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Archives for 08/26/2007 - 09/01/2007

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Scatter ‘Shoot: Saturday

posted by on September 1 at 11:59 PM

UPDATED SUNDAY AM: A few more videos have been added to the after-the-jump batch.

Will have quite a few Bumbershoot videos up later tonight. For now, here are some of my band-by-band impressions from ground zero, all typed on an old PDA’s touchscreen (no shit, and I don’t recommend it):

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Magnolia Electric Co.: Since three different volunteers had no clue where the Starbucks stage was, I was even later to Jason Molina’s set than I wanted. Still, the half-set I caught was a monster. I’ve been a longtime fan of Molina’s since his much quieter days as solo act Songs:Ohia, but only recently has his full-band, Neil Young-loving concern hooked me. Sets like this only affirm why he made the switch, as the sunny day and long set time favored his extended, slow-roasted classic rock odes. His backing band, composed of Chicago’s bizarre, super-fast Coke Dares, let the guitar solos fly behind Molina’s honeyed lead pleading, and I’m sure the taper sitting next to me (his recording gear propped up by a Dixie cup) appreciated the many 7-minute live classics.

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St. Vincent: The sky was plenty sunny for this set, so much so that Annie Clark (the Saint herself) quipped, “Could we turn down the house lights?” But her solo set could’ve used some technical sunshine, as sound trouble, feedback and monitor issues gave Clark too many challenges. This was most evident on the incredibly busy “Paris Is Burning,” her many loops and pedal tricks stuttering, though other songs like “Jesus Saves, I Spend” stood in stark, gorgeous contrast to her record’s full-band versions. And with her huge grin beaming towards the smush of teens and 20-somethings against the stage—mostly jaw-slackin’ guys, mind you—nobody seemed to notice the foibles.

Snapped a lively video of The Lashes (a song from their upcoming CD), then walked for nearly half an hour to find a stage on the other end of the Center. Reason? Combination of congestion in walkways, distance and the horrid map. I’ve gotten lost three times today at my first ever ‘Shoot (do locals call it that?), and this sparse, number-covered grid doesn’t quite translate to my walking experience one bit. Judging by how many people have asked ME for directions, I can’t be alone.

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Alela Diane: My favorite Nevada City singer returned to Seattle for the third time in as many months today, much to the dismay of Rosie Thomas fans (Diane being her cancellation replacement today). While a decent number of hipsters left as soon as they got the news, the older crowd that remained was happy to discover this second coming of Karen Dalton. Once I get to YouTube later, I’ll let the video I snapped do the talking for this rising figure in American folk music.

Full song videos are now after the jump:

Continue reading "Scatter 'Shoot: Saturday" »

He ‘Shoots, He Scores

posted by on September 1 at 11:20 PM

Unsettling way to enter my first Bumbershoot since 1995: berated by three different sets of Jesus freaks on my way in this afternoon. Fortunately, it became clear that God—or whoever—was shining upon the revelers inside while the crazies outside were left to screaming the Lord’s word at nobody in particular.

IMG_2772.jpgThe Cave Singers by Morgan Keuler

The Cave Singers’ early afternoon set sounded great in the noonday sun; just as they proved at the KEXP BBQ a couple weeks back, they do outdoors and sunny just as well as indoors and gloomy. They played to a few hundred people, a suitably mellow but intense set to start things off. Seattle’s favorite Appalachia-by-way-of-Cap Hill chamber folk trio is headed to L.A. this week to film a video with a friend of guitarist/bassist Derek Fudesco, but they’ll be back in late September to celebrate the release of their Matador Records debut, titled Invitation Songs.

IMG_2869.jpgDyme Def by Morgan Keuler

Dyme Def played at the Tron-rocking Electric Skychurch stage, another local trio (plus DJ BeanOne) ready and able to flex their muscle before a major Bumbershoot crowd. Their set on Friday night at the War Room was short and sweet (major props go to Brainstorm for landing second place in the Big Tune producer battle; major congrats go to Sabzi who, it must be said, won the contest outright from his first beat). Their set at the Skychurck was absolutely massive—with that 50-foot-tall LED screen behind them, the boys came off larger than life. There’s nothing stopping Dyme Def right now—they’re young, talented, smart, and hard-working. Like they say, “The game’s like bums—it’s beggin’ for change.”

IMG_2972.jpgThe Saturday Knights by Morgan Keuler

The Saturday Knights played the most energetic set I’ve seen from them to a mostly stoned crowd at Fisher Green. The band sounded as tight as ever, but their Bumbershoot set proved that they really need some new songs: They encored by playing the same song they ended the set with. “45” might be their best number, and the second time around it perked the listless crowd, but that’s no reason to play it twice in the same set.

1307996700_c1430cddbd.jpgThe Avett Brothers by Lee LeFever

The Avett Brothers… I’ve said and written and gushed a lot about the trio from North Cackalackie, and if you saw them today you know exactly why I believe they’re the best thing going in new live music right now. Raw, passionate, tighter than a banjo string, their set today was the Avetts at their absolute best, and even featured a cello player for the second half. They played a couple new tunes (“Pretty Girl From Seattle,” it turns out, is about our own Kelly O—see our video page for sort-of proof) and most of their latest masterpiece, Emotionalism, and with a sweat-drenched, string-busting, throat-scratching set won a couple thousand new fans. If you saw the band today, you’ll agree: The Avetts are something special. Tattooed punks, tight-pantsed hipsters, dreadlocked hippies, fanny-packed moms and dads—everyone at the Mural Amphitheater was taken in by their unabashed enthusiasm, and they played out the set as long and as hard as they could. The final song, an ode to the power of familial bonds, might’ve brought a tear or two to some Stranger scribes, but you’d have to ask them to find out.

A note to Esurance: Henceforth, whenever one of your cheesy blue and white beachballs comes into my circumference, I will destroy it. Beachballs brought by civilians are fine; beachballs sponsored by corporations deserve to die a slow, deflated death. I was blindsided a couple times during the Avetts’ set, and I’m no killjoy, but shit was distracting as hell during their heartsleeved ballads, and I won’t stand for it. You’ve been warned.

IMG_3124.jpgGogol Bordello by Morgan Keuler

I’m gonna go out on a limb right now and say that Gogol Bordello delivered the set of the weekend. Yeah, we’ve got two days to go still, but MY GOD WHAT A BAND. I tried taking notes while they were playing, but they’re stupid and illegible. By far the rowdiest, crowd-surfing-est crowd all day, the people on the Green were WAY into the unbridled energy of the polyglot gypsy punks.

“What is Gogol Bordello?” you ask. Imagine a Ukranian borderland bazaar and all its table vendors—of bootleg CDs, salvaged Russian military outfits, broken musical instruments, disco shoes—amplified on a giant stage, playing the Pogues. This sort of approximates Gogol Bordello. Eugene Hutz certainly owes a huge debt to Shane MacGowan, but he also pulls from hardcore Flamenco, heavy metal reggae, forgotten American FM pop, witchdoctor blues, and a whole host of globe-spanning influences. I’ve never paid attention to these guys, despite hearing hyperbolic rantings from friends for years. Now I will. On that limb again: It’ll be hard for any Bumbershoot act to top Gogol Bordello this weekend. (Wu-Tang, show us whatcha got.)

IMG_3814.jpgDevotchka by Morgan Keuler

Someone somewhere in the One Reel office thought it was a good idea to schedule them directly opposite Devotchka, the only other slightly gypsy-jazz ensemble at the festival, and that someone was dreadfully wrong. I have no idea where Gogol hails from, but I know Devotchka comes from Denver, Colorado, and despite their geographical handicap, they play the Eastern European Mexicali Left Bank cabaret rock like they were born for it. Theirs is a more romantic sort of gypsy punk than GB’s, but still as passionate. Which trumps, tuba or electric bass? Devotchka goes with the brass. And a theremin. And a bazouki. And Nick Urata, the emo-voiced leading man of the Colorado quartet. Urata decided to pour a bottle of red wine over his head to close out Devotchka’s set—check the Stranger video page to find out why.

