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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hercules & Love Affair Announce Tour! Oh, But It's Not Coming To Seattle

posted by on September 18 at 9:09 AM


Hercules and Love Affair North American Tour

10/3 San Francisco, CA Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
10/4 Los Angeles, CA Detour Festival
10/17 Chicago, IL Metro
10/18 Toronto, ON Opera House
10/19 Montreal, QC Les Saints
10/22 Boston, MA Middle East Downstairs
10/31 Philadelphia,PA Transit (Making Time Halloween party)
11/1 New York,NY Hammerstein Ballroom
(with B-52s and James Murphy)
11/2 Washington, DC 9:30 Club

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tussle, Free Blood, ESG, DFA, NYC

posted by on September 15 at 12:40 PM

Because I've just come back from vacation in New York (happy to be back where the heat—in those few weeks when there is heat—isn't a wet, sweaty, soiled blanket), and I don't have much Seattle-specific to write about yet today, some more musical happenings from NYC (with occasional Seattle connections):

On Thursday night, wound up as a plus one at some fashion party at the Tribeca Grand where XXXChange, Eric from Rub n Tug, and the DFA's Jacques Renault were DJing. Also there: Seattle's own Pretty Titty, Xavier de Rosnay of Justice, seemingly hundreds of very sharply dressed young folks. I called the previous night's Special Disco Version at Santo's a hip scene, but not a hipster scene; this night was rather the opposite, the sort of party that doesn't quite make me sympathetic to the odd Adbusters screed so much as it makes me think that My Own Personal BrandTM might just be a little more low key (and low class). Ditched out on the party for Happy Endings before Free Blood played.

Which was fine, because Free Blood played a Todd P warehouse show in Bushwick the next day along with Tussle, and it was much more chill. Tussle sounded better than ever—two drummers interlocking tight, Tomo Yasuda (also of Hey Willpower, etc) stretching his fingers around rubbery bass lines, a shadowy figure in the background holding down keys and delays. They played a number of cuts from their forthcoming Cream Cuts, and while its songs aren't exactly a new direction for the band—just more moving bass and drum grooves with dubby, noisy accents—it's probably their best sounding album, matched by the sonic quality of their live show. The band played in a corner, the walls buttressed with noise-dampening mattresses. Kids (meant loosely, though it was all-ages) danced (there was plenty of room) and drank. The whole thing was delightfully dirty and DIY. The PA and stage lights cut out during one song, but Tussle's drummers just kept drumming, and the crowd kept dancing and clapping along, and when the lights came back on and the bass kicked back in, the audience went nuts. If they could get away with it, I'd say Tussle should orchestrate and overcome a blown fuse at every show—the crowd really ate it up. Free Blood, sounded great, their pre-programmed electro grooves abetted by a guest live guitarist, John Pugh spending most of the show down on the floor, working the crowd into a proper funk. Free Blood isn't hitting Seattle again (they were last here with Hot Chip) any time soon, but Tussle play the Comet on Wednesday Oct 1st, and it should be a total blast (maybe they'll even blow a fuse).

On Saturday night, while Seattle was Geniusing, caught legendary Bronx dance band ESG at Santo's. The band playing that night consisted of three original Scroggins sisters—Renee on vocals, Valerie on drums, and Maria on congas—a guitarist and bassist, as well as two younger girls on vocals. These two girls were pretty amazing—not so much as singers, although they were fine, but as dancing, crowd exhorting, hand clapping, t-shirt throwing entertainers. They were big stage presences—big hair, big bodies, big expressions—the kind of black girls you might imagine Beth Ditto or Tracy Turnblad wanting to be. They were by far the flashiest presences on stage, but it was still mostly just cool to see the Scroggins sisters (who all basically just look like somebodies aunts) working out some of their classics live. They opened with a particularly vampy take on "You're No Good." They played a perfectly compelling version of "Dance." They played "UFO," its singular (and heavily sampled) live guitar loop sounding just searing live. I'm not sure if it counts as an old cut or a new one (released in 1991, but recorded when?), but "Erase You," vocals provided by one of the group's new, younger ladies, just killed. They also played a lot of newer material, though, more traditional sounding and more relaxed funk jams filled out with cheesy guitar to distract from their more monotonous (and overlong) grooves. Still, their classics remain just that, they sounded supreme on Santo's sound system (gushed over in previous posts here), and they were a rare treat to witness live, even this late in the game.

Left ESG after a goodly amount of songs to head over to the record release party of DFA duo Runaway in Brookyln. The duo's tracks are all dark disco and re-edits, but their at-capacity party was playing La Bouche while would-be revelers waited outside for the small club to clear enough room for more people to enter. The music wasn't all gay euro house (alas), but neither was it as consistently cool as the act's recorded output.

On Sunday, saw Matt & Kim in Williamsburg's vegan-friendly ice cream parlour, Penny Licks—not performing, just buying ice cream.

(My left ear never properly popped on the plane home.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Special Disco Version

posted by on September 11 at 4:35 PM


Special Disco Version at Santo's Party House in NY is basically like James Murphy & Pat Mahoney's Fabric mix come to life. Which is to say, awesome!

Santo's Party House, the club Murphy co-owns along with Andrew WK, is ideal, as well as obviously designed by some serious A/V geeks. The walls above the bars and around the dance floor were lined with speakers, boxes of 10" cones hanging overhead, piping high-end while some sub massaged the dance floor with bass. One or two guys manned an expensive, colorfully lit-up sound board all night. A friend told me the club had their sound installed by the same guy who did the legendary Paradise Garage and/or Danceteria. A guy named Vlad said the sound reminded him of a club in Berlin whose name I couldn't make out due to his accent—it just sounded like he was saying Berlin again but mumbling, or maybe "Being". Anyway, in Berlin. (Segal with the assist: Berghain.) The place had the biggest disco ball I've ever seen, Roman columns on the dance floor (so Hercules) and it looked like they had a neon "Special Disco Version" sign behind the elevated DJ booth, although that may have just been a projection.

The place was full—and full of Seattle expats, including Byron Kalet of the Journal of Popular Noise and DJ Glitterpants—but never so full that you couldn't easily carve out some room on the dance floor. Murphy and Mahoney mixed disco 12"s all night long ("hey, where's their laptop?"), bringing the energy up and down several times throughout the night, sometimes smoothly mixing, sometimes not bothering (which I guess you get away with a few times a night when everyone knows you can really mix). It was a hip scene, but not a hipster scene. There was some wicked vogueing happening. I have to say, it was everything that Studio dreams of being. I still wish I'd gotten to see the Juan MacLean last night too though; that video looks awesome (and for the record, Juan is a deadpan comic genius).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NY Excuse

posted by on September 10 at 9:05 AM

Hey, how 'bout that Crocodile?! Sorry I missed all the action yesterday, I spent all day at the airport then on a plane to NY, where I'm on vacation this week (don't worry, "bobcat," I'll be sure to "slander" the under construction club as soon as I get home.)

In the meantime, a little NYC scene report:

-OMG! Allison Wolfe from Bratmobile was on the Airtrain at JFK!

-Daedelus played a show last night, but my plane was hours delayed due to weather, so I missed it. Bummer, because dude is a blast live, as entertaining for gear geeks as he is for regular revelers; I highly recommend you don't miss him this Saturday at the Stranger Genius Awards Party at the Moore Theater, along with James Pants (with live band), Dyme Def, and Emerald City Soul Club.

-Tonight: James Murphy & Pat Mahoney, of LCD Soundsystem and this sublime Fabric mix spin their Special Disco Version night at Santos. We'll see how it stands up to Seattle's own Wednesday disco weekly, Studio at Havana. In any case, hopefully it will be enough to make me forget what a great show I'm missing at in Seattle tonight at Nectar with the Juan MacLean.

Friday, August 22, 2008

In Praise Of Salem

posted by on August 22 at 1:51 PM

Why YOU should play Salem, Oregon, ASAP:

On the few occasions my band has been able to scrounge together the time and money to tour, we've taken care to book Salem as our final gig before heading home. The local bands are fantastic, the audiences are hungry, and the scene is tight. If you're genuine, you'll fit right in.

Continue reading "In Praise Of Salem" »

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Total Fest Saturday: Get Naked and Dance

posted by on August 17 at 4:02 PM


A frustrated Partman Parthorse kicked off the final night of Total Fest, struggling with amps, microphones, cables, sound guys. As usual, singer Gary Smith undressed down to a pair of ripped black underpants, giving the audience and his band a strip tease as he crooned. He was noticeably frustrated with the situation after “driving seven fucking hours to get here,” and tore around the stage, demanding the mic be turned louder and louder until it was clipping with every scream of “Don’t fuck with the horse, you’ll get the hu-hu-hooves.”

Next were the Limbs, a one-man band from Denver. With an electric guitar, harmonica, kick, snare, tambourine, and hi-hat, you would never be able to tell without looking that there wasn’t a full band on stage. Bellingham’s the Narrows slowed things down with a set of heavy, brooding rock. Maybe it was just seeing them out in the country, but their sound would make a perfect score to the Jim Jarmusch movie Dead Man. I enjoy slow, droney music as much as the next guy, but I usually end up wishing after about ten minutes that I had someplace comfortable to sit down. The downstairs Palace stage at the Badlander is a giant room literally filled with couches. Best festival ever. Upstairs, the Trucks were the first band of the weekend to really get the crowd dancing. An unexpected but awesome moment was Kristen Allen-Zito letting out a staggering death metal scream of “No I won’t sit nice and be quiet!” They played two new songs that signaled some maturation in their songwriting without sacrificing any of the fun.

Tom Glose of Portland’s Black Elk is a salty old dog. That man has about the worst attitude as anyone I’ve ever seen. Once again there were problems with the microphones, and much like the singer of Partman Parthorse, Glose got pretty mad about it. Deciding to keep with the earlier band’s routine, he began stripping off his clothes as well. By the second song he had gotten completely naked, save for a strip of duct tape in his ass crack and another across his legs and dick. The audience shared some obvious discomfort at the sight of the agitated naked man, but it was quickly overpowered by the sheer dominance of the band’s performance. Black Elk played a brutal, dominating set. Somehow that bitter old bastard didn’t seem out of place screaming his guts out with his dangle bouncing around for everyone to see (and photograph). It almost seemed to push the band’s performance to a higher level.


A level that was then immediately matched, if not surpassed by San Francisco’s Triclops!. This band kicks and unbelievable amount of ass. They are a hybrid of punk and prog, in your face and screaming when the Mars Volta would be off noodling. Singer Johnny No’s spirit animal is a jackal, and to him the audience is raw meat. He spent as much time on top of the crowd as in front of it, wailing through a vocal effects pedal. Their debut record Out of Africa is great, one of my favorite rock records of the year, but it doesn’t nearly do the band’s live performance justice. I couldn’t help but wonder if Johnny watched the set before, if he knew how many times Glose wiped the sweat from his ass crack and balls and then smeared it all over the mic. If there was any guy at Total Fest who wouldn’t care though, it would probably be Johnny.


Having done time in the Bellingham music scene, I’ve been a big Federation X fan for years. They never got the respect they deserved as a great Northwest band, but I guess they also were never really striving to get it. It was odd then to have them headlining the final night of such a huge festival, with their performance being touted as their only show of 2008. Other than friends from Bellingham, I’ve never met any out-and-out Fed X fans, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a full crowd of people dancing and chanting along to their songs. The band was obviously and sometimes painfully rusty, like when they butchered my favorite song of theirs “Gone Too Long,” but the crowd didn’t really seem to mind. Eventually the band hit their stride and nailed the first two tracks off of American Folk Horror to end the set. I don’t even know if Federation X would have even gotten a sing along in Bellingham, but in Missoula their performance was an excuse for an excited crowd to go all out. It was a pleasantly unexpected end to a not-unexpectedly fantastic festival. The amount of grass-roots planning and hard work that went in to Total Fest by the music lovers of Missoula and Wantage Records is an exemplary and all too rare feat. It was an oasis of awesome in an otherwise dog shit summer. Big thanks to Lou and Wendy for letting me and my crew crash their house for three beer-soaked days. We had a hell of a time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Total Fest Friday: Riff Party

posted by on August 16 at 12:12 PM


Missoula, Montana, you know how to please this man. Total Fest is a total party – nights full of great rock bands from around the country and days full of chicken fried steak, barbeques, and drinking Hamms in a river. I wish I had the time or energy to talk about all of the bands on the second day at the three-stage Badlander, cause there’s been a lot of good stuff, but there’s a good reason the headliners were chosen to finish off such massive bills (44 bands in three days) so I'm going to talk about them. Last night, the text message I got a few months ago telling me, “Dude, Nudity are playing the Comet 2Nite!” got some new context. I’m not exactly sure what to call Nudity’s brand of drug-rock jamming. They’re not “classic rock” jams, but they’re definitely rooted in classic rock. “Classic Rock Revival Jams?” “We still like drugs and long hair and were in Tight Bros From Way Back When Jams?” “We sound like Earthless but without as many riffs Jams?” Any way you categorize them, they laid down a thick and enjoyable session, although my associate Tim said he didn’t like them as much as I did because he wasn’t drunk.


Akimbo has a hell of a hard time getting to Missoula for some reason. Their van broke down again on the way to Total Fest this year, forcing them to get a rental car in Ellensburg and abandon most of their gear. Nudity was generous enough to let the band use their rigs, which from the side of the stage, I surprisingly thought Akimbo sounded better through than their own gear (informing the band of this after the show, Jon was sure to let me know I was wrong, and stupid). I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics this last week, so I can’t help but compare Akimbo to the US Women’s Gymnastics team. They had some tough breaks with their trusty van “Sacramone” breaking down on them, but they powered through without her, and when it was go time they stuck that god damn landing and snatched the gold. They seemed to be the crowd favorite again this year, even over the final act, Saviours. I love this band: They are an unstoppable four-headed riff monster, all of its limbs working together in perfect harmony. The fact that Missoula would have them headline such a solid festival only makes me love this place that much more.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Bad Dudes, Black Eyes, and Broken Feet

posted by on August 15 at 11:01 AM

Total Fest. 44 bands over three days in beautiful Missoula, Montana. Thursday was the kickoff - a bit smaller than the nights to follow (only two stages instead of three), but a solid opening night nonetheless. The first highlight of day one: LA’s Bad Dudes. They just played in Seattle Wednesday night at the Holy Mountain on Eastlake, but I had no idea what was coming when they took the stage in Missoula. I actually mistakenly thought they were Rad Dudes, that band comprised of a guy and his 5 year old son. Nope, these guys are a ridiculously talented 5 piece that, even though they won’t cop to it when asked, are writing triumphant, harmonizing NES video game music, complete with a keyboardist properly versed in the art of Rick Wakeman. For anybody who ever heard the Advantage and thought, “It would be awesome if these guys actually wrote their own songs,” Bad Dudes are the answer.


They were followed by a particularly revved up Black Eyes and Neckties, on their first night of a two week tour. These guys always dominate the stage, but last night they destroyed it. There was the usual thrashing and flailing, but by the end of the set the band took to climbing. Guitarist Josh Holland made it up to the top of the PA before realizing there really wasn’t much he could do up there, handed his guitar down and hopped off. Singer Brad Lockhart however had climbed up onto a 15 foot ledge and was now faced with a difficult decision: “Now that I’m up here, what do I do?” The answer: Jump. He chose…poorly. Always the showman, Brad opted not to hit the couch below him and go straight to the floor instead, which he crumpled onto like so much bloody laundry. He broke one of his feet and sprained both of his ankles. Holland ripped off his shirt and toppled over his Soldano amp. His back was covered in blood. The first night of a two week tour. Sorry for the shit luck, Black Eyes, but if it’s any consolation, it was a hell of a spectacle, and a hell of an opening night.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In the Beginning

posted by on August 5 at 2:51 PM

MetalMonk.jpgGod created the heaven and the earth.

God said, let there be light, and there was light. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Metal.

And then God said, sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight. Exit light, enter night. Take my hand, off to Never Never Land.

Cut now to Milan, Italy, where there is a sixty-two year old monk that sings for a metal band called Fratello Metallo or Brother Metal. His name is Brother Cesare Bonizzi and he is of the Capuchin Order. Bonizzi is a cross between Anthony Hopkins with a ZZ Top beard, Methuselah, Cannibal Corpse, and Obi-Won Kenobi.

Brother Metal has just released their second album called Misteri (Mysteries), inspired by a group of southern Italian women who sang about Jesus' mother Mary. Bonizzi also sings about alcohol warming the heart, but damaging the liver if drunk in excess. He also sings about how important sex is to man.

Sex, booze, and Brother Obi-Won Methuse-Corpse. It was only a matter of time before it happened.

Fratello Metallo has played shows with Iron Maiden and are doing well. Fifteen years ago, Bonizzi went to a Metallica concert and was completely taken by the energy of the sound. He formed the band and now dedicates his life to it. He says, “I don’t play to draw people close to Christ, to the church, or to religion. I do it to convert people to life.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Moon Epilogue

posted by on July 18 at 9:52 AM


photo by call me C from the Stranger flickr pool

Driving home from vacation last night, there was a big, full moon over Anacortes. Finally.

There was also a bunch of people hanging around the Department of Safety for the kick off of the town's annual What the Heck Fest.

Here is the official schedule of events:

FRIDAY, JULY 18th Croatian Club 5pm – 8pm (official Heck Fest grand opening ceremonies and dinner show) D+ Sandman Katy Davidson

City Hall
8pm – 1am
Karl Blau
Lucky Dragons
The Moore Brothers with Owl & the Pussycat
Calvin Johnson & Ian Svenonius
Mt. Eerie

Watertown Pub: ...WORMS, Love Tan
Brown Lantern: Bryan, Frank & Bob, the Moondoggies


Causland Park
noon – 7pm
(all day sushi show in the park)
Caulfield & His Magical Violin
Desolation Wilderness
Bryce Panic/Better Bizness Bureau
Gift Machine
Nate Ashley
Lonely Forest

City Hall
7pm – 1am
Angelo Spencer
Ô Paon
Your Heart Breaks
Little Wings
Kimya Dawson

Watertown Pub: ザ ジョージ マイケルス バンド, the Coconut Coolouts, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive To Death
Brown Lantern: Yes, Oh Yes, TacocaT, See Me River


11am “brunch show” at Anderson’s Store on Guemes Island:
Real Live Tigers, Dennis Driscoll, Solvents!

Causland Park
noon – 2pm
“Game Day” curated by the Blow

City Hall
2pm – 5:30pm
Mirah & Spectratone International performing “Share This Place”
Alyse Emdur (films)
Stella Marrs (films)
Oliver Orion-Miles
Honcho #1 (short film)

Department of Safety
6pm – 10pm
A Rich Jensen Intensive
Al Larsen
(also: Jib Kidder Chalk Space – an all day superchalking and boomboxing)


Some tickets will be available at the door to the City Hall shows ($10), and the show on Sat. afternoon in the park is free.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Love Lifts Sawka Up Where He Belongs

posted by on July 17 at 7:20 PM

officerandg.jpgThe one-man drumming freak of dnb Kevin Sawka is off to Europe for a solo tour. Just he and his drums and his sickening beats. And maybe some drum sticks. We spoke:

Where are you going?
Kevin: London, Wales, Amsterdam, France, and Spain.

Who are you touring with?
I'm traveling and performing by my lonesome self as KJ Sawka. Climbing the European hills.

What cities are you playing?
July 18th - Swansea, Wales - Monkey Café & Bar
July 19th - UK - Near London - Glade Festival
July 21st - Winston Kingdom, Warmoesstraat
July 24th - Barcelona - La Plataforma
July 25th - Metz - Le Tunnel, Metz
July 26th - Lille - Le Reve d'Hervrt

How did the tour get set up?
I did a tour of the UK last year. I'm playing Glade Festival again this year. My friend Nick who promotes, books bands, and who is in a live dnb band set up most of the tour.

What will you be playing?
I will be playing live smashing drum n' bass beats and some more moderate dance floor riddims for people’s enjoyment.

What are you looking forward to over there?
People’s enjoyment.

How are you bringing over your drums?
I'm just bringing over my own electronics. I’m renting a kit.

Do you have to worry about converters for the power?
No worries, but I do need power converters for everything. It can be a real big pain.

Are you worried about other people touching your drums?
I’d like to think I’m the one with all the touch. And I'd rather other people only touch the cymbals with their tongues.

Are you worried about other people touching you?
No, not at all. I love to hug.

Are you afraid of flying?
Absolutely not. When the plane lifts off, I sing out loud.

What will you be singing this trip?
I think I’ll go with Joe Cocker’s “Up Where We Belong” from An Officer and a Gentleman. I love that song. Love lifts us up where we belong, you know?

Yes. I know.
Where eagles fly.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Heavy Metal Hamburger

posted by on July 7 at 5:39 PM


Many Seattleites sing the praises of Palace Kitchen’s hamburger. I’m willing to concede that it may very well be the best burger in Seattle (or at least in the top 3), but Tom Douglas’s restaurant doesn’t blast Pantera while you chow down on the American classic. I guess Palace doesn’t really cater to my demographic. I have to go all the way to the Midwest to savor an exquisite burger under prime conditions.

Situated in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, Kuma’s Corner is my kind of eatery. Heavy metal blares throughout the restaurant at all times. The beer selection is snobby in the best possible way (PBR is the only domestic brew available). And the burgers are truly delicious. Of the 22 burgers on the menu, 20 are named after metal bands. Highlights include the Slayer, featuring a pile of fries topped with a half-pound burger, chili, cherry peppers, andouille, onions, jack cheese, and “Anger.” The Clutch burger features four kinds of cheese. The Goblin Cock comes with a quarter-pound hot dog on top. They also offer a pulled-pork sandwich (the Pig Destroyer) and a buffalo chicken sandwich (the Hate Beak). I’ve sampled five menu items and was blown away by all of them.

I’m crossing my fingers for a Seattle franchise.

That's Not a Beer Belly, That's a Baby

posted by on July 7 at 12:46 PM


Yesterday a very pregnant Gwen Stefani and her Bush singing husband (Gavin Rossdale) sat in Roger Federer's Wimbledon box. They cheered and cheered but could not help Federer win his sixth consecutive Wimbledon Tennis Championship. Spain's Rafael Nadal won in 5 sets. Stefani didn't watch the whole match. Maybe she left to have the baby.

Here's Gavin talking about his new album Wanderlust.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rolfing, Rockslide, Roskilde

posted by on July 2 at 11:08 PM

Looking for a festival in Roskilde, Denmark?

Sure you are. Here's the Roskilde Festival.

You got the Duke Spirit, My Bloody Valentine, Band of Horses, Battles, Cat Power, Girl Talk, Jay Z, Judas Priest, Kings of Leon, MGMT, Mogwai, the Streets, Holy Fuck, Santogold, and Neil Young.


The Festival runs from the 3rd to the 7th of July.

You probably need to bring your own fireworks.

Murder City Re-reunion

posted by on July 2 at 4:56 PM


This one completely confirmed, for Portland's MusicFestNW, which goes head to head with happens around the same time as Seattle's own Bumbershoot, and which is apparently some kind of music festival that happens in the Northwest.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Trying (and Failing) to DJ For My Mom

posted by on June 12 at 2:29 PM

I spent a long day in the car with my parents yesterday. Before I even put my seatbelt on I plugged in an iPod and commandeered the stereo, but I promised to try and play music that I thought they – specifically my mom – would enjoy. I’m always trying to introduce her to modern music, but it rarely ever sticks. First choice: Fleet Foxes. She loves CSNY; she should be able to get down with this. She doesn’t seem to mind it, even comments that she likes the song “Blue Ridge Mountains.”

Six hours later after a nap on a ferry ride I decide to put on something a little more upbeat. I’ve been picking records I thought she would enjoy (or at least tolerate) all day, now I’m going to show my dad what Daughters sounds like. They rile my mother’s feathers (obviously), and she demands I turn it off. Then she takes it a step further: “All the music you’ve played today has been annoying.” I am aghast. She didn’t like anything I picked for her – She & Him, Portishead S/T, M. Ward’s Post War, Sleeping People (that one was more for me). “What about Elliott Smith? I played one of his records and you like him,” I say.

“I don’t remember hearing that.” (She asked if it was Kings of Convenience when I put it on, one of the few bands I’ve actually sold her on)
“What about Fleet Foxes? You liked them, right?”
“Eh,” she mutters, “Parts.”

I put on Magical Mystery Tour. After a few songs she is at ease. “It’s nice to finally hear something I’m comfortable with,” she says. The song playing as she says this: “Your Mother Should Know.” I do not believe the coincidence to be premeditated.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dear Stranger Lookers: EYE See You

posted by on June 6 at 2:00 PM

EYE from Boredoms sends us his far away love. And materials for the 88 Drummer Show happening in New York on 8/8/08.



EYE wrote:

Dear Seattle and Stranger lookers. Thank you for such a experiencing show when we were there. Seattle has best crowd. I remember and think you. See you in 88. – EYE

I replied and sent our collective love back at him. I also sent him a copy of The Kweeks Of Kookatumdee by Bill Peet.



Far off somewhere in the Tumbuzzaroo Sea, On the jungle island of Kookatumdee, There once lived a flock of strange, birdlike things. Called kweeks, with huge beaks and undersized wings. With no wild beasts living there to endanger the kweeks, Their only problem was eating, just filling their beaks.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Total Fest VII Lineup Announced

posted by on May 30 at 1:47 PM


Missoula, Montana's Total Fest is pretty much the best DIY rock festival on the planet. I went last year with Akimbo, barfed on all their stuff, and had the time of my life. One giant venue with three stages, great bands from all across the country, barbecues, river floating, record swaps, beer - you'd be hard pressed to find a more laid-back, fun festival with such good bands anywhere else. This year looks like it's going to be just as awesome, with Saviours, Akimbo, Federation X, Triclops!, Titan, Part Man Part Horse, Black Eyes and Neckties, the Intelligence, the Lights, the Trucks, and the Narrows, just to name a few. The full list can be found here. Total Fest VII takes place August 14-16.

Monday, May 26, 2008

DEMF Day Two: Put Your Hands Up for Detroit

posted by on May 26 at 11:05 AM

lcg_250.jpgI spent most of DEMF Day Two in a bit of a daze, enjoying the music, but content to just sit and rest my aching feet. After a wonderful breakfast of chicken and waffles, I made it to Hart Plaza just in time to hear the end of Konrad Black's set and the beginning of Heartthrob. It was only about four in the afternoon at that point, and people were already in party mode at the Beatport stage thanks to that one-two punch.

I left there in order to catch Seattle's own Lawnchair Generals on the main stage. They represented us quite nicely, mixing little homages to Detroit techno in their set. Nice work, and despite being able to see them at home, I still stuck around for the better part of an hour, watching the Detroit crowd experience how we do things in the 206.

After brief stops by the other stages, I had to catch the tail end of Paco Osuna's set. Chain-smoking while he DJs, it's hard to tell if he's even enjoying himself, but I'll be damned if he didn't slay the crowd once again. I hope Decibel can bring him in. He was followed by M_nus' princess, Magda, but she's bored me enough over time that I didn't feel compelled to stick around.

Superstar DJ Benny Benassi had no shortage of hero-worship up on the Pioneer stage. That space was filled to the brim with what a friend calls "guido ravers," with Benassi having to make multiple calls for the crowd to move back. I was not into his brand of electrohouse, but I'm not going to fault the kids for their good time. They didn't annoy me until later.

My good time came shortly after at the underground stage, where Kenny Larkin prevailed despite technical issues, throwing down the most "Detroit" set I'd heard all festival. He shrugged off the audio cutting out during mixes, and instead jumped around, with a little bit of house, a little bit of electro, and plenty of Techno (with a capital T). Lovely.

Carl Craig and Underground Resistance's aural destruction after the jump.

Continue reading "DEMF Day Two: Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" »

Sunday, May 25, 2008

DEMF Day One: A Maximum of Minimal

posted by on May 25 at 11:12 AM

deepchord_250.JPGIt seems slow starts are becoming a bit of a theme at this year's festival. Despite not arriving until around 3pm, Hart Plaza was still just beginning to look active, and despite the various artists' best efforts, the real party vibe didn't pick up until after sunset (which isn't unusual, but felt a bit more pronounced).

That's not to say people weren't moving. Early on, house heads had the choice between Number 9 and DJ Minx, followed by John Jorg and Mike Grant, and all involved delivered, with Grant's set complemented by the energetic dancer he had on stage.

It's hard to get into the more heady acts at a festival like this. Deepchord played on the main stage, and their set was wonderfully dubby and spacious ("cave techno"). On the one hand, it was great to see an act like that on the big stage, not relegated to some stage ghetto. On the other hand, their music deserves time and an opportunity to wash over you, and this wasn't that. If they could play at 4am as everyone was winding down, that'd be ideal. But of course this is a minor gripe at most. Imperfect space or not, Deepchord lived up to expectations.

The first (surprising) Seattle representation followed Deepchord, with our own Bruno Pronsato taking the stage as half of Half Hawaii. The duo's live set transitioned the crowd into more dance-oriented fare, away from Deepchord's dub and playing perfectly into Zip's wonderfully dynamic set.

More on Day One after the jump.

Continue reading "DEMF Day One: A Maximum of Minimal" »

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Welcome to Detroit: Pre-DEMF Ramblings

posted by on May 24 at 10:09 AM

Spirit of Detroit @ DEMF, 5/27/2007Once again I find myself here in Detroit, completely amped for Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival (DEMF). I didn't do much plugging for the event this year, because short of my interest in the festival's "going green"-maybe this year there will actually be some recycling-there wasn't much to report other than lineup changes.

Even more than with our own Decibel or Mutek, DEMF has been plagued by cashflow issues, organizational issues, and all kinds of general drama, but in the last few years since Detroit-area powerhouse promoters Paxahau took the reins, things have gotten a lot more quiet and predictable. In early years there was desperation over whether each year would be the festival's last, but now it's matured to the point where it seems external factors (will gas prices keep people away?) rather than internal politics that will be the event's downfall (hopefully years away, if ever).

I got into town yesterday and so far things are off to a slow start. There was a big Godfathers of Techno party that had a similarly slow start, despite Juan Atkins, Eddie Fowlkes and Scan 7 on the bill (but I was there during the first half hour, far too early to make a call on how the night went). The official pre-party was headlined by the creator of one of last year's finest techno albums, Efdemin, but he stayed a little too dubby for my tastes, when all I really wanted to hear was his Chicago house gem "Just a Track." Ryan Elliott picked up the tempo, but it still wasn't enough. Downstairs Detroit's own Guys on Drugs were playing a great evil basement minimal set, but it was too hot, sweaty, and otherwise miserable to put up with the intermittent sound issues. In all it was a bit underwhelming, but for $5 it's hardly worth much complaint.

Left around three and went to grab some food. A brawl nearly broke out despite the table full of law enforcement officers as the drunks commingled. I ate my hot dogs in peace, then drove back to my hotel with the sounds of Terrence Parker on the radio. Welcome to Detroit indeed.

And now it's time for the festival. More later.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sasha Frere-Jones on Erykah Badu at Radio City Music Hall Last Week

posted by on May 15 at 1:14 PM

Erykah Badu played Radio City Music Hall on Friday night... Instead of saying that Badu’s performance will not be bettered any time soon (though it won’t), I’ll say that her show gave everyone in the house serious bragging rights. Dylan in 1965, Metallica in 1985, Bad Brains in 1981—it was one of those points on the arc. If you want to know who is at her peak, who is both of her moment and channelling so many forces that her work spills out over the edges of history and stops time, that’s Erykah Badu in 2008.

The whole review is here.

And, since we're on the subject of Badu, here is possibly the best first sentence Charles Mudede's ever written.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ozzfest - One Horrible Night Only

posted by on May 13 at 1:05 PM


Instead of its usual national tour, Ozzfest has been shortened to one date this year, August 9th at Pizza Hut Park in Dallas. Ozzy and Metallica are the headliners, accompanied by a slough of utter crap, save for the headliners of the "Texas Stage" the Sword, Soilent Green, and the hesitant respect Serj Tankian has earned for being both forward thinking and articulate. Mongoloid metal-heads around the country are fuming that this suck-fest is not coming to their backyard, and have began typing hateful diarrhea on the Ozzfest message board before un-clenching their fists:

"This Suck This is bullshit ozzfest is only going to be a one day show in TX. Well I am gland that all of other summer tour is not like this like warped tour now we got a new summer tour call rockstar mayhem tour I hope it better than ozzfest"
"really it be ok. with two ass hole who don't know how run a show are their show now. an Texas does have hurricanes dumb ass is was called Rita. And where could put ozzfest other then Texas. Try California. we don't fuck our sister. imbreaded ass clowns"

The full line-up:



Texas (Third) Stage:

Furious that this sadness parade isn't coming to Seattle? Feel free to delight us with angry sentence fragments in our comments section.

(ht Idolator)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

About Robyn in This Week's Issue...

posted by on May 7 at 4:05 PM

Swedish pop darling Robyn, profiled here in this weeks' Stranger has postponed her scheduled Seattle show in favor of playing the View. Pitchfork reports:

Alas, Robyn's time with "The View" has forced her to push planned dates in Portland on May 13 at Berbati's Pan and Seattle May 14 at Neumos back to August to accommodate the taping. That's a bummer, Pac NW, but think about it this way: there's another North American Robyn tour in the works, and it is definitely coming your way.

Maybe we'll just publish a link to our archives for that one.

Styx Frontman Dennis DeYoung Creates A(nother) Rock n' Roll Hunchback

posted by on May 7 at 10:19 AM


That's right: Ten years after Seattle's legendarily horrible Hunchback tried to cast Victor Hugo's classic as a rock n' roll musical, Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung is set to open his own "exciting musical version" of The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre.

Of course this isn't DeYoung's first theatrical experiment—he was the driving force behind Styx's high-tech, exposition-heavy Kilroy Was Here live show, each of which began with this amazing 9-minute intro film:

"You can't stop the music, you bastards!"
"I'm Jonathan Chance!"
"Oh, my balls!"

Good luck to everyone everywhere.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Bloody Valentine Reunion Tour Coming Nowhere Near Seattle

posted by on May 6 at 12:20 PM


My Blood Valentine announced some North American tour dates today. Closest they come to Seattle is San Francisco:

09-19-21 Monticello, NY - Kutshers Country Club (ATP New York)

09-22 New York, NY - Roseland
09-23 New York, NY - Roseland
09-25 Toronto, Ontario - Ricoh
09-27 Chicago, IL - Aragon Ballroom
09-30 San Francisco, CA - The Concourse
10-01 Los Angeles, CA - Santa Monica Civic
10-02 Los Angeles, CA - Santa Monica Civic

Damn. But, hey, instead we get Velvet Revolver side-project Stone Temple Pilots! Sigh.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Flavor and the Wall

posted by on April 28 at 12:34 PM


Los Angeles: Flava Flav was sitting in a Mercedes with the top down on a Santa Monica street. I was there to meet him for an interview and get him to tell me a dream. (I’m into dreams.) You could smell Flav’s splif a block and half away. A log sized, log flume of a joint. Flav is filming in Canada and was home for a couple days. From his car, he was staring at a giant mural on the side of a building. He never took his eyes from it:

Mr. Flavor, do you remember your dreams?
Flav: I like this wall, yo. I come here when I can. I like to construct it in my head. You gotta augment shit, you know?

Can you tell me the real reason you wear clocks?
Damn G, hit me with that. The real reason ain’t real haha. The real reason is stupid. But it stuck. (Lifts up his sleeve and flashes a diamond wristwatch.) Can you say sponsors?

He laughed a spitting laugh from deep in his throat, then he told me his dream.

When he finished, I got out the car, and shut the door gingerly. The engine had been running the whole time. I thanked him and he was away. He took a right onto Santa Monica Blvd, looked back, and yelled, “Augment, yo! Flava-FLAAAV!!”

Friday, April 25, 2008

Coachella Begins Today

posted by on April 25 at 12:46 PM


It's going to be +100 degrees all weekend. In years past I've felt that they've had the dominant summer festival lineup. This year... not so much. Anyone actually wish they were down there getting sunstroke? I would have liked to have seen Aphex Twin and Portishead, but I'm not sure there's anything in that desert that's significantly more compelling than what's happening in four festivals within a day's drive of Seattle (that's Sasquatch!, Block Party, SP20, and Pemberton, if you weren't keeping track).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pink Skull Owns Me

posted by on April 23 at 1:29 PM

Star Chef News: Madonna’s cook in LA couldn’t take it. He quit. She’s manipulative and issue filled. He was going to go on the upcoming tour, but no. She over-worked him for twenty-eight straight days and that was the last straw. Now he’s working for a grand a day cooking for another rich elderly woman.

Other than that, LA is nice. It’s Spring down here. You can smell the night blooming jasmine. All these stars and their chef problems. My chef is fine. Le Taco Belle. Drive through-riche. Rice and beans won’t ever quit.


A kind little genius bird fed me Zeppelin 3 by Philadelphia's Pink Skull before I left Seattle. I listened to it for the last five hours of the drive. It now owns me and my ear-brain. I, state your name, do hereby take this Pink Skull to be my lawful wedded psychedelaptop analog-Aztec space-wife. Zeppelin 3 is a masterpiece. Mouse on Mars-ish? Futuristic Aztecs don’t fuck around when they party. (Eric's review - here.) Heavy waylaying dance beats are wound around 130 bpm’s then go schizoid to quietly abstract Gregorian refrains. There’s a back and forth. Beats evolve, samples rip in, delays feed back. 808 pads stutter under a deranged Caribbean riff. Rusting mongoloid creatures dance around a tiki torch soldering their skin to processors. Platelets drip plasma and scar. Mitochondria in eardrum cells become supra and ears are able hear outside our round planet. They hear tectonics beneath the craters in the moon shift. It sounds like an old man murmuring. It’s not a basic noise, but it is. Your vehicle moves through dunes and the desert orbit presses play again. A hundred miles left to go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

In DEMF Lineup News

posted by on April 9 at 1:27 PM

Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) announced more lineup additions today, adding a bunch of solid acts to the Memorial Day shindig (including Seattle's Jerry Abstract). Here's the latest (emphasis my own, all caps courtesy of the festival):


Friday, April 4, 2008

Rodeo Plays in Belgium Prison, Finds Dildo

posted by on April 4 at 12:05 PM

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo played inside the maximum security Hoogstraten Prison in Antwerp. Near riot. I asked them about it:

How did you all get booked at a prison in Antwerp?
Rodeo: Not exactly sure. Prisons are terrible places. The walls of this place were covered with framed posters of American prison films. They were EVERYWHERE. I asked our host Herwig about the posters. He said, “They are from the warden’s collection. He brings them in and puts them up. The prisoners don’t like, but…”


Where in the prison did you play?
The room where we set up looked like a high school auditorium. It was a packed house with inmates from the men’s and women’s wings, all seated in plastic chairs. Men up front, ladies in the back row. Serious looking dudes right up front. Sour faces.

How’d it go?
It was a mixed reaction. Some were smiling and trying to have a good time (Herwig says it’s tough to transfer so quickly from dealing with prison life to trying to enjoy a show), some were quiet, some were rowdy and shouting. Prisoners were exchanging things and trying to hide it from the guards. One guy kept standing up and yelling “Fuck you, America!”


We played, went to a backstage area, and then there was a problem returning the prisoners to their cells. Everyone was up and yelling. The men made moves toward the women and the guards started to look overwhelmed. Herwig came backstage, totally bug-eyed, and asked us to get back on stage to draw everyone’s attention. We bust ass, throwing on our guitars, get on stage and play “Howdy Do!” from the new album. The “Fuck America” guy is out of his seat and screaming.

Note to all European prison wardens: “Howdy Do” will stop a riot before it starts. Not joking! By the second chorus, they were all clapping along and singing “HOWDY DO” back at us.

So none of the inmates escaped?
Actually, the day after our show, two inmates broke out and have not been caught. Seriously. We're keeping an eye out for them.

Damn, be careful. Hide your hats. Anything else happen?
Well, at our hotel in Brussels our bass player Sugar found a purple dildo underneath his pillow. It’s with us now and it’s not going to be leaving us anytime soon.


(Pictures by: Johnny Podhradsky)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Total Fest: Calling for Submissions

posted by on March 28 at 11:02 AM


Missoula based record label Wantage USA is calling for submissions for its annual "Total Fest." (Previous Nat Damm poster above.)

Deadline to submit is April 4.

What is Total Fest? Total Fest is a 3-day DIY festival of rock, pop, metal, etc. set in the welcoming confines of Missoula, Montana that takes place August 14th, 15th, and 16th. Total Fest is also just a cool word. Say it, TOTAL FEST. Not to be confused with Testy Fest.

Many Seattle bands have played it in the past: Big Business, the Lights, Lozen, the Narrows, the Trucks, and Akimbo.

From their website:

Total Fest 2008: That time of year is rapidly approaching again. Total Fest will return to the amazing Badlander in downtown Missoula, Montana again this year on August 14, 15 and 16th. For all bands, all ages interested in playing, the deadline for submissions is April 4th. So get those demo's ready and send them along to: Wantage USA P.O. Box 8681 Missoula, MT 59807.

I spoke with the Lights:

Tell me, what is Total Fest? What’s it like?
The Lights: It’s a fucking blast. Josh from Wantage is the man. He brews his own "Total Fest Beer", hosts a BBQ in his back yard, all the bands hang out during the day, many of which camp out in people's back yards. There's usually a trip up the river for a swim and it's just a weekend of no nonsense bullshit. It's like one giant rock festival, camping trip, party.

There are day time all ages shows, a record swap, and usually some rousing games of "horseballs" (it's like horseshoes ...) and definetly some frisbee golf action.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aphex Twin, Goldfrapp Added To Coachella Line Up

posted by on March 18 at 9:50 AM

Pitchfork reports today: Aphex Twin and Goldfrapp have been added to the already announced 2008 Coachella Line Up.

Aphex Twin - "Window Licker":

Goldfrapp - "A&E":

Goldfrapp - "Happiness (Rejceted Rex the Dog Remix)":

Monday, March 17, 2008

Elton John to be Called "Faggot"

posted by on March 17 at 2:01 PM


As part of their "Moms Weekend" Washington State University has enlisted Elton John to perform two shows at their campus next month. I have a couple friends who went to WSU. One time my friend Kellen went to visit them for the weekend. He told me about walking to the bars on Saturday night, and how frat guys were hanging out their windows screaming "faggot" at every guy that walked by. Apparently in Pullman, anyone who is not in a fraternity is automatically a "faggot" and will be told thusly, over and over again, by strangers, all weekend. The trip was so stressful and grating on Kellen (who's not gay) that he couldn't take a dump for three days (possibly in fear that the toilet also would call him a faggot as soon as he dropped his pants).

The fact that gay icon Elton John is coming to Pullman is not particularly hilarious. What is hilarious is the fact that since he's playing both April 12th and 13th, Elton John is going to have to spend the night in Pullman. He'll probably stay in his comfy tour bus, but can you imagine what would happen if he walked around on a Saturday night? That's a recipe for international disaster.

Friday, March 14, 2008

If Sasquatch Isn't Enough Festival For Your Summer...

posted by on March 14 at 1:04 PM

A list of artists has just been released for the first ever Pemberton Festival, British Columbia's three day concert response to Samsquamch. Pemberton is a two hour drive from Vancouver, north of Whistler. Only three day tickets can be purchased (lame), going for $239.50 Canadian. Promoters expect a crowd of about 40,000 for the festival, taking place July 25-27. Coldplay, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Jay-Z and Nine Inch Nails will be headlining. The other confirmed bands:

Flaming Lips / Interpol / Death Cab For Cutie / The Tragically Hip / Serj Tankian / My Morning Jacket / Metric / Sam Roberts Band / Vampire Weekend / Black Mountain / Minus The Bear / Wintersleep / Buck 65 / Secret Machines / MGMT / Brazillian Girls / SIA / Fiery Furnaces / Mates of State / The Airborne Toxic Event / Carolina Liar / Grand Ole Party / Monte Negro / Low Vs Diamond / Annie Stela / The Crystal Method / DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist / Junkie XL / David Seaman / Booka Shade / MSTRKRFT / M.A.N.D.Y. / Tommie Sunshine / Chromeo / Deadmau5 / 3 OH! 3 / Kevin Shiu / Timeline / Tony Pantages

Friday, February 22, 2008

Amoeba Records, San Francisco

posted by on February 22 at 11:43 AM


The big one on Haight St. I put a GWAR CD in the Belle and Sebastian section. I did it. And I’m sorry for it. One of the people working there was so beyond a dickhead to me. It was my feeble attempt at retaliation.

I asked a clerk a question about Ray Manzarek from the Doors. I thought I saw a poster that said he was doing an in-store. The record store guy did the eye roll, and grunted, and painstakingly answered me, “You mean the keyboard player from the Doors?”

Once I heard the intensity of his dickheaded-ness, I answered, “No, Ray Manzarek from GWAR.” Then the clerk just walked off. I was so pissed. I couldn’t help it.

I am now asking for forgiveness, great God of Record Stores. I know that guy was probably having a bad day. Maybe I was the ninth person to ask him about Manzarek. Maybe Manzarek had done something terrible to him, such as crap on his forehead, I don’t know. I should have let him be.

I don’t know how long the GWAR stayed there in the Belle and Sebastian. But someone found it and had to deal with it, and for that, I am sorry. Perhaps it’s still there.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I'm Ready

posted by on February 1 at 10:50 AM

I can't be there for this, so instead I'm already getting excited about this. Only 112 days to go!

In honor of that, here's Claude VonStroke's "Who's Afraid of Detroit?," with great footage from the D (the city, not me).

Video hat-tip to Ario.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


posted by on January 30 at 1:32 PM

supergreg.jpgYou’ve probably seen this guy before.

If you haven’t, allow me to introduce – Super Greg.

If you go – here, the screen below will appear before you. There are three buttons: ‘Super Greg’, ‘Number One’, and ‘Scratching.’ Click them and Super Greg says, “Supa Greg!” Or, “Numba One!” Or you can make Greg scratch. The controls for these actions are at your finger tips:


Super Greg says:

Sometimes as a DJ U have these 'golden moments' when everything seems to flow. You never know when they are going to happen. It's funny, on this particular occasion I wasn't thinking about DJing at all, but about a sweet girl I once met at a bus station.



Friday, January 18, 2008

Maintaining My Cool!

posted by on January 18 at 1:58 PM


Rob Bailey and the New Untouchables (I got my eye on you Mr. Ringgold!) gets ALL the groovy, every time, don't they! The Sonics are playing this years Le Beat Bespoke weekender!

Le Beat Bespoke 4- Easter Bank Holiday, March 21- 23 2008


Dammit, will Seattle EVER get the SONICS?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Where the Juggalo Roam

posted by on January 14 at 10:56 AM

I 'm off to Spokane today to check out Eastern Washington's thriving post-ICP Horror Rap scene. Gonna be kicking it with my boys Knothead and Livid Undead. Should be a trip.