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Archives for 07/27/2008 - 08/02/2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

“Fuck You Dude, I’m Playing Metallica.”

posted by on August 2 at 1:56 PM

Owen @ Neumos

After years of touring with just an acoustic guitar, playing at venues with too many people who would rather have a conversation than listen to his songs, it’s become clear Mike Kinsella doesn’t really give a shit about his audience. On the Owen records Kinsella plays all the instruments, and most of the songs sound like a real band. But live it’s just a man and his guitar, playing stripped down versions of his own songs. He doesn’t even try to win the attention of the room, starting his set with “Good Deeds,” an especially soft, finger-picked number. The background noise downs him out. A note to the people sitting at the far end of the upstairs balcony: You need to shut the fuck up, forever. What were you even doing at an Owen / Rocky Votolato show if all you wanted to do was have a loud conversation? These are two of the highest caliber acoustic performers: if you want to have an asinine yelling match go in the other room and stop ruining everyone else’s show. Or die. Just go die somewhere, quietly. If only you had been paying attention to the lyrics during “Bad News,” that song was written precisely for you: “Whatever it is you think you are / You aren’t: / A good friend, unique, well-read / Good-looking, or smart / Well now you know.” There must be assholes like you at every show Owen plays; it’s no wonder he comes off so jaded on stage.

People yell out songs for him to play, and they are of course ignored. “These guys came from Utah and asked me to play like six songs, and I’m not going to play any of them,” he shrugs. Someone yells out, “Fade to Black!” That sparks his attention. At the end of his set, Kinsella announces, “Okay, now I’m going to play every riff I know from “Fade to Black.” He knows most of the 7 minute Metallica epic, and goes from riff to riff for about three minutes, adding the occasional guitar solo with his mouth. When he’s done with that he announces, “Now I’m going to play all the other Metallica riffs I know,” and proceeds to toss out random sections of different songs. The crowd starts to get restless. Someone yells something at him, he responds, “Fuck you dude, I’m playing Metallica.” After several minutes he walks off stage saying, “You don’t want to hear this? These are the highest selling riffs of all time! I’ll save them for an audience who cares.” There is scattered applause. Outside I hear a girl tell her friends, “That was the shittiest performance I’ve ever seen, and I’m from Montana.

This is the genius of Owen. He is the Larry David of musicians. Awkward Metallica antics aside, what he has to say is often too real for most people to hear, and it can make them uncomfortable. I realized a few songs in that it’s not particularly great music to take a date to, especially a date with a girl you don’t know that well. Take “Breaking Away:”

Well just between you and me
This thing between you and me
Might not be anything worth singing about
Or it might be just what I need
Someone to take my mind off things
At the end of a long day
Someone to take my pants off for me
At the end of a long night
Either way, we’re here

We’re two bicycles, ridden too tired to know
Which one of us of us two
Was dumb enough to choose the other as a lover

It’s not really a scenario you want detailed out early on in a date, especially if there’s a good chance that awkward situation is actually going to play out later in the night. Kinsella is a poet for the lazy everyman. His outlooks on life and young love are some of the most astringent, generally relatable sentiments since Holden Caulfield. And somehow, fittingly, he’ll probably never get the attention or respect he deserves.


Friday, August 1, 2008

HipHop @ The Dead Baby Bike Party Tonite!

posted by on August 1 at 4:59 PM

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How could I forget to mention this? If any of you shitbags are going to be in Ballard for the Dead Baby Bike Race tonite, amidst all the bands that’ll be playing you’ll find some of the 206’s finest hiphop. Mr. Hill, Macklemore, JFK, Candidt, and Cancer Rising will all be playing at The Station (4910 Leary Ave Nw) starting at 9 and it’s free, yadig. Learn more here.

Parents Just Don’t Understand: Riot Grrrl Edition

posted by on August 1 at 4:10 PM

From Portland’s KATU news:

PORTLAND, Ore. - A mother who sent her 8-year-old daughter to a Portland rock music-themed camp for girls says she is shocked by what she thinks is age-inappropriate material distributed to the young attendees.

The mother, who did not want to be identified, said her daughter returned home with music that contained graphic violent imagery and lyrics that were both sexually charged and racist.

Also among the items was a tape by the band Bikini Kill that the concerned mom said had sexual content so explicit she was too embarrassed to repeat it. She said the music also had racially offensive content.

She said that if her daughter had heard the music and asked her what some of the words meant, it would have been “very difficult to explain to her.”

The USA Is Cool Again

posted by on August 1 at 3:07 PM

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Good news everybody! NME has decided that American music is worth paying attention to again, and has listed the 25 bands responsible for the paradigm shift. Here’s what the magazine’s New Bands Editor had to this to say about the American musical insurgence:

“Right now I can barely go a day without coming across a new genius band from the States. While the art scene of Brooklyn or the punks of LA are keeping the underground fascinating, the ceaseless ambitions of Lil Wayne and the Kings Of Leon are making the Chili Pepper and Fiddy Cent clichés of the mainstream redundant. If only it wasn’t so bloody hard to get a green card!”

The list:

01 Vampire Weekend
02 Lil Wayne
03 Glass Candy
04 Kings Of Leon
05 MGMT
06 Spank Rock
07 TV On The Radio
08 Boy Crisis
09 Black Kids
10 Holy Ghost Revival
11 The Hold Steady
12 Fleet Foxes
13 Amazing Baby
14 Jay Reatard
15 HEALTH
16 The Cool Kids
17 Black Lips
18 Yo Majesty
19 White Denim
20 Telepathe
21 Iglu and Hartly
22 Chester French
23 Girl Talk
24 TheDeathSet
25 Grace Jones

Great job NME, you must have stumbled across a little known music website called “Pitchfork.” It seems a little odd that the editor would mention the LA punk scene and then not include any actual punk bands from LA (HEALTH is not punk). Fleet Foxes are the obvious Northwest choice, but it was a strange surprise to see former Seattle based rockers Holy Ghost Revival on the list, and in the top ten no less. The fact that British people like their band so much makes a little more sense of their relocation to London. I hate seeing Weezy come in second place as “Ambassador of American Cool” to a bunch of boat shoe-wearing Ivy League bluebloods. You can call Wayne the coolest motherfucker in America all you want, he’s earned it, but saying he’s the second coolest behind some Andrew McCarthy lookin’ fratties is just plain wrong, and for some reason feels vaguely racist, even if it’s probably not.

Today’s Music News

posted by on August 1 at 2:51 PM

Close to The Edge: Petition to retire Bono

Yesterday’s indie hype band: Be Your Own Pet are over

Ones and zeros: Amazon creeps up on iTunes

Tiffany 2.0: Mariah Carey plays concert in mall

What more do you want from me?: Coalesce announce new album

From bad to worse: New Velvet Revolver vocalist

APEMAN

posted by on August 1 at 2:38 PM

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by flckrd1

This Week’s Setlist

posted by on August 1 at 2:30 PM

Listen to this week’s Setlist to hear about my favorite Block Party moments along with music by Black Eyes and Neckties, Nazca Lines, Pillow Army, and more!

bentlive.jpgBlack Eyes and Neckties

Click to listen.

Silver Darling: Holy Oak and Muddy Banks

posted by on August 1 at 2:15 PM

Silver Darling

With many different choices, as usual, on how to spend your evenings this weekend, I recommend stoping in at the Comet Tavern this Saturday to check out one of Northern California’s most upcoming bands, Silver Darling. This three piece americana alt-country folk group has been gaining a lot of recent attention in the bands local Sacramento and Davis music scenes. They have become a rotating favorite on KDVS, a University of Davis college-run radio station, as well as being featured in Sacramento’s established entertainment newspaper, News & Review. They wear their influences on their sleeve, sounding a lot like a mix between Uncle Tupelo, M. Ward, Bill Withers, and Damien Jurado, whom they will playing alongside with later next month for the band’s upcoming CD Release show. They have one record to their name, Wrap Around My Heart, with another, Your Ghost Fits My Skin on it’s way which will be release this fall on Crossbill Records. This will be their first visit through the Pacific Northwest, playing in Olympia tonight and Seattle Tomorrow. If your looking for some good and honest alt-country, I highly recommend checking them out. Being from Sacramento myself, I always look forward to going home and catching one of their always amazing shows. Plus, if nothing else, it’s always great music to drink to.

You can hear and find out more about the group by visiting the bands myspace page.

Catch Silver Darling this Saturday along with Barton Carroll, Burning Rivers, Power of County, and Facts About Funeral at the Comet Tavern, 8pm

Exclusive Ice

posted by on August 1 at 1:45 PM

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Think of it: You, Vanilla Ice, and a Night on Meth.

A Hummer limo picks you up and a chilled 22 oz. St. Ides is put in your hand. Vanilla Ice is positioned on the other side of the Hummer shrouded beneath a white fake fur hood. He speaks into his Bluetooth and doesn’t say hello. Five women in bikinis giggle and bound around the interior of the limo. Kris Kross is cranked on the stereo. You are handed a glass pipe and for some reason, you inhale. Daddy Mac.

As the Methamphetamine enters your brain, a cascading release of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin is triggered. The Hummer pulls through a Taco Bell drive-through and you order a grilled stuffed burrito with steak. Three cars are ahead of the limo in line. The music stops, Vanilla Ice takes off his sun glasses, looks you in the eye, and says, “That was bullshit what Suge Knight did to me. You heard about the balcony, right? He may have dangled my ass off the balcony, but I own a rare snow tiger. What I would like to do for you first is highlight the beginning of my life.”

You are handed a burrito and Vanilla’s voice fades into mumbles. Everyone is eating. They’ve grown teeth and shark mouths. All you hear is chewing. The bikini women thrash and throw beef around. A full week’s worth of Shark Week footage flashes high speed through your head. Your throat becomes chalky and you hallucinate.

You think you’re Moses.

You jump out of the sunroof and run into the street. You need to part the sea. If you can part the sea, the shark people won’t be able to get you. Oncoming cars swerve. You point your St. Ides can at the cement and command it to part. But it won’t part. The bikini women are yelling from the sidewalk. Their shark mouths have grown and they’re getting closer.

