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Archives for 05/04/2008 - 05/10/2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008

It’s So Hard…

posted by on May 10 at 12:48 PM

Hard Rock at the Comet:


Hard Soul at the Funhouse:


Friday, May 9, 2008

Tonight in Music: Because It’s Better Late Than Never, Right?

posted by on May 9 at 5:25 PM

The show a lot of people around the office seem to be stoked about is Common Market’s EP release show at the Vera Project.

commonmarket.jpgCommon Market photo by Kyle Johnson

From Stranger Suggests:

Common Market at Vera Project
Common Market’s new EP, Black Patch War, contains some of Sabzi’s richest productions. Each detail is lovingly made and expressed. (Listening to it puts me in mind of South London’s Burial, whose attention to detail is supernatural.) RA Scion, Common Market’s rapper, is much more reflective on this effort, his words and thoughts lost in a warm wash of music. Black Patch War stands to be one of the best works of art to come out of Seattle this year. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $7/$8, all ages.) by Charles Mudede

Mudede gave the EP a four-star review in this week’s issue, which you can read here. Larry Mizell also gives the guys some love in My Philosophy:

Then there’s Black Patch War, the new seven-track EP from Common Market—the first new joint from RA Scion and Sabzi since their self-titled ‘05 LP. An appetizer before the full-length Tobacco Road LP drops later this year, BPW finds RA illustrating a link between the bloody history of the early-1900s tobacco farmers’ uprising of the EP’s title and himself, circa right now. On closing track “Bonanza,” Sabzi cuts in lyrics from the underrated ’90s Cali crew the B.U.M.S.—”A lot of suckers always front that we made it by luck”—as RA recounts his grind in the town, from nights performing at the Contour to putting up his own paycheck for prize money at the Sciontific Beatbox Battle (B-Shorty, I see you) a few years back. The entire effort is lyrically dense as hell, calling for repeat listens to decode Scion’s signifying. And Sabzi’s beats are way more boom-bap than his sweeping Bayani Blue Scholars sound.

This week’s Bug in the Bassbin throws you a few suggestions, should Common Market not be your scene. Mochipet and Lusine are playing Broken Disco and Chop Suey and Telephone Jim Jones plays Static Glide at the VIP Room. Read about ‘em here.

And here’s what U&Cs offer up:

scplive.jpgSioux City Pete and the Beggars photo by Ari Spool

Sioux City Pete and the Beggars, Emeralds, the Greatest Hits, Stabbings, Batter Recharger
(Fusion Cafe) Last time I saw Sioux City Pete and the Beggars, they got two songs into their set before their guitarist took off her shirt to reveal the word “Sodomite” written on her lower back. Sioux City Pete himself, a ripped-up crusty dude with the friendly charm of a Midwestern grandma, growled out feral lyrics about shooting crank in a basement over dirty, noisy garage riffs. Eventually, everyone was nearly naked, spitting beer all over each other and rolling around in broken glass (visit The Stranger Flickr pool for pix!). Will this happen at the alcohol-free Fusion Cafe? Hard to say. But I bet the janitors find a bottle of three-star in the bathroom garbage. ARI SPOOL
The Moondoggies, Red Sea Sharks, PWRFL Power
(Funhouse) The Moondoggies set themselves up for a bumpy ride with a name that sounds more like a fictional band in a Cameron Crowe movie than a worthy ’60s-rock revival that’s mastered vintage harmonies and playful, folk-tinged choruses that spiral into blissed-out jam sessions. “The Moondoggies? What’s with this acid-dropping ’60s bullshit?” I thought. “What a stupid name.” While I’m still slightly embarrassed to admit to liking a band with such a moniker, their brighter-than-the-sun songs and animated live show are impressive enough to elevate them from potential guilty pleasure to just pure pleasure. MEGAN SELING

Listen to the Moondoggies:
“Night and Day”

“Keep Her on the Line”

Kate Nash - “Foundations”
Kate Nash
(Showbox at the Market) If I get a chance to talk to Kate at her show, I’m going to tell her about the time the song “Foundations” wedged itself in my subconscious for weeks and I became unbearable to be around. “You said I must eat so many le-mons, cause I am so bit-tah!” I sang to myself in a weird cockney accent on the bus and in the shower, and I’m pretty sure the song played a minor role in a dream subplot. Kate doesn’t just write catchy songs about failing relationships, though. “I use mouthwash/sometimes I floss/I have a family/And I drink cups of tea,” she sings on a song entitled “Mouthwash.” I forgive her. I have no idea what Kate will sound like in concert, but if she sounds even half as good as she does on her CD, it’ll be worth it to you to check her out. STEVEN BLUM

Lastly, Matt Garman wrote an U&C about Lonely Forest’s set at tonight’s Cloud Cult show but sadly, the Lonely Forest are no longer playing. Instead, Cloud Cult has added a second set. You can get tickets at Neumo’s box office.

Find more choices in our online listings.

Ooh, Burn…

posted by on May 9 at 5:05 PM


Bad Band Names Part LXVI In a Never Ending Series: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head

You gonna let Idolator talk to you like that, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head?

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

posted by on May 9 at 4:34 PM

Because I don’t think this has been posted yet Actually, as Eric pointed out, Jeff Kirby posted this last month. I forgot because my brain has died from Sasquatch deadline overdose. But because I like it, here’s the new video for Death Cab’s new nearly-ten-minute single, “I Will Possess Your Heart”… again:

Common Market at Cupcake Royale

posted by on May 9 at 4:22 PM

KEXP took over Ballard today with live-broadcasting from Cupcake Royale and various performances around town. Common Market started things off early at 7:15 am.


Photo by pdgibson, from the Stranger Flickr Pool.

Why Leave It Alone

posted by on May 9 at 4:12 PM

A few weeks ago I found a copy of Five Special’s “Why Leave Us Alone” while diggin through crates of records. I had previously never heard of this track, so I didn’t know what to expect, however with one listen I knew I found a soul flavored disco gem. I wondered why I’d never of heard this track until recently, specially after doing some research and finding that this single broke the top ten of the R & B charts back in 1979 and was also a favorite of Paradise Garage’s Larry Levan. This detroit based group only lasted for a few years during the late 70’s with little success, however, not before putting out a solid dancefloor classic in “Why Leave Us Alone”.

Download Five Special’s 1979 funky soul classic “Why Leave Us Alone” by visiting this site.

My Chemical Romance’s New Record Will Come in a Coffin… Just like Their Fans

posted by on May 9 at 4:05 PM


Yesterday Kirby posted about the 13-year-old girl who killed herself. “Emo” is being blamed for the death, as she was “obsessed” with the band My Chemical Romance. And, as Kirby posted and as the Telegraph reported, “She had secretly chatted to ‘emo’ followers online all over the world, talking about death and the glamorisation of hanging and speaking about ‘the black parade’ - a place where ‘emos’ believe they go after they die.”

The Black Parade is, of course, from the My Chemical Romance record, a concept album based on a cancer patient who died and went to the Black Parade (you know, instead of going to heaven or hell or wherever).

So anyway today, following her death, the band announced details for their upcoming CD+DVD boxset called The Black Parade is Dead.

The special edition will be released with death certificates for each member and “Day of the Dead” masks. It’ll be packaged in a pinewood coffin.

Just like that 13-year old girl.

Oct 8 Cure Tickets Honored May 25 at the Gorge

posted by on May 9 at 12:38 PM

After infuriating hours spent in endless loops with various “customer service” people at Ticketmaster, and fruitless fine-toothed searches on the websites of The Cure and Sasquatch, I finally have an answer for those of us holding tickets to the canceled October 8 Cure date at KeyArena: The original tickets will be honored at the gates at Sasquatch May 25. Live Nation’s John Ogle just confirmed it via e-mail. Fingers now crossed for clear skies and falling stars.

Jug, Not Juggalo

posted by on May 9 at 11:45 AM


Do You Want to be in a Jug Band?

KEXP’s Greg Vandy is looking for people to be in a Roadhouse Jug Band that will perform on the air. So if you play jug, string bass, mouth harp, washboard, tissue paper & comb, or some other homemade instrument such as the cereal box, get in on the action.

To apply, send an e-mail by May 31st to jugband(at) with your name, phone number, preferred jug band instrument(s), and why you think you would be a good for the band. And attach or link to an audio sample of you playing this jug band instrument.

Selected applicants will audition live on Vandy’s KEXP Roadhouse Show (Wednesdays from 6PM to 9PM) in June. Homemade instruments are not necessary.

SubPop 20: I’m Still Waiting

posted by on May 9 at 10:41 AM

“What the hell could you be waiting for?” you ask.

I remember being in the home of former president of SubPop, Rich Jensen, back in 1998 when he announced to me that the label was signing a record deal to distribute the next few albums by the London band Saint Etienne.

I don’t know what he was expecting from me. A passive, “Cool.” Or maybe the reaction that I’m sure the deal got in the rest of the SubPop office, “Who?”

But by the look on my face, he must have known that SubPop had performed a coup that many other small labels were shooting for that year. I was beaming from ear to ear and started jumping around like a little girl who received a bottle drinking/urinating doll at christmas. What a wonderful surprise. I was ecstatic!

SubPop, the label known for it’s aggressive indie, grunge and hard-fucking-rock was signing the most important pop band to come out of London in the last 2 decades. A band that can reflect, remark on the unique culture of London and create history with the turn of a simple phrase.

