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Archives for 05/20/2007 - 05/26/2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I Have Danced to the Hold Steady, I Have Fallen in Love With the Blow, and I Almost Stepped on Michael Showalter

posted by on May 26 at 7:00 PM

Sorry, Mr. Showalter, I didn’t see you sitting there in the grass. Can I hold the purppy?

Somewhere off in the horizon, I can vaguely hear Sarah Silverman talking about taking a piss in the Long Winter’s bathroom. And now I can hear John Roderick crooning.

As suspected, today has been a whirlwind of trying to see as many artists as possible while weaving through the maze of ridiculously ugly shoes (honestly, I don’t understand why so many people where these!) and even uglier tattoos.

Regardless, I have managed to have a great time so far, having caught the Hold Steady, the Blow, Mirah, Two Gallants, Visqueen, and some other stuff here and there that I can’t remember because the sun has cooked my brain.

The Hold Steady were fantastically fun. I could only imagine how amazing it would be to see the band in a tighter, sweatier, dancier, and smaller club, and my imagination promises it’d be awesome. See, I missed them when they played the Croc many, many months ago, and they were the one and only band I absolutely had to see this weekend because I love them oh so much. So while seein’ ‘em here in blazing daylight with about 5,000 feet of security barricades separating us certainly isn’t the same as a sticky and intimate nightclub, it was still a helluva show.

Not only did the keyboardist look dapper in his nice black slacks and matching vest (in 80 degree weather, no less), but he’s also the proud owner of the best mustache I’ve seen today (or ever, for that matter). Singer Craig Finn also had the best dance moves of the day. So far, at least, Bjork hasn’t played yet.

Here’s a video of them playing “First Night,” one of my favorites on their latest album. Sounds not the greatest, but it’ll do.

The yellow security shirts will haunt me for now and forever. Sorry I couldn’t avoid getting shots of the wall o’ men in there.

The Blow was next, and they, I mean she, I mean Khaela Maricich was absolutely charming with her funny monologues about unrequited love, boys who yell at girls while driving by them, and other random but amusing topics. I was comforted by the fact that she two wonders why some boys never call even if it seems like they really like you. It’s so hard being a girl…

It was just her on stage, singing the songs to the pre-recorded beats, but she was still endearing and entertaining. And actually, I take back what I said about Finn having the greatest dance moves… the Blow wins.

Mirah, backed by a drums, an accordian, and a cello, was adorable and in fine form, but she was far too quiet and I could hardly enjoy the set over the chatterboxes in the crowd and all the other music the was bleeding into the area.

I was also surprised that I liked the Two Gallants as much as I did. Sorta a drunken Ted Leo meets an even drunker Pogues sound. Jonathan has said enough about them, though, yes? Yes. Nice boys, great music, and who knew they’d actually bring out a third Gallant?

And now, in the background, I hear a little of both Aqueduct and the Long Winters… that’s a weird mashup.

I’m gonna go find more shitty tattoos.

2/3 Gallants

posted by on May 26 at 5:40 PM

Just finished a great interview with punk folk blues duo Two Gallants. Kelly O got it all on tape—watch for the video here on Line Out coming soon.

Just a taste:

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A Demonstration of Fun

posted by on May 26 at 3:27 PM

Conditions couldn’t be more perfect out here at the Gorge for the sixth annual Sasquatch! Music Festival. It’s 70-something degrees, high clouds are gauzing out the sun, and a beautiful breeze continually kicks up at the perfect moment.

The first of those came at during the final song of the Slip’s 1 pm set, as the Boston trio segued into “Children of December,” one of their signature tunes. Almost indie, almost jammy, it’s a beautiful composition that allows singer Andrew Barr’s vocals to shine on some sweetly sentimental lyrics. Maybe it was just the cool breeze, but I was attacked by a suddun rush of goosebumps: blue sky, good friends, gorgeous music, total contentment. The Slip are one of those bands that you either have a soft spot for or don’t; after following their musical evolution for the last few years, I definitely do.

First set of the day for me was the Saturday Knights at the main stage, where the hometown homeboys ran laps and ran the crowd. “This will be a demonstration of fun,” was Tilson’s introduction. He, Barfly, and Suspense were joined by a (new?) guitarist and banged out a few from their EP and a bunch of new numbers. Sample trainspotting netted a snippet from the Bar-Kay’s bass rumbler “Holy Ghost,” the Pixie’s “Where Is My Mind,” and the guitar line from “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago. Nice. More than hiphop or rock, I hear TSK as finely-crafted pop music—all la-la-la’s and catchy choruses—and for an opening set their party-hearty upbeatitude was just right.

Just caught Two Gallants wreck the Wookie Stage. Wasn’t sure how their punk folk blues, so perfectly suited to dark bars and basements, would translate to a sunny outdoor stage, but as Eric Grandy noted, they’ve got a hobo kinda vibe, and hobos have no choice but to play outside. The band was, as usual, riveting, consistently one of my favorite live acts. They were joined onstage by a third Gallant, Blood Brother Cody Votolato, rocking a mean tambourine. They previewed “Seems Like Home to Me” from their new EP (Oh shit! The Saturday Knights have entered the media trailer—Barfly with beer in hand, Tilson “walking on gold” in some snazzy-ass gilded Nikes. That’s how you make an entrance.) that blended into an older fan favorite “Steady Rollin’.” Both songs rock with that beer-swinging, broken-hearted blues that the Gallants do so well. In the midst of “Steady Rollin” singer Adam Stephens threw in a new verse, “If you go to Houston, you best walk right,” a nod to the band’s run-in with the law during a show there. Following Stephens’ masked smiles and drummer Tyson Vogel’s Animal-style drumming, “My Baby’s Gone” closed out the hard-hitting set, an unrecorded track from way back in the band’s catalog. The crowd ate it up.

Only four hours in and it’s already been a phenomenal day. The Gorge is an epic setting for a festival like this. The grounds aren’t too big and arent’ too small and the backdrop behind the main stage—the Columbia River Gorge opening up in a massive, grand vista—is breathtaking.

Speaking of, time to catch some Neko Case over there at the main stage. Rock on!

Put Your Hands Up For Detroit! - DEMF Day 0

posted by on May 26 at 10:34 AM

I got into Detroit yesterday for my annual pilgrimage to the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. For those of you that question the relevance of a Detroit-centric event to a Seattle audience, know that the DEMF is one of the largest electronic music festivals in all of North America, akin to a beat-centric South by SouthWest. Europe is a whole other beast with its festivals, but even compared to events like Sonar, DEMF holds its own, as a great opportunity to see legends (Jeff Mills, Moodymann) and rising talent (Booka Shade, Gui Boratto).

The official festivities start today, but as is always the case, it’s incredibly easy (and almost imperative) to hit the ground running. After a quick nap and food after landing, I hit up one of the festival pre-parties last night. Kooky Scientist was willing it in front of a Neumos-sized crowd, far more impressive than his last Seattle stop (although to be fair, that was as Fred Gianelli, not the Kooky Scientist). Tim Xavier did the same, proving that boom-click minimal techno can drive people wild if that’s what they’re up for. Imagine a club audience like Trinity’s getting down to the geekiest of beats and you’ll come close to last night’s reality. The music closed out with NYC’s Derek Plaslaiko moving things into faster, harder territory. A friend questioned whether it was going to be like this all weekend. Yes, it is. That’s why I come back every year.

More as the weekend progresses. For now, here’s a video for my theme song for the last few months as the DEMF has approached (doesn’t look like any Detroit I’ve managed to see).


Friday, May 25, 2007

Neko’s Naughty Knickers!

posted by on May 25 at 4:45 PM

Pretty lady Neko Case’s skivvies are up on the auction block over on Ebay! How hot is that? Winner takes the ’50s era bustier *AND* a beautiful 8 x 10 color photo by pretty lady, Seattle photographer Victoria Renard.

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Partial proceeds from this sale will go to Greyt Expectations Greyhound Rescue in honor of Neko’s own rescued greyhound….

The Smiths - “Paint A Vulgar Picture”

posted by on May 25 at 3:35 PM

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Trying to pick a favorite Smiths song is pretty much impossible, so the whole (This Week) caveat to our Best Song Ever category is a lifesaver. (This Week) the best Smiths song, and indeed Best Song Ever, is “Paint a Vulgar Picture” from the band’s final album, Strangeways, Here We Come.

Musically, it’s maybe not the Smiths’ most adventurous or groundbreaking song, but it has its moments. The lone hand clap and guitar solo after the first mention of “those ugly new houses” is gorgeous and every bit as evocative of that place/state of mind as are Morrissey’s lyrics. The drums—restrained as always with the Smiths—are just right, and Andy Rourke’s (underrated) bass is rubbery and agile. Johnny Marr’s guitar work is simple and elegant, bright and jangly as always.

Lyrically, though, the song is genius, a bittersweet rumination on the nature of pop stardom/fandom. This song was my first encounter with the concepts of “meta” and lyrical self-reference (“if it fails to recoup well then maybe/you just haven’t earned it yet, baby”), and was quite possibly the first time I’d ever heard someone say (let alone sing) the word “sycophantic.” There’s something great about how Morrissey subtly switches roles from naive fan to knowing pop star to fly on the wall at the “record company party” from one verse to the next. The line, “So in my bedroom in those ugly new houses I danced my legs down to the knees” has to be the most heartbreaking examination of lonely music geekery I’ve ever heard, expressing the kind of impossible longing that only a fan-club president can really appreciate. “Me and my true love will never meet again” is Moz at his wonderfully maudlin, eternally teenage romantic best.

Best. Song. Ever. (This Week.)

Easy to See Your Friends Down Here Under the Sea

posted by on May 25 at 2:50 PM

Japanther, DD/MM/YYYY, Little Party & the Bad Business, Sam Rousso Soundsystem - the Vera Project - 5/24/07

The Vera Project’s “Under the Sea” anti-prom was a blast. Kids came decked out in thrifted formal wear, pirate costumes, and fake cement boots; there were snacks and punch and Polaroid prom photos; and the entertainment was way better than the (probably KUBE-affiliated) DJ at my prom. Sam Rousso Soundsystem actually managed to get sober people dancing before 10:00 p.m., which is pretty fucking rare. Nice one, Sam.

