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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Abe Vigoda - "Skeleton"

posted by on October 30 at 12:50 PM

The video premier of "Skeleton" by Abe Vigoda (via Pitchfork.tv):

Abe Vigoda - "Skeleton

Speaking of Abe Vigoda--the band's guitarist, Juan Velazquez, talked to Kurt B. Reighley for this week's story "A Big, Gay Roundtable." Reighley talked to a number of openly gay artists (also including members of Torche and These Arms Are Snakes) and asked them what it's like to be in "bands that don't speak directly to a queer sensibility or engage in lifestyle marketing—especially groups that make intense, heavy music and play to primarily young male fans."

An excerpt:

Mainstream gay media overlooks these bands. Conversely, music journalists rarely talk about their sexual preferences. Brooks estimates "less than 10 percent" of Torche buffs know he's homosexual; before a recent European tour, one well-meaning supporter e-mailed Brooks to tell him how hot Swedish chicks are. If fans hear someone in Abe Vigoda is gay, Velazquez says they often guess singer Michael Vidal. "People make the assumption, because he is a soft-spoken, nice guy. And sometimes, I'm not. I can be pretty abrasive."

Read the story here. It's an interesting piece.

Abe Vigoda play Neumos tomorrow night with Diplo, Torche also play tomorrow night at El Corazon.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Sonics

posted by on October 28 at 11:00 AM

In case you haven't heard, The Sonics are playing this Friday at the Paramount Theatre. KEXP DJ and all-around great guy Greg Vandy conducted an interview last week with the archetypal Northwest garage rockers, who haven't played a show (in Seattle - ed.) since 1972. The interview doesn't happen until about halfway through his (October 22) show, but Vandy always puts together excellent episodes of The Roadhouse (Wednesdays, 6-9 pm), and this particular show is dedicated to Northwest garage bands from the 60s. Getting to the beginning of this interview is half the fun.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus, Geist

posted by on September 16 at 10:41 AM

Resident Advisor’s Rich Juzwiak interviews New Jersey techno/electro-pop producer Morgan Geist of Metro Area. The piece probably was assigned to hype Geist’s latest album, Double Night Time (on Geist's Environ label), a more accessible, song-based effort augmented by vocals by the Junior Boys’ Jeremy Greenspan, but the feature turned into a venting session for the veteran electronic musician.

This passage expresses Geist’s dilemma and angst re: the music industry ca. 2008:

People write me now, like, "Oh, I love the new album." It's like saying, "Your mother's so pretty. I noticed while I was fucking her last night." Everyone who writes me about the album has taken it from somewhere and there's no way they're going to buy it. What do you say to that? "Thanks for complimenting my album that's not out for three months"?

People are paying attention to my music, and I feel very lucky to be in that situation, but I can't just sit there and be content with that. I have other people on my label to support. I have my own business costs. It's all this mundane stuff, but it weighs on you. That's why I don't go to sleep at night. That's why I wake up worrying. It's hard to make music when that's your outlook.

He concludes with this sour observation about his new album: “It's already a bad sign… that both of my parents like it.”

Here's another interview with Geist.

Morgan Geist’s “Most of All” from Double Night Time

Tip: Brian Go


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Welcome to the Jumble

posted by on August 19 at 2:06 PM

jumble1.jpgBus Stops Flawlessly Mimicking the Grand Face of Arena Rock Fire: A Conversation With That Fire.

This morning a drunk man named Hank treated the people waiting for the downtown 2 bus to Guns N’ Roses' “Welcome to the Jungle”. Hank’s version was “Welcome to the Jumble”. He definitely knew the next section, “We’ve got fun and games”. The games clearly being word puzzle games, such as jumbles. Then he sped loudly into, “You learn to liiiive like an aaaanimal in the jungle where we play”. And there, he faded into a bit of a mumble, but knew the melody. “You gotta take it eventually”. He ended with, “That’s the place where I’ll make my stand,” petering into a light hum. When the chorus came around again, he was back on track. “Welcome to Jumble, baby, you’re gonna diiiieeeeee. Jumble, welcome to the Jumble, it’s gonna take you doown…. Huh”.

Others were bothered by Hank. A few of us soaked him in. The arena of his CD Walkman headphones was packed. He ducked under a wet baseball hat and a hood so you couldn’t see his eyes. He made the mistake of nudging into a lawyerly looking man who was reading the paper. After Hank slinked into his space and made contact, the man ripped his paper away in complete disgust. I spoke to the lawyerly man:

Is he at this stop often?
Lawyerly looking man: Tuesdays and Thursdays.

You don’t think he adds color to the city?
I think he needs help.

What do you do?
I’m a judge.

Then I spoke to Hank:

Do you like Jumbles?
Hank: I love jumbles.

Do you like Guns N’ Roses?
I love Guns N’ Roses.

Who’s your favorite band?
Jim Croce. Operator, won’t you help me place this call.

Do you know that guy over there is a judge?
That guy over there is a total asshole. He’s here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Usually he’s doin a jumble.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Emerald City Nipperishi

posted by on June 16 at 5:25 PM

babypowder2.jpgDJ Mike Nipper from Emerald City Soul Club is a vinyl maharishi. He broke down the latest installment of the monthly Lo-Fi dance night:

How was this past Saturday?
Nipperishi: Packed and sweaty. Like they all are. And fun. Sweaty fun.

What were some cuts that you spun? Do you pre-arrange your sets?
I went with Contours “Baby Hit and Run” and Connie Clark’s “My Sugar Baby.” Let’s see, I also played a ballad, “I Love You More” by Lee Williams and the Cymbals.

I kinda put my choices in order. For an hour set, that’s 25 to 30 sides. I always assume I will be buzzed when I spin so the pre-arranging helps give some structure and is good for pacing. I like to dance when I DJ. I’d rather not have to get too bogged down with digging through the crate looking for what to play.

Y’all put baby powder on the dance floor to enhance dancing movement. What kind of baby powder works best?
Any talcum powder works. I try to get the non-scented, but sometimes that’s hard to find. We go through one of those giant bottles every time. That floor needs to be good and slick. For proper, traditional Northern Soul dancing, there needs to be room. The dancing is more a shuffle, more a left to right, less of an up and down. I recently went dancing in Chicago on a painted cement floor and my knees still hurt.

Speaking of space, Emerald City Soul Club seems to fill Lo-Fi to capacity. Have you all thought of moving to a bigger space? To have more left to right?
We do fill that place up and it would be nice to have some more room. But at this point, I can neither confirm nor deny any statement about moving.

But you can confirm the fact that the 1964 Gloria Jones version of “Tainted Love” is better than the 1981 Soft Cell version, right?
Yes, I can confirm that.


Friday, June 13, 2008

An Orchid in the Headlights

posted by on June 13 at 12:26 PM

Wild Orchid Children have released a new video for the song “To You, Oh Lord” produced by Martin Jarmick and Michael Ragen. The imagery is like the music, hectic and crazed. A deer is sung to. A building in Georgetown falls to the ground. A man is sacrificed and brought back to life by American flag faced souls.

Wild Orchid Children play tonight at the Comet as part of Noise for the Needy with Strong Killings, the Heavy Hearts, and the Fucking Eagles.

Martin Jarmick spoke about making the Wild Orchid video:


How was the filming? How much did you script out before hand?
Martin: Shooting this piece was great. We had a lot of freedom since we weren’t obligated to anything or anyone. We just created. On most shooting days, it was just Mike Ragen (co-producer) and I. We would light it, rehearse it, shoot it, then find things in “between the lines” and shoot those. Some of the scenes were planned, and some sprouted during production. Like when I heard that a building was being demolished in Georgetown, I thought, “Wild Orchid Children,” and we ran down and rolled camera.

