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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Start Your Day Listening to the New Mirah Song and Everything Will Be a Little Bit Better

Posted by on Wed, Mar 5, 2014 at 7:48 AM

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It's Wednesday. We're halfway to the weekend. But it's early and your eyes are still blurry and while there is a light at the end of the tunnel, the light is still far away. But don't start the day grumpy. Take a deep breath and press play on this new Mirah song, "Radiomind." It's a breezy, beautiful, but not too saccharine reminder that everything is going to be okay. (An especially nice thought given that the song is the closing track of her upcoming record Changing Light, which she describes as a "break-up record.")

Hear it here.

Changing Light, on May 13th via Absolute Magnitude.

And if you haven't heard her other new song, "Oxen Hope," you can—and should—do that here.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Menzingers Release Great New Song; Announce Upcoming Record

Posted by on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Happy Tuesday! Did you think today was just going to be like any other day? Well you are WRONG. Today is special! Today is GREAT! Because the Menzingers have released a new song via Noisey to let us know about their upcoming record, Rented World (due April 22nd). Best day!

The Menzingers have a lock on the East Coast melodic punk rock sound—if you haven't listened to their 2012 release On the Impossible Past, run don't walk! And while they haven't changed up their formula much for this new song, "In Remission," I can't complain because what they do, they do so well.

If you're having a hard time shaking the sleepy fog from your brain this morning, give this anthem a loud listen—it'll wake you up:

Friday, February 14, 2014

'Mo-Wave 2014 Announced! Right Here!

Posted by on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Zebra Katz
  • Courtesy 'Mo-Wave
  • Don't miss Zebra Katz at 'Mo-Wave 2014!

Welcome to year two of the fantastic 'Mo-Wave queer music and arts festival (do read my interview with 'Mo-Wave founders last year)! The dates are April 12 and 13, circle them now with your best glitter pen.

'MO-WAVE '14 LINEUP (so far):
Christeene (Austin, Tx), Zebra Katz (NYC), Justin Bond (NYC), Carletta Sue Kay (SF), Belles Bent For Leather (all- female Judas Priest tribute by AC/DC tribute Hells Belles), CZARL1NG (Oly—featuring members of the Need, Brokenwater, GrassWidow), Ononos...

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Anacortes High School + Cumulus = LOVE!

Posted by on Sat, Jan 25, 2014 at 3:25 PM

This video just made my heart melt into a gooey pile. Anacortes High School celebrated former AHS students and current Seattle band Cumulus by getting the WHOLE SCHOOL (or most of it, at least) to lip-sync to the band's song "Do You Remember?" It's so sweet!

The video was made as an entry for the Premise's high school video challenge, so if you like what you see, head over here to cast your vote! the video with the most votes wins $1,000.

Related: Cumulus play Chop Suey January 31st with Dresses, Tomten, and the Hoot Hoots. The show's all ages, so you can bet at least some of the Anacortes High student body will be there. Tickets are available here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Important Captain and Tennille Line Out Poll

Posted by on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM

It's true, band/couple Captain and Tennille are getting divorced after 39 years of soft, sensual, yacht-rockin' marriage.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Music To Dream To: I Break Horses' Chiaroscuro

Posted by on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 4:48 PM

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A couple times a week I get home in the middle of the night. When I've worked the long closing shift at the bar I pour drinks at, then catch a ride or navigate the entirely night-worker-shunning public transportation system, I often arrive home wired, in no condition to sleep. The other night—instead of waging the usual war against surplus energy and a day's worth of thoughts at home, tossing and turning in bed—I decided to go for a jog. I had just seen an email that told me music discovery site Hype Machine was streaming Chiaroscuro, the not-even-out-yet new album from Stockholm's gauzy electro duo I Break Horses, so I threw that on the smartphone player and pranced out into the night. (Do yourself a solid and listen to it here.)

Hearts, IBH's stellar 2011 debut was a tingly barrage of digital fuzz, like looking at a colorful array of LEDs coated in Vaseline, maybe while chewing on a speaker wire. The songs were largely upbeat, or at least splashed with the kind of energy that makes a thing feel fresh and new. It might have been the perfect soundtrack to a giddy acid trip. On the album's cover, a horse playfully reared on his hind legs in front of an all-white background.

The artwork for Chiaroscuro (above) is dark, intricate geometry—an appropriate shift for an album that necessitates the kind of close listening only possible inside the quiet hours between sunset and dawn. The nine-song, roughly 45-minute LP is an immersive experience. Serene and contemplative, richly layered and delicately detailed, it is the perfect companion to your midnight spirit quest.

Taken from Italian, "chiaroscuro" is a term that artists use to describe the interplay between light and dark shades, and as I ran alongside a marina near my house, the ships' masts and the water's calmly rolling surface tinkered with the light of the moon like a shimmering soundmap of what was coming through my headphones. With a voice as sweet as Madonna, but as detached as Victoria Legrand, Maria Lindén's dreamy tone is blended into the mix to beautiful effect. Producer Fredrik Balck has slowed things down to make room for all of his ingredients, but also carves some tight melody lines into early album numbers "Faith" (below), and "Ascension." I felt like I was dreaming before I even got home.

Chiaroscuro comes out January 21 on Bella Union. You can pre-order it here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kitty Wells: Proto Feminist

Posted by on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 10:04 AM

It was all the way back in 1952 when Kitty Wells recorded "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" a song written by Jay Miller in response to Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life."

In "The Wild Side," Thompson laments:

The glamor of the gay night life has lured you/To the places where the wine and liquor flows/Where you wait to be anybody's baby/And forget the truest love you'll ever know.

What a wuss! Anyway, "Honky Tonk Angels" responds:

It wasn't God who made honky tonk angels/As you said in the words of your song/Too many times married men think they're still single/And that's caused many a good girl to go wrong.

Wells was reportedly reluctant to record the retort, but eventually agreed, if only in the interest of getting the studio payment of $125. A woman's gotta work, and $125 in 1952 equals about $1100 in today's money terms. "Honkey Tonk Angels" went on to outperform the song it addressed and springboard Wells into stardom. Years later she said of the song's success: "Women never had hit records in those days. Very few of them even recorded. I couldn't believe it happened."

Writes Allmusic.com's Stephen Thomas Erlewine:

[The song's] controversial pre-feminist lyrics, which blamed unfaithful men for creating unfaithful women, paved the way for Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette and established Wells as the first major female country star. Wells recorded a number of answer songs and remakes, but she has top-notch original material as well, including some of Harlan Howard's earliest hits.

I stumbled across this information in my research studies and just thought you might want to know.

Via: Allmusic.com, Wikipedia, and a book with actual pages made out of paper.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Sonic Postcard from Nashville, Starring Bully

Posted by on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 12:46 PM

So, y'all know I moved to Nashville, right? I'm even saying y'all now! It's very exciting. It's currently a crisp 19 degrees outside, but very sunny, and last week I saw Scarlett from Nashville grabbing lunch at a coffeeshop across town. Anyway! Getting acquainted with a new city's music scene is really overwhelming. It feels like I'm studying for a final test without ever having gone to class. SO MUCH UNFAMILIAR INPUT.

As I wade through 8,000 different blogs and Bandcamps and try to fill my calendar with local shows to check out, there's already one Nashville band that I can confidently say is a favorite: They're called Bully and they play bouncy pop songs that are bright enough to make the city's current frozen landscape feel summery. And they're really great live, too! They recently played with Swearin' (<3 <3 <3!) and while I couldn't stay for their whole set (my diabetic cat needed his medicine, which is the coolest reason to leave a rock show early, yeah?), I can't wait to see them again. For your sake I hope they're able to get up to the Northwest sometime soon, too. Until then, I'm cool with keeping them all to myself down here.

Have at it:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Now That It's 2014, I Want to Acknowledge the Records That Got Me Through 2013

Posted by on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 11:40 AM

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I HATE YEAR-END LISTS. I really, really do. You meticulously rate your favorite records with more thought than you'd give to planning your own wedding (I say from experience), but inevitably, once your perfected selection is shared with the public, it hits you... YOU FORGOT A GODDAMN RECORD. Or song, or artist, or macaroni and cheese recipe, or whatever. The whole list is ruined! You will never forgive yourself! I just can't deal with that amount of pressure.

Listening to music has always been a very emotionally-driven act. The reason I love so much of the music I do at the moment I love it, is because it does more for me than sound good, it feels good, too. Music is my mood ring—it's often a clue of something that's happening deeper within my brain. Because of that, I generally don't partake in the journalist's race to get the best year-end list on the internet before December's even over. If you look at my favorite records, you're pretty much looking at my mess of a brain, not a time capsule that represents the music industry as a whole, so I never really saw the point in making it public. But what good is blogging about music if you’re not embracing every opportunity to be completely self-serving?

So with that, in no particular order and for no reason other than I just want to publicly celebrate these wonderful records one more time, here's a list of 2013-released albums that were perfect for me at some point in the last year. No, the Kanye record isn't on it—I wanted to like that album, I like things he's done in the past, but Yeezus never stuck with me. I do love croissants, though.

1. Iron Chic - The Constant One

Gin Blossom references! Guest vocals from Erica Freas of RVIVR! Restless and melodic pop-punk songs about making the most of your life despite the fact you're kind of a fuck up sometimes! This Iron Chic record is filled with the kind of restless energy I've loved since I was a prepubescent pop-punk fan, but this time around the songs aren't littered with dick jokes and lines about how girls are the enemy. Hooray!

2. RVIVR - The Beauty Between

Speaking of RVIVR. When I first heard The Beauty Between I threw my hands up in the air and admitted defeat. That's it! It's over! I can never love another record the way I love this record! I was convinced my favorite albums of 2013 would just be The Beauty Between listed over and over. RVIVR's music has always been filled with conviction—the band delivers fiery punk-rock anthems like they're the live soundtrack at a protest, but The Beauty Between, at times, feels more worn down than past efforts, which makes it even more relatable than their usual "Let's get through this together" attitude. We all get worn down, but RVIVR reminds us to keep fighting. Plus, the marching band vibe at the end of "Party Queen" makes my heart fly out of my chest and explode into millions of pieces of glitter.

3. Upset - She's Gone

Earlier this year I had the privilege of interviewing singer Ali Koehler and I had a hard time thinking of any question beyond “Can I be in your band?” I mean, Ali Koehler! Patty Schemel! Together in a pop-punk band that makes Jawbreaker references and has a promo photo featuring a dog wearing sunglasses! (The dog's name is Maddie, by the way, which is the best.) They may as well shine a Megan-shaped spotlight into the air. I have picked up your signal, Upset! I will be right there!

4. Beyoncé - Beyoncé

The public has a strange, maddening relationship with Beyoncé—they never seem to think she's capable of doing any of the things she does. She lip-synced at the inauguration! She was faking her pregnancy! Gawd, Beyoncé, can't you do anything?! With a surprise release of a totally fierce and nearly flawless "visual album," though, it's like Beyoncé is saying "Let me make this easy for you, fuckers—I'm not gonna give you the opportunity to doubt my potential. Boom. Here's my record. Kiss my ass." (For further reason why Beyoncé is great, read Danielle Henderson’s words here.)

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Monday, December 23, 2013

My Favorite Page on the Internet Today*

Posted by on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM

It's the final page of Village Voice writer Alan Scherstuhl's list of the Best Country Albums of 2013, focusing on his top three. As Scherstuhl writes of his #3 pick, Kacey Musgraves' Same Trailer, Different Park:

Seriously, from here on you could re-order these records any way you want. Any could be the top in a lesser year, and this one shares deep DNA with the #1 below: a songwriter; a love of melancholy detail; a shuffling, understated sound; an amiable disaffection with the go-nowhere reality of small-town life; and a mission to make mainstream country music that exposes sad truths rather than encourages the usual rah-rah-America denial.

The other records Scherstuhl references (his #2 and #1 picks) are Ashley Monroe's Like a Rose and Brandy Clark's 12 Stories. These three records aren't just the best country albums of the year—they're the best records of any genre, give or take a Yeezus or Beyonce. I love them all for the reasons Scherstuhl lists above, and for their amazing songs.

Here's my favorite Kacey Musgraves (performed live at Bonnaroo!). Here's my favorite Ashley Monroe. And below is my favorite Brandy Clark, which I was happy to see is the one that made the biggest impression on Scherstuhl, too. (Bonus: Ms. Clark is a Washington State native—Lewis County represent!—and an honest-to-God-but-let's-not-make-a-big-stink-about-it out lesbian.)

Moral: It is an insanely great year for country music (which makes this admittedly funny thing seem a little myopic.)

*-Not counting news reports on the continuation of marriage equality in Utah, of course.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Kinda Think "Cream Puff War" is the Best Grateful Dead Song?!

Posted by on Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 2:35 PM

I dunno what y'all think, but I think, even for all their late '60s expansive glory, the Grateful Dead's "Cream Puff War" rules ass over everything else they did.

ALSO—this post is a slight deflection from what I really wanna write about—some internet-famous woman named "Tila Tequila" and her nazi fetish and how I dated a girl once who had hidden a nazi fetish. Look, I DIDN'T KNOW nothin' about my date's "deal" till she seriously suggested I get a swastika tattooed on the underside of my wang. Y'know, like, so when I had a boner my dong would be "heil hitler-ing her!" NO SHIT!!! Uh. What in the FUCK?!? So, here ENJOY my favorite Grateful Dead jam, and a song you prolly never heard when you followed 'em on two tours through the south back in 1987...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rest In Power, Byrdie (1978-2013)

Posted by on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 2:54 PM

This weekend we lost a real one. Seattle hiphop artist Jesse "Byrdie" Watson succumbed to complications from a long bout of cancer. If you were checking out what was shaking and baking in the Seattle scene in the early 2000s, there was no missing Pretty Byrdie, a big brother with a smile and a heart to match. Byrdie came into prominence via the Street Level Records group Full Time Soldiers; FTS and SLR's brand of g-rap, including acts that hailed from the Soufend to the North End, sold out of local shops and kept mail orders ringing throughout the country—they were unquestionably some of the most popular local product in the late '90s to early 2000s, and Byrdie was probably the most popular voice among them.

He broke out on his own with 2000's Poetic Epidemic, which featured everybody from his northend FTS comrades to Source of Labor's Wordsayer. Byrdie's "Player's Policy Pt.2" was one of the first local cuts I knew of that got regular rotation on KUBE93—this was a big deal, just listen to astonishment of the hosts of KUBE's old Sunday night show 'Future Flavors' before they play it. (The other ones I remember: Mobb Tyght Hustlers' "Let's Get Toasted" and Unexpected Arrival's "Take Control (Remix)", which featured Byrdie.)

All this feels like fucking ages ago—I know it wasn't, but just listen to the intro of "Dirty Politics," where he spat:

Man I'm so sick and tired of these rappers in Seattle, these so-called emcees. Everybody wants to be divided! There is no rap scene in Seattle! There is no hiphop community! I built a bridge but y'all built it down.

At the time, nobody I knew would've argued with this. I shouldn't have to tell you, this is about 10 country miles from where we are today.

A couple years later, Byrdie would release his N Flight album, his most polished work yet, and that radio love just increased, and he was on big stages rocking. I remember the joint video release party for his "B.Y.R.D.I.E." and the Blue Scholars' first video ("Freewheelin") at the old Vera in 2004.


Last night I happened to catch IFC's Comedy Bang Bang, with one Reggie Watts. Funny, as I had just been watching Byrdie's "Wanted" video, featuring Watts:



Byrdie was born the same year I was, and was one of the first bright lights I knew of from what I identify as my particular generation of this town's hiphop artists. I would see the dude around my old neighborhood, not far from the Canterbury on 15th, maybe smoke, but always we'd have a good chop. He was unfailingly cool, quick with a smile or a good word—just massively supportive and genuine. This was simply not the default mode of Seattle hiphop back then.

Look, a lot of people I know are fucked up over this one. We'll miss you, Byrd. I know your spirit is in flight.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Helms Alee and Tacos! are So Different, but So Loveable

Posted by on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 11:28 AM

(Chop Suey) What I most love about Helms Alee is their ability to absolutely slay you when you least expect it. Listen to their song "Pretty as Pie" off their latest release, Weatherhead. For the first couple minutes, starry and echoing guitar arpeggios ring out. The repetition begins to wrap around you—their beauty, their calming consistency, comforts you. Then BOOM. The buzziest bass you've ever heard bangs you over the head. The arpeggios continue, almost tauntingly, as singer Ben Verellen starts to growl. Seattle duo Tacos!, on the other hand, get you to the same place (deaf) a different way—their songs are cathartic and meaty from end to end. And I love them, too. It takes all kinds, ya know?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's Crappening?: Megan Seling Is Leaving?!

Posted by on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM

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  • Emily Nokes

Megan Seling—cupcake genius, hockey fanatic, pop-punk expert, and all-around amazing person—is leaving The Stranger after 13 years of awesomeness and moving to Nashville. Oh, how we will miss her!

• While you probably know her music writing, Megan Seling has also been fucking awesome at covering the Seattle sugar beat. In The Stranger’s chow section, she’s written hilarious, informative, poignant pieces about our city’s insane proliferation of cupcakes, what our state candy should be (hint: NOT Aplets & Cotlets), the greatness of milkshakes, and much, much more. She also wrote a brilliant cookbook of things-baked-inside-other-things (see bakeitinacake.com). Her farewell to Seattle food is here. (Cry!)

• Speaking of baking and crying, one of our all-time favorite Megan Seling pieces was “The Long Winter,” a riveting piece about the time she attempted to bake 106 different kinds of Martha Stewart holiday cookies in two months.

• Megan Seling is also a skilled reviewer of children’s movies! We love her ability to hilariously call out the bullshit that is shown to kids, while helpfully noting the films that are appropriate for “7-year-olds with the memory of a goldfish.”

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This Is the Best 1:12 Minute Song About Breakfast That You'll Hear All Year!

Posted by on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 12:19 PM

I am so glad Reggie and the Full Effect is back! I've missed you, Reggie!

The new album, No Country for Old Musicians, was released on Tuesday (and they're playing Vera in February!)—now blasting this and having a 1:12 minute dance party is my new favorite way to start each morning:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Barsuk!: Talking About the Past, Present, and Future with Seattle's Nicest Record Label

Posted by on Thu, Nov 7, 2013 at 10:45 AM

JOSH ROSENFELD Genuinely nice.
  • KAREN MOSKOWITZ
  • JOSH ROSENFELD Genuinely nice.

That "nice guys finish last" cliché is such bullshit, and Barusk Records prove it. For 15 years, the Seattle-based record label has worked hard to be an artist-friendly label, and they've been able to survive and adapt in an ever-changing, often-tumultuous environment without sacrificing their ultimate goal of putting out good music made by good people. That's no small feat! To celebrate their 15th anniversary, the label has gathered together bands and musicians from both the present and the past for a four-night party, featuring performances from Nada Surf, the Long Winters, Jesse Sykes, Rocky Votolato, Say Hi, and more. (See the full schedule at barsuk.com/xv.)

I spoke with label cofounder Josh Rosenfeld about Barsuk's past and future, because even though they already have 15 years in the bag, they don't have any plans to stop anytime soon.

Looking over the last 15 years worth of artists you've worked with, obviously you have the big successes that everyone's familiar with, but Barsuk has this underappreciated side. Bands like the Prom, they came and they went, but they were so fucking great. Do you have any favorite bands like that? Either ones that broke up before they got too big, or ones you really wish had sold more records?

I do indeed. And some of them are playing on these anniversary shows, coincidentally. I was very, very excited when the Prom confirmed because I feel the same way that you do about them. Similarly, Sunset Valley—I love Sunset Valley. They were around for a while, but they just never developed a big fan base for a variety of reasons. The records that they put out—in fact, most of them are not on Barsuk—are so good. I'm really excited that they're playing. I think their album Ice Pond remains one of the best things that we've ever released.

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Barsuk's four-night celebration starts tonight with Nada Surf, Mates of State, the Prom, and SPECIAL GUESTS OOOH I WONDER WHO IT IS!?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Iron Chic's New Album The Constant One Sounds Just Like an Iron Chic Record, Which Is to Say It's Very Great

Posted by on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 11:24 AM

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Iron Chic sound like Iron Chic—the band has never strayed too far from their familiar formula of bittersweet and brusque melodic punk. Their heart-on-sleeve lyrics are often about trying to find the bright side despite being worn down or overwhelmed ("Life could be a comedy, but I don't really get the joke/Still I crack a smile and fall down just for the hell of it") with the words shouted out as gang vocals over driving, invigorating guitars and drumming. I call it buddy punk (a term I also apply to Iron Chic predecessor Latterman). Song after song it's the same, but Iron Chic are one of the few bands that can pull that off without being boring. Because I love what they do so much, I don't mind that it's all they do. I've listened to their 2010 release Not Like This on a regular basis for three years without getting tired of it; I've listened to their new record (officially out today!) several times a day for the last several weeks and I still can get enough. They're The Constant Ones. Get it? Ha ha snort! Sorry.

What makes The Constant One so great? Well, let's have a look. I heard the internet liked reading things in list form, so here are three reasons why the new Iron Chic record is so fucking good:

1) Gin Blossoms references! There's a song called "True Miserable Experience" (I see what you guys did there) with the lyrics "We were singing 'Hey Jealousy"/we drove the town and let the cops chase us around." I'm a sucker for not-so-subtle ’90s nostalgia.

2) Erica Freas from RVIVR on guest vocals! I love Freas's voice—it's coarse and unapologetically confident and her back-up vocals double the sing-along factor on "Don't Drive Angry." It's so good! Don't drive angry, but do drive while screaming this song at the top of your lungs.

3) It's poppy punk that doesn't hate women! HOORAY for not whining about how terrible ladies are! I know it's 2013 and it's not quite the epidemic it was back in the day (thanks/no thanks Blink-182), but I extra appreciate it when an all-male punk rock band chooses to not devote their entire catalog to how much the opposite sex can suck.

Steam The Constant One here; you can buy it (on two-tone vinyl!) via Bridge 9.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Upset's Debut Record, She's Gone, Is Out Today!

Posted by on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM

There's a lot of new music out today—Russian Circles, Arcade Fire, a Death Cab reissue (with unreleased tracks!)—but you should absolutely make room in your listening schedule for the new Upset debut, She's Gone.

Here's what I said in this week's music section:

The songs—nearly all of them falling under the three-minute mark (as any decent pop punk song does)—bounce through memories of going back to school, dealing with mean girls, and messing around with crushes. While its youthful energy is definitely fun enough to still resonate with adults, it's also the record you should pass on to any tweens and teenagers you know—Upset's perfect balance of confidence and unpretentiousness will inspire anyone who listens to pick up a guitar or drumsticks (or at least have a very loud sing-along in their bedroom).

For further Upset news, read my interview with singer Ali Koehler here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Get Upset: Ali Koehler Talks Pop Punk and Dogs Wearing Sunglasses

Posted by on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 10:17 AM

UPSET: (From left) Jennifer Prince, Ali Koehler, Maddie, and Patty motherfucking Schemel.
  • UPSET: (From left) Jennifer Prince, Ali Koehler, Maddie, and Patty motherfucking Schemel.

Get stoked, pop punk fans, your favorite record of 2013 is out this week! Upset, the new trio featuring Ali Koehler (Vivian Girls), Patty Schemel (motherfucking Hole!), and Jennifer Prince, are releasing their debut, She's Gone, on October 29, and it is the best sugary delight one could hope to find in the bottom of their trick-or-treat bag.

The songs—nearly all of them falling under the three-minute mark (as any decent pop punk song does)—bounce through memories of going back to school, dealing with mean girls, and messing around with crushes. While its youthful energy is definitely fun enough to still resonate with adults, it's also the record you should pass on to any tweens and teenagers you know—Upset's perfect balance of confidence and unpretentiousness will inspire anyone who listens to pick up a guitar or drumsticks (or at least have a very loud sing-along in their bedroom).

Singer Ali Koehler kindly answered my questions about pop punk, mean internet commenters, and, of course, the fluffy white sunglasses-wearing dog in their promo photo.

My first question, the most important question: What is the name of the dog in your promo photo, the one wearing sunglasses?

That's Maddie, the photographer's dog. We took all these serious photos, and then she jumped into our lap, and the dog's owner was like, "Oh, I've got a good idea," and put some sunglasses on her. It was really funny.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

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Tattoo of the Day

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I Saw U (at Steely Dan)

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