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Archives for 07/29/2007 - 08/04/2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Speed and Power

posted by on August 4 at 1:24 PM

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Seafair is happening, right now. Boats are faster, foods are fattier, planes are upside downier.

Genesee Park: 3808 Lake Washington Blvd S.

There are bands, a big stage, good sound and field to lounge in. Get an elephant ear, chug beer, and watch boats and jets at high speeds. Recline and churn.

Mudhoney?

Music today, Saturday:

The Young Fresh Fellows played at noon

The Feelings Hijackers – 2:30

The Hands – 4:00

Kissing Potion – 5:15

The Blakes – 6:45

Mudhoney – 8:15

Tomorrow, Sunday:

Dabouge – 12:00

The Purrs – 2:30

The Dimes – 4:00


Friday, August 3, 2007

Get Yer Jangle On

posted by on August 3 at 5:13 PM

There’s a kickass triple bill coming up this Saturday night at the Crocodile that slipped through the cracks in this week’s paper. Damn cracks. We need some spackle up in here.

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One of my favorite new discoveries of the last couple weeks is Bishop Allen. Someone recommended them last week, and then I found out they signed to Dead Oceans, the Austin label that Citay is on. Bishop Allen is a Brooklyn-based four-piece, and I could tell you that they play terrifically, tightly wound indie pop, but that’s not really saying much. They put a lot of minor touches on their songs—hand percussion, soft backing vocals, xylophone—but they never sound cluttered.

How bout instead of me blahblahblahing I give you a sample? Click here to hear the song “Rain.”

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Also on the bill is Stranger faves Page France, who fit right in with Bishop Allen’s eclectic, upbeat pop. Hailing from Maryland, Page France is more acousticky, more jangly than BA, but dig the handclaps and twinkly percussion just as much. Check out “Hat Rabbit”—a slyly infectious, strummy number. This is relaxed, relaxing front porch music for people who’s front porches happen to be in Park Slope or Capitol Hill.

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Finally there’s Throw Me the Statue, Seattle’s very own handclap-happy indie poppers on Seattle’s very own Baskerville Hill label. It’s the best band name around, pretty much, and Scott Reitherman, the main man behind TMTS is a helluva guy. Accordions? Check. Acoustic guitar? Check? Snappy production? Check check check. Check out “Lolita”—one listen and you’ll instantly like these instantly likable guys.

Show info:

SAT 4 $10 adv/dos ALL AGES 8PM DOORS

BISHOP ALLEN
PAGE FRANCE
THROW ME THE STATUE

BUY TICKETS ONLINE, AT ANY SONIC BOOM LOCATION, OR AT THE CROCODILE BOX OFFICE

All ages! At the Croc! See you there! (Or possibly at the Maldives at the Tractor. I can’t make up my mind.)

Club Cabana Tonight!!!

posted by on August 3 at 4:22 PM

Remember that tonight I will be hosting the first edition of Club Cabana at The Solo Bar (200 Roy Street, Lower Queen Anne - right next to Mcmenamins). I will be playing obscure 70’s Disco, Italo Classics, and New Disco Re-edits all night long. There’s no cover and the party starts at 9pm.

You’ll hear music like…

Larry Levan Edits, Kano, Salsoul Classics, Tangoterje Edits, Loose Joints, Double Exposure, Walter Gibbon’s Mixes, Prins Thomas Edits, Cerrone, Gino Soccio, The Salsoul Orchestra, Rune Lindbæk Edits, First Choice, Bunny Sigler, Melba Moore, Phantom Slasher, Carl Bean, Don Ray, Loft Classics, etc.

Here’s an example of the music you’ll be hearing - Bamboo’s 1979 classic italo gem “Spaceship Crashing”. Hope to see you there!

Bamboo - Spaceship Crashing

Band Name of the Day

posted by on August 3 at 3:56 PM

UGLY BABY

Who’s the NW’s Best MC?

posted by on August 3 at 3:54 PM

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The Mass Line message board has in the midst of an interesting competition:

Who’s the Northwest’s best MC? Getcha vote on—this poll will weigh a lot heavier if people actually ring in. Right now there’s only 30 votes.

Mine’s the only one for Libretto, the tragically slept-upon PDX MC whose debut The Last Element was one of the best hiphop albums of ‘03. Along with Lifesavas, Libretto is part of Missfit Massive; The Last Element features deep, swinging soul-funk production by Jumbo the Garbageman. Libretto’s got a wicked flow, gruff and assertive but laid back, and lyrically he navigates between hardened street realities and liberation from them.

Seriously, if you NW heads haven’t heard the album yet, you gotta check it out. It came out on Dim Mak—a very unhiphop indie/punk label in L.A.—and never got the push it deserved. I’ve tried reaching out to the label and contacting Libretto through his MySpace but haven’t heard anything back. There’s no word whether he’s got another album in the works, but he plays Portland’s Pop Now! festival this Sunday and Berbati’s Pan on August 24.

No YouTube, no MP3s. His MySpace is your best bet to hear some tunes. Once you do, you’ll wanna go vote for the dude in Mass Line’s poll.

A Happy Retraction - Oscillate Ain’t Dead

posted by on August 3 at 3:02 PM

Rafael Anton Irisarri @ Oscillate

My column in this week’s issue closes out with a news item about the demise of Oscillate, the Thursday weekly at the Baltic Room. Well, the addendum to that story is that one of the founders of the night, Patrick Hanaelt (Electrosect, Sensory Effect) is going to take over booking the night until October, at which point frequent laptop battler and producer Bryan Newman (KFO) will take over the reins. So I’m happy to say that my report on the night’s conclusion was premature. Oscillate provides something very unique for Seattle techno fans, and it’d be a shame to see it go.

Bell Bottom Bliss: “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature” by the Guess Who

posted by on August 3 at 1:45 PM

Why isn’t this song heard more often? Like, every damn day? The Guess Who’s 1970 radio hit is actually two songs in one, and when they fuse together at the end they make for an ecstatic union (sorta blown here in this dopey video, though it was the best version I found, and it’s great that young kids are rocking out, albeit dopily, to this song).

The repeated organ lick (is that a Rhodes?) that kicks off “New Mother Nature” is a thing of groovy garage rock beauty.

Fact: The Guess Who, like Steppenwolf and the BTO—the band the Guess Who later became—was Canadian. They made some certifiably excellent music, much of it found on their worldwide breakthrough American Woman. “No Sugar/Mother Nature” is them in all their mutton chop-sideburned, jeans-vested best: “A bag of goodies and a bottle of wine, we’re gonna get it on right tonight.”

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This is One Sexy, Wait No, Creepy, Wait No, I Mean Sexy Motherfuckin’ Song

posted by on August 3 at 1:28 PM

You want me, well, come on and break the door down
You want me, fucking come on and break the door down
I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready, I’m ready…

Indie Roots and You

posted by on August 3 at 12:21 PM

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So yesterday Jonathan posted about his take on the differences between the amorphous terms alt-country, indie Americana, and indie roots. The discussion could go on forever (and should, fortified by cheap bourbon and Moon Pies), but if you want to experience indie roots for yourself, your best bet is to get down to Portland this weekend.

The 9th annual Pickathon starts today. The Avett Brothers are playing, as are Langhorne Slim, Dale Watson, the Gourds, the Hacienda Brothers, and other bearers of the indie roots standard. The lineup runs from the straight-up banjo-pickin’ country of Chatham County Line to the spare, hushed acoustic drama of Horse Feathers.

There’s a bit of everything, and it’s on a farm, which has hiking trails and lots of trees. There’s camping, food, drink, and, in all likelihood, not a small number of impromptu fiddle circles. Pickathon ends Sunday night with a hoedown in the barn, which seems appropriate.

So get out of town for Chrissakes. See the world. Tap some toes. Reclaim your Appalachian heritage. And hear what country/bluegrass/folk/Americana sounds like today.

Lists

posted by on August 3 at 11:33 AM

Do you know the lists on the McSweeney’s website? They are grand. For example, Megan Robin’s “Things I Have Learned from Ex-Boyfriends,” which is, hilarious, a list of two things:

It is impossible to compel someone to speak to you.

Sid Vicious was a member of the Sex Pistols.

This morning I came across B. Davin Stengel’s “My Nonprofit R&B Group’s Set List.” The first three:

“On Bended Knee in Gratitude for Your Generous Donation”

“Let’s Submit the Grant Application of Love”

“Your At-Risk Youth Outreach Program Makes Me Sweat”

The rest of “My Nonprofit R&B Group’s Set List” is here. A whole index of McSweeney’s lists is here. Here—not music-related— is my favorite.

Not Enough Music in Your Life?

posted by on August 3 at 11:07 AM

Just plug all of today’s Slog posts into this thing.

New Band Alert: Plugs

posted by on August 3 at 10:49 AM

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It’s too rare that I get a myspace friend request (ie, a demo tape) from a band that actually surprises or impresses me. It’s just the nature of such a democratized medium that most of what’s floating around will be crap. Which is what makes my “discovery” yesterday of British band Plugs so exciting. Music aside, their page is immediately promising with its primary colored, flash-animated spirals, its stylish band photos, and its choice list of friends (Numbers, Gravy Train, Clor). But then there’s the music. “That Number” shows traces of the Klaxons, but the stoned, loping blues guitar of the chorus is something else entirely, and the drum machine breakdown is total Hot Chip. The vocals, too, reference Klaxons and Hot Chip, alternating between anemic falsettos and laconic mumbling. “Let Me Go“‘s looped guitar and yearning vocal harmonies are sunny and sweet. “She is Unique“‘s dissonant guitars and fast-talking monotone over programmed blips and beats sounds a bit like a space-age Pavement song. “Transatlantic Air (something)” is classic, harmonic pop. I know these are all pretty big names to be throwing around for some basically unkown band (I could also add Simian and the Beta Band, but I won’t), but these songs are fantastic. Plugs display a prowess for not only song writing but also production. If they have five or six more like these in them, they’ll have a really stellar debut album on their hands.

