Watching the Grammy Awards? Think Lady Gaga sweeping everything (I'm guessing) is bullshit? Wondering why anyone gives a fuck about Kings of Leon? Feel free to make this your open thread for comments, gripes, etc.
by Kyle Regan
on Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 5:17 PM
Kyle Regan—a masochistic Stranger reader—has vowed to do every single thing recommended by the Stranger Suggests (movies, galleries, bars, concerts) for the month of January. Look for his reports daily on Slog. —Eds.
The bravest person in the world is that overenthusiastic dancer who starts going nuts on an empty dance floor. They are the Tienanmen-Square protesters of music. I can't go out unless there's a high enough saturation of dancers. People say that no one watches anyone, but that's bullshit. You think I don't see you, Sir-Doing-The-Robot-For-Two-Hours? Or the chick who just jumps, offbeat no less. Who's to say nobody is laughing at my botched Irish jig?
Despite the bravado of the chick leading the charge, the place was pretty empty. I left to eat at Pike Street Fish Fry. I really like the place: cramped and delicious. The catfish was fried and flaky. Spicy mayo may be my new fry dip of choice.
By the time I made it back to Neumos, VOICEsVOICEs had just finished setting up and the place had filled wall to wall. The set was criminally short, maybe five songs or so. I was really digging them. The hazy effects, layered-distorted vocals and drums were quite nice. Like a fuzz smoothie. That doesn't make sense, but that's how it was.
The Gaslamp Killer was the highlight of the night. His giant Jew-fro bobbed and rippled as he danced along. Theatrical gestures made him seem part scuzzy Jesus and part puppeteer. Samples included Hendrix, Radiohead, and stuff too obscure for me to remember or recognize. It was remixes for the ADHD. Dave Segal was right: motherfucker has no off switch.
Prefuse 73 took me a bit to get into. The opening sounds were sonically spiked, borderline hostile, and changed direction often. Weird beats are cool, sure, but not the best thing to dance to. Eventually, the music became more nurturing of human body moments. A good thing, as the audience had thinned since GLK. Towards the end of the set, Neumos staff had begun switching on the overhead lights and glaring at Prefuse 73 from the side of the stage. I get the feeling that the plug would have been pulled if they took any longer.
Flat feet are a motherfucker. Two nights of dancing until closing hour are wreaking havoc on my archless appendages. I don't think a single musical recommendation (besides KEXP DJs) was anyone I had ever heard of, let alone listen to. Seattle's electronic culture is foreign to me, but I think I'm starting to learn the lingo, even if it's doing a number on my orthopedic inserts. A great recommendation for a scene I'm only beginning to appreciate.
(Neumos) Countering the technology-obsessed mindset of his home city of Tokyo, DJ Krush's music sounds as if it comes from the uncomplicated earth itself. He has an uncanny knack for bringing elements of nature into his work. Just listen to "Jugoya" from Milight, an album dropped during his stay on Mo' Wax, the Britain-based label known for its extensive and amazing instrumental hiphop, triphop, and electronic offerings. The track starts with a babbling brook and soft birdcalls weaving around each other before it's ultimately enveloped by an airy piano loop and a rock-solid drum beat. His music appears simple at first, but complexity abounds underneath—like nature itself. And as in nature, expect Krush's show to maintain a delicate balance between chaos and calm. KALEB GUBERNICK
Pillow Full of Drone: Vox Vespertinus, Joy Von Spain, Phønøn, Celadon, Sataray
(Visionary Dance Studio) In 1991, Mute Records issued a compilation titled The Tyranny of the Beat. Over the years, Data Breaker has been guilty of fostering this up-tempo'd tyranny, but sometimes it's good to take a break (pun intended) from rhythm's relentless propulsion and revel in beatless space. One of Seattle's most accomplished accomplices in this pursuit is Phønøn (aka multi-instrumentalist Chris Hanis). Phønøn's vaporous, enigmatic drones can be traced back to admitted Hanis favorites like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Jon Hassell, and Harold Budd (geniuses all), with attributes of metaphysical sci-fi author Philip K. Dick and surrealist filmmaker David Lynch factoring into his aesthetics. DAVE SEGALSee Data Breaker.