Today was easily the best full day of music I’ve had all summer. Bumbershoot is currently rocking my world. It’s been a while since I’ve been here for it, but to me it’s worth every elbow in the ribs and every line for a Port-a-Potty. There’s SO MUCH music happening in such a small area, and it’s a very scenic area, and it’s very good music.

Bert Jansch at Bumbershoot Today!

posted by on September 1 at 10:26 AM

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The most imposrtant guitarist to come out of the acid folk heyday of the early 70’s will be perfoming today at Bumbershoot.

Bert Jansch, founding member and guitarist for the group Pentangle, will be playing at 7:00pm at the Northwest Court.

His jazz inflected, british blues playing changed generations of guitar players style influenceing artists like Neil Young, Johnny Marr (now in Modest Mouse, who has played on Jansch albums), Bernard Butler, Devendra Banhart, and Beth Orton to name just a few (who have all appeared on recent albums by Jansch).

Mike Oldfield loved the Jansch penned song “Angie” so much he and his sister, Sally named their first band, Sallyangie.

Donovan recorded two songs, Bert’s Blues and House Of Jansch (which apeared on Mellow Yellow).

Jansch’s version of teh classic, Blackwaterside, was used nearly in it’s original form, by Led Zeppelin in their track, Black Mountain Side.

He recently played two shows with Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty. They appropriatly played Bert’s song, Needle Of Death.

Incredibly, this amazing man has not stopped creating new music, and will be playing from his new album, Black Swan, today.

This will be a historic event, not to be missed.


Friday, August 31, 2007

Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

posted by on August 31 at 4:55 PM

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Stevie Wonder plays the Chateau St. Michelle Winery tonight; the show sold out almost instantly when tickets went on sale a month or so ago. Seems like a very special-occasion gig. I’m still working on a press pass so I can get out there, and if I do, there will be a review of the show posted here in a few days.

Until then, check out this awesome story by Stranger columnist and full-time Raindrop Hustla Larry Mizell.

It begins

Reasons I Been Blessed #6564

Once, when I was I think no older than nine, and after a particularly crackin dinner at Sizzler, Moms asked if I wanted to meet Stevie Wonder. Let’s say I was into it.

and only gets better from there.

Kongas & Tattooed Women

posted by on August 31 at 4:00 PM

Disco legends Don Ray and Cerrone teamed up in 1977 to become their version of Kongas, which was a revolving group of several collaborators that would change the face of disco music. In that same year they released the classic funk-disco LP, Africanism. This amazing album featured great disco-funk songs like “Tattoo Woman”, “Dr. Doo-Dah”, the title track “Africanism” which leads into their cover of Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’”. This record was released on the early French Disco label Crocos Records along with the more mainstream major, Polydor. I didn’t know how I felt about this album on first listen, or should I say first couple of listens, however the more I listened to it, the more I fell in love with it. And now I can’t seem to stop listening to it. The album contains some solid funk-disco music with a little bit of “tongue-and-cheek” vocals which I sort of love. I should state that I now love this album so much, that I went to ebay and purchased a copy. All I can say is “take it in”, and you might be hooked.

Here’s my personal favorite song on the record:

Kongas - Tattoo Woman

Back to Dubtech

posted by on August 31 at 12:50 PM

Just as I was about to surrender all to dubstep, and particularly to the mind of our moment, Burial, Deep Chord brought dubtech back into the picture:
042.jpg Deep Chord is based in Detroit and recently released Echospace: The Coldest Season, a set of deep dub dreams and visions of sunsets, mazes, shimmering architectures, and solar events. Deep Chord owes everything it makes to the greatest band of the 90s (if not the 20th century), Basic Channel. The dense atmospheres of hisses, the cold electronic flares and flashes, the track clatter of underground trains—this was Basic Channel’s music, the music of post-human machines.

Deep Chord’s Echospace has the basic elements of Basic Channel but its atmospheres are much denser, beats deeper, echoes richer, and electronic flashes and flares are warmer. As with Burial, the human is still in the machine of Deep Chord’s music. Their world is emotional: feelings of hurt, despair, longing, and love are expressed in the depths of the dub hiss. And we leave this marvelous world with a sense of hope and excitement. Deep Chord currently stands at the top of all that is the kingdom of dub.

“I Sing Songs of Sorrow ‘Cause You’re Not Around”

posted by on August 31 at 11:34 AM

“November Blue” is the song that made me fall in love with the Avett Brothers. It’s beautiful—lyrically, musically—and it still kills me every time I hear it.

The Avett Brothers play Bumbershoot on Saturday, 4:45 at the Mural Amphitheater. I’ll be the guy in front going bonkers.

Every Time Someone Reminds Me This Video Exists, I Have To Watch It

posted by on August 31 at 11:32 AM

Welcome to the wonderful exuberance of “Jan Pehechaan Ho.” It’s been around for years, but it never gets old.

[There is also this better quality version on KFMU’s website, if you like.]

Speaking of Bumbershoot…

posted by on August 31 at 11:10 AM

This week’s Setlist has been Bumberized (uh, or something), and The Stranger’s music staff—Jonathan Zwickel, Eric Grandy, Megan Seling (me), and Ari Spool—go over our picks for the weekend and talk about who to see, why, and where to see ‘em.

We also try to be a little funny, and I think we do an okay job. But you can be the judge of that.

Listen in, hear music by Art Brut, Tiny Vipers, Bouncing Souls, Tokyo Police Club, Lupe Fiasco, St. Vincent, and a bunch more. And don’t forget to check out our Bumbershoot page for reviews on every single thing happening this weekend, along with a schedule, a map, and fun and games!

(P.S. Apologies to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. In all the excitement I completely neglected to gush about how excited I am to see you play. I mean, I’m sure you listened to the show, right Ted? And I’m sure you were crushed when it ended and there was no mention of you. I’m just sure of it. So sorry.)

Best Song Ever (This Week): “Big River” by Johnny Cash

posted by on August 31 at 11:00 AM

You know what’s the worst thing about being smart? Making mistakes with people you love that you can’t fix. It sends you into a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing. This is an example of a thought process:

“Aren’t I a smart person? Smart people are supposed to solve problems, not create them. Now this person, who I really like, might hate me. And I have no way to repair the damage I’ve done. All I’ve got is my brain, and even that fucked up. I have nothing, and now this person might be gone from my life, and it’s my fault. Smart people should be able to prevent catastrophe, that’s what makes them smart. I am no longer worthy of this person’s presence (if I ever was).”

You get the idea, but the thoughts are endless.

When this happens to me, I want to flee to some place seperate from other people. I want to beat myself up, because I figure that’s the only way I’ll learn. Suffering from self-hatred has it’s advantages, and even if you ruined something that could have been really amazing for you, you deserve what you get. Even if it was an innocent mistake. Those are the worst kind, because you lose your innocence instantly. Everything gets complicated.

That’s what this song is about. Johnny Cash made more mistakes than any of us, but the difference between him and us is that he knew how to tell people how it feels to fuck up. This song doesn’t make me feel any better about what I’ve done, but at least someone knows how I feel, even if he’s dead.

[Ignore any cheer in the song that you might imagine. He doesn’t mean it. The instrumentation is too jaunty in this video version, but it’s the only full version I could find on Youtube.]

Bumbershoot! Get Stoked…

posted by on August 31 at 10:57 AM

I’m looking forward to this weekend. I can’t wait to see Art Brut, Ted Leo, Seaweed, Eugene Mirman, Michael Ian Black, Miranda July, and tons of other shit that I need to find time to squeeze in.

While I was looking through The Stranger’s Bumbershoot guide to plan the next three days, as great as the whole thing is (toot toot), I have to say Jeff Kirby did a fantastic and hilarious job with his Fergie feature, which gives us the history of public urination. Including his own childhood nightmare:

In 1984, a gray Volkswagen Rabbit is stuck in rush-hour traffic in downtown Bellevue. Scott Kirby, age 4, desperately needs to go to the bathroom. His mother, Lauren, hands him a discarded cup and instructs him to pee in it. Something immediately goes wrong, and Scott begins screaming and urinating all over the inside of the car and in the face of his younger brother, Jeff, who is helplessly stuck in his car seat. Scott will never let his younger brother forget this story.

