Tonight Tonight in Music: Yellow Swans, Cat Power, Eels, Wolves in the Throne Room, the Avett Brothers, Broken Disco’s Anniversary Party, and More
posted by April 11 at 9:00 AMon
Today, it’s hard being you. Because there’s a ton of shit going on tonight and there’s only one you and now you’re gonna have to choose.
Illustration by Kyle T. Webster
D. Yellow Swans are playing at the Vera Project tonight with Iron Lung. Sam Mickens interviewed the band in this week’s paper:
Deez Yellow Swans’ existence has coincided with a seeming insurgence of noise music in popular indie culture. Has this been a primarily positive trend or are there now a glut of noise-music sucker MCs?
PETE SWANSON: I think it’s been [partially] a positive thing, but some things have been diminished due to the growing popularity of abstract music. On the plus side, there’s the growing ability for weirdo bands to be sustainable—for folks to pay for practice spaces, to not lose money on tour, to be able to get shows at all, which wasn’t the case even five years ago. There’s also been a great network established for the distribution of completely obscure releases by even more obscure bands. And a good deal of respect has been given from a lot of media outlets, which has sort of established oddball stuff as being more valuable than it was considered previously. All that is great. The flip side is that there are ONE MILLION noise acts now, which is overwhelming, and the majority of them are not extremely interesting. Another thing that’s occurred is this fragmenting of noise into tiny subgenres.
Here’s a handful of picks from this week’s Up & Coming section:
Wolves in the Throne Room, Priestbird, the Better to See You With
(Comet) Wolves in the Throne Room have ascended to the upper echelon of the American underground black-metal scene over the course of a few short years on the strength of two excellent full-lengths of classic Burzum-inspired guitar-driven soundscapes and their unique and well-articulated philosophy on the importance of black metal as a counterpoint to the soulless and culturally shallow state of our society in the modern age. Not bad for a group of dudes who live on a farm outside of Olympia who used to play in a punk band called the Hoodwinks. Rumor has it that their recent gigs are performed in almost complete darkness, with only a row of candles for illumination. And they get bonus points for not wearing corpse paint. BRIAN COOK
The Avett Brothers, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Jason Webley
(Neumo’s) Last year’s Avett Brothers album, Emotionalism, was deservedly on a lot of critics’ 2007 top 10 lists because it was brave and familiar. The Avetts’ emo-as-fuck Americana is bitterly romantic and utterly sincere. The lyrics aren’t trite and the minimalist orchestration is pointedly antigloss, both of which fortify the music’s palpable honesty. Songs are stories and vocal melodies are belted out fearless and unaffected. Everything about the Avett Brothers, from acoustic instruments (played like the Violent Femmes at maximum rock out) to clear (yet delightfully ragged) brother-perfect harmonies, is heartwarmingly ballsy. MARK DONUTS
(Showbox at the Market) Recently, Eels frontman Mark Oliver Everett wrote an open letter to the president, inviting him to one of their upcoming shows, hoping to rebuild the bridge that Bush burned when he used the band’s album Daisies of the Galaxy as an example of popular music that sends bad messages to kids. “Mr. President, 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, D.C., concert,” he wrote. As far as I know, the president did not attend. But tonight, imagine Bush standing there next to you while the band play “inappropriate” tunes like “It’s a Motherfucker,” “Son of a Bitch,” and “Old Shit, New Shit,” which are all actually thoughtful songs—not the expletive-laced anthems the Republicans seem to think they are. MEGAN SELING
(Showbox Sodo) Cat Power’s Chan Marshall no longer walks offstage halfway through her live show. She no longer melts down onstage in tears with her head in her shaking hands. She’s collected herself. These days, Chan is all presence and sentience. She’s all voice—that hazy and beautifully pained Georgia voice that coats and sifts into your ears then drifts away like skywriting. This tour, Cat Power is focusing on songs from her latest CD of covers called Jukebox. She’s also letting her four-piece backing band (featuring John Spencer guitarist Judah Bauer) play all the music so she can concentrate that much more on vocals. That’s right, no piano or guitar for Chan. Just vocals and skywriting. And the songs of Joni, Frank, Patsy, and Janis. TRENT MOORMAN
Need more? We got more. Bug in the Bassbin suggests Broken Disco’s one-year anniversary party:
For Broken Disco’s anniversary, the promoters have opted for an all-out party assault, guaranteeing both a sweaty ceiling and noise complaints from Chop Suey’s pesky neighbors. They’re going big, bringing in a slew of out of towners instead of the usual single headliner, representing a pretty wide swath of the all-inclusive Broken Disco sound. Topping the bill is Tittsworth, the D.C.-area DJ who drops a heavy dose of Baltimore club in his catch-all party-jam sets. Former Laptop Battle champion Starkey comes from Philly, roughed-up beats in tow. Portland’s Copy will illustrate the unironic usage of keytar, while Kansas City duo Tactic will kick things off with a set heavy on their own bouncy remixes.
Underage suggests Past Lives at the Old Fire House in Redmond, My Philosophy’s got Flowmotion with Sonny Bonoho at Nectar, and the Score backs the Vera Project show along with Paul Rucker at the Good Shepherd Center.
And finally, if that’s just not enough for you, you can find your own goddamn good time in our calendar.