(Barboza) Welsh singer/songwriter Cate Le Bon sounds like a sensitive aristocrat on the mic, her voice a distinctive combination of Nico's stolid delivery and umlaut-y vowels and Joni Mitchell's mellifluousness. Le Bon's 2012 album, Cyrk, is a banquet of high-IQ'd rock full of elegant, baroque melodies built to last and sporadic, shockingly great raveups. Her new full-length, Mug Museum, sounds slicker than past releases, but Le Bon's songs retain certain structural peculiarities and melodic quirks—revealing affinities with Pavement and Gorky's Zygotic Mynci—that keep blandness well at bay. Pay close attention to her. With Basia Bulat and Kevin Morby.
Seattle synthesizer master Panabrite (Norm Chambers) appears on a newish split cassette, Ascension/Glass Slide, with the most excellent Hobo Cubes, whose ambient homage to John Coltrane does his sacred music justice. (Hobo Cubes has an LP coming out soon on Seattle’s Debacle Records; more on that in the near future.)
Panabrite’s four tracks represent some of his best work to date. “Spatiale” achieves that ill-willed, “molecular disturbance” vibe that marked Gil Mellé's Andromeda Strain soundtrack (which could use a reissue, by the way). “Dirt Ring” is a constellation of bleeps, woobs, rocket-exhaust whoosh, and alien chatter, strongly signifying science-fiction-film mystique. “Botanical Vortex” is a gorgeous deep-space hymn that recalls Kraftwerk ca. Ralf Und Florian and Radioactivity. “Glass Slide”’s synthesized birdsong and mellow, mellifluous melody carry the tape to its conclusion on a chartreuse cloud of bliss.
Ascension/Glass Slide was released Oct. 31 on Revolving Door Records.
Scottish fire freezing, heavy ambientists, Mogwai, have released a video for their song “The Lord is Out of Control.” The song is off their forthcoming Sub Pop release Rave Tapes, due out January 21st. The video was filmed and directed by Antony Crook, and shot on location in Hawaii this past October.
In the video there is walking. There are masks and masks on poles being jammed into the ground by an older gentleman. There is some sort of trapeze school. At one point the mask gentleman holds a lightbulb. Then a woman walks off toward spewing lava/magma (wearing Chuck Taylors). Some comments on the video’s YouTube page (the true/accurate sign of a video’s worth as we all know) say: “why would a pretentious shoegazer band make a video.” And “It could do without the subtle religious overtone at the end.” And lastly, one says simply, “fuckholes.”
I know the video may just be a precursor to the album, but—I’M A GIGANTIC MOGWAI FAN, AND I WANTED MORE. I needed more. I won’t go so far as to issue a “fuckholes” though. If it’s just a taste of what’s to come, a preface, then they have been successful. Because I’m salivating now for Mogwai, and am satiating with repeat listens to songs “Nick Drake” and “Stanley Kubrik”, and the new "Remurdered." I really like the drenched tonnage of “The Lord is Out of Control’s” snare sound. But the video definitely left me hanging.
Here is what Mogwai could have done to make their video more successful and appealing:
For starters, have the guy jamming the mask-poles into the ground jam one through the abdomen of that actor The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), dressed up in his costume from The Tooth Fairy movie he did. Which sneakily, is a great fucking move that also has what’s her name from The Sound of Music in it. Anyway, so jam a mask-pole through Tooth Fairy Rock’s stomach, and have him writhing in pain, spitting up blood. Then cut to some footage of meat in a blender. Then cut to footage of a plane crash, and then to some kind of weird animal giving birth, like a giraffe. Maybe have one of the girls on a trapeze fall, and cut to the meat in a blender footage again. Then, you’d have yourself a real music video. I would have watched that at least one more time for the birth footage.
Facebook wall, Twitter tweeters, you're fired. This year's DJ Earworm United State of Pop Mashup has been out for two full days and you haven't yet linked to it enough times to Edgerank out a half-dozen Upworthies on my newsfeed? For those of you similarly sheltered, here are your twenty-five most played songs of 2013, according to Billboard, swirled together into a a zeitgeisty smoothie called "Living the Fantasy":
Yesterday, OG hiphop radio host/VJ Sway Calloway, who recently bore the brunt of Hurricane Yeezus (hence his "I Have The Answers" shirt), recently asked the help of Atlanta's B.O.B. and Vallejo god E-40 to evaluate the new video from Seattle's own Sol on Sway's online MTV segment RapFix Live. Sway shouts out Porter Ray and bigs up the Seattle scene. B.O.B. tells Sol to "do him," and Uncle Earl advises Solzilla to "stay prayed up, stay humble, stay on the case." Amen. After which, Sway officially welcomes Sol to the game.