I missed all but the last song of Little Party & the Bad Business, but I’m sure their set was the usual high-energy pop workout. They have a new song called “DFM,” which stands for “Do it for Me” (as opposed to “Do It Yourself”), which sounds like it could be pretty funny, in LP&BB’s typically tongue-in-cheek style. Little Party’s Casey Catherwood tells me that the band just recorded their debut with a full band—they’ve thus far just keys, vox, and drum machines—and he says their live band will soon expand to include drums, guitar, bass, horns, and possibly even a drum line. Sounds like fun.

DD/MM/YYYY were a pleasant surprise. The Toronto five-piece alternated between nerdy prog and propulsive rhythmic jams (there’s a difference), switching roles on drums, bass, guitar, keys, and vocals, and frequently incorporating multiple simultaneous singers or drummers on any given song. While changing strings, their drummer (at the time) delivered a monologue about Mr T cereal, with heavy allusions to the open Rube Goldberg contraption sequence of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. Their sometimes singer dedicated a soprano sax solo to Kenny G. Their keyboardist skateboarded into the backstage after their set. They were pretty cool.

I have to say that I was nervous about Japanther. Their last time through town (at the truly awful downtown YMCA’s make-shift venue) was probably the least fun Japanther set I’d ever seen, and I was really hoping they’d redeem that lackluster performance tonight, and they totally did. The took the floor—oh yeah, all the bands played on the floor tonight, with Sam Rousso Soundsystem towering above them onstage—wearing suit jackets and no shirts, but the suit jackets didn’t last long. Ian Vanek goaded the crowd into dancing and professed his love for Seattle, the Punkin House (RIP), and the Vera Project in between songs. The first half of their set was devoted to almost entirely new material—the band plans to release a new record in September—and it only ended up being the first half because the crowd’s demand for an encore spurred Japanther into playing another half dozen or so songs including classics “1-10,” “Evil Earth,” “Claudia’s Symptoms,” and “The Gravy.” It wasn’t the best Japanther show I’d ever seen—it’s hard to compete with the Punkin House bills they shared with Dalmatians (RIP) or This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb—but it was fun, the crowd was great, and it totally made up for that last so-so show. I love the Vera Project, and I’m glad they’re getting shows like this Japanther and Lightning Bolt, but I’d still love to see these bands play a cramped basement or a street corner again.

Gyrational

posted by on May 25 at 2:47 PM

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Motor – The ominous, pounding, electro duo from London, emits solid sounds. Their May 22nd release of Unhuman will favorably enhance any dance floor or listening experience in a sinister and rhythmic way.

Think T. Raumschmiere, LCD, & Trans Am.

Gyrational is Motor’s tank that hovers and destroys dance and floors and targets of range.

Battles, “Atlas”

posted by on May 25 at 2:02 PM

The odds are against this video on this day:

A. It’s a warm afternoon the Friday before a three-day weekend. You should be playing hooky outside.

and

B. This video’s been out a few months already.

That said, you gotta watch this shit. If you’re unfamiliar with Battles, the post-meta double-helix droid rock supergroup, time to dig in. I’m currently writing a review of their debut Mirrored and that ridiculous hyphen-fest above is the best I’ve come up with to describe their sound. It’s pure awesome, and the video is proof. So even though it’s unlikely anyone will see this today, it must be posted.

Tommie Sunshine’s Secret

posted by on May 25 at 12:33 PM

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“You know what the secret to hair is? Don’t wash it.”

My Sasquatch Watch Schedule

posted by on May 25 at 12:07 PM

We’re all going to Sasquatch this weekend to bask in the desert sun (I hope I get 10,000 more freckles!). I’m making a music watching wish list (you always miss something you were going to see by running into an old friend and chatting outside the port-a-johns for a half hour or wanting to get food but the line is a mile long or falling asleep in the grass). Sometimes it’s really hard to decide what to see, as well. Here it is!

Saturday
Blitzen Trapper on the Yeti Stage at noon
Saturday Knights on the Mainstage at 12:45
(food/walking around break)
Two Gallants on the Wookie Stage at 2:30
Can’t Decide Alert!: Should I stay at the Wookie Stage and see Electrelane or go back to the Yeti Stage to see Viva Voce? I’m probably going to choose Electrelane because I haven’t seen them since they played at Vera with the Ex and that show blew my mind.
Mirah on the Yeti Stage at 5:25
Grizzly Bear on the Wookie Stage at 5:50
Manu Chao, Arcade Fire, and Björk on the Mainstage starting at 7:35

Sunday
St. Vincent on the Wookie Stage at noon
Mix Master Mike on the Mainstage at 12:50
Patrick Wolf on the Wookie Stage at 2:20
(EXTENDED LIE IN THE GRASS BREAK)
Tokyo Police Club on the Wookie Stage at 4:45
(GOING WHEREVER THE WIND TAKES ME, BUT HOPEFULLY AWAY FROM THE DANDY WARHOLS)

What are you guys up to? (This includes the other staff!)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Another Eric Howk Benefit

posted by on May 24 at 3:26 PM

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If These Walls Could Shut the Hell Up

posted by on May 24 at 3:15 PM

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Apparat -Walls

Ellen Allien & Apparat’s Orchestra of Bubbles was one of my favorite albums of last year, a happy wedding of Allien’s vocal techno, Apparat’s refined glitch, and an unexpected bevy of acoustic (or faux-acoustic) instrumentation. So I was thrilled (a little Ellen Allien humor) to hear the same warm acoustics, bright strings, and tinkling synths on “Not A Number”, the kick off of Apparat’s new Shitkatapult album, Walls. And then I listened to the album’s second track, “Hailin From The Edge.”

Vocals aren’t really a new sonic element for Apparat (aka Shitkatapult founder Sascha Ring)—he’s been incorporating them since at least the Sizilium EP, and even scored Bubbles only great pop song with “Leave Me Alone.” But Walls guest vocalist Raz Ohara pulls a kind of Jamie Lidell-esque future soul on songs like “Hailin From the Edge,” “Holdon,” and “Over and Over,” and it doesn’t really do the album many favors. The trite (or possibly just ESL) spoken word and overwrought torch singing on “Over and Over” are especially difficult.

The vocals aren’t all bad. Ring’s falsetto on “Arcadia” fades in and out of the song’s ethereal mix to great effect, “Limelight” effectively cuts and warps voice a la Bubbles’ “Do Not Break”, and “You Don’t Know Me” contains some ghostly moans that I’m still not sure are human. Even Ohara’s restrained speak/singing and soaring chorus are a nice touch on the joyously erupting “Headup” (the quasi-rapping of the song’s conclusion, maybe less so). And the instrumental tracks—”Useless Information,” “Fractales pt. I & II”—are the gorgeous, of course, more of the kind of next-level mini-symphonies that are going to cost Shitkatapult its “bad” name. But, man, when the vocals are bad, they mar what would otherwise be a totally brilliant record and Apparat’s finest solo record to date.

Your Final (and Probably First) Blue Mood

posted by on May 24 at 3:02 PM

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I don’t know this Tom LG character, but based on this description of his DJ playlist tonight, I should have taken the time to meet him before he says farewell to Seattle. It’s your last chance to hear him in town, and the music sounds like it’s going to be pretty amazing.

You won’t be let down. discover the original jungle, the deep dark roots of techno 30 years before it’s conception… I play all original 1950’s 45s & LPs of black rocknroll, jungle jive, rhythm & blues, jump blues, rockabilly, western swing and crazy shit you’ve never even thought existed!!

KEXP on SoundExchange’s Webcasting Ruling

posted by on May 24 at 2:05 PM

As I said in this post, the future of many webcasters is up in the air. The Copyright Royalty Board has raised the rates to stratospheric heights, and even though SoundExchange, the non-profit collecting these fees, has agreed to charge smaller webcasters less, there are still the questions of definition (How small is small? Do large conglomerates owning many small webcasters get charged the small webcasting fee for each? What if a webcaster goes viral and suddenly expands in listenership but not revenue? Why do small webcasters get penalized just for expanding and getting good at what they do?).

KEXP issued this statement today about the SoundExchange offer, which is not extended to KEXP since it is a public radio station:

“This gesture doesn’t reduce any of the financial burden the CRB decision brings to KEXP. And it does nothing to address the non-commercial status of public radio. We’re not opposed to paying royalties. Public radio has been paying them all these years. We are, however, opposed to 30 to 50-fold increases in rates. Unless we bring about a change, this blows a frightenly large hole in our budget. And as a non-profit, public service radio station which tirelessly connects artists to their first audiences, and which directly drives record sales, this is simply very discouraging.”


I also asked Tom Mara of KEXP a couple of questions about the real impact of the rulings:

How will this ruling affect you guys, and what will you do if it doesn’t get revised?

KEXP will incur a significant financial burden from this ruling. While we’re a public service mission driven organization we’re also marketdependent. To counteract the impact of this ruling, KEXP would likely cut back on current services and delay or kill the launch of programming or online initiatives. This abruptly constrains our work. We will do whatever we can to overcome this alarming CRB ruling so that we may continue enabling as many people as possible to discover and experience the wide and deep array of music we champion.



Will you have to stop broadcasting on the internet?

No, but as mentioned above, we may need to make cuts to current services and new initiatives. KEXP expects that the additional expenses that will be incurred from this decision will reach the six-figure range in approximately one year. And this amount steeply increases year-to-year as the rate climbs steeply year-to-year.



What are you doing to get the word out about supporting the revision acts in Congress, especially as a 501(c)3 that can’t lobby or anything?

We have a page on KEXP.ORG (informing our listeners about the CRB ruling, both the Senate and House bills (Internet Radio Equality Act, H.R. 2060 and S. 1353) as well as various websites that are providing current information surrounding this important issue, including the public broadcasting advocacy site, www.tellthempublicmatters.org We’re updating this section as things develop.

If You’re Into Citizen Cope or Soulive

posted by on May 24 at 1:28 PM

You can get free tickets to Monday’s invite-only show at the Showbox by drinking a drink or eating some food at the Showbox’ adjacent bar, the Green Room, tomorrow night.

Always trying to hook you up with free shit, fair reader.

Eric and Encarnación @ the Capitol Club

posted by on May 24 at 1:00 PM

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Better to have love and lost than never loved at all, blah blah blah. It’s still sad to know that my first flamenco show at the Capitol Club will also be my last.

Eric Jaeger and Encarnación —married for four years, flamenco partners for six—have been playing the Capitol Club every Tuesday for three years running. New managment has decided they’d rather have DJs playing background music than a serious floor show, so the couple played their final set to a rapt, packed room this past Tuesday. I’m certainly no flamenco expert, but I appreciate the form, and these two were mesmerizing.

Jaeger’s chops apparently come from his former life as axe-slinger in a heavy metal band. Watching him deftly pluck and violiently strum at his soft-stringed guitar was like watching a passionate argument where both sides know they’re right. His solo weren’t foot-on-the-amp style—they were much more technical and tightly composed—but there was no question about the aggressive lead his guitar played.

Encarnación, meanwhile, couldn’t have been more stunning. Barcelona born and bred, she flexed rough, husky vocals, dark and soulful and full of longing. She sat most of the time, eyes closed, accenting Jaeger’s lead with her own rhythm guitar, clapping along with the traditional flamenco palmas, and sending her voice into wounded, willful fluctuations. And when she stood and began to dance, stomping out complex rhythms with heavy heels, swinging her ruffled red dress like a cape… Man, that’s the stuff of dreams.

Hot with early summer humidity, flickering with candlelight, rustic and intimate and dimly lit, the Capitol Club felt as Mediterranean as Seattle can get. Early on, a fire truck roared by on Pine Street. The sound of its siren wailed up through the open window, mingling with Encarnación’s voice, a whiplash of modern across this rooted, traditional sound—a pristine moment. Later, Encarnacion brought up a pair of young girls who danced with her and busted out castanets for a dizzying rhythmic accompaniment.

Flamenco is the blues of Spain, and there are centuries of history, nuance, and inflection—not to mention soul—in its evocative tones. If you’ve ever been to Spain, hearing the music is an instant flashback. And even if you haven’t, flamenco is a raw and powerful expression from a proud culture.

So maybe if aficionados rally hard enough Capitol Club won’t genericize and replace something special and unique like flamenco with a DJ—just what the Hill doesn’t need. For now you can catch Eric, Encarnación, and vocalist Vasilli playing flamenco every Wednesday at Ibiza in Pioneer Square. Their full band, Children of the Revolution, play the Mural Amphitheater at Folklife on Friday, May 25. It’s a free show.

Lindstrom and Prins Thomas Essential Mix

posted by on May 24 at 12:50 PM

…can be found here!

And for those fans of Prins Thomas, he will be hosting bumrocks.com all next week!

I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Kevin Sawka - Captain of Crunch

posted by on May 24 at 11:27 AM

Today, Kevin KJ Sawka takes us on a tour of his drum kit. It is sick and hybrid. Sawka played last night at Neumo’s with Amon Tobin.

Kevin Sawka is a freak of drum ‘n’ bass and breakbeat nature. He’s a lover of all things MIDI. The set-up is Mission Control. Electronics and drums are one. Kevin bionically operates gear and plays drums at the same time.

His new album, Cyclonic Steel, is set for release on Wax Orchard Records. Kevin also talks about breakfast cereal, his favorite color, and checking email during his set.

For further dissection of Sawka’s kit and game, check this previous Stranger feature, Circus Contraption.




Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lifesavas Tour Diary: Evolution Happens

posted by on May 23 at 4:10 PM

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This is the first installment of a tour diary written by Seattle’s DJ Marc Sense, who’s on the road with Portland luminaries Lifesavas—MCs Vursatyl and Jumbo and DJ Rev. Shines—for five weeks.

Six days into the tour ya boy is tired, but with plenty of stories to tell. You’l get an inside look at life on the road with Quannum recording artists Lifesavas, plus everything else associated with the tour. At the very least it should entertain and provide some distinct insight into four hiphop heads and their experiences.

Monday, May 14 - Minneapolis

Unquestionably, Rhymesayers runs the independent hiphop game in this era. To figure out why, you have to visit the crew’s headquarters, which includes the record store Fifth Element, a basement warehouse, and offices upstairs. Economic efficiency at its best. But the real engine lies in the personnel that operate the grassroots company.

During Lifesavas’ in-store performance, the likes of Slug of Atmosphere, Siddiq (Rhymesayers co-founder), Kevin Beacham (Scribble Jam organizer), and J-Bird (Rhymesayers vice president) all came down to check things out. That core group has worked together as crew for over seven years and as peers for much longer. Their loyalty to one another and the label’s artists has pushed them to the top spot in the independent hiphop game.

Wednesday, May 16 - Chicago

J-Dilla’s impact on hiphop music runs so deep. Lifesavas’ good friend Ben took us out for a late dinner of tapas, which hit the spot. But as good as the food tasted, the guys lit up when we got back to his spot and they discovered his 500+ songs produced by Dilla, including many unreleased beat tapes. And when I say tapes, I mean literally cassettes with reels.

Shines mentioned that he had quite a few of them that had somehow gotten lost. So when Ben had some of those same beats it took Shines back to his brief stay in Connecticut in the late 1990s. One of the tracks sounded quite familiar to my ear, since One Be Lo had recorded a song over it. Even Vursatyl, whose main duty is rocking the mic, collects Dilla-produced vinyl.

Continue reading "Lifesavas Tour Diary: Evolution Happens" »

All Out of Love?

posted by on May 23 at 3:50 PM

Walking through Reservoir Park today, I saw this:

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Someone had thrown away an Air Supply Greatest Hits cassette.

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I know Air Supply is a little past their prime, and cassettes have become slightly outdated, but this is no way to treat a collection of songs that gave you its all. This tape played and played for you. This tape tried.

“Lost in Love”, “All Out of Love”, and “The One that You Love” were big in their day. Russell Hitchcock and Graham Russell sang their hearts out. They sold millions of copies.

I rescued the cassette and though a little sad, it’s doing ok.

“Here I am, the one that you love, asking for another chance.”

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It’s Hump Day

posted by on May 23 at 3:25 PM

And now we will dance to Digital Underground.

Hiphop @ Sasquatch

posted by on May 23 at 3:21 PM

We had a great Sasquatch guide in last week’s print edition of The Stranger but I was a little disappointed to see that none of the great hiphop acts performing this weekend got any shine. And no, the Beastie Boys don’t count.

Gabriel Teodros, showcasing the softer side of Seattle hip hop, is performing on the Yeti stage at 1PM on Saturday and Common Market is there Sunday at (huh huh) 4:20. If you go see Polyphonic Spree instead of Common Market, you’re a chump.

On Sunday, get your ass to the mainstage at 12:50 to see Mix Master Mike, formerly of the Invisibl Skratch Pikls, perform some of the most accessible turntablism ever. He’s the only thing still (if ever) interesting going on with the Beastie Boys.
After MMM, stick around at the mainstage for Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel aka Blackalicious. Gab is a lyrical technician and should not be missed.

Now, a clip of Gab rocking the mic alongside Tom Green:

Lead Singer Of Blueboy Dead

posted by on May 23 at 1:58 PM

There really should be a R.I.P. category.

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Singer Keith Girdler died May 15th after a struggle of a few years with cancer. Keith was lead singer of a number of early ‘90’s British indie bands. My favorite was Blueboy.

If you’re a fan of The Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars, late Pastels and early Belle and Sebastian, then you can here Keith’s influence in those bands.

There’s a beautiful obit written by his friend, Richard Preece, here.

If you’d like to sample my favorite Blueboy song click the link below. Another voice lost to time and death. It’s very aptly named.

Blueboy - Melancholia

The New Smashing Pumpkins Song: Unremarkable

posted by on May 23 at 1:25 PM

Dear Billy Corgan,

We learned by listening to Gish, and again by listening to Siamese Dream, that you were a badass guitar shredder—you love the guitar solo, you love the guitar, we’ve loved you for that.

So why, then, with your new song “Trantula,” do you have to shove the guitar down our fucking throats? There’s way too much wankery here, dude. Way too much. We got it 10 years ago. Now it just looks/sounds desperate.

Sincerly,
Megan

The song is currently on YouTube. Check it out before they take it down (and ignore the montage of Billy’s bald head).

Common Market & Grayskul Join Noise for the Needy

posted by on May 23 at 10:34 AM

Saturday, June 9th
Chop Suey
Common Market
Grayskul
+ Special Guest
$10avd/ $10 dos

Noise for the Needy, a Seattle-based non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for charitable causes through live music, announces updates to this year’s annual music festival to benefit Seattle’s Rise n Shine. NFTN will host a different evening of music at venues around town each night from June 5-10.

Common Market and Grayskul have now joined the lineup, adding a performance on Saturday, June 9th at Chop Suey in Seattle. Other participating artists include Okkervil River, Sera Cahoone, CSS, The Handsome Family, The Cops, Thee Emergency, The Whore Moans, Das Llamas, The Lights, Matt and Kim, Bonde do Role, Feral Children, Wintergreen, Foscil, Department of Energy, Forthcity DJs and many more. Participating venues include Neumos, Tractor Tavern, Comet Tavern, Sunset Tavern, The Funhouse, Nectar, Chop Suey and more. The full week’s lineup to date is attached. Advance tickets for most shows are now available through the website.

Noise for the Needy will also feature its second annual online auction this year. Items up for bid include: opening slots at venues, studio recording time, 6 guest list spots at the Comet Tavern, High Dive, and Sunset Tavern. Also Mac n Cheese twice a month for a year at Blackbird Bistro in West Seattle. Bidding begins on May 30th. This is another great way to donate to our cause and show your support for Noise for the Needy. For a full list of auction items, go to: http://www.noisefortheneedy.org

Don’t Quit Your Day-Job, John Mayer

posted by on May 23 at 10:30 AM

No wait, do quit your day-job. Just don’t start doing this instead:

Doff of the hat to Brooklyn Vegan


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gross!

posted by on May 22 at 5:57 PM

Smashing Pumpkins Reveal Members

Stay classy, Spin Magazine.

Beastie Boys to Play Pre-Squatch Show at the Croc

posted by on May 22 at 4:08 PM

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The rumors are true: The Beastie Boys are playing a show this Friday night at the Crocodile. Tickets go on sale at 5 pm today at Ticketmaster online. They cost $25—not bad at all—and the show is all-ages.

The scene will be a total zoo, I’m sure, and I’d venture that the Boys will do a short set of their new instrumentals. But damn, it’ll be fun as hell. I saw them play a fan club-only set in Santa Cruz in October of last year—700 people, sold-out minutes after tickets went on sale—and they killed it. Tickets will be hard to come by but probably worth the effort.

UPDATE: Tickets actually go on sale tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Ticketmaster.com.

DOUBLE UPDATE: According to an anonymous source, the Beastie Boys’ contract rider requires “an obscene amount” of almond butter.

Georgetown Music Fest

posted by on May 22 at 3:08 PM

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The second annual Georgetown Music Fest goes down Saturday June 2 and Sunday June 3.

All reports from last year’s event were positive—great bands, cool locale, manageable crowd. This year’s is nearly twice the size, with two outdoor stages, two indoor, and 47 bands spread across all four. Tickets cost $12.50 presale or $15 at the gate per day.

Seattle: Support block parties! Festivals like this one are what make a city a city, that give a place an identity of its own.

“Dinosaur Who?”

posted by on May 22 at 2:45 PM

Sean Nelson is on KUOW talking about Dinosaur Jr right now.

Sally Oldfield

posted by on May 22 at 1:07 PM

Sally Oldfield is the sister of multi-instrumentalist and mega-star Mike Oldfield (he of Tubular bells fame).

She started her musical life in a group with her brother called Sallyangie. Together they released a single acid folk album on the Transatlantic label in 1968. It is esentially an album of fairytale thoughts and dreams of a young teenage girl. It should be noted that Mike was roughly 16 when the album was released. It’s gained some favor recently with the whole freak-folk genre explosion, because of it’s trippy lyrics and even trippier vocal delivery from Sally.

Her vocal tremelo, along the lines of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s, is pretty intense at times, though her delivery is less strident and more willowy. The two of them were pretty big fans and occasional friends of Pentangle, hence the recruitment of Terry Cox on some rhythm elements throught the album. Outside that most of the album is performed solely by Sally and Mike.

The duo split due to artistic differences, most likely Sally wanted to keep writing and singing hippy inspired medieval folk, while Mike, obviously, wanted to use his talents for more intriguing music in the prog realm. For whatever reason it took Sally until 1975 to hook up with Mike again on his solo album Ommadawn.

In 1978 Sally finally came out with her first solo project, Water Bearer. I’m so glad she took the time, because the album starts off a trilogy of work for her that is absolutely stunning. Fitting nicely within the categories of Folk, Prog and possibly even proto-New Age.

Water Bearer really sounds nothing like anything else of its’ time, with the exception of some of Mike’s work. The songs are fairly straighforward, but take odd angular turns at times that bring drama to them that they might not otherwise have. Sally being quite the talented multi instrumentalist herself seemed to think that using guitars too much in the mix would peg her as more of a straight forward folk singer. So those are brushed aside to make room for lots of stacatto piano and tuned percussion instrumentation. This is what makes these albums so startling and original. Sally sings the melody with her sweet, tremulous soprano voice, while the harmonies are played using lots of marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone and bells. A song my be in a slow 4/4 signature, but the instrumentations of this chords ringing out in a stacatto arpeggiations give the music such great life and urgency. Sally’s biggest hit, Mirrors, is from this album.

This was the pattern she followed on her next album, Easy, also. Where Water Bearer is a little more mystical, Easy shows Sally to be relaxed and comfortable in the new genre of minimalist symphonic folk she created.

The album is full of breezy love songs, with some romantacism of the gypsy life-style thrown in for good measure, this album is even more minimalist sounding then it’s predecessor, with sharp lines played out on the percussion and Sally’s breezy lyrics and delivery. It’s like Philip Glass or Steve Reich wrote a folk album.

Her third album in this tight trilogy of work was 1980’s Celebration.

Celebration shows Sally much more relaxed in this style then either of the former albums. She adds back in some nice electric piano, even a Fender Rhodes makes an appearance, and she gets some help on a light reggae title track from the group Aswad. She includes nice long numbers that go off on little tangents and turns like the great track, Blue Water.

For some reason, all three of these albums were very popular in Germany where Sally remains a big star (Germans love their Glockenspiels!). In fact, all three of my albums are German imports(?!) on the Bronze label. Bronze was a label started by members of bands formerly on Vertigo Records.

If you’re looking for where artist like Kate Bush got her inspiration, look no further. Sally’s soprano can jump octaves in the blink of an eye and come down again just as fast. Kate used these same stylings on her first two albums to great success.

Sally still performs and has released a few albums after these. She has recently turned herself into a bit of a New Age guru, releasing self-help cd’s and hypnotherapy visualisations programs. Added to that she apparently does some on-line consultations as a healer, hypnotherapist (still pondering how you do that on-line) nutritionist and councellor.

I try to forget all that nonsense when I listen to her music and just get into how strange and otherworldly some of her stuff sounds. I think it was ahead of it’s time then and, even now, it sounds like nothing else you’ll here in this vein.

As usual, samples can be found at my blog, here.