Talk about the deer. How did Kirk feel about singing to the deer?
In every line of lyrics and bar of their music, there are loads of ideas packed in. So I wanted the video to go with that – a montage of textures, forms and irony. But it had to be playful and the band are all sports. I’m sure when Kirk showed up to do his scenes that day, he didn’t expect to be yelling at a deer head for two hours. But he did. He did because he’s a sport. I think it helped that I know them from all the video work with Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground. I have been pointing a camera in their faces for about two years now.

What is your favorite shot in the video?
I love the slug shot. I can not believe that a spider was crawling on the slug while Mike was shooting it. The cinema gods were hard at work on this video.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dan Brockman Vs. The Spits

posted by on June 10 at 4:47 PM

Trent Moorman posted a great interview with Sean from The Spits earlier today, which is weird because Susan Flowers just stopped by the office to give me this video that she and Dan Brockman filmed a few weeks ago at The Funhouse. You may remember Dan and Susan from the Capitol Hill Block Party. Or maybe from their hard-hitting interviews with the Black Lips, Deerhunter, or the Trashies. Anyway, I think Susan was trying to tell me she and Brockman were going to be at the Block Party again this year. I think that's what she was trying to say. I couldn't really understand her. She smelled like whiskey and almost fell down the stairs on her way out the door...


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Iron Maiden Bass Player: Thoughts

posted by on June 4 at 12:06 PM

Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris was consulted backstage at White River Amphitheatre:

butterscotch.jpgWhat do you think about when you play?
Harris: Mostly I think of the ocean and running water.

But what about all your scary artwork and the gore? You don’t think about war?
Yeah, you’d think I would be thinking about battle scenes and that sort of thing, but no, I mostly think about water. The backdrop during "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" makes us look like we’re playing on the back of a ship and there are creaking ship noises, so it’s easy for me to get lost in the oceanic motif. You know the Zeppelin song “The Ocean”? That’s about the crowd.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever thought about while you were playing?
Butterscotch candy. At a show in Los Angeles a few years back, I had a butterscotch cough drop in my mouth. For some reason, maybe it was the cold medicine, I imagined the crowd was a bunch of butterscotch candies.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Scarlett Johansson Interviews Debbie Harry

posted by on May 23 at 2:10 PM

As part of Myspace's Artist on Artist series:


Watch them nervously gab and sip champagne. Grab your own bottle and every time Scarlett plays with her hair, take a drink!


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ben Gibbard is Not a Creep

posted by on May 20 at 1:29 PM

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When interviewing Ben Gibbard for this week's Sasquatch guide, I asked him about the new single "I Will Possess Your Heart," which is probably the creepiest song the band has released to date. It's not autobiographical, he says (thank goodness), but he did worry that putting a song like that out into the world would backfire.

So there's been a lot of press leading up to the release of Narrow Stairs, interviews hinting that it's more experimental, a different vibe, than any other Death Cab record, and then you release this eight-and-a-half-minute single, "I Will Possess Your Heart," which is a really great but really eerie song.

Yeah, it kind of is. I'll be the first to admit that I was a little self-conscious about putting a song like that into the world. I was talking to a friend about the authority singers have to sing certain types of songs—when Bruce Springsteen writes a song about small-town America or whatever, it's believable even though Bruce Springsteen is a multimillionaire who hasn't had to keep a day job since 1974. If I write a song like that, it comes off as posturing. So with "I Will Possess Your Heart," I wanted it to come off as being creepy. I have dark moments just like everyone else, but people think of me differently. I worried people may not accept a song with such a creepy, menacing sentiment from me.

Or would you worry that the opposite became true and that they would believe it, therefore thinking you were creepy?

I wouldn't necessarily mind being perceived as creepy by some people.

Read the interview, as it appeared in the paper, here. While we're on the subject, I also wanted to share a tidbit that didn't make it in to print, where he addresses the new crop of fans and the reluctance to play old material (no matter how much you might beg).

As you wrote in that essay you penned for Paste, you were one of the last bands to come along before the internet explosion. You had some time to hone in on what you wanted to do as a band and experiment a little bit in the early years. So it’s coming full circle, now you’re on a major label and you can still do that (ex: a nine minute single). I think it just goes to show you did it right.

Well thanks for saying that. I think every band has to make decisions that are based in the context in which they’re currently existing. I’m very happy with how we’ve been able to build over the years, and we’ve been very fortunate that every record has done better than the one before it. It’s been reinvigorating throughout the years to have new people come to the band every album. It’s weird that Plans, being our fifth record, is our first record for half a million people. That’s wild!

Are you finding that kids are going back into the back catalog at all? Are you privy to any of that information?

The only feedback I get is when we’re playing shows. I think we can dig into “the hits” from each record. Even though "Photobooth" was on an EP people know "Photobooth" because of the internet. But if we dip into "Fake Frowns" from the first record people look at each other and shrug.

Crickets.

Yeah, exactly. So we try to make an effort to span the catalog as much as possible but there's always the guy who says “Dude, I wish you’d play more from Something About Airplanes!” Yeah, I know you do, but the other 4,900 people do not feel the same way. It’s a bummer to me that we can’t spend six hours playing every record but it’s impossible…

Is it? Would you want to play a six-hour show of songs you wrote in 1998? Is it really a bummer, Ben?

(Laughs) It’s really not, but I was talking to one of our road guys today when I got to the hotel and he was commenting that he read some review about the set we played in London and someone was super pissed that we only played one song from We Have the Facts. I get it, I like that record too, but we’re not dipping into "No Joy in Mudville" when we have a newer song that fits that same mood and it’s going to keep the crowd with us for more of the show. We can’t do it.”

So don't expect "Fake Frowns" or "No Joy in Mudville" at Sasquatch, okay? Don't even ask for it.

And for the record, I did ask him for Jim from The Office's phone number (they're supposedly buddies), but he declined, recognizing that Jim from The Office might not appreciate that very much. See? A perfect gentleman. Not a creep at all.

Death Cab for Cutie play Sasquatch! Mainstage Sunday at 7:15 pm. Illustration by Kathryn Rathke.

Eazy E in Wild Strawberry

posted by on May 20 at 12:00 PM

rapcoverbetter.jpgAye Jay is the creator and illustrator of the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book, the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book, and the Indie Rock Connect the Dots. Coloring in Eazy E with a Violet-Red, Wild Strawberry, and Aquamarine combo fills a colorer with unparalleled joy. Coloring is the way. Fire Burnt Orange, not bullets. No Bloods or Crips, just fuschia. Aye Jay was kind enough to speak from his Chico, CA coloring compound:

What gave you the idea to do these activity coloring books?
Aye Jay: My inspiration was coloring with my son Cohen, who was two at the time. I had a thought like, "Why is there no coloring book that reflects the interests of the people in my age group?" I've been a fan of gangsta rap from the first time I heard it, in maybe 1988(?). It seemed like it would be a funny idea folks would like. I then spent the next couple of weeks making lists of inclusions and doing the drawings, went to the local copy shop and had one hundred copies made. I remember thinking there was no way I was going to be able to get rid of all one hundred. I was wrong.

rapcoloringbook.jpg

After the book did well as a zine, it was published as an expanded version. I got to thinking about other types of music I like that I could make books out of. From there, I crafted a long term plan of several books in my head. I made Indie Rock Connect the Dots as the low key follow up, and a couple of years later linked up with ECW Press to make the Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book.

There's been tons of positive response to the books. There's been some negative feedback as well. Can you talk about that?
Getting positvie feedback from the people in the books I look up to is so rewarding. I’ve been surprised. The other side of that is the negative response due to people thinking the Gangsta book is socially irresponsible. That’s a huge bummer, as it was intended to be silly. I was never thinking about the political ramifications. Several chain stores have dropped the Gangsta book due to pressure from family based groups. Topshop in the UK dropped it and Urban Outfitters here in the states did too.

IndieRockCover.jpgWhat are some of your favorite pages from the books?
Ice Cube and Suge Knight from the Gangsta book for the drawings, the Spinal Tap maze in the Metal book for the concepts, and Steve Albini's foreword from the Indie book, cause it's so well written and took over a year to get! Working with Andrew W.K. was cool too.

What's next? Will there be any new activity books coming out in the future?
Yes. I just signed on with ECW for two more activity books. They are genres you know and love. But I gotta keep them a surprise for now. Get your crayons ready though.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Mess with King Cobra…

posted by on May 12 at 12:23 PM

KingCobraChe2.JPGAnd you get Fruity Pebbles. Seriously.

There was King Cobra friction last week. Words exchanged. Disagreement and name calling arose. Shoulders had chips on them. A source was finally cited. (Pictured to the right: Owner Che Sabado as the Flintstone Godfather, Bamm-Bamm Rubble.)

Friday night, a meet up was arranged. I was to talk face to face with booker Jason Rothman, owner Che Sabado, and Bobcat, the club’s web designer / DJ / wrestler. Apprehensive and alone, I entered the club.

Once inside, a cold Pabst beverage was placed in my hand and the threesome said there was something they wanted to show me – in the back alley. “What could be in the back alley?” I thought.

KingCobraAlley1.JPG

KingCobraAlley2.JPG

KingCobraSteps.JPGIn the alley, the henchman Bobcat put me in a headlock, and I was shown the Fruity Pebbles. “You made a big mistake,” Rothman sneered. Sabado slowly and meticulously opened the box.

I pled, “Not the Fruity Pebbles, ANYTHING BUT THE FRUITY PEBBLES. Please, I’ll never not cite you again.”

Then they showed me to the upper level of the club where more cereal awaited, with milk this time. It was delicious. Rothman said, “Fruity Pebbles is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s a fun, wholesome, and tasty way to start your day.”

After the cereal fun, we talked about numbers and operating costs of the club. “King Cobra has nothing to hide,” they said. “We want to be known as a place that’s good to bands.”

KingCobraUpstairs2.JPG

KingCobraUpstairs1.JPG

Lastly, we bro’d down, cried into our beers, and buried hatchets. Face to face there was love. On stage, the Femurs and No-Fi Soul Rebellion had killer sets. King Cobra is a great club.

KingCobraBroDown.JPG

(Pictures taken by Matt Harvey)


Monday, April 28, 2008

Flavor and the Wall

posted by on April 28 at 12:34 PM

flavwall.JPG

Los Angeles: Flava Flav was sitting in a Mercedes with the top down on a Santa Monica street. I was there to meet him for an interview and get him to tell me a dream. (I’m into dreams.) You could smell Flav’s splif a block and half away. A log sized, log flume of a joint. Flav is filming in Canada and was home for a couple days. From his car, he was staring at a giant mural on the side of a building. He never took his eyes from it:

Mr. Flavor, do you remember your dreams?
Flav: I like this wall, yo. I come here when I can. I like to construct it in my head. You gotta augment shit, you know?

Can you tell me the real reason you wear clocks?
Damn G, hit me with that. The real reason ain’t real haha. The real reason is stupid. But it stuck. (Lifts up his sleeve and flashes a diamond wristwatch.) Can you say sponsors?

He laughed a spitting laugh from deep in his throat, then he told me his dream.

When he finished, I got out the car, and shut the door gingerly. The engine had been running the whole time. I thanked him and he was away. He took a right onto Santa Monica Blvd, looked back, and yelled, “Augment, yo! Flava-FLAAAV!!”


Friday, April 18, 2008

Tomorrow, Saturday: Record Store Day

posted by on April 18 at 11:49 AM

(Megan’s post about it – here.)

Sonic Boom Records’ Jason Hughes breaks it down:

Jason, what is this Record Store Day?
Jason: Record Store Day is a great reminder of the importance of independent neighborhood record stores and businesses in general. We've tried to make it more about the music community by donating money from cupcake sales (graciously provided by another great independent business, Cupcake Royale) and from our new record slip mats directly to the Vera Project. Additionally, we are donating 10% of our sales to Music4life.

What is Music4life?
Music4Life provides funding for instruments and music programs in Seattle Public Schools. Hopefully, folks can feel good about buying music or cupcakes from us on Saturday. There will be a bunch of great in-stores as well.

Here’s a previous clip of Jason in his Ballard cave office talking about what music sells when. Back in Black is a summer seller:


Monday, April 14, 2008

Barfly: For the Win

posted by on April 14 at 2:55 PM

BARFLYtrophy2.jpgBarfly of the Saturday Knights is Champion of the Line Out Greco Roman Tournament. Barfly bested Broadway’s own Slats Slatinskie in the finals. (See here.) Slats rolled out to an early lead but Barfly had a late unmatched surge that Slats Nation couldn’t handle.

Barfly, congratulations. I would like to present you with your steak knife and your KFC Biscuit. You are now President of the Stranger for a day.

Any words?
Barfly: I just want to congratulate my opponents for making me work for the win. I want to thank Puma, Xymogenetics for the exoskeleton, my team of therapists for the long hours huddled around the coffee pot, prepping my ego for a soul crushing defeat that never materialized and my spiritual mentor, Jan Michael Vincent who taught me that only losers quit and only quitters lose. You've never steered me wrong, Champ. I want to dedicate this victory to everyone who cleared their browsers' cache and cookies repeatedly so they could vote again and again and again. Finally I want Slats to know that I voted for him in every round. Usually twice.

Special thanks to Gatsby, Fridge, and The Proof. That's not me in Drillbit Taylor.

In the words of Kanye West, "Gimme my shit!"

This victory has reinvigorated my lust for life. Now I'm goin' to rehab.

Jeff Newton
aka Barfly


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Alicia Keys: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other."

posted by on April 12 at 1:26 PM

Alicia Keys recently gave an interesting interview to Blender...:

There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "`Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. `Gangsta rap' didn't exist."

Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."

She also said she hopes to start writing more political songs in the future. Read more here.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tonight in Photographers Who Shoot Live Music: Blush Photo

posted by on April 1 at 10:25 AM

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Blush Photo is a one-woman operation run by talented local photographer Kristen Truax. Her work has been featured in GQ, The Stranger, The Sound, and Alternative Press, to name a few, and she's done ad work for T-Mobile and Toyota. She's also available to shoot your wedding or party.

You no doubt know the name already because Blush Photo is also a regular contributor to the Stranger's Flickr Pool and her work has been featured a number of times on Line Out as the Flickr Photo of the Day. She's shot some of your favorite photos of some of your favorite local and national rock stars and party people, and with her growing business, she's becoming a camera-wielding rockstar herself.

For many months, Blush Photo has been the house photographer at Neumo's, and tonight she's displaying the best of what she's seen through the lens via Blush Photo's Music Photo Show.

blushdangerbunny.jpg

I asked Truax few questions about what Blush Photo is, what to expect from tonight's show, and how she manages to make people look so damn sexy.

My keen detective skills (read: MySpace) have taught me your real name is Kristen Truax. Is Blush Photo all you? Or is it a photographer collective?
I don't think many people realize that Blush Photo is a one person operation, which is good. I intentionally promote Blush apart from 'Kristen Truax'. My plan is to become a collective of kick-ass photographers under a beautiful pink and black Blush umbrella...it would be amazing.

Sometimes people can have an adverse reaction to getting a camera pointed in their direction, but all your photos not only make people look sexy, but the subjects also look happy and confident--it's unreal. How do you manage to capture that best side of people? Do you even know?
Thank you so much for recognizing this in my imagery. I do believe there is something outstanding and special about each of my subjects. Sometimes its my simple philosophy that we are all a part of something great together- making up what is happening in Seattle at this time. Although we are all coming and going- I have an amazing representation of the life here. It's like Studio 54- to me. I go out with the goal of achieving the best I can do, and capturing the absolute best in everyone. I hate to sound like a dip- but I am emotionally connected with each of my subjects. It's truly a wonderful feeling, and I believe that is the difference between a picture and something worth hanging on the wall for all to admire.

What is it you love about shooting live music (assuming you do, in fact, love shooting live music).
Shooting live is a challenge for me. I am so grateful for Neumo's giving me this amazing opportunity to flex my existing skills and to build more where I lack.

The first concert I ever shot was Harvey Danger at Endfest 2000. I was 18 years old, still living with my mom, and attending school at the Art Institute. I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing at the time, and thought I would be able to make some kind of living doing it. Of course, this was all film. I would blow through rolls and rolls of film. It was some of the best fun I ever had.

However, nowadays the fact that I can't control the lighting or meet my subject is a huge hindrance when shooting live. When St. Vincent played at Neumo's, I begged to have some face time with Annie. It just wasn't possible due to a strict photo policy. Even a couple of snap shots in Neumo's basement has made for gorgeous portraiture--such as my 10 minute Dyme Def session prior to their performance in February.

Any great stories about funny things people have done to get you to take their photo? I know you have to have a few... some people are attention whores.
Honestly, a lot of the stuff I shoot would be happening whether or not I was I there to capture it. It's kinda like the saying: If a tree were to fall in the forest, and no one was there to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it would, it's a tree falling. It's a shame to think of all the outrageous stuff that goes on and no one is there to document it. Seattle has so many wonderful people who make it up, attention whores no doubt, but whether or not there is a camera involved, I think all that crazy shit would still be happening.

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How long have you been a house photographer at Nuemo's? Also, who are some of the artists/musicians featured in the photos you'll be showing?
I met Jason at a mutual friends wedding last summer. It must have been magical because I have been shooting for Neumo's ever since. I have so much appreciation and respect for Jason as a person because he truly appreciates art, photography, and the time I spend doing what I love. We started up a Neumo's flickr page (flickr.com/photos/neumos) and he invited me to hang my work.

I had a terrible time narrowing my shots down to a 15 piece show, but eventually I selected shots from Leslie & The LY's, Mountain Goats, Ben Kweller, some rad crowd shots (as seen on the flier), etc. My hope is that everyone will buy up all the pictures. I decided to price the mounted 12x18 pieces on the cheaps to get them out into the world, onto people's walls, and into people's hearts. Awwwwww....

I'm sure this is a loaded question with the possibility of 100 answers, but do you have a favorite shot? Or three?
It'd be easier for me to call out my favorite photographer, than a favorite image, but one of my favorite photographs of all time is the Annie Leibovitz piece of John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their New York home. This image is my favorite for countless reasons, and was created just hours before the end of John Lennon's life. I actually had an opportunity to photograph Annie Leibovitz when I was a younger 20-something. She then gave me her new photo book at the time (American Music) and told me to "Keep On-". I cried a little bit. Hopefully she didn't notice.

As far as my own work goes, I have a few faves. I have a great story behind this shot:
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It involves Jacob, his french horn, forgetting it, leaving a wallet in the middle of nowhere, and eating sandwiches during a 3 hour car ride. It was quite the adventure!

To see Blush Photo's work, head to Neumo's tonight (the photo show is in the mezzanine). It's free, there will be drink specials, and if you're lucky, Blush Photo will capture you on film (or memory card) and make you look super hot like everyone always does in her pictures.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

How Perez Hilton Plans to Save the Music Industry

posted by on March 24 at 3:35 PM

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Rolling Stone.com's blog posted a video interview with Perez Hilton, who was rumored to be in the midst of starting his own label with Warner Brothers.

Apparently, the deal isn't done yet. He says: "Even if it doesn't happen with Warner Brothers I'm just gonna start my own label. Screw the major label system, I'm just gonna do it myself."

And if he had his own label, what would he do?

"I would definitely practically give away music but not really. I would slash iTunes prices. Instead of paying $10 for an album, make it five. Kids can get it for free so you have to give them more incentive to buy it. Give them the album plus, you gotta have the DVD, the extra stuff, the bonuses and remixes. Just make it a really appealing package that you can't pass up for five dollars."

In the interview he also talks about Britney ("she can suck my dick"), Amy Winehouse ("I'm really sad for Amy), and Paul McCartney, who's apparently a fan.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Rodeo's on a Plane: Euro-Tits

posted by on March 21 at 1:01 PM

rodeosleep.jpgBrent Amaker and the Rodeo are on tour in Europe. Black boots and hats are worn. Europeans play cowboy.

Brent and I spoke. Euro-pay phone to cellular device:

Where was your first show? Please tell me you wore Rodeo attire on the plane again.
Brent: First show was in Goor, Belgium. A posh little spot with a stage, a fancy lighting rig, and about 9 people. Small crowd, but spirited. The outfits? Always. Rodeo attire, always. We took the stage almost exactly 24 hours after waking up the previous morning.

Did people show up in Western outfits?
Yeah, two women arrived in full on Western get-up, dressed identically, and line danced in unison. A few other people wore cowboy outfits. Man, I so appreciate the effort. I walked up to an older gal wearing a cowboy hat and a fringe suede jacket after the set and said, “Hi, there!” She said, “I am a drug addict.”

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Has anyone tried to steal your hat yet?
No, but during our first set of the night, a drunk woman took a diver and fell in front of the stage. She totally busted her ass and somehow, managed to keep her beer glass perfect level without spilling a drop. During our break between sets, she yelled, “Hello America!” and showed us her tits. The privilege of being a cowboy, I guess.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Mon Amie La Tex

posted by on March 3 at 10:57 AM

Dreams are a language of symbols and associations. Everyone has their own set of symbols and unique language in which they dream. Identifying these symbols and defining that language can tap you deeply into your subconscious. (Previous Line Out dream session – here.)

A drummer in a metal band told me a dream after his show this weekend. In the dream, French singer Francoise Hardy rescued him on an island after a surfing accident. He had fallen off his board while trying to ride a mammoth wave and the reef cut up his skin with its coral knives. Hardy dragged him from the water, took him in, cleaned his wounds, and nursed him back to health. She sang for him and her angelic voice healed the gashes.

This drummer is a gnarly, smelly, man of a man. He plays a double kick drum and his metal band’s music approaches what you might call orc rock or death metal. Texas Chainsaw Massacre is his favorite movie. He was perplexed and uncomfortable with how strongly he resonated with the beauty of Hardy’s voice so he asked to remain anonymous. We spoke. I’ll call him ‘Tex’:

So you were surfing in the dream? Do you surf?
Tex: No but my creativity comes in waves.

Do you listen to much Francoise Hardy? Do you like her music?
My mom was always playing her stuff on the stereo when I was growing up so I guess I think of my Mom when I think of Francoise Hardy. Her music brings back my childhood and I feel safe, or something. Yeah, I like the music but none of my friends know it.

What are the dynamics in your band? Who writes your songs?
It’s been frustrating lately because I have all these song ideas, but the singer and guitar player don’t ever want to work on them. You could say I’m creatively frustrated.

Let us loosely analyze:
With the wave as creativity, the surfing accident in the dream makes sense. Tex fell off a wave and was hurt. Similarly, he is hurt by not being allowed to be part of the creative process in his band. He falls off his wave. Francoise Hardy, who represents mothering and nurturing, is there to take Tex in and make him feel better. Tex desires and needs this nurturing, and is sometimes afraid to admit it.

And now, here’s Francoise singing “Mon Amie la Rose”, just for Tex. Love her as she heals you:


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ladies Choice Presents...

posted by on February 27 at 7:19 PM

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This Friday, Ladies Choice Presents and the Funhouse bring a particularly brooding and brutal show featuring Wormwood, Drain The Sky, Birushanah, and Evangelist.
I will be unnoticeably absent from the show due to a clogged social calendar. These prior engagements are killing me. I’m still kicking myself for missing the previous Ladies Choice/Funhouse joint venture: last Thursday’s Shat show. It’s not everyday one gets to see a grown man clad only in a jock strap and a helmet adorned with dildos sing such gems as It’s About Time To Suck On My Penis Now and Fuck, I Stepped In Shit. Shat mastermind Jeff Wood deserves a spot next to Wesley Willis and Daniel Johnston, having survived a gunshot to the head during the Rodney King riots to go on to pen some of the catchiest, albeit thoroughly juvenile and base, scatological-themed metal parodies ever. While Friday’s show will not be the GG Allin-lite fare of Shat’s performance, I’m sure it will still be confrontational and abrasive. It was nearly ten years ago when I first saw current Seattle locals Wormwood play in their native home state of Kansas. Over that time they’ve evolved from a Man Is The Bastard/Neurosis hybrid into a more musical beast reminiscent of the early transitional period of Swiss black metal-tinged industrialists Samael. Truth be told, I’m really intrigued by opener Birushanah. This Japanese outfit play math metal augmented by an auxiliary scrap metal percussionist; think Meshuggah meets Skeleton Key.

Both shows are the result of the booking efforts of Seattle’s premiere purveyor of the more eclectic realms of live extreme music: Ladies Choice Presents. Adam Bass is the man behind the moniker, and if you’ve attended an exceptionally caustic show in recent years, chances are pretty high that you’ve rubbed elbows with the man. Despite a spotless attendance record for regional thinking-man’s-metal shows, he’s taken it a step further by making sure off-the-radar acts don’t pass up Seattle by booking them at spaces like the Rendezvous Jewel Box Theatre, the Funhouse, and El Corazon. Adam’s wealth of musical knowledge, friendliness, and unceasing enthusiasm make him a local treasure. So of course I had to figure out what makes him tick and harassed him via email.

Continue reading "Ladies Choice Presents..." »


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wall Of Sound: Long Live Physical Media!

posted by on February 23 at 7:17 PM

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Last weekend, I set out to pick up a handful of albums and say my goodbyes to Fremont’s Sonic Boom. Here on Line Out, comments regarding the closing of the store were met with a variety of responses. There were the expected laments, but also a few bouts of cynicism implying that record buying is somehow on par with renting VHS tapes or having a land-line home phone number. What a shame… I love buying records, and judging from the amount of customers at Sonic Boom on Monday, I’m inclined to think a healthy percentage of Seattleites feel the same. But rather than dwelling on the loss of a beloved outpost of musical wares, I thought I’d take the opportunity to highlight a local business that’s still alive and kickin’. Whenever I start to feel unimpressed or bored with the current crop of music being discussed in glossy magazines and publicist-driven websites, I know I can find something to renew my interest at Wall of Sound. Situated at 315 E. Pine Street on Capitol Hill, Wall of Sound is the kind of shop where I always manage to discover records I never even knew existed. I’m still kicking myself for missing the opportunity last fall to buy their vinyl bootleg of Jim Jones’ last recorded sermon (hand numbered edition of 913: one for every person that died at Jonestown).

I was curious to see how Jeffery Taylor, the bearded guru typically found manning the counter, viewed the climate in today’s music industry.

First off, could you elaborate on the history of the record store? I know it's a tedious question, especially when there's already a brief blurb on your website about it, but I’m more interested in the personnel behind the store and the initial impetus for WoS.

Wall Of Sound started in 1990 inside the Art In Form bookstore on the corner of 2nd and Bell. Two guys started it (Mark Sullo and Eric Hoffman) because they had a passion for music and sound that was a bit outside of the mainstream. It was just one little wall of the shop with tapes and LPs (hence Wall of Sound) and they carried all sorts of weird and cool sounds that NO ONE was carrying in town.

How has the Internet age affected WoS? Has the general industry drop in CD sales been apparent at the store, or do you think the increased exposure of peripheral music has drawn more people to your store?

It has affected us in the same way it has affected countless other small indie record shops. We have experienced the same downturn in CD sales that the entire industry has. With easy access to the glut of free music on the Internet it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a steady consumer base. While it has been more difficult for us in the last 5 or 6 years, we do have a faithful core clientele and we hope to continue to add to the list of Wall Of Sound fans and customers. We have no advertising budget to speak of and rely on word of mouth or maybe a mention in the press every now and again for one of our events. We send out weekly emails with new reviews and other info which also serves as a reminder "hey folks, we're still here, stop by for a visit!"

The following is a quote from a commenter on Slog regarding the Sonic Boom closure; "OMG, a record store is going out of business!!! Oh wait - that happens all the time, because we have the Internet now. Anybody running a record store now who doesn't expect to be forced into shutting down in the next 5 years should be given a Gold Star for Baseless Optimism." Well, we'd like our gold star now please.

Continue reading "Wall Of Sound: Long Live Physical Media!" »


Friday, February 8, 2008

Khingz Brides

posted by on February 8 at 11:51 AM

The synthno and guitar beat-luring mystery – the Luchnow Brides have collaborated with Khingz Makoma of Abyssinian Creole. Khingz did a ‘vocal refix’ of the Brides’ song “Oo ee”.

For your Line Out exclusive listen - click here.

The Luchnow Brides
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The Brides spoke, as I had questions for them:

How did you guys come to work with Khingz?
We know Khingz through the beat production aspect of our work, so it was natural that he jump on one of our songs. We consider him to be one of the best emcees in the town, and it's a pleasure to share creative energies with him. Also, he's a great guy.

Tell me more about the Luchnow Brides. You’re originally from Luchnow India?
Well, there are three of us, that much we know for sure. In terms of other musical endeavors, we do a lot of different things, including djing, beat production, and of course, vaguely electronic projects involving guitars. You'll hear some of our beats on upcoming releases from various members of Seattle's hip hop community.

What can you say about your song “Let Them Eat Hipsters”?
It was inspired by a particularly annoying group of cooler-than-thou rock types at a party we DJ’d. Nothing says hipster like a Hall and Oates sample.

What music are you all into?
We’re big fans of folks like Pillow Fight Fight and Foscil.

How did the Luchnow Brides form?
We've kind of fallen into this by accident. The Brides are really a sideshow to a lot of the other stuff we have going on. We try to make music that we would want to listen to, and that's just about the only thing guiding us.

You’re not a hipster are you, Trent?


Thursday, October 25, 2007

How Do the Sex Pistols Sound Today?

posted by on October 25 at 5:06 PM

Folks in West Hollywood will get the answer to that question tonight during the kickoff concert for the Sex Pistols' third reunion tour. Me, I could care less, but hours ago, I was forced to learn the answer hours earlier than most Californians. The answer? Slower and now including a 30,000 point guitar solo.

Turns out the band rerecorded "Anarchy In The UK" earlier this year for use in Guitar Hero III, as I found out a few hours ago when playing my review copy of the video game for a forthcoming review. And why did they go back to the studio for the first time in 30 years? The short answer? Master tapes have gone missing. The implied answer? You can probably gather it if you watch Johnny Lydon and Steve Jones explain their, uh, totally natural-sounding kudos about Guitar Hero in a bonus video tucked into the game, recorded on my terrible camera for your amusement:

I'd record the song as well, but seriously, you're not missin' much.


Friday, October 12, 2007

"I Find a Little 2k Squeal Through the Monitors Works As An Excellent Disciplinary Device" or Be Nice To Your Sound Op

posted by on October 12 at 2:20 PM

Anybody who has ever played a live show of any size knows this feeling. After spending untold hours packed into a sweaty little rehearsal space practicing your songs and honing your act, you and your bandmates show up on gig night and play your hearts out only to walk off stage and hear:
"Man, you guys are great but the sound sucked."
Now sometimes, with bands that aren't as good as yours, these comments may be the result of friends trying to find a nice way of saying that they didn't care for the music. But let's assume that's not the case with you, because your band truly rocks. What gives? What, if anything, can you do to insure good sound?
I asked one of the finest sound engineers I know this question. (Because this individual has known me for many years, he trusts me about as far as he can throw me, so I promised to provide his answers under a pseudonym. We'll just call him Your Next Sound Op, or YNSO.) Here are his answers.

FlamingBanjo: What's your biggest beef with bands as a sound guy? What causes the most sound problems?
YNSO: The top three problems faced by most live bands are stage volume, stage volume and stage volume. The number one thing that makes my job difficult is players on stage with their amps turned up too loud, because it affects everything else. Any mikes on stage will be picking up all that noise, which affects how high the monitors can go before feeding back, while simultaneously making it harder for everybody to hear what's coming out of those monitors. If you want your monitor mix to sound good, you've got to keep stage volumes reasonable.
FlamingBanjo: Who are the biggest culprits here?
YNSO: This is going to come as a shock: Guitar players. Followed closely by bass players.
FB: Is this just Nigel Tufnel syndrome at work? Explain.
YNSO: There's a lot of that, but there are other reasons. I think most bands practice too loud. They get used to playing in this tiny cramped space with their amps cranked all the way up and that becomes their comfort level. Then they get to the gig and they want to play at that level. When the guy behind the board asks them to turn down they react like he's the Man telling them to stop rocking so hard! When all he's trying to do is get a good balance in the mains and monitors. I can't control the sound coming out of your amp, just the sound coming from the mains. Work with me.
With the bass there are also some issues with the physics of sound: A 100 Hz tone is like an 11 foot long wave, which means if you're standing next to your amp you're not hearing the actual signal, you're hearing the wave after it's bounced off the back of the club. Stand 10 or 11 feet away and you'll start to hear what's really coming out of the amp. The same thing applies to DJs who are pumping out a lot of low end. They want to hear that thump but unfortunately the laws of physics are working against them. They're standing too close to the source.
FB: What about running sound for DJs? That should make your job fairly easy, right, since they're basically just sending you a line from the stage?
YNSO: You'd think so. As far as not having to deal with a stage full of live amps and mikes it is easier. But unfortunately a lot of DJs don't understand gain structure, so they turn their gear up all the way and expect the sound guy to clean up the distorted signal. I tell people "sit down in your car, turn up the stereo all the way. It sounds like shit, doesn't it? Now come down from there until it sounds good. That's how peak signal works."
FB: You've run sound for everything from internationally-known Reggae artists to five-band local heavy metal nights. What's the difference between amateur musicians and professionals in your experience?
YNSO: Professionals show up on time, set up, and get out of the way. They don't socialize on stage. They don't noodle. When I say "kick drum" through the talkback all I hear is kick drum. They don't practice on stage. They're less self-conscious so there's usually less attitude. That's not to say that professionals don't ask for "More Me!" in the monitors. But they're usually nicer about it.
A lot of pros are a little deaf. A guy like Engelbert Humperdinck runs his stage monitor levels at about 117 decibels, which is like standing next to a jet engine.
FB: Engelbert Humperdinck ? I had no idea he was so hardcore.
YNSO: HARDcore.
FB: I've noticed you're one of the few sound guys I know who isn't deaf. How'd you manage that?
YNSO: What?
FB: What should bands avoid when dealing with their sound op?
YNSO: Be nice to us. Understand there are limitations to what the gear can do. Understand that if you piss us off you won't get our best work.
FB: Do you ever exact revenge?
YNSO: I find a little 2k squeal through the monitors works as an excellent disciplinary device. They stop asking for "More monitors!" after that. Works every time. 5-10Hz makes people shit their pants.
FB: Any parting words of wisdom?
YNSO: We hear a lot of complaints when people aren't happy, but like anybody we like positive feedback (no pun intended.) Also, I rarely turn down a tip. $20 buys a lot of good will.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Young Adult Dream Come True

posted by on October 4 at 12:27 PM

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Basically, I love everything Craig Finn does. Before he was the frontman for the Hold Steady, Finn was in a Minneapolis band called Lifter/Puller. They were really amazing. And as much as I love the Hold Steady's latest record Boys & Girls in America, I love Lifter Puller's Fiestas + Fiascos even a little bit more.

The record tells a story about this guy, Nightclub Dwight, who gets wrapped up in a lot of drugs, sex, and other shady temptations of the night life. He opens a club called the Nice Nice, he pisses off the wrong people, and those wrong people set out to get him. It's a great story, a great sound record, and Finn's lyrics are really smart and interesting.

Nightclub Dwight can take a negative vibe and then infuse it with the positive youth
Nightclub Dwight can take a little white lie and confuse it with a meaningless truth
One night Dwight he got a little bit toothy, now they all call him the Good Doctor Tooth
One night Dwight got all goofy on the roofies, now they all call him the Fiddler on the Roof

Well I just got off the phone with Finn. We talked about his favorite writers, what he was like as a teenager, the novel he's working on, and of course his current band, the Hold Steady. There will be more on all that in the future. What I'm most excited about right now is that I finally got to ask him a question I've been wanting to ask him for years. I always wondered, if Fiestas + Fiascos was made into a movie (as I always felt it should be), who would play Nightclub Dwight?

His response?

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"Maybe Christopher Walken. Yeah, someone creepy and old, I think. And gay. Creepy, old, and gay. Christopher Walken would be the most... or Steven Buscemi maybe? Something like that. And I don't know his name, but if anyone was playing me I would want that guy who played Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Mood Is Everything

posted by on September 12 at 10:38 AM

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Disconcerting in just the right way for the beginning of autumn, the eponymous new album by Portland’s Pseudosix has been my soundtrack of the past few weeks. The band plays a complex but catchy brand of orchestral indie rock with lyrics that get under your skin and stay there.

I had the chance to talk with lead singer and songwriter Tim Perry about the band’s new album, their menacing reputation, and full-on 8th-grade balls.


CHRIS MCCANN: How would you say the new album differs from [Pseudosix’s first album] Days of Delay?

TIM PERRY: I think the new album is more aggressive. Most of the songs on Days of Delay were written behind a closed bedroom door. I sang quiet so people in my house wouldn't hear me. But the new album is a lot more confident. The arrangements are more ballsy. That's what I'm trying to say: Balls. Days of Delay was like 7th grade balls. The new album is like full-on 8th-grade balls. Bigger. More pronounced.

CM: What was the recording process like?

TP: This album took a really long time to record. Mostly because we could only go into the studio as money permitted. We'd lay down the main tracks (at the studio) and then I'd transfer them onto my computer and do all the overdubs and vocals in my basement. This took the better part of a year, during which time I sank deeper and deeper into the darkness. Every once in a while, someone would come over and lay down their parts. Slowly but surely it all came together.

CM: It’s your first release on Sonic Boom Recordings. What kind of support have you received from Sonic Boom and how'd you get connected with them?

TP: Sonic Boom has been great to us! Jonathan [Rothman] from the Long Winters gave them some of our recordings, which is how we got hooked up with them. Jason [Hughes], the guy who owns the label and stores, has been very supportive, honest, and hardworking. He is in it for the love of music.

CM: Do you write as a band or are you the primary songwriter? What's the process?

TP: The songwriting process generally starts with me. Sometimes I'll record a demo and present it to the rest of the band so they can get a sense of the cadence or vibe of the song. But from there, anything can happen. We have different styles of writing and playing music. Mine is more crafty and exact. But Jake (drums) and Emil (guitar), for example, are more in the moment. This sort of dynamic creates tension. And tension makes for better music.

Continue reading "The Mood Is Everything" »


Thursday, August 16, 2007

More Mandy Moore...!

posted by on August 16 at 10:18 AM

There's an interview with Mandy Moore in the music section this week.

Wait! Put down the letter bomb!

You should know, she was interviewed by the wonderfully unforgiving celeb-stalker Adrian Ryan and it's hilarious. There are no verbose blowjobs about how the woman reinvented herself from a shallow poptart into a "legitimate" and "soulful" siren.

He is completely in love with her, though.

"HI, ADRIAN! This is Maaaaaaandy! Hi! I am REALLY excited about playing Seattle... I love—love—Seattle SO MUCH! I can't. Even. Tell you, man!"

Whoa.

I've met Mandy Moore three times: twice in the summer of 2004ish, the night her film Saved! opened the Seattle International Film Festival, and the Friday night immediately following, when I caught her partying her then-rather-underage moneymaker off on the dance floor of a unnamed Seattle gay club (Neighbours). I narked on her scandalously drinky underagedness in my column, Celebrity I Saw U, the following week. Good times.

"I had such an awesome time at the Seattle Film Festival that year... it is SO MUCH better than L.A. or Sundance... it totally has its own thing going on!"

She remembers! And lies!

You can read the whole thing here.

And if that isn't enough Mandy mania for you, Ms. Moore recently covered Rihanna's summer 2K7 hit, "Umbrella." Enjoy!


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Suckers They Be Saying They Can Take Out Adam Horovitz

posted by on August 7 at 10:35 AM

As true as ever. But what does Adam Horovitz say about the presidential election?

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In case you were wondering, Gothamist has the Beastie Boy's views on Rudy Giuliani and the price of Horovitz's Hillary Clinton endorsement:

Okay, last question. With John McCain’s campaign faltering many see Rudy Giuliani as the man to beat in 2008. What do you think about President Giuliani? What do I think about President Giuliani?

Yeah, how would you feel about that? How do I think about him in relationship to McCain?

No, just how do you feel about him as President? I got to say Giuliani… I don’t like Giuliani but something happened to him right toward the end. I remember hearing that toward the end when he was going through his separation and he was crashing on a friend’s couch with two guys, a gay couple, and he went through some transformation. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about Giuliani as president. I know I hated his guts for a long time.

Okay, so you’re holding out on the endorsement. I am not giving Giuliani my endorsement. I’m down with Hillary.

Really? That’s right. You heard it here.

Okay. I’m sure my endorsement’s going to be the best thing for the campaign.

Yeah, I’m sure you’ll be contacted by them tomorrow. [Laughs] I just want Knicks tickets.

You have a problem getting Knicks tickets? You know what I mean: I just want ‘em.


Monday, July 9, 2007

An Interview With Deftones' Abe Cunningham

posted by on July 9 at 3:26 PM

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I met up with Deftones drummer Abe Cunningham in their tour van before their show at WaMu Theater last night. He was good natured, courteous, and totally stoned.

How’s the tour going so far?
Ugh... It’s been 18 months, it’ll be 19 when we’re finished. It’s been good, bouncing around the world.

Your press release mentioned that the last record almost didn’t get made because of a break-up. This isn’t the last time we’re going to see you in Seattle, is it?
No, we’re getting along probably the best we ever have, we’re actually going to go home from this and start writing the new record.

Do you do much writing on the road?
It’s really tough. We play a couple hours a night, and we spend the next day waiting to get to the next place. A lot of time gets wasted. On this run we did a couple nights in some cities so we had everything set up, so we got to do a little jamming, but it never really seems to work out that well. Stephen, our guitarist, is trying to become a pro golfer. He golfs like every morning. He’s getting pretty good. He’s out with Terry Date, our producer, golfing right now. It’s very difficult for us to write on the road, but we’re gonna do that as soon as we get home.

Did you choose Fall of Troy to come with you? Was that a label thing?
Our manager is sort of managing them. It turned out to be great. We’ve been around for almost 20 years, and these dudes are like 21, talking about how when they were in middle school they used to come see us. Our band has been around almost as long as they’ve been alive. They remind me of us a lot when we first started touring. They get their case of beer and it’s gone in five minutes. They’re a good time.

Continue reading "An Interview With Deftones' Abe Cunningham" »


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Jason Hughes - El Jefe

posted by on May 8 at 10:25 AM

Jason Hughes, co-owner / chief boss director of Sonic Boom Records and Sonic Boom Recordings, sits, speaks, and bequeaths wisdom.

Discussion includes the new Sonic Boom Recordings release from Graig Markel and the repress of Death Cab for Cutie’s, Something About Airplanes. Also, he and employees talk about what’s been selling, what sells in the summer, cd thieves, and what they do to people that drop stink bombs in the store. Then, 80’s hair metal band, Ratt and the Ratt – Dub connection.

Jason announces Sonic Boom's 10 year anniversary party at the Showbox. Ratt may play. Nothing’s confirmed.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Beard and Bearder: Jasen Samford Interviews Chris Wilson

posted by on April 17 at 11:50 AM

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(Left: Jasen Samford, drummer for local band Speaker Speaker. Right: Chris Wilson, drummer for Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. They both have beards, they both played in math rock bands before finding the light of pop music, and last week Jasen got Chris on the phone to talk about the new record and geek out about drums like drummers often do.)

A note from Jasen:

As a drummer, I have taken inspiration from older players like Ringo Starr and Mitch Mitchell, to the younger set like Dave Grohl, Tre Cool, and Adam Pfahler. Chris Wilson, however, tops my list. Prior to joining Speaker Speaker, I had spent years playing in numerous math rock bands. I wanted out. When I heard Ted Leo's Shake The Sheets, I found what I had been looking for. Chris plays with great pop sensibilities, with obvious nods to punk, ska, and reggae influences. His history of playing with math bands like Shake Ray Turbine also shines through in his style. In addition to being my favorite drummer to listen to, he is also my favorite drummer to watch live; the man is a powerhouse, and yet his intricate syncopated hi-hat accents and breakneck fills seem effortless.

It was a great honor and a privilege to talk with Chris about everything from his own influences, to gear, to working with Ted Leo, and to recording with Fugazi's Brendan Canty.

Continue reading "Beard and Bearder: Jasen Samford Interviews Chris Wilson" »


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Modest Contradiction

posted by on April 12 at 3:41 PM

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For a story in this week's issue, I talked to Joe Plummer and Tom Peloso, the new guys in Modest Mouse who aren't Johnny Marr. I just learned that there are contradictory stories about MM2.0's first practice together as a unit.

The one quoted in the story is from percussionist Joe Plummer:

"The first practice was in Seattle and everyone showed up and I showed up and I wasn't quite sure what I was gonna be doing, so I just filled in where I could."

In a follow-up interview, upright bassist/fiddler Tom Peloso said the late-'05 conjunction happened in Portland:

"It was late '05 I guess, at Isaac's house in Portland. It was very exciting. We were literally up in Isaac's attic. And the energy was really good; everybody was excited to start the project. As soon as we got in there we started hammering out songs and ideas and someone would start playing something and everyone would join in and if anything came of it that would become a song. I think everybody weas just really optimistic about creating some good songs."

Portland and Seattle, it seems, are pretty much interchangable.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Louvin in uniform

posted by on March 30 at 12:08 PM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I interviewed Country Music Hall of Fame honoree Charlie Louvin (of the Louvin Brothers) earlier this week, about his show at the Tractor on April 10. A full feature will appear in next week's paper, but this brief reminiscence — about Louvin's previous visit to our neck of the woods, en route to the Korean War — didn't make the cut, so I wanted to share it.

"Isn't Fort Lewis pretty close to Seattle? The last time I was there was in 1952. I shipped out on Christmas Eve, 1952. And the Red Cross really let it all hang out. They gave each of us one of those little packets of cigarettes, with four cigarettes in 'em, and a cup of coffee."

Dang! Where's a USO troupe when you need one?


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Introducing Lissie

posted by on March 28 at 11:20 AM

Los Angeles based singer songwriter, Lissie, opened for Badly Drawn Boy at Neumo’s on Monday night.

She sat down to talk after her set and discussed some Rush, Elliott Smith, and Algebra. Later, Badly Drawn Boy played Madonna.


Originally from Rock Island, Illinois, Lissie is earthy and splendid and nice as hell. She told a story about a friend getting her a gig in LA a while back. He didn’t tell her where. She got her guitar and he drove her to Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s wedding. She said she put on her game face, and played, standing next to Bruce Willis.

And speaking of Madonna, Lissie had some stuff slated to come out on Maverick Records, but it's in limbo. She said she's not wating around for it though. She's recording again soon and will have a record out that's not held back by Maverick.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Looking Back Is Fly

posted by on March 26 at 1:11 PM

5thave.jpgThe 5th Avenue Theatre’s run of Buddy ended a few weeks ago. Billy Joe Huels takes a few moments to look back on his role playing Buddy Holly:

First of all, anything off the top of your head about it?
Billy Joe: After years of sweating it out in rock clubs, I finally reached my true demographic audience: 65- to 80-year-old ladies.

How was the last performance compared to the first one?
I think the first performance was crisp. I focused on all the important details, like tucking in my shirt and tying my shoelaces between scene changes. I was so relaxed by the end of my run that I didn’t even bother to zip my fly before singing “True Love Ways” to Maria Elena.

What was your relationship to the character like at the end? Did it change as you went along?
It was like I was a guy portraying a dead musical legend in a theater production. I think my relationship with Buddy Holly is still the same, but we haven’t spoken in a while.

Did you ever get sick of the songs?
No .

Have you gotten out of character yet?
I think so, but my wife still complains when I scream out Peggy Sue in the middle of the night.

Looking back at it, what was the hardest thing about it? What did you like the most?
Acting. Acting.

How do you summarize the experience?
It was the highlight of my 76-year-old dad’s life.

Did you take any notes along the way?
Yes. Never upstage the veteran actors, and always check your fly before sitting down to perform a love song in front of 2,000 people.

Do you still have the Buddy glasses?
Yes. The fine folks at the 5th Avenue Theatre put my prescription in them and gave them to me.

What would Buddy be doing if he were still around?
He would probably be starring in The Buddy Holly Story.

Video Interview w/Billy Joe from before.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

“Happy People Write Bland Music”: The Whitey Interview Nobody Asked For

posted by on March 20 at 1:12 PM

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Things are looking up for Whitey.

I recently interviewed Whitey (AKA Nathan J. Whitey) for Alternative Press magazine, but could use only a tiny fraction of his responses. After the jump, I print the interview in its entirety, for all the diehard (and future) Whitey fans out there. He’s an interesting cat and his music, as heard on The Light at the End of the Tunnel Is a Train, often sounds like a beautifully morose collision between glam and krautrock. I can get with it.

Whitey plays Chop Suey April 10.

Continue reading "“Happy People Write Bland Music”: The Whitey Interview Nobody Asked For" »


Friday, March 16, 2007

Björk/Meredith Monk Interview Today on Counterstream Radio

posted by on March 16 at 10:45 AM

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UPDATE: If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to the interview again (in high- and low-bandwidth versions for Quicktime and Windows Media) here.

The American Music Center's new online radio station Counterstream Radio will have its official launch today at 3 PM Eastern (that's 12:00 PM for Seattlites). To kick it off right, Sarah Cahill will interview two of today's greatest female composers—Meredith Monk and Björk (presumably at the same time). The two have collaborated together, and Björk herself has a new album—Volta—coming out in May. Perhaps we'll get a sneak peek at one or the other or both[!/?]

About Volta, MTV reports that Björk was profoundly affected by a visit to the Aceh Province in Indonesia for UNICEF's tsunami relief effort:

"I spent a few days there, in a village where 180,000 had died, in one moment. And a year later, people were still digging up bones, and digging through muck and finding objects. They had to change this golf course into a mass grave. And the smell ... that was probably the most surprising thing. You could still smell death in the air a year later."

About the debut single, "Earth Intruders":

The song "Earth Intruders," in particular, was sculpted soon after Björk awoke from a dream she had during a cross-Atlantic flight to New York. In the dream, the singer said a "tsunami of millions and millions of poverty-stricken people" swelled high above the airplane she was a passenger on. Eventually, the wave overtook the plane, hit land and razed the White House into oblivion

"Earth Intruders" is an industrial-tinged number, rife with video game-esque atmospherics and calypso tonalities — think Nine Inch Nails meets Devo. A rhythmic, marching sound runs throughout much of the track, which "portrays the emotions of impatience, urgency, and being very eager to communicate." In it, she sings, "Here is turmoil out there/ Carnage rambling/ What is to do but dig/ Dig bones out of earth/ Mud, graves, timber/ Morbid trenches."

It's shaping up to be quite an interesting picture, this album. Politics, a "stunning return to the dancefloor"? Eric, you may get your protest anthems yet. UPDATE: Record label One Little Indian's managing director told Music Week that it expects big sales from Volta: "It's probably the most commercial thing she's ever done," he says. "It's really up and happy and the collaborations are extraordinary". He also revealed that Björk will be embarking on an 18-month world tour, with the stage set devised by Björk. The 30 musicians on tour with her will include an all-female, all-Icelandic brass band. Whew, Sasquatch is going to be a gorgeous, sweaty mess.

And in case you missed it last week, here's Pitchfork's first installment of their interview with Björk about Volta.


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Best (and Rest) of Fujiya &Miyagi

posted by on March 7 at 6:58 PM

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Fujiya & Miyagi: Masters of that driving beat.

This week’s Data Breaker feature focuses on hot British trio Fujiya & Miyagi, one of the most effective new revivers of the motorik groove. The group’s David Best gives good interview, so I’m going to post the entire Q&A (after the jump) on Line Out, where space is infinite and everybody can hear you whisper.

F&M play Chop Suey Sat. March 10 with Prototypes and Young Knives; doors at 5 pm (that’s right).

Continue reading "The Best (and Rest) of Fujiya &Miyagi" »


Monday, February 19, 2007

Buddy Holly's $1,000,000 Guitar - Almost Jacked

posted by on February 19 at 2:40 PM

Billy Joe Huels plays Buddy Holly in the 5th Ave. Theater production of ‘Buddy’, which runs until March 4th.

Holly's widow, Maria Elena, was flown in for the opening shows. Billy Joe got to play her some songs on Buddy’s famous Stratocaster. Then he was left alone with the guitar and for a second, was tempted to take it to Mexico. He talks about it here.

The little lady cutting it up on stage at the beginning of the clip is the 72 year old Maria Elena Holly.