I'm totally happy for Sol, whose movement appears to be really clicking; it just seems a little anticlimactic. "You made it in the game, homie." The Game, in this respect, kinda feels like a game show. Come on down!
THIS is the kinda jam that drives me nutz for tite buttz. Everything about it is dead ON! "The Point Is" has a cool riff, cool jangly guitars, a cool fuzz lead, righteous organ, a driving beat, AND solid harmonies. Fuck. YES.
Evil Enc. Group AKA Evil Encorporated were from West Virginia and had two 45s on Scene. The flip to "The Point Is," "Hey You," is kickass, too. What a great double-sided debut 45.
Remember the Deck the Hall Ball? On Tuesday afternoon, thousands of kids cut their last class (and a few Olds who decided to avoid killing their hearts by spending their whole life growing up cleared their afternoon calendars) and herded themselves into Key Arena for the End's annual year-end music endurance marathon. Although I basically only listen to terrestrial radio when zipping around town in a Car2GoKart, I found that the commercial radio station's interests in programming a music festival were spectacularly relevant to my own. I mean, sure, run the thing a few hours longer, invite Kanye West, Arcade Fire, and Daft Punk, to co-headline and let The World Is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die to open and you'd a pretty good representation of the My Favorite Music of 2013 Festival lineup, but this year's actual casting was so very on-point (zeitgeist-capturing, if you will) that for the majority of the eight-hour event I found myself doodling love notes to the bands on my notebook instead of dwelling on the fact that I was hearing them from the inside of a tinny reverberating metal and concrete bunker (#protip: a pair of cheap earplugs is an excellent sound-enhancing and eardrum preserving investment of your hard-earned $12.). A minority of my time in the Key was spent debating between the gluten-free taco stand, the pizza shack, or the garlic fries factory (going hungry won that contest), marveling at the bottom-filled (but not bottomless) beer stations, and running laps between the arena and the photographer holding pen.
At the culmination of the long night, SPIN band of the year Vampire Weekend closed the show, with lead singer Ezra Koenig dressed for a polka dot pajama party. It seems that he couldn't convince the rest of the band to wear their silky sleepwear (perhaps their preferred bedclothing is less presentable?), but when your voice is capable of acrobatic miracles even without live pitch manipulation, you get plenty of latitude in the costume department. Their songs, especially those from this year's masterpiece Modern Vampires of the City, are beautiful concoctions that, like Pixar's best, contain multitudes and satisfy both the kids on the floor who could no longer resist the crowd-surfing prohibitions as well as their parents waiting in the box seats. In the same way that I acknowledge that there are people who think of Wes Anderson movies as "too whimsical," I also recognize that Vampire Weekend isn't everyone's particular cup of English Breakfast. However, I'm so smitten that I just try not dwell on the dark thoughts of the hows, whys, and life events leading to this worldview.
An hour earlier, Phoenix improvised around technical difficulties (the soundboard seemed to have set the bouncy opening notes of "Entertainment" as its ringtone) by opening their set with Thomas Mars jumping off the stage and serenading the crowd at the edge of the barricade with an acoustic version of "Countdown." By the time the swooning and Instagramming had finished, the sound issues had been resolved enough that the band could launch into an infectiously dancey electro-rock set, with sing-along word-salad lyrics and propulsive synths. If someone ever wants to make a Mille Bornes movie or video game, instrumental versions of these songs would make an excellent soundtrack. Tender moments of the intro aside, the rest of the headline-worthy set was unflappably energetic, with Mars ending the show swimming above and standing on top of the crowd for the finale.