Dyme Def, Featured Artist on Myspace

posted by on May 22 at 12:12 PM

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While you’re wasting some time at work today, check out Myspace featured artists and super-hungry Seattle favorites Dyme Def. Since getting this very good look, our dudes have racked up over 25,000 plays on their page- if you haven’t copped a telescope and peeped their debut LP Space Music, take a sec today to do yourself a favor.. Big ups to Brainstorm, Fearce Villain, S.E.V & Beanone!

Pinocchio at Nelsen Middle School, not KISS

posted by on May 22 at 10:46 AM

I went to Nelsen Middle School in Renton, WA to see the band KISS, but got a performance of Pinocchio instead.

According to Miss Goodman, Kiss stands for Keep it Simple Silly, not Knights in Satan’s Service.

There was a Dr. Love, but she’s the vice principle:

M.I.A. Cancels Sasquatch Appearance

posted by on May 22 at 10:39 AM


According to the Sasquatch website, M.I.A. has had to cancel her appearance at the festival due to visa issues. What a bummer. Two out of the three times she’s set to perform for the Seattle audience, she’s had this problem. Is she a sound terrorist or something?

Looks like the Long Winters have been added in her place.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Who Needs Publicists?

posted by on May 21 at 4:17 PM

Why would you need publicists (or for that matter, bands) when you have Bumbershoot’s Band Bio Generator?

Takin’ Over

posted by on May 21 at 3:50 PM

My waiter was watching this video on his laptop at lunch today, clearly audible over the usual Kiss 106.1:

Support Web Radio

posted by on May 21 at 3:14 PM

July 15 may be the death knell for internet radio broadcasting. The Copyright Royalty Board, pressured by SoundExchange (a non-profit set up by the major record companies to collect royalties for them and their artists), passed a ruling that raises the fees that internet radio broadcasters have to pay, and requires them to pay the new rates retroactively from January 2006. KEXP and Rainy Dawg Radio are both local radio stations that would be affected by instantly owing a huge bill to the record companies.

Right now, all you can do to help internet radio broadcasters is to call your senators and congresspeople and ask them to support the bills in their respective houses that have been introduced to reverse this ruling. You can find out more at savenetradio.org. I just called Patti Murray and Maria Cantwell, and it took two seconds to make my voice heard. Fortunately, Jim McDermott, who is your representative if you live in Seattle, is already co-sponsoring the bill. That guy is rad.

I will have more on this story later, including interviews with KEXP and any developments.

M. Ward, “Chinese Translation” live on Conan

posted by on May 21 at 2:22 PM

M. Ward’s sublime “Chinese Translation” was the Best Song Ever (This Week) a few weeks back; here’s the dusky-voiced songwriter playing live on Conan from a couple nights ago, backed by Neko Case and Jim James.

Yes, it’s more strummy acoustified croonery from 20-something white people—this time with zithers (!). And I’m not ashamed to love it. With an extended instrumental outro, this version is more developed and more beautiful than the album.

Sally Shapiro is the new Annie!

posted by on May 21 at 12:43 PM

Sally Shapiro’s new album, Disco Romance, is everything you’ve been waiting for, that is if you’ve been waiting for a new album by Annie.

dk007lp-big.jpg

And if you’re thinking the cover to the album looks a little, well, dated…it’s supposed to. The album as a whole pays homage to Italo Disco’s heyday of 1983. It’s even got really poorly pronounced English lyrics.

It’s fantastic! you can check out samples at my blog here. Inclucing a ZYX remix that is brilliantly Hi-NRG. For even more listens check out her Myspace page.

This is your soundtrack to summer folks! Get On It!

PS. So far I haven’t seen this at any record stores in town, but you can get it from iTunes.

The Black Angels Passover Seattle?

posted by on May 21 at 11:25 AM

TheBlackAngels_promos_021106_72dpi_1897.jpg

When New York psych-folksters Vietnam play Seattle next Monday, Memorial Day, they’ll be joined by a “secret special guest headliner.” And really, with Sasquatch that weekend, it could be anybody: Björk, Arcade Fire, M.I.A., the Beastie Boys. Or it could be the Black Angels, who are also playing Sasquatch, touring with Vietnam for the rest of their US dates, and who just happen to be free that night. Or, you know, it could be Manu Chao.

Update: Seattle jean-jacket psych-blues rockers Whale Bones are also on the bill.

Extraordinary Melodrama: The Arcade Fire Meets Sergio Leone

posted by on May 21 at 10:30 AM

Yesterday Metafilter alerted me to this gorgeous work by Chicago designer J. Tyler, who synced a collection of scenes from Sergio Leone’s epic western Once Upon a Time in the West to the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible-closing “My Body is a Cage.”

Lovely coda: The Arcade Fire dug the clip so much they asked for permission to put it on their website. Sergio Leone remains unavailable for comment.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

All Filler, No Killers

posted by on May 20 at 1:01 PM

Tonight’s Killers’ Seattle show at WaMu Theater is cancelled and has been rescheduled for May 27.

Due to his on-going recovery from bronchitis, Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers has been ordered by his personal physician to rest his voice for another day. The Killers show, scheduled for the WaMu Theater on Sunday, May 20 has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 27. All tickets purchased for the May 20th performance will be honored On May 27th.

From Idolator, video of Flowers’ doctor canceling a recent show after the band played two songs: