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Archives for 04/08/2007 - 04/14/2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Last Word From Andrew WK

posted by on April 14 at 4:33 PM

After last Friday’s Andrew WK show, I wrote the man to get his take on the party, and to clear up any confusion about the night. Here’s what he wrote back (emphasis mine):

Dear Eric, Here’s my write-up. Hope it’s not too late for you to still use! Thanks so much for your support and the opportunity to reflect on that night:

Right now, I’m in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on. I’ve been thinking back to Seattle, the party we had there, and the things that happened that night. I feel confused, but I’m very clear on that confusion.

On April 6th, 2007, there was an ANDREW W.K. party organized in Seattle at a place called Chop Suey. The party was part of the HIGH-WAY PARTY CRUISER TOUR. The point of this tour was to map out a west coast road-trip, cruising in a Cadillac to different towns, seeing the sights, meeting fun folks, hanging out and dancing, and then stopping-off each night with an “enjoyable-life” party. We also scheduled a couple of lectures - one in Vancouver and one in Portland. After Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland, the rest of the parties were in central Canada.

I wasn’t planning on writing down my thoughts about what happened in Seattle. To be honest, it’s been nearly impossible for me to really know exactly what occurred that night. It’s not that I don’t remember what happened - I actually remember the night quite well - I just have no way of knowing what was going on at the party. Everyone is going to have their own view of what happened to them.

I’ve heard different reactions from different people. Some people said it was the greatest night they’ve ever had. Other people told me they had never had a worse time in their entire lives. In fact, one person said that the night changed her whole life and immediately after that, she said she was scared and sad about what happened. When I asked her to explain her feelings further, she said that she had always had certain expectations and understandings about me, her life and herself in the world, and she said, after the party, she started seeing things differently, and she wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. She said she felt “displaced” and “out of her comfort zone”. Then she said it was all my fault.

Thinking back to that night in Seattle, I can only guess what people were thinking. I don’t know what I was thinking either. I wasn’t present. I was displaced and out of my own comfort zone. I want to apologize for anything I may have said or done to upset people, offend them, or confuse them. All I wanted was to see what would happen. I didn’t know and for that I feel very uncomfortable. At the same time, I’ve been making efforts to lose myself and to push to do things that might seem like a “bad idea” but that are exciting. Maybe this all was a horrible idea, and maybe I should’ve just been there myself to make sure everything was normal. But the night happened like it did, the person who performed did fine and he shouldn’t feel bad about what was ultimately all my choice. I put him up to it, and I made him do what he did. I heard that people have been asking for their money back.

I want everyone who came to the party that night to feel good. If that means saying “I’m sorry”, then I’m sorry. I want everyone who came to understand how much I enjoyed the experience, even if it felt somewhat off-balance and upsetting to some deep part of my sensibilities. In this world, it seems to me that nothing can ever really be “understood” or “known”. I want to feel good, have fun, and express love - if I know anything, I guess it would be that. It has seemed to me that going all the way off the road is the best way to feel alive. If it wasn’t even me doing it, it was still the most alive I had ever felt. Seattle had the party, and I enjoyed it as much as anyone. It wasn’t supposed to be anything but fun. I want to be in love and live life all the way.

Should I apologize for not being the way you thought I would be? If people think it wasn’t me, there’s nothing I can do or say to make you feel or think what you want. You choose your feelings and I choose my own. Together, I hope we choose to feel love.

PARTY HARD,
Andrew W.K.

Get Trashed Tonight!

posted by on April 14 at 11:15 AM

Dear Seattle,

This is the Trashies…
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This is what happens when the Trashies get in front of a video camera…

This is what Paul Constant had to say about the band…

But hearing the Trashies on record is nothing compared to the revelatory thrill of seeing them live. The band got their start playing filthy basement shows—on one momentous occasion, Cody bled on half the audience—and those animalistic tendencies haven’t faded with time.

It’s easy to be a sucker for the shitty antiglamour of the band’s shtick, but they can’t disguise the real talent that it takes to keep a song running on the ragged edge of garbage. It’s post-post-post-whatever-punk—the Trashies are characters putting on a show, but when they’re onstage they become what they’re pretending to be: gonzo punk-rock Shivas. When they’re hate-fucking music, they really do want to destroy the world, one club at a time.

And, finally, here’s what happens when the Trashies go on tour for over a month…

Get Trashed: The Trashies Tour Diary, Week One

Animal Guts for the Dog to Eat: The Trashies Tour Diary, Week Two

On the Road in a Mystery Zone: The Trashies Tour Diary, Week Three

Beer, Corndogs, Emergen-C: The Trashies Tour Diary, the Final Installment

Armed with all that information, you’ve no doubt already concluded that you’re going to be at the Comet tonight to witness their musical chaos in person while the band celebrates their homecoming and wrecks as much shit as possible. I suggest you bring band-aids, earplugs, and a poncho.

With love,
Megan


Friday, April 13, 2007

Lucinda’s New Album

posted by on April 13 at 5:11 PM

I bought two albums last night.

This one:
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And this one:
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I haven’t listened to Patty Griffin’s yet, but I just gave “West” the once-over. Before I tell you what’s great about it, though, please indulge a digression about “Essence.”

I thought “Essence” sort of sucked. Too much effort, not enough payoff. (With, as always, some notable exceptions. “Lonely Girls” can reduce me to a pile of goo in 15 seconds.) The same thing goes for “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.” I loved “Car Wheels,” but it was (famously) overproduced. However, the bootleg demos — stripped-down versions of the songs on the album, usually just Lucinda, a guitar, and minimal backing vocals — take out all the extraneous high-art arrangements and allow the songs themselves (and Lucinda’s raw, un-retouched vocals) to come through.

Which is why I like West. It sounds like it was recorded in a hotel room (with some pretty pro equipment), not the big, fancy studio in which it was undoubtedly actually recorded. Lucinda’s voice when it hits the high notes is ragged, almost hoarse, the way she sounds live. The songs (except the title track) are more pop than country. One (“Come On!”) is even—shockingly for Lucinda—funny. And, true to form, many of them are heartbreaking. One song, “Rescue,” has this line: “He can’t save you/from the plain and simple truth/the waning waters of your youth.” Another, “Fancy Funeral,” is a cautionary tale about spending a fortune to bury a loved one. (The record is dedicated to Lucinda’s mother, who recently died). As usual with Lucinda’s records, there are a few stinkers (“What If,” a utopia/dystopia parable, is sort of painful to sit through) and a few uninspired knockoffs of earlier songs (“Where Is My Love” plagiarizes the far superior “Joy,” from “Car Wheels.”)

Coming Monday: Patty!

Looking for a Band Name?

posted by on April 13 at 2:35 PM

Check out the title of this press release from the Kitsap Board of Commissioners.


Gnomes at the Gate of Charlie

posted by on April 13 at 2:28 PM

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Charlie, the 13-year-old Black Light Kid, sent in his latest review:

Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

Hello Line Out Readers. Turn on the blacklight, sit back, and let Syd Barrett’s lyrics transport you to a world of flying pigs, gnomes, and unicorns. When I put this record on, I was hypnotized and frozen, the music held me there, I didn’t want it to end but it was inevitable, and when that last note floated over me, I was suffocated in silence.

Songs on this record consist of gnomes named Grimble Crumble who wear “blue green hoods that look quite good.” And about sitting on unicorns in the foggy dew. The lyrics are the result of Syd Barrett’s incredibly brilliant but mad mind, which later got him kicked out of the band.

The early years with Syd Barrett were true magic—the band had an all-star lineup of Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Rick Wright, and Syd Barrett: the original lineup. The only Pink Floyd record with Syd Barrett was this one, and he sure left his mark. Pink Anderson and Floyd council must have been proud.

Previous Charlie Picks: Zappa and Electric Flag. Also Episode 1 and Episode 2.

Wanna Play Endfest?

posted by on April 13 at 2:19 PM

All you have to do is post an mp3 of your band here and you’ll be entered for a chance to play EndFest. The contest ends soon.

Gimmie a Beet

posted by on April 13 at 1:49 PM

Last Week I interviewed Ted Leo for this week’s paper (you can read the resulting story here). It was great to chat with Leo about his band, the new record, and the future of his career, but my favorite part of the conversation was when I got him talking about Bravo’s reality/competition television shows (he’s pro Project Runway and Top Chef and anti Top Design) and vegan cooking. I asked him for a favorite recipe, so he told me how to make great roasted beets.

And last night I did just that.