Team Gina, Punk Bunny, Black Barbie, Sap'N
(Comet) Tonight, local lesbian dance duo Team Gina play their last show ever. Gina Bling is, she says, going to "focus on my domestic duties—embroidering baby onesies and U-Hauling with my girlfriend," while bandmate Gina Genius is, well... unreachable for comment. According to the hilarious press release announcing their breakup, she's somewhere on the side of the road, begging for money. Anyway, the two had a pretty good run while it lasted, releasing two full-lengths and packing venues across the nation with their synchronized dance moves, neon leotards, and synth-heavy songs about the incestuous nature of the lesbian dating scene, among other topics. RIP, Team Gina. We'll wear black bars on our leg warmers in your memory. MEGAN SELING
Flexions, Bronze, Silk Flowers
(Black Lodge) Bronze are a Bay Area synth-and-drums trio whose songs typically feature eerie, spacey analog tones, bass drones, and rough, jazzy breakbeats, with echoing vocals floated over the top. They bring to mind Suicide or Silver Apples, although their songs tend to stretch out into more syrupy slow motion and reveal less clear hooks. NYC band Silk Flowers are equally synth-obsessed, but where Bronze sound thick and full and, well, good, Silk Flowers' recordings just sound like shit rattling around in a tin can. The drum-machine beats are impossibly thin, the synths skuzzy beyond tonality, their singer's Ian Curtis impersonation making Warsaw sound downright hi-fi—which is a shame, because the songs could actually be kind of good; it's hard to tell. With local dub-punk deconstructionists Flexions, which are now rounded out on drums by Truckasauras/Foscil's highly capable Tyler Swan. ERIC GRANDY
The phenomenon is real, i assure you, and it's increasing in intensity and scope. With every passing weekend, more and more, my Saturdays (God bless them!) have begun to feel exactly like, ugh, SUNDAYS. Yes, so silent, yes, so gray. So very much so. Wretched, hateful Sundays!
I feel like my nervous system has been scraped raw with oyster shells, I sleep way too late. I spend the first waking hour counting/justifying drinks from the night before, and suffer small flash-bulb memories of dazzling and devastating characters and events and total foot-in-the-mouth moments. I empty tons of cards and scribbled notes and promotional fliers from my pockets, take a pathetic swipe at cleaning the mess from the night before in the kitchen, give up, and Wikipedia "Milk Thistle". I spend the rest of the day in the bath tub reading old books I've read before and drinking way too much coffee. Typical Sunday. Only it's NOT Sunday! It's SATURDAY! And it's a problem. And it's ALL FRIDAY'S FAULT!
Friday has just gotten so God damn good.
Yesterday I begged the question, "Can Comeback recover from the pitiful crowd turnout on New Year’s Eve?", and the answer to that question was oh, yes, dammit, Adrian, shut your mouth. Last night's Comeback at Chop Suey was pulsing with nubile queerdom and sweating beats—wall-to-wall sexy is what it was, I'm telling you, and you had to grease your sides to even try to get through the crowd. What a relief! I was worried about Comeback.
After Comeback's big Comeback, the new Fringe Presents at The Eagle was what's what. The crowd was thin, thin, THIN when I poked my head in early on, but that's because everyone was at Pony, or Unicorn (OH MY GOD THAT PLACE IS FANTASTIC!), getting ready to go to Comeback. Which they did. And THEN they went to Fringe Presents, which packed-out late and didn't stop twirling 'til 4am and total exhaustion/alcohol coma set in en masse. Which, of course, leads to a Saturday completely wasted in recovery. A Saturday that feels like SUNDAY.
Perhaps we'll all just have to learn to live with it.
Please to be knowing that Noddy is playing at the Comet tonight! With Hooker Farm, Alabaster and Atomic Bride! 922 East Pike, 9pm, $7, Oh My GOD!
(And I don't really have to reiterate my feelings about Noddy, do I? Okay. Fine.THEY'RE AWESOME. That's what. They're headlining tonight, and playing songs from their debut album Beehive. And you should go, and soak them in, and bounce around a bit, or you'll regret it for the rest of your life. Trust me.)
