by Brian Cook
on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 12:08 PM
The year’s end looms near, and consequently all the music nerds are compiling their Best of 2012 lists. I’m still making some adjustments to my list while simultaneously holding out for the new Switchblade album that comes out on December 15. Note to Switchblade: who the fuck puts out an album in December? Anyhow, the most frustrating part of the list-making process is narrowing things down to a top ten. Some great records inevitably wind up getting dropped. It pains me to say that one album that won’t be making the cut is the self-titled debut by Seattle instrumental outfit Scriptures. Sorry guys, it was a tough call to make on such a fine album, but there were simply too many contenders for the top spots.
But Scriptures’ LP definitely deserves far more recognition than it received this year. Navigating between the dusty starkness of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ soundtracks for The Assassination of Jesse James and The Proposition, the icy expanse of Growing’sThe Sky’s Run Into The Sea, the lurching crunch of early Pelican, and hypnotic propulsion of Pharaoh Overlord, the eponymous album shifts gears between various moods and dynamics with a fluid, haunting grace. Maybe I need to expand my list into a top 11.
When It Rains, It Pours: Queens of the Stone Age former bassist, Nick Oliveri, lays down vocals for a new QOTSA song that is sure to be rippin'. Also more Oliveri news, Kyuss/Kyuss Lives! will now be creating music and touring under a new name, Vista Chino!
Tune in, Cash Out: Dr. Dre cleans up with a landslide $110 million in income for the year, mostly due to the popularity of his headphone line, Beats By Dre headphones, leaving Paul McCartney, Justin Beiber, and Beyonce's millions earned look like chump change.
Calling All Hardcore Enthusiasts: Hydra Head records is winding down which is very, very unfortunate. In hopes of generating funds and raising general excitement, look forward to repressings of choice albums along with crazy deals from the Hydra Head inventory.
I'll Race Ya: A broken foot connected to the leg of Muse's lead singer, Matthew Bellamy causes cancelled shows in Stockholm, Malmo, and Oslo.
Voices Carry: A Michigan teacher is back to work today after a being suspended for playing a Macklemore song, "Same Love" for her middle school class.
Music for the Masses: What would happen if Pandora and Youtube had a baby? Get ready to be mildly blown away with Tubalr where you can customize video playlists, or just let the damn thing run wild.
Asya and Chloe from Smoosh have formed a new ethereal-stomp two-piece called Chaos Chaos. Chloe drums and sings, Asya plays keys and sings. They play this Sunday, Dec. 2nd at the Crocodile for their first Seattle show ever, and Monday, Dec. 3rd they will be live on KEXP with John Richards at 9AM. Both girls are supra talented. Not many people know, but they each have uncanny juggling abilities. Like, they'll juggle anything, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes you have to ask them, "Please stop juggling." Chloe apparently juggles knives now. Don’t know if she will be doing this at the Croc. If not, she’ll be slicing it up on the drums. Chloe spoke. We did not talk about her juggling.
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your song “My Hands”?
Timbaland. Mountain isolation. Nighttime. Angelica, the Rug Rats character. A mouse that loved to interrupt our writing sessions. Moving to New York sparked the song. When I looked down at my hands they'd sizzle and spark a little. So weird. The transition from calm peaceful Sweden to crazy New York sparked a lot of energy in us.
Where did you write and record it? Who produced?
We wrote my hands in a cabin up in the Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. It was beautiful up there. Deer were seriously everywhere it was annoying. They'd come too close and try to steal our food. We recorded in New York at The Doghouse Studios. Nathan Rosenberg produced it. The sessions were great, somehow everyone in the studio randomly happened to be from Seattle. So we had that Seattle connection going on. We'd dance in the studio to get the right vibe going for the song. It was challenging in a way because we wanted to simplify all our ideas. Our main word for this song was simplify! We'd say it in the voice Harry potter says stupify!
What was it like up in the Pocono Mountains? Anything else besides deer? Wolves maybe?
One night while we were there Asy had already gone to bed and I was just about to fall asleep when I heard my hi hat cymbal make noises as if it were being moved. We were the ONLY ones in the cabin so I was like oh my god someone is stealing our equipment. I was sure of it. So I got 911 ready on my phone and grabbed a huge class plate from my room. I waited a couple seconds and then BAM! My whole cymbal falls over and makes a super loud crash. I have never been that scared. In the end I figured out that my mic stand fell into my cymbal, hence the first noise, and then my cymbal finally fell which was the second noise. Spooky right?
Chaos Chaos play this Sunday, December 2nd at the Crocodile and Monday Dec. 3rd on KEXP with John Richards at 9AM.
by Brian Cook
on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Doom metal, like all minimalist musical styles, is a lot like abstract art. Everyone assumes it’s easy. Oh, the whole song is four notes? Your drummer plays at 10BPMs? I can do that. And in some ways, it is true. Anyone can pull off a reasonable duplicate of one of Rothko’s squares. But the question is, can your square make people weep the way Rothko’s can? Similarly, it doesn’t take a lot of technical prowess to play a Drowning Horse song, but it does require a unique talent to make their tar-pit riffs and Neanderthal drumbeats come across like the hammering of the Gods.
Australia has a penchant for tortured music, and the geographical factors that harbor such bleakness—isolation, the barren landscape, shady history—are all too prominent in Drowning Horse’s ultra-remote hometown of Perth. On stage, they’ll ride one low rumbling sustained note like there’s no point in moving on, as if time has ceased to have any meaning, as is moving on to the next riff is just moving one step closer to death. They’ll ride that droning note for an eternity, past the point where it ceases to be exhilarating, becomes tedious, turns downright painful, starts to become so ridiculous it’s almost comical, and then comes out the other side to some kind of grand epiphany. If you live in Perth, what else do you have to do other than melt under the unending throb of a wall of Celestion speakers pulsing out a drop-tuned A?
It may not be for everyone. Actually, it’s probably not for most people. Which is why Drowning Horse rarely leaves Perth and only pressed 250 copies of their debut LP. But the people that “get it” are in for a treat.
Throwing Down on the Puget Sound: Seattle rap artist, Raz drops his new video "Brave" with some North West flavah. Give the man some props, yo.
Gay Paris!: Do you like music? Do you like bagguettes and berrets? Do you wanna go to Paris? Then enter to win tickets and more to Pitchfork Music Festival Paris! Entries accepted until October 12th.
Discount Grind: Metal label, Earache is offering an 8GB USB stick stocked with almost 2,000 songs from their back catalog for only $160. Let the good times roll!
When Forever Comes Crashing: Good deals aplenty today! You can stream Converge's new album, All We Love We Leave Behind for free right here.
Try This At Home: Watch as this Rube Goldberg machine answers the age old question: How many people does it take to turn on a television?
Sexy Hulkster: Here's a drinking game: Every time Hulk Hogan mentions "Nick" or complains of a full belly in this edited sex flick, you knock one back. By the way, You're awesome.
Obama and Romney Get Their Song On: While you were hurling obscenities and empty beer cans at the televised presidential debates last night, the Gregory Brothers were busy compiling those soapbox statements into an auto-tuned visual orchestra.
We wrote, and re-wrote: "[They] appeared out of the post-Britpop wreckage with a unique audio stockpile of emotion and noise. The music they made didn't always work, the band's eyes and ambition often bigger than their abilities, but they were overwhelming with ideas and imagery and a series of luscious, increasingly acclaimed and popular late '90s indie singles that ended up to be better than their debut, the band's one and only album, which, exactly a decade ago, destroyed the band, who were never seen again."
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?)
Did you know that Seattle is home to the only all female Soundgarden tribute band? They're called Bleed Together, and they're playing tomorrow night at the Pyramid Alehouse.
Soundgarden was never my favorite of the 90s Seattle grunge rock bros (I once had to sit through a Chris Cornell and Timbaland show at the Showbox when I was working a coat check shift there—half the audience was furious when it was Cornell's turn, and the other half was furious when Timbaland was up... nobody won), but I love this idea. More ladies should form 90s era Seattle grunge tribute bands! There could be a Mother Love Bone tribute band called Capricorn Sisters! Or a Pearl Jam tribute band called Daughter! I call Mudhoney. We'll be called Bigmuff.
...the first Replacements album and its follow-up EP are both way better than you led me to believe. Screw you for tricking me out of so many years of pleasure, but thanks for the late-breaking Replacements surprise.
by Dave Segal
on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Quite possibly, yes. You can bitch about Kickstarter all you want (I've done my share), but you can't deny the artfulness of Prince Rama's video to rustle up support for a film based around the songs on their next album, Top 10 Hits of the End of the World. It's "the first ever now age psych opera... IN 4-D," according to Prince Rama's creative core, Taraka and Nimai Larson, in the garishly surreal mini film that's the cornerstone of their Kickstarter campaign. I'm already firing up the PayPal machine...
Watch the clip hyping the film—titled Prince Rama and the Scorpion Tornado—and read more about the project here.
I've been timidly admiring the hauntingly wonderful ballads of King Dude [local prolific artist and Actual Pain creator, TJ Cowgill] for some time now, and was excited/terrified to hear his new album, Burning Daylight. Allow me fumble around while trying to describe this music to you (without scaring anyone).
It's eerie and captivating—maybe I'll go with graveyard folk? Like having a seance in your attic while wearing your great-grandmother's moth-eaten wedding dress. What else? It reminds me of early American daguerreotypes. Serious photographs where the subject looks as if they are braving through some kind of misery. Or dead. Hopefully they are not dead. I mean, they definitely are at this point, just not at the time the picture was taken. Those pictures are fascinating, people peering at you from a time when getting your picture taken was a somber affair and even children looked as though the weight of the 1800s rested on their tiny pinafored shoulders. See? Compelling. And just the tiniest bit scary.
Burning Daylight comes out in October, the perfect month for beautiful seances.
Since acquiring the recent Hardly Art release Deep Time by the band Deep Time, nary an hour has passed since it hasn't been played in my household. The songs are well arranged, interesting, inventive, and pretty. They've been in town recently and they're back tonight with the Mynabirds*. I'd suggest seeing them for the first time if you haven't already, or again if you already have. Here's the video for "Clouds" which was filmed in Olympia, it's a delight.
How do you feel about Seattle? What are your favorite things to do here?
We both really enjoy playing in Seattle, but never been there long enough to explore. Our favorite place to play is at the shop, Cairo.
I noticed that your band is named for "the concept that the Geologic time scale is vast because the Earth is very old." Are you familiar with with Gene Ray's TIME CUBE concept?
No, tell us about it.
Time Cube's Gene Ray suggests that all of modern physics is wrong, that religion (specifically Christianity) is evil, and that the idea of family is poisoning children. The model proposes that each day is really four separate days occurring simultaneously. Here's a direct quote from TimeCube.com, "When the Sun shines upon Earth, 2 – major Time points are created on opposite sides of Earth – known as Midday and Midnight. Where the 2 major Time forces join, synergy creates 2 new minor Time points we recognize as Sunup and Sundown. The 4-equidistant Time points can be considered as Time Square imprinted upon the circle of Earth. In a single rotation of the Earth sphere, each Time corner point rotates through the other 3-corner Time points, thus creating 16 corners, 96 hours and 4-simultaneous 24 hour Days within a single rotation of Earth – equated to a Higher Order of Life Time Cube."
When on tour, do y'all argue in the van?
Nah, we try to be good to each other on tour and in general.
How many of you are on tour? (aside from Adam & Jennifer).
We usually travel with just the two of us, but for this leg of the tour are lucky to be joined by our pal, Katy, who is helping out with the van and merch and jokes.
Are the vocals in Deep Time sung under an invented accent, or are the words purposely spoken in an unconventional way? I only ask because it seems there is an accent or they're being used a more of an instrument rather than conventional singing.
There's no accent. That's just how I sing which is not the same as the way I talk. When you sing you choose how shape vowels. It's like painting or playing guitar.
Is there good food in Seattle? If so, what is it?
I'm sure there is. We usually cook beans and kale on the camping stove in the parking lot. We haven't done a lot of the Seattle hanging necessary to seek out good food spots.
What is your worst injury? How did it happen?
Adam was walking barefoot through a construction site as a kid and stepped on a nail. His foot swelled to double it's size and he was forced to wear one moccasin and one shoe.
Jennifer was cut off by an SUV riding her bike in April. She flew over her handle bars and broke her elbow.
We're relatively lucky.
Where are you right now, as you're answering these questions?
In a coffee shop in San Francisco waiting for our van to be repaired.
*It seems that tonight's show has been cancelled due to the van not being repaired in time. Ultimately, if each day is really four separate days occurring simultaneously, this may have been a different outcome.
Yesterday I stewed in my excitement (ew, sorry) regarding the upcoming Desaparecidos reunion at the Showbox at the Market and I wondered if the band was going to be playing any new material or if they'd stick to the great material from their one record, Read Music/Speak Spanish, and The Happiest Place on Earth EP.
Today I got my answer! This morning the band released two new songs, which will be available for sale tomorrow via their website.
The first song, "MariKKKopa," is a poppy and frustrated punk rock rally cry, calling out racist Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona. HuffingtonPost.com asked singer Conor Oberst about the song:
At what point did you feel as though going after Sheriff Joe by name was important? Is there a danger you're just giving him more attention?
Joe Arpaio needs no help from me getting attention. For years he has been a beacon of bigotry and intolerance for all the world to see. The list of human and civil-rights abuses he's committed in Maricopa County is long and well documented. His many "crime suppression sweeps" are some of the most egregious affronts to American values and human dignity perpetrated in this century. What he does need is to be called out at every opportunity as the criminal that he is. There are many ways of doing that. The federal government's current law suit against him being one of them. I used the best means at my disposal to do it: a punk rock song.
The second song, "Backsell," is streaming via Alternative Press SUPPOSEDLY, but I can't, for the life of me, navigate that fucking website. They say it's "below APTV," but IT IS NOT. Or I am too old to see it. I think the AltPress.com website only works for people with eyes that are 17-years-old or younger.
UPDATE: This grandma found the song, thanks to the helpful commenter tired and true. Yes! I might like "Backsell" even more than "MariKKKopa." Oberst is auto-tuned! (For a second.)
Regardless, new Desaparecidos music! And it is good! HOORAY!
Today is a good day! Seattle's own punk rock with the emphasis on the rock band Police Teeth have posted a new song from their upcoming album. The song's called "Bellingham Media Blackout"—at times it sounds wonderfully Fugazi-like, other times it sounds like cocky and snotty bar rock (in a good way, not in a "We're not a cover band—we're a tribute band!" way). I dig it.
Police Teeth will play Black Lodge September 22. The album release show is at the Sunset, November 9.