A lot has changed since the last time I wrote about Lemolo. I was one of six staff members at a small music blog; they had just released their debut album, played two sets at Block Party, and were gearing up to open for Sharon van Etten at the Neptune. I met with them in a coffee shop in Ballard, and they told me about their aspirations for the future: venues they wanted to play, cities they hoped to visit. Now, three months later, the first band I ever interviewed was headlining a sold-out show at one of Seattle's swankest venues, and my first assignment as The Stranger's new music intern was to review it. (They grow up so fast, don't they?)
Indeed, their show at The Triple Door was full of odd coincidences. The night started off on a soulful note as Portland's Slang! took the stage amid the clinking of glasses and the tinkling of forks on plates. Drew Grow and Janet Weiss give off a bit of a White Stripes vibe – yowling male vocalist, stoic female drummer, covers of classic blues songs – so it was bizarre to watch them perform Little Willie John's "I'm Shakin'" just months after Jack White released his own version. The duo played a diverse set of songs, including an especially endearing cover of the Beatles' "Two of Us." "This may be the first time Tom Waits and The Everly Brothers meet on the same stage," Grow quipped.
(Rendezvous) The Tempers are a band of otherworldly siblings—two sisters and a brother—playing ghostly faerie (you know it's serious when you spell it like that!) electro rock, with plenty of glam theatrics. And plenty of hair! Eighteen Individual Eyes (who, Anna Minard pointed out, "have greatly exaggerated their eye count" since there are only four of them—she also noted "they are bracing and fun as shit") make heavy, psychedelic-tinged indie rock that is subtle yet driving. Sam Miller is a multi-instrumentalist who creates triumphant, melancholic rock—he is also a member of the band Two White Opals, who sound icy and atmospheric and are self-described as having "an acute fade away aesthetic." If you own a velvet cape, this is the show to wear it to.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 1:49 PM
(Rendezvous) In the early '90s, Neil Halstead guided Slowdive to the upper echelon of shoegaze-rock, snuggled up next to My Bloody Valentine, Ride, and Lush. The gauzy, beautifully blissful vibes Slowdive generated for Creation Records back then continue to wow sensitive types worldwide. But Halstead eventually descended from the clouds and got more earthy with Mojave 3 and under his own name. Post-Slowdive, he's strummed out a stark, grave strain of folk rock that nods to immortals like Nick Drake, Lee Hazlewood, and Bert Jansch. It's solid come-down music, but a long way from the giddy heights of his Slowdive daze.
(Neumos) Fresh Espresso made me do rap hands! As someone who doesn't go to a lot of shows, I find the ways of the crowds very entertaining. Like how come people just blaze up in the middle of a club? What?! And how cute is that entwined-couple-stance? And how come people do that one-hand-in-the-air, wave-it-up-and-down move at hiphop shows? I DON'T KNOW! But Fresh Espresso made me do it at Block Party, crushed in with a mass of people who were smiling and shouting, who were amped as fuck, who forgot where they were and just let loose with the hand motions and screaming and love. And wham! Rap hands just happened! It was excellent. See also My Philosophy.
by Kelly O
on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:48 AM
(Triple Door) Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is the glasses-wearing, big-curly-hair-having guitarist from The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In. He's also a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and solo career–haver. At 37 years old, and over the period of 16 years, he's been a part of more than 40 albums. He's collaborated John Frusciante, Erykah Badu, Hans Zimmer, El-P, Lydia Lunch, and Wu-Tang Clan's RZA. Oh, and in 2009, he won a Grammy. And he's in production directing his third feature-length film. Though he's not a household name yet, one day, you'll look up the dictionary definition of "prolific," and instead of telling you anything about "abundant and large quantities of productivity," you'll just see a picture of his face.
(Showbox Sodo) First of all, today is my birthday. Not today as in the day I am writing this, but today as in the day this show is happening. Libras are quite vain about their birthdays, so I am taking up half of this blurb with that information. I will accept gifts of guinea pig costumes and sparkly socks. So who likes synth? Because this is going to be the City Arts Fest DAY OF THE DANCE! So much dancey, poppy, synthetic, beat-heavy music, you had better take a B12 if you know what I mean! Ghostland Observatory (and everyone on this bill, in their own special way) make catchy party junk music you'll feel slightly guilty about in an "I just ate an entire box of fruit snacks" way—recommended for teens and adults alike who just want to get wild.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 10:01 AM
(Barboza) Before Rick Rubin manhandled Howlin Rain into a slightly brawnier Black Crowes (so unnecessary!) on 2012's The Russian Wilds, the San Francisco quintet harnessed an oft-feral breed of acid-y country rock that blew back your hair and pinned back your ears with Hollywoodish drama. Howlin Rain still make big, sprawling rock, only now they're trying to squash their natural tendency to fly into the sun with freaky abandon into songs with accessible choruses and "pretty" vocals. Nevertheless, those tunes from the self-titled album and Magnificent Fiend should still sound storming.
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 9:28 AM
CITY ARTS FEST'S BILL OF LOCAL ELECTRONIC ALL-STARS
This here is one of City Arts Fest's best bills—and it's all homegrown local shit. Introcut's been holding down the front lounge at Lo-Fi's Stop Biting hiphop weekly with aplomb since you were in middle school. The interstellar techno of Vox Mod—a favorite of the astute Stranger columnist Trent Moorman—keeps getting better, more complex, and out-there. Calling it now: The versatile, voluble OC Notes is in the running to become Seattle's next musical Genius. His recent Vermillion Gallery gig with Vox Mod, Moorman, Erik Blood, and Thomas Carter backing him hints of great things to come: a classy fusion of spacious jazz funk in the CTI Records vein, revamped Barney Miller theme music (Bing it), and Steely Dan if they recorded at Paisley Park Studios. For Truckasauras, this is the release party for the quartet's best work yet, 2012. The album contains Truck's most advanced compositions to date, without losing their party-rocking punch. Let's hope they do the epic "Bothell Trance," which sounds like masterly minimalist composers Arnold Dreyblatt, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass jamming during their respective peaks. What a manic mantra. Fred Wildlife Refuge, 7 pm, $8 adv/$10 DOS, 21+.
Hey, sexy laaaaye-dee, whoop-whoop-whoop, POOL PARTY STYLE?
Did anyone dance to Japanese/Korean styles of the new Seattle JKPOP night at City Arts Fest last night? I was sad to miss it. I WANT TO DANCE, and I want to do it motherfucking Gangham Style.
The next JKPOP Seattle is Thursday, November 1st @ Barboza, 9 pm, $3, 21+
I should go! You should go!
Oh, also, speaking of motherfucking Gangham Style, the real deal PSY is performing at a cheesy-ass pool party at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas—where I will be, shooting a wedding this upcoming weekend.
Should I go?
Should Kelly O Pay $20 To See PSY, Poolside, In Las Vegas?
by Al Jacobs
on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Image Courtesy EOTO
Rage music used to be angry. But in 2012 it’s about gritting your teeth to what sounds like a floor waxer making love to a bass guitar.
Eoto is what rage music sounds like when it’s improvised by two jam-band musicians. The duo’s live element prompts a more familial type of rage—think torso gyrating, not fist pumping. One guy tweaks buttons behind a ladder of keyboards while the other smacks a snare drum. Granted, there are still laptops, but there’s also a maniacal djembe solo. The show is a continuous, tempo-traversing jam, music to which listeners can’t help but move their bodies all crazy-like. See them tonight at Neumos, but be warned: There will be hippies.
Eoto, the New Law, Michael Manahan, and novaTRON at Neumos, doors at 7 pm $15 ADV 21+
You're probably asking yourself, "What is a 'SSION'?" Well, for starters, a SSION probably wouldn't exist if John Waters, Leigh Bowery, Darby Crash, Pee-wee Herman, Madonna, and/or Boy George hadn't already paved a few roads for a young SSION to drive his big gay pickup truck down. Also très importante, SSION isn't pronounced "sigh-on"—it's pronounced "shun," a name that pays tribute to the ideals of "passion, confusion, and illusion." SSION began as the high-school queer performance/visual art project of a then-16-year-old boy named Cody Critcheloe living in Lewisport, Kentucky. Critcheloe attended the Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and now, 15 years later, SSION is an art/music/film collective based in NYC. SSION is often, and probably BEST, described as sleazy gay disco meets punk rock theater, with Critcheloe forever the primary character and mastermind. His vision is pure and strikingly original—he's transformed Los Angeles art galleries into black-and-white wonderlands and live music venues into no-budget Broadway stages. Critcheloe's voice has a sweet, smoother-than-Prince consistency, with lyrics ranging from cartoonishly funny to sarcastic, to sassy, to crass—think Hunx and His Punx, but far less nasally and bratty. It's deliciously catchy dance pop that gets stuck in your head like all good pop music should.
But maybe this mustachioed maniac is best understood through his finest craft: the music video. SSION's YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/thession) is a Technicolor fever dream—a fantastical rabbit hole I've fallen into several times, losing hours watching the 40-plus Critcheloe-directed videos made for almost every song on the 10 SSION albums. He's also directed beautifully weird videos for Peaches, Santigold, and Gossip.
Here are short descriptions of five of my favorite SSION videos.
(Triple Door) Lemolo write-up ingredients: "dream-pop duo," "kayak instructors," "harmonies," then some adjectives like "hazy," "pretty," "ethereal." Done! But the more important thing for you to know (and this is also repeatedly reported) is that something happens to the audience at Lemolo shows—something uncanny, something goose-bumpy, something delicious. People sway, they embrace, they make out. Important things are whispered into ears. Eye contact is made, the intense kind that you can feel. Go, and bring the right person (or people).