The sea isn’t parting so you run, as fast as you possibly can. The sharks and the Hummer don’t come after you. Forty-five minutes later you find yourself laying on a bench at a bus stop next to a man complaining about his problem acne. The St. Ides can is still in your hand.

You think you’re safe, you take a breath, then you notice the acne complainer has shark teeth. He turns and says, “Stop, collaborate and listen. Ice is back with my brand new invention.”

You get up and run, as fast as you possibly can.

Tonight in Music: Owen, Film School, Onry Ozzborn, Wildildlife, Devlin & Darko, Resist

posted by on August 1 at 11:49 AM

What a lot of shows! It is Friday, after all.

Jeff Kirby interrogated Mike Kinsella of Owen (and Cap’n Jazz, Joan of Arc, Owls, American Football) who opens for Rocky Votolato at Neumo’s tonight.

Some of your songs get pretty emotional. It seems like they could resonate a little too strongly with the wrong person. Has anybody gotten creepy or obsessive about your music?

I haven’t been creeped out yet, but I think it’s weird in general when people really take an interest. Not that they’re doing anything creepy, but if they keep sending MySpace messages or e-mailing… It’s cool that they like the music and keep listening to it on my page, but it is sort of weird that people think they’re friends with you just because they like your band. No one’s actually stalked me, though. I don’t mind the more general questionspeople asking about tunings and stuff; I like that. I like that there are kids trying to figure my songs out. Or they’ll ask about a specific line, and I’ll usually tell them, “I don’t know, I stole it from a book.” But sometimes they write things like, “When you come through New Jersey we should get drunk at this bar that my friend works at and you can crash at my house.” You know, I’m a 32-year-old guy… am I 31 or 32? [faintly in background, “31”]… I’m a 31-year-old guy—if I was there and I liked the person I would have drinks with them, but, you know…


Owen - “The Sad Waltzes of Pietro Crespi”

Read the whole thing here.

Film School play the Sunset:


Film School - “Compare”

California’s Film School play gorgeous and dreamy shoegaze songs that are so perfectly dynamic and cinematic, all you have to do is close your eyes and let your mind take you anywhere you want to go. The music will carry you, weightless through the atmosphere, past the moon and planets. It’ll float you down the river, gently, while you drift beneath the stars. Film School tap into the desires of the subconscious as well as any drug, without the dangerous side effects. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave, 784-4880. 10 pm, $10, 21+.)

Onry Ozzborn of Grayskul throws it down at the Comet:

Onry Ozzborn, Grieves, Rudy and the Rhetoric, DJ Maze Live (Comet) Onry Ozzborn’s best solo CD, and one of the top 10 local hiphop CDs of this decade, is In Between, which was released in 2005 and features contributions by Busdriver, Non Phixion, Aceyalone, Toni Hill, and Silent Lambs Project’s Blac. On In Between, track after track (“Soul Clapped,” “Part 3,” “Part 4”) reveal an imagination that is vivid (or cinematic), fiercely experimental, and in love with the art rather than the custom of hiphop. The question that must be on Onry Ozzborn’s mind each time he picks up the mic: What else can hiphop do for me? What other sounds or beats or themes can it generate? In Between is a repository of great answers to his all-important question. CHARLES MUDEDE

It’s Sing Sing’s second birthday!

Sing Sing: Devlin & Darko (War Room) Two weeks ago, I prematurely announced Sing Sing’s two-year anniversary celebration, saying: “Sing Sing’s [anniversary] is no small accomplishment. In the past two years, it’s grown from a scrappy but ambitious monthly at Havana, then Chop Suey, to a routinely slamming bimonthly War Room party with its own 12-inch, Sing Sing Breaks, out on Fools Gold. Promoter and DJ Clayton Vomero has brought to Seattle such talent as Chromeo, A-Trak, Sinden, Andrew WK, Matt & Kim, Low Budget, Flosstradamus—the list really goes on and on.” In fact, the official b’day festivities are tonight (the War Room’s website had the wrong date), with Spank Rock DJs and regular Sing Sing guests Devlin & Darko, whose mixes are to summer fun what ketchup is to hot dogs: condimental. ERIC GRANDY

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Wildildlife recently moved from San Fran and come Thurston-Moore approved:

Sioux City Pete’s B-Day Bash: the Beggars, TV Coahran, Stabbings, Wildildlife, guests (Balagan Theatre) If we were to run a picture of Sioux City Pete (the birthday guest of honor at tonight’s party), you’d probably get the idea that he lives in a cave and eats only scorpions for breakfast. He looks that tough. But really he’s a big old teddy bear, he’s turning 40, and he’s having a huge party at this new all-ages theater—next to Boom Noodle, guys!—to celebrate. His band, the Beggars, are an experiment in coarse, crass bar rock, and they usually strip down by the end of the night in a drunken mess. However, the band you absolutely must catch are Wildildlife. The recent Bay Area transplants play a completely different kind of heavy, deep psychedelic metal. The guitar player looks like he’s coaxing milk out of some kind of farm animal, and Thurston Moore gave them a fuck-yeah in his column in the Sparks issue of Arthur (which any self-respecting person should have read already). ARI SPOOL

And finally (pauses for breath), there’s a great punk show at the Funhouse:

Resist, Jesus Fucking Christ, Toe Tag, Bill Collectors (Funhouse) Back in 1995, a handful of kids organized punk shows in various community centers around Tacoma. It wasn’t uncommon for 200 to 300 crust punks to show up with their black tapered pants and patch-covered hoodies. It was an awesome but short-lived run. The sad reality of the DIY punk scene is that anarchism doesn’t encourage sustainable financial endeavors. It’s amazing, then, that quintessential crust collective Profane Existence managed to operate for nearly 20 years. But sadly, they folded the record label just a few weeks ago, rendering classic hardcore albums like Resist’s Ignorance Is Bliss out of print. Still, you have a chance to keep that spirit alive. Get down to the Funhouse and make punk a threat again. BRIAN COOK

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Drop The Grime

posted by on July 31 at 5:52 PM

Wiley / Dizzee Rascal - 'Wearing My Rolex' / 'Dance Wiv Me'

It’s odd, isn’t it.

Grime, a.k.a. England’s inner-city black hip-hop dance music that spiraled off from jungle and 2-step at the beginning of the decade, has skirted around a mass-appeal breakout for years, often getting close to a widespread popular cross-over, but never quite managing to deliver. The grime scene remains a cult, despite everything that had been — and it still has — going for it.

But out of nowhere, two different songs from the sound’s biggest names have just scored new-found freakish popularity.

Earlier this summer, Wiley released “Wearing My Rolex,” a strolling and acid-propelled club anthem that features a simple bassline-house spine, samples of DSK’s 1991 garage classic “What Would We Do,” and Wiley’s own spit-fueled, blame-it-on-the-alcohol bursts of rhyme. It was the biggest digital single the week of its release and eventually got to #2 in the U.K. charts. Hot Chip covered it. Jay-Z had Wiley open for him. It even had its own dance.



Then, just a few weeks ago, Dizzee Rascal put out “Dance Wiv Me.” Showcasing smarm-pop addict Calvin Harris and the old-school R&B of Chrome, the song bobs and dips with a glow of easy-going grime and bargain disco (beepew!) effects, all technicolor and good-natured. It sounds modern. A style-clash with an addictive hook. “Dance Wiv Me” fired right into #1 and has remained the best-selling, most popular single in the U.K. for the last month. Even Dizzee was floored from the start, and instantly promised to drink all night every day it stayed at the top. Which has since become impossible.



What’s going on?

On the one hand, it’s a real victory to see grime get its due. While the sound has had success before, often with Wiley and Dizzee, nothing has come close to this summer’s surprise, this new quasi-resurgence. After “Wearing My Rolex” and “Dance Wiv Me,” the mainstream has found grime again, years late, just when everyone thought it was impossible.

But on the other, it says something that this only happened when grime doesn’t sound like grime anymore. Both Wiley and Dizzee — press-egged-on rivals who might be forever damned to race against each other — followed the same instincts around the same time and independently ended up going for a preposterously similar club-crossover approach. And this can be seen as either 1.] a late-but-necessary evolution of grime’s sonic plan, or 2.] a watered-down compromise of sound, the latter of which already becoming a popular choice.

My new favorite backlash bits being from Fader magazine:

I hate to slag off Dizzee Rascal because it’s such an obvious thing to do at the moment — it’s like shooting an anaesthetised whale in a barrel — but I can’t help it. Safe in the knowledge that the worst song he has ever made has given him the most success, our man Dyl has decided to carry on making utter musical faeces. His latest output is a cover for Jo Whiley’s Radio 1 show of “That’s Not My Name” by The Ting Tings, who are almost indescribably bad. The only equivalent I can think of would be the Vengaboys. They are the Vengaboys of indie-pop. I’m not sure what that would now make Dizzee.

In the end, though, it’s hard to tell which side all of this comes down on.

I don’t know what to think.

It’s a success of conflicted feelings, but at least I’m glad, in a way, to feel the conflict again.

Greedtone Distortion at Trading Musician

posted by on July 31 at 3:18 PM

A visit here to Trading Musician in the U District to talk with Michael Smith about the Greedtone Distortion Pedal. Greedtones are made by Seattle’s own Greg Williamson. He’s an institution. So is Trading Musician. Here’s Michael, he wants to dance with somebody:

Les Savy Fav at the Capitol Hill Block Party

posted by on July 31 at 1:40 PM

I know, I know… Block Party, dead horse, I get it, but this picture from the Flickr Pool is just too great to not share.

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by Bryce Beamish

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band @ Neumo’s

posted by on July 31 at 12:59 PM

conor2.jpgPhoto by Corey Bayless

I got sick last night, so I arrived roughly five songs into the headlining set at Neumo’s, and then spent the next two songs in the bathroom. At that point, sweating on the toilet, I was hopeful the show would go badly so I could mine the metaphor. Sadly for Conor Oberst haters, the scatological setup didn’t fit.