Prefuse 73, the Gaslamp Killer, VoicesVoices, Nordic Soul
(Neumos) "Hairy Faces (Stress)" (36 seconds), "NoNo" (14 seconds), "Half Up Front" (37 seconds), "Sexual Fantasy Scale" (45 seconds), "Get Em High" (30 seconds), "When Is a Good Time?" (47 seconds), "Oh Is It" (37 seconds), and "Fingertrip Trajectories" (41 seconds)—if each of these tracks from Prefuse 73's 2009 album Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian were expanded by three minutes, they would contribute to constituting the most important and lyrical record since Burial's 2006 debut full-length. Prefuse 73 has never failed us: All of his projects in the '00s were strong and beautiful, even his excursions into Catalonian pop as Savath y Savalas. But to run an amazing beat like "Get Em High" for just 30 seconds is wasteful and cruel. Do you know how many brothers would die to spit on a track like that? Please, let us never forget these important words: "Waste not, want not." CHARLES MUDEDE
(Showbox at the Market) Jemina Pearl was the sassy, adolescent frontwoman for Ecstatic Peace—approved Nashville brat punks Be Your Own Pet. Since that band's breakup, she's moved to Brooklyn and recorded a solo album, Break It Up, with some help from her old BYOP bandmate John Eatherly, and it's kind of a weird departure. Largely gone are BYOP's preternaturally spazzy punk freak-outs, replaced with glossy, only slightly rocky teen pop (Pearl's 22 years old). Pearl still lets out a righteous growl once in a while, but she mostly sings in a faintly twangy, sort of sneering voice, which has the effect of exposing some pretty wack lyrics. The Iggy Pop duet "I Hate People" is cute, a misanthropic love song set over what sounds like a lazy Strokes outtake, but mostly you just wonder what the fuck made elder punks like him and Thurston Moore sign on to Pearl's act. ERIC GRANDY
Hey Marseilles, Loch Lomond
(Crocodile) Local septet Hey Marseilles's songs are charmed with gusto and veered melodies, creating an orchestral-pop stomp aided by an electronic accordion (with MIDI). They've incorporated an upright bass into their show, and the associated Novoselic-esque bass tosses. Look for a vinyl remix of Hey Marseilles's full-length debut by Martin Feveyear in the spring. The band will also be heading to the East Coast, Canada, and SXSW for tours in the coming year. Mostly, though, they'll be working on bass tosses. Opening the evening of orchestral joie de vivre is Loch Lomond, a Portland group featuring mandolin, theremin, bass clarinet, and Ritchie Young's leaping vocals; their sound is arranged, emotive, and wizened from touring with the Decemberists. TRENT MOORMAN
The Lonely H, Massy Ferguson, SweetKiss Momma
(Sunset) Nobody bothered to tell the Lonely H that the country-rock craze of the 1970s ended. They haven't gotten the message that long-haired lead vocalists belting their hearts out about fucking and having fun has been frowned upon for at least 15 years now. The Lonely H's new album, Concrete Class, could have arrived in a time machine from the Lynyrd Skynyrd era. And you know what? You should really be okay with that. Certain things, like bandanna tank tops on way-too-tan blond chicks and lyrics like "Hey baby/Let me stomp on your boots/And make sure that they're worn" will never get old. PAUL CONSTANT
i'm not going to kid you, folks. this isn't oscar bait. it's no citizen kane, but it is better than avatar. it's good, unwholesome fun, in the spirit of classic b-movie zombie flicks. lots of blood (including disembowelment by weedwacker!), silly jokes, lefty politics, slow moving zombies, and yet more blood.
the score was created in the spirit of classic 70s horror style, which means lots of analog synths were used: juno 60, sci six trak, voyager, and even an ultra rare sci prophet t8!
Dave Segal's piece on the (motherfucking) Gaslamp Killer (who plays Neumos tomorrow) in the current issue made a lot of mention of the weekly Los Angeles beat-freak fest Low End Theory. While Dave definitely shouted the DJs out, he didn't mention the man playing the yang to the turntable's yin: resident emcee Nocando.
Nocando is an interesting case. Although it's a distinction I think he probably hates, Nocando originally gained recognition slaughtering other emcees in battles. He's freakishly adept at freestyling. But he beat the odds. Rappers known solely for battling tend to make music that leaves something to be desired. But Nocan just released his first fully fleeced-out album, and it's fantastic. The album dropped on Alpha Pup Records, a label owned by Daddy Kev, another Low End resident. Here's "Hurry Up and Wait" off of Jimmy the Lock:
The track makes surprisingly effective use of the recent phenomenon of rappers pitch shifting their backup vocals. On paper, it sounds like a bad idea, yet Nocando makes it work in an intriguing way. The delivery is lazy and sarcastic; apathetic even. That combined with the oh-so-slight vocoder effect on the vocals form a syrupy, digitized pile of chips on Nocan's shoulder. He raps: "Life is so hurry up and wait/Like a city bus driver with the attitude that's late/In rush hour traffic when there's standing room only/My job sucks too, kill the attitude homie..." I know the feeling. Oh, and the beat? A low end-fueled, space-bounce slapper. Appropriate, since it's produced by yet another Low End Theory resident, DJ Nobody, and features cuts by (guess who) the Gaslamp Killer.
The whole ordeal is just another reason why people should be paying a lot of attention to the LA beat scene right now. Check out another reason after the jump.
Sigmoid Argonaut are five dudes from across the Sound who are cooking up some mean, proggy noise. When I saw their name surface recently on a reliable experimental music blog, I’ll admit to being a little bewildered. My naïve take on Poulsbo musicians has been that they are either indebted to Bremerton’s once-bright hardcore scene (Valley of the Dinosaurs, Kane Hodder) or they are, in fact, Dave Bazan.
Regardless, the tunes on Sigmoid Argonaut’s self-titled EP are pretty riff-tastic and fun. Seconds in, they’ll have you finger-drumming on the top of your desk. The band doesn’t stray too far from a driving, dopey vibe, but they have a real knack for the kinds of ebbs and builds that make post rock so irrepressibly bombastic. The guitars sear, the synths are molten and thickly-LFOed. However, Sigmoid Argonaut does seem to posses that dangerous aural samey-ness that can come with the unimaginative use of certain pedals (that is to say, the keenest of listeners might easily be able to attribute their sound to a specific combination of Guitar Center purchases). By comparison, an example of a band that uses their gear brilliantly would be non-peninsular face-melters Sleepy Eyes of Death. To be fair, occasionally, as on “Trapperin Keeper,” a really left-field noise will invite itself into Sigmoid Argonaut’s dirty-bong jams, adding a welcome dose of weirdness.
You can listen to two of Sigmoid Argonaut’s EP tracks streaming via myspace. Their next performance will be (unsurprisingly) a ferry ride away from Seattle proper, in Bremerton, at the Charleston on Feb. 2nd.
Or at least it was secret until Seattle's Twitter scene blew up around 10:15. By 11:30 the place was packed. The food was fried, the drinks were good, and the atmosphere was awesome. While some thought that it would be garish, it was not. Flash bulbs show off the design, but when the lights were low it looked amazing.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:19 PM
Asthmatic Kitty recording artists Fol Chen have the audacity to cover Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" and Pink Floyd's "In the Flesh." It's actually more impressive that they received permission to record these songs than it is how competently they executed them.
After you experience those tunes, check out the video for "The Longer U Wait." Whimsical! [The song really kicks in around 2:45.]
by Gina Young
on Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:12 PM
Gina Young: Is that a broche? That connects to...? Kevin Kauer: Yeah, I got it at— what's it called— that little antique junk store directly across from the Crescent, next to the Buck? I got this broche there and it was already on a pin, so then I made this little bow pin with a chain to connect it.
I like it because it's reminiscent of those old lady necklaces— the ones that can pin to a blouse? Tell me about everything else you're wearing. Oh, just the usual for me. I like tucked-in shirts, bow ties, dead animals... Dead animals? Leather... I almost wore fur today. Has PETA ever contacted you? No, but it's on the horizon. They'll come after me eventually. I don't eat meat, though! Or animals. They just keep me warm.
Jake and Free have an ingenious promotion going on for TheStimulusPackage- they keep leaking banger-ass songs. This latest features Wu-Tang's Chef, Cigar Shallah Raekwon, and this is now 3/3 joints that have leaked featuring the MC's playing off of a well-placed vocal snippet.
This album is looking to be a timely and undiluted dose of that uncut, and I'd expect nothing less from the man doing some of Seattle hiphop's heaviest lifting, the White Van Man. Here's a video promoting the The Beat Made Me Do It mixtape Uno and Philly Freezer did a minute ago: