Tonight Fun with Skateboards
posted by August 30 at 1:48 PMon
posted by August 29 at 5:04 PMon
Did you know that if you can do this…
or better yet, this…
while also doing this…
you can win $1,500 and THIS? Even if you’re not competing it’s fun, fun, fun.
posted by August 29 at 2:53 PMon
Paper Thin Walls is closing up shop today, saying goodbye with a “compendium of ephemera, ruminations, complaints, effluvium and balderdash” that make me wish I had known the site better during its existence. RIP, Paper Thin Walls.
posted by August 29 at 12:49 PMon
A weird side-effect of organizing something like the Stranger’s Bumbershoot Guide is that, though you become intimately familiar with everything that’s happening that weekend well in advance, by the time the event actually rolls around, you’ve likely forgotten everything. Thankfully, the online version of our guide has a helpful customizable schedule tool (the web 0.0 print version has a still handy grid). In just minutes, I’ve sorted my shit out, foggy editorial brain and all. So, here’s what I’m going to try to take in tomorrow (I’ve yet to decide between Estelle and the Walkmen):
Throw Me the Statue Rockstar Stage Broad Street 12:30 PM Seattle’s Throw Me the Statue seem almost too smart to be a pop band. Singer Scott Reitherman’s lyrics are frequently oblique, with choruses more often built around dense turns of phrase than simpler romantic sentiments. And yet their debut album, Moonbeams, is one of the catchiest most easily enjoyable records to come out of Seattle in a while. Their shifting live lineup (still with glockenspiel!) is scrappier than Reitherman’s mostly solo recordings, but just as stellar. ERIC GRANDY
Grynch Fisher Green Stage 2:15 PM
Local rapper Grynch recently released his second album, My Second Wind, a work that makes clear to the hiphop community that he has substance and something fresh to say. The young man can rhyme and has an honest love for the art. For him, it’s not about salary, it’s all about “not faking the funk.” CHARLES MUDEDE
The Valley EMP SFM’s Sky Church 3:30 PM
The Valley’s eardrum-flattening, screaming Sea-Tac runway velocity is hands down one of my favorite things to see live. You can call ’em grunge revivalists, but don’t front; their anticute, fuzz-laden, blue-collar bombast blows the anemic neon hordes away like the special snowflakes their home-schooler parents always told them they were. To quote Jadakiss: Fuck the frail shit. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Estelle Fisher Green Stage 5:45 PM
This British R&B singer hit it massive in England with her “American Boy,” featuring Kanye West, and her critically acclaimed album Shine (Atlantic). She’s been slower to break over here, but with Bumbershoot as the second show on a North American trek, she could reverse that in person. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
the Walkmen Rockstar Stage Broad Street 5:45 PM
NYC band the Walkmen are reverent traditionalists, paying homage to Harry Nilsson and John Lennon with a full-album remake of Pussy Cats, and otherwise, more generally, keeping the rock torch burning. The band have mellowed since the bitter burst of 2004’s breakout single “The Rat,” but band-leader Hamilton Leithauser remains a sharp, if sweetened, songwriter, backed by a band as comfortable with reclining ballads as they are with more ragged fare. ERIC GRANDY
Mono in VCF EMP SFM’s Sky Church 6:30 PM
Is there a James Bond flick where the villain’s elegant, technological wonder of a headquarters is housed deep within the core of a runaway Arctic iceberg? NO? Well, could there be one? Because Mono in VCF’s Bristol-damaged glacial psychedelia would be perfect for the theme song—listen to lead vocalist Kim Miller blowing down “No Blood in Bone” and tell me you can’t see credits rolling. LARRY MIZELL JR.
Man Man Rockstar Stage Broad Street 7:30 PM
Philly carni punks Man Man may have crafted their most upbeat and accessible album to date with 2008’s Rabbit Habits, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gotten any less weird. Their colorfully seasick shanties and blotto piano ballads are as cluttered with intriguing instrumental junk as ever, lead singer Honus Honus’s voice remains chaotically sweet and sour, and the band continue to indulge in peculiar but persuasive percussive jams and chants. Live, they make for a reliably demented circus. ERIC GRANDY
Nada Surf Starbucks Stage | Mural Amphitheatre 8:45 PM
Nada Surf’s latest album, Lucky (released on local label Barusk), is the band’s most sophisticated release to date. Its songs are filled with pretty strings, strong choruses, and gentle harmonies featuring guest stars like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard. These boys have grown up quite nicely since their goofy 1996 high-school anthem “Popular.” MEGAN SELING
!!! Fisher Green Stage 9:15 PM
I once made the mistake of taking too literally !!!’s cover of the Magnetic Fields’ “Take Ecstasy with Me” and spent a show of theirs melted into a corner of the Croc when I should have been dancing my ass off. Still, every time I properly remember seeing the band (pronounced “chk chk chk”), I’ve dutifully shaken my butt and gotten on down, as their disco-punk-funk juggernaut is just unstoppably fun. ERIC GRANDY
What’s on your list?
posted by August 29 at 11:51 AMon
Last night at the Oi Vay! weekly in the Baltic Room, DJ Struggle was spinning an excellent set of unconventional deep house music to a sparse crowd. Unfortunate, but the circumstances didn’t dampen Struggle’s mood nor mar the quality of his selections.
