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Archives for 10/07/2007 - 10/13/2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Captured By Robots, Bloodhag @ the Funhouse

posted by on October 13 at 1:57 PM

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Oh Bloodhag, your shtick never gets old. It’s been a while since I saw these dudes, and thankfully very little has changed. The new songs sounded great, especially the one about Daniel Pinkwater. “When I was a kid I wrote a letter to Daniel Pinkwater and he told me to stick with my writing…and now I’m in this shitty band.” Self-deprecating stage banter, tough metal, and paperbacks being mercilessly slung at the audience is good entertainment.

After Bloodhag’s set I was having a chat with my boy Timmy at a table when a particularly drunk blonde came up and stated scooching me over on the bench with her butt. After a few confused “Hellos” she let us know: “Okay, I just need to get this out into the open… I have three kids. Two dogs and a cat. The first dog is a rat terrier, he’s this big (shows her hand), and he was lonely, so I had to get another one for him to play with. Then, someone just left this baby kitten on my door! They really are like kids…” For some reason during this oddly personal ramble she was rubbing my back. Tim was very interested in chatting with the woman about dogs, but when he compared rat terriers to Jack Russell terriers she turned to me and said angrily, “I just lost all respect for this man.” I asked her if she was there to see Captured By Robots, and she gave me a bewildered look. “Yeah, I heard something about robots.” “It’s pretty cool, this guy made his whole band, and they actually play their instruments.” She looked at me like I was retarded.

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At this point someone trying to get their purse stashed behind us knocks a beer over and gets the strange girl wet. Tim is already standing up, so I hand my camera over to him for photo documentation as drunk stanger is up-set. The strange girl demands that the spiller buy her a beer for getting her wet, and they enter into some bizarre, drunk, angry but passive aggressive confrontation that involves holding each others hands. I take this opportunity to move up to the front, leaving my back-rubbing stranger to hit on guys in the drink line.

captured.jpg

cheney.jpg

For this tour Captured by Robots has adopted a completely political theme, with JBOT playing the role of George W, Dick Cheney on strings and Condi Rice on the drums. Obama, Hillary and Joe Biden made up the horn section, and the large and small dogs with symbols took on the personalities of Wolf Blitzer and Nancy Pelosi. As I had expected, seeing the robots play instruments was still impressive, and the music was pretty bad. The opening metal rendition of “Hail to the Chief” was funny enough, but after the first few songs my attention waned. Especially when the hi-hat mechanism broke, leaving the Pelosi and Blitzer robots to have a banal filler conversation about how Bush was bad but Pelosi can’t do anything about it. When the hi-hat immediately broke again, JBOT apologized to the crowd and assured us that it would be fixed shortly. The guy next to me yelled, “Take your time, we’re all drunk!” This is when I realized I had two strikes against me for the show: I was stone sober and I was never going to relive the magic of seeing the robots the first time. Plus I was stuck next to some douchebag human-megaphone that worked security there belting out bullshit at the top of his lungs every couple minutes. Enough was enough. On my way out I took a peek for my back-rubber but she was gone. Sigh.

Carletta Sue Kay, at Pony, Tonight!

posted by on October 13 at 1:14 PM

Pony is the very best gay bar Seattle has ever produced, at least during my short tenure here (which is going to two thousand years). And as we all know, Pony is a terminal case, not long for this world (I can hear them bulldozers a-rumblin’!). There is only so much time for you to lurk in Pony’s dim shadows and titialte yourself with it’s life-sized porn (check out the naughty new movie projector in back!), and tonight, glorious tonight, won’t be just any night. From Marcus, Pony’s progentor:

Voted best up and coming band by the Guardian, Carletta Sue Kay will grace the tiny Pony stage this Saturday Nov. 13th combining seemingly disparate elements of folk, new wave, country, and classic American pop, Carletta Sue Kay will thrill you with their harmonious, infectious sing-a-long choruses and sunny melodies. A little like the Hedwig soundtrack as performed by the Mamas and the Papas with a little help from Tanya tucker and the Vapours.

Plus—-local up and coming drone-wavers Flexions(featuring former members of Shoplifting/Blood Brothers/Chromatics)——And Oh Man!, a one man queer-electro dance machine that must be seen to be believed.

As if that weren’t enough excitement for a Seattle Saturday night, DJ Porq and the amazing Dee Jay jack will work you into a pulsating lather you may not recover from!

Pony! 504 E. Pine! 9pm! $5! Yay!

Yay, indeed!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Better or Worse Than Bon Jovi?

posted by on October 12 at 5:54 PM

As my parting shot today, I’d like to pass on to you all a music game that was passed on to me by the wonderful young men (and Richie) of Police Teeth having been passed to them from one Bradley R. Weissenberger of .22. In the fine tradition of Crap/Not Crap and Rank, I give you Better or Worse Than Bon Jovi. The game is simple. The active player suggests a band and then each player states whether that band is better or worse than Bon Jovi. While simple, this game can reveal the most complex inner workings of our universe. It will force you to confront the way you think about music, about Bon Jovi and, perhaps, about yourself.

A few pointers to the BOWTBJ n00b - most importantly, this is not the time or place for artist on the extreme ends of the quality spectrum. Poor choices here would be Joy Division, The Velvet Underground, and by the same token, Celine Dion and The Eagles. This game is the realm of the neither the wheat nor the obvious chaff but the would-be-chaff. Here are are a few artists to get you started:

Bryan Adams
Depeche Mode
Some Velvet Sidewalk
Jane’s Addiction
Monster Magnet
Police Teeth
Ministry
Janis Joplin (solo)
Big Chief

And so forth. Don’t say I never gave you anything…

An Artist You’ve Never Heard Of: Before There Was ‘Alt Country’ there was Terry Allen.

posted by on October 12 at 5:15 PM

You’ve probably never heard of the Lubbock Mafia. Even at the peak of the Texas Outlaw Country renaissance, while artists like Waylon, Willie, and Johnny were parlaying their rough-hewn response to slick Nashville country into platinum records and household-name status, Lubbock artists like Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and the Flatlanders remained obscure footnotes to that chapter in country music history. Which makes Terry Allen a foonote on a footnote. This is a damn shame.

Throughout the 70’s and early 80’s Allen released a series of albums that contain some of the finest examples of country-that-isn’t-country ever created. They featured hilarious, frequently heartbreaking snapshots of a played-out American landscape populated with a sprawling cast of sad-sack waitresses, sailors, train robbers, artists, farmers and drug addicts. Allen and his crack Panhandle Mystery Band performed his songs with an unvarnished, straightforward delivery and DIY aesthetic ten years before the first desperate-for-a-catchphrase music critic ever penned the term “cowpunk” and twenty years before “alt country.” At a time when Nashville was pumping out commercial product hyping the CB-radio craze and artists like Olivia Newton John were releasing country albums (and the members of Uncle Tupelo were still in grade school), Allen was writing songs like Gimme a Ride to Heaven, in which the narrator pulls over to pick up a hitchhiker who turns out to be Jesus. The rest of the song has the pair driving down the highway discussing theology while passing bottles of beer back and forth until Jesus abruptly pulls a gun from his robes and leaves our narrator stranded by the side of the road, ending with the lines:

Well I pulled off scared but I heard him say
As he left me beneath the stars
“Well the Lord moves in mysterious ways and tonight, my son
He’s gonna use your car.”

That song appears on the Sugarhill re-release of Smoking the Dummy and Bloodlines (two albums packaged as one CD). Allen’s first four albums, spanning the period from 1975 to 1983, are all excellent, starting with the border-town concept album Juarez and continuing on through 1983’s Bloodlines, but if you’re looking for a good place to start I’d recommend 1979’s double album Lubbock on Everything. It’s as good an example of lyrical story-telling and character study as you’ll find, and even at his most cutting his writing displays a genuine affection for his subjects that belies his sometimes harsh treatment. He also pokes a lot of fun at himself and his own improbable place in the art world (Allen is a highly-regarded sculptor and has largely made his living as an artist and art teacher.)

Allen’s emphatic piano playing could be described as anywhere from “rudimentary” to “I could play that!” but it gets the job done, and his backing band is above reproach. Anybody who appreciates wry lyrics that are smart and heartfelt, sad and funny, fictional and true all at the same time should do themselves a favor and check out Terry Allen.

Pandering to the Staff (Or: Listen to Setlist!)

posted by on October 12 at 5:10 PM

Because I am such a nice guy, I promised to post about this week’s Setlist Podcast, which is now up for your listening pleasure (I’m listening now, and haven’t skipped ahead yet!). They play all sorts of good local music, and also have Mr. Jeff Kirby as a guest. Sounds pretty cool, eh? On top of that, if you listen you will learn how to win a copy of the Pleasureboaters’ new CD, which is called Gross! Click to listen. (Confidential to Megan and Ari: What happened to the nifty little Flash doodad you used to have for listening to Setlist? That thing was rad.)

Oh, and speaking of Setlist, and guests, and guests on Setlist: It just so happens that yours truly will be a guest on the episode of Setlist that will be live two weeks from today. I will play some songs on my guitar, and probably talk about the upcoming release show for Ball of Wax Volume 10 (11/1 at the Sunset), and probably make Megan and Ari play some of the other bands playing at said show. It will be a podcast to be remembered.

This has been fun, everybody. Thanks to all the other Lineouters, and to The Stranger for being insane enough to give us the keys to the joint for the day. I just wanted to say that in case I have nothing more to say for the next 50 minutes or so.

The (Least) Sexiest Thing I’ve Read All Week

posted by on October 12 at 4:31 PM

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There’s a reason we don’t hear much from Nicole “Coco” Austin, aka Mrs. Ice-T. From Smooth magazine:

“We have a box of devices. Ice calls one of the vibrators ‘Jack Black’.”

jack-black-diary.jpg

The Ladder of Success (Rungs 6 through 9)

posted by on October 12 at 4:09 PM

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Rung 6: Almost Famous. An aging hipster with expensive clothes approaches you after a show and claims to be an A&R man for one of the Big Four. Much to everybody’s surprise, including your lawyer’s, he’s legit. You sign the contract, live off the advance, and spend several months in New York or LA or Nashvile, recording with a producer whose name appears on the back of several of your favorite records. Market conditions change, and the label decides to sit on the recording. And sit on it. And sit on it. Any money you earn from shows or paraphenalia goes toward paying back your $500,000 advance, and your contract prohibits you from recording or touring under any other name or with any other musicians. Too late, you realize that Steve Albini was right! Your keyboardist quits to take a job at Microsoft and your guitarist commits drug-assisted suicide. But not all is lost: Several years later, after a Wednesday night show at a small club with your new band, you recount your story to a tatooed anti-corporate type, who takes pity and goes to bed with you. You move in together, find a day job that’s not so horrible, and begin to raise a family, all while occasionally playing with friends or making recordings on the side, just for the hell of it. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to ascend to…


Rung 7: One-Hit Wonder. The label releases your catchiest song as a single and bribes every radio station in the country to give it a couple spins. Despite the corporate backing, Nic Harcourt plays it. KROQ’s program director hears Nic play it and adds it. Viacom sees that it’s been added on KROQ and starts playing the video on VH1. Clear Channel sees that it’s on VH1 and adds it to their light rotation list. Kids call in every time The Song is played, and they move it up to heavy rotation in several cities, causing VH1 to play it more. The Song appears in various charts, dragging your album into the top 100. You’re suddenly playing 3,000-seat theaters, where you quickly learn to save The Song for the end so people won’t leave. You open your first BMI statement after The Song has been in heavy rotation for a few months and your jaw drops. You call your responsible older sister and tell her to invest half of it in something you’re not allowed to touch for 10 years, then spend the rest on musical equipment and partying. Soon, your label owes you money rather than the other way around, but they convince you to put all of that money—and then some—into your next recording, which they and your friends and your lawyer and your accountant and your manager tell you is going to set the world totally on fire. Except it doesn’t. Suddenly, you find it harder to ignore the critical sniping from the local weekly and the jaded indie-rock fans who stand up in the front during your set with their arms crossed. Five years later, you can’t get a gig in your favorite hometown venue. Your label sells The Song for a TV commercial, and the BMI checks continue to trickle in for a few years, keeping you from the dreaded day job. Years later, a TV call-in show with a vaguely insulting name asks you to reunite and play The Song so a bunch of kids who have only heard it at weddings can vote on whether you are better or worse than a bunch of other one-hit wonders from the same era. But the money’s too good to say no. Occasionally when you’re drunk at a party, you pick up a guitar or sit down at a piano and bang out The Song, and your friends look away. Unless you had a string of hits, in which case you made it to…


Rung 8: The Big Time. You’re all over the radio and TV. You mess with interviewers by answering the same boring, predictable questions differently each time. You show up late to photo shoots, or not at all. Teenagers sleep beneath posters with your picture on them. Your grandparents brag about you to their friends. An entire cottage industry springs up around you, complete with hangers-on and sycophants. You realize that there’s very little difference between playing for 3,000 and playing for 20,000, except that the lighting is better and the audience is louder and farther away. And your drummer always wears a headset and plays to a clicktrack that’s synchronized with the lights. And you occasionally use triggers and backing vocal tracks to cover the parts you know you’re going to fuck up. But you don’t care if people say that you really suck because you can buy any car you want, as well as a nice house in your hometown and a second home in New York or Hawaii. Even if you never work or play another show again, you will always have enough money for you and your children to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. And someday, you might make it to…


Rung 9: Legend. Your label releases greatest hits albums with words like “Legendary” in the title and nobody mistakes it for irony. You’re embedded in the pop cultural DNA—your songs are familiar even to people who don’t like music, while music fans are required to have an opinion about you. You have your own tribute band. You’re rich, famous, and a total sellout.

Shows to Check out This Week

posted by on October 12 at 3:45 PM

The Stranger’s music section is great and all, but it can’t possibly cover all the great shows going on in any given week in our kickass city. Here are the shows I would single out for your attention and attendance if I were in a position to tell you what to do (oh wait, I am!):

Tonight, Friday, October 12
Tonight is a toss-up between a couple great pop shows: Smile Brigade (album release)/We Wrote The Book On Connectors/A Gun That Shoots Knives@ the High Dive (Already pimped below by JJ, but allow me to hammer the point home.)

Smile Brigade has been honing their particular brand of pop music—which manages to be dark and sardonic, yet breezy and fun at the same time—for several years now. They are finally releasing their debut full-length, and it’s already getting considerable attention from KEXP, The End, and dorks like me. Go celebrate with them at the High Dive (just don’t wait for the bus across the street in front of Norm’s after the show—what a horror show that place is!). Congratulations, boys!

Dept. Of Energy/The Young Sportsmen/Hillstomp/Caleb Thompson @ The Tractor

You might remember Dept. of Energy’s Robb Benson from such bands as Dear John Letters and the Nevada Bachelors. His newer band, Dept. of Energy, has not yet garnered the attention that Dear John Letters did, but that’s not for lack of kicking ass. Robb’s razor-sharp songwriting and nimble guitar and vocals mesh perfectly with Ty Baillie’s mind-bending keyboard skills (his left hand acts as the band’s bass player, and it can be hard to watch anything else while they’re playing) and Cassady Layton’s clockwork drumming. Dept. of Energy and Caleb Thompson will both be featured on the next volume of my Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly series. This is Caleb’s first show, and from what I’ve heard I hope it’s the first of many. His poetic, languid folk should be a great addition to our musical landscape.

