A conveyor belt rolls slowly down the corridor at the beginning of James Blake's collaboration with Brian Eno, "Digital Lion." The song sits at number seven on the track list of Blake's second full-length album, Overgrown. When the "Digital Lion" snare sounds hit, it's like a 300-pound bag of nickels being dropped from five stories up into a dump truck full of pillows. Blake's azure, dream-cast vibrato vocals swirl into the scene on top of a falling leaf. Then the conveyor belt turns into an engine room. Giant cylinders shake and pound to a distant and dire synth. Multiple layers of Blake's vocals sing—he switches his voice into an instrument threading the needle of the song through a gospel-scoped route. There's that electronic gospel component to James Blake. A frozen, stoic soul out of Enfield, London. Like his first album, Overgrown is precise and sparsely composed, but it seems to move more. Blake has absolute vocal control, showing a previously un-shown lower register on the first single, "Retrograde." The RZA collaboration on the track "Take a Fall for Me" sees the king from Wu Tang get intimate. I'd like an entire album of that. Blake spoke from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with an ease and lucidity to his speaking voice.
Do you ever have a problem knowing when a song is finished? As a producer, is it hard to keep yourself from adding things? If I can play a song to someone else and feel okay about it, and not want to fix it, that's when I know it's finished. When you play someone a song and all you hear are things you want to redo or fix, that's not such a good sign. I think it's better to get songs the way you want them, or you're going to have to relive that part you're not comfortable with over and over.
I have this image of you singing and playing your keys from the middle of a huge frozen lake. It's that icy, distant, wintry quality to some of your compositions. Have you had an experience in your life where you bonded with ice? Do you like igloos? Talk about igloos. I like igloos. I like the idea of playing on the middle of a big frozen lake. How about for the next video? I don't know if I've had any extra-special experiences with ice, though.
James Blake plays tonight at Showbox SoDo with Nosaj Thing.
Haunted Horses' album Watcher roves its eyes down tight catacomb passages. Tamped-earth elements of industrial and experimental noise cast post-rock, death-psych shadows. Corroded loops seep in and cycle under veiled, moaning vocals. There is a possessed tension to the songs—a dissonance that's by design. Deranged arrangements anesthetize, then spike and surge through vocalist/guitarist Colin Dawson, leaving him no choice but to scream. Drummer Myke Pelly cleaves with primal precision, heavy as hell. For Pelly, see also: Bolontiku, a group of nine Mayan underworld gods—his drumming speaks of them. The making of Watcher brought a third Haunted Horse to the fold, bassist Troy Ayala (of Stickers). Bass added to the Pelly-Dawson battery renders volume levels that you feel in your intestines. Despite Watcher's clawing, maddened tones, the Seattle-based three wield volume well—no one's being executed or tortured. Watcher wants autonomy. It wants those held down to stand up. It wants oppressors overthrown. Corporate-owned politicians beware. Haunted Horses recently returned from a monthlong, cross-country tour. We met at 1 a.m. in the furnace room under a house in Shoreline. A single, uncovered lightbulb hung. We all stood.
How was the tour? Colin Dawson: It was a collage of experiences. We wandered into the woods with strangers looking for shrines in Pennsylvania. We made children cry in Indianapolis. We saw people fuck during a set in Minneapolis [laughs]. And there was this Lynch-esque venue in Baltimore, complete with a small person perched on a stool to cook, as roaches scattered in every direction.
