Dead Moon breakup
posted by December 9 at 2:41 PMon
Looks likely. Portlanders are mourning.
posted by December 9 at 2:41 PMon
Looks likely. Portlanders are mourning.
posted by December 8 at 4:35 PMon
The Baltic Room has a new hip-hop weekly that’s worthy of your attention (pre-Flammable of course). Dubbed The Beatdown, DJs Kutz and Leopold Bloom played a mix of golden era hip-hop their inaugural night, with tracks from A Tribe Called Quest and Pharcyde sticking out in my memory. The night faltered a little when they stopped the music for some spoken word, but luckily that didn’t last long and the energy picked back up with freestyles from MCs in the crowd. I haven’t been back since, but I found the night to be a welcome addition to the hip-hop landscape.
And a world away from our own scene, check out this trailer for a documentary on Ugandan hip-hop. Looks interesting as another testament to “the life-changing power of music.”
posted by December 8 at 3:58 PMon
Dope Emporium is a hiphop expo that will happen on Thursday, December 14, at CHAC. There will be live performances and hard-to-find local hiphop CDs by Specs One, Silent Lambs Project, Oldominion, and Gabriel Teodros.
To preview the kind of music you will hear at Dope Emporium, listen to KEXP (90.3 FM or streaming live on the web at www.kexp.org) tomorrow night at 7 pm. Jace and I will be on the air spinning what’s rare and what’s real.
posted by December 8 at 10:15 AMon
Today is the 26th anniversary of John Lennon’s wildly premature death. Few incidents in my childhood marked me deeper than watching my peace activist/superfan mother completely break down when she heard the news, and the memory of that day is still astonishingly vivid and unsettling.
If you are a fan and you’ve never seen Imagine, I highly recommend renting it, though you should be prepared to bawl your eyes out at the end. That said, it might be hard to find a copy in stores today, so here’s a meager substitute:
And in effort to counter-balance all that misty-eyed sentimentality, please enjoy this clip of Lennon recording what is arguably the best revenge song ever written:
posted by December 8 at 9:18 AMon
According to reports from Dutch news agencies, picked up by the New York Times, Mariska Veres, lead singer for the Dutch rock group Shocking Blue, died of cancer last Saturday. Shocking Blue were best known for their international hit “Venus,” which went to #1 in America in 1970. But Seattle music buffs will also remember that Nirvana were fans of the band. Their first single - and the first offering from the Sub Pop Singles Club, way back in 1988 - was a cover of the SB song “Love Buzz.” More recently, Ladytron included the SB cut “Send Me A Postcard” on their Softcore Jukebox mix CD, while one of the Cherrystones anthologies, Hidden Charms, made room for “Hot Sand.” Swell cuts, all, and worth seeking out; there are numerous best-of comps out there to choose from.
posted by December 7 at 5:10 PMon
Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to convince you that this 30 Seconds to Mars video is good (like I tried to do with the My Chemical Romance video a few months ago—which I stand by, by the way!), because I already know that it’s totally not good. BUT, you should still watch this The Shining rip-off of a video because it contains a scene where Jordan Catalano (Uh, I mean Jared Leto) starts screaming at his evil doppelganger and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t get this close to tongue kissing himself. That’d be totally hot.
Or maybe I’m just really bored.
posted by December 7 at 3:55 PMon
NEW WEEKLY FEATURE ALERT!
Hey guys! Welcome to our weekly Lineout feature, called “What’s on Megan’s desk?” Megan Seling’s desk is a well known exhibition for all sorts of things, including stacks and stacks of new releases that she opens from the labels and the office candy bowl, which too often stands empty. Every week we will close our eyes, feel around tentatively, and grab something off Megan’s desk to review. Sometimes it may be a CD, sometimes a whole press kit, sometimes it may be a fresh baked cookie. Fun!
Here’s a photo of Megan’s desk:
It is not the messiest desk in the office, nor the cleanest. Here is a photo of my desk, which competes for emptiest:
And Charles Mudede’s death cove, which is by far the scariest in the office:
Anyhow, I performed the ritual just a few moments ago and whatever should pop up but Christmas in the Northwest Volume 9!