One track in particular riveted me: Juju & Jordash’s “Blue Plates” on London’s Real Soon Records (you can hear it on the label’s MySpace). The cut exists at the hazy but fascinating nexus where cosmic disco, house, and dubstep (rarely) converge. “Blue Plates” is methodical yet sexy, meticulously detailed yet pregnant with the pleasure principle, weirdly off-kilter yet danceable. I haven’t heard much like it lately, and I’m grateful to Struggle for turning me on to Juju & Jordash and Real Soon.
Here’s a vid of J&J’s “Time Slip,” their only representation on YouTube.
posted by August 29 at 9:43 AMon
Better than doing another Victoria’s Secret ad: Bob Dylan releases his own line of harmonicas
Melvins, Mastodon, Torche: ATP ‘s Nightmare Before Christmas announces line-up
Velvet Underground, The Replacements, Green Day: Glen Campbell records cover album
Clap Your Hands Say Yawn: Black Kids might be over
Keepin’ it real: Cuban punk charged with “social dangerousness”
Lofty endeavors: Rufus Wainwright experiences opera obstacles
posted by August 28 at 4:43 PMon
There’s no reason to like the Mystery Jets.
From southwest London, the band has chiseled into the profitable niche between the post-punk revival of Bloc Party, The Rapture, and Arctic Monkeys and the vague new wave stumbling about of Maxïmo Park and Franz Ferdinand, all while managing to avoid a point or personality.
For their second album, last spring’s Twenty One, Mystery Jets roped in the ultracool-but-swell Erol Alkan for production, which was a smart thing to do even if it could only do so much.
Except for a song called “Two Doors Down.”
On the surface, it’s everything arch and obvious about indie’s misuse of the ’80s. There are bored vocals and those cartoon keyboards you hear everywhere. White ties and horrible hair. And then, whoops. Out of nowhere.
Is it the chorus?
After such an ordinary start, the vocals, at least, shift onto a high rock, bright and desperate, while a melody like crystal twinkles away, rising and falling in odd-pop fashion. Erol Alkan’s blatant production makes me smile. It’s easy to like the way the song reminds you of Aztec Camera, Madness, and Haircut 100, and that, just when you’re about to give up on it, the whole thing blooms like it was being colored in by a closest romantic with crayons.
So now there’s a reason.
What’d they do that for?
posted by August 28 at 2:49 PMon
Just sent to Last Days from Hot Tipper Jack:
I was standing outside of King Cobra last night around 12:30 when two guys decided it would be hilarious to steal the hat off the head of notable Seattle hipster Slats, who was standing nearby. One of them grabbed it and they took off running. Slats got about ten feet after them but then he dropped his head band, which he had to stop and go back for, and by then the hat-thieves were long gone. Slats and another guy went off looking for them, but to no avail. I wonder if this means future Slats-sightings will be of the hatless variety? Or if he has a hundred more identical hats and “SlatsSuits” back at the “SlatsCave?”
Dear Jack: Thank you for noticing and sharing. I have no answers to your questions.
Dear thief of Slats’ hat: What you have done is morally wrong. Should you want to return the hat, and you should, you may drop it off with no questions asked at The Stranger’s front desk during regular office hours (Mon-Fri 9:30 am-5:30 pm).
posted by August 28 at 2:32 PMon
Back in October, I posted a YouTube video called “Jake E. Lee Shreds” — a throwaway item that amused me far more than it did the rest of you.
Just this week, I came across a similar video: “Malmsteen Shreds” *
After laughing without shame for some three days, I ran a YouTube search for the term “Shreds”, believing I had stumbled across some burgeoning internet meme. This was the result. Yes! A trend is born! But on closer inspection, I discovered that although dozens of different folks were posting the videos, most of them were credited to one man, a Finnish lad going by the handle “StSanders.” Google aided me here, too. And it turns out the St. Sanders phenomenon has already been well documented: By Wired, for instance. Neat!
But some of the shredders he lampooned didn’t like the joke. They made a bit of noise and got the videos pulled. Threats of lawsuits cannot deter the denizens of the internet, however, and St. Sanders’ videos were quickly reposted (and re-reposted) by fans. Victory!
Kudos to you, keepers of the Shred, and to tinkerers like St. Sanders who keep themselves busy by any means necessary and to no purpose whatsoever.
*If the video is suddenly “No Longer Available” it’s probably because Malmsteen ordered it to be removed. He’s the most litigious munchkin of them all.
Bonus! A few more worth watching:
posted by August 28 at 1:30 PMon
Picking up on yesterday’s “alternative” vs “indie” thread (with respects due to Michaelangelo Matos’ fine Idolator post on the subject), allow me to direct your attention to the Stranger’s Bumbershoot Guide, in which you’ll find Monsters of Alt, a chart of the careers of Bumbershoot’s ’90s heavyweights—Superchunk, Beck, Stone Temple Pilots, and the Offspring. The piece props up the idea of “alt” that Matos (I think convincingly) rails against, that it’s specific to the ’90s. But hair-splitting aside, it’s really just an excuse to make fun of Scott Weiland for being a junkie and Beck for being a Scientologist.
But, if we can get serious again for a moment, Stranger reader Paul Waldrop II writes in with some important corrections:
Errors of note conserning STP in your Article:
No. 4 was released in 1999 not ‘97.
