Seattle Subsonic - November, 2008
… for tonight, Friday Nov 28th! How ’bout a one-two punch o’ funk? The Nectar Lounge will indeed be the Center of the Universe after 9PM. The deep grooves of Justin “J Boogie” Boland and the phenomenal Herbaliser with a big ol’ live section of instruments keeps the four-day weekend real fresh. Tickets are still available through TicketWeb for thirteen bones.
There are many things that people give thanks for on Thanksgiving…family, friends, good food, good drink, health, so on and so forth. While I certainly give thanks for all those things, often times the most important thing in my life is music. If I am happy, music keeps me happy. If I am sad, music cheers me up. I listen to it when I am awake; I listen to it in my sleep. In light of this, I wanted to share with you five songs that have been on permanent rotation for me for the last few months…these songs have been keeping me going and I am truly thankful for them!
Paul Baribeau -When You Go Back to College
Paul Baribeau is an acoustic artist who tours living rooms and D.I.Y. venues across the country. I was lucky enough to see Paul play at the Monstersorri House on Beacon Hill a month or two back, and even before then he was an every day indulgence. Check out this track from his self-titled album.
Martyrs of the Apollo Guild – Taking to the Sea in Glass Ships
This five piece from Duvall is on a hiatus at the moment, but not too long ago they were out rocking the music world, and even played the Grendel Birthday Bash down in Ballard back in June. It was awesome to watch the Sunset Tavern go from not even paying attention when they first started to play their set to moving to the front of the stage and rocking out with the band. Expect something from them in the not too distant future, as they won’t be gone for too long.
Kind of Like Spitting – The Thrill of the Hunt
Kind of Like Spitting is probably one of the most prolific bands in the Northwest, and yet I did not really stumble across them until I picked up their split with Lemuria. I had heard their name a million times, but for whatever reason I never checked them out. While the band has officially split, Ben Barnett, the singer-songwriter behind the project, is still out and about and will be playing a great show on January 1st at Healthy Times Fun Club with Sean of Andrew Jackson Jihad and Zack of Like Claws! that I highly recommend checking out.
Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman – The Fabled City
The Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitarist just released his second full length solo record under the moniker The Nightwatchman. This haunting, folksy, sometimes Leonard Cohen-esque romp entitled The Fabled City is pretty damn good. The title track gets stuck in my head on a regular basis.
Off With Their Heads – I Hope You Know
OWTH is a four-piece punk outfit from Minneapolis who are currently on a nation wide tour. While I will be lucky enough to see them at the Punk Rock Bowling Tournament in Las Vegas in mid-January, they will be up this way in February so be sure to check them out!
The quirky classic and pop rockers in Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band (have you noticed there is both a figurative and a literal volcano in their name?) finally get their own headline show at <gasp!> Neumos. See my write up of the last time they played there with Toronto’s Tokyo Police Club. A blistering blend of epic 70s metal, piercing 80s punk, and moody 90s indie rock, with a touch of weird, this is one local band you don’t wanna miss.
All Ages/ Bar W/ID
I’ve yet to see Black Eyes & Neckties or Helms Alee, but I hear both shows are outstanding (if you dig loud punk and hardcore, that is). BE&NT sound pretty similar to local legends Murder City Devils (just with more makeup and fake blood), but we all miss that supreme band, right? Right. Helms Alee put out a pretty solid record earlier this year that’s flown a bit under the proverbial radar. Portland’s Black Elk I managed to catch at the ol’ C-Hill Block Party and came away a fan of their dark, rip-roarin’ anthems.
Easily one of my favorite records of 2008, Censored Colors is the latest from Portland’s Portugal. The Man, who’ll be stopping by El Corazon (of all places) to deliver what I’m sure will be a rockin’, heart and gut wrenching set of tender acoustic rock, vintage explosive metal, harmony-infused folk, jazzy psych-rock, conscious 70s soul, roots reggae, and groggy electro finishes.
I wrote once, “If Censored’s first half is a weighty, acoustic-dominated heartfelt plea, then its second half—separated by an “Intermission”—is a daring, riff-heavy plot to remind the listener that the band still came to rock. The lyrical subjects are largely unchanged, but a volatile song like “Never Pleased” easily stirs up a blend of Queen and Pink Floyd that fans of the chuggariffic Black Mountain would find fit for their basement smoke sessions. “Hard Times” plugs away at a faster pace, and is propped up by boisterous background vocals, swirling Wolf Parade-style electro whirlwinds, staccato trumpeting, and a pumping bass line from Zach Carothers. [Full Review w/ mp3s]
All Ages / Bar with ID
Doors open at 7:00 PM
Show starts at 8:00 PM
Buy Tickets Online
This Sunday, Nov 30th is the perfect way to round off your Thanksgiving break. Two local Subsonic favorites, The Liars Club and Blood Red Dancers, in one place for one low price. To make it even easier on your constitution, this is all going down at the Sunset Tavern’s Sunday Bloody Sunset - a Sunday afternoon concert series usually focusing on up-and-coming local acts. Doors open at 4 and last through about 8. An easy way to continue that Bloody Mary buzz you started at Kingsand continues at the Sunsed ($3 all day both places), ease into a long night of Ballard barhopping, or just call it a night and get home at a reaonable hour for a grand return to work…
First up this Sunday are the Blood Red Dancers whom I have personally been continuously gushing over. What they produce is not necessarily music to dance to, but it is music that’s guaranteed to move you. It’s broody, evocative and heavy hearted. To give it a sound, I’d say mix a little Doors, a little Tom Waits, and a little Elvis on a hella-fuggin-drug bender. Wham! there you have it. For my full review of thier sound, check this previous post. .
And that’s just the first act. Up next are the Liars Club, fronted by the madman K.C. Rehberg who channels ungodly amounts of energy into every second of every song as if it were his last. No stage can contain him. Drummer, Steve Popplewell cracks amazingly sharp and tight on the kit driving the songs ahead with raging force. You get solid licks from Chris Craig on the axe, wrangling it to fill in dark melodies that shouldn’t be possible from one instrument. Alex Difabio brings it real on the bass, sometimes positioning himself as more of a lead than a rhythym. Even the songs that sound a little more subdued on their EP light off the stage like a pack of black cats. People I talked to after seeing the last Liars Club show not only dug them, but were surprised at how much they dug them. For more, check SCTG’s review here
Topping off the night are The Missionary Postion. The truest of true rockers with a huge sound. But after being so excited about the opening 2 bands, I don’t even have the steam to get into them.
This is on track to be one of the best club shows you’ll see this year. And for 5 bucks on a Sunday afternoon.. it’s really a no-brainer. If you want a taste of what’s in store, you can download a free EP from each of these fantastic local acts here! Or have a quick listen to the selections below:
Blood Red Dancers – Sweeties Gettin Mobbed
Liars Club – Born on a Friday
Hopefully, you’ve seen the news about our good friend John Spalding (here and many other places). He passed away from cancer this week, just after finishing his magnum opus, The Beautiful Truth. He was able to put the finishing touches on the album before he died, but was unable to properly package and distribute it for consumption. Well, in light of the massive medical bills facing his wife Jody, John joked that this album was “her life insurance”.
Fortunately, his friend and producer Matt Bayles, who spent time in Minus the Bear before branching out to focus solely on record production, has stepped up to the plate to help get the album to the masses. Bayles released the following statement:
As many of you know, John’s record, “The Beautiful Truth,” has been finished for a few weeks now. John spent so much time over the last couple of years finishing it, and we want to make sure it gets it into stores. Our goal is to raise money to get a first pressing made. Because John meant so much to so many, I am hoping that no single person will have to donate more than $50 to make this happen. If $20 is all you can afford, that still is a tremendous help.
I am in the process of opening a separate trust account dedicated to the release of “The Beautiful Truth.” Of course 100% of any money made from sales of the record, as well as any excess money left in the CD release fund, will be sent to the medical trust fund. As soon as I have opened the account I will let everyone know what the exact name of the fund is so they can donate.
Plans are also in the works for a digital release as soon as possible. Our goal is to get the CD in local stores by Christmas.
Please forward this information to anyone else who may want to contribute.
So, look for more information on how to contribute and [eyes closed, fingers crossing] for the album to be nicely placed on record store shelves by Xmas. I’d assume the digital release will be within the next week or so. Thanks to Line Out for the information, whose post had a comment attached with an upcoming benefit show. Given the pedigree of John’s friends’ bands, I’m sure whoever volunteers will be well worth the price of admission.
The 1st confirmed date is:
Saturday January 3 at the Comet tavern, show TBD
HT: Line Out
Well, not really. I pretty much expected to be laid on my ass by Deerhunter‘s thoughtful barrage of sound when I headed to Neumos this past Friday night (11/21). But with a catalogue of intricately crafted ambient pop songs (and non-songs) that sound best through headphones with distant eyes, I was a tad unsure whether the experience would translate to a live setting. Fortunately, the pleasant surprise came in the form of a well-rounded and enjoyable set from the Atlanta quintet that I’ve no doubt fell in love with (I ain’t shy).
Deerhunter, and more specifically Bradford Cox, has built a solid following with elegant punk and alluring, artsy garage-pop that sounds neither aged nor contemporary, neither here nor there. In fact, with song titles like “Cryptograms” and “Vox Celeste” and a general leaning towards the atmospheric, it makes one wonder whether their music might be from another time and place altogether. But the backbone of the band’s songwriting, in my opinion, continues to be the beautiful, hypnotic repetition found in much of their work; the continuous rhythms that drive each song from one parallel to the next. Cryptograms, in particular, is rife with such methodology. Microcastle/Weird Era Continued, their latest dual LP, continues to persist this trademark technique, but the focus on cleaner voice and crisper guitar melodies is much more evident.
The band arrived to a stark stage and healthy cheers, four guitarists (one bass) in a row and drummer Moses Archuleta set back in the shadows. Cox, who suffers from a rare connective tissue disease known as Marfan Syndrome, was even taller and lankier than I anticipated. Having never seen the band perform before, it was decidedly awesome to hear older tunes “Cryptograms” and “Lake Somerset” right off the bat. They would even throw in “Octet” later on and my favorite, “Heatherwood”, during the encore. Many of the more conventional songs from the new record would dominate the rest of the set, including “Little Kids”, “Never Stops”, the exciting “Nothing Ever Happened”, “Microcastle”, and “Saved by Old Times”. If I were to attend this show to hear one and one lyric only, it would be from that last song: “We were captured by / Victorian Vampires / with elaborate designs!” Oh, the imagery!
At one point, someone from the crowd yelled out “Marietta!”, referring to Atlanta’s “rival” city. Cox, ever the outcast, responded, “Yeah, we beat you guys pretty good in football, if I remember. But I didn’t really pay attention to that stuff—I was too busy suckin’ dick.” Pretty sure everyone was caught off guard by that one. Whitney Penny, the band’s new Rock Star guitarist, was a complete contrast from the rest of the shy-guy band (bassist Josh Fauver and other guitarist Lockett Pundt, in particular) as she enthusiastically played to the crowd, often sticking the neck of her huge hollow body into the hands of the front row and devil-horning the shit out of her fingers.
“Calvalry Scars II” rounded out the pre-encore set list, which is as gorgeous as it is dissonant. Cox set aside his bright blue Fender mid-song to merrily pound on a glockenspiel. “Agoraphobia” and Microcastle‘s closing track “Twilight at Carbon Lake” finished off the night.
More pedantic blithering (and photos) about openers Past Lives and Times New Viking after the jump.
John and his good friend Andrea Zollo
John Spalding, a talented local musician and a wonderful human being, passed on to a new life this past Sunday evening after a four year battle with colon and lung cancer. He was 33 years old. A good friend of countless folks, including myself, John was a magnetic person with a gift for making those around him feel welcome (particularly when demonstrating his masterful culinary skills). His uplifting and graceful spirit came through with any casual conversation, and his effortless way of befriending others was infectious and inspiring.
Until his illness slowed him down, John was active in the local music scene, playing guitar in art-punk bands Ninety Pound Wuss and Raft of Dead Monkeys during the mid-to-late 90s. He spent his final weeks finishing off (and promoting via KEXP’s Audioasis) a record under the name LoveLand that he had poured his heart and soul into over the past several years. Entitled The Beautiful Truth, John’s music is an unabashedly honest, poignant, and heartfelt proclamation of a man ready to move on to another phase of existence.
A few months ago, the proprietors of the War Room on Capitol Hill threw John a party/concert (with performances by the Cave Singers and Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death) to celebrate his last days. I was absolutely floored by the amount of people who showed up to give their friend a hello, a handshake, or a hug. There was no bound to his friendship.
Currently, the primary way to listen to his music is at his myspace, and fans of soulful power-pop, jangly guitar rock, catchy piano balladry and John would certainly do themselves a favor and head over to take a listen. Assisted by a tremendous amount of support from several local musicians that were his friends first, including members of Minus the Bear, the Blood Brothers, Pretty Girls Make Graves, These Arms Are Snakes, Botch, and Helms Alee, The Beautiful Truth will no doubt be an everlasting testament to John’s incredible talent and his unique take on powerful, soaring melodies infused with his own positive perspective. Its eclectic composition rings true with the most endearing of John’s qualities.
John, whose wife Jody will be saddled with medical bills for the foreseeable future, asked his brother Steve to set up a memorial donation fund through Bank of America. Simply visit any branch and ask about the “John D. Spalding Medical Fund” to donate. I’ll be sure to post more information about how to purchase his music, which will also benefit his family, as it becomes available.
Goodbye John, we will miss you!
More information about John from the local beat:
Also, after today, listen to KEXP’s John Richards pay tribute with several songs on The Morning Show, November 24th, 6-10am.
For best results, open a beer.
Turn on Ryan Adams‘ “To Be Young”
Mix following ingredients:
1 Part John Legend*
1 Part Ray LaMontagne
Dash of Ben Folds
Pinch of Joss Stone
* You can substitute Stevie Wonder’s “Innervisions” if you’re out of Legend’s “Once Again”
Regular readers might find this to be pretty out of sync with this writer’s usual recommendations. Insert “variety is the spice of life” cliche here. I heard the single “OK It’s Alright With Me” last week on a satellite channel and sought out more. Maybe you’ll dig Eric too.