My autographed copy of Good Humor/Fairfax High. Did I mention liner notes by Douglas Coupland?

So that year saw the release of the watershed in Saint Etienne’s oeuvre, Good Humor/Fairfax High, their amazing and unique double album (now available only as a single disc - just Good Humor). It is essentially the most pop album ever released in SubPop’s history, and as such, I believe is the first time, before Postal Service, that SubPop made it onto club play charts with the first single, “Sylvie”.

“Sylvie” performed live on Top Of The Pops. (Second SubPop band to perform on the venerated british chart show after Nirvana.)

The album was produced by Tore Johansson, who was coming off big hits for The Cardigans, who at the time were starting the wave of Scandinavian bands that would soon be crashing our shores. It was a brilliant time in the history of SubPop, and for their trouble, we got 2 tours of Saint Etienne to hit our city in the following years as the released the Places To Visit EP, the thrilling futuristic Sound Of Water (produced with help by Berlin mini-tech masters To Rococo Rot) and the fantastic re-mastered best of package Travel Edition 1990-2005.

It has been 10 years since this brilliant album was released. nearly 8 years since Saint Etienne has toured anywhere near the Northwest.

SubPop, it is time you honored this band and that album in particular. Fly Saint Etienne to Seattle for your 20th celebrations, and re-release Good Humor/Fairfax High in its full glory once again.

SubPop 20: I’m still waiting to get excited. Give me something to get ecstatic about. Again.

Today’s Music News

posted by on May 9 at 10:09 AM

Go and get your moog on - Stereolab announce US tour

Can’t drive 55 - DMX arrested for reckless driving

Still sticking with David Lynch’s brand - Dave Mustaine expands his coffee empire

Update on the death of the CD - Neil Young and others look to release Blu-Ray CDs

But still not playing SP20 - Vancouver’s Black Halos to release new album

Eurovision: pirates of the sea, 75 cents in my pocket and a 90s beat.

posted by on May 9 at 9:00 AM

Latvia has quite a decent Eurovision trackrecord. They debuted with the charming group Brainstorm in 2000, have since won once (Marie N – I wanna – ESC 2002) and three years ago they sent the cutest display of innocent blond boys (and funniest simultaneous sign language) to date with Walters & Kaza ‘s “The War -or as they sang it “ the wur”- is not over”.
This year Latvia sends Pirates of the Sea (as opposed to Pirates “of the Air” or “of the land” I suppose) with Wolves of the sea. Unfortunately, when they say pirates they actually do mean pirates. This is a traditional Latvian er… pirate song but thankfully we find out that, despite whatever rumours to the contrary, pirates can do choreography. Fancy that. There’s even a lady pirate, and apparently Captain Hook started a new career as a Latvian singer. This song sounds like Aqua, but then on speed (remember Barbie Girl? Or was that only a hit in Europe?) and examines the identity crisis pirates go through when they find out that “pirates are all they can be”. It can’t be easy being born with an eyepatch or a hook for a hand and realising that your future is determined for you. Philosophical food for thought, thanks to this Latvian entry. Thank you, Latvia.

Representing Croatia is Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents with the song Romanca. First off, why 75 cents? Why? What on earth does it mean? And who is 75 cents? The man with the hat? The older guy who mutters things from time to time? The change in their pockets? I doubt we’ll get the answer anytime soon, but my autistic nature has a hard time dealing with this. Anyway, let’s move over to the song. I love this, I don’t know why. Granted, I’m usually a big fan of Croatia. Croatia could send a dressed up dog to Eurovision and I’d probably still vote for them. I loved Danijella (Neka Me Ne Svane - ESC 1998) and Doris Dragovic (Marija Magdalena - ESC 1999) and every Eurovision review I’ll ever write will at some point feature the name Claudia Beni (ESC 2003). I also have a soft spot for songs with a tango-y, gypsy feeling, though that doesn’t always do well at Eurovision, see Jari “Cockring” Silanpaa (Finland ESC 2004) or Ivan & Delfin (Poland ESC 2005). For whatever reason, be it the gypsies, the tango or the old folks, I’m completely, totally and utterly charmed by this song, though I have to admit that -having just listened to the song- already I can’t really remember what it sounded like.

And from one end of the spectrum (real instruments and street musicians) we go to another: Bulgaria sends Deep Zone and Balthazar (again: which is which?) with “DJ, take me away”. Woohoo! It sounds like we’re back in the nineties! Seeing as this is Eurovision, that means we’re still a decade or so ahead of the rest of the contest… The lyrics are as varied as they are thought provoking (“when the lights go down, I need you, DJ please take me away”) and this song reminds me of the trashy stuff I used to listen to when I was in high school (Sash – Encore une fois, 2 Fabiola, etc). Obviously, I love it.

Next up: Denmark, Georgia and Hungary.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Greetings From Beirut! An Interview with Zach Condon

posted by on May 8 at 6:00 PM


A month ago, Beirut abruptly cancelled their upcoming European summer tour, leaving them with just a half dozen West Coast dates, including Sasquatch!, to fulfill. The band posted a letter from bandleader Zach Condon expressing his surprise and appreciation for the band’s success (“the past two years have been a mindblowing experience”), his desire “to do everything as big as possible” with the band he’d begun in his bedroom, and his subsequent exhaustion with his own outsized ambition. He concluded, “It’s come time to change some things, reinvent some others, and come back at some point with a fresh perspective and batch of songs. Please accept my apologies. I promise we’ll be back, in some form.”

This afternoon, Condon gave the Stranger his first interview since that announcement. It’ll appear in its entirety in our upcoming guide to the Sasquatch Music Festival, but a couple things seemed worth sharing now. Like, just what has Condon been up to for the last month?

So you’re working on a new record?

Yeah, a new one, one that I’m actually working on right now as we speak. I went down to Mexico to do that, and I’m going back soon, after this tour—finishing what I’ve started.

Have you been hearing a lot of, like, Mariachi or Norteno there?

Actually, it’s not Mariachi or Norteño that I’ve been listening to. The story is: I was going to do this soundtrack, but I ended up not doing it, because they wanted more of a string quartet kind of feel, and I couldn’t do that. But the reference material they sent me was all from the far south of Mexico, Oaxaca. It was all these bands that consisted entirely of Zapotec natives, and they were all doing these kind of dirgey funeral marches with 17 piece brass bands. There was something so naïve and martial in that music that I really fell in love with. It had nothing to do, actually, with Mariachi or Norte ño. To be honest, it sounded more like what Klezmer music is supposed to be or something. The raw exposed nerve of the music really struck a chord with me, maybe that will do it some justice.

Do you have any plans for a title or a date for a release? Will you be debuting some songs at Sasquatch?

Yeah. I’ve come back with a small batch of songs that we’re going to start performing right away. I’m going back for more, but at the moment, there’s at least an EPs worth. I expect to release it maybe in the fall, but I to be honest I don’t know. You can put that down, I’m going to try for the fall.

There’s much more. Look for the complete interview in the Stranger’s Sasquatch guide, out next week.

The Big Man. Or, Excuse Me Demis, But You Have Some Lady In Your Beard

posted by on May 8 at 5:29 PM

Quite the departure from my post yesterday, but….

I love Demis Roussos’ disco tracks. I was lucky enough to come across his albums Magic and Demis Roussos, yestereday, all from the heyday of the 70’s, a very prolific time for Mr. Roussos.

His voice is so over-the-top and dramatic it’s no wonder many a Brit on holiday came home with his albums in the 70’s when leisure time and better economics finally afforded them the luxury of travel outside their own country. It must have been so exotic in comparison with their milquetoast 70’s pop.

Here is Demis doing some of his best disco tunes. I never really see this AMAZING solo cover of the track he did to help launch Vangelis’ solo career, “Let It Happen”, around. It is totally incredible. It sounds completely modern. This is the best version of this song.

Check out the cover art for Demis’ self-titled album. The ladies in his beard are a brilliant touch!

I think he needs a shave. He’s got something growing in there….

Ryan Trudell of Truckasauras: Korg MS20

posted by on May 8 at 4:41 PM

Ryan Trudell of Truckasauras displays his new Ebay find – a Korg MS20 analog synthesizer. Machine and man have fallen for each other. Hand in duel-oscillator monophonic hand. The MS-20 is portable and patchable. Ryan likes it because you can run other things through it such as guitar, beats, or samples, and tweak them into next week:

Royce da 5’9” - Cancelled! GODDAMMIT!

posted by on May 8 at 3:27 PM

Sorry Mr. Martin- he’s not comin to Studio Seven tonite.


“Due to last minute scheduling and prior commitments, I cannot participate in the ‘Sacrificial Lambs’ tour,” Royce Da 5’9” said in a statement. “I’m in the final stages of finishing up my album Street Hop and mix CD the Bar Exam 2 as well as readying my first single and video from the album. I’m also in the midst of planning my fall tour that will go throughout the US, Canada and Europe starting in September to support my new projects. Please check my MySpace page for further details.”

Ahem. Meanwhile, Esham’s Detroit “acid-rap” click Natas has been added to the bill. Have fun.

Spring is the Time for Power Pop

posted by on May 8 at 2:48 PM


For maximum enjoyment of sunny spring days in Seattle, listen to these songs, in this order, all day long.