An old, robed man opens a microwave oven and puts a cockroach inside. He sets the power to high and cranks the timer for as long as it will go. Slayer's "God Send Death" begins. The old man laughs, loose and yowling. Slayer's napalm guitars lay out in fired lines as the cockroach jolts and spasms in a panic, looking for a way out. Its roach thoughts are, "Fucking fuck. Hot. HOT. Inside me? SCALDing. Out of here. Whaat the f-FUCK is happening??!" Tom Araya screams (from the diaphragm), "Watch you die inside!!!" Double-kick drums batter, splatter, and ram. In its previous life, the cockroach was 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Now he's on his back with insect legs flicking in the air, being cooked from the inside. For 30 years, 11 studio albums, and two Grammys, Slayer's rifling, exacted thrash metal has dealt with dark, unpretty subject matters. In "Necrophiliac," you've got sex with the dead; "Jihad" is told from a terrorist's perspective. It can be uncomfortable, even controversial. Their album Christ Illusion was banned from India in 2006. But they're just songs, remember. Sadly, this past May, guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman passed away from liver failure. A great one, was he. Tom Araya spoke from his home in Texas.
The way you play and sing, it's no fucking cakewalk. A song like "Necrophobic." You're moving through a minefield at high speed. What's it like doing that song?
Out of everything we've ever done, that one has to be the most obscure one to sing and play—with the timing of that riff change. When we did the album, we made all the music first, and didn't really have any lyrics. When we practiced in the garage on Hope Street, we knew the songs musically, and recorded them without vocals in like a week. Jeff had ideas written, but nothing was complete. We wrote the lyrics in the studio—I didn't have a whole lot of time to get inside the songs and feel them out. That song in particular, when you listen to what's being played, and then what I'm singing, [pauses] it's a fucked-up song [laughs]. It took a while for me to be able to do it. The crazy melody line, and the way the riffs are played, compared to what I'm singing. It's a bunch of hurdles. And having to get that knee up just perfectly to get past that hurdle was really hard.
Slayer play the WaMu Theater tonight.
Ever been to an ultra-swanky party just to get the finger food? That quick-hitting luxury meat item on a toothpick, or olives with some sort of cheese you can't pronounce. That's Hunx and His Punx—they're that tray of sexed and sweaty punk you want. The 12 songs on their Hardly Art–released album Street Punk have a total run time of 20 minutes—"Everyone's a Pussy (Fuck You Dude)" clocks in at 30 seconds, and "Don't Call Me Fabulous" is even shorter. One or two chews, tops, are all these songs need. Or just swallow them whole! Singer/crotch-model Seth Bogart is quick smart, screamy, and raunchy with proteins. The Kelly O Stranger Awards Committee previously bestowed him with the Gayest Punk Rocker the World Has Ever Seen title. Together with his Oakland-/LA-based Punx, Shannon Shaw (of Shannon and the Clams) and Erin Emslie, they make beautiful and lewd punk rock music. Fast, funny, insolent, and untamed—just like it should be. Bogart spoke from his home in LA. He was about to go to the beach.
Have you picked out your sleek beachwear for the day?
I'll just go with a Speedo. I like nude beaches, but they don't have those here. My beach Speedo is kind of boring. It's still a million degrees here.
Do you ever get into the Euro-thong look? You would dominate the Euro-thong.
Absolutely. Look at yourself!
Oh yeah. I'm looking at myself right now since you said that.
Hunx & His Punx play Chop Suey tonight with Wimps and Coconut Coolouts.
Two words are about to appear before you. Those words are PUNK and ROCK. When you see those words, one of the first thoughts that will undoubtedly flash into your head is the Ramones. The Sex Pistols, the Clash, and the Damned may also flash, along with Richard Hell, or Sid Vicious. You might think about injecting heroin. Or maybe you think punk rock is dead. The reason the Ramones appear among these initial thoughts is they are that formative, significant, and influential to the punk sound and movement. To 1978 we go, to Manhattan—315 Bowery at Bleecker Street, CBGB, where Dee Dee Ramone asked drummer Marc Bell to join the Ramones. Marc said yes, became Marky Ramone, and would go on to be the Ramones' mainstay drummer until their end in 1996 (with a break from '83 to '87 for "personal reasons"). Marky's drumming combines heft, speed, meter, and, most importantly, stamina—perfect for the Ramones. As the only surviving member of their iconic lineup, Marky is touring with a band fronted by Andrew W.K. and playing a set of more than 30 Ramones songs. Marky carries on the legacy because he feels the songs are too good not be played and experienced. He spoke from his home in New York with a low, sturdy, down-to-business Brooklyn accent. For a legend, I didn't expect him to be so sincere and courteous.
