by Dave Segal
on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Great news that we’ve been waiting years to hear: Dubwise psychotropical LA guitarist/keyboardist Sun Araw (aka Cameron Stallones) and his band will make their live Seattle debut Wed. March 28 at the Rendezvous. Also on the bill are excellent Brainfeeder beatmaker Matthewdavid, devotional-synth wizard M. Geddes Gengras, and DIVA. Congratulations/thanks to everybody involved with making this event happen.
Good news everybody: I've found the best new band around so we can all relax and take them under our wing (ZING!). The Mallard fit in quite well with their trip-pop San Francisco friends, Sic Alps, Thee Oh Sees (John Dwyer is part owner of Castle Face records) Ty Segall, Fresh and Onlys, Royal Baths, etc., in that they write catchy, weird, unique tunes and somehow sound old and new at the same time. The recordings (which are as interesting as the songs) sound, not so much "underwater" but more like laying in a warm bathtub with your ears right on the surface line so that the water creates strange fluctuations in your hearing between obscure and waterlogged and clear and airy. (Huh?) When I first heard the LP I wrote a gushing email to band leader Greer McGettrick saying I thought they sounded kind of like the the Country Teasers playing the Amps (ok fine, the Breeders) covers with microphones borrowed from the "White Light / White Heat" sessions.
You can check out my favorite song here (and the sweethearts made it available for download as well...). The chord change in the chorus still makes my hair stand on end 50 listens later...
And live in a bookstore here:
As usual, I'll let Greer speak for herself about her new LP Yes on Blood for another installment of TRACK MEET...
Greer: I should say before I start going through these songs, that I recorded it in my practice space on a 16 track, ½” reel-to-reel in September of 2011. I learned a lot more on my own that going into a studio. I’ll share some of the lessons I learned.
Intro: Who doesn’t love a good intro, it was the first song I recorded on the 16 track, and I can totally tell the difference in fidelity from the last song. What I learned: I didn’t bring my acoustic guitar in that day, but really wanted one on this song and not being a patient person, I went to the pawn shop across the street and asked to borrow one. to my surprise they said sure, but gave me the crappiest, piece of shit one they had, I asked for a better one and they shot me down. The action was so high I could barely get an open chord out of it, but I recorded it any way. What I learned: bring your own guitar.
Fog: The lyrics are about being on tour, when around week 3 you really get into the schedule of waking up, driving, playing, hanging out, sleeping, until it just makes sense and all the days lap over into one big mess. Eventually you start to feel alone, even though you’ve been sharing the same experiences with the same group of people. I remember recording this one in like two hours with no break, just played drums threw down the sticks, played guitar, picked up a mic, tambourine, keyboard, done, it just spilled out of me and it felt really rewarding. What I learned: don’t take breaks.
Ants: You know, it’s your typical song about ants getting in an argument while crawling up and down a decomposing body. I couldn’t hit the high notes while singing, so I slowed the tape down, and then when we played it back it sounds like there’s a 12-year-old boy singing with Dylan. I have a great memory of Dylan singing on this one; he just sat right down on the amp, closing his eyes while holding the mic so gently and let his legs swing to the beat, like Kermit the Frog. What I learned: when Dylan wants to do another take and it’s perfect, tell him no.
RIP Davy Jones: Various media outlets are reporting that Davy Jones, arguably the most recognizable members of the Monkees, has died following a heart attack. He was 66. I know if you're on the Internet today you'll have the opportunity to hear a lot of Monkees songs, but I'll still share with you my favorite, the Mike Nesmith penned "You Just May Be the One," with Jones looking particularly hyped singing back-up and playing a tambourine + 3 maracas.
Scary: A man has been shot dead outside Rick Ross' Miami property. Ross is not believed to have been at the house, and is not being treated as a suspect in the murder.
New School of Seven Bells Video: I've always thought former Secret Machines frontman Benjamin Curtis' new band was a little too Art School Weird for me, but they have a new video out and it's totally trippy, man.
Stream Ceremony's Album: The Matador Records band has been blogged about here on Line Out a few times, and now you can enjoy their entire album Zoo, over at Spin.
Learn 5 New Things About Dexys Midnight Runners: The band has reformed and NME gives you five reasons to be excited (although for us stateside, who knows when we'll have them over here) and my favorite is one where Kevin Rowland admits to stealing riffs from other songs.
Dept of Corrections: Sometimes your faithful morning news intern doesn't mind his Ps and Qs, as I wrote yesterday that Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool was retitled "Pier Pop for Now People" for its U.S. release, when it's actually Pure Pop for Now People. Thanks to eagle-eyed Fnarf for catching that and making a pun.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 2:14 PM
Apropros of nothing, save for the fact that I recently played it at a DJ gig and was stunned once again over how goddamned infectious and mood-elevating it is, I want to put forth the opinion that the best Jackson 5/Jacksons song is “2-4-6-8.”
Of course, there is a lot of competition for this honor, as the J5 canon is loaded with gems. Some close contenders for my top spot include “Enjoy Yourself,” “Goin’ Back to Indiana,” “Get It Together,” “Skywriter,” “Time Explosion,” “Mama’s Pearl,” “Keep on Dancing,” “Can You Feel It,” and the obvious, obvious ones: “I Want You Back,” “"ABC," Never Can Say Goodbye,” and “The Love You Save,” But nothing surpasses “2-4-6-8” (which can be found on 1970's ABC LP) for sheer jump-through-the-ceiling euphoria. The sinuous vocal arrangement, the guitar squawk, the buoyant bass line, and Michael singing his tiny, pre-pubescent ass off—all of this culminates into something you can play for hours on end, and its sugar rush never wanes.
However, you may disagree. What is your favorite Jackson 5/Jacksons song? This may be the most important decision you make all hour.
For all those things Art Zoyd became after this 45, which was a more art/avant/creepy/prog group/collective/whatever, this single has got me hung waaaaaaaay UP! Tho' contemporaries with East of Eden (there probably wasnn't any direct influence), both sides DRIP with shades of East of Eden's fantastic first LP, Mercator Projected.
Art Zoyd were/are French group/collective/whatever that used long-hair music as a starting point, and are/is still quite active. If you wanna learn more, dig Art Zoyd's action on teh internet. Oh, for the record, this 45 is way better than any Magma LPs...DAG!!
La, one of the region's very best MCs, has been steady serving top choice bars since 2010; he's been approaching the game with a classic one-producer-per-album model, working with beatsmen Def Dee (Gravity), Blu-Ray (Roll With The Winners) and Jester (SeaLab 2012). The beats on his newest, Ocean Howell, are all by his boy Olee, whose spacious Saturday morning quiet-storm jazz/funk provides the perfect backdrop for La's ice-cold rhymes. (La should honestly consider sticking with this guy, in this reporter's opinion.) La's studied effortlessness and classic Polo boasts benefit from the humid warmth of the production, and from the hi-caliber collaborations chosen (FisH from Kung Foo Grip, Mic Phenom, Thaddeus David, Knowmads, and JFK), sure; but it's the potency of both La's venom and his stylish, smirking Hov-inspired indifference to everyone else that make Ocean Howell his best shit yet. I suspect La draws strength from his underdog status, but there can be little question: very few around here can hang with him on the mic. Everybody's always talking about what a bad time it is for real hiphop, but maybe it wouldn't be if they'd just pay attention to true purveyors like this one, especially when they release some of the very best shit to drop this year, which Ocean Howell certainly is, and will likely still be ten months from now, and beyond. Which would make this album more than deserving of the word that springs to mind, the feeling that I get when I listen to it: classic.
The poet/writer/actor/musician was born on February 29 in 1972, which means he gets one birthday for every four we non-Leap Year birthday folks get. Saul Williams: Enjoy it! Everyone else: Enjoy Saul Williams (as produced by Rick Rubin).
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM
[We receive a lot of quality electronic-music releases at The Stranger—way more than we can cover in the paper itself. With that in mind, I hope to frequently post brief reviews on Line Out of albums and EPs that I think deserve your attention.]
Lindstrøm’s Six Cups of Rebel finds the Swedish producer indulging in maximal cosmic-disco machinations, with dazzling results. The lavish production style approaches some of the extravagances of prime ’70s prog rock; the opening track, “No Release,” for instance, rivals Vangelis and Mike Oldfield for spine-tingling suspensefulness and grandiose melodiousness. And “Call Me Anytime” is as mind-bogglingly complex as anything on an early-’70s Yes or Gentle Giant LP. The title track is acid house in its truest sense—both reminiscent of the Trax label's rampant Roland 303 abuse and LSD-trip-gone-awry sonics.
But Six Cups of Rebel’s peak occurs on “De Javu,” which follows the tension-building sonorities of “No Release” with… profound release. “De Javu” sounds like Parliament-Funkadelic going off on an Italo-disco bender at a Chicago warehouse party; it’s a seductive, soulful strut of a track that may be the hottest cut in Lindstrøm’s catalog. This sexy bravado pervades Six Cups of Rebel and this new release proves Lindstrøm isn’t content to simply repeat his past efforts—as illustrious as that past is. In this case, more is most definitely more.
I know "Shit People Say" is played, it's soooooo late December, 2011...but...the "Shit" clip below kinda totes beats the cheek of Shit Record Nerds Say.
Now, regarding "Shit People Say," that clip of truth/ridiculousness reminded me of a very Northwest record nerd moment I experienced during Sunday's Seattle Center Record Swap . While I was buying some 45s off a dealer, another patron pulled a copy of Them's "I Can Only Give You Everything" from the dealer's 45 box. "I Can Only Give You Everything" is a great record, it's ubiquitous "GARAGE," with the relevance of the Kingsmen "Louie Louie," but, for what should'a been a common 45, it's kinda hard to find. Them were an Irish group with hits, however this particular 45 was not issued in the UK, but only in the US as an apparent afterthought. In fact, its flip was recycled from two years prior, "Don't Start Crying Now," a track first paired with "One Two Brown Eyes." Anyway, so the patron picks out "I Can Only Give You Everything," points to the price tag and says, "Are you seriously selling this for $30?!" The seller, a real nice guy who actually prices fairly and gives ace deals, responded, "Yeah. It seems steep, but it usually goes for way more, like a hundred bucks." Recoiling in HORROR, the patron swiftly dropped the 45 back in the box, swore at the dealer, and, while angrily mumbling something inaudible, stormed off...YIPES!! It was then I realized if there was ever to be a "Shit Seattle Record Nerds Say," I would simply be a 15-second shot of a now middle-aged, scrawny man barking, "Really? You want HOW MUCH?! FOUR DOLLARS?!? Well...I'll find this TOMORROW for a dime at a THRIFT STORE!!! ...ASSHOLE" (sigh) BUT...no one wants to see that.
Me: "I had no idea my post about country music, astronauts, and hicks would be controversial." Dave Segal: "Really?" Me: "Yes, I thought everyone accepted the fact that country music is for hicks." Dave Segal: "Man, it sounds like you are now trolling subconsciously."
It's nice to know there at least a few bands out there who never change. As long as they're around, they'll continue to create the music you love (or hate). Three come to mind: Yo La Tengo, Superchunk, and the Wedding Present. If you liked them when they first hit the scene, I don't see why you wouldn't like them now when the quality control remains high and their basic sound remains intact.
I don't mean to suggest that they do the same thing every time or that their line-ups have remained static over the years; it's just that they've never jumped the shark. And if they haven't done so after 20+ years, I doubt they ever will.
Us on Roofs, the Cat from Hue, Mission Orange (Crocodile) With the 2012 Sound Off! finals just days away (Sat March 3 at EMP), tonight's show is a nice reminder of how important the annual underage battle of the bands really is. First and foremost, it isn't a battle at all. Sure, there's a winner, but win or lose, many of the participating bands continue to be part of the local music scene, often utilizing the relationships forged from their Sound Off! days. Case in point: All three bands on tonight's bill once participated in Sound Off!: Psychedelic rockers the Cat from Hue and wistful indie poppers Us on Roofs were both semifinalists in 2010, and fuzzy, grungy Mission Orange competed in 2009. You thought they were good then, but you should see them now, with a couple more years of experience backing them up. SO! was just the beginning. MEGAN SELING
Vockah Redu, Hoot 'n' Howl, Supah Secret (Can Can) It was the last night of South by Southwest 2011. The prevalent mood in the city was Let's All Wind the Fuck Down. But here was Vockah Redu & the Cru, right in the middle of the torpor, SENDING IT OUT. Part of the bounce movement out of New Orleans, Redu and cohorts shake their shit onstage to attention-span-deficient samples and beats fused together for the sole purpose of busting a move in a big way. I expect this show to be nothing less than amazing for the limited group of people lucky enough to get in. Shit, it will probably be sold out by the time these pages hit the streets. If so, you need to get down to Fred Wildlife Refuge on Friday at 7 p.m., where Redu is offering Get Fit!, in which he teaches bounce moves and booty-shaking skills—the best $15 you could invest in your ass all year. GRANT BRISSEY
Better Than Something: Jay Reatard (Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz, US, 2011, 89 mins.)
Stephen Pope and Jay Reatard (Jimmy Lee Lindsey, Jr.) at Sonic Boom in Ballard
During his relatively short stint on this Earth, Jay Reatard poured his heart into his work. Love it or leave it, you can't deny his dedication, but extreme careers often go hand-in-hand with extreme lives, and Reatard isn't here anymore.
If he doesn't always come across as the nicest guy in this even-handed portrait—he could be a total dick—he was never a dilettante or a poseur.
Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz, associates of director/cinematographer Albert Maysles (Gimme Shelter), start by soliciting reminiscences from Reatard's colleagues at 2010's SXSW before backtracking to interviews and performance footage from 1999-2009, including video of a screaming, howling, short-haired teenager—more hardcore than garage-punk at that point in time. Admits Reatard, "If I wouldn't have found music, I'm sure I'd have been a petty criminal."
Russian Master Vladimir Spivakov played a Stradivari violin this past Saturday evening in the Taper Auditorium of Benaroya Hall. Olga Kern played piano. The pure, varnished sound of a Stradivarius lofting into that room was a pairing of instrument and acoustics that made for an absolute audible delicacy. A near perfect combination. The finest, rarest, cleanest, time traveled sashimi possible for the ear. It was also nice to hear just the two instruments together. Winding, diving into each other’s lines, capping each other’s notes and runs with connected lobes (Roche lobes.) Igor Stravinsky’s “Suite Italienne” was beyond. Kern scattered celestial webs which Spivakov raised out of in gilded beams. Arvo Pärt’s “Spiegel im Spiegel” was a slower, stoic folding and unfolding. On triangular axes, Spivakov and Kern rotated and converged through certain notes and scales. Matching and hitting on certain notes, then drifting away into sustained fifths and sevenths on others. It was immeasurable.
Spivakov is a true Don. The Stradivari has been on permanent loan to him since 1997. The sound visibly floated out into the wood lined acoustics of the room. The wood tiling of Taper Auditorium is laser cut, as thick as a credit card, and was made completely from a single fallen tree (that fell from natural causes) in South Africa. Because the wood comes from the same tree, the acoustics have a consistency. The wood isn’t absorbent, it’s the opposite. Sound bounces back into the room with a latency of 1.8 seconds, which is considered ideal for symphonic music representation.
The entire Taper Auditorium is insulated and floating on rubber pads which insulate it from the outer shell of the building. It’s an independent structure, separated by an empty space of about half a meter.