1. Cheap Trick, “Come On, Come On” (studio version)
2. The Lightning Seeds, “All I Want”
3. The Lightning Seeds, “Pure”
4-13. The entirety of Marshall Crewshaw’s Field Day
14. Cheap Trick, “If You Want My Love”
15. Cheap Trick, “Surrender” (live version)

This is How I Dance to “Myxamatosis”

posted by on May 8 at 2:08 PM

On the MHD channel, MTV/VH1/CMT/Viacom play anything with the words “music” and “high-def,” and the content is typically bland: pop-country videos, mainstream hip-hop videos, awful Unplugged series concerts, full-length concerts starring the Pussycat Dolls. So I’m still not sure how something this good showed up on the channel the other day: From The Basement, Nigel Godrich’s intimate TV concert series. They don’t show this in the states, from what I can tell, except when the show dedicates its full hour to Radiohead.

Radiohead seem like the ultimate subject for this treatment—no massive arena, no overblown stage lighting. Just a small studio, some buddies mildly applauding between songs, and a beautiful rug to spaz out upon. I’m actually frightened by how similarly Thom Yorke and I digest the grinding rhythm of “Myxamatosis” via awkward dance: The opening bit where he thrusts forward and backward like MC Hammer on crack, then the side-to-side head bob, the wrist-flicks as if he were flinging bottle caps… if he kicked the air as if dribbling an invisible soccer ball, I’d have myself a doppelganger.

The thing isn’t that he’s dancing all that oddly—he’s keeping still half the time, ya know. But you can tell that there’s a different kind of comfort here, as if he believes nobody else is around, and the rest of the band shares this sort of isolated glee throughout the show, whether mouthing along to lyrics, scooting toward each other for guitar solo passages, or letting a dumb headbang emerge on occasion. This is my kind of Radiohead—the kind I hear and respond to when I’m alone in the music room, shuffling around in isolation with no worry that someone will see me fling my arms around as if I’m painting the fence.

MHD is showing this episode on repeat, and I think VH1 is squeezing the gig between reality show sandwiches as well. Boy. Sure would be cool if From The Basement episodes like this saw regular American airplay.

Eddy Arnold Is Dead

posted by on May 8 at 1:30 PM


The country-pop superstar died today at age 89. Arnold’s crooning voice and smooth songs helped to shepherd in the Nashville Sound, creating crossover success for country music on the pop charts.

I don’t listen to much Eddy Arnold (I generally like my country as honky-tonk as it can get), but he has a special place in my heart because he’s one of my dad’s favorite singers, and we listened to him all the time in our car when I was a kid. My sister and I couldn’t stand the yodel-heavy “Cattle Call” at the time, but I’ve since been known to listen to it many times on repeat. It’s an awfully pretty song.

Is My Chemical Romance the New ICP?

posted by on May 8 at 1:17 PM


The Telegraph UK just reported on the suicide of a 13 year old Emo girl in England:

Hannah Bond, 13, hanged herself from a bunk bed in her bedroom with a tie believing her death would impress fellow followers of the “emo” movement, it was said.

The article continues:

She had secretly chatted to “emo” followers online all over the world, talking about death and the glamorisation of hanging and speaking about “the black parade” - a place where “emos” believe they go after they die.

On her page on Bebo, the online networking site, she told friends with names like Sam Suicide, that she was obsessed with the American band My Chemical Romance, who hit number one with their last album The Black Parade.

Man, “Emo” sure has changed since I was 16 singing Something to Write Home About in my car. When did genres of music morph into a lifestyles, then into spiritual beliefs? The only comparable example to this new My Chemical Afterlife is Insane Clown Posse and their “Dark Carnival.” From Urban Dictionary:

The Dark Carnival is a supernatural Earthbound force. Eternally it roams collecting and judging the dead souls, and taking them to their final destination. It is what spreads he word of God eternally, so if anyone had told you of God or Jesus, it was by the will of the Carnival. It is called the Carnival because that is the way it adapted, it has become a great circus-like force because of the way it has been set up by God and the people who have been called to it. It also sets a bound for acceptance to all you would have to enhibit to be a part. Holy or evil, those who would turn away from strange ideas are not the type of people needed and sought out by the Carnival.

The Carnival has not always been around, it is fairly recent. It was creation, made for the purpose of the end of the world. Armageddon is believed to Juggalos to be coming very soon, now that the six have fallen, we are in a calm, and the Storm (the Tempest) is soon to come. The Carnival is the force that will destroy Hell and Earth to make way for a more perfect world, but that presents a problem In such dark times there are many more in hell than will be fighting them, and the Carnival acts as sort of a draft for this war of good versus evil. Those who will fight are those who were lost from the word of God, or those who were full of hate and sin, who were then saved and made faithful. They were the perfect candidates, they were Juggalos.

“The Black Parade” and “the Dark Carnival”… looks like Emos and Juggalos have more in common then they might have thought.

Space is the Face

posted by on May 8 at 10:39 AM

Do you know James Pants? The question’s come up in some comments threads here lately, and, yeah, you should be getting to know the Spokane-based (Spokane!?!) producer/Dj/multi-instrumentalist. He’s releasing his debut full-length, Welcome later this month on esteemed indie-hip hop label Stones Throw, he’s touring the West Coast with Jamie Lidell, he’s remixed Too Short, and word on the street is he’ll be hitting Seattle in June. Also, he’s apparently an ’80s electro alien from the planet Dim Sum. Now you know.

Tonight in Music: Royce da 5’9”, Minus the Bear, the Rippingtons

posted by on May 8 at 9:00 AM

Minus the Bear - “Knights”
Minus the Bear, Portugal. The Man, the Big Sleep
(Showbox at the Market) It took a laser show to make me realize how much I like Minus the Bear’s latest album, Planet of Ice. Upon first listening to their 2007 release, I was too critical of the songs, which are more psychedelic and stoner-rock inspired than anything the local quintet have done before. Songs like “Throwin’ Shapes” and “Ice Monster” still boast the band’s token technical, cinematic mellow rock, but tracks like “Knights” are driven by fluid, wah-wah guitar solos that shoot off into space. It might not sound as intriguing when listened to at a desk lit up with soul-sucking fluorescents, but once you’re in a laser-lit room filled with fog and the subtle waft of weed from your neighbors’ preshow high, their sonic voyages come together fantastically. MEGAN SELING

Listen to Minus the Bear:
“Throwin’ Shapes”


Listen to Portugal. The Man:
“Stables and Chairs”


The Rippingtons
(Jazz Alley) The contemporary (read: rockingly smooth) jazz outfit the Rippingtons, led by guitarist/nominal frontman Russ Freeman, have proven to be one of the most enduring and successful bands to span the gap from the dog days of jazz fusion to the full-blown smooth jazz of the late ’80s and beyond. While their overall aesthetic is generally quite objectionable (every one of their record covers for the last two decades has featured their bebop-shaded cartoon-cat mascot), I have found great personal gratification in their 1994 record, Sahara (technically credited to “Russ Freeman & the Rippingtons,” but why split hairs?). There is really no better antidote for early-morning, beginning-work doldrums than Sahara’s earnest, NBA-on-NBC-style exultancy and occasionally laugh-out-loud musical turns. Plus, the cover has the cartoon cat face superimposed on the sphinx. Tadow! SAM MICKENS

Click to listen to the Rippingtons via


Also tonight is one of Larry Mizell’s faves, Royce da 5’9”. From this week’s My Philosophy:

Hold the fuckin’ phone! One of my favorite MCs of all time, Royce da 5’9”, is actually coming to Studio Seven on Thursday, May 8, (with Alpha P, Mind Movers, and another Detroit legend, Esham)! I’m a veterano Royce stan, fool—from the Slim Shady LP to his Game 12-inch singles to his mixtapes—I think the first thing I ever wrote was a review of Death Is Certain for Tablet some five years ago…
Royce da 5’9” - “Rock City” featuring Eminem

And hey! There’s even more to be found in our online listings! Take a look.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

About Robyn in This Week’s Issue…

posted by on May 7 at 4:05 PM

Swedish pop darling Robyn, profiled here in this weeks’ Stranger has postponed her scheduled Seattle show in favor of playing the View. Pitchfork reports:

Alas, Robyn’s time with “The View” has forced her to push planned dates in Portland on May 13 at Berbati’s Pan and Seattle May 14 at Neumos back to August to accommodate the taping. That’s a bummer, Pac NW, but think about it this way: there’s another North American Robyn tour in the works, and it is definitely coming your way.

Maybe we’ll just publish a link to our archives for that one.

The New Welsh Wall of Sound

posted by on May 7 at 4:05 PM

Sometimes—either by mistake or because someone doesn’t understand what the “Book” in “Books Editor” stands for—CDs land in my box of incoming to-be-reviewed books. I usually listen to them, if just to see what’s passing for new musical acts these days.

Today, I got a copy of Rockferry, by Duffy. Thanks to her freakishly detailed Wikipedia page, I now know that Duffy is Welsh and once, when she was a child, she was put in a safe house because a hit man was called out on her famliy. Also, she was elected president of her Students’ Union.

