by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Seattle starsailor Secret Colors (aka Matt Lawson) offers a preview of his forthcoming album, Days Off (out June 11 on Brooklyn's Group Tightener label). "King" starts out sounding like the sort of introverted, sprocketly IDM that pushed a lot of geeks' button in the late '90s, before aqua-blue watercolor keyboards and a methodical quasi-funk beats enter earshot and elevate proceedings to a blissful flotation state. This is the soundtrack to your first (and last) reverie of the summer.
Secret Colors' album-release show happens June 14 at Cairo. Press release after the jump.
The ladies of NighTrain have made a video that combines sweet post-punk guitars, the cover of Billy Joel's The Stranger (it's those masks!) and the witchiness of The Craft for their new single "Huntress."
For anyone who didn't know the band's charming back story, the four-piece originally formed for a play about a punk band called "Hot Grits," and learned to play instruments, write songs, and play a few underground shows around Seattle to prepare for their roles in the production. Afterward, they had bonded with each other AND won so many over hearts in the music community that they ended up staying together and forming NighTrain.
It's been so fun watching them develop their sound over the last few years...fans such as myself can also donate to their Indiegogo campaign to help fund the self-release their new album and upcoming Southern US tour here.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, May 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM
The Bismarck, SEMINARS, and KOZO have a show coming up at the Rendezvous Friday May 31. To alert you to this momentous occasion, somebody in SEMINARS scripted a video to that infamous movie, Der Untergang (2004), which has been the basis for a series of thigh-slappingly funny "Hitler Reacts To" parodies. Bonus: Shots fired at The Stranger.
Sax G, Takiyah Ward, and director Roger "10.4Rog" Habon made this ultra-intimate visual to accompany some of the sultry vibes of Sax's stellar Tu Me Manques album—which is out now for however much you want to pay via the good folks at Cloud Nice.
Sorry it's already 5pm and I'm just telling you this, but you have a few hours to take a sponge bath and buy Nicole "Ja Ja Juicy" of NighTraiN a birthday gift and get to Chop Suey! The lovely locomotive-punks will be premiering their brand-new video for single "Huntress" tonight, plus Portland band band band And And And and Sun Angle (also from PDX) will be playing.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM
Master Musicians of Bukkake have issued another video of a song from their forthcoming Far West album (out on Important Records in June; read about that record's "White Mountain Return"here). "Gnomi" is one of MMOB's most accessible and melodramatic moments, a solemnly majestic ballad that packs an ancient punch, scarred by some of the most tastefully deployed guitar noise and marked by some of the most decipherable vocalizing in the group's long history. Also special: the 50-second synth breakdown near the halfway point, which recalls the sinister, seething tones of Igor Wakhévitch and Patrick Vian.
by Kyle Fleck
on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM
"MP3 players are a lot like televisions. They're a really good babysitter.":SPIN has a nice article about prisons granting inmates access to MP3 players. Favorite detail: The guy who orders "King of Hearts" by Cassie—let's be pen pals!
Sub Pop is Throwin' Themselves a Silver Jubilee: To celebrate 25 years of being the cool kids on the block, Sub Pop is throwing a free shindig in Georgetown on July 13th, featuring Mudhoney, Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction, J. Mascis, Father John Misty and more.
I Would Like to Tour with Justin Bieber: This kid's life is just pure insanity at this point. Vomiting on stage, almost having a piano fall on him, getting in trouble for his pet monkey, cops finding a bunch of weed on his tour bus... and that's just from memory! I don't even follow his career! Why would I? I'm a grown man! And now, according to the Hollywood Reporter: "[c]riminals reportedly pulled off an 'Ocean’s 11'-type stunt to nab an estimated $330,000 in cash" while the singer performed a Mother's Day show in Johannesburg, South Africa. One can hardly fathom what else is in store for Canada's boy wonder.
The Reaction to Daft Punk's Random Access Memories Thus Far: “So I listened to this Daft Punk album once while browsing the web. I will now unveil my critique” — the Internet, 5/13/13″ Quoth the inimitable John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Seattle cosmic synthesist Panabrite (Norm Chambers) is offering a stream of his new album, Xenon District, on VCO Recordings’ Bandcamp page (you can purchase the digital version there for $7; it comes out May 21 on cassette—which is kind of a shame, as it’s really hard to DJ with tapes).
Listening to the two sidelong tracks eight-track album, I can hear Panabrite honing his melodic chops to an even more delicate and nuanced degree. He's long been a master of suspenseful mood enhancement and fostering a sense of infinite expansiveness—qualities that make him a candidate to work with a film director on an ambitious sci-fi project about extraterrestrials—and those elements blossom further on Xenon District. Here and there, Panabrite drops some subtle beats, adding rare rhythmic punch to his astral ambience (the stretch near the halfway point of side 2 is especially piquant). Let's hope Xenon District comes out on vinyl at some point (said the blogger, greedily).
Hey, everybody! Sorry I been gone—well, not really—but sorry I haven't been posting. No wifi in the tour van as promised made it impossible. Anyway, the last four weeks I spent with Shabazz, THEESat, and Malitia Malimob were incredible. I urge you to go straightaway to www.boilerroom.tv to watch a live set from the Black Constellation...like NOW (Stas and Cat start at 12:30pm PST). It will be something special.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Seattle producer/synthesist/bassist Airport (aka Jayson Kochan of Midday Veil and TJ Max) has a new video of his sinister disco bomb “Business” ready for your hungry eyes. Directed by and starring artist (and a 2012 Stranger visual art Genius contender) Amanda Manitach, the clip captures the obsessive-compulsive, fast-twitch mania of a lot of the best dance music. Plus, stilettos.
Traveling around this country in a big-ass black van makes me miss Seattle, but also makes me think hard about it. On one hand, it's blessed to have money in its corner, and scads of it—some of this country of ours I'm seeing looks beaten to the curb, abandoned, sucked dry. Our city is a vital, shining metropolis in comparison. But on the other hand, it's also well on its way to becoming another soulless corporate whore to the rich and unimaginative, policed by jackbooted, accountability-free servants of outside interests. This is happening everywhere, even within hiphop. Whether it's condos, parking lots, blogs, or rap media, there's a homogenized, regionless one-world-order-ass perspective emerging (via trust-abusing "content providers") that obeys money and has generally agreed-upon rules of conduct. Fuck that! Keep the spirit of this place alive. Stand in the place where you live, chump. As big bro from Shabazz Palaces said: "Do not go to where all these followers are leading you."
Hiphop culture is so mainstream, it's got its own reality-show stars. Look at Joe Budden—11 years ago, thanks to a great mixtape and a hot Just Blaze–laced single, I was hype on this dude ("10 Minutes," off his disastrously sequenced debut LP, will forever have my respect). About a million Beijing spray jobs on his beard line later, I'm off that—now he's in the modern-day Coliseum that is the reality-show reunion special, getting punched in the back of his head by Consequence, hiphop's MVP weed carrier. Welcome to your culture, y'all. Anyway, he's at Neumos on Thursday, May 9.
SORRY this is going up on Tuesday, but Mondays are like a Garfield/Cathy/Dilbert comic strip around here, y'know?
Saturday was a pretty alright night out on le Capitol Hill. We met a three-piece band that made sitting in front of Rancho Bravo a real delight. Then, on our way past the Comet, we stopped to appreciate that two extremely tan people were trash-dancing barefoot. I couldn't stop staring at their feet. There are so many things to step on/in outside of the Comet.
Over at Neumos, Toronto (and Sup Pop) band Metz were as loud/intense as you would hope—people moshed and dove off the stage like they fucking meant it. We stood on the edge of the mosh circle, where it was still safe to drink you beer, but an elbow or giant man might still occasionally sweat-smash into you.
Metz, in between moshes.
After Metz let out, everyone ran across the street to the Cripples reunion show at the Comet that was already in full-swing. The show was a benefit for the in-progress Funhouse documentary, and it looked like there was a good turnout. Ross Marshall makes a really good front-man, and a duct-taped keyboard makes a really good leading instrument for your band. Two mangled keyboards? Wonderful.
If you happened to have missed the handful of shows that (the gals of) Redbook played last year, you may not know that they're a super-group consisting of key members of Pony Time, Stickers and burlesque troupe The Heavenly Spies. Much like the magazine Redbook, the band covers all the hard-hitting issues of today's modern women (Phylicia Rashad, getting in the mood, blood flow, etc.) Currently the band is on an indefinite musical hiatus to focus on their primary projects, but recently released a tape with ten delightfully post-punk tracks that are also available to stream on bandcamp.
by Dave Segal
on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM
Seattle singer/songwriter Stres (aka Josh Bolof)—who has a new Erik Blood-produced EP titled Old Lives coming out soon—presents a sneak preview from it today. "Windows" is a charming slice of morose, slow-gaze pop with a wonderfully wonky guitar tone and a mesmerizing synth/drum breakdown.
You can catch Stres playing live at the Sunset Thurs. May 23 with Truckasauras, DJAO, and Miniature Airlines. It's a strong lineup coordinated by music critic Todd Hamm for his monthly Tough Cuts night.
by Dave Segal
on Mon, May 6, 2013 at 5:37 PM
Drummer extraordinaire (and Stranger freelancer) Trent Moorman is part of yet another project with which to further his claim as the busiest sticksman in Seattle: Watt Mongoose. The lineup includes synthesist/composer Keith Negley (ex-Sleepy Eyes of Death), guitarist Thomas Hunter (Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, Wild Orchid Children), flugelhorn player Chris Littlefield (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Blusirkut), and P Smoov (Fresh Espresso) on more synths. The masterly Steve Fisk co-arranged and co-produced.
Those missing Sleepy Eyes of Death, should hop aboard this rocketship posthaste; those who like exciting sonic travelogues should do likewise. Watt Mongoose elegantly maneuver in the gripping, interstellar zone where cosmic disco and motorik-grooved krautrock intersect. Snake Mind’s six instrumentals abound with head-rushing propulsion, whooshing, percolating synths, and artfully FX’d horns. “Istanbul” immediately thrusts you into a momentous swirl of perilous intrigue, as does “Bangladesh.” The EP peaks on “Caracas II,” an ultimate chase-scene score breathlessly arpeggiating and throbbing somewhere between French electronic-prog gods Heldon and American Goblin homagers Zombi. The closing “Caracas III” is a departure, a meditative composition spotlighting Hunter’s beautifully crystalline guitar work and Littlefield’s mournful horn sighs converging into fluctuating waves of synth pathos.
I don’t want to rush to brash conclusions (oh, wait—I do), but after three listens to Snake Mind, I believe that Watt Mongoose have jetted to near the top of the Seattle band heap. I want to see them at Bumbershoot under the stars—or better yet, over them.
(Vera Project) This is one hot all-ages show! If you don't know Half Japanese, they were charming mid-'70s experimental punk janglers/noisemakers that mostly consisted of brothers Jad and David Fair, who wrote love songs and monster songs and didn't care about such superfluous things as tuning guitars. Jad Fair has kept the eccentric torch burning, making cuckoo tunes that include a lot of free-form talk-lyrics ("popcorn mixed with romance/you've got pretty eyes/YEAH") and enthusiastically simple musicianship. Fair is playing with a top-notch selection of local DIY sound-makers that you won't want to miss: the bedroom pineapple dance-party pop of iji, the experimental avant-disco of Slashed Tires, the thoughtful, sweet story-core of Your Heart Breaks, and, of course, the ever-magical Kimya Dawson. See also Underage.
(Comet) It's been seven months since Seattle's beloved, clown-headed rock spot the Funhouse was emptied out to make way for condo trash, and this show is a benefit for a documentary that hopes to stitch together the stories of Seattle's most successful punk venue. Playing for the first time in a while (possibly years?), the Cripples have been, uh, hobbling around Seattle since 1994, and you should not miss their chaos! I'm extremely attracted to keyboards/synth in punk music—it tickles my ears and makes my teeth want to shimmy out of my mouth—and the Cripples bring to mind some kind of Devo/Screamers/noisy weirdness that's just the right mix of grating and catchy.