Please read it. Please. You’ll piss your pants it’s so funny.

(Also, if you too are planning out your weekend, head over to The Stranger’s Bumbershoot planner, where you can customize and print out your own schedule! Hooray!)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Need Dinosaur Jr./Band of Horses Tickets?

posted by on August 30 at 4:46 PM

Then you might want to stop by Moe Bar tonight to pick up free tickets to the sold out show.

From an email bulletin:

Do you want to come see Dinosaur Jr. and Band of Horses for Free?

Come to Moe Bar tonight from 9-11pm and pick up a pair from a Camel rep. Tickets are sold out to the general public, so this is your last chance to get in to the show!

Turning You Loose Tonight at Circus!

posted by on August 30 at 4:31 PM

Not to sound repetitive, however, tonight is Circus! at Pony. Terry (H.M.A. aka Heavy Metal Army) and I (American Athlete)will be once again turning the infamous Pony into a 1970’s Discotheque. There will also be special guest DJ set from one of LA ‘s finest, El Camino. (Also see Terry’s Post below)

…And to start your night off right, here is Larry Levan’s mix of Plunky & Oneness Of Juju 1980 disco classic “Every Way But Loose”. This song was originally released in the US on the Black Fire Music label as Make A Change, however was later released by Buddah Records with the newer title Every Way But Loose.

This is an example of the rare disco classics you’ll hear all night long tonight at Circus!

Plunky & Oneness Of Juju -
Every Way But Loose (Larry levan Mix)

Goodbye Oscillate…Kinda

posted by on August 30 at 2:50 PM

Tonight marks the last night of v2 of the Baltic Room’s Oscillate. Residents Greg Skidmore and Scott James are handing the reins over to Patrick Hanaelt and Nora Posch for September, and in October KFO takes over. So don’t worry, the beat goes on. For tonight, there’s a big all-vinyl DJ closing party. Should make for a fun night. Here are the set-times:

10:00 - JERRY ABSTRACT (Fixelplix.com / Decibel)
10:40 - DECCA
11:20 - KRIS MOON (Division)
12:00 - GREG SKIDMORE
12:40 - KFO
01:20 - TRAVIS BARON (Knight Riders)

New Johan Agebjorn/Sally Shapiro Track

posted by on August 30 at 2:39 PM

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It’s called Spacer Woman From Mars, and it’s tripped out nouveau italo!

From a new compilation on Lo Recordings called Milky Disco. Which also features the likes of Danny Wang, Kerrier District, Quiet Village, and Lindstrom.

Too good to be true!

Download is here!

The Serge

posted by on August 30 at 2:35 PM

In this week’s album reviews, I review Stereo Total’s new album, Paris Berlin:

Stereo Total

Paris-Berlin

(Kill Rock Stars)

***

Stereo Total is the French/German duo of Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring. She’s a little bit ye-ye, he’s a little bit diskothek. Stereo Total is their international make-out session. And Paris-Berlin is Stereo Total at their best.

With their eighth album, Stereo Total bring the latent radicalism of their borderless free love to the surface, striking revolutionary poses in song and in the album’s socialist agit-prop artwork. “Baby Revolution” (cowritten by radical gay filmmaker/author Bruce LaBruce) is a love letter/manifesto full of sweet slogans: “There will be no revolution/without sexual revolution,” “The bed is the last barricade/of bourgeois life,” “Put your Marxism/where your mouth is,” and so on. The gushing anthem “Patty Hearst” paints its subject as a willing situationist savior. “Komplex Mit Dem Sex” is a cool bossa nova ode to gender transgression.

If all this sounds a little too theoretical, don’t worry. Stereo Total’s mix of punk, new wave, electro, mod, and ye-ye pop is fun and sexy enough to make for some pretty satisfying praxis.

“Komplex Mit Dem Sex” has more than a hint of Serge Gainsbourg to it, as does the breezy funk of “Ta Voix Au Téléphone.” Conversely, the band’s Gainsbourg cover, “Relax Baby Be Cool,” opts for nervous rock ‘n’ roll boogie rather than Gauloises-smoking mod cool. “Lolita Fantôme” combines the duo’s breathy singing with descending chords, bouncing xylophone, and a Timbaland-worthy baby squeal. The duo alternately sing in French, German, English, and other languages, but myriad tongues are hardly a problem. Enough words translate for songs like “Komplex Mit Dem Sex” or “Baisers de l’Enfer de la Musique” to make some rough sense, and songs like “Lolita Fantôme” and “Ta Voix Au Téléphone” may actually benefit from some misunderstanding—their sad subjects sound light and romantic without the proper translation.

Coincidentally, I recently discovered this awesome clip of Serge Gainsbourg meeting Whitney Houston (hat tips to Bettina and TV Carnage):

Stereo Total play Mon Sept 3 at Chop Suey, with the Octopus Project, Welcome, 8 pm, $10, all ages.

Circus! Tonight At Pony!

posted by on August 30 at 2:06 PM

Don’t miss the sexy 70’s gay disco vibe!

CIRCUS.jpg

T.J. and I are DJ-ing, so you know the quality of Disco and Italo will be high.

And the Pony boy dancers will be there, so you know the morals of the clientel will be low.

Miss Liss will be in to make you choke on your Colt 45. El Camino will be in town spinning early too.

Come on down and get dirty.

Floor by Floor

posted by on August 30 at 1:15 PM

twister.jpg

DJ FITS was dropping granite busts of James Murphy faced cupids off the techno cliff last night at Baltic Room’s Ruff Gemz.

Sam Rousso Sound System, Deejay Jack, and Rezound unhooked the heazy and got it off.

Huge sets. Really jumping.

FITS’ busts and beats land, then bounce back up. Suspended, pitch-shifted, crossed over, then dropped again. Floor by floor dance floor. The Twister matt, tweaked. Dowsed. Techrunk, baby. Right foot on red, white, and blizzow.

The Jersey Side

posted by on August 30 at 12:40 PM

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People I know are already getting hyped for the Boss’ upcoming tour. This ridiculous, Jersey-centric rant comes from my ridiculous friend Mike Healey in San Francisco:

I’ve also heard that the one and only Jon Bon Jovi will be hosting a Welcome to New Freakin’ Jersey pavilion in the lot at each show!

Highlights include but are in no way limited to:

—Sinatra medley and national anthem duet by Paul Simon and Bette Midler.

—The Goodfellas I’m Here to Fuckin’ Amuse You? Comedy Shack hosted by Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta with Mira Sorvino standing in for her father who was not born in Jersey.

—Tara Reid vs Brittany Murphy oil wrestling….best of three and if it goes to a third they settle it in a giant hampster ball
after the show….this is not to be missed and I’m sure it’s rigged (Atlantic City style) to go all three rounds.

—A round table discussion of religion and spirituality in modern American society. Panelists include David Copperfield, Tom Cruise (actually born in Syracuse, but attended Glen Ridge High School), Queen Latifa, John Travolta, Janeane Garofalo, and Charles Lindbergh (from beyond).

—Whitney Houston’s Home Cookin’, AKA “How to Distill Usable Cocaine from Your Own Urine.”

—Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, and Bruce Willis discuss aging in Hollywood and the wide differences in pay scales for male and female actors in their golden years. This section concludes with a workshop on freebasing Viagra and navigating modern vaginal piercings popular among the 20-somethings.

—Unfortunately, the Glenn Danzig/Denis Rodman Iroc Demolition Derby will not be on the West Coast leg of the tour due to environmental concerns. Leaded gas was baned by the Clean Air Act and although promoters have used a loophole claiming that the parking lot is not a road and that these are “off road” vehicles allowing them to be legal in other states, Californnia is not having it. Rumor has it that this is really a result of some bad Planet Hollywood blood between Bruce and Arnold.

This is in no way a complete list, just a taste of the fun. Start working on your outfit.

And from my boy Jerome in Sacramento:

And don’t forget, Buzz Aldrin (Montclair) is throwing an after party at the Taj Mahal. Dione Warwick (East Orange) is doing a Count Basie (Red Bank) retrospective, followed by a one-on-one shuttlecock battle between Derek Jeter (Pequannock) & Shaq (Newark). Then the late-night screening of Frankie Muniz’s (WoodRidge) new film Who Really Shot Aaron Burr? (Newark). That shit is already killing me softly like Lauren Hill (South Orange).

Old World Vs. New World Pt. 1

posted by on August 30 at 11:46 AM

This is the beginning of a new weekly serial about the relations to be made between classical music and modern pop. The first installment is:

Bach Vs. The Wu-Tang Clan (Remixed By Funkstorung)


Bach’s Die Kunst Der Fuge (or Art Of The Fugue) is just that, a rigorous detailing and blue-printing of just how exquisitely baroque his fugue’s were. This one is my favorite. It is the first of 14 Contrapunctus simply called Contrapunctus 1.

The players are The Keller String Quartet. It was recorded in 1997 for the ECM label. The playing is very minimal with very little vibrato on the strings. They are really trying to bring you the essence of each voice and bring out each vocal line in the fugue. I find this version to be nothing short of perfect.



I’m not a huge rap fan, but I do like the general hi-jinx that The Wu-Tang Clan get up to in their music. Whether it’s the ninja rap stuff or the “i’ve smoked to much weed for my voice to make any sense” stuff, they are generally one of the most entertaining outfits out there.

Bach will most likely be rolling in his grave at the mere sound of the opening salvo: ” It’s Wu motherfuckers. Wu-Tang motherfuckers” But maybe back in the 1730’s there was no word for “motherfucker”. So I’ll just assume he wouldn’t know what we were talking about.



Funkstorung take their shit to a whole other level. Like Bach, Funkstorung use programmed rythms to “sing” out in squelchy tones and scribble-y, sketchy beats letting each line fade with bell-chime tones. Quick, dirty and minimal. Funkstorung make some of the most reasonable and sensible minimalist techno out there. They are also German, like Bach, so maybe it’s something in the water over there. Their fit with The Wu-Tang Clan is perfection. Give it a listen, you’ll see.

J.S. Bach - Contrapunctus 1 from “Die Kunst Der Fuge”
Wu-Tang Clan - Reunited (Reunixed By Funkstorung)

See the Wu-Tang Clan Monday night at Bumbershoot. 9:30, Memorial Stadium.

Jesus, Mic the Drums

posted by on August 30 at 11:30 AM

God is good, gear is great.

Here’s a two-minute drill with Gary Reynolds at Electrokitty Studio setting up mics to record drums. The kit is simple: Ludwig kick, brass Pearl snare, and Zildjian hi-hats.

Gary gets hyper corduroy on the snare and he hates hi-hat mics. His placement and touch are expert. He’s like a really good dentist. He comes in, gets good drum sounds, and you’re onto recording. Just like a dentist comes in, bangs out the cleaning and is onto their afternoon round of golf.

Mic Selection:

Snare - 441 hyper-cardioid
Kick drum - RE-20 and a 47
Hi-hats - 451
Overhead - U-47
Room – U-87’s, pair of ribbons

Carrie Underwood recorded her vocals for “Jesus, Take the Wheel” at Electrokitty. Her picture and gazillion copy selling record hang in the lounge. I don’t know how I feel about her using Jesus’ name in the title of her song.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Stranger vs Bumbershoot!

posted by on August 29 at 4:31 PM

The new issue of The Stranger is online, including Seattle’s Only Bumbershoot Guide, which contains previews of every performance, picks & reviews, and a customizable schedule builder. It’s practically more fun than the festival itself!

Humpday MP3s!

posted by on August 29 at 4:02 PM

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Alan Vega, Ric Ocasek, and Al Jourgensen is weird but god

Just the Two Of Us: Superpitcher and Michael Mayer = Supermayer

DL this Leda album NOW! It’s so good!

Some new old Italo: Bad Passion with the annoying bits taken out.

A Psalm from Norway via Shining.

Living on Love

posted by on August 29 at 3:50 PM

Here’s another disco classic from Cerrone to get you through your day. In 1979, Cerrone released his fifth LP properly titled, Cerrone V: Angelina off of Malligator Records. This album contained many great tracks including “Rock Me”, “Call Me Tonight”, and “Not Too Shabby” to name a few. In my opinion, however, the strongest track on this LP is nine plus disco gem, “Living on Love”. This song is very reminscent of those extended Cerrone tracks like “Look For Love” and “Cerrone’s Paradise”. Either way you look at it, this is another solid disco release for a disco legend.

Cerrone - Living On Love

PS - Tomorrow Night is Circus! at Pony. Don’t miss an amazing night of classic/rare/italo disco gems all night long!

Glass Candy, Chromatics @ Pony

posted by on August 29 at 3:30 PM

Music Video: Chromatics - “In the City”:

Pony isn’t really built for live shows. The entire bar is an afterthought, or a happy accident—the fly-by-night dive is, of course, set to be demolished (along with the rest of its Pine st block) to make way for condos later this year. So, while they’ve added a low stage in one corner of the bar’s back room, it doesn’t really change the fact that the place was hardly designed for live music. And given the bar’s limited lifespan, there’s not much motivation to invest in little things like DI boxes or a reliable PA. Pony manager Marcus Wilson was calling around looking for DI boxes before the show and fretting that the neighbors might call in a noise complaint. In short, seeing a show at Pony is a lot like seeing a show in a punk house basement (especially when things get sweaty), which is to say: awesome!

So Chromatics set suffered from some unexpected technical issues. During new song “Mask,” anesthetic chanteuse Ruth Radelet’s mic cut out, and there was no back-up. But the band—main Chromatics man Adam Miller on guitar, Johnny Jewel on bass, and Miller’s brother (?) on drums—carried on, turning out a little impromptu instrumental dub. And the instruments sounded fine. Miller’s delayed guitars are prickly and cool, Jewel’s programming is precise and his live bass loose, the other Miller’s drumming is perfectly spare. Radelet’s mic wasn’t a problem for most of their set, though at one point it cut out again and Jewel could only shake his maraca and tambourine at the thing. Difficulties aside, the band delivered satisfying takes on odl Chromatics songs like “Healer” as well as newer material like “Night Drive,” the lead single from their new cdr, IV.

Glass Candy had more issues with the vocals, but Jewel and vocalis Ida No handled it pretty well. No happens to be a mesmerizing frontwoman, and when her mic went dead, she would simply sink further into her barefoot, glassy-eyed dancing, seemingly as happy doing that as she is singing. By this time, most of the crowd was dancing too, and the place was packed and hot. The band sounded great as usual—their pre-programmed drums and backing tracks give them solid ground from which Jewel’s live bass and synths and No’s vocals can take off. The band probably sounded better when they played the Baltic Room recently (full disclosure: they played at my night), but the overall show at Pony was a lot more fun. Like the best things, Pony can’t last, but here’s hoping they keep doing shows until the second the bricks come down.

Back in 1993

posted by on August 29 at 2:25 PM

Found a .99 cent sale on used CDs at the Lifelong Thrift Store over on 11th and Union the other day. Usually I don’t even bother with thrift store CD racks but something compelled me to check these out. Holy bargain bin! I couldn’t believe my luck:

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All three albums I had on cassette my freshman year of college. Memories of that time are hazy, except regarding the music I listened to. That I can place perfectly—the wheres and whens of hearing these albums.

Basehead is one of the original alt-hiphop groups, helmed by the stoned-out, laconic Michael Ivey. Their ‘92 debut is super lo-fi and revolves mostly around drinking beer. Songs are played with lazy, minimal guitar and simple drum kit beats, “2000 B.C.”—that’s 2,000 brain cells later—and “Ode to My Favorite Beer” are slacker rap anthems. At the time, Basehead’s music went over just about everybody’s heads, but years later this album is a hiphop cult classic.

Formed by a bunch of former punks, Love Jones was big in the lounge revival scene of the early ’90s. This ‘93 debut matches its velvet-swank swing with a hungover, down-and-out lyrical bent, never taking itself too seriously, except in the playing. Cooing, gin-soaked tunes like the title track and the clever “Custom Van” felt like throwbacks to a Vegas golden era that existed only in drunken hipster imaginations. Perfect cocktail party music, Love Jones brought in horns and vibraphone to enhance the showbiz vibe. Which is weird, because I wasn’t having cocktail parties when I was 17, but I still identified with something here. These guys presaged the swing revival, Friends of Dean Martinez, and Pink Martini by years.

I can never remember which one’s Chaka Demus and which one’s Pliers (I think Chaka has the booming voice and Pliers is the crooner), but this album hangs on the international dancefloor hit “Murder She Wrote.” If you’ve spent any time at dancehall or reggae nights in just about any city in the world you’ve heard the track. Mudede insists the murder referred to in the chorus is actually an abortion; I’ve never heard that interpretation but it makes some sense. It’s a good track, too—the riddim’s come up in other places, other songs and remixes, since its ‘92 release. For some reason, this song is the one that you hear most often, but the real banger here—and I mean banger—is “Tease Me,” one of the most infectious reggae tracks I know.

“Tease Me” made it to Number 3 on UK singles chart back in ‘93 and is still second fiddle to “Murder She Wrote,” though it bounces along on a far superior riddim and features a better vocal performance from both Chaka and Pliers. I rocked this tape over and over my freshman year at UCLA. How I heard about it I have no idea; dancehall wasn’t really my scene, but I knew I liked it when I heard it. I was broadening my horizons, I guess. Watch this YouTube vid and you will too—just be prepared to have “Tease Me” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

What We’re Missing

posted by on August 29 at 1:16 PM

Springsteen’s final tour with the E Street Band comes no closer than the Oakland Coliseum on October 26.

Half the tour is spent in Europe. WTF? THEY weren’t born in the USA, but I was. And because I live in Seattle I get skipped? I’m so pissed I might have to fly to Oakland.

Silent Pictures

posted by on August 29 at 12:21 PM

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the nation of ulysses

Chances are, if you don’t recognize the name Pat Graham you’ll probably recognize some of his pictures. He’s releasing his first book of rock photography next month, Silent Pictures, collecting his best shots from twenty years at shows and on tour with independent bands. He’s responsible for many of the iconic early nineties shots of Dischord bands Fugazi and the Nation of Ulysses / Make Up, as well as documenting Modest Mouse tours from the nineties through today (he’s currently in charge of their online tour photo blog). These acts have the most coverage in the book, with energetic live shots and intimate portraits that document huge spans of their careers. The rest of the subject list reads like a summary of my favorite bands: Frodus, Sebadoh, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, the Jesus Lizard, Blonde Redhead, Sleater Kinney, Les Savy Fav, Elliott Smith, and Ted Leo to name a few. Silent Pictures is like a treasure trove of photographs of all the bands I wish I could have seen live fifteen years ago, like Jim Marshall’s Not Fade Away but for nineties indie rock. This is a book full of pictures I actually want to see – Liar era Jesus Lizard, Ian Svenonius in all his gloried antics, Modest Mouse covered in tumbleweed in a Taco Bell parking lot on tour for The Lonesome Crowded West.

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frodus

Graham will be at the Sunset Tavern to promote the book on September 19th at 7:00. The tour includes “guest appearances” from musicians in the book. Frankly, if anyone on the list above were to show up I would be pretty stoked. Silent Pictures is available for sale next Tuesday.

New Jimmy Eat World Song & Tour

posted by on August 29 at 11:20 AM

I’m currently listening to the new single/title track from the band’s upcoming album Big Casino. You can too, sort of. The band has posted the song on their MySpace, but after a minute or so of it it turns into a bogus plug for the upcoming album. Some robotic lady just says over and over again “Jimmy Eat World… New Album…” blah blah blah.

Bullshit, duders.

The real song’s all over the internets, though, so if you have any of those illegal free music services that seem to be getting kids arrested these days, log on and take a chance.

Also, the band is finally touring again, and they’re coming to Seattle—October 11th at the Showbox. If you’re me, you’re stoked.

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But back to the song… I like it and I will not apologize for that even though I feel like I should. I’m a perpetual 16-year-old with the idea that romance is a John Cusack movie and every perfect moment deserves the perfect soundtrack. I’ve tried to grow up, but I sorta like being a nerd. Anyway, more than once since the age of 15, Jimmy Eat World has played the song that I needed to hear at this time or that, which is why it was so upsetting when Futures totally sucked. But I’m happy to hear that “Big Casino” is a little more Bleed American—a youthful and glittery guitar anthem with a lot of harmonizing. There’s a chance they’ve gotten back on track.

The promise I can make right now is that the song’s lyrics are going to be quoted in every emo LiveJournal post in the world:

“Before this world starts up again, it’s me and night.”

“There’s lots of smart ideas in books I never read. When the girls come talk to me I wish to hell I had.”

“Back when I was younger I was someone you’d have liked.”

“Get up, get up! Dance on the ceiling. Get up, get up! Boy, you must be dreaming. Rock on young savior don’t give up your hopes…”

“I have one last wish and it’s from my heart: Just let me down, just let me down eaaaaasy….”

Sigh. Jimmy Eat World are the kings of teenage anthems.

Bike Cops Vs. Rebel Clowns

posted by on August 29 at 11:12 AM

cyclecide.jpgBumbershoot has clowns on bikes and clowns in bands named after bikes.

Cyclecide Bike Rodeo vs. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

When the members of Cyclecide Rodeo are riding a seven foot tall tandem bike or a lawn mower bike called the Suburban Intruder, they must hit the breaks, and hit them skillfully, or they will end up on their asses.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club almost hit the breaks and broke up before the release of their third album, Howl. But they didn’t.

Personnel:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Smug, pained, dark garage rock darlings: Peter Hayes, Robert Levon Been, and Nick Jago.

Cyclecide Bike Rodeo – Psychotic, beer drinking, dare devil clown mechanics.

Gear:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Fender Twin Reverb Combo 1965 Reissue Guitar, Gibson ES-335 Electric Guitar, an Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer Overdrive, and a Dunlop TS-1 Tremolo Stereo Pan.

Cyclecide Bike Rodeo – The Bicycle Carousel, the Pedal-Powered Ferris Wheel, the Dizzy Toy, the Cyclofuge, and the Flight of the Bumblebee.

Black Rebel Motorcycle - Sunday, 1:15 PM - 2:30, Memorial Stadium
Cyclecide Bike Rodeo – Fountain Lawn all three days

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Picture: Tristan Sawatier

The Cops vs. Tokyo Police Club

Seattle’s Cops recorded 10 songs in 3 days. Get Good or Stay Bad.
Tokyo Police Club recorded 7 songs in 3 days. A Lesson in Crime.

Response Time:

The Cops – They get there in a hurry. Songs are fast and relentless. This high-speed chase ends in volume.

Tokyo Police Club – Sixteen minutes, that’s how long their album is. They’re on the scene quickly, hammering bass lines with guitars for sirens. This high-speed chase could end up in their home town of Ontario, Canada.

The Cops - Saturday, 12:45 PM - 1:45, Broad St.
Tokyo Police Club - Monday, 5:45 pm - 6:45, Broad St.

Tonight in Music

posted by on August 29 at 10:39 AM

Here’s what this week’s Up & Comings suggest you do tonight:

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P.O.S., SIMS, PAPER TIGER OF DOOMTREE
(Vera Project) Rhymesayers Entertainment’s secret weapon—scrappy young black punk singer-cum-MC P.O.S.—has never played a show here that’s not felt like it could be his last, so intense is his focus and urgency on the mic. Never faking it, not Partying Like A Rockstar, Pissed Off Stef makes Minneapolis emo-rap feel like a basement hardcore set—and his crowd plays the part to a T, slavishly rhyming along with every word, damn near slamming in the front. I’d encourage any skeptic to check the man live and direct—I’ve seen more than a few get caught up, fists pumping, as soon as he spits the first lines of Audition’s opener, “Half Cocked Concepts”: “First of all, fuck Bush, that’s all, that’s the end of it….” LARRY MIZELL JR.


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(Photo: Amy Elyse)

BRE LOUGHLIN, THE FEMURS, BARBARA TRENTALANGE
(Crocodile) Acoustic duo the Femurs… “Whoa, whoa, whoa, Megan Seling, are you seriously writing about a fucking acoustic duo!? What is this, Woodstock? Get that Simon and Garfunkel wannabe bullshit outta here!” Wait, dude, the Femurs aren’t that kind of acoustic duo (and by the way, dickhead, Simon and Garfunkel rule). The Femurs play raucous pop punk via acoustic guitars. No songs about islands and rocks, no songs about broken hearts. “Not one song about a broken heart?” Okay, maybe there’s a song or two about broken hearts—it’s hard to say, but they come with kicky Screeching Weasel harmonies and choruses as catchy as the Ramones on a good day. “So they’re not crybabies?” No, they’re not crybabies, crybaby, they’re punk rock. “Acoustic punk rock!” That’s still punk rock, motherfucker. MEGAN SELING

Remembering Salako

posted by on August 29 at 9:46 AM

In 1998, just after Belle & Sebastion released The Boy With The Arab Strap, Jeepster Records would release the first ground-breaking album by another band trying to tow the wistfull, twee indie-pop line.

That band, Salako, and their first album, Reinventing Punk.Tu!At?Ion>:, would not CHANGE ROCK MUSIC FOREVER.

No. They were quiet. From the sleep town of Hull. They preferred to produce songs in their bedrooms. They were lost in the afterglow of Belle & Sebastion. I mean if a star is shining that brightly, it’s impossible to see the meek planet coming to creation right behind it. But their they stood, forever in the shadow of B&S.

Fortunately they left behind 3 albums (one I’ve never found) and 2 EPs, to soothe our ears (which would be needed once we heard anything that B&S came up with after TBWTAS). Each one growing in style and production value (something B&S, to my mind, refused to do) until the band would vanish, like mist, like magic, into thin air.

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Reinventing Punk.Tu!At?Ion>: sounded like a mellow acoustic version of The Stone Roses. Lyrics were I little psychedelic, and delivery was whispered at times and lilted back and forth through sleepy nights and headphone speakers. But the band wasn’t afraid of technology either. Sometimes they used little synth lines that would become prominent in B&S off-shoot Looper (I’d say they ripped them off, but that would be going easy on Looper). Songs often didn’t make it past the 2½ minute mark, but that was okay. That was all they needed to be.

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In 1999 Salako released Musicality. A giant leap forward for them, the album was as twee and light, but much lusher, with a higher standard of production work. They started including songs with dueling harmonies that left you feeling like you were listening to something akin to stoned, blissed out Beach Boys, singing songs Simon & Garfunkel would have written on ecstasy. Smoke was blown in your face and you floated away on clouds of swirling, spiraling, soft guitar lines. Lyrically they were becoming bolder, with songs that stretched out to the 3 minute limit. They asked you with flutes whistling like Pied Pipers to Come! Follow Me.

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Late in ’99 and early 2000 they released a pair of EP’s called Mappleton Sands 201298/Ventimiglia 120899 which added some fun hokey guitar/banjo elements to a “louder” and “lazier” sound. One of the tracks cheekily called (Have You Heard) Musicality plays spead up snippets from the previous album for a few minutes to give you a flavor of what you’ve missed.

Then, as far as I know, the band vanished. I know they released another album, but I’ve never found it. So this is the legacy I’m left with. It’s a legacy I’m hopefully going to leave you with too.

And I’ll leave it like this. If you at one time liked early Belle & Sebastian, but wish they’d lived up to their potential as pop tricksters and charlatans, pulling the fuzzy wool over your ears and eyes, then do, please, check out Salako.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Skerik @ the Owl & Thistle

posted by on August 28 at 6:12 PM

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Photos by Nicholas Polimenakos

Skerik is to saxophone what Mike Patton is to voice: sinister, experimental, sometimes innocuous, mostly hilarious. Last night was the final show in his August Monday night residency at the venerable Owl & Thistle (a funky, friendly, dimly-lit Irish pub Skerik once referred to as his “crazy uncle’s basement”) and the two hours of music he played swerved all over the map.

Lanky, soul-patched, possessing a ski-jump chin, Skerik is a Muppet, or maybe a psychedelically-enhanced Loony Toon. His best music explodes with cartoonish blorts and squarks but leans towards the darker corners of Eastern European and Middle Eastern tonalities. Like Patton, he’s got an evil streak, and he’s at his best when he embraces his inner freak.

The last song of his first set—the first I caught last night—was the perfect example. “Sneaking music,” as one friend suggested—a soundtrack for a comically slow, tippy-toe chase down a Technicolor rabbit hole. It was all horns—badass multi-hornman Craig Flory baritone and melodica, a dude on pocket trumpet, a clarinet, and Skerik on tenor—bouncing rubbery notes between each other like a beach ball. There was something familiar, something Kletz-noir, about this all-horn interlude. Eventually Joe Doria came in on Hammond and drummer D’Vonne Lewis—easily Seattle’s brightest young drummer—came stalking back in for a raucous finale.

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The second set roller coastered; again, it was during the less straight-ahead moments that the ensemble really took off. A few sorta straight up jazz numbers—inflected with funk via Doria and Lewis—were OK, but the weird monster mash surf jazz scrunk was by far the most interesting. Early on, a flautist and flugelhornist hovered to the side of the stage and added bobbing punctuation to Skerik’s flights. Flory—underrated, a huge talent in his own right—switched from bari to clari while another guy—Hans Teuber?—tweeked out some electronic washes. Another all-horn breakdown was a highlight, though I could listen to just Doria playing foot-pedal bass and Lewis on drums all night and feel full. There were a bunch of killer moments—dueling melodicas, for one; Lewis’ drum solo, for another—throughout the second set. These guys know how to put on a show.

All of them—talented, driven a bit batty by Skerik’s unbridled ecelcticism—are awesome to have playing in this city. The Owl & Thistle was warm, lived-in, a real downtownish kinda vibe that catered to an attentive roomful of family and fans. Casual, like jazz should be and so often is not. People seemed to recognize the rightness of the setting last night; one dude was doing the Mr. Bean right in front of the stage, entranced by Skerik’s horn. (This is a full-body effect Skerik has on certain men, described by the same friend as above as “the Skerection.” Court, that’s spot-on.) Skerik himself is a larger than life character, so it’s no wonder he attracts more of the same to his gigs.

“Is There A Ghost” Debuts On MySpace

posted by on August 28 at 3:06 PM

As if to answer Zwickel’s plea, Band Of Horses rolls up today with a MySpace-exclusive preview of the opening track to their forthcoming sophomore disc, Cease To Begin. Even better, the boys failed to uncheck the MySpace player’s “download” option, meaning you can stick “Is There A Ghost” into your MP3 player of choice. This is high-octane quiet-loud material that won’t shock fans of “The Great Salt Lake,” though is it just me, or is lead singer Ben Bridwell trying his damnedest to sound a bit more nasal and avoid the old-hat MMJ comparisons?

Also worth a note: To make it wholly clear that the guys ain’t from here no more, they’ve gone and changed the MySpace profile page’s city to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina (though the album art’s semi-similarity to the SC flag might’ve also been a clue). Gah, why not just change “in a relationship” to “single” while you’re at it? F’in heartbreakers.

Disco Trance & Cosmic Flavas

posted by on August 28 at 2:51 PM

Last year Suss’d Records released, Salsoul Presents: Disco Trance & Cosmic Flavas, a compilation of Salsoul Records’ more left-field releases that successfully blended together early electronica and cosmic disco. Some of the standout tracks on this compilation are Orlando Riva Sound’s 1977 classic “Moonboots”, Judy Cheeks’ 1978 club cut, “Mellow Lovin’”, and Greg wilson’s re-edit of Kebekelektrik’s 1978 italo classic “War Dance”. My favorite track on this solid compilation has to go to First Choice’s “Great Expectations” which originally appeared on the 1979 classic LP Hold Your Horses. During that same year,the song also was released as the B-Side to First Choice’s most well-known single, “Double Cross”. With all of First Choice’s classic disco hits, sometime I think this amazing dancefloor gem gets lost in the pack. Overall I believe Salsoul Presents: Disco Trance & Cosmic Flavas is an amazing compilation that puts together some hard-to-find dance mixes of some hard-to-find Salsoul classics. With so many disco compilations out there, sometimes it’s hard to know if there worth the money, this one definitely is.

First Choice - Great Expectations (Tom Moulton Mix)
Kebekelektrik - War Dance (Greg Wilson Re-Edit)

Glass Candy & Chromatics @ Pony!

posted by on August 28 at 2:15 PM

Speaking of Italo disco at Pony, Portland’s premiere purveyors of the genre, Glass Candy and Chromatics, will be performing at said dive tonight. The show is $5, 21+ (doi), and starts precisely at party time.

Circus! Thursday Sept. 23rd At Pony!

posted by on August 28 at 1:25 PM

The latest installment of Circus! is this Thursday night.

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American Athlete (aka TJ Gordon) and H.M.A. (aka me) will be hiving out that 70’s/80’s gay disco vibe, as well as a set by El Camino from L.A.

To top it all off, there’s going to be some wacked out stand up by the fucking hilarious Miss Liss. Serious laughing so hard beer comes running out of nose kind of stuff.

If you didn’t make it to the last Circus! you missed out. Besides the Pony boy dancers, and cheap drinks, Pony lived up to it’s infamous reputation of both 70’s gay bar pastiche and 90’s gay boy naughtiness.

Let’s just say some of the bar’s clients proclivities were on FULL DISPLAY!

You won’t want to miss it!

Some Kind of Urban Art Expo @ Parking Lot Outside the Old Snowboard Connection in Pioneer Square

posted by on August 28 at 12:33 PM

mime-attachment.jpgMural by Jeff Jackson and Joe Nichol of Writers Union

Last Sunday, riding the 54 on Highway 99 out to West Seattle, I cruised above the parking lot beside the old Snowboard Connection downtown and noticed a bunch of mural walls set up and a slew of painters going at them with spray cans. Turns out the people I was hanging with in West Seattle knew the folks putting on this tragically under-promoted urban art festival, so on our way back into the city we stopped in to check out the scene.

I’m really glad we did—this grass-roots gathering of grafitti art and hiphop music turned out to be a super cool, low-key event. It was a beautiful evening, and 100 or so folks milled around the parking lot, checking out the murals, listening to DJs spin records, and just hanging out in the downtown outdoors. Across the street, a bunch of Seattle hiphop notables were using the Pioneer Square Saloon as a de-facto beer garden, hanging outside smoking and listening to the music from the parking lot. And some great art was being produced—the Writers Union guys were telling me of their all-spray can, commissioned mural at the Microsoft offices. When the cops stopped at the curb it wasn’t because of a noise complaint but because they wanted to talk so some artists about getting murals done in their homes.

1253019003_e7b470976c-1.jpgMurder Dice by Edd Cox

The always-entertaining Murder Dice and his band played a fun set; dude’s more of a Curtis Mayfield soul slinger than usual MC. He raps, he sings, he saunters through the crowd in a supremely fly baby blue suit while the rest of the band swings on funk and soul grooves. It’s hard not to love what he does.

mime-attachment.jpegMr. Lif by my crappy cell phone camera

As small as it was, the crowd was loving the vibe. And then when Mr. Lif took the stage—REALLY? Like, who knew? The organizers paid the expense of flying dude out from the East Coast, holy shit—people really went nuts. Lif is an underground hero and performer’s MC, working the crowd, changing up lyrics, spitting rapid-fire but always enunciating impeccably. Outside in a parking lot, on this tiny stage, with a tiny crowd, he ran shit and made for one of the rawest, purest hiphop moments I’ve had in a while: me and 20 or so hardcores bouncing around the front of the stage, giving pounds to Lif, rocking out to his music.* He ran through a few new songs, had the crowd chanting “Word up!” like a bunch of old-schoolers, and went out with everyone singing along to “I Phantom.”

The whole affair deserves props, from its cool downtown setting to some great graf art to a paint-splattered fashion show to a surprisingly kickass lineup. Organizers Jen Vertz and Shaina Foley plan on going bigger with the thing next year, so keep an eye out—they’re doing good things. (Even if I had no idea their good thing was even happending, or what the heck it was called.)

* This comes after the full-frontal bullshit swagger flinged by Mickey Avalon and his lame-ass wannabe opening act on Friday night. What an affront to hiphop… fuck, it was just an affront to anything of any substance whatsover. I won’t even try to call what those clowns do hiphop. Low-rent fronting for college age hipsters and glam-trash groupies in training is more like it. With really weak beats, too.

Sticks Vs. Sticks

posted by on August 28 at 11:54 AM

travis-barker-1.jpgBumbershoot has foods on a stick.
Bumbershoot also has drummers with sticks.

Drum sticks Vs. Foods on a stick.

1) Travis Barker of +44 vs. Alligator Meat on a Stick.

New Orleans Cookery will be serving alligator meat on a stick. Yes. A special, spicy, fiery Cajun bite, for those who dabble in the meat. Have some courage and see if it tastes like chicken. Don’t be afraid. But do beware of offended vegetarians.

Travis Barker, drummer from +44 ( and Blink 182), also has fire and bite. He also has full body tattoos, a Mohawk, and piercings everywhere. His razor drumming is shotgun tight with teeth. He won’t bite, but watch out for his snare.

+44 – Saturday, Sept 1st - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM @ Memorial Stadium
Alligator on a stick – New Orleans Cookery, Mural area

2) Dave Weeks of the Cops Vs. the Shishkaberry

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Crime Fighting Beats Vs. Chocolaty Summer Treats.

David Weeks is a Seattle drumming institution of solidity. An original member of Kinski, he know brings his thunder for the Cops. He hits every beat as hard as he can. Lately, he has taken to wearing a video camera on his head called the Dave Cam. He’s as in the pocket as a drummer can get.

Shishkaberry’s are chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick. Solid. Slices of chocolate covered banana and strawberry on a stick. Forget in the pocket, this thing is all over your face by the time you’re through with it.

You will not have Bumberdone anything until you’ve had some Dave Weeks and a Shishkaberry. You hold your stick, Dave will hold his. But yours will have chocolate on it.

Cops – Sat., Sept. 1st - 12:45 PM-1:45 PM @ Broad Street Lawn
Shishkaberry – Fisher and Kobe area

Sugarcubes Reunion Of Sorts

posted by on August 28 at 11:49 AM

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Bjork’s new single, Innocence, has been remixed by the Icelandic duo Ghostigital. Ghostigital’s singer is Einar Orn, former band-mate in The Sugarcubes.

Einar even makes a little vocal appearance in the track at about 3:30. It just popped up on shuffle on my iTunes this morning, and the good memories of the late 80’s/early 90’s came rushing back!

It’s a great remix, so check it out!

Illegal Leak of the Week: Beirut, The Flying Club Cup

posted by on August 28 at 11:31 AM

Since Bumbershoot has invited two takes on modern Gypsy pop to Seattle this Saturday, get in the mood. Adorn yourself with some scarves, a kidnapped baby and an iPod loaded with The Flying Club Cup, the latest leaked long-player from Beirut. While the semi-revolving group has only one consistent member, Santa Fe troubadour Zach Condon, this sophomore LP reaffirms the group’s boisterous mix of Eastern Bloc strings and horns and French-pop mandolin and accordion, all still anchored by Condon’s fall-in-love-with-me vocals. What’s changed, then, aren’t the waltzes or the horn-filled instrumental choruses, but rather the tone—last year’s funeral dirges of Gulag Orkestrar have given way to this Cup’s wedding celebrations.