Saturday, October 13
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head/Wesafari / Sleepy Eyes Of Death @ The Vera Project (All Ages)

Wesafari is one of my favorite local bands, and I’m not just saying that because they’re good friends of mine. When you listen to their recordings you’re in awe of the level of care and attention put into their music, and when you see them on stage you’re in awe of the level of talent crushed onto that one space. hey have a new EP called Moss Green, which you can download for free (take that, Radiohead!) from their Web site. To up the ante, they’ll be borrowing drummer Joel Harmon from Sleepy Eyes of Death, whose smoke machine and light show-enhanced electro-shoegaze blew me away during their set at Bop Street Records during Reverb
Fest
, and should be even more awe-inspiring in a real venue with the stellar sound system that Vera boasts.

This is getting long, so just one more quicky:

Wednesday, October 17
Great Lake Swimmers/Arthur & Yu/Thao Nguyen @ The Tractor

I’ll let the links speak for themselves. So much pretty …

Now get out there and see some live music!

Plug Away: Chuck Norris House Edition

posted by on October 12 at 3:17 PM

So I go over to the Chuck Norris House in the U-District to see if any of the many band folk residents wanna chew the fat and gimme the skinny. And away we go.

NICK DETROIT

l_018c05138529addf24bde32b20865637.jpg(Photo by dorongild.com)

Nick Detroit, bass player for The Emergency tells me that although they have no shows lined up in the near future, the band is working on a follow-up to last year?s debut release Can You Dig It? Meanwhile, his side project Thunder is playing on October 22 at The Funhouse with The Ictus Mazurka, Australia?s Digger & The Pussycats, and Ape City R&B.

Also be on the lookout for the second release by another Thee Emergency side project, Lavender Lunchbox and the Psychedelic Lightbulb, sometime in early 2008.

STUBBY

(photo by Gunther Jose Frank)

Stubby’s band A Gun That Shoots Knives brings their everything-but-the-kichen-sink sound to the High Dive tonight, and they’ll be joined by the equally entertaining We Wrote The Book On Connectors and headlinersSmile Brigade who are celebrating their CD release tonight as well.

Stubby has also been turning his attention to designing show fliers, and he?s doing a damn fine job. Here are a couple of previous efforts:

Contact Stubby here for all of your poster-related needs.

BRAD KAUFMANN

1330158446_l.jpg(photo by Rustee Pace)

Former Iceage Cobra bassist Brad Kaufmann is in his bedroom when I stop by, about to lay some Rhodes piano down on his new project. It’?s pretty hush-hush, but there is a name. ?I checked Google and nobody has it yet. It’?s a good name.? The man knows how to build anticipation. I heard some of the new stuff the other day and it?s almost an about-face from his last band’?s style of heavy lifting. I mean, he’?s got an acoustic guitar on his bed, for Christ?’s sake. I’?ll let him get back to work.

JERM AND PROFANE

l_c96f3db1f4e316f3ba93cf81f259a3b6.jpg(image stolen from the Red Rapture’s website)

Okay, so they live next door at the Octagon, but their household and band the Red Rapture ties in with the Norris house, with members of both hives cross-pollinating socially and musically (Jerm also plays in Lavender Lunchbox, for instance). They, too, have shows coming up (one on November 16 at a previously mentioned bar, and December 1 at the Monkey Pub.

Van Trainwreck

posted by on October 12 at 2:44 PM

Courtesy of Gerard Cosloy’s fantastic Can’t Stop the Bleeding, enjoy your Daily Van Halen Trainwreck:

No Jack Daniels bass could have saved this.

The Ladder of Success (Rungs 4 and 5)

posted by on October 12 at 2:36 PM

Let’s get back to the ladder of success, shall we?

Rung 4: Local Hero. In your hometown, complete strangers show up at your shows after seeing your name in the paper and buy your CDs from the independent record store near the university. The local college radio station plays several tracks from your CD for several weeks after it comes out, and you get a 100-word review in a local weekly, complete with a clever numerical rating (three stars=frottage; four stars=gloryhole). A national indie label or the boutique imprint of a major label offers you distribution, and you begin to headline shows in nearby cities. Somebody convinces you to hire a manager and a lawyer because everybody else does. You earn a couple thousand dollars per night as the opening act on a national tour for a College Radio Darling, during which other people haul your gear and tune your instruments before you take the stage. Pitchfork gives your album a respectable rating. One day, scanning the “Musicians Wanted” section of the local weekly, you see yourself named as an influence. The music critic for the hometown daily writes a short article about you and begins placing a star next to your shows in the calendar section. You begin to get Aribtron reports with your name on them and BMI royalty checks for $10.38 or $45.12. Your label announces that you’ve sold a respectable multi-thousand CDs, and offers to front the recording costs for the next one. Your band members quit all their side projects and begin taking fewer shifts at work or trading their full-time jobs for temp positions. When you fill out your tax form at the end of the year, you proudly write “Musician” in the “Employment” box, and your accountant introduces you to all sorts of useful and interesting tax deductions. You continue through a few more albums and several lineup changes, but one day find yourself opening for a band that’s younger, better, and more popular than you’ve ever been. The drugs aren’t fun anymore, you can’t maintain a relationship because you’re always on tour, you discover that the music business is filled with criminals and former frat boys, and corporate radio still sucks because they won’t play you. Eventually you move on to become a band manager or radio engineer, and occasionally people recognize your name and ask “weren’t you in that band, what were they called?” Or perhaps you rise into the rarified air of…


Rung 5: College Radio Darling. College radio stations play your music even when you don’t have a new record out. When you tour, music writers and college radio program directors in other towns call your manager to set up interviews. You’re playing 1,000-seat clubs and some of your shows sell out, and even if not, you always sell enough tickets and paraphernalia to pay your roadies. You manage to keep your recording budget down in the mid-five figures, pleasing your label overlords enough so they offer you a tour bus and try to bribe commercial stations into playing you. You sell enough CDs to cover both your recording costs and advances, allowing everybody to earn a buck or two of profit from each additional sale. From time to time, you’re featured in Spin and Rolling Stone, and VH1 plays a couple of your videos late at night. Your BMI checks might actually help you pay rent. Other artists give interviews in which they cite you as an important influence or slag your last album as overrated. Your parents are no longer ashamed to tell their friends that you’re a musician. If you’re lucky enough, good enough, and smart enough, you can continue along this path for ten or fifteen years, earning enough along the way to buy a house in Portland and medical insurance. Years after you break up, you will be asked to play the occasional reunion show. Unless you get suckered into climbing to…

“I Find a Little 2k Squeal Through the Monitors Works As An Excellent Disciplinary Device” or Be Nice To Your Sound Op

posted by on October 12 at 2:20 PM

Anybody who has ever played a live show of any size knows this feeling. After spending untold hours packed into a sweaty little rehearsal space practicing your songs and honing your act, you and your bandmates show up on gig night and play your hearts out only to walk off stage and hear:
“Man, you guys are great but the sound sucked.”
Now sometimes, with bands that aren’t as good as yours, these comments may be the result of friends trying to find a nice way of saying that they didn’t care for the music. But let’s assume that’s not the case with you, because your band truly rocks. What gives? What, if anything, can you do to insure good sound?
I asked one of the finest sound engineers I know this question. (Because this individual has known me for many years, he trusts me about as far as he can throw me, so I promised to provide his answers under a pseudonym. We’ll just call him Your Next Sound Op, or YNSO.) Here are his answers.

FlamingBanjo: What’s your biggest beef with bands as a sound guy? What causes the most sound problems?
YNSO: The top three problems faced by most live bands are stage volume, stage volume and stage volume. The number one thing that makes my job difficult is players on stage with their amps turned up too loud, because it affects everything else. Any mikes on stage will be picking up all that noise, which affects how high the monitors can go before feeding back, while simultaneously making it harder for everybody to hear what’s coming out of those monitors. If you want your monitor mix to sound good, you’ve got to keep stage volumes reasonable.
FlamingBanjo: Who are the biggest culprits here?
YNSO: This is going to come as a shock: Guitar players. Followed closely by bass players.
FB: Is this just Nigel Tufnel syndrome at work? Explain.
YNSO: There’s a lot of that, but there are other reasons. I think most bands practice too loud. They get used to playing in this tiny cramped space with their amps cranked all the way up and that becomes their comfort level. Then they get to the gig and they want to play at that level. When the guy behind the board asks them to turn down they react like he’s the Man telling them to stop rocking so hard! When all he’s trying to do is get a good balance in the mains and monitors. I can’t control the sound coming out of your amp, just the sound coming from the mains. Work with me.
With the bass there are also some issues with the physics of sound: A 100 Hz tone is like an 11 foot long wave, which means if you’re standing next to your amp you’re not hearing the actual signal, you’re hearing the wave after it’s bounced off the back of the club. Stand 10 or 11 feet away and you’ll start to hear what’s really coming out of the amp. The same thing applies to DJs who are pumping out a lot of low end. They want to hear that thump but unfortunately the laws of physics are working against them. They’re standing too close to the source.
FB: What about running sound for DJs? That should make your job fairly easy, right, since they’re basically just sending you a line from the stage?
YNSO: You’d think so. As far as not having to deal with a stage full of live amps and mikes it is easier. But unfortunately a lot of DJs don’t understand gain structure, so they turn their gear up all the way and expect the sound guy to clean up the distorted signal. I tell people “sit down in your car, turn up the stereo all the way. It sounds like shit, doesn’t it? Now come down from there until it sounds good. That’s how peak signal works.”
FB: You’ve run sound for everything from internationally-known Reggae artists to five-band local heavy metal nights. What’s the difference between amateur musicians and professionals in your experience?
YNSO: Professionals show up on time, set up, and get out of the way. They don’t socialize on stage. They don’t noodle. When I say “kick drum” through the talkback all I hear is kick drum. They don’t practice on stage. They’re less self-conscious so there’s usually less attitude. That’s not to say that professionals don’t ask for “More Me!” in the monitors. But they’re usually nicer about it.
A lot of pros are a little deaf. A guy like Engelbert Humperdinck runs his stage monitor levels at about 117 decibels, which is like standing next to a jet engine.
FB: Engelbert Humperdinck ? I had no idea he was so hardcore.
YNSO: HARDcore.
FB: I’ve noticed you’re one of the few sound guys I know who isn’t deaf. How’d you manage that?
YNSO: What?
FB: What should bands avoid when dealing with their sound op?
YNSO: Be nice to us. Understand there are limitations to what the gear can do. Understand that if you piss us off you won’t get our best work.
FB: Do you ever exact revenge?
YNSO: I find a little 2k squeal through the monitors works as an excellent disciplinary device. They stop asking for “More monitors!” after that. Works every time. 5-10Hz makes people shit their pants.
FB: Any parting words of wisdom?
YNSO: We hear a lot of complaints when people aren’t happy, but like anybody we like positive feedback (no pun intended.) Also, I rarely turn down a tip. $20 buys a lot of good will.

Top Three Love Songs

posted by on October 12 at 2:12 PM

[Editor’s Note: This comes from our Freaky Friday Slogger Original Monique, but since it’s a music-related post, we’re putting it in Line Out instead of Slog. Plus, danmohr wanted some ladies in the mix.]

So a friend and I were talking on IM yesterday about music. He mentioned to me that one of his top three love songs was on Stone Temple Pilot’s album Purple. This lead to an interesting conversation about our top three favorite love songs. He immediately knew his top three:

“Still Remains” – Stone Temple Pilots
“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd
“Lovesong” – The Cure


He had it down in 30 seconds.

I thought about it, and was struggling to even pick one of a possible top three. I am a chick (don’t hate on me for saying this fellow feminists), so I should totally of had ONE. I scoured through my iPod to see what I could find. It took me well over two hours to nail down a top three, and even now….I am not sure. I decided that of the three songs, I wanted one that was a classic, one that was nostalgic, and one that was cheesy. All things I think are part and parcel to love songs. This is what I came up with:

Just Like Heaven – The Cure
Someone – Ascension
Kiss of Life – Sade


Hey commenter’s (and Mr. Poe!)…what are your top three favorite love songs, and how long did it take you to come up with them?

And Now: Your Moment of Elvis

posted by on October 12 at 1:53 PM

I’m actually home sick today, so I’m taking this opportunity to watch Elvis’s 12th (!) movie, 1963’s It Happened at the World’s Fair. It’s by no means a great work of film, but it’s definitely fun, both for the vintage views of Seattle and for Elvis himself, who was still a charming onscreen presence and possessed of a gorgeous voice. I couldn’t find my favorite scene so far on Youtube (which features a long ride on the monorail, an overdubbed sappy song, and, at the very end, a giant stuffed dog nodding to Elvis), but here’s the brilliantly cheesy trailer:

Q: Are We Not Men?

posted by on October 12 at 1:49 PM

OK, so I was slumming it over in the SLOG section over lunch (as if there’s something more important to talk about than music) and lo and behold I see the SLOG Freaky Friday list: Callie, GurlDoggie, SDA in SEA, Comte, Katelyn, Original Andrew, Original Monique, Amelia, Boomer in NYC. Now, unless my math is off (or GurlDoggie is male), that’s 55% women. Now look at us: MattyDread, danmohr, Jason Josephes, Levislade, Flamingbanjo, Eric Sullivan. What a sausage fest! We probably don’t even own ten pairs of shoes among us!

What the hell does this have to say about obsessive music people?!?

Somebody at Evergreen needs to get chugging on a thesis like right now.

Maybe You Suck

posted by on October 12 at 1:36 PM

I’m interrupting my explanation of the ladder of success because I imagine that the two or three of you who’ve actually taken the time to read and reflect upon it are wondering “why can’t I seem to make it past the second rung?” (In my experience, that’s where most bands stop.)

I don’t want to underemphasize the importance of networking, self-motivation, and all of those things that they tell you in those “how to become a rock star” books. And sure, taste is subjective. (I’ll never convince a Journey fan that they sucked, hard. I’ll never convince a Clapton fan that Jimmy Page is better.) You might be ahead of your time, or too eclectic/smart/talented for Seattle/The Stranger’s music staff/John Richards.

But have you ever considered the possibility that you suck?

I’m not trying to be rude, here, but seriously. It’s a possibility that you should take into account now, before you waste any more time trying this music thing, so you can put your spare energy into writing your novel or taking accounting classes or starting that hair salon you always dreamed about. Not everybody’s a musician. Desire does not equal talent. Impeccable taste does not equal skill. Practice does not equal perfect. I’ve seen plenty of bands with drive, motivation, taste, fashion sense, good looks, and no musical ability. It’s immediately obvious to everybody in the room, except for the people in the band.

There are levels of suckiness. In some cases, the band is just Not Very Good. They sound OK for a few minutes, but they’re doing nothing new, or there’s some fundamental flaw with the way they write, sing, or play. But for purposes of this post, let’s say that NVG=suck. After all, you have a lot of competition, and the NVGs are never going to get much further than the truly awful musicians, so…

The trouble is, nobody but the rudest, drunkest loudmouths are going to tell you to your face that you flat-out suck. And if they do, you’ll assume they’re idiots, or drunks, or mean. This can make it hard to tell whether you suck or not.

So: recognize the warning signs!

1. You don’t get invited back. Wasn’t that a great gig at that one place? So why aren’t they returning your e-mails or phone calls? Sometimes it’s simply because you didn’t draw the last time. But other times, it’s because you suck.

2. You have no fans. Do you know the difference between friends and fans? Friends are people who you know and like and hang out with separately from your musical life. Fans are people who come to see you play music. Sometimes fans become friends, and occasionally a friend is a true fan as well. But when all the people in the audience are your friends, you have no fans. Which is OK for your first few gigs, but after that…well. Maybe you suck.

3. You can’t convince your friends to come back. Your friends don’t have to share your musical tastes, and some of them probably aren’t into music all that much and never really go to shows anyway. But if each of your friends come exactly once, then are miraculously busy every single other time you play…could you suck? It’s possible.

4. Your friends word their compliments carefully. “You guys are really tight.” “You must rehearse an awful lot.” “I can imagine how hard it is to play that kind of music.” Hint: if they really liked it, they will be excited. They’ll dance and get flushed, and you’ll see it in their eyes, and they will not have to choose their words carefully, and they will tell their friends, and they will come back multiple times. If none of these things happen, ever, then chances are you suck.

5. Your friends make ambiguous statements that might be insults. “So how’d you get this gig?” “Did you ever take voice lessons?” “Where’d you learn to play like that?” Take solace: they still want to be your friend, otherwise they’d just come out and tell you that you suck.

6. People who don’t know you’re in the band insult it. One time, I was talking to a girl I didn’t know, a friend of a friend. I asked her how she liked the band on stage. She said “they’re alright, but they’re sure a hell of a lot better than that first band!” I was the bass player in the first band. Due to dim lighting and unfamiliarity—you don’t really study bands you hate—she didn’t know. She was embarrassed when I told her, but she gave me some worthwhile feedback which I nonetheless ignored. Another time, I was watching a gig by a band that had recently fired me. An audience member made a snarky comment comparing the band’s music to the Twin Peaks soundtrack. I took it as a compliment, and when I told the other guys, they took it as a compliment. But it wasn’t meant that way. It was meant as a way of saying “I heard this ten years ago, ergo, NVG.” If you hear lots of comments like this, you might suck.

7. The soundguy makes the exact same comment to you as he did to the last band. There was one burnout dude who worked this dive in San Francisco I used to play. If he didn’t like the band, he always told the drummer that he or she had “great kick action.” Translation: you suck. (I don’t play drums, but I was in a band who heard the news. We figured it out after he said the exact same thing to the other bands…and to us the next time we played.)

8. Everybody keeps quitting. Can’t keep a drummer/bassist/lead guitarist in the band? Personality clashes are possible. Musical differences, perhaps. Differing tolerance for drug abuse/flakiness/demanding work schedules—definite possibility. Or they realized, after the gig in which you never figured out that your guitar was out of tune, that you suck.

9. You don’t know what they’re talking about. Do you know the names of the notes and their corresponding positions on the fretboard? Do you know what the guitarist means when she says she’s playing a B-minor-seventh? When the singer tells you to play a G-major chord, can you find the keys? Do terms like slap-back leave you blank? If everybody in your band’s at the same level of comfort with these things, and the other signs of suckiness aren’t there, OK—Paul McCartney never read music, and I know amazing guitar players who still get their As and Es confused. But if the musicians you’re working with every day seem strangely advanced, and you can’t seem to keep them in the band for more than a few months, well. You guessed it.

10. You suck on purpose. There’s nothing wrong with joke bands, as long as the joke’s not on you.

Double Double Name Name Game Game

posted by on October 12 at 12:52 PM

So what’s up with all the double double name names band bands, or even triple name name name bands at that? In honor of this phenomenon, let’s play a game called Find the Fake Double Name Band Game—which one of these is a fake band?

(Note: Does anyone know what qualifies as a double-name band, for example: does having a word or sound in between the doubled word disqualify it from the category of double-name band? What do you think?)

Man Man
Clara Clara
Speaker Speaker
Patient Patient
Tapes ‘n Tapes
Diamond cut Diamond
Velella Velella
Cray Cray Shanaynay On Payday
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Frou Frou
The Kindness Kind
BrakesBrakesBrakes
Mr. Mister
Talk Talk
!!!

A Terrifying Listen: Of Dead Boys and Dirty Bastards

posted by on October 12 at 12:47 PM

Even for the most jaded among us, there are moments in songs that are able to manufacture a particular emotion and force it directly into the listener’s brain. At one end of the spectrum, you have the sad songs. Sometimes downright schlocky (that one song about the dad watching the daughter grow up and get married that every wedding-goer for a decade was forced to endure), sometimes genuine and soul-stirring (the better half of Nebraska), these are the songs which can take you from just-got-paid-goin’-to-the-titty-bar-with-my-college-buddies highs to Slyvia-Plath-watching-Schindler’s-List-with-the-sound-off-and-Elliot-Smith-records-on-endless-repeat lows. At the other end, you have the happy songs. These seek to move you in the opposite direction and often employ such wonderful devices as the truck driver’s gear change. These two extremes are convincing you, the listener, that either “nothing can ever go wrong” or that “everything has already gone wrong,” respectively.

Somewhere in the middle, there is a set of songs which—either on purpose or by sheer coincidence—can convince the listener that “something really bad is about to happen.” It is no small feat to cause terror in your listener (assuming you are not recording a Noam Chomsky audiobook) and I can only think of a few instances. To wit:

The Dead Boys – “I Need Lunch”
At approximately 1:57 in the song, Stiv Bators delivers the line “Look at me that way, bitch/your face is gonna get a punch” with such a sense of malice that it is still shocking to me three decades later in a way that “I wanna fuck you like an animal” just could never be.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – “Raw Hide”
The second ODB “verse” comes off the rails in the most brilliant and terrifying way possible. “I wanna see blood/well, there’s period blood/or bustin’ your fuckin’ face/SOME BLOOD” Yowza. Side A of this record is one of the rawest, most menacing collections of music I’ve heard. It’s like being dragged into an alley at night and screamed at by the most deranged street lunatic imaginable.

Any other nominations? I will concede that Guns ‘n’ Roses’ “Get in the Ring” was no doubt written to try to convey this same sort of emotion, but the only thing scary about this song is that hearing it means you’re going to be hearing “Pretty Tied Up” in less than ten minutes unless you get off your ass and change the record. Cool ranch dressing, indeed.

The Endeavors, Robert Roth, and the Mission Creeps Lives at the Blue Moon Tonight

posted by on October 12 at 12:29 PM

So when debating what to write about for my temporary Line Out stint, I thought it would be nice to write about a local band or two, maybe pimp out their show.

Then, I got an even better idea to pimp out a show AND profit from it.

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Great poster, huh? Totally makes up for this breach of ethics. (Not my ethics, but somebody’s, I’m sure.)

Seriously, this should be quite the winning combination. Openers The Mission Creeps (from Tucson, for Christ!) are candid in that their music owes a big debt to The Cramps. Word on the street is that the live show is not to be missed, so don’t be fashionably late. This shit starts at 10 pm sharp.

Robert Roth is a man who I met just last night. He gave me some posters and a CD that, unfortunately, I left at work. Goddammit. Anyhow, the former Truly frontman is playing a rare Seattle show before being whisked away to the magical land of CMJ in NYC, where I’m sure he’ll TCB.

Our headliners are the Endeavors, a band made up of four people who have never been in my kitchen.

There’s no cover, but bring some drinking/merch money.

I’m going to go and wash my hands now.

Confession Time

posted by on October 12 at 12:20 PM

So you might think I was asked to be part of this very special group today because I actually know what the hell I’m talking about when it comes to music.I am here to dispel that illusion. Don’t get me wrong: I listen to a lot of music, and I like to think I have pretty good musical taste (who doesn’t?). I have pretty broad taste, too—ranging from classic rock to folk to punk rock, electronica, jazz, what have you. My current active listening pool might be relatively limited at any given time (right now mostly just going back and forth between Iron and Wine and Jose Gonzalez), but overall, I’m into all sorts of stuff.

Except here’s the thing: There are some very basic, I daresay seminal (though that word is rather overused and somewhat icky, if you think about it) bands that I’ve just never really listened to. I don’t know why; I know they’re all important and ground-breaking and influential and what have you. I know they’re probably great, and I might find a new favorite album. I know I could go the Library right now and pick up their albums for free, bring them home, and finally get what I’ve been missing. I just haven’t gotten around to it.


So, without further ado, here are a few highlights from my List of Shame:

T. Rex

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OK, we’ve all heard that “Bang a Gong” song, so that doesn’t even count. That song is so burned into our culture that it can’t really tell me anything about Marc Bolan as a songwriter or artist or anything, anymore than “Rock and Roll Pt. 2” tells us anything about Gary Glitter (admit it, you hear it and you’re in a sports stadium). But I don’t really think I’ve listened to anything else by this man that Allmusic calls “the primary force in glam rock.” What about his album, Electric Warrior, the album that “essentially kick-started the U.K. glam-rock craze”? I’ve seen that cover around a ton, but never bothered to listen. I’ll get to it one of these days, I swear.

Big Star

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“One of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll.” That pretty much sums it up, don’t it? I mean, is any band (aside from maybe the Beatles and Beach Boys) name-checked more by cooler bands than Chilton and co.? And yet, I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and listened to them. Maybe heard a song or two on KEXP, but that’s about it. How am I even allowed to play in a band if I haven’t listened to Big Star? Somebody revoke my license.

Love

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I’m pretty sure the first I ever heard of Love was Billy Bragg’s cover of “Seven and Seven Is” on Elektra’s 40th anniversary Rubaiyat compilation of 1990, which featured two discs (or cassettes, which was the format I had it in) of then-current Elektra bands covering older Elektra bands. (The Cure covering the Doors, Kronos Quartet covering Television, the Sugarcubes covering… Sailcat? Huh. OK.) I loved the song, and even then, 17 years ago, I totally meant to get into this band Love. I think I probably checked out the original version of “Seven and Seven Is,” but that’s about it. By the time Arthur Lee died last year, I still hadn’t ever sat down with one of their albums. Yes, I suck.

NY Dolls

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For our last band (I’m sure not the last band that I haven’t listened to that I should have, but the last for today), we go back to the glam, only stateside. I am of that age where my first exposure to David Johansen was via his Buster Poindexter persona—specifically, that sad marker in American culture, the song “Hot Hot Hot” (which the world of television marketing will never allow us to forget, due to the excitement of the word “hot”—particularly good for new summer fashions). I admit, I liked the song (c’mon, I was 11!), but have no need ever to hear it again. But that’s neither here nor there, and not the reason I’ve never taken the time to sit and listen to Johansen’s real contribution to our canon, the band that “created punk rock before there was even a term for it.” From their 1973 debut through their recent reformation, which spawned One Day it Will Please Us to Remember Even This, the Dolls are lauded critically far and wide. They, like all these artists mentioned, have also been cited as an influence time and time again, probably by bands that I love. I have even gone so far as to take a couple of their albums out of the library, and I still have not listened to them. So I guess the whole purpose of this post is to ask: What the hell is wrong with me?

Any ideas?

The Ladder of Success (Rungs 2 and 3)

posted by on October 12 at 12:06 PM

Rung 2: This Band I Know. You get a call from a decent club, and not only do your friends show up for the first gig, but the soundguy or bartender or club owner decides they like your music, as do a couple of strangers who work in other bars or play in other bands. Word spreads, and you begin to get gig offers through your MySpace contacts and e-mail inbox. Even though you’re not making any money, you decide to spend several thousand dollars to record a full-length album at a reasonably well-known studio staffed by a Professional Producer who’s worked with some Local Heroes (see Rung 4). When you’ve spent approximately twice as much time and money as you expected (mastering? what’s that?), you print up several hundred copies and send it to local college radio stations and weekly newspapers and boutique record labels who specialize in music like yours. They ignore it. You continue to get offers to play on Wednesdays at the small-but-prestigious club where the staff is competent and pleasant, or on Saturdays at the bar where the soundguy’s paycheck comes out of your door take. Eventually, your friends stop coming to shows and get sick of hearing about your band. The guitarist’s hissy fits are getting on your nerves so you fire him, and the drummer starts spending more time with his other band. You’re stuck with a closet full of very expensive and immaculately designed drink coasters. Or, if you’re really good, and a little bit lucky, you might get to…

Rung 3: I’ve Heard of Them. Complete strangers sign your mailing list, then actually attend future shows. Sometimes they bring their friends, who also sign your mailing list. Your hometown college radio station spins your designated single a couple of times and features you on a local new music hour. The local weekly writes a quick show preview in which they pigeonhole you into the same category as some of your favorite bands and use mostly positive words like “thunderous” or “world-weary” or “pop sensibilities.” A small independent label agrees to distribute your album and offer tour support, which consists of renting you a van that breaks down only in the precise middle of nowhere. On tour, you play small clubs in front of 50 or maybe 100 paying customers, most of whom are there to see the headlining band from their home town. Some of them like you enough to buy merch and sign your mailing list. A handful of them like you enough to offer you sex, drugs, or sleeping quarters. You end the tour in the hole, but return to a triumphant hometown gig with a Local Hero in that big club you always wanted to play. You repeat this cycle for two or three or five years, earning just enough to pay for band expenses and drugs. Then the bassist gets pregnant and quits, and the keyboardist gets a promotion at work that requires more travel. When the band finally disintegrates, you put “formerly of” on your bio, raising the odds that club owners and college radio program directors will listen to the first track on the first album of your new project. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who makes it to…

Re: Greatest Band-On-Too-Many-Goddamned Drugs Story Ever

posted by on October 12 at 11:55 AM

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Am I the only one who recalls the infamous lawsuit* against Stephen Tyler’s friend-in-rehab, the late Rick James, wherein Mr. James’ record label took him to court over poor album sales, alleging that James’ rampant drug use had led him to produce albums of inferior quality? And the defense’s successful counter-argument, which offered up albums by the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, among others, as evidence that artists could indeed be out of their goddamn minds on all manner of potent high-quality drugs and still produce hit records? If I remember right, James’ side eventually prevailed with the Axis, Bold as Love defense.

I was thinking about this ruling the other day while listening to Amy Winehouse. It made me wonder if a label has ever made the opposite argument—that excessive sobriety resulted in an inferior product. Because I honestly wonder what Ms. Winehouse will sing about if and when she ever sobers up. Looking at that picture of Tyler in the previous post and thinking about Aerosmith’s post-rehab musical output sends a cold chill up my spine.

*If anybody has the details on that court case (or can offer conclusive evidence that I dreamed the whole thing) I’d be interested in hearing it.

Violent Femmes to Kiss Off?

posted by on October 12 at 11:45 AM

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Maybe, according to OnWisconsin.com:

Embroiled in an internal lawsuit over publishing rights and royalties, the Femmes are scheduled to play shows Friday and Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. Several people close to the band are whispering that the shows, which will be held in an intimate theater called “The Wolf Den,” will be the trio’s swan song.

Although none of the sources would comment on the record for this story, the rumors seem quite plausible when you consider that bassist Brian Ritchie is suing singer Gordon Gano.

In a telephone interview with OnMilwaukee.com Wednesday afternoon, drummer Victor DeLorenzo declined an opportunity to elaborate.

“I would neither confirm nor deny the rumor,” said DeLorenzo, who offered to clarify any questions in the near future.

There’s more to the story—and yes, the use of “Blister In The Sun” in a Wendy’s commercial is a factor—but it makes me wonder if any other band has successfully milked their debut album dry over a 25 year period?

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If you know a Violent Femmes song, odds are it’s on this self-titled album. “Kiss Off?” Check. “Gone Daddy Gone”? Check. The aforementioned “Blister”? Roger, copy that. Never charting higher than #171 on the Billboard charts, it went platinum almost ten years after its 1983 release. (Lead-off track “Blister In The Sun” went to #26 on the Mainstream Rock charts, but never cracked the top 100.) It’s a generational hand-me-down a la Appetite for Destruction (another classic debut with less-than-stellar follow-ups), but that album had three top 10 hits. The controversial lyrics of “Add It Up” made it a hush-hush playground chant back in the sixth grade, but not because of radio play. You can’t get one fuck from the FCC.

Whether they break up or not, their debut still has serious legs and I can’t think of any other cult release that will challenge its longevity. Doolittle, maybe?

Freakin’ Awesome Show Tonight at the Skylark in West Seattle

posted by on October 12 at 11:39 AM

So there’s a band, the Apple War, composed of four people who live in Ballard. They have a gigantic organ that they drag to all their shows. It looks quite heavy but makes some amazing sounds. They are a rock band. I would say their sound is a combination of Brit-rock and Motown. Their rhythm section is heavy on the funk and break beats. Their singer has shades of glam rock in his voice. They sometimes like to play angular, Pablo Honeyish guitar parts.

These guys are relatively new to playing shows in Seattle, having played their first one about four and-a-half months ago, but they’ve been keeping real busy since then.

The Apple War is playing a FREE SHOW at the Skylark tonight (3803 Delridge Wy SW), with two other excellent acts: The Geese and the Maldives.

Here’s The Apple War’s music video. The song is called “Psycho Stepper.” It was filmed in one day by Freedale Films, the Apple War, and friends. Check it out, and if you like it come to the show!

More songs can be found on their myspace at www.myspace.com/theapplewar. Keep a look out for their first full length release which will be ready in the middle of November.

The Ladder of Success

posted by on October 12 at 11:28 AM

God, what a mess, the ladder of success. Take one step and miss the whole first rung.
—The Replacements, “Bastards of Young.”

So you’re in a band. Who isn’t? What I really want to know is are you in a band, like, in your mind? Or is it a real band where you actually write songs and play instruments with other people? Do you play out? Where do you play? Who have you played with?

Amusing anecdote: I once told the co-owner of a small local label that I was playing that night. She wanted to know where. The Rendezvous, actually. Her response: “Oh, how cute.” It turned out to be a fun show, and well-attended. But. You know. I was beneath her.

My point: after a while one gets sick of hearing (and asking) these types of questions to assess one’s place in the Seattle music scene pecking order. Hence, I’ve developed a shorthand which I call the “Ladder of Success.” I will be presenting it to you over the course of the day in hopes of shortening these conversations so we can get down to the business of doing whatever comes after these conversations are finished. (“Buy me a drink” is a good place to start.)

(CONFESSION: This is a revised edited version of something I wrote a couple years ago for my own entertainment. So if you see it out there on the Web in another form, I didn’t steal it. Except from myself.

Without further ado:

Rung 0: Some Guy With A Guitar. You go to Guitar Center and buy the cheap knockoff version of the guitar that the guitarist in your favorite band plays. You place an ad for musicians who sound like your favorite bands, or at least have heard of them. Or you ask your friends if they know anybody, or failing that, try to talk them into playing the secondhand drum kit you’ve got set up in your basement. You meet a lot of wannabes and flakes, but at least you get some good drug hookups. Or maybe you make it to…

Rung 1: Garage Band You find other people who play instruments and aren’t total assholes. You practice once a week in your garage or a pay-by-the-hour studio. You get the money together to record a short demo, either on the Band Yuppie’s laptop or with a recording school student at some old hippie’s hobby studio. You send the demo out. Your only responses are that bar that’ll hire anybody and a struggling club in a bad neighborhood that has a pay-to-play new music night every Monday. All your friends show up to the first gig and it’s great fun. But your second gig is sparsely attended, and the bookers eventually stop returning your e-mails. The band breaks up and you start over again, or you give up in frustration and sell your gear on eBay. But if you’re any good, you should be able to get to…

Callum Robbins Follow-Up

posted by on October 12 at 10:40 AM

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Regular readers of this space might remember this post from last year, about the son of J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels—pretty much my rock hero) and Janet Morgan, and his sad, rare medical condition, known as Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Cal will never be able to walk, and in fact most babies with Type 1 SMA die before their 2nd birthdays. This, being about the life of a young boy with a potentially fatal genetic disease, isn’t the kind of story that just goes away on its own. He’s still alive, he still has SMA, and he and his parents are making the best that they can of the situation.

Since the news first came out almost a year ago, there have been several benefit shows all over the country: Dismemberment Plan reunited to play one, Shellac played one in Chicago, etc. Despite the efforts of some, Seattle still hasn’t gotten its shit together to help this family, which is kind of pissing me off. But forget that: I’m trying to stay positive.

The money raised from benefit shows and individual donations (you can donate here if you like) has helped J. and Janet to bring Callum to a place called Futures Unlimited in Columbus Mississippi for regular sessions of a therapy called CCDT (or Chronologically Controlled Developmental Therapy). This therapy is not covered by insurance, but has shown some very good results. The family has been keeping a blog about their life and Callum’s progress in treatment, which I highly recommend checking out. He seems to be doing well (saying such words as cuddle, airplane, park, “milk, book, and a-sleep,” “suck nose,” and buttered toast). In a few months he will be two. I do hope you’ll think about contributing to the family in any way you can, to help Cal to have a full life, and grow up to rock like his mom and dad.

Sorry to start the day on kind of a sad note, but I’ve been waiting for a soapbox like this for a while. So listen to Jawbox and donate to J. and Janet, or at least read their blog and check out the adorable photos of Cal. And if you are in a band that has a big draw in Seattle and want to play a benefit show, let me know.

The Builders and the Butchers @ the Crocodile - 10.11.2007

posted by on October 12 at 9:40 AM

In this age of paint-by-numbers hardcore bands and 1,100 subspecies of electronica, the Builders and the Butchers’ music is anachronistic if not downright archaic. But unlike fellow Portland, uh, revivalists, the Decemberists, theirs is not a music of costume and pretense—it’s the real hand-clapping, foot-stomping, rabble-rousing shit. Five guys, acoustic instruments, and a Goodwill bin of decaying percussion bits ‘n’ pieces. If it were the 1920s, they would be sitting on the copious porch of some weather-beaten Southern house, drinking sweet tea and bourbon, waiting for John Lomax to show up with disc recorder. As it stands, they’ll have to content themselves with playing some of the most rapturous live shows around—even if that means doing so at 9:30 pm on a Thursday.

Their self-titled album, released earlier this year, while quite good, can’t hold a candle to experiencing the songs first-hand. This clip is a start:

Rumor has it they’re coming back through Seattle in early November. Keep watching the skies.

Greatest Band-On-Too-Many-Goddamned Drugs Story Ever

posted by on October 12 at 8:57 AM

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So Aerosmith is stuck between their late 70s heyday and late 80s resurgence. Meanwhile, the band is recuperating (read: drying out) in a castle in Europe and working on an ill-fated comeback. As the band is chilling, a record plays in the background. A song catches the ear of frontman Steven Tyler, and he says that the band should cover it. Who is this magical band?

“That’s you, fuckhead,” guitarist Joe Perry says.

“No way,” Tyler replies.

“Who the fuck do you think it is? It’s that song you made us get a 109-piece orchestra for.”

Now THAT’S intoxication!

Happy Birthday, Sam Moore!

posted by on October 12 at 8:38 AM

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Disclaimer: I have no idea why The Stranger tapped me for Line Out duty. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve written exactly one worthwhile thing in my life, and it’s right here. (Fast forward to 3:05 remaining on the clock.):

With that out of the way, let’s begin, shall we?

Stax Records legend Sam Moore turns 72 years old today.

Moore had ten straight top 20 R&B hits in the late 60s as half of Sam and Dave (including seminal soul staples “Hold On! I’m Comin,” “I Thank You,” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”), but I—much like you, I’m guessing—wasn’t even born back over yonder. My first Sam and Dave memory is the use of “Hold On!” in 1980’s The Blues Brothers movie, which I didn’t even see until 1986.

Speaking of 1986, that’s when Sam Moore re-recorded his most well known S&D tune “Soul Man” for the movie of the same name. The film’s complex plot involved honky C. Thomas Howell taking a shitload of tanning pills to scam a Harvard scholarship earmarked for black applicants. Fair enough. That’s how I crashed the Ivy League. But what’s with the cover of this R&B benchmark.

As you can see, not a good move. Moore sounds as jubilant and celebratory as ever on this clumsy remake of his signature song. But Lou Freakin’ Reed? Forget the fact that the man was in the toilet back then. The real problem is that Lou has not one iota of soul or vocal salesmanship. Lou “Heroin” Reed as your funky boyfriend? Not if he was the last immigrant grocer on earth, honey! Still, it’s funny to watch the former Velvets frontman prowling around the edges of the song, waiting to pounce on it with his flat, dry voice. On top of all that, his wavy hand-dance dance moves near the end leave a lot to be desired.

The video manages to offset this deficit by having wacky cameos by the likes of Jamie Farr, Gumby, Elvira, Sha Na Na, Bruce Willis, and Cybil Shepherd. Such a stunt worked for the Ghostbusters video two years previous, right? Luckily, this is not the highlight of our birthday boy’s career.

Instead, that pinnacle would finally be achieved in 1996, when he gave permission for “Soul Man” to be used by the Bob Dole presidential campaign. “I’m A Dole Man” was a hit with the blue staters, but not with the songwriter who held the copyright privileges. Thus, Moore’s permission was rendered irrelevant, but the lyrics like this are timeless.

Coming to you
On a muddy road
Insults
I got a truck load

And when you get ‘em
Give back some
So don’t you worry
‘Cause Bob’s running

I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man

Got where he got
The easy way
And he gets richer
Each and every day

And he hates Bill
From Little Rock
And when he starts
He can’t stop

I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man
I’m a Dole man

Just go to vote
And he’ll get in
You got no hope
The Congress is Republican

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

The classics never die. Politicians just co-opt them. Happy birthday, Sam!

Say Hello to Your Freaky Friday Hosts

posted by on October 12 at 7:30 AM

Here are the commenters who will be taking over Line Out today, starting at 8 am.

MattyDread
MattyDread used to play bass in bands. Now he plays guitar to his one-year-old daughter during bathtime and takes night classes on audio production. He posts his uncensored opinions about all things musical at his personal blog, mattydread.wordpress.com.
danmohr
Characteristics
Gender: Man
Current Status: Married
Looking For: Casual blogging
Body Type: Lanky, pale
Eyes: Blue-green
Height: 6’ 01”
Hair Type: Brown, graying, mustachioed, “possibly ironic”
Age: 30
Seeks: Drinking buddy for long-winded discussions of music gear

Profile
Education: B.S. Computer Engineering
Religion: Yeah, no
Political Leanings: Away from yours
Neighborhood: Ballard
City: Seattle
Have Children: No
Have Dogs: Yes

Habits
Smoking: It happens
Drinking: Yes
Drugs: Caffeine

Personality
I get around town via: Car, bike, walk, SLUT
My dietary preferences are: Committed omnivore
I spend my free time: Playing drums in The Bismarck, recording bands, drinking beer, watching documentaries, writing code, reading Line Out

Jason Josephes
God, I hate biographies, because they’re usually full of shit. Worse yet are autobiographies, because the people who write them are full of shit, and it’s about them, and that’s shit squared. So when the folks at The Stranger asked me to write a biography of Jason Josephes, I had to take a step back and go, “I know that asshole! He’s me!” That said, just the facts: He’s been writing about music for years, be it in the great slums of Pitchfork or the slummier slums of his blog at the Blue Moon, where he also books the bands and runs sound. Not content with the glamorous side of showbiz, he also punches the clock playing keyboard for The Hopscotch Boys. Oh, and he wears a size 12 shoe. The Brannock Device never lies.
Levislade
Levi has lived in Seattle for just over six years. He plays music, puts out compilations, and is involved in local radio. His fast typing and quickness to form opinions make him a perfect blogging candidate, but he usually prefers to snipe at others in their own blogs rather than making any contributions of his own.
Flamingbanjo
Flamingbanjo is a screen name that got out of hand. In spite of what the name suggests, I’m neither a flamboyant homosexual nor much of a banjo player. My real first name is Rick, and my last name is the brand name of the Champagne of Beers.

As I said, I don’t play the banjo much, but I do play guitar and I sing. I’ve been doing this in Seattle under my own name and in an assortment of bands you’ve never heard of since the early 90s. I currently play in a bastardized bluegrass trio called the 1⁄2 Brothers. We write songs about food, traveling and death. Besides this, I write and perform a lot of music for theatrical productions and other similarly nerdy outlets.

I’m currently going to school to study web development.

Eric Sullivan
So The Stranger writers want to take the day off and have other people do their jobs for free. Of course I said “yes” cause, you know, my opinion totally matters and everyone’s real lucky to get a chance to hear what I have to say—I’m kind of a big deal.

Before I unleash my 3-6 posts for the day, I am told I must write a bio, which is fine by me cause the only thing more important than my opinion would be the story of my life:

I grew up in DC, went to high school in Oak Harbor, WA, attended a university in Spokane (the name begins with the letter “G”), lived in South Korea for a year as an English teacher, moved to Seattle where I now reside. I like music too.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Soulico’s “Made in Tel Aviv” Mixtape

posted by on October 11 at 5:34 PM

Soulico in NYC

This weekend Israeli DJ crew Soulico play Nectar (check this week’s column). Upon listening to the mix they’re currently promoting I wasn’t impressed at all, since it was more of the same old tracks you can hear from any number of DJs. Then I went and grabbed their “Made in Tel Aviv” mixtape. Now that’s more what I was hoping for out of them. I can hear party jams/mashups anywhere, but how often do you get to hear Israeli party jams? Not often enough. It’s a mix well worth the space on your hard drive, so download and enjoy. See the crew do their thing Sunday at Nectar.

Soulico - “Made in Tel Aviv” [mp3]

Disco Garden

posted by on October 11 at 5:22 PM

One of my favorite artist that came out of the disco era, was France’s Don Ray. Don Ray was a major contributor to the early Cerrone and Alec R. Costandinos productions, along with being part of the classic disco outfit Kongas. Unfortunitely, this talented arranger and keyboardist only released one solo album, 1978’s Garden of Love. That record produced the single’s “Standing in the Rain” and “Got To Have Loving”, which he’s best known for, however the entire album is solid. There wasn’t any follow-up release to his debut LP, and he spent most his time contributing to other artist’s productions like Sumeria’s Golden Tears and Revelacion’s The House Of The Rising Sun. Even though Don Ray had a brief solo outing, his contributions to disco were huge and highly influential.

Don Ray - My Desire
Don Ray - Garden of Love

What Do You Do For an Encore?

posted by on October 11 at 5:05 PM

I almost forgot, but following last week’s Seven Hours of the Fall comes tonight’s shorter but sweeter Five Hours of Pulp at Pony. From 9pm on, Sam Rousso Soundsystem will be blasting everything from “My Lighthouse” to We Love Life. Here’s a little something to whet your appetite:

“I Was Gonna Be, Like, A Construction Worker, But, Like, a Slutty Construction Worker!”

posted by on October 11 at 3:09 PM

After my post earlier today calling for submissions to our Halloween listings, SlogTipper Kevin sent in this song from Bellingham band the Love Lights. It’s totally running for election to the “Great Halloween Songs that Aren’t About Monsters Hall of Fame.” It’s called “Slutty Things To Be on Halloween.”

Click here to listen to it.

It’s Coming…

posted by on October 11 at 1:45 PM

freakyfriday.jpg

Tomorrow is Freaky Friday on Line Out. We’re taking the day off and letting some of our favorite commenters take over. It might get a little crazy.

Stay tuned…

Having a (Open to the Public) Halloween Party?

posted by on October 11 at 1:34 PM

Make sure to email all the details to music@thestranger.com, so we can get you in this year’s listings!

Anything goes. Having an open bar at your gallery? Having a band play in costume in your basement? Having a gothic scavenger hunt? We want to know. We will be making listings for the actual 31st and for Oct 26-27, since we know some of you have day jobs and want to party on the weekends.

Write something about Halloween in the subject line, just to make it easy for me.

Of course, we appreciate more of this:

than this:

Jimmy Eat World at the Showbox Tonight; Ignore the Fact That Their New Album isn’t Awesome and Go Anyway

posted by on October 11 at 1:03 PM

Jimmy Eat World are playing the Showbox at the Market tonight with Maritime. I raved about Maritime in this week’s Underage column (more on them later), but I was less excited about Jimmy Eat World’s upcoming album Chase This Light. I had high hopes but an open mind for this release, and while there are some remarkable pop points (worth two stars), it still manages to unimpress more than half of the time (which is why I just couldn’t bring myself to give it three).

chasejew.jpg

JIMMY EAT WORLD
Chase This Light
(Interscope)
**

Jimmy Eat World have been a band for nearly a decade and a half. They formed in 1994 and released Static Prevails in 1996. The Tucson, Arizona, group really started winning over adolescent hearts with 1999’s Clarity, a breakthrough record that revealed the heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics, bittersweet balladry, and energetic pop they would perfect with 2001’s Bleed American (renamed Jimmy Eat World after 9/11). That album secured JEW’s status as full-on anthem rockers, but with their 2004 follow-up, Futures, the band stumbled, experimenting with dark, moody, shoegazing in songs that were ultimately weak and unmemorable.

Good news: Jimmy have returned to their big rock, pre-Futures sound with Chase This Light’s opening tracks “Big Casino” and “Let It Be,” and the album’s fifth track, “Electable (Give it Up)” is—dare I say—even catchier than Bleed American’s beloved single “The Middle.” The title track, though a bit slower, is still wonderfully romantic and melodic.

Bad news: JEW are getting older, but they can’t seem to grow up. The catchy choruses and sparkling guitars shine even brighter with Butch Vig’s polish, but after the initial explosion wears off, the band’s arrested lyrical development begins to show. “Here It Goes,” an anthem for the classic teenage scene of dancing alone in one’s bedroom, is only the most embarrassing example. Dramatic, adolescent one-liners—seemingly custom made to be MySpace headlines—pop up throughout. On “Let It Be,” Jim Adkins sings, “I have a ringing in my head/and no one to help me answer it;” on “Big Casino,” he quips, “There’s a lot of good ideas in books I never read/When the girls come talk to me, I wish to hell I had.”

Jimmy Eat World’s glittery, romantic sound hasn’t dulled, but their lyrics haven’t matured past the stuff of teenage fantasy. Chase This Light isn’t as focused as Bleed American, but it’s not as lost as Futures either. It could be a great introductory record for a new generation of JEW fans who don’t remember the band’s past triumphs (Clarity, Bleed American) and failures (Futures). But longtime fans won’t be completely satisfied. MEGAN SELING

Still, I have faith the band won’t spend all their time on their more recent material. They’ve been doing this for too long to deny the hardcore fans of hearing their older favorites. So long as they make a few stops in Clarity and Bleed American territory, I’ll go home happy.

Bill Callahan @ The Triple Door

posted by on October 11 at 12:43 PM

I didn’t attend Bill Callahan’s concert last night [better known to many as (Smog)] with plans to write a review, so I can’t really run down specifics like set list, balance of old songs to new, etc. I will say that the Austin songwriter is a damn good match for the amazing acoustics and sit-down environment of The Triple Door—which I find funny, as much of the glass-eyed hipster crowd acted like they’d never been to the snazzy venue before. Otherwise, I’ll let my two semi-blurry, semi-tiny videos do the talking, as the audio portion in these cuts from A River Is Too Much To Love came out much better than I’d anticipated.

“I Feel Like The Mother Of The World”:

“Say Valley Maker”:

Noise: John Wiese & Gerritt

posted by on October 11 at 11:57 AM

October has too many good gigs; this one somehow escaped “the score” this week.

Friday night, noise-maestro John Wiese (pronounced “weese” though based on a my brief chat with him a couple years ago, “wise” would also be apt) shares the bill with noise titan Gerritt.



John Wiese live

Both have worked with Sunn0))); when I heard the two at the Wooden Octopus Skull PFestival, Gerritt’s set of fog, strobe, slowed down voices, and staggered chunks of distortion made my entire body vibrate. Later than night, John Wiese emitted stunningly gritty microloops, pencil-thin sine waves yanked from the stratosphere, and low tones. Also on the docket: Plethora and Syphilis Sauna. Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater, 2320 2nd Ave, 10:30 pm, $5

Iran So Far Away

posted by on October 11 at 11:48 AM

hypernovany.jpg

Hypernova is a band from Tehran, Iran. Rock music is outlawed in Iran. People risk their asses to attend, put on, and play underground parties featuring Western rock music.

The band illegally recorded a CD called Who Says You Can’t Rock in Iran? Their sound gets toward the Strokes and Kings of Leon. They applied for and were accepted to play South by Southwest, but problems with their visas prevented them from playing the festival. They eventually got visas and made their way to New York for one gig at Arlene’s Grocery.

John Bosch, an engineer and producer at Ground Control Studio in Brooklyn, met Hypernova through his neighbor who is an Iranian-born filmmaker. When the NY Times, MTV, and FOX picked up Hypernova’s story, they were offered more NY gigs, found girlfriends, and ended up sticking around.

The band went into Ground Control for a few quickie recording sessions. Bosch speaks:

We did everything fast: drum sounds in 30 minutes, two or three takes per song, little or no overdubs. I used basic mic set up: D112 on the kick, 57 on the snare, stereo overheads, some kind of something on the floor tom. Amps were mic’d with 57s.

The sessions were casual and we tried to capture their live sound, which is raw and full of energy. I also picked up a few very useful Farsi phrases, such as “Dobare bezan jende,” which means “Play it again, bitch.

Unfortunately, we never finished tracking final vox and mixing. I went out of town, and when I got back, the band had UP AND LEFT to Los Angeles, where they are currently flirting with girls on the beach and living the western rock and roll dream that makes the ayatollahs back in Iran crimson with rage and green with envy.

The band’s leader and spokesperson is guitarist and vocalist, “King” Raam. Raam is the friendliest guy in the world, smart as hell, and has a passion for punk and indie rock. He also speaks the best English of the group’s members, having spent time as a youth in Eugene, Oregon. His bandmates are Kami (drums), Kodi (guitar whiz at 18yrs old), and Jam (bass).

Raam is apolitical. He believes that the one thing that can unite the differences between nations and peoples is ROCK MUSIC.

Yes.

Listen to “No One” off of Who Says You Can’t Rock in Iran?

Fake Synths, Real Cross?

posted by on October 11 at 11:15 AM

justice%20live.jpg

Is Justice’s cross the only thing up there that’s not fake? Over on Division, two controversies are brewing about Justice’s live show, (no doubt just sour grapes from people who waited to long to get tickets for Friday night’s sold out show at Neumo’s). The first is about their live set up. The thread goes like this:

“Is any of that mess on stage actually plugged in?”
“Nope. Saw them at Coachella and believe it or not what you see there is one of the most elaborate stage props in electronic music today (18 Marshall cabinets and a massive fake modular synth, complete with strobing cross and LEDs). Functional or not, you have to hand it to those guys; they’ve got their marketing down pat (Pedro Winter is a genius).”
“i gotta say, as a person who is normally skeptical of schtick/gimmicks/marketing in music, i love this. imagine the poor hair farmer dude who works at the rental company who carted all those cabs in only to find out they were just props being used by two dudes playing music off laptops. imo justice’s music isn’t much about being musicians…more like professional remixers. but they’re great at what they do, and that’s fine by me. “

So the modular synths and marshall stacks are fake, but what about that cross?

“Speaking of Justice and marketing, I do find it interesting that nobody has called Justice out on the overt Christian aesthetic (which I’ve been told is genuine) while people knock Green Velvet for embracing Christianity. If it is all just a marketing ploy then…..wow!!! Who’d ever though JC would help propel Parisian Electro Rock into the 21st century. Didn’t see that coming at all.”
“Funny I was just about to ask if the giant cross was genuine. I guess people are too busy contemplating a giant fake modular synth and how much of a letdown that is to worry about anything else.”
“The difference between Justice and Green Velvet’s affinity for Christianity, is that Calvin makes music that’s the anti-thesis of Christianity and doesn’t use the religion as a marketing ploy. He has always been vocally Chrisitian in daily life (but most black folks I know from the CHI are the same), where-as Justice seems to make the religion part of their gimmick.”
“in 2005 the first time i laid eyes on the “waters of nazareth” cover artwork i thought it was a rip off heavy metal artwork/album covers. irony, you know? later i took the name into consideration and seriously thought they were taking the piss out of metal & its religious references, never once did it cross my mind they could actually be serious.”

In my column this week, I have an admittedly flawed interview with Justice’s Gaspard Augé in which he talks too briefly about both the duo’s live set up:

“We are bringing a very big synthesizer, called Valentine,” Augé said. “We are able to rearrange the tracks live, adding layers and layers of elements. And we also play a few keyboards and use a computer.”

…and their religious iconography:

“The religious aspect is part of it, but we also just wanted something very simple and recognizable—like the Prince symbol or Metallica’s ‘Black Album’”.

The Truth

posted by on October 11 at 11:11 AM

l_991ea715b3c19ea1b4cc414d48145415.jpgPhoto by Lani Lee

Dyme Def gets better every time I see them. These kids—and they are kids, all three around 20 years old—have an understanding of hiphop fundamentals that’s miraculous for third-gen hiphop artists from Seattle. A lot of that comes from DJ Bean One, who, as I’m told, has a profound love for those Golden Era beats that make Dyme Def bounce so hard. But Fearce Villain and Brainstorm come with prodigious verbal chops, and SEV navigates between the two of them like a boxer, physically and lyrically. Watching them last night at Nectar, it was clear these guys take their shit super seriously, even as they make it look so easy. They’re naturals on-stage, flexing the kind of charisma that only comes from major talent honed by hard practice. They played a bunch of new material that sounds as strong or stronger than anything on Space Music (even though, reportedly, they’re shelving tracks that they feel aren’t up to snuff). Dyme Def are truth, and that they’ve got a huge future ahead of them.

It makes me a little anxious: They’re set to go far—like national caliber/major label distance—but good management is gonna play a big part in their success. The Soul Gorilla crew seems like good people who know what they’re doing, and with the support of the Seattle hiphop community at large, they’ve got a lot of sharp people looking out for them.

Whatever your scene, you oughta check them out. They’re smart, disarming, and fun as hell—the kind of hiphop crew that converts nonbelievers to fans.

As If Spending Your Morning at the DMV Wasn’t Bad Enough Already

posted by on October 11 at 11:03 AM

The DMV lady was playing this on the boombox inside her Cubicle of Apathy:

Full disclosure: I’ve been coerced into karaokeing this song as a duet before. And I liked it.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Complete Beatles in One Hour

posted by on October 10 at 5:10 PM

Sound artist Steve McLaughlin has compressed all of The Beatles’ UK albums (meaning no EPs such as “Magical Mystery Tour,” singles like “Paperback Writer,” or later releases such as the embarassingly-named “Past Masters”) into a single, sonically jumbled hour.

The WFMU page also has some of the Beatles tracks de-compressed by others; I like the sonic interpolations (a nice term for glitchy, scarred sonic artifacts), especially in “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Revolution.”

This is an example of how a technique, in this case digitally time-stretched audio, can birth a genre. For other examples, see Leif Inge’s 24 hour extension of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, 9 Beet Stretch, R. Luke Dubois’ time compression of several decades of Billboard hits (which I reviewed last year), or Mark Bain’s stretched translation of seismic data from the attack of September 11, 2001, STARTENDTIME.

Show Up Early For Project Jenny, Project Jan Tonight (Grandy’s Wrong About Them)

posted by on October 10 at 3:57 PM

Here’s what Grandy had to say about Project Jenny, Project Jan in this week’s paper:

Project Jenny, Project Jan are in fact two dudes—Sammy Rubin and Jeremy Haines, also from Brooklyn—whose genre-skimming, sample-heavy pop, studied rapping and scatting, and weak electronica is just fucking awful. Arrive late.

I take the absolutely opposite approach, and will be showing up early for PJ, PJ, and likely leaving a few songs into Fujiya and Miyagi (here’s hoping “Cassettesingle” gets played early in the set). PJ, PJ’s beats are cheap and the rhymes are a bit sloppy but that’s the whole point. Their album’s gotten way more listens from me than Fujiya & Miyagi, and their live show seems more…fun. Different strokes and all that I guess, but I say to ignore Grandy’s advice and show up early.

Midnite Music

posted by on October 10 at 3:54 PM

Back Side of Cerrone's Love in C MinorI was up late last night, as usual, and as I was going through my records. I put on Cerrone’s 1976 classic LP Love in C Minor because I hadn’t listen to the whole album for a while. When ever I listened to this album I mostly play either the title track “Love in C Minor” or “Black Is Black”, and tend to skip over the last track, of the three song LP, “Midnight Lady”. Anyways, last night after the first track on the B-side, “Black Is Black”, got done playing, the record went into “Midnight Lady”, and I immediately re-discovered how great of a song it is. Cerrone has so many great songs that sometimes I almost forget some of his best tracks. So hear is to re-discovering great music.

Cerrone - Midnight Lady

As If You Don’t Have Enough to Choose From…

posted by on October 10 at 3:49 PM

Veracity’s also tonight at the Vera Project. It’s a mostly acoustic, completely all-ages, and totally free night of local music. This week’s guests are Deer City, Whitney and the Tales, and Setlist star Devoirs.

If you haven’t yet, check out Devoirs’ live performance. If you dig it, head to lower Queen Anne to hear more for ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY AT ALL (rumor has it that a yummy vegan dinner will be available for $3, though).

Win Bob Mould Tickets!

posted by on October 10 at 3:37 PM

bob%20mould.jpg
Quick! Email music@thestranger.com and tell us why you should win these two Bob Mould tickets I have to give away!

They’re gonna go fast, so email now!

Here’s the show listing:

BOB MOULD - An intimate solo performance and screening of the live concert DVD, “Circle of Friends”

$15 adv.
9pm doors
21 & over

New Kylie Song Written By Scissor Sisters

posted by on October 10 at 3:00 PM

“White Diamonds”

Aw, Cute…

posted by on October 10 at 2:50 PM

Justice play Friday Oct 12th at Neumo’s with DJ Mehdi, Fourcolorzack, & Pretty Titty. It’s sold out.

“Weird Al” Yankovic @ The Central Washington State Fair, Yakima, Saturday Oct. 6

posted by on October 10 at 2:45 PM

I hold dear a memory from my childhood of early fall and apples.

My extended family on my fathers side lived and worked the orchards of central Washington back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. Twice each year my small family would drive down to Yakima, stay with our family in houses in the center of vast orchards around Naches, and work for a week picking cherries in the summer and apples in the fall. We felt so grown up; stepping up tippy ladders with buckets attached to our chest or canvas bags with wood bottoms at our sides reaching out slightly further than was safe to pick bushels of apples and pails of cherries for the family farm. We could eat whatever we could pick, and at the end of the week, my parents recieved 4 or five giant boxes of red delicious and golden delicious apples or bags and bags of fresh bings and rainier cherries as payment for the week of help. We’d hug our relatives and drive home thinking about all the cherry and apple pie my father was bound to make and put in the freezer for the cold winter months to come.

I woke my son up early Saturday morning so we could get on the road and arrive at Yakima for the Central Washington State Fair early enough to spend the day on the midway, riding all the freakishly nausea-inducing rides to his hearts content before the main event: “Weird Al” Yankovic - Live In Concert.

If you don’t have a 9 year old you might not have heard, so I’ll be the first to tell you that “Weird Al” is having a renaissance in his career. 25 years ago “Weird Al” broke on the scene with his parodies that every pop music listening child loved, and, I’m sure, every parent detested. They were fairly obvious, Michael Jackson’s “Bad” turned into “Weird Al“‘s Fat, Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” metamorphosed into Like A Surgeon under “Weird Al“‘s watch. Never one to understate the obvious “Weird Al” beat his humor home with a sledge-hammer by creating videos for each parody that made perfect sense. There was nothing there an adult could remotely like. They were dumb.

And I loved every one of them.

Continue reading ""Weird Al" Yankovic @ The Central Washington State Fair, Yakima, Saturday Oct. 6" »

The Michaels: Showalter and Black Mend a Broken Heart With Music

posted by on October 10 at 2:40 PM

Last night when Michael Ian Black took the stage he noticed a frowning face in the crowd of smiles and applause. He asked the sad girl her name (Sara), and asked her what was wrong (she said her feet hurt). He gave her a dollar for her suffering and carried on with his routine that included making fun of friend and tour partner Michael Showalter, stories about fighting terrorism with blow jobs, and the infamous letter to the first girl he fingered when he was 13 (which he also read at Bumbershoot, if you caught him there).

Later in the show he noticed Sara (Sarah?) was still frowning despite his hour of hilarious material (his stand-up is getting better—I saw him a few years ago and he was a little unreliable).Unable to let it go, Black brought her up on stage and, well, just watch…


(Sorry that the quality isn’t that great, I was a ways back, but you can still hear everything okay and tell what’s going on.)

Metric, Crystal Castles @ the Showbox

posted by on October 10 at 1:15 PM

crystalcastles.jpg

Last night was the Seattle debut of Toronoto electro punk duo Crystal Castles, and I was totally stoked. I wrote about the band here at the beginning of the year, incorrectly predicting that they’d probably break up before they ever toured out to Seattle. Their originals and remixes are favorites of mine both at home and in the club—”Love & Caring” is an amazing single, and their remix of the Little Ones’ “Lovers Who Uncover” is gold. I’m glad they made it to Seattle, but I’m still not sure how I feel about their show.

The band was rounded out by a live drummer last night, which was a definite plus, although the pre-programmed beats occasionally drowned out all but the hi-hats. Producer/instrumentalist Ethan Fawn spent the show hunched over a Casio and a Microkorg, pumping out the band’s signature NES-core bleeps. The biggest surprise was perhaps lead singer Alice Glass. Reports from the band’s early shows painted her as introverted and immobile as Fawn, but she was a teenage riot on stage, bounding around, towering on top of the drums, falling into the crowd, playing with the incessant strobe lights*, screaming and wailing. It was kind of like the Dalmatians, if everyone in the Dalmatians had stayed goth after high school, or like Atari Teenage Riot trying to do pop songs, or the Presets with Faruza Balk for a singer. In other words, it was awesome.

But I can’t believe they didn’t play “Love & Caring.” That song is the motherfucking jam! “Crimewave” was the set’s highlight, transformed from head-nodding electro-lite pop to pogoing anthem live on the Showbox’s sound system. They also played “Alice Practice” and an instrumental version of their remix of Klaxons’ “Atalantis to Interzone” over which Glass improvised vocals. During two different songs Alice shouted some of the set’s only inteligible vocals, the livejournal-ready double-negative koan, “How does it feel when you don’t feel nothing?” This, along with the band’s early track “xxzxczx me”(they didn’t play it live)—about an “AIDS robot”—makes me wonder if the band doesn’t have a little room for improvement in the lyrical department.

The consensus in my part of the crowd seemed to be that it was a fine debut from the band, but that the show would’ve been a lot more fun in a basement or at Club Pop. But when is that not true?

I’ve seen Metric before, and they’re great, but I’ve been feeling sick, so I left after the band played only two so-so opening songs. I’m sure things picked up, and that they were great as usual, but I couldn’t, ahem, live it out.

*I have epilepsy now.

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 10 at 1:05 PM

There are five—FIVE—suggestions for tonight. Who knew Wednesdays were so cool? With Smog’s Bob Callahan, alt-country re-inventors the Sadies, Magik Markers, and more, there’s a little something for everyone.

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BILL CALLAHAN (FORMERLY SMOG), SIR RICHARD BISHOP
(Triple Door) In “To Be of Use,” Bill Callahan crooned, “Most of my fantasies are of making someone else come.” I always admired the song’s lonesome, generous nature until I found out he was dating the love of my life, Joanna Newsom. Suddenly, Callahan was actualizing my fantasies as well as his own, and it made me want to sick up all over. I felt like he was my admired college professor, tall and handsome with a deep voice and published work, and he was dating the most beautiful and intelligent girl in my class, thus denying all of us her age the chance to woo her. Every day I’d curse Professor Callahan behind his back; I detested him, but I would trade places with him in an instant. That lucky bastard. Hear me now, Bill Callahan: Someday, somehow, I will take that which you hold most dear. JEFF KIRBY
THE SADIES, CHUCKANUT DRIVE, THE BELTHOLES
(Tractor) Used to be the Sadies were frontrunners in the barely lucrative world of country genre amalgamation. But as the Toronto band near the decade mark, their roots/rockabilly/blues/boogie/whatever has been copped by too many kids who think the term “alt-country” actually means something. Perhaps that’s why brothers Dallas and Travis Good accept the role as genre statesmen on their latest studio album, New Seasons, on which they rein in their trademark yip ‘n’ howl romps to focus on their songwriting craft. The subdued, tempered result sounds like a Jayhawks record for the most part, but the band’s vigor is still plenty apparent on psych-country numbers like “A Simple Aspiration,” which means the band’s reputation for hootin’, hollerin’, guitars-blazin’ concerts should still be intact. SAM MACHKOVECH

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FILM SCHOOL, THE HUGS, EULOGIES
(Crocodile) Film School are the perfect companions for your nostalgia trip to the early ’90s, when bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Slowdive made every day feel rainy and every heart feel broken. The California band builds on that shoegaze sound, twisting guitar lines ever more tightly around each other, embracing the cool/desperate dichotomy, and reveling in the glorious darkness of it all. It sounds old and new at the same time. Lead singer Greg Bertens picked up a new bassist (Lorelei Plotczyk), guitarist (Dave Dupuis), and drummer (erstwhile Seattleite James Smith) for the new album, Hideout, and the result is majestic, atmospheric, and downright beautiful. And it certainly is fun to glance backward now and then to that heady time when feeling bad felt oh so good. CHRIS McCANN
FUJIYA & MIYAGI, DIRTY ON PURPOSE, PROJECT JENNY, PROJECT JAN
(Neumo’s) Fujiya & Miyagi are actually three pale Brits—Steve Lewis, David Best, and Matt Hainsby—with a knack for taut Krautrockin’ grooves, coolly whispered vocals (“We were just pretending to be Japanese”), and moments of inexplicable but infectious white-boy funk. Their third album, 2006’s Transparent Things, is full of deadly creepers, songs that begin as mellow nods then quietly grow into irresistibly propulsive jams—before you know it, you’re busting all the stiff, lame moves that the phrase “white-boy funk” invokes. Dirty on Purpose are an inoffensive, occasionally grand vanilla rock quartet from Brooklyn with some pretty cute music videos. Project Jenny, Project Jan are in fact two dudes—Sammy Rubin and Jeremy Haines, also from Brooklyn—whose genre-skimming, sample-heavy pop, studied rapping and scatting, and weak electronica is just fucking awful. Arrive late. ERIC GRANDY

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MAGIK MARKERS, I’M A GUN
(Sunset) The selling point for Boss, the new LP from East Coast noise nerds Magik Markers, is that it’s their first with actual precomposed songs. Let’s face it, that’s hilarious. After trimming down to a duo, the band forsook the unrelenting sonic violence of their infancy for a crisp postpunk/pop approach that still swarms with the same tensions under a (relatively) conventional surface. Guitarist Elisa Ambrogio’s icy vocals consider desire’s destructive hunger, while drummer/multi-instrumentalist Pete Nolan draws from his cobwebbed solo project Spectre Folk to fill the remaining space with buzz, creak, and hiss. Taking this leap into linear songsmithery could be the boldest step possible for a band so identified with improvisatory sound. Such maverick spirit suggests Magik Markers might be capable of anything. FRED BELDIN

Is the Bit Shit?

posted by on October 10 at 10:40 AM

digitalrainbow.jpgSome people are complaining about the bit rate of Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows. Available for download today.

FITS had spoken earlier about the release.

Bit rate determines the audio quality and how much space an mp3 file takes up on a computer or mp3 player.

An e-mail sent to fans who registered to buy the album says In Rainbows will be encoded at 160 kbps, which is higher than the default iTunes rate of 128 kbps, but not high enough for some fans.

Music files can be found on the internet at bit rates as high as 320 kbps or as “lossless” files, which are an uncompressed digital format – the highest quality available.

People are saying Radiohead should have mentioned the audio quality on the order page, which allows fans to set whatever price they like for the album:

I just wish they’d given all the details when the order page went up, so people could adjust their prices accordingly. - wunderhorn1
They should have a lossless download option. 160k is not worth paying for. - link23

And someone who is satisfied with the download:

You can’t hear the difference between a good mp3 and a cd - 160 kbps should be just fine. - dug

(Thank you to OpenFanSite.)

George Jones @ the Paramount on Oct 7

posted by on October 10 at 10:36 AM

I don’t want to write this review of Sunday night’s George Jones show at the Paramount. I was so excited about it and it turned out to be somewhat disappointing.

While it was amazing and gratifying to finally see George Jones live—whom, as we all know, I love!—his voice was just shot. That’s not really a surprise: He’s 76 years old and he’s been living hard and performing for 50 years. His voice was raspy and a little deeper, he couldn’t hit most of his high notes (he had no trouble with the lower end), and sometimes it seemed like he was out of breath. His voice just wasn’t very clear; it was still recognizable as belonging to George Jones, but it wasn’t the same.

He also didn’t play many of my favorites. But he’s got 50 years’ worth of material to pick from, so that shouldn’t have come as a surprise either. What was a surprise was that he played my most favorite of his songs, “She Thinks I Still Care,” in a medley, and only sang one verse of it. Not cool.

I guess the highlight of the night was “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” his tale of a man who could only get over his ex-lover by dying of old age (“This time, he’s over her for good”). That was great. And he did a few of his Tammy Wynette duets with some broad (“Golden Ring” was particularly good), yet there were no Melba Montgomery duets. He played some Merle Haggard covers, which was cool. He played “White Lightning,” “The Race Is On,” “The One I Loved Back Then” (“She was hotter than a two-dollar pistol”). He was feisty and funny—a great entertainer—and he was pissed toward the beginning because the sound wasn’t quite right. But the voice; without it, it’s just not the whole George Jones experience.

So, to make me feel better, here’s “She Thinks I Still Care” in its entirety, from 1962.

I gave Radiohead $9 for their album.

posted by on October 10 at 9:59 AM

Which came out to about six and a half pounds. $9 just seemed like the right price for me. Am I an idiot? Am I the only person who actually paid something?

It Didn’t Come With Art

posted by on October 10 at 12:02 AM

So I made my own. Sheezus, Radiohead, how else are stylish iPhone users supposed to prove their downloading cred—shove their overpriced device in a friend’s face and make them read the file names? That’s so February fucking 2007. For insta-cred, slap this self-produced gem into your In Rainbows directory:

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Since I too am a revolutionary figure in the world of digital album……..art, I’m making this jpg available in a “pay what you want” format. It’s the only way I can survive in this hyper-digital, hyper-fast-paced, hyper-tubular industry. I think.

Thoughts on the album will be posted everywhere else on the Internet before anyone actually digests it properly, so I won’t rush in. But I have to admit, I’m already extremely happy about “Nude.” Ever see Meeting People Is Easy, the 1997 Radiohead documentary? Remember the song that shows up in half-completed form while the band’s in the studio? They finally finished it. That song alone is worth the download price.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grieves & Type, “My Girlfriend Beats Me”

posted by on October 9 at 6:05 PM

Major props to MCs Grieves & Type for coming up with one of the funniest, best-made videos to come out of Seattle all year:


The entire 206 hiphop community is getting smacked around by their GFs. It’s OK fellas—acceptance is the first step.

Hat tip to RaindropHustla.

A Few Words About Reverb Fest

posted by on October 9 at 5:13 PM

So this thing went down in Ballard on Saturday, and a bunch of bands played a bunch of shows, and it was sponsored by some magazine or newspaper or something, and I guess it was cool or whatever.

OK, enough with the phony attitude—the Seattle Weekly’s Reverb Fest went over surprisingly well for a first-time event. Attendance was pretty good and the lineup was even better, though synchronized start times prevented folks from seeing everything they came for. Some sets were surprisingly short, too—No-Fi Soul Rebellion played for a half-hour. But overall, corralling the festival to a couple blocks in one of Seattle’s most scenic neighborhoods gave it a sense of easygoing, show-hopping freedom. Small crowds made getting from one venue to another no problem.

The best part of the whole thing might’ve been walking down Ballard Avenue—maybe Seattle’s most romantic street—at during a gorgeous, platinum-hued sunset, kicking fallen golden leaves and talking with friends. It was a nice time to be outside in the autumn air, strolling from one show to another. Also: Oaxaca. Damn that place rocks.

I made a point of seeing bands I’d never seen before, many of whom were heavily hyped from friends. Some of them were good, some of them were awful. Here’s the chronological rundown:

Triumph of Lethargy etc.: I had to walk by the outdoor stage on my way to Bop Street, so I passed by the only band on the bill I’d seen before. Funny shit, but I still don’t get the joke. I’d rather listen to Albert Ayler played backwards on an 8-track than this stuff. Terrible, terrible music. But in a lot of ways, very, very impressive in how sincerely terrible it really is. Which is why people like it. Which is why it’s still funny to me.

Talbot Talgora at Bop Street: teenagers dishing out andrenal grunge-punk (punge?) to other flannel-clad, wool-hatted teenagers in a musty record store. An utterly classic Seattle scene, and the band played to it perfectly, though a buzz in the monitor kept tweaking my ear.

Throw Me the Statue’s sound was better, and they more than filled the Bop Street stage. What the five-piece band lacked in precision they made up for in enthusiasm. The shadow of Weezer is long and dark, but these guys managed to scurry out from under it with vibrant four-part harmonies, a charming earnestness, and a glockenspiel. Some songs were good, others were really good. There’s a ton of potential with these guys. They just need more gigs. Touring with Jens Lenkmen this fall oughta do it.