Here’s the cover:
It seems strange to me that a CD that is being sold to benefit a charity (Children’s Hospital) would waste precious money sending out review copies, but in this case it’s obviously because they want to share their smooth jazz Christmas Favorites with the world! I of course skipped straight to the biggest name on the CD, Kenny G. His sax sounds great massaging the basic tune of “Winter Wonderland” into existence. Very joyful and inoffensive. “Caroling, Caroling” by the Northwest Boychoir has a beginning that hints at the inner drama of the Christ Birth, with a deep bass line. “Deck the Halls” by the Coats is soulful and has a beat written on a drum machine, springing the compilation into the future of music made on machines.
In any case, this would be great to buy for your Grandma, except if she is the kind of Grandma that hates diversity, because this is a very diverse mix of Christmas tunes.
Thanks for tuning in for the first installment of “What’s on Megan’s desk!” Stay tuned for next week when I will take the treacherous dive once again.
posted by December 7 at 3:44 PMon
A very observant Slog reader named Henri just sent us this note:
I was watching Anderson Cooper the other night and I heard Head Like a Kite. The funny thing was that I had just seen them the night before at Chop Suey. I double checked and confirmed on their website, CNN is in fact using their music as bumper music.
I think that’s pretty huge. CNN? Wow. How the hell does CNN know about Head Like a Kite, let alone use them for their music?
Good question, but that’s pretty awesome exposure for the local band. Congrats, guys! For more info on Head Like a Kite, visit www.headlikeakite.com, where you can hear the band’s music and watch videos.
posted by December 7 at 3:30 PMon
In this week’s paper, Kelly O interviews Spank Rock’s MC Super Disco Spank-Ro (Naeem Juwan), and asks him about the ACT (Air Cock Thrust), a trend/dance move/excuse for boys to act like spazzes that was started by the group’s DJ:
On your website there’s all this stuff about “the ACT”—the Air Cock Thrust. What is it?
It was invented by DJ Ronnie Darko. Instead of giving people the finger, he would throw his cock out. I mean, he had pants on… Now every time we do a show, there are three or four guys out there ACT-ing it.
Here’s a video of some dudes demonstrating the fine art:
You could also visit www.aircockthrust.com, the official ACT website.
Just don’t hurt yourselves, okay?
posted by December 7 at 2:49 PMon
posted by December 7 at 12:27 PMon
posted by December 7 at 11:55 AMon
Tonight you can go see the Shins play the KeyArena as part of Deck the Hall Ball (with Pete Yorn, Gnarls Barkley, My Chemical Romance, Snow Patrol, Taking Back Sunday, and more), or you could laugh your goddamn ass off at Neumo’s, where Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter (Stella, the State) will be performing.
In this week’s paper, Eric Grandy made a mix tape for Michael Showalter, which featured songs by the Smiths, Simon and Garfunkel, Pavement, and Nation of Ulysses. Then Mr. Show turned it into something funny, as he usually does. Here’s a taste:
Beck: “MTV Makes Me Wanna Smoke Crack” I never smoked crack. I’ve smoked a few hams in my day. Other drugs I’ve never done include PCP, GHB, and Special K. Before we did our own show, the State was on this show called You Wrote It, You Watch It. It was hosted by Jon Stewart. Every night after work we went to this bar on the Upper East Side, drank beer, ate wings, and played video Jeopardy. It was disgusting. I did irreparable damage to my digestive track.
In the “interview” he also talks about his first band (a hiphop trio called “Disposable Rappers”), Michael Richards (“Let’s just admit that we’re all filled with hate and rage”), and sandwiches. Read the whole hilarious thing here.
And if you’re a Shins fan, check out Tony Ware’s interview with frontman James Mercer where Mercer admits this about the band’s new, insanely-anticipated material: “In the past, I spent a lot of time being earnest, in a way that almost creeps me out. I wanted to find some ground—a little less indie pop and a little more somber.”
