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Archives for 04/29/2007 - 05/05/2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

This Week in Music Criticism

posted by on May 5 at 12:05 PM

Wikipedia and Delusions of Punk Grandeur

Alt-Weekly Death Watch stumbles, implodes.

Simon Reynolds on the EMP Pop Conference

Dave Segal on Coachella

Woebot vs. British Folk!

Dave Maher on Dismemberment Plan vs. Sean Nelson on Dismemberment Plan

Arctic Monkeys tour with BYOP, come to Seattle (or something).

Pitchfork on CHBP

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Win Butler, Ron Jeremy, Sonic Youth, Ratatat and Brazilian Girls—Downtime Photos from Coachella

posted by on May 4 at 8:07 PM

Last week’s Coachella Valley Music Festival is a distant, confused memory, but there are some pretty cool souvenirs that music fans, even those who that didn’t make it to the festival, might like. There are these photos from this festival of musicians and famous people with a weird ceramic doll. They were taken by a manic but kindly photographer on a bike named Biff, who, I guess, wandered up to musicians and porn stars…and asked them to pose. And almost universally, they were happy to do so. Here are two great photos, there are more at the official site: in the category of horror, there is Ron Jeremy holding a tiny doll while waiting backstage at a Peaches show, and in the category of rock documentary, there is Arcade Fire singer Win Butler, exhausted, in his van, posing for a man who has asked him to pose repeatedly over the course of a long weekend.
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“The Emo Scene is Sweeping the Country and Its Music is Big”

posted by on May 4 at 5:35 PM

Way to do it, Fox News 11.

I don’t know if I’m laughing at Fox or at the kids in the video.

“Birds are dying, and it’s like hard… you know?”

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

Deep breath.

Hahahahahahaha!

Okay, I’m done.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E.

posted by on May 4 at 4:36 PM

This is admittedly a rush-job, as I spent most of my blogging time today on this !!! review. But here’s the best song ever this week, “D.A.N.C.E” by Justice:

I’ve posted the video before, but fuck it. This song destroys. You’ve got the children’s choir biting Michael Jackson (there’s a joke there, but like I said, rush job), Justice’s usual thick beats and digitally-mulched synths, that funky-ass bass line, the ’70s radio fade-out—what is not to love?

The Most Annoying Emails From A Publicist I Have Ever Received

posted by on May 4 at 4:01 PM

First this one:

Hi Ari,
Wanted to let you know about Ari Hest (especially since you share the same first name), a review copy of his new album is on the way.

Then this one:

Hi Ari,
Writing to talk to you about another Ari….Have you made a decision to cover or preview Ari Hest’s show at the The Triple Door on Thursday, May 10th?
Take care,
[REDACTED]
P.S. Do you watch Entourage?

Wow! Me and a performer have the same name! BREAKING NEWS! I also have the same name as a character on television! That is a very convincing pitch. Guess what? I BET WE ARE ALL JEWISH! You know, since it’s a Jewish name? I bet that’s the REAL conspiracy!

Good lord. I bet she thinks I am a guy, anyhow.

LCD Soundsystem @ The Showbox

posted by on May 4 at 2:59 PM

(Thanks, Brian)

I’m Curious to Know What You Think of This

posted by on May 4 at 2:53 PM

From the film’s website:

At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, Revolution Studios’ Across the Universe is an original movie musical springing from the imagination of renowned director Julie Taymor (Frida, Titus, and the Broadway smash hit musical “The Lion King”) and writers Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais (The Commitments).

A love story set against the backdrop of the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, mind exploration and rock ‘n roll, the film moves from the dockyards of Liverpool to the creative psychedelia of Greenwich Village, from the riot-torn streets of Detroit to the killing fields of Vietnam. The star-crossed lovers, Jude (Jim Sturgess) and Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), along with a small group of friends and musicians, are swept up into the emerging anti-war and counterculture movements, with “Dr. Robert” (Bono) and “Mr. Kite” (Eddie Izzard) as their guides. Tumultuous forces outside their control ultimately tear the young lovers apart, forcing Jude and Lucy – against all odds – to find their own way back to each other.

I hide just how much I like the Beatles (a lot) because I rarely ever want to dissect the band’s astonishing discography and/or battle with Beatles-obsessed nerds about which album is better. I can say that about very few bands. In fact, the Beatles are the only band I can say that about.

Regardless, I’ll come out of the closet (a little bit) right now because after seeing this trailer before Spider-Man 3 last night, I was filled with equal amounts of hope and fear. I hope it will be amazing. A-MAZ-ING. I fear that it will not be.

I like the Beatles, I like romance, I like the idea of people wearing crazy costumes and dancing around in fantastic ways to exemplify the idea that the whole world is on drugs… I could very well like this film. For all those same reasons, though, I just might hate it.

Also, the movie stars Marilyn Manson’s girlfriend.

I wonder, does this look awesome to you? Or does it look like complete rubbish?

Feel It Intensify

posted by on May 4 at 2:05 PM

!!!, Mr Tube & The Flying Objects, Telepathe @ Neumo’s - 05/03/07

Holy fucking shit!!! After Soulwax last week and LCD Soundsystem last night, I didn’t know if I’d even the energy for !!!. But as soon as they started playing, I was rejuvenated.

!!! and LCD Soundsystem are similar bands in a lot of ways (right down to some shared membership), but there are some striking contrasts between them, especially when it comes to their live shows. Both bands depend on having a host of talented musicians on stage, but with LCD Soundsystem it’s clear that James Murphy is in charge, even as it’s clear that he deeply values his band. With !!!, there’s no apparent leader. Nic Offer may sing on most of the band’s songs, and his dancing is certainly a show in and of itself, but when he’s not on the mic he’s just as happy goofing around to the side or the back of the stage. And while both bands dispatch totally overwhelming dance missives, LCD’s are much more controlled, with Murphy and crew keeping things pretty tightly structured, even when playing extended versions of their songs. !!! are way more comfortable riding the occasional groove out in a song or descending into the odd drum-circle freak out. With LCD Soundsystem, there’s a sense of security—you know these songs are going to come out perfect—but with !!! there’s a thrilling sense that their collective energy could come apart at any minute, making it all the more satisfying when they hold it together.