And, way too early for someone who held down the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for several weeks, Lorde (indigo child/New Zealander Ella Yelich-O'Connor /Next Nirvana Candidate) was the only artist on the bill that I hadn't managed to have seen previously. I was not disappointed! Performing with accompaniment from a drummer and keyboard player/effects maker, she hit most of the high points from this year's addictive Pure Heroine, including an advertisement for the brand-new video for best song on the album (sorry "Royals"), "Team". The great unanswered question of her set wasn't whether a teenager could captivate an arena — aside from the sludgy bass lines actually sounding awesome echoing around in the sound cave and the crowd hanging on every word and dance move, she also inspired the most amazing ASL interpretation — it's whether they keep track of age differently down under.
Those three would've been plenty, but there were so many more bands! Let's look at more pictures and chat about our most treasured arena memories after the jump, shall we?
Happy 81st birthday, Mr. Richard Wayne Penniman, AKA Little Richard!! As so many other rock and roll greats have now passed, I'M SO FUCKING GLAD YOU'RE STILL ALIVE! Y'all, I had a couple Little Richard's Specialty label albums/45s when I was a kid; man, I played those records till the grooves were white. He taught me how to holler with a wink AND what to expect from rock and roll. What you did for me, Richard, then AND now, I could never thank you enough!!!
Little Richard was born and raised in Macon, Georgia, and was steeped in Jesus and black gospel, but it was only after he was kicked out of his parents' house in 1948 he began performing
secular the devil's music!! He began at the Tick Tock Club and then joined a group, the Buster Brown's Orchestra, as frontman where he "officially" became known as Little Richard. In 1950, after he left Buster Brown's Orchestra, he began performing drag with vaudeville groups, but on meeting Esquerita and frequenting R&B clubs in Atlanta, he went solo. It wasn't long before he was recording R&B for Camden and then Peacock. With those labels he had some local success and a solid band, the Tempo Toppers, but ran into problems with Peacock's label boss, so he split the group. His next group, the Upsetters, he put together in 1954. It was with this group fellow R&B singer, Lloyd Price's, suggested he send a demo to Los Angeles label Specialty. Specialty bought his contract off Peacock, and after a slow start he hit, and I mean HIT, with "Tutti Frutti." It made number 2 on the R&B charts and 17 on Billboard and sold over a million copies! Everything after "Frutti" - he had a solid string of hits, integrated mixed-race audiences, alleged crazed SEX ORGIES, movie appearances, so many insane live shows—BUT, in 1957, all ended with his return to Jesus. It wasn't until 1962 at a show in the UK he returned to his devil music, by then however, he'd lost his momentum and, while still a viable prospect, his raw R&B wasn't the chart topping sound any longer. He didn't stop tho'...eventually he became a rock and roll revivalist, successfully. It was as a revivalist he remained till his retirement this past summer. God damn, what a career, what a man. His hand, or rather his HOLLER, shaped the culture we now live in. "A whop bop-a-lu a whop bam boo!!" indeed.
Piano Man: Billy Joel now has his own franchise performing once a month at Madison Square Garden as long as there is breath in his lungs and mobility in those magic piano-slaying hands. Five dates have been announced so far, beginning January 27 and ending never.
Haven't They Seen Mannequin?: Horrifyingly, a Japanese company that primarily manufactures synthetic "love dolls" has released the prototype of life-sized Lady Gaga dolls inspired by her Artpop album. Let's hope they'll be available in time for Christmas, for the sicko Gaga fanatic in your life.
??!!: France (more specifically the Council of Croats) has charged Bob Dylan with inciting racial hatred, stemming from comments he made in an interview with the French version of Rolling Stone last year, allegedly likening Croatians to Nazis. In other news, up is down and down is up now.
R.I.P.: RZA has written and recorded a heartfelt tribute to the late great Paul Walker fittingly titled "Destiny Bends" (it totally does), featuring Will Wells. You never realize what you have until it's ripped from you in a fiery car accident—steeped in tragic irony, right?
Indie Flags at Half Mast: The supergroup Wild Flag has apparently disbanded. A moment of silence, please, for the sophomore album that could have been.
Pause Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Chistmas is You" long enough to listen to Natural Child's knee-slapping, piano-fueled "Saturday Night Blues" off of their upcoming album, Dancin' With Wolves, out in February! Then immediately continue listening to MC on repeat.
I don't know fully understand the details, and when someone casually mentioned that Mary J. Blige just played at a Central District Starbucks as we were driving by it, I thought there must be a mistake... but NO! Apparently Mary J. fucking Blige actually, for seriously, performed at the Starbucks on 23rd and Jackson on Monday afternoon.
That is so close to my house! Do you think she'd play at my house sometime?
Haitian restaurant Waid's (12th Ave. & E. Jefferson St.) makes a serious return to electronic music tonight with a bill featuring cosmic-disco mensch Airport (Midday Veil bassist Jayson Kochan), acid-techno producer/analog-synth guru Chris Davis (Brain Fruit), Seattle trio Circuit Vine, Toledo, Ohio's Heavy Color, and Diogenes (Dax Ed Word Anderson). It's going to get quite cerebrally physical and physically cerebral.
More info here.
[The clip below features Airport and Davis, playing with the Motorheadz supergroup. Check out music by Circuit Vine and Diogenes after the jump.]
JOHN WATERS GETS XMESSY
When the fucking dog bites, when the fucking bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember Divine chomping on fresh dog turds, and/or the egg lady flipping out in her crib, and/or hippies fucking chickens, and/or GOOOOD MOR-NING BAAAL-TIM-ORE!, and, well, it does give one a certain perspective, doesn't it? Indeed. And these are merely small examples of the many, many (way too many?) gifts that keep on giving that the walking miracle of whimsy and filth John Waters has given to the world. In this allegedly Most Joyous Time of Year™, it is important to reflect on the whys and wherefores of its manic, candy-striped madness, with a specific emphasis on the wild and perverse (don't you agree?). And so! That's exactly what our dear John is going to do for us tonight. I simply cannot imagine anything more freakishly delightful than spending an evening with THE quintessential pervy uncle of the world, live, as he brings to us his own twisted visions of the sick sugar plums that dance in his fevered head. It is simply a holiday confection that is not to be missed, so hurry (Babs, hurry!)! It's one night only, and tickets are going faster than shit through a Christmas goose! Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $35–$99, all ages.
Be the first person to send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org with ELZHI in the subject line and the tickets are yours.
"Man boobs" result from a hormone imbalance between estrogen and testosterone. Animal studies have shown marijuana ingredients can affect testosterone. A link between the condition and marijuana use appears plausible.
Finally, my chance to catch up with Jail Weddings! My coworker Brendan Kiley has sung great praises of them: "A 10-piece, punk soul hurricane," "America's answer to the Pogues," and "A gale-force storm of bacchanalian heartbreak." "A rolling carnival!" All four of these things make Jail Weddings sound like a band I want to love. I've hesitated to listen to them very much on record, instead hoping to see them perform live. Some bands, especially with 10 or more members, need to be experienced. And this is what I aim to do. Go experience them. I just hope they all fit on the Chop Suey stage. With Quiet Ones and James Apollo.
"NEEDS TO BE FUCKING HOT!! Big boobs, nice ass, and beautiful face. We prefer a lesbian. Not looking to get action, we are very serious about our music as a career."
(Sunset) Portland (by way of Alaska) band Animal Eyes explode with positive jams that can barely contain their excitement—catchy guitars, skittering drums, and appearances by both accordions and horns give them a sort of a circus-party/folky-indie-rock-magician feel. Yonder are a relatively new Seattle band making punchy, quick-paced, careful pop that's catchy without bragging about it. With Tomten, Seattle's favorite dream-pop trio that sounds like lying on a paisley quilt in a field of wildflowers on a hazy summer day.
TOP 10 NW MUSIC FOR WEEK OF 11/25
from the OFFICE OF FILM + MUSIC
Compiled from figures at Sonic Boom Records (Ballard) and Easy Street Records (West Seattle).
1. Head & The Heart - Let's Be Still
2. Sound Garden - Screaming Life/Fopp
3. Nirvana - In Utero 2013 Mix
4. Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
5. La Luz - It's Alive
6. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
7. Caspar Babypants - Baby Beatles
8. Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog
9. Father John Misty - Fear Fun
10. Death Cab for Cutie - Transatlanticism
The video, which is for a new track, "Am I Crazy," that introduces The Physics' new EP, Digital Wildlife, reminds us why its director, Zia Mohajerjasbi, won the Genius award for film in 2009: