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Archives for 03/16/2008 - 03/22/2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Words Fail

posted by on March 22 at 1:24 PM

Boredoms, Human Bell @ Neumo’s

Well said, Trent. It’s hard to put last night’s Boredoms show into words. I’ve been staring at this blank slate for a minute now trying to figure out a title for this post, and I still have nothing.

Let’s start with Human Bell, who are at least a little more comprehensible than the Boredoms. Human Bell is David Heumann of Arbouretum and Nathan Bell of Lungfish, a Dischord band that I never got into but that everyone seems to hold in high regard. The band name is, amongst other things, a play on their last names. Last night, they performed as a trio—drums, guitar, double-necked guitar, sometimes trumpet. They played on the floor of Neumo’s, lights turned down dark, roped off from the crowd like an exhibit at a museum. Their songs were slow-riffing drones carried by hard pounding drums. Before the last song, which featured some sqealing free jazz trumpet, one of the guys did a funny little jig. It was a good set.

But then it was time for the Boredoms. The set began with ringleader EYE holding two orbs of light, one in each hand, swinging them in slow arcs, holding them aloft, chanting and screaming, while the rest of the band sat ready, triangulating him between their three drum kits. It was dark except for those orbs, but every once in a while a digital camera’s lcd screen lit up—photography was not allowed at the show—and a beam of light would shine down from above the stage, security spotlighting the offender.

When the band kicked in, it was a rush—three drummers locked in frenetic synch, starting and stopping, leaving large gaps that were filled with either EYE or the crowd or both screaming. EYE hit the necks of the seven-headed guitar hydra with drum sticks, each neck seemingly tuned to a different chord, drumming out percussive progressions (a fifth person on stage seemed mostly to attend to this instrument, tuning the various guitars throughout the show). The guitars’ sound came as washed out, diffused, intangible tones and echoes, accompanied by EYE’s echoing shouts. It sounded like the band was perched on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a turbulent ocean, shouting into the wind and abyss, elemental and precarious.

Next to me in the crowd, a guy was holding his cell phone open for someone to hear the show. I can’t imagine they were getting the whole experience on the other end of the line, though.

Next, EYE crouched at a bank of effects and pedals, chanting into a mic and twisting the sounds into foreign shapes, while Yoshimi P-We played synthesizer, and Senju and Yojiro kept the drums rolling. Their sound kept running up to the edge then pulling back, swelling, cresting, and breaking like waves. After maybe 20 minutes of this, they pause, to massive cheers.

They launched back in with more echoing guitar bursts over propulsive drumming, the three drummers hitting the tight changes practically telepathically. Certain sounds or strains of guitar sounded familiar, but it was hard to recognize distinct songs—was that the riff from “7777” or “(two circles)”? Up front, a few guys slammed into each other while a giant flange washed over the crowd. During a lull, EYE howled one sustained note, and the crowd intoned along with him, resonating the whole room. If last night was a sacrifice, it was made at the temple of pure sound.

Next, EYE was waving some white, electronic wand, conducting crescendos and falls, then bending and stretching a synth tone by fiddling with one end of the device. There were laser bursts. There was primordial pre-psych. My notes became increasingly illegible. EYE said, “Thank you, Seattle.” They returned for an encore, drums slipping in and out of one last groove before the crowd emptied out, ritual performed, and returned into the world.

Concentric Sacrifice

posted by on March 22 at 11:49 AM

Boredoms – Friday, March 21st, 2008 – Neumos.


At the Yucatan ruin Chichén Itzá, the Mayans ritualistically sacrificed people to their Gods. Kinich Ahau - God of the sun. Chac - God of rain. And Ek Chuah - God of war. They would cut out someone’s heart and place it on the stone altar statue of Chac-Mool. A beautiful statue. Incredible skill in the sculpting. Rivulets of blood running down the stone statue’s hand. The dead person’s heart still beating.

Boredoms sacrificed Neumos. Eye, Senju, Yojiro, Yoshimi.

Ancients. Delayed offerings of sound. Three drummers. Seven connected guitars. Beaten. Taken. Cut out. Dispersed back into the Universe.

Some God somewhere is very very satisfied.


Friday, March 21, 2008

I Know We Have Some Boris Fans Here…

posted by on March 21 at 5:50 PM

Their new video for the song “My Neighbor Satan”:

Dear Mr. President… Eels Invite George W. to a Concert

posted by on March 21 at 5:39 PM


The band’s singer Mark Oliver Everett wrote:

My name is Mark Oliver Everett. I am the singer in an American rock band called EELS You may recall using our album “Daisies of the Galaxy” as an example during your campaign for the presidency in 2000 The album was supposed to be a bad example for the kids of America.

I know that you’re a Christian, and Christ taught forgiveness. So in the spirit of forgiveness and fence-mending, I’d like to let bygones be bygones and invite you and the First Lady to attend our Washington, DC concert, March 29th lt’s right down the road from you at the Sixth & | Historic Synagogue.

In 2000, Bush found Eels’ music inappropriate, and publically scolded the band and Democrats for supporting it:

America’s parents can’t count on Al Gore to protect their kids from Hollywood’s inappropriate marketing practices, If the Democrats didn’t stop Dreamworks from handing out a CD with explicit lyrics at a convention under their control, why will they stop Hollywood from marketing the same material to children at other venues?

(HT to, the full letter is after the jump.)

Continue reading "Dear Mr. President... Eels Invite George W. to a Concert" »

“Lover in the Snow” - Rivers Cuomo

posted by on March 21 at 5:17 PM

My favorite song from Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, finally has a video. Complete with spoken intro by Mr. Cuomo himself about his love affair with soccer.

Lover In The Snow

A News Item Related to The Boredoms

posted by on March 21 at 4:48 PM

Free Kitten is recording (according to their Wikipedia entry).




Even their fashion is too much for me to handle without having a girlgasm.

The Blakes

posted by on March 21 at 3:45 PM


By puddletownphoto.

A Night With No Words: Russian Circles and Red Sparowes at Neumo’s

posted by on March 21 at 3:07 PM

redsparowes1.JPGPhoto by Morgan Keuler.

My favorite things about last nights Russian Circles/Red Sparowes show:

#1: Watching the drummer for Russian Circles. That dude is a machine. He plays with such amazing precision—one second his sticks are gently kissing the cymbals quicker than hummingbird wings. The next, he’s pounding on the bass and snare with what looks like complete recklessness, but is actually pure control. He can play slow, he can play fast, it’s absolutely mesmerizing. He’s a drum monster, a robot. He’s not human.

russiancirclesdrummer.JPGPhoto by Morgan Keuler.

#2: The dude with the red trucker hat that had “GNARWHALE” scrawled across the front of it. There was a little narwhale drawn in the middle. It was the best hat ever.

#3: Most of Red Sparowes’ projections. They weren’t random. I am usually anti band projecting things while they play, as I generally don’t find any correlation between the pictures and the music and it feels worthless. But last night, during Red Sparowes’ bombastic lullabies, the screen flashed with footage of fireworks, falling water, hypnotizing jellyfish, and other appropriate images. The footage of the Cold War was sorta a bummer, though.

redsparowes3.JPGPhoto by Morgan Keuler.

#4: The fact that Russian Circles didn’t have projections. Their music doesn’t need a thing. I love that they’re confident enough to let it stand alone.

#5: Remembering my earplugs. It was so loud, it was almost like I wasn’t wearing any. Without them, it probably would’ve been a little overwhelming and I may not have been able to enjoy it as much. With the earplugs you could better hear Red Sparowes’ three-guitar explosion.

russiancirclesMK.JPGPhoto by Morgan Keuler.

#6: Russian Circles’ new material. Especially the song with the pickslides. Their new album comes out in May and there are songs that are heavier than anything they’ve ever done and also prettier than anything they’ve ever done. Last night they played both (with Brian Cook on bass). It was so killer.

#7: Not a single word was muttered from the stage. No one was mic’d. The music was all anyone had to communicate with. And yet the crowed was enthralled the entire time.

redsparowes4.JPGPhoto by Morgan Keuler.

#8: Red Sparowes’ slide guitar. So well used. Its placement in songs brought a surreal, dreamy quality to the music that many other instrumental bands haven’t thought to embrace. I wanted to pull out a cot and take a nap, just to see what magic their music would make in my head as I slept.

#9: The guy who yelled “CHICAGO-CORE!” at Russian Circles. That was funny. I think he was the same dude that yelled “FUCK YES!” during the heavy, deafening climax of their last song. Well played.

“You Should Pull Your Trousers Up”

posted by on March 21 at 3:03 PM

Bun B. plays Neumo’s on Friday, April 4th; Dizzee Rascal on Monday, May 19th (with El-P).

Kimya Dawson Will Never Have Another Day Off For the Rest of Her Life

posted by on March 21 at 2:35 PM

She’s been one of the busiest woman in music since the release of Juno. And now she’s touring again.

Sadly, she won’t be coming to Seattle. The closest she gets is San Francisco. Click after the jump if you wanna see where to find her.


Continue reading "Kimya Dawson Will Never Have Another Day Off For the Rest of Her Life" »

The Raconteurs Thought They Had a Good Plan, Apple Ruined It

posted by on March 21 at 2:17 PM

Earlier this week the Raconteurs announced they would be releasing their new album Tuesday with no press blitz—no advanced copies, no months worth of interviews, reviews, heavily-pushed radio singles, and blah blah blah.

It seems they thought they were in complete control of their music, keeping it from being leaked early.

But Apple fucked up.

According to Idolator:

Looks like the iTunes Store accidentally leaked the Raconteurs’ Consolers Of The Lonely a few days before its Tuesday release—reports are filtering in from people who successfully purchased the album on both the US and UK versions of the iTunes store, and it’s apparently popping up on the peer-to-peer services as well. (In the interest of reporting, I tried buying the record, only to be greeted with a “This album is no longer available” message.) Who among us would not love to be listening in on that angry phone call from Jack White?

Whoops. It is no doubt already available on your favorite file-sharing service.

Backstage Sessions: Fleet Foxes

posted by on March 21 at 1:23 PM

Nashville blog Hard to Find a Friend has just posted three videos of an intimate backstage acoustic set by Fleet Frontman Robin Pecknold. Pitchfork lauding continues.

Rodeo’s on a Plane: Euro-Tits

posted by on March 21 at 1:01 PM

rodeosleep.jpgBrent Amaker and the Rodeo are on tour in Europe. Black boots and hats are worn. Europeans play cowboy.

Brent and I spoke. Euro-pay phone to cellular device:

Where was your first show? Please tell me you wore Rodeo attire on the plane again.
Brent: First show was in Goor, Belgium. A posh little spot with a stage, a fancy lighting rig, and about 9 people. Small crowd, but spirited. The outfits? Always. Rodeo attire, always. We took the stage almost exactly 24 hours after waking up the previous morning.

Did people show up in Western outfits?
Yeah, two women arrived in full on Western get-up, dressed identically, and line danced in unison. A few other people wore cowboy outfits. Man, I so appreciate the effort. I walked up to an older gal wearing a cowboy hat and a fringe suede jacket after the set and said, “Hi, there!” She said, “I am a drug addict.”


Has anyone tried to steal your hat yet?
No, but during our first set of the night, a drunk woman took a diver and fell in front of the stage. She totally busted her ass and somehow, managed to keep her beer glass perfect level without spilling a drop. During our break between sets, she yelled, “Hello America!” and showed us her tits. The privilege of being a cowboy, I guess.

I Really Can’t Say this Enough

posted by on March 21 at 12:50 PM

It’s been 13 years since the Japanese band Boredoms hit Seattle. Back then, they were a spastic noise act deconstructing punk rock by way of John Zorn. They’ve since transformed into sun-worshipping futurist hippies alternately known as V∞redoms. Recent works, such as the 77-drummer performance piece BOADRUM and a new live recording, tip their precarious balance of percussive jams and space noise further into the dangerous drum-circle hole. Still, Boredoms are a comet that passes only so many times in one’s life. You can’t afford to miss it. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $18, 21+.)

Weekly Recommendation

posted by on March 21 at 11:48 AM

DJ Raahan - Edits Vol. 1 12” (KAT Records)
This week there was alot of great new records to choose from including Big Bear Records new 12” edit record entitled, Eebay City from Lexx, Tirk’s new release from Chaz Jankel, as well as great new records from Diskjokke, Putsch ‘79, and Wild Rumpus. However, if I have to choose just one record to highlight, I’m going with the new KAT Records released disco re-edit 12” from DJ Raahan. This re-edit label has already given us some amazing re-edit 12” from some of today’s hottest disco producers including Danny Krivit. Greg Wilson, and Sasso. Here we have Chicago’s disco master, DJ Raahan, bringing some heat with his edits of La Pamplemousse’s “You Can Get Off On The Muzik”, Bent Boys’ “Walk the night”, Two Tons of Fun’s “Make Someone Feel Happy”, and my personal favorite, Eddie Kendricks’ 1976 classic Thanks For The Memories. Overall, this is another great re-edit 12”, and a must have for disco lovers. Chalk up another great release from the crew over at KAT!

DJ Raahan - Memories (Sample Clip)
Buy Record

Today’s Music News

posted by on March 21 at 11:07 AM

Good news! - Velvet Revolver is breaking up!

Limited edition QOTSA album due out April 15… - …in Canada only

Elvis Costello continues to be awesome - Next album available on vinyl with download code only

More awful van accidents - Genghis Tron lose wheel on interstate

In legal news: - Beach Boys name issues cleared up. Brian Wilson reunion?

Free Gravy Train!!! Tickets

posted by on March 21 at 11:00 AM

Gravy Train!!! plays the Vera Project on Tuesday, March 25 with the New Bloods and Joey Casio. Tickets are only $8, but you can get into the show for free! Thanks to the Vera Project, we have a pair of tickets to give to one lucky Line Out winner. Want ‘em? The show’s all-ages and it starts at 7:30 pm.


All you have to do is e-mail your name to with GRAVY TRAIN in the subject line.

A winner will be picked at random at 6 pm tonight and notified via e-mail. Good luck!

Tonight in Music: Kaki King, Boredoms, Mad Professor, Hadley Caliman, Jason Collett

posted by on March 21 at 10:58 AM

Hadley Caliman, Joe Locke, Tom Marriott
Once nicknamed “little Dex,” this friend and disciple of Dexter Gordon still sounds robust and lyrical at the age of 77. Caliman and his tenor saxophone were superb at the Ballard Jazz Walk last November, smoldering his way through Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage” with trumpeter Thomas Marriott. Here, he joins forces with Marriott and kickass vibraphonist Joe Locke to celebrate the release of his new disc, Gratitude (Origin). Reservations recommended. Tula’s, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8:30 pm, $20. CHRIS DELAURENTI
Mad Professor, DJ Kid Hops, Everyday Prophets
(Nectar) After the Scientist, the third and last dub master of the Jamaican period (1970 to 1982), there is Mad Professor. He and Adrian Sherwood inaugurate the British period of dub’s 40-year history. Mad Professor has produced an entire dub universe that has its core in roots reggae but also contains numerous encounters with hiphop, soul, punk, lovers rock, and triphop. Indeed, his most famous work on this side of the Atlantic is his remix of Massive Attack’s second album, Protection. His version is called No Protection, and like all great dubs, it outdoes the original. Mad Professor launched the ordinary beauty of Massive Attack’s album into a vast sky that it exploded with fancy lights and falling stars. Get this record; watch this show. CHARLES MUDEDE
Jason Collett, Burning Rivers, Great American
(Sunset) Andrew Whiteman has Apostle of Hustle; Kheaven Brereton performs hiphop as k-os; Leslie Feist is, well, Feist. Almost everyone in Broken Social Scene has a solo project and Jason Collett is no exception. He recently released his new album, Here’s to Being Here, on Arts & Crafts. Collett’s songs walk the line between singer/songwriter, folk, and joyful rock. Think Wilco with some Tom Petty flourishes. Catchy choruses invite you to sing along, guitars beg you to move, and the drumming fights to keep you smiling, even through lyrically bittersweet tunes like “Out of Time,” and “Sorry Lori.” MEGAN SELING
Kaki King, Matt Sheehy
(Tractor) There are a lot of reasons you might be wary of Kaki King—the NYU student busking, the major-label deal with Sony (now expired), the session work with Northern State and Tegan and Sara, the glowing endorsements from Dave Grohl, the occasional precious song titles such as “Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers” or “Can Anyone Who Has Heard This Music Really Be a Bad Person?” But you would be wrong, and you would be doing yourself a grave disservice. King is, as Grohl attests, a “really fucking good” guitar player, and her songs, whether vocal or instrumental, are indisputably well-crafted. Her new album, Dreaming of Revenge, emphasizes the catchy vocals but it’s not without its pretty instrumental passages. ERIC GRANDY

And finally, the Boredoms are here!

From this week’s preview, written by Sam Mickens:

However, despite this potentially stagnant modus operandi, Boredoms’ career arc has been defined by a journeying, visionary creative evolution. If the “boredom” expressed by the group’s earliest endeavors could be classified as the boredom of adolescence and of disaffected and disenfranchised members of contemporary society, then the music they have been developing since around the time of 1998’s seminal Super Ae has been occupied with a much grander and more ego-crushing brand of “boredom”—that of the natural world and its endlessly patient expanses.

Read the whole thing here.

And we also have this video. Says Trent Moorman, who took it, “Boredoms drummer, Senju Muneomi (a.k.a PARA) played two solo sets at Shibuya O-Nest in Tokyo on 11/15. We chatted and he showed me the effects he runs his kit through. It sounds liquid. I love it when it’s liquid. We all need triggers on our hi-hat.”

The Four Saddest Words on the Internet

posted by on March 21 at 3:17 AM


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Apropos of Midnight

posted by on March 20 at 11:59 PM

Like anyone else, Megan Seling is not perfect.

You Complete Me (and the Circuit)

posted by on March 20 at 3:30 PM

shock1.jpgThe Croc’s Jim Anderson talks about electricity and grounding and how to safely check a mic to see if there is current running through it.

Ever get the shit shocked out of you when you touch the mic?

Something’s not grounded. When you touch a microphone plugged into a PA that’s not properly grounded, you complete the circuit. Voltage passes through you. It’s unpleasant and can wipe your mind. It can make you wish you were in diapers. It can also be lethal.

Electrical current can come through the wall, through the plug, into your amp, through the metal quarter inch cable, and into your guitar or bass with its metal strings. Then it goes through you, until you touch something else metal, like the microphone. The human body is made up of lots of water and salt and therefore is highly conductive.

The term “ground” refers to a connection to the earth, which serves as a reservoir of charge. A ground wire provides a conducting path to the earth which is independent of the normal current-carrying path. This protects against electric shock. Electricity is always trying to find that ground. Sometimes you become the path of least resistance.

Older guitar amps with two-prong plugs like the Airline are notorious. That missing third prong is the ground. The Airline also doesn’t have a polarity switch. There you are at the club, excited to use your vintage Airline which is pulling 120 volts. The chorus pedal you’re playing is pulling 110 volts and everything is plugged into the same ungrounded circuit. Can you say unstable? It’s mic check time:

Testing, testing, Z-BAM! A shock is delivered to those gentle lips. Shock the monkey. Flash of white. Surge of current. You jump back, can’t remember any of your songs, and sing the Kermy version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” over and over for the rest of the night.

Jim Anderson says:
The ground is there to dispose of, relieve, and neutralize any excess current in case there’s a fault. You want the current to ground so it will blow a breaker or a fuse, before it blows through you. In Europe the 220 volts will knock you on your ass. Here, the lower voltage is sometimes even worse, because people can become stuck there and defibrillate. I’ve seen people put their wet full cocktail on top of an outlet. That’s a frustrating thing to see.

Is there any safe way to check the mic to see if there’s any current running through it?
Jim: Yes. Set the guitar down, hold guitar chord between your thumb and forefinger, wrap the cable through your other fingers, and touch the back of that hand to the mic. The skin on the back of the hand is more sensitive. Also if there is current running through that mic, the natural muscle contractions of the hand and arm will pull you away if there’s a big shock.

Your Random 3 pm MP3 for the Day: Spring

posted by on March 20 at 3:00 PM

Every day at 3 pm I post a random MP3 from The Stranger’s Bands Pages. It may or may not be good. That’s for you to decide.

Today, I searched for the word spring, and look, there’s a musician working under the name Spring

Today’s song: “song_updadt” by Spring.

What do you think?

Please Hold…

posted by on March 20 at 2:49 PM

Calling the city of Seattle any time soon? When they put you on hold, you’ll be able to hear a mix of Seattle artists because, as the mayor says between songs “Seattle enjoys an amazing and diverse music scene.”

For those of you with no business to tend to, though, you can still hear their stream of hold music via

I just checked it out for a few minutes. The first song I heard—a world music dance track—was a mystery to me. After that, they played an operatic number. Also a mystery. Sadly, they don’t identify the artists. But if you like what you hear, you can visit the website, where they list the songs included in the current mix. Right now there’s KJ Sawka featuring Blake Lewis, Joshua Morrison, Bill Anschell, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, Son Jack Jr., Matt Weiner and Del Rey, and more.

Weird, huh?

(Thank to John C. for the tip.)

“The Indie Rock 25” by Entertainment Weekly

posted by on March 20 at 2:08 PM

Your obvious choice for music industry commentary Entertainment Weekly just posted their list of which indie records defined music in the past 25 years. Each year gets one record, here’s what they chose:

1984: The Replacements, Let It Be
1985: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
1986: R.E.M., Life’s Rich Pageant
1987: Dinosaur Jr., You’re Living All Over Me
1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
1989: The Pixies, Doolittle
1990: Fugazi, Repeater
1991: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
1993: Built To Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994: Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
1995: Archers Of Loaf, Vee Vee
1996: Belle And Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
1997: Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West
1998: Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
1999: Sleater-Kinney, The Hot Rock
2000: Yo La Tengo, And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World
2002: Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
2003: The White Stripes, Elephant
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral
2005: Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
2006: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
2007: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
2008: Radiohead, In Rainbows

Here’s what has to say about it:

Well-versed in the knowledge that nothing gets people clicking around Web sites like a photo gallery, nothing gets people arguing on the Internet like a slightly specious list, and no demographic has more work-hours time to click on said photo galleries and argue over said lists than the knowledge workers who proclaim themselves lovers of the nebulously defined genre “indie rock,” Entertainment Weekly has put together a photo gallery/list called “The Indie Rock 25,” which assigns one album to each of the 25 years since 1984, a year that was apparently defined by the Replacements’ Let It Be. There are some arbitrary rules (no solo acts, albums that came out on an indie overseas but a major in the U.S. are OK), some arbitrary picks (see: Bright Eyes in 2005), lots of white dudes (cf. 1993: Ultimate Alternative Wavers over Pussy Whipped? Really?), and an obligatory mention of Radiohead, whose stature in “indie” probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the major-label machine of 15 years ago but I’ll probably be stuck arguing that until I’m blue in the face.

Predictable list, sure (something pointed out in Idolator’s comments). I agree with Hold Steady for 2006, but disagree with Bright Eyes for 2005. And sure to Neutral Milk Hotel, but does anyone else think Modest Mouse should’ve come a little sooner? Maybe that should’ve been 1995 instead of Belle and Sebastian? But then again, I just really don’t like B&S.

What are your thoughts?

Boom! It’s Spring

posted by on March 20 at 2:02 PM

There are women in Ballard handing out dandelions to everyone passing by. The sun and raindrops are trading places in the sky what seems like every 10 minutes. It’s cold when the wind blows, but comfortable enough for just a light sweatshirt. There’s more color on the trees and the ground than there is at any other point in the year. It’s spring. Officially.

And it’s time to retire the sad, self-defeating tracks that got me through the winter.

So today, I’m listening to a lot of Anathallo, some bright pop punk (I’ll spare you the details of which bands), Radiohead’s more optimistic tracks (the new album especially), a little dance music a la Erasure, any Velvet Teen songs that don’t make me want to die… basically, anything that will chase away what remains of the cold, grey, winter.

A current favorite, “Hanasakajiijii (Four: A Great Wind, More Ash)” by Anathallo.

Wanting more, I asked friends what their favorite “Welcome Spring” track is.

A few answers:

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by the Beach Boys
“A Song About Driving” by Racetrack

“Anything from Sigur Ros’ Takk—it sounds as if the clouds are parting.”
“Sweet Sugar Blues” by Ella Fitzgerald
And… Skrewdriver

Some of my friends are werid…

Anyway, speaking of Racetrack, that makes me think of the song “The War At Home,” from their last EP, which features Sean Nelson on vocals. Another great bright song to welcome the sun…

“The War At Home”

So what’s yours? What song, to you, sounds like this: cherry_blossom.jpg

“Fire Lances Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians”

posted by on March 20 at 12:58 PM


Stereogum’s got the new Sword video, and they don’t feel like sharing, so you have to go there to watch it, but it’s worth it. The video borrows from tons of sci-fi movie classics - Tron, Mad Max, Star Wars, Wizards, and unlike previous Sword videos it actually looks like they had a budget for this one. And the song, well it’s probably the best on their new album, Gods of the Earth, which comes out April 1st on Kemado. Excellent fantasy metal. If you just want to listen to the song, here is an mp3.

Good Lookin’, Saturday Knights

posted by on March 20 at 12:12 PM

The Saturday Knights get some shine from Pitchfork today, hyping their forthcoming debut long player, Mingle and its host of guest appearances (Kim Thayil, the Dap Kings, Chris Ballew, Jack Endino, Muscle Shoals Horns, etc). Mingle comes out June 24th on Light in the Attic, and the early word on it is pretty promising. The tracklist:

01 45
02 Count It Off
03 Dog Park
04 Foreign Affair
05 Mutt
06 Private School Girl
07 Motorin’
08 Patches
09 Surf Song
10 Nobody Beats Us
11 Ass Kicker’s Haircut
12 I Go
13 The Gospel

Update: The ever-vigilant Lar notes, “yo, their myspace has a new song up too called “Dog Park” and it’s fuckin brilliant.” Woof.

Tonight in Music: Russian Circles, the Black Ghosts, Zion-I and Mistab Fab

posted by on March 20 at 11:29 AM

russiancirclesduo.jpgRussian Circles photo by Ryan Russell

Russian Circles at Neumo’s
Their new record won’t be out until May, so to get their fix, Russian Circles fans must listen to the 2006 debut, Enter, for the thousandth time. Enter is a spooky collection of dynamic instrumentals—haunting guitars, explosive drumming, and moments of brightness fighting their way through otherwise solemn structures. It’s great, but I long for the new record. Tonight will whet the appetite: Their live show is more epic than a studio could ever capture. With Red Sparowes. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 7 pm, $10, all ages.) by Megan Seling
The Black Ghosts, the Fading Collection, Head Like a Kite, DJ Recess
(Nectar) Breezy, easy-to-miss British indie-pop band Simian didn’t score their greatest hit until after they broke up. The hit was, of course, Justice’s rework of Simian’s “Never Be Alone Again,” retitled “We Are Your Friends,” a track that catapulted one half of Simian into the club world’s strobing limelight as Simian Mobile Disco. The Black Ghosts are the new project from singer Simon Lord, who hails from Simian’s other, less recently operative half, along with Theo Keating. Black Ghosts songs come closer than SMD to traditional vocal pop, only with drum machines and synthesizers as their primary instruments. “Face” is perfectly glossy and fun—it’s probably a mobile-phone or car commercial already in England—but other tracks, such as “Anyway You Choose to Give It” and “Something New,” aren’t quite as winningly giddy. ERIC GRANDY

And from this week’s My Philosophy:

Yeeee! When the Bay is in the house, omigod… Fuck ya Timberlands, cuddie, the Fresh Coast tour is in town! Bringing two sides of today’s Yay Area coin, this tour has Zion-I and Mistah FAB at Chop Suey on Thursday, March 20, which also features J.Pinder, Scribes, and DJ Sean Cee. The last we heard from Zion-I was the ‘06 LP with Grouch, Heroes in the City of Dope—but last year they also dropped the Japan-only (you Amurrikins can cop it from iTunes) Break a Dawn. The man they call Fabby Davis Jr. is still waiting to drop his major label debut, Da Yellow Bus Rydah, on Atlantic. Peace to the majors, among others, for fucking up the hyphy movement, but he’s always into somethin’ like Dre… Mac Dre that is. Just peep FAB’s most recent indie album, Da Baydestrian, and his appearance on the new Snoop Dogg single, “Life of the Party.”

Was ist dub?

posted by on March 20 at 10:59 AM

It’s common to describe the affect that dub has on one’s senses as aquatic. Dub, however, is not watery but atmospheric. Dub is nothing else than what we experience during course of an ordinary day.
Travel%20-%20Hong%20Kong%20dusk.jpg A day is never clear. A day is an amazing light show. Light is bent and distorted by distance, dust particles, random hexagonal ice crystals, heating gases, and the vibrations of vapors. Sunlight bounces from droplet to droplet. Blue rays concentrate here. Orange rays disperse there. The shadows, sun ripples, sun dogs, fog, smog, solar halos, coronas, mountains of clouds, glories, rainbows, inferior mirages, superior mirages, green flashes—what we daily see in our agitated atmosphere has its match in what hear in the agitated sounds of dub. Was ist dub? Dub is a day.

Today’s Music News

posted by on March 20 at 10:29 AM

Your daily development in new music biz marketing - Madonna’s new album gets early release on mobile phones

Your daily food-for-thought on the state of the record industry - Provided by Jimmy Chamberlin

Don’t get excited until you see which cities they’re playing - Kraftwerk announce U.S. tour

Don’t say no to pills, cuz Ativan won’t kill - Pete Wentz admits to suicide attempt

New local band Narrows sign to Deathwish Inc. - Features members of Unbroken, Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, and a dirty fucking pikey

Jello was right - Scab singer for Dead Kennedys quits

Apropos of 1:23 in the Morning

posted by on March 20 at 1:23 AM


It continues to be the best album to be playing during, as Borat would say, sexy time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Crocodile is for sale again. And it’ll cost you even more this time.

posted by on March 19 at 7:11 PM

As reported in the PI last week, the buyers of the Crocodile Cafe, Groupee Inc., withdrew their application for a restaurant and lounge license at the old Crocodile. Now, it seems, but the space is back on the market.

Via Craigslist

Iconic Crocodile Cafe - $650000
Iconic Seattle rock club, prime Belltown corner location (Second and Blanchard), attractive lease terms. 6400 SF, established in 1991. Character filled space; high ceilings, single-story masonry building, full kitchen. Ideal for any restaurant, lounge or music venue. Call for details.


Last time it was up for sale on the ol Craigslist, it was going for $495,000.

I haven’t confirmed that this is indeed real, but it was last time.

Your Random 3 pm MP3 for the Day (Five Minutes Late): Grand Hallway

posted by on March 19 at 3:05 PM

Every day at 3 pm I post a random MP3 from The Stranger’s Bands Pages. It may or may not be good. That’s for you to decide.

Today’s song: “Seward Park” by Grand Hallway.


Sing Along Time

posted by on March 19 at 1:21 PM


Last night when I was hanging out with some friends I picked up a guitar and started softly strumming it. Before too long someone requested that I play a song that everyone could sing along to. Though I’ve been playing guitar for years now I never bothered to learn a ton of other people’s songs, opting instead to try and write my own, but those songs never come in handy for group sing alongs. It’s tricky picking out songs that are not only easy to play but also that groups of people will know the words to. My covers catalog is limited, but it always gets me by: there’s a heavy dose of Blue-Album Weezer (everyone knows “Jonas,” “Buddy Holly” and “the Sweater Song”), “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters (though most people only know the first verse and the chorus), and my personal favorite, “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac. Some songs are instantly embraced until everyone realizes that they know the riffs but not the words (“Cherub Rock,” “In Bloom”) and other songs can be a blast even if only a couple of words are decipherable and the song is actually very stupid (“Chop Suey” by System of a Down).

I keep telling myself to learn some new sing along songs but I never bother to actually do it. It’s time to broaden my catalog. When it’s time for a sing along what do you play?

Video Preview for Carl Craig’s Sessions

posted by on March 19 at 12:58 PM

I haven’t yet picked up a copy, but I’m already willing to anoint Carl Craig’s Sessions release on !K7 one of the best releases of the year. I’m an unapologetic Carl Craig fanboy, so this compilation of original productions, remixes, and unreleased material is exactly what my music collection has always wanted. Even without the same fervor, you should have respect for Craig, since his contributions to music have stretched the boundaries of what “techno” means.

The label put together a preview video for Sessions, with excerpts from an interview in which Craig describes his start with electronic music, how he approaches his remixes, and the thought process behind distilling a two-decade career into a double-disc compilation. It’s nothing earth-shattering, but interesting nonetheless.

Sessions is out now.

The Breakfast Taco

posted by on March 19 at 12:25 PM


Today’s ingredients: Elgin sausage (from the city of Elgin, don’tcha know), potato, cheese, and an overdue summary of a zillion bands.

My reason for the delay is a mix of recovery from a Monday flight/bus hellstorm and a sense of futility about SXSW writeups. You pretty much need an 80-strong staff of writers/videographers to get anywhere near covering this thing to an adequate degree, and even then, it’s hard for such writeups to not come off as blurry and overenthusiastic—with so much going on, there’s no time to rest, soak up the music, and make a coherent statement. I still think the greatest SXSW writeup of all time came from a satire piece my former boss whipped up for The Morning News last year. (Classic line: “I just punch the ever-loving shit out of them.”)

But unlike some Line Out posters, I’ve always done SXSW (relatively) sober; otherwise, I simply can’t keep up with the four-days-straight onslaught. And I still thought this year was pretty damn good. Sadly, the era of sleeper acts has been killed thanks to SXSW preview bloggers hyping even the tiniest concerns to unbelievable heights, but I still stumbled upon gems that seem to have been glossed over by the blogging majority.

Akron/Family — I saw them a few years back at a crummy bar’s basement stage, which the group proceeded to manhandle with a nearly two hour set of chant-filled pandemonium. I figured I’d catch a few minutes just for shits before heading to see the haunting Castanets play at the big church in downtown Austin, but this show went too far down the rabbit hole for me to leave. Halfway through their 1.5-hour set, my absolute biggest shock/surprise find of the fest, Slaraffenland, appeared in the back of Emo’s clutching horns, flutes and the like. They soon hopped the stage, and the new 10-man band proceeded to play for 45 minutes straight, songs swirling one into the next while the crowd danced, clapped and chanted along to every single one. This ended with a cry of “WE’RE TAKING IT OUTSIDE!” and the stage cleared, band members clutching instruments and drums while walking onto famed 6th Street, and the crowd followed like giddy, willing, hippie minstrels. The street jam lasted for a good five minutes, as curious passers-by snapped cameraphone photos of the shirtless freaks leaping around and chanting “Circle, Triangle, Square! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!” Kind of a “had to be there” thing. I do not look forward to being seen on YouTube as one of the idiots leaping around and buying into this show’s pandemonium.

Slaraffenland — I already wrote them up Wednesday night, didn’t I? They’re even better than I remember on their record. The members told me before their Akron/Family set that they’ll be coming towards Seattle this May. Cannot wait.

Darker My Love — Rousing psychedelia with a healthy dose of harder rock influences, though the “harder” part was more apparent in concert than in anything on their MySpace page. I caught quite a bit of psychedelic revivalism at this year’s fest, but only this band made me feel the same way I felt when I first saw the Dandies or the Black Angels. I liked the variety that came forth from this band’s dual songwriters and look forward to seeing them in concert again (SF ain’t that far away, guys, and maybe you can bring another SXSW surprise, Citay, along with ya.)


A Weather — Totally blown away by this Portland four-piece, if an incredibly quiet/soft act can “blow away” anything. Think if the husband/wife duo of Mates of State divorced, but were forced by a record label to stay together, and as a result, the tunes became slow, deliberate, and bittersweet. The killer boy/girl vocals make the first impression, but what really impresses is how the four-piece strings its arrangements together in a minimalist way yet still sounds full and lush.

Evangelista — Another set of pandemonium, this one courtesy of ex-Geraldine Fibber Carla Bozulich. This destructive poetry performance was all clamor and hollering, the band layering feedback, broken cymbal clangs and free-form rhythm noise over Carla’s hell-bent shrieks. It was heartening to see the woman so revitalized by her latest group, fearlessly skipping and prowling around the stage while preaching the bad word.

Experimental Aircraft — I’d forgotten about this ancient Austin-based space-rock quartet until shopping at Sonic Boom in Ballard the other day, where store buyer Rick Brooks was blasting the band’s long-delayed LP. They’d finally finished the damn thing, he told me, and it was a kitchen-sink record of hazy, over-pedaled rock that became the soundtrack to my flights to and from Austin last week. The showcase was fine, but really, I just brought it up to plug the awesome album.

Since I’m a homer, I’m happy to asterisk the rest of my Texas picks with the fact that I may very well be biased… except in the case of Centro-matic. The decade-plus straight-out rock concern from Denton, TX, managed to sell out its Wednesday night venue, drawing a healthy mix of local pals and European fanatics, and the crowd was well-deserved for the band’s shout-along pop-rock that takes the GBV formula in an Americana direction. Other homer highlights included Wilco-leaning Pleasant Grove, post-Sonic Youthers Record Hop, the mariachi/folk songwriting mastery of The Theater Fire, and the absolutely bonkers, Funkadelic-meets-80s-new-wave hip-hop of PPT. Oh, and the chilaquiles at Curra’s; those things are spicy and delicious.

Whenever YouTube is friendlier to me, I’ll get videos up of great SXSW ‘08 acts like Phosporescent, Slaraffenland, Bear in Heaven, Ola Podrida, Luke Temple, and more. In the meantime, check out my Flickr pool of SXSW photos with a few other personal faves as well, like J Mascis, Elliott Brood, Dr. Dog, and The Sadies.

Altair Nouveau

posted by on March 19 at 12:17 PM

I haven’t covered a lot of newer cosmic disco lately, however, a local Seattle producer under the name Altair Nouveau caught my eye about a month ago after he sent me his debut CD self-titled release. After the first listen, I became excited about hearing this “Norwegian Nu Disco” sounding production coming from someone locally. The tracks on this album fall along the same lines as the music that’s being produced by new school disconauts Lindstrom, Diskjokke, Prins Thomas, Blackbelt Andersen, etc. My favorite songs on the record at this point are probably “Sorcerer”, which contains a heavy slow cosmic disco groove, and “Space Fortress” which rides a nice smooth bass groove that I can’t seem to get enough of. Overall, this a great album from a Northwest artist that will hopefully be getting some well-deserved attention in the near future.

Altair Nouveau - Sorcerer
Altair Nouveau - Space Fortress

You can catch Altair Nouveau doing a guest DJ set tonight at Havana’s weekly disco night, Studio. (Yes, this is a shameless plug that I don’t feel that bad about.)

You can currently pick up Altair Nouveau’s self-titled CD over at Everyday Music.

Ah, the French…

posted by on March 19 at 11:46 AM

One of my fave French electro-pop jams of the past year, Yelle’s “Je Veux Te Voir,” now has a music video. Apparently Perez Hilton likes this girl, so now I just don’t know what to think. Regardless, here’s the video (hat tip Idolator):

Today’s Music News

posted by on March 19 at 10:50 AM

Finally, a good trend in music - Gnarls Barkley album release date pushed forward

This weekend I saw a vending machine selling iPods at the airport… - …now this

The most annoying band in recent memory… - …but bummer of a news report, regardless

Nirvana should get back together with that dude from Silverchair taking Kurt’s place - New Queen album

Dreader than Dread - RIP Mikey

Six Six Six and the City - This is the greatest thing I’ve seen all morning

Tonight in Music: This Is a Process of a Still Life, Saul Williams, School of Language

posted by on March 19 at 10:32 AM


This Is a Process of a Still Life, Danger Bees, Charts & Maps, Brier Rose
(Comet) Their name is pretentious, but This Is a Process of a Still Life’s carefully constructed instrumentals overwhelm in the best way possible. The beautiful “Land Has Never Seemed Further” is a fluidly churning mix of delicate keyboards, soaring guitars, and light-as-air drumming. “Constantly Under Surveillance” is mellower, like drifting in the middle of the ocean during the eerie moments of an oncoming storm. It’s reminiscent of Mono—layers slowly coming together, building to an explosion, but This Is a Process of a Still Life’s songs don’t come to quite as bombastic conclusions. Which doesn’t mean they’re not capable of knocking you off your feet. MEGAN SELING


Saul Williams, Dragons of Zynth
(Neumo’s) Now that slam poetry is dead, what does the future hold for Saul Williams, the most famous and accomplished slam poet in the history of everything? The leading justification for slam poetry was its vitality—its life on the streets, in popular music, and in da clubs. Slam poetry above all was a living poetry. Academic poetry might have been technically better and harder to master, but it was dead as a doornail. The academic poet was much like the sad soul in Baudelaire’s poem “The Cracked Bell”—on the “edge of a lake of blood, under a great pile of the dead, and who dies, without moving, after tremendous efforts.” The slam poet is now in that terrible situation. What is he/she going to do? Make tremendous efforts? Continue as academic poetry has had to continue in the afterlife? But without life what is the use of slam poetry? To revive poetry, Saul Williams married poetry to rap. The trick worked wonders. But rap, to use the words of the Green Eyed Bandit, is now “gone with the wind,” and poetry slams are nothing more than graveyards of yesterday’s words and gestures. If Saul Williams doesn’t bring slam poetry to an end soon, he will become a vampire. CHARLES MUDEDE


School of Language, Hanne Hukkelberg, Half Acre Day
(Nectar) Last year, British band and blog darlings Field Music announced that they were going to cease being a band, but that they were going to continue to create music, explaining, “Field Music aren’t going to be over because we’ve already got a bank account under the name, so we’ll just continue as a company. It’s time to go and do some real work.” School of Language’s debut, Sea from Shore, is the first product of that real work, a more or less solo album (labeled a “Field Music Production”) from that band’s David Brewis. The album features guest appearances from two-fourths of fellow Sunderlanders (Sunderlandians?) the Futureheads, it’s bookended by a four-part “Rockist” song cycle (with part three parenthetically titled “Aposiopesis”), and, not surprisingly, it sounds quite a bit like Field Music, with Brewis’s delicate vocals bolstered by drums, electric guitars, and his guests. ERIC GRANDY

Gangster Poll

posted by on March 19 at 10:30 AM

goldtooth.jpgWho is and isn’t gangster? An inquiry.

For illumination we turn to My Philosophy’s Larry Mizell and Andrew Matson, both members of Seattle’s hip-hop council, Raindrop Hustla.

Larry: So tough to quantify. How do you judge gangsterness? By dirt done, maybe. What if somebody did a lot of dirt then blew up and is now really fake about it (50 Cent)? What if somebody is real hardbody but now tries to shy away from rapping about gangsta shit (Saigon)?

Matson: Being gangster is more of an “All-in” “Don’t give a fuck” thing, and for that locally, I listen to Fatal Lucciauno. Larry’s right, there’s gangsters in real life and gangsters on wax. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which is which. Sometimes it matters and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a sliding scale with shades of gray.

Gangsters kill people, but hate themselves for it and are subsequently haunted by suicidal thoughts. All too familiar with the lifestyle’s psychotic blowback, gangsters are deeply offended when non-gangsters play gangster.

What’s the difference between gangsters and pimps?
Larry: A pimp is a man of leisure, who brokers prostitutes. A gangster is an illegal business man who employs violent means.


Who is the most gangster?

Who is the least gangster?

You are gangster if:

Season Six American Idol Appearing at Safeway Today

posted by on March 19 at 10:00 AM

Shopping List:

Spaghetti Sauce
American Idol Chris Richardson
Toilet Paper

Wait, wha?

Chris Richardson, from Season Six, will at Safeway in White Center today “to help celebrate Dreyer’s American Idol Slow Churned® Ice Cream.” He’ll be posing for photos, signing autographs, signing to shoppers over the store’s PA system… okay that last one’s a lie, but wouldn’t that be funny?

In case you were wondering, Chris Richardson is this guy:


His favorite male pop artists are Jason Mraz, Justin Timberlake, James Brown, and Michael Jackson. His favorite female pop artists are Mariah Carey (circa early 90s) and Christina Aguilera. His heroes in life are God and his family.

He’ll be at the White Center Safeway at 9620 28th Ave SW from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.

The only thing that sounds tempting about this weird scenario is the ice cream. Mmm… ice cream.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apropos of Midnight

posted by on March 18 at 11:59 PM

Tonight at the Safeway at 15th Avenue and East John, a woman was putting the whitest products imaginable onto the conveyor belt—two 12 packs of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, a Rubbermaid pitcher called Mixer Mate, a copy of Brides magazine, a giant box of Lipton tea, and a bag of mini carrots—while Toto’s song “Africa” played from the speakers in the ceiling.

Burning a Hole in my Brain

posted by on March 18 at 8:19 PM


I just got the new album from Philidelphia’s Pink Skull, Zeppelin 3, and it’s burning a hole in my brain. The band features former members of S PRCSS and Making Time DJs, and their album is a wonderful mess of psychoactive drum jams, neon disco flash, scprched guitars, and deep space noise—it’s also probably the only album ever that will feature guest appearances from both Ghostface Killah and Mirah.
I’m raving.

I can’t seem to find out when Zepelin 3 is due out, but for now you should download Pink Skull’s instructive DJ-style mix, “The Return of the Second Avenue Phantasmal Poison Arrow Band.”
I’m mellllltinnnnnnnng.

Wanted: 100 Musicians

posted by on March 18 at 5:08 PM

This just arrived via e-mail:

SAM at 75 Party in the Park
Glenn Branca’s “Symphony No. 13 (Hallucination City)” for SAM’sParty in the Park at the Olympic Sculpture Park

New York composer Glenn Branca is seeking 80 guitarists and 20 bass players to volunteer for his upcoming monumental performance of “Symphony No.13 (Hallucination City)”. This performance will be in Seattle on May 16 for the Seattle Art Museum’s Party in the Park, a fundraising event celebrating the museum’s 75th Anniversary.

There will be two rehearsals on May 14th and 15th each lasting from 11:00am to 9pm. Additionally, there will be a sound check on the afternoon of May 16, prior to the performance at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

It will not be possible to monetarily compensate musicians, so all musicians will be volunteering their time. Food and drink will be supplied at all rehearsals and the performance.

All musicians must be able to read standard staff notation and follow a part measure by measure.

Party in the Park, SAM’s rock-and-roll birthday bash, will be at the Olympic Sculpture Park on May 16. Party in the Park will showcase Branca’s “Symphony No. 13 (Hallucination City)”, along with other exclusive artistic and entertainment experiences, cocktails, party fare, and excitement throughout the evening.

For more information about volunteering as a musician contact and you will be sent detailed information.

Take Me I’m Yours

posted by on March 18 at 4:22 PM

I’ve really been into the classic Patrick Adams’ productions as of late. Here is another, with this time being Mary Clark’s late 70’s classic “Take Me I’m Yours”. This record was written and produced by both Adams and West End Records disco producer Billy Nichols whom is most known for his production of the classic 1979 disco hit “Give Your Body Up To The Music”. Adams and Nichols come together here for Clark’s most notable effort. “Take Me I’m Yours” was released as a 12-inch single under one of Adams many NY record labels, this time being the very short established La Shawn label. Overall, it’s an amazing disco track that has a bit of a mid-tempo gospel/soul feel thing going on. This track was also featured recently on Rapster RecordsThe Kings of Disco compilation that was released back in 2004. I can guarentee one thing, give this track a few listens and it could quite possibly end up getting stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Great track!

Mary Clark - Take Me I’m Yours

Because You Can Do Better Than and Fergie

posted by on March 18 at 4:11 PM


E-mail for more information and registration.

Your Random 3 pm MP3 for the Day: Sugarcane Mutiny

posted by on March 18 at 3:00 PM

Every day at 3 pm I post a random MP3 from The Stranger’s Bands Pages. It may or may not be good. That’s for you to decide.

Today’s song: “As the Door Slammed” by Sugarcane Mutiny.

Do you have a Bands Page? Click here to get one.

Re: The Raconteurs Coming to Seattle in April; Trying to Kill Music Journalism Now

posted by on March 18 at 1:40 PM

You know, Megan (and Idolator and David-at-the-Guardian), I don’t think we need to wring our hands about this. The Raconteurs’ press whiteout seems more an attack on the record and p.r. industries than music writers.

Timeliness isn’t really a virtue in criticism, which is why people still read these guys:




Criticism isn’t about being the first, it’s about being the smartest.

Hype is about being first. So for the record-p.r. industry and media outlets that live to serve the interests of hype (see radio), the Raconteurs move is a big fuck you.

For smart critics who will have smart things to say about this record a week, a month, or a decade from now? Not so much.

The Raconteurs’ press move seems more like Radiohead’s pay-what-you-can fuck you—an end-run around the ossified music-radio-advertising machine, not an attack on writers with actual ideas.

SXSW For The Sober Guy

posted by on March 18 at 1:22 PM

There’s that old joke: “What did the hippie say when he ran out of drugs?”

“This band sucks.”

So maybe it makes sense that in my newfound and temporary booze-free lifestyle, I was sorta underwhelmed by SXSW this year. Damn you, Lent. I managed to catch quite a few bands over the course of three days, and I figured I’d share the highlights for anyone that isn’t completely tired of the hearing about all the shenanigans in Austin this last weekend. To make this a little easier on all of us, I’ll eschew the details of my own sober adventures and just give you the straight-up dirt on some of the more noteable bands I witnessed.

1349 – I was totally psyched to see some legitimate Norwegian black metal at SXSW. I cannot admit to being a die-hard fan of the genre, but I have enough of an interest to know that anytime Frost from Satyricon is playing drums, you’d better take note. Unfortunately, Frost was noticeably absent. In his place was some dumpy dude who didn’t hit hard enough to break a sweat. Black metal often suffers from weak drummers and awful guitar tones. 1349 stands out on record for actually having solid performances and production. Unfortunately, the drumming and bass playing in Austin were pretty mediocre. However, their singer was definitely terrifying. Decked out in full corpse paint, including a hefty amount of white make-up applied to his beard giving him a weirdly disproportionate set of jowls, his prowling stage demeanor was truly unnerving. In addition, it appeared that his eyes were bleeding. Despite the theatrics, I wound up leaving mid-set when I found myself paying less attention to the music and becoming more concerned with wondering how they got those huge spiked gauntlets through U.S. customs.

Chiodos – Okay, to be fair – I didn’t actually hear Chiodos play. I watched them on a monitor at the bar at Emo’s IV while they played the outside stage. And thank god for that, because I think I would’ve started drinking if I had to endure that shit. Watching the band on that monitor reconfirmed what I’ve already come to terms with: Screamo is the new hair metal. Girl jeans, teased hair, annoying choreographed stage moves, teenage girl demographics, compromised aura of safe rebellion… it’s all there. I hate being a musician.

The Night Marchers – John Reis from RFTC/Hot Snakes/Jehu/Pitchfork is back with a new band. It definitely sounds like Reis-fare, only with a bit more of a garage sound and a penchant for rock shuffles. I saw them play outside mid-afternoon. It was good, though it would’ve been way better in a tiny bar at midnight.

Black Mountain – I can’t get enough of In The Future, but as with the Night Marchers, this is the kind of music you need to see in a good, dark venue. Seeing them from a distance on an outdoor stage with the sun still out just wasn’t working for me.

No Age I’ve got Grandy’s back on this one.

This Will Destroy You – Austin’s latest post-rock buzz band is pretty much what I expected. While they sounded great, that was due at least in part to the fact that they sounded a lot like Explosions In The Sky. In fact, almost every band I saw on Sunday sounded either like EITS or Isis. I have never been so sick of digital delay in my entire life.

It wasn’t all disappointing though:

Pissed Jeans –They remind me of Born Against’s sludgier material, minus the political tirades. Singer Matt Korvette steals the show by somehow managing to engage the crowd without pandering to them. He is simultaneously disaffected and likeable. Goofy without being silly. Angry without seeming forced. Teamed up with Bradley Fry’s Greg Ginn-influenced guitar playing, it’s a pretty stellar show.

Coliseum – Missing Friday’s Tragedy show in Seattle was made somewhat easier by catching fellow d-beaters Coliseum on Sunday night. The riffs are fucking mean. The drumming is totally over-the-top. Brutal shit

Tera Melos – Now that Dillinger Escape Plan is playing on Conan and writing songs with hooks, people with an appetite for unhinged fretboard awareness and spastic drumming should look to Sacramento’s Hella disciples, Tera Melos. While certainly not as metal as DEP, this trio certainly out-plays the Jersey tech-metal quintet, and demonstrates a greater array of effects pedal trickery. This is definitely a band for guitar nerds. I caught them twice at SXSW, and was thoroughly impressed on both occasions.

Constantines – I had to make a decision. See Constantines for the roughly twentieth time, or catch Torche’s set. It was a tough call, but I also figured I could catch Torche the next night at the Chunklet party (little did I know that the party was in an art space with a capacity of 50, so I totally missed the Torche boat this year). Constantines were great though. I only caught five songs, none of which were Draw Us Lines or Young Lions, but they did end with Shine a Light. While I know that the Bruce Springsteen-meets-Fugazi description has become quite popular for these Canadians, I was struck by how much their singer reminded me of a pre-electric Bob Dylan, both in look and manner. I eagerly await their new album due out next month.

Harvey Milk – No band with Joe Preston can fail. Thrones, The Whip, Melvins, High on Fire. Need I say more? Slow, immense, misanthropic, and Southern. While I have mixed feelings about their recorded output, I enjoyed their set, and was particularly pleased to see so many people excited about a band that existed in almost complete obscurity throughout the ‘90s.

Helms Alee – Seattle’s own were top-notch at the HydraHead showcase. Well done, folks.

The Evangelicals Song That Sounds Like an Arcade Fire Song

posted by on March 18 at 12:56 PM

First, listen to the first part of the song “Rebellion (Lies)” by the Arcade Fire.

Now listen to the first bit of this song, “Skeleton Man,” by Evangelicals.

It’s not just me, Pitchfork made the same observation.

Death Cab For Cutie - “I Will Possess Your Heart”

posted by on March 18 at 12:38 PM

The first taste of their May 13th release Narrow Stairs.

LA Love

posted by on March 18 at 12:14 PM

The LA Times’ SXSW Blog:

But the festival’s biggest surprise was the Blue Scholars, a Seattle group making its first SXSW appearance. They’ve been the toast of Seattle’s burgeoning hip-hop scene for the last few years, and for good reason. Their politically conscious lyricism, delivered smoothly and eloquently by Geologic, features political protesters and soldiers returning home from war. The group recalls the early days of hip-hop with one DJ and one MC. Check them out for yourself here .

The question that confronts local hiphop is this and this alone: Can it save hiphop as a whole? If this is not its mission—to maintain the form’s founding political principles, pleasure principles, and aesthetic values without waging a war on the mainstream (the error made by LA’s underground scene)—then our scene will crumble and vanish.

Today’s Music News

posted by on March 18 at 11:59 AM

Girl, don’t do as I’ve done - Keith Richards tells Winehouse how it is

Our contribution to the rumor mill - Puffy linked to Tupac’s death?

Didn’t Death Cab do that first? - Radiohead announces video production contest

Congrats, boys - Akimbo to tour with Turbonegro

Leave ‘em there - Fall Out Boy play Antarctica

D’s Nutz - One more reason Killswitch Engage is the most embarrassing “metal” band on the planet

The Raveonettes @ Neumo’s

posted by on March 18 at 11:54 AM


By JeanineAnderson.

DJ Mountain Purse: Cornukopia

posted by on March 18 at 11:41 AM

Cornucopia_Border.jpgTacoma, WA: In a grocery store, near the apples. A conversation is had.

Man 1: “So what kind of music do you all play?”
Man 2: “You know, it’s like that pimp-rap and soul.”

Man 1: “Like Ice T?”
Man 2: “Yeah, sort of. We go a little smoother.”

A CD is given to Man 1.

Man 1: “Oh yeah, I’ll check it, do you all have any shows coming up?”
Man 2: “Track 3 is the gangster. Look for us.”

I walk over and say hello. I pay $5 for a CD, select a Fuji, and ask what kind of music they play. Man 2’s name is DJ Mountain Purse. He tells me they are gangster, not pimp-rap and soul. They are called Cornukopia. Mountain Purse says they are a performance act.

The CD has no cover art. The disc is light blue and the Sharpie text is red. Track listing reads:


1. Call of the Ho
2. Call of the Gucci
3. Judge Don’t Know Shit
4. Slice

By Wolf 1 & DJ Mountain Purse

There is no website, no Myspace, and I can’t find anything online about them at all. It’s a home recording, and sounds like MC Hammer. They took some of their beats and samples from the Sanford and Son theme song, which are distorted and great. It’s unmastered, but all in all, I like it.

Track 3 is indeed the cut. Lyrics are: “You don’t understand me cause you don’t understand me / You’re too busy putting that shit on your face. Yeah you ugly / Yeah you ugly. Judge don’t know shit.”

I realize, it’s tricky to be gangster. To be truly gangster, that is. Especially for a skinny white guy from Tacoma like DJ Mountain Purse. “Call of the Ho” is bold. But is it too bold? It’s effective, but is it real?

Larry? Matson?

The cornucopia is a symbol of food and abundance dating back to 5th century BC. It’s also known as the Horn of Plenty. In Greek mythology, Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave Amalthea the goat’s horn. It had the power to give to the person who held it whatever he or she wished for.

I wish for DJ Mountain Purse to become truly gangster. Look for him.

The Raconteurs Coming to Seattle in April; Trying to Kill Music Journalism Now

posted by on March 18 at 11:36 AM

Sort of. Or not. Maybe. It’s your call, really.

First, the good news: The Raconteurs, Neumo’s, April 21. It’s not yet posted on Neumo’s website, but it is on the band’s MySpace page (thanks for the tip, Patrick).


Now, the rest of the news: The Raconteurs are releasing a new album in one week. There will be no months of publicity, no chance for music journalists to hear the album before everyone else and review it for their magazines/blogs/newspapers/etc—everyone gets the record at the same exact time.

From the band’s press release:

The purpose: to get the album to the fans as soon as possible and as we promised. We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.

With this release, The Raconteurs are forgoing the usual months of lead time for press and radio set up, as well as forgoing the all important “first week sales”. We wanted to explore the idea of releasing an album everywhere at once and THEN marketing and promoting it thereafter. The Raconteurs would rather this release not be defined by it’s first weeks sales, pre-release promotion, or by someone defining it FOR YOU before you get to hear it.

Read the whole press release after the jump.

Over at Idolator, they’re currently discussing who this experiment is aimed at.

Of course this isn’t going to kill music journalism. But it forces some interesting exploration on what it means to be a critic in the day and age that everyone is a critic. Is having a record before everyone else what validates a music journalist’s opinion? Or can intelligent record reviews be just as worth while weeks after the album’s already been heard by thousands of fans and they’re all then able to form their own goddamn opinion? Will you still see what Rolling Stone has to say about it? Or will you just grab it off Limewire, Soulseek or whatever and decide for yourself?

I’m also curious to see how the album’s sales do. Will they still have their biggest week the first week out of the gate with this storm of publicity that’s concentrated into one week instead of months? Or will it slowly climb as word gets out via fans, critics, and inevitable internet leaks?

This makes me ask a lot of questions. What do you think?

Continue reading "The Raconteurs Coming to Seattle in April; Trying to Kill Music Journalism Now" »

Travis Morrison Hellfighters Were Really Good

posted by on March 18 at 11:12 AM

It’s a bummer that there weren’t more people at the Sunset last night to witness how good they were. I blame St. Patrick’s Day. And the fact that it was a Monday. But there were only a few dozen folks scattered throughout the bar, and most of them stood fairly still, keeping their distance from the stage, despite the fact the band was pouring out hip-shakeable beats song after song.


Morrison sipped red wine during the set; he was friendly with the audience and they were friendly back. He talked about how some Fremont home-owner yuppies broke into their van earlier yesterday afternoon and stole their GPS. “Don’t they already have three?” he asked. “Or maybe it was some ho,” he wondered. He has Fremont pegged.

The band stuck to mostly new material, which sounded really great. I was a bit disappointed by Morrison’s first solo release, Travistan (okay, I was very disappointed), but the recent Barsuk album Hey Ya’ll is pretty awesome. It’s got the fun funk of the D-Plan (and of course his smooth sing/talk voice), with a harder rock punch in a lot of the songs. They also get a little more experimental with the percussion—cowbell, bongos, other little gadgets I don’t know the name of. The only complaint I have about the live show is that Morrison was the only personality on stage. Everyone else, focused on their instruments, weren’t engaging at all.


Still, they played “As We Proceed,” “Henriette,” “You Make Me Feel Like a Freak,” all my favorites, and Morrison had a smile on his face the whole time, dancing with himself and his guitar. He makes some great faces while he plays. The bassist was my favorite, though. He wore his guitar high on his torso, like a classic funk player. He bobbed his head back and forth and sucked in his bottom lip, eyes closed a lot of the time. He was grooving in his own world.

I just wish it was a sweaty, sticky, dance-party mess. I vote he plays Club Pop next time. The Hellfighters music is meant to be danced to.

You can hear Hey Ya’ll, the Travis Morrison Hellfighters album, in it’s entirety at

Saturday: Belated, Deflated

posted by on March 18 at 10:50 AM

Saturday started at the free, non-SXSW-affiliated Mess with Texas fest, some blocks up from 6th street in a large park, with Night Marchers, the new project from John Reis of Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes took the stage. “We’re Johnny Club Med and the Cabana Boys,” said gracefully aging greaser Reis. “We’re happy to be here entertaining you for the next 23 minutes.” The banter was bullshit, with Reis referring to his band by several fake names throughout the set, but the rock was very real, hard-driving, raw-throated garage in the tradition all Reis’ bands. You get the impression that Reis will probably be cranking this stuff out until the day he dies, whether a crowd’s gathering to watch him or not. As he plays he flashes between a serious scowl on the heavy riffs and a showman’s smile after each successfully completed feat of rock. At the close of the set, he thanked the crowd sincerely, finally saying the band’s name.

Outside the Fader Fort, someone said of Brooklyn trio Telepathe, “I think this band drove out anyone who gives a shit about music, which means they should be letting more people in soon.” Indeed, Telepathe aren’t much of a band—three lanky girls singing echoing mumblecore over listless electro beats and delay, like well-draped mannequins sing chopped and screwed karaoke.

Hype band of the second, BLK JKS, a South African band who had all of one song available online before scoring a Fader cover and a prime slot at their Austin party, didn’t live up to push. If it weren’t for their foreign origins and good style, if, say they were white nerds, nobody would forgive their noodling, aimless jam rock. It’s like a reverse image of Vampire Weekend.

Santogold played a well-executed set, handily correcting Friday’s misstep.

Headlining at the Fader Fort were Spank Rock followed by 2 Live Crew (apparently minus Luke). Given Spank Rock’s recent 2 Live send-up, Bangers & Cash, it seemed likely that the two might share the stage for a few songs, but nothing of the sort ever went down. Although both groups make raunchy party rap, Spank Rock’s modern version benefits from a sense of playfulness, possibly irony, that 2 Live Crew’s set lacks. Both groups get girls up on stage, but Spank Rock’s is Amanda Blank, rapping along with the guys, spitting as filthy as any of them, whereas 2 Live Crew’s are mere props, punch lines. Also, Spank Rock’s set is much more of a party, with MC Naeem Juwan backed up by Devling & Darko on the decks, Pase Rock on hype, and a live drummer on bongos and cymbal.

The rest of the night is more or less a blur: Flosstradamus and Kid Sister rapping with A Trak; Digitalism destroying it at the DFA party, flanked by the bottle-service nightclub’s go-go dancers; John from Iron Lung, Judd from Sex Vid, and Richmond, Va crusties Municipal Waste trying to sneak into the Vice afterparty, a party in some historically fancy old hotel room.

First No Depression, Now Harp?!

posted by on March 18 at 10:49 AM


I’m surprised this sad news hasn’t been posted yet:

According to Glenn Sabin, Guthrie’s CEO, the publication struggled to become profitable. “We purchased Harp in 2003, and it quickly became a first class product that was highly acclaimed for its often irreverent editorial approach and strong graphical package. Unfortunately, Harp’s critical acclaim never translated into sustaining commercial success. Harp’s lifecycle was ill timed with the precipitous decline of the music software industry, coupled with the consolidation of the consumer magazine newsstand business and rising paper and postage costs”.

Sabin saw Harp’s demise as reflective of the changes both in the music industry and in print consumer publishing. Sabin continued, “This story isn’t new. Print consumer publishing and the music industry are undergoing a revolutionary period. Legal digital sales are not even close to making up for the loss in physical product sales and the pervasiveness of illegal digital downloads. And with smaller revenues, labels are inevitably spending less money for print and other forms of advertising and promotion.”

Gah, ain’t that story ridiculously familiar. I spent my plane rides to and from SXSW poring through No Depression and Harp—the former, the all-too-recent victim of such music-print pitfalls, and the latter, the supposed replacement for my refined musical bathroom reading needs. And they’re both really darn good—balanced and varied coverage (yes, even No Depression steps outside the Lucinda Williams echelon) with a solid, authoritative editorial voice (as in, NOT Paste). What’s shocking is that there’s still at least one more issue of ND in the can, set to come out in a month or so, but Harp’s immediately through. Dead. Done. No mas.

I’m all for blogs—uh, obviously—but are we seeing the beginning of the end for the truly independent feature-heavy musical perspective? The last part’s the key—long, reporting-intensive stories that range from multi-interview expositions on a band to ruminations on all ends of the industry. Pitchfork has its columns sidebar, but I’m not printing those out and taking them to the can, and I don’t know who is. What I do know is that these two magazine closures are the beginning of a severe domino effect, devastating for other small publishers and wild for new ventures trying to step in and catch the windfall (“We’ll target the music fans whose eyes you just lost with our, er, bong-shaped MP3 player line”).

(By the way, I do not know if that last part in parentheses is actually a business strategy that Grandy and co. are looking into. Hey, times is tough.)

Since nothing has been announced as far as a continuing online presence, I assume this is it for Harp as an entity, though that’s not to say its core staff won’t come up with something. Still, Harp, the beloved paper product, will be missed. Best of luck to Scott Crawford and the rest of the mag’s tiny full-time crew.

Tonight in Music: Beach House and Buckethead

posted by on March 18 at 10:19 AM


Beach House plays tonight at Chop Suey. The band’s new album, Devotion, got a three-star review from Eric Grandy in this week’s paper. An excerpt:

Their sophomore album, Devotion, opens with the Western-sauntering slow dance of “Wedding Bell” and the fainting spell “You Came to Me” before getting to lead single “Gila,” the most immediately arresting song here. Its reverberating guitar-twang melody is eerily familiar but impossible to place—I’ll figure out what it reminds me of five years from now—and its nearly wordless chorus is benevolently haunting. “Some Things Last a Long Time” is a lovingly faithful cover that—prepare for critical embarrassment—I initially misidentified as a Built to Spill original (apologies to Mr. Johnston).

Also tonight, if you feel like punishing yourself:


Buckethead, That 1 Guy
(Neumo’s) Tonight unites two of the most irritating solo acts in the history of, well, everything—including theater, which is saying something. But let’s accentuate the positive, shall we? Exhibit A: Buckethead may be a thrash-metal guitarist who wears a KFC bucket on his head, makes records with Viggo Mortensen, and, when he grants interviews, answers all questions via a hand puppet named Herbie. HOWEVER! Buckethead once auditioned to be the guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers without having heard any of their songs, which is marvelous. Exhibit B: That 1 Guy is a cheap Tom Waits knockoff who thinks improper use of numerals is cute and named one of his (awful, awful) albums The Moon Is Disgusting. HOWEVER! Um… Actually, I can’t think of anything positive to say about That 1 Guy. BRENDAN KILEY

Aphex Twin, Goldfrapp Added To Coachella Line Up

posted by on March 18 at 9:50 AM

Pitchfork reports today: Aphex Twin and Goldfrapp have been added to the already announced 2008 Coachella Line Up.

Aphex Twin - “Window Licker”:

Goldfrapp - “A&E”:

Goldfrapp - “Happiness (Rejceted Rex the Dog Remix)”:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Apropos of Midnight

posted by on March 17 at 11:59 PM

This photo of a soldier returning home to his family after five years of being a prisoner of war, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, was taken 35 years ago today.


Radiohead Video Contest

posted by on March 17 at 8:13 PM

Radiohead has posted an open call for fans to make a video - here:

LOS ANGELES, California (AP): TBD Records, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and animation Web portal are sponsoring an online contest inviting Radiohead fans to produce an animated music video for any song from In Rainbows.

Online voters and a panel of judges will select finalists with Radiohead choosing a winner who will receive a $10,000 prize to produce a full-length animated music video. The competition continues through April 27.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s day, I submit Sam Machkovech’s famous cover. Now all Sam has to do is animate it:


Comin’ On Stronger

posted by on March 17 at 4:03 PM

Last week I received another solid edit from Floorman aka Antony Miln, an upcoming UK producer whom I recently featured back in February for his re-edit of Fantastic Four’sI Got To Have Your Love”. This time, Miln takes on Caroline Crawford’s classic 1978 single “Coming On Strong”, which he appropriately renames “Comin’ On Slow”. This dubbed out extended edit does a nice job of building up to the song’s funky vocal climax, constantly giving you a bit more as the song moves along. Nice work again from the Floorman himself, keep those edits coming!

Caroline Crawford - Coming on Strong (Floorman Re-edit)

Oh Right, And Here’s That Travis Morrison Hellfighters Video

posted by on March 17 at 3:37 PM

Two videos, actually.

“As We Proceed”

“You Make Me Feel Like a Freak”

Okay, so he’s not flipping out like I’ve seen him do in is D-Plan days, but watching these still makes me anxious for tonight’s show. It’s gonna be fun. See you at the Sunset.

This Made My Day

posted by on March 17 at 3:27 PM

I was looking for a Dismemberment Plan video that would support my claim that Travis Morrison is a dancing machine on stage and somehow I ended up finding this video from one of Juno’s reunions shows at Neumo’s in December 2006.

This was such a fantastic, wonderful show. I’m so glad I found this.

Your Random 3 pm MP3 for the Day: World History

posted by on March 17 at 3:00 PM

Every day at 3 pm I post a random MP3 from The Stranger’s Bands Pages. It may or may not be good. That’s for you to decide.

Today’s song: “The Exile of Dick and Minna” by World History.

So. What’d you think?

Travis and a Red Snapper

posted by on March 17 at 2:19 PM

Barsuk’s Travis Morrison Hellfighters will be at the Sunset Tavern tonight. This is the Travis Morrison of Dismemberment Plan as Megan previously stated – here and here. The Hellfighters deliver vice tight quirk-rock jams.

Saturday night after his show in Yakima, Travis and band went to a Mexican restaurant for post show feeding. Someone ordered red snapper. When the food came, they brought out the whole fish. Teeth and eyes and tail. Travis looked at the fish and said, “What the hell is that?” Travis had ordered nachos. The person who ordered the fish said, “It is red snapper.”

Here is a picture of Travis with that snapper now:


Elton John to be Called “Faggot”

posted by on March 17 at 2:01 PM


As part of their “Moms Weekend” Washington State University has enlisted Elton John to perform two shows at their campus next month. I have a couple friends who went to WSU. One time my friend Kellen went to visit them for the weekend. He told me about walking to the bars on Saturday night, and how frat guys were hanging out their windows screaming “faggot” at every guy that walked by. Apparently in Pullman, anyone who is not in a fraternity is automatically a “faggot” and will be told thusly, over and over again, by strangers, all weekend. The trip was so stressful and grating on Kellen (who’s not gay) that he couldn’t take a dump for three days (possibly in fear that the toilet also would call him a faggot as soon as he dropped his pants).

The fact that gay icon Elton John is coming to Pullman is not particularly hilarious. What is hilarious is the fact that since he’s playing both April 12th and 13th, Elton John is going to have to spend the night in Pullman. He’ll probably stay in his comfy tour bus, but can you imagine what would happen if he walked around on a Saturday night? That’s a recipe for international disaster.

The Presidents of the USA at the Paramount, Saturday

posted by on March 17 at 1:24 PM


Words and photos by Morgan Keuler.


I wasn’t a big fan of the Presidents in the mid and late 90s. I definitely didn’t dislike them, and sure their hits were enjoyable, but as a whole they never really resonated with me. Maybe their sound wasn’t congruent with what I was listening to in the era of anger and angst. It was all just a little too FUN/QUIRKY/CAMPY, and certainly not as “meaningful” as what Kurt, Layne, and Eddie were singing about. Maybe I’ve mellowed a bit or can just appreciate something for what it is, but PUSA clicked for me on Saturday night at the Paramount.


Ballew and crew flew through their main set, but interspersed their hits instead of saving them all for the end. It was one of the most active pits and loudest crowds I’ve seen or heard at the Paramount in a long time, and PUSA rewarded them with many a sing along even though is wasn’t really something most of the crowd needed to be prompted to do. The ‘sing alongers’ even knew a fair amount of the material off the new album, These Are The Good Times People, which has only been out for a week.


To fill out the festivities for the CD release show the band was accompanied by a three piece horn section for “Sharpen Up Those Fangs”, “Lump”, “Flame Is Love”, and “Deleter”. “Kick Out The Jams” finished the main set with the band and crowd reveling in a balloon drop.



Upon returning to the stage, the band was soon joined by a fourth member, who’s probably not much older than four, Henry. The son of newish PUSA guitarist, Andrew McKeag, played with the leftover balloons and donned a Gibson twice his size to strum with dad.


The encore bookends of “Bad Times” and “Not Going To Make It” punctuated the meaning of the Presidents - regardless of what they’re singing about, with irony or not, when they play, it’s a few thousand person party. Now, I certainly won’t say I’m a zealous convert, but it’s hard to refuse the effusive joy the Presidents put into their music and shows.


Words and photos by Morgan Keuler.

The Pharmacy’s MySpace Hacked, Deleted

posted by on March 17 at 1:11 PM

The Pharmacy’s profile was hacked into and deleted over the weekend, while the band is out on the road.

They lost over 11,000 friends, along with all their tour contacts (the band uses that for a lot of e-mail/message exchange). Whoever did it is a big, stupid jerk.

They’ve set up a new profile——but still, that sucks.

SXSW - Punk Rock Sunday

posted by on March 17 at 12:17 PM

I think I like SXSW after most everyone goes home. By Sunday afternoon, the streets are mostly empty, no more long lines, and everyone’s much much more relaxed. It’s just the locals and diehards. I saw some of my favorite shows on Sunday… in a deliriously tired and brilliantly beer-soaked haze.


Continue reading "SXSW - Punk Rock Sunday" »

Dead Bury the Dead

posted by on March 17 at 12:16 PM


Radio disc jock Mikey Dread is dead. He succumbed to a brain tumour late yesterday afternoon at his family home in Connecticut, USA at the age of 54. Born Michael Campbell in Port Antonio, Jamaica, he distinguished himself as an extraordinary studio engineer and presenter at the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) where he came to prominence in the 1970s as “The Dread-the-Control Tower”, the name of the late night show he presented at a time when reggae music was scoffed at by many. Mikey Dread… hailed as one of reggae’s greatest innovators.

And they want I to go to the funeral. But I go to no man’s funeral. Let the dead bury the dead, I’m a living man and got things to do.

SXSW - The Saturday Night After Parties

posted by on March 17 at 12:16 PM

Diplo was climbing the walls and hanging from the ceiling at the VICE afterparty…


Continue reading "SXSW - The Saturday Night After Parties" »

SXSW: The Locals

posted by on March 17 at 12:15 PM

Seattle’s Mamma Casserole and DJ Scorpio (former Seattle, now Austin) put together a daytime showcase near the University of Texas campus - at a compound of two venues known as Spider House and The United States Art Authority (a McCleod Residence style gallery and rock club)…

DJ Mamma Casserole and front man of SF glam band Apache


And San Francisco heavy rock outfit Dzjenghis Khan


Both photos by Victoria Renard

And from the Subpop Showcase… local heroes Fleet Foxes


and Grand Archives



Photos by Kelly O

Continue reading "SXSW: The Locals" »

“I’m Not Ready For the Wild Thing”

posted by on March 17 at 12:14 PM

Adfreak has a video of Urkel, back in his heyday, rapping about abstinence. I love that the chorus is “Contents under pressure/I just might blow.”

Tragedy (the Band) at C.H.A.C. Lower Level

posted by on March 17 at 12:07 PM

To me, there were two choices for Saturday night: Tragedy or the Presidents of the United States of America. A hardcore hybrid of metal and punk from Tennessee, or power pop songs about animals and fruit.

I chose Tragedy. I was in the mood for something heavy.

Unfortunately, by the time I made it up to Capitol Hill, I only caught the last 15 minutes of their set in the basement of C.H.A.C. I thought the 7 pm show time was the door time and hardcore bands never play that long anyway, so I should’ve known better. But it was still exactly what I wanted. The mob in the front of the stage threw their fists in the air and surged towards the band with every beat. The singer shredded his vocal chords with every word, even when he was just talking. The drumming was quick, the bass was doomy, the guitars broke into solos packed with pickslides. The band shifted moods with every song—they were part skate punk, part metal. Sometimes bright and loud, sometimes low and hard. The crowd responded appropriately with slow, heavy headbanging and energetic thrashing and fist-pumps. The air was hot and sticky. It smelled like a basement show, and there were hardly any lights on the stage. There was no pogoing and there were no smiles, even though everyone there was stoked. It was awesome.

My boyfriend summed it up best: Tragedy have invented a genre that is 90% pickslides and fist-pumps.

It’s so true.

Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothin’ to Fuck With

posted by on March 17 at 11:44 AM


Added to the Flickr Pool by sea kay.

ABBA Drummer Found Dead

posted by on March 17 at 11:36 AM


Swedish super-band ABBA’s long-time drummer Ola Brunkert was found dead in his Mallorca, Spain home over the weekend.

Spanish police say the gruesome death was caused by a freak accident in which Brunkert bled to death after puncturing his throat with a broken piece of glass. According to CNN, police believe the drummer may have fallen against a glass partition that separated his kitchen from his garden, causing the glass to break and fatally cut his throat.

Brunkert was not one of the four “famous” members of ABBA, but was a studio drummer who played on all their albums.

The Pipes, the Pipes Are Calling

posted by on March 17 at 11:27 AM

Foley’s Pub and Restaurant, a very good bar in New York City—no McSorley’s, of course, but then what is?—has banned the song “Danny Boy” for the month of March. At the same time, another bar in Michigan is going to have performers do 1,000 different versions of “Danny Boy” for St. Patrick’s Day.

Being a quarter Irish and very prone to drunken tears, I have some respect for the song, but I do think that the following is the best version of “Danny Boy ever:

Because It Really Can’t Be Said Too Many Times…

posted by on March 17 at 10:44 AM

… Ticketmaster is an an embarrassment to the music industry and the fans who’ve been judo-flipped into playing—paying—along.

And, in case you needed reminding, Sean Moriarty, CEO of Ticketmaster, consented to a public interview at SXSW during which he couldn’t help but be true to his nature—a mega-market automaton. As reported by the Chicago Trib’s Greg Kot:

Moriarty was presented a grand opportunity to make a case for Ticketmaster as a company that doesn’t deserve its reputation for gouging consumers and kicking back the spoils to its clients. But his responses were the equivalent of a carefully tailored corporate press release that pretends to say something profound while in reality thumbing its nose at the recipient:

Ticket prices and fees are determined by “people’s willingness to pay for them.”

The reasons behind high service fees “are more complex than people know.”

People who complain about high service fees “don’t understand the underlying infrastructure.”

Even though concert promoter Live Nation will soon disconnect from Ticketmaster, and in the process take away 15 percent of its business, “competition is good for consumers and good for business.”

“Being a lightning rod [for criticism] is not a good service business to be in… It’s a detriment to the brand.”

Moriarty managed to veer from the stock answers only when talking about the lucrative secondary ticket market, in which brokers resell tickets for big events at huge mark-ups. The CEO was unusually transparent in his desire to cash in on the “multibillion-dollar global opportunity” presented overseas, following Ticketmaster’s recent purchase of TicketsNow, the nation’s second largest secondary-ticket outlet. For Ticketmaster, the resale market is one in which “we can and should have category leadership.”

Now there’s something to dread.

Tonight in Music

posted by on March 17 at 10:39 AM

travismorrison.jpgPhoto by Ryan Russell

Travis Morrison Hellfighters at Sunset Tavern
As the frontman of the dearly departed Dismemberment Plan, Travis Morrison supplied the keyboard and the dance moves for the band’s stellar, funked-up anthems. Their shows always morphed from indie rock to sweaty dance party due in no small part to Morrison’s ass-shaking encouragements. Morrison still has a knack for engaging his audience, and his work with backing band Hellfighters is just as groovy and danceable as it was back in the D-Plan days. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $8, 21+.) MEGAN SELING

There are also a bunch of St. Patrick’s Day shows happening around town. Check out Get Out, our searchable calendar, for all your options.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Apropos of Midnight

posted by on March 16 at 11:59 PM

Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is cocaine’s greatest achievement.

Your Random 3 pm MP3 for the Day: This Shirt is Pants

posted by on March 16 at 3:00 PM

Every day at 3 pm I post a random MP3 from The Stranger’s Bands Pages. It may or may not be good. That’s for you to decide.

Today’s song: “Single Bullet Theory” by This Shirt is Pants.


Blue Scholars Rock Fresh, South by South West

posted by on March 16 at 12:43 AM

Before I go babbling about any other SXSW stuff, I think it’s important that I make one thing clear—Blue Scholars killed it. Killed the mike, killed the floor, killed the room, killed a small percentage of Austin. A near-capacity crowd at a smallish dance club at 4th and Congress went absolutely wild over the duo’s set, and for good reason; Geologic was totally on point, keeping the crowd pumped without overdoing any “wave your hands” junk. To be fair, he gave credit where it was due—“Give it up for Sabzi! He sure makes my job easy.” A new song was debuted as well, a track that was mostly a capella because the guys hadn’t quite figured out a beat for it yet, let alone a title. Also, if you didn’t know, apparently a lot of people in Austin get their education on the Ave. Huh.

I’ll admit, I didn’t get to many Seattle acts this week—some because of annoying schedule conflicts, others because I could not get in to see the acts in overcrowded venues. Though I suppose the latter is a good sign, no?

I will regurgitate the rest soon, including a story about an Akron/Familiy concert that went more bonkers than anything I’d ever seen the band do—and for Akron/Family, that’s really saying something.