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Archives for 12/23/2007 - 12/29/2007

Saturday, December 29, 2007

White the New Black, Soft the New Hard

posted by on December 29 at 3:47 PM

77821412.jpgFall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Lupe Fiasco, and Matthew Santos

Jay-Z found one in Chris Martin. Kanye enlisted Adam Levine from Maroon 5. Most recently, Lupe Fiasco recorded several tracks on The Cool with fauxhawked warbler Matthew Santos. White guy pop singers are the hiphop musical accessory du jour—part of a lineage that includes black girl pop singers, white girl pop singers, live bands, celebrity producers, “spiritual mentors,” and Lil Jon. High-profile MCs are competing to exploit the trend by penning stadium-grabbing anthems. “Superstar,” from The Cool, is the best example.

The song is flawless. “Superstar” is both triumphant and melancholic, thanks to a haunting minor-key synth melody and Santos’ bittersweet vocals. The lyrics are deceivingly universal: Santos’ chorus—“If you are who you say you are/A superstar/Then have no fear”—is aimed at everyman listeners and their everyday aspirations as much as Lupe the certified star. The crowd roar/piano vamp intro is reminscent of “Bennie and the Jets,” too.

Listening to all of The Cool, it’s clear that Lupe still doesn’t spend to much effort on choruses; most are total throwaways, subservient to Lupe’s consistently dense, masterful verses. “Superstar” is that much more outstanding because its chorus is so unforgettable. The Cool is as intellectual a hiphop album as has ever been recorded, brimming with unconventional narratives, political skepticism, ambiguous morality, spirituality, humor, and an overarching concept.

Like Blue Scholars, Lupe proves that soft is officially the new hard. The turnaround began a couple years back with the ascendance of Kanye and Common. When Kanye comes hard with “Can’t Tell Me Nothin’” from Graduation, he’s still wracked by God-fearing self doubt. Even the new Wu-Tang record relaxes into a stoned post-paranoiac acceptance; because Ghostface refuses to do so on Big Doe Rehab, his album sounds sadly dated (check out Sam Mickens’ think piece on that duality in this week’s ish). Sensitive, soulful white guys fit into the new rap game plan like a foot into a $400 sneaker.

Tonight in Music: The Last Saturday of the Year Edition

posted by on December 29 at 10:00 AM

It’s the last Saturday of 2007. Get crazy.

Mahmoud Ahmed is playing the Showbox at the Market. From this week’s feature:

Ahmed became one of the country’s first pop stars, imitating the dress of Little Richard and the stage presence of Elvis. Motown-like, his specialty became the love song, dripping with poetic melodrama. He sang in Amharic, racy/sacred sentiments like, “Your body is a love trap/there is no way I can’t adore it” and “What words can I choose to describe you/You are utterly sublime/God created you perfect, without blemish.” The music charged behind him in a pulsing, danceable wave.

From U&Cs:

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The Pop Machine, Wallpaper, Luminous Craft, Husbands Love Your Wives
(Comet) Add another entry to the bad name/good band list: Wallpaper is supposed to fade into the scenery, something Wallpaper the band absolutely does not do. It’s hard to discern what makes this Auburn trio the most interesting discovery of late 2007. Maybe it’s the unspecific but overwhelming air of smarts emanating from their MySpace offerings, a sense of controlled experimentation with a pop-rock formula that calls to mind both Sonic Youth and the Beach Boys. Maybe it boils down to really fucking catchy, clever songs. “New California” is half Williamsburg highbrow, half Radio Shack lo-fi; “Public Students” bops with hand claps, punky 1-2-3-4 count-outs, and a cheeseburgerly-catchy chorus (you know what I mean). High expectations for their live set. JONATHAN ZWICKEL

From Get Out:

*The Maldives at the Sunset Tavern
*The Lonely H at Tractor Tavern
*Hot Mess featuring Team Gina, LA Kendall, and DJ Colby B at Neumo’s
*Yo Son! with B-Mello, Soul On, DJ DV-One at the War Room
*1-2-1-2 at Cafe Venus/Mars Bar
*Siberian with the Kindness Kind, Colonies, and Ghosts & Liars at El Corazon (early all-ages show)
*Mos Generator later at El Corazon
*The Fucking Eagles with the Earaches at High Dive
*Sunday Night Blackout at Jules Maes


Friday, December 28, 2007

Cred Liquidation: Everything Must Go!

posted by on December 28 at 3:52 PM

Mountain Con came up in conversation the other night, Seattle Times writer Andrew Matson telling me exactly how bad, bad, irredeemably bad they are. I stood by my affection for the band’s lab-crafted electro pop (I’m still humming “Ophelia”) and offered Eels and Cake as similarly styled bands unworthy of the derision they receive. This Matson could not fuck with.

Then I blew my conversational advantage by mentioning my fondness for this song:

The fondness is situational: 1999, 24 years old, a perfect summer romance with a beautiful homecoming queen from South Carolina, slow dancing on the back porch of her parents’ river house (actually a trailer by a canal, but “canal trailer” lacks a certain ring). The story is longer but that’s the highlight. She wore A&F and had a sultry drawl and I was smitten. A month later I moved to San Francisco to start the rest of my life.

To which Matson replied, “That lends credence to the argument that there are no bad songs, only bad DJs.” I like that idea—any song has merit if associated with the proper memories. Put on a crap record at a crucial moment and that crap record is cannonized in the soundtrack of your life, like it or not.

It’s been eight years since that LFO song infiltrated my consciousness, and now that it’s there, it earns a reluctant smile. It’s bad, bad, irredeemably bad, but good for one particular memory.

