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Archives for 02/11/2007 - 02/17/2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Liner Notes

posted by on February 17 at 6:02 PM

I love reading liner notes; is there any better bedside reading? Not for me. The Animist Orchestra’s disc wuwei has this gem by the group’s leader, Jeph Jerman:

A few years ago, I was in a music store looking for some CDs. I was wearing a t-shirt that had a large anatomical drawing of an ear printed on it. The clerk who I was talking to asked me what it was. I told him an ear. He asked why I had an ear on my shirt. I said I was a musician. He said “I don’t get it.”

Velella Velella Sign to Hush Records

posted by on February 17 at 4:08 PM

Things are looking up for Velella Velella. (Photo by Philip Kramer)

Seattle pop-funk euphoria merchants Velella Velella announced Feb. 16 that they’ve signed to Portland-based Hush Records. That label will give a proper reissue to the group’s exuberant and sophisticated debut disc, The Bay of Biscay, on May 8. Click through below to read VV’s MySpace bulletin announcing the news.

Continue reading "Velella Velella Sign to Hush Records" »

Zera Marvel - Highway Swan

posted by on February 17 at 1:10 PM

Early Show tonight at High Dive – 6 PM


Zera Marvel. She’s drifting acoustic and dark. There’s a mist, and fireflies. Zera slows and points. Reminders on the wall. She’s been recording and mixing at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. A new album is close.

Graig Markel & Figures in the Snow play 2nd.

5$, 21 +

Photo: Troy Critchlow

Tonight in Music

posted by on February 17 at 12:40 PM

The Presidents of the United States of America are playing their second of three nights at the Showbox tonight. The show’s sold out, though (as is tomorrow’s), so here are a few other options (replete with unnecessary exclamation marks for all my fans who adore them):

Various at Chop Suey!
Adrian Orange at the Dearborn House!
Sound Off! at the EMP!


(Sunset) Blammo! Zap! When Thee Emergency play live, they’re like comic-book superheroes, annihilating Seattle crowds with their double wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am dose of retro Detroit garage-rock soul. Lead vocalist Dita Vox will destroy you with her hedonistic, bellowing voice, and lead guitarist Sonic Smith will astonish you with his tasty licks and acrobatic stage dynamics. By joining forces with Iceage Cobra, the Hands, and A Gun That Shoots Knives—three other hard-rocking local dynamos—on this incredible local bill, Thee Emergency will undoubtedly save many a Seattleite from a potentially dull night of live music. Don’t miss a minute: Openers A Gun That Shoots Knives have been known for spectacular theatrics and costumes to complement their indie-rock superpowers, the Hands are a current (and deserved) KEXP favorite, and Iceage Cobra’s howling, growling big rawk sound will leave bad guys begging for mercy. The Hall of Justice never had it this loud or this good. DANA BOS

If none of that is lookin’ good, you can also check out our new searchable calendar. The Femurs, Tenacious D, Super Geek League, Mos Generator, Twink the Wonder Kid, and Sirens Sister have all got shows going on around the city too.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Teenage Intro

posted by on February 16 at 5:30 PM

Friday night. Electric Sound.

How Loud?

posted by on February 16 at 4:25 PM

How loud is “loud enough”?

Fully independently of each other, Christopher Frizzelle and I have both encouraged readers to blow out their eardrums in the effort to achieve our desired response to a given album.

Of the Shins’ classic album, Oh, Inverted World, Frizzelle writes:

After any honest debate among diehards, after all, Oh, Inverted World always emerges victorious. If it seems to you to have weakened over time, you’re not listening to it loud enough.

In my piece on the Thermals’ latest, greatest record, The Body, The Blood, The Machine, I write:

If this record doesn’t make you want to go out and buy a guitar, then you’re not listening to it loud enough.

What the fuck?! What can be the meaning of this cosmic coincidence of volume and verbiage? Could it be:

A. Frizzelle and I are both going deaf. (His continued resistance to “Phantom Limb” seems to at least partially support this theory)

B. Sub Pop records always sound better loud, and these are both Sub Pop records.

C. We’ve both been stealing ideas from Lester Bangs.

D. We’re madly, madly in love.

E. A radiation leak at the Of Montreal concert has imbued us with psychic powers that we cannot yet control.

The Longest CD Review in Stranger History

posted by on February 16 at 3:53 PM


…is also one of the best. I’m talking about Christopher Frizzelle’s 1700-word assessment of the Shins’ feverishly anticipated shock blockbuster Wincing the Night Away, which you can read here. Chronicling the avalanche of expectations foisted on the Shins in general and Wincing in particular (along with the bedwetters’ appreciation of Dave Matthews and the horror of having one of your deep personal truths attributed to Natalie Portman), Frizzelle’s review ultimately gives the record a scant two stars, which seems harsh even to me, the most provisional of Shins fan. (I’d have given the spotty-but-still-good Wincing no more and no less than three stars.) Still, his argument is compelling, as are his digressions. Enjoy.

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on February 16 at 3:45 PM

A new Setlist is posted, click here to listen (you don’t even need a fancy-pants iPod or iTunes or anything, it just streams right from our site to your ears). Hear music from the Presidents of the United States of America, “Awesome,” Iceage Cobra, Ghost Stories, Grand Hallway, and more.

And if you’re in a band, be sure to get a few of your songs posted at, because we’re going to be sifting through all the pages to find a few favorites to highlight in an upcoming issue of the paper. How’s that for incentive?

Happy Friday

posted by on February 16 at 3:36 PM

What do the band Metal Skool, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, and Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell have in common? This disaster:

(Via Deadspin.)

You Should Treat Em Right

posted by on February 16 at 3:27 PM

Ever since I caught DJ Suspence’s early-90’s set at the Saturday Knights wingding, I have been ‘Feenin’ for the sweet, hyperkinetic sounds of my chubby youth. Despite Charles feebly trying to hate on my affection for “Feels Good”, there’s just nothing I’d rather bump in the morning than glorious New Jack Swing.

Megan, I see your BBD and raise you a Father MC(not to mention Jodeci).

I’m bringing back the bleached Gumby look, stat.

Hot Damn! HOTMESS!

posted by on February 16 at 2:33 PM

Lickable Lesbots, Silly Queens, Hot, Hot Hipster Fags…TAKE HEED! It’s The HOTMESS Anniversary Party, TONIGHT!

O, you must. For more years than I can count (uh…one, or something) HotMess has titillated the consummately queer and the consummately queer-loving with a super high-octane once-a-month dance extravaganza of glitter, glamor, booty-bump and shag-sweat. Tonight is their big anniversary featuring DJs Colby B, LA Kendal, Julie Herrera, and visiting DJ Cazwell from NYC! Need I say more?


HotMess. Tonight at the War Room, 722 East Pike St. Show up before 11 to avoid the line—and tell them Adrian sent you.

Various on KEXP Today

posted by on February 16 at 2:24 PM

The verbally vague fellows of Various Productions will be getting all mysterious on KEXP today at 4:30 pm, before they perform tomorrow night at Chop Suey with Scientific American and NDCV. In this week’s Data Breaker, Dave Segal says:

Various daub the air in muted midnight blues and cloistral purples. The rhythms lurch around sympathetic bass throbs and hauntingly beautiful melodies that allude to both gothic dungeons and verdant fields, aided by an array of capable male and female vocalists.

Ill be tuning in and turning up.


posted by on February 16 at 2:03 PM


It’s nothing strange to wake up with a random song stuck in your head; it happens to me almost every morning. To discover, as concsciousness rises gummily up from the hungover depths, that the one song is actually three songs—now that’s strange. But I think I stumbled upon a tear in the ’80s rock-time continuum.

Try singing Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie,” the “What’s your price for flights” part of Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian,” and “Here I Go Again on My Own” by Whitesnake.

Like this:

“Kyrie eleison down the road that I must travel, kyrie eleison through the darkness of the night/’Cuz I made up my mind, I ain’t wastin’ no more time/You’re motorin’! What’s your price for flights, and finding Mr. Right…” etc.


It’s another proud day for music journalism here at The Stranger.

Two Things You Should Do If You Have a Mac

posted by on February 16 at 10:46 AM

1. First go here. It’s like an mp3 feed reader/radio thingie for the Inter-Web that consolidates songs into your iTunes.

2. Then, go here, where they’ve just finished up a great week-long survey of 50 Incredible Rap Songs and they just tossed up 20 more tracks for good measure. Some old favorites, and some pretty amazing stuff that I’ve never even heard.

If you don’t have a Mac, jump straight to option 2.

You’re welcome.

BBD. East Coast Family.

posted by on February 16 at 10:40 AM

Jen Graves, who sits at the desk directly behind me, is giggling uncontrollably.

Apparently, it’s due to this:

And now I can’t stop laughing either.

Her and I both agree that it’s the line “Never trust a big butt and a smile,” that makes it so goddamn glorious.

Happy Friday, everyone.

What’s 33 1/3 times 449?

posted by on February 16 at 10:28 AM

The fine folks at Continuum Books, publishers of the popular 33 1/3 series (“the Little Golden Books of Rock,” as I like to call ‘em) - including Sean Nelson’s recent Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark - posted a call for pitches for their 2008-2009 list a few weeks back. The deadline was Wednesday, Feb. 14, and the complete list of submitted titles is now up online… all 449 of them.* Make your own snarky comments about how obvious (Weezer, Pavement, AC/DC) or esoteric (William Shatner, Kim Fowley) you think they are. At least two of them came from inside The Stranger camp, and while I dearly want to write my proposed book on Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, in a Celebrity Death Match I’d lay odds that Schmader’s pitch on Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP will whoop my butt.

* Someone else came up with that count in the comments field. I got tuckered out somewhere around The B-52’s “Whammy” and gave up tallying.

Big World & Monkees Footage

posted by on February 16 at 10:21 AM

Clip here of Big World Breaks and Massive Monkees Breakdance Crew rehearsing at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

The smoothness of the cut and the prowess of the moves empowered. But -

A Warning: Do not attempt to headspin if you have never headspun before.

Big World Breaks play this Sunday, February 18th at Neumos as part of a Soul Hop Event - presented by:

One Family Inc, KBCS 91.3 FM, 206 Zulu, and Obese Productions.

$10 adv. | 8 pm doors | All Ages Bar w/I.D

Continue reading "Big World & Monkees Footage" »

Hell On Wheels!

posted by on February 16 at 9:58 AM

Found this gem in the $1 bin of one of my favorite record stores!

Truckers, Drag Queens, Roller Disco? Sounds like a disco hit by Cher!

Well, I’m hell on wheels
I’m a roller mama
I can slide down places
That you never knew
Try me on for size
At the rollerama
If you tie my laces
Then I’ll follow you
Follow you

If you absolutely must own the 12” version, you can find it here!

Let’s Rock! Let’s Roll!

One of the Best Things I’ve Seen on a Bathroom Stall in Ages

posted by on February 16 at 6:20 AM


On Feb. 14 at Neumo’s, I saw something called Concerted Comic on a men’s room stall door. This particular strip was titled “The Right Profile” [see above]; I like its wry wit. You can read more such comics here.

This is a blog post from the 23-year-old Seattle female creator of the strip:

Welcome to Concerted, a comic dedicated to the lifestyles of live music lovers everywhere. But instead of focusing on the performers, it’s the audience that takes center stage. Yes, even that smelly guy that is standing way too close to you during the encore.

Because it’s based on the shared experience of the crowd and not the band, Concerted transcends the standard boundaries of a music comic. Look for new strips in the bathroom of your favorite venue!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

“God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get)”

posted by on February 15 at 7:39 PM

Man, what is it about the Swedes and elegant, blissful pop perfection?

El Perro Del Mar plays Neumo’s on Friday, March 9.

We Scar the World

posted by on February 15 at 2:13 PM

To expand on Eric’s brief mention of Al Gore’s Live Earth concerts:

Hoo boy.

How can you expect to gather millions of people in various open places around the world, power hundreds of thousands of watts worth of sound and lights, fly artists to and from venues (not to mention pamper them), produce commemorative concert swag, and allow food vendors to sell at each event without doing damage to the planet? Does Gore believe all the attendees will travel by bike and hybrid to the concert grounds? Doesn’t matter how many empty water bottles Bono picks up from the Wembley Stadium floor: No amount of carbon credits, tree planting, or money and awareness raised can offset the serious trampling such a major production will cause.

The Live Earth web site goes into scant details about “world class sustainability experts” setting a “Green Event Standard” but there’s no way their efforts could add up to much. Here are two bullet points:

- Concessionaires will be encouraged to use and directed to suppliers of agricultural / biodegradable plastics (i.e. made from corn). Also, concessionaire waste will be minimized through a comprehensive recycling system organized at the venue.

- Venue offices, walkways, etc will be retrofitted with compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs, where possible.

That’s nice — encourage vendors to use biodegradable plastics. Uh huh. And those CFL lightbulbs ought to really lower the energy bill. Sorry Al, but like your presidential campaign, this project seems noble but poorly conceived.

I’m all for raising environmental awareness, but throwing a massive worldwide concert to save the planet is like fucking for virginity.

Though apparently the Spice Girls have been invited to reunite for the event, so maybe we’re in good hands after all.

Tonight in Music

posted by on February 15 at 1:55 PM

As Grandy pointed out below, Harsh is kicking off at Re-bar, but that’s not the only skull-crushing show in town:

(Studio Seven) Featuring groups that seldom tour North America, this concert is like a misanthropic global summit, with several countries sending their most malevolent delegates. Sweden’s Unleashed play punk-informed, darkly humorous death-metal epics populated with rampaging Vikings (“We raise the hammer high/and call to Thor for a sign”). Brazil’s Krisiun prefer staggered thrash riffs, brutally gruff vocals, and polysyllabic blasphemy (“aborticide inside the temple of holiness”). Austria’s Belphegor rank as the bill’s most musically accessible—and lyrically repugnant—band. As befitting an outfit named for a demon that demanded excrement as a sacrifice, Belphegor revel in scatological imagery, not to mention graphic necrophilic fantasies. Grotesqueries aside, Belphegor can convince even casual metal fans to swear allegiance to their darkly melodic guitar lines, relatively enunciated growls, and spectacular blast beats. ANDREW MILLER

Or maybe you want something that’s the exact opposite?

(Tractor) Do you consider black-and-white films aesthetically superior to color? Brew your coffee in a battered percolator? Pose in thrift-store mirrors, bedecked in party hats with fetching little veils? Have I got a double bill for you. Eleni Mandell and Erin McKeown both specialize in snazzy songs that sound rooted in a bygone era, yet retain enough of a modern sensibility to sidestep being labeled retro. The former just issued Miracle of Five, which retains the bittersweet romanticism of her earlier work, packaged in increasingly concise, catchy forms. And McKeown is plugging Sing You Sinners, a dozen lively adaptations of jazz and Tin Pan Alley ditties (plus one original) that even diehard show queens haven’t memorized: “Rhode Island Is Famous for You” and “I Was a Little Too Lonely (You Were a Little Too Late).” KURT B. REIGHLEY

“High School Musical”

posted by on February 15 at 1:28 PM

The Seattle Childrens Theater announced today in the P-I that it’s going open their ‘07-‘08 season with Disney’s dreadful High School Musical. Linda Hartzell, SCT’s artistic director, says:

They love the characters, the story, the songs and the dances. And they love getting a peek at what’s in store for them when they are older. I heard it a zillion times: Please, please please do “High School Musical.”

What makes the musical so appealing? Hartzell again:

No sex, no violence, no Paris Hilton or Britney Spears type debacles. Just a little innocent romance.

But real high school students don’t think Disney’s milquetoast musical gives an accurate picture of what’s in store for younger kids. From the PI:

No metal detectors, no weapons, no armed hall monitors, no gay bashing, no ethnic slurs, no assaults, no pregnant students, no sadistic teachers, no sociopathic bullies - none of the stuff that makes Hollywood high schools (and sometimes real-life high schools) so exciting.

When I was in high school not a single day went by when I wasn’t called fag, when my head wasn’t pushed into a locker door, when I wasn’t chased down the street and spit on. There was also the nice school councelor who, when my mother asked her to make the attacks against me stop, said, “If he acts, walks and talks that way, there’s nothing the school can do to protect him.” (That counselor also led the school prayer group every morning.) Boy and they wonder why my grades fell and I practically dropped out of my senior year?

So maybe it’s the inaccurate portrayal of high school in High School Musical that bothers me. In my experience your guard needs to be up when you get to high school. Why would SCT want to make kids in its audience think high schools are wonderful places where they can have innocent romances?

The “High School Musical” soundtrack was the most commercially successful album of 2006, and the show itself won an Emmy. The DVD - 1.2 million copies sold in its first six days on the market - proved to be the fastest selling television movie of all time.

So maybe it’s the money?

I’m annoyed that SCT plans to put this corporate crap before Seattle’s kids—mine included, because his school sees most everything at SCT—simply because it’s popular.

Coachella Sold Out!

posted by on February 15 at 12:46 PM

Those are the flames of revolution behind them.

Damn, that happened fast, didn’t it? Guess I’ll never again doubt the combined unit-moving power of Rage Against the Machine and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. So did anybody get tickets?

Oh, and if you’re super-bummed about missing the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and you are, don’t lie), you can always catch them on Al Gore’s Live Earth tour. So maybe the flames are also for global warming.

Harshed Mellows

posted by on February 15 at 12:40 PM

Tonight is the inaugural edition of Harsh, at Re-Bar, a night dedicated to (that’s right) “harsh beats and harsh noise.” This evening’s guests will include KJ Sawka, NAHA, Plethora, and Ear Venom. Dave Segal has this to say:

Debut of a monthly night devoted to the nurturing of your tinnitus, courtesy of veteran sonic agitators Backwards Records NW and Le Vide. Kicking off this event are KJ Sawka, NAHA, Ear Venom, and Plethora. The aim here seems to be sonic diversity and extremity: noise + glitch + splatter beats = bleeding ears. With resident DJs Android Heart, NoahNine, and MCVD and VJ Low Rez. First 25 people in receive free drinks and Backwards product. Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873, 9 pm—2 am, $5, 21+.

Roy Harper - Another Day

posted by on February 15 at 12:17 PM

I first heard the song Another Day in my goth years, while listening to This Mortal Coil’s album, It’ll End In Tears. Elizabeth Fraser sings vocals on the track, and she makes it so, so sad.

I had never heard the original version by British folk artist Roy Harper on his album Flat Baroque And Berzerk. I finally found a copy of this album on CD this week. And I have to say, I don’t know which version I think is more beautiful.

Roy Harper led a sorrowful childhood. Born in Manchester, his mother died in childbirth, leaving him to be raised in a house run by his father and, soon, his stepmother who was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. He left school and family at the age of 15 to join the Royal Air Force, but because he didn’t like the regimented life he feigned mental illness to get out. That didn’t do him much good, as the Royal Air Force thought they could cure him with electro shock therapy. Upon his discharge he started playing music on the streets and in the burgeoning folk club scene.

With the release of his fourth album Flat Baroque… he created a truly unique sound by attaching a wah wah distortion pedal to his acoustic guitar. This leaves the album feeling a little spacey and psychadelic, which put him right in with the whole “British Acid Folk” movement of the time. Unfortunately, it cost him his relationship with his record company, which is the reason this and most future albums by him are so hard to come by.

Harper has a huge amount of fans in the music industry however, who have helped shepherd through many of his projects. Paul and Linda McCartney have sung back up for him. Led Zeppelin have recorded a song about him. He sang the song Have A Cigar on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album. And Kate Bush has lent her voice to a duet with him on his album, The Unknown Soldier.

Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel were such big fans of Harper that they also performed the song, Another Day on a TV special they put together in the early ‘80’s. Here is video from YouTube.

Why didn’t they ever release that version together!

It’s a beautiful song, sung in very different ways, beautifully each time.

Give it up for Roy Harper. Fantastic, if barely known, singer/songwriter.

You can find samples of Roy, This Mortal Coil and Zeppelin at my blog, here..

True Romance

posted by on February 15 at 11:02 AM

I headed out to the Sparklehorse show at the Showbox last night as a friend’s surrogate BF; her fulltime flame — who had bought her tickets for Valentine’s Day weeks earlier — had been called out of town at the last minute. Given the circumstances and the often downtrodden sound of Mark Linkous’ pitch-shifted ruminations, I expected a lovely bummer of an evening.

Linkous started things off as expected, with a breakup memoir: “I want my records back,” he warbled, his voice intentionally tarnished and distant behind an effected microphone. We were prepared to shed tears into beers, but amidst the music’s melancholy and songs of sinking sunsets and tiger’s hearts, Linkous never copped to easily discernable emotions. The band mostly remained short and punchy, even as the crowd called for them to stretch things out. His keyboardist played with a churchlike solemnity, and a steel guitarist at the back of the stage submerged Linkous’ vocals in a cosmic country wail. Along with an appropriately laid-back drummer and a solid bassist, the band would occasionally peak with towering crescendoes, as on a sorely sweet “You Are My Sunshine.” All around us couples were coupling, and suddenly it seemed this dreamy, damaged music might be the perfect soundtrack to real world romance.

But Linkous saved the clincher til the end. “It’s a sad and beautiful world,” he sang, his voice finally free of distortion. As the room fluttered under the silver dapple of the Showbox’s spinning mirror ball, the words were pure truth. And what could be more romantic than that?

God Damn, That DJ Made My Minute

posted by on February 15 at 7:33 AM

“Keep on Truckin’”: Cruelly cut down in its prime.

Attention spans have been diminishing for decades, right? Newspapers, magazines, blogs, TV news reports, MTV editing protocol, etc. all reflect this phenomenon by offering content in ever-smaller bites and bytes. Same principle applies to certain club DJs. It’s not a new trend by any means, but it seems to be gaining popularity among a stratum of jocks, most of whom wear designer ballcaps. (Coincidence? Hmmm…).

My main beef with this style of spinning is that it’s a tease. If a track is worth playing in the first place, it’s worth more than 45-60 seconds of ear time. Unless you’re a turntablist going through a routine, you have no good reason to repeatedly taunt clubbers with maddeningly brief snatches of great tracks. (Or, if you do have good reason for doing so, let me know in the comments.)

This point was driven home last night at Havana. DV One is unquestionably an excellent DJ with deep crates. But what he did to Eddie Kendricks’ “Keep on Truckin’” (one of my “egregious mistakes” from this list) was criminal; it was a jump-cutting sacrilege of one of the greatest funk-soul jams ever, although I suspect whatever program (Serato?) DV One was using was partially to blame for the song’s rough-housing. This minute-long abortion led into a cruelly truncated snippet of George McRae’s “I Get Lifted,” another all-time fave of mine. After that, I had to exit Havana. I couldn’t take any more cut-us interruptus.

So, is it just me who finds this sort of short-attention-span DJing overly frustrating? Should I just do a key bump and STFU? (Wait, that sounds like an impossibility. Plus, I hate coke. Never mind…) Would it kill you DJs to let a track play more than a minute? However, I won’t bitch when you crossfade out of “What a Fool Believes” after 51 seconds…

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Early Warning: Luomo & Vladislav Delay in Seattle

posted by on February 14 at 5:17 PM


It’s a few months out, the openers haven’t been confirmed, and there’s really not much you can do now other than be pretty excited, but I was told last night of a great pair of shows coming through town in May, so I’m sharing the news.

For the house set, Luomo (born Sasu Ripatti) is going to be playing Oscillate on May 22nd at the Baltic Room. I still go gaga over The Present Lover, and his last performance here was a good time, so that should bring the techno and house heads together for a night. For those more inclined to the techno/glitch side of things, Ripatti is also going to be performing under his Vladislav Delay alias at Broadway Performance Hall, as part of some sort of multimedia extravaganza on the 24th. It should make a fitting sendoff for those headed to Detroit for the DEMF (where we’ve heard Luomo and/or Vladislav Delay will also be playing).

No, THIS Is the Greatest Love Song

posted by on February 14 at 4:56 PM

It isn’t really - not even close (I’d probably vote for Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”). But I’ve had this song stuck in my head the last two days (along with the requisite Facts of Life flashbacks) because of someone’s offhand mention, and I really just want to share my misery, hoping it will exorcise this earworm from my psyche.

Happy Valentine’s Day

posted by on February 14 at 4:53 PM

Even though I’m far from loving Valentine’s Day right now, there was a time when I very much did love, love, love the holiday. And I’m sure I will again. Remember last year, when I made my Valentine’s Day Mix CD? I do.

Here’s a refresher on last year’s list. Enjoy, lovers:

Outkast - Happy Valentine’s Day
Otis Redding - Cupid (the best version of the infamous Sam Cooke song)
The Juliana Theory - This Valentine Ain’t No Saint
Extreme - Cupid’s Dead
Elvis Costello - My Funny Valentine
Connie Francis - Stupid Cupid
Squeeze - Is This Love?
Squeeze - Cupid’s Toy
The Get Up Kids - Valentine
ABC - Poison Arrow (fuck, yes)
Gym Class Heroes - Cupid’s Chokehold
The Divorce - Call the Police
Billy Bragg - Valentine’s Day is Over
Tom Waits - Blue Valentines
Elton John - No Valentines
Tiger Army - Cupid’s Victim
New Kids on the Block - Valentine Girl
Fifteen - Sweet Valentine
Ryan Adams - Oh My Sweet Valentine
Smashing Pumpkins - Cupid de Locke
Elliott Smith - Cupid’s Trick
My Bloody Valentine - Cupid Come
The Replacements - Valentine

Are there new songs to add this year? My rule for 2006 was that the tune had to contain the word “Valentine” or “Cupid” in the lyrics. Also, it had to be good. Or at least worthy of a good laugh (hence the NKOTB).

Curry and Rice Girls!

posted by on February 14 at 4:50 PM

You like my biodata? B.I.O.D.A.T….Aaaaye!

The Look of Luxury

posted by on February 14 at 2:53 PM

Last night at Neumos, amidst the giant, ridiculous photographs of the Saturday Knights, was one of the best pieces of merch/promotional material I’ve ever seen (honorable mention goes to Ratatat’s foam “we’re #1” hands): A Saturday Knights coloring book, entitled “The Luxury Pamphlet Coloring Book,” that captures in inviting black and white all the humor and personality of the band. Check out some sample pages:





Ladies and gentlemen, this is what your promotional swag should look like.

It’s Valentine’s Day…

posted by on February 14 at 2:50 PM


Let’s fight about love.

Specifically, let’s fight about the one and only song that owns the title The Greatest Love Song Ever Written.

By “love song” I mean romantic love song, and by “romantic love song” I mean pro-romantic love song. (No bittersweet breakup anthems—which instantly disqualifies two of the greatest songs ever written, Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather” and Lucinda Williams’ “Metal Firecracker.”)

So, back to the greatest love song ever written: Obviously, it’s the first track on this, with the only possible runners-up being the first track on this, the second track on this, and the title track of this.

(Plus track 8 on this, track 9 on this, and track 3 on disc 2 of this.)

You’re welcome.


posted by on February 14 at 2:42 PM


A lot of Line Out readers might not know about Swedish (of course) pop/funk/electro duo LO-FI FNK, but if you’re a DJ, a mp3 blog addict, or a fan of French label Kitsune you’ve likely heard a track or two of theirs. Well, now they’re touring the states, and playing Seattle, at Atlas clothing of all places (major props to whoever managed that booking coup)! Here are the tour dates:

UPDATE: I’ve just heard that LO-FI FNK won’t be playing Seattle, contrary to what’s been reported today. Apparently, there’s an obscene amount of money involved (or not involved, in the case of Seattle).

06-MAR-Los Angeles, CA Safari Sam’s
07-MAR-San Diego, CA Beauty Bar
08-MAR-Seattle, WA Atlas
09-MAR-Vancouver, BC Shine
10-MAR-Portland, OR New Noise
11-MAR-Eugene, OR Indigo District
13-MAR-San Francisco, CA Mezannine w/ Fujiya & Miyagi
14-MAR-Austin, TX SXSW Super! Alright! Space
15-MAR-Austin, TX SXSW Beauty Bar
16-MAR-Austin, TX SXSW Urban Outfitters - 1 pm
17-MAR-Washington, DC Rock’n’Roll Hotel
18-MAR-Baltimore, MD Sonar
20-MAR-Charlotte, NC Fit for Use
21-MAR-Atlanta, GA Kiss Atlanta event
22-MAR-Gainesville, FL Common Grounds
23-MAR-Miami, FL Pier 14
24-MAR-Chicago, IL The Metro w/ The Presets, Digitalism & Crystal Castles
27-MAR-Toronto, ON Drake Hotel w/ Crystal Castles
28-MAR-Montreal, QC Club Lambi
29-MAR-Boston, MA Square
30-MAR-Philadelphia, PA Making Time w/ Datarock, The Presets
30-MAR-New York, NY RUFF Club
31-MAR-Brooklyn, NY Studio B

The Call Up

posted by on February 14 at 12:23 PM

In the March/April issue of Adbusters, there’s an article by “aspiring writer and musician” Francis Aguilar about the seemingly inevitable arc of politicized music fandom from discovery to radicalization to eventual disillusionment. He recalls hearing the Clash’s “The Call Up” just after graduating high school, and feeling alone and ill-suited for his Army training. In college, Pearl Jam leads him to the writings of Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut, and he becomes a more articulate leftist for their influence. He combats the co-optation and commodification dissent in pop culture by the “academic left.” Finally, he becomes dormant and jaded—he’s still “critical of everything, including music,” but he’s “given up on diplomacy, politics, on almost every ideal,” he’s “exhausted” and no longer interested in “the news or any political movement.”

Adbusters frequently gives pages over to somewhat opaque and depressing pieces, but this one is uniquely confounding for how absolutely typical and uninformative/uninspiring it is. What’s the point? We all feel a rush of radicalization when we hear the Clash, but we all become old and fat? I mean, I can relate, but what a bummer.

Facing the Music

posted by on February 14 at 12:20 PM

So, you’re all right—yesterday’s post about that Beyoncé song, the one that attracted comments like “New, on Pod/Vod: Justify Your Writing Career!” (which is actually quite clever), was a total cop-out. It was lazy, and you’re right for calling me out on it.

I do like the song, though. I like singing along to the chorus “You must not know ‘bout me, you must not know ‘bout me” and while I hate the drum machine, I do like the acoustic guitar and the subtle strings. It’s catchy, and unlike all of Beyoncé’s other ballads, the woman isn’t flaunting her pipes by annoyingly belting the tune up and down and all over the place. It’s just really clean, simple, and surprisingly not remarkable. That’s what I like about it—it’s not even trying to be remarkable.

Now, why didn’t I say that yesterday? Why did I just say I like it, refuse to explain, and then offer myself up for persecution? Practically, I needed to throw something up on the blog—it’s my job to do that. It’s my job to write about music, it’s my job to post on Line Out, and c’mon, I’ve posted some okay stuff in the past. I was trying to do my job.

But really, I didn’t want to listen to that Beyoncé song, let alone write about it, because I got dumped right before Valentine’s Day and that fucking sucks.

What do you listen to when you feel like you’ve been duped, when you put everything on the line, trusting someone was right there with ya, only to have that person bail? What do you listen to when you’re told you’re great—really, really great—but just not great enough?

Oh jesus, I’m getting dramatic.

The point is, I can’t find a single song I honestly want to hear right now. Including that Beyoncé song. That’s why I didn’t do a good job writing about it, because I didn’t fucking care about it. So I’m sorry.

I’m nursing a broken heart (goddamn, that’s so emo), and I’m new at it. Everything I listen to doesn’t seem to fit; I can’t stand to listen to music right now, and that makes me feel lost. Cliché, yeah, but music is my life. All those songs about heartbreak, all those songs about feeling like you’re not good enough, all those songs about feeling abandoned… I can’t stand to listen to any of them. They’re cheesy.

I don’t want to cry, so that leaves out the obvious Tom Waits heartbreaking stuff. But I don’t want to listen to absurdly optimistic “You’re amazing and everything will be okay” crap either. I know everything will be okay. But it’s not right now. I’m not looking for sympathy, I just want to know, what should I listen to right now?

The Song that Loves You Back

posted by on February 14 at 10:58 AM

381_Lio - Le banana split.jpg

Now that I’ve found love online, I can’t stop listening to its siren song.

(Click the blip to hear part the song. Don’t worry about seeing the video—it’s some fuzzy adolescent barely dancing in her room.)

“Banana Split” was a monster hit in France in 1980, and a thinly-veiled paean to blowjobs sung by a 17-year-old from Portugal who called herself Lio and who was called, by others, “the Lolita of pop.” I couldn’t find an English translation for the lyrics but even a French-poor mind like mine can piece it together. An avalanche of chantilly1? Something about red lipstick marks around the antarctic?

Oh my.

Ca me déplairait pas que tu m’embrasses
Na na na
Mais faut saisir ta chance avant qu’elle passe
Na na na
Si tu cherches un truc pour briser la glace

C’est le dessert
Que sert
L’abominable homme des neiges
A l’abominable enfant teenage

Un amour de dessert
Banana split

Les cerises confites sont des lipstick
Na na na
Qui laissent des marques rouges sur l’antarctique
Na na na
Et pour le faire fondre une tactique

Baisers givrés sur les montagnes blanches
Na na na
On dirait que les choses se déclenchent
Na na na
La chantilly s’écroule en avalanche

The song just also happens to be delicious but maddeningly unsatisfying—perfect sugar. You won’t think so the first time you hear it. I didn’t. But then I heard it again. And again. And again. (Because I was trapped in a van for a month and a half with a band who kept playing it on the radio and covering it every night in their set.) By the fifth or sixth time, it was over—I wanted nothing more than to crawl into a dark, warm cranny with this song playing on a loop for a day. Or days.

It must be subliminal messaging (that was big in the ’80s, right?) because nothing on the surface of the song is that good, except maybe the synthesized explosions in the last chorus. It was huge in countries known for their bad taste in music (France, Belgium, Spain). It’s kind of annoying. But I still love it.

Do you hear me, “Banana Split”? I love you. Will you be my Valentine?

(1 For some kind of fancy-pants French grammar reason, Annie Wagner thinks “La chantilly,” refers to a place like maybe the Château de Chantilly, and is being used as suggestive slang. I couldn’t find anything phallic about the CdeC, but did come across this: “Madame de Sévigné relates in her memoirs that when Louis XIV visited [the C de C] in 1671, his maître d’hôtel committed suicide when he feared the fish would be served late.”)

Dread Pirates Not So Dread

posted by on February 14 at 10:23 AM


After a hilariously candid conversation with a pair of fellow P2P buffs last night at Neumo’s Mezzanine, I’m happy to report on a new study claiming that file sharing has no noticable effects on album sales.

As summarized in a posting from online tech journal Ars Technica, a pair of researchers writing for the U of Chicago’s Journal Of Political Economy found that “illegal music downloads have had no noticeable effects on the sale of music, contrary to the claims of the recording industry.”

The researchers, Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf, examined file-sharing habits between U.S. and German users, who are respectively the number one and two highest file-sharing fiends in the world. (Intersting to note that German users supply “about one out of every six U.S. downloads.”) During periods of highly increased German file sharing, album sales in the U.S. were hardly effected. Say the pair of researchers: “Using detailed records of transfers of digital music files, we find that file sharing has had no statistically significant effect on purchases of the average album in our sample.” That sample included 1.75 million song downloads on 680 different albums from two P2P servers.

This of course leaves the question of why record sales have plummeted in recent years. One theory: It’s not the pirates, it’s the soccer moms and teenagers legally downloading from iTunes, Rhapsody, and other legit MP3 sites. Also: Lots of pop music just sucks, and the RIAA would rather blame lousy sales on pirating than poor quality. Online browsing allows for more targeted purchases, where casual listeners can download the new Beyonce single (coughcough *Megan* cough) without buying the rest of the album.

How P2P habits effects independent record sales is an issue with far more intricacies than this study considers.

But it does imply a fact I’ve long suspected: P2P users aren’t pirating new releases as much as they are digging for hard to find and out of print gems. Pirates know what kind of bootie they’re searching for, and it ain’t Nickleback.

Yellow Magic Orchestra beer

posted by on February 14 at 10:11 AM

I always assumed Kraftwerk would be the first electronic music pioneers to team with a brewery, but Japanese trio Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kirin have beaten them to it:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

To see the TV commercial, go here and click on the yellow button in the lower right hand corner. The costumes and wigs are fantastic.

Newsflash: Noise Artist Built Out of Analog Gear

posted by on February 14 at 8:13 AM

Carlos Giffoni: pulsating with circuitry.

From yesterday’s Pitchfork review of noise artist extraordinaire Carlos Giffoni’s Arrogance:

Constructed entirely from analog equipment, Giffoni has dropped his carousel-ride ADD for the pulsating, black hole suck of monochromatic drones.

This may come as a shock to Giffoni’s parents. All these years they thought their son was made out of flesh and blood…

VBS.TV on the Internet

posted by on February 14 at 2:00 AM

Spike Jonze and the yukksters over at Vice magazine have put together some amazing (and some not so) talents and films together for VBS.TV. An inspired creative coup has Ian Svenonius (frontman of bands like Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, & Weird War) applying his radical theses on Social Realism and the revolutionary esprit of Rock N’ Roll into his own show where he interviews music luminaries like Will Oldham, Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power), and Andrew WK.


In the latest episode, Svenonius interviews Ian Mackaye (Evens/Fugazi/Minor Threat) and discusses the present historicization of hardcore/punk, how Mackaye might be likened to the Visigoths that stormed Rome, and the deification of Cyndi Lauper. Spiv even gets to ask the question that we’ve all wanted to ask of Mackaye:

“The police state, facism, empire… all this stuff that was put forth in punk has come true. Like, you can pick up a newspaper and it’s like a Dead Kennedys’ record… now as an early punk, are you a prophet or did those negative thought waves create the society that we live in?”

There’s also a great short documentary on a young taxidermist named Amy. Also worth checking out is Lance Bangs’ short film about various NW musicians experiences having their gear stolen. Hannah Blilie (Shoplifting/the Gossip), Colin Meloy (Decemberists), and August Alston (Lords of Light/Silentist) all relate their tales of woe and break-in, advice to other touring bands, and how occasionally a spazzy black lab named Melvin can help deter theft.

The DOs and DON’Ts are pretty wack but I’m holding out judgement on David Choe’s hitch-hiking travelogue Thumbs Up!, as it seems to get more interesting with each episode.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Killed by Rock ‘n’ Roll

posted by on February 13 at 6:36 PM


Not only have I survived two consecutive Bonnaroo blowouts but I’ve somehow thrived through them. There must be something in that Tennessee water that fortifies fans and enhances stamina. Though it could also be the hard alcohol and designer drugs.

After checking out the just-announced roster for this year’s festival (taking place June 14-17), I’m not so sure I’ll make it out in one piece. Yes, there are some weak links, but overall there aren’t too many of the world’s best bands missing from this list:

The Police
Widespread Panic
The White Stripes
Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals
The Flaming Lips
Manu Chao
The String Cheese Incident
Franz Ferdinand
Bob Weir & Ratdog
Damien Rice
Gov’t Mule
Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers
The Decemberists
Kings of Leon
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Regina Spektor
The Black Keys
DJ Shadow
Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
Keller Williams (WMD’s)
Sasha & John Digweed
Old Crow Medicine Show
The Hold Steady
North Mississippi Allstars
Fountains Of Wayne
Hot Tuna
Hot Chip
Lily Allen
John Butler Trio
Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys
Aesop Rock
The Richard Thompson Band
Dierks Bentley
Xavier Rudd
Gogol Bordelo
Junior Brown
T-Bone Burnett
Mavis Staples
Cold War Kids
Dr. Dog
Paolo Nutini
Brazilian Girls
RX Bandits
The Nightwatchman
The Slip
Girl Talk
Railroad Earth
Martha Wainwright
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Tea Leaf Green
Sam Roberts Band
Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Charlie Louvin
Sonya Kitchell
Mute Math
Apollo Sunshine
Uncle Earl
James Blood Ulmer
The National
The Little Ones
Ryan Shaw

Holy shitballs.

Not much love for Seattle bands, but it’s tough to complain. A friend once told me “Going to Bonnaroo is like getting a job.” This one demands overtime.

Thanks to Stereogum for the early warning.

The Cruelty of the iPod Shuffle

posted by on February 13 at 2:32 PM


For the past year and a half, I’ve had the limited privilege of being involved with a wonderful dude in a faraway town, and while in some ways it’s been okay—long-distance relationships involve long stretches of self-involvement marked by intense bursts of connection, which is kinda how I like it—in other ways it totally sucks. Divergent time zones sometimes make phone conversations difficult, air travel ain’t cheap, plus we’re both guys, and despite the homosexuality, we’re not that adept (or in my case, willing) to spend a lot of time talking about unpleasant emotions like sadness and loneliness and futile lustfulness.

So we try to stay connected through art appreciation and email and klutzy phone calls, for which we’re rewarded with glorious weekends together every six weeks or so. These visits are when long-distance relationships pay off—it’s like being on a weekend-long date with someone you’re totally into that you know is going to put out—and glory hallelujah, this weekend brings a long-awaited visit from Jake….unless this predicted storm screws up air travel from the east.

With Jake’s visit now up to the assholish weather gods, I turn back to the eternal comforts of music, as selected by my iPod’s random shuffle mode.

Over the past few days, my iPod has randomly selected—from some 15,000 songs—Randy Newman’s heartbreaking “Living without You” three different times.

Not only that, but each of the three times Newman’s agonizing isolation anthem has played, it’s been quickly followed by a song explicitly championing suicide.

Once it was Billie Holiday’s version of “Gloomy Sunday.”

Twice—twice!—it was the Replacements’ “The Ledge.”

Clearly, my iPod wants me sad, then dead.

Rototoms. Why?

posted by on February 13 at 2:17 PM


YYZ”. That’s why. Rush and Neil Peart:

Rototoms are drums which have no shell. They consist of a single head in a die-cast zinc or aluminum frame. Twist the head and vary the pitch.

Sure, Neil Peart plays them, and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd used them in 1973 to record the unforgetable introduction to “Time” on The Dark Side of the Moon. Rototoms somehow still get a bad rap in the drum world.

Who else plays rototoms? Where else is there rototom love?

Who Do I Think Klaxons Sound Like?

posted by on February 13 at 2:10 PM

I think these guys…


sound like these guys…


Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine

Check them out here and here.

Honestly, I don’t know whether that’s good or bad? I like Carter USM, but should new bands really be cribbing on them so soon?

You Like Free Music? Don’t You?

posted by on February 13 at 1:59 PM

Just wanted to give a heds up to a fantastic new music blog I’ve been loving lately. It’s called Best Foot Forward. It’s written by the guys who promote and DJ a club night in Manchester, England called Common.

They’ve just brought on a new guy who writes about hip-hop. Lots of free songs too, and every one of them is a classic! Check it out.

Best Foot Forward

You Must Not Know ’Bout Me…

posted by on February 13 at 12:20 PM

Fuck it.

I’ve been putting this off for weeks because it’s so ridiculous (and slightly embarrassing), and I’m sure all you haters are going to yet again insist I have the worst taste in music ever, but I can no longer not share this with you people: I love the new Beyoncé single, “Irreplaceable,” and I can’t stop listening to it.

Here. Listen.

Weird, right? I know!

I’ve spent two weeks trying to dissect what it is about this song, and in the past couple weeks I’ve yet to come up with a reasonable explanation for my obsession. It’s hardly a remarkable song, and I’m pretty sure that I’m completely alone in loving it as much as I do. (Well, a lot of KISS 106.1 listeners might agree but, uh, no offense here, they like the Fergie and the Pussycat Dolls too so I don’t count them.)

Beyoncé can sing, we can at least agree on that, right? But Beyoncé is also one of the most annoying people on the planet—she’s achingly sweet even while still portraying that whole “Independent Woman” thing, she’s ridiculously successful, and she’s every-fucking-where. She’s totally inescapable, and that’s perhaps one of the most unattractive qualities in a person.

And still, I just can’t shake this song.

Let the persecution begin…

The Return of 4Hero

posted by on February 13 at 12:16 PM

Good interview on with Marc Mac and Dego of U.K. nu jazz masters 4Hero (yeah, it surprised me, too). The duo have a new album, Play With the Changes, on the way later in the month.

One of the revelations to come out of the interview:

BET J: One of my favorite songs on the new disc is the title track. I understand that you worked with the legendary Larry Mizell on that. How did that collaboration come about?

Marc: Well, I was in England and Dego was in the United States. He met up with Larry Mizell and took it from there. Dego worked on that track much more than I did. He has a story that goes along with the whole meeting. I was in London, when I got a phone call from Dego saying that we could possibly work with Larry. I said, “Whatever you have to do, just make it happen.”

Very cool. 4Hero has always had a knack for paying homage to styles of the past while keeping their music purely forward-looking. Now they’re taking the next step and and enlisting the talents of one of the true giants of soul-jazz. Looking forward to hearing this one.

Element Bites the Dust

posted by on February 13 at 12:14 PM

I was just perusing NWTekno and came across this post about the closure of Element. Since most of the music they had wasn’t really my thing, I can’t claim I’ll be shedding too many tears over the loss, but Element did host Underground Resistance, James Holden, and Derrick May over the last couple of years, so when they did bring in talent of note (to me), they went big. Element closes its doors for good on the 24th.

You can view the release here.

Saturday Knights on a Tuesday?

posted by on February 13 at 11:37 AM


This evening, at the former Bad Juju Lounge—now a fully integrated part of Neumo’s—I’ll be warming the place up on the turntables alongside Brian Webber and DJ Suspence of the Saturday Knights as part of the Capitol Hill Artwalk. Suspence has asked me to play “hip-hop / or the sweetest love songs you can think of (should be some slow dancing),” whereas Segal guesses I’ll “be rocking [my] brand of party shit.” I’m still working on my set list, so it’s not too late for other requests. There will be some photography on display, and free food and drinks courtesy of Light in the Attic records. It starts at 6pm, and it’s free.

In less conflicted events:

Tonight’s edition of Oscillate at the Baltic Room is a benefit for DJ Kadeejah Streets, who tore his achilles tendon not long ago and is uninsured. Guests include: RAMIRO, DJ COLLAGE, JEN WOOLFE, J-SUN, TEKGNOSIS, with live visuals by SCOTT K. JAMES. It starts at 10pm, and it’s $6 to help a brother out.

Pretty Girls’ Last Tour

posted by on February 13 at 11:28 AM


Pretty Girls Make Graves’ farewell tour dates have been announced, and Seattle is notably absent. Somebody’s got to be throwing them a last bash here in town, right? Here are the dates announced so far:

05-10 Milwaukee, WI - Mad Planet
05-11 Iowa City, IA - Picador
05-12 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
05-13 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
05-16 Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar
05-17 Cambridge, MA - Middle East
05-18 Providence, RI - Living Room
05-20 Washington, DC - Black Cat
05-22 Atlanta, GA - Earl
05-23 Tampa, FL - Orpheum
05-28 Austin, TX - Emo’s
06-03 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
06-04 San Francisco, CA - Great American Music Hall

De Doo Doo Doo, De Da Da Da

posted by on February 13 at 11:24 AM

This will be the last entry about the Police, I swear.

For today at least.

After a live webcast of an L.A. rehearsal yesterday, the band announced initial plans for their first tour since 1984. The Northwest gets the band early and often — they start things off in Vancouver on May 28th before hitting Seattle’s Key Arena on June 6. More dates across the U.S. follow at sporadic intervals, including a headlining spot at Bonnaroo on June 16. Guess the old guys need plenty of recouperation/yoga time between shows.


The tour is sponsored by Best Buy, which years ago would’ve elicted claims of sellout against the band but today is pretty much a given. Issues arise, however, when a corporate-sponsored tour demands the kind of ticket prices this one does — seats start at $50 and go up to $225. Some percentage of the proceeds go to Wateraid, an NGO that helps distribute access to fresh water in underdeveloped countries. Which is nice. I’ve always believed that Sting was Bono’s role model in self-righteous saviordom.

U.K. band Ficion Plane will open the duration of the tour. Anyone heard of these guys? They just landed the best gig they’ll ever get.

Correcting Segal’s Egregious Mistakes

posted by on February 13 at 10:05 AM

Here’s a list of some great Mowtown records by the ladies. Just too hard to put in any kind of order, although for me The Supremes - Stoned Love is very close to the top!

Thelma Houston - Don’t Leave Me This Way
Gladys knight & The Pips - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Martha & The Vandellas - Heatwave
Mary Wells - My Guy
Marvelettes - Please Mr. Ppostman
Martha Reeves - Dancing In The Streets
How can this NOT be on your list!
Supremes (W/ Ms. Ross) - Where Did Our Love Go?
Love Child
Supremes (w/o Ms. Ross) - Nathan Jones
Stoned Love
Diana Ross - Reach Out
Theme From Mahogoney
Upside Down
I’m Coming Out
Love Hangover
Mary Jane Girls - My House
Charlene - I’ve Been To Paradise (But I’ve Never Been To Me)
Queen Latifah - U.N.I.T.Y.
Brenda Holloway - Every Little Bit Hurts

Also you forgot to put one of Mowtown’s greatest records on your list:

Great March To Freedom - The Rev. Martin Luther King

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cold, Cold Night

posted by on February 12 at 8:45 PM

I’ve finally settled into the unnamed superdupergroup’s The Good, The Bad & The Queen and the whole affair is really, really sad — in a good way. Damon Albarn’s vocals sound lost and weary; Danger Mouse’s production is stark and skeletal, with only the merest hint of melody that picks up and drifts away like dry leaves in a cold wind. It’s a nice winter record, that’s for sure. The lack of hooks draws you along cinematically, without resolution, adding another eerie element to the sound. Behind snatches of guitar and bass, Tony Allen’s stickwork is barely discernable, but when it surfaces, it’s complex and anxious. Pretty ballsy for Albarn to recruit a polyrhytmic cyclone like Allen only to squelch him under weird atmospherics and spacious minimalism. The whole thing plays like a barely-there urban ghost song, the kind of glitchy, dubby melodrama Albarn probably came up with during a particularly painful Gorillaz-in-the-Mist hangover.

Now You Can Rave!

posted by on February 12 at 8:14 PM

The link to music samples in my post below about New Ravers is fixed now, but if you don’t want to go that far….

click here!

Sorry about the mess up.

Separated at Birth

posted by on February 12 at 4:39 PM

Apparently I’m not the only one who feels creeped out by the Will Farrell-Chad Smith resemblance. Last year, an entire thread was devoted to the subject on, and a loyal reader in San Francisco just forwarded the disturbing proof:


We’re still searching for respective sock-on-cock pix for further comparison.

New Rave Not Rave-y Enough

posted by on February 12 at 4:37 PM

In Seattle, at least, everyone’s all a-titter!

The Klaxons are coming! The Klaxons are coming!

My friend Niall just saw a show last week in Glasgow with The Klaxons, New Young Pony Club, CSS, and The Sunshine Underground. His view? Whatever it was that is New Rave - they’re killing it.

It was an all ages show full of teens wearing neon paint and makeup and swinging around “Goddamn glowsticks!”.



The kids were into the whole retro 1990’s scene, but my friend who’d gone to see what all the commotion was about, left feeling like the wool had been pulled over their eyes (with the exception of CSS which he called Brazil’s greatest Novelty Act!).

His main argument is, “It just wasn’t Rave-y enough.”

I was in London in 1989, at the dawn of the “Rave Revolution”. Go to my blog here for some samples of what Raves actually sounded like “back in the day”.

The Rave scene also had a certain anti-government political bent going for it that gave it a little more substantial footing to rest on. People like Baby Ford and Kirsty Hawkshaw (the singer of Opus III’s It’s A Fine day) were fighting for squater’s rights in central london, and fighting against police activities at the all night parties so many of us frequented on the outskirts of london.

New Rave has nothing remotely in common with the artists from Rave’s heyday.

Now I’ll admit, I’ve seen that The Klaxons have, apparently, tried to distance themselves from the whole New Rave thing. But when you’re on a tour, sponsored by non other than NME, called The New Rave Indie Tour, well, your not doing a good enough job.

Oh yeah! And what did my friend think of the Klaxons? “Flash in the pan.” But you be the judge. Because The Klaxons are coming! The Klaxons are coming! April 23rd to the Crocodile.

Prepare yourself for neon makeup folks…it’s all ages.

Re: Grammy Talk

posted by on February 12 at 2:53 PM

What is this world we are living in when the super-fabulous Prince loses out to dumb most-tiresome-acceptance-speech-ever person? I couldn’t watch another minute after that.

Turbo Tax Rap?

posted by on February 12 at 2:46 PM

Oh Vanilla Ice! You so cwaazy.

Maybe Miss CKC should get on this 25,000 dollar contest?

The MC5 Were Hippies

posted by on February 12 at 2:16 PM

I read the 33 1/3 book about the MC5’s Kick Out the Jams this weekend.


It was well-written. And rather than offering up theories about the songs and the album, the book was more a concise, neatly organized (much-needed) history/CliffsNotes of the MC5.

Big complaint, though. The book, continually and snidely perpetuates the revisionist-history/conventional-hipster wisdom on the MC5: They were the great, badass antihippie band.

I’m so sick of this. To be cool and punk (and since the MC5 are regarded as the archetype of the precursor punk band), all the yammering about them focuses on their antihippie cred.

This is a total lie. They were freaking total hippies. It’s funny because author Don McLeese keeps tripping over that point—constantly running into the truth of the matter: The band’s frontman was a trippy, beatnik boheme who wanted a bongo player in the band; the band lived in a hippie commune named after a Donovan song (Translove House); the band tended toward heady improvisational (rather than Trog rock) freak-outs; the band was into free-love orgies.

Whenever one of these truths come out, McLeese either tries to downplay it by calling it “ironic”—as he does with the Donovan transgression—or he simply just notes the fact and moves on as if he’s not contradicting everthing he’s just said about the MC5’s macho/punk antihippie status.


Get over it.

(Oh, and so were Black Sabbath.)

Ain’t Too Proud to Compile: My Motown Top 25 List

posted by on February 12 at 1:26 PM

Stevie Wonder.jpg
Stevie Wonder: Clean outtasight.

Smokey Robinson: Author of the best Motown song ever.

If you grew up in the Detroit area in the ’60s/’70s, as I did, the Motown sound practically became ingrained in your DNA through radio and TV exposure. This was both a blessing and a curse. By the late ’70s, I had reached my saturation point with the fabled label’s output and began to reflexively tune it out, save for a few special exceptions. It took about 15 years of decompressing from Motown bombardment to reach a point where I actively sought out the music again. Now I can listen to Motown artists (in moderation!) without being reminded of cloying yuppie nostalgia (a phenomenon exacerbated by The Big Chill) and the supremely (ha) depressing decline of my hometown that transpired after the oil crisis, the Big 3 auto company slump, and mother-funkin’ Motown Records moving to L.A.

Seeing a flyer about Wonderlove, a Stevie Wonder appreciation night happening Feb. 16 at Re-Bar and hosted by DJs Riz and Same DNA, spurred me to reconsider Motown’s incredible roster and masterpiece-rich back catalog. I don’t hear many young folks talking about Motown anymore, but I sincerely hope that it hasn’t become strictly the province of Baby Boomers and hiphop producers looking for dope samples.

It’s hard to say anything new about Motown at this late date. At the risk of coming off like Nick Hornby, all I can really do is reiterate that for most of the ’60s and ’70s, Berry Gordy’s company generated some of the greatest pop (in mass quantities) humankind is likely ever to experience. The quality level of the singers, the producers, the composers, and the players and the depth of the talent? Jesus—it was a dynamic dynasty of mind-blowing dimensions that is too easy to take for granted some 25 years after Motown’s last crucial period.

After much deep concentration on the matter, I’ve compiled my 25 favorite Motown songs as of February 12, 2007. (One could easily make 10 separate such lists and not have any overlap.) You can probably find most of these tracks on Rhapsody or on the individual artists’ original or greatest-hits albums. I’m curious to know what your favorites are—or if you even care about Motown anymore.

Segal’s Top 25 Motown Choons

01 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “Tears of a Clown”
02 Stevie Wonder, “I Was Made to Love Her”
03 Four Tops, “Bernadette”
04 Temptations, “Ball of Confusion”
05 Marvin Gaye, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
06 Jackson 5, “The Love You Save”
07 Eddie Kendricks, “Keep on Truckin’”
08 Stevie Wonder, “Uptight”
09 Edwin Starr, “War”
10 Commodores, “Machine Gun”
11 Temptations, “I Can’t Get Next to You”
12 Four Tops, “Reach Out I’ll Be There”
13 Rare Earth, “Get Ready”
14 Marvin Gaye, “Trouble Man”
15 Stevie Wonder, “Living for the City”
16 Jackson 5, “2-4-6-8”
17 Supremes, “Some Day We’ll Be Together”
18 Four Tops, “You Keep Running Away”
19 Undisputed Truth, “Smiling Faces Sometimes”
20 Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “I Second That Emotion”
21 Temptations, “Psychedelic Shack”
22 Stevie Wonder, “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing”
23 Edwin Starr, “25 Miles”
24 Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”
25 Rare Earth, “(I Know) I’m Losing You”

Natalie, Man

posted by on February 12 at 11:21 AM

More from the Grammy Awards:

Natalie Cole and Ornette Coleman presented Carrie Underwood with the Best New Artist award.

I had no idea Natalie Cole was a man.


Police File

posted by on February 12 at 10:53 AM

Very soon we’ll be regaled with a live web broadcast of a Police rehearsal from the Whiskey in L.A. If last night’s Grammy cameo was any indication, it’s worth checking out:

Unfortunately I missed the whole thing. Anybody catch it?

Band of Horses Halt West Coast Tour

posted by on February 12 at 10:50 AM

Not coming to your town soon.

Seattle expatriates, Sub Pop darlings, and Plug Award winners Band of Horses have cancelled their upcoming West Coast tour, including their scheduled Seattle date, Feb 26th at the Showbox. A representative of the band explains, “They cancelled all their West Coast dates as the two touring members from LA (a couple guys from the band Simon Dawes) had other commitments.” Bummer.

Speaking of jocks, boxes, and GRAMMY outrage

posted by on February 12 at 10:41 AM

My personal moment of GRAMMY outrage last night? Well, I was pissed that Dylan was even nominated in the Best Contemporary Folk/Americana category, so I accepted his victory over Rosanne Cash and Guy Clark as fiat accompli. No, what really got my boxers wadded up was the Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package prize. It should have gone to this, One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds, Lost & Found:
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But no. It went to…
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Must Red Hot Chili Peppers spoil everything?

In other awards show news

posted by on February 12 at 10:27 AM

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So Death Cab for Cutie lost out to “My Humps” at the Grammy Awards last night. We all saw that one coming, right? Meanwhile, over at the PLUG Independent Music Awards on Saturday, Seattle cleaned up. Label of the Year Sub Pop scored with Band of Horses three times, as Everything All The Time won Album of the Year and Americana Album of the Year, and “The Funeral” was dubbed best song. Cansei De Ser Sexy nabbed Punk Album of the Year (huh? Looks like GRAMMY ain’t the only crew that waffles over what category to nominate acts in). Former Seattle resident Neko Case was annointed Female Artist of the Year. And KEXP was crowned College/Non Comm Radio Station of the Year. (Sadly, Sonic Boom and Easy Street were trounced by Amoeba Records’ LA store in the best record shop category. Sigh.)

God’s Big Night

posted by on February 12 at 10:06 AM

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So last night brought the 476th Grammy Awards, and like The Stranger’s brand-new music editor Jonathan Zwickel, I watched every goddamn second of it.

The big winner, as usual, was God, pictured above and thanked profusely throughout the night, thanks primarily to Mary J. Blige, who I was shocked to watch win her first (plus second and third) Grammy. By this point in her career, I was sure she’d be wiping her butt with Grammys, but no, apparently Blige is the R&B Martin Scorsese, and she enjoyed a long-overdue night of triumph last night. I only wish she enjoyed herself more; as always, it seems like she’s actively battling memories of childhood sexual abuse before our eyes. (Didn’t she issue some sort of “no more drama” decree a few years back?)

For the record, God also got lotsa love from American Idol winner-turned-Best New Artist Grammy winner Carrie Underwood. Dear God: Please spend less time voting in the Grammys and more time preventing things like this.

Beyond God, Mary, and Carrie, the night belonged to the Dixie Chicks, who won every award they were nominated for, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. Despite their clean-sweep triumph, the Dixie Chicks couldn’t be bothered with God, instead thanking the Grammy voters who clearly used their votes to make a statement about free speech and our embarassing president. I don’t think the Dixie Chicks should have won (my pick for album of the year wasn’t even invited to the party) but it was nice to see the record biz making something close to a discernible statement with its “biggest award.”

Speaking of awards: Lots of folks who won ‘em last night got no primetime props, including Academy Award-snubbee Beyonce (whose record B’Day—is that pronounced “bidet”?—won Best Contemporary R&B Album), former president Jimmy Carter (who won Best Spoken Word Album for Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis—holla!), and OK Go (who won Best Short-Form Video for that eternally astounding treadmill dance, which should really win an Oscar.)

Congratulations to all winners, and to all citizens who did something else with their Sunday evenings..

Sunday, February 11, 2007

And the Grammy goes to…

posted by on February 11 at 8:08 PM

The Grammys have been around only eight years longer than the Superbowl, and looked at objectively, both fetes bear a strange resemblance. Few really care who wins. They’re mostly about spectacle and disappointment. And Prince rules both. What follows is Line Out’s color commentary, brought to you by red wine and a friend’s TV in Fremont.

8:17 p.m.: The reunited Police just kicked off the 49th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony and sounded like they haven’t missed a beat since ‘84. Music and visuals didn’t match so well, though: Sting looked like a smugger version of his bleached, spiky-haired Feyd-Rautha character from Dune, while Stewart Copeland — killing it behind the kit — could’ve walked onto the “Sprockets” set and petted Dieter’s monkey. Andy Summers was the only Policeman who wore his age with dignity and sorta faded into the background because of it. But the band’s dubby, extended version of “Roxanne” proved that the infighting, the Tantric sex, and the partying with Trey Anastasio only intensified the trio’s tension and made for a helluva micro-comeback. We’re officially psyched for the full tour to come.

8:23: Accepting the award for “Best Collaboration” alongside Stevie Wonder for their version of “For Once in My Life,” Tony Bennett just plugged Target. Classy. Come to find out that Target is one of several official sponsors of the Grammys. Stevie, I’d bet, didn’t see the point.

8:27: What the hell is wrong with Fergie’s eyebrows?

8:38: Justin Timberlake introducing his performance of “What Goes Around… Comes Around”: “It’s the best song I’ve ever written.” And there’s JT at the piano, like, playing. Who knew? I had some idea — the kid’s a real talent, don’t doubt it. And the song? Backed by a full band, backup singers, and that old Grammy standby, a string section, it sorta sounded like “Man in the Mirror” era MJ. The XXXtreme closeup/Justincam was pretty gratuitous, even for me.

8:40: Stats on this year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards:
1. Booker T.
2. The Doors
3. The Grateful Dead (!)
4. Mariah Callas
5. Ornette Coleman

8:56: John Mayer, your serial dating of numbskull starlets and bad stand up comedy have rendered your soul sterile. If Eric Clapton quit today you’d be his de facto stand-in, minus Clapton’s real-deal early days. Somehow you just beat Alan Toussaint for Best Pop Vocal Album, dammit. This roomful of friends finds you douchey, but with a dark side. I bet you can live with that.

9:01: And Of Montreal make it to the Grammys! Unfortunately it’s as the soundtrack to an Outback Steakhouse commercial.

9:05: Draped in a gold lame dress and brass brassiere, Shakira just about hip-swung Wycleff Jean off the stage. Rowr.

9:09: Burt Bacharach + Seal = WTF? Says Burt to Seal, “Could we write a song together in this lifetime?” We’re not holding our breath. The second time James Blunt is mentioned is twice too many.

9:13: Dixie Chicks’ “Not Ready to Make Nice” wins Song of the Year. I blame Rick Rubin. Dressed as the cast of Back to the Future, Gnarls Barkley sits stewing in the second row.

9:49: While the Grammys veer into the flyover states to celebrate “The Roots of Country Music,” we’ll recap what the last half-hour:

Gnarls Barkeley, mysteriously robbed of Song of the Year by the Dixie Chicks, showed up in Pan-Am Airline regalia for a half-time version of “Crazy,” abetted by, you guessed it, a string section. Lackluster, sad to say.

(Meanwhile, Rascal Flatts covering “Hotel California” represents everything that’s wrong with country music today. No wait — it’s a full-on countrypolitan tribute to the Eagles! We have veered into truly laughable/groanable territory.)

Most spot-on comment of the evening came from Common to Kanye: “We got tired of hearing you complain about not winning.” And then the pair presented the Best Rap Album award to Ludacris, who’s far-from-his-best album Release Therapy won out over true brilliance in the form of the Roots’ Game Theory and Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor. In a characteristically clever turn, Luda shouts-out Oprah and Bill O’Reilly in his acceptance speech.

With all the celebs in the house tonight, why’s the camera magnetized on the three cardboard goddesses competing to win 15 seconds on-stage with Justin Timberlake? Such obvious self-promotion, along with Carrie Underwood winning Best New Artist and thanking Simon Fuller of “American Idol,” spotlight the faux import of this year’s Grammys.

After four Dixie Chicks mentions in two hours, nobody I’m watching with ever wants to hear of them again. And then they win out over Willie Nelson for Best Country Album. Yes, the industry wants keep country music contemporary, but the audience has now been officially oversaturated with Chicks. And when the one who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker quotes Nelson’s taunting “ha ha,” it’s so much easier to shut them off.

Chris Brown’s trampoline-enhanced step spectacle overshadowed solid performances from Smokey Robinson and — I hate to say it — Lionel Richie. Brown danced with a pair of seven year olds! Hello, that’s what we’re looking for. Looking a bit Nosferatu, Robinson still sounded like sugar, and Lionel has been back on track for a couple years now.

And Jamie Lidell makes it to the Grammys! Unfortunately it’s in ad for Target.

10:20: You knew it had to happen, but this is sorta surprising: The inevitable James Brown tribute comes from Xtina singing “It’s a Man’s, Man’s World.” Overwrought, but with her aerobic dance moves and breath-defying vocals, somehow appropriate. But is that all JB is worth to the industry?

10:32: No, James gets the final spot and an extended tribute during the dead rock stars retrospective. Even that’s appallingly insufficient — half of these Grammy artists wouldn’t exist without the Godfather. But really, nothing in this Hollywood spectacle could possibly add up to props for JB.

10:40: It’s Mary JFest. Blige’s second performance of the night comes with Maurice White of Earth Wind & Fire on a rendition of Ludacris’ “Runaway Love.” Sorry, but this has nothing on Luda’s VMA awards performance of “Pimpin’ All Over the World” last year.

10:44: James Blunt must die. Case in point: He dedicates his performance of “Beautiful” to Ahmet Ertugen, the groundbreaking Atlantic Records exec. Taaaaaacky to the max. Even my mom finds the croaky Brit insufferable. But in just a few moments America will meet the first ever “My Grammy Moment Winner!”

10:50: The most memorable part of the night, after the Police reunion, comes during a commercial break. Prince Rogers Nelson must’ve paid dearly to take out a personal ad thanking his fans for watching his Super Bowl performance. Now that’s class.

10:53: It’s her Grammy moment, but what about the rest of us? Skinny chick Robin Troupe (sp?) joins Justin Timberlake on-stage for a strummy version of “Ain’t No Sunshine” that bleeds into a dance-happy “My Love.” As much as I’d like to care (after all, this moment was crafted to maximize viewer sentimentality), I don’t. Homegirl shows up on stage with in-ear monitors — this stunt must’ve been preordained, at least before the last commercial break.

11:00: It’s officially a bad year for the Grammys. Dixie Chicks win again over Gnarls Barkeley, this time for Record of the Year. If anyone can tell me how this differs from Song of the Year or Album of the Year, please let me know. And if anyone can tell me why it’s the freakin’ Dixie Chicks again, seriously, let me know.

11:08: Chris Rock summing up the Chili Peppers: “The next band had their jocks in socks way before Justin put his dick in a box.” That nudie stunt, back in ‘89 or so, was one of the last things RHCP did before settling into the radio-friendly, melodic rut they now occupy with relish. Wait, the song “Snow (Hey Oh)” just ended before I even noticed it started. Wish they still funked it up with the socks on their jocks. Best bit — the band’s spray-painted backdrop banner reading “Love to Ornette Coleman.” And here’s Al Gore and Queen Latifa announcing RCHP’s victory for “Best Rock Album,” another mediocrity we should hold Rick Rubin responsible for. Keep it up, Rick, and the tide will turn against you. And is it just me or is Chili Peppers’ drummer Jack Irons Will Farrell’s spitting image?

11:24: Shocker: Rick Rubin wins “Non-Classical Producer of the Year,” awarded by the spectacular Scarlett Johansson and the greasy Don Henley. And immediately after, Dixie Chicks win Album of the Year. They accept the award accompanied by Rick Rubin. And so ends the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

Post game: Everyone can appreciate the Dixie Chicks and their refusal to be goaded by industry influence, and the rockist apologist in me likes variety in the major awards, and on top of that, the Chicks’ politics stray far leftward from the rest of mainstream country music. But still, it’s the Dixie Chicks. Their album was not the best of 2006.

As far as the ceremony goes, this was one of the weakest in recent memory. When the reunion of a 30 year-old band in the first five minutes of the program is the highlight of the whole shebang, you’ve got problems. Chris Brown’s dance moves and Shakira’s belly button gave the only other dynamic performances of the night.Gnarls proved underwhelming, Timberlake’s duet with Wassername contrived, and… that’s about all I can remember. A limp, irrelevant country tribute to the Eagles consumed 10 minutes of prime time that should’ve gone to a full-blown James Brown dedication. That’s a travesty. If only his last album was produced by Rick Rubin.

On the Radio

posted by on February 11 at 5:51 PM

Tonight on Floatation Device: Terre Thaemlitz, Luigi Nono, some dubbed-out Sun Ra, and Laeticia Castaneda (who was stunning at the last Wooden Octopus fest) as well as acousmatic music by Bernard Fort and Olga Neuwirth’s tribute to William S. Burroughs, Nova/Minraud.

Sun Ra Luigi Nono

Catch the on-line stream or tune in to KBCS 91.3 FM from 10 pm to midnight.

Afterwards at midnight catch the final show of Iain Edgewater’s long-running Prisms. Over two lengthy runs (May 2000-December 2003 and August 2004-February 2007), Edgewater aired an astonishing variety of contemporary classical music heard nowhere else on Seattle radio. He will be missed.

Used Binge

posted by on February 11 at 1:01 PM

So Josh Feit and I go to Easy Street after watching the Sonics get their asses handed to them by the Kings last night, and I’m all, “Oh, yeah! I have a $100 credit here. Maybe I’ll get a couple of things.” Then I went to the used vinyl bin—just those three little rows of new arrivals—and ran up a $125 tab without even trying.

No, not the greatest story ever told, but what is a blog for if not publishing a list of what you just bought at the record store? News of the viaduct?

WARNING: not the coolest list of records you’ll ever see.

Continue reading "Used Binge" »

Courting Death on the Road to Ruin

posted by on February 11 at 11:43 AM

Road to Ruin played their final show in Seattle at the Monkey Pub Saturday night. The band lost their second guitarist last fall when he left to pursue a career in glass blowing, and once their bassist announced that he would be leaving to join Down We Go last month, they decided to fold instead of looking for a replacement.

But if anything, the band seemed to have benefited from their post-five man lineup. Losing the flexibility that comes with having two people on the guitar, they focused instead on their blinding post-hardcore blitz. They were tighter than ever, and killed their set to a generally spectacular crowd. One guy freaking out up front with the band lost his shirt, and eventually dropped trou’ by the end of the night.

Closers Whiskey Tango were similarly ruinous, dropping the same vein of hardcore punk rock with the faculty of a seasoned outfit. The word is that the remaining members of Road to Ruin will be going on to form a new band, but for now this chapter in Seattle hardcore is closed.

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