The band didn’t fuck around with any b-game album cuts either, playing nothing but floor-shaking hits. They played a lot of songs from Myth Takes, beginning with the album’s tail-wagging title track and moving on to do “All My Heroes Are Weirdos,” “Must Be The Moon,” and “Heart of Hearts.” The tracks all sounded great live—!!! cut some good records, but they are absolutely a live band, and their songs take on an entirely other energy in the concert setting. “Heart of Hearts” benefitted especially from the presence of guest vocalist and former Seattle resident Shannon Funchess, who was rocking a vintage “U Can’t Touch This” t-shirt. They also played some older stuff: “Pardon My Freedom,” the epic “Me & Giuliani Down By The Schoolyard,” and closing the set with a fucking inspired rendition of “Intensify” (minor gripe: why weren’t more people singing the call and response parts?). The whole crowd was going completely nuts and dancing their asses off for pretty much the entire show. Good show, Seattle! (But another minor gripe: why so many party shirts, stupid hats, and plastic beads? Did Cinco de Mayo come early this year or something?)

Mr Tube & The Flying Objects seem like a natural fit for !!! on paper: Former punk/post-hardcore dudes (Paul Zappoli of Black Heart Procession for sure, and my friend Christian thinks a couple of the horn players might have been in Rocket From the Crypt) get together with a couple drummers and a few saxophones to make something funkier or more fun than their “serious” bands. But on stage, it didn’t quite work. After an initial blast from a smoke machine, the band launched into a brassy, bluesy, but ultimately tepid groove and rode it for most of their set. The spaced-out disco meditation “Long Night Review” was a the single compelling exception to a set of affected blues vocals, Chicago-esque bombast, and plodding funk.

I only caught one song of Telepathe’s set, so I can’t entirely dismiss them, but what I saw reminded me of the kind of band you could find in any given dorm room during my stint at the Evergreen State College: a drum machine, a guy on guitar, two girls listlessly rapping/singing, and lots of psychedelic sweaters. Maybe in another context (say, an Olympia house party) it would be rad, but warming up the crowd last night, not so much.

Old School Destrution

posted by on May 4 at 9:58 AM

This note from Lawrence, KS.

Thanks to Oscar and the Boo and Boo Too house.

Dude, you gotta be able to spell your own band name.

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Gears of Destrution

A one man Industrial band is looking
for band members. I’m a keyboard
player. I have a triton synth, I can play
various styles of music, been playing for
about 11 yrs. I make Industrial music
that has influences from from prog and black
metal. If you don’t like Skinny Puppy or
your not familiar with modern Industrial or
old school Industrial, don’t waste my time.

I’m looking for a guitar player who can
throw down some simple power chord riffs,
Ministry + fear Factory, NIN, for Example and
A drummer. I already have songs and can make
more. if you have a band already and need a keyboard
player let me know. but it has to industrial or be
really, really hardcore. I can do death metal vocals and
Industrial vocals and scream like Danny Filth. check out my
songs at (www.music.download.com/gearsofdestruction)
+ at (www.myspace.com/gearsofdestruction) + E-mail
me at (www.industrial-machine@hotmail.com


Thursday, May 3, 2007

One Last Thing About The Saxophone…

posted by on May 3 at 5:07 PM

I know Jonathan’s Trumpet v Sax thing is last week’s news, but allow me a couple quick footnotes:

In a perfect world, there would be a youtube clip of Rob Lowe playing the sax in St Elmo’s Fire here too.

Leslie & the Lys Confirmed for Block Party

posted by on May 3 at 4:52 PM

The Capitol Hill Block Party is shaping up to be pretty good this year. Leslie & the Lys excites me, but not just because I want to do this again…

Everyone needs some Crotch N’ Titty dodgeball in their life.

I Shit on Love

posted by on May 3 at 2:38 PM

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As much as I love Manu Chao’s albums—Clandestino is an underground classic—his live shows can be somewhat one-dimensional. I saw him in a rare US appearance last summer in San Diego; what started out as an unforgettable performance, blending dub, punk, ska, and rock in Chao’s inimitable manner, devolved into a repetitive ska-punk blowout halfway through.

Still, I’m psyched that he’s coming to Sasquatch. Maybe he’ll stick with the dub and ditch the punk.

More importantly, thinking about Manu Chao brought to mind one of his proteges, the relatively unknown Spanish oddity Tonino Carotone.

I was turned on to Carotone by a friend in Barcelona while traveling through Spain in ‘01. Dude is Spanish by birth but some kind of Italophile—he’s adopted the quintessential look of the Italian greaseball, pencil-thin mustache and all—and sings in a weird mix of Spanish, Castillian, and Italian. The first two tracks from his second album, 2000’s Mondo Dificile, were produced by Chao, and percolate with that deep, dubby funk he’s known for, blended with Carotone’s own mafioso wedding music shmaltz.

One of those two tracks is “Me Cago en el Amor”—“I Shit on Love.” Here’s a YouTube vid that follows Carotone through the streets of Barcelona as he dry humps a harem of well-dressed mannequins. Fuckin’ weird and totally awesome.

Oooh! Ah!

posted by on May 3 at 2:03 PM

These days I might geek out over Jake, Adam, and various other Teen Beat cover-worthy hotties, but my heart really belongs to Lindsey Buckingham; Lindsey, Tom Petty, and David Bowie circa Labyrinth were my original crushes.

My parents love Fleetwood Mac—Lindsey, Stevie, all of it. I love it too; I grew up on it. In my high school journalism class, my friend Lacey and I would subject the class to listening to FM over and over on deadline days. So while I should be working on a piece for next week’s paper that was technically, uh, due yesterday, instead I’m fighting a mild case of writer’s block by watching this video over and over again.

Lookin’ out for LO-AH-OVE! Big, big looooooove…

Sorry, JZ. I’ll get back to work now.

Regional Laptop Battle Tonight @ Chop Suey

posted by on May 3 at 1:03 PM

Mr. T: Not at tonight's battleI asked some of the participants about what they had planned for tonight’s laptop battle, but ended up not using most of what they sent. Here are two of the amusing replies I received to my inquiries. Now this is the attitude that makes the laptop battles enjoyable.

Mat Anderson
Me: What’s your setup? (Mac vs. PC, Ableton vs. other, Midi controller?)
MA: A Mac running Safari like everybody else. Gosh. I am running Live on a PC, with a Behringer BCR2000R. Its a $100 box with lots of knobs, lots of buttons. I hope it doesn’t come unplugged during my set.

Me: What can we expect from your sound?
MA: With the Minimal genre doing so well at the moment, I think that is probably the way to go. I am hoping to explore the areas between the beats, adding lots of reverb to the areas without any sound in them. It doesnt matter if the crowd enjoys it. It’s pretty advanced listening. The crowd response isnt really a measure of the quality of my music, more of the quality of the listeners. By the way, I have considered naming this genre.


KFO
Me: Why did you decide to compete?
KFO: Because I kill everything I see. Last year Bird took it home. This year its me.

Me: What’s your setup? (Mac vs. PC, Ableton vs. other, Midi controller?)
KFO: M-Audio FW410, Doepfer Pocketfader, Powerbook with Max/MSP. All specially blessed by Satan. I’ve been listening the Kris Moon’s “Kill Your Sound” on repeat every day for the last 12 months. You are all fucked.

Me: What can we expect from your sound?
KFO: It will warm you up gently, and then it will penetrate without warning. My sound will jack your face.

Me: Any words of warning for your competitors?
KFO: They already know. There’s no need for posturing. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just stayed home.

Fratellis Cancel Tour Dates

posted by on May 3 at 11:52 AM

Scottish pub-rocking buzz band the Fratellis have cancelled a slew of North American dates. From the band’s website:

MAY 1: AMERICAN DATES CANCELLED

Due to a rigorous tour schedule, spending the last two years on the road, the band have been forced to cancel all dates up until May 13th, 2007.

The band are sincerely sorry and would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The Fratellis were scheduled to open for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Showbox on May 13. BMRC are still scheduled to play.

Overheard at LCD Soundsystem

posted by on May 3 at 11:48 AM

Hot bearded gay man, to his hot bearded boyfriend:
“I think James Murphy needs me to give him a massage.”

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Half-naked man carrying some sort of Moog keytar thingie:
“Sh*t. We ran out of batteries. You know where we could buy some batteries?”

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One Thing That I Can Depend On

posted by on May 3 at 10:59 AM

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LCD Soundsystem, YACHT @ The Showbox - 05/02/07

There’s not much to add to Kurt’s matrimonially-blissed out review of last night’s LCD Soundsystem show, as we seemed to have been moved by all the same moments. But here goes anyway.

Continue reading "One Thing That I Can Depend On" »

Bass Amps - Low End Homes

posted by on May 3 at 10:35 AM

Eric Corson, bassist from The Long Winters, is with us today on Sound Check to talk bass amps.

Bass is one of the trickiest, most essential elements of sound. The low end must be maintained but not overdone. Constraint when firing a cannon? And bass has an omni directional tone. Anything with ‘omni’ in the description could easily get out of hand.

If you’re a bass player, what are you playing and why?

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Eric says:

The amp I use is an Ashdown ABM 500 2X10 Combo, which is both tube and solid state, so you can dial in some overdrive if you want. I love it and I’ve used it on every U.S. tour we’ve done. It’s been a great amp in that it sounds excellent, it’s rugged, and even though it’s small, it works well in larger sized venues. In 5 years of touring, I’ve never had a problem with it, but it has its battle scars like missing knobs and neither of the VU meters work.

I got it when I joined The Long Winters. I didn’t own a bass amp at the time but we shared a practice space with Harvey Danger and the amp belonged to Aaron Huffman, their bassist. I used to use it when we practiced and eventually I bought it from him. That’s how I was introduced to Ashdown.

When we made the last Long Winters record, I used the Ashdown mic’d with a Sennheiser 421 and the Ampeg B-15 Portaflex (15” speaker) re-issue they have at Studio Litho , mic’d with an EV RE20. Both amps running together. I loved the B-15 and have been on the lookout for one ever since. They’re such cool bass amps, design-wise. If you’ve never seen one, the head of the amp is actually under the top of the cabinet. You just flip the lid and there’s your amp. It’s relatively portable, easy to work on if something goes wrong, and the re-issues are built like tanks.

No, I’m Not a Dick-Obsessed Perv, But…

posted by on May 3 at 9:40 AM

Just follow me down this road for a minute, okay?

Yesterday I found myself listening to Sparks’ “Angst In My Pants,” which is a song from 1982 that contains the line “But when you think you made it disappear/It comes again, ‘Hello, I’m here’ and/I’ve got angst in my pants.” Because the lyrics are never completely obvious, I wondered if the song really is as much about an untimely erection as it appears to be.

I decided that it is. Then I started thinking about all the other songs that are about penises. Because there are a lot.

Off the top of my head, in a matter of minutes, I came up with about a dozen while I sat there at my desk. Wanting even more evidence, I started searching the internet. This guy lists the obvious ones: King Missile’s “Detachable Penis,” Monty Python’s “Penis Song,” Chuck Berry’s “My Ding-a-Ling,” Fred Schneider’s “Monster,” and Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer.” “Sledgehammer?” Yeah, “Sledgehammer.”

And there’s also the Vandals’ holiday hit “Christmas Time For My Penis,” Zappa’s “Penis Dimension,” Tenacious D’s “Dear Penis,” and proving that the wiener songs ain’t just for the boys, Peaches has gotten in on the fun with “Shake Your Dix.”

And oh boy are there are others—I didn’t even think about Kiss’ or Mötley Crüe’s discographies. And Blink 182? Forget it.

Continue reading "No, I'm Not a Dick-Obsessed Perv, But..." »

To: James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem, NYC

posted by on May 3 at 8:00 AM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dear James,

Okay, I have to admit: In the beginning, I was really resistant to this whole “open relationship” idea. I mean, I was happy back in 2002, when it was just you, and me, and “Losing My Edge.” It was like our own private joke. Captain Beefheart, that’s funny stuff.

Even after I found out you were married, we were still cool. Remember that week between Christmas and New Years, 2004? All you wanted to do was go see a movie at Angelika Film Center with your wife. But you still made time to call me. We talked on the phone for over an hour, about “The Family Guy” and boxer briefs and the clothespin on your nose. Like buddies. It didn’t even feel like an interview, did it?

But now it’s 2007. LCD Soundsystem play at Coachella, and DFA remixes Justin Timberlake. You’re huge and famous. Seriously, strangers were asking to hang out with me after they found out I had an early advance of Sound Of Silver. Complete strangers. I barely got into your sold out Seattle show this time around.

Yet watching you last night at the Showbox, all I felt was love. It was killer how you sped up “Daft Punk” so it sounded like a Devo song. And when you asked the guys to stop crushing the girls at the front of the stage? “If you look around you, and all you see are dudes dancing, that’s a problem.” Right on! Oh, oh, and that closing version of “Yeah” – it was like 18 minutes long! Wow. From the first throbbing notes of “Us v Them,” to the way you had the lighting guy kill everything but the slowly-turning disco ball for the final encore of “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” I was yours all over again.

So what if you told everyone in Seattle that we’re your favorite audience, anywhere. I don’t mind sharing you with the others. Just don’t ever leave.

Love,
El Toro

p.s. Be nice to that Yacht kid. He was really great, and funny. He signed a record for me, too!


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

So Eric Schooled Me on the Fall of Troy

posted by on May 2 at 4:48 PM

Well played, Grandy. Well played.

This is all the fight I’ve got left in me…

(This goes out to Danny, who also loves the Orbison.)

Math Is Boring

posted by on May 2 at 1:25 PM

Fall of Troy, Tera Melos @ Atlas - 05/01/07

I am totally baffled by the Fall of Troy. Megan Seling’s recent story about the band captures a few of the more off-putting non-musical aspects of the band—their brattiness, their hair, their apparent self-awareness—but it doesn’t get to the heart of what’s wrong with them, which is of course their music. Seling positively describes their sound as “a big mess” and their live shows as expelling “the energy and noise of a punk-rock orchestra.” I suppose those are exactly the reasons I don’t like them. The band nods to great local bands like Akimbo, Botch, and the Blood Brothers but manages to combine the most boring or annoying elements of each. They basically alternate between big, meaty rhythmic chugs and dizzying guitar spasms, and either aspect could be the mess or the orchestra. We tend to think of metal riffs as messy and guitar solos as classical, but with the Fall of Troy the opposite was often true, with the restrained riffing approaching some kind of composed orderliness and the more “technical” passages barely holding together.

At this point, I have to address the weird, metal-hardcore obsession with technicality. I tend to like my punk rather less orchestrated. I’d rather dance than count time signatures. I’m crazy like that. But there’s this bizarre notion in certain musical circles that just because something is more difficult to play it’s automatically better, a kind of cult of technicality. It’s like insisting that a microchip is better than a house simply because it’s more intricate. (A microchip may be better than a house in some circumstances, but if it is it’s because of what it accomplishes, not by nature of how hard it was to make.) In short, I don’t care how difficult your music is to produce if it doesn’t make me feel anything.

Tera Melos commit similar crimes of pointless though proficient noodling, seemingly unbound by the constraints of song-writing. I’m assured by our new books intern, Jeff, that their onstage (or offstage) theatrics are something to see, but last night they mostly amounted to their busy guitar player doing a lot of goofy mugging.

Fall of Troy warmed up with bits of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today” and Nirvana, and it just made me long for bands that are able to squeeze their technical prowess into actual songs and occasionally give their virtuosity a rest for the sake of a hook.

Bright Eyes @ The Paramount

posted by on May 2 at 11:47 AM

I’ve gotta get one thing off my chest before diving into this review: The sound at the Paramount is a persistent disappointment. I’ve seen three shows there in three months, standing or sitting in a different spot each time, and the sound is always muddy and muddled. During last night’s Bright Eyes show I was seated up in the balcony and unless Conor Oberst was singing sans accompaniment, it was impossible to hear his vocals, and the horns and strings he brought stewed in an indecipherable morass. The sound system in the place is simply underpowered to fill the room. It’s a beautiful space but it’ll never be world-class until there’s a considerable investment in sound quality.

So not surprisingly, Bright Eyes’ 12-man band often sounded frustratingly flat, despite inspired playing. Dense arrangements, mimicking Casadaga, the band’s latest album, were mostly lost, but it must be said that the album itself also sinks under the weight of its overproduction. (Check out a full review here.) The show was at its clearest and full-bore rockin’-est when the extra strings and woodwinds were off-stage and the core Bright Eyes band—keys, acoustic and electric guitar, Oberst’s vocals, and drums—was left on its own, stripped down and turned up.

Continue reading "Bright Eyes @ The Paramount" »

Sticky Fingers - Sticky Fingers

posted by on May 2 at 11:10 AM

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Sticky Fingers was a Three Hats Productions (aka THP) release on Prelude records in 1978. It was produced by the fantastic team of Ian Guenther and Willi Morrison, the brains behind THP. As per usual, the album inlists the vocal talents of Phylis and Helen Duncan (aka The Duncan Sisters). If you’ve never heard of them there is a great blog entry regarding them on Tommy’s Disco Delivery site. And there’s a very sweet write-up about them over at The Disco Museum. A surprise guest on the album is the associate producer Francois Kervorkian.

This album is fantastic from start to finish, I can’t even decide which song I like best. Party Song in particular starts out as a slow funky thing, then moves on to a full on work out. But like I said, I don’t have a favorite track, ‘cause the whole damn thing is solid!

Try and listen to this thing without moving. It’s impossible.

Hear the whole import only album at my blog hear.

Pornsas – The Mystic of Black

posted by on May 2 at 10:40 AM

Minneapolis to Kansas City. There’s a lot of porn out here.

The United States has been taken over by porn.

Kansas doesn’t even exist anymore. It’s Pornsas now. Forget Al-Qaeda, schools are being turned into Adult Stores. The gels and daring neon colors are the new threat.

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I started taking pictures of condom dispensers, here are a few. My favorite is the Blackstudded: “Studded textured surface to enhance sensation with the mystic of Black.”

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“The mystic of Black.” That is so good.

And if you’re feeling the need to be exotic, the 4 – Play. Specifically designed for truckers who molested goats when they were 14. Don’t feel guilty any more, the 4 – Play will sleek your mullitude back to suave. Deflate your date and order a latte, it’s the 90’s.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

I Turn To Stone When You Are Gone

posted by on May 1 at 4:38 PM


I am definitely obsessing right now–-hard. I am obsessing over a deep feeling, an feeling that is speaking to me. It’s saying, “Ari Spool, don’t you wish you were a member of the Electric Light Orchestra?

To which I reply, “YESSSSSS PLEASE MIND MAKE IT SO I LOVE ELO SO MUCH I AM ROCKING OUT SO CRAZY RIGHT NOW AND I HAVE LOTS OF PENT UP AGRESSION THAT I NEED TO LET OUT IN A HEALTHY WAY AND I NEED TO BE LOUD AND GET INTO “LIVIN’ THING” REALLY HARD WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO AAAAHHHHHHHHH!”

And my feeling says, softly, in a whisper, “Karaoke, my dear.”

Phew. It feels so good to solve your urges.

Trumpet Still Trumping

posted by on May 1 at 12:43 PM

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Feedback for our trumpets of triumph story keeps rolling in.

John McGrew of the New Technology department of Sony BMG in New York emailed a link to his band John McGrew and the Sit Backs. The website sports a homey, stick-figure design and McGrew’s music is terrific, cabaret chamber folk with soul. Not surprisingly, there’s a strong trumpet presence, floating warm and bright above firmly-strummed acoustic guitar and bowed upright bass. I’m guessing that’s McGrew’s voice in there, strong but quivering and tender. There’s a definite throwback quality to the music, a sort of Prohibition-era ease and low-tech minimalism.

It’s quite a find. Go ahead and check out the MP3s on the site. You’ll dig.

And thanks for the link, John.

Want to Play At the Capitol Hill Block Party?

posted by on May 1 at 12:28 PM

Then this is the contest for you!

Enter The Esurance Capitol Hill Block Party’s “Block Star” Contest and get your chance to break out of the underground, get national television exposure and get on the radar of all the Seattle tastemakers. The Block Star winner will get the promotion and tools to help them take the next step in their career, or at least get their 15 minutes of fame. Woohoo!

Entries due by May 18. Bands will be selected by May 25. Showcase and final judging live at The Vera Project June 15.

*go to www.thestranger.com/blockparty/contest for more details


HOW TO ENTER: You must submit audio recording(s), bio and photo by signing up to The Stranger’s Band Pages at http://www.thestranger.com/bands . Once you sign up click the box next to “Sign me up for the Block Star Contest!”.

** If you already have a Bands Page listing, but lost your link to edit it, you can retrieve your link here - http://classifieds.thestranger.com/gyrobase/SelfPublishingResend .**

• A panel of judges from 90.3 KEXP radio, The Stranger, Mackie, 107.7 The End, and other respected music biz folks will review the submissions and choose 8 semi-finalists to play a showcase at The Vera Project June 15th.

• The judges at the Vera Showcase will pick the winner out of the group of 8 bands performing that night.

The 2007 Capitol Hill Block Star Grand Prize Package includes:

An opportunity to play the Mainstage at the Block Party
Your song featured in a nationally televised Esurance Animated commerical
A feature on your band on The Stranger’s Lineout and write up in the Stranger’s Block Party Pullout Guide
A rehearsal PA featuring TAPCO active rehearsal monitors and an FX mixer
An interview and chance to play live on 107.7 The End
More prizes to be announced soon!

- Each of the top 8 finalists will also win a Mackie software package with satellite recording interface.

Your fabulous panel of judges are:

- Jonathan Zwickel - Stranger Music Editor
- Melissa Quayle - Programming Director, The Vera Project
- Ben London - Executive Director, The PNW Chapter of The Recording Academy
- Harms - Superstar DJ - 107.7 The End
- Nat Damm - Drummer of Akimbo, Programming Director, The Old Firehouse
- DJ Hyphen - Co-Host of KUBE’s “Sunday Night Sound Session”

Whiny Baby Takeover! Waaah!

posted by on May 1 at 12:27 PM

First, Bright Eyes are playing the Paramount tonight. I saw a big bus outside the venue this morning, I bet they’re already there. Ooooh!

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Now I’m not sure if Conor Oberst is still a whiny baby, I haven’t listened to anything beyond Fevers & Mirrors except for the time I listened to Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground a couple times and decided I didn’t like it, but in my mind, despite dating Winona, despite being in every magazine everywhere right now, despite whatever music he’s currently making, he’s still a whiny baby. Sometimes I like whiny babies. It ain’t a bad thing.

Also tonight, the Fall of Troy are playing an all-ages CD release show at Atlas Clothing & Music to celebrate their new album Manipulator, which is in stores today. I wrote about the crazy trio of young men in this week’s paper (click here to read it) and the best criticism I’ve gotten so far about the piece is that I just “made them sound like whiny babies that fight all the time.”

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(Photo by Ashley Goris)

Well, they sorta are! They do fight all the time; they’re known for it. They’re mean to each other, and they purposefully wind each other up, but then they release all that frustration and passion on stage and in the studio. It’s the way they work. It’s also probably why I like them.

The show starts at 7 pm, costs $7, and the Look and Tera Melos open.

And while I’m talking about whiny babies, I’ll whine a little myself. I made a mistake, and I’m sorry. I’m a terrible person. In the aforementioned Fall of Troy piece I said their alma mater, Kamiak, was in Edmonds. I was wrong; it’s actually in Mukilteo. It has a Mukilteo address, it’s in the Mukilteo school district, but kids who have Edmonds addresses also go there. You can see how I’d get confused, yes? I’m a terrible person. I’m sorry.

Wah wah wah. Whine whine whine. Cry cry cry.

Cal Anderson Park to Have Live Music This Summer

posted by on May 1 at 12:13 PM

Here’s the schedule, which reads like a primer on the best of Seattle’s avant-garde:

June 2 Degenerate Art Ensemble
Sunship
Seattle Harmonic Voices
Figeater

July 14 Paul Rucker Small Large Ensemble
Gust Burns
Orkestar Zirkonium
Non Grata

August 4 Trio KVH featuring Wayne Horivtz, Briggan Krauss, Dylan van der Schyff
McTuff featuring Skerik, Joe Doria, Andy Coe and Dvonne Lewis)
Reptet
Deal’s Number

This line up springs from the heads of the Monktail Creative Music Concern, who put on a one day mini-festival last year. It went so well, they decided to extend the event into three days.

A Fun Way To Spend the 4th of July…

posted by on May 1 at 12:00 PM

…Would be to get really stoned and go to this:

WILLIE NELSON’S

FOURTH OF JULY PICNIC

starring Willie Nelson & Family

with special guests Son Volt, Old 97’s,

Drive By Truckers, and Amos Lee

THE GORGE AMPHITHEATRE - George, WA

Fourth Of July, 2007

I’m feeling more patriotic already! Now if only I could find a bong with the American Flag on it…

What Would Beth Ditto Do?

posted by on May 1 at 11:53 AM

Find out in her new bimonthly advice column in the Guardian. Last week, the Gossip singer tackled the question, “How do you come out to coworkers?” A sample: “What would you rather be, a cannibal or a lesbian? A lesbian? Yeah, that’s what I thought!”

Via.

Mickey Reds - Iditarod Shaker

posted by on May 1 at 10:45 AM

Live from Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, PA, it’s Mickey Reds.

Mickey plays tambourine and shaker in a band called the Tressels. He drinks, falls over, plows sound, and gets nasty. He’s the Ozzfest of tambourine players. He’s an Evil Knievel of intake and movement.

He takes the shaker to another level. The drummer also yuked at the start of the first song, but I missed it.

Long live the Tressels:

The Best of Jarvis

posted by on May 1 at 9:20 AM

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Having been fortunate enough to see Pulp at Wembley Arena back in March 1996, I felt confident Jarvis Cocker would not disappoint live at the Showbox last night. His catalog as a solo artist may be modest thus far, but his showmanship is impeccable. Sure enough, he was in fine, flailing form (and compensated for the former with the inclusion of two kickass, vinyl-only b-sides, “Big Stuff” and “One Man Show”), right down to the sing-along “Running the World” and the squalling cover of “Purple Haze” that concluded the encore.

But what I’d forgotten about Jarvis, despite chatting with him just a couple weeks ago, is how incredibly funny his between-song banter is. Last night he regaled the throng with musing about shaving foam, working as a fishmonger, the Lusty Lady, the whereabouts of Las Vegas, and the dangers of air hockey. But my favorite bit came early, when he mentioned that he’d be reading about our rise in taxi fares in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: “I didn’t know Intelligencer was a word.” Nice.

Anybody else care to share their personal highs (or lows) or lessons learned from last night’s Jarvis gig?


Monday, April 30, 2007

There Were Rumors He Was Into Field Hockey Players…

posted by on April 30 at 4:18 PM

I mean… there were rumors that USE was going to play the Comet Friday night with the Lashes and the Catch. The rumors were true. After midnight, the band played to an utterly packed house—never have I seen the Comet so full, so sweaty, so happy.

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Before the show, the crowd was chanting “U! S! E!” while the band was eagerly setting up all their gear, obviously anxious to get things started, obviously a little nervous about how it was going to go. Then they disappeared behind a curtain.

The smoke machine spit out a fog of white, a colorful disco light started turning, and the band came out from behind the curtain to thunderous cheers. They thanked the room, they said it’s been a year since they’ve done this, and then they started playing Party People.” People were smiling, dancing, clapping, and singing along—everyone appeared to be in ecstasy.

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It only lasted for about a minute, though. Literally. Because the power went out.

The room cheered (strangely), and the band regrouped, then restarted the song, and this time it only took 30 seconds for the room to go (mostly) black again. There was some laughing, there was some booing, but there was mostly alcohol-fueled happiness.

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They finally killed the smoke machine and the extra lights, and THEN the United State of Electronica made their triumphant return. Without the power outages.

Did You Miss Coachella?

posted by on April 30 at 4:13 PM

Don’t worry, Gerard vs. Bear has the recap:

The Explosion Broke Up; The Explosion Says I’m an Asshole

posted by on April 30 at 3:31 PM

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According to punknews.org, the Explosion has broken up. The band posted this message on their MySpace blog earlier today:

After nearly nine years of rocking and rolling with you all, we The Explosion have decided to disband. We would like to thank each and every one of our fans who have supported us through this time. We made some great friends along the way, a few mistakes, but all and all we had one hell of a great time doing it. Thanks again!

Now this wouldn’t usually be significant to me because, well, I don’t like the Explosion enough to care whether or not they’re around, but I also don’t hate them enough to laugh at/celebrate their demise.

I only mention it because it gives me the opportunity to share this story with you:

I once wrote about the Explosion for this paper. The U&C opened with the query “Does not liking the Explosion make me an asshole?” Then I proceeded to say “…the Explosion has always just been a punk rock cover band (even if they do write their own songs). They’re great at what they do, but what they do just ain’t great enough.”

Yeah, harsh toke, bros.

Clearly unhappy with my opinion, the band responded to my rhetorical question from the stage at their Neumo’s show that week. I wasn’t there to witness it, but a couple friends were and according to them the band had a copy of the paper on stage and they confirmed that yes, not liking the Explosion does indeed make me an asshole. People cheered.

The Explosion think I’m an asshole. The Explosion is no longer a band.

I win.

Yacht Added To LCD Soundsystem Tour

posted by on April 30 at 1:24 PM

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Awesome! As anybody who saw Yacht’s set at Club Pop this past week, or his lobby-rocking dance party at the Vera Project’s opening bash knows, Jona Bechtolt’s one-man talent show will make a fine substitute for recently denied international DFA’ers Prinzhorn Dance School and a perfect warm-up for LCD Soundsystem’s own aerobic live show.

YACHT (aka Jona Bechtolt) will launch a tour tonight in San Francisco as the opener for James Murphy’s LCD Soundsystem.

YACHT will still be playing all of his previously announced shows, except for May 11 and 12 shows in SF and LA, respectively. The CD release YACHT on a Yacht 2-part event is still taking place in Portland, OR this Saturday, Cinco de Mayo!

After the LCD tour, YACHT will continue to tour on his own and will later join up with Tussle and later Architecture in Helsinki.

MP3: “See A Penny (Pick it Up)” - YACHT

April 30 - San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine*
May 02 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox*
May 03 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore*
May 05 - Portland, OR 2 Part CD Release YACHT on a yacht party!
May 06 - Chicago, IL @ Metro*
May 07 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theater*
May 08 - Toronto, ONT @ Phoenix Concert Theater*
May 09 - Montreal, QC @ Spectrum de Montreal*
May 11 - Boston, MA @ Avalon*
May 12 - Brooklyn, NY @ Studio B*
May 13 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club*
May 14 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall*
May 15 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
May 16 - Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
May 17 - Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Saloon
May 18 - St. Louis, MO @ Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center
May 19 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Conservatory
May 20 - Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves
May 21 - Houston, TX @ Proletariat
May 22 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s ^
May 24 - Phoenix, AZ @ Modified Arts ^
May 25 - San Diego, CA @ The Che
May 26 - Upland, CA @ Baldy Brewery
May 27 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo ^
May 28 - Davis, CA @ Delta of Venus ^
May 31 - Olympia, WA @ Manium Warehouse ^
June 02 - Portland, OR @ Holocene ^
June 13 - Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s #
June 14 - Vancouver, BC @ Richards on Richards #
June 15 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom #
June 16 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365 Club #
June 18 - Pomona, CA @ Glasshouse #
June 19 - Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre #

* = w/ LCD Soundsystem
# = w/ Architecture in Helsinki
^ = w/ Tussle

Gendered T-Shirts in the Post-Riot Grrrl Era

posted by on April 30 at 1:19 PM

Erase Errata were electrifying as usual at Chop Suey this Saturday night, and I’ll have more kind words for them and Parts & Labor in my column this week, but for now an anecdote:

Adult.’s electo goth therapy session was in full swing, but I was ready to buy the t-shirt and go home (and I wasn’t alone; a good chunk of the crowd seemed to split after Erase Errata’s set), so I hit the merch table. I asked for a medium Erase Errata t-shirt. The woman behind the table rifled through the small pile and held up a shirt with an “M” on the tag. The shirt was tiny, and the sleeves looked odd—this was clearly a girl’s medium. I said it looked kind of small. She then held up a giant shirt with an “L” on the tag—clearly a men’s large. I said that one seemed kind of big, and it was back to the girl’s sizes. I gave up and bought a Parts & Labor t-shirt instead. I couldn’t bring myself to point out that there were clearly two distinct genders of t-shirt at their table, at least not over Adult.’s deafening skree. So no Erase Errata t-shirt (Parts & Labor had a better design anyway), but it was still a great show.

More on Konono

posted by on April 30 at 1:08 PM

Konono Nº1 @ Triple Door, Seattle, WA, 4/27/2007

Kurt had more knowledge of Konono Nº1 than I did going in. I went based on a verbal description and the copy on the Triple Door site. It was one of the most visceral shows I’ve seen, and while I am in full agreement on how good the show was, I felt a bit uneasy at the same time.

It felt a little odd to be seated during the performance. The music had too much life, too much energy to be contained by a venue, let alone just watched. It felt like something meant to be experienced, and even once the dancers congregated it felt far too subdued. I think it channeled my inner hippie, since I kept thinking how much more intense the experience would be outdoors, surrounded by people, crushed by the sound, the earth under my feet. Luckily the show ended before that train of thought went too far, since I don’t mind not having an affinity for drum circles.

Konono? Yes, yes, yes!

posted by on April 30 at 12:05 PM

I confess, I am very late in my discovery of Konono Nº1. I only learned of this African ensemble because they appear on the new Björk album, but my curiosity was so piqued by that collaboration that I checked out their Congotronics album, and then made sure to weasel into their show last Friday night at the Triple Door. How was it? All I can say is: Damn!

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I kept making jokes pre-show about how I was going to see a “thumb piano” gig, but there was nothing silly about it. The percussion-and-voice septet played for an hour without pause, then took a teensy-weensy break and came back for another 30 minutes. The featured female singer-dancer wore an amazing dark green dress covered in a hot pink & bright yellow chicken pattern: roosters, hens, chicks and eggs. And the best part was that the venue cleared out the first row of seating, and people got up and danced. At the Triple Door! Just a dozen or so at first, but by the end of the set the numbers had swelled to fill the whole space in front of the stage.