Here’s their myspace page.

They’re of no relation, it should be noted, to this computer animated cover of “Some Velvet Morning” attributed to the Plugs (thank god):


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Bell Bottom Bliss: “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet

posted by on August 2 at 5:15 PM

Fuckin’ fuck yeah! The Hatchet!

Hailing from Jacksonville, FL—about four hours north of where I grew up—Molly Hatchet was HUGE on the county fair circuit when I was a kid. I never heard their music back then, but I was totally psyched on their album art. I ogled their posters at Spencer Gifts in the Palm Beach Mall:

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Totally awesome, right? Artist Frank Fazetta did the first, two—Wolfmother used one of his pieces for their debut album.

Like a trashier, drunker, less Canadian Steppenwolf, the Hatchet slugged and chugged heavy-riffing, triple-guitar hard rawk with a Southern edge. “Flirting With Disaster,” from 1979, is their one hit, and they still probably play it a couple hundred times a year to county fair audiences all over the US. The singer’s voice bears an uncanny and probably studied resemblance to Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant, down to the funky falsetto “woo” he tags on the end of certain lyrics. No surprise, Skynyrd was the best thing to ever come out of Jacksonville (later the birthplace of Yellowcard, Limp Bizkit, Shinedown, and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. From a hotbed of southern rock to a hotbed of total crap. Civic decline, yikes!).

The song is—to quote the bearded, ponytailed fat guy riding fast on the Harley wearing no helmet and high on JD and barbituates and glue—“fugg yeah!”

Mostly, this song really makes me get really drunk and do something really stupid.

(Ignore the YouTube vid; it’s the most non-drunk series of happy family photos imaginable. But the audio’s really good. Just gaze on the pic below while you listen.)

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This Week’s Setlist Podcast Available for Listening!

posted by on August 2 at 3:18 PM

Oink!

Here’s this week’s Setlist Podcast, as always, bringing the freshest sounds from local bandz straight to you on your computer (which we know you have, because you are reading this). This week’s bands include:
Hollywood Lightweights
Police Teeth
The Maldives
The Lonely Forest
and more!

Why don’t you listen already? SRSLY!

Why, Flavor? Why?

posted by on August 2 at 1:35 PM

Flavor Flav has officially been roasted. I’m horrified to announce that Flav’s Comedy Central Celebrity Roast airs August 12th.

Here’s the promo:

Here’s a clip:

Ugh. Hopefully it won’t be as ugly and horrible as last year’s shitty-shit-shit Shatner roast.


I miss Dean Martin.

Oooh Oh Oh Oooooooh Ooooh

posted by on August 2 at 1:31 PM

Lately I’ve been listening to a playlist of songs that remind me of my parents. Who are now divorced. They’re songs you haven’t heard in forever, but the second you hear them—the opening notes of “Leather and Lace,” the opening bass clef piano of “Easy”—they take you right back. Or at least they take me right back. I’m sitting in the back of a station wagon, and my mom is driving around the California highways, crying. The folds of my brain were formed around these songs. (People who know more about music than I do/grew up in Detroit/etc: Don’t beat me up!)

Here’s the playlist:

1. “California Dreamin’,” Mamas and the Papas
2. “A Horse with No Name,” America
3. “Carolina in My Mind,” James Taylor
4. “I Can’t Go for That [No Can Do],” Hall & Oates
5. “Rosanna,” Toto
6. “The Joker,” Steve Miller Band
7. “Easy,” Lionel Richie
8. “Leather and Lace,” Stevie Nicks
9. “Every Breath You Take,” The Police
10. “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin
11. “Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper
12. “Baby I’m-A Want You,” Bread
13. “Say You Love Me,” Fleetwood Mac
14. “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles
15. “Light My Fire,” The Doors
16. “In My Room,” Beach Boys
17. “True,” Spandau Ballet
18. “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” The Police
19. “Colour My World,” Chicago

I bold number 17 on this here playlist because two days ago I was in Hot Mama’s on Pine Street and just as I was taking off my iPod, I heard the opening burps and beeps of “True,” a song that I don’t much ear outside the confines of my earbuds.

The girl behind the counter—surprised, recognizing the song immediately—said, “I love this song. I haven’t heard it in forever.”

Enjoy.

Jennifer Gentle - The Midnight Room

posted by on August 2 at 1:30 PM

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For some reason, the Jennifer Gentle review in the online version of this week’s CD Reviews appeared with one less star than intended (it’s fixed now). It is, in my estimation, worthy of two stars, rather than just one. Here’s the review:

JENNIFER GENTLE

The Midnight Room

(Sub Pop)

**

Don’t let the name fool you. Jennifer Gentle isn’t some fey female singer-songwriter, but rather five men from Padova, Italy. And they’re not particularly gentle. The name comes from a Syd Barrett lyric, and this band is every bit as strange and psychedelic yet poppy as their sort-of namesake.

For The Midnight Room, the band’s founder and sole songwriter, Marco Fasolo, holed up in his home studio—a house known for its former occupant’s suicide—and wrote, played, and recorded the album in total isolation. The result isn’t so much intimate as it is stir-crazy.

“Twin Ghosts” is a soft, wispy introduction, but it’s a feint. The album really hits its lurch with the strychnine-laced haunt of “Telephone Ringing.” The track’s demented bounce, tiptoeing guitars, and evil, elfin vocals recur throughout The Midnight Room, suggesting not just isolation, but also insomnia and fever dreams. That instrumental bounce is nowhere more apparent than on “Take My Hand,” whose romantic plea, “Take my hand early in the morning,” sounds like it comes not after a night of love so much as a night of fraying hallucinations. Elsewhere, that sickly carnival swagger gives way to moments of serenity, as on “The Ferryman” and the stargazing coda “Come Closer.” But for the most part, The Midnight Room is an unsettling place. ERIC GRANDY


But what happened to that second star? From Wikipedia:


Collapse

An evolved, average-size star will now shed its outer layers as a planetary nebula. If what remains after the outer atmosphere has been shed is less than 1.4 solar masses, it shrinks to a relatively tiny object (about the size of Earth) that is not massive enough for further compression to take place, known as a white dwarf.[37] The electron-degenerate matter inside a white dwarf is no longer a plasma, even though stars are generally referred to as being spheres of plasma. White dwarfs will eventually fade into black dwarfs over a very long stretch of time.

In larger stars, fusion continues until the iron core has grown so large (more than 1.4 solar masses) that it can no longer support its own mass. This core will suddenly collapse as its electrons are driven into its protons, forming neutrons and neutrinos in a burst of inverse beta decay, or electron capture. The shockwave formed by this sudden collapse causes the rest of the star to explode in a supernova.

Most of the matter in the star is blown away by the supernovae explosion (forming nebulae such as the Crab Nebula[38]) and what remains will be a neutron star (which sometimes manifests itself as a pulsar or X-ray burster) or, in the case of the largest stars (large enough to leave a stellar remnant greater than roughly 4 solar masses), a black hole.[39] In a neutron star the matter is in a state known as neutron-degenerate matter, with a more exotic form of degenerate matter, QCD matter, possibly present in the core. Within a black hole the matter is in a state that is not currently understood.

Paying to Play

posted by on August 2 at 1:15 PM

In the dead-horse-beating realm, the newest kids on the block have allied with the master.

Gaming sensation Guitar Hero splinters into two separate entities this Christmas season. While the copyright owners of the original have gotten a new developer to pump out Guitar Hero 3, the original creators are turning toy instruments up to 11 with Rock Band, an elaborate morph that combines fake guitars, fake drums and a microphone. Assuming you’ve saved enough cash for all of the accessories, you and three other friends can pretend to be a full band come November 20. Flush your eyes with water after watching this:

Lest we even begin to wonder whether American game players are over the rhythm game fad, the team behind Rock Star has unveiled its “full album” approach, meaning you can pretend to play an entire LP in the game, rather than GH’s singles play. And guess which weight-loss crazy, legacy-killing psychopath is in on this one?

Yes, Nirvana’s Nevermind will be mimicked in full this holiday season, only half a year after the band’s “Breed” was co-opted to sell a baseball video game. I could say the obvious about Courtney Love’s countless and questionable Cobain-related licensing deals, but I’ll just repost it instead:

Love’s manager, Peter Asher, told Variety that none of Nirvana’s songs would be used for anything that Cobain would have opposed. It is not known whether Cobain played or liked video games.

Are you sure he didn’t mention a thumbs-up or thumbs-down about Pac-Man in the diaries? Wait, I think found something from the DGC Rarities Vol. 1 CD:

“Fuck your ass, for the fun — I don’t know why I, I don’t know why I pay, pay to play”

Meditation on ’80s arcade culture? Way to reach, Courtney.

Compression - Attacky in Your Face

posted by on August 2 at 1:10 PM

Geoff Ott, from London Bridge Studio, is here today to talk compression.

A compressor is a studio tool that gives your recording wallop, backbone, beef, and bang. It makes softer sounds louder and louder sounds seem softer in comparison. Audio level compression evens out the dynamic range or the difference between loud and quiet. It can also make your recording kick that ass that needs kicking.