How did Andrew W.K. become involved with this current tour and band?
He was suggested by a friend who used to help run Studio 54, and he was interested. So we met up, and I gave him the set list that I wanted to do, and he rehearsed it on his own. Then he came to a rehearsal, and it worked. I didn't want a clone of any of the Ramones; I wanted a guy who could do it his way, engage the audience—he really pulls it off. So far, we've been to 12 different countries together.
You drummed with Andrew W.K. for a portion of his Guinness-World-Record-setting feat of drumming for 24 hours straight—a superhuman accomplishment.
Yeah, he'd been going for about two hours when I sat in with him. He was pacing himself. It was a fun thing. He did it—24 hours—the proof is there. It's a great record.
Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg with Andrew WK and Figo is at Neumos tonight!
Jon Bon Jovi and Dina Martina are two of our country's leading drag queens. They're performers who have faced unique challenges and prospered. Since 1984, the schlock New Jersey hair rock of Bon Jovi has sold 130 million albums worldwide. You know, "Shot through the heart, you're to blame, you give love a bad name," whether you want to or not. Dina Martina, famous Bryman College sorceress, will be midway through a run of shows at New York's Laurie Beechman Theatre when this column appears in print. Martina has keen insight into the mind and world of Jon Bon Jovi—she met him in Kauai during the shooting of Ivan Reitman's film Six Days, Seven Nights starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche. (Heche had just gone public with her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres.) More recently, Bon Jovi was a runner-up on RuPaul's Drag Race. I met Martina at the Sephora across from Westlake Center, where she was browsing the eye shadows. She had on huge red sunglasses and some sort of green cap. We spoke briefly about the Bon Jovi show and then went up the street and got a table at Cyber-Dogs.
What's Jon Bon Jovi like? Did you two bond in Kauai over being higher-profile drag queens?
I think Jon Bon Jovi is probably a nice man altogether. Compared to the other nincompoops out there playing music professionally from that era. Those boys from Mötley Crüe don't seem like nice people. The drummer Tommy Lee made sex tapes and wasn't nice to his wife from Baywatch. Oh yes, you could say I bonded with Bon Jovi [laughs]. I was a fan before they were big—my best friend Barbara is from New Jersey where they're from. We called her Babs Jovi.
What were you doing in Kauai?
My second husband, Steve, and I had our honeymoon there.
Bon Jovi plays the Tacoma Dome tonight.
Kingdom Crumbs construct ascendant architecture out of beats. Their lyrical assemblages climb into and see out from edifice cakes of eyes. Levitated, ambient Brian Eno crossbeams connect sky to street, Funkadelic, and b-boy individuation. Tay Sean, Mikey Nice, Jarv Dee, and Jerm D are Seattle-based versifiers and musicians. The strength and face of their music lies in the notes and spaces they're not playing. These Crumbs live in the offbeat, in the spot hidden between girders. On their self-titled, Cloud Nice–released full-length, they rap from the unconscious, maintaining intent. Live, they wile out while provoking contemplation. Kingdom Crumbs also give the listener different levels they can get in on. There's the undeniable fun and sweat of dance grooves—or deeper, the hesitating, vacillated, human-made beats where reflection and a message take place. For this interview, we met at the International District's Panama Hotel Tea House. A fine coconut oolong was poured.
Because it's Decibel, let's touch on your beats. "Pick Both Sides of My Brain," that's a fat beat.
Tay: I vividly remember making that beat. I'd been listening to some Tyler, the Creator and hearing this drastic juxtaposition of atonal sounds paired with melody. Tyler's "Yonkers" cut had just come out. It starts off with a dissonant pulse, and then he comes in with pretty chords later in the song and layers them together at points. When I started making the beat for "Both Sides," I had the bass sounds at the interval of a sixth—six half-steps from where the root key on the chord starts. That interval has this atonal tension to it, like the lines aren't in the same key.
Tay: Tones that don't fall in our normal Western diatonic scale.
Kingdom Crumbs play the Showbox at the Market tonight as part of Decibel Festival with Shabazz Palaces, Helio Sequence, and THEESatisfaction.
Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard of Anaheim pop band Thee Makeout Party! founded the cassette-dominant Burger Records in the year AD 2007. With it, they engrained a nonstop, can-do, DIY ethos. Two years later, they opened a Burger record, tape, and video store with Brian Flores in Fullerton, 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles, billowing the Burger zeal across the land through their myriad releases of psych, garage, bubblegum, flowered pop, and punk. Burger-produced shows have also steadily expanded, with the second Burgerama selling out two nights at the 1,000-seat Santa Ana Observatory. A sampling of the Burger family includes releases from King Tuff, Brian Jonestown Massacre, La Luz, Hunx and His Punx, Nobunny, Mean Jeans, Diarrhea Planet, and the Go. The label’s work means constant activity and push; thus, the Burger mode is happy-go-worky very hard, love your bands, and do good philanthropically. In the face of the corporate, Miley-Virus, music-business malaise, Burger Records is a beacon. Their Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour is upon us. For this interview, Sean Bohrman and members of the Growlers, Gap Dream, and together PANGEA did a four-way. There was laughter and jollity throughout.
How does Burger Records decide what bands they’re putting out? What’s the philosophy? Bohrman: We just listen for what we like—there’s no science to it. We work really, really, really hard all day every day. There’s nothing we do that doesn’t have some kind of relation to Burger. If you like working hard and smoking lots of weed, come chill with us!
Talk about one of your songs. Gap Dream: I wrote “Fantastic Sam” about Lee giving me boots and about walking up to Starbucks.
Together PANGEA: For “River,” we were drinking a lot of 40s in Canada. And we really like sandwiches.
The Burgerama Caravan of Stars Tour with the Growlers, Cosmonauts, Gap Dream, and more is tonight at Neumos! 6 pm, all ages, $15.
Peanut Butter Wolf (Chris Manak) is the Los Angeles–based DJ/producer and mastermind-contriver behind Stones Throw Records. Can you say they're the best record label in the world? If you're having that conversation, Stones Throw is in there, and they're up there. People like to classify Stones Throw as a "leading name in underground hiphop circles," but they're not underground—Stones Throw is the ground. The innate-gold ground, tasty ground, or foreground—the consistently what's-what ground. Since 1996, Manak has simply been putting out what he likes. And what he likes is the shit. His J Dilla connection brought about the holy Donuts (and last year's all-7-inch reissue). Then there's the vitalical (yes, that's vital, critical, crucial, essential) nature of Madlib/Madvillain. More recently, Manak has spread his spectrum with James Pants, DâM-FunK, and Mayer Hawthorne. At his core, Manak is a crate-digger extraordinaire whose ear-brain can smell what the world needs to hear. Manak spoke, calling in from Montebello, California.
You've been on the road. Do tell us a road story. The worse the better.
I have a bad one. It's good, though. Bad meaning good, I guess. We were driving in the tour bus near Denver, and out of the blue, I started having breathing problems. I couldn't figure out what it was. First, I thought it was a panic attack, then I thought it was the altitude, being in Denver. Then I just thought I was losing my mind and asked them to pull the bus over. I'd kind of let it go for a long time because I didn't want anybody to think I was a weirdo. I really couldn't figure out what it was. We googled it, and someone thought it might be cabin fever from being in the bus too long. I thought maybe it was a mosquito bite and the mosquito had malaria or something. Or the flu. Or a spider bite.
Peanut Butter Wolf plays Re-bar tonight with the New Law, Zac Hendrix, and Shapey.
In the '80s, there were jelly shoes, and people were hopping on Pogo balls. Every piece of clothing had shoulder pads. It was a time of awkward, stylized spryness. E.T. and Michael Jackson had a fling. Techno music was born, Pac-Man chomped eight-bit dots, Hungry Hungry Hippos and Prozac were invented. Denise Huxtable ran it ALL. In 1981, a band from London called the Psychedelic Furs released the album Talk Talk Talk on Columbia Records. The single was "Pretty in Pink." In 1985, Molly Ringwald asked director John Hughes to write a movie based on the song. She loved it, and could cry better than anyone at your prom. Singer Richard Butler's voice hinted at David Bowie's, and the Furs' dour, poshy post-punk pop became a defining sound of the decade. They touched on an arty new wave and probably never played Hungry Hungry Hippos. Sprung out of the British punk scene of the late '70s, they would go on to cut austere mega-hits like "Love My Way." It was hot, "white hot," as Ringwald would say. Bassist and founding member Tim Butler spoke—in a beautiful, wafting, cursive English accent—from his home in Liberty, Kentucky. He was sitting in his car outside a grocery store waiting for his wife.
How'd you end up in Kentucky? Something tells me Liberty, Kentucky, is slightly different than the London post-punk scene.
Well, I met my wife on MySpace, when that was going strong, and we began a long-distance relationship. I'd fly down here to see her, and she'd fly up to Southern New Jersey where I was living, which ain't the prettiest or friendliest place. I wanted to move because I was ending a previous relationship, and she said, "Why don't you come down and live in Kentucky? I've got a house." And here I am six years later, happily married, and calling Kentucky home [laughs]. Lots of horse farms here—Kentucky is similar to where I grew up in the countryside of England, with the rolling hillsides and all the green.
You met on MySpace. What happened? Were y'all in each other's Top Eight?
She had been a fan since she was 14 or 15 years old—way back, around the time of the Forever Now album. I guess she had sort of a crush on me. I had gotten on MySpace, and she found me. We started talking, one thing led to another, and here I am. I guess MySpace is trying to make a comeback with Justin Timberlake.
The Psychedelic Furs play the Showbox at the Market tonight.
There are certain things in the world that make you move. Hurricane-force winds, for instance, or a machine gun spraying bullets at your feet. A freight train headed directly at you will also generally cause movement. A glacier? Glaciers move mountains. Then there's Sacramento/New York band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Now, even though !!! aren't a freight train or a glacier, their hirsute disco-house will move you. Actually, they are a freight train, and you want 'em to mow you down. The rhythm guitar is unstoppable—Mario Andreoni's fitted rhythm fans across the frets. Add a little wah-wah, some distortion, a slight phaser effect, at 120 beats per minute? Kablam! You've got a dance-punk craze on your hands. Or did, in 2004, with their release Louden Up Now. Presently, with their fifth studio album, Thr!!!er, the dirt of the craze has been glossed up a bit, but that doesn't mean it's any less danceable.
Leading the !!! charge is singer/chant specialist Nic Offer. During the band's instrumental sections, he conducts interpretive, aerobic hand-jive workshops. The music controls him. Look for strut-hopping and hip-thrusting, where it's Mr. Offer if you're nasty. The combustion is infectious. So Saturday, raise your Shishkaberries high to the sky, succumb to the Offer, and commence gusto-movement therapy. If you can't dance to !!!, you're either a desert cactus or Michelangelo's David. Offer spoke.
Do you believe in spontaneous combustion?
Like where people just burst into flames? I don't know. This past Saturday, we played on a beach in San Sebastián, Spain. Immediately after the encore, I kicked off my shoes, ripped off my shirt, and ran and jumped in the ocean. I wasn't on fire, but I'd like to think I was.
!!! play Bumbershoot today at 6:15 pm on the Fisher Green Stage.
August 13, 2013, Hades: Ozzy Osbourne sits in a dark, cylindrical room. He sticks a needle into his arm, drawing blood into a rubber tube that's connected to a pen. He's writing, with his own blood transfused as ink, a postscript to Black Sabbath's new album, 13. "Wake up!" his scrawl screams. "The masses aren't mindless anymore!" This isn't the reality-show Ozzy; this is the doomsday jester Ozzy—the Blotto Devil-Bard—and he's back, singing on a Sabbath album for the first time in 35 years. He releases the tourniquet around his arm, shrieking as the blood-ink comes; Sabbath's song "Snowblind" booms back and forth through the air like Edgar Allan Poe's scythe blade in "The Pit and the Pendulum."
Black Sabbath's slowness—decelerated intervals of sludge and pain—can't be replicated. Guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward sling tar-covered riffs. It's doom. The doom is coming. They drain the transition on a downbeat into a blues-based, hidden-chamber jam. If you think heavy metal, you have to think Black Sabbath. And now they're back—three-quarters of them, anyway. Ward is absent due to business disagreements and an "un-signable contract." (Drummer Tommy Clufetos currently mans the live kit.) Another obstacle was Iommi's lymphoma diagnosis, which he's successfully battled. Thus, their Rick Rubin–produced 13 is the first Ozzy-sung Sabbath album in 35 years, and the first number-one album of their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career. Geezer Butler spoke from New York. His Birmingham, England, accent is regal. When he says the word "singer," he says sing-ah.
How was the show in New York?
It was great. Jam-packed. Fantastic.
Black Sabbath are about as holy as it gets. How does it feel to be holy?
[Laughs] Or unholy. You know, we never expected it to last this long. When we first started, all we wanted to do was get a record deal, and that was it. Something to show our parents. And here we are, more than 40 years later.
Black Sabbath play the Gorge Amphitheater Saturday, August 24.
Best Coast's Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno didn't want to stray too far from their simplistic, sun-streaked compositional mode for their second album, The Only Place. In the title track, Cosentino sings clearly, "Why would you live anywhere else? We've got the ocean, got the babes/Got the sun, we've got the waves." The album touches a Patsy Cline, garage-surf nerve, an Eagles/Fleetwood Mac spin on country songs recorded in the '60s.
Where the band did change things up is on the production end. By working with big-gun producer Jon Brion (Aimee Mann, Kanye West, Beck), and recording at hallowed Capitol Studios (Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys) in their hometown of Los Angeles, Best Coast made a conscious decision to polish the lo-fi angle of their first album, Crazy for You. The resultant sonics are bigger and cleaner; without the dirtier elements, Cosentino's beautifully sheer vocals stand out more. The Only Place isn't the album to play during your ayahuasca vision quest (that's for Miles Davis's Live-Evil or Big Fun), but it could be a fit as a highway driving companion. On this current tour, Cosentino and Bruno are joined by Brett Mielke and Brady Miller on bass and drums. Cosentino spoke. Neither of us were on ayahuasca.
Best Coast play Neumos tonight with Cumulus.
Since 2003, the Brooklyn/France-based provocatesses CocoRosie have been executing gangster-nymph vaudevilles of helium. This past May, the duo released their fifth album, Tales of a GrassWidow. Sisters Bianca and Sierra Casady fuse genres in 12 songs: freak-art, electro-operatic, folk-rap. It's an estrogen-charged outré vision where emotive compositions mix epics and beatboxing into elfin, beat-strung lullabies. Pianos are stoically composed, and a sheen of synth and beats is laced intricately via Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Björk, Feist). There's really no chicanery with CocoRosie—these women have formed their own unique, intelligent mold, and live, their show is potent.
The Casady sisters are strong-willed, pro-female leads who are unafraid to let their themes grate against society's male-dominated grain. They very much stand for equality of the sexes, and are there as voices to point out injustices toward women (and Mother Earth). In the GrassWidow song "Child Bride," Sierra sings, "Whose little girl am I? The man with the black hat will take me home tonight." The Emma Freeman directed video for the song shows a (literally) muzzled young girl being married off to a foul, wicked man in a macabre religious ceremony, like her mother before her. Not surprisingly, it’s well done and punches buttons. CocoRosie will be in Seattle (at Neumos) on October 25. Bianca spoke from Munich, Germany. CocoRosie will be in Seattle (at Neumos) on October 25. Bianca spoke from Munich, Germany.
How's Munich? Is it manic in Munich?
I've always wanted to ask someone that. It's rainy and cold for summer. I'm hazing from the bumpy drive. Not so manic.
Since 2003, frequencies from the Postal Service have been combing the tiny hairs of our inner ears. The tamped, mechanical sieve of Jimmy Tamborello's beats and the eased harmonies of Ben Gibbard, Jenny Lewis, and Jen Wood know our temporal lobes well. Along the nerve routes of our auditory cortex, they've posited the characters of their melodies. There goes Clark Gable, swimming the spiral channels of our cochlea again. Somehow, it's not an image that ever tires—our inner ear as the London Underground, smeared with black ink. Or mirroring eye-freckles, fire escapes, and a figure in the dark who knows who shot JFK. In the recent video for "Tattered Line of String," the Postal Service hooks us once again with their audio imagery. It's a flip on a man at a laundromat, directed by Parisian team AB/CD/CD, where the world is washed and spun instead of his clothes. As the video ends, the man is falling up into the sky. The shot is clear and fitting—inside out, but right. To Ben Gibbard we go, as true and tranquil a troubadour as there is. When he spoke, my inner ear saw his songs.
Where are you?
Fremont. Coming at you live and direct.
Has the announcement been made about the Postal Service headlining WrestleMania IX? Playing all Molly Hatchet covers. Can I break that?
What, that we're headlining WrestleMania? Yeah, sure, why not. Is there a halftime? We're the halftime show. I can't say anything about the Molly Hatchet.
I wanted to talk about your friendship with the world speed-eating champion Kobayashi. You met in Tokyo in 2006, and over the years, y'all have become super-tight?
I'd say we're super-tight, yeah. You know, I've been getting into running, and marathons—right now, I'm training to do a 50K in October. And if you think about it, ultrarunning is only a step away from competitive eating. As an ultramarathoner, you're pushing your body to achieve things that are outside the norm. Kobayashi and I have that in common. We meet up for a light lunch when we can.
The Postal Service play the KeyArena tomorrow night with Big Freedia.
Brothers of the Sonic Cloth play the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee tomorrow in Georgetown.TAD bored a hole in your head, and you loved them for it. They were big, nasty, nutso—their deafening, darkened heaviness helped usher in the hallowed sound of Sup Pop's dominant early-'90s era. Exhibit A: "Behemoth" off TAD's 1989 release God's Balls—a perfect storm of punishing guitar, crazed vocals, and blistered playing. Onstage, Tad enacted the character of a madman-butcher to the hilt; his oversize frame and agile hurling of meat-flesh-riffage and hair was a thing of wonder. Between songs at shows, his chatter with the crowd was renowned. If you were lucky, Tad would tell you to fuck off. If you were luckier, Tad would dive off the stage and crush you, and then tell you to fuck off three more times.
Life after TAD for Sir Doyle brought about more heaviness with now-defunct band Hog Molly, and his current band, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (his wife, Peggy Doyle, on bass and Dave French on drums), who pound and roam down stoned, 12-minute-long corridors of doom, psych, and metal. As well as playing music, Tad Doyle also applies his engineering knowledge to recording, mixing, and mastering bands in his own Witch Ape Studio.
Hi. We're Bles and Emecks from Don't Talk to the Cops! Sometimes Trent plays drums for us. He went to King of the Hill grocery to get some chips, so we borrowed his computer for a minute. Trent had interviewed some band, or someone, or David Bowie, but it was all blah, blah, blah—what's it like to be so famous? And I married Iman. Sorry, Dave Bowie, we know you did "Ground Control Eats Major Tums" in outer space, and Labyrinth was pretty good—you looked snappy in the tight pants with the zucchini in there. We didn't mean to delete your interview, but it's the Fourth of July and we're gonna go ahead and make this a Don't Talk to the Cops! Firecracking Special. With safety and potato-chip tips.
Bles: Hey, Emecks, we're on the radio!! I mean, we're doing a column!
Emecks: Yeah! What should we talk about? I think David Bowie would like the BRAND-NEW VIDEO for our song "Gimme That 80s Butt." Off our new album, Champions of Breakfast, that's already sold 12,351,000 copies. It's Butt-tastic.
B: Yes. We had the honor of filming some of the flyest ladies in the land. Look for cameos from Robert Vaughn, Space Bieber, and Danny McBride. It was filmed on Tupac Island. Should we expose the myth of Tupac Island?
E: Everyone already knows about the island Tupac bought when he faked his own death, and that he put out 17 albums after he died to build up the island as an oasis for other rappers who faked their own death, like Tim Dog, Eazy-E, and Kross from Kris Kross. Also, talking about ourselves is lame. It's Fourth of July, let's talk about fireworks!
Seattle-based magma rock three-piece Event Staph have a scrappy, raw, and punk quickness. It's not power rock, but there's power in the chunks. With well-aimed fingers, it slaps you in the face. You don't even realize you've been slapped—you were gazing sluggishly at YouTube cat videos, and then WHAP. Guitar-firing vocalist and lead man Shawn Lawlor screams and scurries torrents on the frets. Jamie Jaspers and Brian Voss lock and explode respectfully on bass and drums. In their song "Woody Allen," Lawlor expounds: "Woody Allen is an asshole! You don't adopt a kid/Bring her in your home... Leave her the fuck alone!" This Event Staph combo sprouts boomed-out inklings of Dead Kennedys and Imperial Teen hooking up at a NoMeansNo show. Shawn, Jamie, and Brian spoke. I was not slapped.
What's the origin of your band name?
S: Our name was Event Staff initially because we could find one-of-a-kind shirts already made with our name on the back at thrift stores, usually for 99 cents, and we'd give them away at shows. Then I got MRSA on my hand—that's methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—and soon realized changing the spelling would be a little cheeky [laughs].
B: Our previous band was called Studfinder. Event Staph was for our gigs for events. Weddings and birthdays and stuff. It evolved with the MRSA.
Let's talk about your song "Woody Allen." What are your Woody Allen thoughts?
S: Any way you look at his marriage, it's pretty fucked up—there is a 35-year difference in their ages. This song was written as a reminder to people of what Woody Allen is. People like to defend his "brilliance" as a director, but this song is a call for everyone to STOP watching Woody Allen movies.
Seattle's own '60s-fed, garage-rock, she-surfer band Tea Cozies have a new video for the song "Cosmic Osmo" off their Bang Up EP. The imagery is hard, bizarre, and ultra-clear, while the music is stoic and drifting above. There's an ambiguous darkness and a mystery to the scenes. Veins bulge, a worm pulses out of a bloody, broken test tube. It's unsettling and ugly, but you can't look away. A dead, bald, silver man on a gurney bleeds from a slit in his forehead. A woman in a red sequined dress dances next to him. You can't see her face, but you're bracing for more worms to emerge. It's wrong, yet attractive somehow (spoiler: There are goats). Directors Nik Perleros and Ty Migota successfully hinge on quick-cutting, slo-mo perversity—their sordid shots leave you both turned off and on. In musical news, the Cozies' Jessi Reed, Brady Harvey, and Jeff Anderson will now be joined by Kithkin's Ian McCutcheon on drums. The four are at work on a new album. Jessi, Brady, and Nik spoke. I thought about worms.
What are y'all going for with the video? It's a doozy.
B: We want the viewer to say, "WTF was that? And why is it so beautiful? But WTF was that?"
J: It was time to do something seriously fucking weird, and Nik was our guy.