If you’re not hitting Bumbershoot Sunday Sept. 2, you may want to guide your earholes into the massive shoegaze wave due to hit the Comet that night. Seattle’s Tokyoidaho (featuring ex-Voyager One members) and Oakland’s Whirr are playing a birthday show for Neon Sigh Records boss Chris Bendix.
Whirr boast a swoonful Slowdive-esque approach (ca. Just for a Day) that’s more about luscious, gauzy hovering than raunchy propulsion. Their Distressor album’s not exactly diaphanous, but it’s not going to remind anybody of “You Made Me Realise,” either.
Tokyoidaho will be celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album on Neon Sigh. It's a masterly collection of cloud-strafing songs with curvaceous, sigh-inducing melodies swathed in blurred-magenta guitar textures. The group's craftily dramatic dynamics keep things varied and the use of effects is deft and trippy. Whatever you do, though, don't call it "sh**g*z*."
More info here and a Tokyoidaho video after the jump.
Sure, this weekend the "Bumpershoot" is happening. FINE! But, did you know what else is ALSO happening?! The fucking FALLOUT SKATEBOARDS & RECORDS skate team is reuniting for a leetle PAR-TAY, and it's all happening SUNDAY, Sept 2nd, at the Funhouse!!
The Fallout Skate Team disbanded around 2 decades ago when the shop made a move toward books and comics. People spread out, moved on, and did some interesting things. The whole Fallout crew, including original owners Russ and Janet Battaglia and later owner Tim Hayes, will be there.
I'm sure it'll be an evening filled with BANDS, BOOZE, BONELESSES and...BACKSIDES!! Um...and perhaps an invert or two. Careful not to shackwackle your dillets, y'all. Also, prior to the Funhouse show, there is an all day skate session at the Lower Woodland skatepark. STOKED!
FUCK YEAH!! This looks to be an awesome event, and is sure to cast a loving glance back to Fallout Records' early years! Back then, in the '80s, it was THE record shop AND a skate shop in the Northwest.
That's my question.
We've been watching the war between activist group Grrl Army and Poster Giant—the promotions company that uses public spaces as its own, private advertising venues—for over a week now. This wall outside our office is ground zero and the stakes have escalated, with the rivaling sides covering each others' posters with more elaborate works with increasing frequency. In the latest salvo, even before 9:00 a.m., a man was out there this morning using a shovel to dismantle Grrl Army's installation of coat hangers (a statement about illegal abortions and preventing new posters from being put up).
Here's shovel bro:
Then Poster Giant slapped up some posters, which were up for—what—an hour? They weren't there long. A woman not affiliated with Grrl Army came by and slathered pink paint across the wall. Here's the result:
Which is to say that in a few quick minutes at minimal expense, the community took back its wall. The community is claiming this space—for its shows, its art, its activism. There's got to be a point at which Poster Giant is just pissing away all those expensive-to-print posters—that are getting covered right up away—in their weird obsession with monopolizing public space. Presumably at the expense of their advertisers.
I know that if I was hiring Poster Giant, I sure as hell wouldn't want them postering that wall. Advertisers pay to print those posters and then pay Poster Giant to put them up. The posters that are put up on this wall make the advertisers look like assholes. That is, if people even see their posters, because they're covered up so damn fast.
I am having a lot of feelings. A lot of them. Earlier this month Bomb the Music Industry announced they'd be breaking up/disbanding/retiring/no longer remaining the band we know and love today, and that their current tour would quite possibly be their last tour.
Heart. Break. 3
Bomb came into my life too late—I wish I had been along for the whole ride. But since falling in love their their ability to turn bad times into fun songs just a few years ago, their infectious pop (that flirts with ska and punk and dance beats) has been a mainstay in my earholes. I've listened to their music when I was grumpy and wanted to kick some ass (this is good for that), I've listened to their music when I was in a great mood and wanted to wiggle (this is great for that), I've listened to their music while writing and baking and cursing Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's been through it all with me.
And their band ethics are just as feel good as their music—they only ever play all ages shows, they keep ticket prices as low as possible, and they post all their music online for free and/or by donation. It's been that way since the beginning.
So when the band took the stage at El Corazon last night, and when singer Jeff Rosenstock said that a nice person did a nice thing and bought him too many shots of whiskey so he was starting to feel wistful, knowing this show was very near the band's end, a little tear ripped in the corner of my heart. I'm not ready to see them go. The set was fun, of course—they played for over an hour, including all four parts of "Kings of Minneapolis," some of my favorites from their last album, Vacation, and "All Ages Shows." But I'm not ready to accept that it's the end, so I won't. Sorry, dudes. See you again sometime. Maybe not soon, but sometime.
Videos of a couple songs from last night are after the jump.
“A Love Supreme” is one of the cornerstones of jazz—particularly that of the astral/mystical persuasion. It should be one of your life goals to get this work ingrained in your DNA. As you may know, several versions of John Coltrane’s monumental composition have been executed. Our job today is to determine who did it best. Blasphemy to even consider someone did it better than John? So be it. I’m feeling kind of iconoclastic today. My mind wavers between Alice Coltrane's and John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana's renditions. This calls for a poll.
Her priorities might confuse you at the time—because why the hell is the structural integrity of an old teapot more important than the skulls of her own children? But in later years, when someone clumsily breaks something you hold dear, the size and contours of your sadness, which are roughly the size and contours of the emotions you poured into that object, might teach you something about nostalgia and why your mother felt that way about a teapot.
Anyway. Last weekend, my brother and I were horsing around in the living room—even though we're way too old for that crap—and I shoved my wrist through a thin, sharp glass object that also broke one of my arteries. An ambulance and stitches were involved. It was embarrassing on a variety of levels.
But as a result, I'm listening to the Pharmacy on a pharmacy's worth of prescription drugs and thinking about playful familial violence and nostalgia. The Pharmacy's fuzzy, slightly psychedelic (but always melodic) garage-pop sounds fantastic on these drugs—like the kind of group you'd imagine playing a high-school prom in the mid-1950s, if that high school let everyone smoke pot between classes and had a Percocet vending machine in the lunchroom.
The Pharmacy play Bumbershoot on Monday, September 3rd, on the Promenade at 4:30 pm. See the rest of our Bumbershoot coverage here!
To muddy the waters further, Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt often combine complementary or purposefully contradictory concepts in order to arrive at a deeper truth, and yet the results never sound as dry as that description suggests.
Their last full-length, 2008's Supreme Balloon, an all-synthesizer release—Moog, Arp 2600, Korg MS20, Stylophone, etc.—registers as their most accessible effort to date, and featured a number of special guests, notably minimalist composer Terry Riley on a bonus track and Marshall Allen of the Sun Ra Arkestra on the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument).
The gentlemen also put on a great live show, to judge by their 2008 appearance at the Triple Door (I've also caught a few of Daniel's EMP presentations, including his paper on the Germs). As brainy guys go, they're refreshingly down-to-earth.
There's no point in trying to describe their upcoming EP and record in my own words, since I'll probably mangle what they're attempting to accomplish, so check out the press release below, plus the first track, "Very Large Green Triangles."
So Happy Together: Cute Is What We Aim For announces a show with their original lineup in Buffalo NY, so cute!
Drummers Are Doing It For Themselves: The Top 30 Richest Drummers in the World! Keep reaching for the stars, percussionists!
In Memory: Chris Lighty, a mover and a shaker in the hiphop community, assisting stars like 50 Cent, Mariah Carey and Sean "Diddy" Combs, commits suicide.
Around The Fur: Deftones take to the road in September to put a fire under our butts and promote their new album Koi No Yokan, due out November 13th.
Punk Rock, the Gateway Drug To Murder: Pussy Riot have been "linked" to a double homicide in Kazan, Russia. I fail to understand the message here except that this is an unfortunate tragedy.
Viral Videos, You Know You Love 'Em: Ever heard of Toca Boca? You can thank me later.
PBS Knows What's Up: Radiohead and Bon Iver will be guest starring on the upcoming season of Austin City Limits, giving us all a reason to gather round the boob tube.
Take a Chill Pill, LeAnn: LeAnn Rimes files a lawsuit against two women who illegally recorded her with the intention of altering said recording to make her look bad.
Theft in the UK: Grimes' gear is stolen while touring in England! Be on the look out, Brits!
Mick Collins, from Detroit garage-punk icons the Dirtbombs, and I spoke a few moments ago. He had gotten his days mixed up, and had accidentally gone to the airport in New York a day early. He doesn’t fly to Seattle until tomorrow. He has a new phone, and his computer’s been on the blink.
At least now you don’t have to pack for Seattle. Where’s the rest of the band?
Or now I can pack better. The band, we’re all at home, in the places where we all live now. Chris lives in Portland. Pat and I are in New York City. Ben is in Nashville. And Ko is in Detroit. We’ll meet at the hotel in Seattle before the show, probably at the bar.
So no rehearsal? Y’all are good to go?
Well, we’ve been kind of off since 2008. We played a few shows in 2010, but really, we’ve been mostly off duty. Ben has a 9 to 5 job, Pat has a job, and Chris has been touring with another band. I’ve actually been recording a new Dirtbombs album. No one knows any of the songs yet though [laughs].
You all mainly just play Mariah Carey songs now anyway.
True. And everyone knows I love “Victim of Love.”
Mariah Carey can sing in 17 octaves. The only things that can hear her are cockroaches and head lice, and bats.
Yes. I think it’s like a four or five and half octave range. I have a pretty broad range, in the opposite direction. Bats can hear her, but elephants can hear me [laughs].
What’s the new Dirtbombs like? Any surprises?
Oh yes. The new record is finally the bubble gum album I’ve apparently been talking about for years. People have told me I’ve been talking about this album forever. We’re going to call it Ooey Gooey Chewey Cablooey. It’ll be out in January, on In The Red.
The Dirtbombs play Fisher Green stage, Sunday September 2 at 5:45pm.
To get to the bottom of why this song is so damnably catchy, we contacted an expert in 20th-century music and American music: Larry Starr has been teaching musicology at the University of Washington since 1977. We asked him to listen and dissect. We began our conversation by e-mail, then switched to phone.
Larry Starr: Dear Jen, I am going to disappoint you severely, I fear. If there is anything at all noteworthy about this song from a musical point of view, it certainly escapes me. I found it completely predictable from the first few seconds, and not at all memorable. It's "cute" and "unobjectionable." The melodic, harmonic, rhythmic, and formal aspects are all negligible, and not at all original. The singing is impersonal and utterly undistinguished.
Jen Graves: Dear Larry, no, this is great. Maybe what makes it boring is what makes it interesting for our purposes. Why is it predictable to you?
LS (now by phone): I had a very, very smart student who once said, "If you look at anything long enough, it can become interesting." [Laughs] But I also do not want to be one of these people who just sets myself up as someone who rejects all pop music. Still... okay. It's based on a rhythmic ostinato that repeats over and over.
Gotye plays Bumbershoot Saturday at 3:15 pm at the KeyArena. See all our Bumbershoot coverage here!
Me, I'm ready to do the mashed potato with King "Blacksnake" Khan. I mean, listen to this new Shrines song—and they recorded it with Jesus H. Christ himself (or at least they had some sandwiches with him).
As noted yesterday, the Living Room, as we know and love it, is closing today, leaving a lot of DJ nights seeking new homes. One such night, Alex Ruder’s Hush Hush, will be relocating to Arabica Lounge, just a couple blocks northeast up E. Olive Way from the Living Room, on Sept. 13. The “night bus”-themed monthly will have KEXP legend DJ Riz as its first guest.
Check out the first release on Ruder's Hush Hush label, Kid Smpl's Escape Pod, after the jump.
Well, well, well. Pleasureboaters are reuniting on October 20th at the Funhouse! They haven't been a band for four years, but I'm sure it's just like riding a bike. Or a pleasureboat.
Also playing are Wimps (who are great)! This show is the day after my birthday, but no level of hangover should keep me away. Plus it's like, 11 days before the Funhouse shuts it's doors. SEE YOU THERE. (Right, Megan Seling?)
The Cops, Kinski, Bali Girls
(Sunset) The Cops (the band, not to be confused with actual cops, ever) are some of the nicest guys around. I met them by accident years ago in San Diego when our tours serendipitously started paralleling each other—fast-forward to serious chicken dancing (dancing like a chicken as seriously as you possibly can, preferably in a room full of sexy, humorless people) and nearly getting kicked out of a fancy tiki bar. I remember being impressed by their super-fun, straight-up rock 'n' roll live show—as their bio states, "no fuss, no muss, no stupid hippie haircuts." Kinski make intricate haze rock, precise and powerful. From what I can tell, Bali Girls took a six-year break and are now back on the scene with their noisy experimental rock. Welcome back, Bali Girls! EMILY NOKES
Kids on Fire, the Know Nothingz, Rat City Ruckus, Poop Attack, the Savage Henrys
(Kraken) Having been looking at the music listings closer than anyone in his right mind would for the past few years, I feel like I've seen a few of these names a million and a half times. So I decided to check them out. "Grand Mystifier," the first song on Kids on Fire's Myspace presence (insert LULZ), is serviceable Rancidesque feelings punk. Then Myspace skipped to some god-awful aural spew titled "Without You," a number off the album Take It to the Limit, by a band called Hinder. Said spew features this chorus: "Without you/I'm livin' it up a little more every day/Without you/I'm looking at myself so differently." This ruined my ability to listen to music for a time, as I was forced to douche my ears out with a turkey baster, some gasoline, and gobs of Motörhead. GRANT BRISSEY
Kareem Kandi Trio
(Mona's) You cannot separate these parts: Kareem Kandi, jazz saxophone, and the Pacific Northwest. Each part is tied closely and complexly interacts with the other parts. All three parts make a whole career that began in Pierce County, was consolidated at Cornish College of the Arts, and has long been at the center of the region's vibrant jazz scene. Kandi currently teaches jazz composition at Tacoma School of the Arts, and he performs free jazz, trad jazz, modern jazz, funk, and blues. To get a good idea of his talent (he has a smart, swift, agile sound), download the album See What I'm Saying. CHARLES MUDEDE
“It’s nice when I start a show playing the banjo and people don’t get up and leave,” joked Aaron Kleim aka The Quiet American after the opening song of his show. Aaron is a luthier and singer songwriter who made the trip up from Hood River, Oregon to open the show for Cahalen Morrison and Eli West. In the first three songs he played 3 different stringed instruments (banjo, ukulele, six string guitar). His sound set up was a very tiny (and by the looks of it, very old) amplifier that was mic’d just behind him. In his best work shoes, rolled denim, plaid shirt, and vest, he cut a vaudevillian image and played the fine route from songbook traditionals to laconic (feminist) murder ballads.
The highlight of the show was his emergence from the sacred plane behind the microphone to the front of the stage to involve the capacity crowd in an entirely unplugged low gospel chorus: “I’ve got the keys to the kingdom / the world can’t do me no harm." The Quiet American is a perfet moniker for his brand of updated, subdued gospel and country blues, and amplified the dinner theater atmosphere effect of the Triple Door, a perfect venue for Cahalen and Eli’s sound.
I wrote about Cahalen and Eli at length here, but as an addendum to that, I’d just like to point out that their live show (as it should be, I suppose) far surpasses their recorded efforts (which hardly seems possible). There seems to be no end to the range of their vocal or playing ability. The crowd was enchanted by these master musicians/story tellers confidently blazing around their fret boards, moving up and down the scales vocally and harmonically through their lyrical ballads. One song in, after the first mandolin solo, Eli could be seen nodding and smiling at Cahalen as they found, and stayed, in their groove. Even their obsessive between-song tuning (oh, musicians) came coupled with hilarious banter that had the whole theater laughing. Through two hours of tunes on banjo, mandolin, eight stringed tenor, and six string acoustic guitar, Cahalen and Eli covered most of the tracks from their new release, Our Lady of The Tall Trees—confidently adding in fills, slides, and vocal embellishments at will. They also played songs from their first release The Holy Coming Of The Storm. At the end of the show, rioutous applause resulted in a one song encore which some sceaming fan requested be Paul Simon’s "Hearts and Bones", a request that was lost on me, but like everything else last night, they tackled it masterfully.
[This post has been amended since its original publication.]
After nearly three years in business, Capitol Hill bar the Living Room is closing its doors Aug. 31. However, there will be one last party tonight featuring several of the DJs who had nights at the establishment. (Disclosure: I DJed the Prog! bimonthly there, along with three other residents: Explorateur, Narvan, and Gel-Sol. Prog!—led by Andy Reichel, aka Gel-Sol, looks like it will relocate to Hazlewood in Ballard.)
According to capitolseattle.com, "There is no word on when the space will re-open with new ownership, a new name and a new way of doing things. We're told an East Williamsburg bar owner with some Seattle roots is coming back to town and will take over the space."
Well, it was fun while it lasted. The Living Room offered an intimate, welcoming atmosphere that totally lived up to its name, and owner Clay Roach, manager Joan Trower, and talent booker Josh Roberts displayed open minds toward adventurous music programming—a trait that's rare in Seattle... or any city, for that matter. At Prog!, we typically spun some of the most warped, out-there tunes ever recorded and never once were we censored.
Other nights like Portable Shrines' psych-rock monthly, Voltage Control's excursion into pre-1983 electronic music, Ill Cosby's Street Halo's exploration of future-bass productions, and the leftfield techno of Eric Moon and Laura Lamb's V.206 also unveiled lots of uncompromising sounds. There are many other examples, but it's getting late. Do know that the diversity of the Living Room's DJ nights and the unimpeachable aesthetics of their selectors made the Olive Way spot one of the most consistently rewarding places to frequent for serious music heads. It will be missed.
*Her early work ran concurrently with the early oughties "freak folk," erm...thing. "Freak folk" was never freaky to me. I suppose I was wrong to expect some genuine lysergic flights, 'cause all I got was weak nods to Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Trees.
ILLFIGHTYOU's first single "92" is some hard, disrespectful rap for people that like and maybe even understand rap, a rarity in these days and times, when rap's ways and means are steady decontextualized for suburban squares and suckers of all stripes to feel involved. Even their name harkens back to a time and place outisde of the passive-agressive "chill, bro" paradigm, where you can get meatballed for taking liberties or talking reckless. (Not that that's a good system either, but it does tend to teach some valuable life lessons about respect.)
Frank delivers with well-kicked shit talk and Khris' no-frills, N.W.A.-esque piano bully-beat is a thrill—but it's the pugilistic Evergreen in particular that gets off, with some of his best rhyming and flow to date: "y'all bore me, I'm boarding my plane/eyes red, pills blue/bet I got the baddest crew, biggest chain". Sometimes, ignorance is bliss; I'm excited to hear their self-titled album whenever (or whoever) it drops.