On drums, for instance, compression fattens and boosts your sound. Or not. Played with, compression can make sounds unique with zoned or distortion like punch.

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Geoff says:

Don’t smash my music! Just kidding, compress me more. I love compression and anyone that says compression sucks should not read on. The Beatles and Led Zeppelin utilized much compression. Think about those huge John Bonham kick sounds on “Kashmir” and “When the Levee Breaks”. Granted, they recorded in hundred year-old churches, but compression helped bring those fat sounds out.

Tom Vek is someone doing cool things with compression these days.

People should be very careful with compression, and in most cases, I would say don’t use it. The only things I compress to tape on a regular basis are vocals, bass, and clean guitar. Most of the time when you put a compressor on something, you automatically think it sounds better - probably because it’s louder.

Here’s one way I use compression:

Continue reading "Compression - Attacky in Your Face" »

Abercrombie 1, The Fray 0

posted by on August 2 at 11:23 AM

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Just because Grey’s Anatomy “takes place” in Seattle, and just because Denver’s overwrought The Fray had one of its songs used liberally by the show, doesn’t mean I care about either. Ally McBeal in white coats meets Coldplay in vintage outfits. Great.

But as it turns out, The Fray’s incredibly loose ties to the city aren’t enough to win the Northwest over, according to a pretty amusing concert review out of Vancouver:

“Y’all are crazy!” said [lead singer Isaac] Slade to the distracted throngs, explaining that at a recent two-night stand in Seattle he could hear women in the audience talking about shopping.

Sorry for the lack of rapt attention, Isaac, but it could be worse. You could’ve heard them whining about Addison.

It’s About Fucking Time

posted by on August 2 at 11:08 AM

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Venerable British movie star Michael Caine is set to release three compilations of chill-out music. From the man’s own website:

“My record “Cained” comes out in September. This is a compilation of Chill music from my vast collection. I have to confess that I am a secret disc jockey and have been making tapes and CDs for myself and my friends for over 40 years.”

Holy crap! How did such a project come to be?

“It was weird the way this record came about, I was having dinner with Elton John at his house in Nice and he had on background music and as we were going through the dinner several of my favourite Chill records were played and I kept naming the tune or the artist much to Elton surprise and he asked me how I knew about this kind of music and I told him and he got me a three record deals. As they say in show business it is not what you know it is who you know. Have a listen I hope you like it.”

Will do, Sir Caine. (And thank you, MetaFilter.)

That High, Lonesome Sound

posted by on August 2 at 10:17 AM

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Question raised by a commenter to yesterday’s Maldives post:

Are the Maldives really alt-country? What about indie Americana? What about indie roots—the term foisted by the organizers of Pickathon and dissected by Chris McCann in this week’s paper?

There’s crossover between the three, for sure, but some distinction, too. Bear with me—it’s all pretty loose and subjective.

Alt-country was the original term, referring to any non-mainstream country act (read: non-Nashville). It was first bestowed on the Byrds and Gram Parsons in the late ’60s, though Parsons preferred his own epithet “Cosmic American Music,” or cosmic Americana. It’s the genre embraced by No Depression magazine (hi, Kurt!), though even that respected publiciation admits to its vaguaries. Steve Earle was an early proponent, as well as John Hiatt, and Dave Alvin and the Blasters. Recently, Wilco has been alt-country’s most visible flag-bearer, with Ryan Adams staggering along close behind. I’d leave the Maldives here—or more accurately, call ‘em “alt-country-rock,” though that’s a mouthful.

Indie Americana is a more modern term, on a rise proportionate to the popularization/generalization of the term “indie.” Seems like Wilco and Adams could fall in here, too, were they not already pegged as alt-country, and were they not now on major labels. So in this grouping falls My Morning Jacket, the Drive-by Truckers, and the North Mississippi Allstars, all of whom actually are on indie labels. I’d throw in my man Langhorne Slim, too, and Two Gallants, because of their indie orientation, mostly electric instrumentation, and tendency to rock the fuck out. Locally we could throw in Jesse Sykes and the Moondoggies, though the latter’s space-cake country flights hew closer to cosmic Americana.

“Indie roots” is the most newfangled term here, but I like it, and I like the sound it describes. The “roots” half hints at traditionalism, which boils down to acoustic instrumentation. So here we have the Avett Brothers (*swoon*), Old Crow Medicine Show, the Pine Box Boys, Dale Watson, the Handsome Family, and pretty much the rest of the lineup at Pickathon. Plus Seattle’s own back porch death blues trio the Cave Singers.

Now does that answer the question? Not really. But it’s a fun exercise. And every single one of the bands mentioned above is doing something exciting and fresh with their music.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

“Why We Must Close the Net” by Elton John

posted by on August 1 at 4:47 PM

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From a commentary attributed to Sir Elton John in today’s The Sun:

Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet. Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging. I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span.

and

In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality.

Check out the full article online here.

Hat tip to Mr. Poe

The Maldives

posted by on August 1 at 3:17 PM

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The thing about the Osmonds was that they were neither a little bit country nor a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

The Maldives probably never bargained for being mentioned in the same hemisphere at the Osmonds, but here we are. Screw the Osmonds! The Maldives are A LOT country, A LOT rock ‘n’ roll.

It’s clear that Seattle is a hotbed for kickass alt-country music. Why this is the case I don’t know; the dank and mountainous Northwest is a far cry from the dusty, desolate flats of the Midwest or the humid hills of the South. I’d wager it’s a blue collar thing. Seattle is historically a working class town, and the Maldives—and the Moondoggies, and the Cave Singers—play a form of working class music. Plus there’s the Tractor Tavern, which is reknown across the West Coast for hosting this kind of music, so there’s built-in support for it.

I saw the Maldives (pronounced MALL-deeves, it’s an island chain in the Indian Ocean) at the Tractor a couple months back as they twanged their way through a mesmerizing set. Well balanced between hard-rocking Drive-by Truckers grit and waltzing Band-ish traditionalism, they rolled along with a nuanced sound provided by fiddle, weepy steel and gentle acoustic and scruffy electric guitars, rich organ, and some accordion, plus a smart, subtle rhythm section. Singer Jason Dodson—looking much like the mustachioed Jason Lee from My Name is Earl—has a helluva voice, striking, clear, and bright like the full moon on a hot August night. He belted and crooned, singing of undying affection, misplaced dreams, family ties, and sailboats. The crowd swayed along.

There’s something about country that, like blues and reggae, resonates with a potent and undeniable truth. It’s folk music. In the right hands, it tells the story of a people. And even here in Seattle, thousands of miles away from the plains and the Opry, the Maldives do it right.

They play the Tractor on Saturday, August 4 before heading off on a two-week West Coast tour.

Hear some music at the Maldives’ Stranger Bands page.

Deathphonic

posted by on August 1 at 3:16 PM

m_5f962cebe7ec1751e01957de4e62dba6.jpgHot August Metal Fest

A deathphonic black metal crusade.
Friday – Saturday, August 24-25 at
Studio Seven (All ages – Bar w/ID)

Bands performing are:

Wolven Ancestry, Ceremonial Castings, Inquinok, Verbal Deception, Nefastus Dies, Panzerfaust, Death Pussy, Satus, Beltfed Weapon, Scatha, Ara’kus, and Forest of Grey.

Death Pussy, from Bremerton, is an Orc rock dervish of double kick and guttural electric chair screams.

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Their logo of ox skulls hanging from dark silhouetted trees especially scares the shit out me. The cover of their demo has a serpent skeleton baby. Anything with ‘death’ in the name that has ox skulls and skeleton babies is going to scare the ever living shit out of me.

I’ve always wondered if bands like these are half as evil in the light of day, away from the double kick drums. But something tells me they are. Even if we were to go do something nice, like get strawberry milkshakes and do dot to dots, I’d hear whispering voices of the devil in my head. Before long, it would be night, the dot to dot would be over, and I’d be running for my life.

More Than One Way to Love a Dancer

posted by on August 1 at 2:31 PM

Also posted over at my other blog today. They were just too good to not post twice:


Norwegian native Rune Lindbæk has been releasing some of the most unique disco re-edits for the past few years. His recent Noid Records released LP, Klubb Kebabb, in my opinion, really showcased some of his most interesting and best re-edits to date. If you enjoyed that record as much as I did, then you’ll really enjoy these two unreleased Rune Lindbæk edits. First, is Voyage’s 1980 disco classic “I Love You Dancer”, which originally appeared on the Voyage 3 LP. Second is Raydio’s 1979 soul classic “More Than One Way to Love a Woman” from the album, Rock On. These two songs could have definitely made there way onto the Klubb Kebabb record, staying with that “smooth-disco” sound that we’ve become accustomed to from Lindbæk’s works. Two more solid additions to the growing collection of Lindbæk edits’.

Voyage - I Love You Dancer (Rune Lindbæk edit)
Raydio - More Than One Way to Love a Woman (Rune Lindbæk edit)

Best Song Ever: “Lindbergh” by Woody Guthrie

posted by on August 1 at 2:02 PM

Maybe it’s because I’m 100 pages from the end of William L. Shirer’s epic Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, but I’ve had this song in my head all week. Written by Guthrie in 1945, it’s about the Lindberghs’ cozy relationship with Hitler and support for Nazi Germany—a theme that’s also explored in Philip Roth’s excellent dystopian novel The Plot Against America.

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Above: Lindbergh receiving the Iron Cross from Hermann Goering

I couldn’t find an MP3; instead, here are the lyrics, along with links to supplementary information.

Mr. Charlie Lindbergh, he flew to old Berlin,
Got him a big Iron Cross, and he flew right back again
To Washington, Washington.

Mrs. Charlie Lindbergh, she come dressed in red,
Said, “I’d like to sleep in that pretty White House bed
In Washington, Washington.”

Lindy said to Annie: “We’ll get there by and by,
But we’ll have to split the bed up with Wheeler, Clark, and Nye
In Washington, Washington.”

Hitler wrote to Lindy, said “Do your very worst,”
Lindy started an outfit that he called America First
In Washington, Washington.

All around the country, Lindbergh he did fly,
Gasoline was paid for by Hoover, Clark, and Nye
In Washington, Washington.

Lindy said to Hoover: “We’ll do the same as France:
Make a deal with Hitler, and then we’ll get our chance
In Washington, Washington

Then they had a meetin’, and all the Firsters come,
Come on the walk and they come on the run
In Washington, Washington

Yonder comes Father Coughlin, wearin’ the silver chain,
Cash on his stomach and Hitler on the brain.
In Washington, Washington

Mister John L. Lewis would sit and straddle the fence,
His daughter signed with Lindbergh, and we ain’t seen her since
In Washington, Washington

Hitler said to Lindy: “Stall ‘em all you can,
Gonna bomb Pearl Harbor with the help of old Japan.”
In Washington, Washington

Then on a December mornin’, the bombs come from Japan,
Wake Island and Pearl Harbor, kill fifteen hundred men.
Washington, Washington

Now Lindy tried to join the army, but they wouldn’t let ‘im in,
‘Fraid he’d sell to Hitler a few more million men.
In Washington, Washington

So I’m gonna tell you people, if Hitler’s gonna be beat,
The common working people have got to take the seat
In Washington, Washington.

And I’m gonna tell you workers, ‘fore you cash in your checks:
They say America First, but they mean America Next
In Washington, Washington.

ASCAP Cracking Down on Seattle Clubs

posted by on August 1 at 1:37 PM

The Seattle Times reports today on a crack down by ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) on local clubs and restaurants that play copyrighted music without paying licensing fees. Singled out in the article is


On Monday, ASCAP said it had filed 26 separate infringement actions against nightclubs, bars and restaurants in 17 states. Among them is a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle against the Ibiza Dinner Club downtown.

ASCAP alleged that a DJ at Ibiza played three copyrighted pop songs without paying a licensing fee, which Candilora calculated would have cost Ibiza $979 a year, considering the size of the venue and the type of performance.

ASCAP is seeking up to $30,000 in damages per infringement from Ibiza.

While it’s initially tempting to knee jerk agains ASCAP for getting litigious (and $30,000 seems steep, but no doubt that will come down in court or in a settlement), it’s important to remember that this they aren’t the RIAA, and nightclubs aren’t individual file sharers. Nightclubs and restaurants, unlike most individuals who share music, employ that music as part of a for-profit business, and ASCAP works much more directly for artists than the RIAA, which primarily serves to protect the interest of major record labels. Yes, running a restaurant or a club is an already financially perilous business, but a $979 a year license shouldn’t put anyone out of business—establishments could absorb that cost through drink sales—and it may help some artists get paid.

On the other hand, if memory serves—and I can’t seem to find the link to confirm this (help, anyone?)—ASCAP determines licensing rates for clubs based on capacity, rather than actual attendance (ie, the Showbox would have to pay a rate based on 1,250 people per night no matter how many people are there), and, if I’m not totally mistaken about this, that seems unfair.

Levi in the comments has changed my mind about this. Of course, it would be ridiculously complicated to determine actual capacity and number of copyrighted songs every night, so maybe estimates are necessary.

Annoyed in the ’70s

posted by on August 1 at 1:07 PM

In 1977, my 15-year-old, older brother was at the Foghat concert.
The phone rang and my dad answered. It was—as it always was in those days—a call for my brother.

My dad, annoyed at everything: the fact that my brother was at a rock concert on a school night; the fact that the call was for my brother; the fact that the 70s were happening, had this to say to the caller—”No. No. No, he’s not here. He’s at the Fog Head concert!”

The Against Me! and Aesop Rock Interviews

posted by on August 1 at 12:11 PM

Don’t you want to see what the boys from Against Me! and the gentle giant (eight foot tall!) Aesop Rock had to say, mere minutes before they hit stage? YES YOU DO! Don’t lie.

(with Against Me!, Aesop Rock, Pwrfl Power, Sunday Night Blackout, Sean Na Na, The Cribs, and Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground)

Matthew Dear’s Big Hands Coming to Seattle

posted by on August 1 at 11:30 AM

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Matthew Dear and his backing band, Big Hands, will be coming to Seattle in support of his latest, awesome electro pop album, Asa Breed. Fellow Ghostlies Mobius Band support. Tour dates:

10-01 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
10-02 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda’s
10-03 Charlottesville, VA - Satellite
10-04 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
10-05 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
10-06 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
10-08 Austin, TX - Emo’s
10-09 Dallas, TX - Granada
10-12 Denver, CO - Hi Dive
10-16 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
10-18 San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine
10-19 Portland, OR - Holocene
10-20 Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
10-21 Vancouver, British Columbia - Media Club
10-24 Minneapolis, MN - Triple Rock
10-25 Madison, WI - Cafe Montmartre
10-27 Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop

Bell Bottom Bliss: “I’m Not in Love” By 10CC

posted by on August 1 at 10:44 AM

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One commenter wrote in regard to yesterday’s Bell Bottom Bliss, “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, that I’ve been employing the term “cheesy” too liberally in my song descriptions. I’d like to address that comment—specifically, the touchy and subjective word “cheesy” itself. My initial response was “Cheese is like porn: I’m not sure what its defining characteristic is, but I know it when I hear it. And a lot of times I like it.”

I’ve given it further thought, and here’s what I came up with.

One man’s cheesey pop song is another man’s showtune is another man’s heartfelt soul ballad. The common threads here are twofold: 1. sheen, polish, a studio-buffed smoothness that removes any rough edges from a song and adds a sense of grandeur and melodrama, and 2. earnest effort, some attempt at passion or soul. Unless provided in an overwhelming dose, neither of these threads on its own is enough to cheese out a song (or movie, or painting, or suit of clothes). However, as soon as both threads are present, even in trace amounts, the risk of cheesitude increases exponentially. Cheese is almost always the result of excess.

Cheese carries a negative connotation; cheese gets a bum rap. But listen: Cheese is not necessarily a bad thing. Cheese can be, in many cases, quite endearing. I point to examples like disco, “Baker Street,” and “Kiss You All Over” from the ’70s; anything by Journey or Dio or The Little Mermaid soundtrack from the ’80s; the entire New Jack Swing movement of the ’90s; and My Chemical Romance and Kelly Clarkson today. There are too many to mention here.

Which brings us to today’s edition of Bell Bottom Bliss.

The 1975 #1 hit “I’m Not in Love,” by British quartet 10CC, is responsible for the entire existence of the French band Air.

Seriously, listen to this song—which is presented here in a version edited down from its original six-minute length—and tell me you don’t hear everything Air wants to be. It’s ethereal but organic, wounded but bold, moody but evocative. It’s got an acoustic guitar and piano and synthesizers, as well as a barely-there beat that you can’t deny. It breaks into a downtempo interlude with a vocal oversample that sounds so very European. There’s a whole lot going on here: The song was a marvel of innovative recording techniques at the time and is, quite simply, beautiful. And cheesy in a wonderful, wonderful way.

Don’t worry. Tomorrow’s edition will be dairy-free.

Hear Travis Morrison’s New Album

posted by on August 1 at 9:57 AM

Former Dismemberment Plan frontman has a new band (Travis Morrison Hellfighters) and a new record (All Ya’ll) coming out August 21st on Barsuk. You can stream the whole thing at his website, www.travismorrison.com. A few of the tracks are available for download too, including this one, “As We Proceed” (click for the MP3).

Here’s what he says about the record:

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The record was written mostly in early 2005, and then after some unsatisfactory attempts to record them, me and the Hellfighters stopped working on it. I started singing in church choirs, working for volunteer organizations here in DC, and did some travelling. We reconvened in Chicago in the fall of 2006 and recorded the songs with Jason Caddell, who was a bandmate of mine in the Dismemberment Plan, at the Chicago Recording Company. It was mixed by Jason and Joel Hamilton.

The art is done by an Israeli fellow who calls himself Jewboy (http://www.jewboy.co.il.) His mother calls him Yaron though. Well, I mean, what do I know, maybe his mother calls him Jewboy. That would be different.

I haven’t listened to it yet, my internet connection is as slow as shit (and shit’s really slow), but I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say in a couple hours after hearing it.


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CHBP From the Roof

posted by on July 31 at 5:15 PM

I was on the rooftop at the corner of 10th and Pike during Against Me!’s set. The mosh pit looked like a whirlpool of flailing arms and bodies. It was pretty rad.

Bell Bottom Bliss: “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty

posted by on July 31 at 3:17 PM

Yes, I’ve harshed on the saxophone before. That’s because nobody does it like this anymore. If you’re gonna put a saxophone into your rock song, go all the way, Gerry Rafferty-style. Velveeta, baby—enough cheese can make anything tasty.

This is simply one of the most memorable sax melodies in pop. And holy cowbell, there’s a ripping guitar solo in the middle! Where’d that come from? Baker Street? Yes!

Prior to going solo, Scottish-born Raffety was in Stealers Wheels and wrote and performed the song “Stuck in the Middle With You.” K-Billy’s super songs of the ’70s continue!

Where is Baker Street? Why is it so down and out? Detroit? The East End of London? Wherever—things aren’t looking so bright there, though they sound pretty swinging.

Mark, my last roommate in San Franciso, was British. His old roommate in London was Martha Rafferty, Gerry’s daughter. Mark says she lives in Sacramento now.

Also, the one and only Jason Forrest—who does hyperactive mega-pop mashups far more tunefully than Girl Talk—slices this sax part into his big-blasting “Skyrocket Saturday” from the album Shamelessly Exciting. No YouTube, unfortch, but if you can, find the song. It’s fucking awesome.

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The After Party (One More Post)

posted by on July 31 at 2:24 PM

In all the gushing about Sunday night’s epic, otherworldly Daft Punk show, no one ever got around to talking about the after party at Chop Suey. It’s understandable—after two robots take you on a transcendent humanist voyage from the ancient pyramids to the near automated future, even the best of club nights can seem like a let down. But while it was nothing like the overwhelming spectacle of the show, the Daft Punk afterparty was still a great time. The celebratory, HUMAN/TOGETHER vibe of the night’s concert carried on at Chop Suey, especially once Sebastian and Kavinksy took the decks. A friend and I were standing outside when their big black bus pulled around the corner, and we caught Sebastian, Kavinsky, and some umasked robots descend from the bus—just like the LCD Soundsystem song! It was rad.

Sebastian and Kavinsky fucking slayed, which was a relief since their official sets at the show were marred by blown bass and bright house lights. (Also, standing near their setup by the WaMu theater sound booth, I was amazed at the audible distance between the house sound and the studio monitors—it was several beats off; that place is huge!) The crowd took the stage (here’s me partially obscured by Sebastian’s head and looking pretty graceless) and for a few blissful songs, security didn’t give a fuck, though eventually people were politely cleared off and ushered back to the floor, the bar, or the backstage. They closed with that disgusting (in a good way) Mr. Oizo mix of Rage Against the Machine, which had all the local club owners dancing like goofs in the main bar area. It was a great way to end the night.

The Stranger Isn’t This City’s Only Publication Intent on Shutting Down All Ages Music

posted by on July 31 at 12:51 PM

Now the Seattle Times is getting in on the act, as well!

On Friday, the Times cleverly printed the home address and Myspace profile link of Camp Nowhere without permission (we don’t print the address of Camp Nowhere or list their shows at the request of the residents).

Of course, the house got a visit from the cops this morning, and now the residents are forced to delete their Myspace and do less to promote their shows, which feature a lot of touring bands who play houses. Here’s a quote from a resident of the house:

Because of an article written on Friday in the Seattle Times, that stated “There’s also a thriving underground, do-it-yourself movement, including popular house venues like Camp Nowhere in the U District,” the police came to our house this morning to figure out what was going on. The article later went on to list our home address and myspace.

Here’s a link to the story (which is not the page containing the home address and Myspace. Because of our previous agreement with Camp Nowhere, I won’t link to that). It is by a 19 year-old journalism student. It has other innacuracies about the city’s all ages venues (Vera doesn’t have shows every night of the week, Studio Seven isn’t a nice atmosphere).

One More Daft Punk Post

posted by on July 31 at 12:36 PM

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I’m not going to channel Mudede, I’m not going to repeat what’s already been very well stated, I just want to share this picture, my favorite of the ones I took this weekend (click above for the rest). I understand all of the criticisms of this show, but I’m not backing down on my stance that this is the best show I’ve ever experienced. It was about more than just the music and the visuals, it was about sharing this amazing moment with a bunch of friends (and like-minded strangers). I don’t think I’ve ever “Woo!!!!!”ed so much in my life. Thanks to all involved in putting that show together. Great close to a great weekend. Now it’s back to the grind.

Sweat and Hugs

posted by on July 31 at 11:47 AM

The Crayolas spread their spectrum of love over the Block Party. There were questions and candies. They imbibed and crowd surfed. Against Me! was in favor of the toil and mix:

Best Song Ever (this week): R. Kelly vs. Broken Social Scene

posted by on July 31 at 11:39 AM

This may be old news for some of you, but I didn’t get the pleasure until yesterday, and boy was I pleased. Someone has masterfully mixed my favorite Broken Social Scene track, “7/4 (Shoreline),” with R. Kelly’s “I’m a Flirt,” and the product may just be better than the ingredients. Part of the great energy in “Shoreline” is the 7/4 time signature, which makes the song always feel like it’s tumbling over itself. Whoever mashed up the two did a great job of splicing the sample so it matches the 4/4 beat in “Flirt” without losing the momentum the original track had. If someone made a whole album that sounded like this combination I think I’d have a new favorite genre of music. That’s why this is the Best Song Ever (this week).

Re: Illegal Leak of the Week: Mia - Kala

posted by on July 31 at 11:15 AM

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I’ve yet to really absorb the whole album, but “$20” is an early standout for me. Not quite a sequel to “$10,” though the track does repeat its predecessor’s trick of flipping a well-known pop lyric. “$10” exploded 2 Live Crew’s less than trenchant commentary on prostitution, while “$20” borrows the chorus from the Pixies’ epic “Where is my Mind?” and throws it over a stoned vocal echo, zombie beat, and rusty buzz saw synths. The track’s grappling with pop music/culture doesn’t begin there, though. It begins with a verse about African mine workers and their place in relation to Jibbs’ “Chain Hang Low,” how “little boys are acting up, and baby mommas are going crazy, and the leaders all around cracking up….but we still like TI, but we still look fly.” It turns Black Francis’ existential head-tripping into a hazy meditation on the insanity of global capitalism, and it sounds awesome.

Also, “Paper Planes” pulls a similar trick with Wreckx-n-Effect’s “Rumpshaker,” substituting gun cocks and shots for the original’s zooming and booming, and “take your money” for its “shake your rump,” getting down to the barest socio-economic essentials of rumpshaking.

Another early favorite is “Mango Pickle Down River (with the Wilcannia Mob).” The Wilcannia Mob is a trio of Aboriginal Australian tweens who rap on this track about playing in a river and putting fish in the fridge over a blown out bass beat, turntable twitch, and didgeridoo. What’s more subtly charming than the rapping 12 year old outbackers are the audible artifacts of field recording—mic checking, background static cutting in and out with the Wilcannia Mob’s verses, and muffled hoots and hollers from the sidelines.

Should James Lipton Ever Ask, Motherfucker is My Favorite Curse Word

posted by on July 31 at 9:30 AM

A couple weeks ago, a friend and I spotted this grafitti on a U-District bus stop.

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I liked it because because (as one mind-reading commenter pointed out when I posted the photo on Slog later) “No Escape From Planet Motherfucker” sounds like something I’d name my autobiography should I ever decide to write an autobiography (you never know, maybe I’ll get caught up in some juicy scandal and all of the sudden become interesting enought to pen a book).

What I didn’t know at the time of discovering the “art” was that the words were probably a reference to a White Zombie song. And how would I know that? I don’t listen to White Zombie. The song is called “Welcome to Planet Motherfucker,” and according to lyricsfreak.com, it goes like this:

Planet pretty kill, motherfucker hang me on the thrills yeah!
No small heaven [haven] I got the left hand of the keeper
Meet me in St. Louis, ‘God’, a one way ticket’s cheaper yeah!
Time-travel I’m walk’n [walk’n]
I got a white line zombie fever [fever] yeah!
Time bomb the hero [hero] yeah get down!!!

I found the song on YouTube. I’m so not into it.

“There has to be better songs out there that make good use of the word motherfucker,” I thought to myself. And as I tend to do, I became obsessed and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

The first song that came to mind is one of my favorites, “Dragon Ships” by the Fruit Bats.

I’m gonna go, this time I know
This city’s got me feeling like a motherfucker.
This one is it, after I quit,
I can’t write a love song worth shit!

I have no idea what it means, but I love the way Eric Johnson says motherfucker with the perfect amount of stress on the uck, and the er becoming more of an ah sound.

And there’s of course the infamous line, “Let the motherfucker burn!” that has been used in a number of songs in a number of ways… The Bloodhound Gang, 50 Cent, Nelly, it’s been around.

After some searching and some asking, I learned that both the Queers and the Eels have songs called “Motherfucker.” The Queers take it literally and sing about having sex with someone’s mom, while the Eels expound on the frustration of being alone (“It’s a motherfucker/Being here without you/Thinking ‘bout the good times/Thinking ‘bout the bad”).

A lot of rap and metal songs use the word, but I’m looking for more than just a one-liner or a quick mention. I want the word to be prominent, I want it to be the star of the song.

Nashville Pussy does “Go, Motherfucker, Go!” which always makes me think of Speed Racer more than anything, and I’m not sure how it slipped my mind at first, but Superchunk has that great song “Slack Motherfucker.”

See?

What else is there? I only want the good shit. I’m ignoring Kid Rock on purpose.

Illegal Leak of the Week: M.I.A., Kala

posted by on July 31 at 9:15 AM

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These war-torn beats are my divine right. Not that I really feel all that guilty when I snatch advance MP3s, but M.I.A.’s Sasquatch ’07 no-show is currently working in my guilt-free favor. Since you abandoned me, M.I.A., I’m entitled to download an illicit copy of Kala.

You say it’s not the rapping Sri Lankan’s fault that her visa was denied before the fest? Well, uh…then my copy of Kala is a protest against the man! Yeah! Screw your FBI warnings. See if you ever block a foreigner from performing at a concert again, fascists.

