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Archives for 01/14/2007 - 01/20/2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

RAVE-ARAOKE™!

posted by on January 20 at 2:20 PM

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XLR8R’s Jan/Feb 2007 cover, by Paper Rad

Hearing other people recount their dreams—is there anything more tedious? Not really, so I’m going to condense a dream I had recently to a mercifully brief summary.

In this dream, I conceived the idea of… rave karaoke. Jesus, was I excited over this concept. I instantly thought I could market rave karaoke and make millions. I had this sneaking suspicion that the esteemed music critic and Generation Ecstasy author, Simon Reynolds, had already come up with this notion, but eventually I banished that thought and started thinking in practical terms how I could capitalize on this genius idea—rave-araoke.

The time for rave nostalgia is imminent (see this month’s XLR8R for further proof), I reasoned, so it seemed like a feasible business model could be drafted. Of course, you’d need plenty of glowsticks and candy pacifiers and huge top hats (patrons would have to supply their own tent-like trousers). I began to think of rave anthems with which to stock the karaoke machine: Moby’s “Go” (hard to eff up those lyrics), Utah Saints’ “Something Good,” Orbital’s “Chime,” (no lyrics? Then interpretive dance your ass off; problem solved), the Orb’s “Little Fluffy Clouds,” Joey Beltram’s “Energy Flash,” Aphex Twin’s “Didgeridoo”… Then I woke up.

Now, that dream seems pretty ludicrous, but I still think this concept potentially has legs [rimshot]. Anyone want to explore the options with me? The more I think about this, the more I’m convinced that this idea could fly. In the meantime, I’m slapping a ™ on RAVE-ARAOKE. Don’t even think about stealing my concept.

The Great Zaphara

posted by on January 20 at 12:58 PM

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Zaphara - The one word belly dancing answer to all your party needs. Zaphara gives any event that extra something special.

A master instructor & entertainer in the Pacific Northwest, Zaphara is one of the few belly dancers in the US of Greek heritage.

Seriously, surprise your friends by having Zaphara come to their party. She will dominate them.

When this woman gets going, it’s like a freight train of wholesome gyrating fun. Trying not to enjoy yourself while she is going at it is impossible. You’re like a squirrel in a monsoon. You just end up having to give in, and let the Greek thunder enchant you away.

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 20 at 9:30 AM

Wondering where to go tonight?

Well, you could go to North Dakota with Tom Brosseau.

Or, here are a few suggestions from this week’s Up & Comings:

MOB LAW, MACKLEMORE, SCREAM CLUB, BEAUTIFUL MOTHERS
(Neumo’s) If Beth Ditto is Olympia’s post-riot Mary J. Blige, and Jenna Riot is its Lil’ Kim, then Scream Club member/video director/label mogul (Crunks Not Dead) Cindy Wonderful is Oly’s glam-hop Jay-Z. Wonderful’s skilled and uniquely credible flow has earned Scream Club raves from artists like Peaches and Yoko Ono, and a favorable review from XXL magazine(?!), who surmised the band’s “shit was tight.” Scream Club seem poised to bring their self-described brand of “radical, queer, electro-sex, hiphop, pop punk” to the masses. When that day comes, I’ll be the first in line for a velour tracksuit with “Crunks Not Dead” across the ass. MA’CHELL DUMA LAVASSAR
SEATTLE METAL FEST: OVERKILL, GOD FORBID, DESTRUCTION, INTO ETERNITY, GOATWHORE, THE HUMAN ABSTRACT, MNEMIC, ARSIS (Showbox) If bands like Lamb of God represent the evolution of American thrash metal, then New Jersey standard-bearers Overkill are the genre’s coelacanth, a living fossil whose resilience and determination defy the laws of natural selection. Still actively touring behind their 14th album since 1980, 2005’s ReliXIV, the thrash classicists make perfect headliners for Seattle Metal Fest 2007, a thrash-heavy (pun intended) event that finds 20-plus-year-old German institution Destruction and fast-rising New Jersey powerhouse God Forbid co-headlining atop a younger roster of progressive (Into Eternity), black/sludge (Goatwhore), industrial (Mnemic), and hardcore (the Human Abstract) heavyweights. Newly signed to Nuclear Blast America (home also to Into Eternity and Destruction), left-field Virginia death-metal trio Arsis are situated low on the bill, but arrive early to catch their set: All signs point to their dominating the underground in 2007. AARON BURGESS

And lastly, Data Breaker says:

DJ RIZ, HVW8, SUNTZU SOUND

Safari curators and broken-beat ambassadors SunTzu Sound do it up large tonight with local legend DJ Riz (whatever he brings, it’ll be tight and mixed with precision) and HVW8. The latter is a Los Angeles/Montreal-based collective that spontaneously paints murals onstage to whatever music’s coming through a venue’s system. That takes nerve and serious concentration. HVW8’s style incorporates club-culture iconography, graffiti-style kineticism, ravishing color schemes, and exquisitely rendered portraiture. These artists (Tyler Gibney, Dan Buller, and Gene Starship) have been blending high art with commercial graphics to stunning effect since 1998. See myspace.com/hvw8musicismyart for a sampling of HVW8’s aesthetics. Baltic Room, 1207 E Pine St, 625-4444, 9 pm—2 am, $7 before 11 pm, 21+.


Friday, January 19, 2007

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

posted by on January 19 at 5:55 PM

I’d like to take a moment to counter a comment left in response to a post Eric Grandy made earlier today about the Shins. “That’s seriously the worst band photo I’ve ever seen,” said Line Out reader “pablocjr” about the shot where the Shins are donning life jackets, swim trunks, and awkward expressions. But I disagree. It might not be “pretty,” because the Shins themselves aren’t “pretty,” but I think that photo, as far as band promo photos go, totally rules. It’s weird, but it’s totally goofy and great. It’s certainly not the worst band photo ever.

Instead, here’s a much better example of what “worst band photo” can look like:
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This Was My Favorite Record When I Was Eight

posted by on January 19 at 4:55 PM

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I wasn’t really the coolest eight-year-old. In 1988 I listened to Whitney Houston’s Whitney, Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual and Michael Jackson’s Bad. I also listened to New Kids on the Block. A lot. Now, nearly two decades later, my musical tastes have become a bit more refined (I’d like to hope, anyway)—I know who Rites of Spring are, I’ve seen Jawbreaker live—but still, those hits from my She-Ra playing years continue to haunt me.

Now usually I have to hear a song in order for it to get into my head—maybe Peter Cetera is playing over the grocery store’s loudspeaker, or maybe some annoying three-year-old brat is singing that “Baby Beluga” song at the zoo—but when I woke up this morning, the song “I Want To Dance With Somebody,” the first song on Whitney, was streaming through my head. It was there the instant I opened my eyes. It was there while I took a shower, it was there on the drive to work, and it’s here with me now as I type this… “I want to feel the heat with somebody, yeeeaaahhh!” This isn’t the first time this has happened. As far as I know, I haven’t heard the song for at least a decade (maybe even a decade and a half) but without fail, once every couple of months or so, I start singing the biggest hit of 1987 without any prompting at all. It’s the weirdest thing.

This afternoon, while trying to push Miss Houston out of my brain, I started thinking… I realized that the only songs that have this effect on me, the only songs that show up in my head for no good reason at all, are the songs I cherished in 1988—”I Want to Dance With Somebody,” “You’ve Got the Right Stuff (Baby),” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Time After Time,” “Bad,” “Dirty Diana,” “Hangin’ Tough.” Of all the songs I’ve heard in my life (gazillions) and of all the songs that mean so much to me (hundreds), the only ones that inexplicably get stuck in my head over and over again are the songs that I listened to while wearing stirrup stretch pants and carrying a Rainbow Brite lunch box. My brain is stuck in a suburban skate deck circa 1988 until the day I die.

Does anyone else have this problem?

The Small Screen

posted by on January 19 at 2:55 PM

The other night I found myself watching MTV2’s Sucker Free Countdown at a co-worker’s apartment, and can I just say, “Wow!” I’ve lived without cable for years, in a half-hearted attempt to Kill Your Television or something, so my exposure to Viacom’s bounty is limited to friends’ houses or holiday visits with the fam’. (On a similar note, the only time I really listen to commercial radio is when I’m eating at Ballet). I live in an ivory, internet-connected tower of hack journalism and overly academic record reviews, so I occasionally find myself out of touch with the common consumer. But, again, “Wow!”

They do a countdown of popular ringtones, and they play videos that basically look just like the videos they were playing 10 years ago—cars, “vixens,” money, jewelry, starkly beautiful ghettos contrasted with the interiors of limos and private jets, etc. Watching these familiar, super-glossy images flash by, I thought about how awful they must look condensed for Youtube, and how there are really two kinds of videos now: those that aim for the small screen, and those that aim for big-budget spectacle. I wonder, do the small time videos work when blown up to TV proportions? Does the flash of MTV-ready clips translate to the small screen at all?

Take a look:

Continue reading "The Small Screen" »

What I did on my Grammy Career Day

posted by on January 19 at 2:27 PM

Today, the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Recording Academy hosted Grammy Career Day at Seattle Center. Someone had the bright idea to invite me to participate in a panel on Music Journalism 101, along with my colleagues Brian Barr and Hannah Levin. Here’s a few of the pre-workshop highlights from the morning:

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1. Sabzi from Blue Scholars had on the best hoodie EVER. It’s from an indie line called Creating Limitless Heights (or CLH). Cooler still, he told the kids “don’t believe reality shows… it’s a falsehood,” adding that people who use American Idol and its ilk as their model for how to achieve success in the music business “are the people who struggle the most.”

2. Megan Jasper, General Manager of Sub Pop, recounted her big break into the music biz: Stuffing Cat Butt records as an intern. “Not stuffing actual cat butts,” moderator John Richards quickly clarified.

3. I have never, ever been a fan of the Presidents of the United States of America. However, after hearing Chris Ballew speak (and hop up and down on a sofa like a monkey), I finally “get” his shtick: “Be as good at what you want to do as you possibly can be,” he told the students. If you’re going to be kooky and over-the-top, give it 110%. That’s what Ballew and company do, and I can respect that.

4. Teasing Nick Harmer from Death Cab for Cutie about his chest hair, and making him pose for a photo with me so my teenage nieces would believe I really know somebody in a band that has been on Saturday Night Live.*

5. Seeing the Cops in broad daylight. “There’s a nine o’clock in the morning, too?”

Kelly O, how did your Music Photography workshop go?

* No, I’m not posting it. It came out all blurry and we both look terrible. If you want to see a cute photo of Nick circa 9 AM today, minus my ugly mug, look at this one.

Sacker of Cities

posted by on January 19 at 12:58 PM

Junkface plays at the Blue Moon this Saturday, Jan. 20th.

They are a charged Portland 3 piece that hits melodic punk and sinister pop. Singer / guitarist, Randy Bemrose is tattered and chic. You can tell he scored well on his SAT’s.

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The night I saw Junkface, they ended up wrestling each other on the floor. They were wearing white suits and ties. A candle fell on them off a table they knocked over. Someone spit on them. A combination Butthole Surfers, Dead Milkmen, WWF. People were walking into the club and these two guys in white were on the floor rolling around on each other. One of them was yelling something about “Telemachus” and “Ithaca.” “Sacker of cities, slayer of Zeus.” That’s from Homer’s Odyssey.

Continue reading "Sacker of Cities" »

Of Montreal

posted by on January 19 at 12:45 PM

This new Of Montreal video should bring a little happy weirdness to your Friday afternoon.

And if you’re planning on attending the Showbox show on February 9th, be prepared for the band’s most “ambitious and complex” live show they’ve ever attempted. Of Montreal’s frontman Kevin Barnes says:

We have three projection screens, a giant animal for me to climb inside of, a ten foot high dress that I sing in, tons of fabulous costume changes and then, of course, some freaky sexualien music for the handsome peoples of this fair country to fall in love and move their bodies to.

That’s totally worth $15. Tickets are on sale now.

I’m Starting an Internet Fight

posted by on January 19 at 12:22 PM

Our design director, Aaron Edge, does not believe this poster is good enough to be Poster of the Week:
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HE IS WRONG! THIS IS THE BEST POSTER THIS WEEK! There is a gem coming out of her nose. It is a marvel of design and art. I love Nat Damm, but I am tired of his posters! I like this one!

In other news, if I controlled the world, there would be no war.

Streaming the Night Away

posted by on January 19 at 11:46 AM

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The Shins’ new album, Wincing the Night Away is streaming in its entirety on the band’s MySpace page right now. Why not go give it a listen and then weigh in on the great Grandy vs. Frizzelle “Phantom Limb Debate” of ’07. Are you pro “Phantom Limb,” or, like Chris, are you wrong?

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on January 19 at 11:45 AM

A new episode of Setlist is posted! I sound like a goober (the whole podcast thing still makes me a little nervous) but you should still tune in to hear songs by local favorites new and old including Central Services, Tall Birds, the Invisible Eyes, Lake of Falcons, and more. Click here to listen.

Bjork, Timbaland, and Lightning Bolt Walk into a Bar…

posted by on January 19 at 11:12 AM

Holy shit! As Pitchfork reported today, everyone’s favorite little shapeshifter Björk’s new album will feature collaborations with Antony, Timbaland, Lightning Bolt, Konono No.1, and more. While I’ve enjoyed her work with the ever-stupefying Matmos, I can’t wait to hear what kind of awesome mess results from this diverse a guest list.

An Open Letter to George Jones

posted by on January 19 at 10:31 AM

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Dear George Jones,

Why the hell don’t you have any shows planned for the Pacific Northwest in 2007… or the entire West Coast for that matter? A similar thing happened last year, remember? Yes, yes, you played several shows on the West Coast in 2006, but none in the Pacific Northwest. Adding insult to injury, those concerts took place a few months after I moved up to Seattle from California, where you not only played in the Bay Area, where I lived, but also in my dinky, one-horse hometown! In fact, my hometown was as far north as you went on the West Coast. I was so disappointed.

I’ve had chances to see you before, but for one reason or another, it has never worked out. Four years ago, I even had tickets for your concert at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, but after I bought those tickets, I got a new job and I could no longer take the day off needed to get to the show. The year after that, a friend and I were arranging to go to your concert on Valentine’s Day in San Jose, but then I stupidly changed my mind and decided to spend that evening with my then-boyfriend instead (who had no interest in seeing you, and who broke up with me five months later). And while my sister and I were planning our Tennessee vacation in 2004, I went online and disguised myself as a new member of the George Jones Fan Club, infiltrating their website and message board to find out whether there was any truth to a rumored free concert at your farm during that huge festival Fan Fair. It was tough getting a straight answer from those tightlipped fans, but eventually I learned that it was most likely that your band would be playing for free at the farm without you, and it was indeed a members-only event. Fuck that. If you were going to be performing, however, I would’ve put down the $20 for the fan-club membership for sure!

You’re 75 years old and you’ve lived a hard life filled with booze, coke, and seemingly nonstop touring; how much more touring do you have left in you? I’m worried that I’ll never get to see you in concert. I’ve seen several of my favorite older country musicians (like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens), but you’re the only one left from the good ol’ days of country music (1) who I know is still alive, (2) who still tours, and (3) whom I really, REALLY want to see (except maybe Ray Price). I want to see you sing “Just One More” and “She Thinks I Still Care” live. Hell, why not bring along Melba Montgomery and do “Let’s Invite Them Over Again” and “We Must’ve Been Out of Our Minds”? You are one of my most favorite musicians, ever. You’re amazing; your voice carries such enormous emotion. You’re easily in my top-three favorite country artists—and the other two are dead, so I’m counting on you!

I see that you have several gaps in your 2007 tour schedule; please, for the love of god, consider filling those gaps with dates in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t pull another “No-Show Jones” here this year.

Love,
Kim Hayden

Brian Eno’s Spore Score

posted by on January 19 at 10:15 AM

The recent announcement this week that Brian Eno would be designing the musical score for Will Wright’s highly-anticipated game Spore probably heralds the first (relatively) mainstream application of “generative music” since the wind chime was invented. That’s designing the score—not composing—mind you, for when all is said and done even Eno won’t have heard the bulk of his own creation. No one will, actually.

Generative music is neither as static as a recording nor as ephemeral as a live performance; rather, a single generative music composition provides the listener with a number of varied listening experiences based on a predetermined set of parameters provided by the artist. Press play once, you hear one song. Press it again, you hear another somewhat different piece. Same underlying foundations, different results every time.

Continue reading "Brian Eno's Spore Score" »

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 19 at 9:30 AM

Tonight, Electric Avenue, the new weekly night at CHAC kicks off with DJs Jacob London, DJ Recess, and DJ Swank. Read about the event in this week’s Data Breaker.

Or you could head down to Tacoma to catch Patient Patient at the new all-ages venue, the Junkyard.

Also playing tonight, the Black Lips, who promise not to pee on you, and Stephen Malkmus, who’s 40 and still practicing good dental hygiene.

But maybe comedy is more your thing:

NEIL HAMBURGER, PLEASEEASAUR
(Sunset, late) As you probably well know by now, Neil Hamburger has essentially one joke—a joke that he mines so relentlessly that its individual words cease to carry any meaning. That joke, of course, is that the jokes aren’t funny. And that they will never be funny. So why, after over a decade of meager notoriety and presumably dwindling interest, does Hamburger continue to tour, release records, exist? (Perhaps a better question is just why his record label, Drag City, continues to support this strange habit.) Because that’s the joke, isn’t it? And what kind of comedian would he be if he didn’t see it through to the punch line? ZAC PENNINGTON


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Don’t #923

posted by on January 18 at 5:50 PM

There are a lot of rules to being in a band—don’t wear your own band t-shirt on stage, don’t cover a U2 song, don’t sleep with your drummer’s girlfriend (or boyfriend) even if they’re “on a break” because that’s just going to fuck you in the end… the list goes on and on.

The most recent “don’t” I’d like to submit for consideration came to me this afternoon when I spotted the worst band name I’ve ever seen, Get Back Loretta. I will say it again, so you can digest how thoroughly terrible it is… Get Back Loretta. That’s awful. Simply awful. Don’t name your band after a Beatles lyric in the year 2007, okay? Just don’t.

Stephen Malkmus: Luxe & Reduxe

posted by on January 18 at 2:22 PM

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Not all of my interview with Stephen Malkmus, master of adroit indie rock, made it into the paper. Here are the unreleased b-sides:

How have the first couple shows been?

It’s been awesome, I think. Yeah. Strong. Hurtful (?). Decadent.

How’s it been integrating Janet Weiss?

She fits in pretty well. She’s into the same kind of music as us, and she’s born to tour. It’s pretty perfect, she’s pretty old friends with Joanna [Bolme, also of Quasi], like really old.

So you’re working on some new (“ballsy”) material on this tour?

Yeah, definitely. That’s what it’s all about, really. We like to play some of the old ones, but the purpose for playing with Joana and Janet and Mike and doing this tour is to evolve—not necessarily the purpose, but it’s natural for us, so that’s what we’re doing.

Any plans to record after tour?

Yeah there are. I wish it could come out so soon. I wish it could come out in the Fall, but I’ll probably be foiled…

There were some remixes of “Kindling for the Master” (by Major Swellings and Hot Chip), did you select those artists or did you know them?

I didn’t know any of them. I’d heard of Hot Chip. My label, Domino, it was their idea, and they’re, you know, cool. I’m not cool. I don’t have my ear to the ground or know the kind of people that’d be good for that. So they arranged it, which was pretty nice of them. That song was kind of disco anyway, although not how I’ve heard disco. It’s not made with the official tools of disco, so it doesn’t sound good enough.

Was this the first time you’ve been remixed?

It seems like the first time. Someone did something with a Pavement song once, “Stereo” maybe. They’ve been doing that for like 20 years.

Dance remixes of rock songs?

Yeah, it’s pretty corny, but you know it’s also kind of fun if the song’s really right for it.

How involved have you been with putting together the Pavement re-issues?

Just a couple of liner notes, really. Not much, I’ve been working on new stuff that’s more important to me than that. I’m totally grateful that Matador wanted to make these things, it’s really nice, but I’m just not listening to it or excited about it so much as much as I am the new stuff. It’s pathetic, but that’s just the way it is.

Have you ever thought about doing any other writing?

I’m not that in to that. This is good for me, you know. It’s physical and some writing too. I’m not even that good of a writer, frankly. I don’t deserve to be. If I weren’t playing and doing this specific thing, people would see through my tired act quickly. Some people are into that, they go to writer parties, they want to write. I don’t even like writing, I like to watch TV—I like watching sports…maybe the Wire.

More White Rappers (This Time, the Nerdy Kind)

posted by on January 18 at 1:37 PM

First, I’m not sure I can stand by my whole-hearted endorsement of VH1’s The White Rapper Show anymore. I mean, it’s still entertaining (and I’m definitely watching next week’s episode), but it’s quickly become Just Another Trashy Show on VH1, instead of trying to be something more. Sillly competitions, drunken shenanigans, and not nearly enough MCing have made this show another Real World wannabe, this time with an incredibly specific demographic.

But this post isn’t about that. It’s about other (mainly white) rappers. The trailer was released for the documentary Nerdcore Rising, which follows nerdcore pioneer MC Frontalot on his first national tour (Frontalot was mentioned over on SLOG a few months back). What’s nerdcore? One could argue that Weird Al is a father of the genre, but nerdcore is rap for geeks, replacing talk about girls and grills with gadgets and gaming. It’s very much a niche thing, but for those in that niche, they treat it like the greatest thing since the pixellated boobs in Leisure Suit Larry (I was at that performance at the close of the trailer, and people were WAY more into it than I’d expected). The film looks interesting as a primer to the genre.

Riot Boy

posted by on January 18 at 12:22 PM

Rumor has it that Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy decided to beat up a security guard at a show in Albuquerque last week. Apparently, the guard started messing with the band’s roadie after the roadie continued to let fans onstage during the band’s set, so Petey McThrow Punches stopped the show, jumped into the crowd, and started kickin’ ass while the crowd cheered him on (of course).

“That’s what you get when you fuck with my friends, fuckin’ asshole!”

You can see the fight at the end of this video, sort of.

I’d skip ahead to the 1:40 mark, though, otherwise you’ll have to suffer through a minute and a half of an FOB song…

Make Me a Mixtape

posted by on January 18 at 12:17 PM

So Yesterday, DJ Drama and Don Cannon, two heavyweights in the mixtape business—the hiphop kind, not the kind you make for the girl with the Sonic Youth t-shirt that you have a crush on—had their studio raided, their gear and CDs confiscated, and were arrested on racketeering charges. The RIAA (the same folks who sued you for sharing mp3s) had apparently been investigating the mixtape market for about a minute, and decided to go after two of the trade’s biggest names (they’re responsible for the Gangsta Grillz franchise). Bloggers are coming out swinging for the rights of DJs and rappers to make mixtapes, the RIAA is saying it’s piracy, and L’il Wayne is saying “you gotta play the game fair.”

For more details, check out the coverage over at Idolator or Pitchfork.

The End of “Border Radio”

posted by on January 18 at 12:07 PM

This week’s “Border Radio” column, about the Avett Brothers, is my last. There’s no behind-the-scenes scuttlebutt to divulge. After two and a half years (starting back in August 2004), I’m just tired of covering the same regular beat, and since the music section is going through some changes—new columns (go Eric!), incoming new editor—the timing seemed right. I’ll continue pitching “roots & Americana” acts (along with anything else I damn well please), both regional and beyond, to the section. Just look for that prose in regular features, CD reviews, and Up & Coming blurbs, instead of a weekly column. And a big “thank you” to all the artists, clubs, and fans who made the “Border Radio” gig an espeically fun one for me.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

posted by on January 18 at 11:54 AM

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The entirety of the band’s forthcoming new album Some Loud Thunder can be heard on their MySpace page.

(Among the many things CYHSY’s debut record was—including a well-timed Feelies resurrection and a glorious dose jangle-pop bliss—for me it was, first and foremost, a nearly inexhaustible work soundtrack, and here’s hoping the same for the new one…)

Tomorrow Night: Blackened Crust

posted by on January 18 at 11:45 AM

Holy shit, don’t miss Iskra, Oroku, and City of Dust tomorrow night at the Fire-Breathing Kangaroo (6272 Ellis Ave S, 8 pm, all ages—be sure to bring some money for the bands and for buying any records they might be selling). This should be an awesome show.

Iskra, from Victoria, BC, play crusty anarcho black-metal (blackened crust, as they call it) with dueling male and female vocals; I saw them a couple years ago in SF and was totally blown away. Listen to MP3s and learn more about the amalgamation of crust and black metal here.

I think this is Oroku’s first Seattle show since last summer; they were on a European tour from October to December. After I saw Oroku for the first time back in July, I wrote this on Line Out:

My new favorite local band… Oroku played perfectly wonderful heavy crust—they reminded me of a more metal His Hero Is Gone, with melodic, sludgier parts akin to Isis (they have an electric cello!).

Check some MP3s on their MySpace page.

As for City of Dust, I’ve never heard them, and they have no MP3s to offer, but they list Anti-Cimex, Discharge, Totalitar, and Poison Idea as influences, so there you go.

The Pretty Pretties - Coming this Saturday

posted by on January 18 at 11:03 AM

This Saturday, Jan. 20th - Hard Candy at Wildrose presents:

LD & Her Pretty Pretties

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It’s punk rock love, starring Shawn Lawlor, Joie Belknap, Brad Moen, and Laura Derig. The Seattle based foursome features members of Rotten Apples, Hells Belles, Sweaty Nipples, Stud Finder, Chauffer, Apocalypsticks, the Stains, Apes of Wraith, and ASVA.

They “jam out with their clam out.”

Also on the bill are Swan Island and Diamond Cut Diamond.

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9 PM at the Wildrose - 1021 E Pike St., 21+

Continue reading "The Pretty Pretties - Coming this Saturday" »

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 18 at 9:30 AM

From Stranger Suggests:

Lick
(Lesbian Dance Party) Cream-of-the-crop lesbians go to Lick. The Wildrose, the one lesbian bar in town, never provides much in the way of true punk-rock dancertainment. Thank goodness the Lick ladies take over Chop Suey once a month and have a huge sweaty party, because if they didn’t, what would there be in Seattle for them? With DJs Freakazoid, Amateur Youth, Mathmatix, and Dewey Decimal. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $3 until 10 pm, $5 after, 21+.) ARI SPOOL

And from U&C:

FCS NORTH, HIDDEN HABITATS
(Baltic Room) FCS North’s recent album of brilliant electro/disco hybrids, Say Go, got totally slept on probably due to the banal difficulties of running a genuinely independent label in the 21st century. (Full disclosure: Said label hosted my fairly embarrassing first stab at a DJ mix a while ago, but no one made any money or anything.) Their live show aims for the dance floor—they’re talented musicians, and plenty entertaining to watch, but they’d probably prefer enthused movement over passive appreciation any day. Hidden Habitats are a five-headed Hydra of Fourthcity DJs consisting of DJs Kamui, Bumblebee, Hideki, Introcut, and Absolute Madman. They’re moving Stop Biting to Thursdays at the Baltic Room after a long, well-loved run at the Lo_Fi, and their thoughtful brand of boom bap should keep the place plenty warm and hopping. ERIC GRANDY

THE JONBENÉT, BEHOLD THE ROLLING THUNDER, THE AMERICAN BLACK LUNG, BLUES
(Ground Zero) Thanks to a sweet distribution deal with East West, the Dallas, Texas, indie Pluto Records was able to dangle the Jonbenét before more listeners than was probably necessary last year. Luckily, once they got there, the four-year-old Houston quartet blew away those listeners via a debut album, Ugly/Heartless, that not only captured the band’s in-concert ferocity, but duplicated it. The Jonbenét cut Ugly/Heartless live, loud, and loose in a Houston bar/recording studio, demonstrating their chops by nailing half of the songs on the first take; even though they reveal slightly more melody than was heard on their previous EPs (all of which are collected on 2005’s The Plot Thickens), the band’s trademark spastic, angular wall of posthardcore noise ensures that things never get too melodious. This month’s Dead in Threes tour finds the Jonbenét steamrolling across America with kindred spirits the American Black Lung and Blues in tow. AARON BURGESS

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

In Other Music Section News

posted by on January 17 at 6:03 PM

We have a new music editor!

His name is Jonathan Zwickel, and his job history includes having driven a semi in Sacramento, picked apples in New Zealand, ski bummed in Lake Tahoe, and sold Christmas trees in New York. He also has experience, you know, writing about music. He’s coming to The Stranger from San Francisco, where he’s currently Pop and Rock Editor at Rhapsody.com. Before that, he was Music Editor at New Times Broward-Palm Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He’s written about music for Pitchfork, XLR8R, Harp, Urb, Village Voice, and a lot of other places.

Here are the 25 best songs from 2006, according to him. Let the fighting begin.

He starts in February. We can’t wait.

Sound Off! Finalists Announced

posted by on January 17 at 4:35 PM

As reported in this week’s Underage column, EMP has announced the 12 finalists for Sound Off!, the annual underage band competition.

They almost winners are (drum roll…): Don’t Tell Sophie, For Years Blue, Halfbreed, the Oregon Donor, Dreamwright, Emi Meyer, Left at the Castle, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, the Army Corps of Architects, Black Swade, the Freetown, and Skullbot.

There will be three rounds of semi-finals (groups of four bands will play the first three Saturdays in February), with the winning band from each semi-final round advancing to the finals taking place February 24th at the Sky Church.

Because all these bands are local and feature members who are 21 years old or younger (which is sorta my beat), and because many of them you’ve probably never ever heard of, I’m going to profile the whole lot of semi-finalists here in Line Out starting January 30th (four each week for the first three weeks). If you can’t wait until then, though, you can access all the band websites via www.emplive.org.

MSRTKRFT Skipping Seattle

posted by on January 17 at 1:49 PM

Canadian electro-rockers MSTRKRFT have announced dates for an upcoming tour with rave-tastic DJ John Digweed (?!), and, unsurprisingly, Seattle is not on the list of dates:

3/1, Portland, OR (Roseland Theatre)
3/2, San Francisco, CA (Ruby Skye)
3/3, Los Angeles, CA (Vanguard)
3/4, San Diego, CA (Belo)
3/7, Phoenix, AZ (Axis/Radius)
3/8, Las Vegas, NV (Jet)
3/9, Minneapolis, MN (Myth)
3/10, Denver, CO (Vinyl)
3/13, St. Louis, MO (Dante’s)
3/15, Houston, TX (Warehouse Live)
3/16, Austin, Texas (Spin)
3/17, Dallas, TX (Karma)
3/18, New Orleans, LA (Ampersand)
3/20, Miami, FL (Pawn Shop)
3/27, Atlanta, GA (Blue)
3/28, Nashville, TN (Club Play)
3/29, Charlotte, NC (the Forum)
3/30, Washington, D.C. (9:30 Club)
3/31, New York, NY (Pacha)

Damn, Seattle! Why do so many electronic acts skip our town for Portland and/or Vancouver BC? Ellen Allien, Mylo, Vitalic (until the entire tour was scrapped), the list goes on. I swear, if Digitalism doesn’t play here I will never forgive you.

Music Section News

posted by on January 17 at 1:08 PM

The new Stranger column to watch—if you care about music—is Eric Grandy’s Fucking In the Streets, which made its debut in last week’s issue. The first installment was full of wild predictions (“I’ll probably regret saying this, but what the hell—Feral Children are the next Modest Mouse”), news (“Seattle’s venerable (or is that venereal?) den of after-hours iniquity Egg Room closed this weekend without so much as one last blowout party”), rumors (the “popular hiphop weekly, Stop Biting, is rumored to be moving to Thursdays at the Baltic Room in the not-too-distant future”), a report on the atmosphere at a benefit featuring James Mercer of the Shins (“Nothing injects a crowd with quiet sobriety quite like the specter of muscular dystrophy”), plus updates on a whole bunch of other stuff including Jeremy Cooper, Rags2Riches, the Bus Stop, a new DJ night at Sugar, and the elusive Cafe Un-American, and a blind item about a “coked-up fight” involving a local record store employee and some new wave LPs.

That was the first week. We haven’t had a music news column this plugged in for years. What’s coming in this week’s F.I.T.S.? The scuffle at Neumo’s last Friday, things you would never expect at the Comet are happening at the Comet, spring programming changes at Chop Suey, Clayton Vomero’s upcoming tour as DJ Pretty Titty, a not-yet-named electronica night starting in April “uniting Decibel, Fourthcity, Simply Shameless, and Electrosect for a two-room, 18+ night that may regularly run as late as 4:00 am…”), and more…

How does Grandy, like, know all this? His answer: “In the years that I’ve spent DJing and putting on shows and going out to bars I’ve accumulated a bunch of connections who keep me filled in.” He grew up on the Eastside and used to go to all-ages shows at Redmond’s Old Firehouse as a teenager. Then he worked there for 5 years. Then he went to college in Olympia, interned at K Records, volunteered at Yo Yo a Go Go, moved to Seattle and put on house shows (Japanther, Thrones, Fast Forward, Tussle, Yellow Swans, Secret Mommy, Shoplifting, Doomsday 1999, Wrangler Brutes, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, and others), and in 2003 started DJing under the moniker Fucking in the Streets—a reference to the MC5’s batshit political wing, the White Panther Party.

He became a full-time Stranger music staff writer two weeks ago.

AND! More music staff news will be announced later today. Stay tuned…

Today Idolator, Tomorrow Europe

posted by on January 17 at 11:37 AM

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Local band Welcome (they opened for Can’t See this past Saturday) have this morning received the mouth-kiss of approval from snarky internet tastemaker Idolator, who go so far as to invoke the almighty Deerhoof to describe the Seattle trio. The band are preparing for a European tour starting in February, and no doubt this support will bolster their spirits as they struggle against Belgian beer and British press.

I Hate This Band

posted by on January 17 at 11:35 AM

redhotchilipeppers.jpg

I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. Every time one of their songs comes on the radio (which seems to happen at least once every single time I decide to listen to the radio), I can’t change the station fast enough, and I can’t do it without making a weird, loud yipping/jungle call noise to drown out the funkified air pollution until I’m back in a RHCP-free zone. If I’m some place where the musical selection is out of my control and one of their songs comes over the loudspeaker, I can’t help but wish that an imaginary aneurysm in my brain would decide to burst that second, in order to keep me from having to hear the rest of “Aeroplane,” “Higher Ground,” or god forbid “Californication.” Man, I can’t stand “Californication.”

I know it’s sorta weird. I mean, there are some shitty, shitty bands in the world—Puddle of Mudd, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, Breaking Benjamin—but none of those obviously horrible acts conjure up the same rage within my soul as the frat boy favorites, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Those acts are ignorable. They’re terrible, but they’re temporary. The RHCP, though, are not. They’ve been around since I was three years old, and they’re not going away.

I hate them.

I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.

Primal Whine

posted by on January 17 at 11:00 AM

primal-0249.jpg

NME reports today that Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has joined a neighborhood campaign to limit the noise made by a local pub. Anybody know if Gillespie used to live by the Redwood? According to the complaint Gillespie signed, the offending club has been “playing recorded music at an unacceptable volume past 12 o’clock,” “attracting noisy, drunk people,” and that “there was a live percussionist playing along with the records…the repetitiveness [was} disturbing.”

Does that mean no more Andrew Weatherall remixes?

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 17 at 9:05 AM

If you’re looking for live music tonight…

You could see:

THE LIARS CLUB,THE GLASSES, VALU-PAK
(Crocodile) Paul Beaudry, former co-frontman of Bellingham-based popsters Five Gears in Reverse, has never been musically satisfied with a single outlet, leaving him to frequently experiment with numerous sonic ideas. Once his old band called it quits, Beaudry thrust himself into a musical orgy, hooking up with anyone he could make sounds with. Valu-Pak was born out of this creative soup as a bare-bones garage band, replete with raunchy lyrics and ridiculously catchy choruses. Dusty Haze (ex-Nevada Bachelors) and Marty Ballew (Half Acre Day) round out the punchy trio, and together they demonstrate that when skilled musicians play the simplest and best parts of rock, they do it extremely well. MATT GARMAN

Or you could see:

ESTRELLA, LA RUE, GRYNCH
(Nectar) Playing to a sparse crowd at Lo_Fi a few months back, these three heads recently moved down to Seattle from Bellingham to infiltrate the city’s local hiphop community. Backed by the grandiose beatslinging of one DJ Swervewon, Taylor “Taybot” Napolski and his poof-haired compatriot Praxis take on the usual talking points for the educated MC: the cultural divide, the pursuit of enlightenment, the government, and all around wackness in general. But if you’re lucky, they might freestyle about your sports coat and drink. SAM EWALD

Or you could catch Patient Patient at the High Dive.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Friend Opportunity of a Lifetime

posted by on January 16 at 9:01 PM

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Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki.

Deerhoof’s new album, Friend Opportunity (out Jan. 23 on 5 Rue Christine), is amazing. I’ve never a gung-ho fan, despite having numerous friends rave to me about how awesome these Bay Area indie-rock mainstays are. But this new full-length strikes me immediately as their finest to date. Not bad for a group 12-years into its career.

I’ve listened to Friend Opportunity twice now, and its radiant yet skewed beauty and surprising dynamics set a towering example for how indie rock should sound and move in 2007. You can sense that Deerhoof’s members—bassist/vocalist Satomi Matsuzaki, guitarist John Dieterich, and drummer Greg Saunier—have intimate knowledge of no wave, sunshine pop, astral jazz, Captain Beefheart, J pop, Raincoats, Polvo, Boredoms, and many other exemplary touchstones. Yet they weave these styles/influences so adroitly that the resultant songs are instantly identifiable as only Deerhoof compositions. You can play “spot the reference points” all day, but no annoying derivativeness taints the 10 glorious songs on Friend Opportunity.

Satomi’s voice is child-like with a just right sweet-tartness, feather-dusting the clangorous, bright-orange guitars to utterly charming effect (she is much more adorable than the most obvious comparison, Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino). Somehow Deerhoof manage to write songs that are both sumptuously melodic and piquantly angular. Friend Opportunity is pop music for a world that treasures knowing naivete, rock music for a world that understands that cute Asian women are the most ruthless people you’ll ever encounter.

The disc’s 11-minute finale, “Look Away,” is perhaps Deerhoof’s most ambitious track. Its silvery spangled and rumbling drummed intro nods to classic ’90s-era Sonic Youth before the song uses icicles to play your spine like a xylophone a third of the way in; there then comes a shift into some art-rock balladry that recalls Brigitte Fontaine and Slapp Happy (we’re talking lofty, people). A chaotic tintinnabulation of guitars and chimes and Saunier’s manic sticksmanship ensue, and then it’s down another rabbit hole to an interlude of eerie, pensive beauty, like third-album Soft Machine idling their engine with plangently ominous intent. Satomi enters in the last minute to sing sweetly of “wonderful days” and Dieterich’s guitar spangles in an oddly beguiling way. It’s a stunning conclusion to a brilliant album, and it made me turn some phrases I’m sure I’ll regret later (usually the sign of great music).

Deerhoof play Neumo’s Feb. 1.

Re: Is This Thing On?

posted by on January 16 at 4:13 PM

Can we take a moment to also appreciate the brilliant visual aesthetic cultivated at Jade Tree in the mid/late 90s by the Promise Ring’s own Jason Gnewikow? His graphic design for that label is as defining as Peter Saville’s was for Factory Records. Gnewikow defined what emo looked like for an entire generation of kids. Take a look:

Is This Thing On?

posted by on January 16 at 2:00 PM

I’m not sure why, but records from the 1996-97 era are all I’m able to listen to lately—this morning I stayed on my decade-old path, and the Promise Ring were the perfect slow, snowy morning soundtrack.

promise ring.jpg

I don’t have the same history with Nothing Feels Good as I do with Pinkerton. Unlike most Promise Ring fans, this record wasn’t the soundtrack to any of my high school memories. In fact, I’ve sorta been anti-Promise Ring for most of their existence—I didn’t like 30° Everywhere the first time I heard it in 1996, and I didn’t really like it when an old friend convinced me to give it another shot a couple years ago. It doesn’t grab me—it’s, sorry to say it, boring. It was to me then, it is to me now. It’s too emo, I guess. I distinctly remember when Nothing Feels Good came out a year later, and it was everywhere. Many of my music-nerd friends loved it (they were mostly boys, and they were mostly constantly heartbroken by girls) and me, being a too-stubborn-for-my-own-good 17-year-old brat, I hated it without even hearing it—it was often hailed as the ultimate “emo-staple,” and I wanted nothing to do with that crybaby bullshit. I’ve successfully avoided it for almost 10 years.

I was so wrong.

Last summer I was tricked into hearing Nothing Feels Good. I climbed into a friend’s mini-van on a day that was not very good at all, and while I usually protest whatever is blasting from the stereo if it’s not to my liking, on this day I was cranky and upset that my car had just broken down to the tune of $1,200, so I just quietly sat there and listened while he drove me home. Goddamn, it’s good—crisp and clean, without sounding too polished. Davey vonBohlen’s voice is young but still strong, and the song structures are simple and catchy while still being interesting. And surprisingly, it isn’t super “emo” at all. How did an album with the song “Is This Thing On?” become the poster-record for the second (third?) wave of emo, anyway? Sure, there are moments—there are emotions, there’s passion (and there’s the line “I don’t know God/I don’t know if anything at all will be all right”) but it’s also romantic and bright… the band’s hearts are absolutely pinned down tightly to their sleeves, but it’s more “feel good” than it is “feel good about feeling bad.”

From the explosively poppy opening track (“Is This Thing On?”) to the upbeat “Pink Chimneys,” this isn’t a crybaby record at all. Jimmy Eat World and the Get Up Kids were being far more depressing than this at the time.

Before I got out of the car that day, my friend gave me the record and said “You need this right now more than I do.” He was right. After a couple more listens, I didn’t even care that I just spent over a grand on a cracked radiator, dead alternator, and some other car thing that I can’t remember, because Davey vonBohlen was singing “Ba ba bada ba ba bada bada!” to me, and that made everything feel awesome again.

And that’s my Promise Ring story.

Stuff Rivers Cuomo Liked in 2006

posted by on January 16 at 11:55 AM

As my esteemed colleague Megan Seling has pointed out, Pinkerton was a long time ago. Any poor, deluded, old-school Weezer fan hoping for some return to form on Cuomos’ part should take a good, long look at his faves of 2006, recently published in the Harvard Crimson and weep:

Stuff I Liked in 2006 By RIVERS CUOMO

1. Hall & Oates—“Greatest Hits.” Man, did the 80s rule.

2. Nelly Furtado—“Promiscuous” and “Maneater.” I admire her independence from the expectations of her fanbase.

3. Chamillionaire & Krayzie Bone—“Ridin.’” This song gets me pumped. I also love Weird Al’s version, “White and Nerdy.”

4. Danity Kane—“Show Stopper.” I am biologically incapable of not being attracted to this song.

5. Fish Leong—“Yong Qi.” The best ballad I’ve heard in years comes from China.

6. Gnarls Barkley—“Crazy.” What the heck? Where did this song come from?

7. Keane—“Somewhere Only We Know.” I think this song was on my list last year but it still makes my heart beat fast.

8. Panic At The Disco—“I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” This song seems so avant-garde and yet it’s structurally very simple and repetitive. Good job, kids.

9. Sam Harris—“Letter to A Christian Nation.” Interesting.

10. Bob Woodward—“State of Denial.” Seems like a pretty even-handed and well-informed account of the war. Then again, what do I know.

11. Ne-Yo. Besides the fact that his songs are catchy and soulful, I love the fact that they’re so anti-gangsta.

12. “Lost”—I’m just about finished with the first season but I think I’m going to have to give it up because it’s too violent.

13. Shakira—“Hips Don’t Lie.” I’ve love the music for this song. Does anyone know where it’s from? It sounds familiar.

14. The Fray—“Over My Head.” I finally realized why this song sounded so right to me the first time I heard it on the radio: My drummer reminded me that Weezer toured with The Fray in 2004 and I so must have heard this song every night through the walls of my dressing room.

15. Tim McGraw—“Live Like You Were Dying” and “My Little Girl.” Country music sounds good to me now that I’m a family man.

16. Cassie—“Me & U.” This was one of my favorite songs of the year before I knew it was produced by a Harvard alum!

17. Yung Joc and Young Dro. Supplying my thug fix.

18. Jojo—“Too Little, Too Late.” A rare example of a chorus that starts on the II chord rather than the I chord.

19. Sufjan Stevens—“Come On! Feel the Illinoise!” For when populist art cloys.

—Rivers Cuomo ’99-’06 is the former frontman of the band Weezer, but more recently a Cabot House celebrity. He was once interviewed by Abe J. Riesman ’08.

(Hat tip to Stereogum)

The FCC Loves The Shins, Too

posted by on January 16 at 11:04 AM

This is a bit old, but did you hear the one about the FCC and indie rock? Turns out the FCC, in an effort to resolve its investigation into “payola” (the time honored tradition of major labels paying corporate radio for airtime), is considering requiring stations to dedicate airtime for “independently produced” music.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

While details of the Enforcement Bureau’s proposal were sketchy, sources said that radio station groups would be required to set aside a certain amount of airtime for music produced independently. The radio groups also would agree to a code of conduct and an education program, the sources said. As part of the deal, the radio broadcasters would not admit to any wrongdoing.

It was unclear how the airtime deal would work and what would qualify as “independently produced” music, but the sources said that some of the commissioners are concerned about the major labels’ ability to dominate the airwaves. Democratic commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, an amateur musician, has been particularly vocal on the payola subject.

A few questions obviously arise, like: What will constitute “independent” music? Will there be requirements that the music be integrated into regular programming, or will stations be allowed to relegate it to the wee hours when only insomniacs and the unemployable are listening? Is this a reasonable end to the payola investigations, or should is even more dramatic restructuring of the airwaves preferable? And, perhaps most importantly, what does Democratic commissioner Jonathan Adelstein’s band sound like?

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 16 at 9:30 AM

eggnog.jpg
PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS, AKIMBO, LAHAR, ABSENCE OF GRACE
(Hell’s Kitchen, Tacoma) Akimbo drummer Nat Damm is damn near one of the best drummers in this city. He hits the skins like a beast, but with the precision of a metronome. His timing is impeccable, his energy unmatchable, and his uncontrolled mop of curly hair absolutely unfuckwitable. Alternative Tentacles no doubt recognized Damm’s skills and Akimbo’s mind-blowing wall of crushing hardcore, as the label plans to release the band’s 2002 debut full-length, Harshing Your Mellow, next month. (Not only is it a pretty stellar album, but it’s got one of the best record titles in history, especially fitting for Akimbo.) The new pressing has been remastered by Ed Brooks, and, along with new art, it’ll also include a cover of the Screamers’ song “Vertigo.” In other Akimbo news, singer and bassist Jon Weisnewski celebrated the holiday season by getting the word “Eggnog” tattooed on his forearm (photo available at www.myspace.com/akimbo), which is both hilarious and awesome. That shit better not be fake. MEGAN SELING

For the record, Nat Damm has confirmed that his bandmate’s ridiculous and awesome—ridiculously awesome—tattoo is 100% legit.

Also happening tonight (from Data Breaker’s Beat Happenings):

MARCUS INTALEX
One of Britain’s—and therefore the world’s—foremost drum ‘n’ bass DJs checks into the 206 once again to school fools on the genre’s niceties and not-so-niceties. The Manchester-based Intalex says, “I believe in pushin a sound that is fwd thinkin and energetic but always with a great sense of groove and a touch of soul” [sic(k)]. War Room, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666, 9 pm—2 am, 21+.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Parents Just Don’t Understand

posted by on January 15 at 4:40 PM

I spent part of my weekend in Concrete, Wa (pop. 790!), doing research for my new nightlife column. Ok, truthfully, I was visiting my girlfriend’s family. At her mom’s house, there are two CDs and only two CDs in the CD player. They are:

Sade - The Best of Sade

and, more rarely:

The Clash - The Singles

Nothing ties these records together, and I’m not sure what these records tell us about their common owner, but I do know this: my girlfriend calls resin scraped from a marijuana pipe, “Sade,” and that’s about as close to that record as I usually like to get.

Correction: These are both “best of” records, and perhaps that tells us something about their owner, but still, Sade and the Clash. Concrete.

MLK Day is Bad For NW Punk Bands

posted by on January 15 at 3:14 PM

Apparently!

The Blood Brothers received word today that their label, V2 Recordings, is closing down all of it’s operations except back catalog sales, effectively tossing them out on the street (not to mention all of V2’s employees). Other bands that were on V2 include White Stripes, Gang of Four, and Moby, as well as the imprint Luaka Bop which David Byrne curates. Luaka Bop recently re-released Os Mutantes’ original album, which totally made my year (I even bought it for my dad!).

Most of these bands are hot properties (Moby exluded), so I have no fear that they will get scooped by other labels pretty quick, but I can’t help feeling bad for the Blood Brothers. This is the second label they’ve done in, the first being ArtistDirect. Labels- beware of the Blood Brothers!

No New Religion

posted by on January 15 at 2:35 PM

One fact that suggests that this is indeed “the age of reality,” as LKJ once put it, is that the album here pictured did not establish a new religion:
1Charlie-Mingus-The-Black-Saint-A-339544.jpg This music is much like those galactic clouds of dust and gas; clouds that were ejaculated from the lives of earlier stars. The molecular materials, particulate matter, atomic stuff of these clouds form new stars, new points of energy in the vacuum from which all comes and to which all returns. And in the beginning of what now is everything, matter became matter because it preferred not being matter. That instinct—the preference that made the universe, gasses, dust, and stars possible—is with us (within us) to this day. It is the source of all religions. Which gets us to The Black Saint and Sinner Lady. In this music, not only do we have the materials for religious belief, for the experience of something that feels total—and truth is always the whole truth—but also a celebration of the preference to be, to exist, to thrive. Here we hear the most gravid passions of Mingus’s genius and it is a wonder that a new faith in the future did not condense within the rich and erotic cloud of his music. Ours must truly be the sober age of “science and technology.”

Lake of Falcons Are Good

posted by on January 15 at 1:45 PM

Speaking of unknown local bands, I co-hosted the Young and the Restless with Chris Travis last night, and not only did the Heavy Hearts play live in the studio (and it sounded fantastic), but Mr. Travis, who’s always listening to any local band he can get his hands on, also introduced me to Seattle group I’d never heard: Lake of Falcons.

I’m not going to tell you they’ll change you’re life, but they are good. They’re driving like Fugazi, but it also gets a little Shellac-y (appropriate, as they cite both bands as influences). Even with an edge it’s still catchy, though, mostly due to rough but melodic vocals. And call me nuts, but I’m hearing a little Dramarama sneaking in there at times too (think “Anything, Anything,” though, not “Femme Fatale”).

A little investigation showed that Punk Planet also likes ‘em, an issue last fall said this:

On the heels of their debut 7”, Lake of Falcons have put out their first full length. Coming out of Seattle this trio bursts out some powerful songs, drawing on Fugazi as an obvious influence although with bit more mass by a touch of metal, as with the choppy, power-punches and chants of “Shiftlock Overdrive.” They also slow down a touch with songs that have a more indie rock song structure, like “Pushpins” or “Iris Pattern.” The short instrumental bits like “Footfalls” break up the album in a good way. The often-hoarse vocals of the harder tracks have a caustic intensity that let you know they are serious about this. The other vocalist is clearer, adding a good contrast, and some pieces showcase dual vocals, as does the first son, “Panopticon.” It’s the range of this album that is its strong point: explosive fusillades and more intricate even-paced pieces. In fact, they’re at their best at the extremes, whether hard or slow. In between, they have a lot of tracks that are fine but not standouts for the genre - - it’s the overall variability that gives them an edge. They’ve produced an impressive debut and it sounds like the live setting is the way to properly hear these pieces. -Bill Angelbeck

So if you’re interested, click on a song title below to hear tracks from last year’s self-released EP:
Pretty Little Knife
Firing on a White Flag
Stone Steps

And you can hear a couple more songs at their Stranger Bands Page.

They’re playing January 20th at the Monkey Pub.

Rex is the Boss

posted by on January 15 at 10:57 AM

Viewing the Seahawks overtime playoff loss to the Chicago Bears at the Hopvine Pub, a discovery is made.

rexbruce.jpg

Bruce Springsteen has had a facelift and has changed his name to Rex Grossman. He is now quarterbacking the Chicago Bears.

Huge Bummer for These Arms Are Snakes

posted by on January 15 at 10:49 AM

From a Myspace bulletin making the rounds:

Hey dudes, These Arms Are Snakes got there van and trailer stolen last weekend. Help them out. If you see the van and trailer hit them up via myspace or their email below:

http://www.myspace.com/thesearmsaresnakes

thesearms@gmail.com

“I guess it happens to every band at some point. Our van and trailer were stolen from the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle at some point between the afternoon of Saturday the 13th and the evening of Sunday the 14th. The good news is that none of our equipment was inside of it at the time. The bad news is that we’re not insured for theft. So if anyone happens to see a 15-passenger dark gray Ford van with a two-axle trailer attached and some meth-heads cooking up drugs in the back, be sure to let us or the police know. Strangely enough, we were getting ready to take it in for repairs because we couldn’t get the damn thing to start. Hopefully whoever solved that problem in the process of stealing it will also fix the leaking radiator.”

Bummer! But at least they still have their equipment- getting that stolen is so much worse.

Tonight in Music

posted by on January 15 at 9:30 AM

Good For Cows play Gallery 1412—Sam Mickens says they “are truly one of the greatest experimental bands in existence.”

Also:

CONRAD FORD, AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR, KELLI HANSON
(Tractor) Seattle’s Conrad Ford put out a debut release, Don’t You Miss Yourself, on local label Tarnished Records just last year, and if you weren’t paying attention, its understated alt-country-twinged melancholia might have slipped past you. Andy McAllister’s raspy and reedy vocals will draw inevitable comparisons to the Eels, but hey, since when was that a bad thing? And speaking of elegant yet tragically overlooked releases, Kelli Hanson’s 2005 release, Lullaby for an Astronaut, was likewise swoon worthy, featuring a feast of diverse yet delightfully cohesive tunes. Since Hanson has relocated from Seattle to San Francisco, make sure you catch her in town while you can. DANA BOS


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Holy Moly, Baby

posted by on January 14 at 11:00 PM

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I know that praising Pinkerton is like so passé, but whatthefuckever, dudes, because this record is all I listened to this snowy weekend (with only a few breaks for Jawbreaker’s Dear You and some of Jeremy Enigk’s Return of the Frog Queen), and like it or not, I’m about to praise the fuck out of it.

I can only listen to Pinkerton in the winter. I got the album for Christmas in 1996 (I think my sister bought it for me because she was tired of me borrowing her copy), and it’s been a staple ever since—it’s seen me through the coldest, longest, darkest days of the slow-moving January-March freeze out.

It’s my all-time favorite record to sing along to. “I can’t even look in your eyes without shakin’, and I ain’t fakin’/I’ll bring home the turkey if you bring home the bacon (BACON!)” is my all-time favorite line on the album (“I’m ready, let’s do it, baby!” and “Screw this crap, I’ve had it!” are tied for close second). And while the Blue Album is probably my favorite Weezer record, Pinkerton has some of my favorite Weezer songs. It’s also the soundtrack to some of my favorite memories.

There are some awkward but honest “boy dealing with real love” moments, which are sweet, but there are also those bitter “I’ve been around the world and seen some fucked up shit, but fucked up shit ain’t for me” moments too (“Tired of Sex”), which are even (strangely) sweeter. There’s some angst (“Getchoo”), there’s some humor (“El Scorcho”), there’s some sadness (“Butterfly”), and there’s some honesty that can almost cross the line if you want to read into it in a dirty way (“Across the Sea”).

Now I know it’s not breaking news, but Pinkerton is a really, really good record. Still. Ten years later. Just sayin’.

Alice Coltrane, 1937-2007

posted by on January 14 at 1:37 AM

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Just received some horrible news: legendary astral-jazz harpist/keyboardist Alice Coltrane has passed away.

I will post more about her awe-inspiring career later this weekend, provided I can escape from the deadline swamp in which I’m submerged.

If the eminently knowledgeable Chris DeLaurenti (or anyone else) wants to chime in, please do so.

RIP, Ms. Coltrane.