Also tonight, should neither of those options interest you:
NORFOLK & WESTERN, THE STARES, LAURA GIBSON
(Sunset) Portland’s Adam Selzer founded Norfolk & Western in the late ’90s, and over the course of the intervening years the band has cultivated a gentle, mesmerizing approach to Americana. Rachel Blumberg began collaborating with Selzer on the project early in its existence, eventually leaving her post as drummer for the Decemberists in order to focus more fully on Norfolk & Western (both are now members of M. Ward’s band). The Unsung Colony, Norfolk & Western’s fifth and latest long-player, is a solid collection of plaintive, quirky, indie-folk songs anchored by polished songwriting and accented with (literally) bells and whistles, as well as a musical saw. Pairing them with the complementary sound of Seattle band the Stares, with their shimmering chords and hushed vocals, as well as fellow Portlander Laura Gibson, seems only natural. MATT GARMAN
posted by December 6 at 4:05 PMon
If Universal Records did indeed fail to pay Olivia Newton-John back royalties for Grease, then the responsible executive will surely spend the rest of eternity in the fiery pits of hell.
posted by December 6 at 1:24 PMon
Codebase, Stuck In Time, Force Inc.
Seattle producer Codebase (Tom Butcher) has inaccurately titled his latest effort, which is far too fluid to be stuck. Instead, the work comes across after repeat listens as an homage to techno’s past (with heavy leanings on Detroit), eschewing the cold precision of contemporary minimal productions for the warmth of analog, evoking a sense of solitude and emotional detachment while updating the sonic templates of his influences. Thus, despite its obvious debt to the past, Stuck in Time finds itself equally rooted in the present and the future.
The eight-track album gets its legs with the second track, “Throwback.” Swanky and sophisticated, this feels like the soundtrack to a retrofuturistic soirĆ©e, complete with molded plastic furniture and monochromatic bodysuits, a union between the Playboy Club and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The title track continues in the same vein, but feels farther along in the music timeline, evoking a more eighties sensibility as a more introspective peer of “Axel F” from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. The album takes a melancholy turn with “Leave,” which features plenty of room for the song’s elements to breathe, with synths that sound underwater, and squelches seemingly recorded in a cave.
Stuck In Time is divided from there with a continued mix of moods, with “What Do You Want” returning to the lounge and “Can’t Stop” making for the album’s most upbeat number. The album closes with “Denouement,” a slow, moody testament to the fact that even in the parties of our robotic future, the booze runs out, the guests leave, and we close out the evening tired, out of sorts, and alone.
Stuck In Time can already be found in local record stores. It is limited to 2700 copies.
posted by December 6 at 12:55 PMon
This past Monday night, you gave me goosebumps. We were both at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard—I in the crowd, you on the stage—and the “secret” show you performed, (as a warm-up to this weekend’s highly anticipated reunion shows at Neumo’s), was one of the very best things I’ve seen all year. Nay, all decade. Nay, in my entire life.
While the evening’s set started slightly shaky with the familiar fast-paced tempos slowed down just a bit, and nerves maybe winning out over your total rock potential (though only slightly), you undeniably hit your stride once you broke into “You Are the Beautiful Conductor of This Orchestra.” The song reached that 45-second mark of the intro, where the guitar distorts and the drums explode, and you could practically hear the shivers being sent down every spine in the room. I mean, you were there. You probably felt it too.
Thank you for playing “Covered With Hair,”¯ “Help is on the Way,”¯ “Venus on Ninth,”¯ and “All Your Friends are Comedians”¯ (one of my personal favorites). Thank you for playing “A Thousand Motors Pressed Upon the Heart,”¯ the heart-tugging “January Arms”¯ (which was so amazing),”¯ and “Rodeo Programmers”¯ as well. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better setlist myself (although, the cover of DJ Shadow’s “High Noon”¯ would’ve totally slayed).
Most of all, though, thank you for closing the show with “Killing it in a Quiet Way”¯ followed by the nearly ten-minute epic “Leave a Clean Camp and a Dead Fire.”¯ There are no two songs more worthy of closing a show than those two songs.
So thank you. Thank you for reuniting after three long years, even if only temporarily. Thank you for brutalizing your ears during hours upon hours of rehearsals only so I could have my ears also brutalized by your three-guitar attack of bombastic proportion in a space as intimate as the Sunset. And thank you for agreeing to play two more shows this weekend at Neumo’s, so I can do it over and over again.
Thank you, thank you, thank you,
(Confidential to Botch: Your turn, duders.)
posted by December 6 at 12:30 PMon
Neumo’s is giving away three pairs of tickets to see Dan the Automator tonight at Neumo’s—just be one of the first three Line Out readers to send an email to email@example.com.
posted by December 5 at 5:12 PMon
Sorry for being a week or so late on this scoop- we are always so slammed here in music we don’t have enough time to diddle away reading blogs like you do.
But today- today I read a blog, specifically Idolator, the music blog of Gawker Media. And what name is to pop out at me, but our own hometown boy, Michaelangelo Matos! Mikey-poo was of course the former music editor of our favorite rival Seattle Weekly, until he got canned/resigned in protest (I can’t remember) after the New Times takeover.
What’s Matos up to now? Some healthy New Times bashing, of course! In the one time I met the man, he totally convinced me he could be vengeful, and I respect his rage.
Pazz & Jop was, of course, the renowned critic’s poll of the Village Voice, in which hundreds of critics nationwide submitted their top ten lists of the year. The lists were compiled to declare a best album, and Robert Christgau wrote about it. New Times fired Christgau but plan to continue the list, which is a huge mistake. On Idolator, Matos has is attempting to capture the original spirit of the idea, with a new name, Jackin’ Pop. What a good idea! Way to go! Strike back against the man, Matos!
posted by December 5 at 2:40 PMon
A Belated Review: The Faint, Ratatat, Saturday Dec 2nd @ The Showbox
Free, evil-corporation sponsored parties seem like an increasingly acceptable way for an artist to get paid and for their fans to see them play. The last time I was at the Showbox it was to see Band of Horses playing for Microsoft. It was fun milling around a mostly empty venue and enjoying some free food, but the show was nothing exceptional, but good.
Tonight’s Faint/Ratatat show was another, more persuasive argument for Nick Sylvester’s dystopian future of corporate patronage for music and arts. Ratatat played more or less the same set as their recent show at El Corazon, with a couple new songs added. The visual show hadn’t changed much, nor had the band’s repertoire of winning rock poses. It’s hard to explain, but it’s like watching two dudes air-guitar only there happen to be guitars in their hands. A friend commented that one dude was “totally hogging the fog machine”, and it’s true, dude is a total fog hog. Ultimately, the opening slot Showbox wasn’t the best place for these guys. What really feels like arena rock in a packed club only sounds like it in an open space more closely approximating an actual arena. It was a fine set, but their gestures and sounds and visuals didn’t pack the same punch stretched out across a larger room.
The Faint, on the other hand, work wonderfully in such an environment. Their arrangements and stage antics are both tailored for massive clubs and crowds. Even the songs I’m not as fond of on record (“Paranoiattack”, “Desperate Guys”) sound great live. Plus, the crowd was great—plenty of dancing, not too much bumping into each other (with the exception of one foppish dumbass who seemed bent on starting a slam dancing to dark wave). The band are maybe a decade old now, and they’ve got the showmanship down to a near science, playing to the crowd’s enthusiasm with ease. As always, the rockists will be dismayed by how much of their songs seem to be sequenced rather than live, but who cares if the players spend less time noodling and more time shaking out their overgrown manes and stomping around the stage? Who wants to watch someone play keyboards anyway?
One thing that occurred to me while watching this show was how, for a moment around the turn of the decade, the Faint’s Saddle Creek Records seemed neck and neck with Vagrant for total domination of the crossover-ready indie rock world, and then Vagrant blew the fuck up while Saddle Creek kept on doing about the same as they always had. Not to get too sentimental, and it could just be that Saddle Creek are the lesser businessmen, but it seems like a testament to all the lip service the label paid to staying community-oriented and diy in the face of the market. Only, you know, with some help from Camel.
The Faint setlist:
Drop Kick The Punks
How Could I Forget?
Take Me To The Hospital
Posed To Death
Let The Poison Spill From Your Throat
Worked Up So Sexual
posted by December 5 at 2:25 PMon
I really don’t like the Black Eyed Peas, and I dislike Little Miss Gewn Stefani on Meth (AKA Fergie) even more. But I just had to share this utterly laughable nugget she was quoted as recently saying in Us Weekly.
I may not have the type of voice you like, but I can sing. You can’t take that away from me, ‘cause singing is a gift from God, and when people say I can’t sing, it’s kind of like insulting God.
To repay him, she’s used God’s gift to sing about her “lovely lady lumps,” which are yet another present from the Lord, when you think about it. No doubt, he’s proud.
Fergie’s comment reminds me of another favorite quote of mine, something psuedo-punk pop princess Avril Lavigne once said to Rolling Stone (I have these words posted above my desk for daily inspiration):
“People saying that I can’t write pisses the fuck out of me, because I’m a writer. Don’t you fucking dare try to take that from me.”
posted by December 5 at 11:51 AMon
I just found the entire Tiny Desk Unit catalog available for free download on line! Plus photos, a comprehensive band history, etc. Hooray, hurrah. Along with Tru Fax & the Insaniacs and Nuclear Crayons, this Washington DC quintet was one of my favorite local art-core/new wave acts when I was growing up in Northern Virginia (although by the time I was old enough to sneak into clubs, they had broken up) during the Reagan years. Susan Mumford’s elongated, dramatic vocals on “The Train” (from their 1980 Live at the 9:30 Club LP) totally spoke to my adolescent, Siouxsie-saturated brain. If you have been snatching up the New York Noise compilations, or are a fan of the DC archival releases on Henry Rollins’ District Line label or the K reissues of the Beakers and the Blackouts, I encourage you to investigate their music.
posted by December 5 at 10:26 AMon
Last night I was among the crowd that packed the Showbox to see singer/songwriter/harpist Joanna Newsom, and she was incredible.
Everything about Newsom’s art seems designed by God to repel me. Her voice sounds like Iris DeMent crossed with Bjork, her songs feature lyrics in Olde English, and she plays a motherfucking harp. Lucky for her and for me, she’s a genius, a true original, making music that’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard and is totally intoxicating.
(Actually, it’s her new record, Ys that’s totally intoxicating; her first record, The Milk-Eyed Mender, just gave me a light buzz.)
I’d end this post by urging all of you to go buy Ys right now, but I know better. Newsom’s peerlessly idiosyncratic musical style divides listeners into lovers and haters, and I’ve already guessed wrong with a couple of friends whose musical tastes I thought I knew. (One of them, a die-hard Kate Bush fan, was all set to attend last night’s show with me based on my ethusiasm alone. Then she tracked down a Newsom song on the web and politely backed out. What kind of Kate Bush fan whines about another artist’s “affectedness”?)
posted by December 5 at 9:43 AMon
…provided you have the spare change for this.
Very covetable, but while we’re waiting, enjoy Deborah Harry introducing “Sunday Morning”:
What’s your holiday fantasy gift? Personally, I’d lose my shit if this appeared under my tree:
Or, um, this:
posted by December 4 at 3:28 PMon
I caught wind of a rumor of an unannounced Juno show tonight, and just got confirmation (via Jason of Sealed With A Kiss Presents) that they’re playing The Sunset. So if you can’t wait until this weekend’s KEXP benefit, you know where you should be. The band goes on at 10:45.
posted by December 4 at 1:51 PMon
According to Mr. Lif’s website, Mr. Lif and the Coup have had to cancel the remainder of their current US tour because of a bus accident.
The tour bus ran off the road for a 30 foot drop. Everyone is alive, but four need extensive hospitalization & surgery. We appreciate all concern and would like to thank everyone who was planning to attend our shows.
Yikes. Send them good thoughts. I will post more information as it comes in.
posted by December 4 at 11:17 AMon
Shoplifters of the world…suck a dick. Seriously. Same goes for petty thieves, till-skimmers, and whichever breed of yellow-bellied rat-bastard breaks into a touring band’s van and nabs that band’s entire tour earnings, laptops, and livelihood-
Ok, time to hit the chillout tent, guys. Shoplifting is not the same as stealing a band’s gear and tour money. Beyond the difference in scale, I would argue that the more important difference is in who gets hurt. Are Subtle and Walmart the same? How come “illegal downloaders” didn’t make the Pitchfork list of loathsome delinquents? And where does this leave Shoplifting, the band?
posted by December 3 at 11:54 AMon
The first time I heard Joanna Newsom was about 2 years ago. Her squeaky voice and fey delivery totally put me off at the time. I could not understand how the hell this mousy girl was becoming such a sensation in the circles of hipster music critics.
Then I heard the song Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie on the Strange Folk compilation that came out recently in the UK. I can honestly say I was smitten right from the first moment I heard it. I think the first week I owned the cd I played that particular song over and over on repeat. It starts out so beautifully and soft then grows in intesity before ending as quietly as it begins.
Now I consider myself a fan, and when I found out that Joanna’s new album Ys would be coming out soon and that it was produced by savant Van Dyke Parks I couldn’t wait to hear it. I bought it a couple of days ago, based on the great review
In a squabble with musician Stephen Merritt, Sasha Frere-Jones wrote that he thought Merritt was a racist merely because he didn’t like rap music, and on a list of favorite songs of the 20th century Frere-Jones noted that few of Merritt’s faves were by black artists or composers. SF-J also agreed with critic Jessica Hopper of the Chicago Reader that Merritts love of the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da qualified him as being the in the same orbit as the Grand Wizard of the KKK. This is even though Merritt qualified his like of the song by saying the movie was
“unwatchable and saying that it has just “one great song. The rest of it is terrible, actually.”
In 1984 Van Dyke Parks recorded an amazing concept album based around the story of Brer Rabbit (the base story for the movie Song Of The South, from which Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da comes). Called Jump!, it’s a marvelous work of wimsy. Less than 40 minutes long, but evoking (in that very VDP way…) the Southern dixie-land and ragtime oevre of Song Of The South. Does this not qualify VDP as a racist in the eyes of Hopper and SF-J? If not, why not?
They’re theory, that the dislike of “black” music, especially rap, qualifies you as racist, and added too that, the taste for songs from an sad era in American history qualifies you as a Neo-Nazi is pretty flimsy in my eyes. So what would SF-J think of VDP’s former work?
Well….He doesn’t say. He conveniently leaves these facts out of any of his writing. I mean VDP has worked with, like, EVERYONE in the music industry. Brian Wilson, Rufus Wainwright, Linda Ronstadt, Alan Parsons, Scissor Sisters, (of whom lead singer Jake Shears owns and proudly displays in his home an original vintage marquee poster for the movie Song Of The South, and talks openly of his love of the music in it, too.)
Are they all racist by association? Is now Joanna Newsom tainted by the blood of Stephen Merrit and VDP?
SF-J calls Joanna’s new CD Ys:
“a series of complex, through-composed songs that have more in common with Kurt Weill’s long-form ballads than with contemporary pop music….the songs on Ys feature lush, intricate orchestral arrangements by the pop composer Van Dyke Parks. I was won over by the strong arc of Newsom’s melodies and the bristling energy of her language.
Furthermore SF-J, whose never met a review he can’t mention hip-hop or rap in, says of modern folk music (get ready for this idiot comparison):
“In essence, however, folk describes simple songs that are universally accessible and performed on cheap instruments, if any. (Rap easily qualifies as folk music.)”
Yes SF-J, the feeling of it being “hard out here for a pimp” is very universal, I totally know where those performers are coming from. And I can’t remember the last time I was shot down during a crack sale gone bad, but I’ll be damned if that Joan Baez song “Diamonds and Rust” didn’t come to mind.
What an idiot!
I agree. The new Joanna Newsom album, Ys is fantastic. It’s all those things that SF-J says and more. But now SF-J is the one tainted with some idiotic views. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully trust him or his critiques again.
Read all labout the tiff between Merritt, Hopper and SF-J here.