Besides, half the record is already making the blog hype rounds before it sees official release on August 21. Some of the stuff that has already seen leakage is Arular Part II—throbbing synths and bare beats beneath M.I.A.’s monotonal shout-chants. But while “Boyz” brings expected, MIA-style jam…z, unveiled track “Paper Planes” is all kinds of early ‘90s prom; you can practically see the girl snap her fingers in mid-air as she grooves to the soft, looping guitar tones and coyly sings (whoa now, sings!) “Hit me on my pre-paid wire-luhss / we pack and deliv-ah like UPS trucks.”

The rest of the disc seems intent to both reaffirm the political bump-and-stomp of Arular and expand with a larger sonic palette. “Hussel” is an as-yet-unreleased example of both, combining crunked-out buzzsaw-synths with more singing, an organic, subdued drumbeat and a Grime-laced guest spot by UK MC Afrikan Boy. Seems silly to call M.I.A.’s followup more worldly sounding—it’s not like she was the KFC of Sri Lankan beats—but every track on Kala has a different country’s club stamp of approval on it. Get ready to get down. And not just when the FBI storms in as a response to that whole “fascist” thing I said, either.

The Robot and the Pyramid

posted by on July 31 at 9:00 AM

600px-Flower-of-Life-02_copy.jpgThe flower of life, an element of sacred geometry which in lattice form appeared as part of Daft Punk’s stage set.

Last night Daft Punk—a pair of Parisian musicians masquerading as robots—performed their entire set from within a giant digitized pyramid. The symbolism embedded in the performance cannot be underestimated, and the story that unfolds from it is profound.

For millennia, the pyramid has been one of man’s most potent and enduring symbols, as well as the basis for an entire field of science. Pyramidology is the study of pyramid energy—the ability for pyramids with the exact proportions of the ones at Giza, Egypt to channel electrical currents, sharpen knives, extend the life of flowers and fruits, and promote good health. Pyramids are central images in many ancient belief systems from around the world, as well as Masonry and the iconography of the United States (check the back of a dollar bill).

DaftPunk_072907_72dpi_0359.jpgThe Great Pyramid

Some theories suggest that the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed by slaves. Robots are sentient machines built to serve humanity; they are essentially slaves. Author Isaac Asimov developed the Three Rules of Robotics:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Asimov eventually coined the Zeroth Law to supercede the others: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

Here is Daft Punk, a pair of robots, mastering a crowd of 7,000 willing slaves. For two hours last night, the servers became the served and the humans in the audience became the thrall of their own creation on stage. The robots—a modern technological innovation—utilized the ancient structure of the pyramid to harness and focus the collective energy they themselves unleashed.

DaftPunk_crowd_072907_72dpi_0225.jpgSlaves

And yet the robots’ only wish is to serve humanity by enslaving it, to liberate their creators from their own man-made constrains and divisions. The last message that flashed across the 50-foot tall screen behind them:

HUMAN

and

TOGETHER

There is a narrative to the Daft Punk phenomenon that transcends the music. Their use of heavy symbolism—the pyramid, one of man’s oldest, and the robot, one of its newest—adds meaning far beyond electronic dance jams. There’s way more than simple AC/DC thrashing at work—though that was there, too. Daft Punk’s is a far more thoughtful form of rocking out, and last night’s experience was that all the more powerful because of it.

Photos by Jusin Renney


Monday, July 30, 2007

Line of Thinking

posted by on July 30 at 5:48 PM

How functions the minds of Stranger staffers?

Brendan Kiley asks what I think about the Ditty Bops.

Joking, I reply, “I wonder if they have anything to do with the ‘Unskinny Bop.’”

“‘Unskinny Bop?’” Kiley asks.

“Yeah, you know—Poison, ‘Unskinny Bop’.” At which point I start singing the chorus of “Unskinny Bop:” “Bopbopbop.”

Not surprisingly, my rendition freaks out Jen Graves, sitting at her corner desk over by the window.

“You don’t like Poison?” I ask.

“No,” she says, “but I do like the song ‘Poison’ by Bell Biv DeVoe.”

So does Grandy—he chimes in to let us know: “Never trust a big butt and a smile.”

That’s how we go from this
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To this
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To this
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Daft Punk Photos

posted by on July 30 at 4:30 PM

Photos by Justin Renney

Daft Punk

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More photos after the jump, and a full review of the show here.

Continue reading "Daft Punk Photos" »

Block Party Video, #1

posted by on July 30 at 3:41 PM

Ever wonder what Kim, of Matt & Kim, isn’t allowed to say to Matt? What about The Saturday Knights - ever wanted to just, say, call up Tilson on the phone? How about singing an original song for one of the Blood Brothers? Or getting an autographed picture from Girl Talk? It’s all here. Oh, and there’s a cameo by Ice Cube!* I couldn’t believe it either.


*actual cameos by Siberian, Matt & Kim, The Saturday Knights, The Blakes, The Blood Brothers, Oldominion’s Mr. Hill, Cancer Rising, Candice Derriere, The Cops, and Girl Talk

AND - stay tuned. Video #2 is on the way and features Aesop Rock, The Cribs, PWRL POWER, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Sean Na Na, Sunday Night Blackout, and… WAIT FOR IT… Against Me!

My Grieving Mother Will Try to Stop It from Happening, but You Musn’t Give in—“Crossroads” MUST Be Played at My Funeral

posted by on July 30 at 3:30 PM

This post Ari did a couple days ago about her new friend, his confusing e-mail address, and a British boy-band’s cover of Bone Thugs N’ Harmony’s “Crossroads” reminded me of something I should probably put in a public forum in order to make it official: “Crossroads” must be played at my funeral in its entirety while people throw various colored glittered roses on my casket. Or urn. Or Rubbermaid container. Whatever I end up in after my last breath.

I’ve been planning my funeral since junior high. These plans are not being made in a morbid way, or even a trendy goth way. I just want to make sure that my funeral is awesome—awkward, slightly inappropriate, and not all that serious. Like me. A lot of music will be featured, but it can’t be stuff I really love or my friends really love, because I don’t want to taint anything. For instance, if you play Jawbreaker, I’ll come back to life and kill you. And because I’m a huge fan of themed mix tapes, all the songs have to be about death or dying or heaven or hell or whatever. Obviously.

So “Crossroads”? Well, Crossroads is a must. So is “Gangsta Lean” for that matter. And someone better rock some Plastic Mastery too. It can’t all be mid-90s R&B that KUBE rocked when I was 13 (I listened to a lot of KUBE when I was 13, and these songs have stuck with me ever since).

But if anyone brings that Puff Daddy/Sting duet bullshit in, I will haunt you for the rest of your life. Do not disturb the sexy, leave Puff Daddy at home.

Daft Punk Video

posted by on July 30 at 3:23 PM

Daft Punk

posted by on July 30 at 3:00 PM

DaftPunk_072907_0413_72dpi%282%29-thumb.jpgDaft Punk photo by Justin Renney


Holy shit! How to even talk about Daft Punk’s show last night? Everything keeps coming back at me in fragments and moments, crescendos and choruses, words flashing on screen and multicolored neon patterns. It was honestly one of the best shows I think I’ve ever been to, and more importantly it was totally unlike any show I’ve ever been to. I mostly end up watching bands at smallish clubs, dive bars, the odd basement, and occasionally something larger, like the Paramount or some outdoor festival. Most of the shows I see don’t have much going for them in the way of spectacle, or if they do, it’s pretty lo-fi stuff—Tim Harrington’s gonzo performance art antics or Ratatat’s flat computer animations. But Daft Punk are a pretty fantastic spectacle of lights, lasers, video, leds, robot suits, a space-age pyramid, and of course, music. It was a nice change of pace to be at a show where I could get caught up in that kind of overwhelming audio/visual display, where the flashing of “HUMAN” and “TOGETHER” in 50 foot tall LED letters combined with the unrestrained enthusiasm of the crowd actually made me feel like I was part of something along with these other 7,000 people, just excited to be part of the masses.

Of course, there are downsides to the big arena rocking shows: The place is pretty heavily policed by security and staff, Budweiser costs $8.25, the lines for everything are insane, you cant bring water into the show room (WTF?!), and they brought the house lights all the way up during Kavinsky and Sebastian’s DJ sets (hey, no biggie; they’re not real performers, they’re just an intermission, right?). But even the surliest security or most overpriced beer couldn’t begin to make a dent in my enthusiasm for this show. The WaMu also has a few things going for it: the concrete floors are slick enough to do Michael Jackson spins on, and the sound was powerful and surprisingly good considering the place is basically a concrete bunker tarted up with a few curtains.

The crowd was also pretty awesome. There was lots of amazing/ridiculouos fashion on display—glittery pants, gold lycra jumpsuits (it was like a miniature Fnarf), light-up led shirts, a huge posse of Canadians in white jumpsuits. During Daft Punk’s set almost the whole crowd was moving (I don’t think I’ll ever understand the dudes who were at that show last night and not dancing to Daft Punk; what goes on inside their heads is a mystery to me). Kids held up cell phones, cameras, crutches(!), and, for the encore, lighters. The sound of 7,000 people chanting “Daft Punk” or the sight of them all clapping more or less (okay, less) to the beat is impressive.