“Awesome” should be re-christened, as one friend pointed out, “They Might Be” They Might Be Giants. Yeah, they’re smart and cute and talented, but they’re also annoying as a sugar-rushed ten-year-old with a toy piano and an inflated sense of self. I suppose that’s likable to some. I could even see liking a song with lyrics consisting of the numbers one through nine. But only if I started liking them back in college. I have no time for that happy shit now.

J. Tillman sounded great, from what I could hear. The Lock & Keel was so packed and loud it was hard to catch his low-key alt-country croon. Folks were super jazzed on the fact that he was playing with a full band, and I wanted to get closer to the music, but I left for No-Fi before I could squeeze to the front.

Which was a bad move, because No-Fi Soul Rebellion was finishing their set with a ten-minute monolog when I got to Sonic Boom. I missed most of the good stuff, though I did dig bandleader Mark Heimer’s affirmation that playfulness and earnestness could go together hand in hand.

Partman, Parthorse came highly recommended, but all it took was three songs and I had enough. There’s just not much to it besides a hairdo and an attitude. If it’s dance-punk, it should have a beat. Raunch only goes so far, and then you gotta get a groove.

Which is exactly what what the Pleasureboaters did. Spazzy, screechy, and flailing, these guys could’ve settled back on their dangerous stage presence, but they dug deep into blown-out, bloozy tunes and pulled and stretched them like silly putty. Basslines bumped, guitars chimed, drums thundered, but a solid groove was almost always at the base of the madness. Reminded me of a younger, punker Jon Spencer Blues Explosion—in a good way. Lead singer/guitarist Ricky Claudon even brandished a Spencer-ish, stutter-snarl, though mostly he sounded like his nuts were in a vice. The Pleasureboaters got the most extreme crowd reaction I saw all day.

Also working the crowd was D.Black, who led the Sunset through an ecstatic set of hometown-loving hiphop. The place was packed with a wonderfully diverse crowd—especially for Ballard—and the whole room was wrapped up in Black’s authoritative flow. Newcomer Spaceman had replaced J. Pinder as Black’s hypeman and the two were perfectly in-sych, obviously rehearsed and feeding off each other’s lines. Tillman and the Throw Me the Statue dudes all rocked out to his set—exactly the kind of crossover an event like this can engender.

Grynch closed it up nicely with his mid-tempo storytelling flow. Backed, like D.Black, by DJ NPhared, he rode a few clever throwback samples (“Hiphop Hooray”—hellyeah) into a crowd-pleasing set. A little weird that hiphop was kept in the ghetto of the Sunset for the whole festival—made it clear that hiphop wasn’t the focus. But it was the first time out of the gate for Reverb. If it happens next year, you can bet the Powers That Be will do their best to fix whatever was broken.


The Program

posted by on October 9 at 3:18 PM

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Available now are presale tickets for Blue Scholars’ local, five-night hiphop extravaganza The Program. To get the tickets go to TicketsWest.com and use the password STRANGER. (Each night costs $15, but if you buy all five nights at once, the package is $50. General public onsale starts October 12th at 10:00 a.m.)

Disco Flasher

posted by on October 9 at 2:47 PM

Legendary Canadian producer Gino Soccio has been one of disco’s greatest producer’s since he came on the scene in 1977 with the group Kebekelektrik. In 1979, Soccio helped produce a timeless disco masterpiece with the self-titled double LP by Gotham Flasher. This record sounds like a mix of traditional Soccio productions like “Dancer”, “Love Is”, “Dance To Dance”, etc. This four track LP was released by the Keylock label, which was disco label based in New York in the 1970’s. Gotham Flasher’s existence was short lived, however not before they produced four classic disco gems.

Gotham Flasher - Love The Love

The Urban Indie Archipelago

posted by on October 9 at 2:25 PM

So the new edition of the Oxford American’s annual music issue is out. It’s worth picking up, as it is every year, for the best cover-mount CD of any magazine around and a handful of superb pieces. The most notable of these is Bill Wasik’s “Hype Machine” a chronicle of the Raleigh. N.C. group Annuals and its place in the Internet-driven indie firmament—an area whose spiritual home is apparently (and not all that surprisingly) Seattle: Wasik expands The Stranger’s “Urban Archipelago” cover story to indie rock:

[M]ore remarkable than this nationwide political consensus is the nationwide cultural consensus that has sprung up within or alongside it, among hundreds of thousands of young adults, and not only in big cities, but in college towns and even rural retreats. Journalists rarely write about this consensus, perhaps because most of them reside squarely inside it. One might call it the hipster consensus, to use the somewhat unfortunate term that (for better or for worse) has come to denote these educated young Americans; and no culture defines this consensus more than does indie rock.

Wasik goes on to detail the role of KEXP in all of this. He interviews John Richards about the mini-phenomenon of Tapes ‘n Tapes and about the speed of blog-band burnout. Richards:
[Y]ou’re discovering not just a song; you’re discovering a band. When you’re just discovering a second album, there’s not as much hype involved… . You keep thinking—I want to be the one to discover that band.

Wasik also points out that for all the station’s bruited influence, KEXP’s online listenership is still relatively small: “62,000 unique visitors per week.”

Band Name of the Day

posted by on October 9 at 2:08 PM

Fixed Gears Are For Jerks and Lesbians

Today in Album Releases

posted by on October 9 at 1:46 PM

Beirut_The_Flying_Club_Cup.jpg

Among the new albums out today is the fantastic sophomore effort from Beirut, The Flying Club Cup. If you buy only one album this week, it should be this one. Here’s my review from this week’s cd reviews:

BEIRUT

The Flying Club Cup

(Ba Da Bing)

***1/2

The one-sheet story behind Beirut bandleader/singer/songwriter Zach Condon’s latest flight of fancy is that it landed him in France rather than the hazy Eastern Bloc of Gulag Orkestar. The album name comes from an early-20th-century hot-air-balloon festival held in Paris; Condon cites French chansons as an inspiration. The album’s artwork consists of found photographs from Paris and a vaguely Dadaist narrative written by Condon’s brother.

After the conch-shell orchestra tuning of “A Call to Arms,” the album opens with the subdued bossa-nova lilt of “Nantes,” Condon dourly singing, “It’s been a long time, long time now, since I’ve seen you smile” before giving in to swaying brass and wandering accordion. This is followed by the drifting, drunken uplift “A Sunday Smile.” As always, Beirut’s arrangements (here aided by the Arcade Fire’s Owen Pallet, who also sings lead on the elegiac “Cliquot”) are baroque without being bombastic. But the centerpiece remains Condon’s singular voice, a sonorous croon that easily rises above the orchestra pit but sounds just as sure with only a ukulele as accompaniment (as on the stunning first part of “The Penalty”). There are unexpected turns—the oriental strings of at the opening of “Forks and Knives (La Fete),” and the Peanuts-meets–Sufjan Stevens jazz piano lope of “In the Mausoleum”—but for the most part The Flying Club Cup sticks to Condon’s well-worn map of Europe. Condon’s lyrics, which were at times overwrought or overreaching on Gulag Orkestar, have grown more tempered and true.

Beirut’s albums are like flipping through an old box of postcards—the Balkans blur into East Germany into Paris back into Brooklyn—and whether they’re yours or someone else’s hardly matters. The maudlin “Guyamas Sonora” even seems to say as much: “No, I was not there/on the church stairs/the wind in my hair….” The New Mexico–born, Brooklyn-based Condon’s far-flung geography has always been at least half remembered or imaginary. But his remove doesn’t make his musical forays feel inauthentic or touristy. Rather, that distance lends his settings and subjects a sincere sense of longing and weight. ERIC GRANDY

Meat Puppets, Sonic Youth @ House of Blues, Dallas

posted by on October 9 at 1:46 PM

Stranger contributor Bill Cody flew to Dallas last weekend to check out a historic bill at House of Blues—the Meat Puppets and Sonic Youth, who first played together 26 years ago. Here are his words and photos of the show.

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I’m on the edge of the crowd at the brand new House of Blues in Dallas, Texas when I realize it’s all happening.

The Meat Puppets had just finished the regular portion of “Up On The Sun” when they locked into one of their extended space jams in which Curt Kirkwood demonstrates why he’s considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time. People all through the crowd are throwing their hands in the air and I’m transported back to another time, when music was the most important thing in my life…

When the Pups finish the song nearly five minutes later, the kids who weren’t fans before are definitely fans now. The band followed up with one of their “Nirvana hits,” “Plateau,” and then—just to prove they’re still the contrarians of old—they played a Buck Owens song. The mostly high school-aged crowd scratched their heads.

The first time the two bands played together was 1981. It was the Meat Puppets’ first show in New York City and the venue was Folk City, one-time home of Bob Dylan. The crowd was all Mohawks and leather jackets and when the Pups came out with long hair and cowboy boots the audience was ready to destroy them. Then the freaks from Arizona proceeded to play faster and louder than any band that the Gotham punks had ever seen. They concluded the night by chanting “You are my daughter” back at the crowd.

Four years later, the two bands were label mates on SST. Sonic Youth played their first Southern California gig in the middle of the desert with the Pups at a show promoted by the founder of Amok Books called the Gila Monster Jam. (That weekend, a young Perry Farrell fronted Psi-Com, one of the opening acts. He later admitted this show was where he got the idea for Lollapalooza.)

Of course both bands were integral parts of the early-’90s, Seattle-led grunge scene and the whole Nirvana phenomenon that swept the world. (In case you are either very young or lived under a rock at the time, check out Dave Markey’s “The Year Punk Broke” or pick up a copy of Nirvana Unplugged, Live in New York which came out on DVD recently.)

Around 1995, however, the fortunes of each band changed dramatically. Sonic Youth kept a loyal, sizable fan base and became mini-moguls in the world of upscale art retail. They pulled off the mean feat of remaining hip while courting respectability all at the same time, which is no minor accomplishment.

My friends the Kirkwoods, on the other hand, saw their band torn apart by drug addiction and self-destructive behavior, all of which was chronicled in couple of articles that appeared in numerous publications all over the country. That was before Cris was shot in the back by a Post Office security guard and sent to Federal prison four years ago. The fact that Curt and Cris are playing together at all is a miracle.

At the end of the Meat Puppets set, Lee Renaldo and Thurston Moore come over flashing big goofy grins. “Where you guys hanging out?” Thurston asks. Curt motions over to the small dressing room on the side of the stage. Pretty soon every member of Sonic Youth is packed into the Meat Puppets’ dressing room. There’s a lot of laughter and reminiscing.

The time that Sonic Youth is scheduled to take the stage comes and goes. A couple of their roadies ask me if I know where everyone is. I motion over to room where all the laughter is coming from. They just nod.

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A few minutes later, Sonic Youth walks onto the stage at the almost too-nice-to-be-a-rock-club venue that is the House of Blues. Kim and Thurston wave to the young and attractive crowd. They don’t have to win over the crowd like the Pups did. They had them at hello.

Speaker Speaker Video Diary #1

posted by on October 9 at 1:34 PM

Instead of writing a tour diary, the boys in Speaker Speaker (who are about four days into a month-long national tour) are keeping a video diary, which is really more a demonstration of what happens with three dudes are forced to live in a van together with a lot of down time and little sleep.

Here’s installment one, sent to us from Denver, Colorado.

TacocaT Tour Diary Part Two: ’80s Night is On Friday

posted by on October 9 at 12:58 PM

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DAY THREE
BREE: Downtime. Everyone crashes in my grandparent’s basement and wants to go to Disneyland. I borrow my brother Brian’s employee pass and his friends’ season passes and Tacocat impersonates them for the day since the pictures are so blurry.

LELAH: We watch the season finale of Rock of Love. The stripper lost. Then Disneyland. Eric was so frightened by the Tower of Terror, he grabbed the old man to his left.

BREE: I thought Heather should have won. I don’t like Jess.

DAY FOUR: Adderall Nighter
EMILY: We arrive at Scolari’s Office in San Diego where we are greeted by a trio of scuzzy grandpa hobo types and a toothless crackpot of a woman wearing a burgundy velvet bucket hat. Stepping out of the van to unload our equipment, the geezers ask if we are the strippers. Eric clarifies that HE’s the stripper and lifts his shirt. Later, stoned and vaguely weirded out, I am approached by an old-timer who can only be described as the most sun-damaged human I’ve ever encountered. He introduces himself as a “singer/songwriter” who will be observing our show later to consider me for his upcoming Christmas compilation. He did not end up at our show after all, but something about the food crusted around his lips had already told me that. After loading in and briefly wondering if our light up tambourine was safe to leave in the bar, it’s time to eat! Eric is set on a Mexican restaurant that is located “right around the corner.” Two miles and countless false alarms later, we find it, eat delicious burritos and begin the trek back. We see the Cops when we get back and join them at a bar that was celebrating “Tiki Tuesday.”

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BREE: Tiki Tuesday at the Pink Elephant was kitty corner from Scolari’s Office. At first we were enamored with the Hawaiian band playing sweet Tiki jams, but several pineapple vodka’s and bucket sized margaritas later Emily gets into some sort of verbal altercation with the ukulele player. This part of the night is a bit of a blur, but I DO remember yelling and pointing. “It’s Tiki night,” says the sass mouth ukulele player over the mic, taking a look at Emily’s palm tree ponytail and stripey socks. “80s night is on Fridays” DISS! Then we start some sort of competition with the “Angry Chicken” dance early on. It’s the Chicken Dance, but serious. Lelah takes chicken dancing pretty far out later, but she says she doesn’t remember.

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The Chicken Dance.

EMILY: Our show was decent for the amount of alcohol involved. It’s apparent the Cops are our new best friends-they made our show and after massive amounts of dancing we made theirs. Chicken Dance-offs and pineapple vodkas ruled the night!

BREE: I make a comment about David Icke at our show before our Reptile song. Once again, all the creepsters flock to Emily and get to corner her on a serious discussion about the Reptilian Agenda while I get off scott free. Ha ha ha. The Cops are super fun. Lelah gets a super fan named Bear Paw who buys some merch.

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Lelah and Bear Paw.

LELAH: He corrects me that it’s Bear Paw, not Bear Claw. He’s not a doughnut.

BREE: He requests some XL shirts to be made next time around. Lelah seems to have developed a profound connection with Bear Paw.

DAY FIVE: Shark Bait
BREE: Driving. We stop in Malibu because Eric has some Egg salad sandwich he absolutely must have while he is down here. It were so so. But it’s hot and we stop at the beach, have an amazing time swimming and then all of a sudden a fucking seal is swimming next to us! Fucking incredible! It was so cute. Eric swims away from the baby seal in fear, and our friend Adam loses his underwear in the turbulent surf and somehow puts them back on backwards. Me and the Roadie Rachel are on our periods and the song “Shark Bait” is briefly considered, but quickly thrown out. We drive to San Francisco and don’t get there at 4 am. My friend Kallisa has an amazing super old house in the Mission District, which is nice to see after all the strip malls in LA. Lelah and Eric sleep in the van. The fucking Blue Angel’s wake everyone up in the morning. Fuck the Blue Angels! I thought I was done with them for the year.

Click here to read TacocaT Tour Diary Part One: Is There a House Bong?

Two Vids For Grandy

posted by on October 9 at 12:43 PM

This showed up in my inbox today, so I’m throwing it up here for Grandy since he loves Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” so much.

And here’s what should be considered the definitive version:

[Hat tip to Josh for the first link]

Rawk Horns?

posted by on October 9 at 11:50 AM

corna.jpgCertain shows are not right for the rock horns or ‘rawk’ hand signal.

Here is someone at the Widespread Panic show in the Paramount throwing up devil horns. Come on, you’re seeing a jam band and you’re doing a hippie dance, devil horns don’t work:

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And here is Brent Amaker & the Rodeo in Holland. A fan is up front breaking out a very sturdy, very well executed rawk signal. This guy gets a partial excuse because he’s probably excited by a band from Seattle in his hometown. And Seattle means rock. He’s also a bit too sexy for his shirt. But it’s country western music, guy. It’s not Metallica.

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(Picture by Johnny Podhradsky.)

This hand signal stems from the ‘corna’, which is Italian for horns. Its origins can be traced to Ancient Greece. Anton LaVey, founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan, popularized it as a Satanic salute in the 1960s.

In Italy, the horns placed behind someone’s head, or pointed at a person means that this person is being cheated on by their spouse. In some places, the gesture wards off bad luck.

Occasionally it is confused with the “I Love You” sign, in which the thumb is extended.

Ronnie James Dio in Metal-Rules.com says:

It’s NOT the devil’s sign like we’re here with the devil. It’s an Italian thing I got from my Grandmother called the “Malocchio”. It’s to ward off the Evil Eye or to give the Evil Eye, depending on which way you do it. It’s just a symbol but it had magical incantations and attitudes to it and I felt it worked very well with Sabbath.

School’s In Forever

posted by on October 9 at 11:35 AM

Every year around this time of year, when the weather cools down and the leaves turn, I find myself getting seriously nostalgic for…school. I know, I’m a nerd. But school was awesome for me. Even the shitty parts—stale bagels, messy breakups—seem awesome from here. And part of that awesome glow is my perennial fall soundtrack, songs and records that will always, always make me nostalgic for walking across campus, hanging around downtown olympia waiting for shows to begin, getting awkward with the opposite sex.

This morning, I’m listening to Braid’s posthumous two-volume retrospective, Movie Music, a major component in my record rotation for junior and senior year. Meanwhile, my much cooler roommates—hey, Matt, Tim, Julia, & Greg—were listening to Numbers and Kool Keith (I’d eventually catch up). Right now, I’m particularly partial to “Do You Love Coffee?,” but “Please Drive Faster,” “Forever Got Shorter,” and “What a Wonderful Puddle” are probably my all time Braid faves. Last night, I listened to everything I own by the Smiths on random shuffle and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Aisler’s Set are another staple, but they’re more of a winter band. Maybe next I’ll crack open Lync’s These Are Not Fall Colors or my orange vinyl copy (remember limited edition vinyl—what the fuck was I thinking?) of Jets To Brazil’s Orange Rhyming Dictionary

Black Lips on Conan Tonight

posted by on October 9 at 10:49 AM

Still on the fence about whether or not you’re gonna go to the Black Lips show at the Croc this Friday? Get a sneak peak of the punk rock saviors tonight on Conan O’Brien.

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If you like what you see, advance tickets are still available for $12 via the Crocodile’s website. The show’s 21+. Sorry, kids.

Greg Wilson: The Teenage Disco DJ

posted by on October 9 at 10:34 AM

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The Hacienda in Manchester, England is famous for a lot of things: New Order, Happy Mondays, Factory Records parties. But one of the best things to come out of The Hacienda was DJ Greg Wilson.

Greg Wilson was a DJ doing his own edits during the ‘80’s, before there was Ableton or Final Cut. Greg would sit down with a reel to reel and a razorblade and cut apart tape, carefully resplicing songs bits together to create long, energetic and astonishing remixes of black dance and house music from America for the sweaty “e”-taking masses that would swarm the busy club every weekend.

His residency at the Hacienda was legendary for the crazy cut up style of some of the songs he would put together. His versions of Yello’s Lost Again and Raw Silk mixed with the DMX Krew are still standards in many clubs and record collections to this day.

In the mid-‘80’s as The Hacienda was really heating up, and trouble seemed to follow the patrons out of the club, Greg called it quits.

The other day while noodling around at Platinum Records I came across a smudgey, ignored 12” called Teenage DJ Disco Best. It’s a series of disco edits, popular now, but the style was fast and furious. There were no huge introductions, there was no looping of opening beats; these were simple and as energetic as anything you’d here in disco’s heyday.

Essentially a white label, I took it home and looked it up on discogs to find out who did it. To my shock and surprise i found out it was non-other than Greg Wilson, back after a two decade hiatus from dj-ing.

He seems to be having a resurgence lately, with mixes of Ilija Rudman, 1gnition and a collection of his original Hacienda edits now available on CD.

If you’re a fan of disco, new wave, freestyle, and edits you should definately pick up his work! The mixes sound as fresh now as they must have sounded 20 years ago. Totally futuristic and fantastic.

Check out some Downloads of his “Teenage DJ” stuff at my blog here.

Also check out Greg’s homepage for some great mixes, including a “Best of ‘83” mix from the Hacienda. Incredible.

Tonight in Music (and Comedy)

posted by on October 9 at 10:34 AM

Stranger Suggests suggest:

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METRIC AND CRYSTAL CASTLES
(Music) Metric is a terrific live band and Emily Haines, its frontwoman, is a raving anti-pop star who can induce riot-grrrl flashbacks. But the real treat tonight is the Seattle debut of Crystal Castles, a Toronto duo that scrambles Bikini Kill and Koji Kondo into an 8-bit electro-punk shitstorm. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Ethan Fawn lays down lo-fi laser fire while vocalist Alice screams and sighs out raw, angry anthems. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. $17 adv/$20 DOS, 8 pm, all ages.) ERIC GRANDY

And U&Cs suggest:

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MICHAEL IAN BLACK AND MICHAEL SHOWALTER
(Neumo’s) Technically this isn’t a rock show, but it sure as hell will rock. God that’s a terrible intro. I’m really sorry. I’m under a lot of pressure here! It’s really hard to write about two of the funniest men in America (as voted by me) without (a) using their own jokes as examples and ruining them, (b) coming off like a fangirl with a ridiculous grade-school crush on the class clown, or (c) making them sound not funny at all by desperately insisting they are. But I swear to Christ Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, two-thirds of the dildo-obsessed comedy troupe Stella, are hilarious. Their exaggerated facial expressions alone make me nearly piss my pants, and Black’s deadpan delivery only makes Showalter’s self-deprecation and giddy desire to be loved that much funnier. MEGAN SELING

Monday, October 8, 2007

Big Ups, Big Downs

posted by on October 8 at 4:45 PM

You may have noticed, as of about 10 minutes ago, that we’ve added a list of Friends and Enemies of Line Out. As you can see, we love to love, but we’re not above hating, too.

One of my personal favorite Friends of Line Out is Wax Poetics, a bi-monthly magazine featuring some of the deepest music journalism this side of The Wire. As their subtitle reads, Wax Poetics is all about “hip-hop, jazz, funk & soul.” Nobody digs deeper into the roots of hiphop than these guys, who bear a profoundly informed love for both hiphop and all the music that instigated it, from reggae to jazz to disco to Richard Pryor. It’s a digger’s dream come true, a valuable resource for anyone dedicated to the search for the perfect beat.

If you subscribe to the Brooklyn-based mag, you get a few of their rare groove trading cards:

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The magazine just started a record label, too, and I received their first release in the mail this afternoon: East of Underground, an album of soul covers played by the winner of a battle of the bands contest between American GIs stationed in Germany in 1971.

Friends of Line Out are into some cool shit. Check ‘em out. And for God’s sake, steer clear of our Enemies.

Tonight: Trentemoller @ Neumos

posted by on October 8 at 4:38 PM

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I’m late in getting the word out here, but tonight at Neumos is Trentemoller, bringing a full band. Here’s what Neumos says about the show:

Expect the set to be an electronic/rock/pop blend a la Last Resort plus previous material; we’ve been hearing really good things about the band performance. They have a great visual element as well.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the following download in this post. Trentemoller’s October 2006 Essential Mix appearance was eventually designated the best of the year, with some saying it’s the best ever done. I don’t know that I agree with that latter praise, but it is quite the good listen. If you need that extra push to get to you the show tonight (or otherwise haven’t heard the mix), you can get it here.

Remember the Emo Game?

posted by on October 8 at 4:05 PM

It’s still funny. Oh yeah, and really NSFW.

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Get Drunk, Win $1,250!

posted by on October 8 at 3:58 PM

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Boozy breakdancing! Cash prize! Costumes! Be the next Drunk of the Week! PLUS, it’s ’80s Night, so put great DJs on the list too.

TONIGHT, 9 pm at The War Room!
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Drugstore Cowboy

posted by on October 8 at 2:28 PM

To elaborate on my She Wants Revenge U&C, here’s a link to the video for Justin Warfield’s “K Sera Sera,” one of the doper tracks on his fanfuckintastic My Field Trip to Planet 9:

Unfortunately, the audio is awful, but you get the feel for Warfield’s scuzzy, psychedelic-soul vibe (with beats provided here by Prince Paul) and his smooth-as-butta flow.

For full contrast/disclosure, here’s the video for Warfield’s first underground hit, “Season of the Vic”:

Yeah, those are dreads and a suede vest—a looong way from the demented gothster look he’s got going now. He was a 20-year-old beatnik living in Berkeley at the time.

Warfield’s biggest break—before She Wants Revenge—was recording “Bug Powder Dust” with Bomb the Bass, a song steeped in drugged-out William Burroughs imagery. It got a legendary remix treatment by Kruder & Dorfmeister on their G Stoned in 1995, as deeply funky and spaced-out as any downtempo from that era. I heard the track—in all its seven-minute, lysergic glory—all over Amsterdam when I spent a week there in 1997. Hearing it now totally brings me back:

Yeah, Justin Warfield was the shit. She Wants Revenge, not so much.

All I Do With My Time Anymore…

posted by on October 8 at 2:24 PM

…is watch La Blogotheque videos. Seriously. These are mostly old, but Take-Away Shows embody pretty much everything that is great and good in the world.













Right so about my moving to Paris…

Ain’t Is a Word

posted by on October 8 at 2:16 PM

panic.JPGWidespread Panic played the Paramount Theatre this past Friday and Saturday.

They’re from Athens, GA and their fans get fired up. People are there to dance. They are there to see each other, to throw down, and to take part in the songs. There’s not a body in the place that’s not moving. Find your spot and break it on down, or step back into the peripheries and zone.

Widespread Panic shows have become archetypal occurrences. They are the face of hippie culture. They’ve taken the reigns from Phish, who took over from the Grateful Dead, who started this cultural phenomenon. If you’re a real, grizzled or star-child hippie, the Widespread show is your release. It defines you as much as you define it.

Dave Matthews is for sorority girls and String Cheese Incident is who you see if Widespread isn’t touring. If you’re a hippie, the only real way to break it down and truly unleash is at a Widespread show.

Here’s three minutes of breakdown from Saturday at the Paramount. The guy with the fro is so high he can’t see:



Continue reading "Ain't Is a Word" »

I Like This Cover Photograph

posted by on October 8 at 2:01 PM

I wish it wasn’t covered by all the strange colored splashes and baroque type, but this is the best photograph of Thelonious Monk ever taken:
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Check out the ragtime details! The guy in the back, shooting out the window! The rooster on the piano! The ghosting!

I’ve yet to really read the magazine, but it looks great and it came with a good CD, and it has an article in it about Daniel Johnston, with whom I will always be obsessed.

Also Tonight

posted by on October 8 at 12:45 PM

Band of Horses play a free in-store at the Queen Anne Easy Street Records tonight at 11pm. It’s a record release party for their new album on Sub Pop, Cease To Begin. Here’s what I had to say about the record in this week’s cd reviews:

BAND OF HORSES

Cease to Begin

(Sub Pop)

**

Like most clichés, there’s enough truth to the hoary record-industry myth of the sophomore slump to make it stick. A great debut can create impossible expectations, and a sequel even of equal merit will still lack the element of surprise that made its predecessor seem revelatory. A band can spend their whole lives making one record, and only a year or two making their next. And a lot can change in the meantime.

So it is with Band of Horses’ sophomore album for Sub Pop, the aptly titled Cease to Begin. In the time since the breakout success of Everything All the Time, the one-time Seattleites have lost the considerable talents of guitarist (and sometimes songwriter) Mat Brooke (now of Grand Archives), they’ve relocated back to South Carolina, they’ve swelled to a six-piece live band, and they’ve licensed their hit “The Funeral” to everything from movie trailers to a Wal-Mart ad campaign.

Opening track (and lead single) “Is There a Ghost” is almost enough to make the listener forget all that, though. The surging refrain is the album’s most triumphant moment (though it lacks some of the rush and thrum of the live rendition) and also it’s most similar to the pop grandeur of Everything All the Time. So it’s a perfect transition, but also a dangerously early peak. From there, the Horses successfully channel Neil Young’s dirge stomp on “Ode to LRC” and lay down old live favorite “No One’s Gonna Love You.” “Detlef Schrempf” is a plodding slow dance. “Islands on the Coast” is another brief, soaring pop arc. Singer/songwriter Ben Bridwell has said that Cease to Begin would sound more country or Southern than their partially cloudy debut, and “The General Specific” makes good on that—it’s a full-on piano-pounding, knee-slapping, hand-clapping honky-tonk jam—as does the church organ and dusty gospel warble of “Marry Song.”

Cease to Begin isn’t a bad record, but it falls short. Maybe it just isn’t possible to be More Everything More of the Time. ERIC GRANDY

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 8 at 12:37 PM

Jonathan Zwickel writes a letter to She Wants Revenge’s Justin Warfield in this week’s U&Cs:

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SHE WANTS REVENGE, KENNA, IO ECHO
(Showbox at the Market) Justin Warfield: Put down the guyliner and ditch the guitar. I understand the need for artistic evolution, but damn, man—you were such a badass MC back in ‘92, and this electro-goth-lite is really beneath you. My Field Trip to Planet 9 is a stone classic—a stoned classic, really—the first truly tripped-out, psychedelic hiphop album, way ahead of its time. Dense, head-spinning production by Prince Paul, reverbed rhymes about LSD, Korova Milk Bar, and Naked Lunch. You predated Edan by a decade! That shit made my senior year of high school! The only thing She Wants Revenge is making is a fair-to-middling Depeche Mode knockoff. Dude, you’re Jarobi’s cousin! Hiphop is in your blood! Come back, Justin! JONATHAN ZWICKEL

Bored? Listen to Setlist!

posted by on October 8 at 12:29 PM

If you haven’t already, check out this week’s Setlist. It’s one of our best yet because Ari and I are joined by our first ever musical guest, Devoirs (aka Christopher Hong).

Besides that, you’ll also hear tunes by the Blakes, the Fleet Foxes, the Kindness Kind, Sleepy Eyes of Death (pictured below), and more.

Click!

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Is This True?

posted by on October 8 at 11:11 AM

Bunnypuncher left this comment last week after I posted Dragonforce’s “My Spirit Will Go On” as the Best Song Ever (This Week).

Also, on the fast vs. slow debate: ask any drummer worth their salt and they’ll tell you it’s way harder to play really really slow than to play really really fast.

I talked to a few drummers over the weekend who (I believe) are worth their salt and they disagreed. Some said it was harder to play fast and well and some said that both required skill.

So, are you a drummer worth your salt? Want to weigh in?

Flash Flooding

posted by on October 8 at 9:38 AM

So, anybody check out this Arcade Fire flash page/music video for “Neon Bible”? Anybody drown Win Butler? Get all Xs on the cards? Disappointed that Brooklyn Vegan comment threat speculation wasn’t right about an LCD Soundsystem Arcade Fire remix? Give a shit? More excited for In Rainbows than for flash animation?