Like I said in yesterday’s U&C blurb, Oberst’s forthcoming “solo” record is anything but, an organic, bong-in-the-basement batch of road-trippin’ country-folk. Last night, he proved to have formed the live band to match that sentiment—surely, the Magnolia Electric Co. to his Songs: Ohia. If anything, the Mystic Valley Band—six dudes deep—often outpaced Oberst with guitar solos, organ ruminations, and Young-like breakdowns that left the tightly-packed, wide-eyed front row of young girls bored on occasion (a posse that would routinely perk up only when Conor took to the mic solo). But the imbalance of Oberst’s nasal, chirpy delivery to the sweaty rock could probably be attributed to this being the first show of the new band’s nationwide tour—and closing song “Breezy” saw the band mesh its output with Oberst’s delivery, so chances are, they’ll sync up soon.

The album’s sessions in Mexico apparently did Oberst some real good, willing him to chat with the audience more than I’d ever seen him do before—he skipped out of singing one song just to spend its runtime signing autographs for front row patrons, and he even rolled out the “we’ve got stuff for sale over there” line like he was some no-name shlep touring for gas money in Montana. Certainly, the lyrical content of his newest stuff is at its worst stoic—not sad or melodramatic—and at its best all kinds of celebratory. You could tell he wanted to connect his audience to that newfound joy, rather than shun them, so it felt right that he’d shrunk down from the bigger halls he’d graduated to by Cassadaga. Craziest thing, man—I left a Conor Oberst concert feelin’ pretty damn good.

Hipster Runoff Makes Me Want To Stop Blogging

posted by on July 31 at 12:00 PM

In old/pizza-is-delicious news: Hipster Runoff is fucking hilarious, if not the total end of music blogging. That is all.

Barack Won’t Officially Support Ludacris Calling Bush a Retard

posted by on July 31 at 11:11 AM

The Ludacris freestyle “Politics as Usual” from the new DJ Drama mixtape Gangsta Grills is a ringing endorsement for Barack Obama, but Big O isn’t having anything to do with lyrics like, “Paint the White House black and I’m sure that’s got ‘em terrified / McCain don’t belong in ANY chair unless he’s paralyzed,” or “Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped / Ball up all of his speeches and I throw em like candy wrap / Cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant / And you the worst of all 43 presidents.” Even though Luda is only spitting truth, and we all know Barack knows it, it’s pretty much guaranteed these raps are going to be held against him by the right wing, so Barack’s gotta denounce them:

“This song is not only outrageously offensive to Sen. Clinton, Rev. Jackson, Sen. McCain and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics.”

Full lyrics after the jump.

Continue reading "Barack Won't Officially Support Ludacris Calling Bush a Retard" »

Tonight in Music: Harvey Milk, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Trashy Trash Meets Bonkers!, Choklate, Hypatia Lake, Bow + Arrow

posted by on July 31 at 9:00 AM

Holy bat balls there’s a lot happening tonight.

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Harvey Milk plays the Funhouse. Brian Cook interviewed the Athens band for this week’s issue. An excerpt:

Harvey Milk may be resigned to not recouping their expenses, but their limited marketability has allowed them to remain creatively liberated. With no expectations weighing them down, they’ve managed to create a defiant yet remarkably palatable album in Life…. The production is stellar, yet many listeners will probably find themselves checking their speakers during the latter half of “Death Goes to the Winner,” as measure upon measure of pummeling palm-muted eighth notes are buried underneath red-lined throbs of static.

Harvey Milk’s mean mammoth-sized riffs and exemplary darker material guarantee an audience (albeit a small one) within the experimental metal community, but it’s their deviations from the sludge formula—the occasional lighthearted, poppier moments that derail their malevolent facade—that make their work so daring.

Read the full story here.

Harvey Milk - “Death Goes to the Winner






Harvey Milk - “The Boy With Bosoms






Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band - “Homeostasis”

New local band Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band make their big debut tonight at Neumo’s with Boat and “Awesome.” An excerpt from the story in this week’s paper:

“We decided to build everything around our first show,” says Benjamin. “We were like, ‘Let’s come out of the gate at full speed.’”

On Thursday, July 31, MSHVB will finally bust out of the gate with their “world premiere” at Neumo’s—playing an all-ages show with Boat and “Awesome”—and releasing a four-song EP, Weepy (which comes in a hand-sewn pouch made of felt, yarn, and buttons).

Fortunately, MSHVB’s meticulously structured, guitar-driven pop songs more than live up to their playful video campaign. Quick, poppy drum beats snap under layers of dancing keyboard and racing guitars, all anchored by smooth, steady bass lines. At times, the guitars reconstruct the pretty, sonic mazes that Benjamin and Matt showcased in IPOF, while blasts of trumpet, tambourine, and lots of gang vocal harmonies provide dramatic flourish.

Read the full story about where Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band came from here. There are more videos here, and you can hear them here.

Bug in the Bassbin praises Trashy Trash Meets Bonkers at Re-bar, Stranger Suggests suggests Choklate at City Hall, and, of course, U&Cs say:

Hypatia Lake - “Your Universe, Your Mind”
Hypatia Lake, the Sleepover Disaster, Levator, Paris Spleen
(Comet) Local chillaxed psych-rockers Hypatia Lake just released their new (and third) album, Angels and Demons, Space and Time. The title says it all. Songs alternate between exploring dark corners of rock-and-roll hell (“The General’s Gleaming Edge”) and floating around the dreamy, instrumental heavens (“7777777”). While still holding onto the guitar-driven psychedelic characteristics of past releases, Hypatia Lake have dipped even more into experimental territory with thicker flourishes of synth and keyboard. The music alone could take you on a trip; live, the band double your sensory pleasure by pairing their sonic landscapes with abstract visuals. Tonight’s show is their last local appearance for a while—Hypatia Lake take on the West Coast for the next few weeks and they won’t be back until September. MEGAN SELING

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Bow + Arrow, La Quiete, Cut Loose, Phoenix Bodies
(Vera Project) Tonight is a record-release show for local emocore stalwarts Bow + Arrow. In true DIY/punk fashion, they didn’t get me the new CD with quite enough lead time for a review or longer preview in this issue (although, also in true DIY/punk fashion, they did bring it by the office in person). What I can say after just a cursory listen is that it sounds great. I can also tell you that Bow + Arrow are keeping alive a tradition of emo that is all but forgotten among today’s hair-farming mall punk bands, one that is equal parts personal and political struggle, trading delicate musical moments with choruses that just beg for two-finger-pointing sing-alongs (although, until Lucas gets me a lyric sheet, I’ll just be mumbling and mouthing “watermelon”). ERIC GRANDY

You can hear Bow + Arrow here.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Some Kind Words About Boris

posted by on July 30 at 11:05 PM

Boris @ Neumos, Seattle, WA, 7/29/2008Earlier today A wondered when we were going to post some kind words about the Boris show up in here, so here you go, from a Boris newbie.

I’m not actually familiar with Boris’ discography - I was actually there to see Torche, with the bonus being Boris’ closing set. Hell, I didn’t even know all that much about Torche - I listened to a few songs on their MySpace and read their one-sheet, but never followed up on getting a promo. So I was there just as a casual fan, out for a nice pleasant night of not-entirely pleasant heavy rock.

Torche ripped through their set. Unlike a lot of metal bands, Torche betrayed the usual “so fucking metal” steez by actually smiling as they headbanged, thrashed, and pounded their way through their songs. They still kept it heavy, inspiring the beginnings of a pit by the end of their set. Given the opportunity to see them again, I’d do so. I thought they would have been enough for a good night of music. But sorry Torche, this was definitely Boris’ night.

Boris @ Neumos, Seattle, WA, 7/29/2008Not to say anything against either of the openers, but Boris rendered them completely irrelevant. Where the other bands played songs, Boris created an experience. I left feeling like my ears were full, which isn’t a statement against my earplugs, but is instead indicative of Boris’ sonic density, which sprawled in an endless number of directions at once, daring everyone in the audience to keep up. Sure, there were songs, but the band minimized breaks between songs, instead creating a crushing wave of sound that oozed from the stage out over the audience, washing over everyone lucky enough to be there (it wasn’t nearly as full as I know now it should have been). The band kept stoic faces other than some encouragement from the drummer, otherwise allowing their sheer command of their instruments and stylistic diversity (soft and sweet one moment, brash and thrashing the next) to do the talking (sure, there were vocals, but since they were in Japanese, they were just part of the sonic palette). Drone, noise, and speed metal all made an appearance, but it all made sense - every style was in its right place. There were some guys attempting to start a pit, but that was thankfully squashed by security, leaving everyone free to remain in their own mental space, surrounded by sound that swirled in your ears like the fog did around the band.

Plus, the double-necked guitar was fucking sweet.

A couple more images after the jump.

Continue reading "Some Kind Words About Boris" »

Amy Winehouse Isn’t Doing So Great, but Her Roommate’s a Rising Star!

posted by on July 30 at 4:25 PM

This just in from Amy Winehouse’s roommate’s publicist:

So I have a new, wild artist to introduce you to. First off, she’s Amy Winehouse’s roommate, her name (her given name) is Neon Hitch, and she’s ready to make it big in the states.

A Gypsy by birth, she compares her style with an early Nelly Furtado and has some great tracks produced by Benny Blanco.

Right now her claim to fame is that she lives with Amy Winehouse—who’s on the verge of death—and sounds like early Nelly Furtado. But she looks like a sexier (and less-dressed) Winehouse before Winehouse’s body started rotting, and she sounds like this, so she’ll no doubt get at least 15 minutes of fame on her own accord.

Food for Thought

posted by on July 30 at 3:02 PM

www.myspace.com/jaguarlove.

Think of the page views.

