantic bar code scanner scanning across a rain forest canopy. Howler monkeys swung in the strobes. Neumo’s became microscopic with archetypal ears inside fiber optic intestines. Joshua and Charlie were conjoined and their sound was improbably organic - a sheen of digital blinks and pointed pounds of bass that induced and generated subconscious activities of thought. A whirring.


I spill further, interpretal.

Continue reading "Telefon Tel Aviv - Barcode Scans the Canopy" »

Did Segal Stage a Seize?

posted by on September 16 at 3:53 PM

I missed the Decibel panel discussion today… did Segal rail against all things digital? Was there any violence? Is Dave getting an MP3 player now?

Tonight: Yann Novak, Kamran Sadeghi, Richard Chartier, Taylor Deupree, Foscil, Subtle… etc, etc.


Thomas Fehlmann Vs. Ben Kingsley

posted by on September 16 at 7:12 AM

I’m not joking. Fehlmann is for electronic music what Sir Ben Kingsley is for film. And last night at Broadway Performance Hall, Fehlmann’s performance was the musical equivalent of Kingsley’s Gandhi. It was that good. Am I insane to suggest a slight resemblance? C’mon!


Thomas Fehlmann


Ben Kingsley

Friday, September 15, 2006

Liveblogging from Decibel

posted by on September 15 at 9:16 PM

It’s true. When we sophisticated laptop musos are up here on stage “performing” our “live” electronic music, we’re really answering our email and looking at porn, just as you suspected.

Photo 8.jpg

I’m on ‘till 10:45. Get on AIM and give a shout to mcorwine.

Denying Decibel, Part II

posted by on September 15 at 4:07 PM

Mission of Burma

Decibel’s been receiving plenty of attention, so I have no qualms about directing your attention to the quality punk rock at your disposal this weekend.

Tonight, the smart money’s on Mission of Burma. Their new(ish) record on Matador is a stunner and I will definitely be front and center at the Crocodile tonight. Added bonus: Kristin Hersh’s 50 Foot Wave opens. Here’s what I wrote in this week’s issue:

MISSION OF BURMA, 50 FOOT WAVE (Crocodile) It’s time to add Mission of Burma to the list of recent respectable resurfacings that includes Radio Birdman, the Buzzcocks, and Gang of Four. Mission of Burma’s new record, Obliterati, not only does justice to their all-too-brief legacy, it also surpasses it on many levels. As tautly intelligent as they were back in the ’80s, Roger Miller and company have matured beautifully as songwriters and players, while retaining a visionary perspective (creative sound manipulation by official fourth member Bob Weston undoubtedly helps in this regard). What’s more, they’re as articulate and pissed off as they ever were (see closing track “Nancy Reagan’s Head” for vivid evidence). Miss this one and you’ll regret it, guaranteed. HANNAH LEVIN


Practically everyone I know is going to Scratch Acid tomorrow. I just spoke with the show’s promoters and though ticket sales are brisk, there are still some left. Snap yours up now—David Yow has made no secret of the fact that this is a one-time-only Seattle appearance.

The Vibrators

I feel sort of sorry for the Vibrators—this was just the wrong weekend for them to come down. In the event that you get shut out of Scratch Acid (or you just don’t want to risk being hit with any of Yow’s bodily fluids), head over to Studio Seven and show these pioneering blokes some love. It’s only $8, after all.

Decibel Debauchery

posted by on September 15 at 2:55 PM

It’s ridiculous for me to detail what I plan to see tonight, because there’s just too much, and there’s already so much material out there touting the sonic pleasures that await… but I would like to mention how excited I am to see Apparat at Neumo’s, during tonight’s Headfuk Showcase.

This will be my first time seeing Apparat (Sascha Ring) live. He is currently one of my electronic favorites—and his music is set apart from most, because it’s… I don’t know, delightful? I hate the word “joy,” but you can’t listen to Apparat and not bust into a seizure of smiles. From what I’ve heard, he has a dynamic, quirky stage presence and this spritely young German loves to germinate a happy vibe. And I’m not just being cheesy…

This from the artist’s web site:

[The music’s] emotional chip features an option on happiness and its sound waves are able to tear your heart apart. While sensitively orchestrating his chamber musical qualities on his records or in his studio, his live performances are known for kicking some ass!

Very well put.


Oh Mickey, You’re so Fine

posted by on September 15 at 2:32 PM

This Sunday! Sleazeball Mickey Avalon at Chop Suey! 9 pm! Rap’s never been skankier.
Sure to be a fabulous distaster. See it to believe it!

mickey avalon.jpg

“Mickey Avalon, dick thick as a baton, the illest motherfucker from here to Vietnam, I used to work nights on hot cock dot com, but then I got fired when my mom logged on. I’m on the run, my dad’s a bum, I asked my girl if she loved me and she just said —umm…”¯

A Slim Not At All Shady

posted by on September 15 at 2:24 PM

I’d been living in NYC for a couple of months when I first became aware of Langhorne Slim. New York’s the kind of place where the city sponsored network (NYC TV) broadcasts an amazing hour of indie videos weekly called New York Noise. The show has clever segments between videos. They either produce these segments, like having a bunch of 9 year old kids review Cat Power videos (with hilarious results), or they have local scenesters like the Walkmen and Adam Green as featured artists introducing clips. The first week I tuned in, Langhorne Slim and comic Eugene Mirman were walking around my new temporary neighborhood in Brooklyn buying “To Go”¯ food from local restaurants and asking people on the street to partake, while engaging them in waggish banter. I found Mr. Slim to be charmingly reserved on camera, but when they cut to his video for “In the Moonlight”¯ his impressive musical presence spoke volumes. We recently chatted about TV, his new life on the road, what he’s listening to now, the ‘Burg, and our mutual love of KEXP’s John Richards.

Continue reading "A Slim Not At All Shady" »

Denying Decibel?

posted by on September 15 at 11:30 AM

If you haven’t already made plans to sacrifice your weekend to the Decibel Festival, I have a proposition for you: Go to the Crocodile Saturday night.

Reason #1: Siberian.
Siberian is really pretty and lush indie pop with warm vocals and sparkling instrumentation, which is just as perfect live as it is on record.

Reason #2: Sirens Sister.
Sirens Sister is the new act featuring Zach and Leif from Vendetta Red. They’ve shed their emocore skin and delved into a more moody ’80s-pop sound reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen. Tonight they’re also celebrating this week’s release of their debut album Echoes From the Ocean Floor on the Control Group.

Reason #3: The Divorce.
While I wasn’t a huge fan of their early stuff, the Divorce have done nothing but impress me lately with their slightly punked-up and almost new-wave pop full of hooks and attitude. I still listen to their second record, The Gifted Program on a weekly basis, and I’ve yet to grow tired of any of it.

Reason #4: Beer.
The Crocodile serves beer. And people like beer.

Given all that, it really can’t be anything but a great show.

And whether you do the Decibel or not, be sure to save some cash this weekend ‘cause you’re also probably gonna wanna be at the Paradox on Tuesday to see Maritime, Speaker Speaker, Boat, and the Lonely Forest. Maritime is stunning, they’re… oh fuck it. I’ll fawn over that show more next week.

Decibel Festival Brings the Future Jazz

posted by on September 15 at 9:58 AM

One of many new additions to this year’s Decibel Festival is the inclusion of the Baltic Room as a venue for Saturday night’s Future Jazz Showcase, curated by SunTzu Sound. They open the night, but the evening’s bill of 1Luv and Jeremy Ellis make this one of the more intriguing showcases of the festival, with a more organic sound than will be found elsewhere.

Vancouver’s 1Luv (playing as a seven-piece band) draws on funk, soul, disco, and R&B influences, creating music that pays homage to the past while still pushing it into new directions, defying strict categorization. They released the single “Black Daylight” last year on SunTzu’s new imprint, making their way into the crates of various broken beat heavyweights and receiving no shortage of critical praise. Since then the single has undergone the remix treatment, with those set to be released in the coming months. The group’s first album was recently completed, and is due to be distributed through Columbia, Japan.

Detroit’s Jeremy Ellis has been through town on a couple of occasions now, both solo and with frequent collaborator John Arnold. With all of the praise given to Jamie Lidell (and deservedly so), it’s no small feat to see how that same interest in Lidell can translate into equal enjoyment of Jeremy Ellis. Both share a strong appreciation for soul and funk music, but Ellis manages to one-up Lidell through his inclusion of a heavy Latin element. Both share the same stage presence and charisma, but an Ellis performance is a bit more party-oriented, with him working his MPC like a true master, rounding out the sound with keys and his own vocals. It’s an amazing spectacle to watch, as the video below (from a show done with John Arnold) can attest. Like Lidell, Ellis wears his influences on his sleeve, happy to share the music he so obviously loves with any audience lucky enough to watch.

Both 1Luv and Jeremy Ellis blend the sounds of the past and present to create a sound all their own, drawing from sources both obvious and obscure to create something familiar yet fresh. They’re each set to redefine what it means to play “live” at Decibel, bringing a more human element than most of the other acts. Whether you consider the sound of Jeremy Elllis and 1Luv to be Future Soul, Future Jazz, or Future Funk, it will be obvious to all that see them that for each of these acts the future is now.

Decibel Has Arrived

posted by on September 15 at 2:19 AM

I just got back home from Neumos and the first night of Decibel. Based on tonight’s events it’s safe to say that this year’s edition of the Decibel Festival is off to a good start, as Neumos had a healthy crowd all night, most of which stayed until the end of the night’s festivities. I had a feeling early on that the night would be a good one; how often do you find yourself applauding a sound-check?

I’m a little too tired to really recap the whole night at the moment, but while the entire night’s bill was great, I’d have to say Panoptica and the closing Nortec Collective set pushed all the right buttons. For the latter, it was a culmination of the night’s music, offering sophisticated beats meant to get the crowd moving a bit more than the night’s earlier fare. While I hate to use a tired music clichĆ©, they truly took the crowd on a musical journey, with stops in blistering techno territory one moment, more horn-driven locales the next. If you’ve been debating not going to any of Decibel’s events for whatever reason, I heartily recommend you reconsider.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

TV on the Radio on TV

posted by on September 14 at 4:47 PM

Thanks to Line Out reader Drake (nice blog, man), I just watched this clip of TV on the Radio performing on Letterman. This band continuously amazes me and I cannot wait for their show at the Showbox next month. It’s simply beautiful work performed by musicians who are so utterly true to their vision, I can only shake my head in admiration. Fucking A.

Let’s talk about how good this record is…

posted by on September 14 at 3:35 PM

Lifter Puller. Fiestas + Fiascos.


A concept record without being pretentious or contrived, Fiestas + Fiascos is about a club called Nice Nice and the life of Nightclub Dwight, a man who goes to a lot of parties, does a lot of drugs, has a lot of sex, and ultimately pisses off the wrong people.

Lyrically, it’s genius. Here are only a few examples:

“And the ravers they rose up right in unison / attacked the bathroom and ransacked all the medicine / Pills administered just like communion / this is the body and the blood and the love and the blacklights on your white tights / The clubs are just like caves, these club kids are just slaves and these afterbars are just like their graves.”

“I’m like a pied piper, lead the kids into rats, lead the rats to the water / I’m turnin teens into fiends, lead em straight to the slaughter / I got the stuff that gets ‘em slippin in the shower.”

“These English majors wanna be some super genius novelists / They end up music journalists, chicks ain’t that into it.”

And my personal favorite,

“Love is like a battle of the bands. Crank up your amps, man.”


Am I right? Am I wrong?

Yo La Tengo Make Trouble

posted by on September 14 at 1:40 PM

A young man who ordered some merch from another young man wasn’t very pleased with the free Yo La Tango Tengo (duh, sorry) poster included in the package, which is a promotional poster for their new record I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass:

yo la poster.jpg

Mistaking the poster for an actual handwritten and threatening note, the kid sent off this message in return:

JUST WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE BITCH!? sending me a fucking piece of paper in big letters telling me you are gonna kick my ass, you’re not afraid of me????????? WELL HERE I AM DICKHEAD!

Ha! It’s pretty hilarious. Read the whole message board thread here.

Thanks to my friend Mac for sharing.

Blues in the Key of W

posted by on September 14 at 12:43 PM

A search of Google’s relatively new video feature coughs up an excerpt from the 1966 (or ‘67) documentary New Tempo X 2 with John Cage and Rashaan Roland Kirk.

Continue reading "Blues in the Key of W" »

Bummer Music News of the Day

posted by on September 14 at 12:43 PM


Marianne Faithful has breast cancer.

“Show Me Those Hands, Motherfuckers! C’mon!”

posted by on September 14 at 12:10 PM


Here’s what to do if you want to put on the best goddamn metal show in the history of the world, like Dragonforce did last night at the Showbox (okay, maybe it wasn’t the best in the history of the world, but it was still pretty killer, the most entertaining show I’ve seen in a long time):

-Put fans at the front of the stage, so when your band members lean over them during guitar solos, their down-to-their-butt metal hair blows around their faces like a shampoo commercial.

-Have cup holders attached to the microphone stands that hold bottles of gatorade and cups of beer and/or water with straws so you can drink out of them while playing four-minute long guitar solos.

-Put two trampolines on the stage to ensure maximum jumpage.

-Change shirts a number of times during the show, but end up shirtless in the end.

-Make sure your drummer is playing the biggest drum kit ever seen with at least 10 cymbals and two kick drums.

-Praise Seattle (or whatever city you happen to be playing) for having “good weed.”

-When you play your power ballad, bring out a giant lighter, so the audience knows it’s time to get theirs out too. And absolutely wear a black cowboy hat while singing the song.

-Have your keyboardist switch to a keytar and do his solos at the front of the stage while humping the air and playing the instrument behind his head.

-Lick your guitar.

-Play the first 10 seconds of “Come As You Are,” despite the crowd’s booing.

-End a weird fucked-up carnival keyboard solo/techno dance break that sounds like Ninteno’s Bubble Bobble on speed with The Simpson’s theme song.

-Wear really tight white pants and ask the crowd if they want to see your self-proclaimed enourmous penis. But don’t actually show them when all the drunken metal boys enthusiastically cheer as though they do.

-Have the entire crowd split in two, right down the center, for the last song so as soon as you yell “Go!” at the song’s climax, everyone runs towards each other and turns the entire Showbox floor into a giant mosh pit.

-Come out for an encore, but when your two guitarists haven’t made it back to the stage yet, get the crowd to yell “Gaylords!” in unison to make them hurry.

It was Dragonforce’s first show in Seattle, and apparently it was their fifth sold out show in a row on this tour. The Showbox was totally and completely and absolutely packed, stinky, and hot. I bet it smelled worse than the Melvins’ show in there. But the show was fucking fantastic anyways. I mean, as fantastic as a hilarious and epic adventure metal show could be. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it.

Did I forget anything that happened last night? I really wish I could’ve taken pictures for ya’ll (especially of the guitarists drinking out of their gatorade bottles while playing their solos), but the tight security wouldn’t let me take a marker into the venue let alone my digital camera. Oh well. Just envision a lot of hair, a lot of water being sprayed onto the crowd, and a lot of hands constantly making the metal sign and the “gimmie more guitar” finger-waving motion.

More for Grey Days

posted by on September 14 at 10:56 AM

Now that we’re in Day 2 of another lovely Seattle autumn, I thought I’d share this week’s grey-weather treat, which turned up in my mailbox just in time.


I’m a fan of Laurent Garnier’s production style, which is resolutely “back to basics” — an homage to the atmospheric high-tech soul of Detroit, full of lush synth pads and 909 hi-hats and other things that I could listen to forever. (I once squandered half an interview with a well-known Detroit artist just geeking out over how much we loved the 909’s open hat.)

Although he adds carefully-chosen jazz flourishes, everything still sounds cheap in the best possible way. The drum programming is off-kilter, the vocals distorted both sonically and lyrically. He’s rare among modern techno producers in preserving the rough, amateurish feel of a freshly-minted genre, full of ambition and energy and expression, sophistication without self-consciousness.

It’s a nice pairing with King Britt’s new record, which sort of completes the trilogy of tributes that began with the ’70s-themed “When the Funk Hits the Fan,” and continued with the criminally under-rated ’80s homage “Re-Members Only.”


Nova Dream Sequence is his ’90s record, and it reeks of early Chicago jack trax, angular Detroit funk, and forgotten once-genres like “progressive house” (which lives on today in the form of “tech-house” and “electro-house,” really) and what they used to call “trance” before trance become a bizarre collection of subgenres on its own. Like the Garnier retrospective, it’s charmingly underproduced and unpretentious and absolutely wonderful music for foul weather.

The History of the Future of Music

posted by on September 14 at 6:27 AM

I’m inspired to post a little somethin’ from the Wikipedia entry for John Cage (1912-1992), eminent experimental composer, Zen instrumentalist and father of “chance music”:

Schoenberg told Cage he would tutor him for free on the condition he “devoted his life to music.” Cage readily agreed, but stopped lessons after two years. Cage later wrote in his lecture Indeterminacy: “After I had been studying with him for two years, Schoenberg said, ‘In order to write music, you must have a feeling for harmony.’ I explained to him that I had no feeling for harmony. He then said that I would always encounter an obstacle, that it would be as though I came to a wall through which I could not pass. I said, ‘In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall’.”

and this:

He visited the anechoic chamber at Harvard University (an anechoic chamber is a room designed in such a way that the walls, ceiling and floor will absorb all sounds made in the room, rather than bouncing them back as echoes. They are also generally soundproofed.) Cage entered the chamber expecting to hear silence, but as he wrote later, he “heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation.” Cage had gone to a place where he expected there to be no sound, and yet sound was nevertheless discernible. He stated “until I die there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A Morton Feldman Anecdote

posted by on September 13 at 3:20 PM


From next week’s The Score column by Christopher DeLaurenti comes this humorous anecdote:

[Avant-garde composer Morton] Feldman recounts an argument with his teacher Stefan Wolpe, who deemed his young student’s music too esoteric and urged him to write for the man on street: “And we’re looking down and who’s walking across 14th Street and Sixth Avenue—Jackson Pollock.”¯

The funniest thing about this is that Feldman’s sparse, glacially evolving music couldn’t be more different in character from Pollock’s chaotic action paintings.

You’ve Been Reading My Blog

posted by on September 13 at 12:59 PM

This is from Pitchfork, and I know we shouldn’t be linking their shit all the time, but this is fucking hilarious:

Mike Patton Forcibly Namedropped on Soap Opera

First Day Without Sun

posted by on September 13 at 12:27 PM

It’s cold. It’s gray. It’s probably going to rain.

I’m okay with that, though. Fall music is my favorite kind of music.

Here’s what I’m listening to today:


Tonight, though… tonight I will have my face melted off by Dragonforce at the Showbox.

How about you?

Destination Decibel

posted by on September 13 at 12:15 PM

I am back from the bowels of The Seattle Times—let loose from my summer internship. Early in the summer I went to the SeaTimes production facility and stood amid the gargantuan printing presses in operation and I regretted not being able to describe it on Line Out. Instead I sent an email to Segal…

“The presses are mountains of machinery, towering over and dwarfing everything, like gigantic living organisms with thousands of moving parts like mandibles or cilia. All that motion. And the sound…the entire city block of the place was humming, purring, rapping. Being next to one of the presses is a full body experience. The sound of ink injectors, like pistons, the smell of paper, ink, oil, metal, the papers conveyed 35 miles an hour surreally overhead… I totally geeked out…”

And now The Decibel Festival looms large and I’m hoping to be similarly mesmerized by a monolith of electronic music. I bought an all access pass and I don’t think I’ve been this excited about a festival in a long time, if ever.

And so, my personal Decibel schedule, updated the day before with all the major points, but like everyone who paid the steep price for full access, I’ll likely be coming and going nonstop.

Tomorrow, Thursday Sept 14:

6:30 p.m. Henry Art Gallery - Sound Art discussion

Come hear the schpeal on the “intersections between contemporary art and sound” at Henry Art Gallery with Octavio Castellanos and Pepe Mogt of Nortec Collective, Yann Novak, Randy Jones and more. It’s free, but if you show up at 5 p.m., you can check out Steve Roden’s “day ring, night ring” a sound installation/planetary soliloquy in the gallery’s James Turrell Skyspace. Tuning forks ring through the high-back, solid wood and circular benching… and it’s a subtle, memorable experience… I couldn’t think of a better way to prepare for the weekend’s electronic onslaught.

9:00 p.m. Neumo’s - Nortec Collective/Static Disco
w/ Latinsizer, Panoptika, Plankton Man, FAX and Nortec Collective. With the exception of Plankton Man, these artists are all from Tijuana, Mexico. There seems to be a boiling point occurring for electronic music from just south of the border. This should be an excellent showcase.

Nortec Collective

Viva le Vera!

posted by on September 13 at 11:35 AM

(Photo by Curt Doughty)

Yesterday Vera Project’s staff, Board of Directors, volunteers, supporters, and fans gathered at Vera’s new digs at the Seattle Center to officially begin the construction process on the venue. Sub Pop owner Jonathan Poneman and long-time Vera volunteer Jo Riedl did the honors, ceremoniously breaking the ground with the golden shovels while donning Vera-stickered hardhats.

More photos of the space are behind the jump.

Continue reading "Viva le Vera!" »

Jet Lag

posted by on September 13 at 11:10 AM

Home from NYC, here’s a review of that Todd P extravaganza I attended in Brooklyn:

11:00 : possible secret suprise guest
10:00 :: Dirty Projectors — chill down set
9:15 :::: Growing
8:30 ::::: Comets on Fire
7:45 :::::: Ex Models
7:00 ::::::: Matt and Kim
6:15 :::::::: Excepter
5:30 ::::::::: BIG A little a ——-> final show w/ Hank Shteamer
4:45 :::::::::: Talibam interlude
4:00 ::::::::::: Vaz
3:15 :::::::::::: Child Abuse
2:30 ::::::::::::: High Places
1:45 :::::::::::::: Stars Like Fleas
1:00 ::::::::::::::: Roxy Pain
12:30 ::::::::::::::: Artanker Convoy
12:00 :::::::::::::::: Talibam!

I overslept (it’s a different time zone) and showed up just in time to catch Vaz finishing their last song. They sounded taut and loud, their rumbling bass and ragged guitars echoing through the empty industrial district as I worked my way to the venue.

And the venue! Todd P has made a name for himself in NY not simply by hosting awesome noise/punk shows, but by finding spaces for them that would make old ravers jealous (that’s a good thing). Today’s show took place in an alley behind a giant warehouse until the sun went down, then the show continued upstairs inside. This place was HUGE, and kids packed it. There were old industrial machines in the corners, honey buckets for bathrooms, a full bar, and an actual stage. All this for one show.

Continue reading "Jet Lag" »

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Problematic Awesomeness of 11/11/06

posted by on September 12 at 3:46 PM

Lady Sovereign: Pondering more clever put-downs.

On this numerically auspicious night, the following shows are happening: Demetri Martin at Showbox; Lady Sovereign at Neumo’s; Ryan Crosson/Berg Nixon at Re-bar. Martin is a comedian who will make you bust a gut—very cerebrally and absurdly. Lady Sovereign has a charming flow, piquant lyrics, and beats you want to get to know better. Ryan Crosson/Berg Nixon is an up-and-coming Detroit techno producer with superb releases on respected labels like M-nus and Trapez and his tracks are loved by many of the world’s savviest DJs.

The date is two months away, which may give you enough time to figure out how to catch all three performances without running yourself ragged or emptying your wallet. Godspeed to us all.

Touch & Go 25th Anniversary Wrap-Up

posted by on September 12 at 3:44 PM


“More and more we are realizing what an honor it is to play here and that Touch and Go is much more than a record label, it’s a community.”¯ Those were the heartfelt words uttered by Ex lead vocalist Jos Kley just before launching into the final song of the band’s 45-minute set:

The Ex

It was one of many emotional moments that Saturday afternoon at Touch and Go’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, a three-day festival honoring the unique achievements of the Chicago-based label, as well as a historical setting for the temporary reunions of half-a-dozen influential punk bands from Big Black to Killdozer.

Much, much more after the jump…

Continue reading "Touch & Go 25th Anniversary Wrap-Up" »

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

posted by on September 12 at 3:08 PM

How does Candlebox (yes, that Candlebox), sell out a show in Seattle? I’m not even from here and regarded them as grunge wannabes, so really, how does this happen? For those of you dismissing me as a hater (I’m fine with that), know that they’re in town for two dates (again, WTF!?), one of which isn’t sold out yet.

This Week in Music News

posted by on September 12 at 1:07 PM

First off, apologies for the delay on my Touch and Go festival post; being a traveling music writer who doesn’t own a Mac laptop makes life rather difficult when it comes to posting on the run. Once I wrestle my photos out of my camera and into a decent format, I promise to get something up. In the interim, here’s the run down of the past week’s news:


Word! Barack Obama gets a Grammy.

Mastadon will soon appear in Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie.

Ta-da! A new reason to hate Buck Cherry.

$562,000 will buy you Syd Barrett’s home. Buyer beware: the agent says the estate “provides an excellent opportunity for sympathetic improvement and updating.”

The Village Voice tenure of Robert Christgau is being reflected upon both fondly and with reservations.

Puff Daddy/Diddy gets a little smack down in the U.K.

Band of Horses Video Challenge

posted by on September 12 at 12:35 PM

How many Capitol Hillbillies can you name in this video?

Vera Breaks Ground

posted by on September 12 at 12:05 PM

Come to the Seattle Center today at 4:30 pm to see the Vera Project finally break ground on their new venue at the former Snoqualmie Room!

Today, Mallett, Inc will begin the first stages of construction, which is expected to take about four months. In that time, the now 6,500-square-foot space will be transformed into a 9,000-square-foot venue that will include a 300-plus capacity space for live shows, multipurpose rooms for workshops and classes, an art gallery, a screen-printing and art studio, and a recording studio.

(This is an overhead image of the showroom area.)

More information about the venue, floorplans and a virtual walk-through tour are available at

Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, and if you’ve yet to slip a little extra cash their way there’s no better time than now. Vera’s raised more than half of the $1.5 million ($1,087,019 to date), but they still have a ways to go. If you’re unable to make it to the Seattle Center today, online donations can still be made at, or by sending a check to Viva Vera, 1122 E Pike St No. 849, Seattle WA 98122.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Wolf Eyes and Men’s Health

posted by on September 11 at 3:41 PM

Wolf Eyes: a menace to gonads.

Last night I took in the final segment of the Wooden Octopus Skull Pfestival. Yellow Swans, Dead Machines, and Wolf Eyes were all as menacing, corrosive, and internal-organ-liquefying as any noisenik could hope for. Headliners Wolf Eyes were especially punishing; at various points during their fist-waving set, the bass frequencies were placing extraordinary pressure on my nuts. Seriously, I felt pain in that place where men least want to feel pain. This has never happened to me before at a show. Fellas, have you ever suffered this fate? Testify about your experiences with testicular discomfort and live music.

Sound Off! 2007

posted by on September 11 at 10:30 AM

If you’re 21 or under, and in a like totally bitchin’ band, be sure to submit your demo to Sound Off!, EMP’s annual underage battle of the bands competition.

Sound Off! welcomes all genres—hiphop, singer-songwriter, electronic, rock, punk… if you make noise, they’ll listen. Not only do finalists get to play at the EMP for all their friends and family, but previous winners have walked away with some pretty impressive prizes including free studio time, CD duplication and packaging, instruments, and a bunch of other really helpful stuff. Plus, you know, admiration from the whole city.

All you have to do is click here, print out an application, fill it out and send it in with a tape or CD of your music and a brief artist bio. (Send it to: Experience Music Project, Attn: Sound Off, 330 6th Ave N #100, Seattle, WA 98109.) All entries are due by 5 pm on Wednesday November 15th. It’s closer than it sounds, so get on it.

Schoolyard Heroes, Mon Frere, Idiot Pilot, the Hollowpoints, the Lonely Forest, Dyme Def… they’ve all been Sound Off finalists. And look at them now! They’re superstars! Who wouldn’t wanna join that impressive list of alumni?

Good luck, kids!

Touch & Go Fest Wind-Up

posted by on September 11 at 6:00 AM

So, being a complete fool after packing enough useless garbage to keep me clothed and entertained through a two-week arctic trek, I left my tickets for the 25th anniversary Touch & Go (10th Anniversary Hideout Festival) sitting on my bookshelf. One panicked call to a roommate later, my ticket was en route via FedEx to my friend Vincent’s in Chicago. The next morning after an hour and a half past the designated delivery time I frantically called FedEx only to learn that the plane that carried my precious ticket had never even left Seattle and wouldn’t arrive till Monday.

After some serious sweating, I decided to print out my ticket receipt and throw myself upon the mercy of the door people— hoping that my sob story and out of state I.D. would be accepted but before I could even bust into the whole, “…And the fucking FedEx plane never even left the…” the girl manning the will-call desk said, “Never got your ticket, huh?” And asked for my name, verified it in a master list of sold tickets and I was in without a problem.

Saturday, I arrived just as the Ex started their set and was a bit underwhelmed by the sound— through no fault of the band. They had it together, playing their brand of heavily syncopated world punk but the sound was just terrible. I know, I know, outdoor festival— but throughout the day I was beset with ridiculously loud kick drums, snares that sounded like rubber on plastic, and just terrible mixing in general. Speakers seemed to go out sporadically creating a weird doppler effect and for the most part it just wasn’t loud enough.

Despite this, Negative Approach played a snarling, vicious set that may have been the highlight of the festival. In case you were wondering: yes, John Brannon is still fucking pissed and still has one of the toughest voices in hardcore. Sneering between songs, Brannon delivered an incendiary version of “Ready to Fight,” that still has me in the mood to punch someone in the face. Especially a FedEx person.

Scratch Acid began with a tightly wound “She Said,” before my attention was diverted to search for something edible and not entirely regrettable. The mission was unsuccessful. Big Black sounded fierce, despite a vocal lack of enthusiasm for reuniting. Naturally, a bundle of firecrackers kicked off their set before they broke into “Cables,” followed by “Dead Billy.” Ending the brief reunion with “Racer X,” overall the experience was enjoyable but felt largely perfunctory. Shellac followed and should’ve been louder, louder, louder damn it. Steve Albini’s guitar was the only thing that seemed to saw its way out of the mix all day, grinding and bristling through the audience like an electric eel.

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Decibel’s Sean Horton on Expansions Tonight

posted by on September 10 at 3:06 PM

That infamous Sean Horton photo, by Kelly O’Neil.

Decibel director Sean Horton joins the most excellent DJ Riz on KEXP’s Expansions show today from 9 pm-12 am (90.3FM; Horton will be discussing the Decibel Festival (Sept 14-17) and spinning tunes by artists appearing on the bill. Expect to hear the following:

Green Velvet
Speedy J
Claude VonStroke
Alex Smoke
Brett Johnson
Thomas Fehlmann
Jacob London
Jerry Abstract

New All-Ages Venue in Edmonds

posted by on September 10 at 1:05 PM


I didn’t get their listings in time to add them to this week’s calendar, but you music fans living up north might be happy to know there’s a new venue in your neighborhood, the Halcyon, which books (according to their website) everything from “alternative to rock, jazz, bluegrass, blues, folk, hiphop, electronica, and everything in between.” So long as it’s good, they’ll book it.

An online calendar is available at It looks like stuff’s happening almost every weekend, and in the next month or so, they’ve got an all-ages DJ night as well as shows with No-Fi Soul Rebellion and Sirens Sister. Not too bad!

The Halcyon is located at 7526 Olympic View Drive, Edmonds WA.

Has anyone been there yet? I plan on checking it out myself soon, but if you’ve seen a show/played there, I’d love to hear what you thought of the place. (And thanks to Don from Exempli Gratia for the tip.)

Band name of the week…

posted by on September 10 at 10:00 AM

Flipping through this month’s WonkaVision, I noticed what I think is the best band name to cross my path in a long time:

Dead Girls Ruin Everything.

It’s funny ‘cause it’s true!

Too bad the band isn’t good. (To be fair, I say that after hearing 30 seconds of one song. It was all I could bear.) Dead Girls features a couple members from that one band, Ultimate Fakebook, which was big for about 15 minutes and had a hit song about… uh… I forget. Oh well. It’s still a good name.