PS. Also, Sugar Ray, “Every Morning.” Please kill me now.

Party People, Share Your New Year’s

posted by on December 28 at 2:43 PM

Hey y’all—those of you celebrating on Monday night—upload your New Year’s party photos to The Stranger’s Flickr pool with the tag NYE07. We’ll post a bunch of them on Line Out on Tuesday (since we’ll be too burnt to do anything other than gaze at pictures).

Whether you’re going to a fancy dress-up party…
bob-by-kelly-o.jpgKelly O

Or just a karaoke bash in your friends’ moms’ basement…
punks-by-kelly-o.jpgKelly O

We want to see your pictures!

(New Year’s Eve party listings are here.)

How Could I Forget to Mention This?

posted by on December 28 at 1:05 PM

Also tonight (via Stranger Suggests)!

Xmas at the Anne Bonny
Is the Anne Bonny just trying to be weird? The store, best known for selling the possessions of dead people, is having its Christmas party three days after Christmas. I guess they don’t want you to shop, but to have fun—a strange new concept for retail. The world’s greatest child-aping pop songsters, the Terrordactyls, are playing—their members are split cross-country, so this is a once-a-year chance to see them play cute little songs that’ll fit in your pocket. With T.v. Coahran, Team Scrabble, and Tennessee Rose. (The Anne Bonny, 1355 E Olive Way, 382-7845. 8 pm, free, all ages.) ARI SPOOL

Hear the Terrordactyls play live on this week’s Setlist!

Today in Music News

posted by on December 28 at 12:46 PM

Filth & Wisdom: Madonna’s first endeavor as a director to be shown at Berlin Film Festival.

$100,000 polygraph test: Tupac Shakur’s murder might be solved some day, maybe.

My Country Right or Wrong: Peter Garrett (lead singer of Midnight Oil) becomes Australia’s new environment minister.

Beard Liberation Front: Robert Plant named “Beard of the Year”

Warner signs with Amazon
: The label group joins others to allow listeners who download greater freedom in copying mp3’s.

This One Goes Out to Dave Mustaine

posted by on December 28 at 12:45 PM

Because “They say he’s sick… they say he’s obscene…”

Hello Me, It’s Worms

posted by on December 28 at 12:30 PM

Megadeth main-man Dave Mustaine has worms. 51 varieties of them, to be exact:

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine never realized when he hit the road, how much of it he brought back with him.

Mustaine says he went to see a health practitioner who did an analysis of his body.

She told him he found 51 parasites in his body, many of which were varieties of worms.

He couldn’t believe it.

(thank you, Idolator)

Strong Killings at the Comet

posted by on December 28 at 12:22 PM

strongkillingsflickr.jpg

Taken by decoypdx.

Got great shots of live music? Add ‘em to the Stranger’s Flickr pool.

TJ Gorton’s 2007 Year in Review

posted by on December 28 at 12:05 PM


Well the end of the year is here and it was one of much discovery for myself. This year will go down as the year I became completely infatuated with everything disco (not to mention, the year that I moved to Seattle). I’ve always loved disco music, however this year I feel like I devoted a lot of my free time researching, listening, and learning about the genre that has come to influence me so much. So, in short, I gathered my favorite releases from 2007 as well as some of the great music that I discovered throughout the year. Hopefully 2008 will be just as good musically as it was for me in 2007.

Favorite Releases of 2007 (In No Particular Order)
——————————————
Escort - A Bright New Life 12”
Faze Action - Stratus Energy 12”
Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - Nummer Fire EP
Rune Lindbæk - Klubb Kebabb LP
Reverso 68 - Especial 12”
Justus Köhncke vs. Prins Thomas - Elan 12”
LCD Soundsytem - Sound Of Silver LP
Lindstrøm - Breakfast In Heaven 12”
Greg Wilson (Edits) - DC Le Groove 12”
Prins Thomas - Cosmo Galactic Prism Part.1 12”
Les Edits Du Golem - Golem 001 12”
Douglas Sound - Breakwind / Do Right 12”
King & Hound - Stranger In The City 12”
Right Direction - Midnight Rhythm 12”
Various Artists - Deep Disco Culture Vol.2 12”
TJ Gorton - Club Cabana 12”
Kathy Diamond - Over 12”
Ilya Santana - Discotized 12”
Studio - Life’s A Beach! Remixes 12”
African Suite - African Suite (Re-release) LP
Trusme - U Feelin’ It 12”
The Popular People’s Front - Limited Series01 12”
Various - Disco Deutschland Disco LP

Favorite Discoveries/Re-Discoveries of 2007
——————————————
Cosmic Force - Trinidad Bump 12” (2005)
Gotham Flasher - Self-titled LP (1979)
The Michael Zager Band - Let’s All Chant LP(1977)
Jackie Moore - This Time Baby 12” (1979)
Buari - Disco Soccer 12” (1979)
Ahzz - New York’s Movin’ 12” (1981)
Gepy & Gepy - Body To Body LP (1979)
Jackie Stoudemire - Invisible Wind 12”(1982)
Michele - Magic Love LP (1977)
Brenda Harris - Making Love 12” (1979)
The Bombers - Bombers 2 LP (1979)
Crystal Grass - Crystal World LP (1975)
The Paper Dolls - Get Down Boy 12” (1977)
Michelle Freeman - Self-titled LP (1979)
Sumeria - Golden Tears LP (1977)
Fuzz Against Junk - Born under punches 12” (1999)
Queen Yahna - Aint’t It Time 12” (1976)
Cerrone - Angelina LP (1979)
Lenny Williams - Spark of Love (1978)
Double Exposure - Fourplay LP (1978)
Maynard Ferguson - Primal Scream LP (1976)

Here are a few tracks from the lists’:
Escort - A Bright New Life
Gotham Flasher - Love The Love
Right Direction - Midnight Rhythm
Michele - Hold Me, Squeeze Me
Maynard Ferguson - Pagliacci (Joe Claussell Edit)

Thanks to everyone who has made this year such a good one!!!

Minneapolis??

posted by on December 28 at 11:56 AM

What does Minneapolis have to do with going on an escapade?

Is Janet Jackson from Minneapolis? Is Minneapolis where Janet Jackson wants to go on an escapade? Is that where she’s going to get away and save her troubles for another day? Is that where she has it made? Does anyone have any idea what I’m talking about?

Listen. Listen at the 3:11 mark.

I’ve always been confused as to why Minneapolis, of all places, is the one and only city that gets a shout out in this song. I’m guessing she’s not really saying Minneapolis, though. I’m guessing that I heard it wrong when I was eight and didn’t know any better. She’s probably saying something in Spanish. But all the lyrics I find online don’t tell me what she’s actually saying, so I’ll keep thinking it is and singing it as though she’s giving a shout out to Minneapolis before the dance breakdown.

Because maybe Janet cashed her check and wants to do it right… in Minneapolis.

“Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant

posted by on December 28 at 11:30 AM

Please suspend your reflexive nostalgia for this song. Please don’t think of Eddie Grant as a goofy one-hit wonder. Please listen to “Electric Avenue” with open ears, because it’s a fucking serious song, and it’s a great song, in the truest meaning of the word “great.”

“Electric Avenue” flies alongside tracks like “Paper Planes” and “Waters of Nazareth” as an electro-pop innovator, simultaneously of its time and ahead of its time. It is as black and militant as anything by Public Enemy or Peter Tosh. It is an iconic moment that most of the world took for an MTV novelty.

There may have been no traditional “instruments” used in its creation—it’s all drum machines, synths, and reverb, and brilliant, spacious production. Grant’s punkish “AYE!” that opens the track, ground down by a digital/analog motorcycle rev; the lo-fi keyboard blips that were in vogue in 1983 and still in vogue 24 years later; a group-sung patois chorus wickedly cool and minimalist: These disparate elements add up to a dub-rock banger equally appropriate for your pre-teen roller disco days, a Brazilian favela streetcorner, or a mustachioed hipster DJ at Sing Sing.

And then there’s the lyrical content and the video, both of which reveal gritty themes. Eddie Grant is originally from Guyana and grew up in London, home of the original “Electric Avenue,” the city’s first district to be illuminated by electric lights. The video takes place in a dark beachside ghetto—Grant’s homeland? Kingston? Rio? Certainly not the bright lights of London. And there he is, intense and singing from the couch in his living room, which could be anywhere. Counter that image by a pair of faceless motorcycle riders (Daft Punk was taking notes back in ‘83), cruising through the slums, down to the beach. There they find Grant struggling through the waves, away from “the dark side of town.”

Grant is a revolutionary:

Now in the street there is violence
And then there’s lots of work to be done
No place to hang out our washin’
And then they can’t blame all on the sun
Workin’ so hard like a soldier
Can’t afford a thing on T.V.
Deep in my heart I abhor ya
Can’t get food for the kid
Good God

(Name another pop song to use the term “abhor.”)

Who is to blame in one country
Never can get to the one
Dealin’ in multiplication
And they still can’t feed everyone
Oh no

The video shows the result of multiplication—the children that suddenly populate Grant’s empty bar, the children that can’t be fed. This is harsh, hardened stuff. Grant gets up from watching Shark Week on the couch and splashes into real life, landing half-dead on the beach, ready to swim out to broadcast to the masses on Electric Avenue. “Rock it in Miami!/Inna Brixton-ah!” he chants on the fadeout. The whole world must hear his song.

The video—weird, impressionist, a la MTV in the early days—is wrapped in a pixalated fog that would make Michel Gondry proud.

“Electric Avenue” is a fucking serious song, a great song, the Best Song Ever (This Week).

Tonight in Music

posted by on December 28 at 11:21 AM

Dude.

There’s some good shit going down tonight:

bloodhaglibrary.jpg

BlöödHag

Vera Project Benefit: BlöödHag, Helms Alee, We Lit the Fuse, Same-Sex Dictator
(Comet) I’m sure I’ve said this before, and I probably will again and again, but it’s always the most fun helping Seattle’s awesome all-ages stronghold the Vera Project when there’s drinks involved. You get the smug self-righteousness of a philanthropist and the inflated sense of invulnerability of an alcoholic. It’s a dangerous combination. Booze! And for a good cause! Anyway, if you get too hopped up on do-goodery and spirits, BlöödHag will slap some sense back into you with their patented barrage of science-fiction pulp and thrash-metal brutalism. Openers Same Sex Dictator and We Lit the Fuse will not slap sense into you; they will abet your bad behavior with growling metal sludge and antisocial hardcore. Helms Alee, whatever your state, are worth paying attention to—their dynamic, thoughtful opuses mix shoegazing subtlety and stoner metal amp worship with great success. ERIC GRANDY

Also: Ian Moore, Pwrfl Power, and the Beltholes at Jules Maes.

snowmanplan.jpg

Snowman Plan

And Snowman Plan at the Rendezvous with the Friendly Skies and Ever Changing Sky (is “sky” the new “horse”?)

We Love the Terrordactyls…

posted by on December 28 at 11:05 AM

…on Setlist.

terrorturkey.jpg

They were this week’s special in-studio guests. They brought a mini grand piano, an acoustic guitar that was turned into an electric guitar with some tape and magic, and they also brought glue and glitter and other art supplies.

They also played a couple songs, and chatted about plans for 2008. They also made an original hand turkey (usually $2 via their website!) and brought a “Grand Champion” ribbon to give to a special Setlist winner.

Click here to listen (for absolutely free without having to download anything at all).

And here’s a video of them playing “in studio” (really, Nancy’s office). The song is called “I Want to Cry.”


Thursday, December 27, 2007

This Is What the Former Bassist of Jane’s Addiction Has Been Doing With His Life

posted by on December 27 at 4:33 PM

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Eric Avery has a record coming out next April called Help Wanted. The advance just showed up at the office today.

It’s awful, fucking awful.

That is all you will read about that in these pages.

Cool-as-Fuck Fantasy

posted by on December 27 at 3:28 PM

heliocentrics-out-there1.jpg

I spent 360-some words hailing the brilliance of the Heliocentrics in this week’s paper and it’s not enough—the band’s woozy, spliffed-out space jazz and instrumental hiphop soul is addictive. Between the splattering of baritone sax, flute, and clarinet; electronic frippery and turntable daliance; rotund, high-stepping upright bass lines; and bandleader Malcolm Catto’s whip-crack drumming, there’s a whole lot to talk about.

The update here is Catto’s drumming—pugilistic, usually snapping on a high hat and snare break. It’s pure hiphop, the true-school stuff of Stones Throw, beholden to 1970s soul-jazz cats like Bernard Purdie and Idris Muhammad. That hard-swinging syncopation shifts and stutters but never lets down, lubricating these diffuse, swaying melodies with a slick rhythmic sheen. Where rhythm and melody come together—in the cosmic funk of “Distant Star,” the buzzy downtempo smokeout “Untitled,” the gorgeous “Winter Song”—sublimity occurs. These songs radiate with crystalline guitars and sitars and synths like morning light. Throughout, space-age vocal samples and sound effects evoke a retrofuturistic vision rendered into a wry, self-aware soundtrack to a moment that’s not quite then, not quite now, not quite later.

Like much of Sun Ra’s output, Out There is too long, too dense, too full of ideas to fully digest. It’s a collusion of art and science, a cool-as-fuck fantasy more vast than a mere album of music.

There are just so many ideas going on in Out There that whole worlds are evoked in the music. You can get a taste—starting with the galactic electro-swing of “Sirius B”—from the Stones Throw website:

Listen to “Sirius B.”

Slow-flow MC Guilty Simpson grounds the track “Before I Die” on solid earth, but the addition of vocals adds another dimension, another layer to peel back, on top of this already-dense music.

Listen to “Before I Die.”

Out There is one of my hindsight faves of 2007.

Here Comes the Jackpot Question in Advance

posted by on December 27 at 3:24 PM

I really love this song and right now—today and the next few days—is the only time of the year I can ever listen to it and really, really enjoy it.

ellafitzclassic.jpg

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? by Ella Fitzgerald.

(Thanks to somevelvetblog.com for posting the MP3.)

There are so many versions of this classic, but nothing tops Ella.

Dancing In Paradise

posted by on December 27 at 3:05 PM

W. Michael Lewis and Laurin Rinder released many classic disco 12-inches and LP’s during the mid to late 1970’s under many different aliases including Rinder & Lewis, Discognsis, Saint Tropez, and Tuxedo Junction. The disco project that many feel they’re best known for was El Coco. This duo hooked up in 1973 when AVI Records hired the two of them to play on some extended soul remixes. With the emerging disco sound, Rinder and Lewis went onto producing and recording their own tracks in 1975, under the name El Coco. From 1975 to 1980, El Coco released six LP’s including, my personal favorites, 1976’s Let’s Get It Together and 1978’s Dancing In Paradise, as well as some amazing singles including, “Love In Your Life”, “Afrodesia”, “Cocomotion”, and the brilliant self-titled cut “Dancing In Paradise”. In 1980 Rinder and Lewis retired the El Coco aliase to focus on some of their other collaborative projects. The Disco Deviance label recently released a new re-edit by Eddie Tour of El Coco’s “Afrodesia” and “Coco Kane”, which is very solid. El Coco, is definitely another fine production from two of disco’s brightest minds, W. Michael Lewis and Laurin Rinder.

El Coco - Love In Your Life

The Decemberists Will Come to Seattle After All

posted by on December 27 at 1:59 PM

decemberistsumbrella.jpg

The Decemberists were booked to play Seattle earlier this year, but then they canceled their tour. Then they booked a show at the Crocodile for January, then the Crocodile closed. But now the literary rockers have confirmed two Seattle dates—January 30th and 31st—at the Moore.

Finally. Nobody jinx them.

Tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.

“I’m Not A Gangsta Girl, But I’m A Ghetto Superstar”

posted by on December 27 at 12:50 PM

Rye Rye - “Shake it to the Ground”

Rye Rye is the 17 year old protégé of M.I.A. Someone on youtube commented:


“i know rye rye she goes to my school she is a honor role student. She is the shit we r proud of her”

Someone else said:

damn! its like mixin lil mama wit trina then puttin it 2 a lil jon beat. wild shit! i expect dis ta be da next hit like soulja boy.

For Real.

LITA at Year’s End

posted by on December 27 at 12:15 PM

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Light in the Attic has posted a hunormous year-end confabulation on their website. Included are lists from local luminaries like the Saturday Knights, Mr. Hill, Scott Reitherman of Throw Me the Statue, and Nabil Ayers of Sonic Boom, as well as out-of-towners like Peanut Butter Wolf, Robert Christgau, DJ Nobody, and a whole shit-ton more. It’s a fun rundown that delves into far more than music.

The Blakes’ is especially insightful/hilarious:

Bob Husak, Drums

Top 5 of 2007

5. Mormon Tabernacle Choir records for 50 cents at Goodwill.
4. A can of potted meat product as a reminder of the hardships of tours past.
3. Comiserating with Grandma about the scandalous styles of dress worn by young women today and sympathizing with the inability of those her age to find respectable clothing for themselves.
2. Pronouncing the word “fish” as “feesh” in mock tribute to generations past (as in, “don’t forget to warsh your hands before you eat your feesh”).
1. Any opening band that cancels a show because their drummer threw out his back going for an especially difficult fill in practice. Also, any sound guy that goes home early from a show because he twisted his ankle going for an unorthodox mic placement.

Garnet Keim,
Vocals, Guitar

5 things you take for granted on a winter tour:

1 showers
2 conversation
3 reptiles
4 feeling in your toes
5 summer tours

Snow Keim,
Vocals, Bass

top 5 “pains in the ass”

5. hollywood writers strike
4. scabies
3. conflicts of interest
2. Lame (ass) Promoters
1. meeting the outrageous demands of record executive Matt Sullivan

The Triggers at the Monkey Pub

posted by on December 27 at 11:57 AM

triggers.jpg

Taken by dan10things. See more live photos in the Stranger’s Flickr Pool.

You Have Four Days…

posted by on December 27 at 11:34 AM

…to figure out what you’re doing for New Year’s Eve.

Luckily, this week’s paper has about 62 things you could do, including:

NYE 1968—A NEW YEAR’S EVE “RECORD HOP” Emerald City Soul Club and Studio 66 host the oldest party in town. Rare soul in the back, garage in the front, CD giveaways, ’60s films, and a midnight champagne toast make this party Dyn-O-Mite! Lo_Fi Performance Gallery, 429-B Eastlake Ave E. 9 pm, $10, 21+.

EVIDENCE OF DECADENCE/CABARET VARIETE
A gypsyfied cabaret evening featuring music by the Bad Things, Orkestar Zirkonium, and DJ Darek Mazzone; aerials by Michele Francis; Faye the Tattooed Psychic; and much more. Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave. 9 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 21+.

SCIENCE FRICTION (NYE)
The disco devils at the Decibel Festival, Shameless, SunTzu Sound, and more are throwing a hell of a New Year’s party with a bunch of their friends. There are more than 25 performers, including Jacob London, Sutekh, Truckasauras, and Darek Mazzone. Party goes until 4 am. Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, www.dbfestival.com. 9 pm, $25 adv/$30 DOS, 21+.

THE LASHES RECORD-RELEASE PARTY
Be the first to get the new Lashes record, Thank You Side A, and then be the first to pass out in the bathroom. With the Trucks, Feral Children, Flying Fox, and more. Comet Tavern, 922 E Pike St. 9 pm, $12, 21+.

There’s a bunch (and I do mean a bunch) more here.

Tonight in Music

posted by on December 27 at 11:23 AM

idw.jpg

I Declare War, They Come In Swarms, Left Alive

(Viaduct Venue) I Declare War recently recorded a hilarious collection called “Bring the Season,” featuring death-metal takes on seasonal standards. The Seattle-based band’s version of “Jingle Bell Rock” remains musically faithful to the 1950s original, with the exception of the monstrous vocals. “Carol of the Bells” combines a harmonic dual-guitar interpretation of the melody (reminiscent of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve”) with a demonic “ding, dong” intonation and samples from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (“when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he’s gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse”). This is the group’s closest concert date to the holiday, making it the perfect gig for people who’ve always wanted to hear joyous Christmas carols filtered through a guttural growl. ANDREW MILLER

Also:

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Club Pop @ Chop Suey w/ Holy Ghost Revival, the Pharmacy, & Emeralds

“Some of My Best Friends Go to the Comet”

posted by on December 27 at 10:34 AM

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The new owner of the Comet has stepped up to announce that there will be no major changes at the longstanding Capitol Hill dive-turned-rock venue, according to a story in the Seattle Times.

Brian Balodis, 31, is a banker by day and now a first-time bar owner. He paid former owner Chris Dasef $400,000 for the Comet, which Balodis said he’s keeping as-is. Michelle “Mamma Casserole” Smith will continue booking music at the place four or five nights a week, and the bar staff has been welcomed to stay on, should they want to.

“I’ve gone out up on Capitol Hill, and I was aware of the Comet, but quite honestly it was not a place I visited on a regular basis—but I have friends who do,” Belodis told the Times. “When I started looking for bar [to purchase] and I heard that one was available, I got some feedback from my friends that it’s a great scene, and it’s a prime location.”

Summary: A 30-something yuppie with a wad of spare cash buys a beloved business in a neighborhood he rarely visits but hears is “a great scene.”

Seattle, this is your life.

Some More Crocodile Migrations

posted by on December 27 at 10:03 AM

Here’s the new listings for some other shows that were scheduled at the Croc. If you were looking forward to a show at the Croc and you aren’t sure if it’s been cancelled or if it moved, leave a message in the comments and I’ll try to find out what happened. If you are a club who’s adopted some former Croc shows, send ‘em on over to music@thestranger.com and I’ll post them up.

In order of date:

DECEMBER 29
The X-Ray Eyes
Deepsleep Narcotics Co
DJ Mosaic
@ TosT
21+, free, 10 pm

SATURDAY JANUARY 12
The Believers
The Smile Ease
Slow Skate
@ Cafe Venus/Mars Bar
21+, $6, 9 pm

TUESDAY MARCH 4
Pela
Liam Finn
@ the High Dive
21+, $8, 8 pm

THURSDAY MARCH 6
Atlas Sound
White Rainbow
Valet
@ the High Dive
21+, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 8 pm

SATURDAY MARCH 22
Born Ruffians
Cadence Weapon
@ the High Dive
21+ $10 adv/$12 DOS, 9 pm

Please, Compact Discs Blow

posted by on December 27 at 9:54 AM

London Bridge Studio’s Geoff Ott doesn’t describe himself as an audiophile, but he likes his vinyl. And he likes his vinyl’s warmth and dynamic range.

Geoff says, “I prefer listening to music without having to get a computer involved. I know it sounds stupid, but the ‘experience’ of vinyl is what listening to music is all about for me. You know, taking the record out, going through the physical motions of putting it on the turntable, and setting the needle. Holding the artwork on the album, the whole deal. It gets you closer to the artist or band. Can I say it’s more intimate?”

I guess I will give you permission to say it’s more intimate. Do you sit back and let vinyl overtake you like a cool breeze?
Oh, it definitely overtakes me. I close my eyes and see exactly what the band is talking about. I have KISS concerts in my head. I can smell the pyrotechnics. I see that Love Gun they are talking about. CD’s don’t allow me to do that. CD’s can be too clean. It needs to be more human for me. Hearing J-Lo all auto-tuned is a bummer. That’s like the fake breasts of music.

You mean J-Lo has no Love Gun?
No, she has a squirt gun, that P. Diddy Daddy gave her. The other thing that gets me about CD’s is how hot they are mastered these days.

So you don’t think J-Lo is hot?
Ok, she’s kind of hot, I’ll give her that. But the way CD’s are mastered and compressed to be as loud as possible is ridiculous. Some CD’s lose their life. I think when a song has a quiet part, it should actually get quieter on your speakers. Then when the song gets loud, it has more of an effect on you. That’s the KISS concert in your head moment I’m talking about.

I found a great article in Wired - here that sums it up for me. They link to a Mr. Show video where he’s such an audiophile that he pulls out a mini Victrola in a donut shop to listen to music. And look at the ABBA wave files here:

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The top image is taken from the original Polydor CD release. The bottom one is taken from the 2005 remaster. There is a heavy amount of compression and the dynamics and “snap” of the original track have been lost as a result.

I think if we all gave vinyl a chance, we could all have KISS concerts in our head.

Mr. Show’s Audiophile:


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quatuor pour la fin du temps

posted by on December 26 at 5:30 PM

This is terribly exciting:

In a genre-spanning program, Joshua Roman has chosen three innovative 20th century works. Beginning with the Quartet for the End of Time by French composer Olivier Messiaen. Featuring the same instrumentation as the Messiaen (clarinet, violin, cello, and piano), Dan Visconti”s Fractured Jams is an exploration of the thrill, confusion and driving power of rock and carefully-crafted lyrisicm of Tin Pan Alley. In the program’s second half, Roman along with clarinetist Bill Kalinkos, pianist Grace Fong, and violinist Amy Iwazumi, vocalist Sarah Rudinoff, “Awesome’s” John Osebold, and percussionist Doug Marrapodi perform a medley of works by the influential rock band Radiohead.

Not because of Joshua Roman, Sarah Rudinoff, or John Osebold, each of whom is demonstrably better than most things and should make you feel lucky to live in this city.

But because of Quartet for the End of Time, which was composed by a French soldier (and Catholic mystic) and was first performed in a Nazi prison camp and sounds like a soul leaving a body and floating up to heaven. Then it sounds like a portent of the apocalypse. Then a long clarinet solo that sounds exactly like its name: “the abyss of birds.” Then it sounds like floating again.

Hear more bits of it here. And read Alex Ross’s very good essay about it here.

It’s a great essay, with solider-musicians: “He [the Quartet’s original clarinetist] was an Algerian-born Jew who survived the war through blind luck and mad courage. He tried several times to escape, and, in April, 1941, he succeeded: while being transferred from one camp to another by train, he jumped from the top of a fast-moving cattle car, with his clarinet under his arm.”

And an improbably kindly prison guard: “A German patriot with anti-Nazi tendencies, he kept a sympathetic watch over Jewish prisoners, repeatedly advising them not to try to escape, because they would be safer in Stalag VIIIA than in Vichy France.”

And the weird, attractive, and weirdly attractive composer: “He loved God in terms that were sensual, almost sexual.” (Here he is.)


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It happens Jan 10. I can’t wait.

Sneak Peak of Pwrfl Power’s Esurance Commercial Persona

posted by on December 26 at 4:04 PM

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I think they should have drawn his head bigger. In person, Kaz looks like a bobblehead!

Pwrfl Power, if you will remember correctly, won a chance to be in an Esurance commercial in our Capitol Hill Block Party Block Star contest last spring. The commercial will air nationally starting in February.

Down With Hot Chip

posted by on December 26 at 3:33 PM

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I’m back. I spent the last 72 hours outside of Seattle, with no cell phone reception and no internet access. There was some kind of holiday. It was all very calming. What I did have was a promo copy of the new Hot Chip record, Made in the Dark (due out Feb 5th on DFA/Astralwerks). Snap 72-hour judgement: it’s great if uneven, and I suspect it’s going to be another grower of a record from the band. Case in point: though I intended to spend a lot of time poring over this new album, every time I loaded up Hot Chip on the old iPod I found myself more and more drawn back to their debut, Coming on Strong, an album that never really took hold for me before now. It’s more mellow, less rhythmic and developed than their later work, but it contains what my be the best three-song run the band’s managed so far (although “Boy From School” into “Colours” into “Over & Over” is pretty awesome).

That run of songs: “You Ride, We Ride, In My Ride” into “Shining Escalade” into “Baby Said.” Damn, that’s a hard block to beat, an ice-solid vanilla mope with just enough electric pulse and sun-break to keep things moving. If there’s a block like that on Made in the Dark it’s probably, as on the Warning, the first three songs after the introductory “Out at the Pictures”: the already-released tracks “Shake a Fist” and “Ready For the Floor,” followed by the sinister gymnastic funk of “Bendable Posable.” The latter two songs are easily as catchy as anything the band have done so far but with even more adventurous programming and song-writing. Here’s hoping the rest of the album catches up.

Down To Love Town

posted by on December 26 at 3:20 PM

I hope everyone had a nice holiday break. This holiday season I’m finding that there’s been a handful of tracks that I can’t seem to stop listening to for no particluar reason. One of those songs is Dimitri From Paris’s re-edit of The Originals’ 1977 soulful disco-shaker “Down To Love Town”. Dimitri, who in my opinion, always comes with some of today’s most solid disco edits, does a nice job here, building the track up and breaking it down a number of times to keep the song sounding fresh for it’s nine plus minute duration. This version was released on Dimitri From Paris’s 2006 In The House of Love mix LP. Another non-christmas (Thank God!) uplifting classic to help keep the spirits good all the way to New Year’s.

The Originals - Down To Love Town (Dim’s Disco Citay Remix)

The Best Jukebox in Town

posted by on December 26 at 2:16 PM

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The other night I found myself hanging out in Wedgwood with some friends who were home for Christmas. After hitting up trivia night at the Wedgwood Broiler we found ourselves at the bar in Wong’s Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant on 95th St and 35th Ave. It’s a small bar, thirty people there would feel like a flood, but the drinks were cheap and the atmosphere was real. What surprised me most about Wong’s Kitchen was that they have what might be the one of the best jukeboxes in town. It was one of those jukeboxes where I put in a dollar and didn’t even make it make it a third of the way through the list before I had to put in more money. They had all my favorite timeless classics – Fleetwood Mac’s “You Make Loving Fun,” Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’,” The Smiths’ “This Charming Man,” America’s “Ventura Highway,” and most importantly, Hall & Oates and Soundgarden, my two rekindled burning loves of 2007. I am now smitten with Wong’s Kitchen.

Linda’s has got a great selection of local bands and more modern indie stuff, and before I went to Wong’s had probably been my favorite. What do you think is the best Jukebox in town?

Dear Jeff Lynne,

posted by on December 26 at 12:15 PM

Why are you the world’s greatest genius?
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Related: Why are geniuses often such bad dressers? One would think that after what they accomplish, the world of fashion would be simple to conquer.

Today in Music News

posted by on December 26 at 12:03 PM

Jay-Z Steps Down: Def Jam loses its CEO/President, but keeps Jay-Z as an artist.

Thumbs… Up: Radiohead to webcast again on New Years Eve in celebration of the physical release of In Rainbows, broadcasting a pre-recorded performance of the album in its entirety.

Coming to a theater near you: Albert Maysles (“Grey Gardens”, “Gimme Shelter”) to direct a documentary on Fall Out Boy.

Oscar Peterson dead: The jazz pianist passed away at 82.

Politicians try to win the love of Jon Bon Jovi: The New Jersey entertainer is everywhere, from dinners with Hilary, Barack’s speeches, and all sorts of fundraisers. Will he be running for Governor of the Garden State someday?

Year End Lists…

posted by on December 26 at 11:45 AM

suck. Really. The process of quantifying music, of rating it, of strategizing for top spots and votes and number ones drains all the joy out of it. A lot of writers are into year end lists, the one and only time critics can attack music with a methodology. More power to them. I ain’t going out like that.

Instead I put together a best-of mixtape every year, which is more inclusive and creative and more fun to do and listen to. This year’s mix fills up two CDs—once I started I couldn’t stop. The idea here was not to rank songs in order of preference but to build a viable mixtape like I used to do with old Maxells to give to friends. I can safely say that I listened to more good music this year than any other, which is the reason this thing got a little out of hand, and the reason why every track on here is a keeper.

The track list:

Disc I

1. “All My Friends,” LCD Soundsystem, The Sound of Silver
2. “Friends Like These,” Mobius Band, Heaven
3. “Ungawa,” Chow Nasty, Super (Electrical) Recordings
4. “Patty Lee,” Les Savy Fav, Let’s Stay Friends
5. “My Sword Hand’s Anger,” Apostle Of Hustle, National Anthem Of Nowhere
6. “The Underdog,” Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
7. “My Body Is A Cage,” The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
8. “Seahorse,” Devendra Banhart, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
9. “Night + Day,” The Moondoggies, The Moondoggies
10. “First Fantasy,” Citay, Little Kingdom
11. “New Song,” Nomo, New Tones
12. “Atlas,” Battles, Mirrored
13. “Do Not Fold/Do Not Bend,” Velella Velella, The Bay Of Biscay
14. “Rainbowarriors,” Coco Rosie, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn
15. “Paper Planes,” M.I.A., Kala

Disc II

1. “If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is)” Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators, Keep Reachin’ Up
2. “We On,” Gemini feat. Lupe Fiasco and Pooh Bear, Leaked single
3. “Motorin’,” The Saturday Knights, EP
4. “Shine Language,” Lifesavas, Gutterfly: The Original Soundtrack
5. “TheGameNeedsMe,” Dyme Def, Space Music
6. “Success” feat. Nas, Jay-Z, American Gangster
7. “You Know I’m No Good [Remix],” Amy Winehouse Feat. Ghostface
Killah, Back To Black
8. “Pull Shapes,” The Pipettes, We Are The Pipettes
9. “Here Comes That Feeling,” El Perro Del Mar, El Perro Del Mar
10. “Elizabeth Sways,” Sean Hayes, Flowering Spade
11. “Wild Mountain Nation,” Blitzen Trapper, Wild Mountain Nation
12. “Ain’t It Strange,” Dr. Dog, We All Belong
13. “What Light,” Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
14. “I Must Belong Somewhere,” Bright Eyes, Cassadaga
15. “Seeds Of Night,” The Cave Singers, Invitation Songs
16. “Seems Like Home To Me,” Two Gallants, The Scenery of Farewell
17. “Seventeen Year Cicada” El Capitan, Stickeen
18. “Living Of Love,” The Avett Brothers, Emotionalism

Consider that my “Top 33 of 2007.”

If anybody’s interested, I can zip file the mix to email addresses for free, I think. I haven’t used a lot of ZShare, but I tried it last week and it’s pretty easy. Send an email to jzwickel@thestranger.com and I’ll send you the mix.

Happy holidays and merry New Year. Now let’s rock.


Monday, December 24, 2007

The Night Before Last Night

posted by on December 24 at 2:22 PM

On Saturday night, I attended the last show of The Program, the five-day Northwest hip-hop minifestival at Neumo’s. Here is my (fairly breathless) review of the opening salvo. And, after a long Sunday spent getting deliciously ‘faced, I’m finally ready to write about the Program’s closing festivities.

Opening act The Physics were the very definition of a party band: they had a song about beer, a song that name-checked Ezell’s biscuits, and a song about weed that managed to fit in a reference to the movie Willow. It was shameless, it was single-minded, and it was a hell of a lot of fun.

Cancer Rising (a group that features, full-disclosure-wise, Stranger columnist Larry Mizell Jr.) took that braindead party swagger and turned it into something a little more substantial. The surprising thing about them is the way that they veer from funny-ass good-time band into an angry political group and back again, frequently in the same song. I’ve never seen it done quite so effortlessly. This was the first time I’ve seen them perform, and they’ve earned a special place in my heart already just for rhyming Jane Goodall with U-Haul.

It’s kind of a shame, though, that the bands were ordered the way that they were: Cancer Rising was followed by Ohmega Watts, and, sadly, it just wasn’t his time. Watts, who’s clearly one of the best rappers to appear on The Program, has an act that’s just him on stage alone, essentially rapping to an extended mix. This would be fine in an ordinary show, but the rest of The Program was less of a concert and more of an interactive party, which made Watts seem weirdly insular. After two bands going on about putting your hands in the air, and jumping, Watts came across as downbeat.

In contrast to Tuesday night’s full-band show, Blue Scholars brought out a stripped-down just-them set. I referred to Tuesday night’s show as “legendary,” and I think that, viewing the whole five-night-stand as one cohesive Blue Scholars performance, that’s a statement I can stand by. Five nights of killing it can’t be an easy thing, but, on the last night of the show, they attacked the material with the same ecstatic sense of Northwest boosterism that they brought to the first. The Scholars brought out a ton of other Program rappers to spit verses, but the real star was Geologic, who managed to both fit in a reference to virtually every good hip-hop act in the Northwest and practically dedicate the evening’s show to the winter solstice, and then tie the whole thing up into a mini-speech about how every day’s going to get a little bit lighter from now on, and that 2008 is going to be an even more amazing year for Northwest hip-hop.

After five consecutive sell-out shows at Neumo’s, I think that the case is made. Geologic made a reference to doing The Program again next year. I hope that they do, and I hope that they turn it into a full-on festival. The Program was irrefutable evidence of a powerfully vibrant, and marvelously all-inclusive, hip-hop scene. It’s time to get excited.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Xmas! From Sally Shapiro!

posted by on December 23 at 6:00 PM

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Sally Shapiro - Jackie Jackie (Spend This Winter With Me)

Merry Xmas! From Chris Bellew!

posted by on December 23 at 4:55 PM

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The Tycoons - To Be There At Xmas With You

Merry Xmas! From Robert Goulet (and Bart Simpson)!

posted by on December 23 at 3:40 PM

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Robert Goulet - Jingle Bells

Merry Xmas! From Erland Oye!

posted by on December 23 at 2:25 PM

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Erland Oye - Last Christmas

Merry Xmas! From Boston!

posted by on December 23 at 1:15 PM

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Boston - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Merry Xmas! From Dead Or Alive!

posted by on December 23 at 12:47 PM

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Dead Or Alive - Blue Christmas

Merry Xmas! From Soundgarden!

posted by on December 23 at 12:12 PM

Pssh. Soundgarden never recorded no Christmas song. But this song is the present they have given to humanity, to be enjoyed every day from 1991 until the end of all things. Hear this and remember the ones you love this holiday season. Hear this, and when it’s raining icepicks on your steel shore, break your rusty cage, and run.

Merry Xmas! From The Pipettes!

posted by on December 23 at 11:02 AM

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The Pipettes - In The Bleak Mid Winter

Merry Xmas! From Claudine Longet!

posted by on December 23 at 9:06 AM

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Claudine Longet - I Don’t Intend To Spend Christmas Without You

Merry Xmas! From Bjork!

posted by on December 23 at 7:58 AM

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Björk - Icelandic Christmas Song