But I really, really like the album. It’s kind of got a Dusty Springfield feel to it, with some wall of sound and some R&B mixed in. A couple of the songs echo older songs—“Hanging on too Long” is only a note or two away from “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” for example—but the whole thing feels like a nice late-sixties groove. It makes me glad that it’s kind of shitty outside today. Here’s the title track:

SP20 Update: Eric’s Trip Added to Sub Pop Birthday Bash

posted by on May 7 at 3:34 PM


Bringing the line-up for the two day festival in Redmond’s Marymoor Park to this:

Saturday: Flight of the Conchords / The Vaselines / Iron & Wine / Low / Fleet Foxes / Mudhoney / The Fluid / The Helio Sequence / Eric’s Trip / Seaweed / Pissed Jeans

Sunday: Green River / Wolf Parade / Beachwood Sparks / Les Thugs / Foals / No Age / Red Red Meat / Comets on Fire / Kinski / Grand Archives / The Ruby Suns

And the weekend’s in-city shows to:

Friday, July 11 @ the Moore Theatre: SP20 Comedy Show w/ Patton Oswalt, Eugene Mirman, Todd Barry, and surprise guests

Saturday, July 12 @ The Showbox
The Gutter Twins and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

Sad Kermit - “Needle in the Hay”

posted by on May 7 at 2:26 PM

(ht Stereogum)

Wendy Carlos - Switched-On Brandenburgs

posted by on May 7 at 2:05 PM


Before 1968, when a new version of a piece of classical, and specifically baroque, music was produced, it often happened in the same way. Example:

A) Take a piece of baroque music, written for the harpsichord, transcribe it for string quartet, woodwind sextet, small string chamber orchestra….

B) Record, and release album with copious notes on how you came to make what decisions, in which instrument would get to play which lines, hardly varying from previous work done by similar artists….

C) Wait for the stodgy classical world to throw accolades upon you for your perseverance and hard work in the challenges of transcribing and recording a piece that had already been transcribed and recorded thousands of times before.

All that changed in 1968.

Wendy Carlos, then going under her given birth name, Walter Carlos, with the help of Robert Moog, recorded and released Switched-On Bach. Using multiple tracks to record all the parts of the various pieces from Bach’s cannon, Carlos created one of the first versions of classical music performed entirely on sythesizers.

At first, deemed a gimmick by the classical community, that same community as a whole must have been aghast as Carlos went on to become the first classical artist to have an album of work go Gold (sell 500,000 copies) then Platinum (1,000,000 copies) in the following years. Switched-On Bach went on to win three Grammy awards in the classical music categories, one of which was Best Classical Album, the classical category version of “Album Of The Year”.

Upon first hearing these works, many received them as “gimmicky”, and in fact to this day some people see them as oddities (just look at the reviewer for who calls her work “quirky”, “hilarious” and “wacky”). But while many in the classical world stood aghast at what Carlos had done, bringing, essentially, a pop music instrument in to the lofty world of classical music, others valiantly stood up for her and her recordings. Glenn Gould once wrote of Wendy’s Bach recordings (incidentally on the back of her Well Tempered Synthesizer LP), “Carlos’s realization of the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto is, to put it bluntly, the finest performance of any of the Brandenburgs—live, canned, or intuited—I’ve ever heard.”

Special note should be taken of the fact that at the same time Wendy Carlos was releasing her first seven albums,all released under the name Walter Carlos, she was hiding the fact that in 1967, before Switched-On Bach, the first album, was released, Walter had had sex reassignment surgery, becoming Wendy. Because essentially these were recorded works that took hours of studio time, but could never be performed live, the secret stayed safe. Until 1979 when Wendy came out with the released the double album of all six Brandenburg Concertos, Switched-On Brandenburgs: The Complete Concertos under the name Wendy Carlos.

Carlos has a fantastic essay on her personal website titled “On Prurient Matters” which details her feelings about anyone dwelling on this topic alone. (Interesting note to Seattle NPR liberals: the essay includes a link to a list of people on Wendy’s Hall of Shame for their Cruelty in discussing matters of gender which includes the names Ira Glass [“Demonstrates sexual hang-ups, and little or no empathy”] and Sarah Vowell [“Has a sexual axe to grind, and needs sensitivity training”]) And by Wendy’s own advice I shall leave the topic at that.

Well, except to say if you ‘d like to read a fantastic essay on electronic music and sexual transgression you should pick up Peter Shapiro’s Turn The Beat Around and read chapter 3, “Like Clones And Robots That We Are” which nicely sums up why so many “outsiders” come to electronic music to find community.


On to the Brandenburgs themselves.

Wendy Carlos’ recordings are spectacular. They don’t just mimic the sounds of a string or woodwind orchestra. They clearly define each line, each phrase, each note with a clarity that is truly phenomenal.

Yes there are “violin”-like and “harpsichord”-escque sounds and “flute”-like passages, but while these are pleasant enough, Carlos also surprises by throwing in phrases performed with gusto by angular synths that surprise and delight in their reverb and force, chewing into movements giving them that slightly spaced out effect that sends Bach from well-grounded and dated sounds into the futuristic space that Carlos carved out for herself.

Add to this that the Moog synthesizer was not the most predictable instrument to play(to this day some Mini Moogs are often found to have tuning that is slightly off-pitch), sometimes requiring multiple tracks to just get “chords”. Anyone who has fooled around with Moogs knows they don’t like legato sounds very much and often needed to be forced to except fingers moving from one key to the next.

Never mind the limitless ability of the synthesizers to “create” synthetic sounds in the first place. The number of choices for sound and the way they were made must have been daunting in itself, add to that the performance and production of such a monumental work and you can get a feel for what an astonishing album this was to create.

The clarity and beauty with which these concertos speak is wonderful and can be recommended to anyone who enjoys both electronic and classical music. But don’t stop there, if you hate classical, or dislike electronic music, listen to these concertos, and Ms. Carlos’ work in general to have your ears and senses opened up. That, I believe, is exactly what Bach would have wanted them to sound like today, if he was still alive.

Lively, prophetic, intriguing and beautiful. All thing, the master himself was, reiterated by the new master of her genre, Wendy Carlos.

Samples of some of the Brandenburgs can be found here.

The Sound of Ray Martinez

posted by on May 7 at 1:29 PM

It’s safe to say that I just fell in love with Ray Martinez and every single track that he produced in the 1970’s. From Amant’s “If There’s Love” to Passion’s classic “Don’t Bring Back Memories”, from George McCrae’s “Kiss Me (The Way I Like It)” to his solo cut of “The Natives Are Restless”, Martinez made a name for himself as a break through disco producer and musician during the 1970’s. Helping solidify the “Miami Sound” of the late 70’s, this Cuban native went onto create Miami based Paris International Records where he released records by Amant, Celi Bee, and others. Overall, Martinez is a dance music icon that helped influence disco and dance music forever.

Click Here to download a couple of Ray Martinez’s produced songs, including Passion’s classic “Don’t Bring Back Memories” and Amant’s “If There’s Love”.

The Culmination of Nerdy Admiration

posted by on May 7 at 1:09 PM

Harptallica is playing the Funhouse tonight. What is Harptallica, you ask? Well it’s exactly what it sounds like:

The All Harp Tribute to Metallica

Harptallica began in early 2006 when Ashley Toman, a grad student at the Eastman School of Music, decided to arrange one Metallica song, “Fade to Black,” for two harps. Somehow this turned into 10 Metallica Songs and a CD which they recorded in November, 2006. The CD, titled “Harptallica,” will contain songs from “Ride the Lightning,” “Master of Puppets,” “…And Justice for All,” and “Metallica.”

Also playing the Funhouse tonight are 13th Grade and video game cover band Press Start to Rock, of whom Sam M. remarked:

They’re an instrumental four-piece out of Kirkland who specialize in “rock” versions of old video game background music, much like national acts The Advantage or The Minibosses. PStR are, by far, the worst band I’ve ever seen. And I absolutely loved them.

Poll: Waive or No Waive?

posted by on May 7 at 12:05 PM

According to several people who were at the show, King Cobra waived the cover charge last Friday when the place was empty. By night’s end, the room was full. They passed a hat around so the bands could make some money. From yesterday’s comments on Payout: The Split:

wave.jpgWhen the first band started the place was pretty empty so the club waived the cover charge. By the end of the night the club was full. All those folks were buying lots of drinks. The bands had to “pass the hat” to raise money. When confronted the club said the bands were lucky to get the $$ from the passing of the hat. Bullshit move by King Cobra.

Statement from King Cobra booker, Jason Rothman:

We did in fact pay the bands at the end of the night. It is true they passed the hat too, but I PERSONALLY gave the lead singer of Blackie (a blondie tribute band) $100. Now that is far from a windfall, but it is definately $100 more than anyone would have received if the club owners did not do something to get people in there.

If you have any question about how we treat bands ask Neon Nights,
 Brent Amaker & the Rodeo,
 Tennis Pro,
 Iceage Cobra, the Whore Moans,
 the Greatest Hits,
the Cute Lepers,
 Strong Killings,
 the Pharmacy,
 or the Pleasureboaters
 to name a few. I am willing to bet they will tell you a much different story about how they were treated. All we were trying to do was create a situation so bands could (and in fact did) get paid.

Update interview of Jason and owner Che Sabado. They said:

From 8 to 10:30 there were no paid customers. By 10:45 we were sending employees home. Those are employees who lost wages. It was a terrible night numbers wise. We waived the cover and tried to make the best out of a bad situation.

Which room would you rather play?