Also Tonight: Telepathique, Vaseleens

posted by on July 30 at 2:36 PM

785024159_l.jpg

I was out of town for the week this issue was coming together, so I wasn’t able to make sure tonight’s Telepathique show at Nectar made it into the Up & Comings. Too bad, as the guy/girl duo from Sao Paulo, Brazil might be worth checking out—part Stereo Totale (sans any overt politics), part CSS (with fewer Brazilian girls), part faceless electroclash. I’m still on the fence about their album, Last Night on Earth—there might be too many hitting-you-over-the-head obvious songs like “Sex Drugs and Funk’n’Roll” and not enough trashy, breakbeat-reviving , lo-tech ravers like “Wild” or “Telefunk.” Still, it could be plenty fun live. (With Copy, the Long Ranger, Kadeejah Streets, 8pm, $8, 21+)

If that’s not your style, might I interest you in a Vaselines cover band featuring Murder City Devil/Lethargic Triumphalist Spencer Moody as Eugene Kelly and artist/OG insane clown Tara Thomas as Frances McKee? I thought so! They’re called Vaseleens, and they play tonight at the McLeod Residence at 9pm.

Shootin’ Off Menergy

posted by on July 30 at 1:38 PM

Patrick Cowley's 1982 Menergy LP

Even though his career was cut short due to his unfortunite death in 1982, Patrick Cowley was involved with many amazing italo projects, working with artist’s like Sylvester, Donna Summer, Paul Parker, and many others while also helping to start the San Francisco based italo label Megatone Records. As many of you already know, Cowley released his own material including the 1981 classic LP Megatone Man, followed by albums Menergy and Mind Warp. During his career there might be many songs that could stick out as “defining moments” of Cowley’s own music, however, for me the two songs that come to me first when thinking of Cowley’s brilliant career is 1981’s “Megatron Man” and “Menergy”. Both became huge “anthem like” favorites among San Francisco’s underground gay disco scene which really helped establish himself and his label. That’s not to say he didn’t have his hands on many other amazing releases, including Sylvester’s high-energy classic “Do You Wanna Funk”, an incredible remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, and Paul Parker’s 1982 chart-topping single “Right on Target”. It’s safe to say that Patrick Cowley will forever have a lasting imprint on the gay disco and San Francisco music scenes, and it’s unforunite that his life was cut so short especially as it was just starting to peak. That being said, Cowley did leave behind an incredible legacy that can be forever lived through his amaing productions.

Download Patrick Cowley’s “Megatron Man” and “Menergy” plus more by visiting this site.

Schadenfreude

posted by on July 30 at 1:04 PM

“I got jacked today,” the singer of Strong Killings explains to a small crowd at the Funhouse. “300 bucks, which for those of you that know me, is about my net worth.” Someone in the crowd corroborates his claim: “It is!” There is a look of utter despair on his face. It’s hard to tell if he’s already drunk, or just in a daze. Strong Killings proceed to give one of the most anguished, explosive sets to hit a Seattle bar on a Tuesday night. There is a moment during one song where the singer screams, “You think I’m on edge? FUCK YEAH I’M ON EDGE!” that is so legitimately tortured it seems possible at any moment he is going to bash his guitar over the bass player’s head. The set ends with a proper instrument thrashing: bass chucked into drums, toms and symbols punted to the back of the stage, and a feedback squeal like a dolphin’s death rattle. Everyone in the crowd looks at each other in amazement. “What a fucking day we’ve had,” the drummer explains to me backstage. I tell him, “You guys were great tonight.” He looks at me like I’m an idiot. “That was a disaster,” he says. ”An A-bomb.” It’s nearly impossible to tell when you’re the one who’s been screwed, but the best art really does come from misfortune. It sucks Strong Killings got fucked over yesterday, but because of it they left an impression so deep it might scar.

Activity on the Outskirts of Town

posted by on July 30 at 12:53 PM

ScrewNatalie1.JPGNorth of Seattle, Aurora Avenue becomes the outskirts of town. Things go down, actions and transactions in the shadows of the alleyways. People twitch and jerk. Attempts are made to be unassuming. Cracks in pavement have vigilant eyes. They’re like scratches and flies on the wall. They see all: the laptop serial numbers being sanded off in the backrooms of pawn shops, the casino pit bosses pocketing chips, and the Cops being served pre lap-dance Vanilla Cokes.

Some things in the outskirts don’t get talked about. Like when a neighbor’s weed-ridden son nails a screw through a Natalie Merchant CD to a tree in your backyard.

ScrewNatalie2.JPG

There had a been a conversation at a barbeque. The neighbor’s son (a Nine Inch Nails fan) was told his taste in music was horrible. Unfortunately, Natalie’s 10,000 Maniacs band was on the stereo at the time of the dis. The next morning, there’s Natalie, nailed to a tree. Disturbing? Yes. Misguided? Very possibly. Funny? Perhaps.

A shunned Nine Inch Nails fan nails a screw through the forehead of an adult contemporary singer. To a tree.

So goes another iffy day in the life on the outskirts of town.

First Ever Rock Band Tour Comes to Everett

posted by on July 30 at 12:22 PM

It was going to happen eventually… Rock Band is now not only a video game, it’s also a (crappy) tour.

The musical video game phenomenon of Rock Band™ is coming to the Comcast Arena at Everett October 14, 2008. This fall Rock Band Live (www.rockbandlivetour.com) will travel across the country with headline acts Panic At The Disco and Dashboard Confessional, together on stage, with very special guests Plain White T’s, The Cab, and possibly YOU!

The concert tour will let Rock Band bands rock their way onto the main stage with a truly interactive experience that allows fans to compete in head-to-head competitions for the chance to play on the main stage in-between the tour acts’ sets. Bands will be selected through local radio promotions, national contests and on-site at each show.

Tickets go on sale Aug 8 at 10 am for $29.95, $35.95, and $39.95. Buy ‘em at the Comcast Arena at Everett Box Office or www.comcastarenaeverett.com.

Mika Miko

posted by on July 30 at 12:00 PM

mikamikoflickr.jpg

by tomika davis

Tonight in Music: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Alkaline Trio, Kelley Johnson

posted by on July 30 at 11:37 AM

Christopher Delaurenti tells you why you shouldn’t miss Kelley Johnson at the Triple Door in this week’s installment of The Score:

On her latest disc, Home (Sapphire Records), Johnson sings superbly, sculpting the words in up-tempo renditions of “Rose Colored Glasses” and “A Lovely Night.” Mancini’s schmaltzy “Moon River” gets transformed into a yearning nocturne while “Home,” penned by Johnson and Jim Knapp, is a shuffling, bluesy lament.

Johnson keeps her Home bandmates close by; for this CD-release show, the trumpeter Ingrid Jensen joins an expanded lineup of Johnson’s group, which features multihorn wizard Jay Thomas, bassist Paul Gabrielson, John Hansen on piano, and drummer Jon Wikan.

Alkaline Trio - “Mercy Me”
Alkaline Trio, American Steel, the Fashion
(El Corazón) A couple weeks ago, after a posting on Line Out about Alkaline Trio, one sharp commenter wrote, “Alkaline Trio should have stopped after their split with Hot Water Music. After that record, when they stopped whining about cigarettes and started worshiping blood, I just couldn’t handle them anymore.” That’s almost true. In their heyday, Alkaline Trio wrote brilliant, albeit fucked up, brokenhearted punk ballads that were saturated with passion without being overly pathetic (or if pathetic, at least charmingly so). Today, frontman Matt Skiba looks like a vampire. And the sleek production on newer material doesn’t help the songs feel any less uninspired. But that’s still not enough to taint their older material, especially since the band are wise enough to showcase the old gems in their live shows. MEGAN SELING
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band Making Their Record
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
(Neumo’s) It’s strange that Conor Oberst’s first “solo” album since his original bedroom demos is the most organic, band-in-a-basement stuff he’s recorded in some time. How can his latest material, recorded with the Mystic Valley Band, best the sonic weight of the ragtag orchestras from his past few records? Blame the whole Big Pink concept. Oberst holed up in a small Mexican town early this year with some buddies and beers and put down raucous tracks, like the rollicking “NYC-Gone, Gone” and the stoner road trip “Sausalito.” The resulting record, Conor Oberst, sees his familiar vocal tremor fade, overtaken by foot-stompin’, classic-rock comfort. Sorry, hecklers, the sad kid in the bedroom cheered up. SAM MACHKOVECH

Conor Oberst is also playing a free, all-ages in-store at Easy Street Queen Anne at 6 pm.

TSK #1 On CMJ HipHop Charts

posted by on July 30 at 11:01 AM

tsks.jpg

NW Stand Up or whatever! Mingle is sittin pretty on the charts right now. Anybody who caught them at Block Party knows why- even me, who was blacked the fuck out for a good portion of their performance. In the immortal words of Barfly- “No one can start us now”.

For good measure, check out this vintage (‘06) interview I did with TSK:


Thursday Plantation - The Saturday Knights from Propadata Films on Vimeo.

Just Announced and On Sale Now!

posted by on July 30 at 10:30 AM

Friday Sept 19
NCGA Welcomes the 1st Annual
“CO-OPS ROCK!”
A concert to benefit The Cooperative Disaster Relief Fund, aiding farmers impacted by the Midwest floods.
Featuring:
THE NATIONAL
Menomena

Doors 7:00pm
Show 8:00pm
All Ages Bar With I.D
$22 ADV
$25 DOS
At The Moore Theatre
On Sale Friday Aug 1, 10:00am.
www.ticketmaster.com and all ticketmaster outlets.
Brought to you buy the National Cooperative Grocers Association and food coops nation wide.
Sponsored in part by by The Stranger and 90.3 KEXP.

Here’s the info for the exclusive pre-sale, which is going on now:

EXCLUSIVE PRESALE LINK Starts Wednesday at 10:00AM.
http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0F0040FCAA545A32

Password is: coopsrock

Today’s Music News

posted by on July 30 at 10:04 AM

Available exclusively ant WalMart: AC/DC schedule world tour for new album

Available exclusively at Hot Topic: Finch announces self-released album

Collaborations pt. 1: Alicia Keys and Jack White team up for James Bond theme

Collaborations pt. 2: Eno and Byrne team up for another record

Getting’ paid by the tear: Silver Jews announce DVD; video contest

Good deeds: New Walkmen album’s online sales go to fighting cancer

The Streets - “The Escapist”

posted by on July 30 at 9:53 AM

(From the forthcoming album Everything is Borrowed)


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Soccer Disco

posted by on July 29 at 5:16 PM

Soccer 1979 LP

Disco producer, writer, and composer Tony Valor put his signature stamp on many great disco projects during the late 1970’s including the Tony Valor Sounds Orchestra, Touch, Soccer, as well as working with Tom Moulton, Fantasy, Maryann Farra & Satin Soul and a host of many others. I recently came across one of my favorite Tony Valor produced records, the 1979 self-titled Salsoul Records classic LP by the group Soccer. This record hosts a number of great disco cuts including the album’s amazing single “Come And Get It On”, as well as album tracks “Give Me Your Love” and “Time Out (For Love)”. Overall it’s another fine release from disco legend Tony Valor.

Download Soccer’s 1979 disco classic “Come And Get It On” and more by visiting this site.

M83 - “Kim and Jessie”

posted by on July 29 at 1:30 PM


Man Says 3 and Owns It: The Magic Number

posted by on July 29 at 1:12 PM

MagicNumber.jpgA showgoer from Enumclaw was in a heated discussion with his friend about why trios are better than four-pieces. He kept saying it’s all about the power trio referencing Cream and ELO. I slid into the conversation, “Dude, ELO has like seven people in it.”

He responded with complete and confident negation, “No, ELO is a three-piece. It’s three people – E, L, and O.”

His friend countered, “Who’s E?”

Errol Flynn. I don’t know. The L is Jeff Lynne. What’s your problem?” he said.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“The Claw. Enumclaw,” he said. Then he sang the Schoolhouse Rock song, “Three times nine is twenty-seven,
 three times eight is twenty-four, and three times one, what is it?
 Three!
 Three, it’s the magic number.”

If you’re going to be wrong, you should own it. And this guy owned it. He spilt half his beer owning and doing his magic number dance. When he was finished I asked him what his favorite ELO song was.

“Stroke Me, Stroke Me”, he said. Of course it was. It was perfect. He tried to walk off but there were too many people.

All This Talk About Pop Punk

posted by on July 29 at 12:45 PM

…made me wake up with this song in my head this morning:

Win Tickets to Rocky Votolato’s Neumo’s Show

posted by on July 29 at 12:35 PM

Rocky Votolato - “White Daisy Passing”

Rocky Votolato is playing Neumo’s August 1st with Owen and Nazca Lines. Want to go?

Neumo’s will give a pair of tickets to the first person to e-mail lineout@thestranger.com with the correct answer to the following question:

Q: Which label ORIGINALLY put out Rocky Votolato’s A Brief History CD?

Put the answer in the subject line and e-mail your first and last name to lineout@thestranger.com.

The tickets have been won! Congrats to Ryan. The label that first released the EP (they only pressed 1,000 copies) was Your Best Guess. Second Nature later re-released the EP.

(BTW, you can find out about contests like this, right when they’re posted, by following Line Out on Twitter.)

The Winning Block Party Photo

posted by on July 29 at 12:20 PM

Photo #6
watermelon4linz1.jpgPhoto by watermelon4linz

Yesterday’s poll is now closed and the great shot of Jaguar Love won, getting 38% of the votes! Watermelon4linz will get a pair of weekend passes to this year’s Bumbershoot (I hope you’ll be taking pictures there too).

I know I sound like a soccer mom when I say this, but all the shots were really, really great. And thanks again to everyone who shared their photos in the Stranger Flickr Pool—I think every second of Block Party got caught on film/memory card.

See all the finalists here, browse through the Stranger’s Flickr Pool here.

“Lionheaded”

posted by on July 29 at 11:20 AM

lionheaded.jpg

by nancyo23

Tonight in Music: Boris and Torche, Fair, Strong Killings

posted by on July 29 at 10:30 AM

Fair - “Unglued”
Fair, The Pale Pacific, Ruth
(Chop Suey) Fair’s Aaron Sprinkle is an in-demand producer and engineer, helping add a bright spark to records by the likes of Mae, Anberlin and Acceptance. While that’s great for them (and the ol’ résumé) it means that his own music takes a backseat—which is unfortunate because it’s heads above the stuff he’s working with. Tonight is Fair’s first show in a year, so don’t miss the chance to catch the impish Sprinkle and his bandmates deliver perfectly crafted, anthemic emo pop that’s tender but never trite. While you’re at it, give a nudge to the Pale Pacific, who are also reemerging after a year’s hiatus. The music world needs both of them. BARBARA MITCHELL
Strong Killings - “Stupid Punk”
Rad Touch, Titus Andronicus, Strong Killings
(Funhouse) One of the more underappreciated rock bands in this city, Strong Killings deliver driving punk rhythms, rollicking start-stop time signatures, and redlining vocals. They’ve been playing out a hell of a lot these days, and their debut album seems to have been in the works for quite a while. Frontman Nate Mooter screams his terse lyrics into the mic like a soon-to-be great, and drummer Mike Loggins seems to break some part of his drum kit at almost every show. Why this band hasn’t blown up by now is really pretty baffling, and if they don’t do so soon, there’s something seriously wrong with the equation around here. GRANT BRISSEY
Torche - “Iron Girl” Live at SXSW
Boris, Torche, Lair of the Minotaur
(Neumo’s) Torche’s Meanderthal is hands down one of the best rock records released in 2008. Effortlessly mixing huge and intricate riffs, memorable vocal melodies, and just the right amount of “‘90s” rock, Torche have amalgamated a sound that is at once strangely familiar yet totally unique. They are the proprietors of “the bomb note,” in which the E string of a guitar is detuned to a floppy, thunderous explosion. One minute, Torche are ripping through a high-energy, chant-along anthem like “Healer,” the next they are making your fillings shake with the heaviest, sludgiest guitar tone imaginable. With Japanese noise aficionados Boris and Chicago metal barbarians Lair of the Minotaur rounding out the bill, attendance to this show is mandatory for anyone who cares about quality rock and roll. JEFF KIRBY

Search through all our listings right here.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Today in Synchronicity: Vivian Girls

posted by on July 28 at 4:53 PM

lp.jpg

Holy shit! Whoever was telling me about the Vivian Girls over the weekend, you get a gold start both for accuracy (they’re fantastic) and timing (the promo cd just came in the mail today). I get a demerit for not remembering who you are (my guess: someone in a beer garden, somewhere.) The band is parts Vaselines, parts Aisler’s Set, and, per their myspace, parts Black Tambourine, Wipers, and Shangri-Las. (Side note: does anyone actually listen to the Shangri-Las, or does everyone merely cite them as influences?) The band may already be old news, I don’t know, but DAMN! Their self-titled album is sold-out of its original run but will be rereleased on In the Red on Oct 7th. It will, in the interim, be on heavy rotation on my various music playback devices. Sadly, the Brooklyn band has no Seattle dates scheduled for the time being. Someone here ought to do something about that…

Update: Mike points out that they were here two months ago. I missed them. I will now spend the time being kicking myself.

Amy Winehouse Is Back in the Hospital

posted by on July 28 at 4:27 PM

Apparently, she had a bad reaction to medication.

Contusions with Walls

posted by on July 28 at 4:25 PM

Into the later hours of Block Party’s second day, the bathrooms were heavy with signs of burden. Fluids and stomachs lost, projectile un-aimed, splattered and left for someone else to clean. After two days of wringing livers, collective innards revolted. The bathrooms had become less rooms and more contusions with walls, connected to pipes and drains. More like cysts under a heat lamp.

Barf fees were discussed previously. Some Block Party goers need to pay up.

For whoever cleaned, respect and thank you.

For whoever dropped their plastic cups in the shitter, when you die, you’ll go to a place where you spend eternity in a neck deep version of the toilet you destroyed.

Two pictures for your viewing pleasure after the jump.

Continue reading "Contusions with Walls" »

Vote For Your Favorite Block Party Photo

posted by on July 28 at 12:50 PM

This weekend, I put out the call for Block Party photos in the Stranger’s Flickr Pool. Boy did you guys come through. There are hundreds (hundreds!) of great Block Party shots. After spending hours wading in the pool, I picked 10 favorites that I believe really captured the energy and sights of this year’s Block Party. Now I leave it up to the readers to choose a their favorite, and ultimately decide who wins a pair of weekend passes to Bumbershoot.

Look at the photos posted after the jump, and then vote for your favorite in the poll. The poll will close at noon Tuesday.

Good luck, and thanks to everyone for sharing their photos with us!

Which Photo Is Your Favorite?

Continue reading "Vote For Your Favorite Block Party Photo" »

88 BoaDrum LA / NY: FREE Tickets

posted by on July 28 at 12:47 PM

88.jpgBoredoms BoaDrum: 88 drummers on 8/8/08 playing for 88 minutes beginning at 8:08 PM. In LA it’s taking place at the La Brea Tar Pits behind the LA County Museum of Arts. In NY, it goes down in Brooklyn on the Williamsburg waterfront.

Today at 1PM a batch of tickets for the event will be available online. They are FREE.

There are 1000 tickets being released in stages. A total of 5000 will be released. Here is the link for the tickets.

They are also looking for volunteers. (See above link.)

Santogold vs. Diplo Mixtape

posted by on July 28 at 12:45 PM

Some free music that has nothing to do with the Block Party: a mixtape of Santogold vs. Diplo. Enjoy.

Tracklisting:
1. Dub Selection Intro
2. 3-6 Mafia - Late Night (Unstoppable Mix)
3. Santogold - Shuv It (Disco D Blend)
4. Santogold - I’m A Lady (Diplo Mix Ft Amanda Blank)
5. Sir Mixalot - Posse On Broadway
6. Santogold - Lights Out (Diplo’s Panda Bear Mix)
7. Aretha Franklin - Save Me
8. Devo - Be Stiff
9. B52’s - Mesopotamia
10. Gerri And The Holograms - Gerri And The Holograms
11. Santogold - Anne (Switch Mix)
12. Santogold - LES Artistes (XXXchange Mix Ft Movado)
13. Cutty Ranks - Dutty Six Pack
14. Santogold - Find A Way (Graeme & Switch Mix Ft Kid Cudi)/ Lunar Camel
15. Richie Spice x Ratatat - Marijuana
16. Desmond Dekker - Shanty Town
17. Santogold - Guns Of Brooklyn
18. Dixie Cups - Iko Iko
19. Tony Matterhorn - Big Belly Guns
20. Santogold - Get It Up (Radioclit mix Ft MIA & Gorilla Zoe)
21. Mark Ronson In Studio
22. Trouble Andrew - Run - Hide
23. Sister Nancy - Pigeon Rock
24. Nora Dean - Barbwire
25. Shinehead - Know How Fe Chat
26. Clash - Ghetto Defendant
27. Warrior Queen - Check It
28. Santogold x Benga - Unstoppable / Night Dub
29. Shawty Lo x Skream - They Know / Stagger
30. Santogold - Creator (Mumdance Mix ft Jammer, Badness, Chronik Rage, Slikman & Tempz)
31. Xray / Turbulence Duplate (Starstruck Diplo Mix)
32. Barrington Levy - Send A Moses
33. Prince Jazzbo - Ital Corner
34. Santogold - Icarus
35. Santogold x Diplo - Right Brigade (hidden track)

Pink Skull, Black Lungs

posted by on July 28 at 12:25 PM

PinkSkull500.jpgThe Least Terrifying Result of a Google Image Search for “Pink Skull”

So, yesterday, Philly’s Pink Skull played a BBQ at Nectar. I interviewed the band here, and Charles Mudede recommended the event here. Still, no amount of encouragement could change the fact that pretty much anyone who gives a shit about live music in Seattle seems to have been completely exhausted yesterday following two mammoth days of Capitol Hill Block Partying. I couldn’t even convince my friends who already really dig Pink Skull’s Zepellin III to come out to the event. When I got there, around seven, there were maybe a couple dozen people in attendance, and it seemed like half of them were cigarette reps, because this BBQ was a corporate deal. I try not to get all high and mighty about this stuff, because we’re kind of all implicitly in the business of peddling smokes and booze, and I usually don’t mind as long as I know what I’m going into, but for some reason I didn’t realize this event was going to be one of those things (I should have read the email more carefully), and the surprise combined with the low turn-out was just a massive bummer.

And Pink Skull, if not massively bummed, at least seemed pretty non-plussed about the show, laconically thanking the crowd through a wash of reverb. Still, their brief set sounded great—Nectar really can get away with the kind of bumping sound system that seems to have become suddenly illegal on Capitol Hill. The three piece band consisted of live drums, a laptop, keyboards and delay, and a rack of roto-toms, wood-block, and agogos. They played pretty faithful, but playfully divergent, interpretations of Zeppelin III, omitting bongos here, pushing vocals to the front there. They also debuted a new song, which they said would be on the next album, a vocal track that married Talking Heads vocal quirk to lively big beat far more effectively than that recent Norman Cook track featuring actual David Byrne. This set would have absolutely killed at Block Party. Pink Skull is due back in the fall, with a full band, and it should be a banger of a show.

(Hat tip to young Werther for the headline).

Re: The Physics

posted by on July 28 at 12:21 PM

The future is in mix 2, “They Call Me”:

1. “The Ride of Your Life” by Gift of Gab
2. “They Call Me” by The Physics
3. Track 4 by Dyme Def
4. “Power of Words” by Siren’s Echo
5. “And All My” by Siren’s Echo
Enough said.

You Thought Block Party Had Problems?

posted by on July 28 at 12:03 PM

Check out the reports from this weekend’s Pemberton Festival in Whistler, BC.

CBC:

Complaints about ever-present dust, overflowing toilets, chaotic parking lots and lax security were as pervasive as talk about the music on Sunday, the third and final day of British Columbia’s inaugural Pemberton Festival.

From the very start, Canada’s largest outdoor summer concert in recent memory has not been without its birthing pains.

On Friday, more than 40,000 fans made the bumper-to-bumper trek up B.C.‘s Sea-to-Sky Highway for the three-day rock music extravaganza. By Friday afternoon, the highway approaching the village of Pemberton was backed up, and fans were greeted with lineups, confusion and dust kicked up by crowds in the farmer’s field that has been converted into the festival site.

“Getting here from Whistler was a nightmare,” Adelle Papp told CBC News. “Then we paid $90 for parking, and we just stumbled on it. There was no one directing traffic, nothing.”

The confusion and dust continued into Saturday and Sunday. Organizers have had their hands full directing the 20,000 people who are camping in the fields surrounding the concert site. And fans have been resorting to covering their faces with scarves so as not to inhale the dust.

Although organizers promised tight security measures that would keep alcohol, weapons and drugs out of the camping area, festival-goers said security was lax.

“Security was giving up,” Chris Betts told the Canadian Press. “There were no checks and no one seemed to know who was in charge.”

“It was kind of like going to a war zone,” Colin Horgan said. “It feels like entering a refugee camp: tents, blowing dust and bright lights.”

Vancouver Sun:

The Pemberton Festival’s medical team have been treating about a thousand people a day during the dusty, hot and raucous first days of the party. Some were routed to hospitals in the Vancouver area.

Dr. Samuel Gutman, the festival’s medical director, said the 14-bed main medical tent has seen about 250 cases a day, while the first aid posts and roving response teams have taken care of about 600 to 800 people every day.

“To give you a persective, at Lion’s Gate, which is a main trauma recieving hospital, we’d see 120 a day,” Gutman said Sunday afternoon.

“Friday we did over a hundred IVs. We actually completely exceeded our stock,” he said. “That’s because we had a hot day.”

He said the ubiquitous dust and hay have been particularly agravating for some people.
“With the dust, we’ve seen lots of respiratory illnesses, and lots of hay fever, which makes sense, given the floor is spread with hay,” he said.

Ambulances have transported “a handful” of people to Vancouver-area hospitals, some suffering from substance abuse. But Gutman said they’ve all had positive outcomes.

Tonight in Music: Matisyahu and Common Market

posted by on July 28 at 10:32 AM

Matisyahi performing “King Without a Crown” on Letterman
Matisyahu, Common Market
(Paramount) Here’s one of many theories. (I have more theories than Imelda Marco has shoes.) Matisyahu’s popular mix of reggae beats and traditional Judaism has Alpha Blondy’s biggest hit, “Jerusalem,” as its single source. Blondy, a reggae star from the Côte d’Ivoire, opened “Jerusalem” with a Hebrew prayer, “Baruk atah adonai,” and then sang in three languages (Arabic, Hebrew, English) about the unification of the Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Blondy’s Hebrew prayer over a strong reggae beat is what must have got Matisyahu, an American Hasidic Jew, really thinking. It has to be the kernel (“Jerusalem, here I am”) from which grew his thriving tree of big drum dub, triumphant toasting, and Jewish teachings and spirituality. CHARLES MUDEDE

Search through our calendar for the rest of what’s happening tonight.

Interview Reel 2008

posted by on July 28 at 10:30 AM

Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav, Pleasureboaters, Akimbo, Thee Emergency, Head Like A Kite, Slats, Champagne Champagne, Girl Talk, Chromeo, and more!

Letter to the Editor

posted by on July 28 at 9:30 AM

I hate to say it, but I think I’ve attended my last Cap Hill Block Party. What was once a celebration of local music with the occasional touring headliner thrown in has become Bumbershoot light. This year there were so many people in such a confined space that I was tempted to call the fire department half way through Friday. If there had been any kind of panic around the main stage, a lot of kids would have died. There was no way out, no way to get around, completely atrocious planning.

And… the sound sucked. Really, really bad.

I’ve have a lot of great memories from the Block Party over the years, and though its lost me as an attendee I implore the powers that be to fix the following three things for the kids who will keep going no matter what you do:

1. Downsize draw power — Les Savy Fav and The Hold Steady are plenty big to fill this place (Hold Steady verges on too big.)

2. Fix the sound. It was unbelievably bad around the main stage.

3. Crowd flow. Before something terrible happens. Please.

Hope ya’ll get it together.

Your pal,
Keith Kyle

Dinosaur Juniors

posted by on July 28 at 2:20 AM

I always mix up Truckasauras and Terrordactyls. And now I’ve just discovered Pleaseeasaur. Are dinosaurs the new wolves?


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Overheard…

posted by on July 27 at 4:59 PM

“How many different bands is that dude with the mustache in?”

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photo by Lance Mercer


“Kimya thought I was trying to take a picture up her skirt and called me a ‘dirty bitch’.”

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photo by Jenny Jiménez

Continue reading "Overheard..." »

WORN OUT: Block Party

posted by on July 27 at 4:58 PM

I can’t get over how sassy everybody looked this weekend. Summertime Is Funnertime!

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Lots more photos after the jump…

Continue reading "WORN OUT: Block Party" »

More Block Party thoughts

posted by on July 27 at 4:50 PM

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Photo by Andrew G Davis.

Musically, Saturday was a big improvement over Friday for me. I saw more bands, and the bands I saw were better. No one’s mentioned it yet, so I’ll go ahead and say the Cave Singers played a beautiful, spare set. Frontman Pete Quirk was feeling it, too: Near the end, he said to the crowd, “I feel like I could tell you guys anything.” Awww.

Fleet Foxes made it to the next level of consciousness, and Grand Ole Party rocked despite headset mic problems— yeah, that’s the band in which the frontwoman drums and sings simultaneously. They were also the most symmetrical band I’ve ever seen— drummer/singer front and center, two guys (who looked they could be brothers) in blue shirts on either side, playing matching guitar and bass. If only the guitarist had been left handed…

Finally, and not to rant, but if there’s two 21+ stages next year, I think CHBP should consider selling discounted tickets to the underagers. It’s not that you see less music, but you have half the choices while paying the full price. Unfair.

A Grand Ole Party Indeed

posted by on July 27 at 4:08 PM

Sleepy Eyes of Death @ Capitol Hill Block Party, 7/26/2008Megan’s already touched on Sleepy Eyes of Death’s troubled set. It was indeed a great 15 minutes, with the kind of aggression that really works with what they were playing (the new material is a nice progression for their sound). So it was a bummer, but they still delivered, even if in concentrated form.

Less concentrated was Chromeo, who had a longer slot than most other acts. It’s almost impossible to hate Chromeo. They’re too inoffensive, too friendly, and look like they’re enjoying themselves too much to inspire much wrath, even if they aren’t your thing. Nowhere near Girl Talk’s insanity, but plenty of dancing in the sunshine all the same.

Video from Chromeo

The highlight of the day was Grand Ole Party over on the Vera Stage. I only caught the last few songs of their set, but the lead singer’s voice is completely captivating, and the fact that she’s able to do that while drumming is nothing short of incredible. Everyone at that stage was sucked into this vortex of soulful rock (let’s get them on a bill with Thee Emergency, ok?). They were so good that sold out of CDs after their set. This is definitely one to watch.

Video from Grand Ole Party

The Aftermath @ Capitol Hill Block Party, 7/26/2008After a quick stop by The Saturday Knights and a break, I came back in time for Chromeo’s afterparty DJ set. Holy hell, that was a good time. Unlike Friday’s afterparty, this one surpassed the day’s generally sedate mood. No people on stage for this one, but everyone in the audience was dancing while Chromeo banged it out. I wasn’t sure if they’d just be playing a set of Hall & Oates or soemthing, but they played some pretty choice blog house/electro. FourColorZack closed out the night with a selection of party favorites. Around three I finally made the trek home, as the night crew worked to clean up the mess from the weekend (more recycling next year please).

Video from the Saturday Knights
All of my pics

Re: I Dance To Metal

posted by on July 27 at 4:00 PM

I had a gang of fun at Block Party. I shouted along to Hold Steady and The Saturday Knights. I rapped with The Physics. I lit Meinert up with a water pistol. I drank constantly.
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(photo by Drake Delane.)

But the most fun I probably had was at Jay Reatard’s performance on Friday- goddamn that guy can throw down! We all know it was hard as shit to get from point A to B at the CHBP 90% of the time- but when I realized he was coming on, the stars aligned and the wind hit my back. It felt like I took a liquored-up luge from the beer garden to the front of the Neumos stage where Reatard was ripping through something intense off of Blood Visions. It was a hairy situation- the bass player had kind of a young King Buzzo thing going on and the Reatard himself was hidden behind a Hessian veil of curls. Now I’m too damn old and fat for the pit but I was super-juiced off of (free whiskey and) Jay’s brand of catchy-ass metallic punk-skronk so I had to do it. I slid around and jumped and lifted some kid’s leg. I pounded on some cat’s back like we were old friends and crashed into the bar manager from Chop Suey. My old Chucks were absolutely massacred. It was glorious. Note to hiphop heads: never wear new kicks to a festival.

Re: The Loved Ones

posted by on July 27 at 3:51 PM

Sorry Megan, but I gotta disagree with you. The Loved Ones were the black sheep of the Block Party this year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but unfortunately they were also the worst band I saw all weekend. I’d never heard their stuff before randomly deciding to check out the King Cobra stage. Walking through the door I was convinced that the band on stage was covering “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit. Perhaps my work environment has ruined any semblance of respect I used to have for pop punk, but these dudes were hands down the most generic band of the festival. I lasted two songs then split, knowing that it was pretty much guaranteed three better bands were playing outside. Waiting in line for a drink across the street I could still hear the band; this time I was sure they were covering “All the Small Things” by Blink 182.

I cannot disagree with the fact that everyone inside King Cobra seemed to be enjoying themselves, though.

The Loved Ones

posted by on July 27 at 2:58 PM

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The Loved Ones felt like the black sheep of the weekend to me—boom-chucka-boom punk rock from Philly on the same bill as Chromeo, Girl Talk, and Vampire Weekend? Really? I’m so glad they were there, though. The Loved Ones continue to be a band best experienced in person. The records just can’t capture their humor and enthusiasm.

They play riotous pop punk with anthemic sing-a-long choruses. Their lyrics are about being drunk and broken-hearted, and singer Dave Hause delivers his poetic phrases with a worn and guttrral holler (think Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan). After blasting through stuff from both the old and new record, and stealing sips of beer from the audience’s bottles, they closed with “Louisiana.” On record, that songs bores me. But it’s so much fun live, when you can stomp, clap, and yell along with the repetitive lyrics “They’re pounding nails in Louisiana…”

After a fun performance like that, they weren’t out of place at all on the dance packed bill.

Now That Block Party is Over

posted by on July 27 at 1:55 PM

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Upload your photos to the Stranger’s Flickr Pool. Some of the best shots will be posted on Line Out tomorrow morning, readers will vote for their favorite, and the winner will get weekend passes to Bumbershoot!

Throw Me the Statue

posted by on July 27 at 1:45 PM

Throw Me the Statue_CoreyBayless_CitizenImage02Throw Me the Statue photo by Corey Bayless

One bummer about Block Party—a bummer that’s endemic to any big festival, really—is that there will always be two things you want to see at exactly the same time, if not three things. So it was that I ditched out on Chromeo, who are always a treat live, after just a few songs to go watch Throw Me the Statue inside Neumo’s. Yes, they’re local, and I can see them all the time, but Throw Me the Statue’s Moonbeams is one of the best records to come out of Seattle this past year, and the band are easily in my top five or so of local acts. Scott Reitherman’s songs are clever as hell, perfectly poppy while still being lyrically somewhat abstract. And they’re a lot of fun live. (Plus, what’s going to top that completely bananas Chromeo show at the War Room?)

I had a “but if you’re here, and they’re there” moment before the band started, when I caught their now former bassist hanging out in the crowd instead of onstage. They split amicably, he says, and the new bassist brought some extra keyboards to the band, so that’s a plus. The band also had its sometimes horn section on hand for the show to add brass to songs like “Groundswell,” “Take It Or Leave It,” “Moonbeams,” and “Yucatan Gold.” There were some good signs for Throw Me the Statue last night: Neumo’s was packed, the crowd cheered at the mere soundchecking of the band’s glockenspiel, and I overheard a couple girls trying to deduce a band members’ name so they could shout it and win his attention. Also a good sign: the band played a new song, called “Parade,” which sounded perfectly radio ready (duh, their set was being broadcast live on KEXP, after all): a mid-tempo track with a big, octave-effected chorus pierced by squealing electric guitar feedback. The band isn’t perfect live—the sort of flatness that makes Reitherman’s vocals so intriguing on record doesn’t always come across right live, and he hit one off falsetto on one song—but the strength of the songs more than make up for any rough spots. Reitherman is just a phenomenal songwriter, and “About to Walk,” “Young Sensualists,” and “Lolita” (despite the fact that I can’t bear its opening couplet) remain the total fucking jams. It’s also worth mentioning that their drummer is a beast, busying his steady backbeats with aggressive little fills and flourishes (also, I think those girls might have been talking about him).

Sleepy Eyes of Death’s 15 Minutes

posted by on July 27 at 1:45 PM

There was a lot of tension in the room before Sleepy Eyes of Death started—the band was scheduled to go on at 6 pm and when they still hadn’t started by 6:30, the crowd had grown restless.

Some blame the sound guy for the long wait, some blame the fact the band has fog machines, lights, six keyboards and synths, live drums, and at least two guitars to set up. Still, it was apparent both teams were clashing when, finally ready to play, the band asked Soundguy to turn off the lights. He refused, shaking his head from the soundbooth. They asked again, unable to start until the lights were off (they have their own, it’s part of their live experience). He finally obliged but not without flipping them off first. Classy, dude.

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With the lights out and the first notes hit, the crowd burst with cheers and applause. Most people there, myself included, were waiting nearly 45 minutes or more—it’s too bad they only got to play four songs.

It took over half the short set for the band to hit their stride—they were obviously stressed, pissed about the fact they couldn’t use fog machines (despite the fact they cleared it two weeks in advance, they explained from the stage), and as a result the songs felt rushed.

But when they started “In Parallel,” things fell into place—even without the fog enveloping them, their performance was still striking. The music was loud (maybe a little louder than it needed to be), and the band started going off—guitarists thrashed more than I’ve ever seen ‘em thrash, the drums were hit harder than ever. A little anger does these boys good.

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At the end of the set, in a mini-hissy fit, they knocked over the drums and threw a keyboard down. They were pissed. Obviously. And they should’ve been. You need more than 15 minutes with a band like Sleepy Eyes of Death. Their show is an experience, something that you have to get a little lost in. As soon as they hit their stride, the house lights went up, and the crowd filed back out into the sun.

It was my only bummer of the whole weekend.

Under Block Party

posted by on July 27 at 1:42 PM

Much fun was had at the Aviation Records and Don’t Stop Believin’ Records Showcase in the cavernous environs of the Cha Cha. As Mr. Grandy mentioned here, the early evening saw an excellent performance from See Me River, who were followed by the similarly excellent Weirdlords, who set the bar for loud rock. Next up was Triumph of Lethargy Skinned to Death, who are louder and more raucous than I’ve ever seen them. The new songs seared with feedback and Spencer Moody’s howling.


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Next were Wild Orchid Children, who I’d never seen before. Thirty seconds in, the crowd went ape-shit. The band delivered crazy-ass, blues-infused din in the vein of Delta 72. Wild Orchid Children are my new favorite band.

Here are some pictures:
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Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t come close to doing this show justice.

Sorry I Threw a Pie in Your Face, Ari

posted by on July 27 at 1:00 PM

In the name of raising money for the Vera Project, Ari Spool bravely volunteered to be a victim of Vera’s Pie-in-the-Face booth, where folks in the crowd could buy a sticky chocolate and whipped cream pie and slap her in the face with it.

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Best $5 I ever spent.

The Hold Steady

posted by on July 27 at 1:00 PM

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I was going to post all these reviews in the order the performances went down yesterday, but I’m still far too excited about the Hold Steady to stick to that. Look at Craig Fin, for chrissakes! He is the world’s biggest spaz, happiest man, and most positive dude of all time. He did a kind of chubby running man. He shouted to the crowd off mic. He kept making that face and throwing his hands out to the side like he was giving the crowd a gift and saying, “ta da!” And I suppose he was giving the crowd a gift, as the Hold Steady are pretty much the perfect summer festival band—beer gardens and the Hold Steady go together like Tim Harrington and hot dogs. I didn’t notice what a giddy clown Finn is when last I saw the Hold Steady, on the jumbotrons at Sasquatch last year—maybe he wasn’t as giddy at that show—but the last time I saw someone looking that gleefully dorky on stage, it was Atom and His Package. So, well done, Mr. Finn.

The band played much of their latest album, Stay Positive, with highlights being “Constructive Summer,” “Sequestered in Memphis,” the title track, and “Slapped Actress.” They also played “Chips Ahoy,” “Stuck Between Stations,” “Party Pit,” and “Massive Night” off Boys and Girls in America, as well as “Your Little Hoodrat Friend” and “Stevie Nix” off of Separation Sunday. Everything sounded just right, if never quite loud enough in the busier corners of the beer garden. The crowd looked amped up in the front, but there was no way to get up there, and anyway there were even a few scattered “whoa-ohs” towards the back. I inadvertently taught some stranger about “metal claw.” It was one of only two sets I saw at Block Party that kept me grinning the whole damn time (Girl Talk was the other, but mostly for the crowd). You couldn’t ask for a better closing night headliner.

See Me River

posted by on July 27 at 12:45 PM

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Not officially part of the Block Party, but the Cha Cha had a solid line-up of its own all weekend. I missed the final performance of Das Llamas on Friday, but I did manage to catch Kerry Zettel’s other project See Me River. Once a solo endeavor, last night it was a full band with piano, acoustic guitar, drums, and either xylophone or glockenspiel. I have to say, the band’s dark, folky songs are a much better fit for Zettel’s low, droning voice than were Das Llamas’ equally low, droning post-punk. Here, the more conventionally pretty arrangements act as a counterpoint to Zettel’s haunted baritone rather than as reinforcement, and the effect is perfect. See Me River belongs to a long, long line of mopey motherfucking ensembles to come out from behind the bar of the Cha Cha—apparently, it’s a hard, dark life down there—and they do quite well by that tradition.

The Physics

posted by on July 27 at 12:34 PM

Physics_PiperCarr_CitizenImage01.jpgPhysics photo by Piper Carr

With all due respect, I have no idea what the fuck Charles Mudede is talking about when it comes to the Physics. What else is new, right? To my ears, they’re a fine, but not outstanding and hardly futurist hip hop act—solid beats and grooves; regular, easy cadences; and one song that abysmally rhymed “my way” with “information super-highway” before going on to name-check Myspace, Starbucks, Bill Gates, and Boeing (ugh). Not helping matters any is that when the group brought out some friends—Grynch, Gatsby, and Macklemore—for a posse cut (“this is how we chill / from ‘08 ‘til”), their guests handily stole the show (this is, I suppose, the danger of having guests). Grynch and Macklemore, neither of whom I’d seen before, were especially amped, rapping double time and working references to the Block Party into their rhymes. Macklemore had the best punchline of the day, too: [something about real hip hop] “the radio ain’t playing them / we need KUBE like we need another stadium.” See, now that’s how you geek out on Seattle, not with some Bill Gates shit. After that heated performance, it was pretty hard to get too invested in the Physics’ last song, the mellow single “Ready For We.”

Black Elk and Akimbo

posted by on July 27 at 12:29 PM

It was a little strange seeing Portland’s Black Elk on the Vera Stage outside; the all-black clad band would seem much more at home inside King Cobra or Neumos. A few songs into their set they ask with a grin, “Hey, where’s the beer?” It took standing next to the stage to really appreciate the sound these guys were pushing: even with the guitarist’s Sunn Model T and and Earth stack the amps lost to the PA twenty feet back. They sound like a modern day Jesus Lizard - for all I know their singer might have actually been David Yow. The drummer snapped off the mallet to his kick pedal in the first hit of the last song. They did not enjoy the large crowd they deserved.

It is a shame there were so many good bands playing at the same time Saturday. The seven bands I really wanted to see were spread across all four stages over two hours, which was lame. None of my choices disappointed, but I was bummed I missed Sleepy Eyes, Chromeo, Throw Me the Statue, and Jaguar Love (although the 30 seconds of Jaguar Love I did hear pumping into the porta potty outside Neumos sounded great: those plastic shitters have great frequency range). The crowds were too intense to try and hop from show to show; way too much time was lost in transit. I wanted to see Chromeo. That was the plan at least. But finding my way to any sort of decent spot from the Vera Stage proved to be a bigger pain in the ass than it was worth. There were just too many damn people. Seeing Akimbo instead was hardly a sacrifice. I talk about these dudes all the time, but it’s for good reason. They are one of Seattle’s finest rock bands, and seeing the crowd bob up and down during the Keith Moon drums and perfect classic rock riffage of “Wizard Von Wizard” was just another reminder of their prowess. “Did anybody here see Black Elk?” Jon W. asked between songs. A few people meekly reply. “The rest of you motherfuckers were watching Fleet Foxes, and that’s a sin as far as I’m concerned.” Like Black Elk, Akimbo’s sound was just too big for the outdoor PA setup, but all you had to do to remedy the situation was stand up close. They closed their set with the debut performance of “Great White Bull” from their upcoming record Jersey Shores:

Living Up to the Hype

posted by on July 27 at 11:44 AM

This weekend was Seattle’s chance to see three of the most hyped bands in the country all in one spot. Vampire Weekend, No Age, and Fleet Foxes, thanks in part to the unanimously positive attention they’ve been getting from music trend authoritarians Pitchfork, are three of the most talked about names in music, and now that we’ve had a chance to see all three in one weekend, we can try to make sense of that hype.

Before Block Party my opinions of these bands were thus: I did not care for Vampire Weekend, was on the fence about No Age, and was quite fond of Fleet Foxes. I’ve actually been pretty adamant about not liking Vampire Weekend. Seeing them live did indeed raise my opinion of the band: After a long day of drinking and dancing their headlining set was comfortingly innocuous. I still have no desire to listen to their record again (tried several times), but in concert they were fun and whimsical, a simple melody that everyone could enjoy without having to think too hard about it. I see Vampire Weekend as the new Sublime (imagine when they were still a band, before the singer died): So-Cal stoners have been replaced with Upper East Side Ivy Leaguers making breezy summer jams appropriated from black culture. The target demographic is altered, but the aim is very much the same. Just imagine Vampire Weekend doing a cover of “Santeria.” It totally works.

No Age didn’t actually play the Block Party, but they did perform Friday night on the same block. Like Vampire Weekend, I have yet to understand the “brilliance” of their recorded work, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I think the audio quality of Nouns is crappy. At the super sweaty “Secret Show” I was finally able to make a little more sense of this band, and what it took was some context. No Age have to be loud and in your face. Their performance relies on the crowd being a part of the experience, actively participating and not just watching. They are DIY incarnate, the spirit of the grunge sound they employ. I can’t say my appreciation for their songwriting has changed, but that’s because it hardly seemed like they were playing songs. It was a wash of distorted riffs and drums and muffled yells, the band standing one foot in front of everybody, sweat flying everywhere. And it was great, in that context. It would seem No Age have no real desire to be the next big thing. They don’t want to play on the main stage unless they have to. Real shows, real underground culture, happens separate from the festivals, and that is perhaps the only context in which No Age make real sense. Here’s to hoping their ethos remains true.

It’s no secret how much I enjoy Fleet Foxes. Of the massively hyped bands, I believe they alone deserve every bit of that attention. Their set yesterday was unsurprisingly perfect, the vocal harmonies reverberating through the streets like a mild tranquilizer. In trying to figure out exactly why I like this band so much the explanation came in the form of a lot of my answers – from Lord of the Rings. I was waiting in line for the porta potty with Larry Mizell while Fleet Foxes were playing, and I asked him what he thought of the band. He sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s not my thing.” I asked him what class he considered himself; he thought about if momentarily and answered, “Half Thief, half Elf.” “This is Elf music! You should love this!” I sort of yelled at him (I’d been drinking). “Well what are you?” he asked back. “Half Hobbit, half Dwarf.” Then it all made sense. Hobbits and Dwarves idolize the Elves. They are entranced by everything about them. Fleet Foxes are obviously Elvin minstrels from the woods of Lorien. Elves have never been particularly impressed with their own kind (although some would argue too impressed). Animosity from the race of Men stems purely from jealousy. But for the rest of us, the songs of the Elves are timeless and beautiful, and worthy of great praise.

Little Party & the Bad Business

posted by on July 27 at 11:39 AM

So, Stranger all-ages columnist Casey Catherwood has this band, Little Party and the Bad Business. They sing (and, dear god, sometimes kind of rap) songs about stuff like freeboxes, DIY, and partying too hard, and their songs are fun, athletic punk pop workouts. They’re young and awkward and funny—Catherwood kept talking about how he didn’t feel too good, how, in fact, he felt like he had to “poo;” he also noted that all of us were in the middle of “a revolution,” as there were three new flavors of Mountain Dew or something (I’m kind of out of the soda game these days). LP&BB used to be just Catherwood and his buddy Dale Metteer on casiotones and vocals, backed by a drum machine, but recently, the band has expanded to include guitar, bass (Mark Greshowak from Talbot Tagora), and drums. It sounds a lot better this way, especially on the band’s more recent songs, where it feels like the band was able to steer things away from punk-by-numbers progressions. The rhythms are genuinely punchy, for one thing, but maybe more importantly the added instrumentation gives Catherwood more time to get away from his keyboard (he and Metteer have their little keyboards set up facing each other, like some miniature grand piano duet) and goof off. It was 2pm and there were only a couple dozen people at the Vera Stage, but Catherwood still danced in the crowd, climbed amps, hopped the fence to run around the stage, punched the monitors until his knuckles bled, and just generally screamed himself red in the face. Even with the full band, LP&BB aren’t perfect—Catherwood and Metteer are better shouters than they are singers still—but pretty soon I could see them playing alongside bands like the Death Set or Team Robespierre and easily holding their own.