You failed to mention their 2001 album “Shangri-La Dee Da”
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you, Paul. Our sincere apologies to anyone who’s ever listened to either of those albums, whenever they came out.
posted by August 28 at 12:55 PMon
Since the Block Party Flickr photo contest was such a hit (hundreds of entries, thousands of votes), we’re doing it again for Bumbershoot. This time, you can win tickets to any Stranger event of your choosing*!
1) Take pictures at Bumbershoot—shoot the bands, the people, the food, the crying babies, the hippies dancing in a plate of yakisoba noodles, whatever.
2) Upload your photos to The Stranger’s Flickr Pool by Tuesday, September 2nd (and remember to give ‘em a “Bumbershoot” tag).
3) Log on to Line Out Wednesday morning to see the 15 (give or take) best photos from the weekend. Stranger readers will vote on their favorite shots and the winner will get tickets to any upcoming Stranger event of their choosing! (There will also be prizes for the 1st and 2nd place runner-ups.)
You could win tickets to The Stranger’s very exclusive Genius Awards VIP party—free food, free booze, and performances by James Pants, Emerald City Soul Club, Daedelus, and more. Or, you could get tickets to the TV on the Radio show at the Showbox Sodo! Or, you could get tickets to Fucked UP at the Vera Project! Or you could get tickets to HUMP. See the whole list of events here.
Good luck. And godspeed, shutterbugs.
(*Age restrictions apply to some events, Co-Ops Rock! not included, as it is a benefit show.)
posted by August 28 at 11:35 AMon
There is a music man from Tijuana, MX named Memo. He sings and fronts a four-piece electrified rock band called Buddy Akai. Elements of 80’s dance mix with rhythmic distorted chords for their sound. Buddy Akai is extremely tight. Passages never squirm or fire off half assed. They’re confident and at ease, and from their first measure of notes on, they own it. People jump and contort into 360’s. On a Monday night at San Diego’s Casbah, they fill the room and distribute hits.
Memo stands spread eagle center stage, bobs his singing head, and tweaks a three-tiered synth tower with both hands screaming, “Oooooooooh Yeaaaaaahh”. Three of the four members of Buddy Akai live in San Diego, where they are officially from. Memo commutes from Tijuana, sometimes crossing the border twice a day.
Driving in caravan by the white sands of the Imperial Dune border, we talked gear and border life:
What’s that synth tower you’re tweaking up there? Habla for me about your set up.
Memo: I use a laptop with Ableton Live and Korg VST’s connected to an M-Audio Axiom 25 keyboard/ midi controller.
How is it all implemented into Buddy Akai?
I beat the hell out of it. For those who are unaware of the greatness that is Ableton Live. It lets me open an unlimited amount of channels. Half are used for samples and the rest for MIDI. I have fx running on each channel as well as knobs, pads, and triggers which I assign using the M-Audio Axiom. This lets me control parameters and manipulate sounds while we’re playing. I can loop on the fly. The Axiom is a 25 key controller so there’s only so much you can do with it. I do a lot of homework and pre-program arpegiated scenes to each key that I can sample, cut, and manipulate live. I can shorten or extend parts of songs, slow BPM or even transpose notes so we’re not confined to a certain track or time signature. For us it’s all about being able to feel it. Since we play along to a metronome, it gets a little crazy.
What is it like going back and forth across the border so often?
Well, growing up so close to the border and having family and friends on both sides, it’s second nature. Legal drinking age in Tijuana is 18. It’s easier to get an ID there, so we’d do most of our partying down there. Many shows in Tijuana are like raves, in that they go all night. People in Mexico are genuine and humble and it’s always been the band’s home away from home. Things have gotten a little more tense at the border crossing after 9/11. The security has really intensified.
How can American bands play in Mexico?
If you are planning on gigging down in the great Tenochtitlan Mexico, you definitely want to check in and register your gear. You gotta write down all your serial numbers and model names and you might have to pay a tax depending on how new your gear looks and how long you’ll be visiting. Sometimes you can just wing it and drive and hope you get the green light. Buddy Akai is caught between two realities and were just trying to make the absolute best of it and the truth is, everyone goes through the same hassle.
Are there any Mexican bands you are into right now?
I have to say check out ex Nortecs Tijuana Sound Machine. It’s the same great Nortec sound, different name. We also just played with Kinky and they rock it as well. There’s also this other band called Buddy Akai. They might be latin, I don’t know. I heard they’re pretty good.
posted by August 28 at 11:30 AMon
(Marymoor Park) Willie Nelson is an elegant, elegiac guitar player, a grassroots advocate of global righteousness, and a songwriter who employs country music as grand tragedy greater than anyone in history. More crowning than any of these qualities, however, is his singing. Unremittingly sorrowful and beautiful, the elder Nelson’s still-clarion plaint is, alongside those of Hank Williams, George Jones, and maybe a couple others, a contender for the definitive country-music voice. Embodying both the emotional indulgences of pop music and the hypnotic resonance of bluegrass singing, his voice is truly one of the greatest jewels of these United States. SAM MICKENS
Weedeater, Black Cobra, Iron Lung
(Funhouse) What do you expect from a band with a name like Weedeater? Yes, they’re heavy. And, yes, they certainly like drugs. But to their credit, bassist/vocalist “Dixie” Dave Collins played a prominent role in revitalizing the template created by Black Sabbath and bastardized by My War–era Black Flag. Back in the early ’90s, his work with revered Southern stoner punks Buzzov*en prompted legions of scumbags to embrace slower tempos, heavy grooves, and less-refined production. And time has not softened Dixie. Reports from Weedeater’s live shows state that he still quenches his thirst onstage with cough syrup and copious amounts of booze. If dextromethorphan-fueled sludge rock is your jam, look no further. BRIAN COOK
Truckasauras, DJs Introcut, Same DNA, Claude Balzac, Mad Max
(Sunset Tavern) Who hasn’t seen Seattle electro-funk savants Truckasauras yet? Why? Building on the momentum gained from Sasquatch! and Capitol Hill Block Party appearances, Truckasauras have given us beaucoup chances to revel in their bleeping brilliance and redneck/rubberneck video shenanigans. Their irresistible chiptunes and trunk-junk funk have been a major cause of whiplash in clubbers this year. The spring-loaded debut album Tea Parties, Guns and Valor (Fourthcity) reinforces the lads’ penchant for party-jam roughage. Mad Max is a local DJ/producer with deft remixing skills and deep knowledge of fail-safe beats. Electro-house DJ Claude Balzac declares on his MySpace page that he “will do what it takes to make the party hot.” Same DNA—who runs this Trashy Trash night—and Introcut also adhere to that maxim. DAVE SEGAL
Anal Cunt, Anal Blast, Infernaeon, Evangelist, Crush Your Enemies
(El Corazón) Shit, bro, this is going to one helluva Anal gig! Anal Cunt and Anal Blast still operate at the retarded stage of development where bodily fluids/functions are a laff riot, females are scary and repugnant, and “gay” is the ultimate insult. Combine this idjit mindset with sonic tantrums that are so stunted and static in their desire to annoy/provoke that they’re practically Muzak™ and you have the makings for a truly tedious night out. These so-called grindcore bands—the Anal ones, that is—are about as transgressive as middle-school-bathroom graffiti. Anal Cunt have been peddling this shtupid shtick for 20 years, which I imagine has been as gratifying as sitting in their own excrement for two decades. DAVE SEGAL
Intelligence, The Lights
(Wildrose) In keeping with his prolific production rate, Intelligence frontman Lars Finberg is leading his band out on yet another tour. But first they’re kicking off the thing proper-style, rocking out the Wildrose with Seattle slack-punkers the Lights. Finberg says Intelligence are also releasing two vinyl records in the near future: a 7-inch, on which they cover both the Magnetic Fields and the Spits (!?), and a 12-inch split with Thee Oh Sees. Anyway, tonight offers two excellent bands representing two very different, very quality aspects of post-punk, all on one bill, all at one of the city’s better punk-rock venues. Get there. GRANT BRISSEY
You can see the whole music calendar here.
posted by August 28 at 11:26 AMon
Just be glad any even cares anymore: Blogger arrested for leaking new Guns N Roses album
More Led Zep reunion rumors: Jason Bonham, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones working on material
Hard times on Death Row: Suge Knight arrested for assault and possession
Oregon stoner metal fans rejoice!: YOB reunites
posted by August 28 at 11:25 AMon
The Stranger’s official Bumbershoot guide is out today on the streets and the tubes, and as always it is a fucking throw-down. Inside, you’ll find:
A head to head chart of the career arcs of ’90s alt monsters Superchunk, Beck, Stone Temple Pilots, the Offspring, and Sweetwater.
Joan Hiller on Superchunk.
Brandon Ivers on Beck.
Sam Mickens on Final Fantasy.
Dave Segal on Darondo and Orgone.
Casey Catherwood on Dan Deacon.
Eric Grandy on the Weakerthans.
Charles Mudede on Del the Funky Homosapien.
Jeff Kirby on Monotonix.
David Schmader on Nick Thune.
Brendan Kiley on Bumbershoot’s “Mini Fringe Festival”
Mudede (again) on William Gibson
Jen Graves on the Seattle/Tehran Poster Show
Annie Wagner on Bumbershoot’s Film Shorts
A. Birch Steen on Sherman Alexia and other “Stranger-associated felons and deviants”
As well as a customizable schedule, map, and blurbs on every single act appearing at the festival.
posted by August 28 at 10:32 AMon
What’s this? A major-label R&B diva (or her producer[s]) sampling genius IDM recluses Boards of Canada? Holy blip, Batman! Things will never be the same again. Etc. (Oh, shit. Just found out Pitchfork reported this last November. Well, maybe you missed that post, or forgot about it, like I did. Anyway, now you have sound and images.)
But there it is on “This Bird,” off Houston vocalist Solange’s pretty all right SoL-AngeL and the Hadley Street Dreams (out now on Geffen)—a fat chunk of BOC’s “Slow This Bird Down” from their 2005 album The Campfire Headphase. Oddly, this is far from the most obvious BOC track you’d expect a mainstream artist to sample; “Aquarius” or “Roygbiv” would seem to be a more likely candidate. Credit to Solange (Beyoncé’s sister) and her production team for choosing such an eerie slice of chilled slug dub to buttress a torch song.
By the way, trivia fans, “Sandcastle Disco”—also on SoL-AngeL— uses the famous drum break (Run D.M.C. and many others also ganked it) from the Monkees’ “Mary, Mary,” but sans credit.