With the general brightening of tone, it’s hard not to notice a few similarities to Sufjan Stevens, from the obvious (“In The Mausoleum” just about steals its piano intro from “Come On Feel The Illinoise”) to the subtle (the swell of strings in “Forks and Knives”’ is as much Sufjan as it is French New Wave cinema). But sadness has its place here too, particularly on standout track “Cherbourg,” which opens with an accordion-backed mourning—“A fall from you is a long way down”—and surges with a chorus of harmony vocal moans, spoon-clinking percussion and Condon’s unmistakable cry—“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you smile!” This track, more than any other, trades the group’s Balkan scarves in for a beret, a fashion choice that I’m perfectly okay with.

Yesterday it Was the Pharmacy, Today it’s the Blakes

posted by on August 28 at 11:02 AM

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They’re Spin.com’s band of the day. Clearly, Spin.com is impressed with what Seattle has to offer these days…

Have You Listened to Setlist Yet?

posted by on August 28 at 10:48 AM

If not, you really should. Sure most of the shows Ari and I talk about have passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the free music from local bands. There’s also still time to win a copy of the Blakes’ new EP Streets (out now on Light in the Attic), but you have to listen to find out how.

Click to hear Blicky, Love Battery, Boat, Green Pajamas, the Scheme, and more!

Also, Ari and I make fun of old people. We’re sorry.

On Tour: PWRFL POWER

posted by on August 28 at 10:42 AM

Kazu Nomura is PWRFL POWER, an honest, funny, and entertaning singer songwriter that pens songs about F-U-N-K and throwing tomatoes at girls who don’t like him. He’s currently on tour in Japan, and he’s going to check in every two or three shows to give us updates on how the trip is going. Here’s installment #1:

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PWRFL POWER hallucinating

This is my tour diary from my second Japan tour in this year. After 9.5 hours of airplane ride, I was at Narita Airport. A temperature was literally 100 F.
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Nightmare back in May

My first show was on the very day at Muryoku Muzenzi in Kouenji Area (maybe Capitol Hill in Seattle?).

The owner of this place played at my last show back in May and I was afraid of him playing again this time. At the last show, he spent 30 minutes singing about eating pussy. Serious. That was the most disgusting set and he also said he wanna be a cat because cats do it fast.

mew mew mew

He didn’t play this time. Instead two fine acts; Marchal no Neko and Mamekko played. Mamekko is just one guy and didn’t have front teeth due to his thinner sniffing habit.
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After the show, I stayed with a friend of “Kadocchi”, a leader of Marchal no Neko. His friend was a tall guy with purple-ish hair and lazy eyes. He told me to call him “Mempis.” I asked why Mempis, which is obviously not a Japanese name. “I used to live in Memphis when I was six and always spelled it wrong. Without H. So my friends called me Mempis.” As we talked, I found out he doesn’t have a job and he talks to his grandma when he needs some money. Also, he play drums in some group that is releasing a vinyl on Holy Mountain.
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A noise woke me up next day. Someone was packing stuff at 8AM. It was a guy in blue shortpants and a white T. “Why is this 50 some years old man here in the Tuesday morning? He is supposed to be working right now.” It turned out he’s Mempis’s dad. “Oh, you live in Seattle? I lived in Memphis with my family!”

I knew it already.

He gave me a little talk about his life in USA and how he was a buddhist going to a church. “Thus, Catholics are poor and Protestants are rich. You should know.”

He concluded.
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I took another plane ride and got to Sapporo. Sapporo beer!
My show here was at this awesome venue called Spiritual Lounge.

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Shinbo-san runs the venue.

It’s a little cozy place with an audience with good ears! After the show, I took a train to hometown, Asahikawa…

Stream New Springsteen

posted by on August 28 at 10:35 AM

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A new Springsteen single, “Radio Nowhere,” is available for streaming on the Guardian UK website. The track is taken from the Boss’ upcoming album Magic, set for an October 2 release date. Magic reunites Springsteen with the E Street Band for the first time since 2004.

“Radio Nowhere” is a dense, dark rocker that, like some of Tom Petty’s recent stuff, bemoans the vapid state of American radio and its reflection of American culture. It’s a now-common Boomer trope that still manages to hold a bit of relevance when delivered by patriarchs like Petty and Springsteen. It’s also a pretty damn catchy tune that features the first alright use of a sax solo since I can remember.

Why the hell is it posted on the Guardian UK website, though? Why isn’t this all over MySpace, MSN, and Yahoo?

At least it’s miles ahead of that crappy new Eagles song.

re: re: “The worst outfit I’ve ever seen on the front of a record.”

posted by on August 28 at 9:00 AM

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(with apologies to Al Burian)


Monday, August 27, 2007

re: “The worst outfit I’ve ever seen on the front of a record.”

posted by on August 27 at 3:39 PM

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Manu Chao: What Is Up With Your Outfit?

posted by on August 27 at 2:47 PM

Normally, I am not one to judge, but sheesh! This is the worst outfit I’ve ever seen on the front of a record:
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How do I even describe it’s terrible-ness? The elements are all awful: The curved-bill baseball cap, the shirt proclaiming “The Gulf” (huh?), the pants button popping out from under the ill-fitting belt, the pants themselves with their needless cargo pockets.

Manu Chao, I thought you were the king of Spanish Suave! What happened?

[Please do note, Chao’s record covers have been almost universally awful:
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But at least they look thought out, instead of looking like a middle-aged Dad who’s been hiking all day because he needs to lower his cholesterol.]

Radio No. 1

posted by on August 27 at 1:19 PM

I’ve had this blog bookmarked for awhile with the intention of sharing it with you, but I went on vacation and all that….

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Anyways, Radio No. 1 is your home for wistful electro as well as nouveau and auld italo. Definately check it out!

Right now he has three songs by the wonderful Cloetta Paris up for download. For heavens sake, don’t miss out on her. Cute and precious as a button!

That’s Radio No. 1.

And Cloetta Paris

The Pharmacy

posted by on August 27 at 10:05 AM

…are Spin.com’s band of the day. Neat.

The Pharmacy play Bumbershoot Saturday at 6:30pm on the EMP Skychurch Stage.

Nashville Train - ABBA Our Way

posted by on August 27 at 10:00 AM

I don’t want to sound like a total geek.

But when your in a record store, and you spot an album called ABBA Our Way by a group called Nashville Train for only 99¢, the only logical thing to do is buy it.

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That done, you then go home and dutifully play it through once. Hey, it’s not to bad. So you play it through a second time, this time being the obsessive you are, you read through all the production notes on the back of the record.

Wow. I mean. WOW. You are not just holding a country and western tribute to ABBA in your hands. You’re holding a country and western tribute to ABBA performed by a Swedish country and western band made up of ABBA’s contemporaries and even some of ABBA’s own backing band members.

Like I said. Wow.

But wait it gets better. The album contains the only known version of an ABBA song, Please Change Your Mind, previously only heard in the background in ABBA: The Movie. The band even performed it for the movie soundtrack (The only song, btw, not performed by ABBA in the movie!). Are you hyperventilating? I was.

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Nashville Train members Rutger Gunnarsson , Roger Palm, Hasse Rose and Lasse Westmann were all members of ABBA’s band according to this website devoted to all things ABBA.

In a note on the back of the album Westermann writes:

Special thanks to: Benny Andersson, and Bjorn Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson. They are a fabolous (sic) songwriter team and without their songs this record wouldn’t exist. I was a hard job to pick twelwe (sic) songs out of the rich porduction of great ABBA hits. We’ve tried to give the songs a shape of Country style and we really hope you will enjoy this album.

It treads lightly by being not quite “pop” enough to be a hit, and not quite “country” enough to be taken very seriously that way either. But it is a fun listen through, showing, once again, that regardless of what you think of ABBA, there music transcends both genre and time to still sound remarkably corny and fun in any decade.

Samples can be found at my site, T.M.L., here.