Today’s Music News

posted by on May 7 at 11:57 AM

Gang of Two - Gang of Four loses rhythm section

Daily update on the virtues of urine therapy - R Kelly finally in court

Wait, Amy Winehouse does drugs? - British singer arrested for using crack

Sting pulls the plug on the wrong music endeavor - The Police announce final show

Decline of Western Civilization pt.3 - Korn’s Fieldy Snuts publishes autobiography

Still not much help to those still living in the CD age - Elvis Costello’s vinyl/download-only album now streaming online

Styx Frontman Dennis DeYoung Creates A(nother) Rock n’ Roll Hunchback

posted by on May 7 at 10:19 AM


That’s right: Ten years after Seattle’s legendarily horrible Hunchback tried to cast Victor Hugo’s classic as a rock n’ roll musical, Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung is set to open his own “exciting musical version” of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Chicago’s Bailiwick Repertory Theatre.

Of course this isn’t DeYoung’s first theatrical experiment—he was the driving force behind Styx’s high-tech, exposition-heavy Kilroy Was Here live show, each of which began with this amazing 9-minute intro film:

“You can’t stop the music, you bastards!”
“I’m Jonathan Chance!”
“Oh, my balls!”

Good luck to everyone everywhere.

Eurovision: Celebrate, let’s celebrate

posted by on May 7 at 9:59 AM

As a nice intermezzo in the doom and gloom that is -generally speaking- this second semi, I present you with the fantastic promo video for Iceland (thanks, Abby). What do you mean “Quit plugging Iceland”? Check it out.

Right, now that’s over and done with: For Switzerland, Paolo Meneguzzi sings Era Stupendo. When Switzerland does well in Eurovison, it’s usually because they’re sending someone who’s not actually Swiss. The most famous example of this is Celine Dion who won in 1988 with “Ne partez pas sans moi (laissez moi vous suuuuuuiiiiiiivre)”. In 2005 they got another rare decent result when they sent an Estonian girlband singing about their friendship with a caged tiger (Vanilla Ninja – Cool vibes). Sending people from other (preferably European) nationalities is one of the many desperate vote-grabbing measures that exist in Eurovision. In 2006 Switzerland outdid themselves by sending Six4One, six singers from six different nationalities with the nausea-inducing song “If we all give a little”. The title alone says it all, doesn’t it.
The Swiss have not had much luck in recent Eurovision years, mainly because they’ve been sending utter crap. How else can we describe Six4One, or the unintentionally hilarious “Piero and the Musicstars” (how’s that for a band name!) with the amazing “Celebrate”. Wait for the moment where the Musicstars keep chanting “celebrate, let’s celebrate” while they’re out of breath. Oh, and let’s not forget DJ Bobo! Worldfamous in er… Europe (or just Switzerland and the Benelux?) who threw a tantrum when he didn’t qualify from the semi-final with “Vampires are alive” last year. I’m sure many a vampire was disappointed.
Era Stupendo is the third ballad in a row, so one of these will probably cancel the others out. This year Switzerland chose a singer from San Remo who will charm the ladies and men. Just look at that earnest face. The funny thing is that at one point a totally unrelated powerdance class seems to start behind Paolo, but he –ever the professional - doesn’t mind, he just keeps singing. I wonder if the choreographer just re-used parts of DJ Bobo’s Vampires dance. It does look that way.

Czech Republic sends a girl named Tereza Kerndlova with the song “have some fun”. Oh I detest songtitles that immediately tell me what to do. No, I will not have fun, unless I very well *want* to, ok, Tereza? As you can tell my hackles were raised before poor Tereza could start singing and I can’t say I reviewed my opinion once she did. Ugh. This girl looks good, as do her backing dancers (her backing singers look good as well, but they’ve been camouflaged in black, like all backing singers), but their outfits come straight from Sluts-R-us. I think it’s the same shop Poland’s representatives from last year (the Jet Set, a bunch of 16-year-olds dancing in a cage, shouting “let’s party, you’ve got the right to party”. Oh, I’ll party, just not with you) went to. And don’t get me started on the quality of the song, let alone the singing. I hope she took some singing lessons, if not… well, if not this could become pretty damned funny.

Representing Belarus is Ruslan Alenho with Hasta La Vista. Ukraine debuted in Eurovision with that very same title back in 2003. Their act consisted of a rocket, a couple of ballerinas and mock rock-opera. If that isn’t promising, I don’t know what is. I don’t know why this seems to be such a common song title, Terminator must be pretty hot over in Belarus/Ukraine. Belarus has only been taking part in Eurovision since 2004 with the hilarious “My Galileo”. The fun lay mostly in trying to figure out what they were singing about (I actually quite liked it), the year after they sent the high camp (Baroque gay boys) of Angelica Agurbash and last year they sent a Princess Diana lookalike with a Bond-esque song. This year it’s the perfect son-in-law singing a run of the mill song about a girl. The “live” videos I found all show him on his own standing on the stage. Er.. if that’s the performance they’ll be doing in Belgrade it’s not going to do much, he really doesn’t have the charisma to just stand there, sway a little and get votes. His official video however, was a better idea, because there we see Ruslan in the middle of an orgy/bal masqué practically having to fight off gorgeous women (why, did someone spike their drinks?). Bring the girls to Eurovision, Ruslan.

Next time:Latvia, Croatia and Bulgaria

Slog Happy: Not Just For Rhythmless Nerds!

posted by on May 7 at 9:56 AM

So, Slog Happy is tomorrow night, and Line Outers are of course welcome too. In fact, the musical portions of Slog Happy are going to be pretty kick ass, so you’d do well to consider dropping by. Web Shaman/Shade Parser Nick Scholl will once again be providing tunes on the 0s and 1s (last month’s selections ranged from Hercules & Love Affair to En Vogue).

If that weren’t enough, the winners of our first ever Slog Trivia will receive a handful of critically approved compact discs, including:






(Actually, I have some reservations about MIA-jacking, Ashlee Simpson-songwriting, former A&R rep Santogold—maybe give it to whomever doesn’t quite pull their weight on your winning team.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Devotchka and Zeke Added to Block Party Line-Up

posted by on May 6 at 11:15 PM

Just announced for the Capitol Hill Block Party: DeVotchKa, Grand Ole Party, Zeke, Thee Emergency, Voyager One, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, Feral Children, Sleepy Eyes Of Death, Truckasaurus, Black Elk, New Faces, and Angelo Spencer.

This brings the line-up to:

Friday July 25th

Vampire Weekend
Les Savy Fav
Girl Talk
Jay Reatard
The Dodos
Thee Emergency
Past Lives
Black Eyes And Neck Ties
Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head
Pwrfl Power
Champagne Champagne
Black Elk
Talbot Tagora

Saturday July 26th

The Hold Steady
Kimya Dawson
Kay Kay And His Weathered Underground
Grand Ole Party
Darker My Love
The Builders And The Butchers
The Heavy Hearts
The Hands
Voyager One
Velella Velella
Sleepy Eyes Of Death
The Physics
Man Plus
Feral Children
New Faces
Angelo Spencer

Even more bands will be announced June 2. For ticket information, visit

For Thirsty Thurston

posted by on May 6 at 6:20 PM

urinetherapy.jpgIn response to Kirby’s earlier post:

Urine Therapy and the first World Conference on Urine Therapy:

The basic definition of “urine therapy” is using (your own) urine internally or externally as a way to aid or sustain your health. Urine therapy, which includes drinking, injecting, massaging with, and/or bathing in urine, is an ancient practice that is used today, not only in times of sickness, but also in times of good health for preventive health maintenance. It has been claimed to have proven helpful in a great number of varying illnesses, ranging from a simple cold and a throat-ache, to tuberculosis and asthma, from minor skin problems such as itching to major skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and even skin cancer. – jeff lowe


1. Midstream urine should be used.

2. Urine should be sipped like tea and not drunk like water.

3. The first flow of the day is the most important.

4. When you feel mentally prepared to attempt the actual practice, collect some fresh urine and start by rubbing your hands with it.

Commence Pants Crapping…NOW!

posted by on May 6 at 6:02 PM

I heard a rumor from the hottest source in Seattle that one of the bands playing the upcoming SP20 Fest is…

Ready yet?





Payout: The Split and Your $37

posted by on May 6 at 1:28 PM

split.jpgYour band plays a local show. It’s a Wednesday night, you’ve hustled on self-promoting and there was a decent turnout to see you. You made posters, hung them yourself, and made sure people were there. For a school night, it’s a good show.

The end of the night arrives and you are handed an envelope with $37 in it. The posters you made cost you $30. The manager says, “Sorry, the headliner (who no one came to see) had a guarantee, and we took $50 for the posters.” $50 for the posters? The club didn’t put posters up. You saw one poster in the bathroom that the club made. You tell the manager about the posters you hung and he says, “Sorry.”

It was a four-band bill, after the headliner and poster fee, they split the money evenly between the other three bands. You give your band members $5 each and consider it a good promotional show – “To get the name out there.”

Other clubs pay the bands after the bar makes a certain amount. Some clubs pay a percentage of the door. The club has costs. There are sound engineers, bookers, and promoters to pay, lights and equipment to run, and employees to pay.

Sometimes the bands that have made the club money don’t make money themselves. But it’s worth it, because you had a good show, and hopefully you can get a weekend show there and make some money.

One question – who keeps the club honest? It sure seems like you should have made more than $37.

Cold to Rascal

posted by on May 6 at 1:18 PM


I just listened to Dizzee Rascal’s latest CD, Math and English, and was stimulated by one track, “World Outside,” mildly stimulated by another, “Sirens,” and cold to the rest. The problem? Like much of Rascal’s work, it lacks an aesthetic or creative program. The CD goes all over the place in a restless search of a hit single. His hunger for a hit has grown. The substance of his raps has shrunk. The genre he channeled to America is more and more looking like a dead end for hiphop. Let’s return our attention to dubstep. It has a real hero with a real program.

My Bloody Valentine Reunion Tour Coming Nowhere Near Seattle

posted by on May 6 at 12:20 PM


My Blood Valentine announced some North American tour dates today. Closest they come to Seattle is San Francisco:

09-19-21 Monticello, NY - Kutshers Country Club (ATP New York)

09-22 New York, NY - Roseland
09-23 New York, NY - Roseland
09-25 Toronto, Ontario - Ricoh
09-27 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
09-30 San Francisco, CA - The Concourse
10-01 Los Angeles, CA - Santa Monica Civic
10-02 Los Angeles, CA - Santa Monica Civic

Damn. But, hey, instead we get Velvet Revolver side-project Stone Temple Pilots! Sigh.

Second Cloud Cult Show Added

posted by on May 6 at 12:12 PM

This Friday’s Cloud Cult show sold out, so the band added a second show—they’ll play at 9:15 pm (opener Kid Dakota will go on at 8:30 pm) and then they’ll follow that up with another set at 11 pm (no opener for the second show).

Tickets are available at Neumo’s at TicketsWest, They’re $15 adv and $17 DOS.

See Sound Lounge Robbed

posted by on May 6 at 12:06 PM


From Bryce at See Sound Lounge:

That¹s right we were cleaned out last night. Flat screen TVs, turntables, amps, cdjs monitors, etc. etc.

The most standout piece is a blue Turbosound processor which no on else likely has locally.

Please hit me up if anyone comes across a pile of used gear in the near future (especially from a dodgey source).


I Never Thought I’d Say This…

posted by on May 6 at 11:34 AM

But I feel like listening to some ABBA.

And of course…
“Take a Chance On Me”

Maybe it’s my Swedish heritage causing the craving… should I be ashamed?

You Take Some Pretty Pictures

posted by on May 6 at 11:25 AM

There are too many good ones to choose just one, so here are a few current favorite music shots from the Stranger’s Flickr Pool.

Facciamo Un Gioco


by The Headless Horseman

Tom Hagerman of Devotchka


by Angelynseattle

Champagne Champagne


by Rabid Child Images

Have you uploaded your photos yet?

The Fountain of Youth

posted by on May 6 at 11:13 AM



“Thurston Moore does not look like he is 50. You know how he does it? He drinks his urine. If doing that makes you look as good as he does when you’re 50 I’m going to start drinking my pee for sure.”

Buh-scuse me? I tried finding some proof of this on the internet but there was nothing. The person who said it was completely serious. Anybody know the scoop? Where did this rumor come from?

Silent But Deadly

posted by on May 6 at 11:11 AM


The successful “stealthy” release of the last Raconteurs album has, in typical music industry fashion, been co-opted by people who have no idea what they’re doing. Apparently, the next Beck album will be “stealthily” released in the next month or so. Take that, illegal music downloaders!

Strategy aside: Beck. You know, I was kind of fond of Guero. It felt like a nice, poppy summer album. And Guerolito, the remix album, was, you know, okay. It reminded me of how the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion used to release remix albums that were supposed to be “fucked-up” chopped and channeled versions, but really were just kind of aurally challenging messes. The Information, with its DIY cover, seemed irrelevant from the moment I opened the package. I think that, if Beck wants to have a future, he should stop trying to be Bob Dylan and start trying to be Neil Diamond. His creepy Scientology-issued sincerity would be the perfect breeding ground for the “Sweet Caroline” of the new millennium. And, whether you acknowledge it or not, the new millennium desperately needs a new “Sweet Caroline.”

Tonight in Music: Does it Offend You, Yeah?, the B-52s, Prize Country

posted by on May 6 at 11:00 AM

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - “We Are Rockstars”
Yo Majesty, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Champagne Champagne, LA Kendall
(Neumo’s) Okay, so points deducted for excessive punctuation and evoking Austin Powers, but Does It Offend You, Yeah? for the most part, don’t. (And they claim the name is David Brent from BBC’s The Office, anyway.) “We Are Rockstars” is a convincing declaration, switching abruptly but satisfyingly from cowbell and synth gnarl to an insanely hooky vocodered chorus. Elsewhere on debut album You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into, the band flirt with pretty vapid runway rock (“Dawn of the Dead”), Daft Punked electro vamps (“Weird Science”), and Rapturous punk-funk howl (“Let’s Make Out”). Nothing impresses anywhere near as much as that chorus on “We Are Rockstars” (you are humming it right now), but I bet it all looks pretty good on the dance floor. ERIC GRANDY
B-52s - “Funplex”
The B-52s
(Showbox at the Market) Funplex is the first record the B-52s have released in 16 years, and songs like the title track, “Dancing Now,” “Keep This Party Going,” and “Love in the Year 3000” prove that the band haven’t lost their knack for a good party. The whole album is about dancing, shaking, shimmying, and turning on everyone and everything around you. But the songs aren’t as memorable as the band’s goofier early work, when they took bigger chances, writing songs about rock lobsters and tin-roofed love shacks. The biggest chance they take with Funplex is releasing it at all after a decade and a half of silence (save for the Flintstones movie). Still, there are some lyrical gems buried in their reliable but safe party anthems. My current favorite: “Tell your skirt to take a hike!” demanded by Fred Schneider in his trademark campy drawl. MEGAN SELING

prizecountrygroup.jpgPrize Country photo by Ryan Russell

Prize Country, Sirhan Sirhan, Bullet Club
(Funhouse) Nostalgia isn’t a healthy habit, but neither is turning one’s back on the past. The ’90s certainly had its share of cultural embarrassments, but a certain brand of underground guitar rock from that decade remains pretty crucial. One only needs to look at the Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go rosters from that decade for affirmation of the lasting relevance of that era’s trademark ugly guitar noise. Prize Country apparently share that sentiment. They manage to channel the same driving gutter sounds that made bands like the Jesus Lizard, Hammerhead, and Drive Like Jehu institutions, while tourmates Sirhan Sirhan tread a similar line but opt for a campier brand of nihilism. BRIAN COOK

Hear Prize Country at

As always, search for even more options in our completely comprehensive music calendar—click here!

New Music in Stores Today: No Age, Russian Circles

posted by on May 6 at 10:55 AM


No Age Nouns (Sub Pop)

Eric Grandy has had nothing but great things to say about this band lately—he reviewed their Sub Pop debut in his column this week. An excerpt:

A lot of influences ricochet and echo around on this record, but a few echo loudest. There’s Sonic Youth, of course, both in the band’s melding of slanted pop and digressive experimentalism and in their shared penchant for age-defying monikers. There’s a little bit of Built to Spill’s sloppier, poppier side in Spunt’s wide-eyed vocals and Randall’s fragile driving melodies. Most exciting though, are the unexpected, though eagerly welcomed, traces of Sam Jayne’s teenage trio Lync, whose fractured, fuzzy indie rock deserves greater credit for presaging countless bands. These last two reference points are especially pronounced on songs like “Sleeper Hold,” “Here Should Be My Home,” “Ripped Knees,” and “Brain Burner.”

Throughout, No Age mix noise, punk, and pop in unusual and deeply satisfying ways, dressing up by-the-numbers pop structures with peripheral chaos, hiding hooks under deep layers of lo-fi squall.

Listen to No Age:

Try before you buy; stream the whole record on the band’s MySpace:


Russian Circles Stations (Suicide Squeeze)

From this week’s paper:

Russian Circles
(Suicide Squeeze)

If Chicago instrumental combo Russian Circles founded a school, their curriculum would ditch the “three Rs”—who needs language arts when your discipline forgoes words?—in favor of a trio of Gs: geography, geometry, and geology. Studied closely, their music revolves around exploring diverse terrain, measuring spatial relations, and stratifying layers. And, yes, Russian Circles rock: at times, quite hard.

On their second full-length, drummer Dave Turncrantz and guitarist Mike Sullivan are joined by Brian Cook (Botch, These Arms Are Snakes) on bass, with Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus the Bear) handling production. Randomly sample a segment of any of the six tracks, and a listener could be forgiven for thinking Station was the work of myriad bands. But no, the skittish percussion fills, headbanging bursts of staccato guitar shredding, unsettling dissonances, and extended ambient passages were all crafted by the same players. (The bowed bass and organ drones on “Versus,” however, come courtesy of Past Lives’ Morgan Henderson and Bayles, respectively.)

What holds everything together, across 43 minutes that seem shorter, is judicious overlapping pitched somewhere between tectonic plate movement and a rapid-fire game of Tetris. Russian Circles don’t deal in verses, choruses, and bridges in the traditional sense, instead building songs around succinct melodic cells, elongated textural passages, and mathematical counter- point displays. On the opening “Campaign,” repeated guitar figures ripple over sustained notes, like an edgier update of Eno and Fripp’s seminal collaborations. The core components of each track are sometimes embarrassingly simple—during one chunk of “Station,” Cook plays the same bass note past the point of mind-numbing and straight on till mesmerizing—yet their array changes so quickly and fluidly that boredom is never a concern; this is stoner music with ADD appeal. KURT B. REIGHLEY

Hear the song “Harper Lewis” at

Also in stores today: Elvis Costello and The Imposters Momofuku, Neil Diamond Home Before Dark, Matmos Supreme Balloon, and uh… Clay Aiken.

What A Life You’ve Led in the Spring

posted by on May 6 at 10:34 AM

Pitchfork TV just debuted an in-depth interview with Fleet Foxes shot at SXSW in March. They discuss their first national tour and the pressures of performing live, eat burritos, and sing some pretty songs by a creek.

Today’s Music News

posted by on May 6 at 10:20 AM

One of the perks of not playing in a two-piece band - Jack White rescues fainting fan mid-song

C’mon girl, your fifteen minutes are almost up - Avril Lavigne cancels 6 dates due to illness

Just plain embarassing - Upcoming Extreme/Kings X tour includes band camp for adults

May he continue to flaunt his wealth in developing countries - 50 Cent gets his stolen necklace back

Sounds like bullshit to me - A Place To Bury Strangers apparently too loud for vinyl pressing plant

Daily update on musicians circumventing the traditional record release model - New Beck album rumored to be “stealth” release

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Love Connection

posted by on May 5 at 5:11 PM

Love is like a butterfly As soft and gentle as a sigh The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings Love makes your heart feel strange inside It flutters like soft wings in flight Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

How I love this line, this string of words: “…a rare and gentle thing.” So simple, yet I feel them so powerfully. I repeat the line over and over, and with each return I love the words even more. I can say them forever. They open me to the infinite: “…a rare and gentle thing.”

Cinco De Valley of Fire

posted by on May 5 at 3:33 PM

Valley of Fire, Nevada:

Freedom Ritual

posted by on May 5 at 2:33 PM


Dark Meat @ the Comet

I’m still not entirely sure what happened last night. I know that Dark Meat made it to the Comet after apparently getting snowed-in in Denver then driving 30 straight hours in their bus. I know that they all managed to fit inside the Comet along with the sizable Sunday night crowd. I know there were more than a dozen but less than 20 people representing the band—two drummers, several horn players, guitarists, a violinist, an organist, a backup vocalist, the guy mostly responsible for spraying confetti with a leaf blower and occasionally summoning pitchy squeals from an optical theremin. I know they do in fact sometimes lose a person; before they started their set, their singer, Jim McHugh, called out into the crowd, “Molly? Molly? We lost a member.” I know the Comet’s sound guy was perhaps in a little over his head—McHugh again: “More flute in the monitors! When was the last time you heard that, motherfucker?”—though he kept up admirably.


I know that nothing gives your hippie psych rock ensemble (whose horn rave ups veer dangerously towards ska) some much needed punk cred like the saxophonist wearing a Locust t-shirt. I know that the crowd was the most lively I’ve seen at a small bar show in a long while, dancing, slamming into each other, crowd surfing—I haven’t had my feet inadvertently stomped on by fellow revelers that much since I was a teenager, and it felt good. Towards the end of the set, the line between band and audience blurred out of existence—McHugh handed off his guitar to some random guy in the front row, who gamely played some one note riffs while the singer crowd surfed; band members danced through the audience with drums and the violinist repeatedly lunged into the crowd backwards, still shredding strings; you started to suspect that some of the more involved audience members may have been Dark Meat plants the whole time. It was not, as people too often describe reckless concerts, controlled chaos; it was just plain chaos, and it was glorious. (They’ve been touring with Israeli pyro-trash punks Monotonix, so it only makes sense that they’d have their live game stepped up to match.)


What I don’t know is if I’d ever really want to listen to Dark Meat’s debut album, Universal Indians, on my home stereo system, apart from all the festive freedom ritual ruckus. It’s not a bad record—its mix of psyched-out, trainwrecking rock’n’roll, woozy brass band excess, primal rhythmic pulse, and deranged howling is plenty powerful, but it just feels kind of flat without all the sweat and confetti.




all photos by Kelly O

God-Damned Information Superhighway!

posted by on May 5 at 2:05 PM

It’s getting so that I’m already sick of bands before I actually hear the bands. If I hear about Santogold being the next M.I.A. one more time, I will vomit. Music blogs have to figure out some way to stagger their coverage. I was cleaning out my RSS Reader today and I think I read the name Santogold some nine hundred and seventy-three times. Enough with the Santogold please, Internet. Thanks in advance.

P.S. Santogold!

Ginsu Tech

posted by on May 5 at 1:32 PM

ginsu.jpgSaturday at Lo Fi was like a Ginsu Knife ad. How many things can you do with a knife? Well, let Scratchmaster Joe show you. With two turntables, he sliced, diced, carved, cut paper, cans, and chopped pennies in half. Then he broke out a stainless steel, rust resistant cleaver and the room gyrated.

Scratchmaster Joe (Nicemaster Nice) is a nimble-nimble thief on the ones and twos. Donte’s thoughts – here. The rhythms and tones Joe derives and wields are unendingly danceable. It was completely spell binding to watch him work. True vinyl genius.

Like a set of Ginsus, Joe is legendary for his ability to cut through anything and stay sharp.


Devotchka at the Showbox

posted by on May 5 at 1:02 PM


by shitbrain.

These Arms are Snakes Sign to Suicide Squeeze

posted by on May 5 at 12:41 PM


Suicide Squeeze is proud to announce the signing of Seattle-based, quartet, THESE ARMS ARE SNAKES!

The band will begin recording their new album on May 9 at Red Room Recordings in Seattle, WA, recording with Producer/TAAS drummer Chris Common (Mouth Of The Architect, These Arms Are Snakes, Minus the Bear), for a (yet to be titled) release on October 7th courtesy of Suicide Squeeze.

Speaking of Suicide Squeeze, tomorrow the local label will release the new Russian Circles record, Station, which got a three star review from Kurt B. Reighley in this week’s paper:

If Chicago instrumental combo Russian Circles founded a school, their curriculum would ditch the “three Rs”—who needs language arts when your discipline forgoes words?—in favor of a trio of Gs: geography, geometry, and geology. Studied closely, their music revolves around exploring diverse terrain, measuring spatial relations, and stratifying layers. And, yes, Russian Circles rock: at times, quite hard.

On their second full-length, drummer Dave Turncrantz and guitarist Mike Sullivan are joined by Brian Cook (Botch, These Arms Are Snakes) on bass, with Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus the Bear) handling production. Randomly sample a segment of any of the six tracks, and a listener could be forgiven for thinking Station was the work of myriad bands. But no, the skittish percussion fills, headbanging bursts of staccato guitar shredding, unsettling dissonances, and extended ambient passages were all crafted by the same players. (The bowed bass and organ drones on “Versus,” however, come courtesy of Past Lives’ Morgan Henderson and Bayles, respectively.)

Read the full review here.

Which is the Better Song About Freaking Out at Whole Foods?

posted by on May 5 at 12:24 PM

Megan’s right about your soundtrack for the day, but her post got me thinking: Which is the better song about freaking out at Whole Foods? There are, by my count, two to choose from:

“Parentheses” by the Blow:

“By Torpedo or Crohn’s” by Why? (ignore the unofficial graphic):

No fancy poll, just fight it out in the comments.

Update: Brian Cook adds “The Jogger” by Pissed Jeans. Good lookin’ out. Let the three way free for all resume.

Celestial Choirs - A Larry Levan Mix

posted by on May 5 at 11:55 AM

You have to love a great gospel song, and one of my favorite’s is Larry Levan’s unreleased edit of the The Joubert Singers’ 1985 classic “Stand On The Word”. This edit came out on the bootlegged record label, Larry, which is a label dedicated to putting out rare unreleased white label edits and mixes by Larry Levan. You might not think a track like this, that has a heavy gospel influence, can work a dancefloor, however give it a couple of listens and you’ll definitely find yourself moving to the groove as the track is very addicting. On this rare warm day in Seattle, what could be more fitting.

The Joubert Singers - Stand on the Word (Larry Levan Edit)

Overheard in My Apartment

posted by on May 5 at 11:51 AM


…from the smart mouth of my fella Jake, mulling over last week’s nuptials of Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon.

“That marriage doesn’t help either of them seem more heterosexual.”

Listen to This Record Today

posted by on May 5 at 11:45 AM


The Blow Paper Television

The sun, the cool air, the song about crying in the deli aisle… it all works together fantastically.

If you don’t have the record, at least enjoy this song:

The Blow - “Parentheses”

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
you know I’ll put my arm around you
and I’ll walk you outside,
through the sliding doors,
why would I mind?

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

posted by on May 5 at 11:43 AM

Yes, in honor of the Mexican holiday that only gringos celebrate, I present to you, Brujos Y Brujas (translation: Wizards and Witches)!

Since I don’t read or speak spanish, I can’t tell you anything about this group or record, which I’m sure was some east coast, resort town, hotel bar band, that some intrepid tourist bought and brought home, only to dump in a used record store years later for me to pick up and share with you.

As you can tell from the cover - it’s DISCO! It’s a medley of famous mexican tunes like “Cielito Lindo” (aka the Frito Bandito song), “Tipitipitin”, “Volver Volver” and “Alla En El Rancho Grande”.

So grab a bottle of Tequila, start up the grill for some homestyle carnitas and dance your day away….

Brujos Y Brujas - Fiesta Mexicana

And a closer look at that band….


Tonight in Music: Dream Theater, Northern State and Team Gina, and Elbow

posted by on May 5 at 11:21 AM

Elbow - “Weather to Fly”
Elbow, Air Traffic
(Showbox at the Market) Generally speaking, when words like “majestic” and “magnificent” are used to describe a band, it means they’re pretentious and bloated. Add “prog” to the mix, and you’d be excused for running to the door—or the toilet. Somehow, Elbow manage to be all of that and still make music that’s warm, seductive, and real. Their brand-new album, The Seldom Seen Kid, is a knockout: the kind of record that holds you in its hypnotic, cinematic sway from start to finish. And speaking of seldom seen, it’s rare for Manchester’s Elbow to make a stateside appearance, so don’t miss the opportunity to fall under their grand and gorgeous spell. BARBARA MITCHELL
Northern State - “Girl for All Seasons”
Northern State, the Trucks, Team Gina
(Chop Suey) Can we all agree that, in the age of Ego Trip/VH1’s Miss Rap Supreme and Queen Latifah’s Cover Girl commercials and M.I.A., we are no longer shocked (shocked!) by the idea of female rappers? Good. So, sans any antiquated shock value, are Team Gina and Northern State worth messing with? (Excuse the Trucks from the rap discussion.) Scream Club scions Team Gina get an A for punch lines but maybe a B- or a C+ for delivery (not a terrible GPA, but not great). The duo’s rhymes are clever enough, but their cadences stay invariably locked to the beat, old-school ’80s hiphop–style, rather than maneuvering more complexly around their rhythms. Northern State’s latest album, Can I Keep This Pen?, released last year on Ipecac, deservedly garnered similar criticism. Hiphop has evolved; this shtick is retrograde. ERIC GRANDY
Dream Theater - “Forsaken”
Dream Theater, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Three
(WaMu Theater) I recently had a conversation with the director of a rock-band summer camp. The program brings teenagers with varying degrees of musical ability together and, with the guidance of musician counselors, helps them form bands. He spoke very highly of the experience, though the conversation took a sharp turn when he asked if I was familiar with Dream Theater. I admitted a vague familiarity. “I fucking hate Dream Theater,” he continued. “Our biggest problem kids are the ones who think they’re better musicians than everyone else, and they always cite Dream Theater as one of their favorite bands.” The Stranger’s music staff frequently deals with accusations of musical snobbery, but I submit that those who have this show marked on their calendars are the true elitists. BRIAN COOK

Find more in our online calendar.

Stevie Wonder and NIN Coming to Seattle

posted by on May 5 at 11:04 AM

Not together, mind you.

Stevie Wonder will be at the White River Amphitheater on July 11. I can’t think of a worse place to see him. Tickets go on sale next Monday at 10 am and cost $45-$125.

NIN will play the KeyArena July 26th. Tickets go on sale next this Saturday at 10 am and cost between $35-$55.

And now you know.

Shady ladies, nomads in the night, and you’re in my ass.

posted by on May 5 at 10:57 AM

On we go to Ukraine where a lady called Ani Lorak sings a song called Shady Lady. Now if there’s anything the Ukranians know how to do, it’s sending sexy ladies with original choreographies. Just think of Ruslana (winner 2004), Tina Karoll (ESC 2006) or er.. Verka Serduchka. This year’s entry is no exception. Ani is surrounded by backing dancers in adventurous outfits and make up. II admire men who can do the splits, and I keep wanting to send her dancers on a kind of exchange project to Iceland or Azerbaijan. I think they’d fit right in there.

Now with a title like “Nomads in the night” (for some reason I can’t help but hum “strangers in the night, doo doo doo doo”) you’re pretty sure you won’t be heading for a happy go-lucky clap along kinda thing, aren’t you. Lithuania sends Jeronimas Milus and good god, look at those lyrics: “This hollow day, like day before I walk through thousand smiles
And try to find the look that heals all wounds inside/ But still I’m here at the world’s edge falling like stone to you/ Shining so high, alone – like me”
. Er. Yes. Lyrics like these are of course part of the charm of Eurovision, and -let’s face it- half the contestants singing in English haven’t got a clue what exactly they’re singing about. Anyway, Nomads in the night is –as expected- a bombastic piece of music sung by a guy who seems to have taken wardrobe tips from a vampire.Vampires were last year’s theme, Lithuania. Still, the guy can sing and this is one of those songs which will divide fans: those who think it’s a decent well-sung moving song, and those who think it’s a piece of utter drivel. Take your pick.

Albania brings us the second bombastic ballad in a row. I love my bombastic ballads, but two in a row is a bit much even for me. Olta Boka sings Zemrën E Lamë Peng, which apparently means “we gambled our hearts”. She’s singing in Albanian which is a pity in a way, because I still remember Anjeza Shahini in 2004 who convincingly sang “you’re in my ass, you’re in my heart” until –rumour has it- Terry Wogan told her to work on her pronounciation of “eyes”). No such hilarity this year but I think this is a bloody decent song. I do. Long live Olta! If you’re interested in other Albanian entries, I’d advise you to check out Luiz Ejlli with Zjarr e ftohte, for well… the best combination of ethnic and contemporary outfits. And a fez. Or something that looks like it.

Up next: Switzerland, Czech Republic and Belarus.

Tempting Fate

posted by on May 5 at 10:08 AM

We all know what happens when the third world rips off 50 Cent. Right?

Well, Idolator reports today on a 50 Cent concert in Angola where a fan swiped 50’s (diamond-encrusted skull?) chain from right off his neck (watch for diamond yoink at 1:40, followed by the most righteous laugh ever recorded):

This, of course, means war.

Today’s Music News

posted by on May 5 at 10:01 AM

Summer in the south - Tom Waits goes on tour

The future pt. 1 - Another new NIN record. This one is free

We don’t need no education - Country singer Gretchen Wilson gets GED at 34

The future pt. 2 - Grand Theft Auto IV creating new music purchasing trend?

Stop your crying - Release date set for new Spiritualized album

Kanye West Loses 4.0, Gets Really Worked Up About it

posted by on May 5 at 9:20 AM

Entertainment Weekly recently gave a B+ to the Seattle performance of Kanye’s Glow In the Dark Tour. Not a bad mark, right? Wrong! Here’s Kanye’s response from his blog:


Yo, anybody that’s not a fan; don’t come to my show. For what?! To try and throw ya’ll two cents in? Ya’ll rated my album shitty and now ya’ll come to the show and give it a B+. What’s a B+ mean? I’m an extremist. It’s either pass or fail! A+ or F-! You know what, fuck you and the whole fucking staff!!! I know I shouldn’t dignify this with a comment, but the reviewer threw a jab at all the artists. I just wanna know when was the last time you enjoyed yourself. If you can’t have fun and lose yourself at this tour it’s a good chance you’re a very miserable person. I actually feel sorry for you guys. Your job forces you to not have fun anymore. Grab a drink, holla at some nice girls, and party bitch!! You don’t know shit about passion and art. You’ll never gain credibility at this rate. You’re fucking trash! I make art. You can’t rate this. I’m a real person. I’m not a pop star. I don’t care about anything but making great art. Never come 2 one of my shows ever again, you’re not invited and if you see me…BOW!! This is not pop, it’s pop art!

He followed up that rant with this one on Sunday:

Unfortunately for certain media outlets, you will never be able 2 ‘Michael Jackson’ me. That means 2 make it seem like everything I do is so weird or out of place … they always try 2 make it seem like everything is about my ego! That joke is getting old. At a certain point you have 2 respect that I’m one of the last artist that still cares about the fans having the best time of there lives! Thanks 2 Bossip and Perez for taking it easy on me on the EW spaz… I did go in a little 2 much on that one. I’m sure there are some cool people who work over there and had nothing 2 do with that review. With all that said…. “I’m still the greatest!!!” lol!! Oh and I was in the studio with T.I. last night…. so get ready!!!

I give that post a C- for using the phrase “Thanks 2 Bossip and Perez.” Also because it reads like it was text messaged from a 14 year old girl’s cell phone 2 the internet.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tonight on Flotation Device

posted by on May 4 at 4:35 PM

An audio companion to The Score this week: Music from the Analog America compilation out on (noise|order), a hilarious sonic treasure trove of found answering machine cassettes. I’ll air the Fellini-esque Prayer For One Galiola by sound voyager Arsenije Jovanovic (pictured below); some fidgety, twittering guitar strumming from Marc Manning’s A Skeleton, Soon and Then Forever; and a track or two from the new Aphonia Recordings compilation [ mm viii : #i ].

Arsenije Jovanovic

Also in the mix: Frank Rothkamm, electronic music pioneer (and Dr. Who sound guru) Daphne Oram, Pea Soup, a lovely feedback piece by Nicolas Collins, and Catherine Christer Hennix, who was a student of the legendary La Monte Young in the 1970s.

Catch the on-line stream or tune in to KBCS 91.3 FM from 10 pm to midnight.

Favorite Lyric of the Day

posted by on May 4 at 11:50 AM

As per Douglas Martin’s suggestion, another installment of “Lyric of the Day,” this one from Hot Chip’s “Crap Kraft Dinner” off Coming on Strong:

“All the people that I think I am are drunk”

The line closes a circular series of variations on love, identity, proximity, and inebriation. The setting seems to be a kind of dream-like cocktail party, with every long lost ex and future lover gathered together with the singer. Then there’s this line bemoaning the fluidity of identity and the exacerbating effects of drink on same. We all have moments when we feel we could have been, should have been, maybe even could still be someone else. When Alexis Taylor sings the line in his melancholy falsetto, you get the distinct impression that he misses all the people he thinks he is could be as much as the people he loves. Not a common sentiment in song, let alone in a song whose core emotional image is a box of mac’n’cheese.