Posts Tagged ‘music’

wednesday agenda: dent may, fiery furnaces

dent may, with ukulele.

Tonight, if the chatting, laughing, drinking, eating, and other assorted revelry of Blogsgiving hasn’t worn you to shreds, you might want to drop by Chop Suey on your way home. There, Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele(s) can show you that contrary to conventional wisdom, if you try hard enough, you can force a dance party. They open for sibling songwriting the Fiery Furnaces, an odd couple of boundary-stretching rockers who have taken inspiration from sources ranging as far and wide as Devo to their grandmother’s choir. $15, 8pm. With Cryptacize. [chopsuey]

dirty projectors at neumo’s

dirty projectors at neumo’s

The last time Dirty Projectors were in town I felt horrible about missing them, both because parts of their new record, Bitte Orca nearly caused me to trip over myself while listening to it on my morning commute and also because it was clear that the size of the venues they’d be visiting would only get bigger and bigger. Luckily, they saw fit to pay another visit to Seattle this year, upsizing from Chop Suey to the still intimate Neumo’s, which felt especially cozy with the swampy warmth of packed wall-to-not-so-well-ventillated-wall and hanging-over-the-balcony with adoring onlookers.

And for good reason, for all the astoundingness of their recorded material, seeing Dave Longstreth and crew onstage performing is all the more jaw-dropping. Moment by moment, line by line, and note by note, the songs feel like a tenuous and delicate exploration of the limits of what makes a song and how a story can be told musically. The songs tremble and glow, flit and dive around the surface of an idea, rise and fall into big surrendery swells, and challenge the ambitious listeners seeking to take their physical response beyond clapping head bobbing to full on dancing. Despite this rather academic-seeming descriptions, the music remains brainy without becoming coldly cerebral; in fact, with the swirling rhythmic eddies, each member beginning in their own apparent orbit, and eventually coalescing, it feels like future soul, forward-looking yet with a full heart to match its sophistication. From an opening solo performance, to stripped down duets, but especially with the talents of the full group on display, each melodic episode was its own kind of thrilling. While Longstreth is the clear engineer of the operation, he wisely leaves plenty of room for vocalists Amber Coffman, Angel Deeradorean, and Haley Dekle to shine. Until seeing them in person, it somehow never occurred to me that the all of interlocking vocals could exist organically, but the syncopated showstopper brought down the house with the multipart, perfectly coordinated, rollicking vocal gymnastics. It was so amazing that the encore-concluding “Knotty Pine” was hardly necessary, but highly appreciated.

pawnwatch: the most serene republic’s bad trip to vancouver

the most serene republic, photo by josh (me)

The Most Serene Republic, who played a heck of a show opening for Grand Archives last week (a bunch of my photos are on backbeatseattle), had a pretty bad time after their performance in Vancouver.

Following a show at the Biltmore, they had an ample amount of gear stolen. It’s always sad when good people have their stuff taken from them, but if you had seen the way that lead singer / lead trombonist gleefully danced around the stage with that horn of his, you’d know that the sting of theft was all the more bitter. If you happen to see a bunch of gear (acoustic & electric guitars, Jiggs Whigham 2102L King Trombone, pedals, and flight cases) showing up at near the border pawn shops, please get in touch with Arts & Crafts to bring the lawbreakers to justice and the equipment back to the band’s loving embrace. (full list of stolen gear and contact info after the jump)


photos: girl talk at the showbox

girl talk at the showbox; photo by me; more in the photoset [flickr]

Girl Talk is one of those acts that reminds you how fortunate it is to be in a place with a floor built on a bed of springs. Mere minutes after Greg Gillis ran onto the stage, made a round of front-row high-fives, scaled his table, and settled into his spot behind a card table decked out with plastic-wrapped laptops (“2 laptops and a pair of giant studio monitors are the new 2 turntables and a microphone.” [@asa]), the sold out crowd was putting the structure to the test. A track or two in, and the empty stage began to be filled by a not entirely unreasonable cross section of Seattleites — a low key programmer type for every two neon spectacled party kids — and a duo of jerseyed leaf blower operators who sent toilet paper, confetti, and the occasional inflatable into the house.
Really, though, the onstage spectacle of dancers, a sweaty disrobing (not a) DJ hardly stopping his bouncing while hammering away at the mix, and retro projected graphics, hardly mattered. The stacks of samples, cutting across decades of popular and obscure culture, colliding into each other, being mixed into new mental connections, and made fresh in an on-the-fly live experience made nonstop dancing entirely more compelling than people-watching. I’m sure that someone with a better ear and mind for cataloging will come up with a brainbending setlist; my favorite moments of recognitions were for classic Nirvana, Kelly Clarkson, Journey, the usual set-ending Elton John, and some new (disc of the summer) Phoenix making it into the mix. After something like an hour and a half, the show ended promptly. In the moment, stopping before midnight seemed too soon, until you realized that maybe if it went on forever people would die of dehydrated exhaustion, making the leaving while wanting more just about perfect.

on the road : photos from musicfest nw

get up kids playing the roseland for musicfest nw. photo by me; more in the photoset [flickr]

Last weekend Portland (a.k.a., the new Ballard) turned over some of its finest clubs to host Musicfest Northwest, a sort of (I imagine) South by Southwesty citywide parade of excellent shows. Over the four days, it seemed like just about every important touring band converged on the town to torment fans with difficult decisions about how to best make use of their wristbands and to balance strategic decisions about lining up early versus seeking out taco stands and worlds of books. To an infrequent visitor, this collection of packed nighttime performances and small daytime performances in basements or former funeral homes only enhanced the perception that Portland is a sprawly city with a bit of magic in the air. Schoolbuses with confused drivers shuttled between clubs, a costumed wrestling match took place on our hotel’s covered courtyard, the per capita concentration of plaid and heavyframed glasses were so far above the national average it’s hardly even worth trying to quantify, entire villages of food carts have come to occupy stray parking lots, and sometimes people say “the evil swoosh” out loud.

Of course, the shows were great, too. Explosions in the Sky make melancholy sound heroic like nobody’s business; Frightened Rabbit make continual heartbreak seem like not such a poor life choice; Arctic Monkeys kept the dance floor rolling while seeming incredibly tired of being young and famous; Mount Eerie are wrapping sprightly nature poems in harsh metals; the Local Natives provided an excellent reason to get out of bed before ten; Pink Mountaintops were pleasantly less psychadelic than advertised; and the Get Up Kids had me screaming with Napster-era nostalgia during certain parts of their set. Also notable was a KEXP–Caffe Vita co-production at the Woods, a venue carved out of a former funeral home. The Lonely Forest, Langhorne Slim, Fences, John Vanderslice, Bobby Bare Jr., Black Whales, and others played tiny sets in the parlor as the perfect soundtrack taking it easy on a Saturday afternoon. Keep an eye on their blog [caffevita] for performance footage. All in all, the festival was a wonderful reason to visit our neighbor to the south to be reminded that there are cities even more relaxed than Seattle.

photos : pains of being pure at heart & depreciation guild

the depreciation guild (above) & the pains of being pure at heart (below) played neumo’s on tuesday. more pictures in the photoset [flickr]

On Tuesday night, early-arriving fans at Neumo’s were no doubt disappointed to find that a burrito in Idaho had spoiled their efforts to see Cymbals Eat Guitars. Food poisoning had derailed the band’s plans to claim a much-anticipated opening set, leaving its members unfortunately ill and Seattle with a bit more time on its hands to get a drink. Sadness about missing them aside, I think that anyone who has suffered from severe digestive illness knows which party got the better end of this arrangement.
That left the Depreciation Guild, basically the shoegaz[ier] A/V club (or rather subcommittee) of the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, in the role of warming the crowd. Combined with the last-gasp of summer outside, the poor ventilation inside, and videogame bleeps blipped over guitar washes and energized by a live wall of shifting color blocks, they stepped-up to the task admirably, holding and gathering a crowd.
Although the all-ages balcony had plenty of breathing room, the main floor soon attracted a perspiration-heavy gathering for the headliners, who ran through most of their recorded material — including geographically-appropriate “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan” (which, they admit, cribs more from the Vaselines than Nirvana), and venue-appropriate “103”, and closing with an encore of their rock out freakout “Gentle Sons”. Along the way, they played some material from their forthcoming Higher Than the Stars EP along with old favorites about library sex, taboo love, and dedicated a get well song to their ailing tourmates. Predictably, the vocals were sometimes swallowed by the giant wall of fuzzed out guitars, but it was OK. We heard about how they loved Seattle and that season of the Real World with the fish throwers, the slap heard ’round the world, and the teddy bear sacrificed to the Sound. The front rows pogoed madly and more than a few guys with giant hair air drummed aerobically.
By the end, during the “banter part”, some people implored them to ditch Brooklyn for Capitol Hill. And while I’d concur that we’d love to have them in town all the time, I’d not encourage anyone to live in the basement at Neumo’s. Until then, though, we’ll have the records and the hope that they’ll bring their big tour van back someday soon.

tickets : the pains of being pure at heart, all yours tuesday

kip berman from the pains of being pure at heart, chbp. photo by josh [flickr]

Their cunning, fuzzy, self-titled album took the indieverse by storm with sounds of upbeat yearning reminiscent of explosive basement pajama parties and covert library action. They charmed the pants off of the mainstage during the Capitol Hill Block Party in the middle of the summer. Now, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart are returning to Seattle on Tuesday, just a few days ahead of the release of their new [already!] EP, Higher Than The Stars (22 September, Slumberland, complete with a trancy St. Etienne remix of the title track).
As much as I liked seeing them on a big stage in the great outdoors, I have a sneaking suspicion that they’ll be even more in their element in closer, darker quarters. If you haven’t already purchased tickets for this show (now with an all-ages balcony!), we might be able to reward your procrastination.

We have a pair to giveaway to one of you. Just drop a note to us (seattle.metblogs @ or on the twitter @seattlemetblogs ) — with “tPoBPaH” in the subject line before Saturday afternoon and you’ll be entered to win. Those who identify the skeletons or highlight meaningful entries in the bibliography of “Young Adult Friction” [youtube] video — a near-perfect visual expression of the band’s sonic aesthetic, as far as I’m concerned — will improve their odds of victory.

// the pains of being pure at heart, with the deprecation guild & cymbals eat guitars. tuesday 15 september, $13 adv, 8 pm [neumos]

reverb festival schedule announced, preparing for ballard takeover in october

Have you emerged from the fog of Bumbershoot? Don’t worry, I, too am still in recovery mode. Still, as soon as memories of one festival fade, another rises to take its place. Announced today [reverb], the full schedule of Seattle Weekly‘s Reverb festival should get you excited for October (or, if you will/must, rocktober) with a full-day slate of mainly local bands who will be taking over Ballard on Saturday October 3rd.

Take a look:

The Sunset: 12:30 – Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground; 11:30 – Coconut Coolouts; 10:30 – Unnatural Helpers; 9:30 – The Girls; 8:30 – Final Spins; 7:30 – Erik Blood; 6:30 – Telepathic Liberation Army; 5:30 – Born Anchors; 4:30 – Katherine Hepburn’s Voice; 3:30 – Little Cuts

Tractor Tavern: 12:00 – The Maldives; 11:00 – Staxx Brothers; 10:00 – Widower; 9:00 – Eldridge Gravy & The Court Supreme; 8:00 – Fences; 7:00 – Raggedy Anns; 6:00 – Brent Amaker & The Rodeo; 5:00 – Southside; 4:00 – Hallways; Ballard Loft

5105 Ballard Ave NW: 10:00 – DJ Taco Supreme; 6:00 – Trashy Trash DJs ;

Conor Byrne: 11:30 – Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs; 10:30 – Barton Carroll; 9:30 – Zera Marvel; 8:30 – Kaylee Cole

The Bit Saloon: 12:00 – Midnight Idols; 11:00 – Mobile Slaughter Unit; 10:00 – The Keeper; 9:00 – Redwood Plan; 8:00 – Tea Cozies; 7:00 – Levator; 6:00 – The Basements

Hattie’s Hat (all-ages): 10:30 – Hattie’s Hoot! featuring many special guests; 9:30 – Rusty Willoughby; 8:30 – Shenandoah Davis; 7:30 – Shana Cleveland; 6:30 – Lonesome Shack; 5:30 – Lindsay Fuller; 4:30 – Jet Sparks

New York Fashion Academy (all-ages): 10:30 – Thee Satisfaction; 9:30 – Fatal Lucciauno; 8:30 – Spaceman; 7:30 – SK; 6:30 – GMK; 5:30 – Astronautalis; 4:30 – Fresh Espresso; 3:30 – Grynch

Salmon Bay Eagles (all-ages) : 10:00 – Shook Ones; 9:00 – Cute Lepers; 8:00 – Thee Emergency; 7:00 – The Lonely H; 6:00 – Valis; 5:00 – Wallpaper; 4:00 – Visqueen (all- ages Record Release!); 3:00 – Recess Monkey

Mr. Spot’s Chai House (all-ages): 9:00 – Kore Ionz; 8:00 – Heatwarmer; 7:00 – Lady Drama;

Volterra: 10:00 – Los Volcanes; 9:00 – Lushy; 8:00 – Leif Totusek & Freestyle Candela; 7:00 – Matt Jorgensen + 451; 6:00 – Greta Matassa; 5:00 – FOWM Jazz Combo and String Ensembles

Wristbands for the whole thing will run you $5-10, depending on your age and timeliness. [$]

photos: johnny & the moon, moondoggies, and fruit bats

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johnny & the moon, the moondoggies, and fruit bats at seattle centers. photos by me. full photoset. [flickr].

Last night three nocturnally-named, but highly warm evening weather appropriate bands — Johnny & the Moon, the Moondoggies, and Fruit Bats — closed out KEXP’s exceptional Mural concert series at Seattle Center. The lineups and timing of this series and it’s remarkable freeness, with cold beer in close proximity, made it a stellar addition to the summer. Let’s hope that the station does this again next year. Bringing bands that I’d typically see late at night into the Friday cocktail hour during a season where the incentive to go to shows faces tough competition from barbecues, weekend travel, and festivals, was stroke of brilliance that brought together eclectic talents and laid back audiences. Well done!

girl talk miracle: second show, cozier venue

girl talk at the capitol hill block party in 2008, photo via me.

Due to popular demand, a second Girl Talk show has been added for 21 September. And, unlike the first, now sold-out show, scheduled for 19 September [sbx], this one will be “at the Market” (a.k.a. Showbox Original). Tickets go on sale on Monday at 10 am. Who cares if it’s on a school night, you know what to do. $15, with Junk Culture [showbox]

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