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Archives for 10/21/2007 - 10/27/2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Battles - “Tonto”

posted by on October 27 at 8:48 PM

This is awesome:

Brazilians Busted for Hard, Dense Wood

posted by on October 27 at 2:04 PM

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Brazilian rosewood is that good wood for guitars.

Denver Post reports:

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, Oct. 20th - 350 federal officers, supported by state police and government environmental agents, arrested 23 people for illegally cutting down Brazilian rosewood and exporting it to the United States.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service said it carried out a search in central Massachusetts in connection with the investigation. Police also began serving 67 search and seizure warrants for the illegal extraction of Brazilian rosewood, an endangered tree species native to eastern Brazil and found only in this country.

Rosewood, known in Brazil as jacaranda da bahia, is protected by Brazilian law and by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Hard and dense, it is also fashioned into flooring, furniture and other items. Investigators said the gang exported at least 13 tons of rosewood in the past four years, mainly to the United States.

In comments yesterday, someone was speculating on the actual status and amount of Brazilian rosewood left in the world. That status ain’t good. The fact is – is that by the 90’s, this uncommon variety of coastal tree was nearly cut down to extinction.

We gotta stop choppin, or the Earth will be bald and the Starbucks bubble city you live in won’t be able to serve coffee because all the plants and trees are gone.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says:

The activities of the present industry in Brazil are on a much reduced scale and pose no threat of extinction of the species. Extensive areas of rosewood remain within the forest which are inaccessible and would be uneconomic to harvest. However, the extraction of some 10 000 t of rosewood trees annually results in a progressive erosion of the germplasm base.

More on the Meneguar Show

posted by on October 27 at 12:55 PM

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I unfortunately missed Police Teeth’s set last night due to my shitty job (the one that pays me money, not this one), but made it just in time to see Talbot Tagora. I’ve been trying to see them live for months now, but always miss their set due to them playing before I get off work, or them getting stuck in traffic and canceling the Block Party. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a live set quite like what they do. The two guitars are a swarm of discordant noise, finding melodies in bizarre combinations of sound. There’s probably not a proper name for the genre that Talbot Tagora is playing, but their sound exists somewhere between Nels Cline’s dissonant jazz and Sonic Youth’s distorted rock-outs. They are playing some of the most honest, original sounding music not only in town, but anywhere. Though often jarring and abrasive, their sound is so unique I find myself inextricably drawn towards it.

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Emo-hardcore is a slippery slope, and too often during their set I found Elphaba sliding down the mountain. Remember 10 years ago when the phrase “emo-hardcore” meant an entirely different thing than it does now? None of that singy-part, screamy-part back and forth that all the teenagers lose their shit for now, I’m talking about good old 90s brand emotional hardcore - that’s what Elphaba is playing. They’re not trying to be the Blood Brothers, they’re trying to be Vade, but they’re not quite pulling it off. I found that the heavier their stuff was the more I liked it, and there were moments during the set where everything seemed to come together perfectly, but then it would end or change and the suspension of disbelief would cease, and I would once again be patiently watching instead of enjoying.

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Megan covered Meneguar’s set pretty exhaustively, and I agree with what she had to say: It was truly an excellent performance. They had more energy than I ever would have guessed from their albums, and it was infectious - especially the for the one guy losing his shit the entire set standing in the front. Meneguar proved that they are not just an indie-rock band, but a rock-rock band, adding huge intensity and building several songs into amazing climaxes. My only beef, which I can chalk up to the lack of monitors for the performers, were the almost always out of key dual vocals. I was also standing with my ear a foot away from the PA, so that probably didn’t help. It was a great show in a great space, cheers to those who made it happen.

Meneguarrrrrr!

posted by on October 27 at 9:43 AM

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Meneguar really should be the band that bloggers are losing their shit over. I dunno about these Black Kids, they’re fine or whatever (I’ve never actually heard them), but after seeing the Brooklyn band last night, I couldn’t believe that Pitchfork, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, and all the rest aren’t all over this band’s shit. They’re hip and you can dance to ‘em, but they have a biting and cathartic side too. Isn’t that all it takes?

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I’ve been a fan for at least a couple years. And going to the show, I knew they’d probably be good—I like their songs so much that even if they played half as well as they did last night, I would’ve walked away happy just because I finally got to hear and see them live. But the band shattered all expectations with a phenomenally tight set of material from both records (2005’s I Was Born at Night and this years Strangers in Our House).

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They played all my favorites (“House of Cats,” “The Temp,” and “Kids Get Cut”) with energy and precision, but the best part was when the band went into (I assume) improvised breakdowns of fantastically jarring guitar-heavy noise—swirling feedback, thundering bass—I wasn’t expecting them to be so fucking good. I thought they’d be a punked up indie rock band, I thought they’d be fun. I had no idea they were going to be one of the best performances of the last few months if not the past year. (Mono, obviously, tops that list right now. Meneguar is a different kind of awesome.)

I’m pretty sure my jaw literally fell open a few times as I stood there watching them unexpectedly blow my mind. The drummer played so hard he shattered a drumstick (giving the guitarist the perfect slide tool for one of his guitar solos).

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Afterwards I turned into a fan girl when I bought a t-shirt from the bassist. “You were so good! I have been waiting to see you for years!” Blah blah blah. Then I asked about how to pronounce the name. Turns out, technically, I’ve been saying it wrong. Men-eh-gwar is how I’ve been saying it, but really it’s men-EGG-war. He forgave me, though, and said that’s how most people say it and either are acceptable. There are no rules.

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Police Teeth sounded good too—they were more rock and roll, blistering with a post-hardcore edge at times. One of their songs, “I Made Out With You Before You Were Cool” had an Al Burian/Challenger feel to it—I really liked that one. With bands like the Ruby Doe and the Valley currently doing well, I don’t think Police Teeth with have any problems finding a niche. Their new album, Jazz Records for Sale, comes out in a couple weeks.

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Two nights, two very different but very fantastic shows… Mono and Meneguar (and Ted Leo on Tuesday!) have made this the best week ever.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Making Love Will Keep You Fit

posted by on October 26 at 3:55 PM

Does making love keep you thin? Well, disco diva Brenda Harris obviously thinks so. In 1978, Harris released her debut single Making Love Will Keep You Fit. The original eleven plus minute disco classic got a reworking the following year by legendary producer/engineer Bob Blank, who successfully mixed the song down to a solid seven minutes of high energy disco. This version of the song, which was renamed Making Love, was eventually released on the short lived Dream Records, which was a sub label to disco giant Salsoul Records. If making love doesn’t successfully keep you thin, workin’ it out on the dancefloor to this track might just do the trick.

Brenda Harris - Making Love

Re: Freaknight

posted by on October 26 at 3:52 PM

Two days prior to Freaknight 11, the venue at which the event was scheduled canceled the agreement. We immediately sought an alternative venue that would accommodate the large number of people Freaknight is known to draw. We believed we had a viable venue and it was our intent to provide our loyal followers with the outstanding event they have come to expect from USC. Arrangements could not be finalized with the subsequent venue, leaving us with the difficult decision to cancel the event. We are deeply disappointed that it has come to this, as we enjoy promoting Freaknight as much as you enjoy participating in it.

Almost all of the artists scheduled to perform at Freaknight are in town, and will be performing at other venues. Please visit www.uscevents.com, www.myspace.com/uscevents, or call the infoline at 888.221.7491 for up to the minute information.

USC Events would like to thank everyone for 11 years of continued support, and we are appreciative of your patience during the last few days. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.

All tickets sales are being refunded. If you purchased presale tickets, please contact the outlet at which you purchased the ticket for a refund.

Any questions may be address to info@uscevents.com.


Thank you,
USC Events

Update: Several Freak Night artists are rumored to be performing at the Level 5 nightclub (formerly Element) tonight. There is supposed to be one house/techno room and one drum’n’bass room.

DV Found Guilty Of Assaulting An Officer

posted by on October 26 at 3:48 PM

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I wish I could say I’m surprised. God Bless DV and his family.

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on October 26 at 3:23 PM

We have a very special guests on this week’s Setlist—Levi Fuller visits the “studio” to play a couple live tracks (including a fantastic Jawbox cover) and talk about the upcoming Ball of Wax show at the Sunset.

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(Photo by Ron Henry)

You’ll also hear the Beatniks, J. Tillman, Priests and Paramedics, Beehive, and more. More, I tell you, more!

This is where you click to hear it.

“Into the woods, it’s time to go/I hate to leave, I have to though/into the woods it’s time and so/I must begin the juuuur-ney…”

posted by on October 26 at 3:12 PM

I saw Into the Woods at Fifth Avenue Theatre last night and now the soundtrack is stuck in my head. It. Won’t. Go. Away.

This is brutal.

Club Pop Halloween, In Pictures

posted by on October 26 at 3:00 PM

I meant to go to take pictures of the special performance by Bizerk, and somehow, because I was wearing my drunky pants, I missed them completely. Damn me to hell.

BUT… here’s a bunch of other pictures from last nights’ Club Pop at Chop Suey - it sure was fun, fun, fun…

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More photos after the jump

Continue reading "Club Pop Halloween, In Pictures" »

The Animals at Night

posted by on October 26 at 2:40 PM

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Lots of goodness happening around the city this weekend in what promises to be a long, steep climb to Wednesday’s hell-bent Halloween freakout.

If you’re looking to start your Halloweekend off in a mellow mood, tonight Hazelwood hosts electro-folkie Graig Markel’s new downtempo project, the Animals at Night. Located on Ballard Ave, Hazelwood is a comfy, uber-cool cocktail lounge that serves wickedly delicious drinks, the perfect setting for Markel’s fuzzed-out digitized soundscapes. Dreamy, expansive, and more than a little psychedelic, the Animals at Night’s timewarped sound flashes back to mid-’90s g-stoned downtempo, Kruder & Dorfmeister-style. Word is Markel and cohorts mix in sampled snippets of ’60s soul and R&B, too.

Markel is currently working on an album in the Animals at Night-mode, set for an early-‘08 release. Check out the website for streamed songs.

How Many Rudeboys Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb?

posted by on October 26 at 2:30 PM

Two.

One to drop it and one to pick it up! Pick it up! Pick it up!

Now, Nick Jr.’s ska propaganda:

(Thank you, Alithea, for the tip.)

Friday Music Video Roundup

posted by on October 26 at 2:15 PM

!!! - “Yadnus” (from Myth Takes):

Black Dice - “Kokomo” (from Load Blown):

The Cave Singers - “Dancing on Our Graves” (from Invitation Songs):

Matthew Dear - “Don & Sherri” (from Asa Breed):

Modeselektor - “Black Block” (from Happy Birthday!):

Modest Mouse - “People as Places as People” (from We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank):

Of Montreal - “Gronlandic Edit” (from Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?):

The Pack - “In My Car” (from Based Boys)

The Freak Show Must Will Not Go On

posted by on October 26 at 2:14 PM

Freak Night, an annual rave that draws thousands of glow stick waving, cat-in-the-hat-hat-wearing types to the Seattle area, is scrambling to find a new venue. [Note: The event has now been canceled.]

The event—which has pre-sold 3,000 tickets and is expected to draw up to 7,000 people—was scheduled to be held at the Pier 30 Events Center tonight. But on Wednesday, Columbia Hospitality—which runs the event center—told Freak Night’s promoter—USC Events—that they’d have to find a new venue.

USC’s attorney, Dave Osgood, says Columbia’s decision to pull out of the event came as a surprise since USC had already put down a $30,000 deposit.”I don’t know if they decided they just don’t like raves,” Osgood says.

Osgood acknowledges there were some issues with payment—specifically citing a disagreement over $6,000—but, he says, his client’s negotiations with Columbia were “in good faith.” Osgood says he has filed suit against Columbia.

Columbia did not return calls for comment.

UPDATE:

According to Osgood, Freak Night has been canceled.

My Hate Crimes Against Panther

posted by on October 26 at 2:00 PM

Here’s my Stranger suggests for Monday night’s Architecture in Helsinki show at the Showbox:

Architecture in Helsinki

(Music)

If you’re not in the mood for Joanna Newsom’s epic, medieval-fantasy song cycles at Benaroya tonight, consider seeing Architecture in Helsinki, Australia’s best export since Steve Irwin (RIP). The orch-pop sextet leaps from twee swooning to upside-down funk to aeronautic anthems with energy and ease. The Showbox’s spring-loaded floor is sure to be bouncing. Opening is Panther, Portland’s absurdist white-boy Prince, and nu-Italo disco darlings Glass Candy. It’s an oddly matched but totally brilliant bill. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-0888. 8 pm, $16, all ages.)

Here is the controversy.

Here is Panther’s last word on the matter:

haaaaaaa!! someone just told me that today,,no big deal,, i am half cuban sooo,, i could go either way,, but we have changed anyway!!! we are no longer white boy prince,,,,we are now white boy eddie money fronting the doors its more of a band now,,, seriously

That sounds fucking awesome!

Brazilian is Good Wood

posted by on October 26 at 12:24 PM

brazilian.jpgTop vs. back wood, stiffness, Brazilians, and thicknessing. Cue the porn music. What is this, HUMP 4? No, it’s classical guitar speak. And Brazilian rosewood is the sexiest.

Brazilian rosewood is a superior and coveted tonewood for classical guitar backs and sides. Its density and stiffness seem to be ideal for producing a rich and unique resonance in tone. There’s one drawback though - Brazilian rosewood is illegal to harvest.

In 1975, CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, came into existence and said it’s illegal to cut down Brazilian rosewood trees or export any new lumber. CITES also protects things such as bison and ivory.

Guitar builders who must have this kind of wood are getting their Brazilians from old furniture, floors, ships, and stumps. The price of Brazilian rosewood has soared because of CITES. Some say that by making Brazilian rosewood endangered, CITES has done more harm than good.

welcomesign2.jpgThere is also debate about whether or not it really does sound better. For more info on Brazilian rosewood, we look no further than our very own Greenwood. There is a shop there called The Rosewood Guitar. Owner Bill Clements was nice enough to talk:

Brazilian rosewood has a very beautiful grain pattern. There is no doubt about that. It’s such a nice looking wood and that may be its most attractive feature. Sonically, its tone is rich, but I don’t know if it is any better than Indian rosewood. You could line up two guitars, one made of Brazilian rosewood and one made of Indian rosewood, and I don’t think you’d be able to hear the difference. The sound quality of a guitar really comes from the combined elements the builder puts in - the materials, the bracing patterns, the thicknessing, and the skill of that builder.

The top wood is the most important wood in the guitar. And spruce works fine. In 1862, Antonio Torres Jurado built a guitar with back and sides of papier-mâché. It had a top of spruce, and it sounded beautiful. So backs and sides of Brazilian rosewood are nice, but what matters is what’s on top.

The other thing about Brazilian rosewood is that it doesn’t grow straight. It twists and turns while growing, producing wood that has knots and fissures. That’s not good for guitar making. Bugs also love Brazilian rosewood. And that’s not good either.

Unless that bug is Hendrix reincarnated as a bug. Then he can have at it.

Rosewood Guitar - 8402 Greenwood Ave N.

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 26 at 12:10 PM

Personally, I’m more than stoked for Meneguar tonight. It’ll be really tough to follow up yesterday’s Mono show, but I have faith that Meneguar will bring an entirely different kind of awesome. An except from this week’s Underage:

Meneguar were introduced to me by accident; I remember the first time I heard them. A friend meant to send me a link to another band’s MySpace page but sent a link to Meneguar instead. I don’t even remember who that other band was because I couldn’t stop listening to Meneguar’s “House of Cats.” The urgent drums and pulsating guitar in the first 10 seconds, the bass and lyrics that kick in just after… This was back in 2005 and at that time it had been a while since I’d heard anything like it—Meneguar were as wickedly captivating as David Bowie in Labyrinth (and they don’t even need the stretch pants and mullet to pull it off).

Here’s what this week’s U&Cs recommend:

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Carolyn Mark
(Easy Street Records, West Seattle) Carolyn Mark doesn’t sing anything without delighting in it. This isn’t hard to figure out when listening to the Victoria, BC, native’s records of old, full of country stompin’ and funny, frank lyrics that earned her too charming a rep to hide behind former bandmate Neko Case. Even on this year’s breakup record, Nothing Is Free, she makes the most of heartbreak—”I thought, hmm, lace panties, when I looked up her dress,” she sings on “Pictures at Five,” before her voice belts out the album title above a blast of fiddle. She might not be over the guy, but that doesn’t stop her from singing through her trademark grin. SAM MACHKOVECH

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No-Fi Soul Rebellion, the Harborrats
(Jules Maes Saloon) Two things I learned from No-Fi Soul Rebellion’s last Seattle appearance: (1) They play really short, really sweaty sets. The husband-wife duo of singer/beatmaker Mark and, um, faux bassist/cheerleader Andrea Heimer were finished a half hour after they started, and homeboy’s homemade basketball jersey was totally drenched (though homegirl looked perfectly perky). (2) The band’s guiding philosophy: Playfulness and sincerity can go together hand in hand. Examples of this ecstatic union show up all over their just-released Terrible Muscles, an unabashedly exuberant electro-funk dance party of a record. This is a band on a mission to make you feel good. JONATHAN ZWICKEL

Ghost in the Machine

posted by on October 26 at 11:51 AM

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There’s a ghost that haunts Robert Lang Studio, and it hates heavy metal.

The neighborhood of Richmond Beach, where the studio is located, is a supernatural hotspot, crawling with the spirits of drowned mariners and dead children and George the Janitor (that’s another story).

Robert Lang—a respected studio engineer who’s hosted myriad historic sessions over his 30-year career, including Nirvana’s last and the Foo Fighters’ first—has a spook story all his own. It involves buried treasure, a dead man’s ghost, the Afghan Whigs, and a piece of Italian marble depicting the image of Jesus.

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The story is this week’s music lead. The online version comes with large-scale versions of Lang’s photos of the ghost (seen above; check out the top right corner) and the Jesus marble.

For extra chills, check out Trent Moorman’s eight-minute video documentary on our visit to the studio. We spoke with Lang and his assistant as they told us the full story of the ghost and gave us a tour of the studio. Some excerpts:

“I saw this vision or this ghostly figure—I could see right through it—and I squealed like a little bitch.”

“This was 1996, 1997. Greg Dulli says, ‘I just got a call from my medium and I’m a little bit concerned.’”

“And Devon finds a dead bat under the piano.”

“The spirit was pointing northward, and that’s exactly where I found the money.”

“Anyone who comes here who has a negative vibe, this place will shit on ‘em.”

“This is Gonna Be So Fucking Heavy When it Comes Back In” (That’s What She Said)

posted by on October 26 at 11:12 AM

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Last night’s Mono show was unlike any live performance I’ve ever seen before.

They were unreal, ethereal, completely mind-blowing. They were every adjective ever used on allmusic.com. They were so otherworldly that I could’ve been impaled by a fucking unicorn mid-set and it wouldn’t have felt unbelievable.

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With over 20 different kinds of pedals on-stage, the band took on every song with a remarkable amount of precision and care. There was an improvisational feel to them, especially during the flooring climaxes that relied heavily on distortion and feeback, but the musicians also carefully crafted each note, clearly intending for every second to be exactly what it was.

At times the sound was hushed, delicate and beautiful and so quiet that anyone talking in the back near the bar overpowered it. But the guy next to me was right when he said “This is gonna be so fucking heavy with it comes back in”—the songs would build then explode at maximum speed, creating an unfuckwitable three-guitar wall of sound.

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Guys in the audience screamed for more like they were near orgasm (“Oh fuck, don’t stop!”), the lesbians next to me kept making out, and I wanted to go deaf afterwards because I wanted that set to be the last thing I ever heard for the rest of my life.

It was more than incredible; the word it was hasn’t been invented yet.

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But I could still hear everything perfectly while I waited for my bus in front of Hula Hula on karaoke night, capping off my evening by listening to a presumably drunk woman belt out “Life is a Cabaret.”

Life is a Cabaret, old chum
Only a Cabaret, old chum
And I love a Cabaret!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Do the Sex Pistols Sound Today?

posted by on October 25 at 5:06 PM

Folks in West Hollywood will get the answer to that question tonight during the kickoff concert for the Sex Pistols’ third reunion tour. Me, I could care less, but hours ago, I was forced to learn the answer hours earlier than most Californians. The answer? Slower and now including a 30,000 point guitar solo.

Turns out the band rerecorded “Anarchy In The UK” earlier this year for use in Guitar Hero III, as I found out a few hours ago when playing my review copy of the video game for a forthcoming review. And why did they go back to the studio for the first time in 30 years? The short answer? Master tapes have gone missing. The implied answer? You can probably gather it if you watch Johnny Lydon and Steve Jones explain their, uh, totally natural-sounding kudos about Guitar Hero in a bonus video tucked into the game, recorded on my terrible camera for your amusement:

I’d record the song as well, but seriously, you’re not missin’ much.

“Dancing on Our Graves”

posted by on October 25 at 4:21 PM

The video for the Cave Singers’ “Dancing on our Graves” debuted at Pitchfork today. It’s pretty freakish.

The band filmed it in L.A. with a genuine serpent handler, faith healer, and Catholic priest; Pete Quirk gets saved, Marty Lund gets baptized, and Derek Fudesco dances around with a bunch of poisonous snakes. Also seen: a one-handed guitarist, a one-eyed drummer, and a woman speaking in tongues. Of all the songs on Invitation Songs, “Dancing on Our Graves” is the most foot-stompingly raucous, and the video amplifies the music’s possessed frenzy. You think river baptisms and faith healing only go down in the South, but the spiritual sessions depicted in the video looks pretty legit.

Back in September, I spent an afternoon with the band at Goldmyer Hot Springs—a full-blown Eden a couple hours from Seattle. The story is in this week’s issue. An excerpt:

We finish our beers and return to the springs. I settle into one of the pools below the cave, lying back on the rocks to gaze up through the receding lattice of branches and pine needles and mist and sky. Up above, a spider’s web is beaded with drops of rain. Rain falls into my eyes. Time passes. From inside the cave rolls a deep, resonant moan—the Cave Singers are singing in the cave. Not songs—just sounds, harmonies reverberating with eerie, earthy acoustics provided by low-hanging stone walls.

The Cave Singers return home and open for Black Mountain this Saturday at the Croc.

Sleazy Cosmic Disco Tonight @ Pony

posted by on October 25 at 4:17 PM

Like Terry already mentioned, it’s another installment of Circus!. Looking for some sleazy-cosmic-italo-disco, then Pony is the place to be tonight.

Gino Soccio

Here’s some music to get you started for tonight:

In 1980, Canadian producer Gino Soccio, released the LP S-Beat. In many people’s opinion this was most likley Soccio’s weakest full-length album in an astonished career full of classic releases and productions. This record seemed to not have the multiple dancefloor gems that his other albums, Outline, Closer, and Face To Face possessed. However, the album wasn’t a complete bust, it did feature “I Wanna Take You There” which is a dancefloor gem that has a very classic “Soccio” feel to it. The song is a lot different than anything else off of S-Beat, and almost sounds like it was a cut left off of the Outline record. Regardless, it’s great a track, making it worth owning the S-Beat record.

Gino Soccio - I Wanna Take You There

Gentle Sonic Soul

posted by on October 25 at 3:45 PM

Sonic Youth’s founding clairvoyant circuitry scientist, Thurston Moore, played at Neumo’s last night.

He wasn’t with Sonic Youth, though. He’s with a stripped-down band (“We don’t have a name,” Thurston said bashfully as the set began) featuring acoustic guitars, bass, violin and drums (Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley).

The songs he’s gigging out, from his new solo album, sparkle with his signature pop star melodies and Trans Am guitar lines, but on back-to-the-land acoustic, the heavy Leadbelly roots are loud and clear.

And there’s a second guitarist with the expert Mr. Moore—Keith Richards-circa-Exile- style Chris Brokaw—who trades off with Thurston, picking blues figures while Thurston is bashing out Sonic rock on the low-E, and bashing out Sonic rock while Thurston is playing the blues. They had a call and response guitar rapport that clicked like clockwork and seemed psionic all at once. Psionic Youth.

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The bass player broke a string early in the set (yes, a bass string!) and during the lull, Thurston was charming (talking about “a hippie to punk era record store” he loved and giving away an organic cantaloupe he happened to have on hand.)

I was hoping, however, he would have used the downtime to reenact the last cut on his new album—a recording of Thurston when he was 13 circa 1972 narrating a Terry Riley? Steve Reich?-inspired art track: “The sound you are about to hear is me spraying a Lysol can around the room. There.”

Great show. And it was packed. Could have done without the macho hecklers who seemed to think Thurston’s legacy of noise rock means he’s a macho asshole like them. Nope. Thurston’s a gentle soul. Last night’s wonderfully reckless acoustic raveup proved it once and for all.

Circus Tonight @ Pony

posted by on October 25 at 2:19 PM

With the demise of Pony coming sooner than one expects, you shouldn’t miss tonight’s Gay Disco-fest: Circus. There will only be one more.

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We’re gonna get all Disco, Italo and Cosmic on your asses tonight! Who knows - I might just drop the new Italo-flavored Sebastian Tellier single, Sexual Sportwear (Produced by Guy Manuel De Homem-Christo aka 1/2 of Daft Punk!). Or the funky new Martin Rushent disco single Itchy Hips (Yes! That Martin Rushent of Buzzcocks, Human League, Gen X, Joy DIvision, New Order….).

Don’t miss it!

Major Label Satanism

posted by on October 25 at 1:44 PM

Words by Fred Beldin

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Happy Halloween, fellow mortals. The current edition of The Stranger features my second stab at the “Turn You On” column (dig Black Gladiator, circa April), a consideration of the seasonally-appropriate 1969 LP Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls by Coven. The Chicago-based rock act formed in the late 1960s and toured the hippie underground with a wild stage show that incorporated authentic Satanic rituals and a mix of brooding folk and raw psychedelia. Remarkably, they attracted major label attention and eventually earned themselves a hit record.

Do you dare to actually sample these forbidden sounds, harvested via YouTube? Make peace with your god, turn on your speakers, and explore this opening track from Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, an extremely moody number that describes its subject in vivid detail:

“Black Sabbath” from Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls
(images from the 1922 film Häxan)

As the legend goes, Mercury Records withdrew Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls from stores after Esquire illustrated an “expose” on countercultural Satanism with a shot of Charles Manson holding Coven’s debut LP. Apparently there is such a thing as bad publicity (and anyone with a copy of said storied photo, please speak up).

So Coven pulled up stakes, leaving Chicago for the godless city of Los Angeles to start over. They caught a break when filmmaker Tom Laughlin asked them to cover a song first performed by Canadian pop band the Original Caste. “One Tin Soldier” served as the theme for Laughlin’s delirious cult hit Billy Jack, Warner Brothers released the single, and the rest is history.

The song charted multiple times and became an enduring favorite of campfire singalongs, AM oldies radio, and karaoke bars worldwide. This animated music video proves the strange state of affairs—the band that celebrated drinking the blood of children on its first LP eventually found itself marketed directly to America’s underagers:

“One Tin Soldier” from Coven

“One Tin Soldier” was also included on Coven’s second LP, a self-titled collection of songs for MGM that lightened up on the Satanism. The band switched labels again for their third long player, Blood on the Snow, this time going with Buddha Records, home of artists as diverse as the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Captain Beefheart. While certainly no return to the bluntness of Witchcraft, Blood on the Snow’s cover art of a fiddle-sawing Satan proves Coven’s heart was still in the same place. Check out this suitably disturbing music video for the riff-heavy title track:

“Blood on the Snow” from Blood on the Snow

Blood on the Snow didn’t hit the commercial heights of “One Tin Soldier,” and Coven retired its hooves ‘n’ horns shortly thereafter. Lead singer Jinx Dawson remained active in film and music for many years, appearing in Heaven Can Help and entertaining in Hollywood clubs into the 1980s. She recently revived her career by rescuing the impossibly rare Coven LPs from the clutches of bootleggers and eBay speculators, re-releasing them on CD via her independent label Nevoc Music.

Ready to make friends? You can find Jinx Dawson and all the information you need about Coven at one of her three MySpace pages or her CafePress store (which sells Coven discs as well as Satanic t-shirts, wall clocks and tote bags).

What’s Your Jam?

posted by on October 25 at 1:29 PM

Whenever I’ve been out and heard American Athlete DJ he’s dropped “Streetplayer” by Chicago. That has been my jam whenever I see him. I just love dancing to that song.

So what’s your jam? When you go out and the dj drops it, what song can’t you just not dance to?

Here’s video of a Japanese band covering it. Still funky as fuck!

Dig the hilarious brass section! And the dance section in the middle.

Final Fantasy @ Nectar 10/22

posted by on October 25 at 1:24 PM

Okay, not last night, but a few nights ago. Anyways….

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Owen Pallett works really hard.

As Final Fantasy the boy is playing the violin, singing, working his footpedal midi recorders and playing the piano. All at the same time. It’s no wonder he was working up a sweat, and giggling nervously at any minor, very minor, mistake.

The audience didn’t sweat it, they were paying close attention to every word sung, uttered and shouted out by Mr. Pallett. They ooo-ed and aw-ed at the beautiful papercuts being projected above him for most of the show. They swayed and nodded their collective heads as Owen began laying down the base of each song and building them up until they were showing their recognizable forms. Then the audience gladly sang along, and showed their gratitude at the end by demanding an encore from the seemingly frazzled performer.

Appaerntly Owen has just recently (very recently!) added the piano into his gigs, and trying to juggle all these balls onstage is a bit tricky. But honestly - I couldn’t even tell he was having a problem. I was so wrapped up in what he was singing whether they were songs from his first album, Has A Good Home, or his recent album, He Poos Clouds. He played older favorites like The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead, This Is The Dream Of Win & Reg and my favorite It Took You Two Years To Win My Heart (“and two words to brreaaaaaaaak it.”). When he moved on to the newer material, which I admit I’m less familiar with, he was just as captivating. I do remember the songs This Lamb Sells Condos, He Poos Clouds and the starteling Many Lives For 49 MP with it’s shouted refrain “Son, you should invest!”

There was also a great cover version, that Kurt B. Reighley and I talked about after the show, that was about British royalty.

I dunno. After the show Owen seemed a bit down about it, but frankly, I was quite pleased. The show was incredible, just for seeing a musician working so hard, doing so much more than most musicians will do for an audience these days.

Owen Pallett works really hard. And thank god he does. It shows.

Halloween Starts Now

posted by on October 25 at 11:56 AM

Also tonight is Club Pop’s ghoulishly premature Halloween party featuring Fist Fite, Joey Casio, the Knast, a special performance by Bizerk, and resident DJs Colby B and Glitterpants. It’s 18+ as always, $8 before 11pm, $10 after, and it’s a benefit for the Bikery.

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Here’s what I’ve said about joey Casio in the past:

Joey Casio used to live in the filthiest punk house I’ve ever seen down in Olympia. Once, a roommate there came home to find a pair of raccoons rooting around in her bedroom. I heard another guy who lived there peed in jars and saved his urine. But this isn’t about urine or raccoons, this is about Mr Casio, the one-man party starting machine. Joey’s always been an energetic performer and a talented beatmaker, but he’s only gotten better and better over the last several years, and last night’s Club Pop was maybe the perfect place to see him play. The (18 and up) kids of Club Pop come ready to dance, and Joey obligingly delivered plenty of gleefully bent electro made just for that purpose.

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Here’s what I’ve said about Fist Fite:

First, let me say that the opening band, Fist Fite, were bullshit. The band consisted of an apparently competent drummer and a severely amateurish keyboard player/vocalist who occasionally sang or screamed but mostly pulled goofy faces. Their songs were half formed and weak (it was apparently their first show). They advertised CD-Rs for sale that weren’t theirs but instead were recordings of the band they were in before this one. Brilliant.

Here’s what Fist Fite said about me:

Have you guys ever been to downtown canada? Dj Eric Fucking in the Streets from Seattle is thinking about moving there. Little does he know, that to get there you have to ride the back of dolphin while sexing up it’s sex parts. Little does he also know, a shark will soon emerge from the water showing off it’s glimmering white fangs in the hot magical sun. Little does he ALSO know, that no one has ever made it to downtown canada and he will die a horrible death along the way. or he’ll get fucked by mer-men. which is you know, a mermaid with a huge dick.

Me again:

Aw, that’s sweet, guys. A little zoophilic/homophobic, but sweet. To the band’s credit, their recorded songs sound pretty good, like a cross between fellow Portland synth punks Point Line Plane and the demented no wave of Les George Leningrad. Maybe they were just having first-show nerves last time.

And finally:

Actually pretty good if you like synth thrash, punk prog, and literally phoned-in screams. During the odd halftime breakdown, the band’s stomping rock drums, ominous keyboards, and scuzzy bass actually sounded a little like Justice’s horror-disco anthems.

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 25 at 11:19 AM

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High on Fire, Mono, Panthers, Coliseum

(Crocodile) The instrumental ambient rockers of Mono have come all the way from Tokyo to redefine what rock music can sound like. Their poignant songs find more common ground with classical music than with most modern output, and only after seeing it with your own eyes can you believe that just three men and one woman are capable of creating such a dynamic and beautiful, jarring and explosive wall of sound. With High on Fire, Panthers, and Coliseum. MEGAN SELING

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DJ Krush, Hidden Habitats

(Neumo’s) The subtitle of DJ Krush’s just-released DVD retrospective is Suimou Tsunenimasu, which loosely translates as “training never ends.” It derives from a Japanese legend about the world’s deadliest sword; despite its strength, it needed polishing every day to remain sharp. That’s the kind of lifelong dedication shown by the Tokyo-born DJ/producer: One of the world’s most formidable turntable talents, Krush has spent 20 years honing his skills and expanding his repertoire. Often touring with a pianist, flutist, and sax player, Krush goes minimal tonight with a straight-ahead DJ set. Minimal isn’t the right word, actually: Even with just a set of decks, Krush’s beat-drunk sound collages are dense, propulsive, and hypnotic, melding Eastern modalities to Western boom-bap for a posthiphop sound that encompasses entire worlds. JONATHAN ZWICKEL

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Shane Tutmarc & the Traveling Mercies, Grand Hallway, PWRFL Power

(Showbox Sodo) Grand Hallway’s debut album, Yes Is the Answer, glows brightly with warm, delicate orchestration and thoughtful song structures. Smooth piano and swooning strings only slightly take the spotlight over Tomo Nakayama’s tender crooning. The songs are sometimes sad (“Seward Park”), sometimes loving, and at times even playful (“Piano Room”). Slide guitar gives a light country flare to the otherwise poppy “Minimum Wage,” while wind instruments and layers of plunking piano, violin, and guitar bring a slight Japanese folk sound to “Darling, Wife.” On record the band successfully maintain a mesmerizing beauty, and with their cresting instrumentation and dynamic mood shifts, Grand Hallway’s greatness can only flourish when delivered live. MEGAN SELING

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dept of Corrections

posted by on October 24 at 6:55 PM

I made an unfortunate error in my Stranger suggests this week:

Architecture in Helsinki

(Music)

If you’re not in the mood for Joanna Newsom’s epic, medieval-fantasy song cycles at Benaroya tonight, consider seeing Architecture in Helsinki, Australia’s best export since Steve Irwin (RIP). The orch-pop sextet leaps from twee swooning to upside-down funk to aeronautic anthems with energy and ease. The Showbox’s spring-loaded floor is sure to be bouncing. Opening is Panther, Portland’s absurdist white-boy Prince, and nu-Italo disco darlings Glass Candy. It’s an oddly matched but totally brilliant bill. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-0888. 8 pm, $16, all ages.)

In the comments thread of another post, “wtf” points out:


panther, charlie salas-humara, is cuban-american, not a “white-boy Prince.”

Panther has my sincere apologies. Also, apparently, Panther is now a two-piece (that’s whitey Salas-Humara on the right):

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Neil Young @ WaMu Amphitheater

posted by on October 24 at 4:03 PM

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A disclaimer: The past seven days have included some of the most epic concert experiences of my life, each one getting successively better (last Tuesday=Roy Ayers; last Thursday=the Pogues; last night=Neil Young). Forgive me if I’m in superlative mode, but it’s a cumulative result.

Our seats at WaMu were outrageously good last night, proven by the fact that Paul Allen—aka the Guy That Owns the Joint—was sitting right behind me. We were in the bougie section, surrounded by dot-commers in sports coats and polar fleece as well as old schoolers with grizzled beards and tie-dyes. They may be an older crowd, but Neil Young fans are fan-freakin’-atic.

Young started the show by playing a solo acoustic set that was absolutely riveting. If you know Young, you know the songs, and you know the style, and you know that the solo delivery will prickle your neck hair. His voice was untarnished by age; if anything, age had bestowed a dignity and gravity to Young’s thin quiver that made every lyric resound that much deeper. The acoustic setting highlighted every nuance: He’s got a way of singing a verse with that creaky warble and then ending on a single word devoid of melody, just spoken plain and soft, and it kills.

Dressed in a tan suit and button-down shirt open at the collar, Young sat center stage, surrounded by five different guitars and a banjo and flanked by a baby grand piano to his far left and an upright piano to his far right. He meandered from instrument to instrument, seemingly deciding on songs to play then and there; with no band to confer with, the set was entirely of his own devising. Each song he played was more powerful than the next.

Moving from the well-loved “From Hank to Hendrix” to the more obscure “Ambulance Blues” was a serious way to begin the show, the latter earning a sardonic laugh from the crowd with the line “There ain’t nothin’ like a friend who can tell you you’re just pissin’ in the wind.” Moving from “Harvest” to “After the Gold Rush” turned me into one enormous goosebump, the most transcendent moment I’ve had in this week of transcendent moments.

I’m not sure what it was. Having chewed on the evocative, inscrutable lyrics to “After the Gold Rush” for so long, finally seeing Young sit down at a piano and constructing the chords, and singing it line by line, methodically, blowing into a rack harmonica… I thought back to the first time I heard the song in high school; I conjectured about Young’s own past and the impetus 35 years ago to write the line, amended last night for timeliness, “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 21st century.” There was meaning in the song I’ve never been able to fully glean, and last night, the continued mystery of it made it all the more powerful.

Other writers, far better versed in Young’s canon than I, have expounded upon his brilliance, the way he bundles personal, pinpoint imagery with warped abstract poetry. It’s all right there in “After the Gold Rush”:

I was lying in a burned out basement
With the full moon in my eyes.
I was hoping for replacement
When the sun burst through the sky.
There was a band playing in my head
And I felt like getting high.
I was thinking about
What a friend had said
I was hoping it was a lie.

Young’s stoic command of the song—of each song—was regal. There’s tangible bond between him and the material—songs he’s sung for 30 years—and he possessed each song as much as they possessed him. He paced the stage as if indecisive about what to play next, going to the baby grand and plinking out a note but deciding to sit down with the banjo for “Mellow My Mind.” He finished with “Love Is a Rose,” another album cut with razor-sharp lyrics:

Love is a rose
But you better not pick it
It only grows when it’s on the vine.
A handful of thorns and
You’ll know you’ve missed it
You lose your love
When you say the word “mine.”

and then “Heart of Gold,” one of his most beloved classics. Alone, vulnerable and yet honed, vicious, Young made one of classic rock’s true classics count once more.

It’s been a great week, but nothing moved me like those 40 minutes with Young.

That includes the second, electrified set. Playing with a quartet—Rick Ross on bass, Ralph Molina on drums, and Ben Keith on pedal steel, plus occassional backup vocals—Young proved his iconic status as rock-guitar god. Dude’s 61 years old, but still manhandles his guitar like a wrestler, still grinds out one of the thickest, roughest tones imaginable, still flails and headbangs and stomps. He began the set with “Loner,” a song from his first solo album that I didn’t recognize, and then dwelled for the rest of the set in songs from his just-released Chrome Dreams II.

They’re good songs and, with age, potentially great songs, but it was tough to measure up to the chilling intimacy of the first set. In the middle of the third song, the crowd began to trickle down from the back bleachers and dance in front of our bougie seated section, between the front row and the stage. The trickle became a deluge, with hundreds of people swarming down in front. Eventually the show moved from well-behaved sit-down to raucous, fist-pumping dance party. I wonder what, from his prime seat, Paul Allen thought.

The big highlight of the electric set was “No Hidden Path,” a number from Chrome Dreams II that Young et al blew up into a 20-minute guitart-tastic orgy. Young stalked the stage, slamming pedals, quiverying with righteous rock rage, guitar-facing like an ecstatic demon. Two solos. Then three. Then four. The rest of the band almost looked tired, but stayed locked in as Young blazed on. They wrapped the song up after another grunge-laden lead, collapsing under its own weight.

The encore of “Cinnamon Girl” and “Like a Hurricane” offered the anthemic singalongs the crowd was thirsty for. They were huge, and the band hammered them out dutifully. The lights came up, the crowd wanted more, but in those two hours Young had given us everything he had to give.

A Reality Check

posted by on October 24 at 3:57 PM

(Consider this a replacement for my usual Illegal Leak of the Week post.)

Jeff, the cell phone towers blew up?! Good Christ, man. First off, like many have said before me, something else will be along in OiNK’s stead before too long, and in spite of your worries, the next thing will be more robust than any freeloader/downloader deserves (just as Soulseek was better than Napster, just as OiNK was better than SuprNova). In fact, if you wait a coupl’a weeks and do a little digging, you’ll find a fair share of private torrent sites still in existence that will cater to your non-mainstream tastes.

But even if that weren’t the case…is the site’s death really that awful?

If someone from the Dutch government were to bust down my door today and go after my hard drives, I’d try to apply a very odd (and probably awful) defense—I’ve barely listened to any of what’s in there. In my two years of OiNK membership, I downloaded at least 800 music torrents. Probably way more than that, as I’ve lost count, and more than a few of those were deluxe box sets. Some were things I downloaded just for the helluvit (read: Britney), and some have proven to be great surprises that drove me to the record store. But most have been lost in the shuffle of endless downloads. Like most torrent tracker sites, OiNK had a “Top 50” feature to rank torrents by popularity, either for the day or the week, and that feature put a lot of weird or unpublicized albums on my radar that I might’ve never bothered with otherwise. But the drawback was that it created a compulsion to gorge and gorge and gorge.

As a result, I’ve found myself not sitting with albums and giving them the kind of loving, replay treatment that I did years ago, back when I only downloaded something based on a great magazine review, a great concert or a friend’s suggestion. This is a pervasive problem in the world of MP3 blogs, as people grow too eager to announce and jump on a new act because it seems to stand out from the hectic MP3 fray…and based on the blogosphere’s reaction to OiNK, and chats I’ve had with a few MP3 blogger friends, I’ve come to realize that those guys didn’t just rely on OiNK. They fell into the same overload trap that I did.

Perhaps I’m an exception to the OiNK experience and I’m projecting. Based on the stats of the site and the outpouring of music geek tears, though, I doubt it. Either way, I’m going to enjoy a break from checking that site six times a day. Gonna listen to a few records that have been collecting dust in the hard drive for at least the two weeks before the next great replacement assumedly takes shape.

A Eulogy

posted by on October 24 at 3:18 PM

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Right now I feel like all the cell phone towers blew up and there will be no way to get a hold of anyone I care about ever again. There is an overwhelming sense that I have been abandoned, like I am isolated from the world I loved and cherished and my lifeline will never be re-established. I know there was a time before Oink, but it seems so hazy and distant, “the long-long ago” that now seems like such an implausible reality.

My friend Kellen came over last night with a new record from a Virginia band called the Catalyst, a bunch of teenagers making really great hardcore. I was impressed, and I wanted to have it immediately, and then it struck me like a flaming arrow: I couldn’t. I couldn’t just hop on my computer and download it instantly. Sure, bigger torrent sites have bigger bands, but this was obscure indie rock that only Oink was sure to have. I liked the EP enough that I’ll probably buy it myself when I get the chance, but until then I want to listen to it, and now I can’t. It’s fucking devastating.

The real frustrating part is that I’m not sure if there will ever be a site quite like Oink ever again. Since it was invite only all the bullshit worry of low quality rips and getting a virus were nil, and the gratification was instant. Albums downloaded in literally a minute; the world’s catalogue of music was at my immediate disposal. And for those of us with a conscience, the system was truly “try before you buy.” I like owning records, and I like supporting good bands. I don’t like buying an album blind and having it be bullshit. Oink was downloading for connoisseurs, for people with discernable, under the radar tastes. Unfortunately, it was also the source of most of the major label leaks, popping up on Oink first before working their way to the other major peer-to-peer sites, and that’s what got them busted. Now that Oink’s gone, if I want to a popular release I can just grab it off of Mininova or something and it will probably be fine. But if I want to hear what some teenagers from Virginia are doing I’m shit out of luck. And there is a dark hole in my guts because of it.

So I am in mourning, as are most of my friends. I am well aware of the virtues of patience, and I condemn most aspects of a fast-food society. But damn it, I liked getting my obscure bands the instant I wanted them. Until I get that back, I fear my now oppressively slow intake of new music may send me into the depths.

Disco Fizz

posted by on October 24 at 2:57 PM

One of the greatest and most innovative disco/italo producers of all-time is Celso Valli. Valli has been a part of so many influential disco projects including Tantra, Azoto, and Passengers, along with helping arrange Peter Richard’s italo classic “Walking in the Neon”. One of his greatest pieces of work has to be Azoto’s 1979 classic LP Disco Fizz. This record featured italo gems “Anytime or Place”, “Soft Emotion”, “San Salvador”, and “Exalt-Exalt”. Basically, there isn’t a bad song on this five song LP. A few 12-inch releases came off this LP including the most popular single, San Salvador, which also featured an amazing instrumental version of the song. Even though this project only released two LP’s and a handful of singles in it’s very short existence, everything was solid and became highly influential within the growing italo community. Now if I can only get my hands on a few of those original LP’s.

Azoto - Soft Emotion
Azoto - Anytime or Place

New Tullycraft Video

posted by on October 24 at 1:08 PM

It’s for the song “Georgette Plays the Goth” from the band’s new album Every Scene Needs a Center.

Look, it’s cute!

The drummer is my favorite.

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 24 at 12:50 PM

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Thurston Moore, Scorces
(Neumo’s) Seriously, I don’t get why everybody seems to be using words such as “poppy” and “melodic” as if this is some huge departure for Thurston Moore. Sure, his new solo record has Samara Lubelski’s violin all over it, the album’s guitars are occasionally acoustic, and Thurston himself even plays piano on a few cuts. But the set is no sudden moral shift to accessibility, as moments on Trees Outside the Academy are every bit as noisy, abrasive, and haunting as, say, “The Sprawl,” “Dirty Boots,” or any number of cuts from his catalogue with Sonic Youth. Likewise, SY have been melodic since, like, “Expressway to Yr. Skull.” Sure, Trees is hardly the squealing dissonance-fest of some of Moore’s other one-offs like Mirror/Dash (or his band’s SYR series of the late ’90s). But we can be thankful for that, and appreciate this as a collection of music that fits right in with the stirring, thoughtful work Sonic Youth have produced of late. JOHN VETTESE

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Junior Brown
(Tractor) In my younger alt-country days, I thought I was hot alt-shit. Western-cut shirts and Too Far to Care—take that, grunge upbringing! Eventually, a real country musician will bust any young fan’s city-slickin’ cherry, and the man who undid my pearl snaps was Oklahoma’s Junior Brown. Sun Records–era influences, rockabilly hellfire, a throat like Skoal: He’s got those. But it’s Brown’s onstage showmanship that puts him in a higher country echelon. Watch him wind his fused guitar/lap-steel apparatus out of tune for kicks, only to immediately wind it back and pick himself into a frenzy. Hear him re-create the tones from Close Encounters on lap steel. Feel the simultaneous pop of the crowd’s snaps. SAM MACHKOVECH

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at Neumo’s

posted by on October 24 at 12:41 PM

Ted Leo gets heckled more than any other musician I’ve seen. It’s all out of love, though; the fans can’t not talk to him while he’s on stage. He clearly doesn’t mind the song requests, nonsensical drunken blurts, and weird questions—he always responds with wit and confidence. He’ll often engage the audience member in a short conversation, if they’re willing to play along, but he’s the man with the mic so the crowd always cheers when he takes the last word.

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At last night’s show at Neumo’s Leo admitted to being a liar (“Like Henry Rollins,” he said. “If he can get away with it than I sure as hell can too.”), he apologized for not playing some festival that some fan wish he would’ve played, and he described James Blunt’s first single “You’re Beautiful” as “the soundtrack to date rape.”

All the commentary didn’t come into play until after the band ran through a blistering opening of their energetic songs, new and old. One right after another—“The Sons of Cain,” “Me and Mia,” “Where Have All the Rudeboys Gone?” and “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.”

The regular Pharmacists were in tow—James Canty on guitar and Chris Wilson on drums—and Leo announced their new bassist was Marty Violence of the Young Pioneers. He had a beard and apparently he was performing with only two practices to his name. He did fantastically well given the circumstances.

The band ran through more of the usual songs, including “Bottle of Buckie,” “Army Bound,” “Coleen,” “Counting Down the Hours,” and “Parallel or Together?” (Though I can’t remember if that last track was played before the encore or during.)

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After disappearing for about 30 seconds, Leo came out solo and joyfully refused requests from the audience—no Springsteen covers this time around, and no matter how much the girls in front begged, he wasn’t going to play his version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” (even though he did promise he would at Bumbershoot, but whatevs) . Instead he did obliged when a young woman asked him to play “I’m A Ghost” from Hearts of Oak.

For that, he turned off his amp for a second and stepped back from the mic to see if he could remember all the guitar parts. “I think we can give this one a shot,” he assured with a smile after a few quick strums. He hadn’t played the song for awhile, clearly, but the audience sang with him, helping if he forgot the words, and they cheered him on when he had to take a beat or two to remember the progressions. The band joined him again for “Timorous Me” (I will never not get goosebumps with the band comes into the explosive chorus one by one in the song).

The encore was topped of, as it has been at most of his Seattle shows this year, with the blistering anthemic cover of Chumbawumba’s “Rappaport’s Testament: I Never Gave Up,” that appears on the B-Side EP that came with the initial release of Living With the Living (you can also get it on iTunes, I thinks).

He dedicated the song to J Chruch’s Lance Hahn, who passed away earlier this week. “He was a fucking incredible musician and an amazing human being,” he said. “And he never gave up.”

If you survive me
Tell them this
If you survive me
Tell them this

I never gave up!
I never gave up!
I crawled in the mud but I never gave up!

It’s a fantastic cover, and the best way to end the show—the crowd pumped their fists in the air and sang along while Leo strained his vocals to shout the closing lines as loud as he could.

RIP Lance.

Never Forget

posted by on October 24 at 11:55 AM

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Oink Defense Fund

Also: what is quickly becomeing the definitive obit for Oink from “smartest DJ alive” DJ/rupture at Mudd Up!, and a look at the illogic of the “lost sales” argument from Ryan Catbird over at Idolator.

(Hat tip to Brian)

Cool Out, Coconuts!

posted by on October 24 at 10:30 AM

Here are three “interesting” Coconut Coolout related anecdotes from the past weekend.
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1) Friday Night

After seeing Pwrfl Power perform at Healthy Times Fun Club, me and my friends Will and Ricky could think of fucking NOTHING to do. There were no good parties, it was raining out, and hanging out in bars is always totally dumb and pointless. We had just about given up, and were going to go rent a movie and get high or something. We were walking around the corner when who should we see through the Wild Rose’s window but the Coconut Coolouts, soundchecking! We already felt relieved. The Wild Rose is a really fun place to see a show, it’s like the Comet but not totally nasty. It was super fun! We danced our butts off, and I moshed with Pete’s mom (he’s one of the drummers). Afterwards, DJ Porq played some records but no one danced, which is lame. More dancing, Wild Rose! Basically, the Coconut Coolouts saved Friday night.

2) Saturday Night

So now I am at my friend Bree McKenna’s birthday party, and no one else brought their iPod so I’m DJing. I don’t have a lot of “dance music,” but no one seems pissed off when I play things like Hole’s “Credit in the Straight World,” so I’m having a good time. My night is going like this: Pick a song, thrash around to it a bunch, take a gulp of vodka, repeat. I put on the Coconut Coolouts’ song “(Please Don’t Break Me Out of) Party Jail” and Ricky and Will and I (yeah, same dudes, I roll tight) get all excited and start pumping our fists, which I always do with my eyes closed. When I open them, Lacey Swain of the Coconut Coolouts is standing right in front of me. A bunch of the Coconuts had walked in just as I had put on the song. “I like your band,” I say, sheepishly. She put her hand on my shoulder. “I know, Ari. I know.” It was less awkward than it could have been, probably because I was really drunk.

3) Sunday Midday

I’m ridiculously hung over (note to self: pineapple juice and vodka is too easy to drink), sitting at Linda’s for brunch and trying not to puke right there on the floor while I eat my cowboy taco. I’m with Kaz Nomura, a.k.a. Pwrfl Power, and he shows me the posters he just made for his show with, you guessed it, the Coconut Coolouts. Except, the show is at Pony (Nov 8), and he’s playing with Partman Parthorse too, so on the poster he is calling them the Poconut Poolout so that all the words will start with the letter P. This is adorable, IMHO. So adorable I almost puke, literally.

The point of these anecdotes was to let you know three things about the Coconut Coolouts:

1) They are really fun to watch, and it’s always a party.

2) They are playing a show tonight with Tyvek and Nice Smile at the Funhouse and it’s going to be rad.

3) They are leaving on tour after this show, and they will be posting a tour diary here on Line Out. I hope some interesting stuff happens to them.

I should get an honarary copy of this t-shirt for this weekend alone.
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Blood Brothers Break Up?

posted by on October 24 at 9:05 AM

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The rumors that the Blood Brothers were breaking up have been circulating since this summer’s Capitol Hill Block Party. Now, punknews.org reports on a post to the Three One G message boards apparently from the Locust’s Justin Pearson confirming the breakup.

There are no announced plans for a final show at this time. Jaguar Love (featuring the Blood Brothers’ Johhny Whitney and Cody Votolato as well as Jay Clark of Pretty Girls Make Graves) play this Saturday at Nectar with New Young Pony Club.

(Thanks to T for the tip)

Update: Blood Brothers management says: “They are taking a break currently for the rest of the year and will make any final decisions or announcements next year.” (Pitchfork)

“You Love Josh Ritter, I Hate You”

posted by on October 24 at 8:55 AM

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Sent to I, Anonymous:

Anonymous to the crazy cat-caller at the Josh Ritter concert Sunday October 21 at the Showbox: Thanks for reminding the classy crowd at Ritter’s show exactly what it means to be a complete attention-sucking psycho fan. Some things we didn’t need to hear:

1. Your continual profession of love for Josh (“Josh, I love you!” “I love you, Josh!” “YOU ROCK JOSH!” “I want to have your babies, Josh!” ad nauseum)
2. Proclamations of your deep and meaningful connection to Idaho and potatoes
3. Your off-key, sing-along “contributions” to the quieter songs.

It’s a testament to the Ritter’s good humor and obvious grace that he didn’t tell you to shut the %#$@ up, and a reflection of how classy the rest of the audience was that someone didn’t beat the crap out of you. The next time you’re at a concert, remember that you’re not the only one there, and unless your name is on the marquee, no one wants to hear from you.

P.S. to the Showbox: That’s what bouncers are for, guys.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Final Fantasy @ Nectar

posted by on October 23 at 5:40 PM

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Last time I saw Final Fantasy play live in Seattle, I voiced concerns for his safety at the hands of an audience eager to see Bloc Party. In the headline slot at Nectar last night, I felt nervous for a different reason: I fretted that a fellow concertgoer—perhaps that chap who crowed “Final Fantastic!” so ecstatically at one point—might abduct Owen Pallett after the show and wall him up in a tower. Listening to songs inspired by the eight schools of magic in Dungeons & Dragons can do that to a guy.

As promised, the Toronto singer-songwriter-violinist performed songs from both his previous Final Fantasy albums, Has A Good Home and He Poos Clouds. But many treats were lesser-known selections. Perched over his new electro-acoustic grand piano (a “portable” monstrosity that weighs over 300 lbs.), he gave Rufus Wainwright something to worry about with his quirky and moving interpretation of “Horse Feathers” by Toronto songwriter Alex Lukashevsky. And despite entreaties to reprise his YouTube hit rendition of Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy,” he opted instead for a less-familiar cover, “An Actor’s Revenge” by Destroyer.

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Returning the audience’s affection, Pallett noted that Seattle residents seem to have the best attributes of Americans and the worst of Canadians, i.e. we’re terribly passive-aggressive. (I’m sure I don’t know what he meant by that.) On a few occasions he seemed vexed while sampling violin parts live to create the loops that anchor his pieces, but he soldiered on, blaming his jitters on too much pre-show caffeine. And as for that adult-onset stuttering he complained about… well, I didn’t notice it.

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I’m sure everyone had their favorite moments, but mine was the effervescent “Hey Dad,” from his forthcoming Tomlab Alphabet Series single. Morning-after memories of that turn prompted me to dig out this nugget from our interview a couple weeks ago, which I didn’t use in the finished preview feature:

“‘Hey Dad’ is a song a wrote a long, long time ago. Seven years ago. I even wrote the lyrics before then. It started as this essay that I wrote when I had first moved to Toronto, and was in a classical composition program. One the first assignments we had to do was go to a new classical concert, and write a review. And I had a bit of a meltdown. I was a little crazed, from the experience of being in Toronto, and surrounded by all this new music. I was suffering. So my essay ended up not being about the concert itself, but me. The most prominent line in that essay was about how I was going to write the great Canadian symphony, and I had it in me, I just had to shit it out, and put it on the table. And that became the main line in ‘Hey Dad.’”

We’re still waiting for that symphony, Owen. But in the meantime, please keep the ornate pop songs coming.

Punkerthan Thou

posted by on October 23 at 3:35 PM

The Weakerthans’ John K Samson is about to speak on KUOW about, amongst other things, whether or not he still qualifies as punk.

Update: Samson says he’s not sure, but I think he still qualifies.

Donna Summer - I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Mixes)

posted by on October 23 at 2:42 PM

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In 1978 Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder released the disco epic I Feel Love. The song totally threw dance music for a loop, sending it in a new direction for iot’s future. Gone were the days of symphonic “hustles”, the new disco would be edgy, dark and sexy.

At the time a young DJ in San Francisco was experimenting with synths at home and in his DJ sound booth at The Legend, the largest gay disco in the city. Patrick Cowley loved the original, but wanted a longer version for his night. He knew just extending the instrumental bits would be a bit monotonous, so he completely remixed the track and gave it a hard-core electro middle that was totally different than the original. He released a demo copy of it which took off like wildfire and became the definative version at all west coast discos.

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Cowley would go on to start work on solo projects of his own and produced Sylvester’s biggest hits.

Eventually word of the remix got back to Moroder who loved what he heard. The improvised middle section expanded on themes in the vocal line at the beginning, and the mix seemed even more razor sharp. It took a few years, but eventually Moroder and Summer convinced her label, Casablanca Records, to release a special 12” of the mix with a special edited version as the b-side. It is the only Casablanca Record with the catalog # FEEL.

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Cowley died soon after of AIDS.

The record has become a collectors item. It’s highly influential. Even New Order claims it showed them the direction they should move into after the death of Ian Curtis.

The 12” is, by no means rare, but because so few are willing to give up their copies, prices hover around $30 to $40 with mint copies going for up to $80. I found my mint copy (not even any ringwear!) last night at Jive Time in Fremont. $4.

Donna Summer - I Feel Love (Patrick Cowley Mega Mix)

Touch Me Where It’s Hot

posted by on October 23 at 2:33 PM

In 1980, Peter DiMilo and George Cucuzzella’s disco outfit, Erotic Drum Band, released their second LP entitled, Touch Me Where It’s Hot on Prism Records. This record was recieved with mixed reviews and poor record sales compared to their debut album, Plug Me To Death. Even though fans of this heavily percussion influenced disco group were somewhat disappointed by the band’s follow-up release, the Touch Me Where It’s Hot LP wasn’t a complete bust. One of the few highlights off of this record, in my opinion, is the solid disco anthem classic “Everybody Get Dancin’”. This solid lp cut could be my favorite of all the Erotic Disco Band tracks. Where their first LP, Plug Me To Death is more solid than their follow-up as a whole album, “Everybody Get Dancin’” seems to be a better song than any individual tracks on both records. I agree that outside of this one track, Touch Me Where It’s Hot is probably mediocre at best, however, in a period where many disco LP’s consisted of only four or five tracks at most, one classic cut could make it worth it to own the entire LP. And because of that, Touch Me Where It’s Hot still makes a nice addition to anyone’s disco record collection.

Erotic Drum Band - Everybody Get Dancin’

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 23 at 1:22 PM

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That one on the right isn’t in the band anymore.

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
(Music) Ted Leo and company never strayed far from their familiar upbeat punk-rock sound, but their 2007 release, Living with the Living, is a big step. The band dabbles in reggae, flaunts obvious adoration for Joe Strummer, and gives a brutal edge to Chumbawumba’s “Rappaport’s Testament: I Never Gave Up.” They usually close the show with that rowdy track—it always turns the pit into a mess of fist-waving, dancing bodies. With Quasi. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $13, all ages.) Megan Seling

Pinback, Frightened Rabbit @ the Showbox

posted by on October 23 at 1:21 PM

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First off, good job to Pinback for only having one opener. Even though there was nothing particularly special about the one they chose to tour with, that made it especially nice that I only had to wait through it once. Scottish pop rockers Frightened Rabbit opened, with quaint, unremarkable songs that were no chore to listen to, but there really wasn’t much going on in them. They were upbeat, melodic tunes that had a hint of traditional Scottish folk mixed with modern indie rock, pleasant enough to pass the time without getting annoying.

I listened through Pinback’s new album Autumn of the Seraphs before the show to re-acquaint myself with the material and once again I came to the conclusion that it is at best a mediocre release. There are some decent songs, but for the most part it lacks the luster of their previous albums. All the parts that make up a Pinback album are there, but this time through they often seem bland and uninspired. They opened with two songs off the new album, and continued to play most of it throughout the set. The good songs on the album were good live, like “Torch” and “From Nothing to Nowhere.” The mediocre songs stayed mediocre in the live setting.

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The real unfortunate part of Pinback’s performance was their insistence to play older songs much faster than on the recordings, making them sound jumbled and losing most of their impact. “Syracuse,” “Fortress,” “Penelope,” and “Tripoli” were all sped up, with singer Zach Smith missing almost all of his chorus harmonies on “Tripoli.” Playing the songs faster than on the record didn’t ruin them for the most part (most of the time I like it better when artists speed up their songs live), but the tempo and rhythm of these songs are so distinct and perfect on the recordings that playing them faster just made them messy, not energetic. Other songs sounded amazing, particularly “Boo” off of Blue Screen Life, and the closer “AFK.”

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No one else in the almost sold out audience seemed to share my gripes, as they screamed for the band as loud as any audience I’ve been a part of in a while. Everyone seemed to have a great time. There were three couples in front of me that had exactly the same idea: “Hey honey, let’s go to the Pinback show and make out the whole time.” They looked like they were having fun. Demanding an encore, the floor was stomped with a ferocity matching an arena show, an output of energy I wouldn’t have expected from a Pinback crowd. As they are a band that’s written a lot of great songs I was glad to see them get that kind of attention - even if I don’t think they particularly deserved it for that performance.

Digitalism @ Chop Suey

posted by on October 23 at 12:21 PM

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Of the handful of electronic shows I’ve seen in the last couple weeks—Justice, Modeselektor, Matthew Dear—Digitalism was by far the most fun. The show had a few things working against it—Monday night, lots of other shows going on, terribly mismatched opening bands, some apparent technical difficulties at the beginning of Digitalism’s set—but none of that could deflate the duo’s ecstatic, crushing electro rock show.

A quick word about those opening bands. I can’t imagine that these were the most fitting local opening acts available for this show—if they were, there would be something seriously lacking in Seattle right now. Jerry Abstract would’ve been a good opening act. Hell, even a righteous rock band (say, Pleasureboaters) would’ve made more sense than Beehive. I skipped their set after checking their demos on myspace, because what I heard there was just awful—mellow, armchair electronica built on weak production and abysmal “soulful” crooning; it was like a Starbucks version of electronic music.

The Long Ranger are a band that friends of mine who don’t really like dancing or electronic music, but know that I do, have always recomended I check out. Recorded, their songs are okay—they’re cute, bubble gum, roller-rink electro pop tunes in the vein of Figurine (Jimmy Tamberello’s lap-pop band, not the Danish indie rockers). Live, though, the band turn up the cute—lead singers Ted and his sister Sylvia bust shy dance moves while Seth plays guitar over pre-programmed backing tracks. It’s fairly charming to watch, but the sound wasn’t quite right. The vocals were echoing beyond comprehension, and the guitar and backing tracks sounded muffled. It seemed like the kind of act that might make for an awesome house party, but that just wasn’t the scene last night.

The crowd seemed thin during the Long Ranger’s set, with the people that were there mostly hanging back in the bar, but in the long break before Digitalism (there were apparently some technical issues that delayed their scheduled start time), the room filled up with more of a crowd than I’d expected. And it was a good crowd, too—from the first Digitalism’s first distorted beat to their scrambled fade out, the whole audience seemed to be dancing, jumping, and pumping fists. It was so nice to see a Seattle crowd on a Monday night freaking the fuck out for a change.

Digitalism’s deserved all the energy Seattle could show them. The duo had kind of a Junior Senior thing going on—there was one kind of bearish big dude playing drum pads and synths, and one cute, skinny, blonde dude playing synths and doing most of the vocals (the exception being big dude’s goofy Germanglish boasts—”I have the biggest party ever”—on an extended take of “Home Zone”). They played most if not all of their tracks from their stealth missile debut, Idealism, and none of their remixes—this was strictly a Digitalism live show. Highlights included 12” singles “Zdarlight” and “Jupiter Room,” the Cure mangling “Digitalism in Cairo,” “Idealistic,” the New Order echoing “Pogo,” and the aformentioned “Home Zone.” What’s really impressive about Digitalism is how, for all their gnarly distortion and bit-crunching, their sound design remains totally precise. More than anything, Digitalism’s live setup, sound, and the energy reminded me of last Spring’s amazing Soulwax live show. I can’t wait for them to come back.

Question for Soundmen

posted by on October 23 at 11:51 AM

vocs.jpgWhen a band is in the middle of their set and the singer says, “I need more vocals in my monitor,” do you really give them more vocals? Or do you just put your hands on the fader and act like you are turning them up?

Are you faking your volume boost?

Seems like at some point in every set, the singer points to their lips and gives the ‘I need more’ signal. As a soundman (or woman), that’s got to get old.

Is it that the guitar player and the bass player need to turn down? Does the singer need to sing closer to the mic? Does the drummer need to layoff the ritual consumption of Redbull, nicotine, and Pabst? We all know Guarana, cigarettes, and cymbals don’t mix.

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Also, what are we supposed to call women that run sound? Soundwomen? Soundperson?

Brad @ Neumo’s

posted by on October 23 at 11:34 AM

Morgan Keuler reports on Brad @ Neumo’s, Friday Ocotber 19.

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After a four-year hiatus, Brad played their fourth show in a little over a week on Friday night. Fresh off a couple shows in New York, most notably a Huntington’s Disease benefit, the band returned home to a filled-to-the-brim Neumo’s. Following last week’s warm-up show at the High Dive, fans got the full show they were looking for, and have Brad’s upcoming album Best Friends to look forward to as well.

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The stars of Brad—Shawn Smith and Stone Gossard—were sterling on guitar and vocals, repsectively, but the standout of the evening was Kevin Wood, brother of the late Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood, on lead guitar. Wood provided much of the energy to the show as he stalked around the stage, firing off blazing leads and striking apropos rock star poses.

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The song selection was a representative mix of the band’s work, but the standouts were the two mainstay hits of “Buttercup” and “20th Century” from Brad’s first album, Shame—especially the former with its sublimely sparse yet emotionally drenched delivery.

If there was just one thing to say about the show it would be that these are indeed best friends who really enjoy making awesome, eclectic music together.

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The Huntington’s Disease Society of America is holding a benefit auction, which has a bunch of Pearl Jam, Brad, and other entertainment industry goodies to bid on. Click here to find out more.

Yoink

posted by on October 23 at 9:40 AM

British and Dutch police shut down file sharing hub Oink:

This site has been closed as a result of a criminal investigation by IFPI, BPI, Cleveland Police and the Fiscal Investigation Unit of the Dutch Police (FIOD ECD) into suspected illegal music distribution. A criminal investigation continues into the identities and activities of the site’s users.

(That’s Cleveland in the UK, by the way)

(Hat tip to Idolator)


Monday, October 22, 2007

The Train Runs Over the Camel But Is Derailed by the Gnat

posted by on October 22 at 3:37 PM

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During our historic Flaming Lips issue in late August, we ran a short piece by Sam “Retail Disturbance” Machkovech in which he described freaking out Best Buy customers by playing the Lips’ Zaireeka inside the store as it was meant to be played: on four separate sound systems at once. It’s a sonic happening that’s rarely attempted and even more rarely properly attained; synching the CDs is difficult when using four separate boom boxes.

Tonight, the wackos at the Crocodile, abetted by the spazzes at Sonic Boom, attempt a quadrophonic coup by hosting a Zaireeka listening session in the Croc’s main show room. It’s the 10th anniversary of the album and the 10th anniversary of Sonic Boom, so a proper sonic freakout is in order.

I’ve never heard the album in its proper format and I’m pretty fucking stoked that this is happening. It’s free and doors are at 8 p.m. Minds will be blown.

Mike Oldfield - Incantations

posted by on October 22 at 3:00 PM

Most likely, if you know multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield it would be for his instro-prog masterpiece Tubular Bells (Incidentally his first album, and the first album on Virgin Records), which was used as the main theme of The Exorcist.

Next up for Oldfield came Hergest Ridge, a modest effort at the genre, expanding on a central theme in variation, but it didn’t have the melodic power that Tubular Bells carried off so well. Then from Oldfield came the imaginative, complex, rhythmic and original Ommadawn. Vocals were used to perfection on this album and many thought Oldfield could do no better.

He spent the next two years touring the shit out of those albums. Incredibly performing these 20+ minute songs live night after night. So by the time 1978 rolled around and Oldfield was getting ready to release his next album fans obviously wondered where it would go, what it would be.

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Incantations was his answer. A different animal altogether. Not just stylistically, but it was a double LP in four parts (incidentally named “Incantation 1-4”). It was twice the length of any of his previous work, coming in at roughly 80 minutes. Oldfield had taken the time and given his audience something quite large to digest.

Critic and fan reviews run the gamut of “over-long”, “boring” and “only for the big fan”, to “hypnotic”, “genius” and “essential”. More directly, Incatations is Oldfields most controversial early work. Next would come the ‘80’s, and nobody really liked what he would get up to at that point. So of his early and most influential work, this is the one that people argue over the most.

If you’ve never heard a whole Oldfield album, let me start by describing what he does. Take Tubular Bells. If you’ve heard the theme to The Exorcist, then you know what a basic theme Mike works with will sound like, but if you haven’t heard the whole 50 minute version, then you don’t know the variations this theme goes through. From haunting theme to moog workout then full blown funk/rock out with satanic sounding vocals being shouted at you. By the end your being lulled to sleep by a quite organ accompanying a girls choir in hymn like reverie that inexplicably turns into a picolo lead ho-down at the very end. That’s what Oldfield does. He gives you a theme and variations that lead you on little journeys through emotion (Ommadawn), or literal space (Hergest Ridge), or genre (Tubular Bells).

Incantations might be said to be variations on the theme of strong women. “Incantation 1” is an ode to the Roman god Diana the goddess of the hunt. It starts out with womens voices creating an arpegiatted chord, rhythmic strings come in under a flute solo - and we’re off. The theme is as jaunty as a horse ride through the forest, it’s very “green” sounding, and even thought there are some synths used it sounds very natural. The stacatto rhythm at once will remind you of work of classical composers like Reich or Glass, one might be led to believe that Oldfield wishes to be taken seriously as someone of their ilk. But prog is Oldfield’s domain and this is where his cloth is cut. And what a tailor! As the variations start, there are lots of scale and chord progressions that eventually lead you back to the original theme, before trumpets come in to call and answer in baroque flourishes that fade into some exquisite african drumming by frequent Oldfield collaborators Jabula underscoring The Queens College Girls Choir chanting the name “Diana” with other latin phrases. It’s absolutely wonderful. And I’ll say it again, the rythmic phrasing is totally reminicent of some of the work by his classical contemporaries, it is hypnotic and moving.

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“Incantation 2” starts with an arpeggiated synth underscoring a sweet flute melody. The whole thing sounds like water rippling in a stream, before it becomes still as a pool in the woods. Tom-toms start a heartbeat rhythm, the Diana theme the girls choir sings comes back in, and Maddy Prior of Steeleye Span fame starts singing the poem Hiawatha by Longfellow. It’s totally mesmerizing.

“Incantation 3” is a prog rock jam. Mike Oldfield is a talented guitarist and he works it like crazy on this track. The energy on this is great.

“Incantation 4” is where fans seem to part. Some seem to think it could have been left off the project all together, I count myself with the other camp in that a) you can’t have 3 parts on a double album, and b) it fittingly closes the circle that has been woven in the the first three themes. The original theme comes back in again, as does the “Diana” vocal theme and more of Hiawatha is sang by Ms. Prior. One fantastic aspect of 4 is the vibraphone and tuned percussion playing of Pierre Moerlin of Gong. His trance-like playing is incredible and worth listening to alone. I love this track. I don’t understand anyone thinking this kind of hypnotic playing is boring or unemotive. At it’s very core is a heartbeat rhythm which powers us along. It’s wonderful.

As a full symphony closes out the last “Incantation” I’m left a bit sorry it’s ended. At eighty minutes it’s not easy to find time to just breathe in music like this, so when it’s over you can’t help but feel elated, if not a little melancholy. When’s the next time you’ll get to sit and play a complete work alone, imagining in your head the pictures and scenes that Oldfield (and Longfellow, Jabula, Prior and Moerlin) have painted for you.

The naysayers are wrong. Incantations (all 4!) is a masterwork sitting nicely next to Tubular Bells and Ommadawn. A work of original hypnotic genius.

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Like a Rolling Shill

posted by on October 22 at 1:55 PM

Dylan + Smog + Escalade??? = Sigh

Cursive Gets New (Arguably Better) Drummer

posted by on October 22 at 11:48 AM

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From the band:

Cursive regrets to announce the retirement of Clinton Frederick Schnase IV from the band. After years on the road Clint has decided to spend more time at home in Omaha, NE with his happy family of Whippets. Clint has been a lover of Whippets and worked with them for a number of years. He feels it is his spiritual calling, “You can see your future (or whatever) in their eyes.”

We will miss touring, playing, laughing, crying, driving, flying, walking, talking and drinking with Clint and are making plans to love him forever. We wish the best for him and his Whippets and promise to visit him and hang out once a month until the end of time.

Clint’s heavy sticks have been passed to the wonderful Cornbread Compton who has travelled and played with the band for the last 5 months. Clint responded enthusiastically when Cornbread accepted the drumming position with a loud, “F***ING SWEET, MAN”. Well put.

It will be a shame for the band to lose Schnase’s skills behind the kit, as he’s been a solid and interesting drummer on all of Cursive’s releases, but as far as replacements the band couldn’t have picked a much better one than Cornbread Compton. Compton was the drummer of seminal indie rock outfit Engine Down until their demise in 2005. After their split singer Keeley Davis unfortunately joined up with Sparta instead of doing something worthwhile, so it’s good to see that someone in Engine Down is playing with a band worthy of their talent.

Don’t Need Nothin’ but a Pixel

posted by on October 22 at 11:34 AM

joystick1.jpgXbox is airing a commercial that features the Poison song, “Nothin’ but a Good Time.” In the commercial, the song is sung by a children’s choir. The ad has Xboxes being set up guerrilla style in random places. There’s a helicopter drop-shipping makeshift living rooms with an Xbox in the middle of a city, and people must play.

There’s a frenzied feel to it, and in the background, the children’s choir sings, “Don’t need nothin’, but a good time. And it don’t get better than this.”

Upon closer review, I have come to the conclusion that the “good time” the children are singing about is different than Poison’s “good time.” Poison’s Brett Michaels sings:

I can’t pay my rent. I can barely make it through the week. Saturday night I’d like to make my girl but right now I can’t make ends meet.

Don’t need nothin’ but a good time, how can I resist? Ain’t lookin’ for nothin’ but a good time and it don’t get better than this.

They say I spend my money on women and wine, but I couldn’t tell you where I spent last night. I’m really sorry about the shape I’m in. I just like my fun every now and then.

Get me a Halo 3, right now. I need to game. Let us alter:

They say I spend my money on joysticks and games, I spent last night in front of the TV again. I’m really sorry about the shape I’m in.

Don’t need nothin’ but a flatscreen, my women are made of pixels and I drink Mountain Dew, it don’t get better than this.

I Still Haven’t Heard the Black Kids…

posted by on October 22 at 11:03 AM

So I can only agree with the broad strokes and not the case sepecifics of this sharp rant against music blog hype posted today on (music hype blog) Idolator (emphasis mine):

One of the worst things about the earnest nature of music blogs at the moment—whether giants like Stereogum and Brooklyn Vegan or some kid happily posting up uncleared MP3s, where most copy amounts to recycled press releases or “OMG! Music is so awesome!” if it expresses any sort of opinion at all—is that it’s now gauche to call out a crock. You get called a “reactionary” or a “hater” and these pushovers want to know why you can’t just relax and enjoy the bounty of an era where every new band is more mindblowing than the last. But the wheels-within-wheels meta-coverage of Black Kids, the latest blog-crush turned (almost) real-world hype, has forced us to say something about this pathetic state of affairs. Because Black Kids are some bullshit. And it’s not even their fault. It’s our fault, which is to say the fault of bloggers and writers. Because right now no one should even know who Black Kids are.

I will now go listen to the Black Kids and report back.

Update: OMG! “Hit the Heartbrakes” and “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” are actually pretty good, promising pop songs—the muffled synth horns and boy/girl vocals echo the best parts of Architecture in Helsinki or the Go! Team (how’s that for blog hype upon blog hype?). “Hurricane Jane” and “I’ve Underestimated My Charm (Again)” are less impressive. Of course, these are only first impressions. Just as a crazy, anachronistic experiment, I might actually stew on these songs for a minute before I form an opinion (!), I might wait until I hear a couple more tracks from the band or get a chance to see them play live.

Tonight in Music

posted by on October 22 at 10:50 AM

Pinback is at Showbox at the Market, Final Fantasy is at Nectar, and of course there’s also:

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Digitalism
(Chop Suey) While Justice and crew soak up the spotlight for their brand of rock-infused techno, Digitalism are busy blowing out speakers and overheating synths in the dark. Their remixes and originals are instantly gratifying, full of clipped beats, mangled synths, and robotic grooves. Their debut, Idealism, is one of the year’s criminally overlooked dance albums. If they only had Pedro Winter’s Rolodex and sample-clearance budget, they’d no doubt be rave-rocking stadiums. But Digitalism’s relative obscurity is your gain, as their live show should be every bit as damaged and deafening as Justice’s but with probably more room to get down. ERIC GRANDY

“Friends Like These” by Mobius Band

posted by on October 22 at 10:04 AM

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Eric already extolled the synth-pop slickness of Mobius Band’s set opening for Matthew Dear, and he’s totally right: The Brooklyn trio made infectious, intelligent music that was both restrained and eloquent.

They saved the best song off their latest album, Heaven, for the end of the set. As I said in my Up & Coming this week, “Friends Like These” is the jaded inverse of LCD Soundsystem’s sentimental “All My Friends.” The song’s slow-swinging chorus is pretty much the perfect musical tempo, funky and pendulous but rendered with a goofy white-guy bounce that’s irresistibe. It’s offset by a simple keyboard counter-beat and splashy cymbal work, while layers of stippled digital effects add sonic density to the otherwise bouyant instrumentation and Peter Sax’s plain-but-trenchant vocals. It’s an immaculately structured pop song that sounds totally original and sort of familiar.

Yeah, it’s Monday, but it’s never too soon to hear the Best Song Ever (This Week).

Click here to hear Mobius Band’s “Friends Like These.” Hat Tip to Hype Machine.

Modeselektor, Mobius Band, Matthew Dear

posted by on October 22 at 9:20 AM

(originally posted on 10/21/07)

Modeselektor @ Chop Suey - 10/19/07

1660386566_80a76b6de8.jpgModeselektor and Jacob London by Donte Parks

I was expecting Friday’s Broken Disco to be one of the biggest yet for the monthly electronic dance night—Modeselektor’s last Seattle appearance filled and killed the Re-Bar—but I definitely wasn’t expecting a line-out-the-door capacity crowd. It was a huge success for Broken Disco and a good indicator of the strength of Seattle’s electronic music scene (as crowded and hype as it got for Modeselektor, there was just as much energy from the crowd for locals Jacob London). The overwhelming attendance even has some people on the division list wondering if Broken Disco has become too popular. The answer is perhaps just that Modeselektor has become too popular for a 500 person venue, and that Broken Disco is doing just fine—we’ll find out next month, when the night hosts an all-local line up.

Modeselektor’s set was as incendiary and fun as expected, a high-energy hybrid of beats, dub, devastating synths, and stuttering edits. At one point, the duo dropped “Ghostride the Whip” over their own swaggering beats, and it made perfect sense—Modeselektor are hyphy as fuck, they’re just a little more East Berlin than East Bay.

Matthew Dear, Mobius Band @ Crocodile - 10/20/07

1669222330_c42c5a802d.jpgMatthew Dear by Donte Parks

If Modeselektor drew a much bigger crowd than expected, the Ghostly double-up of Matthew Dear and Modius Band was strangely under-attended. As Mobius Band began their set, there were maybe a couple dozen people there, and at least 20% of them were music critics. It was not looking good. But Mobius Band played like it was a full house ready to rock. Their shaggy bearded bassist/singer shuffled and bounced and made cute not annoying bass faces, the guitarist/singer managed to shred while looking totally dapper and calm, and their drummer kept hitting groovy off-beats and nailing impossibly fast electronic fills. The two singers both alternated between guitars, Akai MPCs, and keyboards, occasionally managing a couple things at a time.

I’d only heard a few songs of theirs before this show, and generally thought of them as a pretty, mellow, but not too memorable pop band, but, live, their songs became energetic, their melodies and choruses catchy. The songs with the bassist singing were especially resonant. He doesn’t sing with a lot of range, but there’s something warm and inviting in his not-quite-monotone (it kind of reminded me of the Stills, if anyone still remembers them). The band was They totally tight. Four out of four Stranger music critics agreed: “They’re really good.”

Matthew Dear and his Big Hands was a three piece consisting of Dear on vocals, laptop, effects, visuals, and percussion; a drummer; and a bassist. Their renditions of Dear’s songs—mostly stuff from his excellent new Asa Breed, but also earlier track “Tide” and the breakout “Dog Days”—were pretty much faithful to the recordings, only with the added muscle and sweat of live drums, and with Dear’s deep, reverb-drenched voice more up front in the mix. They totally nailed the melancholy groove thing that Dear does so well in the studio, especially on the sublime single “Deserter.”

One odd thing was how the band would build up a groove, ride it for a few minutes, and then suddenly stop. That’s kind of how Dear’s tracks work on record, but it was jarring live; the crowd wanting to get in a groove and stay there, but they had to keep starting over with each new song. “Don & Sherri” and “Deserter” both built into powerful grooves shortly before their abrupt endings, and it would have been sweet if the band had kept a continuous beat going from song to song. I also would’ve been happier if a pair of mid-tempo ballads halfway through the set had been cut in favor of “It’s Over Now” or even an upbeat instrumental.

But these are minor complaints. For the most part, the show was fantastic. Dear is an arresting front-man (he has the face, height, build, and style of a male model) and an amiable entertainer. Highlights included his chagrined acknowledgment of “Don & Sherri’s” licensing for a commercial campaign (“Thanks, Hummer, for the new computer”), the same song’s Snoop Dogg-esque vocal slide whistling, the tom rhythm toward the end of “Deserter,” and the interpolation of Daft Punk’s “Teachers” over the beginning of “Dog Days.” Maybe the electronic crowd was all too hung-over from Broken Disco to make it, but they missed out.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Ministry Bassist Found Dead

posted by on October 21 at 8:33 PM

Ministry Bassist Paul Raven Dies of Heart Attack in Geneva

October 20, 2007 FRANCE - Ministry’s bassist Paul Raven was found dead today in a private home in a small French village on the Swiss border. Initial reports indicate Raven’s passing was due to a heart attack. Raven (known also for his work with Killing Joke, Prong) was in Geneva working with French recording artists Treponem Pal on their new release, with Marco Neves, Ted Parsons (Prong) and members of The Young Gods.

Born in Wolverhampton UK on January 16, 1961, Paul Vincent Raven established himself with his work in the seminal post-punk/industrial group Killing Joke when, in 1982 he replaced the original bassist for the band, recording and touring with the group throughout its most commercially successful period, performing on Fire Dances, Night Time and Brighter than a Thousand Suns. Throughout his extensive career, Raven participated in other collaborations including Prong, Murder, Inc., Pigface, Godflesh.

Most recently, Raven was nominated for a 2006 Grammy for Best Metal Performance for his work with Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, with whom he had begun working with in late 2005 on the 13th Planet release Rio Grande Blood. After a 2006 World Tour with Ministry, Raven helped Jourgensen and Prong’s Tommy Victor pen the September 18, 2006 Ministry release The Last Sucker, Ministry’s final studio release.

States Jourgensen: “I am in total shock. The world of music is a sadder, emptier place. Not only was Raven an extraordinary talent, but one of my closest dearest friends. Our condolences and prayers go to his immediate family. He will be truly missed by artists, musicians and his fans the world over.

The one consolation is knowing Raven’s already hooked up with the right people and started a new project in the After Life. God’s speed, Raven. Rest In Peace, you fucking pirate.”

Raven’s newest project, Mob Research, featuring members of Warrior Soul and The Mission UK, and schedule for release on 13th Planet Records in 2008, was in the final mixing and mastering phases at the time of Raven’s sudden and unexpected passing.

A memorial dedicated to the Life and Art of Paul Raven can be found at www.thirteenthplanet.com.


Badgeless at CMJ, Part Two

posted by on October 21 at 7:59 PM

I left New York this morning, as did (I’m sure) many a CMJ visitor, totally exhausted with my head a jumble of band names, member’s faces, and lamanated badges on bright red lanyards. The weekend was good to me. I feel like while I missed an embarassingly large number of really fucking awesome shows, I did get to see a few that were well worth the trip.

I’ve definitely come to the conclusion that badges are in no way a critical element of the CMJ experience, and that the hierarchy of “levels” is really just a superfluous way of allowing industry people to feel better than the college kids for whom the festival is designed. Plus a lot of the shows are 21+ anyway, rendering an underager (read: me), inadmissable, even if they have a badge. The fact of the matter is, if a show isn’t letting in any more badges, it isn’t letting in any more badges, regardless of whatever “level” you paid however much money for. In fact, a lot of the time the only way to get in is to just pay for the ticket outright, and most shows are open to the public anyway. I am, however, going to try my hardest to get my college to buy me a badge next year (if other schools do it, why can’t mine?), because having that safety net of “at least I can get into something” might by nice. And I hear that the actual point of CMJ is a conference or something?

After asking around to see if the panels were even worth going to, most of the students that I talked to who attended are music directors of their campus radio stations or enrolled in semi-bullshit “music business” programs at their primarily east-coast colleges. I say “semi-bullshit” because the vision some of these kids have of the industry (as a result of going to college for “music business”) is that managing labels and booking bands are a perfectable, static science that they are bent on mastering, and many are intensly ambitious ankle-biters who all just want to be head-honcho at a major label by the time they are twenty-five. I sound bitter, but I was more shocked at how cold and unphased they appeared in discussing music, something that’s generally talked about with slightly more reverence. I didn’t actually get the impression that some of the people I talked to even liked music at all, as much as liked the hype and saw it as a possible career direction, slightly better than banking. But my personal aversions to some of the crowd aside, the actual content of the conference portion of CMJ remains a mystery to me.

On Friday I didn’t end up staying where I was to see Deerhunter; The Bowery Presents was having an office party, which at first sounded infinitely less exciting than Bradford Cox wailing in the Christmas-light encircled, egg-crate-ceiling-ed basement of Cake Shop, but turned out to be a blast. Considering Bowery is the hand that fed me guest lists, and I genuinely like my old co-workers, I felt compelled to stay put. That might still be the one regret I have about the weekend (I also missed Essie Jain, this stunning English songwriter on BaDaBing), but missing things is really just the theme of CMJ, and the Bowery party actually had some bands of its own playing in the back of the office: some from the line-up of the venues’ showcases that night. A garbage can was overturned, a waterjug was held underarm, and a whole conference room of industry-types was trying their best to clap in rhythm while grasping various sponsored beverages. Completely bizarre ambience, but all good vibes, and remarkable acoustics considering it was… a conference room.

Again, only at CMJ.

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Listen to the Young and the Restless Tonight

posted by on October 21 at 6:50 PM

It starts at 7 pm, it ends at 9 pm, and for the entire time Chris Travis and I will be playing only local music. What’s more, the last hour is all-request, so call if you have something you wanna hear.

Matthew Dear Multimedia

posted by on October 21 at 6:28 PM

I got three videos from Matthew Dear’s performance last night. The show surpassed my high expectations with the live interpretation of the album and the variation on the vocals. Here’s what you missed:

“Will Gravity Win Tonight?”

“Midnight Lovers”

“Dog Days”

Re: Blender Left Somone Off the Worst Lyricist List

posted by on October 21 at 1:41 PM

Um, Megan, perhaps you forgot about a little nugget of lyrical gold called “Sex Planet”:


“I guarantee you’ll like it/It’ll take your breath away/Gonna get you so excited/Once I’ve tasted your milky way”

“I’m about to twinkle and touch your soul/Once I am touring to your black hole (baby uhh)”

“Girl I promise this will be painless (painless)/We’ll take a trip to planet Uranus”

R Kelly = Greatest Poet Alive. Case Closed.

Blender Left Somone Off the Worst Lyricist List

posted by on October 21 at 1:18 PM

R. Kelly, y’all. Doin’ “Real Talk.”

Bad lyric: “I don’t know why you fuck with them jealous no-man-havin’ ass hos anyway.”

Badder lyric: “They don’t eat with us/They don’t sleep with us/Besides what they eat don’t make us shit/Real talk!”

(As for the fight at the end, I have no clue where that fits in with anything. If you have any theories on where the fuck that came from, speak up. Sometimes R. Kelly goes way over my head, apparently.)

Lyrically, though, if that’s not enough to make you die laughing/just die, here’s a look at the man’s improv skills:

“Crunch crunch crunch crunch crunch munch munch munch munch… sluuurrrp!”

Happy Sunday.