by Josh Bis
on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Key Arena
Last night, local boys made good, Ryan Lewis and Macklemore played the first of a three-night engagement (can we call it a "residency"?) at Key Arena. Although I was just in that hallowed venue a week ago for a Ball of the Hall Decking variety, I can't actually remember the last time that I went to an actual "arena show" on this level. Let me assure you, it was a real Positive Vibrations Power Hour Spectacular that included all of the hits—as someone who hasn't been a close follower of their rise to fame, their recent cultural dominance is such that I recognized almost everything. It was equal parts fun and mind-boggling.
Some semi-anthropological wide-eyed observations, as well as a few more photos taken from the back of the arena along with a gaggle of photographers clustered near the sound booth (but taking care not to obstruct the views of people who "payed to be there"), after the jump.
I don't think there were ever any shit covers of early Pretty Things songs. Not from Americans, at least; even tho' this version of "Don't Bring Me Down" is sightly stock, it holds up.
This 45 was issued as a double 'A' side, one side censored and the other uncensored. Seems like the standards assumed the line "laid her on the ground" was too suggestive. Uh, I kinda think the "beep" makes it sound as if he really said "fucked," but then what would else you expect from Florida!?
HM Subjects were a Miami, Florida band and first known as the Montells, who's cool "You Can't Make Me" has been widely comped. The band were heavily influenced by the English groups, directly, as their drummer had spent time in the UK. As by the HM Subjects they had two 45s, as by the Montells they had only one 45.
With the platinum wig he sports in this photo, L.A. producer-musician Jack Name (John Webster Johns, touring guitarist with White Fence) has a look that matches his glam-rock handle. Same goes for the new song "Pure Terror," which has the majesty of Queen and the sci-fi glitter stylings of Mick Ronson-era David Bowie.
Vocally, Name recalls Richard O'Brien ("Riff Raff"), creator and co-star of The Rocky Horror Show, which means that everything about this track says 1973, my favorite musical year—though I doubt he was even around then.
Listen to the mp3 here (it isn't currently available on Soundcloud or YouTube).
In the press notes, John Dwyer of the Oh Sees calls Name "a rare entity and a genius story/songsmith." About his debut album, Light Show, Dwyer adds, "It's as honest as it is good for you. The sounds are a dense and ever-shifting beast—just an absolutely put-you-on-the-floor headphone record." Dwyer also compares him to Brian Eno, Gary Numan, Chrome, ELO, and Bruce Haack. Those are a lot of heady names, and I haven't heard the whole thing yet, but I'm definitely curious.
Drag City imprint God? releases Light Show on Jan 21, 2014.
Friday the 13th is lucky after all! I have three pairs of free tickets to shows coming up this Friday at various venues around town. There's positively something for everyone:
Ticket giveaway #1: Win a pair of tickets to see ZEPPARELLA, the all female tribute to Led Zeppelin (!), at the Tractor Tavern!
Ticket giveaway #2: Win a pair of tickets to see comedian/podcaster CHRIS HARDWICK at Showbox at the Market!
Ticket giveaway #3: Win a pair of tickets to see METALACHI, the world's first and only heavy-metal mariachi band, at El Corazon! (Why not?)
Be the first person to send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of the show you'd like to attend in the subject line, and the tickets are yours. You can enter to win tickets to all three shows, but you'll need to send three separate e-mails.
It’s usually around this time of the year that critics, fans, and other random bloggers start compiling and posting their end-of-the-year Top 10 lists. Personally, I will be waiting until the last week of 2013 to allow for any potential surprises, but one thing I do know at this point is that if nothing else changes my mind, Carcass’ long-awaited comeback record and altogether return–to–fucking-form Surgical Steel will undoubtedly top the list.
To be fair, it’s only half of the lineup they left off with—guitarist Michael Ammott opted to focus on his current brainchild, Arch Enemy, and his longtime side project Spiritual Beggers , while former drummer Ken Owen works toward a degree in Nottingham. OG lineup or not, guitarist Bill Steer and bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker don’t come close to soiling the great name of the almighty Carcass—you know, like Swansong did—instead, they bring forth a collection of songs that prove exactly why this band is regarded by many as legendary. They show glimpses of their former gorey grincore glory, but for the most part of the record, tread on into Heartwork-esque territories, always sprinkling that signature sense of melody throughout the brutality.
Competing with Carcass for this year’s comeback of the year is the one and only Gorguts. For those unfamiliar, checking out this song by these Canadian mind-benders...
Childbirth, the project of local wonder gals Stacy Peck (who made the video), Julia Shapiro, and Bree McKenna*—will be releasing their album IT'S A GIRL! on Help Yourself Records, January 7. Save the (due) date (ha ha ha).
*McKenna is a Stranger contributer and also my friend/band mate, but I would write about her projects even if we didn't know each other because COME ON, Childbirth is hilarious.
(Crocodile) Though I haven't seen them live yet, light internet stalking of Friends and Family (the band, not my actual friends and family, btdt) hints that this many-membered band's live shows might include, to my absolute delight: costumes, themes, dancing, theatrics. Their 2013 self-released record, Happy, Good-Looking, and In Love (mixed by the one and only Erik Blood) whisks you away into an intriguing pop drama of driving strings and drums, glamorous synth bursts, and happy horns, with sprinklings of early Arcade Fire and of Montreal–ish storytelling flair. And sequins. This show will also feature the dreamy spacegaze of Wishbeard, the swoony twilight pop of Night Cadet, and the heart-shaped folk of Tenderfoot.
by Dave Segal
on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 11:04 AM
Seattle-based experimental-music hotbed Debacle Records is having its annual December sale, offering 15-percent discounts on everything purchased through its Bandcamp (use the coupon code YULE). What makes Debacle so interesting is that owner Sam Melancon, in addition to having golden ears, refuses to push a monolithic sound. His roster is diverse and his catalog has an unpredictable trajectory. Artists working in the drone, cosmic disco, noise, post rock, improv, ambient, and other styles coexist in the Debaclesphere, united by a desire to sound distinctive. All of these musicians earned their creative freedom through sheer talent and interesting, unconventional ideas. Explore the expansive roster here.
The Wanted's "Lots More Where You Came From" is maybe one of the heaviest of the fuzz-led put-down songs; this track is so full of attitude and swagger!!
The Wanted were based in Detroit and had six 45s, four on Detroit Sound and two on A&M. Their biggest song was a fucking good version of Wilson Pickett's “In The Midnight Hour.” It was so good it charted #1 on local radio station WKNR in Detroit in early 1967. Oh, they also had a handful of appearances on Robin Seymour’s TV show Swingin’ Time.
You may know Ramona Barnes as a fashion designer. Or maybe she made you laugh, while she was waitressing at the 5 Point or Lost Lake. In any case, she's a Seattle gem of a lady. She's helping her sister fight a mean battle with leukemia. Here is the invite on Facebook.
Ramona's sister, Melissa, was diagnosed with leukemia in April. She has been undergoing chemotherapy ever since and will now be having a bone marrow transplant on December 6th. Ramona will be going to Florida for two months to act as Melissa's 24/7 caretaker during her recovery. To offset the cost of being out of work during this time, Ramona will need a little help from her friends!
There's a raffle/auction tonight, starting at 9 pm at The Unicorn/Narwahl. Neat items include: Paintings from Crystal Barbre and Shawn Diaz; two photos by me, Kelly O: a handmade brass bottle opener from Iacoli & McAllister; jewelry from Elizabeth Patterson Jewelry; Showbox and Crocodile tickets; gift cards and swag from Lucky Vintage, Big Mario's, 5 Point, Lost Lake, Elysian and Pony; clothing and accessories from Ramona Barnes and Prairie Underground; tattoo gift certificates to Under the Needle.
There's also a show tonite! With Josh Hartvigson, Jackie Hell, DJ Jess Wamre, comedy by Victoria Liss, and live music by Underworld Scum and Bad Motivators.
If you can't be there tonight—here's a donation link where you can contribute a dollar or three, at any time. Anything and everything helps.
Of particular local interest is this typically tripped-out thing-thing with Palaceer Lazaro in the mix:
Flying Lotus - "Hide Me" f/ Shabazz Palaces
If the prospect of a Flying Lotus/Black Constellation situation is exciting to you (it was inevitable, given that FlyLo did go and get the brilliant KahlilJoseph to do the same magic he did for SP for "When The Quiet Comes", remember—and then there was this brief collusion), then know this:
That said, does this mean this release is part of a project in the works—or does this mean that it's not going to get beyond the idea/draft/loop phase? Some of it definitely wouldn't be commercially released—such as the version of Yeezus' thunderous "Black Skinhead" with the beautiful butterfly-wing bass assists from FlyLo's homie Thundercat. Also contained therein is the "Stonecutters" track Lotus and 'Cat submitted for the GTA5 OST, a couple drafts of his newish Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme song, and a bunch of characteristically brief, soul-moving snippets.
Flying Lotus - "Flotus"
Whatever the case, it's all here for you, dear reader—and well worth your time and minimal phalangeal effort to procure.
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...
Toronto art rock outfit The Darcys keep making greatvideos for their songs from this year's album Warring. Check out their latest for "Itchy Blood" (which may be about what rich white girls do when TMZ isn't looking) and then ask yourself why you haven't been listening to one of the better albums of 2013.
Also, peep the nod to, and trampling on Brett Easton Ellis, and Dee Brown. Art school kids, aye-yay-yay.
My computer died last month, and I didn't get the chance to write about the Northwest Film Forum's tribute to Lou Reed, Soul Poet, which took place two weeks ago, so I decided to combine the pictures I took that night with a few I took at Bruce Pavitt's signing for Experiencing Nirvana at the Fantagraphics Store on Saturday (I finally got hold of a refurbished CPU a few days ago).
The two events aren't as incongruous as they seem. In both cases, my mind kept traveling back to Seattle in the 1980s and '90s.
That's par for the course when it comes to Nirvana, Sub Pop, etc., but there was more to it than that. Robert Roth, for instance, played at the Reed tribute with a lineup that included bassist Hiro Yamamoto, which didn't just remind me of Truly, but of Soundgarden, too, since I'll always associate him with that band, even if Hiro left 23 years ago. Roth's appearance also reminded me that he brought some Storybook Krooks cassettes to sell on consignment at Cellophane Square around 1989 or so. I thought he had a good voice then—and I was pleased to hear that he still does. But the Cellophane connections don't end there...
by Dave Segal
on Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM
(Hollow Earth Radio) Tokyo guitarist/vocalist Suzuki Junzo has played in the psych-rock combos Overhang Party and Miminokoto and collaborated with some of Japan's upper-echelon mind-melters, including Acid Mothers Temple's Kawabata Makoto. His repertoire includes spacey drones that evoke Ash Ra Tempel and Kluster's desolate, lunar tone nebulae, turbulent psychedelia that's more winter of hate than summer of love (see the aptly titled "Eight-Sided Infinity"), and fractured blues numbers that don't need vocals to convey hardship. Seattle's Bill Horist—who is one of the most articulate and perceptive musicians I've encountered—has been preparing guitars to generate unorthodox sounds in this city since 1997. The bizarre, surgically precise glossolalia that emanates from his instrument needs to be seen and heard to be believed. With Walt the Fish.
(KeyArena) Like any major pop event, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's "Same Love" attained its stature by riding several individual waves of significance. The first time I heard it, soundtracking the just-released video on YouTube, it felt like a great loving gesture from a hometown rapper to a city at the center of a statewide push for marriage equality. Five months later, hearing it blasting out of rooftop speakers over a street full of revelers celebrating the passage Referendum 74, it sounded like an organic anthem for a brave, inspiring, and distinctly Northwest reality. By the time I heard it blasting incessantly—INCESSANTLY—from corporate radio stations in Orlando and Nashville and Denver, "Same Love" had morphed into something I never would've dreamed: a true pop hit, which happened to be about gay equality. Not only are all who dismiss the song as mere pandering wrong, they miss the point: Never in the history of music has "pandering to gay political concerns" been a fast track to mainstream success. Quite the opposite. So grouse all you want (please! The writing and conversation inspired by "Same Love" is an important part of it). The song's part of history now. See also My Philosophy and Charity Challenge.