Solange’s “This Bird”
Boards of Canada’s “Slow This Bird Down”
posted by August 28 at 10:29 AMon
In a weird way, I’m kind of Sam Mickens’ boss. (In another way, as a freelancer, he is a lone wolf, a loose canon, a vigilante, and I’m merely Commissioner Gordon to his Batman.) In any case, he had little choice but to consent for an interview for this week’s music feature about the Dead Science’s forthcoming album Villainaire, which is being celebrated with a “Week of Culture” starting on Monday and culminating with an album release show at Neumo’s on Sunday September 7th.
As I make plain in the piece, Villainaire marks the first time the Dead Science has caught my ear more than merely in passing. It’s lyrically dense (in the good way), musically deft, and conceptually ambitious—one of the most interesting albums to bubble up out of Seattle this year. I think a lot of people are going to hate it. There’s a lot going on—you should just read the whole article—but here are a few highlights:
“I think a lot of my points of reference as a kid are kind of the same as [Wu-Tang Clan’s].”
“I am sort of a classist dude. That’s the one prejudice or unhealthy hatred that I’ve held throughout my life—I have real reflexive problems sometimes with rich people, and in some ways I think that’s good. Those ideas are somewhat present on the record. But there’s not a lot of content that’s like, ‘Being rich is evil,’ even though I feel like that often may be the case.”
“There are a million metaphorical things you can drape on [black and white] beyond good and evil, black and white in the Star Wars sense. There’s the tension between ecstatic abandon—nightlife, being real fucking drunk and dancing at the party—and its aftermath. That’s just real basic soul music stuff. Saturday night versus Sunday morning.”
posted by August 27 at 3:00 PMon
Pitchfork has a new song from Of Montreal’s forthcoming album Skeletal Lamping (in stores Oct 7):
No, the CD (uh… MP3) is not skipping about halfway through the song. Of Montreal’s just crazy.
Also of note, there will be a listening party for the new album on Friday, Sept 12 at the LASER DOME! Full details to come.
posted by August 27 at 2:37 PMon
I’m actually at a loss for words with this one…
posted by August 27 at 2:29 PMon
One my favorite tracks that I enjoy to break out every Wednesday is Lorraine Johnson’s 1978 hi-energy disco classic “Feed The Flame”. This track originally appeared on Johnson’s second LP Learning To Dance All Over Again and was produced by Jesse Boyce and Moses Dillard, whom have been part of many solid disco projects including Saturday Night Band, Constellation Orchestra and Frisky. “Feed The Flame” is definitely my favorite cut from Johnson, however I also highly recommend people to check out her 1977 single “The More I Get, The More I Want” which was featured on her solid debut album. Overall, it’s a perfect disco cut to play at those peaking hours on the dancefloor.
posted by August 27 at 2:25 PMon
I guess Atom and His Package can’t really be together again, since it’s just one dude, but that one dude (Adam Goren) will perform for the first time since 2003 at the Fest in Gainesville, Florida Halloween weekend.
Leatherface and Dillinger Four are also confirmed on the 250-band line-up, along with Armalite (the band Atom has with Dan Yemin of Lifetime). See the full line-up at thefestfl.com.
I’m crossing my fingers tight as tight can be for a full tour since Seattle is far, far away from Florida.
And now, Atom and His Package with “I’m Downright Amazed at What I Can Destroy With Just a Hammer”:
posted by August 27 at 2:02 PMon
Stranger columnist and music critic at large Michaelangelo Matos has a must-read post up on Idolator today parsing the difference between “alternative” and “indie,” a semantic struggle dear to my heart:
The thing is, “indie” isn’t working anymore. If anything, it has more specific and limiting baggage than “alternative.” Sure, you can ask how music that’s supposed to be an alternative to the mainstream keeps that status once it goes mainstream, but calling something on a major label “indie” is some fourth-level-of-hell stage of kidding yourself, in a far more concrete way.
Go read the whole thing right now.
Bonus points: No Age, Alt or Indie?
posted by August 27 at 1:52 PMon
Photos by Piper Carr.
posted by August 27 at 11:45 AMon
The Let Go celebrate the release of their new album tonight at Nectar. Here’s what Larry Mizell had to say about ‘em in this week’s My Philosophy:
Another local release: Tomorrow Handles That, the debut LP from the Let Go, who consist of Type, Kublakai, and sole producer Captain Midnite. Their CD release is at Nectar on August 27, with Louis Logic, Animal Farm, DJ 100 Proof, and the Kid Espi. Handles That’s premise is simply the healing power of time, and Type and Koob give their everything with raps both heartful and tongue-in-cheek. Midnite’s pitched-up soul, while lacking on the low end, suits the best moments perfectly—the baby-come-back plea “Standing Back,” the Josh Martinez–assisted “No I Didn’t,” the hopeful “Searching for Sun.” Unfortunately, comedy-rappish layovers (“Like a Western,” “Booty Fiend,” “Party Crashers”), beat-to-paste imagery from the local lexicon (coffee, depression, rain, sunshine), and an inconsistent vision all serve to derail the overall quality train of thought. Both MCs have done more inspired work separately, so while Handles That is a definite solid effort, it could and should have been a breakthrough and elevation for all concerned; of course, the Let Go’s very point is perseverance in the face of adversity—so they ain’t goin’ nowhere yet.
Hear songs from the Let Go’s Tomorrow Handles That here.
