Line Out Music & the City at Night

On Tour

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Graveface Roadshow Must Go On!

Posted by on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM

Tomorrow night, the Graveface Roadshow rolls into town and plays at the Vera Project. (You can check out my Underage preview right over here). A few days ago, the tour van carrying members of the Casket Girls, the Stargazer Lilies, and Dreamend was totaled in an accident; no one was injured, and no tour dates have been canceled, but the bands could use your help.

When you make a purchase over at the Graveface Records' Bandcamp, all proceeds will go towards repair and rental van costs. This includes the new album from the Casket Girls, True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, along with releases from bands like Hospital Ships, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Dosh, and many more Graveface artists who won't be in Seattle on Saturday night.

Get acclimated to some Graveface music before the show! Help keep the spooky and spritely pop dream alive! Click here!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Coathangers Throw Things, Deface Record Covers, Release a New Song, and Hit the Road

Posted by on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 2:55 PM

  • Photo by Ryan Russell / Suicide Squeeze Records
Two weeks ago, the Black Lips released a new song, which KEXP has been spinning regularly, and now their tour mates, the Coathangers, have decided to get in on that new release action with "Follow Me," which makes me want to do just that. I'm getting a punk-metal Motorhead-meets-Girlschool vibe, and that's always a good thing (I also hear echoes of the Ramones and the Slits).

Like the Black Lips, the Coathangers 1) rock hard, 2) hail from Atlanta, but to judge by their press photos, they could take the male quartet—even though there's just three of them: guitarist Julia Kugel, bass player Meredith Franco, and drummer Stephanie Luke.

I've never seen the trio play live, but I doubt they offer up the kind of soporific lullabies that would sooth a newborn to sleep, unless your offspring looks like this.* (Seriously, click that link! Best movie baby ever. Larry Cohen always wins.)

* I never miss an opportunity to reference the It Baby. My spirit animal.

Check out the record cover-defacing album trailer below.

Continue reading »

Forget the Title: Boston Trio Quilt's "Tired & Buttered" Ranks Among Their Finest Songs to Date

Posted by on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Cute band alert
  • Photo by Allison Pharmakis / Mexican Summer
I recently received a message from a publicist announcing that Quilt had released a new track, "Tie Up the Tides," off their upcoming album, Held in Splendor.

It's not bad—I don't think they're capable of recording a bad track—but it didn't grab me like last year's "Arctic Shark" (even if the press notes describe it as "the centerpiece of the record").

The email also included a link to the unpromisingly-titled "Tired & Buttered," however, and I fell for that one immediately. Other than Issac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul, "butter" rarely adds much to a song or album title—let alone band names like We Butter the Bread with Butter. I'm not sure exactly why, but it turns me off, and the "tired" and "buttered" combo doesn't even make much sense.

In any case, Shane Butler takes over on vocals from Anna Fox Rochinski, and he's got a fine voice, too. I agree with the Soundcloud user who compares it to latter-period Beatles. I suspect she might be thinking of "Taxman" due to the fluid guitar lead and breakneck pace—plus Byrds harmonies—and I love that kind of stuff.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Happens When the Black Lips Get the Blues (and Break Out the Leather and Chains)

Posted by on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Vice Records
  • Photo by the great Mick Rock / Vice Records
This. This swampy, slow-motion, bloozy lament, "Boys in the Wood," is the thing that happens, and I like it, which should come as little surprise: I like the Black Lips. But as much as I wanted to love their last record, 2011's Arabia Mountain, it didn't quite work for me. I have a feeling their follow-up will be more to my liking.

First of all, there's that great Mick Rock photo on the cover. Rock came to fame by way of his portraits of Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Queen, and numerous others, including the covers of Reed's Transformer and Queen's Sheer Heart Attack.

Then there's their alliance with Charles Bradley music director Tommy Brenneck, who's also worked with Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse. Based on Bradley's work, that seems like a promising partnership—in fact, "Boys in the Wood" shares a similar arrangement with the singer's stunning cover of Nirvana's "Stay Away."

Not sure what's up with that chain, but it looks they're ready to rumble.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Spartan Poster of the Week Contender

Posted by on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 12:20 PM

  • K.C. Fennessy
  • The corner of Dexter and Denny on a Monday night

Aaron Huffman may have something else in mind, but I wanted to nominate the design above as Poster of the Week (especially since last week's lovely PotW wasn't show-related). In this case, I couldn't make out the text the first time I walked past this poster, but it caused me to do a double take, at which point, I was able to decipher the Wooden Shjips text. Most posters don't cause me to look twice, so I consider that a plus. I also like the way the beardos in the drawing look like they sprang from an illustrated version of a Greek text, like Homer's Odyssey (or a preliminary panel from Frank Miller and Lynn Varley's 300*).

* Seen the trailer for the sequel yet? Eva Green aside, it looks like a steaming pile of...CGI.

Wooden Shjips play The Crocodile on Jan 17 with Kinski and Black Whales.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Step into the Static with TV Ghost

Posted by on Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 8:30 AM

  • In the Red Records
TV Ghost's rich, fulsome brand of darkwave nods to recent practitioners like Soft Moon and Girls Names, but front man Tim Gick brings a more emotive vocal style to the swirling morass. In that sense, they remind me of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Rather than Oakland, Belfast, or Liverpool, however, the quintet (Gick, Tristan Ivas, Jackson VanHorn, Brahne Hoeft, and Jimmy Frezza) hails from the unlikely environs of Lafayette, IN. Then again, I've never been there, so maybe times have gotten pretty grim in the Hoosier State.

To quote In the Red's amusingly pessimistic press notes circa TV Ghost's 2009 debut, Cold Fish, the group "usher in a vile and squalid new disposition to ugly art punk, and have carved out a black hole of pestilence that will delight its sufferers to no end." Well hell, count me in! See below for the more kosmische "Elevator."

Continue reading »

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mutual Benefit's Debut Album, Love's Crushing Diamond, Is a Low-Key Gem

Posted by on Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Photo by Whitney Lee
  • Other Music Recording Co.
  • Photo by Jordan's sister, synth player Whitney Lee
Mutual Benefit
Love's Crushing Diamond
(Other Music Recording Co.)

I cannot tell a lie: I had to listen to this record several times before I was able to form a definitive opinion. Not that I didn't like it from the start, but Mutual Benefit's debut failed to grab me, and I hoped that it would, since it features many of the musical ingredients I enjoy the most: sunshine pop, pastoral folk, and subtle psychedelic touches. Plus: violin, saw, and lines that captured my imagination like, "We weren't made to be afraid."

There's a lot going on here, but Love's Crushing Diamond is also an understated piece of work; so understated that it recalls some of the easy-listening outfits of yesteryear, particularly the Association and Free Design—"That Light That's Blinding" could almost pass for a Bread composition (just add a sprinkling of female vocals). Jordan Lee's music isn't gonna hit you over the head, and I expected a little of that after the hype from Pitchfork ("Best New Music") and other outlets.

Continue reading »

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dirty Three Guitarist Mick Turner's New Bag of Tricks Includes a Veteran Australian Vocalist

Posted by on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 10:24 AM

  • Drag City
When I first found out that Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner was releasing a new solo album, I hit "play" on the first single with some idea as to what to expect.

Most of all, I assumed that "Sometimes" would either forgo vocals, like Turner's primary outfit, or feature the timeworn voice of a middle-aged Australian musician (his previous full-lengths, Tren Phantasma, Marlan Rosa, and MOTH, were instrumental affairs).

That's not what the song delivers. Instead, the lovely, deceptively youthful voice of a woman rises above the accordion-saturated, jazz-tinged melody. Though Turner has also worked with Bonny Prince Billy and Cat Power, Melbourne vocalist and visual artist Caroline Kennedy-McCracken (the Plums, Deadstar, the Tulips) brings her own understated style to the mix (she's seven years White's junior, but registers as even younger). In theory, the combination evokes You Follow Me, the 2007 record Nina Nastasia made with Turner's band mate, drummer Jim White, except Kennedy-McCracken doesn't sound like Nastasia either (instead, she brings Lisa Germano to my mind). A really pleasant surprise.

Drag City releases Don't Tell the Driver on Nov 19. On Nov 20, Turner opens for Bill Callahan at Neumos.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jacco Gardner Releases a New Song and Video ("The End of August") and Hits the Road

Posted by on Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Cabinet of Curiosities cover art
  • Trouble in Mind
  • Cabinet of Curiosities cover art
It's hardly unprecedented for a musician to release a non-LP track while they're in the midst of promoting a new album—or setting off on their first North American tour—but the mellotron-infused "The End of August" doesn't appear on Jacco Gardner's debut, A Cabinet of Curiosities.

What's more notable about it: the song ranks among the finest that the Dutch multi-instrumentalist has released to date (so far, he's released two singles and one full-length). Not only did Gardner play all of the instruments, except for the drums, but he also directed the wistful, montage-filled video. Not bad for a 25-year-old—not bad for an artist of any age, really.

Fun fact: Pre-mastering on Cabinet was provided by Dutch engineer Jan Audier (Q65, Golden Earring, the Motion) on his collection of '60s analog equipment.

Continue reading »

Monday, September 30, 2013

Bill Callahan, Circuit des Yeux's Haley Fohr, and the Art of Selecting an Opening Act

Posted by on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 at 1:16 PM

  • Lewis + Lynn Records
  • Circuit des Yeux (Haley Fohr)
The practice of taking an artist on tour who echoes the headliner in some way makes perfect sense. The audience that shows up for the star of the show would also seem likely to enjoy an opening act that reflects their aesthetic in some way. That isn't how Bill Callahan does things—not lately, at any rate.

Like the Clash, who toured with Mikey Dread, or Jon Spencer, who toured with R.L. Burnside, Callahan rejects the idea that his tour partners need to share his race, age, gender, or genre. I'm not predicting that he's about to hit the road with Swans or Lee "Scratch" Perry anytime soon, but it wouldn't completely surprise me either (his fine new record, Dream River, features dub arrangements and drumming from Swans' Thor Harris).

In the past three years, Callahan has toured with Michael Chapman, Lonnie Holley, and Mick Turner of the Dirty Three. Callahan is 47, Turner is 53, Holley is 63, and Chapman is 72. Going by age alone, they're more likely to have influenced him than vice versa, but his name gives him the clout to introduce his favorite musicians to people who might not have heard them otherwise. Not everyone will like what they hear, but I doubt that's the point, since a few new fans are better than none, and I'd rather see artists take chances on occasion, even—or especially—at the risk of alienating their least adventurous admirers.

Continue reading »

Friday, September 27, 2013

CAVE's Ghostly "Shikaakwa" Video Integrates Vector Rescanning and Raster Manipulation

Posted by on Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Photo by Chris Olsen
  • Drag City
  • Photo by Chris Olsen
I've been looking forward to Chicago quartet CAVE's follow-up to motorik extravaganza Neverendless for two years now—though it feels longer.

To judge by the first song, "Shikaakwa," and its accompanying video, Threace should be worth the wait.

Though Drag City previously made a teaser video available, it was marred by goofy narration, though I love the last line: "Buy that fucker on Drag City."

The foursome (Cooper Crain, Jeremy Freeze, Dan Browning, and Rex McMurry) don't need a narrator—goofy or otherwise—to state their case. Like label mates Blues Control, they make music with enough power and conviction to stand on its own (I wrote about Crain's other fine project, Food Pyramid, in this post). For their fourth album, CAVE combined guitar, organ, and drums with flute and saxophone—then spliced the constituent parts into compelling configurations.

The video for "Shikaakwa" reminds me of those extreme close-ups of fleas and ticks, where you can see every scale on their exoskeletons such that those pesky critters gain a certain grandeur. Here's how director Nick Ciontea describes it:

This music video came as an extension of what we had already
established as CAVE's live show over the course of 2013. The style
known as "vector rescanning" or "raster manipulation" originated
with the Rutt-Etra scan processor in 1972. But, with the techno-
logy rarely remembered and devices next to impossible to find, we
used LZX industries and Brownshoesonly video synthesizers to "program" these signals and send them out to a vector monitor
where it was "re-scanned" or filmed off the monitor screen.

Gonna watch it over and over again until the rain stops—see you next year!

Drag City releases Threace on Oct 15. Cave plays the Triple Door on Oct. 11.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Little Boots @ Decibel

Posted by on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Little Boots Tour T-Shirt
  • Little Boots Tour T-Shirt
To continue our quest for neverending write-ups about Little Boots—and because of this massive Decibel gap (tsk!)—no one should underestimate this Friday's return Seattle performance by one of Britain's sharpest and warmest electronic pop hearts.

Her new phase began a couple of years ago with "Shake", a longform rave-disco gambit which inspired a clip that avoids the music-video-with-kids cliché by being directed, designed, choreographed, and acted out by the children themselves, and all through a charity.

More recently, however, "All For You" zeroes in on all things small and vulnerable and brand new single "Satellite" is a mega-delightful, Kylie o'clock moment that dawns like glitter at the end of the exceptional and nebulous — and yet overflowing with hooks — follow-up Nocturnes. Unlike the '70s retro-dance pastiche everywhere else these days, Little Boots glides along the rail of both the nostalgic and the futuristic.

Rare and wonderful.

And she brings a light-up dress.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jacuzzi Boys In Seattle October 19th @ The Neptune

Posted by on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Miami's finest just announced their newest tour, with Wavves and King Tuff, which will include a Seattle stop. Have you heard their third, self-titled LP out now on Hardly Art? Liiiiiiisten, up! (And sounds like Gloria Estefan? Read!)

  • Christiaan Lopez-Miro / Hardly Art Records

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Growlers' B-Movie Video for "One Million Lovers" Is a Black-and-White Delight

Posted by on Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM

  • Everloving Records
The Growlers are a band on the move. Within the past month alone, the Costa Mesa, CA quintet has announced a new video, a new EP, and a new tour.

This September, they're hitting the road as part of Burger Records' Burgerama Caravan of Stars with Gap Dream, Cosmonauts, and together PANGEA (they're also throwing their annual Beach Goth Party in October). Then, their label, Everloving Records, releases the Gilded Pleasures EP in November. But I'm most excited about the video for "One Million Lovers" off their third album, Hung at Heart. I liked the psych-country track from the start, but the silver-tinged, slightly NSFW clip, which recalls The American Astronaut, seals the deal by way of director Taylor Bonin's blend of handcrafted psychedelic effects and science fiction tropes for a fun and trippy experience.

The Growlers' Hung at Heart is out now on Everloving Records. The Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour comes to Neumos on Sept 20. Ticket and other info here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In Her Latest Video, Scout Niblett Dresses Like Snow White to Spread the Joy of "Gun"

Posted by on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Photo by Devin Ludwig
  • Drag City
  • Photo by Devin Ludwig
Since the gut-wrenching song "Gun," which appears on this year's It's Up to Emma, revolves around jealousy and vengeance, you might expect a video that follows suit, except Scout Niblett thrives on visual contrasts. If her music lives in the shadows, her image embraces the light.

In this Jeff Rowles-directed video, she dresses up as Snow White and visits a fairground to spread happiness and joy, which means smiling, waving, riding the merry-go-round, and posing for photo ops. She accepts no money for her services, and appears to be taking the guerrilla approach to the Wonderful World of Disney, but she's a benevolent interloper, so there's nothing here for the famously litigious Walt Disney Company to lose any sleep over—in her edgiest move, she rocks out on a toy guitar. That said, I doubt they'll be switching out "It's a Small World (After All)" with "Gun" anytime soon.

Continue reading »

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Blow Returns with "Make It Up"

Posted by on Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 11:56 AM

  • Kanine Records
  • Photo: Kyle Dean Reinford
After some time away, former Northwest electro-pop duo the Blow (Khaela Maricich and Melissa Dyne) return with "Make It Up," and it's an artful blend of pleasing harmonies, quasi-industrial percussion, and spacious production. Somehow they've managed to put together a piece that's intricate yet minimal and buoyant yet earthy.

As Maricich told Stereogum about their process, "Since we aren't a band with a guitarist and a drummer the sky is the limit in terms of what sounds we can use, and it actually took a lot of experimentation before we found the elements that complemented the lyrics and melody in exactly the right way."

After joining together in Portland in 2006, the couple moved to Brooklyn in 2008 (the Blow began as Maricich's solo project before becoming a duo with former partner Jona Bechtolt, aka Yacht). Seven years later, Maricich and Dyne are finally releasing their first album, the fifth to bear the Blow name. I'm not sure why it took so long, but this single indicates that it was worth the wait.

Kanine Records releases The Blow on Oct 1. The duo plays Neumos on Oct 21.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lonnie Holley: In the Studio and On Tour with Bradford Cox, Cole Alexander, and Bill Callahan

Posted by on Fri, Aug 9, 2013 at 3:12 PM

  • Dust-to-Digital
Though he's been doing his self-taught, improvisational thing for several years now, there's a younger generation of performers who've been aligning themselves with Alabama artist and musician Lonnie Holley as of late.

First, there's Bradford Cox and Cole Alexander, who appear on his upcoming album, Keeping a Record of It (I reviewed his 2012 debut, Just Before Music, here).

Then, there's Bill Callahan who'll be touring with him this fall. Callahan has a knack for choosing veteran performers as his opening acts, like Holley and Michael Chapman, though Callahan's upcoming Seattle date switches out Holley with Mick Turner of Venom P. Stinger and the Dirty Three (more info at this link).

Check out album track "Six Space Shuttles and 144,000 Elephants" below.

Continue reading »

Monday, August 5, 2013

On Ty Segall's New Project, Fuzz, and the Unrelenting Pace of His Production

Posted by on Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Fuzz: Charlie Moothart, Ty Segall, and Roland Cosio
  • In the Red
  • Fuzz: Charlie Moothart, Ty Segall, and Roland Cosio
I have no idea why Ty Segall is so prolific, an exasperating habit he seems to have picked up from his friend John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees. (And I have no idea why Dwyer is so prolific either.)

At this point, I still follow both artists, because I like their work, but I stopped buying everything, even if quality control remains relatively high, because I don't have all the time, money, and/or shelf space in the world, and there are other acts competing for my attention (I still need to pick up Segall's Twins, the superior successor to Goodbye Bread, but I keep forgetting).

My theory is that Segall subconsciously thinks he's going to die young or to burn out on music-making, so he's trying to get as much out of his system now while he still has the energy, the ideas, and the motivation, since he might not be around in the coming decades (the fact that he was adopted may or may not figure into this scenario). Is he really that fatalistic? I have no idea, but it worked for German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. He died young, and he didn't leave a particularly pretty corpse behind because he was, as they say, burning the candle at both ends, but he wrote and directed a staggering number of plays, films, and television productions that fans, critics, and academics will be reading, watching, and analyzing for centuries to come (my favorites include the towering miniseries Berlin Alexanderplatz and the wrenching melodrama Ali: Fear Eats the Soul). I seriously doubt that Segall has been looking for inspiration to Fassbinder, who was known for his prodigious drug use, but stranger things have happened.

Continue reading »

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mike Donovan Ends Sic Alps, Releases New Single, and Hits the Road with Ty Segall

Posted by on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 at 1:41 PM

low res image by William Keihn
  • Drag City
  • Image by William Keihn
Around the same time Drag City announced the release of Sic Alps' "She's on Top" EP, they announced the dates for Ty Segall's tour with front man Mike Donovan. I didn't think too much about it, because it isn't that unusual for band singers and/or leaders, like Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard to issue a solo recording or to tour on their own (furthermore, Donovan issued a solo cassette, Hippy's Putting the Band Back Together, in 2004).

Then, two weeks ago, Donovan announced that Sic Alps were no more, and this week, the label released the first single off his upcoming solo album. It doesn't resemble any of the raucous numbers on the EP, but it does harken back to some of the quieter moments on the band's last and, I would imagine, final full-length (fittingly titled Sic Alps).

Mostly, it reminds me of Led Zeppelin III due to Donovan's Jimmy Page-like slide-guitar moves. Wot also includes a song called "Sic Ballad." I wonder if he recounts the Alps' breakup in it? And I'll assume that another track, "Sexual Reassignment Surgery Blues," isn't autobiographical, though Mike's a man of many surprises.

Continue reading »

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