Jonathan was there, too, and based on our chat last night, he has prepared a more thoughtful musical analysis of the program — so I’ll let him blog his musings on that aspect of the production. I just wanted to geek out and give this amazing band the highest recommendations to anyone who has not checked them out yet.

I Can’t Wait for Sasquatch

posted by on April 30 at 11:20 AM

Here Come The Pipettes

posted by on April 30 at 3:47 AM

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Girl group revivalists The Pipettes announced last week that they’re doing a proper tour of the US, and Seattle is one of the lucky cities on the roster of dates (Vancouver’s on the list too, but no Portland date yet). Sure, the group’s act is a bit schtick-y but they’re incredibly entertaining, at least the first time you see them. Nice booking Chop Suey.

Image from flickr user TimothyCochrane.com


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Why It’s Worth It to Do Anything You Can to Get to Coachella—Sunday Report

posted by on April 29 at 6:06 PM

It’s the last day of the 2007 Coachella Valley Music Festival, and it’s still a few hours until the show’s grandest of finales, a reunion of Rage Against the Machine, but even before Rage and Manu Chao and Willie Nelson and Damien Rice make their contributions, it’s time to give credit for the best festival in the world.

I’ve just left a mind-blowing hour and half performance by Rodrigo and Gabriela. If you don’t know them, they’re a phenomenal two-piece acoustic act from Mexico. That sells them short, but… well, you have to see them. Today, they explained that they’re products of the Mexico City thrash metal scene. Combine thrash metal with jazz and blues and a complete reinvention of how to play the guitar so that you get a percussion set that blows Lars out of the water, and an understanding of melody crossing Jimmie Page with Carlos Santana, and you’re on the way to understanding the appeal.

Today I also witnessed, on a small stage, a band I’d never heard of before, the Avett Brothers, who have taken up the mantel from Neutral Milk Hotel and Bright Eyes, added still more intelligence, and put together a three-piece wonder outfit.

I will ease up on the narrative of today. The other blog entries were excerpts of notes I’m taking for an article in The Reykjavik Grapevine, the world’s best tiny newspaper. I will say that now is a good time to stop taking notes. The crowd so far has been polite and fanatic and just the right times, but as the Rage show approaches, and I see kids with shirts that say Rage on the front, THE BATTLE OF COACHELLA on the back, I get an icky sensation. Best to stop now, with Rodrigo and Gabriela doing to rock what Guillermo del Toro did to film, with an unknown band, with the Roots putting on a decent show, and with the sun about to set.

In 103 Degrees, Less Jibba Jabba, More Rock: Coachella Saturday Report

posted by on April 29 at 12:59 PM

At 5 pm, Hot Chip was blaring through an outstanding set in a tent called Mojave, packed with thousands of shirtless 20-somethings, absolutely every one of them dancing, and not in the reserved head bob concert manner, but full goofy splendor, and at about that time, I fell down. Okay, I kind of slumped in a corner. I never lost consciousness, but I got to the point where I had to leave one of the better concerts of the year.

I called a friend to acknowledge my shame, and was told that it was 103 degrees, my sickness was understandable. 103 degrees at 5 pm.

Given that astoundingly difficult fact, something Regina Spektor took pains to apologize for as she began her set on the unshielded main stage, it is a testament to the crowd and organizers that nothing went horribly wrong. These have been the safest concerts I have ever attended, not because the music put people to sleep, but mostly due to one virtue I didn’t know was so prominent: outrageously good manners. As Win Butler, the singer of Arcade Fire, said in his parting compliment to the festival, the crowd had been very polite, a good Canadian virtue, and followed it with this axiom: “Manners are the cornerstone of a strong, prosperous society.” Good manners allowed thousands to dance together and take in the best performances of the festival without incident.

Manners are a complicated thing though. I thought, for example, that Jason Lee, Earl of My Name is Earl, and all the other celebrity fans of the Black Keys demonstrated outstanding manners by fleeing their backstage seats and taking over, however briefly, the photographer’s pit to enjoy the pride of Akron, Ohio. They were universally asked to leave the pit by a security staff that seemed non-plussed by their celebrity status, but for there was something remarkable in seeing famous type people show unbridled enthusiasm, to say nothing of the respect I felt for the posse after one of them sported this reporter a couple cold beers.

Okay, I mentioned the famous people, kind of. (If you want photos, log on to www.coacheelovesyou.com to see stunning photos by Biff, this ridiculously hard working artist and photographer with method to his madness.) This is a blog, so I should talk famous people. I should also say that Ghostface Killah swore that Cameron Diaz was in the crowd. He shouted this to the audience as he was requesting that some women get on stage and dance, explaining that “usually get girls up here and get them to show their titties, but we’re not going to do that here, unless you want us to.”

Anyway, that’s the gossip crap, now about the music, the concerts that make this festival so outstanding. Regina Spektor, from her opening pitch perfect a cappela number through a charming performance which demonstrated, even when her sometimes slightly overly precious and cute lyrics grated, that as a performer, as a singer, musician and personality, she belongs on the biggest stage. I saw her show after an easy-going if unoriginal opening set from Icelandic and English band Fields, an enthusiastic but not particularly memorable set from The Cribs, and a disastrous set from Fountains of Wayne, who can write a tight song and rhyme in any genre, but who probably should sell said songs to other bands for performances. Regina Spektor, then, saved the afternoon and suggested how good the evening would get.

More in extended entry…

Continue reading "In 103 Degrees, Less Jibba Jabba, More Rock: Coachella Saturday Report" »

Fan of Goblin?

posted by on April 29 at 10:00 AM

Then go here to check out a rare, out-of-print sweet Italo-Disco track by Claudio Simonetti. Part of a month of Italo Sundays!