The Wombats, Immigrant
(Neumo’s) The Wombats are two young Brits and one young Norwegian who met at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. The band’s arrangements, productions, and vocal harmonies suggest that the institute’s musical classes and studio resources are top-notch. The band’s lyrics, however, suggest that school’s English department may be lacking. The record is polished pop rock full of youthful vigor, like the first Futureheads record only without the wit. “Kill the Director,” whose lyrics, which include the abhorrent abbreviation “rom-com” and the line “This is no Bridget Jones” (Bridget Jones would be a good thing?), should embarrass even a teenage band. The conceit of “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” makes CSS’s “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above” seem like a work of postmodern genius. The best of A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, such as “Moving to New York,” is merely inoffensive. ERIC GRANDY
Shawn Mullins, The Avett Brothers
(Woodland Park Zoo) It’s a pity how labels inevitably taint the music they attempt to describe. It’s frustrating enough for bands that push boundaries and attempt to forge new paths, but it’s even more embarrassing when it comes to describing more traditional-sounding artists. Just look at the recent crop of young roots musicians and the endless, bastardized classifications pinned upon them. Artists like the Avett Brothers run counter to the Nashville paradigm, rendering the term “country” inappropriate. “Alt country” seems horribly dated. “Americana” seems too broad. So they’re stuck with lamentable descriptions like “folk-core” and “grunge-grass.” Such a shame that such solid acts should have to wrestle with such asinine genre tags. BRIAN COOK
Oh hey, there’s more!
posted by August 27 at 11:09 AMon
…by miles. Find it in the August issue of The Wire, the one with Tricky on the cover (I’m a bit behind in my reading; forgive me, I just moved).
On page 60 in the British magazine’s Avant Rock column (the review isn’t online), critic David Keenan rips No Age something fierce. “Deeply ordinary alternative rock murk and lightweight instrumental fluff” [can something be murky and fluffy?]; “There’s a fairly diverting use of loops here, an eruption of fuzz guitar there, but it all seems so diluted, so lite, that it plays more like a Wikipedia entry than a rock record.” Keenan then delivers the deathblow: “these guys… dress like punks from a Madonna video.” Meow.
I think Keenan is offbase with his No Age slags (and so did my Stranger colleague Eric Grandy), but what do you expect from a guy who played in the deadly dull Telstar Ponies and mistakenly puts an apostrophe in Trumans Water’s name?
posted by August 27 at 10:27 AMon
Wasn’t the broken glass: Iggy Pop injured onstage
The year punk broke: Sonic Youth return to the indie world
President of Nigeria: R Kelly named in fraud case
Don’t pull people from the voting booths, assholes: New Fall Out Boy album drops on Election Day
Nausea-inducing: Denny’s starts their rock band menu
posted by August 26 at 2:56 PMon
A friend in Costa Mesa, California recently tipped me off to Klaus to the Edge, a program on WestAddRadio in San Francisco that focuses on krautrock, prog, and heavy psych. Hosts AC and Allan (of the wonderful Aquarius Records) mix intriguing obscurities with sweet cuts by well-known cult acts. They also have a blog. The programmers’ knowledge runs deep and wide. You might like a lot of what they spin.
Klaus to the Edge airs live every third Wednesday 9-11 pm at 93.7FM and at westaddradio.com. Tune in, burn on, and flop out.
posted by August 26 at 2:55 PMon
Bumbershoot is this weekend, are you ready? It’s a huge clusterfuck, I know—hundreds of artists spread out over acres of land… but we’ve tried to make it a little easier on you. Head over to www.thestranger.com/bumbershoot to see which events we recommend, read what we have to say about every artist performing, and create and print your own daily schedule (so you can weed out the crap).
(And after Bumbershoot, don’t forget to upload your photos to the Stranger’s Flickr Pool!)
posted by August 26 at 12:24 PMon
At the Evergreen State Fair. 28 bucks.
posted by August 26 at 12:22 PMon
GZA’s at Neumo’s tonight—Sam Mickens interrogated him, asking the rapper about everything from shit-talking Soulja Boy to his feelings about Lil Wayne. An excerpt:
There’s been a bunch of noise about the clip of you at your show in England talking shit about Soulja Boy.
Did you see the clip?
I did see it.
Then you know—I wasn’t talking shit about Soulja Boy. I just want to clear that up. Soulja Boy is Soulja Boy. It is what it is. I just passed the mic to someone in the crowd, and they said, “Fuck Soulja Boy.” I wasn’t coming at him. Someone said something about “ya boy Curtis.” I mean, you saw the clip—I fed into it, I’m not gonna deny that. I was having fun that night. I was drinking. I was tipsy, but I don’t bide my words, and I don’t regret what I say. I mean, 50 is fucking corny; he has no lyrics, to me. He’s terrible; he’s horrible, lyrically. So, I said what I said and that’s it.
Also tonight: Oasis and Ryan Adams & the Cardinals co-headline at WaMu Theater. So much ego for one room… in this week’s paper Michaelangelo Matos compares the two infamous artists—hissy fit vs. hissy fit.
Now here’s Jay-Z covering Oasis’ “Wonderwall” at Glastonbury.
See what else is happening tonight here.
posted by August 26 at 10:36 AMon
GZA performs Liquid Swords in its entirety tonight at Neumo’s. I’m most excited to see him do “Shadowboxin’,” one of the most chilling and greatest rap tracks of all time from one of the most chilling and greatest rap albums of all time.
RZA’s production here is both lean and menacing and tense and lush; plus, that loop of the pitched-up “oh man” (a sample from Ann Peebles’s “Trouble, Heartache & Sadness”) has riveted the hell out of me since the first time I heard it in 1995. GZA and Method Man’s flow and lyrics are paradoxically vicious and urbane. I’m on pins and needles in anticipation…
posted by August 26 at 10:30 AMon
Oz bans the Dogg: Australian officials don’t want Snoop in their country
Dumb ass Yank: Daddy Yankee backs McCain
Let’s not forget that she lost the popular vote: Jennifer Hudson to sing National Anthem at DNC
Time to refill your Prozac subscription: New Antony and the Johnsons EP!
History lesson: Final Warning reunion!
posted by August 26 at 6:00 AMon
Beauty Bar: Theory of Truth, Umbilical Slots
Las Vegas is 100 degrees, at night. It’s a heat lamp. The air is a parka. Breeze is fleece. Breathing means sweat. Sweating as in balls. Hydration is key. Beer dehydrates, especially 24oz PBR.
I lost my wallet. Unpacked the entire van looking for it. Even looked where the spare tire was. And my kick pedal case. Somehow it could have ended up there. Searched the club twice with a flashlight. Total complete loser, “Yeah, I just played, have you seen my wallet?” You know how you retrace your steps? I had it down to the exact spot where I had seen it last. Not there. They had it in the entire time in the office.
Beauty Bar is old Vegas and is part of a solid uprising of venues for touring bands. ATTENTION BANDS: Contact James at MetaMeta Productions for getting shows in Las Vegas. He will work with you, and for you, in order to make a good show happen. We played with Hawnay Troof. It’s the one man band of Vice Cooler. He’s a machine of dance moves and crowd stirring. He went down hard to the ground in a move and hurt his dick.
James the promoter is a smooth, happy motherfucker. He’s also a philosophy professor at UNLV. We know him from shows in New Haven where he taught at Yale. Now he’s in Las Vegas, teaching classes such as The Theory of Truth, and booking shows.
We went for a stroll through the casinos. There were three Elvises, two Jim Morrisons, and an exact Rod Stewart.
The theory of casino truth is that the chain smoking seventy-five year olds have grown umbilical chords right into the slots. They hook into catheters and gamble in hopes of jackpot sex. No getting up to go, for days. Just gambling. Tar and gin gimlets steady on the intake. You can hear the tar, filling lungs, like the Blob slurping its way across town. Suffocating alveoli. These elder Las Vegas lungs want to win. Stale emphysema faces stare. Lungs and livers, now just puddy. Lungs and livers whimpering at the same low, microscopic volume rose petals whimper at when their pedals are plucked.
The zombie gamblers don’t need nutrients. They just need the chance to win. Hit me. Defibrillation. Three cherries across the top – You Win. Holy Grail.
posted by August 25 at 4:07 PMon
Back in February, I compiled a list of what I thought were the best songs to soundtrack sexual encounters in OC Weekly (my employer at the time). Space restraints limited me to 17 tracks, but one strong contender for the pantheon that I excluded was Joe Tex’s “I Gotcha.” (You may know it from the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs; older folx may have heard it blazing up the airwaves during the ’70s.) In the piece, I asserted that it’s too raunchy to score your scoring.
How can that be? Well, some songs are so over-the-top with their libido-stoking properties that you feel virtually outgunned by their sounds. Plus, with a tune like “I Gotcha,” its outrageous carnality actually distracts you from the task at hand (or tongue, or some other appendage) and it makes your actions seem almost like a spoof or cartoonization of sexuality. You’re both liable to burst out in uncontrollable laughter, which has been known to throw one off one’s rhythm.
So, yeah, Mr. Tex really gilded the lily with “I Gotcha.” He multiplied James Brown by Wilson Pickett and out came “I Gotcha”—the musical equivalent of a Viagra overdose and busted pubic bones.
posted by August 25 at 3:48 PMon
Hopefully the last we will hear of the Olympics for a while:
1. Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page doing “Whole Lotta Love” at the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics, passing the torch to London for the 2012 games with, as Idolator points out, “a song about the size of Robert Plant’s dick”:
posted by August 25 at 12:31 PMon
With the Olympic games wrapping up, I thought I would pay a “disco tribute” by sharing one of my favorite songs by the disco funk group Olympic Runners, “Sir Dancealot”. This classic boogie track was released off the 1978 LP Dancealot, and was the records featured single. From 1974 to 1979, this United Kingdom group released many solid records and singles including “Whatever It Takes”, “Get It While You Can”, “Solar Heat”, and “The Bitch”, which became the title track song for the 1978 film The Bitch, written by Jackie Collins and starring Joan Collins. Regardless, this is probably the closest I get to having a “themed post”, so enjoy a classic by one of the UK’s finest soul-funk outfits, the Olypmic Runners.
posted by August 25 at 12:30 PMon
According to this week’s Up & Comings, “Nothing happens today.” But that’s not entirely true. Manufactured’s at Chop Suey, featuring Straight A’s, Birdwatchers United, People Eating People, Oh Man!, and Coco Coca. There will probably be a lot of keyboards and a lot of dancing and a lot of neon. And it will sound something like this:
Birdwatcher’s United - “Don’t Call it a Comeback”
People Eating People - “Darling”
Coco Coca - “Continents and Oceans”
Oh Man! - “Party Legends”
posted by August 25 at 12:15 PMon
Since it’s more news-worthy than it is music, you have to go to Slog to see the Blue Scholars report back from the Denver, where they’re performing during the Democratic National Convention.
And excerpt of their first installment:
Benjamin, a kind young fellow organizing with the Recreate 68 folks, drops us off at Lincoln Avenue facing the Capitol. He’s running off the fumes of a two-hour sleep, which makes three of us. Atop the building’s steps, dead prez breaks into their first song, a remix over that Black Rob joint (“War” instead of “Whoa”). 1,500 people look on.
Ward Churchill and Kathleen Cleaver are chillin’ in the shade on the building’s left side. When I meet Ward, he asks if John is with us. John who, I ask? He says John Sinclair, as in John Sinclair and his Blues Scholars, a jazz outfit fronted by the former MC-5 manager and ex-Chairman of the White Panther Party. A cutie from Out The Box TV interviews Ward, ending the segment by looking into the camera and yelling “DNC, bitch!” Ward glances over, confounded.
posted by August 25 at 11:44 AMon
RIP: Goodbye, Jerry Finn
Da baddest bitch, you gotta ‘mit dat: Da Brat goes to prison
Old farts pt. 1: Madonna sticks it to McCain
I’d love to see this incorporated to their Bumbershoot set: Weakerthans’ singer collaborates with Inuit throat singer
Old farts pt. 2: …And Justice For All turns twenty today
posted by August 24 at 1:39 PMon
If the subject sounds like a kind of exhausting evening, it was—but in the best possible way. First stop was the Vera Project for Indian Jewelry, Eats Tapes, MNDR, and a minute or two of Flexions. The show was part of “the Series” at the Vera, in which bands play on the floor of the lobby rather than the mainstage (usually with a slightly cheaper door price). The effect is to make the Vera feel a little more like a house show, and it works well with a smaller audience, such as last night’s.
MNDR is a one-woman act from Oakland with serious shades of Blechdom. She played a Suzuki Q-Chord, a kind of electric autoharp, for her first song, which she introduced as a cover of a Chicago soul classic, making pains to assert that she sung it without any irony. During the chorus, she stomped a control pedal hooked up to her table full of delays and other boxes, doubling and looping her voice. Her song was cut off when the looping started to clip badly on the PA. The young, presumably volunteer, sound guy, seemed in a bit over his head with this bunch of gear heavy, non-traditional acts (it sounded like he was playing recent Green Day between bands). Hilariously, between songs, trying to right their respective settings, MNDR sent him a distorted, gurgling synth rhythm—it was kind of impossible to know if it was sounding “right.” For her second song, she mangled that upbeat synth rhythm and shouted ghetto-tech/Baltimore club style commands—shake it, get down, etc—stomping her pedals to create tight 1/4 note length loops—”shake it/ake it/ake it/ake it,” etc. She only played the two songs.
I have to offer a correction in regards to Eats Tapes: they are not, as I claimed in the Stranger Suggests, “all-analog.” In fact, they have a laptop in the center of their still mostly analog rig. I should have known this, they were talking about using a laptop the last time I spoke to them; maybe I just got caught up being alliterative. In any case, my deepest regrets. Still, the spirit of the Suggestion stands, as Eats Tapes are still a totally gleeful, goofy blast, 4/4 faux 909 kick thump pulsing relentlessly underneath acid bass and detuned, wildly oscillating synths. At first, I was bummed they were playing the Vera, though. I think it’s admirable that Eats Tapes peddle their DIY rave at “punk” type shows and venues (seeing them elicit dancing from the kids at the Punkin House is something I’ll never forget), but for once I’d like to see them playing a full-on party—big sound system, enthusiastic ravers, the works (their Chop Suey show a while ago was close). But a song or so in, the Vera killed all the fluorescent lights, the kids starting dancing, and it was great. Eats Tapes bring the rave with them.
Another correction is due for Indain Jewelry. Having never seen the band and only heard of them via their most recent album, Free Gold!, I may have underestimated just how sinister is their psychedelia. They played in the dark, lit up by a pair of blinking strobe lights; one singer/guitarist brandished a whip, occasionally cracking it over a cymbal; the other guitarist wore (in what stuck me as a tad overly literal) a southwestern-styled poncho and headband. Their sound was heavier and darker than on record, relying on bass-buzzing synths as much as searing guitars; it was desert rock in the sense that you find peyote in the desert, and that you may die there. The vocals were looped and buried and delayed and just generally blended into the heavy, pulsing wash of sound. It was a lot to endure, and it was awesome.
Moving on to the Free Sheep Foundation, I caught a few tracks from Truckasauras, who were ruling the muggy, crowded warehouse room in their usual style. There was a rumor that Eats Tapes was going to hop on this bill, which would have been the perfect solution to my earlier rave-jones, but if they did, it must have happened after I left. (Confidential to the Free Sheep people: Can you PLEASE get !!! to play some kind of show here Bumbershoot weekend? I would be forever in your debt.) Filastine was fantastic, mixing strains of world music, dubstep, hip hop, and the like with his live anarcho-martial drumming (on traditional percussion as well as his trusty shopping cart). The heat in the show room made drifting in and out of his set a necessity, but every time I drifted back in, I was determined to stay a little longer. The Free Sheep Foundation’s space is set to be demolished in a matter of months; be sure to check it out while you can.