The ingredients:
3–4 decent-size beets, washed
2–3 cloves of garlic, whole & peeled
Olive oil
Fresh herbs (I went with thyme and rosemary)

beet1.jpg

Lay out some tinfoil and lay some parchment paper on top of that. Put cleaned, unpeeled beets in a vertical line across the middle of the parchment paper and drizzle some olive oil on them. Peel a couple of whole cloves of garlic and place them around, and lay out some herbs like thyme.
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Then fold up the tinfoil and cinch it up at the top like you’re rolling up the top of a paper bag. Put it in the oven and bake it pretty high, around 400 degrees, for about 30 to 35 minutes. Pull ’em out. The skin pops right off and the beets get infused with the garlic and the herbs and taste great.

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You can’t really tell in the end photo, but they looked really good. And smelled even better. And, as promised, they did taste great. Next time, though, I’ll probably splash some balsamic vinegar on them as well to give ‘em a little something extra.

Best Song Ever (This Week): “Don’t Touch My Bikini” by the Halo Benders

posted by on April 13 at 12:40 PM

Listen to the song here!


“Don’t Touch My Bikini” was one of many songs in the mid-’90s that seemed to feature white men talking fast in monotone. Off the album God Don’t Make No Junk, the song features Calvin Johnson saying lyrics like “Gettin’ cranky/Need a spanky/Got no heater/Extra blankie” while Doug Martsch picks out random words and sings backup. They occasionally match up, giving those lyrics extra weight (like on “Vegans!/That’s not funny”). It was also released as a single, which is very hard to find (and yes, I do own it).

The song is happy and catchy, and often features a “boinnng!” sound, especially during the chorus. Other random sound effects are littered about. The song is great for dancing around your living room and being silly to, but since Doug Martsch is one of the best and most inventive guitarists of the past 20 years, the song is also extremely technical and full of strange, catchy lines.

Calvin Johnson is known for being weird, and during this time, Martsch was known for being heartbroken. They came together to have fun, and they achieved it, making this the BEST SONG EVER (This week)!

BONUS MATERIAL! Whatevs provided this link a few days ago, but if you want to see just how weird Calvin Johnson is, (and check out a NEW HALO BENDERS SONG!), go see this video.

(Stream of “Don’t Touch My Bikini” was thoughtfully allowed by K Recs.)

New Blog Alert!

posted by on April 13 at 12:28 PM

If you’re looking for a new blog to obsess over, with something other then “The New Klaxons Single!!!!!!” to download, then check this out.

Synopsis Elektronica

Dedicated to rare out-of-print proto-New Age and very early electronic music. It’s a chillout sensation!

Let’s just say I’m now floating in space….

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Mission Control Is Operational

posted by on April 13 at 12:11 PM

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Last November, Megan Seling posted about finally giving a listen to Hum’s third album, You’d Prefer an Astronaut (thanks for all the recommendations in the comments—I’m loving Far). At the time, the fansite Mission Control was offline and stayed that way for months, but the site is back up. It hasn’t been updated with new content since 2005, but that’s of no consequence in this case. Mission Control features a comprehensive downloads section, capturing a lot of Hum’s hard-to-find content, including live recordings, demos, and promo EPs. If you download only one thing, may I point you to the Puppets EP, which rivals any of Hum’s album output with its two songs.

Every Morning Lil’ Jon and I Wait For the Bus Together

posted by on April 13 at 11:24 AM

busstop2.jpg

This is part of a bus stop mural in Ballard that was painted by students at Salmon Bay Alternative Middle School. I love how the girl is listening to a Lil’ Jon song. I also love how she seems to be a little confused… maybe she pondering the meaning of crunk?

Stop! Oh! Then wiggle wit it!

Joe Crawford Memorial Tomorrow

posted by on April 13 at 11:05 AM

From Kerri Harrop:

Friends,

As you know, this week brought some sad news to our community.

We lost our friend Joe Crawford this past Sunday in a hiking accident near Baker Lake. Joe fell some 200 feet down a remote crevasse; his body was recovered Thursday afternoon. He will be laid to rest next week in Arizona, where his family lives.

Please join us this Saturday, April 14, in remembering and honoring Joe. We will be gathering at Redwood at 2pm for food, drinks, and the comfort and love of our friends.

Joe was a friend to many and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He was an excellent musician, a patient teacher, a hard worker, a lover of the outdoors, a good son, a loyal friend, a loving man, and a truly kind human being.

His loving spirit, honest sincerity, and quick smile will not be forgotten.

The Irish have a long custom of honoring their departed with a wake, where friends and family gather to remember the life that has passed on. It is a time to grieve and to cry, as well as a time to celebrate the life of a loved one.

We will be passing the proverbial hat and collecting donations for the Search and Rescue crew. They did a tremendous job recovering Joe’s body and their efforts are appreciated by all.

Joe was loved by many and we hope you will join us in honoring him, through laughter and through tears, and with the good memories he has left us with.

In Memory of Joe Crawford
Saturday, April 14 – 2pm
Redwood
514 E. Howell St.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics, Episode 2: Andrew WK vs. Shane from the Divorce

posted by on April 13 at 10:56 AM

Welcome to our new video series, Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics! In these videos we take “rock stars” that you may or may not have heard of and make ‘em do silly sports in an epic battle of the mind and spirit. Then we declare an arbitrary winner (in the endgame, there is no real winner).

Enjoy our second episode featuring Andrew WK (?) vs. Shane from the Divorce!

Make sure to check out our first episode with Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club while you’re at it!

Get RVNG!

posted by on April 13 at 10:45 AM

Last month, thanks to the great blog Best Friends Forward, I discovered a new collective of promoters and DJs in New York that go by the name RVNG. That’s “REVENGE” without the Es. BFF was hyping a new mix by the DJ Justine D. I looked it up and bought it (for a measly $5—including shipping!) from the RVNG store.

I was pleasantly surprised with how creative it was! A little dark, but with shades of nouveau disco, electro, and even some classic rock thrown in. Here’s the track listing for the mix:

01. Robert Fripp & Brian Eno - Swastika Girls?

02. The Orb - Little Fluffy Clouds (7” Mix)?

03. My Bloody Valentine - Soon (Andrew Weatherall 12” mix)?

04. Shocking Blue - Acka Raga?

05. Nitzer Ebb - Warsaw Ghetto?

06. Turntablerocker - Love Supreme (Reduce to the Dub)?

07. Daniel Wang - Like Some Dream (I Can’t Stop Dreaming)?

08. Ministry - All Day Remix?

09. Glass Candy - I Always Say Yes?

10. The Cars - Moving In Stereo?

11. Hot Chip - No Fit State?

12. Arthur Russell- Make 1,2?

13. Chic - I Want Your Love?

14. Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom - Black Spring?

15. David Bowie - 1984?

16. Crass - Walls?

17. Malaria! - Kaltes Klares Wasser?

18. Human League - Marianne?

19. Christian Death - Romeo’s Distress?

20. Death In June - Nation?

21. Goblin - Suspiria?

22. Syd Barrett - Love You?

23. The Zombies - Don’t Go Away

Based on how much I like that mix, I went ahead and purchased the rest of the DJ sets they offered (older mixes are only $4—including shipping!): an okay Soulwax-esque mashup between the resident DJs Diabolic and Julian S Process, a fantastic Italo House mix by a team called Crazy Rhythms, and a brilliant mix by Tim Sweeney that mixes ’80s wave with ’90s rave and throws in some indie rock and goth, and for good measure pops some Grace Jones and Yoko Ono. It’s fucking brilliant!

If this at all sounds like the kind of nightlife you’d enjoy, bring some into your life by going to the RVNG website and ordering them. Each is packaged in a really ingenious way, with cellophane stickers, plastic baggies and foldout posters. The Justine D CD came with a nice little badge!

My favorite thing about RVNG however is their description of their night:

We don’t intend to tell you what’s cool ‘cus we have no fucking idea. We have friends we support by releasing records and throwing parties every now and again. You’re likely to be one ’em if you live outside of this screen and participate in a bigger, radder world. It’s ours for the taking, friends. It’s ours for Rvng.

I am definitely a friend of RVNG!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

One More Good Country-Music Book

posted by on April 12 at 4:42 PM

I’m pleasantly surprised that at least a few people were interested in the country-music books I talked about on Line Out yesterday, so I’ve got one more: Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class by Bill C. Malone.

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It’s incredibly interesting, but I found it kind of hard to get through. In fact, I had to check it out from the library twice, and I still didn’t finish it. The idea of the book is really great, but the writing can be a little longwinded. Regardless, it should be read.

It makes some terrific points and relates the fascinating history of old-school country music and the “plain folk” who created it, listened to it, and lived out its themes. One of the book’s main focuses is the contradictions found in country music and Southern culture at the time: the desire to ramble versus the love of mama and home; the conflicting activities of Saturday night and Sunday morning. It also gets into the urbanization of the South; sex, booze, and drugs; comedy in country music; a history of country dance and honky tonks; politics; religion; and labor. It doesn’t discuss present-day country; it goes way, way back into country music’s roots with musicians I’ve never even heard of, and, as I recall, it doesn’t get too far past the ’50s.

(And if you were intrigued by The Plow That Broke the Plains, the 1936 dust-bowl documentary that Christopher DeLaurenti mentions in The Score this week, and below, then you must check out the nonfiction book The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan—sorry, it’s not country-music related, though someone in it does play a fiddle. It’s simply amazing. And yes, that is a gigantic dust storm about to swallow a house on the cover.)

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Give the People What They Want

posted by on April 12 at 4:15 PM

Has anyone else noticed these stickers around town lately?

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I have no idea where they’re from or what they represent, but the second I saw them for the first time by the entrance of the Comet I immediately hoped that it was the sign of a comeback for Sweet Water.

superfriends.jpg

Sweet Water was a Seattle band who hit their high point during the mid-’90s thanks to their song “Superstar,” which 107.7 the End played every 20 minutes. If you remember them at all, you no doubt remember that song. “Do you wanna be rich? Do you wanna be a superstar? Well honey you already are, you already are…”

I love that song, and I love them, but the rest of the album Superfriends was really great too, and that’s what a a lot of people might not realize. They’re not a local one-hit wonder; Superfriends is a stellar power-pop record with a little bit of swagger, distortion, and cockiness. And they make me dance. A lot.

Onto the point of my story… after seeing said stickers and thinking that it was more than a coincidence, I did some half-assed investigation (because, you know, I’m a professional) and found a MySpace page for the band and what was there? SHOW DATES! Holy shit! Sweet Water will play the Crocodile Cafe June 15-16!

Before I got too worked up, though, I had to make sure it wasn’t a bluegrass band from Alabama. So I called the Croc and Mr. Eli Anderson confirmed that it is indeed the Sweet Water reuniting.

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Tickets for the 15th are sold out, but there are still tickets available for the Saturday the 16th show. You can get them online at Ticketweb, any Sonic Boom location, or at the Crocodile.

So what’s next? I’m gonna track down the band, of course. The fifteen-year-old girl in me is peeing her pants in excitement. Stay tuned.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics, Episode 1: Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club

posted by on April 12 at 4:14 PM

Welcome to our new video series, Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics! In these videos we take “rock stars” that you may or may not have heard of and make ‘em do silly sports in an epic battle of the mind and spirit. Then we declare an arbitrary winner (in the endgame, there is no real winner).

Enjoy our first episode featuring Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club!

The next episode is coming soon! Stay Tuned!

The Score (supplemental)

posted by on April 12 at 4:03 PM

In The Score this week I tout the dvd of Plow that Broke the Plains as well as two books, Michael Veal’s Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan) and Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? (MIT Press) by Barry Blesser.

Here’s a quote from Dub:

In existential terms, the spaces of the dub mix may be similarly perceived as either barren, monotonous craters devoid of warmth, meaning, optimism, and human presence, or as fertile tropical wellsprings taut with anticipatory tension in which the pleasurable sensation of free-floating is periodically interrupted by glimpses of the divine. Like doomed prophet/historians who managed to leave their scriptural fragments behind, the creators of dub offered an Afro-psychedelic vision of the turbulent cultural past as well as the digital/cybernetic future…

Also, in a recent talk, Blesser discusses aural architecture: listening as a health issue, the concert hall as instrument, evil commerical uses of the sonic spotlight, and more.

Finally, there are two clips of Plow that Broke the Plains here and here.

Modest Contradiction

posted by on April 12 at 3:41 PM

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For a story in this week’s issue, I talked to Joe Plummer and Tom Peloso, the new guys in Modest Mouse who aren’t Johnny Marr. I just learned that there are contradictory stories about MM2.0’s first practice together as a unit.

The one quoted in the story is from percussionist Joe Plummer:

The first practice was in Seattle and everyone showed up and I showed up and I wasn’t quite sure what I was gonna be doing, so I just filled in where I could.”

In a follow-up interview, upright bassist/fiddler Tom Peloso said the late-‘05 conjunction happened in Portland:

“It was late ‘05 I guess, at Isaac’s house in Portland. It was very exciting. We were literally up in Isaac’s attic. And the energy was really good; everybody was excited to start the project. As soon as we got in there we started hammering out songs and ideas and someone would start playing something and everyone would join in and if anything came of it that would become a song. I think everybody weas just really optimistic about creating some good songs.”

Portland and Seattle, it seems, are pretty much interchangable.

Cooling Down

posted by on April 12 at 2:30 PM

Every once in a while, I’ll find myself banging my head against a story, trying to squeeze in last-minute revisions, reading and rereading the same sentence over and over, trying to figure out how to right it. I get stressed. I get tense in the shoulders and neck for hours after I turn the damn thing in. I need to cool down. And when I need to cool down there are a few artists and albums that always do it for me. Here are some that I might be decompressing to this afternoon:

Why? - Elephant Eyelash)

Sufjan Stevens - Come On Feel The Illinoise

the Microhpones - The Glow, pt 2

the Aisler’s Set - How I Learned to Write Backwards

Belle & Sebastian - Anything before Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like a Peasant

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

Unicorns / Islands

Any other suggestions?

Kurt Vonnegut, Lizard King

posted by on April 12 at 1:53 PM

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Kurt Vonnegut is the Doors of literature.

He’s that artist that you encounter as a teenager that literally changes the way you look at the world, the way you look at art and its ability to change the world. He was an iconoclast and a huckster and a genius, a believer in mankind and a doubter of belief. His philosophy never wavered from its bemused cynicism, and either your respect for his work grew with your familiarity with it or waned as your worldview grew more sophisticated. Like the Doors, he produced some certifiable pop classics, some borderline profound statements, and some total crap. There will be teenagers turning on to Slaughterhouse-Five for as long as there are teenagers; ditto with The Doors. I still hear “L.A. Woman” as the greatest driving song ever. I still read Breakfast of Champions as the greatest work of satire ever.

Roses are red
And ready for plucking
You’re sixteen
And ready for high school.


What is the purpose of life?
To be
the eyes
and ears
and conscience
of the Creator of the Universe,
you fool.


RIP Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Mustache Rock? Mustache Rock.

posted by on April 12 at 12:55 PM

Local band We Wrote the Book on Connectors have a new self-released EP out called Almost the Mayors of Laser. They’re a goofy little band. For example, some song titles are “Happy Torso, Bloody Torso,” “Dungeon Master,” and “Gonna Eat Some Cake Tonight” (which is actually about eating cake.. sorta). You can hear a few of the tracks at their Stranger Bands page. Click here.

While I might describe their sound as a quirky and pop-punky sounding They Might Be Giants (there’s some slide whistle and bike horn on the record, after all), they would probably tell me I’m wrong. According to We Wrote the Book on Connectors, their music isn’t rock or indie or punk or pop or metal or rap; it’s self-described as “mustache rock.”

Here is a picture of them:
WErawk27.jpg

As you can see, none of the band members actually have mustaches.

No mustaches in mustache rock? Is that legal?

We Wrote the Book on Connectors: Do you love the mustache rock or do you LOVE the mustache rock?

Me: Mustache rock, love it. But can you really make mustache rock when none of the band members actually sport mustaches? Just sayin’.

We Wrote the Book on Connectors: Although having a mustache on your face has been scientifically proven to improve your ability to rock out, it is not a requirement for playing the mustache rock. They are optional. Which is a good thing for me because a 12 year old boy could easily defeat me in a mustache growing contest. However, sometimes I wear a fake mustache. I know it’s fake but it helps me feel more like a man. I also like to wear sombreros.

I stand down.

Guitars, guitars, and guitars.

posted by on April 12 at 12:18 PM

airguitar.bmpToday on Sound Check, we are talking about Guitars. Behold, the holy axe, your stringed baby, the lemon that is squeezed until juice runs down your leg.

I asked a few guitar players - What do you play and why?

I talked to the Divorce, Pale Pacific, the Catch, Graig Markel, U.S.E., and Jay Boone from Emerald City Guitars. (And Sean Spits Wood, where are you, guy? And Sex Vid, where’d you go?)

Enough about them.

What do you play? Get in. I want to hear from some of the heavier players. Why do you have love for your guitar?

Garrett Lunceford of the Divorce plays ‘77 and ‘78 Les Paul Customs. He says:

They have weight, I like that. They have a good neck, nice sustain. It feels like I’m playing something. They’re heavy as hell. I use Seymour Duncan Antiquity Humbucker pickups. They are hand wound to sound like a pickup from the 50’s. I give it lots of mid range and a touch of delay, which gives it kind of a room sound and fattens it up.

In the 2nd grade, I went to Disney Land, and saw BB King in the airport. He showed my brother and I his famous guitar, Lucille. He took it out, right there in the terminal, and showed us.

I don’t know what I would name my guitars, I don’t even know if they’re boys or girls. I just know they rock.

Continue reading "Guitars, guitars, and guitars." »

Most Bangable Band

posted by on April 12 at 11:46 AM

It’s a discussion I have at least once a year, mostly because it involves an irresistible combination of titillation and revulsion: What band would you most enjoy having sex with?

Clearly this question is the disturbed older sibling of the classic “name your celebrity dream date!” discussion. Eroticizing an entire band is hard. In the world of “most bangable band” discussions, you only get to do Jack White if you’re willing to do Meg White, and vice versa. For every gloatingly sexy frontman there’s a hideous bass player. It’s a tough call, and for years, my easy-out answer was the Beastie Boys. (Ad-Rock’s dreamy, MCA has a sexy voice, and I could just lie back and think of England with Mike D.)

But now I want you to suffer. If you had to get busy with an entire band—every single member—which band would it be?

(Most interesting choice from a recent pollee: Pedro the Lion.)

The Moondoggies @ High Dive

posted by on April 12 at 11:02 AM

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Cosmic country outfit the Moondoggies (it hurts to type that name) held forth at the High Dive last night, proving they’re one of Seattle’s brightest up-and-coming bands. The four-piece plays a wanderlusty brand of blues boogie, with three-part vocals and spacy, churchy soul courtesty of a roaring Rhodes organ. Snatches of the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Byrds, the Band, Drive-by Truckers, and a wee bit o’ the Beta Band all floated through their songs, which piled hook on top of hook on top of hook. They built memorable numbers around the most elemental lyrics: “I don’t wanna change,” “woke up this morning feelin’ fine,” “I been thinking about you night and day.” The eyes-closed seriousness behind their seemingly simple tunes spoke of the craftmanship put into them.

The young quartet’s ambition, however, exceeds its experience; achieving the blasted, burnt-out soul of Gram Parsons at only 21 years old requires serious dedication. Give these guys a mescaline-fueled adventure in the woods (or two) and wait for them to come down from the mountain. The ragged glory they’ll accrue over time (and a few benders) will loosen up their stage presence and deepen the music’s impact. We would never recommend psychedelic drug use to anyone, but… Wait, yes we would.

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Til then, there are several terrific songs on their MySpace page.

Cave Singers Getting Friendly with Matador

posted by on April 12 at 10:35 AM

Seattle folk-bluesmen the Cave Singers spent last weekend in New York, playing a show in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn. However, despite the news reported on another local alt-weekly blog, the trio hasn’t been signed to NYC-based Matador Records. Says Catherine Herrick, publicist for Matador and the Beggars Banquet, via email:

“They have not been signed, but we are fans and friends of the band.”

Nils Bernstein, publicist for Matador, also emailed some very favorable words, concluding he’s “totally blown way by them,” but added nothing conclusive about the band signing.

Considering Matador was home to Pretty Girls Make Graves, Derek Fudesco of the Cave Singers’ former band, the label does seem like a likely home for TCS. Once we get official word we’ll let you know.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Orc Juice - The Double Kick

posted by on April 11 at 4:40 PM

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This week in Death Metal, we have Tacoma’s Embalmed.

Pat, Jake, Jimmy, John, and Sam.

Pat’s vocals are the low, muffled, Orc grunt kind. And there is double kick all over the place. When Orcs are born from intestinal loins of the earth, Embalmed can be heard like Mordor’s Muzak.

The swirling crunch is lobotomized, and it might make you tinkle a little in your pants. But they will be there to eat your tinkle. Then they will yuke it up and eat it again, with double kick sauce on it.

They play Hell’s Kitchen on April 29th.

Spew forth and get your hatchet. The meat better hide.

Charlie Louvin, and Two Good Books

posted by on April 11 at 4:39 PM

Seeing Charlie Louvin last night made my day; it might’ve even made my whole year. It wasn’t perfect—for that I’d need to go back 50 years and add his brother, Ira, back into the mix—but it was damn close.

It was wonderful. Louvin was just the cutest thing I’d ever seen: a tiny man in suspenders and a newsboy hat. And he was hilarious and sassy, cracking jokes with great timing and adlibbing alternate lyrics to songs. Before and after the show, he made his way through the audience to set up shop near the entrance, personally selling CDs and 8-by-10 glossies, signing autographs, and chatting.

He played a lot of Louvin Brothers songs, of course, but he also played some of his solo tunes from long ago and a lot of covers, like “Waiting for a Train,” “Working Man Blues,” “Dark as a Dungeon,” and songs by the Monroe Brothers and the Delmore Brothers (some of these songs are on his latest album, Charlie Louvin). Seeing “Knoxville Girl” performed live made the song—about a man beating his lover to death and throwing her into a river—so much more brutal. He played for over two hours, which is a long time, but the audience just wouldn’t let him stop, and, he said, he wanted to make us happy. A woman yelled out a request for the song “Katie Dear”; his band didn’t know it, so he sang an abridged version a cappella.

He’s 79, so his voice has aged. It’s deeper and raspier, but I thought it was still great and, although weaker, still conveyed immense emotion. When he performed “When I Stop Dreaming,” it was so beautiful I nearly melted. I might’ve died on the spot had I seen the Louvin Brothers perform it in their heyday. Listening to the intensity in Louvin’s voice and the way he sings a sad song made me see just how powerful a Louvin Brothers concert would have been back then.

And there was a bizarre, totally random occurrence that night. Louvin introduced a local man standing up front as the grandson of the man involved in the drunk-driving accident that “bumped off” his brother, Ira (his words, not mine) in 1965. Weird.

•••

Speaking of the Louvin Brothers, I read a great book a while back called In the Country of Country (1997) by Nicholas Dawidoff.

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It’s based on research and interviews with absolute legends of classic country music (several of whom are now dead) about their lives before, during, and after their country careers, offering scholarly research and critical analysis of their music and what makes it so damn special (as opposed to the crap coming out of Nashville today).

Most interestingly, Charlie Louvin really fills us in on his brother—he talks about him in a really matter-of-fact way, discussing his great talents and his tortured soul. Ira Louvin wrote some of country’s most beautiful and heartbreaking songs, including lots of gospel, yet was a raging, violent alcoholic who on occasion smashed his mandolin onstage, and once tried to kill his wife. I can’t imagine the awkwardness of seeing a man playing beautiful, calm country music become irate and smash a mandolin onstage. Ira’s drinking and general meanness brought about the breakup of the group, and soon thereafter he was killed.

In addition, there are some great interviews with and insights from Rose Maddox; amazing songwriter Harlan Howard (“Pick Me up on Your Way Down,” “Heartaches by the Number,” “I Fall to Pieces”), who reveals that he got a lot of the inspiration for his songs from eavesdropping at honky tonks; Johnny Cash, who, the book tells us, wrote almost all his songs in a three- to four-year period in the ’50s, suggesting that it was all so emotionally taxing that he stopped writing and started getting wasted instead; Buck Owens; Doc Watson; Kitty Wells (whose 1952 hit “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” was banned by the Grand Ole Opry because it posited that men caused women to seek solace in bars, not the other way around); Bill Monroe; Merle Haggard; George Jones (who, according to the book, has a personal barber do his hair every morning at his house); and more. There are also chapters on the Carter Family’s Sara Carter, and Patsy Cline (who told a state trooper she’d “screw the boots off” him), and the introduction focuses on Jimmie Rodgers—unfortunately, they could not be interviewed from beyond the grave.

And another good book I recently read: Wrong’s What I Do Best: Hard Country Music and Contemporary Culture by Barbara Ching.

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This book examines the country music made by working-class men who live as hard or harder than what’s depicted in the songs they write, men who always lose (jobs, women, sanity, personal battles). Hurrah for bringing some cultural theory to country music!

In a captivating chapter titled A Hard Act to Follow, Ching does an interesting analysis of softcore, generally crappy Hank Williams Jr. contrasted with a profile of his hardcore dad. It really opened my eyes to how hard it was for Hank Jr. to grow up in the shadow of his larger-than-life dad; I even felt sympathetic toward ol’ Jr. He was only 3 when his dad died, but when he got a little older, his mom (the inspiration for so many of Hank Sr.’s heartbreaking songs) started him on a music career replicating his dad—but he was, of course, no Hank Sr. Later he kicked his mom to the curb, attempted suicide, and had his face nearly ripped off when he fell down a mountain (hence the beard and sunglasses).

Also included in Wrong’s What I Do Best: examinations of George Jones, real-life ex-con Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, and several others. I highly recommend this book.

Germs Drummer Arrested for Possessing “Date-Rape Drug”

posted by on April 11 at 4:23 PM

I don’t know where to start: Denture glue? A soap manufacturer coming to his defense? Desiring the complexion of a 15-year-old girl?

(Via USA Today and Line Out reader David.)

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A soap manufacturer is coming to the defense of a punk rocker who was jailed after his bottle of liquid peppermint cleanser tested positive for gamma-hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, often called the “date-rape drug” because it leaves people groggy and powerless.

Germs drummer Don Bolles was arrested last week after police pulled over the 50-year-old musician on a traffic stop. Police said a toiletry kit containing denture glue, razors and a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap was found inside the vehicle.

A field test of the soap indicated it was GHB, said Sgt. Evan Sailor of the Newport Beach Police Department. Bolles, whose real name is Jimmy Michael Giorsetti, was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession.

Bolles, who lives in Huntington Beach, was released from jail Sunday on $2,500 bond.

He told the Los Angeles Times he has been using Dr. Bronner’s for 35 years, adding that the organic ingredients help give him the complexion of a 15-year-old girl.

Full story at USAToday.com.

Optimo - Walkabout

posted by on April 11 at 3:45 PM

The DJ’s who bring the world one of the most glorious nights on the planet, Optimo, have released a mix cd via Kompakt.

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It’s slightly more focused then past efforts have been, but just as much fun! Lots of ‘90’s Techno (all the rage at the moment), some minimalist stuff that sounds like Kompakt’s der riguer, but there’s also some crazy Japanese metal as well as the odd Throbbing Gristle track. It’s totally more banging then I would have expected, but it also works just as brilliantly as anything they’ve put out before. I rate it quite highly with some other choice mixes I’ve recieved lately. So go buy!

And to all the club promoters out there…

From the Optimo website:

If you are interested, this is how we operate - we think djs charging huge fees or being inflexible about their fees is ridiculous as it means some of the smaller, more interesting clubs aren’t able to book the djs they would like to have play. We do this for a living but playing a great club is more important to us than getting a huge fee. If you have a large budget and a full club, we expect to be paid accordingly but if you don’t and would like us to come and play, get in touch and we will come to some arrangement. As there are two of us, it is also possible to book one of us to come if this makes it more affordable for you.

Optimo - striving to break down the bullshit that exists in dj culture since 1997.

Any takers out there in clubland? Chop Suey? Bang Bang? Havana? Neumos?

Deerhunting Ponies

posted by on April 11 at 3:42 PM

The Deerhunter/Ponys/Girls show last night at Neumos was super kick ass. And backstage there was a whole lotta of booze and fake boobs going around… two of Seattle’s most serious journalists Dan Brockman and Susan Flowers were there.

Video interviews coming soon!

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Band of the Week: Levi Fuller

posted by on April 11 at 3:41 PM

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OK, Levi Fuller’s not a band, he’s a dude. But he plays in the Luna Moth! And sometimes he has a backing band called the Library! And he’s really cool!

Gush Gush Gush. Levi Fuller makes music that all those J.Tillman types should be paying attention too—It’s kind of strange that he’s not yet a KEXP poster-boy, but I suppose he’s still young. And maybe more talented than a lot of the artists they play on that stupid, stupid radio station. They can’t handle the pretty!

His songs are slow and drawn out, with lots of sustained notes. Levi’s voice is slightly nasal in a pleasant, David Byrne-ish way. His newest album, This Murder is a Peaceful Gathering, was released a little more than a year ago. When he says murder, he means group of crows, who seem to be the theme of the album.

Anyhow, check out Levi’s band page, and also check out the fact that he is featured in this week’s Party Crasher (but I didn’t let the cat out of the bag).

I’m Looking Through You

posted by on April 11 at 1:02 PM

You might’ve noticed a new strip running in The Stranger’s comics section; Jon Fischer’s Concerted digs into the latent comedy of the live-showgoing experience. This week we start running the strip in Line Out, too. Enjoy.

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Gimmie Gimmie Shoe Treatment

posted by on April 11 at 12:59 PM

According to Punknews.org, Converse is going to release Ramones-themed Chuck Taylors for the Project (RED) charity.

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Converse shoes has announced plans to release a new line of Ramones-themed Chuck’s in support of the Project (RED) charity initiative. The line features a special pre-beat-up pair of Chucks and includes The Ramones patch replacing the traditional Chuck Taylor patch.

Project RED was formed by Bono and Bobby Shriver to raise awareness and money for The Global Fund by produce (PRODUCT)RED branded products. A percentage of each (PRODUCT)RED product sold is given to The Global Fund. The money helps women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Photo courtesy of Freshnessmag.com.

This Has Been a Long Time Coming

posted by on April 11 at 12:38 PM

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And you thought I got pretty worked up over Jawbreaker yesterday? Well take a seat, my friend, because I’m about to open the floodgates. It could get ugly. Of all the records in the world, Energy is one of my all-time never-going-to-ever-get-bad-ever favorites. For true. And of all the gushing I’ve done over Jawbreaker, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Mclusky, the Jackson 5 and every other band that causes me to occasionally lose my shit, well, it doesn’t compare to the love I have for Operation Ivy.

And it probably never could.

When I was in high school, I would drive to school wearing my Op Ivy t-shirt and blasting Energy from the speakers of my 1992 Ford Tempo which also had an Op Ivy sticker on the rear window. I thought I was awesome, the kids at school thought I was weird, and we were both a little right. How it came to that, I can’t say. I never saw the band live, they broke up before I even knew they existed, and I can’t remember the first time I heard them. I do remember, though, that it was by way of Rancid. I was a big Rancid freak in the day (still love Let’s Go and Out Come the Wolves), and since Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman both did time in Op Ivy (listed as Lint and Matt McCall respectively), and since that Rancid song “Journey to the End of East Bay” (written about the Op Ivy years) was (and is) one of my favorite Rancid tracks, well, I guess the admiration was inevitable.

How it happened probably isn’t important. What matters is Energy came into my life and changed everything. Some people say that and don’t really mean it; people always claim “This record/band/song changed my life” and really, it probably didn’t. That’s just their exaggerated way of saying it’s really important to them. But for me, Op Ivy really did change things. What’s strange is that I can’t say exactly how. But as soon as I heard it, Energy became this positive force in a world of music where music had, for the most part, felt like a way to complain, mope, or suffer. Op Ivy weren’t suffering. They were throwing a fuckin’ fit, yeah, but unlike the majority of my record collection at the time, they were doing it in an effort to open eyes, change minds, and, perhaps most importantly, take action. So many others seemed a lot less passionate in comparison to the energy that Op Ivy unleashed. I’m not sure that’s true now, different passion has different energy but isn’t necessarily any less remarkable, but it sure felt like it then.

It’s is the kind of record that is actually frustrating to listen to, it’s so good One song starts, you love it, you start getting in to it, but then you realize what song is next, and because that following song is also so fucking great, you want to skip ahead to get to it. But you also don’t want to miss any of the song you’re presently enjoying. It makes me really restless and energized; It kind of makes my head spin. Anyone else have that problem?

The huge impact it had (and continues to have, actually) is kind of funny to me. Really, it’s just a punk rock record (ska-punk if you wanna get technical). The songs never make it beyond three minutes (the longest, “Take Warning,” is only 2:44), and the messages, while impassioned, are also obvious—they speak out against authority, the abuse of power, peer/social pressures, conformity… basically everything an 18-year-old kid battles on a daily basis in the journey to becoming a free-thinking adult. It almost feels silly to put as much emphasis on a record that looks so unremarkable on paper. But silliness be damned, I still can’t deny its importance; it was and is really fuckin’ important to me. And it sounds best on sunny days like today.

Hiking Accident Claims Joe Crawford

posted by on April 11 at 12:03 PM

According to a post on Kerri Harrop’s MySpace and a corroborating story in the Times, Joe Crawford, guitarist for defunct math-rockers the New Mexicans, died in a hiking accident over the weekend. He was 28.

Harrop’s obituary is far more intimate than anything I can write; I’m just reporting the news. Kathleen Wilson also wrote extensively about the New Mexicans in her column in The Stranger. They were a well-liked band and Crawford was, apparently, a well-loved member of the Seattle music community.

Condolences to Crawford’s family and friends.

Get Yourself Some Escort!

posted by on April 11 at 11:18 AM

For those of you who are into disco (um…like me) of the Nouveau or Retro kind, there’s a new group out there that is just rocking me solid!

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Escort are a sixteen person collective of strings, synths, woodwinds and brass that play real live Disco. They are fabulous and have a fantastic new single out called A Bright New Life. It includes remixes by Metro Area’s Morgan Geist. Past singles also include a remix by Metro Area’s Darshan Jesrani. All three of their singles are available on iTunes.

My day has just brightened with the mere playing of the song. I feel like roller skakting! Brilliant! Check them out!

Björk Offers Free Podcast

posted by on April 11 at 10:00 AM

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Now that the Björk’s cryptic viral video clips have been put to rest, the promotion of Volta is in full swing. The first single “Earth Intruders” is available in an extended mix (not the crappy radio edit leaked Friday) in the iTunes Music Store. It’s jumped to #1 on France, Japan, and Spain, and into several top genre charts (#30 Pop in the US?!?).

And now, Björk has worked with her close friend Ragnheiður Gestsdóttir to bring us a free video podcast on the making of Volta, via iTunes.

The first episode finds her at the day-glo crochet shaman photoshoot with Inez van Lamsweerde, Vinoodh Matadin, and the effects company ILC. She explains the inspiration of, birth of, and process of recording the album. We also get to see her fiddling with a keyboard that triggers samples of a ship horn. Later she’s in the studio, improvising vocal lines over Toumani Diabate’s kora and swaying to and fro to a brass choir (conducted by composer Nico Muhly).

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Much like The Inner or Deep Part of an Animal or Plant Structure, Ragga’s 2004 documentary on the making of Medúlla, the feel of the video is immediate and incisive and captures the gravity and humor of Björk’s personality, and it promises to offer a look at the wide range of elements that go into her work. More episodes are forthcoming (hopefully with Björk blowin’ a charge with Timbaland).

And while I’m on the topic (when am I not, though?), Björk will be the musical guest on the April 21st Saturday Night Live. The host is Scarlett Johansson, whoever the hell that is.

The Lover Speaks

posted by on April 11 at 10:00 AM

I don’t think a day went by during my sophmore year of highschool (1987) that me and my friend, another big drama-queen, didn’t obsess over the self-titled album by The Lover Speaks.

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This desperately romantic new wave gem was the brainchild of David Freeman, a casual songwriter and erotic poet of the time. He and his friend Joe Hughes made a demo and sent it to Eurythmics frontman, Dave Stewart. He was sufficiently bowled over by it, played it for his band mate Annie Lenox, and eventually sent a copy to his friend, Chrissy Hind of The Pretenders. She in turn passed it on to the ‘80’s super-producer Jimmy Iovine, who was able to get the band signed to A&M.

The list of players on the album is fantastic. June Miles-Kingston, Nils Lofgren and Dave Stewart are the big names. But alas no amount of stars could pull the album from the obscurity it was doomed for.

Maybe it was the over-the-top romantic lyrics, like these from the song Never To Forget You

A sneaky glance across the room

(A blatant reminder)

A picture fixed above the bed,

Means “You belong here”;

Bundles of love-notes…so protected:

Pages of dangerous words

Listing everything…

In seriously purple prose, but heaven knows….

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Or it could have been David Freeman’s soaring romantic voice pitched with June Miles-Kingston’s background vocals (she also did the background vocals on Fun Boy Three’s Our Lips Are Sealed). I dunno. But whatever the reason the album tanked.

Even opening for the Eurythmics on their world tour couldn’t help sales. The project had a cult following, though, and recorded a second album with Iovine, Stewart and Daniel Lanois sharing production. But with the first album’s sales so low, it was never to be released.

With that, the band faded into obscurity, until Annie Lennox revived interest in the group with her hit cover of the song No More “I Love You’s”.

The album however was never re-released, and has gone out of print, with copies of the cd trading for roughly $120 and old copies of the LP going for just under $100 online.

That said, if you really want to fall into a romantic swoon over the next week of spring, visit my blog where you can find song samples from my original vinyl copy.

These include the ultimate break-up song, the original version of No More “I Love You’s”.

Grab a tissue and enjoy.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not About Andrew WK: More EITS Tix

posted by on April 10 at 3:58 PM

In “news” of an act I’m ridiculously excited to see, yesterday 50 more tickets were released to each of the Explosions in the Sky shows. So if you’ve missed out until now, here’s what is probably your last chance to buy tickets (For Sunday. For Monday.)

Here’s a video of the band in action. It features no individuals clad in all-white headbanging to godawful Eurotrance.

Dear You is the best Jawbreaker record. No, 24-Hour Revenge Therapy is. Or, the argument I had with myself on the way to work this morning.

posted by on April 10 at 2:51 PM

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24 Hour Revenge Therapy is my favorite Jawbreaker record. It has some of my favorite Jawbreaker songs (“Condition Oakland,” “Do You Still Hate Me?” and “Jinx Removing” especially), and I’ve felt this way for some time.

Well this morning I woke up and decided that I was wrong; I woke up and decided that Dear You is the best Jawbreaker record.

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(Bivouac is good, it’s true, but I’ve never ever thought of it as the band’s best. Ever. So that album will be not discussed during this post. But for the record, the song “Chesterfield King” is in my top 10 favorite Jawbreaker songs. And that’s all I’ll say about that.)

With my new realization, I listened to Dear You while I got ready for work. “Fireman” played while I brushed my teeth and fed my cat, and “Oyster” and “Million” played while I tried on three different shirts two different times each before deciding to just give up and wear the first one I had tried on which was just a plain gray t-shirt anyway. (Some mornings I can be stupidly indecisive.) I kept listening on my walk to the bus stop, on the bus, and I continued to feel confident that yes, Dear You is the best Jawbreaker record.

That’s when the argument got heated.

“Fireman,” “Accident Prone,” “Jet Black,” “Sluttering”… all great songs. But my favorites on Dear You (those I just listed), aren’t as good as my favorites on 24 Hour. These songs, I think, are made better with the songs before and after them. Once “Fireman” plays, I really, really want to hear “Accident Prone.” And after “Jet Black,” I have to listen to “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault.” I don’t listen to “Accident Prone” over and over again (unless I’m having a hopelessly pathetic night, and I haven’t done that since March of 2002 when I, admittedly, had an “Accident Prone” marathon that ended up with me hearing the song about 23 times in a row). Under normal circumstances, though, I have to let the record keep going. Because it’s a great record.

With 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, though, I can listen to “Do You Still Hate Me?” over and over again without missing the following track “West Bay Invitational” at all (partly because I don’t really like that song). Same with “Jinx Removing.” Both of those songs stand alone, and are just as good when pulled away from the rest of the record. In fact, I generally can’t listen to either of those songs just once, I almost always skip back to hear them again once they’re over. They’re the Lay’s potato chips of punk rock—I can’t have just one.

I realized that 24 Hour Revenge Therapy has some of my favorite Jawbreaker songs, but it isn’t the best Jawbreaker record. Dear You is actually the best Jawbreaker record, but I don’t like it’s “stand out” tracks as much as the ones on 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Just because an album has my all-time favorite songs on it, doesn’t mean it’s the best record. Right?

Needless to say, I was very exhausted by the time I got to work, and very tired of thinking about it. And for now I’ve given up on Jawbreaker because it got to confusing and I couldn’t decide which record and songs to keep listening to.

So now I’m rockin’ NOFX, and that’s working out just fine.

Some More Andrew W.K. Comparison Pictures

posted by on April 10 at 2:09 PM

A lot of rumors have been floating around on both the internet and locally that Andrew W.K. seems different somehow. Eric noted on Monday that “Andrew WK lost so much weight that he looks like a different person. It’s weird.” Friday’s show was so disappointing, and the shows he usually puts on are so exhilirating, that we just can’t seem to reconcile the two. When I was filming a video at the venue on Friday, Andrew seemed not only out of it, but also not “ready to party,” and Zwickel, who was there too, didn’t even recognize him.

Eric and I have found sketchy evidence on the internet that Andrew W.K. might be two people, or this may be a sanctioned imposter, or possibly, a huge joke on everyone. We’ve decided that the best way to figure out what’s going on is to open it up and let everyone know what we are thinking.

The pictures below are all from Andrew W.K.’s creepy website (you have to click through the entire slideshow):

This:
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is arranged so it’s looking at this on the page:
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This guy:
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looks kind of different from this guy:
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To me, this looks like two different people.

And then there is this picture, which seems to indicate in an artsy way that there is “a shadow behind Andrew W.K.”
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All in all, it’s very strange… Here’s a link to his Wikipedia page, as suggested by Gabriel in the comments. We did notice earlier the “art project” called Steev Mike, and we bet this is related.

Party Hardly?

posted by on April 10 at 2:03 PM

This guy, the Andrew WK who “partied” at Chop Suey last Friday:

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Does not look quite like this guy (a google image result for “Andrew WK”):

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And from the bizarre, syntactic minefield that is the Truth About Andrew WK blog (emphasis mine):

If it’s now become common knowledge that Andrew WK has in the past impersonated himself, in order to perform concerts or do other Andrew WK related performing, then it should come as no surprise that many of his fans have also taken to posing as one of Andrew WK’s self-impersonations. This can be seen in many phazes of Andrew WK’s career, but it seems now almost intentional. The delibracy of these acts points us once again towards the large amount of pre-planning that seems to have gone into just about every piece of the Andrew WK story.

Does anybody know what’s going on here? What does “impersonating himself” mean, anyway? Has Andrew WK become a franchised persona? Or has he just lost some beard and muscle mass and gotten some tattoos?

Beer, Corndogs, Emergen-C: The Trashies Tour Diary, the Final Installment

posted by on April 10 at 12:50 PM

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Washington our home, wherever we may roam. It never looked so good.

The final week of tour is always the most bizarre as everyone has a pretty volatile combination of losing their minds, missing their friends, not wanting to go back to work, and needing to get sex. All of us were definitely feeling all of these things as we left New York on our way to a series of house shows on our way back west, and it showed.

Our first stop was Buffalo, NY, where it was colder than any of us had expected to encounter on this tour. Luckily the house we played and stayed at had great people, food, and heaters to keep our balls from freezing off. The folks we played with in Buffalo were also playing the same party we were the next day in Columbus, so we sort of caravaned down and made buddies along the way. After three weeks in close quarters with the same dudes it is pretty great to take a breather with some new friends, and Columbus was great for this. Right across the street from the Stink House (where are show was) there was a liquor store that provided us much ammunition for a living room love-in that really made us feel awesome. Whenever someone jumps off the trashcan to crowd surf and then comes back to drink spilled beer out of the top of it, you know something’s going right.

Continue reading "Beer, Corndogs, Emergen-C: The Trashies Tour Diary, the Final Installment" »

Screw Jimmy Page

posted by on April 10 at 12:09 PM

You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’,
Im gonna send you back to schoolin’,

Way way down inside, I’m gonna give you my love.

And power chords.

Here is Next Level Guitar.com’s lesson for Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

Ten minutes of practicing this song and you will be into dark magic. Then you’ll need a castle and some dragons on your pants.

Grand Archives Sign to Sub Pop

posted by on April 10 at 11:19 AM

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How about some more Grand Archives news? As of last night, the band has signed to Sub Pop. Apparently the label also bought into the hype, just like the Stranger, Pitchfork, and mostly everybody who saw their one and only show a few weeks ago.

Not me though. I refuse to like ‘em or even listen to ‘em until their drummer tragically dies of liver failure, they break up under a haze of drugs and incriminations, and Mat Brooke waits a decade to reunite the band for a zillion-dollar comeback tour. Then I’m all-in.

Persia - Persia

posted by on April 10 at 10:00 AM

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Members of the band aside, this project is really a front for songwriter/producer Kenny Nolan, who made his real fortunes earlier in the ‘70’s with the monster hit Lady Marmallade as sung by LaBelle. He wrote, arranged and performed on all of the tracks on the album.

According to Discomuseum.com Persia had a one album deal, and thought it never went very far Persia left us with a handfull of great songs, and the voice of the Zell Black.

The album has this great “live” feel that at times sounds more like the band is just jammin’ with itself then a full on studio effort. This lends it a really funny Kids From “Fame” vibe, sort of ameteur, but polished enough to give it a little credability.

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The three stand out tracks are the club hits, Comme Ci, Comme Ca and Inch By Inch,and the album closer, and my personal fave, That’s What Keeps ‘Em Dancin’.

Post Persia, Nolan would continue to write songs for the likes of New Kids On The Block, The Brady Bunch, and Tavares among others.

You can find tracks from this long out of print disco album at my blog here!

Needle Screech: Musings for Millionaires

posted by on April 10 at 9:35 AM

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Most of my second-hand record purchases are made from dollar bins and thrift stores — or after careful comparison shopping on GEMM.com — but I’ve been to enough record shows to appreciate that there is a whole other species of collector that can, and will, shell out a lot more money for a sought-after title. Moneybags of this variety (or those who simply enjoy salivating over expensive music ephemera) may wish to direct their attention to the new blog Needle Screech, “the first blog to focus on the billion-dollar market for rare music records and memorabilia.” The content is a little sparse thus far, with appropriate items plucked from other media sources outnumbering original posts, but the site is overseen by Stephen M.H. Braitman, a respected and often entertaining writer (and professional record appraiser), so hopefully it will pick up quickly.


Monday, April 9, 2007

Goodbye to All That: An Open Letter of Resignation

posted by on April 9 at 4:50 PM

From our April 4, 2002 issue:

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Goodbye to All That
An Open Letter of Resignation

By JEFF DEROCHE

There’s a guy who chats me up whenever he buys drinks from me at the bar where I work. Sometimes he mentions The Stranger and One-Night Stand, the column I wrote up until a couple of weeks ago. Though the guy never comes out and says he’s a big fan of The Stranger, I’ve always gotten that impression from him, and that’s a nice thing to think. The paper has been a significant part of my life for the past year and a half, and it’s rewarding to imagine that the work you do makes some kind of impression upon people.

I was disappointed the last time the guy ordered drinks from me. With no apparent concern that I might take offense to a very blunt question, the customer crudely asked if I had recently been fired from the paper. He said he’d noticed that someone else was writing my column. I told the guy that I wasn’t fired: I quit. I could tell he thought my decision was stupid. I told him that the amount of work the job required had become greater than the rewards. “Too much work for one column a week?” he asked, frustrated by my laziness, as though I were his own child and it was his responsibility to scold me for having made such a regrettable decision.

I explained that One-Night Stand was only a small part of the work I had been doing at the paper. I told him I had been the music editor, and that more goes into being the music editor of a weekly publication than writing a column with my little picture next to it. I found myself wondering why I felt the need to justify my decision. Meantime, the guy just sort of stood there, reproachfully looking right through me. Then he took his drinks and went to join his friends elsewhere in the room. In hindsight, I don’t blame the guy for his rudeness.

I have been asked to write a “farewell essay” explaining why I chose to resign from my position as music editor of The Stranger, and I decided that blame is a reasonable place to start. That’s why I’ve chosen to recount my interaction with that bar patron the other night. The collision between his open curiosity and my defensive perception of his tactlessness goes a long way toward explaining why I’m not willing to do my old job anymore. I know I am to blame for his forwardness. I’ve spent the past three years writing criticism, and I deserve to be criticized. It’s karmic; it’s the rule of nature. I half expect that I will spend the next three years being picked apart intellectually by all of my friends and loved ones, a fate I would gladly accept. I love criticism. I’m smart, so that’s the way I think.

What I no longer love is being professionally obligated to opine and justify (a rough equivalent to binge and purge) for anywhere from 30 to 70 hours per week, which is the critic’s job. And ultimately, criticism is a terrible way to earn one’s bread. It’s only minimally creative (you get to write and come up with all sorts of opinions), and it’s a soul-numbing job that sucks the joy out of a beautiful thing like music, your love for which is likely why you began criticizing it in the first place. Overall, critics are not very creative or interesting people—artists are. Artists do things, like make records and write books. Critics feed off that creativity. They can choose to scold it, praise it, archive it, whatever. It’s still someone else’s work that the critic is standing on, and when I began to feel like I was in jeopardy of actually becoming a professional critic—like, as a career path—I knew it was time to go.

But that’s only one version of the story. The other version, which I began to write earlier today but thought better of doing because it just sounded whiny, is that within a year of doing this job, the way I listened to music had begun to change. I would find myself thinking too much at shows, taxing myself to figure out which bands had most directly influenced the one I was seeing, or coming up with all the things I was going to write in the paper to preview the band next time it played. Each time I did this I would suddenly catch myself. And I would feel this pang of dread: the same feeling a kid gets on a Sunday evening when it starts getting dark and he realizes he’ll have no choice but to go to school in the morning.

No, I can’t have that. I hated school. That’s why I dropped out. And I love music. That’s why I quit.

Update: When It’s Time To Party, What Does Andrew WK Do?

posted by on April 9 at 4:45 PM

From the opening page of Andrew WK’s website:

“$13 Is that what you charge to watch Andrew WK stumble around, fumble a keyboard and headbang for 10 minutes, only to end up lurching off stage, END OF SHOW?”

“I think you owe me an apology Mr W.K., since you are a gigantic waste of time and money and space and oxygen and all that beer or coke or whatever it was took down before you went on stage an hour late.”

“I wish I would’ve stayed home. Oh wait, maybe you should’ve stayed home and walked off that drunken stupor instead of stealing my money, you thief, you con artist, you ‘artist’.”

“How does that make you feel? Aren’t you supposed to be an entertainer? You suck.”

And you call this a show?

San Francisco Invasion

posted by on April 9 at 2:38 PM

Here’s an interesting show:

Les Claypool w/ Two Gallants

The Showbox

July 3rd, $25/$27, 21+

I’m not trying to be facetious or anything. I just never would have thought to put those two together. Now that I see it, it kind of makes sense. Two Gallants are awesome so I will definitely be there, although the $25 is kind of a bummer.

My Monday is Absolutely Fantastic

posted by on April 9 at 1:40 PM

And I’m 100% certain it’s all because of this:

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While I’m not too partial to the J5’s later years (when they get all disco/’70s sounding—I don’t like disco, I rarely like funk), I love the songs “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” “The Love You Save,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Who’s Lovin’ You,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” and especially “I’ll Be There,” and especially the part in “I’ll Be There” where baby Michael screeches “Just look over your shoulders, honey! Oooh!”

I don’t, however, like the Mariah Carey version of that song. I did when I was 12, yes. I’ll admit to that. But I’m smarter now.

“Who Are These Guys and Why Should We Give a Shit?”

posted by on April 9 at 12:09 PM

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In case you didn’t catch Grand Archiveslive debut, hear their demo, or read this feature, Pitchfork today answers the age-old question, “Who are these guys and why should we give a shit?” with this glowing write-up (or sucking of cap hill cock, if you prefer).

Unfortunately for scholarly discourse everywhere, Pitchfork doesn’t feature anonymous commenting…

Andrew WTFK?!

posted by on April 9 at 9:00 AM

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Lightning Bolt, A Bug Sized Mind, Teeth & Hair - The Vera Project

Friday night started off pleasantly enough. It was so warm out that I decided to walk to the Vera Project, getting there just in time to catch Teeth & Hair. The band are promising, a kind of Q and Not U by way of Thunderbirds Are Now, marked by pinched falsettos and audience-space invasion. Watching them, I thought about how monumentally difficult it must be to open for Lightning Bolt. That band is pretty much perfect at what they do, they’ve invented their own deeply appealing aesthetic mythology, and they have a pretty considerable fan base for an independent noise rock band. Anyway, it must be hard to face those fans an hour or so before they know Lightning Bolt will be playing. They’re stoked for supper, and you’re a bowl of bread rolls.

A Bug Sized Mind shared Lightning Bolt’s neon-mystic aesthetic—the lone figure on stage wore synthetic robes and a black-lit crescent moon mask—but their primordial whale-song drones and insectoid rhythms didn’t quite seem to satisfy the crowd.

Lightning Bolt, of course, completely destroyed the place. The band’s towering amps and drums were set up in a corner to one side of the stage, natch, and the eager crowd all crammed a little too close, knocking into Brian Chippendale’s drums, and prompting him to command the crowd back several times. The band have installed a convex mirror on top of their amps, angled over the drum kit, so that even from the back it was possible to look down at Chippendale’s convulsive drumming. Even though they were great, I must admit I left halfway through their set. It was going to be a busy night, and I realized that as good as their Vera show could be, it couldn’t possibly beat the anarchistic block party they played in front of No Space last time around—for me, at least.

Pho Bang - El Corazon

Pho Bang got started a little after 11pm, with Ursula Android’s signature cover of “War Pigs”, then a little Jackie Hell number, and then the fabulous, PCP-trip rendition of Disney’s “Be Our Guest”, complete with human-sized candelabra, flatware, and Prince’s discarded quasi-ankh symbol. After a brief intermission, Ursula and the Ononos took the stage. They played with great energy, but suffered some sound problems—vocals were mixed too low, for a minute the keyboards weren’t audible. Apparently, bad sound was an issue the whole night, which is too bad. I hear that sound check ran over, so the sound guy took it out on the performers later—real classy, El Corazon. Again, I had to take off early, missing the Coconut Coolouts and Portland’s Fleshtone, who I hear were fucking awesome.

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Andrew WK, Flosstradamus - Chop Suey

Flosstradamus had a packed Chop Suey sweating all over the walls when I got there. The duo were invisible behind a mass of dancers onstage, but they were occasionally audible on the mic in between deft mixes and cuts. It was the standard mix of hip hop, electro, and rock, but Flosstradamus included plenty of their own remixes, and their selection and mixing was tight.

Then there was Andrew WK. What a fucking disaster. After clearing the stage, his DJ played some flanged and delayed introductory message about “Andrew WK’s Party Tour” or something over a bizarrely euro-trance backing track. After a false start, Andrew WK emerged, dressed all in white, beer in hand, and banged out some chords on a keyboard. He got on the mic and greeted the crowd, said some obligatory nonsense about partying, and then stuffed the mic in his pants to play some more keyboards. This sounds fine now, but there was something off about it at the time. I had been expecting overwhelmingly sincere enthusiasm from the man, but instead got half-hearted, almost smirking condescension. WK barely performed an actual song, and his every gesture, expression, and word felt like a joke—”We Want Fun“‘s lyrics seemed to take on an entirely sarcastic tone. And maybe it is just phase two of some great Andrew WK joke that I don’t know the punchline to—there’s plenty to suggest a certain level of self-aware pranksterism behind the man: the “Steev Mike” hoax/marketing scheme, the contrived positivism, the affiliation with misanthropic noise bands. Maybe I’m wrong, because some of the crowd didn’t seem too displeased (although it seemed like a lot of people left), or maybe it would’ve seemed totally different with a live band backing him up, but the handful of people that I knew were there just for Andrew WK left feeling pretty disappointed.

Also, completely unrelated, Andrew WK lost so much weight that he looks like a different person. It’s weird.


Sunday, April 8, 2007

Triumph of Lethargy, Feral Children, A Gun That Shoots Knives, 1-2-1-2 @ the Comet

posted by on April 8 at 1:54 PM

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Can someone help me out with Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death? Because judging from what I saw at the Comet last night, the band is awful and is somehow embraced for its awfulness. Is it holdover love for Murder City Devils? Is it a clothesless emperor thing? Their headlining set was indulgent, meandering, and grating, highlighted by guitarist Corey Brewer chucking his guitar at the Comet’s brick wall AT THE END OF THE FIRST SONG. It was an act of pointless, stupid defiance that happened to perfectly characterize the music. “Songs” started and stopped seemingly at random and went nowhere in between. And yet people stood around rapt as the drummer pounded Viking-rowboat rhythms with mallets on a bass drum and a saxophonist skronked out his unprovoked animosity towards anything remotely ear-pleasing. Spencer Moody is an intense personality onstage, I’ll give him that, but that’s all I’ll give him.

TOLSATD was especially disappointing compared to the other bands on the bill. Feral Children played convulsive, percussive, skuzzed-out rock, as primal as a caveman fertility ritual. They sounded like Modest Mouse channeling Animal Collective, chanting and banging and occasionally alighting into ecstatic melody. They managed to overcome microphone troubles through sheer energy.

A Gun That Shoots Knives came out dressed for Halloween and played like it too, hopping from genre to genre like coked-up swingers swapping fuckbuddies. A little aggro-rock, a little pogo-ready pop, a little caffeinated country, a little more pogo-ready pop—they stretched and snapped their tunes like rubber bands. Put ‘em on stage at Bonnaroo and they’d be called a jam band; here in Seattle it’s Tourette’s-flavored art-pop at its most spastic.

1-2-1-2 played one of their first official gigs ever and sounded a little green but also hinted at their potential. Krautrocking with a deft rhythm section and psychedelic shading from their keysman, they had some of the crowd moving despite the earliness of their set.

Three out of four ain’t bad, I guess.