The light show was phenomenal. Their weird, futurist Masonic Pyramid lit up with neon, video digital images, solid colors, and led lights. A grid of triangles flashed colors on either side of the pyramid. A giant led screen behind the band flashed key words or palyed dazzling patterns. They rocked the traditional robot helmets and leather jackets for the main set, and then switched to some lit-up, red-outlined numbers for the encore. At the end, they turned around on their platform to reveal the glowing Daft Punk logos on their leather jackets. According to wikipedia, Daft Punk decided to start making electronic music after going to a rave at the Disneyland just outside of Paris, and after seeing their live show, and thinking about their videos, I’m convinced that Disney has had a profound influence on them. Their whole aesthetic, the design of their robot characters, their imaginative positivity and populism, all smacks of Disney.

Their set was great. They mixed and layered and mashed up songs spanning the breadth and depth of their catalogue, even included the Daft Punk-in-everything-but-name Thomas Bangalter production “Music Sounds Better With You.” The sound was massive and satisfying, and the selection was great—all the obvious hits, but also some great old cuts from Homework like “Oh Yeah,” Rollin’ & Scrathin’,” and “Burnin’.” Even the cheesy, shuffling “Prime Time of Your Life” from Human After All became profound and anthemic as the climax of their set. I only wish they’d also played “Digital Love” and “Pheonix.”

I’m probably missing a couple bits of songs here and there, but here’s what I heard (feel free to help me fill in the blanks):

Robot Rock/Human After All
Oh Yeah
Technologic
Television Rules the Nation/Around the World
(Some Instrumental Track)
Around the World
Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster
Burnin’
Face To Face/Harder, Better, Stronger, Faster
Aerodynamic/One More Time
Aerodynamic
(Some Breaks)
The Brainwasher
Prime Time of Your Life/Rollin’ & Scratchin’
(Something Acid-y)
Oh Yeah
Prime Time of Your Life
Da Funk
Daftendirekt
Human After All/Rollin’ & Scratchin’

Encore:

Human After All
Music Sounds Better With You/One More Time

The Golden Touch

posted by on July 30 at 2:36 PM

After a long and exhausting weekend, sometimes what you need is that “feel-good” disco gem that you can cool down to. This is where I believe disco legend Cerrone comes in.

In 1978, Cerrone wrote and produced his fourth full-length album, cleverly titled, Cerrone IV: The Golden Touch off his imprint label Malligator. This LP includes one of my favorite Cerrone cuts, titled “Look for love”. This ten plus minute classic, is one of my favorite songs to hear at the end of a long night of dancing. This was another of Larry Levan’s staple songs he used play night after night at the Paradise Garage in the late ‘70’s. Here in 2007, this might just be the song you need after a long and exhausting weekend.

Cerrone - Look For Love

Bell Bottom Bliss: “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams

posted by on July 30 at 1:34 PM

The perfect antidote to all the Block Partying and Daft Punking? Classical guitar!

Composed in 1968 by guitarist Mason Williams—who was a writer on “The Smothers Brothers Show” at the time—this orchestral instrumental starts off a little “Going to California”-ish with pastoral acoustic guitar before exploding into fullbown string-section Broadway grandeur. There’s a nice little horn part for the bridge that reminds me of a big-budget NPR bumper. Overall there’s a wonderful sense of melody and drama to “Classical Gas,” the sort of classy music that rarely makes it in the pop world. This song, somehow, did, making it to Number 5 on the Billboard charts.

This is the song I want playing when the credits roll on the VH1 documentary about my sordid life.

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ZOMG BEST SHOW EVAR!!1!!1ONE!! OMG RSVP DTMFA

posted by on July 30 at 12:25 PM

…or so says half the Internet about Daft Punk. Well, it was a pretty great show. Fun crowd. Surprisingly good sound, for a venue better suited to dog shows. Awesome stage/lighting concept. Even the sound guy was jumping around and pumping his fists in the air, which is a good sign. Everyone was holding up their cell phones and cameras — they’re the new lighters. People who must have been like five years old when “Da Funk” came out were singing along with everything. Some of them came with their parents. A bunch of ravers from Canada showed up in matching hand-painted Tyvek jumpsuits, bouncing around like happy little FedEx packages. The whole place felt super-ravey, but without the cuddle puddles and mysterious goo on the floor.

It was well worth the price and the wait, to be sure. I want one of those helmets. But I wouldn’t quite say it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen. I think Orbital, Kraftwerk, and Basement Jaxx do the live electronics just as well, but differently, and better in some ways. (Though Orbital, sadly, hung up their headgear a few years ago.) However, Daft Punk are their own thing, they’re a hit machine and they’re really hard not to like, they’re sort of the AC/DC of techno. Hopefully a lot of the kids who were there last night, their minds blown by electronic music done properly, will start turning up at Broken Disco and the Decibel Festival and all the other good stuff going on here in town.

Block Party Eats

posted by on July 30 at 10:00 AM

Some people get excited about live music and, while I count myself among them, I’d be just as happy to sit down in front a table full of carnitas tacos and good friends. Street fairs and festivals traditionally provide some of the greatest summer eats—grilled corn on the cob, sausages, elephant ears, kettle corn, and ribs come to mind—so I set out to find out if The Block Party + The Block Party Food Options = Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together.


Day One

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I’m a little ashamed to admit that on Friday evening, I never made it beyond the barbecue pork and Miller High Life in the VIP area. Oops. But you can hardly blame a person for failing to see past a free buffet of roasted pork, spicy beans, and tangy (if a little watery) coleslaw. And buns with which to make sandwiches.

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All I can say is that the lady responsible for procuring the food from Pig Iron Bar-B-Q, Kerri Harrop, is a good woman.

Day Two

Committed to exploring the full range of food options on Saturday, I had a quick High Life then made a beeline for the what appeared to be the de facto food court in the Havana parking lot.

The culinary highlight of the Block Party was seeing Roshita, owner of Annapurna Cafe, and her family serving up Himalayan food. Annapurna may not be traditional street food fare, but the homemade steamed dumplings, filled with ground chicken, onions, and ginger, were incredible. Roshita’s vegetarian spinach dumplings were also tasty; both come with a subtle, spicy tomato chutney and peanut sauce.

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I heard from a few folks that the peanut sauce that the Thai-ger Room was dishing out was “overwhelming” and “really really sweet.” I had two mediocre spring rolls and a very sweet Thai Iced Tea, and went on my way.

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The busiest food vendor was Hot Dog Joe’s and, while I suspected this was due to the fact that they were the only food vendor (besides the hot dog cart guys in front of the Comet) serving classic street food, Dominic, Hot Dog Joe’s manager, convinced me otherwise.

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Hot Dog Joe’s, Dominic explained, is about great service that’s efficient (they’ve got an impressive system in which you’re telling the griller directly what you want on your dog) and that also provides a full range of toppings anyone could ever want, including tiny crunchy potato sticks. (I had a polish sausage with sauerkraut, grilled onions, jalapenos, and spicy mustard. Very satisfying.)

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Touché, Dominic.

I stopped to visit Joel Leshefka, proprietor of vintage clothing store 20Twenty, to see what he was eating.

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Joel, who prefers healthier fare, felt his options were a little limited, so he picked up some fruit and vegan pizza from Madison Market up the street.

This dude, working next door to Joel at his girlfriend’s booth, Revival Ink, was eating Shave Ice, but he told me that what he was really missing was some fried food.

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And, actually, so was I—no french fries, elephant ears, or funnel cake in sight. Sigh.

My favorite food folks of the day weren’t food people at all—they were the Vera Project’s donut girls, who were going around recruiting contestants for their Donut Eating Contest, which I was sorry to miss.

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I ended my Block Party eating experience with a long chat and visit with Eli, the bouncer at Havana.

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Like me, Eli (who was essentially chained to his barstool out front the entire weekend) was a little disappointed by the lack of variety of food at the Block Party. Eli wisely noted that during all day outdoor affairs people are less likely to eat a full Thai or Himalayan meal, but instead want snacks to graze and plow through throughout the day. He also mourned the lack of sweet treats—strawberry shortcake, specifically.

After one more quick Hi Life in the VIP area, I left the Block Party, still hungry, still craving corn on the cob. I think next year they should have a taco bus.

Best Show I’ve Ever Seen

posted by on July 30 at 2:39 AM

Daft Punk was worth the money and worth the wait. For the last few hours all I’ve been able to do is “Woo!!!!!!” at people or exclaim “Best show ever!!!!!,” so I’m going to take Eric’s cue and refrain from saying too much until I’m a bit more lucid and restrained in my use of exclamation points. Here’s a pic from the show. In all, it was amazing visuals, surprisingly non-shitty sound, and a pair of robots reminding a crowd of thousands of their humanity through music.

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After All

posted by on July 30 at 2:30 AM

Daft Punk was fucking amazing. So was the afterparty at Chop Suey. Too exhausted to write more now. Just fucking amazing.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Day in Pictures, Pt. III

posted by on July 29 at 2:52 PM

Photos by Kelly O

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Girl Talk & Kelly O

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Dyme Def

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Candice Derriere

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The Blakes

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D.Black

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FITS

Continue reading "The Day in Pictures, Pt. III" »

The Day in Pictures, Pt. II

posted by on July 29 at 2:31 PM

Photos by Heather Cox

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Aesop Rock

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PWRFL Power

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Against Me!

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Against Me!

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The Day In Pictures

posted by on July 29 at 2:17 PM

Photos by Peter Kearns

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Gabriel Teodros

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John Vanderslice

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The Cribs

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The Crayola Drinking Club

Continue reading "The Day In Pictures" »

Day Two

posted by on July 29 at 2:15 PM

Mirah-7-HC.jpgMirah photo by Heather Cox

After so many acts running a little late on Friday, I figured I’d show up a little after three and still catch some of PWRFL Power’s opening set Saturday, but Kaz was on time and, from what everyone says, on point. I showed up at maybe half past three, and Mirah was already playing on the Main Stage. She was supported by the same live band she’d had at Sasquatch a couple months ago, but their arrangements were still delicate and wispy enough that they were twice overpowered by the racket coming out of Neumo’s, first by the Sunday Night Blackouts and then again by the Whore Moans. Even when those bands weren’t playing, Mirah’s music just drifted through the warm afternoon air. It was the only set I saw all weekend with anything less than perfect sound. But if they didn’t overwhelm in terms of volume, Mirah and her band were still impressive. In between You Think It’s Like This, But Really It’s Like This and Advisory Committee, Mirah started adding spectral layers of sound to her recordings, the same kind of multi track studio backing that Phil Elverum used with the Microphones. But it was only recently, when Mirah began performing with Lori Goldston, Bryce Panic, Kyle Hanson, et al, that her live shows began to reflect that sound. While there was a real charm to Mirah’s old solo performances, her songs definitely benefit from the fuller sound, especially in an outdoor festival setting. Also, those turquoise stretch pants are awesome.

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Cribs photo by Peter Kearns

The Cribs seem to have washed up on American shores without the kind of sensational buzz that you expect with brash, young British rock bands, let alone ones produced by Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos and boasting a virally popular NSFW music video. But the Cribs, for whatever reason, have escaped the usual critical hyperbole, which is a shame, because if you’re going to be brash, young, British rock band, you could hardly do it better than the Cribs. I was only familiar with the persuasive single “Men’s Needs” as of yesterday, but their entire set was full of the same kind of catchy guitar, hard, energetic drumming, rubbery bass, and cool vocal interplay. They win major points for having a Kill Rock Stars sticker on the bass guitar. They might lose some of those points for having too nice of a band logo on their bass drum.

Jeff Kirby’s take on Gabriel Teodoros, especially the crowd-moving, for-the-sisters anthem “Warriors,” is pretty right on, as is his frustration with the muggy heat inside Neumo’s. I would only add that Teodoros’ tight backing band’s light, summery funk would have made so much more sense outdoors. It was total sunny day music, unofrtunately crammed inside a hot, black box. I skipped the rest of the day’s excellent lineup at Neumo’s, including Cave Singers and Grand Archives, because it was just too damn much in there. Standing in the direct sun was actually cooler. This is what, like the fourth summer in a row we’ve all been joking about Neumo’s getting AC, right? I guess maybe if we had more than two warm months a year, then maybe they’d make the investment, but damn it gets hot in there.

Aesop-Rock-5-HC.jpgAesop Rock photo by Heather Cox

I had no idea that Aesop Rock was like eight feet tall, but that’s cool—it made it much easier to watch him from the beer garden next to the stage. Live, there’s not as much threatening, busy psychedelia as on some of his recordings. Instead, there’s just him, a big hypeman, and a DJ playing pretty straightforward backing tracks. But even without the intense production, Aesop Rock is a powerful performer. I got out into the crowd for “None Shall Pass,” the amped up title track from his forthcoming album, due out in August. The crowd had hands in the air, and did about as much of a call and response as you could want from a Seattle festival audience. Aesop Rock’s set got me thinking about what an odd job, or artistic calling, it must be to be a hypeman. You hang around on stage, wave, pump your fist, and rap along to the occasional line for emphasis—and that’s it. Maybe you also drive the van, but probably these guys fly from one place to the next on the festival circuit. Anyway, maybe it’s a sweet gig, no stress, free beer, or maybe it’s super stifling and still just as stressful as anything on stage. Who knows?
Update: Commenters know. The hype man in question is Rob Sonic, an MC in his own right. I missed a lot of Aesop’s Rock set in that beer garden apparently, including a guest appearance by locals Grayskul, some Rob Sonic songs, and a serious DJ solo. Damn.

I missed Against Me! because I left to go eat sushi. So much for anarcho punk street cred.

spoon2-pk.jpgSpoon photo by Peter Kearns

I still don’t really get Spoon, but that’s okay. I think the reason they get to headline shit like this is just that they have the most appeal for the most people—it’s totally competent, not too challenging, middle of the road rock’n’roll, and that’s just fine. And they have some serious indie rock seniority. And “The Way We Get By” is a really fucking catchy song. After that tight number though, they seemed to drift into some dragged-out jamming, and I split.

Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground made a fine headliner for the Vera Stage, although they looked like they were going to topple the thing with eleven people crowded onto it, including three violinists (one electric, two traditional), a cellist (also electric—so simultaneously cool and lame looking!), and a trumpeter. If that weren’t enough, the band also decorated the stage, hung a bouquet from the microphone, strung lights up, and had the Pretty Parlor’s Anna Banana fussing with a film projector in the back of the stage. The band sounded great—they’re serious and talented musicians—and Kirk Huffman’s a charming front man with a sweet voice. They did a surprising little dub breakdown in the middle of “Hey Momma” (though not that surprising if you know how much reggae Huffman listens to). Jonathan Zwickel once described the band’s old-timey sound as something like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, and I objected on purely personal grounds, but he’s kind of right, although Kay Kay thankfully don’t have anything near as annoying as that band’s “hit” song.

After the official music wrapped up, the Comet played host to some unofficial partying with the Pleasureboaters, Das Llamas, and Big A Little a. The Pleasureboaters are fucking awesome! Who knew? Ari Spool’s been basically keeping them a secret from the rest of the Stranger staff, supposedly due to some “conflict of interests.” What the fuck, Ari? The Pleasureboaters ripped through a set of ragged, smashing punk rock, reminding me a little of a pre-“House” Rapture, when that band seemed as likely to go agitated post punk or boozy garage as disco. Das Llamas are in their prime right now, with the four piece lineup creating a dark, anxious backdrop for Kerry Zettel’s moody, affected vocals.

But the real highlight of the show, and of the day for me, was Brooklyn’s Big A Little a (or Aa—I’m still not sure which is the preferred usage). The band’s swirling sampledelia, baffling, quasi-tribal polyrhythms, and skyward vocal chants sounded great—surprising, because I figured they would be a really complicated band to run sound for, but the sound guy told me it’s all just drums and a single stereo out from the keyboard, simple. I think a lot of the crowd was dancing, but I’m not really sure. I was kind of tranced out and flailing around in my own little world by that point (sorry for hitting your cymbal, Big A Little a, but I think Imostly hit it on the beat). The band’s vocalist/keyboardist/effector John Atkinson joked that they’d be back in another two or three years—they’re in that awkward spot between wanting to do the band more seriously and having to get decent jobs—but I sincerely hope they make it back sooner than that. Maybe next year they can play the Block Party proper.

Block Party Saturday: A Partial Recap

posted by on July 29 at 3:47 AM

First off, I just want to say that I’m extremely glad that the hassle of listening to / dealing with corporate sponsors at the Block Party this year was tolerably minimal. I didn’t have to look at that stupid pink-haired cartoon filly trying to sell me Esurance everywhere I went, and I support progressive politics so the Washington Bus can say whatever they want for as long as they need. Someone forgot to turn off Dave Meinert’s bat-signal inside Neumos once the festival started, but it didn’t seem to really bother anyone. And the free cans of liquid meth from Monster kept everyone in good spirits, unless they drank too many, then they felt like a strung-out piece of shit.

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Sean Na Na, also known as Sean Tillman (and Har Mar Superstar) caught me off guard with his stripped-down guitar pop. I’ve heard both his acoustic and his hip hop efforts, but for the Block Party he had a band and rocking out. It didn’t blow me away, but I was once again impressed how that man’s pop sensibilities know no one genre. Forgetting he was live on KEXP he let an F-Bomb slip between songs and remarked, “Sorry about that, children. If you need to find me, my name in Steve Aoki. I own Dim Mak records.”

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I saw Fleet Foxes at the Block Party last year and was mildly impressed. This year I was floored. Their new songs are amazing, and they perform them live beautifully. Singer Robin Pecknold’s voice has all the richness and vibrancy of Rufus Wainwright’s but without the irritating theatric tilt, and is nicely harmonized by K.C. Wescott on keyboard. Wescott, who joined the Foxes since the last time I saw them, is a great addition. His roles in former bands Seldom and the Vogue were gold, and it’s no different this time around. Their song “White Winter Hymanal,” which is featured in this year’s Bumbershoot video, is not going to be leaving my head any time soon.

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Gabriel Teodros and his band had everyone inside Neumos waving their hands as they brought up all sorts of friends from the local hiphop scene to take turns on the mic. They specifically brought up female MC and Seattle Poet Populist nominee El Dia (Angela Martinez Dy) to join them on a song about “Women Warriors.” It can be hard to get a lot of energy out of a hiphop crowd, but Teodros’ band had everyone eating out of their hands. Live hiphop is always better when there’s a good band actually playing the music.

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With the lights dimmed extra low and their own lamp brought for ambiance, Cave Singers definitely set the mood in the packed room. Down-home southern guitar, light drums, and a small, average-looking man doing a Stevie Nicks impression: so much could go wrong. But it doesn’t, and thus Cave Singers have thus succeeded in making a sound that is both unique and refreshing.

Continue reading "Block Party Saturday: A Partial Recap" »

1 am Fun Times in the Beer Garden

posted by on July 29 at 1:45 AM

It started with a couple girls stacking a few cups. Then more cups were gathered, more people started stacking, and it grew and grew… and finally someone suggested that someone crash through it.

And Then There’s This

posted by on July 29 at 12:03 AM

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(Left to right—Pinkie Crayola, Trent Moorman, and Ricky Cameltoe)